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Elements of the folk hero-tale in the fiction of Padraic Colum MacLaine, Kay Diviney 1984

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ELEMENTS OF THE FOLK HERO-TALE IN THE FICTION OF PADRAIC COLUM By Kay Diviney MacLaine B.A. (cum laude), Augustana College, 1973 M.A., Arkansas State University, 197^ A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE^tfNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA August 1984 (c) Kay Diviney MacLaine f 1984 In presenting t h i s thesis i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the Library s h a l l make i t f r e e l y available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of t h i s thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. I t i s understood that copying or publication of t h i s thesis for f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my written permission. Department of bn^J'sk  The University of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date <Mjr>h^ /A , MM Abstract The f i c t i o n of Padraic Colum (1881-1972), although i t r e f l e c t s important concerns of the I r i s h Revival, has been, l i k e I r i s h f i c t i o n i n general (Joyce excepted), almost e n t i r e l y overlooked. To begin to correct t h i s c r i t i c a l oversight, I have focused in t h i s study on Colum's attempt, beginning with h i s children's book, The King of Ireland's Son (1916), to derive from the I r i s h f o l k t a l e new and d i s t i n c t i v e forms and themes for I r i s h f i c t i o n . In The  King of Ireland's Son, Colum arranges and a l t e r s f o l k t a l e s to form a f o l k t a l e - l i k e synthesis which, however, expresses l i t e r a r y rather than f o l k t a l e meanings. In Chapter I, I have i d e n t i f i e d Colum's f o l k t a l e sources; i n Chapter I I , shown how he finds n a r r a t i v e patterns to convey l i t e r a r y meaning by transforming the t r a d i t i o n a l rhythms of the f o l k t a l e into the l i t e r a r y rhythms of " d e f e r r a l , " " f a i l u r e , " and "gathering"; and i n Chapter I I I , elucidated the themes—of the primacy of t r a d i t i o n i n determining i d e n t i t y and of a new I r i s h heroism, that of the peasantry—which these rhythms are designed to express. Folk l o r e continues to influence structure and content i n Colum's romantic novel Castle Conquer (1923), the subject of my next two chapters, although the s u p e r f i c i a l trappings of the f o l k t a l e are absent. In t h i s novel, Colum's new image of heroism blends romance, the anti-heroism of comic f o l k t a l e s , and the r e a l - l i f e example of Ireland's rebel-poets (Chapter IV); as w e l l , Castle i i i . Conquer's many interpolated s t o r i e s carry the theme of o r a l t r a d i t i o n into the structure of the novel (Chapter V). The following two chapters are devoted to The Fl y i n g Swans (1957) . A great achievement, t h i s novel, with the d i s i l l u s i o n e d hindsight of the f i f t i e s , revises the ideas of heroism (Chapter VI) and of the relevance of f o l k l o r e to l i f e (Chapter VII). Yet Colum regenerates both ideas, i n the process recasting in r e a l i s t i c terms the forms and themes of The King of  Ireland's Son, written f i f t y years before. i v . Contents Page Abstract i i Introduction 1 I. The King of Ireland's Son: Adaptations of Fo l k t a l e Sources 19 I I . The King of Ireland's Son: Transformations of the Narrative Rhythms of the F o l k t a l e 56 I I I . The King of Ireland's Son: Heroism and P o l i t i c s 117 IV. Castle Conquer: From Folk to L i t e r a r y Heroism 170 V. Castle Conquer: Identity and the Transmission of Culture 197 VI. The F l y i n g Swans: Heroism, Realism, and Art 237 VII. The Fly i n g Swans and Folk Narrative: Garbled Fol k t a l e s and I r i s h Archetyes 275 Conclusion 320 Bibliography 329 INTRODUCTION Padraic Colum's l i t e r a r y career, which includes works i n every genre, extended from one end of the century almost to the other. The sheer volume and d i v e r s i t y of his work make h i s career d i f f i c u l t to assess, but the fact that h i s writing l i f e began during a n a t i o n a l renaissance and ended s i x t y or so years l a t e r i n a personal renaissance means that there i s the ad d i t i o n a l problem of scope. During t h i s time, Colum produced nine books of poetry, c o l l e c t e d i n three volumes; twenty one-act and f u l l - l e n g t h plays; two novels; twenty-five children's books; a long n a r r a t i v e poem; scores of short s t o r i e s ; three t r a v e l books; two biographies and enough essays, reviews, introductions, prefaces, and other contributions to p e r i o d i c a l s and to other people's books to bring the t a l l y close to four f i g u r e s , according to one estimate.^ A further problem in Colum's career i s the fact that i n 1914, newly married and struggling against poverty, Colum s a i l e d for New York. What both Colum and his wife Mary expected to be a short stay i n America turned into a l i f e t i m e of self-imposed e x i l e which separated Colum from his natural audience, while his continuing I r i s h subject matter prevented him from entering the mainstream of American l e t t e r s . Colum's personal anguish at separation from his native land, his family and his friends i s r e f l e c t e d i n his treatment of f e l l o w - e x i l e and namesake, Columcille, in The Legend of Saint Columba (1935). His sense of a r t i s t i c loss i s represented i n The F l y i n g Swans (1957), when U l i c k O'Rehill's clairvoyant cousin Michaeleen warns him against going to sea. "'You w i l l have to cut yourself in two,'" she warns 2 him, "'and each of you w i l l be a stranger to the other.'" "What you love y o u ' l l leave behind you. . . .There w i l l be sights and people y o u ' l l admire when you're away, and think them the best in the world. But y o u ' l l not speak for them—no, Ul i c k , y o u ' l l not speak for them." "I said you had wisdom, my c h i l d , but there's something you don't know, and I ' l l t e l l you what i t i s now. When you love something you don't lose that love by going away. You can keep i t in your heart or your mind or someplace." FS_, 511-512 Uli c k ' s defense holds true for Colum, who cherished i n h i s heart an intense love for Ireland a l l his l i f e . Nevertheless, Michaeleen point i s also v a l i d where Colum i s concerned. Her fears for U l i c k ' a r t i s t i c suicide no doubt express Colum's own regret at the e f f e c t of e x i l e on his work. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , he prevents the hero of The F l y i n g Swans from following in his path and possibly from l o s i n g the chance for a r t i s t i c wholeness. The length, p r o d u c t i v i t y and d i v e r s i t y of Colum's l i t e r a r y l i f e and the e f f e c t of h i s self-imposed e x i l e have conspired to make Colum one of the most neglected writers of the I r i s h L i t e r a r y Revival. His work receives comment, usually passing, in the standard h i s t o r i e s of the I r i s h Revival, from Boyd's Ireland's  L i t e r a r y Renaissance (1916) to A. Norman J e f f a r e s ' Anglo-Irish  L i t e r a t u r e (1982). But few are the a r t i c l e s and books dealing with Colum independently, and fewer s t i l l those that are h e l p f u l l y 3 . and i n t e l l i g e n t l y a n a l y t i c a l . Some writers and c r i t i c s seem to regard Colum as a genial and i n t e r e s t i n g r e l i c of the days of glory, f u l l of entertaining s t o r i e s about h i s more famous contemporaries but not a r t i s t i c a l l y important himself. The study of Colum's f i c t i o n undertaken here w i l l attempt to demonstrate that t h i s i s simply not the case. Of the work that has been done on Colum, a great proportion consists not of clear-eyed c r i t i c i s m but of reminiscence. In addition to the several personal accounts of Colum, many of the most important aids to Colum research blend c r i t i c a l (or quasi-c r i t i c a l ) or b i b l i o g r a p h i c i n v e s t i g a t i o n with biographical sketch. Alan Denson's c h e c k l i s t remains indispensable i r r e s p e c t i v e of the "appreciation" with which i t begins, a l i t t l e l e s s h e l p f u l 3 than h i s two biographical sketches of Colum. The two other major works on^Cblum suffe r more than Denson's bibliography from c r i t i c a l slackness and preoccupation with the out l i n e of Colum's l i f e . Zack Bowen's study, Padraic Colum: A B i o g r a p h i c a l - C r i t i c a l Introduction (1970), includes i n i t s 150 pages, as i t s t i t l e suggests, a b r i e f biography along with i t s survey of Colum's vast and varied canon. Bowen's book i s a useful introduction to Colum studies, sorting out some of the fac t s of h i s career and providing a h e l p f u l overview, but quite n a t u r a l l y lacking i n d e t a i l . Ann Adelaide Murphy has more space and l e s s material to cover i n her d i s s e r t a t i o n , "Padraic Colum: A C r i t i c a l Study of His Plays and Poems" (1980), but t h i s work, most us e f u l i n i t s presentation of r e l a t i v e l y i n accesible Colum materials, o f f e r s l i t t l e i n the way of analysis. The autobiographical element i n Colum's w r i t i n g , one of Murphy's i n t e r e s t s , i s a topic that merits discussion, but i t requires a more exhaustive and a n a l y t i c a l treatment than either Murphy or Bowen can a f f o r d . Indeed, Colum studies need urgently a good c r i t i c a l biography of Colum, as well as a s e l e c t i o n of h i s l e t t e r s and, possibly, a c o l l e c t i o n of h i s many scattered and almost e n t i r e l y overlooked short s t o r i e s . The major studies of Colum, then, are c r i t i c a l l y i n s u f f i c i e n t , but more astute c r i t i c i s m of Colum also tends to be marred by the common c r i t i c a l misconceptions about Column. In spite of a general lack of sympathy for Colum's i n t e r e s t i n peasant Ireland, f o r instance, Richard Loftus's i n t e l l i g e n t analysis i n "Padraic Colum: The Peasant Nation," a chapter i n his book, Nationalism i n Modern  Anglo-Irish Poetry (1964), i s i n many ways the ablest piece of writing on Colum. Yet Loftus founders on a misconception which, I fear, i s both widely-held and damaging. He mistakenly finds i n Colum's presentation of the I r i s h peasantry, notably i n the theme of the heroism of the peasantryj an u n c r i t i c a l , sentimental, even perverse naivete. In h i s most strenuous c r i t i c i s m , of Colum, Loftus accuses him of exalting every q u a l i t y of the peasant ,..xno matter how mean or unworthy. One may accept as virtuous the long-suffering of the peasants through centuries of oppression. But one may well h e s i t a t e to accept as virtuous the questionable avariciousness of the peasant for material possessions, e s p e c i a l l y land; yet c l e a r l y enough Colum represents h i s wandering s u i l e r , who longs for "the good red gold," and his tenant farmers i n The Land, who scheme and haggle i n order to cut a few 5. pounds from the purchase p r i c e of t h e i r holdings, as objects for the reader's admiration.^ Aside from the f a c t that "a few pounds" might seem more sub s t a n t i a l to a tenant farmer than i t does to Loftus, i t i s na'ive of Loftus to suppose that Colum approves of the greed and small-mindedness of some of h i s characters. Among other things, Loftus neglects to take into account that these, are characters and that Colum i s writing plays and dramatic l y r i c s . It i s as inappropriate to a t t r i b u t e to Colum the attitudes of the s u i l e r (homeless wanderer) who speaks h i s poem as i t i s to ascribe to Robert Browning the sentiments of the Duke i n "My Last Duchess." Loftus may be provocatively overstating h i s case i n the above passage, for l a t e r he admits that i t may be "unfair to say that Colum admires lowliness i n d i s c r i m i n a t e l y . " ^ Nevertheless, i t i s perplexing and disturbing that such an able c r i t i c should so s e r i o u s l y under-estimate Colum's subtlety and complexity. I suspect that Colum i s commonly tarred with the brush that should be applied to h i s successors, who have substituted for Colum's o r i g i n a l , authentic and i n t e l l i g e n t l y considered i n s i g h t s into the peasantry the notorious "P.Q.": "Peasant Quality." Regrettably, some of Colum's admirers are as g u i l t y as h i s detractors of ignoring the complexity of Colum's view of the peasantry. Loftus does o f f e r , p a r t l y by default, a good reason for studying Colum's f i c t i o n . In the course of deriding Colum's treatment of the I r i s h peasant, Loftus names perhaps the most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c and important theme of Colum's work, the heroism 6. of the peasantry. "Colum seems to avoid the d i r e c t treatment of heroic themes i n h i s verse," writes Loftus, "although i n h i s prose he has done so on numerous occasions."^ If we are to understand what Colum means by the heroism of the peasantry and go further than Loftus i n exploring Colum's view of the peasantry, we must turn to Colum's f i c t i o n . Charles Burgess, on the other hand, presents Colum as a l i f e t i m e dramatist manque i n "A Playwright and His Work" (1973), always v a i n l y s t r i v i n g to recapture the fame that was h i s i n the f i r s t decade of t h i s century. But Burgess neglects a fa c t v i t a l to the understanding of Colum's career: Colum stopped writing new plays and started writing f i c t i o n at about the same time. The l a s t of Colum's plays for the I r i s h theater was Thomas Muskerry i n 1910, the year i n which Colum's dramatization of an ancient I r i s h story, "The Destruction of Da Derga's Hostel," was also performed. The f i r s t versions of "Theodora of Byzantium" and The Desert were completed i n 1912. As Burgess points out, Colum continued to work on these plays f o r years, but u n t i l his return to I r i s h material for the Noh plays of the S i x t i e s , he produced only two new works, "Grasshopper" (1922), a t r a n s l a t i o n whose manu-s c r i p t perished i n the Abbey Theater f i r e , and Balloon (1929). In 1913, however, Colum published h i s f i r s t children's book, A Boy i n E i r i n n . He continued to write s t o r i e s , both f or adults and for ch i l d r e n , throughout the decade. Then, i n 1916, from America, Colum published' The King of Ireland's Son, i n which he synthesized f o l k t a l e s and o r i g i n a l material. The success of 7. The King of Ireland's Son led to a long-term contract with Macmillan, which paid Colum $250 a month for children's books u n t i l the Depression. In an interview with Zack Bowen, Colum r e f l e c t s upon the importance of h i s work for c h i l d r e n . Yes, I l i k e the children's books. I wrote them with a l l my imagination. They were commissioned, but I had my own way of getting by the commission. For instance, The King of Ireland's Son i s a very important book.^ Although Colum produced these books by contract, he nevertheless saw them as an i n t e g r a l part of his l i t e r a r y expression. He goes on to say that, since these books are f o l k l o r e , they have an i n t e r e s t f or adults as well as for chi l d r e n . Two essays on the course of I r i s h l i t e r a t u r e which were written at very important moments for Colum provide evidence of the deliberateness with which Colum changed his l i t e r a r y focus. The f i r s t of these, "The I r i s h L i t e r a r y Movement," was published i n The Forum i n January of 1915, i n the midst of Colum's phys i c a l move to America and l i t e r a r y move away from I r i s h drama. Aft e r surveying the development of modern I r i s h l i t e r a t u r e , Colum turns to recent wri t e r s , notably James Stephens. Stephens, Colum notes, has not written a play i n spite of h i s "dramatic i n s t i n c t s , " but has produced "the f i r s t contemporary romances that are d i s t i n c t i v e l y I r i s h . " Colum ends with the rumination that I r i s h 9 l i t e r a t u r e may be moving from the drama to the novel. By 1923, the year i n which he published Castle Conquer, Colum i s surer of the d i r e c t i o n of I r i s h w r i t i n g . 8. The great discovery for the l a s t generation of I r i s h - w r i t e r s was drama; the great discovery for the generation previous was the personal l y r i c . It seems to me that the discovery for the present generation i s the novel and the short story, and that the I r i s h writers w i l l begin to reveal Ireland i n the narrative. Although Column, as Charles Burgess says, continued h i s energetic r e v i s i o n s of the plays that meant the most to him l i t e r a l l y u n t i l h i s l a s t days, when he turned his attention to f i c t i o n , he quite consciously and, I think, e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y chose the genre wherein he thought the future of I r i s h l i t e r a t u r e lay. Yet just as Colum's f a s c i n a t i o n with drama led him to write dramatic l y r i c s when he turned to poetry, so i t led to one of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c marks of h i s f i c t i o n , the emphasis on o r a l i t y , whether through the guise of a s t o r y t e l l e r - n a r r a t o r or through the constant t a l e -t e l l i n g within his narrative. Column's f i c t i o n i s a key to h i s career, then; i t also includes two masterworks, The King of Ireland's Son and The  F l y i n g Swans. Yet Colum's f i c t i o n i s the l e a s t studied part of h i s canon. As Zack Bowen points out, Colum's reputation was made as a playwright and poet. Readers who knew about him were l i k e l y to give h i s new poems and plays greater attention than hi s s t o r i e s or n o v e l s . M o r e o v e r , the neglect of Colum's f i c t i o n r e f l e c t s the tendency of c r i t i c s of modern I r i s h l i t e r a t u r e , u n t i l quite recently, to concentrate almost e x c l u s i v e l y on drama and poetry. Even so, several writers who have been reluctant to study Colum's novels, s t o r i e s or children's books have conceded 9. t h e i r importance to a f u l l understanding of Colum's work. In addition to Loftus, Ann Adelaide Murphy makes use of Colum's f i c t i o n , mining The F l y i n g Swans for autobiographical i n s i g h t s even though her topic i s Colum's plays and poems. In the larger f i e l d of I r i s h studies, Colum's novels sometimes receive mention, although never study. For instance, Benedict K i e l y does not include Castle Conquer i n the body of his Modern I r i s h F i c t i o n (1950), yet he finds i t s u f f i c i e n t l y expressive of some of the concerns of post-revolutionary writers to begin with i t i n h i s preface. Loftus, Murphy and K i e l y each i n h i s or her own way indicates the i n t e r e s t of Colum's f i c t i o n , but the c r i t i c a l treatment.of each of the three s u b - g e n r e s — s t o r i e s , novels, children's w o r k s — i s l i m i t e d to what Bowen can accomplish i n Padraic Colum: A B i o g r a p h i c a l - C r i t i c a l Introduction. The F l y i n g Swans, reissued by Dublin's A l l e n F i g g i s press i n 1969, seems to be the most l i k e l y of Colum's prose works to receive further c r i t i c a l attention. Bowen regards i t highly, and A. Norman 12 Jeffare s considers i t to be "underrated". C e r t a i n l y there i s a need f o r some discussion of t h i s novel, most properly i n the context of Colum's f i c t i o n . Most of Colum's f i c t i o n i s an e f f o r t to resolve a problem of v i t a l concern to Colum, the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the t r a d i t i o n a l culture of the I r i s h people, e s p e c i a l l y the f o l k t a l e , and " r e a l l i f e , " which can mean, va r i o u s l y , the " f o l k l i f e " of the I r i s h peasantry, l i f e as Colum himself knew it,.and urgent issues l i k e the p o l i t i c a l destiny of the I r i s h nation. Colum's i n t e r e s t i n r e l a t i n g I r i s h culture to modern l i f e was e n t i r e l y of h i s age. Since Standish James 0'Grady's invention of the notion of an ancient heroic Ireland i n The History of Ireland: Heroic Period (1878) and his popularization of I r i s h heroic sagas i n The Coming  of Cuchulain (1894), I r i s h a c t i v i s t s and writers a l i k e had been turning to the early sagas and romances for an image of Ireland that could l i f t i t from i t s p o l i t i c a l and l i t e r a r y doldrums. The f o l k l o r e , p a r t i c u l a r l y heroic t a l e s , c o l l e c t e d by P a t r i c k Kennedy, William Larmlhie,Jeremiah Curtin, Douglas Hyde and others, was seen as a v e s t i g i a l manifestation of an erstwhile d i s t i n c t i v e , glorious and ascendant I r i s h culture. The revived I r i s h heritage was instrumental i n the evolution of a national consciousness which gave r i s e to the p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y of the l a t e nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as well as to a resurgence of l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t y . Colum was fascinated:with the moment when an i n d i v i d u a l or a nation achieves a sense of i d e n t i t y , a prerequisite for what might be termed "heroic a c t i o n . " He was p a r t i c u l a r l y interested i n the r o l e which t r a d i t i o n a l heroic images played i n the emergence of Ireland's new sense of nationhood. Colum was, then, deeply impressed with the importance of the rediscovery of an I r i s h c u l t u r a l heritage, yet at the same time he came to be deeply suspicious of the s t i r r i n g but naively romantic, even dangerous hero-worship that sent so many young men, during the Land Wars, the revolution, and the C i v i l War, to early and sometimes a l l but pointless deaths. The p a r a l l e l s between the s u p e r f i c i a l l y quite d i f f e r e n t worlds of f o l k t a l e and 11. r e a l l i f e appeared almost m y s t i c a l l y s i g n i f i c a n t to Colum—adventures and quests that embody the experience of a countryside f u l l of ramblers, the heroic struggles, often on behalf of home and family, against v i l l a i n s who were as oppressive as the B r i t i s h government i n Ireland. But Colum was also p a i n f u l l y aware of the gap between marvellous f o l k l o r e and intransigent r e a l i t y . He held as f o l l y the i n c l i n a t i o n to apply the easy and natural heroism or the magnificently assured outcomes of the f o l k t a l e to a modern l i f e whose nature i s quite d i f f e r e n t from what the f o l k t a l e portrays. As the e x h i l a r a t i n g national resurgence of the beginning of the century gave way to a b i t t e r r e b e l l i o n i n the century's teens, a disappointing treaty and devastating C i v i l War i n the twenties, and the d u l l aftermath of national l i b e r a t i o n i n the t h i r t i e s , f o r t i e s and f i f t i e s , Colum's r e v i s i o n of f o l k l o r e and heroic s t o r i e s i n his f i c t i o n became progressively more r a d i c a l . Yet Colum continued to find-value i n f o l k l o r e , and uses i t extensively i n his l a s t work of f i c t i o n , The F l y i n g Swans. While Colum was not himself a f o l k l o r i s t , and disclaimed the l a b e l when others applied i t to him, there can be no doubt that he was thoroughly f a m i l i a r with the subject, perhaps more so than any other writer of the I r i s h r e v i v a l , with the exception 13 of the professional f o l k l o r i s t s . Colum's introduction to f o l k l o r e came during his boyhood, when s t o r y t e l l e r s would stop for a c e i l i d h at Colum's grandmother's house i n County Longford, and when his uncle Micky Burns would place him before the b a l l a d singers at the country f a i r s . Like many of hi s contemporaries, among them Yeats and Lady Gregory, Colum was an amateur f o l k l o r e c o l l e c t o r , taking frequent excursions into the countryside i n search of t a l e s , songs and anecdotes. By 1924, Colum's work with f o l k l o r e and mythology from many countries was so well known that he was commissioned, by the government of the state of Hawaii to work with t h e i r a b o r i g i n a l materials. An anecdote t o l d by Mary Colum about t h e i r j o i n t t r i p to i s o l a t e d Polynesian v i l l a g e s i n search of f o l k l o r e i s a good i l l u s t r a t i o n of the s p i r i t with which Colum attacked such projects. Mrs. Colum, exhausted by the r i g o r s of f a i r l y p r i m i t i v e t r a v e l , aching for a good bed and a cup of coffee, was sent back to c i v i l i z a t i o n by her husband, who was himself delighted to stay on. A f t e r tramping around a l l day i n the open l i s t e n i n g to s t o r i e s , songs, and watching hulas, he could eat anything and sleep anywhere. As the car drove out of the v i l l a g e with me, I looked back and saw him standing i n a group waving to me-—a smallish white man surrounded by very large, very t a l l , dark-skinned men.14 Mary notes that Padraic was "indefatigable i n digging into native lore and native l i f e . " As a young man i n Ireland he had been conditioned into j u s t such studies, loved them, and developed a strong admiration for the Hawaiian race and i t s h i s t o r i c a l characters.15 Mary Colum's account indicates that Colum's i n t e r e s t i n f o l k l o r e and " p r i m i t i v e " s o c i e t i e s was temperamental as w e l l as i n t e l l e c t u a l and p h i l o s o p h i c a l . Of a l l of the many writers of the I r i s h Revival who turned to folk:materials, Colum had probably the most intense and genuine as well as the long e s t - l a s t i n g commitment. In addition to h i s field-work, i n Ireland and elsewhere, he was an eager and omnivorous reader, so much so that i n Orpheus: Myths of the World (1930), he i s able to present s t o r i e s from an astonishing range of cultures, not only C e l t i c , Greek, Norse and Hawaiian, but also Icelandic, Babylonian and Zuni. His books for older c h i l d r e n include books of I r i s h and Welsh s t o r i e s as well as C l a s s i c a l and Teutonic. ^  Colum also knew the work of many major and minor students of ancient and t r a d i t i o n a l culture, for references to f o l k l o r i s t s l i k e A l f r e d Nutt, Jeremiah Curtin and Kuno Meyer are sprinkled through Colum's w r i t i n g s . ^ The knowledge on which Colum draws when he c a r r i e s f o l k l o r e into l i t e r a r y f i c t i o n , then, i s at once detai l e d and comprehensive. Colum's well^-developed and i n t r i c a t e perception of the formal properties of the f o l k t a l e means that he manipulates with wit and imagination f o l k t a l e narrative structures demanding of close study. In i n i t i a t i n g serious study of Colum's f i c t i o n i n the following work, I have focused on the best and most important of Colum's children's books, The King of Ireland's Son (1916), and on both of Colum's novels, Castle Conquer (1923) and The F l y i n g Swans (1957). My theme, Colum's transformations of I r i s h hero-tales i n h i s prose f i c t i o n , includes Colum's treatment of ideas of heroism drawn from f o l k l o r e as w e l l as h i s use of the narrative structures of the f o l k t a l e , which I discuss i n separate chapters for each book. The formal and thematic properties of f o l k t a l e heroism are not e n t i r e l y d i s c r e t e , however, and the reader w i l l f i n d considerable overlap i n Chapter VX, on Colum's transformation of heroism i n The F l y i n g Swans, and Chapter V i i on h i s transformation of f o l k t a l e structure, which i n that book has important implications for the heroism of the protagonist. Because of the s p e c i f i c i t y of Colum's use of the f o l k t a l e i n The King of Ireland's Son, the discussion of that book demands a t h i r d chapter, an i n i t i a l c a r e f u l analysis of the f o l k t a l e materials i n the text. Since we do not know p r e c i s e l y what sources Colum had at h i s f i n g e r t i p s , we need a s p e c i a l methodology for deducing from the evidence of the text i t s e l f the kinds of materials that Colum used. The concepts of " t a l e type" and "motif," developed and catalogued by Antt'i Aarne and S t i t h Thompson and extended to I r i s h t ales by Reidar Christiansen and S^an 6 Suilleabhain, are v i t a l to t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n , making possible the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of actual f o l k t a l e s and elements of f o l k t a l e s embedded i n the text. In addition, the examples of t a l e s i n the great c o l l e c t i o n s of I r i s h f o l k l o r e f a c i l i t a t e the recognition of Colum's a l t e r a t i o n s of the tales of the same type as those with which he was working. Although the discussion centers on the analysis of Colum's uses of f o l k l o r e i n The King of Ireland's Son, Castle Conquer, and The F l y i n g Swans, there are a number of re l a t e d topics which I s h a l l touch on where I can. I have t r i e d to place each book within the chronology of Colum's career, and I hope that i n t h i s way, as w e l l as by r e l a t i n g the p a r t i c u l a r books under study with those other Colum works which share i t s concerns, the discussion may be broadened to contribute to the c r i t i c a l understanding of Colum's career as a whole. I have t r i e d as well to keep i n mind the larger question of how Colum's work with f o l k l o r e and f i c t i o n r e l a t e s to the concerns with heroism and experiments i n l i t e r a r y form of other writers of the I r i s h Revival. Thomas Flanagan, the major h i s t o r i a n of the I r i s h novel, observes i n The I r i s h Novelists: 1800-1850 (1959) that "the hi s t o r y of the I r i s h novel i s one of continuous attempts to represent the I r i s h experience within conventions that were 18 not innately suited to i t . " Like Flanagan, Padraic Colum, writing i n "The Promise of I r i s h L e t t e r s " , puts Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent (1800) at the beginning of the t r a d i t i o n of the I r i s h novel. But a f t e r the long, unsuccessful struggle of the nineteenth century, during which, Colum says, S i r Walter Scott's transformation of Edgeworth's masterpiece, however well-meaning, e f f e c t i v e l y ruined Edgeworth as a model for I r i s h w r i t e r s , I r i s h f i c t i o n was f i n a l l y about to come into i t s own i n Free State Ireland, or so Colum predicted. His thesis i s that the new I r i s h novel w i l l have to have a new form I f i t i s to express I r i s h themes and be " i n harmony with the r a c i a l genius," and he finds that writers have already begun the work. The f i r s t I r i s h novel, as I think, whose form i s i n harmony with the r a c i a l genius i s James Stephen's "Mary Mary." With something that seems l i k e the spontaneous invention of the f o l k - t a l e James Stephens wrote the f i r s t story of Dublin l i f e ; then there came "The Crock of Gold," i n which he wove together a fresh humor and a fresh poetry, making a story as extravagant as the heart of any s t o r y - t e l l e r might desire. Then came James Joyce with "The P o r t r a i t of the A r t i s t as a Young Man"— a book that i s the equivalent of one of Synge's dramas, with the s t o r i e s i n "Dubliners" that are equivalent to Synge's short plays, and now with "Ulysses" that i s no less than a portent. In the meantime James Stephens publishes a book that has a misnomer f o r t i t l e — " I r i s h F a i r y T a l e s " — i n which, i n an astonishing way, he recovers the t r a d i t i o n of tenth-century I r i s h s t o r y - t e l l i n g . 