A Book of Myths

Page: 146

At length the three hundred years on the Sea of Moyle came to an end, and the swans flew to Ivros Domnann and the Isle of Glora in the western sea. And there they had sufferings and hardships to bear that were even more grievous than those that they had endured on the Sea of Moyle, and one night the snow that drifted down upon them from the ice was scourged on by a north-west wind, and there came a moment when the three brothers felt that they could endure no more.

But Finola said to them:

“It is the great God of truth who made both land and sea who alone can succour us, for He alone can wholly understand the sorrows of our hearts. Put your trust in Him, dear brothers, and He will send us comfort and help.”

[Pg 302] Then said her brothers: “In Him we put our trust,” and from that moment the Lord of Heaven gave them His help, so that no frost, nor snow, nor cold, nor tempest, nor any of the creatures of the deep could work them any harm.

When the nine hundred years of their sorrowful doom had ended, the children of Lîr joyously spread their wings and flew to their father’s home at Shee Finnaha.

But the house was there no more, for Lîr, their father, was dead. Only stones, round which grew rank grass and nettles, and where no human creature had his habitation, marked the place for which they had longed with an aching, hungry longing, through all their weary years of doom. Their cries were piteous as the cries of lost children as they looked on the desolate ruins, but all night they stayed there, and their songs were songs that might have made the very stones shed tears.

Next day they winged their way back to Inis Glora, and there the sweetness of their singing drew so many birds to listen that the little lake got the name of the Lake of the Bird-Flocks. Near and far, for long thereafter, flew the swans, all along the coast of the Western Sea, and at the island of Iniskea they held converse with the lonely crane that has lived there since the beginning of the world, and which will live there until time is no more.

And while the years went by, there came to Erin one who brought glad tidings, for the holy Patrick came [Pg 303] to lead men out of darkness into light. With him came Kemoc, and Kemoc made his home on Inis Glora.

At dawn one morning, the four swans were roused by the tinkle of a little bell. It was so far away that it rang faintly, but it was like no sound they had ever known, and the three brothers were filled with fear and flew hither and thither, trying to discover from whence the strange sound came. But when they returned to Finola, they found her floating at peace on the water.