Connla and the Fairy Maiden
Connla of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred
day as he stood by the side of his father on the height
of Usna, he
saw a maiden clad in strange attire coming towards him.
"Whence comest thou, maiden?" said
"I come from the Plains of the Ever Living," she
said, "there where
there is neither death nor sin. There we keep holiday alway,
need we help from any in our joy. And in all our pleasure
we have no
strife. And because we have our homes in the round green
call us the Hill Folk."
The king and all with him wondered much to hear a voice
saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy Maiden.
"To whom art thou talking, my son?" said
Conn the king.
Then the maiden answered, "Connla
speaks to a young, fair maid, whom
neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla, and now
I call him
away to the Plain of Pleasure, Moy Mell, where Boadag is
aye, nor has there been complaint or sorrow in that land
has held the kingship. Oh, come with me, Connla of the
ruddy as the dawn with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits
grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never shall
comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last awful day
The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard
could not see her, called aloud to his Druid, Coran by
"Oh, Coran of the many spells," he said, "and
of the cunning magic,
I call upon thy aid. A task is upon me too great for all
and wit, greater than any laid upon me since I seized the
A maiden unseen has met us, and by her power would take
from me my
dear, my comely son. If thou help not, he will be taken
king by woman's wiles and witchery."
Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells
spot where the maiden's voice had been heard. And none
voice again, nor could Connla see her longer. Only as she
before the Druid's mighty spell, she threw an apple to
For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing,
eat or to drink, save only from that apple. But as he ate
again and always kept whole. And all the while there grew
a mighty yearning and longing after the maiden he had seen.
But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla
the side of the king his father on the Plain of Arcomin,
he saw the maiden come towards him, and again she spoke
"'Tis a glorious place,
forsooth, that Connla holds among short-lived mortals
awaiting the day of death. But now the folk of life,
the ever-living ones, beg and bid thee come to Moy Mell,
of Pleasure, for they have learnt to know thee, seeing
thee in thy
home among thy dear ones."
When Conn the king heard the maiden's voice he called
to his men
aloud and said:
"Summon swift my Druid Coran,
for I see she has again this day the
power of speech."
Then the maiden said: "Oh,
mighty Conn, fighter of a hundred fights,
the Druid's power is little loved; it has little honour
mighty land, peopled with so many of the upright. When
the Law will
come, it will do away with the Druid's magic spells that
the lips of the false black demon."
Then Conn the king observed that since the maiden came,
son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of the hundred
said to him, "Is it to thy mind what the woman says,
"'Tis hard upon me," then said Connla; "I
love my own folk above all
things; but yet, but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden."
When the maiden heard this, she
answered and said "The
ocean is not
so strong as the waves of thy longing. Come with me in
the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. Soon we can
Boadag's realm. I see the bright sun sink, yet far as it
is, we can
reach it before dark. There is, too, another land worthy
journey, a land joyous to all that seek it. Only wives
dwell there. If thou wilt, we can seek it and live there
together in joy."
When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla
of the Fiery Hair rushed
away from them and sprang into the curragh, the gleaming,
straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all, king
and court, saw it
glide away over the bright sea towards the setting sun.
away, till eye could see it no longer, and Connla and the
Maiden went their way on the sea, and were no more seen,
nor did any
know where they came.