Songs of the Otherworld


Traditional and Original Folk Songs, Ballads, and Instrumentals Celebrating the Faerie Realm and Otherworld Beings.

Contact Cyntia Smith for Aeolus Music publishing by sending email to














yeThat is the road to fair Elfland, where you and I this night must stay.
not the bonny road that winds across the ferny brae (hillside)?

For if you speak a word in fair Elfland, you’ll
But Thomas, you must hold your tongue, whatever you may hear or see,ne’er get back to your own country.”

True Thomas pulled a green apple among the branches low
They came unto a garden green where wondrous fruit did grow

That is the tree that caused the fall of Adam and of Eve
Oh no, Oh no, True Thomas, she cried, I dare not give you leave

“Take this for wages, True Thomas, It’ll give thee a tongue that can never lie.”
She’s pulled an apple from the tree, all among the branches high

MeI’d neither dare to buy or sell, at fair or tryst where I might be.
tongue’s, me own,” True Thomas said; “a goodly gift ye would give to me!

And I’d dare not speak to prince or peer, nor ask of grace from


fair“Now hold your peace,” the Lady said, “for as I say, so must it be!

But Thomas, you must hold your tongue, whatever you may hear or see,ne’er get back to your own country.”
For if you speak a word in fair Elfland, you’ll

He’s gotten a coat of the elvenAnde’re seven long years were passed and gone, True Thomas on earth was never seen.
cloth, and shoes all of the velvet green,


Ruth Barrett – voice and fretted dulcimer
Abby DeWald – guitar



Words and music by Kenny Klein, ©Kenny Klein, BMI

Midnight glance is silence glazed,
Misty shroud the leaves entwine
Long the fruit on bow has blossomed,
Laden heavy hang the vines
Silence still the west wind carries,
The tangy taste of the distant sea
Dark and deep the nightshade berries,
Twist about the burdened lea

The jingling bells are hardly noticed
First, so heavy is the night
Creeping slowly ever nearer
Bridled mare of deathly white
Now children in their beds of feather
Moan and dream the passing sound
An owl takes flight, a sprig of heather
Spills its burden to the ground

Fairy Queen that rides the darkness with
Softly jingling bridle bells
Shadow of the ancient Mother
That on the wings of autumn dwells
Fairy Queen that claims the harvest
Yours the red fruit of the vine
Mab the song is unforgotten
The misty air the leaves entwine


Ruth Barrett – voice and dulcimer
Amanda Barrett - mandolin
Joel Bienefeld - flute
Abby DeWald – guitar






Scott Fraser – organ drone
Ruth Barrett – dulcimer
Cyntia Smith - dulcimer



TAM LIN (Child Ballad #39), Tidal Time,’s variations, faerie lore, and window into the Otherworld. I learned this version from the singing of Frankie Armstrong, with minor adaptations from another version.for
The courage of the heroine to free her lover from the faerie realm continues to fascinate me since I first heard a version of the ballad sung in the early 1970’s. This story begs study


Lady Margaret, Lady Margaret, a sewin’ at her
And she’s all dressed in black
When aseamcome to her head she’d run into the woods
Pick flowers to flower her hat, her hat
Pick flowers to flower her hat.thought

She’s pulled them branches down.
She’s pulled them branches down, down
And when she’s come to the merry green wood
And so nimbly she’s run on the plain
So she’s hoisted up her petticoat a bit above her knee

And suddenly she’s spied a fine young
Stood underneath the tree
Saying, how daremanpull them branches down
Without the leave of me, Lady
Without the leave of

Without the leave of thee.
Without the leave of thee, young man
And I can pull these branches down
Me father give it me
She said this wood, it is me very own

He’s taken her by the lily white hand
Among the leaves so green
And what they did I cannot say
The leaves they were between, between
The leaves they were between.

And when t’was done she has turned herself about
To ask her true love’s name
But she nothing heard, and nothing saw
And all the woods grew dim, dim
And all the woods grew dim.


