Nighean an rìgh a' sàbhaladh a bràithrean a bha fo gheasaibh...
Date 1969
Track ID 107307
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The king's daughter breaks a spell cast on her three brothers by making them bog-cotton shirts.

The king had three sons and one daughter. He remarried when his wife died. The witch called Eachlair Ùrlair told the queen that her stepchildren would inherit everything if the king died. She told her to send them to her, one by one, when the king next went hunting. She did this, and Eachlair Ùrlair turned each of the boys into a raven. Each one spilt a drop of blood at her door. When the daughter went, she saw the blood and watched Eachlair Ùrlair. She saw her reach for her magic wand and took it from her, turning her to stone. The ravens led her to a house where they entered, in human form, and told her that they were under a spell. They told her the spell could only be broken if she made a shirt for each of them from bog-cotton and didn't speak until the work was done.

She gathered cotton until dark, and then went to sleep on the sacks. A rider saw her and took her to his fine house, but she wouldn't speak. He brought her sack the next day and she began the first shirt. She became pregnant. A child was born when every shirt was finished, but each vanished the next day. She was blamed but couldn't speak to defend herself, even though the man decided she must be burned to death.

Three riders approached, each carrying a child, and asked to see the woman. They were her brothers. She gave them the shirts and they returned her children. She married the man of the house and they all went back to the king's house. He had no idea what had happened to his family. When he heard the story, Eachlair Ùrlair was released from the spell and she and the queen were burned.

Item Notes

The contributor learned this story from his father.