Voyages from I to Thou.

Location: Skellig Michel, Ireland

Monday, February 14, 2005

Seeking Beauty

While Art son of Conn is playing fidchell at Tar with his stepmother Becuma (a woman from the Land of Promise), the sid-men steal his pieces and he loses the game. Becuma lays a geis on him to search for Delbchaem (“Fair-Shape”), daughter of Morgan, who dwells on an isle amid the sea. He sets out and finding a coracle on the shore he travels in it from island to island until at last he comes to a strange island full of apple-trees and lovely birds and bees, where a company of ever-beautiful women dwell, in a house thatched in bird-feathers and equipped with a crystal bower and inexhaustible vats. Among the women is Creide Firalaind (“Truly Beautiful”). She gives him a splendid mantle ((of feathers, like a tuion??)), and, seeing that it fits him, she welcomes him as Art son of Conn -- “and it is long since thy coming has been decreed.” As he takes his leave after six weeks, she warns him of the perils ahead and how to deal with them. “There is sea and land between you (and her, Delbchaem) ... there is a great dark ocean between you, and deadly and hostile is the way there; for that wood is traversed as though there were spear-points of battle under one’s feet, like leaves of the forest under the feet of men” ...

-- Alwyn & Brinsley Rees, Celtic Heritage


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