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Mythical Tales Shannon Winkowski

Table of contents Aoibheann and the Hawthorn Tree..........page 1 Claira and the Frog......................................page 5 The Flute, the Dagger, and the Giant.......page 11 Keilee and the Faerie Horse.......................page 16 Kelpie of Kilkee............................................page 22 Author’s Notes


Aoibheann and the Hawthorn Tree nce there was a girl name Aoibheann (Ev-een) who lived off in the far countryside of Ireland. She loved to play out in the days, dance in the rain, and pick flowers to decorate her hair. Her mother would always warn her to be cautious of faeries that hide away in the bushes and greens. “Also,” Her mother would say, “Don’t go near the hawthorn trees.” Now faeries were a curious thing to Aoibheann. “I’ve never seen one in my life!” says she. “Mommy always said they’re full of disasterial deeds. But what harm could possibly come to me—to pick a simple blossom off the hawthorn tree?” She held out for many years—to never pick a blossom from the hawthorn tree, but by the time she turned thirteen, she became bored and possessed with uncontrolled curiosity. She trailed far off down a dirt path till she was neighbors away. Here, she found a blossoming hawthorn tree growing up between tall swaying grass next to moss covered stonewalls. Hesitantly, she picked a white blossom from the hawthorn tree that grew full, thinking, “if any misfortune do come, it will come to my neighbors, or straight to me. I will take such risk—but it must leave my family be.” And from the tree, she held the white blossom with red linear marks. This would forever be her little secret, and she hid the flower in her pocket and waited. But nothing happened then, or even all day. Nothing happened for days after. Aoibheann, disappointed, soon shrugged off such superstition and eventually forgot completely. One day, a gorgeous sunny day, at that. Aoibheann was strolling down the dirt path along that smooth stonewall, and when she passed the hawthorn tree, out jumped a feral cat with silky fur of white that shone like crystals in the sun light. He approached her so, with a melody from his lips, “Oh, Aoibheann sweet Aoibheann, A reward for me, that you’ll be owing for me singing your name of Aoibheann.” Now Aoibheann wasn’t a complete fool—she knew exactly that faeries can disguise themselves as simple supernatural animals—such as a talking cat. She looked about her clothes and replied, “But my dear, handsome kitty, I’m afraid I have nothing on me to give you, but I have lots of wondrous treasures to offer you back at my home, if you would just follow me.” He gave her a flat stare and a meeeeeoooowroand under his breath. But he agreed to follow the girl. Aoibheann didn’t go down the path to her house, but instead lead the faerie cat into the woods and towards a river that

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3 flowed into her town. As Aoibheann took two steps in—she heard the hiss of the faerie cat. “Oh, would you like me to carry you across, it’s just over this river.” Aoibheann sounded as innocent as she possibly could—and for a thirteenyear-old girl, that is quite good. But the faerie cat growled, and said, “No, thank you. You may keep what you have. I don’t want a reward today.” And he trampled off into the forest. Now, if Aoibheann learned her lesson, she would have stayed off that path by the hawthorn tree. But the next day she walked by it again. “Oh I see, Miss Aoibheann walking down by the hawthorn tree. Today you owe a reward to me, because I sing to you, Aoibheann.” The young girl turned just as the white faerie cat was walking down the stonewall. “Why, I do have a reward for you, my dear kitty,” and Aoibheann pulled out a fresh raw slab of steak, heavenly seasoned with salt. The faerie cat licked his lips but stopped right before taking a huge bite. He gave the meat a sniff, and pulled back with a hiss. “What’s wrong? It’s all yours to eat?” said Aoibheann. But the faerie cat replied, “No, thank you. You may keep what you have. I don’t want a reward today.” With that, he jumped off the wall and disappeared from sight. The next day, Aoibheann skipped up the same path humming a tune. Her father gave her a gift that day, and she was extremely excited to have it. She was so engrossed with the world that she barely realized she passed the hawthorn tree. It was the sweet melody of the faerie cat that made her slow down and looks about. “You skip so light, you look so fair. A crown of hawthorns you should wear. Your hair is golden like the color of wheat. What do you have today for me, sweet little Aoibheann?” That day, Aoibheann only had the gift her father gave her, so she offered it to the faerie cat. “I only have this treasured gift that you may have.” And she pulled out a knife with a handle black and blade of steel. The white cat growled and hissed. His back arched up, his face scrunched in, and the fur spiked sharp. “You toss that into the woods, you hear, right now and I’ll grant you three wishes whenever you wish to make them.” This pleased Aoibheann very much, so she took the knife and threw it in the woods where it couldn’t be seen. “For my first wish, I would like wealthy years for my family and I.” “Very well.” Says the cat. Aoibheann’s family stayed very wealthy indeed. They never had a


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bad harvest or a sickly cow. This pleased Aoibheann very much for when she reached eighteen she went back to give her second wish to the faerie cat by the hawthorn tree: “I would like to be married to the most handsomest man in my town.” “Very well.” Says the cat. And after a few days she was wedded to the most handsome man in town. Over ten years, Aoibheann was blessed with three beautiful children, but she was very fond of her looks and was afraid to see them go. Once again she took a walk towards the hawthorn tree. She was greeted welcoming by the faerie cat in his musical voice, “My dear Aoibheann, you have one more wish to wish from me.” “I wish for eternal beauty, and to stay fair for all my days.” “Very well.” Now, Aoibheann had intended to stay young and gorgeous till she dies, but it seemed that she never aged since that day. Soon her husband passed, then her children passed, and then her grandchildren were almost eighty years old, and Aoibheann stayed young and pretty. Her life was and lonely, and even though she never aged from that day with the faerie cat, she felt tired and worn out. One evening she took a stroll to that old hawthorn tree. The moss and ivy covered the stonewall, the fields were over grown for her neighbors long since passed and no one had lived their since. However, the hawthorn tree still stood, taller and grander than ever. The blossom’s had bloomed and were already starting to shed their pedals like snow in the soft breezy wind. She stood there for a while, staring up at the tree waiting. She waited, and waited and waited. Aoibheann began to think that the faerie cat must be long gone. But when she finally started to walk away, she heard him singing that deep mystical tune, “You look so young, so pretty, but wise. You walked through a world of many lives. How does it feel to be so endless, how do you feel alone and friendless? Silly Aoibheann will you ever learn to listen about playing with faeries? I granted you wealth, I granted you love, and I granted you eternal life. You’re still not satisfied. You can’t be pleased. Now you’re out of wishes. Now you’re out of tricks. This time I won’t let you get away with paying me my remuneration.” “I have nothing worthy of myself to give you, but my very own life. You may take that for it’s long been lived.” The cat’s mouth curved into a devious smile. His eyes lit with glee. Then as son as the cat replied “very well,” Aoibheann’s heart stopped, and her limp body fell at the roots of the hawthorn tree.


