The Tuatha de Danaan: Midhir and Etain
pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.
Ailell oversleeps. However, a man having the appearance of Ailell arrives at the trysting place.
Ailell, the brother of the High King of Ireland, has fallen in love with the King’s wife, Etain. He lies in his bed, unable to get up, so overcome is he with sickness of the heart.
The High King is called away and instructs his wife Etain to look after his brother Ailell. She soon discovers the cause of his illness and one day, tells him that she knows how to effect a cure. She will meet him secretly at dawn the next day in a place where they will be alone; and she will, reluctantly, give him his desire.
At the appointed time, Ailell oversleeps. However, a man having the appearance of Ailell arrives at the trysting place. Etain senses a difference in his demeanour and challenges him. Twice this happens. On the third morning he tells her that his name is Midhir and that he is of the Tuatha de Danaan, the People of the Goddess Dana who now live in the hills and the secret places of Ireland. He was once her husband, he tells her. She is surprised to hear this, since she has no recollection of ever being married to him.