Explorations Into Liminality
“and there came an arm and a hand above the water and met it and caught it, and so shook it thrice and brandished it, and then vanished away the hand with the sword in the water.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Sometimes She Sank, Sometimes She Swam

For long and long have I been captivated by the murder ballad of The Miller and the King's Daughter. There are many and more names this story goes by; The Twa Sisters, The Wind and Rain, The Cruel Sister, The Bonny Swans, and on. It is first known to have surfaced in 1656 and over time and geography has many varied versions. Passion crime, wicked siblings, impossible enchantments...the perfect story to share on a day celebrating Irish heritage!


A jealous elder sibling drowns her fair young sister over the want of a man, allowing her to wash away down the river. Her body, water-borne, seems to be a dead swan upon the current. She is found and transformed into an enchanted harp, which sings of a sister's treachery.


I believe the first I heard of this song was a version by Clannad, but I am not certain it wasn't the Jerry Garcia Band which introduced me to the tale. There are so many artists who have performed one of the traditional versions, but some have re-written the themes into their own version, which is what I share today from Loreena McKennitt. This video is glorious; rich with medieval and fairytale imagery, and Loreena's haunting voice.





So here I present my Steampunk assemblage interpretation of a tragic tale, but one full of magic and gorgeous imagery.


Steampunk Fairytale Bonny Swan Necklace, by Mermaiden Creations

4 comments:

Gypsy Moon Art Studio said...

I love that tale and am so taken by Loreena's music. It makes for perfect listening when soaking in the tub with a glass of wine.

Your piece is just gorgeous! You know I am a fan of all things steamy. Love it!

Faerie♥Kat said...

I adore Loreena and your interpretation of this ballad is stupendous!

stregata said...

Love your piece! The irish harp as a dangle is perfect!

Medieval Muse said...

I so love the threads of inspiration and how we each interpret them to make something individual and unique:)

This video by Loreena is one of my favorites and I've seen the Hunt for the Unicorn tapestries at the Cloisters in NYC. Incredible!