Claira and the Frog here once was a poor farmer who was a greedy desperate man. He had only one child, a daughter. Claira (clar-ra) was a fair looking girl, and the farmer dreaded the very idea of her blooming in to a gorgeous woman—because the landlords would come around and take her away and the farmer would get no compensation for her. The only way the farmer could make anything off the girl is to give her away to a wealthy gentleman. Everyday, the farmer would always send Claira to take the cows up to the hill for grazing. One day, she was sitting by a large boulder admiring the view of the village when a frog hopped out from under the wild flowers. The sun reflected off of it’s wet slimy skin from the dirt hole it just climbed out. It startled the girl at first, but then it created an eerie feeling in her stomach as it hopped closer and closer. She wasn’t too particularly fond of frogs. And closer and closer it hopped towards her, till it was just a few inches away from touching. She looked down at the gruetesst thing. It’s eyes were pools of dark emptiness as it looked directly up to the girl. She could feel the hair on her arms trickle up across her soft skin. She stared down back at it. It stared up at her. “What do you want?” She asked with a little irritated snap in her voice. Then the frog simply hopped away back into its hole. The girl soon forgot about the thing. And when the sun started to set, she took that cows back home. Later that night, a low wind came through the hills. Behind that, a brewing storm. It howled through the night, and when Claira was asleep, a loud ruckus knock came to the door. The farmer replied angrily to the knock, as it was the most inconvenience hours of the night to be disturbed. “What!?!? What do you want?” Perhaps some traveler got lost in the dark, and needed some shelter from the rain. But even so, the farmer waited for a reply before answering the door. “Let me in,” came a raspy voice from the other side, “and I’ll make you a rich man.” Curious, the farmer reluctantly opened a door to a blackcloaked figure. The farmer hesitated before allowing the figure to come in. Once it was in the dim light, the farmer saw it was an old woman. Her face was deathly pale and wrinkly like a dried up grape. Her eyes were dark and sunk in. “Now what be your business.” The farmer said rashly. The hag smiled showing sharp teeth of a wolf, and the farmer was taken back. Quickly, he offered her tea, but she shook her head, and in her raspy voice she asked, “Do you have a daughter?” The hag’s appearance horrified the farmer. He slowly nodded his head, “yea, I do. She’s asleep at this hour.” “Sell me your daughter, and I will give you this bag full of gold coins.” From underneath her robe she held out a heavy sack. It was enough for the farmer to live rich for the rest of his days. But before he got too rash, he

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7 asked, “Why do you want my daughter?” The hag gave a toothy grin. It sent a shiver down the farmers back. “I’m an old woman, now—very old. I’m in need of someone to help mind me and take care of my house. I heard that you have a daughter with young hands that can help me with such.” The farmer then nodded. He could send his daughter away to work, and not have to worry about when she got older. Also, he would be a very wealthy man. Agreed, he went to go get Claira, and still half asleep, she was sent away into the night with the old hag. Now, the hag lived in a brick house with a thatched roof deep in a forest. The little girl had no idea where she was. Every morning the girl was told to fetch the water by the river in the woods, gather vegetables from the garden, tend the garden, make meals, and clean the house. The old hag also taught Claira to spin wool and make her own clothing. As the years went on, Claira grew into a young gorgeous woman of fair skin and long golden hair that she kept braided. One morning, she was down by the river washing the clothes when a frog jumped out from the mud shore with a load croak. Claira gave a loud shriek and was on her feet, backing away. She still wasn’t fond of frogs. He looked up at her with familiar black eyes that made her uneasy. “Oh, is that you again?” The frog gave another croak. “What? What do you want now? Last time I saw you I was sent away to be a slave to the hag. You’re bad luck. Now, get out of here.” It stared at her a few moments more, and then hopped off. Claira finished washing the clothes, and then went back up to the house. The old hag met her at the doorway, “Were you talking to anyone out there?” The girl was confused. There was no one for miles—who would she be talking too? “Why, no one. I was just washing cloths.” The old hag gave a slow nod. The next afternoon, Claira was out in the woods gathering wood for the fireplace. When she bent down to pick up another log, out from the dirt popped up a frog. Claira gave a scream and dropped everything in her arms. “You again. Quit popping up like that—it scares the light out of me.” The frog gave a croak and hopped back away. When the girl came back that night, the old hag was waiting at the doorway for her and asked roughly, “Were you talking to anyone out there?” “Why, of course no one. I was just picking up wood.” And the old hag gave a grunt and went backside. Claira was out the next day weeding and harvesting the garden. She paused for a rest as the humidity was getting to her. Suddenly, the frog jumped on her lap. In disgust, she threw him off of her, “Eww, don’t ever touch me you vile thing. You can stain my dress with your dirt and slime. Just leave me alone. I want nothing to do with you.” With that the frog hopped off again. Claira came back to the house and the hag was waiting out on the door, “You weren’t talking to anyone while you were out there—did you?” Claira responded the same as always, “No, I didn’t” That night, Claira stayed up a little late—sewing minor stitches to one


