Adapted from a ballad, “Blow my Breath Away”

My breath away, my breath away
Over the hills and far away
And far away and over the bay
He shall not blow my breath away
The Piper sits above the hill
Ba, ba, lili ba
He blows his horn both loud and shrill:
And oh, the wind has blown my breath away
He blows it east, he blows it west,
He blows it where he likes it best.
“I wish that horn were in my chest
and he was resting in my nest”
No sooner had those words she said
Than Piper stood before her bed.
“Married to me you want to be,
but you’re still too young for me,” said he.
“Well, I have a sister young in every way
and she was married yesterday.”
“Married to me if you would be,
A courtesy must you do for me:
“You must make a shirt for me
without any cut or seem,” said he.
“And you must shape it sheer-less,
and sew it needle and thread-less.”
“Well, if that courtesy I do for you,
Another one in turn I ask of you:
“I have an acre of good lay-land
Which lies down low by the sea-strand
“You must till it with your touting horn,
And saw it with the pepper corn.
You must plow it with a thorn,
And finish your work by morn.
You must sheer it with a knife,
And lose no stack of it, for your life.
And you must stack it in a mouse hole,
And thrash it in your shoe sole.
You must dress it with a shove,
And sack it in your glove.
And you must bring it over the sea,
Clean and dry to me.
And when there’s no more to exert,
Come back here, and get your shirt.”
“Well, I’ll not quit my horn for life;
Though I have seven kids and wife.”
“Then my maidenhead I’ll keep still,
And you, let what come what will.”
Note: Adapted from Francis James Child’s, English and Scottish Popular Ballads, No. 2, “The Elfin Knight”

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