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An earthly nurse sits and sings,
And aye she sings a lily wean -
"Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land that he dwells in."
For he's come one night to her bed's foot
And a grumly guest I'm sure he'd be,
Saying, "Here am I, thy bairn's father,
Although I be not comely.
"I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie in the sea,
And when I'm far and far from land,
My home it is the sule skerrie."
And he has ta'en a purse of gold,
And he had placed it upon her knee,
Saying, "Give to me my little young son
And take thee up thy nurse's fee.
"And I will come one summer's day
When the sun shine's bright on every stane,
I'll come and fetch my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the faem.
"And ye shall marry a gunner bold,
And a right fine gunner I'm sure he'll be,
And the very first shot that ever he shoots
Will kill both my young son and me."