And green as glass she goes.
And green as glass she goes, goes
Excepting the young Margaret
Grow red as any rose
There’s four and twenty ladies all in the court

And out and spoke the first serving girlchild.with
She lifted her head and smiled
I think me Lady’s loved too long
And now she goes with child, with child
And now she goes

That will twine the babe from thee.
That will twine the babe from thee, Lady
I think I know a herb in the merry, green wood
Oh ever and alas, said she
And out and spoke the second serving girl

As fast as she can tear.
As fast as she can tear, tear
And she’s away to the merry green wood
Made haste to comb her hair
Young Margaret is taken up her silver comb

Saying, Margaret leave it alone.
Saying, Margaret leave it alone, me love
When by her stood young Tam Lin
A herb that barely won
And she hadn’t pulled a herb in that merry green wood

That we got in our play.sweet
That we got in our play, me love
How can you pull that bitter little herbbabe’s life
That herb that grows so gray
To take away that

I was christened the same as thee.thee,
Oh tell me the truth, young Tam Lin, she saidme dear
If an early man you be
I’ll tell you no lies, Lady Margaret, he said
I was christened the same as

In yonder green hills to
In yonder green hills to dwell, me dear
And the Queen of Elfland she took me
But as I rode out one cold and bitter dayme horse I fell

By the old millbridge you must bide.mill
But this night it is the Halloweenbridge you must bide, Lady
When the Elven court do ride
And if you would your true love win
By the old

It’s the father of your child.
It’s the father of your child, you’ll know
But you’ll hold it fast and fear it not
And then race by the white
And first will come the black horse, and then will come the brown

And then they will turn me in your armsInto may a beast so wild
But you’ll hold it fast and fear it not
It’s the father of your child, you’ll know.
It’s the father of your child.

As fast as she can tear.
As fast as she can tear, tear
And she’s away to the old mill bridge
Made haste to comb her hair
Young Margaret’s taken up her silver comb

More than any mortal thing.
More than any mortal thing, it did
And oh, how so it chilled her heart
She heard the harness ring
And in the middle of the night

And first it come the black horse, and then it come the brown,
And then race by the white
But she held it fast and feared it not
It was the father of her child, she knew
It was the father of her child.

And the stars they blazed like
The thunder rolled across the skyday
And the Queen of Elfland gave a thrilling cry,
Young Tam Lin’s away, away
Young Tam Lin’s away!

It was the father of her child.
It was the father of her child, she knew
But she held him fast and feared him not
To a lion that roared so wild
And then they have changed him all in her arms

And then they have changed him all in her
Into a loathsome snake
But she held him fast and feared it not
It was onearmsgod’s own make, she knew
It was one ofgod’s own make.of

And it did to her no harm.
And it did to her no harm, no harm
But she held it fast and feared it not
To a red-hot bar of iron
And then they have changed him all in her arms

And she flung her mantle over him
Was to a naked man
And the last they have changed him all in her

armsme love, I’ve won, I’ve won
Crying, my love, I’ve won!Crying,

Then out and spoke the Queen of



Trad. Irish tune arr. by Ruth Barrett and Cyntia Smith, originally from the recording, The Early Years, Aeolus Music, BMI/Tidal Time, BMI.



Scott Fraser – drone
Joel Bienenfeld – flute
Ruth Barrett – voice


To restore my fairy boyI
On the echoes wildly calling
In thisworld I have lost my joy
Fare thee well, my child forever
O’er the mountain, through the wildwoodwander day by day
Tears a falling all in vain
Where the flowers are freshly springing

Wherefore steal my baby boy?
Why destroy a mother’s blessing
Courting him with fairy joy
Why with spells my child you’re caressing
Wailing round a lonely spring
Thus she cried and the tears were falling
Calling to the fairy king
A mother came while the stars were paling

