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Celtic Tales, Told to the Children   By:

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CELTIC TALES TOLD TO THE CHILDREN

BY LOUEY CHISHOLM

WITH PICTURES BY KATHARINE CAMERON

TO CHRISTOPHER

NOTE

This little book was written after several variants of the Tales had been read: 'Old Celtic Romances,' by Dr. Joyce; 'Reliquae Celticae,' by Dr. Cameron; 'The Pursuit after Diarmud O'Duibhne and Grainne the daughter of Cormac Mac Airt,' by Standish Hayes O'Grady; 'The Three Sorrows of Story telling,' by Dr. Douglas Hyde; 'The Laughter of Peterkin,' by Fiona Macleod, and other translations and retellings.

L.C.

ABOUT THIS BOOK

One of my friends tells me that you, little reader, will not like these old, old tales; another says they are too sad for you, and yet another asks what the stories are meant to teach.

Now I, for my part, think you will like these Celtic Tales very much indeed. It is true they are sad, but you do not always want to be amused. And I have not told the stories for the sake of anything they may teach, but because of their sheer beauty, and I expect you to enjoy them as hundreds and hundreds of Irish and Scottish children have already enjoyed them without knowing or wondering why.

LOUEY CHISHOLM.

LIST OF STORIES

The Star Eyed Deirdre

The Four White Swans

Dermat and Grania

LIST OF PICTURES

THE STAR EYED DEIRDRE

'Art thou indeed Deirdre?'

Thence ofttimes in the young summer would they sail southward

The Hedge of Spears

THE FOUR WHITE SWANS

As she touched Aed, Fiacra, and Conn, the three brothers were as the maid

They would swim far out into a dim grey wilderness of waters

It was Saint Kemoc

DERMAT AND GRANIA

Dermat

Grania

THE STAR EYED DEIRDRE

In olden days, when many Kings reigned throughout the Green Island of Erin, none was greater than the great Concobar. So fair was his realm that poets sang its beauty, and such the wonder of his palace that the sweetest songs of Erin were of its loveliness.

In a castle of this fair realm dwelt Felim, a warrior and harper dear unto the King. And it was told him that Concobar with his chief lords would visit the castle.

Then Felim made a feast, and there was great rejoicing, and all men were glad.

But in the midst of the feast an old magician, who was of those that had come with the King, stood up before the great gathering. Long and white was the hair that fell upon his bent shoulders, black were the eyes that gazed into space from beneath his shaggy eyebrows.

'Speak,' said the King to the old man, 'speak, and tell us that thou seest, for well we know thou piercest the veil that hideth from us the secrets of the morrow.'

Silently and with great awe did all the company look at the wise old man, for those things that he had already foretold had they not come to pass? The magician, also silent, looked from the face of one to the face of another, but when his eyes fell on Concobar, the King, long did they dwell there, and when he lifted them, on Felim did they rest.

Then the Wise Man spake:

'This night, O Felim the Harper, shall a girl babe be born to thee within these castle walls. Loveliest among the lovely shall thy star eyed daughter be; no harp strings shall yield such music as her voice, no fairy strains pour forth such wonder stirring sound. Yet, O Felim, in days to come, because of this fair child shall great sorrow come upon our King Concobar and upon all his realm. In those days shall Erin's chief glory perish, for if the House of the Red Branch fall, who shall stand?'

Then did a cry of fear burst from those gathered to the feast, and leaping to their feet, each man laid his hand upon his sword, for the word that the wise man had spoken would it not come to pass?

'Let our swords be in readiness,' they cried, 'to kill the babe that shall be born this night, for better far is it that one child perish than that the blood of a nation be spilt.'

And Felim spake: 'Great sorrow is mine that fear of the child who shall be born this night should be upon you... Continue reading book >>




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