The Poet's Spell

A very ancient story, as old as the tenth century, is narrated, and firmly believed by the people, that once on a time when the reapers were at work, a fine handsome young married woman, who was in the field with them, suddenly fell down dead. This caused a great fear and consternation, especially as it was asserted that just before the fatal event, a fairy blast had passed over the field, carrying a cloud of dust and stones with it; and there could be no doubt but that the fairies had rushed by in the cloud, and struck the woman dead as they passed.

Then her people sent for the great wise poet of the tribe, who was reputed to have the power by his song to break the strongest fairy spells: and he chanted low music over her, and uttered mystic incantations, the words of which no man heard; but after a while the woman unclosed her eyes and rose up, restored to life.

When they questioned her, she told them all she knew.

"In sickness I was," she said, "and I appeared to be dead, for I could neither speak nor move, till the song of the poet gave me power. Then the life rose up in me again, and the strength, and I was healed."