Adapted from a poem by Samuel Lover (1797– 1868), Tidal Time, BMI.missing, sick, or sudden death of a child. It was believed that faerie’s stole a healthy child and left a sick one (a changeling) it its place. I learned this song many years ago from the singing of Toni Arthur. The melody for the poem is from a traditional pipe tune.for
Changeling poetry became popular in the Victorian era. Faerie abductions were sometimes blamed



Daniel Bienenfeld – concertina
Cyntia Smith – fretted dulcimer
Ruth Barrett – voice and fretted dulcimer


And the mermaid’s song shall be in my heart forever more.My
The next thing I heard as I woke from her spellcrew they were shouting at sight of shore
Was the distant faint ringing of a bell

The clouds rolled with thunder our ship would soon be lostvoice I did fall into a slumber deepcharming
I begged for our lives at any cost
She smiled as she sang my crew to sleep
With her

The mermaid said, “I can save you all, just believe in me.”
My ship would go down into the sea
Foretold that our doom would come to pass
The vision I saw when I looked into the glass

Her face shown of moonlight, her comb was in her hairlooking glass was my destinythere in her
She was garlanded with pearls and shells so rare
She lifted her glass, my self to see
Yet the image

And my eyes did see in the water a mermaid swimming there
I stood at the rail to take the air
My ship she grew lost, no land was seen
As I sailed from Galway in service to the Queen

Sometimes called sea sirens, water spirits, or water fairies, these creatures are described as having the upper body of a beautiful maiden and the lower body of a fish. Their lore goes back thousands of years, and found in many parts of the world. Most often they are associated with enticing singing, the granting of wishes, and the ability to fortell the future. They are often considered unlucky as portents of death on the sea. In this original song, we made the mermaid the she-ro of the story.

Words by Ruth Barrett and Cyntia Smith, Trad. melody. Originally from the recording The Early Years, Aeolus Music, BMI/Tidal Time, BMI.





Scott Fraser – synthesizer
Ruth Barrett – voice


Naiads are nymphs who preside over fresh water streams, wells, springs, ponds, while other types of Naiads presided over oceans and seas. Stories tell of their the magical and healing properties of their waters. Naiads were worshiped by the Greeks in association with divinities of fertility and growth, and some cities and towns were named after them.

by Ruth Barrett and Scott Fraser, originally from the recording Parthenogenesis, Tidal Time, BMI.



Joel Bienenfeld – flute
Abby DeWald – guitar
Ruth Barrett – voice and dulcimer

For all the treasures beyond, this is my home.
And heard my own voice from within, whisper words I’d never known

I watched with tears of joy at their simplicity
For two busy robins in great haste were building their nest in the tree
And smiled with delight and relief at what I there did see
I searched up high in a tree for the birds that had charmed me,

And by the singing of birds, to the window was led
As these words left my lips I awoke back in my bed
And feel the journey of the sun throughout my years
I long for my ever-changing world where I will find love and tears,

I shivered with cold in that light that never changed nor setwarmth of heart that was never met.
Then to the Lady of the Birds, I begged on bended knee
To take me from this place, and thislongedreveriefor

But grasping faerie hands made me hold my stance.
When unseen pipes began to sound, I was swept up in their dance,
The sights I witnessed there cannot be told.
I opened my eyes in the glow, to colors bright as gold,

The rushing of the wind brought us to that land.
Below me, the pulling of the earth as She took me by the hand
to hear the calling strains of the faerie horn.
I’ll gladly say farewell to the place where I was born

For the Shining Land below and faerie grace.
She asked me would I desire to leave this mortal place
I felt myself release my earthly claim.
My troubles melted like the snow and their song erased my pain

While her three rare songbirds fair sang a strange melody.
When wondrous music filled my ears, and a Lady stood by me,
Or let my spirit fly to the next world away.
I wondered should I rise and meet another day,

