The Lady of the Lake
This is simply a conflation of all the multitudinous lake, river, and water spirits so prevalent in Celtic mythology. Nevertheless, common threads do appear; one of the best documented is that of relic-guardian, holder of the sacred sword Excalibur, who gives it to Arthur, and takes it back at the end of the stories. There seem to be two or perhaps three Named Ladies. Nimue is specifically named as a Lady of the Lake; she is the defeater, or perhaps simply replacer, of Merlin at Arthur's Court. Nineve seems to be the Keeper of Excalibur, and her name may be a variant on Nimue, but she is slain by Sir Balin, and her personality is at variance to Nimue's. There is also a French Lady of the Lake, Viviane. There are, in addition, other unnamed Ladies as well.
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