Depart from me as graceful swans
The waters be now your home
Your palace hall is a pearly cave
Its couch the crest of a crystal wave
Your mantle is milk-white foam.
…The four children grew up under Eva’s care, though they slept near their father.
Red-Bove loved them almost as much as Lir
and brought them often to his palace
where they proved a delight and joy to the Crafty-Ones.
When Eva saw that Lir’s children received such affection from their father,
the king, and the whole host of the Crafty-Folk,
she began to feel neglected on their account.
A venomous pang of envy entered her heart which festered
and grew into a bitter enmity for her sister’s children.
Of a day Eva ordered her horses yoked to her chariot
and set out for Red-Lake, taking the four children with her.
Eva’s plan was to kill the children outright
but when she took out the sword to do so
her maternal instinct overcame her
and instead she sent them to bathe at the water’s edge.
As each child entered the clear water Eva,
touched them on the shoulder with a fae-switch,
and transformed them into swans swimming on the lake.
Then Eva repented of her deed and said,
“Since I cannot afford you any other relief,
I will allow you to keep your speech and reason.
You shall not grieve for being in swan-shape.”
So saying, she departed westward on her chariot.
to be continued…