At Loch Mask in south Mayo, just east of Joyce Country a prince of the house of Flaithbhertach [Flaherty] climbed with his companion Diarmid over the rugged high passes of these steep mountains.
Cormac went over these passes like a mountain goat sure of foot and needing no breathing space to recover from a climb.
He had firm footing and a silouette of youths full beauty when he stopped , One leg on the mountain path and the other behind in a form of suspended motion, as he paused momentarily to survey the scene, subline and georgeous of the beauty of the land below.
On one side of the pass lay the bright reflective Atlantic in the autum setting sun ,and on the other the untrodden wilds before him from wence the sunbeams had long since disappeared and the mists already runing round the heights and over the distance in vapor.
A moment in Nature never to be forgotten.
He turned to Diarmaid his faithful companion and asked him if the sunset did not forbode a coming storm.
'It truely does', replied Diamid.
'The sweet to know there is an eye to mark our coming'.
And this was true as there was a bright eye awating the arrival of prince Cormac.
This the eye of Eva impatient for the arrival of the Flaherty
as she gazed out over Loch Mask looking for his boat but no distant oar disturbed the calm and quiet lake.
she was jelous of his love and friendships and wanted him by her but for only a moment.
She glanced again over the loch to its distant grey mountains whose names lay undisturbed by detalils which were only discovered by daylight.
The last lone Rook winging its way to the distant wood ,the flickering flight of the Bat by her window,all told Eve of the approaching night. Yet Cormac had not come.
She sighed as only a lover can sigh for the anxious moments waiting for a beloved, and taking up the small harp of her country, with a single row of wire, she played forth a plantive aire of native melody full of tenderness and pathos.
As she played in her dark and silent chamber she came to tears for her lover and alone, she went forward brushing away tears from her beautiful blue eyes,out to the Hall of her society to disapaite her sadness.
As the night closed over Cormac's passage the storm burst upon them as the Atlantic waves burst its furty over the Joyce County mountains.
The wind rising in wild gusts with eddys of dashing rain to deluges of large drops turning the mountain gullies into temporary rivers.
The path so slippery as to render it deadly and dangerous to even the practiced foot.
The prince hero strode on with his attendent Diarmid as the torrents passed on into it wild roar above mighty thunder peels and its blue lightening flashed revealing the deptys of the valley abyss beneith.
Cormac and Diarmid pressed on unawre of the deadly interuption that awaited them.
As they came round a projecing craig of a ravine, a burtal course voice called out,
Cormac stopped instantly and his weopon reached his hand
as his eyes searched for the voice that had dared cross the path of The Flaherty.
He saw no one and called out,
'who was there?', and the cold rude voice called back to him,
'Thy mortal foe.'
The intruder told him he would never behold Eva as his bride and share her bed.
'Thow liest Traitor!' called Cormac '
'Avoid my path for death is in it.'
Thou sayest truth', called the stanger.
'Come on and thy word shall be made good.'
Just than a flash of lighting illuminated the scene and Cormac saw, a few paces before him ,two large armed men .
One of them he recognized as Emman [Edward] O Flaherty.
'Emman Dubh!',cried Cormac .
His name for his black haired cousin.
The two challenged each other and Cormac went foward to meet the midnight waylayer saying.
'I have never wronged you Emman Dubh.'
'Stand by me Daiarmaid.'
and the 2, Emman Dubh and fair Cormac closed in mortal combat.
But,oh foul and treacherous, the fiend had entraped Cormac of the high spirit in an ambuscade.
A third assassin laying in wait as Cormach rushed for the fierce encounter, the annonymous stabed him in the back and laid Cormrac lifeless at the feet of his enemy.
Eva was restless and with each gust of the tempest and each flash of lighting and burst of thunder, her terror was awakened over Cormac, the beloved of her soul, and his exposuer to the storm fury and she hoped he was safe in the castle of some friends, the chara, over the mountains.
The morning came at last and silent witness of the storm's fury were shone.
Branches of a naked tree shorn of its leaf.
The earth strewn with half green, half yellow foliages.
Soft autumn had covered in gold the summer green verdue in evidnece of the early storm, forerunner of the coming autumnal equinox [September 21].
Nature this day was calm and cold.
The mountains dressed in grey and scattered clouds stragling over Heaven as though they had been torn assunder.
The water of the lake ,short and quick lashing on the loch shore, told of the night waves of white foam a few hours before.
A small skiff was surrounded broken on the stand.
This the skiff that was to have brought Cormac to his betroved.
Her father and his freinds all drawing ill omen from the wrecked skiff.
The girl was not told of this discovery but days passed and the father knew his child must be told.
But who will tell her the fatal tale?
But Eve knows from gossiping tongues and dark meanings.
The bewildered Eve knows Cormac is dead and will never come to her. Gone forever.
She was bereft of reason.
Harmeless as a child.
She frequented often the Cave of Cong where a river rose from beneith a low rock. Passed on a strand of peebles and lost itself in the dark recess of the cavern.
This river formed by Loch Mask waters hurrys through its subterranian channell and rises again at Cong, becoming a tributary to Loch Corrib.
Eve remained here for hours believing her lost Cormac had drowned and she hoped to arrest his body as it passed through the Cave of Cong in the subterranian river.
Month after month she watched.
Winter and gentle Spring found her watching by the stream
like a water nymph.
Eventually Eve disappeared and no search could find her.
The broken hearted Eve was never more heard from and the county thereabouts believes the fairys took pity on her devoted love and carried her away to be with her betroved.
from the Legend of Loch Mask by Samuel Lover
copyright 12 April 2011
Legends and Tales of Ireland ,Samuel Lover, RHA ,Simpkins, Marshall Hamilton, Kent and Co, London
Glascow Thomas D Morison, publication undated.