I felt the weight of the world on my weary frame.
And there so laden with grief, my heart so heavy with pain,
I lay there in my bed, unable to rise.
At the turning of the year, when light rose in the skies,

words and music by Ruth Barrett, Tidal Time, BMIGoddess, and faerie queen who often travels between the realms of the human world and the Otherworld on a pale white mare. Her name means “Great Queen”, and she is a bringer of sleep, comfort, dreams, change, nightmares, and forgetfulness. The magical birds that accompany Her can sing the dead awake and the living to sleep. Her story is told in the Welsh saga, the Mabinogion, translated by Lady Charlotte Guest. I wrote this ballad at a challenging time in my life where I thought about succumbing to the temptations of the Otherworld. I chose to live in the mid-realm and only visit the Otherworld on occasion.underworld
Rhiannon is a Welsh



Joel Bienenfeld – flute
Abby DeWald – guitar
Amanda Barrett - mandolin
Ruth Barrett – fretted dulcimer


This harp tune is said to be the first that the blind Irish harper O’Carolan composed. Sheebeg and Sheemoor are two fairy hills reputed as being inhabited by the “good people.”
Turlough O’Carolan (1670 – 1738), Tidal Time, BMI



Edward Willett – cello
Miamon Miller – violins
Cyntia Smith – dulcimer
Ruth Barrett – dulcimer and “older” voice
Amanda Barrett – “young” voice


And walk among long dappled grass
and pluck till time and times are done
the silver apples of the moon
the golden apples of the sun.

and kiss her lips and take her hands.
I will find out where she has gone
through hollow lands and hills lands
Though I am old with wandering

and vanished through the brightening air
who called me by my name and ran
with apple blossom in her hair
It had become a glimmering girl

and someone called me by my name.
But something rustled on the floor
I went to blow the fire aflame
When I had laid it on the floor

and caught a little silver trout.
I dropped the berry in the stream
and moth-like stars were flickering out
And when white moths were on the wing

and hooked a berry to a thread.
and cut and peeled a hazel wand
because a fire was in my head
I went out to the hazel wood

Words by W.B. Yeats (1865-1939), Music by Ruth Barrett, from the recording Deepening, Tidal Time, BMI.
Yeat’s wrote this transcendent poem at age 32, inspired by faerie lore and belief of his native Ireland. My daughter, Amanda Barrett, sings the “young” Aengus, and I sing the “older” Aengus after years of wandering after the mysterious “glimmering girl”.



Ruth Barrett – voiceCelticharp
Cyntia Smith – fretted dulcimer
Sylvia Woods –


My love is come to cheer me.
A smile as sweet as hawthorn blooming
Through the willow peering,
Who is that I see before me?

Comeo’er the knolls to cheer me
Come me blithe and bonnytraidee
Ah but I am weary,
Ah but there is something wanting

Loved the faerie’s daughter.
Where the one in silver starlight
I sit by the water
When the moon begins her waning

Or the
When I see the plover risin’curlewwheelin
It’s then I’ll court my mortal lover,
Back to me is stealin’

On a hillside weary?
Why should I sit and sigh,
Pullin’brackin, pullin’ bracken
Why should I sit and sigh?

Trad, with additional verses by Ruth Barrett and Cyntia Smith, from the recording The Early Years, Aeolus Music, BMI/Tidal Time, BMI. This is a courtship song between a being of the faerie realm and her mortal lover. Such tryst’s are reported to occur with more frequency than people like to admit!



Caroline Waters – voice, synthesizer
Cyntia Smith – fretted dulcimer
Scott Fraser – synthesizer
Ruth Barrett- voice, fretted dulcimer


Or slip away between the trees?
Will you walk the path that you can see?
Hidden eyes within the leaves peer out unobserved
In the twilight time when the colors turn

Rise Moon …

In voices of an ancient sea
Whispers flicker endlessly,
I take you to me willingly,
Enveloped by the tree,

Creatures are of Her unquestioning, simply being
Forest pulse and pull me into the living world

To darkness, to change, eternally
Lightenus to mystery,
Touch this weary human care,
Rise moon, with streaming hair,

I can hear the music wisdom in everything
And when I quiet myself and my history

Is this all a dream? Or midsummer madness?
Apparitions of the mind? Or Nature’s own?
Questions of thenightask if it’s so
The dawn brings what we’ll never know.

