Lyrics by Mercedes Lackey

Tune by Leslie Fish

A harsh wind hammered and bent down the trees
'Till they moaned and they wailed in the dark
A wind cold and bitter as lies or as death
As cruel as the jaws of a shark
So high ran the river, so heavy and wild
The waves were as strong as the sea
A fool could've told it was no night to be
Out earning a ferryman's fee

"Ferryman, ferryman, won't you be kind
My mother and father are waiting for me
Ferryman, ferryman, take me across
Though I haven't the price of your fee."

She stood there alone on the cold heaving dock
She was pale and she trembled with fear
Her hands were clenched white as the moon on her breast
As she waited his answer to hear
"Although it's no night to be crossing," he said
"For their sake I'll take you aboard
They must be near dying with worry for you
And one fare I'll easily afford."


The ferry fought hard. It bucked, yawed and rolled
With the waves surging over the bow.
Bravely the old pilot clung to the tiller
And steered the craft over somehow
The windlashed young maiden stood near to the rail
Her eyes fixed upon the far side
She seemed not to notice the wind or the waves
That threatened to finish her ride


By fate, or by whim of old blind lady luck
He brought them in safely to shore
The young girl turned round and she took off her shawl
Saying, "I haven't anything more
But I'll bring you your money tomorrow, I swear
Tomorrow at first morning light
Until then keep this as a trust of my pledge."
And she disappeared into the night


"I hear that the ghost has been walking again."
The passenger said with a yawn
"Oh yes sir, it has." said the pilot who took
The old ferry's tiller at dawn
"The annual storm that sank this ferry's twin
Came down just the same time last year
And now any night that a high wind comes up
That spirit is like to appear."


"A ghost on the ferry?" his second fare asked
A young girl who paled with fright
"Oh yes. miss, and that's why we can't hire a pilot
Who'll dare take the ferry at night
Eleven poor souls there were lost on that night
And it seems that there's one who can't rest
Some duty of conscience still binds it to Earth
Some promise or sin unconfessed


"They're buried up there on the river's far shore
You can see all the graves plain from here
The pilot's the last one--" He cut off his words
As the young maiden cried out in fear
They stared as she pointed her pale trembling hand
And there on the shore they could see
Her shawl lay folded on the old pilot's grave
Her pledge for the ferryman's fee

(repeat last line at end:) Though I haven't the price of your fee