The day had drawn to its close. The stars had not yet come, nor the moon. Far to the west a red cloud poised on the horizon like a great whale and, moment by moment, it paled and faded until it was no more than a pink flush. On high, clouds of pearl and snow piled and fell and sailed away on easy voyages. It was the twilight-a twilight of such quietude that one could hear the soft voice of the world as it whispered through leaf and twig. There was no breeze to swing the branches of the trees or to creep among the rank grasses and set them dancing, and yet everywhere there was unceasing movement and a sound that never ceased. About them, for mile upon mile, there was no habitation of man; there was no movement anywhere except when a bird dipped and soared in a hasty flight homewards, or when a beetle went slugging by like a tired bullet.James Stephens was an Irish novelist and poet and produced many retellings of Irish myths and fairy tales, which are marked by a rare combination of humour and lyricism; Deirdre, and Irish Fairy Tales are often especially praised. He also wrote several original novels, The Crock of Gold, Etched in Moonlight, and Demi-Gods, which are based loosely on Irish fairy tales. The Crock of Gold in particular has achieved enduring popularity and has often been reprinted. Stephens's influential book on the 1916 Easter Rising, Insurrection in Dublin, describes the effect of the deaths by execution of his friend Thomas MacDonagh and others as being "like watching blood oozing from under a door".