1 9 While Colum's breezy sentence on Joyce, along with hi s b r i e f survey of other contemporary w r i t e r s — B r i n s l e y MacNamara, SeumasO'Kelly, and Daniel Corkery—who also created new I r i s h forms, indicates Colum's awareness of the l i t e r a r y house which he inhabited, what thi s passage most strongly reveals i s Colum's enthusiasm for f o l k l o r e and s t o r y t e l l i n g as formal models for the I r i s h novel. This passage and the passage from "The I r i s h L i t e r a r y Movement" quoted above suggest that James Stephens, who expresses his "dramatic impulse" through prose romance, drawing f r e e l y on f o l k and ancient I r i s h t r a d i t i o n , was an important i n s p i r a t i o n for Colum. He compares Mary, Mary,.known i n Europe as "The Charwoman'' s~ Daughter (1912), to a spontaneously invented f o l t a l e and places The  Crock of Gold i n the t r a d i t i o n of extravagant s t o r y t e l l i n g . He finds "astonishing" the d u p l i c a t i o n of an ancient I r i s h s t o r y t e l l i n g t r a d i t i o n i n I r i s h F a i r y Tales (1923). Colum, as he wrote t h i s , had h a l f a dozen of h i s own syntheses of f o l k t a l e s on the shelf behind him and h i s new prose romance, Castle Conquer, on the table before him. There can be l i t t l e doubt that, as Colum turned to f o l k t a l e s and s t o r y t e l l i n g for the forms and the content of his narratives, he hoped to create from them a structure for h i s novels that would be d i s t i n c t i v e l y I r i s h . It i s the I r i s h f i c t i o n a l forms that Colum created and some of the I r i s h themes that he explored that t h i s study w i l l attempt to elucidate. 17. Notes Zack Bowen and Gordon Henderson, "Introduction: Padraic Colum, 1881-1972," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e 2 (January, 1973) 1, p. 5. 2 The F l y i n g Swans (New York: Crown, 1957), p. 501; hereafter c i t e d i n the text, as FS. 3 "Padraic Colum: An Appreciation with a Check-list of His Public a t i o n s , " Dublin Magazine 6 (Spring, 1967) 1, pp. 50-67, was con-tinued" -i.iriv! "Padraic Colum: Factual Additions and Corrections to " / a Checklist of His Publ i c a t i o n s , " Dublin Magazine 6 (Summer, 1967) 2, pp. 83-85. Denson's other a r t i c l e s on Colum are "Padraic Colum at Ninety," I r i s h Times (December 8, 1971), p. 10, and "Padraic Colum, 1881-1972," The Capuchin Annual (Dublin, 1973), pp. 45-54. 4 Nationalism i n Modern Anglo-Irish Poetry (Madison and Milwaukee: Un i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin Press, 1964), p. 184. ^ Nationalism, p. 185. A belated objection to Loftus's discussion was lodged by Douglas S. Campbell i n "Padraic Colum's Celebration of L i t t l e n e s s , " E i r e - I r e l a n d 9 (Autumn, 1974) 3, pp. 60-68. 6 Herbert Howarth quotes AE on the I r i s h stage peasant: "'Mr. Padraic Colum's peasants, i n the days when they were seen there, seem to us to have been the only r e a l human beings among the many peasants that have trod the boards of the Abbey Theatre.'" The I r i s h Writers, 1880-1940 (London: R o c k l i f f , 1958), p. 2-29. AE's complaint i s against the "School of Synge" playwrights who were i n reaction ;.to the "sunburstery" of the highly i d e a l i z e d stage versions of I r i s h peasantry. ^ Nationalism, p. 188. g "Ninety Years i n Retrospect," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e 2 (January, 1973) 1, p. 32. 9 The Forum 53 (January, 1915) 1, p. 148. "The Promise of I r i s h L e t t e r s , " The Nation, October 10, 1923, p. 396. Padraic Colum: A B i o g r a p h i c a l - C r i t i c a l Introduction (Carbondale: Southern I l l i n o i s U n iversity Press, 1970), p. 98. 12 Padraic Colum, p. 98; A. Norman J e f f a r e s , Anglo-Irish L i t e r a t u r e (Dublin: Macmillan, 1982)-,"^ p.'' 272. In contrast; Charles Burgess recounts an exchange he had with Colum. To Colum's question, " ' I f I'm not a poet, what am I,'" Burgess responds, "'No offense to The  F l y i n g Swans, but you're c e r t a i n l y not p r i m a r i l y a n o v e l i s t . 1 " "A Playwright and His Work," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e 2 (January, 1973) 1, p. 43. Recently, The F l y i n g Swans has been the subject of a paper, "Autobiographical Elements i n The F l y i n g Swans," delivered by Ann Adelaide Murphy to the May, 1983» conference of the American Committee for I r i s h Studies. 13 And, according to Alan Denson, Seumas MacManus. "Padraic Colum, 1881-1972," p. 48. I t i s f i t t i n g , then, that Colum has written the introduction to one of MacManu&'.s j. c o l l e c t i o n s of f o l k t a l e s , Hibernian Nights (1963). Colum disclaims the name of f o l k l o r i s t i n "Ninety Years i n Retrospect," p. 26. 14 329. 15 16 L i f e and the Dream (Garden C i t y , New York: Doubleday, 1947), L i f e and the Dream, p. 317. Colum's many I r i s h books include The King of Ireland's  Son, f i r s t published i n 1916 and reprinted i n 1920, 1921, and 1962; The Frenzied Prince, 1940; and The Big Tree of Bunlahy, 1933. He r e t o l d Welsh s t o r i e s from The Mabinogion i n The Island  of the Mighty: Being Stories of C e l t i c B r i t a i n Retold, 1924. Colum's c l a s s i c a l s t o r i e s include The Adventures of Odysseus, 1918, republished i n various forms i n 1920, 1946 and 1962; and The Golden. .Fleece • and the Heroes Who Lived before A c h i l l e s , 1921, 1957, and 1962. The Children of Odin (1920, 1948 and 1962; London editions i n 1922 and 1929) i s a version of the Teutonic mythology of the Niebelunglied. Colum indicates as well that h i s books of f o l k l o r e often en t a i l e d considerable research. If they asked me to write a book on f o l k l o r e , why I wrote i t . I didn't get i t wrong, you know. I looked i t up and consulted the a u t h o r i t i e s i n the l i b r a r i e s and so on. "Ninety Years," p. 27. 18 Flanagan, The I r i s h Novelists (Columbia: Columbia Univ e r s i t y Press, 1959), p. 334. "The Promise of I r i s h L e t t e r s , " p. 397. I: The King of Ireland's Son: Adaptations of F o l k t a l e Sources The King of Ireland's Son (1916) i s not Padraic Colum's f i r s t children's book; A Boy in E i r i n n (1913) precedes i t by three years. It i s , however, one of the most widely known of a l l Colum's works, having gone through one German, one I r i s h and four E n g l i s h editions and having inspired the German film„"Fidelma," named a f t e r one of the book's heroines. It i s also the true beginning of Colum's career as a children's writer. I t s commercial success made p o s s i b l Colum's future career i n children's as well as "adult" l i t e r a t u r e in a very material way: Macmillan immediately contracted with Colum for two children's books a year, the source of his bread and butter u n t i l the Depression. In addition, i n The King of Ireland's Son, Colum found the subject matter, s t y l e and technique that would characterize his children's books ever a f t e r . In The King of Ireland's Son, a clever i n t e r l a c i n g of two youths' separate adventures i n pursuit of a Sword of Light, a Crystal Egg, and a story, the Unique Tale, which reveals the secret of t h e i r own common parentage, Colum achieves h i s "great synthesis of f i r e s i d e 2 t a l e s . " His narrative i s constructed from I r i s h f o l k t a l e s , parts of f o l k t a l e s , and o r i g i n a l material framed i n imitation of f o l k t a l e The King's Son's n a r r a t i v e frame, furthermore, i n which Colum assumes the voice of a s t o r y t e l l e r speaking to ch i l d r e n , attempts to t r a n s f e r the essence of f o l k s t o r y t e l l i n g to the printed page. This pattern of several t r a d i t i o n a l s t o r i e s embedded in a story-t e l l i n g frame provides the model for many of Colum's l a t e r c h i l d r e n ' books, among them The Boy Apprenticed to an Enchanter (1920), The Forge i n the Forest (1930), The Big Tree of Bunlahy (1933) and The Frenzied Prince (1943). My purpose i n t h i s chapter i s to i d e n t i f y , insofar as possible the f o l k t a l e materials i n The King of Ireland's Son. While most of the readers of the book would probably recognize i t s basis i n f o l k l o r e , few would be f a m i l i a r enough with I r i s h f o l k t a l e s to recognize a l l of the t a l e s that Colum uses or to d i s t i n g u i s h accurately the f o l k t a l e content from Colum's f o l k t a l e - l i k e invention Yet without knowing where f o l k t a l e leaves o f f and l i t e r a t u r e begins i n The King of Ireland's Son, we can hardly assess Colum's craftsmanship. My i n i t i a l task, then, i s to determine the f o l k t a l e sources for Colum's n a r r a t i v e . My second task follows from the f i r s t , since'I cannot discuss Colum's sources without discussing his adaptation of f o l k t a l e s — h i s extraction of parts, his rearrangement of narrative incident, and his method of combining several t a l e s into a larger n a r r a t i v e . These considera-tions are pr i m a r i l y s t r u c t u r a l , but since some of the fundamental changes i n Colum's sources are designed to introduce into the nar r a t i v e concerns such as depth of character and thematic meaning that the f o l k t a l e by i t s nature excludes, other observations w i l l focus on narrative s t y l e . In addition, I mean to examine b r i e f l y Colum's re-creation of the context of the f o l k t a l e , the story-t e l l i n g s i t u a t i o n , in the narr a t i v e frame of The King of Ireland's Son. This survey and analysis of f o l k t a l e sources and t h e i r transformations i s a necessary preliminary to the c l o s e r study in Chapters II and III of Colum's adaptation of f o l k t a l e content and structure to his own more l i t e r a r y intent. Colum's p r i n c i p a l comments about the sources for The King of  Ireland's Son were made in the course of a s e r i e s of interviews with Zack Bowen, excerpted in "Ninety Years in Retrospect." Colum r e c a l l s how he f i r s t began publishing f o l k l o r e , encouraged by Betsy Brewer, a New York newspaperwoman, and W i l l y Pogany, the Hungarian i l l u s t r a t o r who collaborated with Colum on The King of  Ireland's Son, The Children of Odin (1920), The Frenzied Prince and several other books. I had some books in I r i s h I was t r a n s l a t i n g just to keep my hand,in. Then W i l l y Pogany said that he would l i k e to do an I r i s h book, but I hadn't any I r i s h book written. I had these t r a n s l a t i o n s and I suddenly thought that I could put them together. And I did and I made the f i r s t part of The King of Ireland's Son. Miss Betsy Brewer paid me eight d o l l a r s a week for The King of  Ireland's Son. INTERVIEWER: Was she p r i n t i n g i t chapter by chapter? COLUM: Yes, as I wrote i t . They had a column in the Sunday Tribune.^ This i n t e r e s t i n g account i s troubling as well as i l l u m i n a t i n g . What books was Colum translating? Their i d e n t i t y , which would allow a c a r e f u l comparison of Colum's sources for part of the book and h i s r e v i s i o n s of them, has remained unfortunately elusive. A more e a s i l y resolved problem i s the meaning of the phrase "the f i r s t part of The King of Ireland's Son." Colum evidently r e f e r s here not to the f i r s t section of the book, but to the f i r s t part that he wrote, for the ser i e s that ran in the New York Tribune for ten weeks i n l a t e 1915 and early 1916 was "The Giant and His Servants," which became, with substantial r e v i s i o n s , "The House of Crom Duv," the penultimate section of The King of Ireland's  Son. Colum names another source for the book when he goes on to t e l l Bowen, "I began by t e l l i n g the s t o r i e s from my grandmother's 4 house in The King of Ireland's Son." Like the e a r l i e r comments, t h i s remark i s too vague to enable the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s of any p a r t i c u l a r t a l e s from which Colum was working. In "The T r a d i t i o n That Existed in My Grandmother's House," the reminiscence i n which Colum elaborates on the s t o r y t e l l i n g m i l i e u in which he found himself as a c h i l d , he r e f e r s to two memorable s t o r i e s which undoubtedly did influence The King of Ireland's Son. "I l i s t e n e d to one t e l l about the Eagle that was the oldest creature in the world," he writes, but he t e l l s us no more about t h i s Eagle (which perhaps was in his mind as he created Laheen the Eagle and the Eagle-Emperor for The King's Son) except to observe that the s t o r y t e l l e r seems to perceive such beasts as symbols. Colum goes on to r e c a l l another t a l e t o l d by the same s t o r y t e l l e r , And what was the story? One of a hundred of the same p a t t e r n — a king's son, an enchanter or a king's daughter, a steed that had some magical endowment.^ King, king's son, enchanter, daughter and steed a l l appear i n The  King of Ireland's Son, but as Colum himself points out, these d e t a i l s are hardly enough to define a s p e c i f i c source, which could be any of a hundred or so of the same genre. Translations of unnamed books of I r i s h f o l k t a l e s , s t o r i e s remembered from childhood, and, as Colum t e l l s Bowen, " a l l my imagination"'': Colum's sources for The King of Ireland's Son are l e s s than accessible to us today. Yet f o l k t a l e s generally do not exist as single examples, notwithstanding a counterexample c i t e d in "The Tr a d i t i o n That Existed i n My Grandmother's House," g an exception whose r a r i t y proves the r u l e . They are l o c a l examples of t a l e patterns that have nationa l and often i n t e r n a t i o n a l d i s t r i b u t i o n . S t i t h Thompson gives t h i s d e f i n i t i o n of " t a l e type," d i s t i n g u i s h i n g i t from "motif," i n his book, The Fo l k t a l e . A type i s a t r a d i t i o n a l t a l e that has an independent existence. It may be t o l d as a complete nar r a t i v e and does not depend for i t s meaning on any other t a l e . It may indeed happen to be t o l d with another t a l e , but the fact that i t may appear alone a t t e s t s i t s independence. It may consist of only one motif or of many. Most animal t a l e s and jokes and anecdotes are types of one motif. The ordinary Marchen (tales l i k e C i n derella or Snow White) are types consisting of many of them.^ Since no two t e l l i n g s of a t a l e are apt to be exactly a l i k e , i n d i v i d u a l f o l k t a l e s , such as those Colum heard at his grandmother's hearthside or those that make up a volume of t a l e s , are considered to be "va r i a n t s " of the t a l e type, with the term "version" reserved for t a l e s with substantial v a r i a t i o n from the standard pattern of the t a l e type. Because i n d i v i d u a l f o l k t a l e s are rela t e d to others of the same t a l e type, we can, I think, determine with some accuracy what in The King of Ireland's Son comes from the f o l k t a l e and what does not, f i r s t analyzing the book for the t a l e types which i t includes, consulting A n t t i Aarne and S t i t h Thompson's catalogue of i n t e r n a t i o n a l t a l e types, The Types of the Folk-Tale (1928), Reidar Christiansen and Sean 0 Suilleabhain's The Types of the  I r i s h Folk-Tale (1963) and 6 Suilleabhain's A Handbook of I r i s h  F olklore (1942); and then comparing the text of The King's Son to the summaries of the i n t e r n a t i o n a l t a l e types given in Thompson's The F o l k t a l e and to I r i s h examples of these t a l e s from the c o l l e c t i o n s of Kennedy, Jacobs, Yeats, Hyde, Larminie, Curtin and 6 Suilleabhain. In t h i s way, we can a r r i v e at some conclusions about the p r i n c i p l e s that governed Colum's a s s i m i l a t i o n of various f o l k t a l e s to each other and to h i s o v e r a l l n a r r a t i v e d esign—notably, how he opens up the f o l k t a l e to l i t e r a r y concerns such as character development, theme, alle g o r y and point of view, while preserving the d i s t i n c t i v e -ness, even strangeness, that makes the f o l k t a l e an a t t r a c t i v e model for I r i s h l i t e r a r y forms. E s p e c i a l l y where Colum's use of f o l k t a l e content i s concerned, i t i s convenient to divide The King of Ireland's Son into i t s three major sections, or " c y c l e s . " I mean by " c y c l e " a complete c i r c l e of action,' that is, a self-contained, resolved n a r r a t i v e u n i t . Cycle I, for instance, opens with The King of Ireland's Son's card game with the Enchanter of the Black Backlands and ends when the hero completes the quest that the Enchanter imposes. S i m i l a r l y , Cycle II takes us from the events that lead to the abduction of Fedelma to the King's Son's v i c t o r y over her captor, f a c i l i t a t i n g her release. Cycle I I I , being more episodic, i s not as clear-cut as i t s predecessors. However, i t concerns a d i f f e r e n t hero, G i l l y of the Goatskin, and includes a l l of the l o o s e l y - r e l a t e d episodes involving t h i s character. (In t h i s case, the term " c y c l e " r e c a l l s ' , ; i t s use i n phrases l i k e "The Red-Branch Cycle" and "The Finn Cycle," where i t designates a c o l l e c t i o n of separate s t o r i e s involving a core of heroic characters.) The Unique Tale, which i s a c t u a l l y embedded.in both Cycle II and Cycle I I I , i s discussed here with Cycle I I . Cycle I, the events centering on the c o n f l i c t between the King of Ireland's Son and the Enchanter of the Black Backlands, i s the most straightforward section of The King of Ireland's Son, r e l a t i v e l y untroubled by the narrative complexities that characterize the rest of the book. There i s l i t t l e a l t e r a t i o n or rearrangement of the two t a l e s that are i t s constituents. The p r i n c i p a l t a l e type of Cycle I i s "The G i r l Helps in the Hero's F l i g h t , " Aarne-Thompson Tale Type 313. Sean 6 Suilleabhain's A Handbook  of I r i s h Folklore l i s t s t h i s t a l e type among those current in I r e l a n d , ^ and there are many examples of i t i n c o l l e c t i o n s of I r i s h f o l k t a l e s , among them "The King's Son and the White-Bearded Scolog" i n Jeremiah Curt in's Hero-Tales of Ireland and "The Son of the King of E r i n and the Giant of Loch Lein" i n another of Curtin's c o l l e c t i o n s , Myths and Folk Tales of Ireland. The g i r l i s the ogre's daughter, who f i r s t helps the hero by completing for him the impossible tasks imposed by her father, one of which can only be completed i f the hero k i l l s her and restores her to l i f e . Because the hero reassembles her incompletely, he i s l a t e r able to choose her from among her s i s t e r s . The couple make good t h e i r escape from the "ogre through the g i r l ' s magical powers and often with the help of a magical horse. Thompson notes that t h i s t a l e often begins with the motif of the maidens who transform themselves 12 into swans. 0 Suilleabhain adds that in I r i s h versions of t h i s t a l e , the hero engages, in a magic card game and i s forced to search 13 out his opponent's i d e n t i t y when he loses. The card game, the resultant quest for the ogre's i d e n t i t y , and the Swan Maiden motif a l l appear in The King of Ireland's Son, in which the ogre i s the Enchanter and the h e l p f u l maiden i s Fedelma. The l a s t and most d i f f i c u l t of the three tasks, the recovery of a r i n g , i s among those 6 Suilleabhain mentions. 6 Suilleabhain observes that Type 313 i s often preceded by 14 Type 222, "The War of the Birds and Quadrupeds." According to 6 Suilleabhain, in I r i s h t a l e s of t h i s type, the hero commonly resolves the grim struggle by shooting the eagle and freeing his opponent, an eel or a snake. In The King of Ireland's Son, the hero k i l l s the snake and frees the eagle, who becomes his benefactor. We can r e a l l y only guess whether t h i s reversal was a v a r i a t i o n on the t a l e type in the p a r t i c u l a r t a l e which was Colum's source, or whether i t i s a product of Colum's deli b e r a t e r e v i s i o n s . It does r e s u l t i n the preservation of the more heroic of the two animal opponents. The eagle i n t h i s sequence, as we s h a l l presently see, can be related to eagles in other parts of the n a r r a t i v e , and i s c e r t a i n l y a better v e h i c l e for Colum's p o l i t i c a l a l legory, discussed i n Chapter I I I , than a snake would be. These two t a l e s , Types 222 and 313, provide v i r t u a l l y a l l of the narrative material f or Cycle I. Colum quotes the events of the narratives accurately and preserves the arrangement of events of the f o l k t a l e . While the narrative changes are s l i g h t , there are some important a l t e r a t i o n s of f o l k t a l e s t y l e . Most obviously, the language i s simpler and more explanatory than the language of the t a l e s i n the c o l l e c t i o n s , no doubt as a concession to the youthfulness of most of the book's readers. But also, Colum i n i t i a l l y presents his marvellous imaginative world i n combination with a more mundane perspective on r e a l i t y . Romantic f o l k t a l e s , also c a l l e d Marchen, wonder-tales,and "chimerat," create a s p e c i a l world in which the most wonderful and strange things happen as a matter of course, as S t i t h Thompson notes. The characters never show surprise and r a r e l y comment when these extraordinary phenomena occur. But the King of Ireland's Son does f i n d these events extraordinary. Consider, for example, the handling of the card game in "Morraha," from William Larminie's West I r i s h Folk-Tales and Romances. And Morraha saluted the young man in words i n t e l l i g e n t , i n t e l l i g i b l e , such as (were spoken) at that time; and the other saluted him in the same fashion, and asked him would he play a game of cards with him; and Morraha said that he had not the wherewithal; and the other answered that he was never without a candle or the making of i t ; and he put his hand in his pocket and drew out a table and two chairs and a pack of cards, and they sat down on the ehairs and went to the card-playing. The f i r s t game Morraha won, and the slender red champion bade him make his claim; and he said that the land above him should be f i l l e d with stock of sheep i n the morning. It was well; and he played no second.game, but home he went.16 The method of producing- the cards, table and chairs, l i k e the magical f i l l i n g of the f i e l d with sheep, may delight the l i s t e n e r with i t s wonder, but Morraha himself never questions the propriety of the slender red champion's a b i l i t y to defy the laws of nature. The King of Ireland's Son, however, responds to the si m i l a r events with which he i s faced quite d i f f e r e n t l y . The game i t s e l f i s straightforward: "They played, and the King of Ireland's Son won the game.""^ But the King's Son departs rather smugly, and with no expectation that his opponent w i l l make good his pledge. He mounted his horse, smiling at the f o o l i s h old man who played cards with himself and who thought he could bring together f i f t y white kine, each with a red ear, and a white c a l f by the side of each cow. KS, 4 The King's Son's a t t i t u d e , reminiscent i n i t s smugness of the would-be f o l k t a l e heroes who f a i l (usually the two older brothers) rather than of the younger brother who succeeds, suggests one of Colum's p r i n c i p a l adaptations of the f o l k t a l e , the development of a moral dimension in his characters. Accordingly, the hero's quests, e s p e c i a l l y i n Cycle I I , as we s h a l l see l a t e r i n t h i s Chapter and in the next one, serve as correct i v e s for the hero's flaws. In addition, the King's Son's perception, more ordinary than that of most f o l k t a l e heroes, allows him for a time to stand in for the u n i n i t i a t e d reader; for the King of Ireland's Son ceases to f i n d magical events extraordinary as he gets more deeply involved in them. Colum uses the hero's point of view here to stress the enchantment that characterizes the King's Son's imaginary world. The hero's i n i t i a l d i s b e l i e f i n the old man's wager, and the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of d r i v i n g these c a t t l e out of the f i e l d , once they have appeared there, show that the events of the book take 18 place against a magical landscape. In the r e t e l l i n g of t a l e s in Cycle I, then, we see some l i t e r a r y innovations, notably the adaptation of language to suit the child.reader, the deepening of the hero's character to allow for as yet unexploited moral overtones, and the orchestration of the hero's and the reader's gradual immersion into the marvellous world of the f o l k t a l e . There i s l i t t l e change i n narrative incident, and no s t r u c t u r a l transformation of the f o l k t a l e to speak of. Cycle I I , which traces the attempts of the King's Son to release Fedelma from her abductor, the King of the Land of Mist, i s far more complicated. It i s constructed out of several t a l e s , some of which must be s u b s t a n t i a l l y a l t e r e d , and none of which bears the natural r e l a t i o n s h i p to the" others of Cycle I's t a l e s , Types 313 and 222. Cycle II opens with events borrowed from Type 400, "Man on Quest for Lost Wife," l i s t e d by 6 Suilleabhain among I r i s h Hero 19 Tales. Published versions include "Young Connal of Howth" in O'Sullivan's (6 Suilleabhain's) Folktales of Ireland and "Saudan Og and Young Conal" i n Curtin's Hero-Tales. The hero often loses h i s wife when he f a l l s into an enchanted slumber. When he awakes, he sets out to find her, getting advice from an old eagle, the 20 sun, the moon, and wind, and from an old woman. Like Type 313, t h i s t a l e i s often associated with Swan Maidens. According to Alan Bruford, I r i s h versions derive from the medieval Gaelic romance Eachtra Chonnaill Ghulban, i n which the hero loses his Eithne i n a slumber episode a f t e r abducting her from her grianan, or sunny chamber. Upon awaking, he discovers that she has been car r i e d away across the sea, and embarks on a sea-voyage to f i n d her. In o r a l versions of t h i s story, there i s an i n - t a l e about whether one of the characters, the Ridere on Ghaisge (the Knight 21 in Arms), has ever been worse o f f . Colum's most obvious a l t e r a t i o n of t h i s t a l e i s in l i f t i n g from i t i t s beginning and end and discarding i t s middle. In The King of Ireland's Son, the f i r s t sequence of the f o l k t a l e , the abduction of the heroine by the v i l l a i n , i s severed from the usual response, a sea voyage and extended search, so that the loss of Fedelma motivates an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r e n t course of events from that i n the f o l k t a l e . A key change i s the substitution of a barren p l a i n for the strand from which the f o l k t a l e heroine i s abducted, which prepares the way for the King's Son's overland search for the Sword of Light, a.narrative sequence that i s adapted from another t a l e (see below). The middle events of I r i s h f o l k -t a l e s of Type 400, including not only the sea voyage but also a fi g h t against the Turks and the hero's brothers and often a second abduction of the heroine, are e n t i r e l y eliminated in Colum's version, but for the f i n a l sequence of Cycle I I , the hero's struggle with the v i l l a i n i n order to free the young lady. In the middle of Cycle I I , motifs associated with Type 400, such as the eagle who gives information and the aged woman, sometimes appear, but the context i s , of course, now d i f f e r e n t . After the hero awakens from his slumber, Colum elaborates on the f o l k t a l e hero's search for news of the abduction, interposing as a bridge to elements borrowed from another t a l e type a panicky journey through a magical wood, probably Colum's own invention, the hero's search for Fedelma's blue falcon, which Colum may have adapted from f o l k or manuscript sources, and the story of the King of Cats, evidently also Colum's own material. The middle part of Cycle I I , and most of i t s events, i s adapted from "Warrior Sent for a Sword and a Tale," l i s t e d by 22 0'Suilleabhain as one of the I r i s h t a l e s associated with Finn. It e x i s t s in several examples which do not involve Finn, however, including "Art, King of L e i h s t e r , " in O'Sullivan's Folk t a l e s; "Morraha," in Larminie's West I r i s h Folk-Tales and Romances; "The Scullog's Son from Muskerry," in Kennedy's Legendary F i c t i o n s  of the I r i s h Celts; and "Art, the King's Son, and Balor Beimanach, Two Sons-in-Law of King Under-the Waves" and "The Cotter's Son and the Half Slim Champion," both i n Curtin's Hero-Tales. In t h i s t a l e , the hero i s sent looking for the Sword of Light and the Tale that i t s owner knows in order e i t h e r to pay a wager made over cards or to f u l f i l l geasa (bonds). In "Art, King of L e i n s t e r , " the story i s the "One Tale," whereas i n "Morraha," i t i s the "Story of Anshgayliach," or "the story of the s t o r y t e l l i n g . " The t a l e usually recounts the suffering of i t s t e l l e r a f t e r h i s wife t r i c k s him into revealing a magic rod, which she uses to transform him into a wolf. Alan Bruford hypothesizes that t h i s i n - t a l e stems from a Middle I r i s h romance, no longer extant, known as "The Werewolf's T a l e . " 2 4 Colum's many changes to t h i s t a l e type are quite s i g n i f i c a n t and d i s t o r t what must have been his o r i g i n a l far more than the "Lost Wife," Type 400. The f i r s t a l t e r a t i o n , the extraction of the middle part of the t a l e , i s the complement of the extraction of the beginning and end of the "Lost Wife." Colum discards the circumstances which occasion the search i n "Warrior Sent for a Sword and a Tale," as well as the usual ending of t a l e s of t h i s pattern, l i f t i n g out the n a r r a t i v e sequence of the quest from the motivational frame. The motivation for the quest in Colum's hybrid story i s transferred from "Lost Wife," with the new, invented requirement that only the Sword of Light can k i l l the King of the Land of Mist and release Fedelma functioning as a bridge between the motivation of the two t a l e s . There i s considerable further s t r u c t u r a l a l t e r a t i o n to the part of t h i s t a l e which Colum does extract. In the f o l k t a l e , the two things sought, the sword and the story, are equally necessary for f u l f i l l i n g the geasa, although they are obtained in sequence, the hero s t e a l i n g the sword and using i t to force the t a l e from i t s owner. In The King of Ireland's Son, however, Colum separates the Sword of Light from the Unique Tale. Only the Sword of Light i s needed to defeat the King of the Land of Mist and to free Fedelma. Colum invents a mechanism, not found in the f o l k t a l e , for the darkening of the Sword of Light, that i s , the temporary destruction of i t s s p e c i a l e f f i c a c y , and then makes the Unique Tale the means for restoring i t to power and brightness. Colum fragments the object of search, then. In addition to separating the Unique Tale from the Sword of