“Thomas the Rhymer” Summary


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Thomas the Rhymer: Part First


When Thomas is lying on Huntlie bank he sees a beautiful lady come riding down by the Eildon Tree. He greets her as Mary, Queen of Heaven, since he has never seen her equal, but she tells him that she is the Queen of Elfland and has come to visit him. She says that if he kisses her, he will be within her power, and, when he does kiss her, she tells him that he will have to go with her and serve her for seven years. She takes him up behind her on her horse and they ride swiftly onwards until they reach a desert place where she tells Thomas to dismount. She invites him to lean his head upon her knee and shows him three roads: a narrow one that is the way of righteousness, a broad one that is the way of wickedness and an attractive winding one that is the way to Elfland.  She tells him that they will take the third road but that he must be sure not to speak in Elfland for, if he does, he will never be able to return to earth.  After wading in darkness through rivers of blood, they arrive at a garden. She plucks an apple from a tree and gives it to Thomas as his wages, saying it will give the tongue that can never lie. He protests that it might be inconvenient not to be able to tell a lie but she silences him. He puts on fairy garments and is not seen on earth again for seven years.