Outcast sidhe queen
I was still a little girl, about seven years old I think, as the strange man came in our village. Our people gathered to look at him and at his odd horse. I held my little brother by the hand to protect him.
"Is there a young lady with fair hair and black dress among you? Did any of you see her?"
Nobody answered at first. They were all mesmerized by him. He repeated his words three times. "Did any of you see her?" I remember his scream going down my spine; it woke me up with a shudder.
"No, we didn't see the lady, strange man", my grandpa answered, "but it's late and dark and you must be tired and hungry. You are welcome in my house and I'm eager to hear more about her over a hot meal."
"Are you sure, grandpa? He looks rather terrifying", I whispered to him.
"Terrifying? No, I don't think so. It's just that he isn't one of us. And he likes you a lot."
He kept looking at me in a certain way indeed as we sat near the fire in our home.
"Your niece, she is beautiful!"
"I hope I didn't do the wrong thing when I welcomed you in my house, young man. My niece is just a little girl."
"My heart is as shining as my face, old man. She reminds me of my beloved sister, the lady with fair hair and black dress, that's all. I like the little boy too. What's your name?"
"Angus", my brother answered.
"Did their parents die?"
"They don't have parents. I bought them".
"You bought them?"
"Yes, I bought them from a lady".
"What lady? And why did she sell them?"
"She lived inside a hill, miles away from here. I was passing by one day; she sprang up in front of me with the babies and told me she had run out of food and couldn't keep them any longer. She asked for a coin and gave me the babies. Then she vanished from sight."
"Oh, I see..."
"Why don't you tell us more about your lady in black dress?"
"The lady with fair hair was the sidhe queen and her husband was the sidhe king. She loved him more than she loved herself. She promised the king a precious gift; she promised she would give birth to a boy and a girl, with golden hair and skin like the rose petals. And she said their son would command the sun and the moon.
The king's best friend was in love with the queen and had been many times rejected by her. The sidhe women loved him because he was brave and beautiful. When the queen gave birth to her babies, he stole them and replaced them with two hideous cats. He put them in a basket and gave it to the king. <Here you are, my king, your wife's gift, the wondrous babies! As you see, these cats were all that came out of her>.
The king went mad and threw the basket and it rolled on the floor with the cats inside. He called for his wife and they started to argue. She had tears in her eyes. <How can you believe such a horrible thing, my king? He stole my babies. I couldn't have given birth to a pair of cats.>
<But you did! Go away! Leave and never come back!>
<My king, listen to me! This man whom you call your friend, he loves me and he is envious of our happiness...>
<No more! I will hear you no more! Go away!>
This is how she left and went out into the world and I haven't heard from her since then."
"The lady with fair hair and black dress... does she have a name?" grandpa asked.
"Our names are not from this world and can't be uttered here".
We finished eating and he said: "Come with me, the three of you! I'll take you to the woman inside the hill".
"How long is the journey?"
"Shorter than you expect".