Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tonight's Music

Loreena McKennitt's The Bonny Swans from the CD The Mask and the Mirror.

The story of the song is about a farmer who had three beautiful daughters. The oldest had jet black hair and the youngest was blond and fair, the middle daughter is not mentioned after the first line of the song.

A handsome young knight who desired to take a wife heard of the beauty of the young women so he visited the farm with gifts for each of them. He took each of them riding and spent time with each of them until he made his choice, the youngest.

Consumed with jealousy the oldest daughter invited her younger sister to walk with her by the water. There she pushed her sister (who could not swim) into the river. The youngest sister begged her older sister to help her but the dark haired girl would not - unless she would agree to give up her true love. This the youngest would not do, even to save her life.

So she drowned.

Her body washed down the river until it was caught in the miller's dam. There a wandering minstrel found it and fashioned a harp from the bones and strings from the hair. Later he stopped at the farmer's house to lodge for the night. When he put the harp on the table it began (all by itself) to play a dirge. Upon hearing the harp play the older sister went insane.

I am aware of several versions of the song which have been recorded by various artists.