The Hills of Ruel by Fiona MacLeod

Taken from The Book of Fairy Poetry, published in 1920:

“Over the hills and far away”–

That is the tune I heard one day,

When heather-drowsy I lay and listened

And watched where the stealthy sea-tide glistened.

Beside me there on the Hills of Ruel

An old man stooped and gathered fuel–

And I asked him this: if his son were dead,

As the folk in Glendaruel all said,

How could he still believe that never

Duncan had crossed the shadowy river?

Forth from his breast the old man drew

A lute that once on a rowan tree grew;

And speaking now words, began to play

“Over the hills and far away.”

“But how do you know,” I said, thereafter,

“That Duncan has heard the fairy-laughter?

How do you know he has followed the cruel

Honey-sweet folk of the Hills of Ruel?”

“How do I know?” the old man said,

“Sure I knew well my boy’s not dead,

For late on the morrow they hid him, there

I saw him alow on the moor close by,

I watched him low on the hillside lie,

An’ I heard him laughin’ wild up there,

An’ talk, talk, talkin’ beneath his hair–

For down his face a long hair lay

But I saw it was cold and ashen-gray,

Ay, laughin’ and talkin’ wild he was,

An’ that to a Shadow out on the grass,

A Shadow that made my blood go chill,

For, never its like have I seen on the hill.

An’ the moon came up, and the stars grew white,

An’ the hills grew black in the bloom o’ the night.

An’ I watched till the death-star sank in the moon,

An’ the moonmaid fled with her moonwhite shoon,

Then the Shadow that was on the moorside there

Rose up and shook its shadowy hair;

And Duncan he laughed no more, but grey

As the rainy dust of a rainy day,

Went over the hills and far away.”
” Over the hills and far away”–

That is the tune I heard one day.

O that I too might hear the cruel

Honey-sweet fold of the Hills of Ruel.

NOTE:  Fiona Macleod was the alter ego of writer William Sharp (1855-1905)

By |2011-02-04T12:35:50+00:00|Everything Else|29 Comments

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  1. clementine December 11, 2008 at 6:41 pm - Reply

    ummmmmmm hey again i have another fairy sighting to talk about but my main purpose for this comment is the bad faries. Can they like kill you? and what “bad” things do they do? I dont have much money so i just printed out a picture of the fairy flag, is that ok? and I havent heard or seen any fairys. Do they speek english? Will i beable to see the human form of the fairys? How long will it take for them to come to my fairy shelf? Do they like Hip Hop and Rap music because thats what i lisen to? what objects have iron in it?
    PS my cusin is Angel and sorry for all the questions 🙂

    Your Truly Clementine

  2. Natalie Lynn December 12, 2008 at 3:51 pm - Reply

    Hi Clementine –

    I answered some of your questions on the Attracting fairies post so I won’t answer them here. As for your other questions:

    Sure, you can print out the fairy flag – just don’t sell it for money, ok?

    Iron is a type of metal. Sometimes it is coated with a black paint and called wrought iron.

    By the way, I love your questions so don’t feel bad about asking me anything. Sometimes it might take a day or so for me to get back to you depending on how busy it is around here though.


  3. xChiyux March 28, 2009 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    This is a really nice song, i like it a lot. Makes you think ^^.

  4. jenn April 26, 2009 at 4:09 pm - Reply

    how do u talkk and see fairies bacause i wanna talk and see fairies .. and yes i do balive in fairies.can u pleas hellp me =) thank you .

    • Natalie Lynn May 1, 2009 at 2:41 pm - Reply

      Hi Jenn,

      Thank you for your post…

      To answer your questions, we have a post on seeing fairies here and a post on communicating with fairies here.

      Hope this helps!


  5. Bri3 August 13, 2009 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    this is a beatiful and moving poem,were the fae described unseelie?

    • Natalie Lynn August 13, 2009 at 8:19 pm - Reply

      Bri3 – This is a really good question but I don’t think they were actually unseelie. I think maybe this points out how powerful they can be and how different from us they actually are. Just my thoughts….