Light, Colum s p l i t s the Unique Tale i t s e l f into two parts, the t a l e i t s e l f and "what went before i t s beginning and what comes a f t e r i t s end" (KS, 88-89). The King's Son f i r s t finds the Unique Tale, but that alone i s no good to him without.what comes before i t and a f t e r i t . Colum magnifies the complications of the o r i g i n a l n a r r a t i v e , creating a ser i e s of interdependent tasks. The hapless hero can't free Fedelma u n t i l he has the Sword of Light and can't use the Sword of Light u n t i l i t i s brightened. He can't brighten i t without the Unique Tale, which i s inadequate u n t i l he finds i t s beginning and end. This arrangement represents a layering of tasks, which are embedded in each other rather than following each other s e r i a l l y . In h i s rearrangement of elements of "Warrior Sent for a Sword and a Story," Colum fragments the f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e , i n s e r t i n g episodes such as the one which r e s u l t s i n the darkening of the Sword of Light. He also complicates the chain of events by embedding quests within other quests. These changes are in the service of a more profound transformation, the development of moral overtones and character depths that would not appear in f o l k t a l e s . When the King of Ireland's Son i s searching for the Sword of Light, for instance, Colum has the Gobaun Saor, a character known as the craftsman of the gods in I r i s h mythology and represented as a clever builder in some f o l k t a l e s , require that the hero prove "your w i l l , your mind, and your purpose" (KS, 81). The King's Son must guard the Gobaun Saor's forge for three nights against the Fua, whose aggression against the King's Son at f i r s t takes the form of temptation. Whereas in the f o l k t a l e , "moral f i b e r " i s externalized into physical strength, 25 courage, prudence and cleverness, in t h i s invented i n t e r p o l a t i o n in Cycle I I , i t i s f a i r l y c l e a r that i t i s moral f i b e r and strength of character that are being tested. When the Fua shrinks into a "small, empty sort of creature" a f t e r the King's Son's physical v i c t o r y over him (KS, 83), there i s implied a moral as well as a physical shrinkage. Thus the physical struggle represents the psychological b a t t l e of w i l l against fear and the moral b a t t l e of good against e v i l . This symbolism distinguishes t h i s episode from f o l k t a l e struggles, because the f o l k t a l e ' s focus on action generally precludes the development of such psychological and moral dimensions. The encounter with the Swallow People i s s i m i l a r l y moral and q u a s i - a l l e g o r i c a l . Like the Fua, t h i s shadowy race i s Colum's creation, and the hero's experience with them demonstrates e x p l i c i t l y h i s own f o l l y and pride. Because the Sword of Light loses i t s e f f i c a c y through a f a i l u r e of s p i r i t as opposed to a f a i l u r e of muscle, the subsequent quest for the means to restore i t becomes a s p i r i t u a l quest for p u r i t y , moral strength, and atonement. For t h i s reason, the King's Son's quest for the Unique Tale i s long and arduous, more involuted and d i f f i c u l t than not only the search for the Sword of Light i t s e l f but also the whole of Cycle I. In conditioning the quests in Cycle II i n t h i s way, Colum suggests the t r a d i t i o n of written heroic sagas and romances rather than heroic f o l k t a l e s . The Unique Tale, Cycle II's embedded story, or i n - t a l e , i s i t s e l f based on three d i f f e r e n t f o l k t a l e s . The part c a l l e d "what went before i t s beginning and.what comes a f t e r i t s ending" i s a version of "The Werewolf's Tale," mentioned above as a common i n - t a l e i n "Warrior Sent for a Sword and a Story." The s t y l e of t h i s episode in The King of Ireland's Son i s so si m i l a r to i t s analogue in Larminie's "Morraha" that i t seems l i k e l y that Colum had "Morraha" in mind. The Unique Tale proper, however, i s based on a t a l e type that usually i s independent, rather than embedded in another t a l e . "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers," Type 451, i s represented in published c o l l e c t i o n s by "The Twelve Wild Geese," which f i r s t appeared in Kennedy's The F i r e s i d e Stories  of Ireland (1870) and was l a t e r included by Yeats i n h i s F a i r y  and Folk Tales of the I r i s h Peasantry (1888); i t i s l i s t e d among in t e r n a t i o n a l t a l e types found in Ireland in 6 Suilleabhain's 2 6 Handbook. In t h i s story, the seven or twelve brothers turn into swans, geese or ravens on the b i r t h of a s i s t e r and f l y away. Devoting herself to f i n d i n g and r e s t o r i n g them, the s i s t e r takes on the task of sewing a s h i r t for each of them without making a sound or cry. She marries a king and i s accused of murdering her chil d r e n , but remains s i l e n t l y sewing. She f i n i s h e s the l a s t s h i r t as she i s about to be executed, l i f t s the enchantment 27 from her brothers, and i s rescued by them. Colum must truncate "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers," f i r in order to hold i t s r e s o l u t i o n u n t i l l a t e r i n the book, and secondly to involve in i t some of the characters of the other p l o t s . Accordingly, he substitutes for the near-execution of the maiden the expulsion of Sheen, a repudiation that i s l e s s d r a s t i c and easier to revoke than the punishment threatened i n the o r i g i n a l t a l e . Also, Sheen, who though stout-hearted i s not quite as imperturbable as her f o l k t a l e predecessor, must f a i l at her task. She i s reunited with her husband without re s o l v i n g the problems of the enchanted brothers and the stolen c h i l d , so that they may be solved l a t e r . F i n a l l y , the Spae-Woman prophesies that the enchantment can be l i f t e d by one who t r u l y loves the stolen c h i l d , which provides a mechanism for the future r e s o l u t i o n of the story's d i f f i c u l t i e s . These three steps trans-form the f o l k t a l e from a self-contained story to an element that f i t s into the larger n a r r a t i v e of The King of Ireland's Son. Within "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers," at the point where Sheen meets the Hunter-King, her future husband, Colum in s e r t s another independent f o l k t a l e , "The G i r l Who Follows the Corpse." I cannot f i n d a s p e c i f i c l i s t i n g for t h i s t a l e either in The Types of the F o l k t a l e or The Types of the I r i s h F o l k t a l e , nor does 0 Suilleabhain mention i t in the Handbook, although there are several somewhat s i m i l a r t a l e s of husbands whose enchantment must be l i f t e d by t h e i r wives or lovers. In s p i t e of the absence of a s p e c i a l c l a s s i f i c a t i o n for t h i s t a l e , Kennedy notes that i t was one of the t a l e s that he heard most frequently when he was compiling Legendary F i c t i o n s of the I r i s h C e lts, in which he includes an example, e n t i t l e d "The Corpse Watchers." On two successive nights, two g i r l s watch a corpse, each appearing maimed or deformed, as i f by f r i g h t , on the next morning. The heroine watches the corpse on the t h i r d night and frees i t from bonds of enchantment by following i t steadfastly through a series of magical obstacles. Colum's version of the t a l e i s very close to Kennedy's, although since Colum i s l i t t l e concerned with the f i r s t two g i r l s , he has t h e i r part of the t a l e t o l d very b r i e f l y and i n d i r e c t l y . Except for t h i s change, the t a l e f i t s into the Unique Tale quite neatly as an e n t i r e n a r r a t i v e e n t i t y . In a s s i m i l a t i n g to each other the various f o l k t a l e s that make up Cycle I I , Colum f i r s t of a l l restructures the constituent t a l e s , s e l e c t i n g complementary parts of d i f f e r e n t t a l e s ("Man on Search for Lost Wife," "Warrior Sent for Sword and Story"), fragmenting and extending narrative incidents (the quest i n "Warrior Sent for Sword and,Story"), delaying r e s o l u t i o n ("Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers"). A l l of these are l i t e r a r y transformations of the o r i g i n a l o r a l material that combine independent f o l k t a l e s in a n a r r a t i v e whole more complex than any single f o l k t a l e , even those of complicated design. An important element in the combination of these tales i s the c o n f l a t i o n of characters. Because "Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers" and "The Werewolf's Tale" both make use of the motif of the stolen c h i l d , f or instance, Colum can combine them, making them two sides of a single story about the same l o s t c h i l d . When the stolen c h i l d i s i d e n t i f i e d with another character, G i l l y of the Goatskin, the two i n - t a l e s in Cycle II are linked to Cycle I I I . In order to integrate the several t a l e s , i n other words, characters must assume more than one r o l e . As a r e s u l t , the q u a s i - f o l k t a l e characters of The  King of Ireland's Son tend to be more complex than r e a l f o l k t a l e personages, who are often l i t t l e more than counters. A f o l k t a l e stepmother, for example, often the primary source of v i l l a i n y i n a t a l e , generally remains unrepentant and i s punished by humiliation, banishment, or even death. In The King of Ireland's Son, however, Caintigern, the hero's unsympathetic step-mother in Cycle I, turns out to be Sheen, the heroic and a f f l i c t e d maiden of the Unique Tale. Such a combination, impossible in the f o l k t a l e , introduces a moral f l e x i b i l i t y and depth to Colum's n a r r a t i v e . Colum i n e f f e c t implies a character psychology, one which would explain Caintigern's crossness by way of Sheen's g r i e f . S i m i l a r l y , the Hunter-King, the hero's father, i s given a s p i r i t u a l dimension through his i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the enchanted corpse. Colum doesn't explore e i t h e r Caintigern or the Hunter-King very deeply by the standards of l i t e r a r y f i c t i o n , but he does suggest a complexity that i s a step or two away from f o l k t a l e c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . Cycle I I , then, contains four separate f o l k t a l e s : "Man on Quest for Lost Wife"; "Warrior Sent for a Sword and a Story" (including the i n - t a l e , based on "The Werewolf 1s Tal e " ) ; "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers"; and "The G i r l Who Follows the Corpse." It i s i n t e r e s t i n g that neither Cycle I nor Cycle II contains the f o l k t a l e that i s a c t u a l l y known as "The King of Ireland's Son," an example of which may be found in Douglas Hyde's Beside the F i r e (1890). In constructing Cycle II out of these t a l e s , Colum has elaborated the f o l k t a l e ' s mechanism for embedding t a l e s into a system of layers in which each t a l e envelops the next one. F i r s t comes the beginning of F o l k t a l e I, the abduction of the maiden from the sleeping hero. This story i s suspended when the change in the circumstances of the abduction leads the hero into the quest for the Sword of Light and then the Unique Tale of Folktale II rather than the sea voyage of F o l k t a l e I. F o l k t a l e III i s interposed when the second object of search of F o l k t a l e I I , that i s , the Unique Tale, i s "found" ( i . e . , heard). In turn, F o l k t a l e III i s interrupted by Folktale IV, watching the corpse. The t a l e s are reassembled in reverse order: Sheen marries the Hunter-King to complete F o l k t a l e IV; she gives up her search, to close F o l k t a l e III (considerably d i f f e r e n t l y from the o r i g i n a l ) ; the King's Son learns of the rest of the Unique Tale to complete the quest extracted from F o l k t a l e I I ; and f i n a l l y , the b a t t l e for the release of Fedelma completes Folktale I. This involution i s modelled on the pattern of the f o l k t a l e , but goes far beyond i t •in the extent and the symmetry of the l a y e r i n g , making.a l i t e r a r y elaboration of a s t r u c t u r a l feature of o r a l n a r r a t i v e . The construction of Cycle I I I , the part of the action featuring G i l l y of the Goatskin, also c a l l e d Flann, i s more d i f f i c u l t to assess than other parts of the n a r r a t i v e because i t i s created out of a jumble of f o l k t a l e , f o l k motif, f o l k character, and invention. In Cycle I I , Colum's inventions, such as the King's Son's encounter with the Swallow People, stand out c l e a r l y , l a r g e l y because the f o l k t a l e material in Cycle II i s so well-defined. There are whole f o l k t a l e s i n Cycle I I I , but these tend to be separate from the main events, which combine b i t s of t a l e s with o r i g i n a l material, often in a form that mimics f o l k t a l e form. The cha r a c t e r i z a t i o n of G i l l y of the Goatskin i s t y p i c a l of t h i s cycle in the d i f f i c u l t y one has in analyzing i t s sources. G i l l y of the Goatskin (a g i l l y i s a lad, often a servant lad) occurs i n several d i f f e r e n t contexts in I r i s h f o l k l o r e . In Kennedy's "Adventures of G i l l a na Chreck an Gour" i n Legendary F i c t i o n s , Type 650 ("Strong John"), G i l l y i s a humorous f i g u r e , who s t i r s from the ashes by the hearth-side and takes up a goat skin at age sixteen before f i n a l l y going out into the world. A l l of the e f f o r t s of the King to destroy him f a i l , and G i l l y f i n a l l y wins the King's daughter by making her laugh. This G i l l y seems to be in the t r a d i t i o n of the Great Fool, or .Amadan Mor, whose adventures, Bruford t e l l s us, are recorded in Eachtra an Amadain 29 Mhoir. A second G i l l y of the Goatskin appears in a hero t a l e , " G i l l a na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail," i n Curtin's Myths and Folk  Tales. A warrior disguises himself in skins and takes service with Finn as a common g i l l y or servant i n order to evade an opponent who has the r i g h t to one unresisted blow should the two ever meet. During h i s service with F i n , he performs extra-ordinary fe a t s , dies at the hands of his foe and i s magically restored to l i f e . Neither t h i s story, related to Eachtra I o l l a i n n 30 Airmdhearg, nor Kennedy's story bears a great likeness to the events concerning Colum's G i l l y . However, because Colum's G i l l y i s , at least at f i r s t , a lowly, comic fellow, he seems more akin to Kennedy's Great Fool than to Curtin's heroic G i l l y . For the same reason, he seems l i t t l e r elated to the G i l l y i n "Fionn's F i r s t Marriage" (Legendary F i c t i o n s ) , who i s a c t u a l l y Finn himself, b r i e f l y disguised in goatskins. This m u l t i p l i c i t y of analogues, though, some comic and a n t i - h e r o i c , some more t r a d i t i o n a l l y heroic, i s appropriate to the changes G i l l y undergoes in The King of Ireland's  Son. G i l l y ' s adventures begin with the absurdly tardy maturation of Kennedy's G i l l y , and l i k e him, Colum's G i l l y goes out into the world ignorant of i t s ways and of his own powers. By the end of the book, however, G i l l y has been transformed from a common bumpkin with the lowly, generic name " G i l l y , " to a King's Son and quasi-hero, with the more heroic name of "Flann." An important d i f f e r e n c e between the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin that has a profound e f f e c t on the form of t h e i r respective narratives stems from the d i s t i n c t i o n between the f o l k t a l e ' s a c t i v e and passive protagonists, i t s "seeker-heroes" and "victim-heroes". Vladimir Propp notes that t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n determines the form of a f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e almost from the outset. The departures of seeker-heroes and victim-heroes are . . . d i f f e r e n t . The departures of the former group have search as t h e i r goal, while those of the l a t t e r mark the beginning of a journey without searches, on which various adventures await the hero.31 Whereas the King's Son i s c l e a r l y a seeker-hero, whose object i s to search out the e v i l Enchanter and to rescue his abducted sweetheart Fedelma, G i l l y i s a v i c t i m hero. He leaves h i s dubious home to get away from h i s none-too-sympathetic guardians, the Hags of the Long Teeth. Accordingly, G i l l y ' s story f a l l s into a s t r i n g of l o o s e l y related episodes. Although i t rambles from incident to incident at f i r s t , i t gains a vague unity as G i l l y becomes increasingly interested in learning his own name and the i d e n t i t y of his parents. These goals, though hazy, d i s t i n g u i s h G i l l y somewhat from the true victim-hero of the f o l k t a l e , whose journeys involve no searches at a l l . But on the other hand, G i l l y ' s search i s not at a l l l i k e the King's Son's quests. It i s c a r r i e d out in a rambling, almost lazy fashion and i s plagued by f a i l u r e . The fact that Cycle III runs along with and i s bound by the t i g h t l y c o n t r o l l e d , end-directed Cycle I I , i n which i t f i r s t appears as an i n - t a l e , does more to structure Cycle III than does G i l l y ' s intermittent quest for name and family. Cycle III i s episodic, in contrast to Cycles I and I I , f l e x i b l e , and l a r g e l y invented. It does, however, contain some important 32 t a l e types. The f i r s t of these i s "The Anger Bargain," Type 1000. A man and his servant make a contract that the f i r s t one to get angry with the other w i l l be severely penalized. Often, the master bargains double wages against the servant's doing his service without pay. Jacobs r e p r i n t s a version of t h i s , "Jack and His Master," i n C e l t i c F a i r y Tales; i t f i r s t appeared in Kennedy's F i r e s i d e Stories. This version i s quite l i k e Colum's, since the loser of the wager must f o r f e i t not only money but a s t r i p of skin from h i s neck to h i s heel. The servant manipulates events by taking l i t e r a l l y metaphorical i n s t r u c t i o n s l i k e "Come with horses' legs" (that i s , come quickly). (Type 1007) or "Keep an eye on the sheep" (Type 1006). Because of the episodic nature of Cycle I l l ' s victim-hero p l o t , Colum can insert t h i s t a l e whole into the adventures of G i l l y . As with "The G i r l Who Watches a Corpse," the t a l e furthers the conception of character somewhat, trans-forming G i l l y ' s i n i t i a l lack of worldly knowledge into a super-f i c i a l crudeness to hide his e s s e n t i a l cleverness and p r a c t i c a l cunning. This story does not, however, combine formally with other na r r a t i v e material to form part of the main p l o t . Another f o l k t a l e that i s inserted whole into Cycle I I I i s 33 "The Master-Thief," Type 1525. A youth i s apprenticed to thieves and becomes adept. His s k i l l i s tested in s t e a l i n g a well-guarded horse, sheep from a driver and so on. Colum's method of integrating t h i s t a l e with others in the book by co n f l a t i n g characters i s sim i l a r to that in Cycle I I . Mogue the Robber i n t h i s episode l a t e r provides g i f t s for G i l l y to give to Flame-of-Wine and exposes the Enchanter of the Black Back-Lands to the King of Ireland's Son. The thieves, s i m i l a r l y , j u s t happen to be the very band of robbers who e a r l i e r i n G i l l y ' s story s t o l e the Spae-Woman's goose and the Cry s t a l Egg along wth i t . Never-theless, the episode, which follows the f o l k t a l e f a i r l y c l o s e l y , i s a diversion that i s not r e a l l y necessary f o r the main plot.• There i s an i n t e r e s t i n g analogy between t h i s l i t t l e episode and the events i n Cycle I. Just as the King of Ireland's Son was forced to perform tasks to uphold his disguise as an enchanter's apprentice, so G i l l y performs feats of master thievery as a kind of protective c o l o r a t i o n . This symmetry, along with the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of characters i n the episode with characters i n other parts of the na r r a t i v e , integrates ''The Master-Thief" into the book more thoroughly than "The Anger Bargain." The t h i r d f o l k t a l e in Cycle III provides much of the material for an i n - t a l e , the story that Morag t e l l s G i l l y at the House of Crom Duv. "The Three S i s t e r s , " or " C i n d e r e l l a , " Type 510, i s rel a t e d to I r i s h magic t a l e s 29 and 30 in 0 Suilleabhain's 34 Handbook. Both of the I r i s h t a l e s concern three g i r l s seeking husbands. The youngest at f i r s t i s o s t r a c i z e d , e i t h e r for her ugliness or her l a z i n e s s , but eventually wins husbands for a l l three. Tale 29 i s known as "Assapelt" a f t e r the t h i r d daughter, who i s not only ugly but extremely hairy. Thrown into the f i r e during a struggle, she emerges with her hairy p e l t burned o f f , the most b e a u t i f u l of the three g i r l s . The heroine of Tale 30, l i k e Morag in The King of Ireland's Son, must outsmart a hag and her three daughters. Like the heroine of Tale 30, Morag makes an exchange with the h a g s — p i l l o w s with slumber pins i n them rather than nightcaps, however—in order to protect her s i s t e r s . Although Type 510 i s presented as an i n - t a l e , Colum provides l i n k s both with Cycle II and with other parts of Cycle I I I . The young men whom Morag wins as husbands for her s i s t e r s are Downal and Dermott, the half-brothers, once c h u r l i s h , now reformed, of the King of Ireland's Son. Morag eventually follows the lead of the f o l k t a l e by marrying the t h i r d brother, G i l l y . The Hags of the Long Teeth, who f i r s t appear at the very beginning of Cycle I I I , appear here as well. Morag handles them much more c l e v e r l y than does G i l l y , whose earthiness manifests i t s e l f i n feet of c l a y and r e s u l t s i n f a i l u r e when he confronts them to discover h i s parentage. Curiously, Morag's i n - t a l e i s one of the few in The King of Ireland's Son given in the f i r s t person. T r a d i t i o n a l i n - t a l e s , such as the one that the Enchanter t e l l s i n the section derived from the "Warrior in Search of a Sword and a Tale," are usually in the f i r s t person, and in the manuscript romances, according to Bruford, 35 the narrator of an i n - t a l e always t e l l s of his own experiences. To make the t a l e of the "Three S i s t e r s " such an i n - t a l e , however, i s to change i t s terms considerably. Although i t s events o r i g i n a t e in f o l k l o r e , the point of view of Morag's i n - t a l e makes i t seem le s s l i k e a formulaic f o l k t a l e than the personal reminiscence of a character i n a novel. Colum, then, gives t h i s t a l e a decidedly l i t e r a r y treatment. 3 6 Cycle III ends with "The Forgotten Fiance," Type 313C. After f o r g e t t i n g a warning from the f a i t h f u l maiden who has helped him, the hero loses a l l memory of her. She trades magic objects for three successive nights with him, and f i n a l l y arouses his memory, just as he i s about to be married. This t a l e often follows t a l e 313A, " G i r l Helps i n Hero's F l i g h t , " as i n "The Son of the King of E r i n and the Giant of Loch Lein" in Curtin's Myths and Folk Tales. In the same volume, Type 313C also appears subordinated to Type 425, about a husband who i s a bear by day and a man by night, in the t a l e e n t i t l e d "The Brown Bear of Norway." "The Forgotten Fiance" appears i n The King of Ireland's  Son in a f a i r l y unadulterated form. Colum chooses to have the maiden simply meet her young man, not sleep with him, no doubt i n consideration for his young audience. He uses the magic g i f t s to l i n k t h i s t a l e with "The Three S i s t e r s . " The only s i g n i f i c a n t i n t e r p o l a t i o n i s Morag's L i t t l e Red Hen as the means for jogging G i l l y ' s memory. Otherwise, t h i s episode closes Cycle III by returning G i l l y ' s episodic, rambling and frequently u n f o l k l o r i c n a r r a t i v e to the form and content of the f o l k t a l e . Colum uses four f o l k t a l e s i n constructing Cycle I I I , then, and many more f o l k t a l e motifs. But as the following o u t l i n e of events demonstrates,.a great deal of the material i s not f o l k t a l e but invention, although i t i s frequently disguised by f o l k t a l e - l i k e form or s t y l e . 1. Escape from the Hags of the Long Teeth 2. Rescue of the Weasel (a donor) 3. Recovery of the magic Cr y s t a l Egg 4. L i f e i n the forest (a. s t a t i c episode) 5. Theft of the Egg 6. "The Anger Bargain" (Type 1000) 7. Quest for Identity!!: counting horns, t e l l i n g Unique Tale 8. Quest for Identity I I : search for the Cr y s t a l Egg 9. "The Master-Thief" (Type 1525) 10. Courtship of Flame-of-Wine 11. Quest for Identity I I I : capture by Hags of Long Teeth 12. Escape from Crom Duv (and return) 13. Morag 1s story ("Three S i s t e r s , " Type 510; Fairy Rowan Tree) 14. Escape from Crom Duv II (with Obstacle F l i g h t ) 15. Morag's journey (which completes her story) 16. "The Forgotten Fiance" (Type 313C) In a c t u a l i t y , f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e makes up only a small part of Cycle I I I . The other episodes in G i l l y ' s adventures are designed to imitate f o l k l o r e events and structures (for instance, the mock donor-sequence, number 2 i n the l i s t ) and frequently are stocked with genuine f o l k t a l e motifs, but they are r e a l l y o r i g i n a l rather than t r a d i t i o n a l material. The events that Colum creates make G i l l y much d i f f e r e n t from the f o l k t a l e hero. More than most f o l k t a l e s , the ."Adventures of G i l l y of the Goatskin" educate t h e i r hero, providing him with the opportunity to develop a probity and depth a l i e n to the f o l k t a l e . There are f o l k t a l e maidens whom the hero ult i m a t e l y scorns for t h e i r haughtiness, i n spite of the a t t r a c t i o n of t h e i r beauty, but G i l l y ' s misguided courtship of Flame-of-Wine i s too f u l l of pining and misjudgement, and the t r u t h forced out of her by the Gird l e of Truth too p h i l o s o p h i c a l and too moral, to s t r i k e one as f o l k l o r i c . The episode i s a way to teach G i l l y about beauty, t r u t h and love. The quest for 37 a name and a family are quite u n f o l k l o r i c , and more than any other feature of the book indic a t e that Colum has things to say in t h i s n a r r a t i v e that go quite beyond the f o l k t a l e . The d i s -orde r l i n e s s of these events, i n which the neat involution of nar r a t i v e in Cycle II gives way to a rambling l i n e a r i t y , suggests that Colum i s purposely working against f o l k t a l e forms, as Chapter II w i l l show in some d e t a i l . Indeed, G i l l y ' s attempts at action often f a i l , as when he f i r s t searches for the C r y s t a l Egg, or f a l l s i n love with Flame-of-Wine, or confronts the Hags of the Long Teeth, and conversely, he. i s often rewarded with information without having earned i t . The system of actions and rewards of the f o l k t a l e , then, i s quite disrupted. The changes that Colum makes in h i s source material to create The King of Ireland's Son are l a r g e l y consistent with the intention of transforming f o l k material into a u n i f i e d n a r r a t i v e for c h i l d r e n . Colum elaborates the structure of the f o l k t a l e , combining many diverse f o l k narratives into one grand, l i t e r a r y f a i r y t a l e . To create a long, f a i r l y u n i f i e d n a r r a t i v e out of ten or eleven f o l k t a l e s , a f a i r amount of o r i g i n a l material, and countless f o l k and mythical characters and motifs, Colum dis s e c t s , rearranges and embeds his c o n s t i t u e n t " f o l k t a l e s . To give the work some of the thematic import of written material, Colum transforms the personages of the f o l k t a l e , hardly more than counters to be pushed through the twisty channels of the p l o t , into characters with greater psychological and moral complexity than f o l k t a l e figures but with l e s s i n d i v i d u a l i t y and l e s s "inner l i f e " than characters in novels. Colum also makes his characters and his na r r a t i v e carry q u a s i - a l l e g o r i c a l meanings, as when the King's Son f i g h t s with the Fua or encounters the Swallow People, or when G i l l y of the Goatskin f a l l s i n love with Flame-of-Wine. Along with a l l of these transformations, Colum also minimizes sex and violence in his sources, to make them more suitable f or a youthful audience. In The King of Ireland's Son, Colum borrows and transforms f o l k t a l e content, f o l k t a l e form and f o l k t a l e s t y l e . One of his most noteworthy transformations i s of the f o l k t a l e ' s o r a l i t y , from which he fashions a narrative frame that i s one of the d i s t i n c t i o n s of the book. Reminiscing in the Preface to the 1966 c o l l e c t i o n of some of his own children's s t o r i e s , The Stone of V i c t o r y and Other Tales, Colum indicates that part of h i s purpose in writing books of t a l e s was "to make st o r i e s read as i f they were being t o l d , as a man who was a s t o r y t e l l e r t o l d them when s t o r y t e l l i n g was a 38 vocation." In many places, Colum r e c a l l s such a s t o r y t e l l e r from his own youth, stressing that i t was h i s technique, speci-f i c a l l y his use of his voice, that made his t a l e s e s p e c i a l l y memorable. In his small book, Story T e l l i n g New and Old, reprinted from the preface to The Fountain of Youth; Stories to be Told (1927), Colum describes t h i s s t o r y t e l l e r of old. The s t o r y - t e l l e r whom I l i s t e n e d to when I was young had many advantages over the s t o r y - t e l l e r in one of our public l i b r a r i e s . He t o l d his st o r i e s i n the evening; he t o l d them by the l i g h t of a candle and a peat f i r e — o f t e n by the l i g h t of a peat f i r e only. There were shadows upon the walls around. Nothing that he t o l d us had to be v i s u a l i z e d i n the glare of day or by the f l a r e of e l e c t r i c l i g h t . He had a language that had not been written down; he had words that had not been made c o l o r l e s s by constant use in books and newspapers. He was free to make a l l sorts of rhymes and chimes i n the language he used, and to use words that were meaningless except for the overtones of meaning that were in t h e i r sounds. And he could make his hero start from the h i l l t o p that was known to a l l his audience, and he could have his b a t t l e fought upon the strand that they had a l l been upon. His audience was small, no more than a score of people, and so he could be intimate in voice and manner. He had few gestures, t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s t o r y - t e l l e r : sometimes he beat his hands together; sometimes he r a i s e a s t i c k that was by him to give solemnity to some happening. And outside was the silen c e of the night and the s i l e n c e of a countryside.39 In part from h i s memory of the t a l e s that the s t o r y t e l l e r t o l d , Colum drew material for The King of Ireland's Son. But from h i s experience l i s t e n i n g to the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s voice, he fashioned the nar r a t i v e frame, based on the f i c t i o n that the events of the book are being t o l d and heard rather than written and read. As Colum himself says in his radio memoir, "Vagrant Voices," the s t o r y t e l l i n g of t h i s shanachie stayed in my mind as a performance. Afterwards, when I came to write books that were based on legends, t h i s method of o r a l d e l i v e r y was in my mind. Here i s the opening of my King of  Ireland's Son: i t does not come out of any p a r t i c u l a r story that I heard, but the i n f l e x i o n s in the voice of the man by the f i r e s i d e , the gestures with the s t a f f in his hand are in i t . ^ O Colum's s t o r y t e l l i n g pretense in The King of Ireland's Son i s subtly and q u i e t l y handled. It i s l a r g e l y conveyed through a language whose vocabulary, syntax, idioms and rhythms are taken from speech, rather than a l i t e r a r y language "made c o l o r l e s s by constant use in books and newspapers." In addition, Colum provides a s p r i n k l i n g of conversational pointers, including a series of v a r i a t i o n s on the phrase "I t e l l you," to e s t a b l i s h by implication the existence of a frame narrator. The s t o r y t e l l i n g frame i s a way of conditioning the reader's response to the text. It becomes more e f f e c t i v e when Colum provides a vague i d e n t i t y for h i s l i s t e n e r . " I t i s with the youth Flann. . . that we w i l l go now i f i t be pleasing to you, Son of my Heart," Colum has the mysterious frame-storyteller announce (KS, 211). Later, the narrator addresses "my kind f o s t e r - c h i l d " (KS, 255) , invoking the s p e c i a l and t r a d i t i o n a l r e l a t i o n s h i p of fosterage, the same protective and kindly r e l a t i o n -ship that the Spae-Woman extends to the children who stay with her. 41 (Both G i l l y and Morag c a l l her "fosterer.") Colum uses the fondness of the f o s t e r i n g r e l a t i o n s h i p , indicated by the phrase "Son of my Heart" and the adjective "kind',', to personalize the communi-cation between author and reader. The reader, who in one sense only "overhears" the story, i s i n v i t e d to p a r t i c i p a t e in an intimate encounter, much as a newcomer inthe house of Colum's grandmother might have enjoyed from h i s s t o o l in the corner the sharing of t a l e s taking place around the peat f i r e . The narrative frame of The King of Ireland's Son also f u l f i l l s a s t r u c t u r i n g function. It i s important in emphasizing the "pattern of events" of the story. In Story T e l l i n g New and Old, Colum claims that "the art of the s t o r y t e l l e r . . . consists in giving spon-taneity to a s e r i e s of happenings. They have to be i n formal 42 series, for the story has to have a d i s t i n c t pattern." Like the voice of the s t o r y t e l l e r in Colum's grandmother's kitchen, the "voice" of Colum's frame narrator helps to marshal the events that are the constituents of t h i s pattern. In doing so, i t serves as one of the most I r i s h of the forms that Colum creates for his f i c t i o n . It provides a ready l i n k between modern day l i t e r a t u r e and i t s past, a way of embedding the past in the present. In addition, the s t o r y t e l l i n g pretense includes both the story and the transmission of i t . In doing so, i t symbolizes the relevance of c u l t u r a l heritage to modern events, which Chapter III w i l l show to be the foundation of the book. Notes Alan Denson l i s t s New York editions (Macmillan) i n 1916, 1921 and 1962 and a London e d i t i o n (Harrap) i n 1920. Denson gives 1935 as the date for the Dublin e d i t i o n but gives no date for the Stuttgart e d i t i o n . "Padraic Colum: An Appreciation with a Check-l i s t of His Pu b l i c a t i o n s , " Dublin Magazine 6 (Spring, 1967) 1, p. 54, item 10. To Denson too we owe the discovery of "Fidelma," whose date he gives as 1967-1968. "Padraic Colum at Ninety," The I r i s h Times (December 8, 1971), p. 10. 