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of her dresses she intended to wear the next day. The old hag came in with a tray of tea for the girl. “For all your hard work today, dearie.” Claira was awed at such generous compassion. Ever since she arrived, the hag has done nothing for her. The old woman set the tray down and poured it in a glass and handed it to her. It smelled sweet like berries—tea that she never knew they even had. “Oh, why thank you.” “Yes, yes now, don’t stay up too late. As soon as you finish the tea, go straight to bed.” And the hag left. Claira set the cup down aside for now—it was far too hot yet—and continued sewing. But moments later something plopped down on the glass and spilt the tea all over the floor. With a silent gasp, Claira looked up and saw a frog with black eyes hopping around the floor and then out of the room. Claira was furious. She was going to catch that frog and have him in a stew and feed it to the old hag. She took her candlelight and followed him out—lightly, not to wake the old woman—but as she crept along the hallway, she noticed one of the rooms with a parted doorway was illuminated. She crept closer to the room and glanced inside. The room smelled of potent scents of burned wood mixed with herbs. She heard the old woman chanting softly as she boiled and brew whatever she was making in there. And Ciara was frighten when she heard what the old woman spoke: Best be beauty, best be bright I’m going to eat her soul tonight She sleeps tonight, she sleeps her last For her looks will be my mask I’ll be young, and I’ll be fare Eating the liver of the girl with golden hair And with that I shall live for another sixty years The girl never liked the old hag, but now was entirely terrified of the witch! She knew then, she had to somehow escape in the night, swiftly and quietly. She looked down and noticed the frog by her foot, staring up at her. He wasn’t so bad at this point. The girl thought about a way for her escape. The hag would certainly hear her leaving if she just went through the door. Instead, she grabbed a knife out of the kitchen, and tip toed back to her room. She closed her door. She took yarn and wrapped it around the door handle and then tied the end tight to the dresser next door. She hoped it’d keep the witch away while she had time to get out. She packed a small pack and went to the window. Her room was up two stories. She always thought the old hag would die, so she never thought about running away before. Claira looked about her room and saw that there wasn’t anything that would support her weight down…till she thought about her long golden hair. She thought she heard a sound outside the doorway. With haste, Claira tied the end of her long golden braid tightly to her bedpost. The frog sat on the windowsill, and with a little compassion for it, she picked it up, and threw it in her pack. It practically saved her life. With her hair, Claira used it to climb down the wall. When she reached the bottom, she pulled out the knife and


9 cut her hair off to her mid back. She could hear the old had banging against the door from her room and calling her name. Claira snuck off into the woods towards the stream, because that’s the one path she new she can trace in the dark. When she got there, she crossed the stream and decided to follow the stream—hoping it would lead out into a town. She traveled all night at a fast run for most of the pace. But it was very late and she has been working all day that eventually she slowed down, and took shelter in underbrush by a tree and slept through the night. Claira woke the next morning to a loud cricketing. She opened her eyes to see that the frog stood before her face. She forgot all about him after she put him in her little pack. With a groan, she got up, and the frog hopped down the river away. What else was she to do but follow? She was traveling that way anyways. The frog led Claira to a white mare drinking at the stream. The horse didn’t run away when the girl approached instead she brought her head up and looked at her and waited. The frog stared at Claira. The girl attempted to mount the mare and to her surprise she stood perfectly still and let her climb up. But when she gave the horse a squeeze with her legs, it went nowhere. The frog stood on the ground and croaked. The horse glanced back at her. With a sigh, Claira scooped of the frog and placed him in her sack again. Suddenly, the horse took off at a trot and Claira held on. It ran through the woods at a quick but manageable pace all day, and all night. Claira fell asleep as she rode the horse. When she awoken again, the horse was on a gravel path towards a large kingdom. She stood awed at the castle that stood before her. The horse stopped when she reached the gates. Claira dismounted, took the frog out of her pouch and put him on the ground. She passed through the gates and entered into the market place. Some of the villagers looked at her—and she was ashamed of her disheveled appearance—unaware that everyone only staring at her because she was the most beautiful woman that they’ve seen. She went into an inn and asked for some work. The innkeeper was a generous woman as she granted the poor girl a bath, cloths, and housing along with a job as a serving girl. The inn received many customers, as everyone wanted to glance at the beauty of Claira. Many attempted to propose to the girl, but she reclined seeing how they were always drunk and unappealing. Claira was then getting ready for bed, when she heard a croak upon her windowsill where the frog sat. Instead of screaming in disgusted, the girl was amused as to why the frog seemed to follow her everywhere. “What is that you want?” She asked. But the frog simply responded with another croak. “Perhaps it tiz a kiss for rescuing me from that witch? It’s the only thing I have that I could offer a frog.” It sat and stared at her this time. Claira’s mouth curved in a little disgust, but she did owe him her life. So she picked up the frog and kissed it’s slimy wet head. When she opened her eyes, it wasn’t a frog that she kissed, but a man’s lips. She backed away with a gasp. “Don’t be alarm, my dear lady Claira. For it is still I, the frog. I’m


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prince of this land, or I was. I went out hunting years ago on my steed till I encountered that old hag. She turned me into a frog and tried to cook me for stew. But I ran off and long kept myself hidden away. Only a kiss from a woman of pure virtue can break witches spells. I’ve been watching you since and you were indeed a woman of such virtue. Because of such a generous acts and compassion, I would like to reward you by making you my wife.” Claira still couldn’t believe that the frog was a man and that the man was a prince—a handsome prince with a gorgeous face structure and dark hair. But however so, she agreed. The man didn’t lie for he was the Prince of that kingdom and everyone recognized it. They were wedded and she lived luxurious within the castle. One morning, Claira wanted to find her father and show him how well she’s done for herself. Her husband gave her a carriage and guards and allowed her on her way. When she got home, she noticed that he father was still a poor old man. The bag of gold only held the gold coins for three days then it all vanished and turned to leaves. Claira sympathized with her father. For if he weren’t a greedy man that sold her to the hag, the witch probably would have stolen her away in the night either way. With this, she agreed to have him come and live in her castle. He was her father after all. From that day on, Claira was queen, and her husband was king and they lived—never to see the old witch hag in their lives again.


