once upon a time, there were two kings’ daughters who lived in a bower near
the Bonnie milldams of Binnorie and Sir William came one the eldest and won her love
and plighted troth with glove and with a ring, but after time he looked upon
the youngest with her cherry cheeks and golden hair, and his love grew for her
till he cared no longer for the eldest one, so she hated her sister for taking away
sir William’s love, and day by day, her hate grew upon her, and she plotted
and she planned how to get rid of her, so one fine morning, fair and clear, she said
to her sister. “Let us go and see her father’s boats come in at the bonny milldams
of Binnorie”, so they went there hand in hand, and when they got to the river’s bank,
the youngest got upon a stone to watch for the coming of the boats, and her sister
coming behind her, caught her around the waist, and dashed her into the rushing
Millstream of Binnorie, ” Ho sister, sister, reach me your hand,” she cried as she floated
away, “and you shall have half of all I’ve got or shall get,” “No, sister, I’ll reach you
no hand of mine, for I’m the heir to all your land, shame on me if I touch the hand
that has come to fix me in my heart‘s love” “Oh sister, o sister, then reach me your glove.”
she cried as she floated further away, and you shall have your William again,
“sink on,” cried the cruel princess, “no hand or glove of mine you’ll touch, sir William
will be all mine when you’re sunk beneath the body Millstream of Binnorie.”
and she turned and went home to the king’s castle, and the princess floated down
the Mill Stream, sometimes swimming and sometimes sinking till she came near
the mill, now the miller’s daughter was cooking that day and needed water for her
cooking, and as she went to draw it from the stream, she saw something floating
toward the mill dam, and she cried out, “Father, Father, draw your Dam; there’s
something white and merry maid or a milk-white Swan coming down the stream,


so the Miller hastened to the dam and stopped the heavy cruel mill wheels, and then
they took out the princess and laid her on the bank; fair and beautiful, she looked
as she lay there. In her golden hair were pearls and precious stones you could not see
her waist for her golden girdle, and the golden fringe of her white dress came down
over her Lilly’s feet, but she was drowned, drowned.
As she lay there in her beauty, a famous Harper passed by the mill down of Binnorie
and saw her sweet pale face, and though he traveled on far away, he never forgot
that face, and after many days he came back to the bonny Millstream of Binnorie,
but then all he could find of her where they had put her to rest or her bones and her
golden hair, so he made a harp out of her breastbone her hair,
and traveled on up the hill from the mill dam of Binnorie till he came to the castle
of the King, her father.
That night they were all gathered in the castle hall to hear the great Harper, King,
Queen, their daughter, and son, Sir William, and all their court, and first the Harper
sang to his old harp, making their joy and be glad or sorrowful and weep just as
he liked, and while he sang, he put the harp he had made that day on a stone
in the hall, and presently it began to sing by itself, low and clear, and the harper
stopped, and all were hushed, and this is what the harp sang:
Oh, yonder sits my father, the king,
Binnorie, oh Binnorie;
And yonder sits my mother, the queen;
By the bony mill dams o’ Binnorie.

And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
Binnorie, oh Binnorie;

And by him, my William, false and true;
By the bonny mill dams o’ Binnorie.

then they all wondered, and the harper told them how he had seen the princess
lying drowned on the bank near the bonny milldams of Binnorie and how he had
afterward made this harp out of her hair and breastbone, just then the harp began
singing again, and this was what it sang out loud and clear:
And there sits my sister who drownèd me
By the bonny mill dams o’ Binnorie.
and then the harp snapped and broke and never sang more.
The End