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for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: Ill
THE SWAN-CHILDREN OF LIR KING LIR of Erin had four young children
who were cared for tenderly at first by their stepmother, the new
queen; but there came a time when she grew jealous of the love
their father bore them, and resolved that she would endure it no
longer. Sometimes there was murder in her heart, but she could not
bear the thought of that wickedness, and she resolved at last to
choose another way to rid herself of them. One day she took them to
drive in her chariot: ? Finola, who was eight years old, with her
three younger brothers, ? Aodh, Fiacre, and little Conn, still a
baby. They were beautiful children, the legend says, with skins
white and soft as swans' feathers, and with large blue eyes and
very sweet voices. Reaching a lake, she told them that they might
bathe in the clear water; but so soon as they were in it she struck
them with a fairy wand, ? for she was of the race of the Druids,
who had magical power,?and she turned them into four beautiful
snow-white swans. But they still had human voices, and Finola said
to her, " This wicked deed of thine shall be punished, for the doom
that awaits thee will surely be worse than ours." Then Finola
asked, " How long shall we be in the shape of swans?" "For three
hundred years," said the woman, "on smooth Lake Darvra; then three
hundred years on the sea of Moyle " (this being the sea between
Ireland and Scotland); " and then three hundred years at Inis
Glora, in the Great Western Sea" (this was a rocky island in the
Atlantic). " Until the Tailkenn (St. Patrick) shall come to Ireland
and bring the Christian faith, and until you hear the Christian
bell, you shall not be freed. Neither your power nor mine can now
bring you back to human shape; but you shall keep your human reason
and your Gaelic speech, and ...
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