2 Benedict K i e l y , "The Core of Colum's Ireland," The I r i s h  Monthly 77 (October, 1949), p. 448. 3 "Ninety Years i n Retrospect," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e 2 (January, 1973) 1, pp. 25-26. Although Colum had some contact with the I r i s h language and I r i s h speakers as a boy, i t was not h i s mother tongue. Like other l i t e r a r y n a t i o n a l i s t s of the day, Colum immersed himself i n Gaelic as a very young man. He often worked from Gaelic sources i n h i s poetry (often sources also translated or paraphrased by others), but unlike h i s colleague Padraic Pearse, never himself published i n Gaelic. It i s , of course, possible that these unspecified " t r a n s l a t i o n s " were not Colum's work at a l l but someone else's, perhaps even published t r a n s l a t i o n s . "Ninety Years," p. 2 6 5 The New Yorker (December 23, 1967), p. 28 6 "The T r a d i t i o n That Existed in My Grandmother's House," 1 1 "The T r a d i t i o n , " p. 30. 7 "Ninety Years," p. 32. g "The T r a d i t i o n , " p. 31. Colum c i t e s a t a l e t o l d by h i s grandmother as the source for h i s poem, "Dermott Donn MacMorna," and observes that neither he nor the f o l k l o r i s t he consulted on t h i s point knows of another example of the story. The f o l k l o r i s t hypothesizes that i t was o r i g i n a l l y a poem and was "broken down into a f i r e s i d e story." q The F o l k t a l e (1946; r p t . Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1977), p. 415. A l l t a l e types are according to the enumeration i n S t i t h Thompson's The Types of the F o l k t a l e : A n t t i Aarne's Verzeichnis der  Marchentypen Translated and Enlarged (1928; 2nd rev. H e l s i n k i : Suomalainen Tiedeakatemia, 1964). My source for motifs i s S t i t h Thompson's six-volume, revised and enlarged Motif-Index of Folk  L i t e r a t u r e (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955-58). A Handbook of I-rish Folklore (1942; r p t . Hatboro, Pennsylvania: F o l k l o r e Associates, 1963), p. 560. 1 2 The F o l k t a l e , p. 88. A Handbook, p. 560. 14 A Handbook, p. 559. 1 5 The F o l k t a l e , p. 8. 16 West I r i s h Folk-Tales and Romances (1893; rpt. Totowa, New Jersey: Rowman and L i t t l e ' f i e l d , 1973), p. 11. The King of Ireland's Son (1916; rpt. New York: Macmillan 1962), p. 4; henceforth c i t e d in the text as KS. 18 Another i n d i c a t i o n i s the colouring of the c a t t l e , since "red and white are the colors of animals of the Otherworld in C e l t i c t r a d i t i o n , " according to P a t r i c k K. Ford's headnote to "Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed," The MabinogL (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1977), p. 35. In t h i s t a l e , Arawn, prince of Annwfn, "the Otherworld," has white hounds with red ears. Colum included t h i s story i n Orpheus: Myths of the World (1932). 19 20 21 A Handbook, p. 600. This i s Thompson's account, The F o l k t a l e , pp. 91-92. Alan Bruford, Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances (Dublin: The Folklore of Ireland Society, 1969), pp. 72-77. 0'Sullivan also r e f e r s to Eachtra Chonaill Ghulban, in the notes to "Young Connal of Howth," Folktales of Ireland, p. 266. 22 -A Handbook, p. 595. 0 Suilleabhain does not give a t a l e type number, and I have been unable to locate one, either in The Types of the Folktale or The Types of the I r i s h F o l k t ale, i n s p i t e of the many examples of t h i s story in the c o l l e c t i o n s . 23 252. 24 25 According to Larminie's note, West I r i s h Folk-Tales, Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances, p. 158. Max L i i t h i explains the concept of external i z a t ion in Once  Upon a Time: On the Nature of F a i r y Tales, trans. Lee Chadeayne and Paul Gottwald (Bloomington,: Indiana University Press, 1976), pp. 124-125. p. 563. 27 This account i s e s s e n t i a l l y Thompson's from The F o l k t a l e , pp. 110-111, but with the I r i s h example of "The Twelve Wild Geese" fi r m l y i n mind. A written romance that shares material with t h i s f o l k t a l e i s the story of Rhiannon in "Pwyll, Prince of Dyfed" from The Mabinogion. Rhiannon has no enchanted brothers to worry about but l i k e the f o l k t a l e maiden i s accused of murdering her newborn babe, "framed" by jealous s i s t e r s - i n - l a w . 28 Legendary F i c t i o n s of the I r i s h Celts (1866; r p t . De t r o i t : Singing Tree Press, 1968),p.53. 29 Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances, pp. 147-149. 30 See Bruford, Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances, pp. 84-85. 31 Vladimir Propp, Morphology of the F o l k t a l e , t r . Laurence Scott (1928; f i r s t translated, 1958; rev. Austin: University Texas Press, 1968), p. 39. 32 Several versions of "The Anger Bargain" are noted by 0 Suilleabhain, A Handbook, p. 579. 33 34 35 36 0 Suilleabhain, A Handbook, p. 583. A Handbook, pp. 617-618. Gaelic Folk-Tales and Medieval Romances, p. 10, 0 Suilleabhain and Christiansen, who have included The  King of Ireland's Son among the books that they analyze i n The  Types of the I r i s h F o l k t a l e , evidently confuse t h i s episode with "The Black and the White Bride," Type 403, which, they i n d i c a t e , appears with Type 313 ( " G i r l Helps Hero i n His F l i g h t . " ) They also l i s t The King of Ireland's Son as containing an example of Type 451, "The Maiden Who Seeks Her Brothers." See The Types of the I r i s h  F o l k t a l e , F o l k l o r e Fellows Communications 188 ( H e l s i n k i : Suomolainen tiedeakatemia, 1963), pp. 70 (Type 313), 89 (Type 403), and 94 (Type 451). 37 Folktale heroes do engage i n quests for l o s t , stolen or departed k i n f a i r l y frequently, but Colum has invented rather than adapted G i l l y ' s p a r t i c u l a r quest, whose p r i n c i p a l features are the stars which reveal him as a king's son, the i l l u m i n a t i o n of h i s h i s t o r y by the t e l l i n g of the Unique Tale, the unsuccesful attempt to learn more from the Hags of the Long Teeth, and the eventual re v e l a t i o n of the i d e n t i t y of G i l l y ' s parents i n a dream that comes to the Spae-woman. (This l a s t i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y u n f o l k l o r i c way to resolve a quest.) The quest for a name does not exist i n f o l k t a l e s , or at l e a s t , i s not l i s t e d i n Thompson's Motif-Index of Folk-Literature. 3 8 Preface to The Stone of Victor y (New York: Macmillan, 1927), p. x i . 39 Story T e l l i n g New and Old (New York: Macmillan, 1968; r p t . from The Fountain of Youth, 1927), pp. 2-4. Colum also t a l k s about t h i s s t o r y t e l l e r i n "Vagrant Voices," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e II (January, 1973), 1, pp. 63^-75; i n the Preface to The Stone of Victory; i n "The T r a d i t i o n That Existed in My Grandmother's House"; and i n "Ninety Years i n Retrospect." "Vagrant Voices," Journal of I r i s h L i t e r a t u r e 2 (January, 1973) 1, p. 65. The concept of fosterage l i n k s The King of Ireland's Son to Padraic Pearse's experiment i n n a t i o n a l i s t education at St. Enda's school, where Colum was an occasional v i s i t o r . Colum quotes Pearse thus: "The:word f o r 'education' among the old Gael was the same as the word f or 'fostering'; the teacher was a 'fosterer' and the p u p i l was a .'.foster-child. '" Poems of the I r i s h Revolutionary Brotherhood (Boston: Small, Maynard and Co., 1916), pp. xiv-xv. 42 Story T e l l i n g New and Old, p. 9. I I : The King of Ireland's Son: Transformations:^.'the Narrative Rhythms - of - the ..Folktale Padraic Colum's intimacy with and respect for f o l k t r a d i t i o n led him to use e n t i r e f o l k t a l e s and s i g n i f i c a n t parts of f o l k t a l e s i n The King of Ireland's Son, where he adapts them with both care and ingenuity to h i s l i t e r a r y purposes. His transformation of the f o l k t a l e , however, goes beyond the s e l e c t i o n and rearrangement of f o l k t a l e episodes or the development of character psychologies. Colum, I hope to show, was e s p e c i a l l y s e n s i t i v e to the f o l k t a l e ' s n a r r a t i v e r h y t h m s — i t s repeated incidents, i t s well-defined, ordered chain of events (what Vladimir Propp c a l l s "functions of dramatis  personae," Morphology of the F o l k t a l e , 1928, t r . 1958), and p a r t i -c u l a r l y i t s pulse of ac t i o n : tasks and rewards, searches and reunions, " i n t e r d i c t i o n s " and v i o l a t i o n s of them, departures and returns, struggles and victories.''' Colum's concern for these rhythms, as I c a l l them, i s evident in the emphasis on pattern i n Story T e l l i n g New and Old: events in f o l k t a l e s , Colum writes, "have to be in formal s e r i e s , for the story has to have a d i s t i n c t 2 pattern." One of the most i n t e r e s t i n g aspects of Colum's trans-formation of f o l k l o r e i n The King of Ireland's Son i s h i s treatment of such n a r r a t i v e patterns. He uses them to pattern h i s own narrative, but transforms them through exaggeration and elaboration into new, l i t e r a r y 'rhythms of action' which, though based on f o l k l o r e , help Colum to express his l i t e r a r y meanings. In t h i s chapter, I wish to focus on what I perceive to be the three p r i n c i p a l n a r r a t i v e rhythms of The King of Ireland's Son, which I w i l l c a l l d e f e r r a l , f a i l u r e and gathering. Since each of these rhythms develops in i t s own way, I have found i t convenient to tr e a t them in separate sections. There are two primary reasons why I f e e l that a close study of these rhythms i s worthwhile. F i r s t of a l l , Colum's nar r a t i v e rhythms are;his way of converting the f o l k t a l e ' s forms into vehicles for his p o l i t i c a l themes. These themes, i n fact (the subject of Chapter III) determine the s e l e c t i o n and arrangement of materials for the e n t i r e book, and the na r r a t i v e rhythms, formal and f o l k l o r i c on the one hand, thematic and l i t e r a r y on the other, mediate between the form and content of the book and Colum's p o l i t i c a l intent. A study of The King of Ireland's Son's n a r r a t i v e rhythms, then, i s e s s e n t i a l to an understanding of the range and the p a r t i c u l a r i t y of Colum's p o l i t i c a l commentary in the book. Secondly, the n a r r a t i v e rhythms of The King of Ireland's Son represent one of Colum's most ingenious innovations. By using the patterns of external events (actions) to express l i t e r a r y meaning, rather than conventional l i t e r a r y devices such as moralized d e s c r i p t i o n , extended symbolism, i n t e r i o r monologue, meaningful dialogue and d i r e c t thematic statement, Colum expresses as well his profound understanding of the forms and the na r r a t i v e s t y l e of the f o l k t a l e . He d e f t l y transforms f o l k t a l e structures without v i o l a t i n g them, an unusual na r r a t i v e strategy that i l l u s t r a t e s the l i t e r a r y p o t e n t i a l of f o l k t a l e forms, hitherto unrealized. The study of the n a r r a t i v e forms of The King of Ireland's  Son, a much more patterned book than most novels, including Colum's own Castle Conquer and The Flying Swans, has p a r t i c u l a r value and i n t e r e s t because the book occupies a middle ground between the f o l k t a l e and the novel. Colum himself does not apply the term "rhythm" to f o l k t a l e n a rratives, but in his introduction to an e d i t i o n of Grimms' Fairy  T a l e s t he shows that, l i k e the s t o r y t e l l e r whom he describes, he i s attuned to the rhythms of d a i l y l i f e . In the place where the s t o r y t e l l e r was the coming of night was marked as i t was not i n towns nor in modern houses. It was so marked that i t created in the mind a d i f f e r e n t rhythm. There had been a rhythm of the day and now there was a rhythm of the night. . . . The s t o r y t e l l e r seated on a roughly made chair on a clay f l o o r did not look h i s t r i o n i c . What was i n h i s face showed that he was ready to respond to and make a r t i c u l a t e the rhythm of the night. He was a s t o r y t e l l e r because he was attuned to t h i s rhythm and had in his memory the often repeated incidents that would f i t i t . . . . A rhythm that was compulsive, f i t t e d to d a i l y tasks, waned, and a rhythm that was acquiescent, f i t t e d to wishes, took i t s place.3 In the adventures of The King of Ireland's Son, we f i n d that Colum uses the compulsive rhythms of day and the suggestive rhythms of night as counterpoint in the narratives of the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin. Beyond these, Colum fashions other kinds of rhythms for other narrative sequences, and the contribution which these rhythms make to the structure and the meaning of the book i s the c e n t r a l concern of t h i s chapter. 1. Deferral The f i r s t of the three rhythmic p r i n c i p l e s which I believe are important to The King of Ireland's Son i s what I c a l l d e f e r r a l Deferral, created out of the e x i s t i n g forms of the f o l k t a l e , i s the delay of an es s e n t i a l part of the action. In the f o l k t a l e , the many sequences of action through which the hero may have to go i n order to s e t t l e his o r i g i n a l problem delay r e s o l u t i o n ; but in The King of Ireland's Son, t h i s element of delay i s accentuated sometimes extremely. It i s the p r i n c i p l e of d e f e r r a l which underlies the s t r i k i n g "two-steps-forward, one-step-back" movement in the book's p l o t . The King's Son, for instance, wins Fedelma in Cycle I, but scarcely has he done so when she i s abducted. S i m i l a r l y , he finds the Sword of Light, but allows i t to be tarnished; he counts the horns of the Old Woman of Beare's " h a l f -years," only to forget the f i n a l f i g u r e ; and when he f i n a l l y hears the Unique Tale, a f t e r much searching, he s t i l l must f i n d i t s beginning and end before i t has any e f f i c a c y . G i l l y of the Goatskin moves through s i m i l a r patterns. G i l l y finds and then loses the Crystal Egg and gives up the search for i t only to have the Old Woman of Beare reimpose i t . For that matter, the reimposition of the search backtracks i n another way, for G i l l y has f u l f i l l e d his part of the bargain with the Old Woman of Beare and should be given a name without having to meet an ad d i t i o n a l demand. These examples, far from being the only ones, are only the most obvious instances i n a plot composed of ebbs and flows of incident. These delays r e s u l t from innovations of Colum's designed to ex p l o i t and accentuate the rudimentary d e f e r r a l present i n the f o l k t a l e i n the a l t e r n a t i o n of progress and delay, event and obstacle. In order to make such a pattern,the events of the f o l k t a l e narrative must be d i s c e r n i b l e units played against formally d i f f e r e n t and therefore contrasting elements. In the f o l k t a l e , these are the b a r r i e r s , mostly various kinds of t e s t s , that the hero circumvents, sometimes with great d i f f i c u l t y . P r e c i s e l y at these points, the forward n a r r a t i v e movement encounters a resistance; from the struggle of the a c t i v e impetus of the na r r a t i v e with t h i s resistance, the pattern of the f o l k t a l e n arrative emerges. When Colum, in The King of Ireland's Son, emphasizes points of resistance, the r e s u l t i s a s t r i k i n g rhythm of d e f e r r a l which suggests the characters' and the narrator's attitudes toward the action, most notably despair, of which the f o l k t a l e i s for the most part incapable. In considering further how d e f e r r a l operates as a rhythm i n The King of Ireland's Son, i t i s perhaps best to concentrate for the moment on the part of the narrative featuring the King's Son, for as s h a l l become clear i n the next section, d e f e r r a l i t s e l f becomes exaggerated and operates rather d i f f e r e n t l y where G i l l y i s involved. By comparing a s i g n i f i c a n t example \ • from the King's Son narrative with i t s - f o l k t a l e source we can gain a better sense of the s p e c i f i c nature of Colum's transformation of f o l k t a l e form. The episode in which the hero, e n t i r e l y through Fedelma's o f f i c e s , i s completing the tasks assigned by the Enchanter i s quite close to an episode i n "The Son of 4 the King of E r i n and the Giant of Loch Lein." This episode i s bound by the c l a s s i c f o l k t a l e form of t r e b l i n g . On each of three successive nights, the giant puts the v i s i t i n g king's son to bed "into the deep water tank to drown" ("SKE," 7). The giant's daughter, Yellow L i l y , rescues the hero as soon as the giant himself r e t i r e s , spreads a feast before him, finds him a good bed, and returns him to the tank before her father a r i s e s i n the morning. On each of the three mornings, the giant assigns the hero a task, each more d i f f i c u l t than the l a s t . The king's son always fares badly by himself, but each day Yellow L i l y a r r i v e s to coach him in the completion of his task and thus to save his l i f e . Within the form of t r e b l i n g that governs t h i s episode, further patterns may be discerned. F i r s t , each encounter, whether/by day or by night, has the same arrangement: the giant endangers the hero's l i f e and purposes, the hero finds h i s own e f f o r t s of no use, and the heroine eventually saves him. In other words, in each case the hero confronts a.serious obstacle.(and the movement of the plot a resistance) that only the intervention of a beneficent helper can l i q u i d a t e . Against t h i s pattern, which l i n k s the tasks and the nights, there are a number of other patterns that divide them. For instance, the tasks i n t e n s i f y , whereas the night scenes do not. Not only do the tasks get more d i f f i c u l t and occasion a greater reaction from the hero as they progress, but also the l a s t task can only be accomplished i n the strangest and most h o r r i f y i n g way: the hero must k i l l Yellow L i l y , use her bones as steps up the glass tree, and then reassemble and r e v i v i f y her. But while the tasks progress in t h i s way, the night scenes remain absolutely the same. Another d i s t i n c t i o n between the daytime and night-time events has to do with t h e i r place in the n a r r a t i v e ; the daytime tasks are an important function on which the advancement of the plot depends, whereas the night-time danger of drowning in the water tank i s s t r i c t l y tangential to the narrative mechanism.^ F i n a l l y , the peripheral nature of the night scenes, t h e i r impotence in terms of the p l o t ' s advancement, along with t h e i r s t a s i s and lack of progression, indicate a further d i s t i n c t i o n between them and the day scenes: i n spite of the rescue with which they begin, the night episodes contrast the d a i l y e f f o r t and action of the tasks with rest and r e s p i t e . This dichotomy i s a t r a d i t i o n a l one; many hero t a l e s alternate tasks or struggles with nights spent a t h i r d i n eating and drinking, a t h i r d in conversation or s t o r y t e l l i n g , and a t h i r d i n slumber. The night scenes in "The Son of the King of E r i n " d i f f e r from these in including an o b s t a c l e — t h e water tank—which requires an obviation. However, since i t i s so i n c i d e n t a l to the narrative mechanism, the obstacle of the sleeping arrangements i s more important as a challenge to the hero's sleep and nourishment than to his l i f e . Once the d i f f i c u l t y i n t h i s story i s gotten around, the night scenes o f f e r the same safety zone, the same release from the necessity for action, that one finds in other f o l k t a l e s . 63. Colum begins his version of the trebled nights and tasks of th i s t a l e by heightening the d i v i s i o n between active day and r e s t f u l ' n i g h t . On the f i r s t night, the King's Son, l i k e the hero of the t a l e , i s shown to his bed in a water tank, but Colum makes i t a dry rather than a f u l l one. As there i s consequently no longer any question of physical harm.to the hero, the night sequences, which no longer share the pattern of danger, i n i t i a l f a i l u r e , and successful rescue with the d a i l y tasks, are more c l e a r l y d i f f e r e n -t i a t e d from the day scenes than in the sample t a l e . As well, there i s no longer any d i s t r a c t i o n from the rest and nourishment that night-time, through Fedelma, brings to the weary hero. A The King's Son now does not absolutely require Fedelma's help each night, so Colum i s free to dispense with her on the second and t h i r d nights. He interposes h i s most s i g n i f i c a n t innovation on these subsequent nights, when encounters with Fedelma's unsavory s i s t e r s , Aefa and Gilveen, are substituted for the expected encounter with Fedelma. The d e t a i l s of these encounters are wholly Colum's invention; there i s nothing s i m i l a r i n the f o l k t a l e . Formally, t h i s innovation has two notable e f f e c t s . F i r s t , i t brings into the nar r a t i v e an uncertainty which i s not c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the f o l k t a l e . Neither the reader nor the King's Son can t e l l that the bi r d who comes for the hero on the second night has not come from Fedelma. Secondly, i t s i g n i f i c a n t l y a l t e r s the pattern of t r e b l i n g i n "The Son of the King of E r i n . " Instead of the three equally succesful night episodes of the f o l k t a l e , we now have a successful night succeeded by two that, i n terms of procuring the hero's r e s t , at l e a s t , are unsuccessful. Since t h i s pattern does not conform to any of the kinds of t r e b l i n g that 1 Propp observes i n the f o l k t a l e , i t focuses attention on the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the contrast between the two kinds of night encounters.^ Colum proceeds on the second and t h i r d nights to develop a new s i g n i f i c a n c e for night-time i t s e l f . By invoking so strongly night's associations with rest and rejuvenation on the f i r s t night, he makes the new associations of night in the p a r a l l e l l y r i c a l passages that begin the accounts of the next two nights a l l the more s t r i k i n g . U n t i l the white moon rose above the trees; u n t i l the hounds went out hunting for themselves; u n t i l the foxes came down and hid i n the hedges, waiting f o r the cocks and hens to s t i r out at the f i r s t l i g h t — s o long did the King of Ireland's Son stay huddled, in the dry water tank. KS_, 16 U n t i l the white moon went out in the sky; u n t i l the Secret People began to whisper in the woods--so long did the King of Ireland's Son remain in the dry water tank that night. KS, 22 These passages stress the strange absence of assistance f o r the King of Ireland's Son, who i s l e f t for the f i r s t time to fend for i himself. But in addition, they specify the character of the night i n a way that the f o l k t a l e does not. The moon, the birds and animals, and e s p e c i a l l y the "Secret People" whispering among themselves make the night-time world a bloodless, strange, and inhospitable one. For the King's Son, the rest and comfort of the f i r s t night give way to insomnia and unease. He made his way through woods and th i c k e t s , and mighty glad he was when he saw the tank at the gable-end of the house. . . . He got into the tank and waited and waited. No message came from Fedelma. He was a long time there, s t i f f and sore and hungry, before the sun rose. . . . KS_, 18 The verbal frame created here by the phrase " s t i f f and sore and hungry," which repeats exactly a phrase in the opening of the section, emphasizes the King's Son's discomfort. Whereas the day i s a time of physical t r i a l , his night of sleeplessness rather than sleep, of hunger rather than nourishment, and of lon e l i n e s s rather than companionship becomes a time of s p i r i t u a l turmoil, with intimations of troubled dream, the spirit', and the lonely v i g i l . As a consequence, f o r the King's Son, night-rtime begins to take on the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a t r i a l of the moral worth of the.inner man. The element of s p i r i t u a l t r i a l i s p a r t i c u l a r l y evident in the encounters with Aefa and Gilveen on which the nights center. These encounters take the form of temptations. Each s i s t e r i n turn tempts the King's Son to betray his commitment to Fedelma; each o f f e r s to save the hero from the giant i f he w i l l promise to marry her. Fortunately, the King's Son always refuses. Fedelma eventually indicates the importance of his resistance. "I have helped you in everything," said Fedelma, "and in the l a s t task I could not have helped you i f you had not been true to me when Aefa and Gilveen brought you to them." KS, 2 6 The nights with Aefa and Gilveen, t h i s passage reveals, have been c r u c i a l t e s t s of the hero's steadfastness. Temptation i s e s p e c i a l l y i n t e r e s t i n g here, as are the q u a l i t i e s given to night-time, because, i t s i m p l i c i t relevance to a f i g u r e ' s inner l i f e and s p i r i t u a l worth i s e s s e n t i a l l y u n f o l k l o r i c . The t r a d i t i o n a l f o l k t a l e , as Colum himself observed, deals only with 8 "happenings," never with "states of mind." Max L'uthi also notes the f o l k t a l e ' s tendency to "externalize" questions of inner worth. To be sure, the f a i r y t a l e l i k e s to portray external happenings. It does not portray f e e l i n g s , moods, inner c o n f l i c t s , and thought processes, but s t r i v e s to t r a n s l a t e everything into action. It doesn't t e l l us that the t h i r d son i s compassionate and t r u t h f u l , but shows him as he shares h i s bread with a beggar and kindly gives him the information he seeks, whereas the older brothers keep t h e i r cake for themselves and answer the question with d e r i s i o n and l i e s . 