EARL MAR'S DAUGHTER
NE fine summer's day Earl Mar's daughter went into the
castle garden, dancing and tripping along. And as she played
and sported she would stop from time to time to listen to
the music of the birds. After a while as she sat under the
shade of a green oak-tree she looked up and spied a
sprightly dove sitting high up on one of its branches.
She looked up and said: "Coo-my-dove, my dear, come down to
me and I will give you a golden cage. I'll take you home and
pet you well, as well as any bird of them all." Scarcely had
she said these words when the dove flew down from the branch
and settled on her shoulder, nestling up against her neck
while she smoothed its feathers. Then she took it home to
her own room.
The day was done and the night came on and Earl Mar's
daughter was thinking of going to sleep when, turning
around, she found at her side a handsome young man. She was
startled, for the door had been locked for hours. But she
was a brave girl and said: "What are you doing here, young
man, to come and startle me so? The door was barred these
hours ago; however did you come here?" "Hush! hush!" the
young man whispered, "I was that cooing dove you coaxed from
off the tree."
"But who are you, then?" she said quite low; "and how came
you to be changed into that dear little bird?"
"My name is Florentine, and my mother is a queen, aye, and
more than a queen, for she knows many a magic spell, and
because I would not do as she wished she turned me into a
dove by day, but at night her spells lose their power and I
become a man again. Today I crossed the sea and saw you for
the first time and I was glad to be a bird that I could come
near you. Unless you love me, I shall never be happy more."
"But if I love you," says she, "will you not fly away and
leave me one of these fine days?"
"Never, never," said the prince; "be my wife and I'll be
yours for ever. By day a bird, by night a prince, I will
always be by your side."
 So they were married in secret and lived happily in the
castle and no one knew that every night Coo-my-dove became
Prince Florentine. And every year a little son came to them
as bonny as bonny could be. But as each son was born Prince
Florentine carried the little thing away on his back over
the sea to where the queen his mother lived and left the
little one with her.
Seven years passed thus and then a great trouble came to
them. For the Earl Mar wished to marry his daughter to a
noble of high degree who came wooing her. Her father pressed
her sore, but she said: "Father dear, I do not wish to
marry; I can be quite happy with Coo-my-dove here."
Then her father got into a mighty rage and swore a great,
great oath, and said: "Tomorrow, so sure as I live and eat,
I'll twist your bird's neck," and out he stamped from her
"Oh, oh!" said Coo-my-dove; "it's time that I was away," and
so he jumped upon the window-sill and in a moment was flying
away. And he flew and he flew till he was over the deep,
deep sea, and yet on he flew till he came to his mother's
castle. Now the queen his mother was taking her walk abroad
when she saw the pretty dove flying overhead and alighting
on the castle walls.
"Here, dancers, come and dance your jigs," she called, "and
pipers, pipe you well, for here's my own Florentine, come
back to me to stay, for he's brought no bonny boy with him
"No, mother," said Florentine, "no dancers for me and no
minstrels, for my dear wife, the mother of my seven boys, is
to be wed to-morrow, and sad's the day for me."
 "What can I do, my son?" said the queen. "Tell me, and it
shall be done if my magic has power to do it."
"Well, then, mother dear, turn the twenty-four dancers and
pipers into twenty-four grey herons, and let my seven sons
become seven white swans, and let me be a goshawk and their
"Alas! alas! my son," she said, "that may not be; my magic
reaches not so far. But perhaps my teacher, the spae-wife of
Ostree, may know better." And away she hurried to the cave
of Ostree, and after a while came out as white as white can
be and muttering over some burning herbs she brought out of
the cave. Suddenly Coo-my-dove changed into a goshawk and
around him flew twenty-four grey herons and above them flew
Without a word or good-bye off they flew over the deep blue
sea, which was tossing and moaning. They flew and they flew
till they swooped down on Earl Mar's castle just as the
wedding party were setting out for the church. First came
the men-at-arms and then the bridegroom's friends, and then
Earl Mar's men, and then the bridegroom, and lastly, pale
and beautiful, Earl Mar's daughter herself.
Slowly, slowly they moved to stately music till they came
past the trees on which the birds were settling. A word from
Prince Florentine, the goshawk, and all rose into the air,
herons beneath, cygnets above, and goshawk circling above
all. The weddineers wondered at the sight when, swoop! the
herons were down among them, scattering the men-at-arms. The
swanlets took charge of the bride, while the goshawk dashed
down and tied the bridegroom to a tree. Then the herons
gathered themselves together into one feather bed and the
 cygnets placed their mother upon them, and suddenly they all
rose in the air, bearing the bride away with them in safety
towards Prince Florentine's home. Surely a wedding party was
never so disturbed in this world. What could the weddineers
do? They saw their pretty bride carried away and away till
she and the herons and the swans and the goshawk
disappeared, and that very day Prince Florentine brought
Earl Mar's daughter to the castle of the queen his mother,
who took the spell off him and they lived happy ever
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