Scotlands Culture\|Scotlands Stories

Thomas the Rhymer

Do you believe in fairies? The inhabitants of the Borders at the time of the Border ballads did ...

Thomas of Ercildoune lived in the Borders hundreds of years ago. One day, as he sat beneath the Eildon Tree near Melrose, he heard the tinkling of silver bells and the sound of a horse's hooves.

The beautiful Queen of Elfland rode by on a white horse. Thomas fell under her spell and journeyed deep within the hollow Eildon Hills to the 'Fairy Otherworld'. There, Thomas was given the gift of prophesy.

When he returned to the mortal world he found that he had certain gifts: he was unable to tell a lie and became known as 'True Thomas'; he could foresee the future and foretold the death of King Alexander III; some even say that Thomas became immortal and still lives gathering horses for the sleeping knights that rest deep within the hollow hills.

Nowadays people can walk up the Eildon Hills, where Thomas the Rhymer met the Fairy Queen, and visit Rhymer's Glen. Sir Walter Scott once walked the same path with the famous painter Turner. Scott collected Border ballads and tales of True Thomas.

Ruth Kirkpatrick tells the story of Thomas the Rhymer

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Ruth Kirkpatrick - Thomas the Rhymer

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Ruth Kirkpatrick - Thomas the Rhymer
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