In the early days of the proud country of Ireland, there lived a young girl whose name is unknown. She was loved by her family very much and could sing as beautifully as the morning birds, which found home in the forest by the meadow where her family’s small cottage lay. The young girl’s family could never truly be depressed with her beautiful melodies of life and enchantment.
And yet, they could never live without the hardships that come with life. Poverty struck the family one day when most of their prized cattle suddenly and mysteriously died of sickness. The girl’s family’s wealthy title disappeared from existence. Soon, they could only depend upon their last cow, Ta suil, or Hope. The young girl knew Ta suil was old and would soon die, so she did the only thing she knew she could do.
One morning, she woke up earlier than usual and sneaked out to the forest. The dense forest kept her from seeing the sky above, so she could not tell the time. Flowers bloomed along the trees, and the forest smelled ever so sweet. It was once she went deeper into the woods that she reached her destination. The trees thinned out upon the clearing that formed a perfect circle. In the middle of that circle, lay a pattern of small rocks slightly bigger than the girl’s fist. She walked up to the circle of stones; she dared not step inside for her own family’s sake. The rocks marked a fairy, or sidhe, rath.
The sidhe were believed to live everywhere in Ireland. The girl had just chanced upon this when she was a small lass. She had kept it secret through so many years because she knew sidhe did not always liked to be troubled by the giant people that farmed the land. If the sidhe were to get annoyed, they would either turn people into mushrooms or rocks. Thankfully, none were seen around the circle.
The young girl cleared her throat and started to sing.
“Fairy, Fairy can’t you see,
Fairy, Fairy I call on thee.
Fairy, Fairy I need you now,
Fairy, Fairy before you I shall bow.
I sing you this song,
Even though I have done no wrong.
Fairy, Fairy I ask you one thing,
In return, I shall do anything.”
And she kept singing her song multiple times. After she finished, she caught a tiny spark of glittering light in the middle of the circle. Replacing the light was the outline of a tiny figure with wings. Soon the outline became a small person in a small dress of what looked like a rainbow.
This creature shined radiantly. The sidhe was a tiny girl that could live in a doll house. The sidhe looked crafty as she smirked up at the girl. And through her tiny voice she said, “I shall give you what you desire, but you must give me and my sisters something in return.” Confused, the girl replied intrigued, “Sisters?” Then, two dozen more sidhe appeared just as beautiful as the first.
Never before had the girl seen so many sidhe at once. Actually, that was the first time she had seen sidhe. “Name your price, we will grant it,” said the sidhe. The girl gave her request deep thought and exclaimed, “My family’s cattle are perishing. We only have one left, and when she dies, we will starve to death. If it does not trouble you, could you make it to where we will never have less than a dozen cattle? And so they don’t grow sick or die but stay healthy until their day to die?”
After deep consideration, the sidhes agreed with the terms to the girl’s wish. But, they added an extra feature to the wish. Since they loved the girl’s singing, they made her invulnerable to disease. When the young girl arrived home, Ta suil was accompanied with by seven bulls and four cows in the pasture. Joy filled the girl’s heart from the gifts the sidhe had given her and her family. Her family was stupefied when they woke up to see the new members of the herd.
Years went by, and the young girl grew to be a beautiful woman. The cattle herd grew larger and larger until the girl’s family was legendary. She still lived with her family, and she still sang to the sidhe. But she told no one of the sidhe raft. The woman’s voice grew even more harmonious than when she was younger.
But one year, her family grew ill of galar-brecc, or the speckled disease, which was a common plague throughout Ireland, but the woman never caught even the slightest cough from her loved ones. But soon, they all died from the deadly plague. The woman denied to sing to anyone or anything. Despair filled her heart. Her only wish was to grieve all day and night. And through those lonely hours, she cried, moaned, and cursed Fin Bheara, the king of the dead, for taking her family.
One final day, she sold her family’s herd and burned her family’s house, because no one would buy a house that had once held the plagued. And one final time, she walked the trail to the sidhe raft. The sidhe were most cheerful to her for she had not been to the raft for days because of her grief for her family.
After her arrival, they could see the sadness that shined like the pale moon on her face. So they did something so very magical. They changed the woman into one of themselves for that was what they wanted from her from the deal she made with the sidhe so many years ago. The woman, now a tiny sidhe, no longer roamed in her grief and from then on sang for her new family. And since she was a sidhe; she could live forever with her fellow sisters.
Some say she is just a myth, but there are those that live in Ireland and say they can hear the woman’s harmonious melody among the morning birds that live in the forest of the sidhe. So if you ever hear the strange melody of a woman, know that sidhes are near and that they love to enjoy beautiful singing.
The Singing Girl and the Sidhes
December 5, 2014