Voices call you close, and your body’s
Eyes of wonder as a child gaze as they turn
If invited in, will you join the dance?
Or step awayyearningwithin your trance?

Your head is light, your blood is warm
Silent figures move in misty form
Rustling forest sounds, like voices from the deepTurninground you look again in disbelief

Or slip away between the trees?
Will you walk the path that you can see?
Hidden eyes within the leaves peer out unobserved
In the twilight time when the colors turn

originally from the recording, Parthenogenesis, Tidal Time, BMI

Words and Music by Ruth Barrett,





















toreAnd put in two eyes of wood!
And put in two eyes of wood, of wood.
out your eyes, Tam Lin

Ruth Barrett – Voice



words by Ruth Barrett, Trad. Melody), originally from the recording The Heart is the Only Nation, Tidal Time, BMI.half sister of King Arthur, and was first introduced into Arthurian legend by Geoffry of
Morgan Le Fey is best known as theMonmounth in the Vita Merline (c. 1150). Her true origin leads back to Celtic mythology where is known as a faerie (Le Fey is an ancient word for a fairy), sea goddess, shape-shifter, healer, and possibly to the Irish goddess Morrigan. In this song, Morgan Le Fey is the compassionate one who after death welcomes you to the Isle of Avalon.wicked

From the green still

mountains,The fay Queen Morgan moves over the lake.
So deep in Her dreaming, and with one star awake,
Through misty grey marshes where shadows lie,
to the deep waterside

And sets destiny reeling by fastened knots of nine.
She weaves enchantment on the loom of time,
Calling into the darkness where the gateway lies,
Her midnight raven rides the purple skies,


sea foamShe will bid you welcome to the Eternal Isle.
Sailing into the west wind where sunlight beguiles,
Her hand plucks you from the Wheel when your days are no more.
rises along Celtic shore

And you’ll feast upon apples of Avalon
And you’ll feast upon apples of Avalon
She will sooth away your terror with harp and with song,
Come to Her without fear and She’ll lead you home.
And look into those eyes that reflect your own.

Ruth Barrett – lead voice, fretted dulcimer
CyntiaSylvia Woods –
Cait Reed – violin
Richard Gee – guitar
Smith – fretted dulcimer, voiceCeltic




Smith, and Shekhinah Mountainwater, originally from the Cyntiaby Ruth Barrett, recording The Heart is the Only Nation, Aeolus Music, BMI/Tidal Time, BMI.

Trees are sentient beings that house spiritual and practical knowledge. In the Celtic tradition trees contain magical properties that human beings can learn if they dare reach for their wisdom.

To see the trees all grow
She’s turned her east, she’s turned her west
Did enter a sacred grove
There was a lass and a bonny lass

The greater wisdom I will know
If I could learn your seasons well
How lovely you do grow!
The hazel, the oak, the ash, and the willow

And knew true poetry
She bent and drank of the waters there
To lead her to a flowing stream
She made a wand from the hazelnut branch

Protector of times past
She met the mighty guardian of the door
And held an acorn in her hand
It’s then she stood beside the wise oak

Like the quickening of birth
She felt the spin of all the worlds
That grows between sky and earth
She came unto the ash tree of old

At lastAnd knew sweet ecstasy
She danced to the song of the wind in the leaves
That harbors magick and mystery
she came to the bending willow tree


Ruth Barrett and CyntiaEllen Burr – flute
Marilyn Donadt – percussion
Richard Gee – guitar
Smith – vocals, fretted dulcimers



by Ruth Barrett, originally from the

recording The Heart is the Only Nation, Tidal Time, BMI.

