Heroines 

Etain

 

Name:  Etain Echraide 'Of the Horses'

 

Properties: Goddess of Horses  Healing Fertility Beauty

 

Races:  Celtic  Tuatha Dé Danann

 

Fathers:  Ailill of Ulster Étar fairy king of Echrad

 

Husbands: Midhir Eochaid Airem 'of the Plough'

 

Daughters: Etain Derbrenn

 

Grand-Daughter: Mess Buachalla

 

Niece: Medb of Connaught

 

Great-Grandson: Conaire Mór son of Mess Buachalla

 

Associated Deities: Aengus Óg

 

Associated Sites: Brí Léith Inber Cíchmaine

 

Associated Herbs, Trees & Fungi: Elder  Flax

 Etain is a quite unusual case in Celtic Mythology in that she has two incarnations.  In the first she is born to human parentage but is sought after by a king of a fairy mound known as Midir who sent his foster son Aengus Óg to ask her hand in marriage.  This causes jealousy from Fuamnach the first wife of Midhir who turns Etain into a pool of water.  Etain then turns into a beautiful purple fly but is again wafted away by Fuamnach and she floats on the air for a thousand and twelve years until she lands in the cup of the wife of Étar and is swallowed.  Étar's wife becomes pregnant and in due time gives birth to a baby girl whom they call Etain.

Thus in her second incarnation Etain is born into a fairy family.  She is then sought after in marriage by Eochaid Airem a human when she is twenty years old.  Midhir her first husband comes to steal her away from Eochaid.  Eventually though she returns to Eochaid.

Stories, Myths & Legends associated with Etain

The Wooing of Etain

Dá Derga's Hostel - Foretales

 

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