An Scéal: A young man meets Mary in a wood. It’s by pre-arrangement. She’s beautifully adorned wearing a tight scarlet dress with buckles of gold on it. The man takes her to a heathery hill where they spend the night but in the morning she sits in tears, this “flower among young women”.
When they meet again he asks her would she come with him ” to pull the gorse ”, and she replies“Yes… and I’ll tie them with you”. She would even go to Mass with him – not for the good of her soul, since she was presumably a protestant, but just to be able to see him. But would he come with her to her church? “What would they do there ,” he asks, “but listen to the prattling of the vicars? Their relationship was surely doomed.
One misty night in despair he takes out his little dagger [“My woe and my thousand sorrows”]. Mary’s heart’s blood he spills, right down to the laces of her shoes. He throws off his cloak, his stockings and his boots, drops her body in the river and disappears into the mist.
Her ghost comes to him an hour before the dawn and lays a cold kiss upon him touching him gently with her hand. “Rise up, young man, and leave this place! The hunt for you is now abroad for the murder of a young girl” She tells him that Death will also come and visit him, an hour before the dawn, and that he’ll pass a cruel judgement on him for all the dealings he has had with women. “You’ll be lying in a room of loneliness and a white sheet wrapped round you. The pangs of hell are all before you, my young strapping lad!”