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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "A Year and a Day"

A Year and a Day

Everything that I have found is changed, but there may be something that is not changed. Will one of you go with me in a war chariot and drive where I shall tell him, and let me see if I can find anything as I knew it once?'

"Then one of them said that he would go with him. The next morning they set out. Oisin told the man where to drive, till they came to a place where Oisin said: 'Look around you and tell me what you can see on the plain.'

"'I see a stone pillar,' the man answered.

"'Drive the chariot to it,' said Oisin, 'and dig at the foot of the pillar, on the south side of it.'

"The man did as Oisin told him, and when he had dug for a while Oisin asked him if he had found anything. 'There is something long and hard here,' said the man, 'like a wooden pole.'

"'Dig it out,' said Oisin.

"The man dug more. 'I have it out now,' he said; 'it is like a great spear, for it has a huge head of rusty iron. I can scarcely lift it.'

"'It is a spear such as the Fenians used,' said Oisin. 'Dig still deeper.'

"The man dug again. 'Do you find anything more?' said Oisin.

"'I have found a great horn,' the man answered, 'many times as large as any horn that I ever saw.'

"'It is the great war-horn of my father, Finn McCool,' said Oisin. 'Dig deeper.'

"The man dug again and said, 'I have found a lump of bog butter.'

"'Now blow the horn,' said Oisin.

"The man was scarcely able to blow the horn, but he did blow it, and it gave forth a harsh, terrible note, which sounded over the plain and was echoed back from the woods and the rocks with a hoarse, dreadful sound.

"'Look about you,' said Oisin, 'and tell me what you see.'

"'Oh, I see,' said the man, 'a great flock of birds coming toward us, and every one of them is many times as large as the largest eagle that I have ever seen. I fear that we cannot escape them and that they will kill us. The dog is nearly dead with terror and he is trying to break his chain.'

"'Give him a piece of the bog butter,' said Oisin, 'and let him go.

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