Groach (Fair Haired) Gorgates, Farates, Macralle dAïve (Water Witch)Come lawyer, come miller, come tailor, come singer! cried she, holding out a net of steel; and at each summons a fish appeared and jumped into the net. When it was full she went into a large kitchen and threw them all into a golden pot; but above the bubbling of the water Houarn seemed to hear the whispering of little voices. Who is it whispering in the golden pot, Groach? he inquired at last.
It is nothing but the noise of the wood sparkling, she answered. ...he remained apart and watched the Groach while she emptied the fish into a plate, and bade him eat his dinner while she fetched wine from her cellar in a cave.
Houarn sat down and took out the knife which Bellah had given him, but as soon as the blade touched the fish the enchantment ceased, and four men stood before him. Houarn, save us, we entreat you, and save yourself too! murmured they, not daring to raise their voices.
Why, it must have been you who were crying out in the pot just now! exclaimed Houarn. Yes, it was us, they answered. Like you, we came to the isle of Lok to seek our fortunes, and like you we consented to marry the Groach, and no sooner was the ceremony over than she turned us into fishes, as she had done to all our forerunners, who are in the fish-pond still, where you will shortly join them.
On hearing this Houarn leaped into the air, as if he already felt himself frizzling in the golden pot. He rushed to the door, hoping to escape that way; but the Groach, who had heard everything, met him on the threshold. Instantly she threw the steel net over his head, and the eyes of a little green frog peeped through the meshes.
|They can be men or women with green eyes who tend cattle and do chores. They can change into fish, swans, boats, or sea-monsters with green teeth. To find the body of drowned man people put a wax candle on a loaf of bread and float it on the pond or river. The groach will then lead them to it. They have a stone that represents the sun. |
Their Queen lives on the Isle of Lok near Brittany. It is one of the Glénans islands. Her underwater palace is made of shells: blue, pink, lilac, green and white shading into each other till you cannot tell where one color ends and the other begins. It has a crystal tinkling staircase and a garden of anenomes and diamonds.
She sits on a golden couch wearing a green silk dress, tends her pink skin, and combs her long black hair intertwined with strings of coral. Her second hall has walls and floors made of pearls and is filled with fruit and wine. Her treasures come from shipwrecks and are brought by the current. Her husband is the red-haired Korandon who made a magic green velvet suit lined with white satin out of a cabbage for the goddess Bellah to rescue Houarn: Iron with. The Queen had changed Houarn into a little green frog and placed him in her magic net at her garden fishpond. (6, 79, 84, 197)
The island was large, and lying almost across it was a lake, with a narrow opening to the sea. Houarn paid the boatman and sent him away, and then proceeded to walk round the lake. At one end he perceived a small skiff, painted blue and shaped like a swan, lying under a clump of yellow broom. As far as he could see, the swans head was tucked under its wing, and Houarn, who had never beheld a boat of the sort, went quickly towards it and stepped in, so as to examine it the better. But no sooner was he on board than the swan woke suddenly up; his head emerged from under his wing, his feet began to move in the water, and in another moment they were in the middle of the lake. As soon as the young man had recovered from his surprise, he prepared to jump into the lake and swim to shore. But the bird had guessed his intentions, and plunged beneath the water, carrying Houarn with him to the palace of the Groach.