> Steeleye Span > Songs > The Twelve Witches

The Twelve Witches

[trad. arr. Hart / Prior / Knight / Johnson / Kemp]

This melodic and rhythmic track is a variation of the children game “Ten little Indians” using witches just for a change. Steeleye Span recorded it for the last album with their “classic” line-up, Rocket Cottage.


Steeleye Span sing The Twelve Witches

Oh there were twelve witches bold
And they lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

The first witch, with her hand,
The storm could hush,
And the second witch could stop
All the torrents rush.

And the third witch, she could strike
Upon the golden lyre,
And she charmed both young and old
Into the dancing fire.

𝄆 Rowan tree, red thread,
Hold the witches all in dread. 𝄇

The fourth witch she could dive
In the sea as a fish,
And the fifth witch she never wanted
Any meat on a dish.

And now the next witch go
Under the earth could she,
And the seventh witch could dance
Upon the rolling sea.

And the eighth witch on her horn
She would blow a blast,
And everyone who heard
Would shudder and stand aghast.


Oh the ninth witch she tamed all
That in the greenwood crept,
And the tenth witch, not a nap
She had ever slept.

The eleventh witch, the grisly
Lindworm bound,
And the twelfth witch she could all
Things understand.

And these twelve witches bold,
They all lived in the North,
And their equals were not seen
On the face of the Earth.

Chorus (repeat and fade)


Thanks to Patrick Montague for correcting the lyrics.