The Queen of the May, also known as a goddess of spring or queen of the faeries, was customarily represented every year by a garlanded young woman for the festivities of May. It is said that even into the 19th century, couples would make love in the furrowed fields to stimulate the crops to grow. In my teenage years I was the May Queen for the Renaissance Pleasure Faires in southern California, dancing with Jack of the Green, or the Green Man. I wrote this song to honor the May Queen as

awakener of life, pleasure, and beauty.

The May Queen is waiting.
to live the wonders of your dreams?
Her voice reaches as you sleep, can you awaken
The May Queen is waiting.
The stars are rising in the moonlit sky.
I’ll prepare the furrowed earth for your sweet body.

Restless in the night, the full

moon lightDo not keep Her waiting.
She waits for you to return again.
Carving magic patterns in the land,

You startle, wake, and stare,

heartThe May Queen is waiting.
To know the depths of your desire.
Feel the pulsing ground call you to journey.
The May Queen is waiting.
The new earth quickens as you rise.
is beating.

Do not keep Her waiting.
She waits for you to return again.
In green and silver on the plain,
Moving through the night, the bright moon’s flight.

Move with Her in sacred dance, through fear
ecstasy to those who dare.
theLiving earth is breathing.
Her temper stings if you refuse to taste Her honey.
Surrender as enchantment bringsto feeling,
first light of dawning.

Do not keep Her waiting.
Do not keep Her waiting.
Do not keep Her waiting.
She’ll long for you to return again.
as seedlings open with the rain,
Loving through the night in the bright moonlight,


Ruth Barrett – voice, fretted dulcimer
CyntiaEllen Burr – flute
Smith – fretted dulcimer




Scottish seer and poet, Thomas Rhymour of Ercildoune, was born in c. 1220, and considered a to have acquired prophetic powers after a dramatic encounter with the Queen of Elfland. His prophecies were said to have been consulted into the early 18th Century. The ballad was originally published in Sir Walter Scott’s, Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border. This
Trad (Child ballad # 37), Tidal Time, BMI.ballad, and the ballad of Tam Lin contain the basis for ancient and contemporary faery tradition. For more on theseRJ Stewart I recommend the work of . This version from Ron Taylor and Jeff Gillett was collated from various sources and Anglicised. I added a few additional lines from another version of the ballad.

True Thomas sat on Huntlie Bank, a ferlieAnd he beheld a Lady bright, come riding down by the Eildon Tree.
(wonder) spied he with his eye,

And every lock of her horse’s mane hung fifty silver bells and nine.
Her shirt was of the grass-green silk, her mantle of the velvet fine,

True Thomas he took off his hat,“All hail thou mighty Queen of Heaven! Thy
and fell down low unto the kneelike on earth I ne’er did see!”

I’m but the Queen of fair Elfland, and hither come for to visit thee.
“Oh no, oh no, Thomas, she said, “That name does not belong to me.

And if ye dare to kiss my lips, sure of your body I will be.”
Oh harp and carp, Thomas!” she said, “Oh harp and carp along with me;

“Betide me well, betide me woe, that weird (fate) will never dauntenAnd he has kissed her rosy lips all underneath the Eildon Tree.

And aye when ‘ere the bridle rang, the steed flew swifter than the wind.
She’s turned about the milk-white steed, and taken Thomas up behind,

For forty days and forty



nightsAnd they saw neither sun
they waded red blood to the knee.nor

moon, but heard the roaring of the sea.

For all the blood that’s shed on earth runs through that country.
They waded through the red, red blood that reached up high unto the knee.

and wide,And they rode on and further on, the steed flew swifter than the wind.
Until they came to a desertliving land was left behind.

Abide and rest a little space, and I will show you wonders three.
“Light down, light down, Thomas,” she said, “and lay your head upon my knee.

That is the path to righteousness, though after it but few enquires.
And see ye not yon narrow road, so thick beset with thorns and briars?

And see ye not that broad broad road, that lies across the lily levenThat is the path of wickedness, though some call it the road to heaven.
(elm bank)?

And see








From the bush wherein’ she
I should















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