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C.D. Warner, et al., comp.
The Library of the World’s Best Literature. An Anthology in Thirty Volumes. 1917.

Author Unknown

The Merman

Danish: Translation of George Borrow

“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 formed from rush and reed.

To a young knight changed she then her son;

To Mary’s church at full speed he’s gone.

His foaming horse to the gate he bound,

And paced the church full three times round.

When in he walked with his plume on high,

The dead men gave from their tombs a sigh;

The priest heard that, and he closed his book—

“Methinks yon knight has a strange wild look.”

Then laughed the maiden beneath her sleeve:

“If he were my husband I should not grieve.”

He stepped over benches one and two:

“O Marsk Stig’s daughter, I doat on you.”

He stepped 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 danced so gayly across the plain;

They danced 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 crossed 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.