Ilana at Benbulbin by Otilia Tena


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SUMMARY: A married woman falls in love with a Sidhe. A fairytale.

Ilana in between
Version inspired by Benbulbin

We were three sisters, and I was Ilana, the most beautiful, or so they said, the young men in Grange. We used to haunt the whereabouts of the mountain and we named this wild berries search. And then, after a while, my heart grew each day heavier and a sick, at first slight torment took hold of me; I longed for something and couldn't tell what it was; and I was more ravished each day.
One day my sisters left me far behind and I got lost. I thought they would come back in the end and so I paused and sat down on a pile of branches, waiting for them.
"The less you come here, the better. A young man here wants to take you away."
My sisters decided I should stay more with mother and never leave with them again. If they had been able to, they would've confined me and hidden me from the whole world. Each day I grew more and more wretched and wept the nights away. One afternoon I was home with my mother and she got sleepy and took to bed. All of a sudden, I was back to the mountain.
"Can you help me? I think I got lost. I want home but I can't find my way back."
"Come with me, I've been longing for you for so long!"
"I can't, I will marry him."
"Then put this belt round your waist and dance and be happy and remember me that day!"
How on earth can someone render days withering little by little? And weakness? And the engulfing night approaching? And insane feelings which tear you to pieces? How can someone render all of this?
The wedding day came and they were all dancing, me with my husband too. And so I remembered him and put my belt and in a second stood right by him again.
"Wellcome back, you're no more Ilana."
"I am Ilana!"
"Not any longer. You're one of our kind."
"Let me say good-bye to them!"
"Too late."
Our favorite shelter was a rotten shattered cottage where we danced the days away. An old man saw us there one day and we all hurried out and I forgot my belt. I came back for it.
"Give me the belt!"
"Only if you tell me your name!"
"We haven't got names. Give me the belt!"
"You once knew me. Come back home! Your mother died, your sisters died and I'm old and lonely."
"I don't know who you are. I'm not coming back!"
The old man gave the belt to me and left and nobody disturbed us ever since. I often gaze at the path he went away by; I don't know where it leads to, any longer. I know that path and I might try it someday.