Come, brothers three, accost the coast
And welcome Lir’s resplendent host
Such woeful welcome from a fateful morn
Will never bring to him bright morrow
Unhappy sire, doomed, forlorn
Left ever to mourn in hopeless sorrow.
…Eva arrived at the House of Red-Bove and said, “Lir no longer loves you. He will not entrust his children to you lest you harm them.”
Red-Bove did not believe her.
He sent messengers to Sidhe Finnaha and when they arrived and explained their errand Lir was startled.
He felt sure that Eva had destroyed his children and set off for Red-Lake with a heavy heart.
Lir and his attendants travelled swiftly until they reached the shore of Lake Devra.
The four white swans which swam there saw the cavalcade approaching and drew close to the shore.
Lir heard the swans talking together and asked how they came to have human voices.
“We are really four children but our step-mother, Eva, has transformed us into swans,” said Finnola.
Lir’s people uttered three long cries of lamentation.
“Is it possible to restore your own shapes?” asked Lir.
“It is not possible,” said Finnola, “we shall not regain human shape until Taillkenn brings his pure faith to Erin.”
Lir’s people again raised three great cries of sorrow.
“We cannot leave these waters until three hundred years have passed,” said Finnola.
So Lir and his people made camp at the shore side and that night the swans sang to them.
It was a sad, sweet, fairy song and as the swans’ sang Lir’s folk fell into a calm and gentle sleep…
to be continued…
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