Not a human creature escaped that night of wroth except the shepherd boy and the damsel he carried in his arms. Every time the waters reached his heels they reared up like great white horses and fell back, thus sparing him. Three times did he look back at happenings in the town of the Seven Sisters. The first time he looked back the water was up to the last windows of houses that were three storeys high. All the belongings of the householders were floating about, and people were sinking through the water, their lives going out as swiftly as twinkling bubbles. In an attic window he saw a young girl loosen her hair, she was singing a song, preparing to meet death as if she were making ready for a lover. A man at the top of a ladder was gulping whiskey from a bottle, and when the water sprang at his throat he went down with a mad defiant cry. A child ran out an open window, golden locks dancing about its pretty head, as if it were running into a garden. There was another little bubble in the moonlight.... The second time the shepherd boy looked back the swallows were flying from their nests under the eaves of the houses, for the water was now lapping them. An old woman was hobbling across a roof on crutches. Men were drawing their bodies out of the chimney-pots. A raft on which the Keeper’s guard had put out slowly, like a live thing lazily yawning and turning over on its side, sent them all into the common doom. A man with a bag of gold clutched in his hand, stood dizzily on the high gable of a bank, then, with a scream, tottered and fell.... The third time the shepherd boy looked back nothing was to be seen above the face of the water except the pinnacle of the watch tower of the mansion, and standing upon it was the Keeper of the Key, his arms outspread, his face upturned to the moon, and the seven water nymphs leaping about him in a silver dance.
After that the shepherd boy drew up on the hills with the damsel. He was quite exhausted, and he noticed that the activity of the waters gradually calmed down as daybreak approached, like things spent after a night of wild passion. When at last the day quivered into life on the eastern sky he called the damsel to his side, and standing there together they looked out over the spread of water. The town of the Seven Sisters was no more.
“Look,” cried the shepherd boy, “at Loch Riabhach!” And drawing back he cast out into the far water the secret key. There it still lies under a rock, somewhere in the lake over which our boat is now drifting. And the shepherd boy and the damsel there and then founded a new town beside the lake, and all who are of the old families of Baile Loch Riabhach, like myself, are their descendants. That, concluded Eamonn, is the story of the Gray Lake.