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Long Meg and Her Daughters

[Stuart Lawrence]

Linda Adams sang Long Meg and Her Daughters in 1978 on Paul Adams and her Fellside album Among the Old Familiar Mountains. This track was also included in 2002 on the Fellside compilation CD Seasons, Ceremonies & Rituals: The Calendar in Traditional Song. The original album's liner notes commented:

All over Britain there are curious stone circles, the most famous being at Stonehenge. All sorts of theories are put forward as to their origins—pagan temples, astronomical observatories etc. There are several in Cumbria and this song concerns the one at Little Salkeld near Penrith. There are several legends concerning Long Meg; you are not supposed to be able to count the same number of stones twice; if you break a piece off Long Meg she would bleed. This one is the most romantic and was put into song by Stuart Lawrence, Morris Dancer and Songwriter from Dalton-in-Furness.

Lyrics

Linda Adams sings Long Meg and Her Daughters

The helm winds are blowing, there's ill to be done
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
And the witches are met by the set of the sun
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

Long Meg gave the summons and so they came forth
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
From the east, the west, the south, and the north
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

They raised such a storm as you never did hear
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
In the vale of Eden for many a year
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

Now there came an old hermit who strode through the night
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
With an old tattered cloak and a beard long and white
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

He stepped into their midst with his cross in his hand
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
And fearlessly bade them in silence to stand
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

Long Meg gave a laugh – Do you dare interfere?
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
Oh fool we will tear you to pieces right here!
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

But he lifted his hands and he uttered a prayer
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
While Long Meg gave a terrible cry of despair
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

She was turned into stone on the spot where she stood
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
But the others about her a terrible brood
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

So the tempest abated, he went on his way
   Follow the fiend far over the fell
And left them to stand where you see them today
   Come drive him below to the sound of the bell

Acknowledgements and Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Lyr Req: Long Meg and her daughters and Alen McFadzean's blog article Cross Fell – Fiends, Rivers, Paths and Poets.