9 Luthi's sample encounter of these young lads with a p o t e n t i a l donor demonstrates how the f o l k t a l e transmutes temptation into a purely formal t e s t . More important to i t than moral worth i s the i d e n t i t y of the hero as a hero, and the p r e c i s e l y governed formal r e l a t i o n s h i p of the "dramatis personae" i s preferred to a group of r e l a t i o n s h i p s defined by the good or e v i l nature of the characters. Throughout the second and t h i r d nights' episodes, Colum displays a greater i n t e r e s t in states of mind than the f o l k s t o r y t e l l e r would. During the daytime, Fedelma's increasing dread as she a n t i c i p a t e s the l a s t task i s another i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s i n t e r e s t , for i t a l t e r s the f o l k t a l e form by which the three tasks i n t e n s i f y and emphasizes an e s s e n t i a l l y moral concern with the heaviness of the s a c r i f i c e that Fedelma must make. When Fedelma reveals that her a b i l i t y to perform the f i n a l task depends on the King's Son's resistance to Aefa and Gilveen, she shows that the formal mechanism of the p l o t , which s t i l l seems quite f o l k l o r i c , i t s e l f depends on an u n f o l k l o r i c moral mechanism that causally precedes i t . In giving the night scenes a new character and i n changing them to include the encounters with Aefa and Gilveen, Colum shapes them to l i t e r a r y purposes. Yet Colum avoids emphasizing the l i t e r a r y aspects of his story. Fedelma's r e v e l a t i o n , f or instance, which i s important i n e s t a b l i s h i n g the moral and psychological s i g n i f i c a n c e of the episode, i s placed a f t e r the c r i t i c a l action, and so i s undercut. Moreover, Colum leaves the f o l k t a l e forms of his source in place; his a l t e r a t i o n s of them may sculpt or change patterns, but they do not destroy them. Colum's thematic elements never overwhelm the form. Another writer might be more i n c l i n e d than Colum to explore the courage and heroism of Fedelma as she faces her s a c r i f i c i a l death, for instance, or to describe the horror of her fate. Another might stress the miracle of her rejuvenation and a l l but forget the task. Colum, on the other hand, i s d i f f i d e n t in his handling of the scene's overtones. With temptation, too, the elements that r e f e r to the King's Son's character receive only the l i g h t e s t touch, remaining curiously unemphatic, inchoate, and vague. The formal aspects of temptation are more obvious than i t s s p i r i t u a l ones. In addition to r e t a i n i n g modified f o l k t a l e forms in t h i s episode, Colum creates a formal equivalent to a major aspect of the temptations, despair. The s i s t e r s ' temptations of the King's Son are as much i n v i t a t i o n s to despair as temptations to betray Fedelma. "My father i s preparing a task for you," said [Aefa], "and i t w i l l be a t e r r i b l e task, and there w i l l be no one to help you with i t , so you w i l l lose your head surely. And what I would advise you to do i s to escape out of t h i s country at once." KS, 18 This f r i g h t f u l warning occurs i n a nightmarish section whose form i s i n c r e a s i n g l y confused and d i s s o l u t e . There i s the u n f o l k l o r i c uncertainty and u n p r e d i c a b i l i t y mentioned above; but also, the King's Son's succesful stalwartness meets with abuse rather than reward. "But," said he, " i f I l i v e at a l l Fedelma i s the one I w i l l marry." No sooner did he say the words than Aefa screamed out, "Seize him, my cat-o'-the-mountain. Seize him and hold him." Then the cat-o'-the-mountain that was under the table sprang across the room and fixed himself on his shoulder. He ran out of the house. A l l the time he was running the cat-o'-the-mountain was t r y i n g to tear h i s eyes out. KS, 18 The King's Son returns to h i s lonely, uncomfortable water tank, where he remains, " s t i f f and sore and hungry," for the rest of the night, denied knowledge of the contribution his behaviour i n d i r e c t l y makes to the advancement of his quest u n t i l a l l the nights and a l l the daytime tasks are completed. Although he does not succumb to despair e n t i r e l y , the keynotes of the King's Son's night-time experience are desperation and despondency. If the s i s t e r s ' temptations morally represent i n v i t a t i o n s to despair, formally they are c a l l s to abandon the p r i n c i p l e of action on which the narrative depends. Aefa and Gilveen entice the King's Son to give up both the tasks and the quest that has brought him to the Enchanter's to win back his l i f e . Were he to c a p i t u l a t e to temptation, there could be no r e s o l u t i o n of the problems already posed, and no further action consistent with the f o l k t a l e forms that have been invoked. The night scenes, then, threaten a disruption of the p r i n c i p l e of action that operates during the day scenes; they carry seeds which, i f allowed to sprout, would obstruct the forward impetus of the action altogether. Just as the King's Son r e s i s t s despair but f e e l s some of i t s . e f f e c t , the formal destruction of the n a r r a t i v e i s avoided and yet p a r t l y present. For the night episodes remain, u n t i l Fedelma reveals t h e i r narrative s i g n i f i c a n c e , formally ambiguous. The reader i s at a loss e i t h e r to i n t e r p r e t them or to f i t them into the narrative mechanism u n t i l the end of the episode. The night episodes, indeed, seem not to progress but to deny advancement: the hero does not recuperate during them, nor i s h i s l i f e endangered and saved, nor i s an evident advancement of the narrative made. They are emblems of the p r i n c i p l e of No-Action, of the A n t i -Narrative that the temptations represent, a formal version of despair, and t h e i r a l t e r n a t i o n with the daytime and i t s p r i n c i p l e of Action exaggerates and recreates the pulse of f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e , which alternates progress and obstacle, action and r e s p i t e . This i s Colum's l i t e r a r y version of the f o l k t a l e process of e x t e r n a l i z a -ti o n that Luth,i delineates. Colum couches his concern for such u n f o l k l o r i c matters as the hero's emotional and moral state in the formal terms of action and i t s threatening opposite, no-action. In the task sequence, the long, troubled nights defer the narration of the daytime successes and hence the advancement of the p l o t ; Colum develops, i n the space that i s thus created, forms that express hi s in t e r e s t i n the hero's character. Deferral works s i m i l a r l y elsewhere i n The King of Ireland's Son. Colum uses i t as a to o l with which to expand f o l k t a l e forms, often to express the s p i r i t u a l t r i a l and s p i r i t u a l growth which i n The King of Ireland's  Son, but not i n the f o l k t a l e , must precede na r r a t i v e advancement. For instance, in the struggle with the Fua noted in the previous chapter, which l i k e the episode j u s t discussed e x p l o i t s a contrast between night and day, night i s quite s p e c i f i c a l l y the appropriate time for a v i g i l that w i l l test the hero's character, "your w i l l , your mind, and your purpose" (KS, 81). The most exaggerated use of d e f e r r a l i s i n the episode during which the story of "When the King of the Cats Came to King Connal's Dominion" i s t o l d . This episode shares with the task section an opposition between day and night, an emphasis on despair, and a breakdown i n the a b i l i t y of the narr a t i v e to progress. Here, however, where d e f e r r a l i s more important, the new patterns that Colum develops are p a r t i c u l a r l y clear. In t h i s section, Colum defers n a r r a t i v e progress by extending one of i t s elements, what Propp would c a l l the function of "mediation, or the "connective incident." This function's name, in str e s s i n g not action but the connection between the hero and events, suggests i t s uniqueness. Mediation, which "brings the hero into the t a l e , " i s the one juncture i n the f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e where the hero's state of mind and degree of knowledge are c r i t i c a l to the na r r a t i v e movement: the hero must acknowledge and understand v i l l a i n y i f he i s to counteract i t . " ^ These sp e c i a l q u a l i t i e s make the connective incident p a r t i c u l a r l y useful to Colum, with his in t e r e s t i n the hero's psychology. Here, mediation begins a f t e r the heroine's abduction, when the hero f i n a l l y awakens. Often, in the f o l k t a l e versions of Colum's material, the hero r e a l i z e s the heroine's absence only slowly; then he may wander aimlessly for a time before discovering the writing the heroine has l e f t or encountering witnesses to the kidnapping. Such knowledge s u f f i c e s for the f o l k t a l e hero, who immediately leaps aboard his s a i l i n g ship to confront the v i l l a i n and rescue the heroine. In The King of Ireland's Son, however, the expansion of the mediation sequence delays the beginning of the hero's quest considerably. For one, Colum adds incidents to the intermezzo between the abduction and the departure of the hero, After reading the name of Fedelma's abductor i n the dust, for instance, the King of Ireland's Son strays i n bewilderment and despair into the Wood of the Shadows. Furthermore, unlike the f o l k t a l e hero, he completes his journey home. But Colum, i n addition to inventing further events in order to st r e t c h the episode s t r i k i n g l y fragments the knowledge that the King's Son needs in order to proceed: the King's Son must learn not only who kidnapped Fedelma but by what means she can be released and how to acquire that means. The search for these separate fragments of v i t a l information consumes a great deal more time and requires a far greater d i l i g e n c e of e f f o r t than the search for the sole fact necessary i n the f o l k t a l e . Finding Fedelma's falcon, the custodian of the information that the Sword of Light w i l l release Fedelma, i s a small quest in i t s e l f . Only a f t e r much f r a n t i c and f u t i l e questioning of v i s i t o r s to the court, when the King's Son f i n a l l y learns how to acquire the Sword of Light, i s he reconnected to events and able to proceed. In the meantime, the expansion of the moment of knowledge has delayed dramatically the resumption of n a r r a t i v e a c t i v i t y , which f o l k t a l e versions accomplish in two or three sentences, extending the function over several days of n a r r a t i v e time and t h i r t y pages of text. In e f f e c t , the exaggeration of the "connective incident" traps the hero in a moment of despair and f a i l u r e . Colum conveys the hero's mental s u f f e r i n g by having him f i r s t e s s e n t i a l l y lose his senses in the Wood of the Shadows and then d i s t r a c t e d l y ignore the ministrations of the King's Councillor. Only a f t e r the King's Son i s shown Fedelma's r i n g on h i s finger i s he " l e s s wild i n h i s thoughts" (KS, 52). His desperation i s in part a demonstration of the depth of his commitment to Fedelma. But a l s o , the King's Son i s fr u s t r a t e d because he has no means of resuming a c t i v i t y : the heavy emphasis on the na r r a t i v e obstacle, the need for information, deprives him of the f o l k t a l e hero's natural a b i l i t y to act. As i n the task episode, then, the hero's despair accompanies a disruption of n a r r a t i v e progress. The lengthy i n - t a l e whose episodes, interspersed i n the hero's long search for knowledge, s t r e t c h the connective incident and delay n a r r a t i v e progress even further, contributes considerably to the effectiveness of Colum's treatment of t h i s part of the p l o t . Through i t , for instance, Colum once again draws a contrast between day and night. As in the task episode, daytime i s given over to a c t i v i t y , although the King's Son's d a i l y forays over the country-side for news of Fedelma at f i r s t accomplish very l i t t l e . Nightrtime devoted to the episodes of "When the King of the Cats Came to King Connal's Dominion," i s once again troubled. More c l e a r l y than i n the task episode, i t i s also the province of imagination—here, of a d i s t i n c t l y nightmarish sort. The i n - t a l e ' s grim tone, haughty and f i e r c e protagonist, and vague f l a v o r of myth and mystery echo the hero's desperate uncertainty and make the t a l e an appropriate night-piece. Ev'en ".mo re -noteworthy, however, i s a c r u c i a l formal feature of the t a l e : i t has no ending. The King of Cats and the Eagle, embroiled in such f i e r c e and v i o l e n t struggle that they threaten to destroy the heroes and the f a i r i e s of Ireland with them, are transformed f i n a l l y by Curoi the Druid. " I f t h i s should go on," said Curoi, "our troops w i l l j o i n i n and men and F a i r i e s w i l l be slaughtered. We must end the combat in the a i r . " Saying t h i s he took up the h u r l i n g - b a l l and flung i t at the Cat and Eagle. Both came down on the ground. The Cat was about to spring, the Eagle was about to pounce when Curoi darted between them and struck both with his spear. Eagle and Cat became figures of stone. KS, 77 The i n - t a l e i s resolved by a r t i f i c i a l l y s t a b i l i z i n g i r r e s o l u t i o n : the stone into which the combatants are cast ensures the perpetuity of t h e i r b a t t l e . In terms of the nar r a t i v e p r i n c i p l e s of the f o l k t a l e , nothing could be more night-marish. "And there they are now," concludes Art the King's Steward, emphasizing the irony of e s s e n t i a l a c t i v i t y made stable, "a Stone Eagle with his wings outspread and a Stone Cat with his teeth bared and his paws ra i s e d " (KS, 77). This image represents an extremity of d e f e r r a l ; i t s dark paradoxes—frozen motion, eternal becoming, ev e r l a s t i n g p o t e n t i a l i t y — a r e d e f e r r a l ' s l o g i c a l consequence, extreme versions of the threat to the p r i n c i p l e of nar r a t i v e advancement i m p l i c i t in the dramatic extension of mediation, a moment of resistance to action, i n the enveloping p l o t . During the connective incident, i n sum, as well as in the task and Fua episodes, an invented element, inserted into the narrative, expands one of the in a c t i v e moments of f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e i n order to allow exploration, within the moment, of the moral dimensions of the hero's character. At the same time that s p i r i t u a l d i f f i c u l t y suggests the p o s s i b i l i t y of the hero's moral f a i l u r e , d isruption of the measured action threatens the idea of n a r r a t i v e progress inherited from the f o l k t a l e . While the King of Ireland's Son i s enduring his s p i r i t u a l t r i a l , i n other words, he i s unable to progress. Indeed, i n Colum's modification of his f o l k t a l e sources, the hero's a b i l i t y to succeed comes to depend not on his p h y s i c a l strength, his magic helpers and donors, or the mechanism of f o l k t a l e action, but on his personal f o r t i t u d e . The accompanying extrapolation of the f o l k t a l e a l t e r n a t i o n of obstacle and action into the opposition of Action and No-Action, both in the main pl o t and in the "King of the Cats' i n - t a l e , makes f a i l u r e a more r e a l and frightening p o s s i b i l i t y i n The King of Ireland's  Son than in the f o l k t a l e . After the King's Son acquires the Sword of Light, d e f e r r a l becomes dominant i n the na r r a t i v e . When the King's Son, in another of Colum's invented i n s e r t i o n s , succumbs at l a s t to moral temptation, the consequences are grave. The f o l l y of his arrogance and incontinence allows the Sword of Light to be tarnished, so that what should immediately follow his a c q u i s i t i o n of the Sword of L i g h t — a n attack on the King of the Land of Mist—must be postponed while the King's Son labors to undo the damage to his magic weapon. The diffe r e n c e here from previous delays i s that the f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e , i n which d e f e r r a l has heretofore inserted an invention, i s now i t s e l f embedded in one of Colum's embedded episodes. The gap in the chain of events, between a c q u i s i t i o n of the magic helper and struggle with the v i l l a i n , becomes the longest, most important section of Cycle I I , the pursuit of the Unique Tale and what comes before and a f t e r i t . D e f e rral, in t h i s instance, makes narrative progress tremendously more d i f f i c u l t for the King's Son than for most f o l k t a l e heroes, and helps to transform an e s s e n t i a l l y f o l k l o r i c sequence of events, the quest, into a means for the King's Son to regenerate himself s p i r i t u a l l y and to prove again his steadfastness. 2. F a i l u r e In general, the narrative forms of the adventures of G i l l y of the Goatskin and the King of Ireland's Son are d i s t i n c t . For one, as indicated by Chapter I above, G i l l y ' s n a r r a t i v e has an episodic structure, uses more o r i g i n a l material, and depends on a lower kind of t a l e . In addition, i t i s characterized by a curious tendency to lose the thread of the story i t s e l f . The outlines of the plot are so fuzzy that one cannot, on purely formal grounds, d i s t i n g u i s h the "main p l o t " from the sub-plots, as one can i n Cycles I and I I ; a l l parts, major and minor, are presented as equally weighted episodes of a l o o s e l y - k n i t action. One must begin instead with a description based on content: the "main p l o t " i s that part of the action ( l a t e r merging with the quest to solve the Unique Tale) i n which G i l l y seeks and acquires knowledge of himself and of his heritage. Such a quest has implications for n a r r a t i v e form. Although G i l l y may gain knowledge through action, knowledge i t s e l f i s an amorphous commodity by f o l k t a l e standards. Insofar as i t suggests an i n t e r e s t i n "states of mind" rather than "happenings," i t distinguishes the main action of Cycle III from the bright e x t e r n a l i z a t i o n of the main action of Cycles I and I I , in which Colum's i n t e r e s t in "states of mind" i s l a r g e l y disguised and subordinate. In short, G i l l y ' s plot i s marked by a slackening of the narr a t i v e tension and a p a r t i a l disengagement of the well-meshed gears of the nar r a t i v e mechanism which serve to advance the action involving the King of Ireland's Son. Deferral s t i l l has an important r o l e to play i n Cycle I I I , but, not s u r p r i s i n g l y i n view of these di f f e r e n c e s , i t undergoes some s i g n i f i c a n t changes. Here, i n f a c t , d e f e r r a l occurs as something of a norm. Deferral dons i t s most exagerrated guise only i n interludes i n the King's Son p l o t , such as the "King of Cats" story. G i l l y , however, frequently defers action or f a i l s outright when pursuing the most important goals, succeeding unencumbered by d e f e r r a l i n non-essential i n t e r -ludes. For instance, he i s clever and i n t r e p i d enough when he outwits the Churl of the Townland of Mischance and the Robber Chief i n extraneous episodes whose incidents follow t h e i r f o l k t a l e sources c l o s e l y , but i s almost wholly i n e f f e c t u a l when i t comes to his main tasks of discovering himself and resolving the Unique Tale. But with G i l l y , i t i s not only that events are delayed and unstable moments stretched. Key episodes end either incon-c l u s i v e l y , as when G i l l y abandons h i s attempt to recover the Cry s t a l Egg, or in f a i l u r e , as when the Hags of the Long Teeth make c h i l d ' s play of casting an obstreperous G i l l y back into bondage. Incon-clusiveness and f a i l u r e go far beyond d e f e r r a l in disturbing the f o l k t a l e ' s n a r r a t i v e mechanism. Deferral, in f a c t , metamorphoses into i t s l o g i c a l extreme, f a i l u r e . The formal properties of G i l l y ' s action, l i k e the King's Son's, including the r o l e i n i t of d e f e r r a l and f a i l u r e , can best be delineated with reference to a s p e c i f i c example. The events involving the C r y s t a l Egg are in many ways t y p i c a l of Cycle I I I . We r e a d i l y f i n d in t h i s sequence evidence of the d i s c o n t i n u i t y which marks the en t i r e n a r r a t i v e . G i l l y becomes involved in a long, d i s j o i n t e d series of episodes. In fact,the story of the Cr y s t a l Egg begins outside of G i l l y ' s own story with two episodes that occur before G i l l y i s even introduced. Fedelma mentions the Egg f i r s t ; she r e c i t e s the poem e n t i t l e d "The Sending of the Cr y s t a l Egg" while she and the King's Son are crossing t h e i r f i e l d s . This poem t e l l s how the Crystal Egg, sent to t o i l i n g Atlas by the Kings of Murias so that the Swan of Endless Tales due to hatch from i t might dive r t him, was l o s t by the " f i t f u l crane" who c a r r i e d i t . A b i t l a t e r , s t i l l before G i l l y appears in the book, the possibly u n r e l i a b l e Crow of A c h i l l recounts to the King of Ireland's Son a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t version of Fedelma's t a l e : she herself s t o l e the Egg, the Crow says, from the nest where Laheen the Eagle had l a i d i t . The s l i g h t divergence of the accounts i s curious; i t disguises the continuity between them, making them seem l i k e d i s c r e t e s t o r i e s . The reader may even doubt whether the C r y s t a l Eggs in these two episodes are r e a l l y the same. The Cr y s t a l Egg, in t h i s way, is. introduced as one of the book's several conundrums, l i k e the t a l e of the King of the Cats. When G i l l y spies i t l y i n g i n the r i v e r and has the Weasel recover i t , he brings i t more d i r e c t l y and concretely into the story. S t i l l , the story of the C r y s t a l Egg proceeds e p i s o d i c a l l y , and remains half-embedded i n the outer nar r a t i v e . Rory the Fox, before his lu s t for the Egg develops, gives yet another account of i t . There i s no p a r t i c u l a r reason to believe his story more than the others, yet i t does provide a way of r e c o n c i l i n g the two previous accounts; apparently the Crow of A c h i l l s t o l e the Egg not from the nest but from the bare rock where the crane l e f t i t . Rory soon s t e a l s the Egg himself, and puts i t under the Spae-Woman's goose, to hatch, as he thinks, into the "toothsome b i r d " he has dreamt about. But i t seems that mortal plans involving the Cry s t a l Egg are bound never to mature. Before Rory's plan can succeed—and before G i l l y and the Weasel can f o i l i t — t h e robbers intervene, making of f with goose, nest, eggs, Egg, and a l l . The theft at f i r s t seems but to defer G i l l y ' s recovery of the Egg, but as i t turns out, t h i s d e f e r r a l i s permanent. However, although G i l l y eventually drops h i s attempt to recover the Crys t a l Egg, the Crystal Egg i t s e l f i s not dropped from the narr a t i v e . The Old Woman of Beare presently sends G i l l y to learn the fate of the Egg, at which point G i l l y t e l l s of his own experience with the Egg, thus adding a fourth to the s t r i n g of accounts of i t . But before the Old Woman makes her request, the two heroes, as they are t a l l y i n g her age, have a strange experience. Just as they were adding the two numbers together they both heard sounds i n the a i r — they were l i k e the sounds that Bards make chanting t h e i r verses. And when they looked up they saw a swan f l y i n g round and round above them. And the swan chanted the story of the coming of the Milesians to E i r i n n , and as the two youths l i s t e n e d they forgot the number of horns they had counted. KS, 129 80. Once again, the continuity of the story of the C r y s t a l Egg i s disrupted; Colum presents t h i s encounter with a s t o r y t e l l i n g swan as i f i t had no connection with the Swan of Endless Tales. Considering the Old Woman of Beare's interest i n the C r y s t a l Egg and the Swan of Endless Tales, one might expect her to recognize who t h i s swan must be, but she herself, no doubt d i s t r a c t e d by the youths' f a i l u r e to compute her age, ignores the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the incident. When G i l l y i s f i n a l l y sent to learn what became of the Crystal Egg, he has no further trouble in fi n d i n g the robbers who e a r l i e r eluded him. What he discovers confirms what the above passage implies: the C r y s t a l Egg has indeed hatched, and the Swan of Endless Tales has been born into the World. The d i s c o n t i n u i t y of the episodes making up the C r y s t a l Egg story d i f f e r s from whatever disjuncture characterizes the episodic f o l k t a l e . Episodic t a l e s — s u c h as "Mor's Sons and the Herder from under the Sea" i n Curtin's Hero-Tales of Ireland (pp.36-57)—juggle independent adventures that are either complete moves or large parts of moves, whereas the C r y s t a l Egg episodes are by comparison very small pieces of the action. Furthermore, the r e p e t i t i o n of the early h i s t o r y of the Egg i s unlike episodes of f o l k t a l e s , which are frequently integrated by such devices as betrothal, mentioned above. Episodes i n the C r y s t a l Egg story are often formally ambiguous; the longest and most f o l k l o r i c of the episodes i s the story of G i l l y ' s i n t e r a c t i o n with the Egg, but i t , l i k e some e a r l i e r episodes, i s l e f t hanging. Other e p i s o d e s — t h e f i r s t two accounts of the Crystal Egg and the penultimate appearance of the mysterious swan to G i l l y and the King's Son—neglect to define the part's r e l a t i o n s h i p to the whole. Such disjointedness, i t seems, i s a matter of Colum's delib e r a t e shaping of the n a r r a t i v e in t h i s way rather than a r e s u l t of imitation of f o l k t a l e sources. Having something of the same e f f e c t i s the preponderance of chance in the n a r r a t i v e . The crane's accidental l o s s of the Egg, the robbers' unwitting theft of i t , and most important, the accident of G i l l y ' s f i n d i n g i t also represent departures from f o l k t a l e p r a c t i c e ; whereas magic objects in f o l k t a l e s — f o r example, the Sword of Light in Larminie's "Morraha" (West I r i s h Tales, pp.10-30) and the' d e v i l ' s f l a i l i n Kennedy's "The Lad with - the"Goatskin" (Legendary  F i c t i o n s , pp.23-31)—-usually require a search, a struggle, or a quest, G i l l y simply happens on the C r y s t a l Egg. This kind of chance and the deliberate d i s c o n t i n u i t y among the episodes, l i k e d e f e r r a l , disturb n a r r a t i v e progress and delay r e s o l u t i o n . But the attack on the n a r r a t i v e mechanism i s much more thoroughgoing here than i n Cycles I and I I . E a r l i e r episodes led onward i n s p i t e of d e f e r r a l , sometimes accentuated because of i t ; the causal basis of the n a r r a t i v e mechanism was suspended and in places superseded by moral concerns but i t was not destroyed. In the Crystal Egg sequence, disjuncture and casualness usurp ca u s a l i t y ' s place. It i s for t h i s reason that the episodes in the C r y s t a l Egg sequence l i e so i n e r t l y between interruptions and refuse to r i s e to the chase as the e a r l i e r episodes did. Cycle III no le s s than Cycles I and II invokes f o l k t a l e form, but uses i t as a disguise for a n a r r a t i v e form i n which the forward impetus of f o l k t a l e action i s b a f f l e d . The C r y s t a l Egg episodes contradict the p r a c t i c e of f o l k n a r r a t i v e more s p e c i f i c a l l y on two occasions. F i r s t , G i l l y ' s donor, the Weasel, deserts him in his hour of need. Previously, the Weasel has indeed invoked the character and the form of the f o l k t a l e donor: G i l l y rescues him and earns his service i n the c l a s s i c f o l k t a l e manner by freeing him from the claws of a predator (Proppian function D^)."