Celtic Wonder Tales
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An enchanting compilation of 14 folk stories of Celtic magic and legend. Chapters include; The Earth-Shapers; The Spear of Victory; A Good Action; How the Son of The Gobhaun Saor Sold the Sheepskin; How the Son of The Gobhaun Saor Shortened the Road; The Cow of Plenty; The Coming of Lugh; The Eric-Fine of Lugh; The Great Battle; Inisfail; The Golden Fly; The Children of Lir; The Luck-Child; and, Conary Mor.
This book has 115 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1910.
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Excerpt from 'Celtic Wonder Tales'
IN Tir-na-Moe, the Land of the Living Heart, Brigit was singing. Angus the Ever-Young, and Midyir the Red-Maned, and Ogma that is called Splendour of the Sun, and the Dagda and other lords of the people of Dana drew near to listen.
Now comes the hour foretold, a god-gift bringing .
Is it a star new-born and splendid up springing Out of the night?
Is it a wave from the Fountain of Beauty up flinging Foam of delight?
Is it a glorious immortal bird that is Winging Hither its flight?
It is a wave, high-crested, melodious, triumphant,
Breaking in light.
It is a star, rose-hearted and joyous, a splendour Risen from night.
It is flame from the world of the gods, and love runs before it,
A quenchless delight.
Let the wave break, let the star rise, let the flame leap.
Ours, if our hearts are wise,
To take and keep.
Brigit ceased to sing, and there was silence for a little space in Tir-na-Moe. Then Angus said:
"Strange are the words of your song, and strange the music: it swept me down steeps of air--down--down--always further down. Tir-na-Moe was like a dream half-remembered. I felt the breath of strange worlds on my face, and always your song grew louder and louder, but you were not singing it. Who was singing it?"
"The Earth was singing it."
"The Earth!" said the Dagda. "Is not the Earth in the pit of chaos? Who has ever looked into that pit or stayed to listen where there is neither silence nor song? "
"O Shepherd of the Star-Flocks, I have stayed to listen. I have shuddered in the darkness that is round the Earth. I have seen the black hissing waters and the monsters that devour each other--I have looked into the groping writhing adder-pit of hell."
The light that pulsed about the De Danaan lords grew troubled at the thought of that pit, and they cried out: "Tell us no more about the Earth, O Flame of the Two Eternities, and let the thought of it slip from yourself as a dream slips from the memory."
"O Silver Branches that no Sorrow has Shaken," said Brigit, "hear one thing more! The Earth wails all night because it has dreamed of beauty."
"What dream, O Brigit?"
"The Earth has dreamed of the white stillness of dawn; of the star that goes before the sunrise; and of music like the music of my song."
"O Morning Star," said Angus, "would I had never heard your song, for now I cannot shake the thought of the Earth from me!"
"Why should you shake the thought from you, Angus the Subtle-Hearted? You have wrapped yourself in all the colours of the sunlight; are you not fain to look into the darkness and listen to the thunder of abysmal waves; are you not fain to make gladness in the Abyss?"
Angus did not answer: he reached out his hand and gathered a blossom from a branch:
he blew upon the blossom and tossed it into the air: it became a wonderful white bird, and circled about him singing.
Midyir the Haughty rose and shook out the bright tresses of his hair till he was clothed with radiance as with a Golden Fleece.
"I am fain to look into the darkness," he said. "I am fain to hear the thunder of the Abyss."
"Then come with me," said Brigit, "I am going to put my mantle round the Earth because it has dreamed of beauty."
"I will make clear a place for your mantle," said Midyir. "I will throw fire amongst the monsters."
"I will go with you too," said the Dagda, who is called the Green Harper.
"And I," said Splendour of the Sun, whose other name is Ogma the Wise. "And I," said Nuada Wielder of the White Light. "And I," said Gobniu the Wonder-Smith, "we will remake the Earth!"
"Good luck to the adventure!" said Angus. "I would go myself if ye had the Sword of Light with you."
"We will take the Sword of Light," said Brigit, "and the Cauldron of Plenty and the Spear of Victory and the Stone of Destiny with us, for we will build power and wisdom and beauty and lavish-heartedness into the Earth."
It is well said," cried all the Shining Ones.
"We will take the Four Jewels."
Ogma brought the Sword of Light from Findrias the cloud-fair city that is in the east of the De Danaan world; Nuada brought the Spear of Victory from Gorias the flame-bright city that is in the south of the Dc Danaan world; the Dagda brought the Cauldron of Plenty from Murias the city that is builded in the west of the De Danaan world and has the stillness of deep waters; Midyir brought the Stone of Destiny from Falias the city that is builded in the north of the De Danaan world and has the steadfastness of adamant. Then Brigit and her companions set forth.
They fell like a rain of stars till they came to the blackness that surrounded the Earth, and looking down saw below them, as at the bottom of an abyss, the writhing, contorted, hideous life that swarmed and groped and devoured itself ceaselessly.
From the seething turmoil of that abyss all the Shining Ones drew back save Midyir. He grasped the Fiery Spear and descended like a flame.
His comrades looked down and saw him treading out the monstrous life as men tread grapes in a wine-press; they saw the blood and foam of that destruction rise about Midyir till he was crimson with it even to the crown of his head; they saw him whirl the Spear till it became a wheel of fire and shot out sparks and tongues of flame; they saw the flame lick the darkness and turn back on itself and spread and blossom--murk-red--blood-red--rose-red at last!