A Ballad of the Were-Wolf.

The gudewife sits i’ the chimney-neuk,1
An’ looks on the louping flame ;2
The rain fa’s chill, and the win’ ca’s shrill,3
Ere the auld gudeman comes hame.4
Oh why is your cheek so wan, gudewife ?5
An’ why do ye glower on me ?6
Sae dour ye luik i’ the chimney-neuk,7
Wi the red licht in your e’e !8
Yet this nicht should ye welcome me,9
This ae nicht mair than a’,10
For I hae scotched yon great gray wolf11
That took our bairnies twa.12
’Twas a sair sair strife for my very life,13
As I warstled there my lane ;14
But I’ll hae her heart or e’er we part,15
Gin ever we meet again.16
An’ ’twas ae sharp stroke o’ my bonny knife17
That gar’d her haud awa’ ;18
Fu’ fast she went out owre the bent19
Wi’outen her right fore-paw.20
Gae tak’ the foot o’ the drumlie brute,21
And hang it upo’ the wa’ ;22
An’ the next time that we meet, gudewife,23
The tane of us shall fa’.”24
He’s flung his pouch on the gudewife’s lap,25
I’ the firelicht shinin’ fair,26
Yet naught they saw o’ the grey wolf’s paw,27
For a bluidy hand lay there.28
O hooly, hooly rose she up,29
Wi’ the red licht in her e’e,30
Till she stude but a span frae the auld gudeman,31
Whiles never a word spak’ she.32
But she stripped the claiths frae her lang right arm,33
That were wrappit roun’ and roun’ ;34
The first was white, an’ the last was red,35
And the fresh bluid dreeped adown.36
She stretchit him out her lang right arm,37
An’ cauld as the deid stude he.38
The flames louped bricht i’ the gloamin’ licht—39
There was nae hand there to see !40