Aed, or Aodh, is the prince of the Daoine Sidhe and a god of the underworld in Irish mythology. He is known from inscriptions as the eldest son of Lir, High King of the Tuatha de Dannan, and Aobh, a daughter of Bodb Dearg. Aed is elsewhere described in the dindsenchas as being the Dagda's son and killed by Corchenn of Cruach for seducing Corchenn's wife.
According to tradition, Aoibh died in childbirth after bearing Lir four children (two sets of twins): Fionnuala, Aodh, Fiachra, and Conn of the hundred battles. Aoife, the second wife of Lir, and in some versions of the story, the sister of Aobh, was very jealous of the children and conspired to kill them on a journey to see Bodb Dearg, the former King of the Tuatha de Dannan. But for love of the Children of Lir, the servants of Aoife would not slay the children, and so she cursed them to live as swans for 900 years: 300 upon Lake Darvra, 300 in the English Channel, and 300 on the open sea.
Legend says they kept their voices and learned all the songs and tales of Ireland, as well as the many languages brought by travelers from distant places.
There are numerous variations on the culmination of the story after the breaking of Aoife's curse, and most are obviously influenced by stories from Christianity. For more on the story, see the article on the Children of Lir.
- Encyclopedia of Gods, Michael Jordan, Kyle Cathie Limited, 2002
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