Tales of the Tuatha de Danaan 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! 

The Spring

world in a rain drop

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!”

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The wind from the South by the Chieftains

The Journey’s End

fairyspring3

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.

gate to tir-na-noglanterns2lightsig

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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

55 Comments Add yours

  1. gaiscedach says:

    Hi Cybele – this may come as a surprise as it’s a long time since you wrote these tales! But I found your images on Flickr and followed the path here 🙂

    Being from Ireland myself and knowing much of the old stories, I was captivated from the start! Eventually growing to recognise the tale of Oisin, with your own interpretation, interspersed with cameos of other mystical beings, I must say you have that rare and wonderful magic in your imagination. From the faerie mounds to Raven Bran, to the Morrigan, the Red Stag, Swans, and Druids (with your incredible representation of Christianity overcoming the pagan ways as the young priest baptized the old man) – all of the tales flowed perfectly seamlessly from one to the next. Your pictures are also crafted with insight and love and make wonderful complements to the stories. I’m glad I found your website. You are an inspiration. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh my goodness, I am totally honoured by your wonderful comment. I had another Irish photographer call me a Seanchai after he read a few of my other stories. What a compliment. I am so happy you enjoyed them as sometimes I always feel I need to revise them but never get around to it. Do check out the another Celtic tale suppoedly true on the Isle of Sky at Dunvegan Castle. The Fairy Flag! Thank you so much for your visit!! You’ve inspired me!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Bastet says:

    I’ve not gone to read the whole story .. but this part is enchanting … I like that the story has been rewritten and that Oisin is given a chance to return to the fairies … or so I read the ending … living a new dream. Your photos as always are so suitable for your stories and poetry. One has only to look at them and dream of new tales and new adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thrilled that you enjoyed it Bastet! What a lovely comment! The story has gone on in chapters since last year! I pulled it together at the end though it still would need many revisions. No worries. Thank you so much for reading!

      Like

      1. Bastet says:

        I hope your get those revisions done and think of publishing .. I have difficulty reading long pieces on my computer, but none at all reading books … even e-books 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I am so slow!! lol! Thanks so much Bast!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Bastet says:

        Actually I know what you mean ..

        Liked by 1 person

  3. LaVagabonde says:

    A luminous reworking of the legend. Images and words go so well together!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your visit and lovely comment Lavagabonde ( great name) I have just visited your site and will be back to read leisurely. I’m so pleased you enjoyed the tale!!

      Like

  4. Cybele, a beautiful ending to your magical tale. And your images are simply superb! I don’t know how you create them, but simply being able to envision such fantastical composites in the first place is as much an artistic talent as your amazing technical skills! Wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading Stacy and your lovely comment and compliment. It’s true I get a picture in my mind and try to create it. If I succeed then the magic is working!1 😀 I hated to say goodbye to my Niamh but such is the way of stories!! Now I must go back and see if I can do anything with the tale as a whole! Thanks again Stacy!

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      1. It was my pleasure to read your tale, Cybele. It’s especially fun since I normally don’t read this genre of fiction, but for you, anything 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am honoured!! so appreciated Stacy!

        Like

  5. Maria F. says:

    I love these effects Cybele, the drop is simply fascinating.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so glad you liked them Maria!! Thanks!

      Like

  6. Debra says:

    Dune Mouse, official photographer for the Fairy Courts.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh dear, I hope I never displease them!! 😀 Thanks so much Debra!!

      Like

  7. After dreaming so many dreams and treading so many paths with Niamh, our journey (Niamh’s, yours as the writer and our own – the readers’) comes to an end. However, as happens in all tales, this story will live in our recollections and here, to be discovered, one day, by other unsuspected readers. It’ll catch them by surprise. It’ll enchant them. It’ll make them dream. And isn’t that what stories are for? 🙂 Great job. I’m glad you’ve decided to share it here! I’ve enjoyed it immensely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very pleased by your encouraging support on it Lizzie!! Thanks so much my friend!

