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The Story of Pressyne

by Linda Foubister

One day, Elynas, the King of Albany, met a beautiful fairy by a fountain. So lovely was the fairy, who was called Pressyne, that the King fell in love with her and eventually, made her his wife. In time, Pressyne grew heavy with child. During her pregnancy, she made one condition to which King Elynas had to agree that he would not see her while she was in labor. However, in his excitement when he heard that she was giving birth to triplets, he rushed into the birthing chamber to see his new daughters, ignoring the taboo. As a result, a very unhappy Pressyne had to leave the kingdom forever, taking her three daughters with her to the lost Isle of Avalon. King Elynas mourned the loss of his family for seven years; his son, Nathas, by his first wife, became the king.

The three girls, Melusine, Melior, and Palatyne grew up in Avalon. On their fifteenth birthday, the eldest, Melusine, asked why they had been taken to Avalon. Upon hearing how their father had broken his word, forcing them to leave the kingdom, Melusine sought revenge. Together with her sisters, Melusine captured Elynas and locked him, with his riches, in a mountain. Pressyne became enraged when she learned what the girls had done to their father, and punished each of them for their disrespect. Melusine was condemned to take the form of a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. If she found a husband who would agree to never see her on Saturday, she would remain a human woman. But if her husband saw her on a Saturday, she would revert to the serpent form until Judgment Day. Melior had to keep a sparrow hawk in a castle in Armenia until she was rescued, and Palatyne was imprisoned with her father’s treasure on a mountaintop in Arragon.

D’Arras, Jean. Melusine. Edited by A.K. Donald. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Tribner & Co., 1895.
Published for the Early English Text Society, Extra Series 68. New York: Kraus Reprint Co., 1975.

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