The Horse-Tamer's Daughter

Words and Music Copyright (c) Leslie Fish & Random Factors
Permission granted to winged to post lyrics to everything2 by Random Factors
Based on the Darkover novels by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Derivative work by permission

Transcribed by winged from the recording available at the Virtual Filksing, performed by Julia Ecklar with Kristoph Klover on 12-string guitar.

My father was a horsetamer on the edge of Halli Plain
His work was good and his horses fine but he got little gain
For few folk come now to Halli Town, the trade has gone away
And the distant glower of the ruined tower makes few folk care to stay.

So poor we were, but free we were, as the wild herds on the plain,
and I was a child as free and wild as the wind in my tangled mane.

My granddam told me cradle tales of the great days long ago
when the wizards ruled and the land was taxed and the lords would come and go
"But the world was torn by war," she said, "and the tower was broken down
so the lords appear no longer here, nor to rule over Halli Town.

"And neither do the wizards come take our children one in ten
So grateful be that you're poor but free, and that you're not living then."

My father had no sons at all nor could he pay the fee
for hireling men to help his work so he turned to mother and me
we helped him run the wild ones down, to catch and tame and train
and we lived thus free and merrily on the edge of Halli Plain.

So well I loved the whispering grass and the children of the land
That in time I learned as the seasons turned to call them into my hand

When I rode out on Halli Plain I would set my mind to fly
Till I felt the grass below my feet and the birds high in the sky
I'd feel the wild ones running and I'd bid them turn again
And a few I'd see would come to me, about every one in ten.

But I never called them to the rope, for their trust I'd not betray
And willingly they would carry me on the plains to run and play.

But I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high, and the wind is roaring free...
when I send my silent call wild horses come to me.

There is a lake beyond the town, the tower stands on its shore
Close by, the Holy Castle looms, where none may pass the door
But I always chose that ruined tower as my favorite place to play
I daydreamed long of my granddam's songs and the tales of the ancient day

The stones breathed wondrous tales to me of the power within the ground
Till within the stones of the tower's bones a magic mirror I found.

The mirror in its iron frame was black as a winter sky
Never a sight did it show to me till I set my mind to fly
Aye, then it showed me wondrous things, a window on the world
The plain, the town, the lands around for as far as the oceans curled.

I wore it tied around my neck, so's to keep it always near
Besides the land, and my wild horse band, twas the treasure I held most dear.

As we rode into Halli Town one summer market day
I saw the folk in turmoil run, and I heard an old man say
"Go back, go back, ye horse-tamer, the wizards come again!
They've come, I fear, for the children here, they're taking one in ten!

Go back, go back, you horse-tamer, and your daughter hide away
Go conceal your child where the land is wild till the wizards have gone away!"

For I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high, and the wind is roaring free...
when I send my silent call wild horses come to me.

Back I rode to Halli Plain, as fast as a horse could run
and I hid myself in the ruined tower away from wind and sun
I gazed into the mirror's deeps to see what might befall
and close at hand saw the wizards' band, so fierce and fair and tall.

Then one of them raised up his eyes and he said, "Who can this be?"
And he turned his head with its hair so red and he looked straight away at me!

"What is this power I feel," said he, "so clear and raw and strong?
Ride up, ride up, my sisters all, my God we've been searching wrong!
More power is here than we thought to find, the Gods so jest with men
It may be still that within our will that Tower will awake again!

"Twas an ill-trained keeper's mind I met, and I've rarely felt such power
We must not wait, lest we come too late -- make haste for the Halli Tower!"

As soon as I thus heard their plans I turned my mind away
And I sent it flying over the plains to the wild ones I did say
"Oh come to me my free friends all, oh come to my right hand
We must prevent these lords' intent of the taming of our land!

"For if they should rule the land once more we will all be servant men
And you, my dears, will be captives here and will never run free again!"

And I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high, and the wind is roaring free...
When I send my silent call, wild horses come to me.

I bound my mind to the wild ones' minds and I called as I never did call
Till seven mares and a stallion bold came into the ancient hall...
Seven mares, a stallion bold, a magic mirror and me
to stay the hand of the wizards' band and keep the plainsfolk free.

So I bound my soul to the wild ones' souls as I've never done before
And we raised our might in a ring of light to fight in a wizards' war.

We built a shield around the tower all made of wind and fog
With hooves of light through the mirror's sight we battered, thrust, and fought...
the wizards flinched, the wizards fell, and they cried up from the ground
"Have done, have done ye nine and one, only tell us what we've found!

"How did your starstone hold intact when it should have burned away?
What kind of men can stand up again through the fires that we threw today?"

"I have no stone at all," said I, "just a mirror like the sea
And you fought with never a man this day, just eight wild horses and me
I am the Horse-Tamer's Daughter, the defender of the land
And I know my kind never were inclined to live at a lord's command.

"So it is my wish ye should go away and should leave us as we've been
Leave us free, as we choose to be, we will never be ruled again."

And I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ruined tower stands abandoned and alone.
But when the moons are high, and the wind is roaring free...
When I send my silent call, wild horses come to me.

Up then spoke the wizard lord, "It shall be as you have said
Better to make us an eighth domain than to duel till we all are dead
With a circle made of wild beasts and a plain first-level screen
You've all the power of any good tower, and much more than many I've seen.

"You are the living Matrix then, it's all that you can be
It's clear your breed is of Hastur seed, oh child keep away from me!"

So Halli Tower is tenanted now, fresh straw lies on the floor
Tall wild horses come and go free through the open door
The Halli folk bring corn and cloth, and wood for the winter's chill
The tales they tell are spreading well, and I fear they always will.

I'm just the Horse-Tamer's Daughter but they love me for my power,
they've made of me what I feared to be, the keeper of Halli Tower.

But I'll never wear red robes, I'll never wear a blue stone.
The ancient tower stands no longer quite alone.
But when the moons are high and the wind is roaring free...
when I send my silent call, wild horses come to me.

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