This section is from the book "Legendary Fictions Of The Irish Celts", by Patrick Kennedy. Also available from Amazon: Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts.
Killarney's fair lake was formed under the following romantic circumstances-the historian omitting to state whether the inhabitants that dwelt beneath the level of its present waves were good or bad, or distinguished by an uncomfortable mixture of both qualities. A knight from foreign parts wooed the fair daughter of a man of the valley, rich in corn-fields and cattle, and earnestly urged her to depart with him to his rath in the north. He made no particular mention of the marriage ceremony, so she, while taking no pains to conceal her love, gave him decidedly to understand that, unless as his married wife, she would never quit her native vale in his company. He had a short struggle between his innate pride of chieftaincy and the deep love he bore to the pure-minded maid. At last he came to her house as evening was closing in, and gladdened the hearts of her parents by earnestly requesting the hand of their fair daughter. On inquiring where she was at the moment, he learned that she had gone to the fairy well for water, as was the custom of the young women of the valley. Thither he hastened without delay, and found two of her handmaids just leaving the fountain with their vessels balanced on their heads, and their forms gracefully swaying under them as they proceeded home. Before she could express displeasure or surprise, he told in abrupt and eager tones where he had been, and what he had done, and in a moment she could think of nothing but her 'new-found happiness. Her half-filled pitcher was forgotten, and in the cool evening they walked about on the russet turf, between the rocks and bushes ; and in talking over their bliss, the time went by unmarked. At last a sudden recollection of her neglect, and of the fatal nature of the gifted spring, rushed on her mind. She shrieked aloud, and, quitting her lover's arm, she rushed down the side of the hill. But on looking towards the spring, she found a sheet of water surrounding the little eminence, and a bubbling flood bursting upwards where the still fluid was peacefully lying within its circular wall only a quarter of an hour before. She would have awaited death where she stood, so much was she overpowered with remorse for her fault, but such was not the purpose of her knight. Lifting her on his shoulders, he dashed through the channel nearest the neighbouring slope, and bore her still alive to her home. The dismayed dwellers in the valley had time to gain the heights before their dwellings were covered with the water ; but the young maiden was denounced. The legend leaves us in ignorance of the after-fortunes of the lovers.
A once king of Cork and all his household are still living in comfortable seclusion at the bottom of the Lough of Cork, which burst out, as in the other instances, on account of the negligence of a domestic.
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