*"1 (The stalwart companionship of the Weasel i t s e l f echoes the f o l k t a l e . ) F o l k t a l e donors, however, usually appear or volunteer help just when the hero most needs i t ; indeed, we can well say that that i s t h e i r e n t i r e purpose in the na r r a t i v e . For t h i s reason, the disappearance of the donor at the c r i t i c a l moment in the Cr y s t a l Egg episode i s rather shocking. It inverts f o l k t a l e convention and suggests a more profound denial of the p r i n c i p l e s of f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e than any instance of d e f e r r a l i n Cycle II accomplished. The second incident that f l i e s i n the face of f o l k t a l e convention, G i l l y ' s abandonment of his pursuit of the robbers and the Egg, i s l i k e ' t h e Weasel's abandonment a'_ symptom of an underlying change in narrative form. It i s p a r t i c u l a r l y i n t e r e s t i n g for i t s p a r a l l e l s with one of the instances of d e f e r r a l discussed above. G i l l y ' s occasional forays from the Spae-Woman's house in search of the robbers in many ways resemble the King's Son's daytime outings in search of Fedelma's blue falcon; both proceed i n t e r m i t t e n t l y and defer success during a series of thwarted attempts to advance. However, with perseverance, the King of Ireland's Son manages to overcome the obstacles that d e f e r r a l r a i s e s against him, whereas G i l l y cannot budge the one obstacle placed in his path. He r e a l l y has no choice but to abandon his search. Of course, a f o l k t a l e hero, though delayed or d i s t r a c t e d along the way, never gives up his purpose, nor does the n a r r a t i v e ever leave him without an opportunity for successful action. Once again in the Crystal Egg sequence, f o l k t a l e f o r m s — v i l l a i n y , mediation, dispatch of the h e r o — a r e invoked only to be denied. In t h i s way, Colum extrapolates the kind of d e f e r r a l attendant on the King's Son's long pursuit of the falcon, i t s e l f an exaggeration of f o l k t a l e pattern, into a downward-turning pattern of f a i l u r e quite at odds with the rhythms of the f o l k t a l e . It i s , perhaps, curious to c a l l a story a source for events which are t o l d before i t , yet the Unique Tale, reaching back to G i l l y ' s infancy and e a r l i e r , i s the well-head not only for the rhythm of f a i l u r e but also, as we s h a l l see, for other n a r r a t i v e structures v i t a l to the Crystal Egg story as well as to Cycle III as a whole. F a i l u r e i s starker and more obvious in the Unique Tale than elsewhere because t h i s story otherwise follows i t s f o l k t a l e source so c l o s e l y . The adventures of the Crystal Egg, as we have seen, are themselves d i s j o i n t e d , so that G i l l y ' s f a i l u r e i n a way i s j u s t another in a long series of puzzlements. But the Unique Tale has the tightly-bound, end-directed structure of the f o l k t a l e — u n t i l g r i e f erupts i n Sheen's f a t a l cry. The increasing pressures on the heroine, which in the source t a l e . increase the drama of her just-in-the-nick-of-time success, overcome the heroine of the Unique Tale. Sheen's story transforms the kind of i r r e s o l u t i o n of the King of Cats t a l e into a darker, more t r a g i c f a i l u r e . There, the very lack of reso l u t i o n was magically, paradoxically tr a n s f i x e d , and so became a r e s o l u t i o n : since the combatants were p e t r i f i e d , the f i g h t was at a d e f i n i t e end, even i f there was no winner. Here, Sheen's dilemma i s t r u l y unresolved. Her f a i l u r e produces a na r r a t i v e imbalance and an accompanying gloom not d i s p e l l e d u n t i l the end of the book. Colum underscores' Sheen's f a i l u r e by dwelling on the joy with which she ant i c i p a t e s the success of her task. The picture of her gathering bog-cotton for the "seventh and l a s t s h i r t " i s a kind of negative foreshadowing. Sheen could hardly keep from her mouth the song that was in her mind. She would sing and laugh and t a l k when the l a s t thread was spun and woven, when the l a s t s t i t c h was sewn, when the s h i r t s of bog-down she had made in sil e n c e would have brought back her brothers to t h e i r own human forms. She gathered the scarce heads of the cannavan or bog-down with one hand, while she held the other hand to her l i p s . KS, 134 The joy of res o l u t i o n , however, i s denied in the Unique Tale. This passage of premature light-heartedness makes the r e a l i t y of f a i l u r e which succeeds i t the more s i g n i f i c a n t . A b i t t e r cry came from her. Then the stitched c l o t h that was. in her hand became bog-down and was blown away on the breeze. When she saw t h i s happen she turned from the King's Castle and ran through the woods crying and crying. KS, 146 Colum accentuates the f a i l u r e by repeating i t . Sheen, unlike her f o l k t a l e predecessors, makes a second attempt at her long, j o y l e s s task. But when the f i r s t thread was spun the memory of her c h i l d blew against her heart and she c r i e d tears down. The thread she had spun became bog-down and was blown away. For days she wept and wept. KS, 146. Blowing through both of these passages i s a b i t i n g wind of despair. But i f Sheen's s h i r t s are of a t i g h t and c a r e f u l weave, so i s the narr a t i v e . It too i s shredded and dispersed at Sheen's outcry. Colum makes c l e a r that f o r the narrative as well as for Sheen, the action ends in d i s a s t e r . The n a r r a t i v e equivalent of despair, suggested but suppressed in interludes, i n Cycles I and I I , becomes the keynote here. The i r r e s o l u t i o n of the Unique Tale d r i f t s l i k e bog-down into the outer n a r r a t i v e . For one, the terms of the King's Son's quest make clear that the Unique Tale does not exist i n i s o l a t i o n : he must f i n d not j u s t the Unique Tale, but also "'what went before i t s beginning and what comes a f t e r i t s end'" (KS, 88-89). As i t turns out, these other parts of the Unique Tale involve i t with characters i n the main n a r r a t i v e . unlike the t a l e of the King of the Cats, the Unique Tale refuses to remain a mere i n - t a l e , but becomes continuous with the na r r a t i v e that i t i s i n i t i a l l y embedded in . , F i n a l l y , the Unique Tale occupies a t e l l i n g p o s i t i o n within the C r y s t a l Egg sequence. It i s t o l d a f t e r G i l l y abandons his quest and goes on to other adventures, while the Crystal Egg 86. seems to have vanished forever from the story, and before G i l l y undertakes to discover i t s fate f or the Old Woman of Beare, whose request about i t takes G i l l y by surprise. The suspended narrative's more vague version of f a i l u r e borrows some of the force of the example of u r - f a i l u r e with which i t i s juxtaposed. Since the system of narrative advancement invoked i n Cycles I and II i s revoked i n Cycle I I I , i t cannot be responsible for what i s , i n spite of a l l of G i l l y ' s f a i l u r e s , a happy, successful outcome. Colum accompanies the f i t f u l f o l k t a l e action of Cycle III with another, l e s s obvious, but more e f f e c t i v e n a r r a t i v e mechanism. If the- actions of the hero cannot be counted on to advance the p l o t — a n d we must remind ourselves that, i n sp i t e of the setbacks, i t i s nevertheless framed, l i k e the f o l k t a l e , i n terms of functions of dramatis personae, of whom the hero i s the most important— then others must intervene. Yet behind the Spae-Woman, Morag, and the King of Ireland's Son, who at various times advise G i l l y , provide him with v i t a l information, or f a c i l i t a t e the r e s t o r a t i o n of Sheen's brothers for him, there moves another hand, one which u n i f i e s the seemingly diverse interventions on G i l l y ' s behalf. In the Crystal Egg sequence, t h i s hand can be seen shaping the outcome through the generally u n f o l k l o r i c chain of happenstance i n the n a r r a t i v e . A l l of the various accidents of the Crys t a l Egg episode, from the moment G i l l y finds the Egg l y i n g i n the r i v e r to i t s theft by untraceable robbers who don't even know they've stolen i t , may be seen as means of manipulating events to bring about the hatching of the Egg and the f u l f i l l m e n t of i t s long-delayed destiny. Colum presents t h i s mechanism for shaping events from outside the nar r a t i v e , l i k e the rhythm of f a i l u r e , most strongly i n the Unique Tale, where i t i s c l e a r l y named for the f i r s t and only time. After Sheen's double f a i l u r e , the Spae-Woman advises her to commend her l o s t c h i l d and the fate of her brothers into the care of Diachbha "Commit th e . c h i l d you have l o s t to Diachbha— that i s , to Destiny—and Diachbha may bring i t about that he s h a l l be the one that w i l l restore ,.your seven brothers t h e i r human forms.""' KS 146 The Spae-Woman translates Diachbha as Destiny, but as i t i s a personified and beneficent p r i n c i p l e of order, i t seems to be a Destiny very close i n conception to Providence. At the moment that the breeze scatters the l i t t l e l e a f y e f f i g y that Sheen makes (echoing the d i s s o l u t i o n of the s h i r t s into bogsdown), Diachbha takes on the care of the n a r r a t i v e as well as of Sheen's many enchanted r e l a t i v e s . Although Diachbha i s never again e x p l i c i t l y addressed, i t can be seen at work behind the surface of the nar r a t i v e at many p o i n t s — i n the Spae-Woman's numerous prophetic dreams, for instance. Elsewhere, i t works through and hence transforms G i l l y ' s f a i l u r e , as when the Hags turn him over to Crom Duv and bring about his meeting with Morag; and indeed, the success that eventually comes to the Unique Tale through Sheen's f a i l u r e i s more complete than the goal she f a i l s to reach since i t encompasses not only the disenchantment of her brothers but also a reunion with G i l l y , her l o s t son. Perhaps, too, i t i s Diachbha who puts the thought of Morag into G i l l y ' s mind a f t e r he escapes from Crom Duv, for when he returns to her, he returns to the person whose s a c r i f i c e w i l l release Sheen's seven brothers from t h e i r s p e l l . The p r i o r i t i e s of Diachbha and those of G i l l y are sometimes at loggerheads. For instance, the importance given to the meta-morphosis of the C r y s t a l Egg into the Swan of Endless Tales puts t h i s larger action at odds with the d i r e c t i o n of G i l l y ' s adventures G i l l y wants to return to his i d y l l i c forest l i f e , his charming house, and his communion with the animals. He cannot, however, accomplish t h i s without recovering the Crystal Egg, and to do that would be to prevent i t s ever achieving the destiny l a i d out for i t . Because f u l f i l l i n g t h i s destiny i s paramount, G i l l y ' s n a r r a t i v e — t h e f o l k t a l e part of the a c t i o n — h a s to be subordinated, here and elsewhere, to the workings of Providence. Indeed, G i l l y must f a i l f o r Providence to succeed. Yet G i l l y ' s instrumentality, to his own detriment, in the fate of the C r y s t a l Egg, i s rewarded, for Destiny does for G i l l y what G i l l y i s unable to do for himself; i t acquaints him with h i s i d e n t i t y , restores him to Sheen, and e f f e c t s the disenchantment of the brothers and the res o l u t i o n of the Unique Tale. That G i l l y acts, w i l l y - n i l l y , i n the service of Providence, or Diachbha, i s confirmed by the action immediately following the Unique Tale; whereas the King's Son i s required to discover the beginning and ending of the Unique Tale, G i l l y i s sent to f i n d what we might c a l l "the rest of the story of the Cr y s t a l Egg." In learning and repeating the fate of the C r y s t a l Egg, p a r a l l e l to the King's Son's learning and t e l l i n g of the Unique Tale, G i l l y i n e f f e c t completes the story that Fedelma began and confers continuity on the many f a r - f l u n g Crystal Egg episodes. His reward for t h i s bears concretely on his main quest, the search for i d e n t i t y : he i s given a name. Within G i l l y ' s p l o t , Colum gives both the Cry s t a l Egg and the Swan of Endless Tales a symbolic, mythical aura that helps d i s t i n g u i s h them from magic objects i n f o l k t a l e s , which are usually more wholly subordinated to the action. A magic egg with super-natural o f f s p r i n g can e a s i l y acquire mystical connotations; Yeats invokes a s i m i l a r image i n the f i c t i o n a l introduction to the f i r s t e d i t i o n of A Vi s i o n . Mary B e l l then opened the ivory box and took from i t an egg the size of a swan's egg, and standing between us and the dark window-curtains, l i f t e d i t up that we might a l l see i t s color. "Hyacinthine blue, according to the Greek l y r i c poet," said Robartes. . . ."I bought t h i s egg from an old man in a green turban in Arabia, or Persia, or India. He t o l d me i t s h i s t o r y , p a r t l y handed down by word of mouth, p a r t l y as he had discovered i t in ancient manuscripts. . . . Those of you who are learned i n the c l a s s i c s w i l l have recognised the l o s t egg of Leda, i t s miraculous l i f e s t i l l unquenched. I return to the desert i n a few days with Owen Aherne and t h i s lady chosen by divine wisdom for i t s guardian and bearer. When I have found the appointed place, Owen Aherne and I w i l l dig a shallow hole where she must l a y i t and leave i t to be hatched by the sun's heat. Colum's Egg i s of a somewhat l e s s mystical and catastrophic species than Yeats's. S t i l l , the correspondences are s t r i k i n g . Both Eggs have an extraordinary outer appearance, Colum's preserving a f o l k -t a l e c l a r i t y , Y e a t s ' s a romantic luxuriance; both, l i k e dormant seeds, r e t a i n t h e i r spark of l i f e through long, i n f e r t i l e years and inhospitable circumstances, u n t i l the moment comes to warm them to v i t a l i t y again. Yeats and Colum a l i k e f e e l compelled to provide a p a r t i a l h i s t o r y of t h e i r Eggs, each of which has i t s own fame already, and each hi s t o r y i s somewhere incomplete. Both Eggs are s u f f i c i e n t l y beyond the d i c t a t e s of biology to hatch into species other than t h e i r parents'; each, furthermore, i s associated with a mythical swan, Leda's Egg with Jove incarnate, the Crystal Egg with the Swan of Endless Tales into which i t w i l l metamorphose. F i n a l l y , and most important, both Eggs w i l l hatch into embodiments of apocalypse. Yeats's Egg, however, w i l l introduce a new cycle i n the hi s t o r y of the cosmos. The apocalypse suggested by Colum's Egg, on the other hand, whose Swan i s f i r s t heard dumbfounding I r i s h princes with the story of the coming of the Milesians to Ireland, w i l l usher i n a new I r i s h "age, the I r i s h millenium that n a t i o n a l i s t s have long anticipated. This kind of symbolism gives the Cry s t a l Egg a l i f e and si g n i f i c a n c e independent of i t s importance to G i l l y , while suggestin as well why i t s fate might entice the intervention of an I r i s h Providence. Colum once or twice r e i n f o r c e s the Egg's importance through imagery, as i n the de s c r i p t i o n of Rory the Fox's theft of the Egg. The Weasel was r i g h t ; i t was Rory the Fox who had stolen G i l l y ' s Crystal Egg. One night, j u s t as he was leaving G i l l y ' s house, the moon shone f u l l upon the Cr y s t a l Egg. In the turn of a hand Rory the Fox had made a l i t t l e spring and had taken the Egg in his mouth. Then he slipped out by the door as quick and as quiet as a leaf blown in the wind. KS, 108 Like Rory's dream of the succulent b i r d that w i l l hatch from the Egg, the sudden i l l u m i n a t i o n of the Egg tempts him to s t e a l i t , f a c i l i t a t i n g the hatching not of the tasty fowl he and h i s c h i l d r e n smack t h e i r l i p s i n a n t i c i p a t i o n of, but the Swan of Endless Tales. The moonlight t h e a t r i c a l l y foregrounds the Egg, imbuing i t with an eerie magic and a d e s i r a b i l i t y beyond even that of magic objects in the f o l k t a l e . The i n e f f i c a c y of f o l k t a l e action i n Cycle III and the subordination of human a c t i v i t y to a larger plan and a more powerful force demonstrate the l i m i t a t i o n s of the m a t e r i a l i s t i c , mechanistic f o l k t a l e action as a model for human encounters with the surrounding world. In Cycles I and I I , the moral dimension of human conduct intimates .the inadequacy of the f o l k t a l e model; here, however, Colum indicates a way in which these l i m i t a t i o n s can be transcended when he sketches in Destiny (which, as Chapter III .will.i show, i s s p e c i f i c a l l y an I r i s h Destiny) behind the" scenes. This force, which remains inchoate, merely implied except at the end of the Unique Tale, yet more d e f i n i t e than the moral tracery underlying d e f e r r a l , e f f e c t s what the human hero cannot: i t transform G i l l y ' s f a i l u r e s into success. The inadequate f o l k t a l e form i s edged toward the more profound t e r r i t o r y of myth, as the deeply suggestive change in. tHe?means of resolving the Unique Tale i l l u s t r a t e s . Seven drops of "heart's blood" replace the seven s h i r t s of the f o l k t a l e — a n d the o r i g i n a l part of the Unique T a l e — a s the means of restoring the brothers. In other words, the almost mechanical equation of the f o l k t a l e , whereby a condition i s f u l f i l l e d to obviate the magic of the s p e l l , i s exchanged for the transcendence of earthly e v i l through the invocation of superhuman power. The Communion symbolism i n the r i t u a l that frees the brothers i d e n t i f i e s t h i s power with C h r i s t i a n grace. Then Caintigern arose and took bread that the Spae-Woman had made. She moistened i t in her mouth, and into each b i t of moistened bread she put a piece of the handkerchief that had a drop of blood. She held out her hand, giving each the moistened bread. The f i r s t that ate i t f e l l forward on the f l o o r of the Spae-Woman's house, h i s head down on the ground. KS, 2 61 In the e a r l i e r parts of the book, Colum begins to put moral concerns, as evidenced i n the King's Son's s p i r i t u a l t r i a l s , causally before the f o l k t a l e ' s mechanism; the symbolism of t h i s passage confirms the further change of emphasis in Cycle I I I , from the material, human action of the f o l k t a l e to the mysterious intervention i n human a f f a i r s of an immaterial, superhuman power. In spite of the effectiveness of Providence (Diachbha) i n overseeing the success of the na r r a t i v e , the rhythm of f a i l u r e leaves an i n d e l i b l e mark on G i l l y of the Goatskin. No matter how s a t i s f y i n g the re s o l u t i o n of the enigma of the Crystal Egg or the suspended action of the Unique Tale, the hero's actions, which commonly occasion the greatest i n t e r e s t and sense of immediacy i n the f o l k t a l e ' s audience, are disappointing. The subordination of the hero's action to anything i s unheard of in the f o l k t a l e , and remains disconcerting here, e s p e c i a l l y since G i l l y i s l e f t with an action that proceeds i n f i t s and s t a r t s , in which e f f o r t i s followed by delay, delay or d e f e r r a l stretches through i n a c t i v i t y to inaction, and inaction gives way to defeat. If the f o l k t a l e hero, l i k e the King of Ireland's Son, loses Eden only to have i t restored more securely at the end of his action, G i l l y i s faced with a more permanent F a l l . Symbolically, the return to Eden i s replaced by a redemption through Grace, at the same time that the form of the narrative leaves the f o l k t a l e ' s perimeters and heads towards r e l i g i o u s myth. S t i l l , i t i s debatable whether G i l l y ' s forest i d y l l i s r e a l l y transcended or whether, when he i s eventually given the darker and l o n e l i e r part of the kingdom to govern, he i s r e a l l y divested of his rhythm of f a i l u r e . Even in the end of the book, G i l l y i s associated with night and the darker aspect of r e a l i t y , which from time to time intrudes in the sunny, daylight . world inhabited for most of Cycles I and II by the King of Ireland's Son. As we s h a l l see in the next chapter, G i l l y expresses Colum's e s s e n t i a l realism, h i s r e f u s a l , as Loftus notes, to present 13 heroism without q u a l i f i c a t i o n . F i n a l l y , i t may be that i n arranging the surface of Cycle I I I , with i t s many potholes, b l i n d a l l e y s , and dead ends, Colum i s quoting a shadow t r a d i t i o n of the f o l k t a l e , the t r a d i t i o n of the imperfectly passed-down t a l e . Even the best-told t a l e s are prone to small errors or inconsistencies, l i k e the anachronistic 14 postman in one of Kennedy's t a l e s . Colum seems to have considered t h i s aspect of o r a l t r a d i t i o n , for he remarks that the t r a d i t i o n of h i s grandmother's house was "fragmented," and he c a l l s the story in his poem, "Downal Baun," "based on a story h i s grandmother t o l d him, a "broken story. it 15 Folktales are often imperfect and f u l l of loose ends—forgotten motivations, unmotivated actions, disappearing characters. "Mediocre s t o r y t e l l e r s , " Colum writes, "confused the pattern [of a t a l e ] by putting incidents in the wrong place, by using u n f i t t i n g metaphors, by making a hurried beginning or a hurried end, by being unable to use the chiming words that made s p e c i a l — o r , as we would say now, featured some passage"16 In addition, James Delargy has noted that the q u a l i t y of long of o r a l t r a d i t i o n i s perhaps as much to lose connections as to preserve them, these malformed t a l e s are as legitimate a part of t r a d i t i o n as the unflawed ones. Indeed, the forms that conserve t r a d i t i o n owe t h e i r invention to the perception of how e a s i l y human memory may f a i l and important elements may be l o s t . The roughness of a sequence l i k e the Cry s t a l Egg episodes, with the three c o n f l i c t i n g accounts of i t s dispatch, conveys something of t h i s motley underside of the f o l k t a l e i n o r a l t r a d i t i o n and serves to remind the reader that not a l l f o l k t a l e s are c r y s t a l l i n e . The garbling of Cycle~ n i . , in f a c t , i s another way for Colum to intrude r e a l i t y into the well-balanced a r t i f i c e of f o l k t a l e form. t a l e s diminishes as the s t o r y t e l l e r t i r e s . 17 Since the nature 3. Gathering 'One important e f f e c t of the rhythm of d e f e r r a l and f a i l u r e i s the disruption of the tight n a r r a t i v e order of the f o l k t a l e , with which the book begins. By the time that G i l l y , having both located the Swan of Endless Tales and received a name from the Old Woman of Beare, r e j o i n s h i s comrade at the Town of the Red Castle, the elements of The King of Ireland's Son have been spread over a vast n a r r a t i v e t e r r a i n . The sheer length of the book, already several times longer than the average f o l k t a l e , accounts for part of t h i s d i f f u s i o n . In addition, the m u l t i p l i c i t y of heroes, characters, and s t o r i e s , along with the use of the devices of d e f e r r a l and f a i l u r e , exerts an outward pressure on the forms that i n the f o l k t a l e contain the action. Colum, however, has a l l along, been preparing for the ultimate u n i f i c a t i o n of the nar r a t i v e , by c o n t r i v i n g the hidden connections between characters and plot outlined i n Chapter I above. Now, Colum responds to the problem of putting the narrative back together again by revealing more and more of these connections at the same time that he moves the various pl o t s towards t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l resolutions. The nar r a t i v e slowly c o n s t r i c t s into a single n a r r a t i v e , and ends with a sing l e celebration of re s o l u t i o n . Colum's p a r t i c u l a r methods for achieving t h i s , the forms that t h i s movement takes, and the v i s i o n inherent i n them make up what I c a l l the gathering rhythm. While s i m i l a r i n some ways to the nar r a t i v e progression that brings f o l k t a l e s to their conclusions, and in the end quoting the f o l k t a l e ' s f i n a l wedding feast, Colum's gathering rhythm, l i k e h i s n a r r a t i v e , i s far more complex than i t s f o l k t a l e model. The reunion of the two heroes, the f i r s t manifestation of t h i s movement towards unity, introduces the f a i r at the Town of the Red Castle. The motif of the I r i s h country f a i r , which in The King of Ireland's Son becomes the most complete expression of the gathering rhythm, i s a standby of I r i s h accounts of r u r a l l i f e , such as Maurice 0'Sullivan's Twenty Years A-Growin', Thomas 0 Crohan's The Islandman, and P a t r i c k Kavanagh's The Green  Fool. These writers use the f a i r to convey a sense of the great, diverse panoply of l i f e , to s a t i r i z e d i v e r t i n g country character types, and to comment on the general vanity of the human comedy. The chaotic world of the f a i r , not s u r p r i s i n g l y , i s a staple of Colum's work. In The F i d d l e r ' s House, old Conn Hourican dreams of renewing his fame among the joyous, inebriated crowds of f a i r -goers; Maelshaughlinn, i n Castle.Conquer, goes further and a c t u a l l y t e s t s his luck at the f a i r , returning with the humorous 19 advice, "'"Never go into the f a i r where you have no business.""' There are f a i r s i n A Boy in E i r i n n , The White Sparrow, and The  Story of Lowry Maen as well. In Colum's poetry, the f a i r i s a backdrop for a sad expression of human greed in "Before the F a i r , " and for the poignant—because unknowingly f i n a l — p a r t i n g of lovers in "She Moved through the F a i r . " The flood of fairgoers whom G i l l y watches surge through the gates of the Town of the Red Castle captures the s p i r i t of the f a i r that a t t r a c t s Colum as well as other I r i s h writers. Horns were blown outside, and the watchman opened the gates. Flann, [ G i l l y ] shook himself and stood up to see the f o l k that were coming i n . F i r s t came the men who drove the mountain ponies that had l a t e l y fed with the deer in wild places. Then came men in leathern j e r k i n s who led wide-horned b u l l s — a black b u l l and a white b u l l , and a white b u l l and a black b u l l , one a f t e r the other. Then there were men who brought in high, swift hounds, three to each leash they held. Women in brown cloaks c a r r i e d cages of birds. Men c a r r i e d on their"shoulders and in t h e i r b e l t s t ools for working gold and s i l v e r , bronze and iron . And there were calves and sheep, and great horses and weighty c h a r i o t s , and colored c l o t h s , and things closed i n packs that merchants c a r r i e d on t h e i r shoulders. The famous bards, and s t o r y t e l l e r s , and h a r p i s t s would not come u n t i l noontime when the business of the f a i r would have abated, but with the crowd of beggars came ballad-singers, and the t e l l e r s of the s t o r i e s that were c a l l e d "Go-by-the-Market-Stake," because they were t o l d around the stake in the market place and were very common. KS_, 165-166 The i n c r e d i b l e d i v e r s i t y of color and sound, of men, women, beast trades, and purposes in t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of the crowd suggests the wonder and e x h i l a r a t i o n that Colum associates with the f a i r . The high and the low, the wild and the tame a l l mingle at a s i n g l event. It i s p r i m a r i l y t h i s f e a t u r e — t h e wheeling intercourse of the marketplace—that makes the f a i r a u seful device in The King  of Ireland's Son. The f a i r brings together characters who need to meet i n order to get a s t a l l e d , disjunct plot moving again; i n other words, i t provides the perfect pretext for the c o i n c i d e n t a l encounters Colum must arrange to enable further action. Moreover the f a i r ' s r o l l i c k i n g , unrestrained climate encourages these encounters to produce r e s u l t s that would otherwise seem extraordinary. The planned meeting of G i l l y and the King of Ireland's Son, l i k e the f i r s t f i r e c r a c k e r i n a s t r i n g , sets o f f a rapid series of further meetings. These, however, are l a r g e l y unexpected. G i l l y , for instance, i s surprised when he recognizes Mogue, the Captain of the Robbers. Mogue wore a hare-skin cap, h i s l e f t eye protruded as usual, and he walked limpingly. He had a pack on h i s back, and he led a small, swift looking horse of a reddish c o l o r . KS, 166 The reddish horse i s also a f a m i l i a r character; G i l l y has never seen i t before, but the astute reader might recognize i t as the King of Ireland's Son's enchanted horse from e a r l i e r i n the book, the S l i g h t Red Steed. Soon Downal and Dermott, the King's Son's half-brothers, turn up, exhi b i t i n g a change of heart and a resolve to abandon p r i n c e l y aspirations that lay to re s t the threat they once posed to the King's Son. The most important and t e l l i n g encounter, however,occurs when Colum, with c h a r a c t e r i s t i c delight in a r t i f i c e , brings G i l l y , the King's Son, the Gobaun Saor, and the Spae-Woman a l l rather f a n t a s t i c a l l y together at once. . . . The King's Son and Flann saw two f i g u r e s — a middle-aged, sturdy man and an old,broken-looking woman—meet before the B u l l ' s F i e l d . " I t i s the Gobaun Saor," said the King's Son. " I t i s the Spae-Woman," said Flann. They went to them, each wishing to greet h i s fr i e n d and helper. There they saw a sturdy, middle-aged man and a broken-looking o l d woman. But the woman looking on the man saw one who had f u l l wisdom to plan and f u l l strength to b u i l d , whose wisdom and whose strength could neither grow nor diminish. And the man looking on the woman saw one whose brow had a l l quiet, whose heart had a l l benignity. " H a i l , Gobaun, Builder for the Gods," said the woman. " H a i l , Grania Oi, Reconciler for the Gods," said the man. KS_, 170 This i s a quadruple reunion, for i t i s j u s t as G i l l y and the King's Son are meeting that they each recognize t h e i r separate mentors, the Spae-Woman and the Gobaun Saor, themselves i n the act of recognizing each other. This meeting of the young heroes with t h e i r benefactors, conditioned by the goodwill of a chance reunion of f r i e n d s among strangers engenders, a f f e c t s the actions of both heroes concretely. The Gobaun Saor gives the King of Ireland's Son advice that hinges on further chance meetings. " I f he sees one he knows i n t h i s town," said the Gobaun Saor, " l e t him mount a horse he has mounted before and pursue that one and force him to t e l l what went before and what comes a f t e r the Unique Tale." KS, 171 The King's Son soon recognizes the Enchanter of the Black Backlands masquerading as a conjuror and sees the Sl i g h t Red Steed; he follows the rest of the in s t r u c t i o n s s u c c e s s f u l l y . When he brings the news of the Unique Tale back to the Gobaun Saor, who brightens the Sword of Light and t e l l s the way to the Land of Mist, the l a s t obstacle to his assault on Fedelma's abductor i s removed. On the other hand, the encounter that brings the King's Son to the 100. c r i s i s of h i s quest clears the way for G i l l y to begin h i s . Following the Spae-Woman's advice, by which he learns Flame-of-Wine's true nature, costs G i l l y a great deal of sorrow but saves him a long indenture to Mogue and frees him to pursue h i s own quest, for knowledge of himself. The multiple encounter of the King's Son, G i l l y , the Gobaun Saor and the Spae-Woman, then, has a notable e f f e c t on the progress of these two actions. It advances the n a r r a t i v e more i n d i r e c t l y as well; s p e c i f i c a l l y , what the King's Son learns of the beginning and ending of the Unique Tale begins to bring the d i f f e r e n t p l o t s together. The King's Son dismounted, put h i s arm about Flann and t o l d him that he now had the whole of the Unique Tale. They sat before Mogue's tent, and the King's Son t o l d Flann the whole of the story he had searched for-—how a King t r a v e l i n g through the mist had come to where Druids and the Maid of the Green Mantle l i v e d , how the King was enchanted, and how the maiden Sheen released him from the enchantment. He to l d him, too, how the Enchanter was changed into a wolf, and how the wolf c a r r i e d away Sheen's c h i l d . "And the Unique Tale i s i n part your own h i s t o r y , Flann," said the King of Ireland's Son, " f o r the c h i l d that was l e f t with the Hags of the Long Teeth was no one else than yourself, f or you, Flann, have on your breast the stars that denote the Son of a King." KS, 184 The Enchanter's r o l e as a v i l l a i n i n Cycle I and reluctant donor i n Cycle I I , and his i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the wolf of the Unique Tale l i n k these three p l o t s . The further deduction that G i l l y and the stolen c h i l d of the Unique Tale are one c a r r i e s the connection into Cycle I I I . The Unique Tale i s shown to occupy a place i n both Cycles II and I I I , which now begin to d o v e t a i l . The new sense of harmonic p o s s i b i l i t i e s among actions that i n i t i a l l y seemed separate contributes greatly to the gathering together of the n a r r a t i v e . It accords too with the tenor of the reunion of the Gobaun Saor and the Spae-Woman, which reveals these two benefactors from d i f f e r e n t p l o t s as kindred s e r v i t o r s of the same gods. The gathering rhythm involves both kinds of movement that stem from the reunion. F i r s t , there i s the progression within the various i n d i v i d u a l actions through obstacles l i k e the King's Son's i n a b i l i t y to f i n d the Unique Tale and G i l l y ' s impasse with Flame-of-Wine. This i s a movement from complication toward s i m p l i f i c a t i o n and eventual r e s o l u t i o n . Secondly, there i s the movement that harmonizes d i f f e r e n t p l o t s by revealing the connections among them; because characters and events are important i n many p l o t s at once, these plots coalesce. This second feature i s p a r t i c u l a r l y important to the gathering rhythm and demonstrates the form that Colum places at the gathering movement's core. Colum sees the parts of his na r r a t i v e , l i k e the spokes of a wheel or the months i n the year, as di s c r e t e e n t i t i e s u n i f i e d by the r e l a t i o n s h i p s among them that define a whole. He wishes to r e t a i n a sense of the i n d i v i d u a l i t y of h i s parts and to unify them. This, rather than the reduction of multiples to an unfactorable One, i s Colum's v i s i o n of order i n The King of  Ireland's Son. The n a r r a t i v e m u l t i p l i c i t y - i n - u n i t y that Colum begins to invoke i n the f a i r section i s echoed i n the imagery and the s e t t i n g . The crowd that G i l l y watches c o l l e c t s an amazing v a r i e t y of creatures i n a single place and time and even gives t h e i r move-ment one d i r e c t i o n . This image mirrors the form of the f a i r i t s e l f , which i s p r e c i s e l y a mechanism for.combining m u l t i p l i c i t y and unity; i t organizes the greatest possible d i v e r s i t y of people, beasts, and things economically—as vendors and buyers, and as kinds of merchandise—around the s