The legend of Midir and Ethain

Fairytale is based on the story of the Fairy King Midir and his love for the beautiful princess Etain. It is a story of great love, jealousy, secrets and endurance, in which Etain is banished and transformed into a pool of water, from which she emerges as a butterfly. Although immortal she is born a mortal child, one thousand and twelve years after her first birth.

After being defeated by the Milesians, the people of Dana built vast palaces inside the hills of Ireland and their country was a land where all the inhabitants will remain young forever and where death and sorrow is unknown.

Midir the Proud was a Faery Prince and he lived on Slieve Callary, a hill near to Dublin. He was married to Fumnach but one day he fell in love with a beautiful maiden called Etain and he married her. Fumnach became jealous of Etain, for her beauty was famous through the land. So she went to a druid and by a magic spell they turned Etain into a butterfly, raised a storm and blew her out of Midir's palace.

For seven years she was forced to fly up and down the country. One day she was blown in through one of the windows of the faery palace of the god of love Angus of the Birds. He recognised Etain since people of the Faery can never be hidden from one another. He couldn't break the spells on her but Angus kept her in his palace and gave her his love.

After some happy years with Angus, Fumnach discovered Etain again, and again she sent a tempest blowing her all around Ireland. She got into the palace of the King of Leinster during a banquet, fell off a beam where she was resting for a while and dropped into a goblet of wine that the Queen drank.

Nine months later Etain was born again as the King's daughter and apparently a mortal child. She was named Etain and she grew up as beautiful as she was before.

The High King of Ireland at that time was looking for a wife and while he was out hunting one day he saw Etain and married her. They lived in happiness until the Great Assembly at Tara.

Midir encircled Etain with his right arm and gently they were wafted up in the air and out through a window.

On the first day of the Reunion, Etain was out watching the games when a rider on a white steed came towards her. Only the maiden could see him and hear the invitation that he gave her to come back with him to the land of Youth. He was Midir the Proud, her first love. But Etain couldn't remember her past and answered that she was happy with her husband and needed his permission to come.

After a few days Midir the Proud came back again and challenged the king to play the game of chess with him. Midir lost the first two battles but won the 3rd and he had the right to ask a stake. He asked to the King to have one kiss from his wife Etain. The king told him to come back one month later and he could obtain his stake. Until the day that Etain saw Midir, she began to recall her past with her loved Midir and loved him again. Then came the day in which Midir could obtain his stake but the King surrounded his palace and all the hill of Tara with armed hosts.

In the meanwhile the High King was inside the palace and was having a feast with his nobles and warriors; Etain was serving the wine to their guests. Suddenly Midir appeared in the middle of the banquet, with all his power and beauty. He encircled Etain with his right arm and gently they were wafted up in the air and out through a window. When the king and his nobles rushed out of the door, all they could see were two white swans flying over the palace.