From the singing of Bill Alldrick.
The Great Silkie of Sule Skerry
An earthly maid she sits and sings,
And oh, she sings la loo la lee,
Little ken I my bairn's father,
Far less the land whaur he may be.
It wasnae well, the maid she cried,
It wasnae well, alas, said she,
That the great silkie o' Sule Skerry,
Should come and get a bairn wi' me.
Then one arose at her bedfoot,
And a grumlie guest I'm sure he'll be,
Saying, here I am thy bairn's father,
Although I be not comely.
I am a man upon the land,
I am a silkie in the sea,
But when I'm far and far frae land,
My home it is in Sule Skerry.
And he has taken a purse o'gold,
And he has placed it on her knee,
Saying gie tae me my ain wee son,
And take this for your nurses fee.
It shall come to pass on a summer's day,
When the sun shines hot on every stone,
That I shall take my little young son,
And teach him how to swim the foam.
And ye shall marry a fine gunner,
And a very fine gunner I'm sure he'll be,
And e'er he shoots, wi' his first shot
He'll kill baith my young son and me.
The best and most comprehensible of many versions I've heard of this ancient song.