Thomas The Rhymer

Episode 1: Thomas the Rhymer

1: Thomas the Rhymer
byTales of Britain and Ireland.

A retelling of this ballad from the Scottish borders featuring all your favourite Elves and Bards. Musical credits, sources and more at #myth #mythology #folklore #legends

“Harp and carp….”

Thomas the Rhymer and the Hart and Hind

This first ever episode is a retelling of a famous ballad from the Scottish borders. It features Elves, a bard, too much prophecy and some wibbly wobbly timey-wimey stuff.

An introduction to the podcast with one of my favourite stories of all time, the ballad is the first song I ever remember learning in childhood.

Audio quality might not be as good as some later episode, but hopefully the content is just as good.

Story in summary (Warning – contains spoilers!)

The story in brief, without the detail or discussion – not a transcript.

If you’ve already listened and just want a refresh, only want the bare bones of the story, or really don’t care about spoilers then please do click below to read on…

Thomas the Rhymer

“True Thomas sat on Huntley Bank. And he beheld a lady gay”

– Maddie Prior

You can read Walter Scott’s version of Thomas the Rhymer here: Thomas the Rhymer, by Walter Scott, and learn more about the man himself in the article below.

The ballad performed – Steeleye Span

You can get the whole story in record quick time by listening to the ballad sung by world famous folk band Steel Eye Span (of “All around my hat” fame).

While I don’t want to spoil the podcast I rather suggest that you do give it a listen. I’ve belted it out of tune many a time as a child and only slight less as an adult.

It includes the famous phrase that I somehow didn’t mention in the episode: “Harp and Carp”, which basically means to play and sing.

The Rhymer’s Stone and Earlston

Today a stone telling the story of the ballad has been erected in the Eildon Hills near the spot where the faithful meeting was meant to occur. A little way away is the village of Earlston where the Rhymer’s tower can be found.

According to legend this was Thomas’s very own castle. Capitalising on the huge fame of the place there’s a Rhymer’s Tower Coffee shop and Restaurant.

Sadly this was closed due to Covid restrictions at the time of my visit. But given I didn’t get time to climb the hill either, it’s all the more reason to go back and see if this time I can get abducted by the Elven Queen.

Artist Elven Queen: Ayy Kaplan

Selected Sources

Musical credits for Episode 1: Thomas the Rhymer

Intro and outro theme from the incredibly talented Alice Nicholls Music

Other music, used under various Creative Commons licenses:

Three Kites Circling
Later Fruits

I’m glad you’re here
Wind on my legs

Will We All Stop Growing?

Doctor Turtle
Rotisserie Graveyard

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Welcome to Tales of Britain and Ireland!

Welcome to Tales of Britain & Ireland: A podcast telling folktales, myths and legends from across Britain and Ireland. Hosted by Graeme Cooke.

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