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.
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.
Appears in Fata Morgana Books III and IV