Read THE MERMAN.  FROM THE OLD DANISH of Romantic Ballads, free online book, by George Borrow, on

“Do thou, dear Mother, contrive amain
How Marsk Stig’s daughter I may gain.”

She made him, of water, a noble steed,
Whose trappings were form’d from rush and reed.

To a young knight chang’d she then her son;
To Mary’s church at full speed he’s gone.

His foaming horse to the gate he bound,
And pac’d the church full three times round: 

When in he walk’d with his plume on high,
The dead men gave from their tombs a sigh: 

The priest heard that, and he clos’d his book;
“Methinks yon knight has a strange wild look.”

Then laugh’d the maiden beneath her sleeve;
“If he were my husband I should not grieve.”

He stepp’d over benches one and two: 
“O, Marsk Stig’s daughter, I doat on you.”

He stepp’d over benches two and three: 
“O, Marsk Stig’s daughter, come home with me.”

Then said the maid, without more ado,
“Here take my troth, I will go with you.”

They went from the church a bridal train,
And danc’d so gaily across the plain;

They danc’d till they came to the strand, and then
They were forsaken by maids and men.

“Now, Marsk Stig’s daughter, sit down and rest;
To build a boat I will do my best.”

He built a boat of the whitest sand,
And away they went from the smiling land;

But when they had cross’d the ninth green wave,
Down sunk the boat to the ocean cave!

I caution ye, maids, as well as I can,
Ne’er give your troth to an unknown man.