The Flute, the Dagger, and the Giant idane (zy-dan-ee) was a thief—master of thieves, it should be said. He grew up as a poor child, but he managed his way through stealing, and scheming. He was very well to do and he always fooled you whenever he got the chance. Except when it came to gambling—he was an honest man with a gamble—one of his morals that he kept untainted, oddly as it was, cause you know lots of people would try to cheat you in a gamble. But he loved it so. Drinking and gambling’s where his greatest passions in life—and thievery was that kept him to enjoy such a life. One day while he was enjoying himself over a pint, a well-dressed man came in wearing all sorts of jewels and gold. He wasn’t a man that would normally be walking in such a pub full of lying deceitful minds; this man probably didn’t know the best for him. All the thieves grinned to themselves, wondering who was going to steal the most from him, maybe in a game of cards or dice, or perhaps simply wait till he leaves and go out and mug him later. Plots went through everyone’s heads of what they would do—even Zidane thought of some ideas The man took them all in, and placed his hands at his hips and called out, “Who will play me in a game of cards, and I shall wager all the gems and gold I have on.” “Why—Zidane is the best at the best when it comes to playing cards—aren’t you dear lad?” A fellow comrade roared, and knocked Zidane on the back, spilling the pint he had in his hand. Zidane gave him a glare from behind, but as everyone else in the room cheered for the master of thieves, the rich man got his opponent. And so they played and in the hand, Zidane did come out in fact victorious. The wealthy man was a fair sport as he gave up the jewels and gold. Zidane offered pints all around—even to the wealthy man, but he declined with a smile and went out on his way. The next day, at the same bar around the same time, the rich man walked in again, and called, “Who will play me at a game of cards? I’ll wager a herd of cattle with horns of gold and hooves of silver.” Perplexed, everyone looked back at each other—cattle with gold horns and silver hooves? What of a thing would ever exist? But a comrade knocked Zidane on his back and roared, “Why Zidane is the best at the best playing a game of cards.” The bar cheered, and the wealthy man had his opponent once again. And again, Zidane had won the hand. What was he to do with a herd of cattle—he hasn’t a clue—he was a thief not a farmer. But in the yard of the bar, they placed the herd of cattle. The wealthy man, a good sport as ever smiled and went off on his way. The next day at the same place of the same time, the man walked in again and called, “Who will play me at a game of cards? I’ll wager some-

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13 thing more grand you can ever imagine.” And all who sat in the bar cheered ‘Zidane’, who once again, agreed to play another game. However, for the luck of the draw—Zidane lost to the wealthy man. He gave a huge grin, and declared his price, “Now, all I ask form you is a simple task. You see, all the jewels and gold, the cows of silver feet and horns of gold are what I’ve stolen from a giant up in the hills. He’ll be an angry beast to come down here and see that you’re the one with all his things. However, if you fetch me a flute made of sage and a dagger of black iron, I will gladly take care of the giant for you.” Zidane gave a long moan to see what predicament he got himself in. He glared back at the rich man who now laughed at him and the misfortune and went on his way out. “Well,” Zidane started, “For every man that has cheered me out to play with that man, you will hide one cow in your house.” Then he turned to the comrade, Luca, who’ve smacked him on his back, “And you will come with me on my journey.” Together the two of them went off on their journey for the Flute of Sage and the Dagger of Black Iron. On the road they passed an old man who struggled down the path with his oak staff. He spoke to the two gentlemen on they’re way, “please if you give me whatever food you have, I can help you on your journey.” With a shrugged, they offered the old man their food, and he gave a smirk and evil crackle after it was all eaten, “Some advice to yee boys, don’t ever give wayyou’re your food if your looking for the Sagged Flute.” And into a crow the old man turned and flew off. “Ghar! That old beggar—he fooled us!” Luca cried. “Now, now—there’s no sense crying about it. You see here, while he was eating, I peered at his staff and saw this,” and Zidane pulled out a Sagged Flute. The couple continued on their way down the road until they crossed paths with an old woman clocked in dark red. She strode down the road slowly picking up her foot inch-by-inch and swayed in a wobble. Luca stepped lightly as they approached and whispered over to Zidane, “I think we should go back and try to avoid her. She seems like trouble.” “Nonsense, she’s just an old woman.” As they approached the old hag, she stared at them with black eyes, “please, if you give me whatever drink you have, I can help you on your journey.” Against Luca’s complaints, Zidane offered her their water. The old woman drank and drank till it was all gone, and then gave a toothy smile and a raspy hackle, “Some be advice to thee, if your quest is long, don’t give away your water on your search for the Black Ironed Dagger.” And then into a hare the woman turned and ran off. “GHAR! That old witch—she tricked us!” Luca cried “Now, now—there’s no sense crying about it. While she was drinking, I inspected her boots—she was indeed walking slow and funny—and I pulled out this,” and out he held a Black Ironed Dagger. Now that Zidane had both the Sagged Flute and Black Iron Dagger,


