THE LEGEND OF TAMARA
THE lovely nymph Tamara was born in a cavern. Although her parents were spirits of the earth, the child loved the light of day. Often had they chided her for yielding to her desires and visiting the upper world; and often had they warned her against the consequences which would probably arise from her neglect of their advice.
The giants of the moors were to be feared; and it was from these that the earth spirits desired to protect their child.
Tamara--beautiful, young, heedless--never lost an opportunity of looking on the glorious sun. Two sons of Dartmoor giants--Tavy and Tawrage--had seen the fair maid, and longed to possess her. Long was their toil, and the wild maiden often led them over mountain and moor in playful chase.
Under a bush in Morewinstow, one day, both Tavy and Tawrage came upon Tamara. They resolved now to compel her to declare upon which of them her choice should fall. The young men used every persuasion, and called her by every endearing name. Her parents had missed Tamara, and they sought and found her seated between the sons of the giants whom they hated. The gnome father caused a deep sleep to fall on the eyes of Tavy and Tawrage, and then he endeavoured to persuade his daughter to return to his subterranean cell.
Tamara would not leave her lovers. In his rage the gnome cursed his daughter, and, by the might of his curse, changed her into a river, which should flow on for ever to the salt sea. The lovely Tamara dissolved in tears, and as a crystal stream of exceeding beauty the waters glided onward to the ocean.
At length Tavy awoke. His Tamara was gone; he fled to his father in the hills. The giant knew of the metamorphosis, and, to ease the anguish of his son, he transformed him into a stream. Rushing over rocks, running through morasses, gliding along valleys, and murmuring amidst the groves, Tavy still goes on seeking for Tamara --his only joy being that he runs by her side, and that, mingling their waters, they glide together to the eternal sea.
Tawrage awakened after a long sleep. He divined what had taken place, and fled to the hills to an enchanter. At his prayer he, too, was changed to a stream; but he mistook the road along which Tamara had gone, and onward, ever sorrowing, he flows--away-- away--away from his Tamara for ever.
Thus originated the Tamar, the Tavy, and the Taw.