Chapter Six – TIR – NA – N-OG
SEAN OPENED HIS EYES. Everything was black. The chiming bells slowly faded. He reached up and his hand touched cold hard rock! Suddenly, there were lights everywhere. Tiny lights of every colour. Pink and blue ones hovered near his head. Red and green, darted up close to him, then sped away.
Sean looked around. He was in a long, wide cave, just high enough for him to sit up. High pitched happy voices filled the air. The light increased as the excitement grew.
Then – they fell silent.
The lights hung motionless in the air. Startled, Sean peered at the pink light that hovered in front of him. Inside it was a figure of a woman. It reminded him of someone. As he lifted his hand toward the light a strong friendly voice stopped him.
“Ahh, Sean, A Cara. Friend at long last you’ve come to see us!”
Surrounded by a gold light, a man no bigger than Sean’s hand, stood before him.
“Who are you . . . . what is this place?”
The man laughed. Again Sean heard the bells.
“Two questions all at once! The young are always in a hurry. I am King of the fairies.”
The lights around Sean bobbed and weaved and an excited sound filled the air.
“Sean, you are in Tir-Na-N�-og the land of the young.”
‘Fiach was telling the truth, there is such a thing as Fairies! and there’s Melo the Giant, so there must also be Leprechauns!’
The king shook his long hair. Silver stars scattered silently to the ground as he lifted gently into the air. He hovered in front of Sean, smiling broadly.
“This is the Queen, my wife,.”
The pink light glided to his side, the same one that Sean noticed before.
“You look puzzled Sean, cara, why is this so?”
“She looks like someone I know but I don’t know who.”
The bells tinkled as the king laughed. “That is no surprise but, you come here on a mission and there is no time to waste.”
The lights of the fairies gathered closer as Sean told them of the plight the village people.
“. . . And Melo said you would know what to do,” Sean said, finishing his tale.
The king, who had floated silently in front of Sean, now bobbed up and down with excitement. “We have chosen well! We have our Shanahee!”
The lights glowed brighter as they weaved and danced around each other.
Sean stared at the king. The old woman had called him Shanahee, Melo said he was a friend of the fairies but, up until that morning he had never heard of Giants, Fairies or Leprechauns!
His tummy rumbled.
“Ahh, we forget our manners! Bring food for our young traveller!”
Out of nowhere food appeared; baskets of fruit and bread and a stoat with two barrels slung over his back.
Taking the first barrel that was as big as a cup in Sean’s hand, he took a long drink. No matter how much he drank the barrel remained full.
“That nectar was gathered from the honeysuckle bush early in the morning. It is the dew, kissed by the moon.” The woman floated in front of Sean, staring intently at him.
“My mother is always telling me not to ask so many questions but, I know your face.” Sean picked up an apple. “Have you been to our house?”
Before she could answer, a pale green light pushed in front of her.
“That apple was picked just as the sun smiled on it!”
A gentle tinkling of bells and the king appeared. “Come, let us not tire our Shanahee he must rest, for there is a lot to be done!”
“My father’s apples taste the same as this.”
The king laughed, sprinkling stars around him. “Tell Melo, we will help. At the appointed time he must go to the Alt and wait near the kiln.”
Sean yawned, “What is the appa – appointed time?”
The bells took on a lower, gentler tone. “Melo will know. Now you rest.”
‘Slain-lath’ were the last words Sean heard as he lay down. Goodbye.
To be continued
© John W. Kelly