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they went on back to their town. As they crossed the field, a loud thunderous noise came from behind. They looked back to see a giant running down the hill after them. As Luca saw, he took off at a run towards the town. But Zidane stood and faced the giant. “I hear it tiz you who stolen my jewels and cattle—thief of master thieves.” “Aye, I am, but not a master of thieves—I’m afraid you were told wrong—but a master flutiest.” And he pulled out the Flute of Sage. “I can play any tune as the finest tune you’d ever hear. Would you like me to play for you?” The giant was doubtful, but if he says he is a flutist—and has himself a flute—perhaps it was so. So, the giant demanded him to play a song. Zidane put the flute to lips, and played a cheer, merry, bright tune. But the giant could barely keep his eyes open, and suddenly fell asleep. His loud obnoxious snores interrupted Zidane. He glared at the giant, hating how his skillful flute playing has gone unnoticed. The thief was about to wake him up until his faithful comrade Luca came running back up the hill. “Oh my! Zidane, how on earth did you knock such a giant out?” “What!? I can play a beautiful tune on the flute! …so beautiful and peaceful that it can put a giant to sleep.” A thought finally came to the thief— he would never have to worry about his head to be pounded in, as long as he has the flute. Than, he wondered who else would fall asleep. He eyed Luca for a moment. “Luca, take a listen as I play, and then tell me how amazing I am.” Zidane started to play the melody he played for the giant. When he was done, Luca took his hands down from covering his ears, “You play… excellently well.” He stumbled over the word excellence and gave a wince. ‘But at least he didn’t fall asleep.’ I guess this only works on the giant.’ He thought. “Come Luca, help me wake the giant up.” “What!?” Luca’s complexion turned white as the blood drained from his face. “But, Zidane, he’s sleeping now. Why don’t we just steal whatever he’s got on him, and go our way?” “But then he’d know that I’m the Master of Thieves, unless...” A glimmer from the giant’s belt had caught Zidane’s eye. From the giant’s pocket, he pulled out a gold flute that shimmered in the sun. “We should head back and give that man his flute and dagger.” Luca suggested. “Momentarily.” Zidane was quite curious about the golden flute in his hands. If the Sage Flute puts giants to sleep, what would the golden one do? He put the flute up to his lips—Luca immediately went to cover his ears—and Zidane played the golden flute. What he played was a glorious tune. It sounded like soft crystals chiming in the wind with a chorus of low notes that kept the melody together. Luca stared astonished. A merchant wagon came to listen to the song. When Zidane finished, the merchant tipped him a couple of golden coins. He’s never heard such amazing flute playing in his lifetime. So Zidane decided to keep playing the gold flute and head back into his town. He strolled down the roads, and went in and out of the inns.


15 Children danced along side him, women awed him with dreamy eyes, and everyone who had a little coin tipped him. Luca—no longer covering his ears—took the opportunity to collect the money Zidane made. He finally stopped playing when his purses could hold no more, and ended up back at his bar. He hid the flute and went in to find the man waiting for him. “Back so soon? I could almost swear you would have a run in with the giant. Someone tipped him off that you have cattle with hooves of steal, and horns of gold.” The man gave Zidane a greasy smile. “No, no run in with any giant. I have your dagger, and I have your flute. They’re not worth nearly the amount of money I’ve won from you, but never the less, here you are for you to defeat the giant.” The man stood wide-eyed, but took the Black Ironed Dagger and the Sagged Flute and went off his way. Zidane gave up his skills at stealing and scheming now that all he has to do was play music from his flute to gain enough money to buy a house in the country. His cattle of silver hooves and golden horns had more than enough to graze big and fat. They roamed the hills but stayed near, for they too loved the pleasant melody Zidane played from the golden flute. He became known as The Master Flutiest.


Keilee and the Faerie Horse here once was a mare that was pregnant with a foal for a year and a day. The farmer who owned that horse had creepy suspicious that such a foal could bring the farmer bad luck and thought about putting the mare down. However, there was nothing abnormal about the pregnancy other than being longer than usual, so he kept his horse. When the foal was born he was practically the most beautiful horse of all, as his fur was as white as the hawthorn blossoms and his mane and tail were black and sleet like the feathers of a raven. His markings, however, were what made the people of the town most uncomfortable. The jet-black stockings were woven up to the knees like spider webs, and a diamond on his forehead was dark red. But it didn’t matter one bit to Keilee (Ky-lee), the daughter of the farmer, for she was instantly in love with the beautiful foal. Because of this, her father gave her the horse, and it would be hers as she wished. Keilee and the horse, which she named Seodag—her little gem— were entirely inseperatable. She would always groom him twice a day, and fed him treats of apples and carrots. Soon enough, Seodag was grown enough to ride, and what a wondrous horse he was. He seemed to run faster than any other horse of all Ireland—and the smoothest ride the girl has ever known. Keilee also found out that he could jump the most obscured distance; over streams and rives, across fields and hills. Half the time if felt like she was gliding in the air. Keilee would never ride Seodag after dark—her father says it’s all too dangerous, and mysterious things happen after the midnight hour. But one night, Keilee was delayed a little too long in town, and she was on her way home in the twilight hours. She was gliding through the hills as usual on Seodag, but for a really long time, he didn’t step onto ground. When Seodag finally touched ground it was inside a faerie fort. Keilee looked around and saw that there was a huge ball dance going on. Beautiful people of fair, light skin and long perfect hair were all dressed up in silks, jewels and gold. They danced so gracefully along with the most charming music Keilee has ever heard. There was also a great feast of loaves, meats, fruits, and sweets. It all smelled so good to Keilee that she dismounted and was about to join the festival when Seodag grabbed her by the sleeve and spoke, “You may dance all you want and drink whatever you wish, but don’t eat a thing.” She gave a frown, but obeyed. She danced and drank, but didn’t touch any of the food regardless how she was pressured on to do so. After the feast, a lovely woman, with hair as dark of a raven that exaggerated her light complexion, approached Keilee, “Because we welcomed you tonight, you must go out a quest for me. I am to be married, but first I

