Most of us are familiar with the common fairytales we were told as children. The stories of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Rapunzel and more. However, there are so many more myths and fairytales to be explored than just those popularised by movie production companies. In our last article, we explored the lessons from the Nixie, and in this one, we focus on a sacred Irish myth which is often told as a fairy tale.
The Children of Lir
I won’t go into too much detail about this ancient sacred myth from Ireland. It’s a sad tale of love, mistrust, envy and faith.
The focus of the story is on four children who’s step mother casts a spell on them, turning them into swans. Destined to never be reunited with their father (Lir) in human form, the swans are still able to use their human voices to sing.
Hearing of what his wife has done, Lir visits the lake where the swans are and spends hours listening to them sing. Word spreads and others come to listen to the stories they sing.
Hundreds of years pass and after travels to other places and people learning of the swans, their story ends with the swans being released from the spell. They are transformed into to their human form, as children, who then quickly age and die. The three old men and one old woman are all buried together.
Whilst I haven’t relayed even half the story, there are two life lesson we can learn from it.
Firstly, using our voice in positive ways. In the story, the swans sing and it’s a blissful sound they make. Initially they sing their story to tell their father what’s happened to them, however their songs are full of light and love. They’re truthful, positive and expressive. They’re beautiful sounds.
The story teaches us that using our voice in positive ways, telling our story and speaking truthfully leads to people wanting to listen to what we have to say.
There’s that old chestnut our parents used to tell us – if you haven’t got anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. The Children of Lir echoes this and it’s a good reminder for us in 2020 to reflect on our behaviours and how we intend to use our voice this year.
The second lesson is about following our direction and the journey we’re being taken on. The swans in the tale fly away from their home as seasons change or their time spent in one location ends. They were destined to spend hundreds of years in one location, however when they fly somewhere new, it’s this change that brings them opportunity.
By going beyond the comfort of the lake they know and are so familiar with, their experiences and possibilities are opened up enormously. And it’s through this journey that they meet someone who breaks the spell.
We never know where our journeys will take us; we just have to be prepared to follow the direction our life is taking and trust the journey is the right one.
This may mean stepping out of our comfort zone, but if The Children of Lir tells us anything, it’s that it can lead us to where we need to be. Somewhere we will be rewarded with what we are seeking.
This is the second in our fairytale series and a good reminder of two important life lessons. Thanks for reading. I had never heard of this myth until recently, so if you’re like me and interested to read more, here are some useful links. There are many more, I’ve just plucked three to get you started.