Irish Fairy Tales

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Macmillan, 1920 - Fairy tales - 314 pages
A collection of ten traditional tales of Irish heroes, kings, soldiers, magicians, poets, and madmen.

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User Review  - antiquary - LibraryThing

Retellings of Irish folktales by James Stephens, best known for writing The Crock of Gold, which I read hen perhaps too young because my father liked and quoted it. I believe this book was one of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - themulhern - LibraryThing

My copy is called "Irish Fairy Tales" but it has the same content and the Arthur Rackham illustrations. I suspect that James Stephens never retold an Irish legend without making it fascinating and splendid. Read full review



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Page 131 - ... blackbird's jolly whistle in an autumn bush, or the thin sweet enchantment that comes to the mind when a lark thrills out of sight in the air and the hushed fields listen to the song. But his wife's voice was sweeter to Fionn than the singing of a lark. She filled him with wonder and surmise. There was magic in the tips of her fingers. Her thin palm ravished him. Her slender foot set his heart beating; and whatever way her head moved there came a new shape of beauty to her face. "She is always...
Page 227 - Their hair was black as ink and tough as wire: it stuck up and poked out and hung down about their heads in bushes and spikes and tangles. Their eyes were bleary and red. Their mouths were black and twisted, and in each of these mouths there was a hedge of curved yellow fangs. They had long scraggy necks that could turn all the way round like the neck of a hen. Their arms were long and skinny and muscular, and at the end of each finger they had a spiked nail that was as hard as horn and as sharp...
Page 65 - what is to your mind the finest of music?" "The top of music is the ring of a spear on a shield," cried the stout lad. "It is a good sound," said Fionn. And the other champions told their delight : the belling of a stag across water, the baying of a tuneful pack heard in the distance, the song of a lark, the laugh of a gleeful girl, or the whisper of a moved one. "They are good sounds all,
Page 15 - A storm arose, and when I looked again from my tall cliff I saw that great fleet rolling as in a giant's hand. At times they were pitched against the sky and staggered aloft, spinning gustily there like wind-blown leaves. Then they were hurled from these dizzy tops to the flat, moaning gulf, to the glassy, inky horror that swirled and whirled between ten waves. At times a wave leaped howling under a ship, and with a buffet dashed it into air, and chased it upwards with thunder stroke on stroke, and...
Page 243 - But that did not prevent Goll from killing Fionn's brother Cairell later on, nor did it prevent Fionn from killing Goll later on again, and the last did not prevent Goll from rescuing Fionn out of hell when the Fianna-Finn were sent there under the new God. Nor is there any reason to complain or to be astonished at these things, for it is a mutual world we live in, a give-and-take world, and there is no great harm in it.
Page 212 - Then he sprang up, and he took to a fit and a vortex and an exasperation of running for which no description may be found. The thumping of his big boots grew as continuous as the pattering of hailstones on a roof, and the wind of his passage blew trees down. The beasts that were ranging beside his path dropped dead from concussion, and the steam that snored from his nose blew birds into bits and made great lumps of cloud fall out of the sky.
Page 65 - Once, as they rested on a chase, a debate arose among the FiannaFinn as to what was the finest music in the world. 'Tell us that,' said Fionn, turning to Oisin. 'The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge,
Page 27 - I saw the monsters of the uttermost ocean go heaving by; and the long lithe brutes that are toothed to their tails; and below, where gloom dipped down on gloom, vast, livid tangles that coiled and uncoiled, and lapsed down steeps and hells of the sea where even the salmon could not go. "I knew the sea. I knew the secret caves where ocean roars to ocean; the floods that are icy cold, from which the nose of a salmon leaps back as a sting; and the warm streams in which we rocked and dozed and were carried...
Page 244 - But joy and sorrow, or, in other words, good and evil, are not absent in their degree from any of the worlds, for wherever there is life there is action, and action is but the expression of one or other of these qualities. After this Earth there is the world of the Shi. Beyond it again lies the Many-Coloured Land. Next comes the Land of Wonder, and after that the Land of Promise awaits us. You will cross clay to get into the Shi; you will cross water to attain the Many-Coloured Land; fire must be...
Page 65 - The cuckoo calling from the tree that is highest in the hedge," cried his merry son. "A good sound," said Fionn. "And you, Oscar," he said, "what is to your mind the finest of music?" "The top of music is the ring of a spear on a shield," cried the stout lad. "It is a good sound,

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