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need a silver feather of the sparrow that flies over the Eternal Hills. Go and retrieve this feather, otherwise much misfortune you and your family will have.” As Keilee mounted Seodag, she began to cry. The faerie horse turned to her, and asked what was wrong. “I have to get the silver feather off of a sparrow that flies over the Eternal Hills.” The horse simply laughed at her, “Well, that’s not something too hard at all. Just do as I say and we will have the feather.” Then Seodag jumped up and ran to the hills. Keilee saw the silver sparrow flying over the hills before them. Seodag stopped and turned to Keilee, “Dismount me, and I’ll turn into a hawk and catch the sparrow. When I bring him down to you, take one of his silver feathers.” Keilee dismounted, and Seodag turned into a hawk. He caught the sparrow, and flew down to Keilee with the bird in his talons. The girl plucked one of the sparrow’s feathers off, and the hawk let the bird go. Seodag turned back in to a horse, and they both rode off to the faerie fort. The faeries were having another grand celebration as they welcomed Keilee. There was gorgeous music, beautiful gowns, and a huge feast. The food looked so appetizing to Keilee now. But as she took a few steps, Seodag pulled at her sleeve, “You may drink all you want, and dance for as along as you please, but don’t eat anything.” The girl gave a moan, “But I’m so hungry.” “Drink the ale, then. You’ll be full.” So the girl drank the ale till she was full, and then danced till she could stand no longer. As she took a seat to rest, she was approached by the dark haired faerie. Keilee gave her the feather, and the faerie put it in her hair, then said, “I’m to be married, but I need an amber brooch that’s trapped in the stomach of the giant toad. Go and retrieve this for me.” The girl went to mount Seodag, and she began to cry. The horse looked back at her and asked what was wrong. “I have to get an amber brooch from the stomach of the giant toad.” “Ah, well that’s not so hard. Come, do as I say, and we’ll have that amber brooch.” Seodag took off to where he knew where the toad was hidden. It was in the darkest woods of Erin, and he pulled up to a great big oak tree with a huge borrow underneath. Seodag turned to the girl, “Dismount me, and I shall turn into a beetle. Crawl into the hole and when you see the toad, feed him the beetle. When I’m inside I will grab the amber Brooch, and turn into a weasel and climb out.” The girl nodded, and the Seodag turned into a beetle. She scooped him up, and then crawled deep inside the burrow beneath the tree. Trudging through the mud on hands and knees, she finally came face to face with a toad as big as her. She took the beetle, and held out her had. The toad immediately latched out its sticky tongue and took the beetle from her. She waited and worried for a moment, but soon out from the toad’s mouth crawled out a


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weasel. He had the amber brooch in his mouth. He gave it to Keilee, and together they crawled out the burrow. Seodag turned back into a horse, and they both went to the faerie fort. Keilee washed herself up, danced, and drank ale till she was full. When the dark haired woman approached her, Keilee gave her the amber brooch. Then, the faerie woman said, “I need just one last thing before I can be married. There’s a ring of pearls inside a clam beneath the sea. You get this for me, and I’ll let you go free.” Keilee walked over to Seodag to tell him what the faerie said. She sat down on a stump and began to cry. Seodag brushed against the young girl, “Don’t cry. This is may be the hardest task I’ve ever done, for we would have to cross the Mountain of Fire, the Mountain of Ice, and the Mountain of Wind. But just do as I say, we’ll have the ring.” The girl gave a nod, and mounted Seodag. “Before we get to the sea, I will need you to make me a diamond spire to place on top my head. As we pass the Mountain of Fire, grab one of the firestones. Then as we pass the Mountain of Ice, grab one of the ice stones. Together they will forge together into a giant diamond. When we get to the Mountain of Wind, shape it into a spire and strike it to the top of me head.” They rode to the Mountain of Fire, and Keilee pick up one of the firestones. They rode to the Mountain of Ice and Keilee to grab one of the ice stones. In her hands the two stones forged into a gorgeous diamond. When they got to the Mountain of Wind, she shaped the diamond into a long thin spire and struck it as hard as she could to the faerie horses forehead. When Seodag passed the Mountain of Wind, they were at the sea. “Now, Keilee, I will turn into a giant salmon and swim to the clam and get the pearl ring. Stay here till the morning I return.” She gave a nod. Seodag turned into a giant salmon, with a diamond horn on it’s forehead and swam off into sea. The girl sat and waited the whole day and night. She waited as long as she could till she dozed off and fell asleep. In the morning she woke with the sunrise, and watched sea for her beloved faerie horse to return. Out in the distance, the sun hit a reflector so bright, that Keilee couldn’t keep her eyes on the ocean without going blind. Suddenly, her faerie horse was on shore with the diamond spire from his head and the ring on the spire. Keilee leaped up on him and they both rode back over the Mountain of Wind, the Mountain of Ice, Mountain of Fire, and on towards the Faerie fort. She was welcomed to a big celebration where she danced and drank. When Keilee gave the pearl ring to the dark faerie girl she was rewarded with a warm smile. “You are free to leave and go back home. You may also take the faerie horse, for he’s forever yours as a reward for all the hard work.” With a smile, Keilee mounted Seodag and they left the faerie fort. Just a few miles away from home, Seodag stopped.


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“What’s wrong, Seodag?” Keilee asked. He turned to her, “I want you to know that if I got any further I won’t be a horse no more—for when the faeries gave you me as a reward, they striped me of my powers.” The girl climbed off her horse’s back, and held him tight. She began to cry. “But, my dear Keilee—don’t cry. For they promised I will be with you forever, and I promise you will never encounter the faeries any more.” With that, Keilee’s beloved faerie horse took one more step and then turned into a diamond chain necklace. The dark red star on his head formed into the blood red pendant that hung from it. Keilee walked home in tears with the necklace. Her family never knew she was gone for so long, and they never questioned the absence of her horse. She wore the necklace every day since—never lost and never stolen—and neither her nor her family were bothered by faeries again.


