Day 14: Favorite Fairytale

November 14, 2011

The Children of Lir
Once, a Celtic king had four handsome and kindly children whom he loved very much. An enchantress grew jealous of the King's love for his children. She lured them away from their home, tricking them into thinking that they were visiting their grandfather.

The enchantress cast a terrible spell on the four children. They morphed into beautiful swans-- and were doomed to spend nine hundred years in swan form, living in three lakes.

Their father's heart was broken, but their sweet songs consoled him.

One version of the story ends with the peal of wedding-bells. A king and queen were married, and the enchantment broke. The swan children found refuge with a saintly monk (for St. Patrick had converted Ireland during their time under the spell).

The children were joyfully baptised, then twisted and turned and changed form...

An old lady and three wrinkled men died in the hermitage. The monk buried them in a peaceful grave.

(Here is a telling of this story. Various versions are described here.)

 I love fairytales so much that I simply couldn't choose one to draw as my favorite fairytale! So I decided not to do an ordinary fairytale.

I'm not sure why I chose The Children of Lir. Perhaps it is because of the beautifully illustrated book that I read it in (The Names Upon the Harp: Irish Myths and Legends by Marie Heaney, illustrated by P.J. Lynch). Perhaps because of the vivid imagry and wonderful drawing-potential. Perhaps it is because of it's bittersweet tradegy... I remember reading this tale when I was fairly young, and it has haunted me in that beautiful way that sad stories do.

30 Day Drawing Challenge at Shealynn's Faerie Shoppe


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  1. Pretty! I always loved this fairytale....(: I'm working on mine still -- East of the Sun and West of the Moon! ^^


  2. Amazing drawing - love the sense of movement from the wings, the hair, the water!

  3. This is so awesome- the way you have the children being changed into swans together, and the wild water. Certainly my favorite of all your challenge drawings so far.

  4. I. Love. The Children of Lir. Have you ever read any books by Juliet Marillier? She writes incredible novels set in ancient Britain, and incorporates a lot of these legends, including this one in...what is it...Daughter of the Forest. I do have to warn you that there are a few clear "breaches of conduct," though usually nothing explicit. Fantastic fantastic books, though.

  5. Beautiful illustration to go with an amazing myth... feeling like I need to start investigating some of these myths and fairy tales... seem like such a rich source of ideas


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