Tales of the Tuatha chapter 37 & 38 – The End of the Journey
( unfortunately these chapters will be in descending order on Tales of The Tuatha menu tab and there is no way to change that!)
This series began as simple 100 world tales and then morphed into a story of a young girl’s vision quest (Chapters 1-38) as she looked for the dreams she had accidentally spilled out on the path. They were stories that told themselves to me and I didn’t know where I was going until close to the end.
Forgive the length and artistic liberty. They will need revising to become more cohesive but here they are at the moment in the first “spilling” of the tales.
Thank you my readers for the large and loyal following that grew as the stories unfolded and became a mythical journey of the spirit.
I found it hard to say goodbye to my lovely Niamh and Bran!
Dawn began to bathe her radiant limbs in the spring as Niamh removed her shoes and outer garments. Taking a deep breath she dove into the depths to look for the last dream. Everything seemed to churn into slow motion as she descended into the shadows. A few beams of light danced a jig on the weeds below and a salmon swam up to her before darting away. The dream caught the refraction of light and seemed to pulse with the rhythm of a heartbeat. She picked it up but as she tried to ascend a heaviness began to pull at her. She struggled and the air from her lungs exploded into a stream of silver bubbles. As the waters swirled around her the salmon appeared again. It was then that she realized what was weighing her down. It was her dreams. She had not noticed how heavy and onerous they had become and now she was drowning in them! She opened the pouch tied around her waist and let them flow out. She thought she saw the salmon swallowing them. Opening her fist she let the last dream go. As she began to lose consciousness a hand reached through the water.
When she opened her eyes someone was kneeling beside her. The water that filled her eyes and nose turned into rivulets that ran like tears down her face and into the ground. As her vision cleared she saw a young man with coal black curls gazing down at her. He had a quiver of arrows and a bow by his side and his eyes were as deep as the sacred spring with flecks of bright salmon swimming in them. In an instant everything came together and she suddenly knew everything! He was the rider on the road- and it was he who in sorrow had thrown the dream away! Something that had been as splendidly woven as a dew threaded spiderweb had become unraveled and she knew he had been looking for her. Had she also been looking for him?
But in that moment of strange magic, between the folds of time, he seemed not to know her or have any recollection of the dream. It was as though he was seeing her for the first time. “What is your name?” she finally asked. “I am Oisin, son of Fionn MacCumhail,” he answered proudly “ I was following the red deer when I came upon this place and I think I have found something far more than I could have ever imagined!”
The wind from the South by the Chieftains
The Journey’s End
He opened his hand. “Is this what you are looking for?” he asked. In his palm lay the dream. What had been thrown away was now recovered. Inside the shining crystal sphere she saw herself and Oisin beside the spring and she could also see a gate at the edge of the clearing. She hesitated and then gently closed his hand. “No longer“, she replied “You have retrieved it and now it is yours.” He opened his hand again and looked at the gift with an innocent and awed reverence. “Perhaps neither of us may lay claim to it my lady,” he said, “Perhaps it lays claim to us,” and he smiled. It was a smile like Bran’s and it warmed her heart. “I never thought there could be anything so beautiful.” he said softly, but he was looking at her.
Suddenly her perception shifted and she was inside the dream looking out. In that center of stillness she watched as a powerful gust of wind stirred through the surrounding trees. She saw the face of the Morrigan fade into the shadowy bracken. The red stag bowed his crowned head one last time before withdrawing into the darkness. This was the end of her journey! The quest, her memories and her dreams melted away into the morning mists and flowed backward to the place she began. She recognized the familiar path back home.
“I am Niamh of the Tuatha,” she heard herself say, “and if you have courage to come with me to the mound, my father will happily welcome you!” She rose up and held out her hand. He took it willingly and together they walked toward the open gate.
And so began a dream of their own.
Background: For any who do not know the legend and story of Oisin (Ossian in Scottish) you can find many interpretations and tellings of the tale. This is just my own fable told from another perspective, that of Niamh. It is said Oisin himself was the son of a great chieftain and a fairy. While out hunting he came across the beautiful sidhe, Niamh, and fell in love. He went back with her on a white horse to the land of enchantment, Tir-na-nog, where they danced and feasted every night and lived happily. As happy as he was, at some point he became homesick for his friends and family and wanted to see them one last time. Niamh begged him not to go back but he was determined, so she gave him a horse and told him he must not dismount or set his foot down on the ground for if he did he would never be able to return. Back in the land of his birth he could not find his family or any of the familiar places and when the girth on his saddle broke he fell and accidentally set his foot down. At that moment the spell was broken and he became a very old man. He had not known that he had been away for more than 300 years. It is said that St.Patrick found and baptized him after hearing his story. Some tales state that Oisin did say that he would rather spend one day in fairyland than an eternity in heaven.
Salmon is associated with wisdom in Celtic myth