Danilo and the Swan​-​Maiden

from Norwood Gothic by Lily Bentley

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Based on the Russian folk tale 'Danilo the Luckless'; wherein a completely useless man is aided by the magical Swan-Maiden to fulfil the task he has been set by the Prince. He then proceeds to screw up at every possibly step of the way, leaving one to wonder whether the Swan-Maiden could maybe have done better.

For reasons of length, I was forced to leave out a sea monster, silver and gold eggs, a house built in a single night, and multiple lakes of booze.



She heard him call from mortal shore
A place where they had met before
And in his eyes she plainly saw a luckless soul
She asked what deed must you perform
Or what is it you run from
Oh, Danilo

“The Prince will have an Easter coat,
sable fine and braided gold
And dead am I, for needlework I do not know
She took him in her snow white wings
And thought men died for such small things
Oh, Danilo

“I will sew your sable fur
With stitches fine as maidenhair
And all this if you’ll only swear to keep your word:
I ask you do not boast of me
And pique men’s curiosity”
Oh, Danilo

He gladly took her coat’s reward
To taverns where the vodka flowed
And washed away her every word like melting snow
He spoke of wings and golden thread
He spoke of feathers on the bed
Oh, Danilo

And every word grew wings and flew
And every hour the story grew
’Til every man believed he knew her to the bone
She woke at dawn and rose to find
A hundred men sitting outside
Oh, Danilo

She found him in the morning dew
And said “I asked one thing of you.
Even though I always knew we’d end alone”
Spread her wings and left behind
A luckless man beneath the sky
Oh, Danilo


from Norwood Gothic, released February 1, 2019
Lyrics: Lily Bentley

Vocals: Lily Bentley
Everything Else: Gerry Diver

Produced by Gerry Diver


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Lily Bentley London, UK

Folk singer, songwriter and Crystal Palatian

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