In 1592 a young prince went out riding with a hunting party in pursuit of a stag. In the heat of the chase he became separated from his knights and after riding many hours alone, arrived at Boyne Castle, tired and hungry. It was early afternoon and he stood in the shade of a tall linden tree. As he rested, he gazed at the lonely castle. Would anyone be living there,” he thought. A bright ray of sun shone on the castle wall and he followed the sunbeam with his gaze upward to the top-most window. There he could see the figure of a woman dressed in white. He waved to the woman and hoped some refreshment would be offered.
He circled the castle looking for entrance. When he crossed the bridge and entered the castle yard, he found a table spread with the finest foods imaginable. At the head of the table sat the beautiful lady of the house, dressed in a radiant white gown.
“Thank you gentle woman for this refreshment. I am in sore need of sustenance,” he said. And she motioned silently with her hand that he should take what he required. He ate eagerly and his speech was merry. Soon he was in very good spirits indeed.
While the young man was eating he thought how mild and lovely the maiden looked. Her properties were vast, her table rich. Surely she would make a wonderful bride. The thought no sooner entered his mind than the maid’s countenance became dark and sad. A servant came to clear the table and the young prince said to him: “I will return with my hunting party three days hence and then I will ask for your mistress’s hand.” The servant looked at him sadly and said. “You shall never marry though your heart be true.”
Without giving a reply the young prince jumped to his horse, bade a hasty farewell and called over his shoulder “Three days hence, look for me, I shall stand under the linden tree.”
Off he rode and was as good as his promise. In three days time, the hunting horn was heard in the valley announcing the arrival of a large procession of knights. It was afternoon and a mighty storm threatened. Thunder could be heard coming closer and closer, and heavy black clouds filled the sky. The prince searched for the linden tree but the landscape looked different now. The castle seemed dark and abandoned. At last he found a dead tree, where the linden had been three days before. The prince stood below, gazing up at the castle wall and the top-most window. He saw a faint figure at the window and he called up “Three days hence and look at me, as I stand under the linden tree.”
His knights urged him to leave the desolate place, as a fierce storm was moving in. Lightning struck on all sides and the spot where the prince stood was bare and exposed. The knights ran to seek cover as a loud clap of thunder was heard. As they turned back to look at the prince they saw the lightning strike him and he was dead.