In times of old, when fairies lived on the island, their golden hair gleamed in the sunshine and their wonderful shimmering dresses glowed from beneath the water. People paddling nearby could not get enough of this wonder. Many even heard their voices as their songs drifted toward them, mingling with the hum of the forest and the trickling of streams. The fairies loved the poor folk. It was said that they showed the fishermen the fish nests, they threw the golden hair from their combs into the Danube to show panners the secret places where gold lay hidden, and even rescued poor souls whose rowboats had been turned over by the eddies.
Among them was a little fairy called Lily, who loved humans so much that she longed to be with them all the time. But one day the fairies decided to move away from these territories, taking with them the magic of this fairy land. Only little Lily didn’t want to join them. She begged the graceful fairy queen, Fairy Ilona to let her stay among the humans.
“You cannot stay with the people as a fairy. Only if I change you into a flower can you be among them”, Fairy Ilona replied.
Oh, but little Lily didn’t mind this at all, she was determined to stay with the folk she loved so much. Thus, the fairy queen transformed her into a wonderful water lily, and from that time on, the miraculous white-petalled water lily blooms on the still surface of the quiet backwaters. It delights the heart and soul, smiling upon the people, reflecting the love of the little fairy girl.
It is also said in the lands of Great Rye Island, that the other fairies likewise did not wish to part with the humans. The fairy queen changed herself into a yellow water lily to stay near her sister. The other fairies turned into flowers too, one into a kingcup, the others into a dandelion, a violet, a lily-of-the-valley, a forget-me-not, a bluebottle and a red poppy.
They grace the flowering meadows with their beauty even today.