Tam Lin Returns

The Story of Tam Lin

This retelling of the story of Tam Lin is loosely based on the version in Wikipedia. The story was so dry, I took the liberty of redoing it. The fiddle tune, Tam Lin, you may have already heard. It’s one of those hypnotic D minor tunes. I’m posting the chart just below. And the pdf is Tam Lin pdf chart.


Janet was picking flowers out on the meadow next to where she lived in a New Jersey suburb. As she moved along, occasionally taking an excellent wild blossom, she walked into a broad circular patch that had a profusion of varieties of colorful blooms.

She stopped and looked around. A man, or man like being suddenly appeared at the far end of the circle. He started walking briskly towards her.

Half way there he demanded, “Why have you come here without my permission? I am Tam Lin.” Walking closer he accused her, “You have taken what is mine without asking.”

“Oh, no. I haven’t,” said Janet “I gathered these from out there, starting at the well.”

“Hmm,” said Tam Lin, visibly cooling, “then, you may take one flower from my circle.”

Janet walked around  good while and finally selected a pink rose.

“Let me see it,” Tam Lin said reaching for it. Holding it in his hand he looked at it and laughed. “It is yours,” he said, handing it back.

Janet took the rose and walked away. Turning to look back, she saw that Tam Lin was gone.

Back home she put the flowers in a vase so that the rose was prominent. In time all the flowers wilted except the rose. That was about the same time she discovered she was pregnant.

Realizing that her visit to the meadow circle and Tam Lin had something to do with her pregnancy, she resolved to return to the circle and find a counteracting flower.

She was in the circle and about to pluck a black rose when Tam Lin suddenly appeared. Immediately she challenged him. “What’s your story?”

He replied, “Long ago, I don’t know how long in years, I was riding my horse nearby and it threw me into this circle. I was immediately captured by the queen of the fairies. They made me the guardian of this circle. But, tonight they mean to sacrifice me to their dark god. All because I let you take a flower and go.”

“Come away with me,” Janet said.

“Not that easy,” replied Tam Lin. “If you really want to help me, here’s what you must do. They will take me on the Wild Hunt tonight before casting me to the hell hounds. We will pass through this circle. I’ll be on the only white horse. When you see me you must grab me and pull me down.”

“I’m willing to do that,” said Janet.

“”But, it’s not over at that point. I will not be heavy. Pick me up and hold me very tightly. Don’t be frightened as my form changes into one beastly monster after another. Take me away from here. When I change into a burning coal, throw me into that well you passed on the way.  I will come out a man and naked.”

“Yes, I will do all that.”

“One more thing, if you would be so kind,” Tam Lin said, with a quirk to his smile, “bring me a good cloak.”

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