Andrew Lang

(31 March 1844 - 20 July 1912 / Selkirk, Scotland)

Alison Gross


O Alison Gross, that lives in yon tow'r,
The ugliest witch in the north countrie,
She trysted me ae day up till her bow'r,
And mony fair speeches she made to me.

She straik'd my head, and she kaim'd my hair,
And she set me down saftly on her knee;
Says--'If ye will be my leman sae true,
Sae mony braw things as I will you gi'e.'

She shaw'd me a mantle of red scarlet,
With gowden flowers and fringes fine;
Says--'If ye will be my leman sae true,
This goodly gift it shall be thine.'

'Awa, awa, ye ugly witch,
Hand far awa, and let me be;
I never will be your leman sae true,
And I wish I were out of your company.'

She neist brocht a sark of the saftest silk,
Weel wrought with pearls about the band;
Says--'If ye will be my ain true love,
This goodly gift ye shall command.'

She show'd me a cup of the good red gowd,
Weel set with jewels sae fair to see;
Says--'If ye will be my leman sae true,
This goodly gift I will you gi'e.'

'Awa, awa, ye ugly witch,
Haud far awa, and let me be;
For I wadna ance kiss your ugly mouth,
For all the gifts that ye cou'd gi'e.'

She's turn'd her richt and round about,
And thrice she blew on a grass-green horn;
And she sware by the moon and the stars aboon,
That she'd gar me rue the day I was born.

Then out has she ta'en a silver wand,
And she turn'd her three times round and round;
She mutter'd sic words, that my strength it fail'd,
And I fell down senseless on the ground.

She turn'd me into an ugly worm,
And gar'd me toddle about the tree;
And aye on ilka Saturday night,
Auld Alison Gross she came to me,

With silver basin, and silver kame,
To kame my headie upon her knee;
But rather than kiss her ugly mouth,
I'd ha'e toddled for ever about the tree.

But as it fell out on last Hallow-e'en,
When the seely court was ridin' by,
The queen lighted down on a gowan bank,
Near by the tree where I wont to lye.

She took me up in her milk-white hand,
And she straik'd me three times o'er her knee;
She chang'd me again to my ain proper shape,
And nae mair do I toddle about the tree.

Submitted: Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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