  6. Bri3 August 13, 2009 at 6:59 pm - Reply

    i added my own tune to it and turned it into a song,don’t worry,just for fun!:)

  7. Bri3 August 13, 2009 at 10:24 pm - Reply

    oh cool but i don’t quite understand the small details of this as i am only ten years old but i have done a bit of poetry myself so i understand most of it. 😀

  8. Bri3 August 15, 2009 at 10:03 am - Reply

    the sweet song of fairies singing,pixies dancing like light.
    the children do believe in them with all their might.
    the moments of which have been enchanted by their prescence,
    the natural beauty of a forest dappled with sunlight is their home.

  9. Bri3 August 15, 2009 at 10:57 am - Reply

    oops in the first line it is supposed to say sound not song

  10. dante September 27, 2009 at 10:11 am - Reply

    Hi natalie ,
    how do u do that here thing?

  11. dante September 27, 2009 at 10:11 am - Reply


  12. Rimi gogoi March 6, 2016 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Hi natalie..
    M rimi from india..does faery exist in INDIA..

    • Natalie Lynn March 9, 2016 at 10:51 am - Reply

      Hi M rimi – Yes they exist in India and most places in the world.

  13. Amira October 3, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

    How are fairies born? I just want know.after reading some of your articles I’ve had have been seeing little people in the corner of my eye moving around and some of my things are missing. Know one believes me but I think there are fairies in my house. I even made a place were they could hang out .

    • Natalie Lynn October 3, 2016 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Hi Amira,
      Most fae that I know of are born the usual way and have parents, etc.

      It does sound like you may have some pixies/brownies living with you or visiting from time to time. Try talking to them and let them know you are aware of them.

      If you ask them to put your missing things back, they will usually return them as long as you are respectful.

      Don’t worry about what others think, they aren’t having the same experiences that you are so it’s hard for them to understand. 🙂
      Sounds like things may get quite interesting for you!

  14. Amira October 4, 2016 at 8:50 am - Reply

    Thanks for the advice Natalie

  15. Amira October 6, 2016 at 8:47 am - Reply

    Yesterday I came across something peculiar in my back yard, there was something moving the leaves but it was invisible. I think that there was running away from something because I could hear it screaming. Do you have any idea of what it is?

  16. Amira October 6, 2016 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I am only eleven bit I can write poetry.

    Flowers gleam and glow
    And make their power shine
    Take what was in the past
    And bring back what once was

  17. AmiraaWw October 6, 2016 at 9:08 am - Reply

    They heal the good
    And conquer the bad
    Their magic lays with
    Their souls are pure
    They have been on earth for has long has time
    Fot they are the seelie

  18. Amira October 18, 2016 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Do fairies live in Florida and do they come out on Halloween

  19. amira January 15, 2017 at 7:01 pm - Reply

    Are fairies born with wings

  20. Amira February 6, 2017 at 8:53 am - Reply

    I’ve seen two faries. Both in the tween times. The first one and saw was at my grandparents house near a pile of cut down trees and bushes I followed the purple light and turned my back then turned toward the light then it vanished. The second time was during winter break. I was at my uncles house walking his dog. We reached a trail and in the front trees and turquoise light was there. I followed the light then it vanished. I went there the next day and saw it again. It led me to the same place but nothing was there.

  21. Nancy singh June 18, 2017 at 4:33 am - Reply

    how you know everything about fairy

  22. Amira July 31, 2017 at 10:55 am - Reply


    I found out my friend is an Elve. When I told her she was pretty shocked. She didn’t know she was one. You might be asking how I knew she was an elve…it was after reading the elves of fyn she appeared in my Spanish class and portrayed all the traits of an elve. Then I discovered she was open minded and spiritual. That’s when I knew she was an elve. This all happened in the middle of the school year. Sorry I didn’t tell earlier


  23. Amira July 31, 2017 at 11:28 am - Reply

    I recently visited my uncle in Germany and in his garden was a genesa crystal! I figured since I believe in fairies ,there’s a genesa crystal and I’m in Germany (where most of the fairy realm is located) I would definitely see a fairy. I didn’t but I’ve heard tiny foot prints in the house. I’m lead to believe that they have house fairies.


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