I posted this over on the FaerieWorlds Tribe in a thread titled “Your story as a faerie tale”. It was intended as a prologue, but there wasn’t much interest. The story has run with me now and I can’t keep from continuing it, so I thought I would do it here.
Once upon a time, there was a man named Dubh Dá Leine who lived in the Islands of Western Scotland. He had three sons .i. Erc, Echbél and Finn Srianmhór. Erc was an excellent sailor and the sea called to him in Winter as in Summer. Echbél was a bard and a judge, who excelled at poetry, jurisprudence and all forms of learning, but he left the islands for the sake of foreign lore in the wide world and was not heard from again. Finn was good with horses and it was from his ability to tame any horse that he got his name Srianmhór: Great Bridle.
Their father’s wife was a jealous woman who was also a powerful poetess and because Dubh Dá Leine’s sons were not hers, she took a great disliking to them. Dubh Dá Leine was a great man for fighting and loved nothing more than standing at the headlands watching for raiding parties of Pictish warriors, as these promised the greatest challenge. Some say that, as he stood watching from the top of Beann Dá Fhíthich on Aídhche Shamhna, the mountain was opened beneath him. There he saw a bright woman among a throng emerge and, watching her closely, followed the host through the country and back into the mountain. As told in Togail Glinn na Gall Uaine, there he performed three great feats in seeking her out, won her favor, and she gave him the three sons .i. Erc, Echbél and Finn Srianmhór. After a full year in the mountain, Dubh Dá Leine returned home on the same night he left, and it was this that caused the jealousy of his wife .i. that he should bring home three boys who were none of hers and for that she cursed them.
This then was the curse laid on the Trí Mhic Dubha Dá Leine in the time of Nennius, apostle to the Southern Picts, and Martin, the soldier-saint: that they should die far from their father’s lands and that each son to the end of seventy-two generations should always die in a land different from that of their birth.
Since I wrote this post I have updated and expanded this story. The updated version will be available in a different category.