This song opens the third story, and is the inspiration for the story
The words for this song are based on the following Scottish folk song, although they have been adapted slightly in the opera:
Riddles Wisely Expounded (Cather Banks)
1 There was a knicht riding free the east,
Sing the Cather banks, the bonnie brume
Wha had been wooing at monie a place.
And ye may beguile a young thing sune
2 He came unto a widow's door,
And speird where hcr three dochters were.
3 The auldest ane's to a washing gane,
The second's to a baking gane.
4 The youngest ane's to a wedding gane,
And it will be nicht or she be hame.
5 He sat him doun upon a stane,
Till thir three lasses came tripping hame.
6 The auldest ane's to the bed making,
And the second ane's to the sheet spreading.
7 The youngest ane was bauld and bricht,
And she was to lye with this unco knicht.
8 'Gin ye will answer me questions ten,
The morn ye sall be made my ain.
9 'O what is heigher nor the tree?
And what is deeper nor the sea?'
10 'Or what is heavier nor the lead?
And what is better nor the breid?
11 'O what is whiter nor the milk?
Or what is safter nor the silk?
12 'Or what is sharper nor a thorn?
Or what is louder nor a horn?
13 'Or what is greener nor the grass?
Or what is waur nor a woman was?'
14 'O heaven is higher nor the tree,
And hell is deeper nor the sea.
15 'O sin is heavier nor the lead,
The blessing's better nor the bread.
16 'The snaw is whiter nor the milk,
And the down is safter nor the silk.
17 'Hunger is sharper nor a thorn,
And shame is louder nor a horn.
18 'The pies are greener nor the grass,
And Clootie's waur nor a woman was.'
19 As sune as site the fiend did name,
He flew awa in a blazing flame.
There was a man riding frae the east (Sing the Cather Banks)