The Tuatha de Danaan: Midhir and Etain
pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.
When the High King of Ireland and all his men rush outside to see where they have gone, all they can see are two swans flying away.
'Etain, a wife of the god Midhir, is turned into a fly, said Miranda. 'She lands in the wine goblet that the wife of the Irish chieftain Etar of Inver Cechmaine is drinking from. The chieftain's wife drinks Etain down with the wine and nine months later, gives birth to a baby girl whom she and her husband name Etain.'
'Presumably so that we'll know who this girl really is,' said Quintin.
'But she has no idea who she is at all! And she has no idea who Midhir is when he comes on horseback to see her, when she's bathing with her sisters and he sees a little girl standing there, she who was once his wife. And she has no idea who he is when he comes again, when she's by now married to the High King of Ireland and living at Tara. She only recognises Midhir as the man who once rode up to her when she was bathing with her sisters as a girl.
'But the most beautiful part of the story is when Midhir comes once more and wins an embrace from her in a game of chess, and he clasps her to him and they both rise up through the roof of the hall, and when the High King of Ireland and all his men rush outside to see where they have gone, all they can see are two swans flying away.'