‘each-uisge’ – the water-horse

by duncanr

In Scottish mythology the each-uisge is a dangerous shape-changing supernatural creature that haunts Highland lochs and rivers – when on land it can change it’s form to that of a horse, or a handsome man who seduces and impregnates young women (more info here)

this song, however, portrays one such ‘each-uisge’, not as a frightening character, but as a victim – pleading for his human lover to return after she abandoned him with their child, which he cannot take care of . . .

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jC-CWsQ-KTo
.
english translation of the lyrics . . .

I arose early
I arose early –
would that I hadn’t.
I was distressed by

what sent me out.
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

There was mist on the hill
There was mist on the hill
and showers of rain
and I came across a pleasant maiden
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

I’ll give you wine
I’ll give you wine
and all that will please you
but I won’t arise with you in the morning.
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

Girl of the calves
Girl of the calves
I was with you in the cattle-fold
and the rest were asleep.
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

The white brown wicked one
The white brown wicked one
bore me a son
although coldly did she nurse him
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

Tha calf of my song
The calf of my song
was beside a hillock
without fire, protection or shelter.
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

Mòr, my love
Mòr, my love, return to your little son
and I’ll give you a beautiful speckled withe.
Hill ò bha hò
Hill ò bha hò.

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