what to wear when…cantering to carterhaugh. once there, janet picks and sniffs a double rose - a rose within a rose, hugging halves of one whole rose. an elf, tam lin, appears and accuses her of theft. she argues back, obstinate as ever, until they decide the rose will be her bride-gift. the rushing, rough waters of rivers ettrick and yarrow drown out all sounds, save their vows. they consummate their marriage on a moss-bed and sleep cuddled up like double roses. she goes home with flowers in her hair and a bairn in her belly. incredulous of this magic-made babe, her family orders her to stay away until her belly empties, one way or another. she is crouched over hunting mugwort in the woods when her elven knight finds her. his fae lips lightly kiss each of her fingertips. tam’s hands roam over her swollen stomach, tapping out a ballad’s rhythm for their child’s lullaby. he tells her of the evil queen who keeps him and his impending teind-dom. he instructs her what to do to save him, trusting her completely. the next day, as her one-gloved husband rides by on a white and sturdy steed, she pounces. she wraps her green mantle around him and draws him to her chest. tam’s captor-queen enacts enchantments: he bloats into a bear, hairy and heavy, but she holds on tight; next, he is an esk; then, an adder; a lion’s mane sprouts from his face and his claws shred her dress. still, she locks her arms around him, refusing to give in. he twists and cracks and transforms into every ugly breed of beast. she does not love him less for it. after all, she can be an animal as well: she is often called stubborn as a mule, strong-willed as an ox, or sly as a fox. so as her lover struggles in her grip, she only loves him more as each side of him is shown. she will win against the witch, she will. this heroine and her don in distress will earn their happy ending. she patiently waits for tam to return to his true self. he was once human, he had told her, before unlucky fate changed his shape. her furred, horned, vile knight writhes in her embrace. she only holds him closer. he is the rose within her rose, safely cradled in her petal-arms. she feels a curious burning in her chest and for a moment thinks it is just love. but no, she is clutching what is now a glowing coal. remembering her lessons, she throws her coal-man in the well. steamy wisps rise from the water. tam does too. the child inside her kicks at the sight of its father. his ears, torso, and nose are red as roses, cold from his battle-baptism. she thumbs a smudge of ash off of his chin and kisses him - a long, deep kiss between people who have seen each other’s beasts.