Wednesday, 12 August 2009

The Legend of Ballintoy Bay

Ballintoy - that haven of liberty and fun-tastic times - is also the location of a little known legend that stems from the Bodensee in Germany and ends in Greenisland...
...Once Upon A Time (this is starting to sound like T.F.A.O.L-M-P!) there was a wealthy family living on the north coast of N Ireland, in a fabulous manor house overlooking Ballintoy Harbour and Sheep Island. They were healthy and happy, the parents and their six wonderful children lived in peace and in love until one tragic day the parents were killed by the children's evil Aunt who usurped the manor and lands and exiled the children to work in far off lands. The poor little orphans were bundled onto a ship bound for unknown lands but on the third day of their voyage, after much weeping, wailing and struggling the youngest child escaped from her bonds and ran onto the deck of the ship and cried out for help. Her cry was heard by a water nymph who came to the aid of the small child and asked how she could help, the child explained that she and her siblings were being sent away from their family home to work as slaves. The water nymph promised to help the children and though she could not magic them home she devised a plan whereby she would turn the children into dolphins so they could swim home to their beloved Ballintoy and the moment their fins touched the secluded, sandy shore of Ballintoy Bay they would turn back into their human form and could claim back their ancestral home. The children happily agreed and as the nymph promised, she transformed the children who swam delightedly homewards to their beloved Ballintoy.

However, their wicked Aunt was also a sorceress and once she heard of the imminent return of her nieces and nephews she ran to the coastline and kept watch night and day for the return of the six dolphin-children, seeing them from afar she set her own spell upon the children, that they would never again return to their human form but the moment they reached the shore they would shrink to the size of ants and turn to stone, where they would be overcome by the waves crashing on the beach and the children would surely drown. But her spell was not powerful enough to entirely overthrow the nymph's spell and so the moment they came ashore the dolphin-children shrunk to the size of ants and turned not to stone but to steel and were frozen in suspended animation so that they could neither breathe nor drown. The cruel Aunt ran to the waters-edge to ascertain the fate of her unfortunate nieces and nephews but as she leant forward the water nymph leapt out of the water, threw her cold arms around the Aunt's neck and dragged her down into the depths of the ocean and she was never heard of again.
But as for the children, their tiny steely-dolphin forms were swept out to see and carried by the ebbing and flowing of the tides across the wide world for 6 long centuries when they were finally washed up on a stony beach and were discovered by a master-crafter of fine jewellery who was travelling through the south of France. He picked up each little steel dolphin and carried them back to his home in Germany were he gently and lovingly crafted them into a delicate and delightful child's anklet.

Not long after that a small, ginger girl from the north of Ireland happened upon a shop in the Bodensee where she was holidaying with her family. The little girl instantly fell in love with the dolphin anklet and purchased the item and treasured it above all her possessions. But as fate would have it, one day when she had returned to her homeland and was spending a fun-filled weekend away with her cousies she happened to travel down to a sleepy fishing village just outside Coleraine, known as Ballintoy. She and her cousies decided to go swimming in the cove, formerly known as Ballintoy Bay, and watch the sunrise. Before entering the water she carefully removed her anklet, not wanting to wet the chain, and leaving it with her clothes, happily plunged into rollers and enjoyed hours of fun and frivolity with her family. Upon returning to the pile of clothes she left abandoned on the beach she discovered her dolphin anklet had gone! She searched frantically up and down the strand, in great distress at the loss of her beloved anklet but she would never find it. For the dolphin-children having returned to their homeland and in delight had slipped away from the girl and once they gained the familiar waters beneath their home they turned back into living dolphins and frolicked with joy and they lived out all their lives below the sea cliffs of Ballintoy.

Now the young girl grew up but she kept her love for the anklet dolphins with her and even when she returned, years later, to the Bodensee she went in search of more dolphin anklets. And though she did find others, none ever resembled nor meant as much to her as the one she bought all those years ago. As an adult her love of jewellery resulted in her crafting jewellery as a hobby and she knew that she must recreate a dolphin anklet to remind her of the one that was lost. And this is it...
The ginger girl always remembers her anklet with fondness and whenever she travels to the north coast she is always on the lookout for six dolphins playing among the waves, though she has not seen one even to this day. But, dear reader, she has never given up hope that perhaps one day, maybe darting through the moonlight reflected on the waves, or smoothly sailing through the first golden rays of sunrise, gilding the rippling water, she will spot the dorsal fin of one of her darling dolphins - fun-loving, free and fabulous! And They All Lived Happily Ever After. The End.





  2. Poogie, you're in fine fettle, of fabulous fantasies! Wonderful tale, and I love to read of evil getting its just desserts, best part :-gone forever where she can do no more harm! Yeah! When's the book coming out????

  3. Loved it poog! I kept trying to anticipate the ending but you had me surprised anyway!
    ps - nice anklet! :)