Deirdre

Deirdre

Long, long ago in ancient Ireland, a baby girl was born, and her father named her Deirdre. He took her to the druids and asked them to foretell his infant’s future. The druids looked to the stars and glanced sadly back at the infant. “What do you see?” her father asked anxiously. They answered “This child will cause great trouble. She will grow up to be the most beautiful woman in Ulster, but she will cause the death of many of our men.”

The Red Branch Knights heard of the druids foretelling, and many grew uneasy. They travelled to the King and urged him to take action. King Connor was reluctant to kill the child, but instead decided that Deirdre would be raised far away, and, when the time came, he would take her as his bride. And so Deirdre was sent far away to live with an old woman who cared for her and grew to love her like a daughter.

As foretold, Deirdre did indeed grow into a beautiful woman but she was lonely. One night, the old woman found Deirdre sleepwalking, and she spent the remainder of the night watching over her. In the morning Deirdre told her about a dark haired warrior who had been in her dreams for a month. “He is tall and handsome with raven black hair. His skin is snow white and he is fearless in battle,” she said. The old woman recognised Naoise, one of the sons of Uisneach, from this description and she grew worried. “You must not tell a soul about your dream, for he is Naoise, one of the sons of Uisneach, but you are to be married to King Connor very soon,” she told Deirdre.

Deirdre begged the old woman to send for Naoise so she might meet the man of her dreams, but at first the old woman refused. On seeing that Deirdre grew more sad and unhappy, the old woman relented, and sent for Naoise. Deirdre and Naoise fell in love at once. Deirdre knew she could no longer marry King Connor, so they decided to run away together.

Deirdre and Naoise, along with his brothers, left Ulster and travelled all over Ireland, but nobody would help them as they all feared the wrath of King Connor. Finally, they settled on an island off the coast of Scotland. For 5 years they lived happily on the island, until a messenger arrived one day. He brought a message of King Connor’s forgiveness, and a request for Deirdre and Naoise to return home. Deirdre didn’t trust the King, and wanted to remain on the Island, but Naoise, believing the news, began to prepare for the journey home, as he and his brothers missed Ulster. They set off soon afterwards, but Deirdre was uneasy and begged Naoise to turn back and remain on the Island. Naoise promised her that everything would be fine, and so they carried on. When they arrived in Ulster, they were sent to a fortress of the Red Branch Knights instead of the castle, and Deirdre was convinced it was a trap.

No sooner had they entered the fortress than they were surrounded. Although outnumbered, Naoise and his brothers fought bravely. They were captured and brought before the King. King Connor wanted Naoise and his brothers killed, but none of the Red Branch Knights would kill a fellow knight. Out of the crowd stepped a warrior from another Kingdom, and in one swoop of his sword, cut the heads off Naoise and his brothers. Deirdre’s heart broke with a grief so great that she fell dead upon Naoise’s body.

King Connor had, as Deirdre had suspected, not forgiven them, and had lured Deirdre and Naoise home to kill Naoise and marry Deirdre. Now with Deirdre’s death, he grew even angrier and vowed that, even in death, Deirdre and Naoise would be separated. He buried Naoise in the same grave as his brothers, and in the grave next to him, he buried Deirdre, but then planted a hedge between them.

But upon the graves grew two yew trees, and now, to this day, there stands upon an open field, two yew trees that grew towards and entwined around each other.

Each tree serves as a marker. A reminder of a love so great that even death cannot separate it…

“Empty needles are the pen with which I create my story, yarn is my ink.” – Ruth