Syne they came on to a garden green,
And she pu'd an apple frae the tree:
"Take this for thy wages, True Thomas,
It will give the tongue that can never lie."
I read a brief version in Barbara Ker Wilson's Stories from Scotland and then the illustrated version in The Book of Ballads (text by Sharyn McCrumb, illustrations by Charles Vess). I don't think my library system had any picture book version of the story but it makes sense because this is basically the story of a human who sees the beautiful fairy queen and decides that it's worth seven years of his life to be her lover.
After I read both of those, I read Ellen Kushner's novel Thomas the Rhymer. To be honest, this book is more of what I thought Tam Lin would be -- taking the original ballad and making a full story out of it. I really loved reading this one! It is told from four different points of view, one being Thomas' during his time in Elfland. It has a romance added in but I didn't think that took away from the original ballad at all. This was such a bittersweet story and the reader is obviously meant to fall for Thomas. And that's where this story differs so much from Tam Lin -- because Tam Lin is obviously about the strong and independent Janet, despite the title, but Thomas is about a man who can take care of himself.
I can't wait to discuss these two ballads in the context of Fire and Hemlock on Friday!
Under the spell,