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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "The Golden Spears"

The Golden Spears

As the children watched the water sparkling where the sunlight fell, Nora said:

“Oh, Connla, did you ever see anything so bright and clear and glancing as that?”

“No,” said Connla, “I never did.”

“That’s because you never saw the crystal hall of the fairy of the mountains,” said a voice above the heads of the children.

And when they looked up, who should they see perched on a branch but the thrush.

“And where is the crystal hall of the fairy?” said Connla.

“Oh, it is where it always was, and where it always will be,” said the thrush. “And you can see it if you like.”

“We would like to see it,” said the children.

“Well, then,” said the thrush, “if you would, all you have to do is to follow the nine little pipers when they come down through the heather, and cross the meadow to-morrow evening.”

And the thrush having said this, flew away.

Connla and Nora went home, and that night they fell asleep talking of the thrush and the fairy and the crystal hall.

All the next day they counted the minutes, until they saw the shadows thronging from the glen and scaling the mountain side. And, at last, they saw the door springing open, and the nine little pipers marching down.

They waited until the pipers had crossed the meadow and were about to enter the wood. And then they followed them, the pipers marching on before them and playing all the time. It was not long until they had passed through the wood, and then, what should the children see rising up before them but another mountain, smaller than their own, but, like their own, clad more than half-way up with purple heather, and whose top was bare and sharp-pointed, and gleaming like a golden spear.

Up through the heather climbed the pipers, up through the heather the children clambered after them, and the moment the pipers passed the heather a door opened and they marched in, the children following, and the door closed behind them.

Connla and Nora were so dazzled by the light that hit their eyes, when they had crossed the threshold, that they had to shade them with their hands; but, after a moment or two, they became able to bear the splendour, and when they looked around they saw that they were in a noble hall, whose crystal roof was supported by two rows of crystal pillars rising from a crystal floor; and the walls were of crystal, and along the walls were crystal couches, with coverings and cushions of sapphire silk with silver tassels.

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