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Irish Mythology

The Tuatha de Danaan: The Children of Lir

pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.

By the power of her magic, Aoife turned them all into swans.

When Aoife first went to live with Lir, she treated her stepchildren with tenderness and love, for they were, after all, the children of her own sister. But as time wore on, the love she had once felt for them eroded into a jealous dislike and then plunged at last into such a bitter hatred that Aoife conceived a plot to kill the children. She prepared a journey one day to her foster-father Bodb Dearg, and quite naturally, she arranged to take the children with her – although the eldest, the maiden Fionnuala, had misgivings about the trip. As soon as they were on the road, Aoifa urged her servants to murder the children, but they would not do so. So she took up a sword herself and would have killed them with it; but she took them instead to the shores of Loch Dairbhreach, that is, loch Derryvaragh in county Westmeath, and there, by the power of her magic, she turned them all into swans.

Story fragment recounted from: Gregory, Lady A., 1904. Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, Arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory. John Murray, London. Reprinted, 1998. Irish Myths and Legends. Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia, USA. Part One: The Gods. Book V: The Fate of the Children of Lir, pp 145–160.

See for yourself

Tuatha de Danaan - Wikipedia

The Children of Lir – Wikipedia

Gods and Fighting Men – ancient tales of Ireland put into English by Lady Augusta Gregory. 1904. Project Gutenberg.

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