december 31, 2004

A mother's story

He told the priest that a few months before he, Gille, had been born, his mother had been out walking one summer night. The path she found had taken her through a thick wood, where the branches had woven themselves over her so tightly that she was almost in darkness, even though it was soon after midsummer when the nights are otherwise light. Suddenly the forest thinned out, and the path ran suddenly downwards to a large semicircular bay, nearly as beautiful as Church Bay here beneath the vicarage. It was surrounded by green grassy meadows and on these, which were full of large flowers and glittering with a heavy dew, there was a white horse browsing. It was the most beautiful animal she had ever seen. The mane was so long it reached down to the hooves; the coat was dapple gray; the back broad and the legs as slender and taut as arrow shafts; the tail was thick as a sheaf of rye, and so long that it brushed the ground.

She had only a moment in which the enjoy the sight. She wanted to creep towards the horse between the high flowering plants on the shore but it saw her then and fled -- not to the fields, but straight out into the lake. He ran through the shallows whipping up foam around him, and as soon as he reached deep water dived down without trying to swim at all. Then Gille's mother understood that it must have been the Kelpie, who usually appears in the form of a horse when he goes up on land. She wasn't at all afraid for her own sake, but she was concerned for the child she bore, and wondered whether he would take harm of the encounter. Just to be on the safe side, she had gone to a wise woman, and asked. She had been answered that this would not harm the child. Were she to bear a son, she must make him a fisherman, for the Kelpie would make sure that he had great success as a fisherman. One thing only must she watch out for, if he became a fisherman: he maust never drink water from the lake where he caught his fish.

Posted by andrewb at december 31, 2004 08:55 EM