Kelpie of Kilkee n the coast of County Clare there was a town. It was very windy there, even though it was miles south of the Cliffs of Moher. The area was known to be haunted on the stormy nights. A sea monster—they all say. The fisherman that would come in on their boats would claim to see it. They say it be a snake, a whale, a dragon—nothing like you can ever imagine before. The thing would howl and scream as it attacked the shore with its rain and sea. No one would be outside in such weather, for the people of Clare believed the creature would certainly grab hold of them and take them out to sea. They believed it would eat them, for no one would ever be seen again. Not even their bodies. Now, in this town, there lived a young girl, Neala (Nee-la). Neala was growing into the age where she was looking for a man—but not just any man—for she favored someone heroic like the ones in the old Celtic folk tales. She would sit and wait till that someone would come. Everyday when her chores were finished, she would walk to the shore and sing. She had such a lovely voice that many of the towns people would joke that they’d be an evening were the sirens would be jealous enough and steal her out to sea. But Neala had her theory that if she sang, her man of her dreams would come across the ocean for her. For months, she did this everyday. One night, it took Neala late into twilight to finish up her work. She saw the clouds coming, but she some how knew that she had to go to the shore and sing. As she reached the shore, the girl was shocked to see a handsome young man with long, black hair that blew in the gusty winds and deep dark eyes that reflected the sky. She never saw him before. Neala was in a trance, staring at him as she came closer; he was the most gorgeous man she’d ever seen. She barely put words to his sentence when he asked, “Are you the lovely maiden that sings to the sea everyday? I’ve been waiting.” “Yes, I am.” She wondered how the words left her mouth. He stood close to her and brushed the hair from her face with his soft hands. The wind started to pick up as it the storm drifted in. “What is your name, my dear?” “Neala…” She breathed. She stared into his deep dark hazel eyes of green and blue like the ocean. The man smiled with a hint of amusement with his eyes. It was almost a chilling grin, but Neala didn’t notice. “Meet me here, tomorrow Neala, and I will take you to my kingdom and make you my bride.” She gasped—a whole kingdom? Where did this man come from? Am I dreaming? “Why tomorrow? And who are you?” “There’s storm coming in, you should probably get somewhere safe.

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23 And you’ll find out soon enough.” With that he sent Neala on her way. The whole night she couldn’t stop thinking of her mystery man. When she came home she told her parents about it and they forbid her to go out the next day to that man—for they didn’t trust him at all. The next day, Neala obeyed her parents and didn’t go to the shore, but instead she sulked in her room. She stared out the window towards the shore where she believed her true love was waiting. Suddenly, a gorgeous black stallion appeared out in the distance. Neala thought was a trick of her eyes, but it was in fact there. The horse looked as if it was roaming around on his own. Horses glorious as he was don’t normally roam around; it had to belong to someone. Neala went to the stables and grabbed one of the halters, and went out to catch the horse. Surprisingly, the creature seemed very well tamed. He came running close as soon as it saw her. He stood perfectly still for her to pet him. The fur was strangely wet, but when she tried to put the halter on, he backed away and trotted around her playfully. Then stop, let her attempt to catch him again, and he trotted around her again. For hours it seemed that the horse played his game with Neala—she tried every little trick she knew to get him still, but with no success. When she gave up, the horse brushed his head against her like a cat. Neala sighed. Perhaps the horse would just follow her back without the halter. But when she turned her back to the creature, she was picked up from behind and—onto the back of the horse—and carried off to the ocean. She held on tight to his mane screaming. The black stallion plunged into the ocean, transforming into a sea monster with fins and scales. He took her deep in the depths of the sea, but the girl was able to managed to hold her breath the whole time. Down below, the sea creature came to a cave. It swam in, and the up to where the sea broke into a surface. The beast transformed into the gorgeous man she met before and carried Neala onto the beach of the cavern. It was dark, cold, and gloomy. Neala looked around in disappoint, “I thought you said you would take me to your kingdom if I came and met you.” “I did. The whole ocean is my kingdom, but because you are human, this is the only place you can stay.” The girl grimaced, but the Kelpie was a gorgeous man, so she agreed to wed him and stay within the lair. For years passed, she had a child with him, a baby boy. However, Neala started to long for her family, the warmth, and most important, the sun. Her husband was extremely territorial. He would never allow her out of the cavern regardless how much she pleaded and begged. One day she then asked for small requests, for if he wouldn’t take her outside she’d like a globe from the sun to keep her comfort in the dark. The kelpie thought this was reasonable—anything to keep her from nagging and being unhappy—so he brought her back a small piece of light from the sun. The globe gave her such warmth, and she was happy for sometime. However, she started to hate the enclosed musk of the damp cave, and asked for a sack of wind to allow her a fresh breeze.


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The Kelpie agreed, and brought her back a sack made from a cow’s bladder filled with the finest breeze. Lastly, she asked for a suit made of otters fur to keep her warm and dry. The kelpie agreed and brought back a fine suit made of such. Neala was very content with her presents for the next days. However, she felt that the cave simply wasn’t for her. When her husband has gone out for a long hunt, she decided to leave. She put her son to bed and kissed his forehead, for he was too young to be able to survive such a journey she was planned to take. She knew that the kelpie loved him very much and would take good care of him anyhow. Perhaps she’d see him another day. With her globe, she used as light to guide her away through the cavern, with her sack of wind, she used for a surplus of oxygen, and with her fur suit, and she would stay warm. She dived in the pool and swam through the tunnels and holes of the cave till it led out to the rest of the sea. She swam straight up to the top where the ocean finally gave out a gorgeous cloudy sky. The light almost made her blind, but the over cast made it easier for her to adjust too. She sat on her sack of wind like a raft, and bit-by-bit she let out the wind to propel her to the shore of county Clare. When she got to the beach, her wind sack was empty, and her globe dimmed out. She abandoned her otter suit, and ran on home to her mother and father. They were very excited to see her again, and she told them the story of what had happened to her. Her parents were sad about their grandchild left behind to the sea monster, but Neala convince them that he would be taken care off well. That night, an expected storm blew up. The sky went black, the wind was ferocious, and the waves were fifty meters high, attacking the coast. In the night, they’re were angry calls from the kelpie that started out low and grew into a high pitch screams. They could be heard all the way from the inland villagers. The family huddled together in the corner of their house, praying that it would hold up from the hurricane weather. Then came a loud pounding on the door, but no one went near it—for they feared it was the kelpie monster in rage to bring his wife back. The horrible storm went on to the next morning. By the time the family awoken from their sleep, it was clear and sunny. They went outside to see that their land was in a horrid mess of broken bushes, over flood fields, ripped fences, and a few slaughter cattle. There was one more thing that brought Neala to her worse for not far from the doorway there laid the severed head of her baby son.


