Long Woman’s Grave: end

‘Thus far old Ned the story told

He turned towards the wall

Ashamed to let us see the tears

That from his eyes did fall ..

All around the fire felt sad at heart

For Charles and the maid

And all around sent forth their wrath

And upon the Saxon laid.


The ‘Naughan’ then went round the fire

The pipes were lit anew

The ashes raked, a sod put on

The bantam flapped and crew:

The lamps grew dim, the wag-o-wall

Struck morning’s smallest hour

And still we sat as if bound down

By some mysterious power.


Ned broke the silence, told us how

The youth had lived for years

He ne’er was known to laugh or smile

His cheeks ne’er wanted tears:

How neighbours kept him on their turn

Till death sent him release

All round the fire sent forth their prayer,

‘Lord rest his soul in peace’.


A fortnight from the funeral day

The snow was baked and depp

The shepherds trod the mountains o’er

In search of buried sheep.

They searched in places seldom trod

Where ewes would likely flock

And one came on a ghastly sight

Beneath the Tipin’s Rock.


He lifted up the human form

And cleared away the sand,

‘Ah me!’ says he, ‘this is the man

That claimed young Charlie’s land.’

The shepherds gathered, brought him home

His friends stood round the bier

And down he went into the grave

Without one honest tear.


Said Ned, ‘This is the finish

Of every treacherous knave

And now I’ve told you all I know

Of the ‘Long Woman’s Grave”.

We rose and went towards the door

The moon was shining bright

The master said: ‘Goodbye to all

Another tale next night.’



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