Water Horse Myth in Abios | World Anvil

Water Horse

The story of the Water Horse, or the Legend of Walter Cyns, is told to the children throughout most of the Kingdom of Laskea. The story originated from the naming of the Cyns Grove, a small forest surrounding Troah Lake in northern Laskea lying just to the east of the small hamlet of Hirane. The source of the myth has been traced back to a man known as Walter Cyns, the individual that the forest is named after, and his experience with what has become known today as a Water Horse.
Walter Cyns is known as a folk legend to many in Laskea as a debonair young man that was said to have been a part of the original settlers of Hirane. It is said that while the settlers made their way along the northern edge of Troah Lake, Walter -- who was naturally leading the caravan -- kept witnessing a lone white horse running along the edge of the forest that came to the lake's edge. His braggadocious side got the better of him, and he swore to the settlers that before they made camp that eve, that horse would surely be his.
He set out along the forest's edge and sought to capture and tame the wild horse. The tale of what happened next varies depending on the tale-teller. Some say they battled and Walter Cyns eventually wore the beast out and managed to mount it. Some say the horse was coy, and led Walter further into the forest until both were exhausted. Regardless, the end of the tale always ends with the settlers last spotting Walter Cyns riding atop the white stead laughing and yipping with glee as the horse plunged into the lake, disappearing with Walter clinging tightly. Walter never returned, and in his honor, the settlers named the forest Cyns Grove.
Since that time, people have learned of the existence of Water Horses, or Kelpies, and seek to warn their children of wandering off with solicitous strangers. The musicians of Hirane eventually developed a song that speaks of a daughter of a poor farmer out seeking to bring the cattle in for the evening. It is a cautionary tale designed to discourage youth from being too trusting in amorous male strangers seeking their company.
The villagers of Hirane sing a haunting song related to the water-horse of Cyns Grove.
Love, let me home to my mother
Love, let me home to my mother
Darling, let me home to my mother

Love, let me home
to my mother
I only came for the cattle.
It was only last night
That I heard that my love was herding
And though you found me at the perimeter of the cattle fold
Love, let me home as you found me.
I was clambering up
the dykes
And descending the ridges
When a friendly lad met me
And he did not enforce his friendship on me.
Though you were to give me cattle and sheep
Though you were to give me tethered horses
Though you were to give me that and men
Love, let me home as you found me.
My mother and father will chastise you
My clan and my relatives will chastise you
But my three brothers will kill you
If I don’t return home as I came.
My mother promised me a gown
Decorated with the newest of ribbons
And she promised me a new plaid
If I return home the way you found me.

Cover image: Water Horse by Theodor Kittelsen


Please Login in order to comment!
7 Jul, 2018 20:47

Nice usage and twist on an already existing folklore, and the prose/poem to go with it is a lovely addition to build on the setting.

7 Jul, 2018 21:08

I appreciate it. The prose/poem is the actual translation of the song sung by the musician in Gaelic. The song itself is an Irish song related to the water horses of old. Like most D&D lore, a lot of material is borrowed from our own history and folklore, and I didn't see the need for this to be any different. It educates people about different cultures and customs in our own world, so it's both entertaining and informative.

7 Jul, 2018 21:12

A lovely approach to world building I must say.

7 Jul, 2018 21:03

I must say that the fact that you included a song to go with the poem on the side was a delightful way to start the article, so thanks for that! I'm biased because the tale I told is also about someone who gets lost in a forest and never returns, but still, really good tale! I love how Walter was giddy til the end; that's the only true way to go.

7 Jul, 2018 21:06

Braggadocious to the end. I had this image of him being arrogant, almost the 'Gaston' of the settlers, with a sense of adventure. It's unfortunate that this happened to him, but at the same time, it's kind of like 'Well, what did'ya expect?' I'm glad you enjoyed it.

7 Jul, 2018 22:20

I really like the poem and included song, it's a super nice touch. the myth's a good adaptation of folklore to the world

7 Jul, 2018 22:42

Thank you very much!