i n g l e purpose of trade. S i m i l a r l y , the meetings within the f a i r bring together d i f f e r e n t people in a si n g l e place. The reunion of the King's Son, G i l l y , the Gobaun Saor and the Spae-Woman i s a p a r t i c u l a r l y c r y s t a l l i n e example, for i t i n t e r s e c t s four characters, important i n several p l o t s , and four events (the i n d i v i d u a l meetings within the one meeting) in an instant. Since t h i s reunion, i n transforming the f a i r ' s opportunities into n a r r a t i v e movement, i s the formal center of the f a i r , i t s simultaneity has s p e c i a l force. It contributes greatly to the sense that, at the f a i r , e v e r y t h i n g — f a i r g o e r s , characters, and n a r r a t i v e — c o a l e s c e s . At the end of the f a i r , as the characters disperse, Colum abandons the complex i l l u s i o n of synchronicity for a while and instead turns h i s attention to a l l any n a r r a t i v e can accommodate, one action at a time. Now Colum begins the serious business of working out the gathering rhythm introduced in the f a i r section i n r e a l n a r r a t i v e terms. The following sequence, e n t i r e l y concerned with the King's Son, ends Cycle II e f f e c t i v e l y enough that, i n s p i t e of the d e f e r r a l of the wedding, the narrator can proclaim f i r m l y at the sta r t of the next section, "This story i s now about Flann," that i s , G i l l y (KS, 211). "The House of Crom Duv introduces a new set of complications—Morag, the Rowan Ber r i e s , the problems i n the Kingdom of Senlabor, not to mention the d i f f i c u l t y of escape—but by the time the characters are reunited at the Spae-Woman's, re s o l u t i o n of some of these new problems plus a l l of G i l l y ' s old ones i s in sight: G i l l y knows who h i s parents are, Morag has the Rowan Be r r i e s , Morag and G i l l y have t r i c k e d Crom Duv's guardian cats, escaped, and f a l l e n i n love, and Morag has s a c r i f i c e d the drops of blood that w i l l restore the brothers of the Unique Tale. Soon, Colum reduces the number of active p l o t s even further, so that he has only one action l e f t : the story of how Morag wins G i l l y from the enchantments of Gilveen. While the several actions are leading one by one to the very brink of r e s o l u t i o n , the c r i s s c r o s s i n g of characters begun at the f a i r also continues to bring the plo t s together. Downal and Dermott, f o r instance, having absented themselves from Cycle II now turn up in Morag's story as the princes that her f o s t e r - s i s t e r s wish to marry; the Spae-Woman reappears too, t h i s time as the foste r e r of Morag, as she has previously been the fo s t e r e r , at d i f f e r e n t times, of Sheen and G i l l y . More alarmingly, Gilveen, Fedelma's conniving s i s t e r from Cycle I, appears i n the Queen's retinue, and accompanies her to the Spae-Woman's. The l i s t of those who come together there i s i t s e l f an i n d i c a t i o n both of the progress that has been made toward unifying the plo t s and of the d i f f i c u l t i e s that remain. The presence of Gilveen (and the absence of Morag) points to the betrayal that w i l l govern the l a s t a ction of the book, while the other c h a r a c t e r s — C a i n t i g e r n (or Sheen), the King of Ireland's Son, Fedelma, G i l l y - o f - t h e -Goatskin, and the Spae-Woman—signify the correspondence that has the greatest e f f e c t on na r r a t i v e unity: the common parentage of G i l l y and the King's Son. Together with the l i n k between G i l l y and the Unique Tale established at the f a i r , t h i s r e v e l a t i o n brings harmony to four major parts of the p l o t , Cycles I, II and I I I , and the Unique Tale. Of these, a l l but Cycle II are further connected by the common source of the v i l l a i n y i n each, the animosity that the Maiden of the Green Mantle bears toward the King of Ireland. As Colum reveals the unity of the several actions and narrows his focus from many plot s to ju s t one, he moves back from o r i g i n a l material to material derived from the f o l k t a l e . As delineated i n Chapter I, the King's Son's long muddled search for the whole of the Unique Tale i s Colum's invention; with the account of how the King's Son forces the Enchanter to t e l l h i s t a l e , however, Cycle II turns to the f o l k t a l e again. Cycle I I I , too, eventually approaches the f o l k t a l e , l a r g e l y through Morag—her story of the ambitions and f o l l y of her f o s t e r - s i s t e r s , for instance. What i s p a r t i c u l a r l y important about t h i s growing dependence on f o l k t a l e sources i s the accompanying emphasis on the overt formalism of f o l k t a l e n a r r a t i v e . Both the King's Son's struggle with the King of the Land of Mist and Morag's successive evenings with a drugged and enchanted G i l l y reproduce the t r e b l i n g of t h e i r f o l k t a l e sources. The narratives of Cycles II and I I I , then, and with Cycle I I I , the book as a whole, end with highly structured episodes. The movement toward such patterned narrative p a r a l l e l s the movement from many p l o t s to one and from seemingly unrelated to harmonious, complementary p l o t s , which are Colum's main devices f o r c o l l e c t i n g and ordering h i s complex na r r a t i v e . These various aspects of the gathering rhythm co n s t i t u t e a return to the forms of the beginning of the book, where also there i s one action, highly patterned and quite f o l k l o r i c . Yet nothing can restore the uncomplicated state of Cycle I; the other p l o t s , s u b s t a n t i a l l y f i n i s h e d though they may be, a l l hang suspended, awaiting the ultimate completion that the wedding feast w i l l confer. Indeed, Colum takes care to prevent the movement toward unity from f o r e c l o s i n g on the d i v e r s i t y and m u l t i p l i c i t y that have been so much a part of his book. P e r i o d i c a l l y , he invokes a l l of the plot s to remind his reader of the narrative's amplitude. In addition, he p a r t i a l l y r e c a p itulates the f a i r , which explored the tensions of m u l t i p l i c i t y - i n - u n i t y so thoroughly, at important junctures along the way. Of these, the most prominent i s the reunion of characters at the Spae-Woman's, which takes place a f t e r the King's Son rescues Fedelma and G i l l y escapes with Morag from the house of Crom Duv. In order to prevent the narra t i v e , which i s sorting i t s e l f out r a p i d l y , from becoming too u n i f i e d too soon, Colum makes t h i s episode le s s complete and l e s s balanced than the f a i r . Morag and the mysterious King of Ireland are both absent, and the characters are together only a very short time before Caintigern and the Spae-Woman are l e f t alone to attempt the transformation of the seven geese, Caintigern's brothers, into men. By the time the brothers are disenchanted, Gilveen's t r i c k e r y has further disrupted the action. Moreover, Caintigern has but a b r i e f v i s i t with her brothers before t h i s group too i s s p l i t up. Nevertheless, the reunion at the Spae-Woman1s, l i k e the f a i r , brings together many in one moment and place. Indeed, t h i s meeting, or series of meetings, in spite of i t s imbalance, shows that the na r r a t i v e has become more con t r o l l e d , f or the characters come together by design rather than chance, however p r o v i d e n t i a l . Yet the sense of d i v e r s i t y i s never l o s t , as the passage that opens the section demonstrates: There are many things to t e l l you s t i l l , my kind foster, c h i l d , but l i t t l e time have I to t e l l you them, for the barnacle-geese are f l y i n g over the house, and when they have a l l flown by I s h a l l have no more to say. And I have to t e l l you yet how the King of Ireland's Son won home with Fedelma, the Enchanter's daughter, and'how i t came to pass that the Seven Wild Geese that were Caintigern's brothers were disenchanted and became men again. But above a l l I have to t e l l you the end of the story that was begun in the house of the Giant Crom Duv—the story of Flann and Morag. The barnacle-geese are f l y i n g over the house as I said. And so they were crossing and f l y i n g on the night the King of Ireland's Son and Fedelma whom he had brought from the Land of Mist stayed in the house of the L i t t l e Sage of the Mountain. . . . And he t o l d them about the next place they should go t o — t h e Spae-Woman's house. There, he said he would f i n d people that they knew—Flann, the King's Son's comrade, and Caintigern, the wife of the King of Ireland, and Fedelma's s i s t e r , Gilveen. KS, 255-256 The image of the barnacle geese in f l i g h t , l i k e the opening of the town's gates on f a i r day, stresses multeity-in-unity—many geese, but a single f l o c k in a single formation. The passage also returns a sense of urgency to the n a r r a t i v e , f i r s t because the emphasis on transience within the image i s made to apply to the story as well, and secondly because i t compresses into a few sentences mention of each of the remaining unsolved s t o r i e s and a l l of the characters who are to meet at the Spae-Woman's. E s p e c i a l l y by sweeping the characters together i n the reader's imagination, Colum resurrects, however b r i e f l y and i n d i r e c t l y , what has been absent during the King's Son's foray in the Land of Mist and G i l l y ' s long adventure at the house of Crom Duv: the simultaneity of the f a i r . The reunion i t s e l f i s a l e s s complete version of the same p r i n c i p l e , but i t i s t h i s which makes i t a s i g n i f i c a n t r e a l i z a t i o n of the gathering rhythm. The wedding at Senlabor i s another p a r t i a l r e c a p i t u l a t i o n of the pervasive gathering of'the f a i r . As at the reunion at the Spae-Woman's, Colum c a r e f u l l y avoids making the gathering at Senlabor too complete. He keeps de s c r i p t i o n brief.the' characters minor, and the d e t a i l s (the number of guests, the geometry of the tables) r e l a t i v e l y c olourless. Colum saves his l a s t wedding runs for the r e s o l u t i o n of the book, the wedding of the King of Ireland's Son and Fedelma and of G i l l y of the Goatskin and Morag, i n which the gathering rhythm culminates. The wedding i s c e r t a i n l y the most thoroughgoing expression of the n a r r a t i v e trend toward unity since the f a i r . The momentary unity of the f a i r dissolves at i t s end, and although the characters, l i k e p a r t i c i p a n t s i n a dance, continue to move from t h i s configuration to the more permanent one of the end, the problems of na r r a t i v e and the need to defer more complete harmony keep the reunion at the Spae-Woman's and the wedding at Senlabor from expressing the gathering rhythm more f u l l y . Only now that a l l narratives are resolved and a l l revelations have been made does Colum create a moment that expresses harmony f u l l y . Furthermore, the purposes of the feast are more defined and more c l e a r l y beneficent than those of the f a i r ; i t i s a more orderly event; and i t s narration i s governed by more obvious forms, of which there i s a long t r a d i t i o n i n f o l k l o r e . No doubt Colum borrows from t h i s t r a d i t i o n so exuberantly because he sees i n i t an archetypal combination of d i v e r s i t y and unity. Colum amplifies the form of marriage, which i s , a f t e r a l l , p r e c i s e l y a union of separate i n d i v i d u a l s . Colum's double wedding j o i n s four characters rather than two, and thereby integrates into one family the heroes and heroines of Cycles I and I I , the King's Son and Fedelma; Cycle I I I , G i l l y and Morag; and the Unique Tale, the Hunter King and Sheen. In addition, where f o l k t a l e weddings generally resolve a single p l o t , the wedding at the end of The  King of Ireland's Son superimposes the l a s t , resolving function (Propp's W) of three p l o t s , Cycles I, II and I I I . I f Colum invokes the wedding run of f o l k l o r e only b r i e f l y an c o l o r l e s s l y at Senlabor, he expands i t e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y here. 109. Then the day came when Fedelma and the King of Ireland's Son and Morag and Flann were married. They were plighted to each other in the C i r c l e of Stones by the Druids who invoked upon them the powers of the Sun, the Moon, the Earth, and the A i r . They were married at the height of the day and they feasted at night when the wax candles were li g h t e d round the tables. They had Greek honey and Lochlinn beer; ducks from A c h i l l , apples and plovers' eggs and a boar's head for every King in the company. And these were the Kings who sat down to table with the King of E i r i n n : the King of Sorcha, the King of Hispania, the King of Lochlinn, and the King of the Green Island who had Sunbeam for his daughter. And they had there the best heroes of Lochlinn, the best s t o r y t e l l e r s of Alba, the best bards of E i r i n n . They l a i d sorrow and they raised music, and the harpers played u n t i l the great champion Sp l i t - t h e - S h i e l d s t o l d a t a l e of the realm of Greece and how he slew the three l i o n s that guarded the daughter of the King. They feasted for six days and the l a s t day was better than the f i r s t , and the laugh they laughed when Witless, the Saxon f o o l , t o l d how S p l i t - t h e - S h i e l d s ' story should have ended, shook the young jackdaws out of every chimney in the Castle and brought them f l u t t e r i n g on the f l o o r s . KS, 274-275 Here at l a s t , the narrative has no further importance, and a f t e r the f i r s t two sentences, the main characters evaporate, so that the account becomes a l l image and form. In the d e t a i l s of the wedding feast, the nature of the wedding archetype i s r e a l i z e d . The marriage of the couples within a magic d r u i d - c i r c l e represents in physical form the s p i r i t u a l gathering of hearts and the formal gathering of na r r a t i v e . Other images repeatedly name the d i f f e r e n t species of common genera, emphasizing likeness and d i s s i m i l a r i t y at once. Colum includes both day and night, hitherto s t r i k i n g l y opposed, in the celebration, c a l l s upon the four powers of nature and the cosmos, brings to the feast kings of a l l nations and food of a l l sorts from every part of Ireland and from a l l over the world Feasting i s augmented by other courtly forms of entertainment; the guests are entertained by bards and harpers and s t o r y t e l l e r s , and entertain themselves by t e l l i n g s t o r i e s to each other, both heroic ones l i k e that of the King of Ireland's Son, and comic ones rather l i k e G i l l y ' s t a l e . Certain phrases—"They l a i d sorrow and they raised music"; "They feasted for s i x days and the l a s t was better than the f i r s t " — q u o t e exactly the formulae of f o l k t a l e wedding runs, while the s t o r i e s of Spli t - t h e - S h i e l d s and Witless, l i t t l e digressions within the more orderly account, break through the forms of the sentences and the descriptions, ensuring with the laugh that brings down the jackdaws that the patterns imposed on the celebration are tempered. The na r r a t i v e has been gathered together and the wedding feast has t i e d i t up with a flamboyant bow; a l l that remains i s to sever the s t r i n g s . The dropping of the main characters from the account of the wedding begins the process of loosening the attachments to the story, though some are brought back in the next paragraph, a short glimpse into the future which confirms closure with a form c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of the nineteenth century English novel rather than the f o l k t a l e . But the l a s t l i n e s of the book duplicate a f o l k t a l e form designed to complete the process of disengagement. When I_ crossed the Ford  They were turning the Mountain Pass; When 1 stood on the Steppingstones  They were t r a v e l l i n g the Road of Glass. KS, 275 111. The v i s u a l aspects of t h i s tag, the indentation and i t a l i c i z a t i o n , which immediately set i t o f f from the text, are equivalents of the o r a l features of f o l k t a l e runs—changes i n tone of voice and in p a c e — t h a t mark important formal junctures. The change here from the rhythms of prose to those of poetry signals the extreme end of the book. But also, the s t o r y t e l l e r here i s about to be ph y s i c a l l y divided from his characters by both a r i v e r and a mountain pass; i n addition, his path along the lower road, l e s s f a n t a s t i c a l than the "Road of Glass," separates him from them symbolically. The sense of the Senlabor wedding's s t o r y t e l l i n g tag i s s i m i l a r ; there, the theft of the s t o r y t e l l e r ' s extra-ordinary, f r a g i l e g i f t s i s a way of preventing him from carrying the d e l i c a t e , magical trappings of the f a i r y t a l e away from 19 t h e i r proper m i l i e u . Here, however, the tag i s allowed to stand alone. And appropriately, as i t divorces s t o r y t e l l e r and reader from the f o l k t a l e world, i t verges on nonsense. The words lose some of t h e i r easy transparency, and the window for r e f e r e n t i a l meaning that they usually form consequently fogs over. Further evidence of the nature of Colum's formal apprehension of the f o l k t a l e comes with t h i s culmination of the gathering rhythm, in the wedding feast and the s t o r y t e l l i n g tag. The gathering rhythm, l i k e the rhythms of f a i l u r e and d e f e r r a l , has roots i n f o l k t a l e forms—most generally i n the orderly progression of functions which helps f o l k t a l e s to create a f e l t sense of closure. I n t e r e s t i n g l y , whereas d e f e r r a l , e s p e c i a l l y as i t becomes f a i l u r e , diverges more and more from s p e c i f i c f o l k t a l e forms, the gathering rhythm, conversely, approaches f o l k t a l e form with increasing s p e c i f i c i t y as i t nears completion. Yet because Colum's material, with i t s many p l o t s , i t s divergence from f o l k t a l e norms, i t s formal t r i c k e r y , and i t s many important inventions, i s so l a r g e l y structured next to the f o l k t a l e , Colum must expand on his f o l k t a l e examples. Gathering episodes that Colum invents, l i k e the f a i r and the meeting of p r i n c i p a l s at the Spae-Woman's, while modelled to an extent on f o l k t a l e forms of closure such as the wedding, are also more f l u i d , and are well adapted, formally and imaginatively, to the p a r t i c u l a r problems of form and theme that Colum sets out in The King of Ireland's Son. Colum's construction of the gathering rhythm on the whole i s consistent with his manipulations of f o l k t a l e form i n his e a r l i e r use of d e f e r r a l and f a i l u r e . A l l three rhythms are founded on si m i l a r a t t i t u d e s toward the f o l k t a l e , and conspire, to greater and l e s s e r degrees, to convert the f o l k t a l e ' s system of physical t e s t s — t r i a l s of strength—and t i g h t l y linked actions, into a complex of s p i r i t u a l t e s t s — t r i a l s of character—and moral consequences. But ju s t as the rhythm of f a i l u r e c a r r i e d the implications of d e f e r r a l , as Colum used i t , to an extreme, so the gathering rhythm extends and transforms f a i l u r e . The rhythms of f a i l u r e involved a perception of the l i m i t a t i o n s of the f o l k -t a l e ' s materialism and of the transcendence of the f o l k t a l e mechanism, through f a i l u r e , by a p r o v i d e n t i a l higher power. By the end of the book, Colum arranges matters so that t h i s power, once "out of synch" with the f o l k t a l e mechanism, now can work harmoniously with i t . The important p a r t i c i p a t i o n of the Gobaun Saor and the Spae-Woman, who have come to represent emissaries of the vague, kindly p r i n c i p l e that oversees the narra t i v e , i n the gathering rhythm, encourages the f e e l i n g , as the nar r a t i v e coalesces and the ending assured, that a l l r e s t s s a f e l y i n the 20 hands of a benevolent destiny. Although Colum departs from f o l k t a l e form to create such meanings, his departure can hardly be c a l l e d wholesale. Where d e f e r r a l and gathering are concerned, the deviations that help Colum to develop l i t e r a r y meanings occur with, sometimes within, f o l k t a l e forms. F a i l u r e too depends for i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e on f o l k t a l e form, but in another way; i t creates meaning by denying and hence transcending the expectations that attend the f o l k t a l e mechanisms with which i t i s juxtaposed. By means of these three rhythms, Colum deepens the f o l k t a l e , and d i r e c t s i t towards moral, and as the next chapter w i l l show, p o l i t i c a l meaning; but at the same time, he leaves much of his f o l k t a l e source material i n t a c t , and retains a f o l k l o r i c sense of "happenings" which, i n the subtlety of i t s r e l a t i o n s h i p to "states of mind," gives The King of Ireland's Son i t s most c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s favor. Notes Tasks, i n t e r d i c t i o n s , v i o l a t i o n s , departures, returns and struggles are a l l among Propp's functions, delineated i n Morphology of the F o l k t a l e . In the course of h i s discussion, Propp observes the p a i r i n g of c e r t a i n f u n c t i o n s — i n t e r d i c t i o n and v i o l a t i o n , for example. The sequence of functions concerning the acquisiton of a donor or a magical agent, on the other hand, involves three actions, the t e s t i n g of the hero (D), the hero's response to the test (E), and h i s a c q u i s i t i o n of the magical agent (F). Propp does not comment on the pulse of action created by such sequences. 2 Story T e l l i n g New and Old, p. 9. In his introduction to The Complete Grimms' Fairy Tales (New York: Random House, 1944; rpt. 1972), Colum expands h i s comments on pattern i n the f o l k t a l e to include the s p e c i a l s k i l l s needed by the f o l k s t o r y t e l l e r . He hypothesizes that the " r e a l g i f t " of the Grimms' best source of f o l k t a l e s , an e l d e r l y woman, "was perception of pattern, and her r e a l accomplishment making i t , t h e pattern, evident" ( i x ) . "The good t r a d i t i o n a l s t o r y t e l l e r , " he goes on to say, "had a sense of pattern and prided himself or h e r s e l f on knowing and keeping to i t " (x). 3 The Complete Grimms' Fa i r y Tales, p. v i i . The second e l l i p s i s i s mine. 4 In Jeremiah's Curtin's Myths and Folktales of Ireland, pp. 1-14. Further references are made, for economy's sake, i n the text, with the i n i t i a l s "SKE" preceding the page number. ^ Propp, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , considers such incidents as the rescues as " a u x i l i a r y elements i n t r e b l i n g , " and does not count them among his functions. Morphology of the F o l k t a l e , p. 74. See, for instance, "Ceatach," t a l e 13 i n 0'Sullivan's Folktales of Ireland, p. 39. Often, the night provides an antidote to the hero's b a t t l e wounds as well as h i s fatigue. In. "Art, King of Leinster," also i n Folktales of Ireland, the. hero's e l d e r l y host f i r s t prepares a magie,.healing bath for the torn and* weary,<f ighter, and then o f f e r s him a place i n the bed with the words, "A man can r i d himself of his weariness best while l y i n g down." P. 105. Propp notes on p. 74 of Morphology of the Fo l k t a l e that "Repetition may appear as a uniform d i s t r i b u t i o n (three tasks, three years' s e r v i c e ) , as an accumulation (the t h i r d task i s the most d i f f i c u l t , the t h i r d b a t t l e the worst), or may twice produce negative r e s u l t s before the t h i r d , successful outcome." This l a s t , we may add, may be reversed: where the action demands the hero's f a i l u r e , as when he plays cards with the v i l l a i n , he may succeed twice and then f a i l . 8 Story T e l l i n g , New and Old, p. 4. "Things remain r e a l , " he comments, "while mental states become doubtful to us." The Complete Grimms," p. x. 9 10 Once Upon a. Time: On the Nature of Fa i r y Tales, p. 124. See Propp, Morphology, p. 36. Morphology, p. 41. Neither D nor any other of the v a r i a t i o n s on t h i s function that Propp discusses, pp. 39-42, f i t s G i l l y ' s rescue of the Weasel or the King's Son's rescue of Laheen the Eagle as c l o s e l y as one could wish. However, Propp was dealing with a l i m i t e d number of Russian t a l e s , which evidently did not include a donor sequence of t h i s exact form, although there are many examples among I r i s h f o l k t a l e s . 12 W.B. Yeats, A V i s i o n (1937; rev. ed. 1956; rpt. C o l l i e r Books [MacMillan], 1977), p. 51. 13 Richard Loftus, Nationalism in Modern Anglo-Irish Poetry, p. 189. 14 The reference to the postman i s on page 20 of "The Bad Stepmother," i n Legendary F i c t i o n s . "The Tr a d i t i o n That Existed i n My Granmother's House, p. 30; "Dermott Donn MacMo-rria" i s in The -Poet' s C i r c u i t s r.•.' (London: Oxford, 1960) p. 23. 16 The Complete Grimms, p. i x . •The Gaelic S t o r y - t e l l e r , i n Proceedings of the B r i t i s h  Academy, 1945, v. 31 (London: G. Cumberlege, Oxford Uni v e r s i t y Press,1945), p. 190. . 18 Castle Conquer (New York: Macmillan, 1923), p. 127; hereafter c i t e d i n the text as CC. One thinks of the f a i r y gold given for rent that turns into ginger bread in an unattributed story, "Rent Day," i n Yeats's I r i s h Folk Stories and Fairy Tales (1892, rpt. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1974), pp. 186-188. 20 Although Colum associates t h i s p r i n c i p l e with Diachbha, we can see i t as well as a r e a l i z a t i o n of that s p i r i t of k i n d l i n e s s which Colum claims, i n Story T e l l i n g New and Old, should govern a s t o r y t e l l e r ' s r e l a t i o n s h i p with his characters. P. 14. I l l : The King of Ireland's Son: Heroism and P o l i t i c s There i s a t a l e of great popularity among the I r i s h c a l l e d by 0'Sullivan and Christiansen "The Man Who Had No Story." 1 In the version representing t h i s type in 0'Sullivan's F o l k t a l e s of  Ireland, Rory O'Donoghue, on h i s way to the f a i r , takes lodging with an old man. The dwelling place i s enchanted, and every comfort i s magically and f r e e l y provided for Rory: the chair moves of i t s own accord to the f i r e f o r him, and a knife and fork carve unaided a roast that has appeared from nowhere, a l l for his convenience. But when Rory can o f f e r neither a song nor a story to the evening's f e s t i v i t i e s , his otherwise kindly host drives him from the door. The violence of the old man's response i s a measure of the s o c i a l value that the I r i s h ascribe to s t o r y t e l l i n g : i t i s so i n t e g r a l to I r i s h l i f e that the man l i k e Rory whose experience has not taught him a story or two to share with his fellows v i o l a t e s the bond of community. From t h i s point in the t a l e , Rory's adventures begin. He comes across a man roasting a j o i n t over an open f i r e and i s l e f t alone to tend i t . When the roast c r i e s out—'"Don't l e t my wishers b u r n ™ — R o r y runs off in a f r i g h t . The meat on the sp i t pursues him, beating him a l l the way, u n t i l he i s welcomed back by his o r i g i n a l host: "Ah, Rory," said the old man. " I f you had a story l i k e that to t e l l me, when I asked you, you wouldn't have been out u n t i l now. L i e in here on the bed now, and sleep the rest of the n i g h t . " 2 In the L e t i t i a MacLintock version of t h i s t a l e that Yeats quotes, the punishment that the hero, Pat Diver, receives i s at once more ghastly and more severe. It i s a roasting corpse that he must watch, and he i s warned by the giants who a f f l i c t him that should t h e i r meat so much as b l i s t e r , he must take i t s place. He i s harrassed and harrowed a l l night long, having f i r s t to carry yet another corpse and then to repeatedly dig i t s grave. Only the crowing of the cock banishes his tormenters. This t a l e ends more subtly than the O'Sullivan version. Two months l a t e r , Pat i s greeted by a t e l l i n g l y t a l l stranger at the f a i r . "How are you, Pat Diver?" said he, bending down to look into the tinker's face. "You've the advantage of me, s i r , for I havna' the pleasure of knowing you," f a l t e r e d Pat. "Do you not know me, Pat" Whisper— "When you go„back to Innishowen, y o u ' l l have a story to t e l i : " 3 The l a s t l i n e of t h i s version, l i k e the returning l i n e of action i n the O'Sullivan example, di s c l o s e s how the thematic concern for the value of s t o r y t e l l i n g generates the form of the n a r r a t i v e . The events stem from the protagonist's lack, so that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the theme and the form i s f i r s t of a l l negative: the absence of the r e q u i s i t e story r e s u l t s in the persecution of Rory and Pat. At the same time that t h i s perse-cution punishes them for t h e i r f a i l u r e , i t has a p o s i t i v e e f f i c a c y i t arms them with the story that w i l l re-integrate them into the community. This kind of formal and thematic r e f l e x i v i t y appears again and again in the f o l k t a l e , though not always quite so overtly. In another popular t a l e , often associated with the hero Conall, the s t o r i e s that the hero t e l l s save his sons and himself from death. Captured i n an attempt to s t e a l the king's horse, which he needs to f u l f i l l c r u e l geasa, the hero buys one l i f e a f t e r another with his accounts of having been once in an even worse s i t u a t i o n than the one he i s i n now. At f i r s t , the king's mercy rewards the hero's courage and s u f f e r i n g , but the l a s t story i s always the most compelling: i t reveals that the hero once risked his l i f e to rescue the king himself from death. This i s the t a l e that ransoms the hero's own l i f e , and which gains for him as well the horse that he needs to complete the events of the enveloping narrative. Thus the story that transmits the most in the way of important knowledge has the greatest formal 4 e f f i c a c y i n the text. Encoded in both of these t a l e s ' formal d i s t i n c t i o n of Story and No-Story i s a p r i n c i p l e v i t a l to f o l k l i f e : the importance to c u l t u r a l c ontinuity, meaning and i d e n t i t y of o r a l communication, of the transmission of f o l k a r t i f a c t s and t r a d i t i o n s . In these f o l k t a l e s the formal use of i n - t a l e s or embedded events r e f e r s back to the story i t s e l f , commenting on the very process by which i t comes to us. The same p r i n c i p l e obtains i n The King of Ireland's  Son, where the Unique Tale i s at the heart of the text. That i t i s the formal center there can be no doubt; abductions, curses, s p e l l s , and quests have t h e i r o r i g i n in i t and lead back to i t . Without learning i t , the King of Ireland's Son cannot clean the Sword of Light or release Fedelma; nor can G i l l y pry his name from the Old Woman of Beare without t e l l i n g i t . But the s t r u c t u r a l c e n t r a l i t y of the Unique Tale depends on the t a l e ' s thematic