|The Lady of Man
Author: witchcat PM
A myth about the Celtic sea god Manannan and the Isle of Man.Rated: Fiction T - English - Tragedy - Words: 1,198 - Reviews: 2 - Favs: 2 - Follows: 1 - Published: 08-19-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2944823
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Once upon a time, there was a small, lonely island in a large, unforgiving sea. The people lived in harmony with the sea, and they were largely dependent on its life-giving waters. The island was ruled over by a noble king known as Lord Ronan. He made sure that his people wanted for nothing and he made sure that the laws his forefathers had set were upheld. His reign brought about a golden age for the people and the island flourished. The fish were always plentiful and it rarely stormed.
But Lord Ronan was sad. His wife, Andreca was as barren as the great chalk hills to the east. As Lord Ronan grew older, he became desperate for an heir, but he dare not break his wedding vows. He prayed every day to the great god Lir in hope that the god would provide him with a child. As days turned to weeks and weeks turned to months, Ronan feared that the royal bloodline would dry out.
One day, Lord Ronan woke long before the sun rose to make his daily offering to Lir. As he walked down the peaceful shoreline, he came across an infant, no more than a year old. It was a baby girl, her hair as blonde as a Scandinavian's and her eyes as blue as the ocean. The child sat calmly on the shore, the waves gently lapping at her dress. Lord Ronan took the child back to his wife and they decided to keep her. They named her Mona and they raised her as if she were their own flesh and blood.
Lady Andreca taught Mona to dance with all the grace of the sea and to cook the food that the ocean provided for them. Lord Ronan taught her to govern the people with both strictness and kindness. He taught her the laws their forefathers had set down and the language of the Gaels to the north and the Anglos to the east as well as the native tongue of their people. Mona's birth was celebrated by the entire island and the people rejoiced.
Mona grew up into a beautiful young woman. She was so beautiful, in fact, that many people believed her to be the most beautiful maiden on the island and possibly in the entire world. She had a kind, gentle heart, and the islanders loved her. Young men fawned over her gorgeous face and women envied her exotic hair and fair features.
Her face wasn't flawless, however. On her left cheek was a large, unsightly mole. Although it bothered some people, it didn't worry Mona. Her parents had taught her that beauty had nothing to do with how skilled a ruler was, and she believed them.
When Mona turned sixteen, her parents urged her to find a husband. Many men fancied her, but her thoughts were elsewhere. Ever since she was a child, the sea had been calling to her. As she grew older, her every thought was drowned out by the sound of the waves lapping at the shore. She never slept on stormy nights, preferring rather to stay awake and listen to the sound of the rain pounding against the castle walls and the waves crashing into the rocks far below.
As word spread across the island that Princess Mona was looking for a husband, men from all over the tiny kingdom flocked to the castle, eager to please the princess's parents. But word also spread amongst the fair folk that inhabited the forests of the island. The Fairy Queen Fand heard of Mona's indescribable beauty, and she, in turn, told her son Manannan, Lord of the Sea, of the princess. Wanting to see Mona's beauty for himself, Manannan took the form of a mortal man and traveled to the castle where Mona was to give a speech.
When Manannan arrived at the castle, Mona was already standing out on a balcony, her graceful body swathed in a flowing silk gown and her pale hair shining in the sun. He was immediately taken aback by her beauty and he was determined to make her his wife. Manannan summoned a divine wind that blew in Mona's face and whispered in her ear.
From that day forward, all Mona could think of was the sea. She knew that if she didn't answer the ocean's call, she would go insane. So, she approached her parents one day and told them her wishes.
"Father," she said, her heart both heavy with grief and full of excitement. "I'm going out to sea and I'm never coming back. Her father, of course became furious.
"You are the future of this kingdom, Mona, and I will not allow you to abandon your duties on a whim like this!" To prevent her from leaving, Lord Ronan locked Mona away in her room, only allowing her to come out to greet potential suitors.
Manannan, however, was angered by this turn of events. He berated the island with vicious storms every day and he chased away the fish. The people began to grow hungry, and the storms terrified them. Nobody left their homes for fear of being swept away by the fearsome gale. Lord Ronan, at his wits' end, turned to the great god Lir, the father of Manannan and the ruler of the great river that flowed across the Earth's surface.
"Please, Lir!" he cried while the wind and rain buffeted his face and the sea raged before him. "Please, stop this! I will give you anything, even my own life if it means you will end this torture!" Lir shook his head sadly, wanting nothing more than to stop the madness that his son had caused.
"I am sorry, my friend, but this is not my doing. My son, Manannan has caused these storms, and he doesn't intend to stop until he gets what he desires."
"And what is that, my lord?" Lord Ronan asked, already knowing the answer.
"He wishes to make your daughter his wife," the great god explained. "I am sorry, my friend, but this is the way it must be. Just as Mona was born from the sea, so she must return."
Even though it pained the old king greatly, he released his daughter from her prison. As soon as she was free, Mona fled to the great rock cliffs behind the castle. She spread her arms wide and breathed in the salty sea air as the storm tore at her hair and gown, soaking her from head to toe. Unable to resist the call of the sea any longer, she plummeted into the ocean, laughing in unbridled joy as the waves engulfed her body.
Manannan, finally appeased, ceased the storm and looked upon his new wife's face. However, what he saw filled him with rage and disgust. His wife's face, which he had expected to be perfect and flawless, was instead adorned by the most hideous blemish he had ever laid eyes on. Disgusted, he summoned the storm once more and left, handing over Mona's body to the vast, unforgiving sea.