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  • Jo-Anne Blanco

Goddess of the Week - Tamara

Tamara was originally of the faerie folk, the daughter of faes who dwelled under the earth,

some say the child of gnomes. But Tamara, a beautiful and vivacious young nymph, did not

want to be confined beneath the earth and would frequently visit what she called the above

land, roaming through forests, up hills, down valleys and across rivers, delighting in sunshine

and moonlight alike. In those days, Britain was the land of Giants and one day, wandering

over Dartmoor, Tamara met two young male Giants, Tavy and Torridge (or Tawradge), who

both fell in love with her and vowed to keep her with them until she chose one of them. But

Tamara led the two Giants on a merry dance, never allowing them to catch up with her until

her father, who had been searching for her, came upon them.

By Edward Robert Hughes

When her father cast a spell to send the two Giants to sleep, Tamara fought with him,

refusing to return to their realm beneath the earth. Legend has it that either Tamara’s father

turned her into a spring bursting forth from the soil so that she would be forced to remain

above ground forever, or that Tamara transformed herself into a spring so that she would

never again be forced to return underground but be able to flow freely in the above land.

Either way, the spring into which Tamara transformed became the source of the River Tamar,

running along the boundary between Cornwall and Devon, flowing southwards all the way

across the land and into the sea. Tamara herself became venerated in Cornish and British

folklore as the goddess of the river named after her.

As for the two Giants who loved her, they were both to share her fate, although with opposite

degrees of luck. Tavy awoke first to find Tamara gone and such was his grief that he ran to

his father, who lived high on Dartmoor near Devil’s Tor. Realising that his son’s heartbreak

would never be cured, Tavy’s father turned his son into a river, which wove its way over the

land until it found the River Tamar where the latter flowed into the ocean. There Tavy was

united with Tamara, and the two remain forever together as the confluence of the Rivers

Tamar and Tavy at Plymouth Sound. Meanwhile, Torridge eventually woke up to find both

his friend and the woman he loved gone, so he frantically sought the advice of a nearby

sorcerer, who turned him into a river so that he could find Tamara. However, poor Torridge

went astray, winding his way east across Devon before heading northwards and finally

flowing into the Celtic Sea, never to see his beloved Tamara again.

The Water Nymph by Franaois Kavel

Appears in Fata Morgana Books III and IV

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