Connla and the Fairy Maiden
ONNLA of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred
Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the
height of Usna, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire
coming towards him.
"Whence comest thou, maiden?" said Connla.
"I come from the Plains of the Ever Living," she said,
"there where there is neither death nor sin. There we keep
holiday alway, nor need we help from any in our joy. And in
all our pleasure we have no strife. And because we have our
homes in the round green hills, men call us the Hill Folk."
The king and all with him wondered much to hear a voice when
they saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy
"To whom art thou talking, my son?" said Conn the king.
Then the maiden answered, "Connla speaks to a young, fair
maid, whom neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla,
and now I call him away to the Plain of Pleasure,
 Moy Mell, where Boadag is king for aye, nor has there been
complaint or sorrow in that land since he has held the
kingship. Oh, come with me, Connla of the Fiery Hair, ruddy
as the dawn with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits thee
to grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never
shall thy comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last
awful day of judgment."
The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard
though he could not see her, called aloud to his Druid,
Coran by name.
"Oh, Coran of the many spells," he said, "and of the
cunning magic, I call upon thy aid. A task is upon me too
great for all my skill and wit, greater than any laid upon
me since I seized the kingship. A maiden unseen has met us,
and by her power would take from me my dear, my comely son.
If thou help not, he will be taken from thy king by woman's
wiles and witchery."
Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells
towards the spot where the maiden's voice had been heard.
And none heard her voice again, nor could Connla see her
longer. Only as she vanished before the Druid's mighty
spell, she threw an apple to Connla.
For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing,
either to eat or to drink, save only from that apple. But as
he ate it grew again and always kept whole. And all the
while there grew within him a mighty yearning and longing
after the maiden he had seen.
But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla
stood by the side of the king his father on the Plain of
Arcomin, and again he saw the maiden come towards him, and
again she spoke to him.
 " 'Tis a glorious place, forsooth, that Connla holds among
shortlived mortals awaiting the day of death. But now the
folk of life, the ever-living ones, beg and bid thee come to
Moy Mell, the Plain of Pleasure, for they have learnt to
know thee, seeing thee in thy home among thy dear ones.
When Conn the king heard the maiden's voice he called to his
men aloud and said:
"Summon swift my Druid Coran, for I see she has again this
day the power of speech."
Then the maiden said: "Oh, mighty Conn, fighter of a hundred
fights, the Druid's power is little loved; it has little
honour in the mighty land, peopled with so many of the
upright. When the Law will come, it will do away with the
Druid's magic spells that come from the lips of the false
Then Conn the king observed that since the maiden came
Connla his son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of
the hundred fights said to him, "Is it to thy mind what the
woman says, my son?"
" 'Tis hard upon me," then said Connla; "I love my own folk
above all things; but yet, but yet a longing seizes me for
When the maiden heard this, she answered and said: "The ocean
is not so strong as the waves of thy longing. Come with me
in my curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe.
Soon we can reach Boadag's realm. I see the bright sun sink,
yet far as it is, we can reach it before dark. There is,
too, another land worthy of thy journey, a land joyous to
all that seek it. Only wives and maidens dwell there. If
thou wilt, we can seek it and live there alone together in
 When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla of the Fiery Hair
rushed away from them and sprang into the curragh, the
gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all,
king and court, saw it glide away over the bright sea
towards the setting sun. Away and away, till eye could see
it no longer, and Connla and the Fairy Maiden went their way
on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did any know where