Free at Last

Within the story of the Children of Lir, there are many rich descriptions and moments of melancholy beauty. My own moment of clarity in the story comes with the description of the empty hills, covered with nettles and dry grass, when the children are expecting at least a glimpse of their beloved father. After three hundred years of loneliness, ice and snow, the world gives them a final blow.

Many translations use the phrase, “hearts cracked with sorrow” to describe their devastation.

After this description, it is difficult to see how anything can seem fair. They are finally freed from the curse through an act of violence, as an arrogant king attempts to drag them from the saint’s chapel. After living through the curse of 900 years, losing their beloved father and all of their friends and family, they die and are buried together, without much of a feeling of fairness at all. Simply relief that it is over and they can lie quietly. Some translations provide a description of the ancient faces as bitter and miserable, as the swan feathers fall away.

This pagan/Christian transitional tale is not heavily embellished with descriptions of their rise to heaven, or eternal reward. Just relief.

And I always feel that I have reopened their story, as I reopen the book, somehow renewing their flight through the North Sea to the empty halls of their father.

Free at last…


This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 21st, 2009 at 15:59 and is filed under Daughter of Lir. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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