word Halcyon is derived from the Greek word for "Kingfisher"
, a combination of the word "hals" (the
sea) and "kuo" (to brood on).
The Kingfisher, a long-time symbol of peace and prosperity, was
believed by the ancients to breed in a nest floating on the sea.
It was said that the Kingfisher had the power to charm the winds
and the waves into calmness.
(daughter of Aeolus, Guardian of the Winds) was married to Ceyx
(son of the morning star). The story goes that Ceyx was drowned
at sea while sailing to consult an oracle. On hearing the
news, the distraught Alcyone cast herself into the sea to be reunited
with her mate.
gods took pity on the couple and transformed Alcyone into a Kingfisher.
Legend has it that the halcyon hen buries her dead mate in the
winter before laying her eggs in a compact nest and setting it
adrift on the sea. During this time, Aeolus commands to
winds to cease and forbids the nest to be disturbed ...
The waters are calmed for 14 days round the winter solstice -
"the halcyon days"
myth tells of a bird with neither webbed feet nor long fishing
bill, but who longed to be a water bird. The animals held
a council and decided to give the bird a long sharp spear with
which to fish. They fastened the spear on the front of the
bird's mouth and he used it to dive from the trees and catch fish.
The Kingfisher soon became the best fisher of them all, renowned
for his direct and swift movement.
the Andaman Islands off the coast of Thailand, they say that the
Kingfisher stole fire from the gods.
legend has it that during the time of the great flood, the Kingfisher
was sent out from the Ark by Noah to scout for land. Alas,
eager to fulfil her quest, she flew too high and scorched her
breast on the sun. This accounts for the Kingfisher's blue
body and rust coloured breast feathers.