Philip Burne-Jones, ”Le Vampire”, 1897

Today I’ve got another Irish tale, this one about a vampire.

A beautiful Irish maiden, Órga, was deeply in love with a common peasant boy, Grian. They had promised to love each other forever, but Órga’s father promised her hand to a rich Clan Chieftain. Her father was promised wealth and lands for himself and his other children in exchange for his daughter’s hand in marriage. Of course, Órga and the rich man were married and on the day of the wedding everyone partied till nightfall. Órga looked on, cursing her father and promising vengeance.

Órga’s husband was a horrible, mean and conceited man. He locked her away so only he could see her magnificent beauty; he wanted to keep her all to himself. Órga hated being locked away in the dark, hidden from everything she loved. Some say she poisoned herself no longer able to live the life her father had put upon her, while others say she died of a broken heart.

Órga’s burial was a simple affair. Her husband took another wife while her body was still warm. Her father and siblings were so busy with their new wealthy lives to cast her a passing thought. Only one person mourned for her, Grian, who visited her grave and prayed for her to come to him.

Legend says she rose from her grave the following year on the very date she died. Riddled with vengeance, she visited her father’s house. Finding him sleeping, she leaned over him and placing her lips gently over his, she sucked every breath of life from him.

Órga then visited her husband. He was “engaged” with several young women and never noticed his dead wife enter the room. Órga went into a frenzied attack. Descending on her husband with such angry force, she not only drew his breath but also his blood. The surge of blood through her dead body made her feel alive again.

Yearly, Órga used her beauty to prey on lustful young men. She would seduce them and sink her teeth into their throats, draining them of blood. Her hunger for blood was all she knew, and she forgot all about her young love Grian. She never saw him again. With only one night a year to fulfill her need, Órga feasted and then returned to her grave.

So, the legend of the Dearg-Due (Red Blood Sucker) was born. Only by piling rocks on her grave can she be kept from rising each year.

It’s a gruesome story. I admit that I feel a bit sorry for poor Órga. Granted, her need for vengeance is what caused her to become the Dearg-Due but can you really blame her?

Thursday’s Tales is a weekly event here at Carol’s Notebook. Fairy tales, folktales, tall tales, even re-tellings, I love them all. Feel free to join in and leave your link the comments.