When I was just a bonny lass
No more than sixteen year
I’d walk the woods for hours alone
I’d not yet learned to fear

One day I chanced to meet a boy
Along the sunny path
He stopped to speak, but on I went
I feared my mother’s wrath

The next day he was there again
And so our love began
He’d follow my steps through the wood
And hold my trembling hand

One day he asked me for a gift
T’was one I would not give
What happened next I’ll not forget
For all the days I live

He pushed me down, he tore my dress
I’m sure you know my fate
The love I thought I held for him
Hardened quick to hate

When nine months passed
The babe was born
But cold and blue and still
I buried him all by myself
Atop a lonely hill

I grieved the child and sorrow was
A stone upon my chest
I’d never feel his rosy lips
Against my swollen breast

The years moved on, I lived alone
A spectre in the wood
I gathered herbs and moss and stones
To make my livelihood

One day I hap’d upon a lass
Who’d lost her lonely way
I brought her home as darkness fell
And bade her, “Mistress, stay.”

Her husband was the same young man
Who’d left me in such need
Her bulging belly told me that he’d
Planted one more seed

I fixed her pennyroyal tea
And waited for the night
I knew the herb would start her pains
Before the morning light

She cried in pain and rent the sheets
And pushed with all her might
A lovely girl came squalling forth
With early morning’s light

I wrapped the babe, ignored the lass
Prepared myself to leave
At the door I paused and said
“It’s now your turn to grieve.”

I took the babe and crossed the sea
And raised her as my kin
My grief is gone, my heart is light
Despite this evil sin

The boy had stolen from me twice
My honor and my son
my double sorrow still outweighs
the theft of just this one

So all you girls
Be careful when you wander in the wood
And all you boys remember
What you give, you’ll get as good.