“My young love said to me,
My mother won’t mind,
And my father won’t slight you
For your lack of kind.”

Her voice was like wine, flowing effortlessly, bringing unexpected tears to my eyes. Her hair caught the light and she was surrounded by a red-gold halo, a gentle angel bringing heaven to earth. I’d never heard the ballad before, but somehow I knew every note, every word. I started singing along, quietly. She slowly turned and picked me out from the crowd, gestured for me to join her on the make-shift stage. Like a sleepwalker, I obeyed. I sat down beside her and sang the next lines in a slightly trembling baritone.

“Then she stepped away from me
And this she did say
‘It will not be long love
Till our wedding day.’ “

I was a stranger here, yet I knew this woman. My past melted away; future plans disintegrated. I was exactly where I was meant to be. I had found my home. We continued to sing.

When we finished, the crowd was silent for almost three minutes, a hush of reverence. When they finally erupted into applause, she took my hand and we bowed together. “What’s your name?” I whispered. “Siobhan.” Her smile was like a morning in spring. I closed my eyes briefly. When I opened them, she was gone.

The next night I returned, asking everyone, “Where is Siobhan?” “I must find Siobhan!” I received strange looks, but no answers.

Finally an old man took me aside, and told me the story of the beautiful, mysterious Siobhan, with her lovely voice and red-gold hair. One night a stranger sang a haunting ballad with her in front of a spellbound audience and her life changed. She fell hopelessly in love. Night after night she waited for him to return, but he never did. Like the young damsel in the song, Siobhan died, probably from a broken heart.

I felt my own heart constrict, then slowly splinter. “When did this happen?”

“Nigh on seventy years ago, when I was just a lad.”

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Greene M Wills
Greene M Wills (@greene-m-wills)
5 months ago

I absolutely loved it, Julie! The man travelled through time and met his true love and then somehow the time folded into itself and the lovers never met again. It’s hauntingly sad and wonderfully inspired!

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago

The name “Siobhan” is as beautiful as you describe her and her voice. Because of my admiration for your protagonist’s name, I researched and found out the meaning of Siobhan is GOD’s GRACE. I really love it. A very nice love story but I am sad that they did not meet at the same time because Siobhan has been dead for a long time.

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Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
5 months ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

Hello, Julie. I missed to look up the pronunciation. But thank you for sharing the correct pronunciation with me. Yes, that is strange, and I am sure it is hard for me to pronounce it correctly.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
5 months ago

With your previous intriguing stories in mind, I looked up not only the song and the lyrics (and listened to it), but also the meaning and pronunciation of the name Siobhan even before looking at the comments below. When I listened to the pronunciation of the name, I thought that Julie is telling me that I should associate from Siobhan to “she won” and that the meaning of the name, God’s Grace, was the prize she won. Very clever, I thought, haha.
It’s a beautiful, sad and enigmatic song, and you have managed to effortlessly weave its content into a story of a mysterious meeting through time and space. What a great work, Julie! You really have done justice to the old song.
It is a pleasure to read your texts where you refer to Irish culture. Do you speak or understand the old Celtic language Gaelic?

Carrie OLeary
Carrie OLeary (@carrie-oleary)
5 months ago

This is such a bittersweet story Julie, and so beautifully written. I already knew the pronunciation of the name, and several other Irish ones. My surname is Irish, on my husband’s side. The ‘o’ in my surname is shortened from of, and the ‘Leary’ is the anglicised version of Laoghaire, which is a coastal town in Ireland, so it is likely that my husband’s ancestors originally hailed from there. They do have some beautiful names though, and I love Celtic music.

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