Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race

Page: 154

Then Diuran said: “Let us bathe in that lake and renew ourselves where the bird hath been renewed.” “Nay,” said another, “for the bird hath left his venom in it.” But Diuran plunged in and drank of the water. From that time so long as he lived his eyes were strong [pg 327] and keen, and not a tooth fell from his jaw nor a hair from his head, and he never knew illness or infirmity.

Thereafter they bade farewell to the anchorite, and fared forth on the ocean once more.

The Island of the Laughing Folk

Here they found a great company of men laughing and playing incessantly. They drew lots as to who should enter and explore it, and it fell to Maeldūn's foster-brother. But when he set foot on it he at once began to laugh and play with the others, and could not leave off, nor would he come back to his comrades. So they left him and sailed away.

The Island of the Flaming Rampart

They now came in sight of an island which was not large, and it had about it a rampart of flame that circled round and round it continually. In one part of the rampart there was an opening, and when this opening came opposite to them they saw through it the whole island, and saw those who dwelt therein, even men and women, beautiful, many, and wearing adorned garments, with vessels of gold in their hands. And the festal music which they made came to the ears of the wanderers. For a long time they lingered there, watching this marvel, “and they deemed it delightful to behold.”

The Island of the Monk of Tory

Far off among the waves they saw what they took to be a white bird on the water. Drawing near to it they found it to be an aged man clad only in the white hair [pg 328] of his body, and he was throwing himself in prostrations on a broad rock.

“From Torach I have come hither,” he said, “and there I was reared. I was cook in the monastery there, and the food of the Church I used to sell for myself, so that I had at last much treasure of raiment and brazen vessels and gold-bound books and all that man desires. Great was my pride and arrogance.

“One day as I dug a grave in which to bury a churl who had been brought on to the island, a voice came from below where a holy man lay buried, and he said: ‘Put not the corpse of a sinner on me, a holy, pious person!’ ”

After a dispute the monk buried the corpse elsewhere, and was promised an eternal reward for doing so. Not long thereafter he put to sea in a boat with all his accumulated treasures, meaning apparently to escape from the island with his plunder. A great wind blew him far out to sea, and when he was out of sight of land the boat stood still in one place. He saw near him a man (angel) sitting on the wave. “Whither goest thou?” said the man. “On a pleasant way, whither I am now looking,” said the monk. “It would not be pleasant to thee if thou knewest what is around thee,” said the man. “So far as eye can see there is one crowd of demons all gathered around thee, because of thy covetousness and pride, and theft, and other evil deeds. Thy boat hath stopped, nor will it move until thou do my will, and the fires of hell shall get hold of thee.”