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The story of the Irish woman Fionnuala began when the Aebh married the Irish king Lir. Aebh died in child-birth, after bearing Fionnuala and three sons. Lir married again, this time to the sorceress Ajofe who, jealous of her stepchildren, decided to kill them. Aiofe made believe she was sick and couldn't take care of the children, so they were sent them to their mother's far-off ancestral home. While they were traveling, Aiofe cast a spell on them. The children were thereby changed from their human forms, into swans. Aiofe's magic was so strong that there was no one in Ireland who could change back the children of Lir for 900 years. But King Bobh, Aebh's father and Fionnuala's grandfather, discerned what had happened and vowed to punish Ajofe. He trapped her and, through magic, changed her into a crane; she still haunts the Irish countryside in that form. Meanwhile Fionnuala and her brothers remained trapped as swans. Fionnuala nurtured her brothers during the 900 years of banishment from human form. Finally they were freed from enchantment and, crumpling into impossibly aged people, died almost immediately.
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