IRISH FAIRY TALES

IRISH FAIRY TALES

3.3 9
by James Stephens
     
 

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Irish Fairy Tales is a retelling of ten Irish folktales by the Irish author James Stephens. The stories are set in a wooded, Medieval Ireland filled with larger-than-life hunters, warriors, kings, and fairies. Many stories concern the Fianna and their captain, Fionn mac Uail, from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

"The Story of Tuan mac

Overview

Irish Fairy Tales is a retelling of ten Irish folktales by the Irish author James Stephens. The stories are set in a wooded, Medieval Ireland filled with larger-than-life hunters, warriors, kings, and fairies. Many stories concern the Fianna and their captain, Fionn mac Uail, from the Fenian Cycle of Irish mythology.

"The Story of Tuan mac Cairill"
Finnian, the Abbott of Moville, travels to the home of Tuan mac Cairill and compels Tuan to admit him. The abbott convinces Tuan of the truth of the Gospel. Finnian asks Tuan to describe his past. Tuan reveals that he is centuries old and was one of the original settlers of Ireland. Tuan lost consciousness in a violent storm and woke to find himself transformed into a powerful stag. Tuan passes through a number of lives: as a stag, a boar, a hawk, and a salmon. As a salmon, Tuan is caught, roasted, and eaten by the queen of Ireland. He is reborn as her son.

"The Boyhood of Fionn"
Fionn is the son of Uail mac Baiscne, captain of the Fianna of Ireland. Uail was killed by members of clann-Morna, who desired to lead the Fianna. In order to protect Fionn from clann-Morna, his mother sends him to be raised in the forest by two druids, Bovmall and Lia Luachra. These women nurture Fionn and train him to run, jump, and swim. When Fionn is an old boy, his location is discovered by the Mornas, but he evades them by hiding in a tree. His location compromised, Fionn accompanies a band of poets on their travels. A robber kills the poets. Upon realizing Fionn's identity, the robber reveals that he is Fiacuil mac Cona, one of Uail mac Baiscne's comrades in arms. Fiacuil takes in Fionn. The boy lives in the robber's den for years. Eventually, clann-Morna learns of Fionn's location, so Fionn strikes off on his own. He serves under two kings but leaves the service of each when he feels his identity to be in jeopardy. Fionn then spends years in service to the wise poet Finegas, who educates Fionn and eventually gives him the Salmon of Knowledge to eat. At this point, Fionn is a young man, both strong and wise.
Fionn leaves the poet and attends a Samhain feast at Tara, seat of the High King of Ireland. He announces his identity and is given a seat of honor. Each Samhain, the fairy Aillen mac Midna is known to attack the city and cause much destruction. Fionn volunteers to defend the city against Aillen. As he approaches the fairy, Fiacuil emerges from the forest and offers Fionn his magical spear, with which he will be able to resist the sorcery of Aillen. Fionn accepts the spear and uses it to defend himself from Aillen's magic. Fionn chases Aillen and kills him shortly before Aillen can escape into Faery. Fionn returns to Tara, where the High King offers him any reward. Fionn asks to be made the captain of the Fianna. The High King grants this request, and the warriors present (including the warriors of clann-Morna) offer their services to Fionn.

"The Birth of Bran"
Tuiren, the young sister of Fionn's mother, is famed for her beauty. She marries an Ulster gentleman, Iollan Eachtach. Iollan formerly had a fairy lover, Uct Dealv, who became furious that Tuiren had stolen Iollan from her. Uct Dealv takes the shape of a messenger, approaches Iollan's castle, and indicates that she has a message for Tuiren from Fionn. When Tuiren emerges, Uct Dealv transforms her into a dog. Uct Dealv brings the dog to Fergus Fionnliath, a man famed for his hatred of dogs. She tells Fergus that Fionn has ordered him to care for the dog until Fionn asks for its return. Fergus reluctantly agrees. Tuiren manages to win over Fergus, who abandons his hatred of dogs.
Eventually, Fionn learns that Tuiren is no longer living with Iollan, and he demands her return. Iollan travels to Uct Dealv and begs her to reveal what she has done with Tuiren. After exacting a promise of eternal loyalty from Iollan, Uct Dealv accompanies him to the home of Fergus and changes Tuiren back into a human. Tuiren returns to Fionn with two puppies she has mothered, Bran and Sceólan. These become Fionn's favorite dogs. Fergus is heartbroken at losing his dog, so Fionn sends him a new puppy, which quickly cheers him up.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012267573
Publisher:
Cherry Lane Ebooks
Publication date:
03/07/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
270 KB

Meet the Author

James Stephens (February 9, 1882–December 26, 1950) was an Irish novelist and poet.
James Stephens wrote many retellings of Irish myths and fairy tales. His retellings are marked by a rare combination of humor and lyricism (Deirdre, and Irish Fairy Tales are often singled out for praise). He also wrote several original novels (Crock of Gold, Etched in Moonlight, Demi-Gods) loosely based on Irish fairy tales. "Crock of Gold," in particular, achieved enduring popularity and was frequently reprinted throughout the author's lifetime.
Stephens began his career as a poet under the tutelage of "Æ" (George William Russell). His first book of poems, "Insurrections," was published in 1909. His last book, "Kings and the Moon" (1938), was also a volume of verse.
In the 1930s, Stephens had some acquaintance with James Joyce, who found that they shared a birth year (and, Joyce mistakenly believed, a birthday). Joyce, who was concerned with his ability to finish what would later become Finnegans Wake, proposed at one point that Stephens assist him, with the authorship credited to JJ & S (James Joyce & Stephens, also a pun for the popular Irish whiskey made by John Jameson & Sons). The plan, however, never came to fruition, as Joyce was able to complete the work on his own

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Irish Fairy Tales 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even though we are reading these stories to our kids, the book is not written for children. Having said that, they request to have part of it read every night, and our oldest (6) seems to be following along with it quite well. A very fun read if you're interested in any of the folk lore/fairy tales of Ireland.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looooooooovvvvvvvvvvvveeeeeeeddddddddd ittttttttt noooooooooot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its 2011