The Pegasus Awards

Song of Fey Cross

Gwen Knighton

Pegasus Nominations

Year Category
2002 Best Song That Tells A Story
This was really the first song I ever wrote that wasn't just lyrics for an online roleplaying game. On the Internet harp mailing list, there was a thread about fairy mound legends. Someone quipped that just about every hill in Ireland has a fairy mound legend surrounding it, the kind of story where young people are warned that if they sleep on top of the mound or mountain, they will be transported into Faery, given fairy gold, fairy food and drink. Larger mounds and mountains are sometimes associated with the legend that if a person spends the night atop one, he or she will end up dead, mad, or a poet. During this discussion, someone else had mentioned that she'd heard a fairy mound legend where if you slept on a particular mound, the fairies would give you a song. And I got to thinking about that. What if you really wanted those songs? What if you were young, and what if you were a little reckless? What if you got greedy? And that's how the song evolved. I wrote it on a Saturday afternoon before a housefilk in the fall of 1999, at my kitchen table, but I don't remember if I performed it that night. I was very nervous about it, because it was my first original song. For the longest time, I kept it under wraps because I worried that it was too long, but once the band saw the song, they loved it and wanted to perform it. I'm absurdly flattered that other people like it, too. - Gwen Knighton

Song of Fey Cross

Copyright ©1999 by Gwen Knighton
Lyrics posted with permission of the author

Outside of our town, at the edge of the forest
Two roads come together; they call it Fey Cross
And there at the crossroads, away from the roadside
There's an odd mound of granite all covered with moss

Oh, soft is the pillow, all green and inviting
Sweet is the sound of a new faery tune
But beware of the voices that call you to sleep there
That call you to dream 'neath the light of the moon.

The old people say there is music at Fey Cross
Music to call travelers off of the road
That calls them to sleep on the moss-covered hillside
And dream of the magical music below

The story is told of a sweet harper maiden
Who longed to know more than her master bestowed
She slept on the hill and the faeries sang to her
The first night a dance and the second an ode


Again and again she went back to the hillside
Ignoring the warnings her elders implored
Night after night, the fey songs touched her heartstrings:
She learned them all greedily, longing for more

Her voice rang like silver, her steps turned to marches
She did her chores gladly in three-quarter time
She stepped through the village and dreamed of the fey songs
Of dancing, of chanting, of cadence and rhyme.


Each night she slept out on the hill by the crossroads
She stayed every night for a year and a day
But one night, as she lay there peacefully dreaming
A wee faery bard came and whisked her away

They sing of her still in the town at the crossroads
The harper who longed to learn the fey songs
And all of the children grow up with this warning:
"Don't listen at all: you may listen to long."


I see that you've slept seven nights on the hillside
I know your blood sings with beautiful songs
But hear now the voice of that foolish young harper
Who listened, who listened, who listened too long.



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