Source? Liam Dancey got his sister to make it and gave it to Tam
Significance? It was a symbol of Liam’s culture
Fate? Tam probably still has it
Author’s inspiration? It just came to mind as a gift that suited both personalities
First appearance? Pisky Business
It was green, with flowers on it, and it had a little silver horseshoe sewn to the waist.
Tam was a water maid; a woman of the waterfolk over there. Waterfolk were free-living people, who spent most of their time around waterfalls, rivers and pools. They were fay, with an adaptation that meant they could spend extended periods in water without getting waterlogged. They don’t often bother with clothing, although occasionally the women might choose to wear something for decoration, especially if they had pixie blood. Waterfolk rarely married or paired up in the formal sense, but the maids always knew who fathered their children, who were always loved and wanted.
Tam was in some ways a typical water maid, but she had a quirk that meant she chose to have children with non-waterfolk men. She did her research and picked out single men with traits she found appealing. Having chosen her target, she would pay him a visit and put her proposition to him. She made an effort to understand his point of view. Tam already had three children when she set her gaze on Liam Dancey, a leprechaun gossoon from Shamrock Village. She paid her visit, but Liam was a traditional man. He was delighted with Tam, but he declined to give her a child until or unless she agreed to be his lovie. Tam was bemused by this attitude, so a battle of wills ensued. From the outside this looked like a courtship. On one occasion, Liam produced a traditional dress as worn by the leprechaun colleens for Tam to wear. As Jory Pendennis related to his friend Linda;
Liam had got his sister to make a dress for Tam that actually covered her knees. It was green, with flowers on it, and it had a little silver horseshoe sewn to the waist. Liam said the horseshoe was a charm to help Tam make up her mind…She kissed him for a thank you.
Tam’s acceptance of the dress was a signal she was at least considering Liam’s proposal. She wore it to a céilí which Liam would have considered a major coup as he’d feel that having her dance with him in public, wearing his gift, gave their relationship official standing.
Liam’s sister’s willingness to sew the dress signified her acceptance of her brother’s desired bride, and Tam’s willingness to wear it signified her wish to please him. The silver horseshoe charm was traditional, but although it was a come-to-me, someone observed that the reason these charms always worked was because the gossoons and colleens only ever offered them to someone who wanted them already.
Tam did settle down with Liam, much to his delight, and they had three sons. Liam was inordinately proud that he’d got three children with his lovie. He thought that set him on a much higher plane than the other three men who had fathered her children. The four men became friends, and had regular get-togethers.
Tam’s agreement to stay with Liam and to wear his colleen dress was of her own choice. She still spent a lot of time at the falls with her people; something Liam accepted with grace. After all, he had enough pride in himself to believe she loved him best. As he might have put it, it takes a fine gossoon to win a lovely woman like Tam.
Tam’s colleen dress appears in Pisky Business. Tam herself also pops up in other stories, including Sam and the Sylvan.
About the Blog
Sally is Sally Odgers; author, anthologist and reader. You can find you way into her maze of websites and blogs via the portal here.(Sally is me, by the way.)
The goal for 2017 was to write a post a day profiling the background behind one of my books; how it came to be written, what it's about, and any things of note that happened along the way. 2017 is well behind us, but I ran out of year before running out of books. As of May 2018 I STILL hadn't run out of books, but many of those still to come are MIA by which I mean I don't have copies and remember little about them. There are more new books in the pipeline, and I'm certainly showcasing those, but in between times, I'm profiling some of my characters, places and objects. Thank you so much to everyone who's come along on this journey so far!