The Fairy Glen/The Legend of the Faerie Glen
While there is a real, actual Fairy Glen in Scotland, the Legend of the Faerie Glen [which appears as a prologue in Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband] is my own. It was, however, inspired by my visit to the real Fairy Glen.
If you get the opportunity to visit Scotland, make plans to hike to the Fairy Glen. It’s located on the Black Isle, about a mile north of Rosemarkie. Head north on High Street out of Rosemarkie. You’ll find a carpark [on your left, if I remember correctly]. From there you can hike back into the Fairy Glen on some lovely, well maintained hiking paths.
It IS worth the visit!
The Fairy Glen
The Fairy Glen / The Legend of the Faerie Glen
For anyone who might not have read Thirty Nights with a Highland Husband yet… 🙂
Long, long ago on a beautiful spring day in the Highlands of Scotland, a Prince of the Fae folk peered through the curtain separating his world from that of the mortals. There, deep in a glen Pol thought of as his own, he saw a beautiful young woman gathering herbs. He watched her for a very long time, until her basket was nearly full, and he knew he had fallen in love with this innocent mortal. His love was so great for this woman he was able to slip through a crack in the curtain between their worlds. Pol appeared to the maiden in his true magnificence, making no effort to disguise himself, for he knew she must love him for what he was.
Rose had wandered deep into the forest that day, gathering her herbs, and she had become entranced by the serenity of the glen. When Pol appeared before her, his beauty stole her breath away and she knew at once that this was her own true love.
Pol and Rose dwelt happily in their idyllic glen next to the little stream where first he had seen her. But, after a mortal year together, Pol was forced to return to his own world, for in those days, far in the misty recesses of time, the Fae abided by very strict rules.
One of those rules governed how long one of their own could remain outside the Realm of Faerie. Once returned to his own world, Pol would be unable to pass through the barrier again for a full century. And though one hundred years was nothing in the lifespan of a Fae, Pol knew his Rose would be no more at the end of that time.
Rose returned to her family, knowing her Prince was lost to her forever. At first Rose’s father, the Old Laird, was ecstatic that his little Rose had returned to him, even hearing her fantastic story of the Fae Prince with whom she had spent the past year. Soon, however, it became apparent that Rose was with child, and her father and brothers were furious. Not only was their Rose a ruined woman, but to their way of thinking, she had been defiled by a devious, unholy creature of magic. They began to treat her not as their beloved daughter and sister, but as their most reviled servant.
Rose toiled in the hot kitchens from sunrise to sundown each day and suffered all manner of indignity, but she didn’t care, because her heart was gone from her. Her reason for living had disappeared with Pol.
Meanwhile, Pol could only watch with growing dismay, unable to pass through the curtain separating their worlds, as his beloved Rose slipped further and further away.
Finally the day came when Rose delivered her babes – three strong, healthy, beautiful girls. But Rose, whose spirit was damaged by the loss of her one true love, did not survive their birth. Rose’s father refused to look upon the faces of the infants and decreed that they should be taken deep into the forest and left for the faeries to whom they belonged…or the wolves. He cared not which claimed the infants first.
The Old Laird himself led the small party deep into the forest. As fate would have it, they were in the very same glen where Pol had watched Rose for the first time. The Old Laird ordered the infants be laid on the grassy forest floor near a small, shallow stream. Rose’s brothers, who had each carried an infant, laid the babes on the ground and remounted their horses in preparation to leave the glen.
Pol, watching at the curtain between the worlds, was livid with rage and wracked with grief. Not only was his beloved Rose gone from the world, but now her children, his children, were being cruelly abandoned. His tormented cry of anguish reached his Queen, who, in a rare moment of pity, broke the rules and opened the curtain just enough to allow Pol to slip through.
The wind suddenly began to howl through the tiny glen and thunder rumbled ominously. The ground around the Old Laird’s party heaved and shook, and the Old Laird himself was thrown from his horse to the forest floor. He and his sons watched in horror as boulders pushed up from beneath the earth in the very center of the stream, piling higher and higher, one upon another. There they formed a magnificent waterfall and a deep crystal pool where only moments before a shallow stream had flowed.
Pol rose slowly from the depths of the pool, choosing to play upon the individual terrors of the men by appearing to each of the mortals as that which they most feared.
“I am Pol, a Prince of the Fae. And you,” he swept his arm to include the brothers as well as the father,“have incurred my wrath. Now you will pay the penalty.” His gaze turned to the helpless infants lying nearby, all three strangely quiet and untouched by the tumult around them. “These are my daughters. My blood runs strongly in them.” Pol moved to the infants, gently picking up each one in turn. “I name each of you for your mother, my beloved Rose. For all time, your daughters shall carry a form of her name to insure that her memory will live on in this world forever. I give each of you my mark and my blessing. Know this glen as the home of your mother and your father.”
Pol turned back to the Old Laird. “I charge you with the care and the safety of my daughters.”
“Never,” the Old Laird hissed. “They are yer abominations. You take them. Neither I nor my sons will shelter yer spawn at our hearth.”
“Oh, but you will, old man, and you’ll be grateful to do so.”
The shape of the Fae prince shimmered and grew until it filled the entire glen, surrounding the Old Laird and his sons, weighing them down with the power and the fury of the being they had angered, blocking everything else from their view and their minds.
Pol smiled with evil satisfaction. Well he knew the weaknesses of mortal men. His voice rang in their minds, all the more terrible for not being spoken out loud. “Should you, or any male of the family fail to nurture and protect my daughters, hurt them or allow anyone else to hurt them, prevent them from making their own choices in life, or deprive them of finding their one true love, you shall suffer my curse. You will bear no male offspring. Any sons already living will suffer the same fate. You will be unable to enjoy the intimate company of any female ever again. Your line will die out and your name cease to exist in your world.”
Pol waited for the full impact of his words to sink in to their minds. Then he continued. “My blessing on my daughters, and thus my accompanying curse, will carry forward for all time, passed from mother to daughter. As even the smallest drop of my blood flows in their body, so they will have the power to call on me and all Fae to aid them. My mark upon them and upon all the daughters of their line guarantees all men know the penalty they will suffer for harming my beloved daughters.”
As Pol’s terrible voice reverberated in the minds of the Old Laird and his sons, his form shifted and shimmered around the infants, enveloping them for the first time, and the last, in the emerald glow of his love.
The Old Laird still lay on the ground where he had fallen, trembling with fear. And, although he could not see the infants through the green mist surrounding them, he could hear what sounded impossibly like children’s laughter.
Just before the mist faded, each of the men present felt an ominous warning echo through his mind.
Later, much later, the Old Laird and his sons crept close to the infants to find them sleeping contentedly, each one bearing the mark of the Fae Prince. The Old Laird gently gathered up his granddaughters – for so they must now be to him – and hurried from the glen.
Pol’s daughters grew and prospered and eventually married, having families of their own. In time to come, though many generations of the Fae Prince’s offspring traveled and spread to varied parts of the world, all the men of all the lines continued to honor the Legend of the Fairy Glen.