      Like

  8. Suzanne says:

    Absolutely beautiful images and a magical story. Your words weave quite a spell. I have been thinking aboutthe tuatha da danaan a lot lately. WhenI went to the hill of Tara in Ireland I felt their presence but have never been able to write about it clearly. Lately I have been feeling a need to. I have made some art about them too. I didn’t want to post it while you were writing your story either. It’s very different from your stuff. I hope you don’t mind if I post something about them soon. Please let me know how you feel abot it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh of course Suzanne!! My story was only loosely based and really a fable of my own -( I mixed both Scottish and Irish myth and everything else but the kitchen sink (- or scullery bucket 😀 ) until the end when it kind of revealed itself to me regarding Oisin!! Please feel free- I love the old stories and myths and your images are so lovely!! Thank you for reading and enjoying!

      Like

      1. Suzanne says:

        Thanks Cybele. I just wanted to clarify it with you as your imaginative approach has really engaged me. No doubt it will influence anything I do here too so I wanted to let you know why the subject interested me.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. thank you Suzanne!

        Like

    2. PS Thank you for your concern in asking!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. DG Hardy says:

    Dear hanna!

    I don’t know how you do this but the depth of your diving is splendid to behold. For sure you are so connected with your sibyl sub-conscious & the collective unconscious, somehow. It is a gift that few ever touch, never mind plumb, but you do !!!! Wow.

    Hugs, Georgina

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what a generous compliment!! I hope I have a small bit of that anyway!! Niamh inspired me greatly. Thank you my friend.

      Like

  10. Lignum Draco says:

    Lovely magical photos, suitable for your tale. I’ll have to look up Oisin, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. a wonderful old Irish tale! Thank you so much for visiting and commenting!

      Like

  11. lauramacky says:

    That first image is unreal! Seriously…you need to be famous. Your work is just THAT good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. that’s a spectacular comment coming from you! Thank you Laura! As you know, fun with filters etc!

      Like

      1. lauramacky says:

        I know what you mean…I like filters too lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Mark Simms says:

    The first image is just beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Anita says:

    Mesmerizing pictures as always Cybele, and a beautiful story. (Thank you for the background piece in the end. 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you enjoyed it Anita!! Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. solaner says:

    Thanks for the story, I didn’t have heart before. And thanks for your amazing images, Cybele. They look like they have been taken in a fairyground!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh I much appreciate your lovely comment Solaner!! Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed both story and images.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Peter Nena says:

    The end of a fine story is like the end of life itself. I love Niamh.What spirit, what soul, what dream you put in her is pure, lovely, and most enchanting. I find it very saddening that all stories must come to an end. Thank you for sharing it, Cybele. Your spirit is discernible through it. It glows.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks my friend!! As to a story’s end like the end of life -What a lovely way of putting it!! There was a sweet sadness in Niamh as she walked her journey. My chapters ended up going all over the place but I guess I am still enchanted by fairy tales!! Of course all Irish stories are sad lol!! – but let’s hope she is feasting and dancing in Tir-na-nog!! Again Peter, thanks so much for reading!! I will look forward to your next offering!!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Oh wow! The refracted images in the beads of water are incredibly good, and the story fabulous! I don’t want it to end! Well done Cybele. I’m looking forward to the next story!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. a little layered magic Deborah. I’m glad you liked the story! I’m sad at it’s end too. Thank you so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Maverick ~ says:

    Splendid images and story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Maverick!!

      Like

  18. Such beautiful writings, and the images are lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. so pleased that you enjoyed it Wendy!! Thank you for your lovely comment!!

      Like

  19. What a lovely tale and beautiful photos ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks Cougar for reading it too, and your lovely comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Amy says:

    These images are amazing, Cybele!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Amy!

      Like

  21. sheldonk2014 says:

    Great piece love how the dream had a life of its own

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks so much Sheldon!!!

      Like

  22. You certainly have a special “magic” filter to all of your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. what a lovely compliment!! Thank you Robert!! ( Mr. Magic Man)

      Liked by 1 person

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