Author Notes Aoibhean and the Hawthron Tree. Aoibheann (ev-een) means: Daughter of Eve. In Ireland they believed Faeries were spirits of another dimension that would at times cross over our world. This belief has gone back to paganist times. Sometimes they were considering ‘Fallen Angels’, beautiful and fair, but dark and sadistic in ways. Faeries were always known to be able to possess magical powers. Because Faeries were thought to be demonic creatures there were seven things that were suppose to keep them away: Something holy, something dirty, something red, iron/steel, salt, fire, and running water. The Hawthorn tree was thought to be a living environment for faeries. If a family were having misfortunate “luck” they would solve it by planting a hawthorn. Later it became a tradition for a family to do when they first start building on their new land. They had a saying, ‘Plant a hawthorn tree in May, and keep the faeries away”. Claira and the Frog. The name Claira was chosen from the description: “Claire is a medieval name derived from Latin clarus “clear, bright, famous.” St. Claire, a follower of St. Francis of Assisi, who left her wealthy family to found the order of nuns known as the “Poor Clares,” has always been very respected in Ireland and the name is still popular today. (The Baby Name Wizard. www.babynamewizard.com). This story was based off of animals that have been transformed into creatures. In some stories the animals would communicate, in others, the character would have to go to various ‘houses’ and being told information by wiser beings. While writing this story it ended up as a simple version of ‘The Princess and the Frog.’ The Flute, the Dagger, and the Giant. The name Zidane actually came off of the playstation game: Final Fantasy IX. I always thought the hero of this game was humorous, fun, and yet, a man of good morals. After this, I went to look up the name and discovered that the origin is unknown but the name “creates a quick, analytical, and clever mind.” Meaning Zidane is “creative, versatile, original, and independent. Also has large ambitions, and it is difficult to be tolerant and understanding of those who desire less in life or who are more slow and methodical by nature.” I also found that ‘if you’re name is Zidane’: Patience is not your forte. You do, however, have leadership ability and would never be happy in a subservient position. You are ambitious and aggressive by nature.
 You would be happiest in positions where you are free to express individually and creatively and where opportunities are not restricted; you desire freedom, and do not tolerate being possessed by others.
 You appreciate change and travel, and the opportunity to meet and mix with others, and to influence them with your creative ideas.” This name is said to creates the urge to be reliable and responsible, but also stated that it causes a restless intensity that defies relaxation. The pronunciation for this name is actually “zi- dane” (short ‘i’). For personal creativity, I thought it would sound more medieval as a long ‘i’ instead. Keilee and the Faerie Horse. From the Book_____ The author talked about how faeries would mate with farm animals—in which the animal born would also be a faerie. In some cases, this would be a gift from the faeries, where a faerie cow would sup-


ply unlimited milk during a time of blight. In other cases, the faeries would have the animal born for their own use and anyone who got in the way would have to deal with the faeries.This particular story was inspired by a folklore I read, “The black Horse” from Celtic Fairy tales. Joeseph Jacobs. Where a poor prince pairs up with a black horse, and then sent on missions to retrieve three items for a Greek princess so that she can be married. To get the final piece—the ring—they have to cross the mountains of, snow, fire, and ice mountain. Then the prince is told to stab the horse with iron spires into every one of his bones. The horse goes off into the ocean to get the ring, and when he comes back, there is only the one spire left on his head. To me this story signified the idea of unicorns, and what girl grew up always wanting a pony— if not a unicorn? I was drawn to the name Keilee (kee-lee) as it reminded me of the name ‘kaylynn”. The name merely means, “slim & fair.” As for the horse’s name, I researched ‘Celtic names for pets’ and found: Seodag (there was no pronunciation) and the name meant, “little jewel.” Kelpie of Kilkee. I found out what a Kelpie was when I came across “The 10 scariest monsters and demons from Celtic myth,” By Dara McBride, IrishCentral.com Staff Writer. It was considered to be seven on the list, and I found myself doing more research. Kelpie’s were basically considered sea monsters. Sometimes they would be half horse and half fish. They would appear as horses on land, and if anyone jumped on to ride them, they would be ‘glued’ down and the horse would plunge into a body of water—drowning the victim. Some people believed that the Kelpie would eat the people, or drown them for malice fun. Kelpies were also well known for stealing human girls to take as wives, never to see their families again. I found a few various Kelpie lore’s, but one particular lore is what I based most of my story off of, “There is a story of a Kelpie’s wife who managed to escape to dry land again, leaving the Kelpie and their baby son. Although she wept to leave her child, she longed for human company, and she knew the Kelpie loved his son and would care for him. She returned to her family who were overjoyed to see her again, thinking that she had been drowned years ago. But as they celebrated, a dreadful storm blew up, with howling winds and lashing rain. Above the noise of the storm they could hear the furious screams of the Kelpie. In the middle of the night, when they storm was at its worst, they heard a loud thump against the door of the house. They did not dare look, in case it was the Kelpie come for his wife. But in the morning the storm abated, and they opened the door to see what had crashed into it in the night... It was the severed head of the baby son.” (“Waterhorse” www.fantasyhorses.com) I added parts I gathered from other Celtic stories.For the ‘wife’ of my story, I chosed, the name Neala (Nee la) which means ‘Female Champion.’


Mystical Tales