NCE upon a time there were two king's daughters who lived
in a bower near the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie. And Sir
William came wooing the elder and won her love, and plighted
troth with glove and with ring. But after a time he looked
upon the younger sister, with her cherry cheeks and golden
hair, and his love went out to her till he cared no longer
for the elder one. So she hated her sister for taking away
Sir William's love, and day by day her hate grew and grew
and she plotted add she planned how to get rid of her.
So one fine morning, fair and clear, she said to her sister,
"Let us go and see our father's boats come in at the bonny
mill-stream of Binnorie." So they went there hand in hand.
And when they came to the river's bank, the younger one got
upon a stone to watch for the beaching of the boats. And her
sister, coming behind her, caught her round the waist and
dashed her into the rushing mill-stream of Binnorie.
 "O sister, sister, reach me your hand!" she cried, as she
floated away, "and you shall have half of all I've got or
"No, sister, I'll reach you no hand of mine, for I am the
heir to all your land. Shame on me if I touch her hand that
has come "twixt me and my own heart's love."
"O sister, O sister, then reach me your glove!" she cried,
as she floated further away, "and you shall have your
"Sink on," cried the cruel princess, "no hand or glove of
mine you'll touch. Sweet William will be all mine when you
are sunk beneath the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie." And she
turned and went home to the king's castle.
And the princess floated down the mill-stream, sometimes
swimming and sometimes sinking, till she came near the mill.
Now, the miller's daughter was cooking that day, and needed
water for her cooking. And as she went to draw it from the
stream, she saw something floating towards the mill-dam, and
she called out, "Father! father! draw your dam. There's
something white—a merrymaid or a milk-white swan—coming
down the stream." So the miller hastened to the dam and
stopped the heavy, cruel mill-wheels. And then they took out
the princess and laid her on the bank.
Fair and beautiful she looked as she lay there. In her
golden hair were pearls and precious stones; you could not
see her waist for her golden girdle, and the golden fringe
of her white dress came down over her lily feet. But she was
 And as she lay there in her beauty a famous harper passed by
the mill-dam of Binnorie, and saw her sweet pale face. And
though he travelled on far away, he never forgot that face,
and after many days he came back to the bonny mill-stream of
Binnorie. But then all he could find of her where they had
put her to rest were her bones and her golden hair. So he
made a harp out of her breast-bone and her hair, and
travelled on up the hill from the mill-dam of Binnorie till
he came to the castle of the king her father.
That night they were all gathered in the castle hall to hear
the great harper—king and queen, their daughter and son,
Sir William, and all their Court. And first the harper sang
to his old harp, making them joy and be glad, or sorrow and
weep, just as he liked. But while he sang, he put the harp
he had made that day on a stone in the hall. And presently
it began to sing by itself, low and clear, and the harper
stopped and all were hushed.
And this is what the harp sung:
"O yonder sits my father, the king,
Binnorie, O Binnorie;
And yonder sits my mother, the queen;
By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie.
"And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
Binnorie, O Binnone;
And by him my William, false and true;
By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie."
Then they all wondered, and the harper told them how he had
seen the princess lying drowned on the bank near
 the bonny
mill-dams o' Binnorie, and how he had afterwards made his
harp out of her hair and breast-bone. Just then the harp
began singing again, and this is what it sang out loud and
"And there sits my sister who drowned me
By the bonny mill-dams o' Binnorie."
And the harp snapped and broke, and never sang more.
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