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Faeire Lore:Relationships between Water Maidens and Mortals

On previous posts I have discussed about the celtic belief in lakes, rivers, and wells, believes later christianized and concealed under the characters of Saints deeds and sancutaries . There is a large amount of legends regarding the origin of lakes in several celtic countries, and in some of them, we can find the folk type of a fairy dweller, maybe remnant believes on ancient deities, or rather the Goddess herself. Welsh lore attracts me a lot on this subject, and the character of The Gwragedd Annwn (literally, "Wives of the Lower World") , pleases me most.

They are very close to the arthurian "Lady of the Lake" character, and in order to obtain their favours one should be dressed in a blue suite or dress and place at the edge of the bank a tasty bread and cheese, being the most likely dates to do it on February 19, 20 and 21.

I would like to share with you some quotations from the book "British Goblins - Welsh Folk-lore, Fairy Mythology, Legends and Traditions by Wirt Sikes - [1880] " (Obtain this full work and many more backups by clicking here!)

As the mermaid superstition is seemingly absent in Wales, so there are no fairy tales of maidens who lure mortals to their doom beneath the water, as the Dracae did women and children, and as the Nymph of the Lurley did marriageable young men.

But it is believed that there are several old Welsh families who are the descendants of the Gwragedd Annwn, as in the case of the previously cited Meddygon Myddfai. The familiar Welsh name of Morgan is sometimes thought to signify, 'Born of the Sea.' Certainly "môr" in Welsh means sea, and "gân" a birth. It is curious, too, that a mermaid is called in Basse Bretagne 'Mary Morgan.'

But the class of stories in which a mortal marries a water-maiden is large, and while the local details smack of the soil, the general idea is so like in lands far remote from each other as to indicate a common origin in pre-historic times. In Wales, where the mountain lakes are numerous, gloomy, lonely, and yet lovely; where many of them, too, show traces of having been inhabited in ancient times by a race of lake-dwellers, whose pile-supported villages vanished ages ago; and where bread and cheese are as classic as beer and candles, these particulars are localized in the legend.

In the Faro Islands, where the seal is a familiar yet ever-mysterious object, with its human-like eyes, and glossy skin, the wife of supernatural race is a transformed seal. She comes ashore every ninth night, sheds her skin, leaves it on the shore, and dances with her fairy companions. A mortal steals her sealskin dress, and when day breaks, and her companions return to their abode in the sea, compels her to remain and be his wife. Some day he offends her; she recovers her skin and plunges into the sea.

In China, the superstition appears in a Lew-chewan legend mentioned by Dr. Dennys, ['Folk-Lore of China,' 99] which relates how a fairy in the guise of a beautiful woman is found bathing in a man's well. He persuades her to marry him, and she remains with him for nine years, at the end of which time, despite the affection she has for their two children, she 'glides upwards into a cloud' and disappears.
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