value: the theme of s t o r y t e l l i n g accentuated in these f o l k t a l e s i s also present i n the Unique Tale, where i t receives i t s c o l o r a t i o n from Colum's omnipresent p o l i t i c a l awareness. S t o r y t e l l i n g , which both reveals a d i s t i n c t i v e aspect of r u r a l culture and conducts i t s p a r t i c i p a n t s to a more nebulous past grandeur, expresses much of Colum's p a r t i c u l a r v i s i o n of the past and present of Ireland. The context of s t o r y t e l l i n g in the f o l k t a l e gives s p e c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e to Colum's choice of an object of pursuit, e s p e c i a l l y since the story sought out i s described, quoting a t r a d i t i o n among i t s sources, as "unique." When Colum puts the Unique Tale i n the mouth of the very person who most needs to hear i t , G i l l y of the Goatskin,he borrows the element of r e f l e x i v i t y from the type of f o l k t a l e structure explored above. In G i l l y ' s r e l a t i o n to the Unique Tale, we f i n d the crux of the s t o r y t e l l i n g theme of The  King of Ireland's Son. For him, i t i s a repository not j u s t of knowledge but of i d e n t i t y . The t e l l i n g of the Unique Tale procures G i l l y a r e a l name, but the knowledge of i t gives him a heritage, and indeed a n o b i l i t y . The King of Ireland's Son says as much when he gives G i l l y the news that he i s the l o s t c h i l d of the Unique Tale. Putting his arm around him as i f to draw him into h i s own heroic world, the King's Son says, "'And the Unique Tale i s i n part your own his t o r y , Flann" 1 (KS, 184). In t h i s way, t h i s extremely v i t a l f a i r y t a l e l i n k s G i l l y to Colum's I r i s h contemporaries, for GillyVs r e l a t i o n s h i p to the Unique Tale p a r a l l e exactly the r e l a t i o n s h i p of turn-of-the century Irishmen, including Colum himself, to the great body of n a t i o n a l l o r e with which they were becoming increasingly f a m i l i a r and by which they were increasingly i n s p i r e d . By 1916, there were several decades of saga t r a n s l a t i o n s and f o l k t a l e c o l l e c t i o n s i n existence, and Colum had observed c l o s e l y t h e i r e f f e c t on the morale of h i s countrymen. Even as early as A Boy in E i r i n n (1913), Colum's r u r a l characters, l i k e the men he knew, were being kindled by the knowledge of the former glory of the race. Colum's imaginative connection of the c u l t u r a l awareness of the I r i s h with the t e l l i n g of s t o r i e s i n the f o l k l i f e r e s u l t s i n the omnipresence of s t o r y t e l l i n g i n The King of Ireland's Son. So many of the book's characters have s t o r i e s to t e l l that the sound of s t o r y t e l l i n g murmurs con t i n u a l l y behind the action, at l a s t breaking f o r t h v i v a c i o u s l y and h i l a r i o u s l y during the closing wedding celebrations. The only important character who does not t e l l s t o r i e s i s also the one character so irremediably e v i l that he must be destroyed: the King of the Land of Mist. The v i l l a i n of Cycle I, the Enchanter of Black Backlands, regenerates himself by t e l l i n g . t h e r e s t of the Unique Tale and i s forgiven for his past i n i q u i t i e s . Even Gilveen, i n her own devious way more treacherous than the Enchanter, i s allowed to t e l l over events to the King's Son and Fedelma when they reach the Spae-Woman's house l a t e i n the book. Indeed, the account of t h e i r l a s t night with the L i t t l e Sage of the Mountain before leaving for the Spae-Woman's expresses f a i r l y c l e a r l y the sense of s t o r y t e l l i n g that Colum i s developing: On that night the L i t t l e Sage t o l d them from what b i r d had come the wing that thatched h i s house. That was a wonderful story. And he told them too about the next place they should go t o — t h e Spae-Woman's house. . . . The L i t t l e Sage t o l d them from what people the Spae-Woman came and why she l i v e d amongst the poor and f o o l i s h without name or splendor or rich e s . And that, too, was a wonderful story. KS, 225-256. Because the spoken word transmits some of the bases of c u l t u r e — knowledge of the strange and the b e a u t i f u l , and of h i s t o r y and the workings of the w o r l d — i t i s i t s e l f a wonder. It has been e s p e c i a l l y important to the I r i s h because o r a l culture could not be as su c c e s s f u l l y suppressed as written culture. For the benefit of h i s I r i s h readers, but also for any reader, Colum suggests the importance of l i s t e n i n g to the records of one's own past. The effectiveness of the Unique Tale as the formal and thematic center of the book hinges on an irony: the King of Ireland Son c l e a r l y finds the t e l l i n g of t a l e s of c r u c i a l i n t e r e s t , but the p r i n c i p a l character of the Unique Tale, Sheen, i s under bonds that f o r b i d speech. Her i n a b i l i t y to give her husband any knowledg of herself or indeed even any sign of her anguish at the loss of her c h i l d makes her p a i n f u l l y vulnerable to the incriminating c o l l u s i o n of circumstances and her si s t e r s - i n - l a w . The threat of no-resolution discussed as a formal mechanism in Chapter II above accentuates the tearfulness of Sheen's predicament, which i s nothing less than the obstruction of the human capacity f or communication. The d e n i a l of res o l u t i o n creates an important pattern i n the narrative, which i n fact enables Colum to express more f o r c e f u l l y the importance of passing on knowledge. If t e l l i n g the Unique Tale as a device which enables the progression of the King's Son's quest has a p o s i t i v e e f f e c t on the movement of the narra t i v e , the n o t - t e l l i n g within the t a l e has such a negative one that the problem i t engenders requires most of the a c t i v i t y of the book to resolve. Indeed, the s i l e n c e that the Unique Tale preserves can only be expurgated by the t e l l i n g of the Unique Tale. Not u n t i l t h i s equation i s balanced can further progress toward r e s o l u t i o n be made. The l a s t few l i n e s of the book make e x p l i c i t what has been i m p l i c i t every time Colum brings forward the na r r a t i v e frame by making the frame s t o r y t e l l e r address the hypothetical "kind" l i s t e n e r : the two heroes are themselves the subjects of s t o r i e s . The King of Ireland l i v e d long, but he died while h i s sons were i n t h e i r strong manhood, and a f t e r he passed away the Island of Destiny came under the equal r u l e of the two. And one had r u l e over the courts and c i t i e s , the harbors and the m i l i t a r y encampments. And the other had r u l e over the waste places and the v i l l a g e s and the roads where masterless men walked. And the deeds of one are i n the h i s t o r i e s the shanachies have written in the language of the learned, and the deeds of the other are in the s t o r i e s the people t e l l to you and to me. KS_, 275 S t o r y t e l l i n g In The King of Ireland's Son i s at i t s most r e f l e x i v e and meaningful when i t touches the book's heroes. These two heroes, to whom the learning and repeating of t a l e s have been matters of physical e f f i c a c y and personal i d e n t i t y , are now themselves incorporated into the body of h i s t o r y and story that makes up I r i s h c u l t u r e , as i t extends i t s e l f to the unlettered and the learned a l i k e . The heroes' experience with the Unique Tale has suggested the importance of the t r a d i t i o n a l means of passing down knowledge, perceptions and values; now the heroes themselves become represen-t a t i v e s of these c u l t u r a l values. Indeed, Colum reveals himself here at l a s t , pointing beneath the smooth surface of the na r r a t i v e to suggest that very much attends not j u s t upon the heroes but upon the differences between them. U n t i l now, these differences have been expressed l a r g e l y as formal ones. The King's Son, for instance, i s a seeker-hero whereas G i l l y i s a victim-hero, with a correspondingly episodic rather than o r g a n i c a l l y constructed p l o t . S i m i l a r l y , d i f f e r e n t f o l k t a l e genres are asso-ciated with each of the two heroes. The King of Ireland's Son belongs to the v a r i e t y of hero-tale that i s also a M a r c h e n A Marchen, St i t h Thompson explains, i s a t a l e of some length involving a succession of motifs or episodes. It moves in an unreal world without d e f i n i t e l o c a l i t y or d e f i n i t e characters and i s f i l l e d with the marvellous. In t h i s never-never land humble heroes k i l l adversaries, succeed to kingdoms, and marry princesses.6 In keeping with the character of the Marchen from which he comes, the King's Son consorts with royal and enchanted characters, and depends on magic objects and formulas for success i n h i s quests. G i l l y , on the other hand, belongs more or less to the n o v e l l a . The n o v e l l a , again according to Thompson, though similar i n general structure to the Marchen, moves in a r e a l world with d e f i n i t e time and place, and though marvels do appear, they are such as apparently c a l l for the hearer's b e l i e f i n a way that the Marchen does not.^ Colum's d i f f e r e n t i a t i o n of the t e l l e r s and the audience of each hero' his t o r y i n the passage quoted above i s a way of stating i n d i r e c t l y the generic diffe r e n c e inherent i n the r e l a t i o n s h i p of G i l l y and the King's Son. There i s some incongruity i n the l o c a l e s invoked i n t h i s f i n a l passage. The landscape of the King of Ireland's Son i s that of the f o l k t a l e , dotted with dwelling places which, whether grand, lowly, or enchanted, e x i s t e s s e n t i a l l y in. i s o l a t i o n . The exception i s the Town of the Red Castle, where Colum ex p l o i t s a f a v o r i t e subject, the f a i r , to create one of the book's rare a r t i c u l a t i o n s between f o l k t a l e s e t t i n g and the r e a l world. But the King of the Land of Mist, the Enchanter of the Black Backlands, the Spae-Woman, the L i t t l e Sage of the Mountain, and even G i l l y of the Goatskin for a time, l i v e i n dwellings that are l i k e l i t t l e independent words separated from the r e s t of society. Yet the " m i l i t a r y camps" and "harbors," the roads of "masterless men," even v i l l a g e s and c i t i e s , suggest a more r e a l i s t i c s e t ting than that through which the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin have roamed in the course of t h e i r adventures. By moving from a marvellous and romantic to a more r e a l i s t i c s e t t i n g as he divides the kingdom between the two half-brothers, Colum indicates the relevance of The King of Ireland's Son to the r e a l "Island of Destiny," Ireland, and to i t s contemporary predicament. The element of p o l i t i c a l commentary in The King of Ireland's g Son, f i r s t noted by Zack Bowen, may seem to run counter to Colum's use of the f o l k t a l e medium, which i n i t i a l l y seems only s e l f - r e f e r e n t i a l . At the same time, the existence of a p o l i t i c a l v i s i o n i n The King of Ireland's Son should hardly be s u r p r i s i n g , e s p e c i a l l y i n l i g h t of Colum's a c t i v i t i e s and h i s other writings. He was too involved i n I r i s h p o l i t i c s , had too many friends who had vowed to r i s k t h e i r l i v e s f o r Ireland, including some of the martyrs of the Easter Rising, and was too cognizant of the s p e c i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p between l i t e r a t u r e and public l i f e that obtained i n I r i s h a f f a i r s to write, in 1916, a book based on I r i s h materials, f o l k or not, without p o l i t i c a l overtones. In f a c t , The King of Ireland's Son would be a greater anomaly among Colum's works i f i t were t r u l y devoid of such themes. The p o l i t i c a l element that the book's closing passage (p. 123 J above) brings to l i g h t has a c t u a l l y been a part of The King of  Ireland's Son from the s t a r t . The two heroes are c a r e f u l l y constructed, complementary symbols of the I r i s h nation, t e l l i n g l y woven through the warp of heroism. The t a c t i c of doubling the hero in t h i s book allows Colum to explore and expand the concept of heroism while developing a v i s i o n of the I r i s h character and i t s predicament. The d i f f e r e n t rhythms of action explored i n Chapter II above also contribute to the expression of Colum's complex v i s i o n of I r i s h character; the rhythm of the King's Son's action depends on a mechanism for success and completion that characterizes him as ac t i v e , f i l l e d with the kind of potency necessary for the success of the I r i s h p o l i t i c a l quest, whereas G i l l y ' s f a i l u r e rhythm i s a manifestation of the defeatism and dispossession of the I r i s h peasant. The two heroes are two faces of the I r i s h nation in a dynamic r e l a t i o n s h i p . Of Colum's two heroes, c l e a r l y :• the King's Son wears the more t r a d i t i o n a l heroic costume. Coming from the Marchen side of the hero t a l e and inhabiting that f a n c i f u l and romantic world, he i s associated with the Marchen kind of acti o n , an action whose formal mechanism i s designed to assess and express the character not only of the i n d i v i d u a l hero of the t a l e but also of Heroism i t s e l f . Because the hero must accordingly exhibit q u a l i t i e s of courage, f i d e l i t y , strength, wit and i n t e g r i t y , f u l l use i s made of the t e s t s , tasks, struggles, v i l l a i n s and donors that have become synonymous with the f a i r y t a l e . When Colum says that the deeds of the King's Son are recorded by the learned shanachies and that he ruled over the courts, c i t i e s , harbours and m i l i t a r y encampments, he i s a l i g n i n g not j u s t the King of Ireland's Son but also t h i s p a r t i c u l a r t r a d i t i o n of heroism with these spheres of I r i s h l i f e . Colum hereby associates t h i s nobly heroic t r a d i t i o n with the l e t t e r e d and the urbane of an e a r l i e r I r i s h age, with the p r i v i l e g e d court or warrior class of a bygone era rather than with the modern peasant. Colum f i r s t suggests the relevance of t h i s t r a d i t i o n of heroism to modern I r i s h rebels when the King of Ireland's Son meets Laheen the Eagle. The d e t a i l s of the King's Son's a c q u i s i t i o n of a donor are selected and modified from the t r a d i t i o n a l motif of the f o l k t a l e hero's intervention i n a b a t t l e for the kingship of the animals. Here, Laheen vies with the E e l over who should l e g i s l a t e for the animals. When the King's Son rescues Laheen and Laheen becomes de facto r u l e r (rather than the E e l , who often triumphs i n f o l k t a l e analogues), the King's Son becomes, p o t e n t i a l l y at l e a s t , a symbolic defender of Ireland. Colum gives substance to these intimations when he makes the Sword of Light the object of the King's Son's search. This search, during which the King's Son proves his heroic mettle by guarding the Gobaun Saor's forge against the ravages of the Fua, p a r a l l e l s the process by which the heroes of I r i s h written romances, l i k e Cuchulairi'. and Finn, earn 9 t h e i r heroic weaponry. The quest for arms i t s e l f , i n other words, i d e n t i f i e s the King of Ireland's Son with the great I r i s h heroes. But the Sword of Light held a s p e c i a l and quite s p e c i f i c meaning for Colum's compatriots. An Claidheamh Soluis (The Sword of Light) was the t i t l e of the Gaelic League weekly, edited f or a time by Padraic Pearse, who intended to make i t "'the organ of m i l i t a n t Gaeldom. ".'^ To Colum and h i s contemporaries, the Sword of Light, o r i g i n a l l y a motif i n f o l k t a l e s , had come to mean f i r s t of a l l the intimacy with Gaelic Ireland that gave the modern n a t i o n a l i s t s a sense of n a t i o n a l i d e n t i t y , and secondly the kind of militancy at arms that led Pearse and others into the Easter Rising i n hopes of implementing the n a t i o n a l destiny. Colum extends t h i s symbolism with the King's Son's f a i l u r e to preserve the Sword's e f f i c a c y , which forces him to embark on a yet more d i f f i c u l t quest for the means of i t s r e s t o r a t i o n , the Unique Tale. Thus Colum causes the King's Son's m i l i t a n t heroism, with i t s overtones of I r i s h r e b e l l i o n , to be chastened and deepened .by e f f o r t , s u f f e r i n g and i n t e l l e c t u a l enlightenment. We s h a l l see t h i s q u a l i f i c a t i o n of romantic heroism grow into a reassessment of the value of t h i s heroic t r a d i t i o n when we turn to Castle Conquer and The F l y i n g Swans. Colum seems to be aware of the dangers of crushing such a d e l i c a t e l y framed na r r a t i v e as h i s with the weight of didacticism, because the p o l i t i c a l implications of the King's Son's plot remain more or l e s s covert. He i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y ambiguous when he has G i l l y overhear one of the Hags say (of G i l l y ) , '"Mind what I t e l l you. His father's son w i l l grow into a powerful champion" 1 (KS, 98). Whether the subject of t h i s p r e d i c t i o n i s G i l l y or the King's Son or both i s never revealed. Colum removes some of his p o l i t i c a l import from the main plot altogether, and places i t instead i n h i s " i n - t a l e s . " Because i n - t a l e s can be short, ambiguous, and diverse-—most do not have p o l i t i c a l content—Colum can conveniently and cautiously touch on h i s p o l i t i c a l themes i n one or two. The curious l i t t l e t a l e of "The Young Cuckoo," for instance, of the four t a l e s that Fedelma and the King's Son t e l l each other while crossing the f i e l d s of flowers i s the only one to bear p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e . A l l of the s t o r i e s do point outward in some way, however; two contain n o n - p o l i t i c a l moral elements and one, "The Sending of the C r y s t a l Egg," mysteriously broaches events relevant to G i l l y of the Goatskin. "The Young Cuckoo" shares with the others t h i s e x t e r i o r relevance, then; and i n addition, the surface elements of a l l of these t a l e s are so strongly imagined that the themes themselves take second, place. The cuckoo, for instance, makes such a p e c u l i a r and imaginatively captivating character that the p o l i t i c a l a llegory receives only the l i g h t e s t touch. The possibly a l l e g o r i c a l constituents of the s t o r y — t h e raucous cuckoo trapped i n the tree where his parents have l e f t him to be brought up by others, the foster-parents who sadly abandon him only a f t e r long attempts to get him to emerge from the hole as th e i r own children did, the admonition of the woodpecker that "There's going to be a storm," and the f i n a l bolt of l i g h t n i n g that releases the c u c k o o — a l l these are oddly disguised by the texture of the piece, which focuses attention on the highly c o l o r f u l surface rather than on the inherent symbolism. Colum's meaning i s further cloaked by ambiguities in the story's end: The young cuckoo flung himself out on the grass and went awkwardly amongst the blue b e l l s . "What a world," said he. " A l l t h i s wet and f i r e and noise to get me out of the nest. What a world!" The young cuckoo was free, and these were the f i r s t words he said when he went into the world. 40-41 The cuckoo's desire for freedom, for a chance to test h i s wings, h i s s t r i v i n g "toward the big sky" suggest a l i n k between the cuckoo and emergent Ireland, between his cataclysmic release and the wholly sympathetic and p o l i t i c a l l y much l e s s ambiguous entry into the world of G i l l y of the Goatskin. However, the cuckoo i s a b i z z a r r e choice for a symbol of the I r i s h nation, e s p e c i a l l y with the coarseness that Colum gives him and with the unsavory cause of his predicament (his parents' t r i c k e r y ) . It i s possible that Colum means to symbolize the r e c a l c i t r a n t Englishman, who can only be s p i l l e d from h i s unsuitable adoptive home by violence (the storm representing, i n any case, a projected revolutionary upheaval). More l i k e l y , Colum i s saying that the I r i s h character and the I r i s h nation w i l l be a d i f f e r e n t b i r d from the one who has imposed his image on Ireland for so long. If t h i s i s indeed Colum's intent, i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that no violence need be done to the birds who somewhat misguidedly tr y to rear him i n t h e i r own image. The cuckoo's enemy i s r e a l l y the inanimate tree t r u n k — n o t the Anglo-Irish, that i s , but the form they have imposed on Ireland, possibly t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n s . Even more curious are the p o l i t i c a l overtones of The King  of Ireland's Son's greatest conundrum, the t a l e of the King of the Cats. The King of the Cats himself i s an inhabitant of the C e l t i c I s l e of Man, yet paradoxically, i t seems that he i s a haughty symbol of a decayed imperial England: h i s customary t r i b u t e of boatloads of herring and mackerel and b a r r e l s f u l of preserved mice from his dominions, l i k e England's c o l o n i a l income, gradually ceases. Much of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the episode i s obscure, and some of i t would seem to make the cats of Ireland, i n t h e i r oppression, representative of the I r i s h people. However, whatever the d i f f i c u l t y of the a l l e g o r y l a t e r in the t a l e , the terms are f a i r l y c l e a r at the beginning. Colum equips the King of the Cats with a Prime Minister and a Parliament and puts him to the absurdity of commanding a throne speech from h i s Prime Minister, i n t h i s way s i t u a t i n g him among B r i t i s h i n s t i t u t i o n s . Colum's tone i s d e l i g h t f u l l y mocking when he has the Prime Minister discover that he has forgotten a l l of the o f f i c i a l court language except "Oyez, oyez, oyez" and hang himself "with a measure of tape" (KS, 55). A scene i n Castle  Conquer helps with the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h i s sequence of events. When John Fitzsimmons, a young, n a t i o n a l i s t lawyer, d e l i v e r s a scathing s a t i r e on the B r i t i s h courts i n a polemical set-piece which could have been taken from the pages of Sinn Fein, he picks out t h i s very phrase as an example of the way Norman pageantry was employed to further B r i t i s h hegemony. It i s a l l byplay to impress the poor a g r i c u l t u r a l i s t . . . . Then a solemn-faced c r i e r c r i e s out three times, "Oyez, oyez, oyez," that the I r i s h f o l k may know that s t i l l the Norman bids them hear, for the Queen speaks. CC, 312-313 When Colum has the cat Prime Minister hang himself, he i s once again scorning the r i g i d and anachronistic administrative structures of the B r i t i s h presence i n Ireland, as he did i n "The Young Cuckoo." There i s no such t a l e as that which Colum t e l l s here in I r i s h f o l k l o r e , but there are many cat kings, most of whom are strange, f i e r c e and malevolent. The association between Colum's King of the Cats and B r i t i s h imperialism i s consistent with t h i s t r a d i t i o n . Colum's p o l i t i c a l s a t i r e i n t h i s story becomes more serious, even prophetic, with the horrendous struggle between the King of the Cats and h i s r i v a l , the Eagle-Emperor. Both are formidable and tenacious warriors. As we have seen i n Chapter I I , Colum gives the f i g h t a stunning immediacy when he makes Curoi the Druid l i t e r a l l y p e t r i f y the combatants i n the middle of the i r struggle. He refuses to foreclose the outcome of a b a t t l e which was only beginning i n 1916, and i n fact accurately forecasts the length and bitterness of the rev o l u t i o n which eventually l e d to the 1922 Treaty. The strange ending of the story of the King of the Cats suggests how e l e c t r i -fying Ireland's struggle was to those involved i n i t , and how Irishmen l i k e Colum suddenly found themselves breathlessly awaiting the r e s o l u t i o n of the b a t t l e for nationhood which was being so vigorously renewed. If the frozen confrontation of the King of the Cats and the Eagle-Emperor has immediacy f or Colum's readers, i t also has an i m p l i c i t immediacy for the King of Ireland's Son. In My I r i s h  Year (1912), Colum has noted that the f o l k often collapse h i s t o r i c a l time, so that O i s i n , Saint Patrick, and Daniel O'Connell might a l l inhabit the same s t o r y . 1 1 He brings the phenomenon of synchronicity into The King of Ireland's Son when he makes the King of the Cat's story roughly contemporary with the main na r r a t i v e . The connection i s i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to King Connal: King Connal i s r u l i n g Ireland when the King of Cats v i s i t s i t , and he i s also the father of our hero. The temporal proximity of the i n - t a l e and the story of the King's Son himself puts the King of Ireland's Son i n an e x c i t i n g l y revolutionary context, while giving the t a l e of the King of the Cats an import and a relevance to the main nar r a t i v e that the other i n t a l e s , even "The Young Cuckoo" (but excepting the Unique Tale), do not. The King of Ireland's Son, i n f a c t , has himself a s s i s t e d an Eagle i n j u s t such a struggle as the Eagle-Emperor faces f o r 134. supremacy i n the animal kingdom. The two eagles, indeed, one male and one female (Laheen i s the mother of the Crystal Egg) can be seen as complementary aspects of the same p r i n c i p l e . The f i e r c e and uncompromising Eagle-Emperor i s the warlike manifestation of the n a t i o n a l s p i r i t ; "a brave man would have been glad i f he could have seen the Eagle-Emperor," the story goes (KS, 75). Laheen, i n contrast, though stern and proud, presents a more domesticated face of the symbolic correspondence between eagle and Ireland. The p a r a l l e l between the Eagle-Emperor's struggle with the King of Cats and Laheen's b a t t l e with the E el rein f o r c e s the intimation that the King of Ireland's Son's defence of Laheen makes him a metaphorical defender of Ireland. The obscurity of Colum's p o l i t i c a l a l l e g o r y , both here and i n "The Young Cuckoo," probably owes something to the t r a d i t i o n of I r i s h protest l i t e r a t u r e , i n p a r t i c u l a r the t r a d i t i o n of the p o l i t i c a l b a l l a d . Colum records his i n t e r e s t i n p o l i t i c a l symbolism 12 in My I r i s h Year, and indeed has c o l l e c t e d and edited both p o l i t i c a l and romantic popular songs, i n Broadsheet Ballads (1913). He f e l t the teeth of censorship himself when the paper i n which some of h i s f i r s t poems were printed, as well as reviews and essays, Sinn Fein, was suppressed by Dublin Castle. (Sinn Fein's publisher, Arthur G r i f f i t h , immediately began a new paper, The United Irishman.) S t i l l , The King of Ireland's Son came out i n America, and censorship i n any case was not much of an issue for Colum. The B r i t i s h government ignored Cathleen n i Houlihan, a f t e r a l l , as well as Colum's own p o l i t i c a l play, The Saxon S h i l l i n ' (1903), and both of these plays are far more incendiary than The King of Ireland's  Son. Colum invokes the t r a d i t i o n of p o l i t i c a l symbolism i n The  King of Ireland's Son as an a r t i s t i c stratagem for deepening his themes and ordering his story rather than as a p r a c t i c a l measure. As a consequence of t h i s complex transaction between eagles, in-tales and main-plot quests, the King of Ireland's Son becomes a l l the more c l e a r l y a symbolic protector of the realm, or more accurately, a model of the kind of young man who must learn f i g h t i n g ways i n order to e s t a b l i s h the nation through force. P o l i t i c a l l y , then, the King's Son stands i n r e l a t i o n s h i p to the Eagle-Emperor as the s t r i n g of I r i s h r e v o l u t i o n a r i e s down to Colum's own time did to Ireland, and one of Colum's main concerns as he establishes the as s o c i a t i o n i s to make h i s hero a paradigm of the a c t i v e , warlike type. The rest of the a c t i o n does not make the p o l i t i c a l element much more e x p l i c i t , but as the King of Ireland's Son continues to grow i n valour, wisdom, and prowess, he develops the v i r t u e s that each inexperienced generation of young rebels was concerned to inculcate, as Francis G i l l i c k i s i n Castle Conquer. Thus Colum develops h i s a l l u s i o n to a p a r t i c u l a r type of p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y i n as s o c i a t i o n with a p a r t i c u l a r mode of heroism—the a c t i v e , formally e f f i c a c i o u s and romantic heroism of the Marchen's seeker-hero. If the King of Ireland's Son i s the noble romantic hero to whom Colum gives sway over the courts and harbours—the center of the s o c i a l and economic o r d e r — t h e n G i l l y i s the anomalous peasant-hero who w i l l r u l e the out-of-the-way, country places. Formally, the stars on G i l l y ' s breast, which show him to be a king's son i n spite of the perceived lowliness of his rearing and h i s character, cast G i l l y , according to Colum's view of the I r i s h peasantry, as high Milesian by lineage, but forced into a humble, oppressed existence. The vignette that opens G i l l y ' s adventures i s u t t e r l y i n keeping with t h i s reading of Colum's characterization of G i l l y : he l i e s i n his cradle kidnapped, oppressed, abused, deprived of even the memory of hi s heritage, led to believe that he i s deformed—bodily hunchbacked, mentally d e f i c i e n t — b y the superannuated Hags of the Long Teeth. G i l l y , whose condition could be said to encapsule the state of the I r i s h nation i n Colum's time, represents the native I r i s h , who were deprived of l i b e r t y , self-knowledge, and s e l f - r e s p e c t , and who were denigrated for t h e i r supposed deficiency in c i v i l i z a t i o n , character and heritage. The vignette continues, however, to capture symbolically a h i s t o r i c a l moment that fascinated Colum—the dawning of awareness and p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y i n the a f f l i c t e d peasantry. Colum l i n g e r s over "the moment of the peasant's entrance into a f f a i r s " i n " E i l i s 13 A Woman's Story," and explores i t more f u l l y i n h i s play The  Land (1905) as well as i n the novel Castle Conquer. Here, Colum captures t h i s moment i n G i l l y ' s sudden attack on the Hags and leap into the world. Colum does not, however, give an exact motivation for G i l l y ' s sudden decision to overturn h i s cradle, whose time seems simply to have come, nor does Colum say how a bow came to be in the roof, from which i t f e l l down to G i l l y . In 137. d e c l i n i n g to foreclose t h i s unexpected surge of a c t i v i t y with de t a i l e d a n a l y s i s , Colum mysti f i e s i t , perhaps suggesting i n i t the miraculous intervention of a glorious n a t i o n a l destiny. In G i l l y , then, Colum represents the I r i s h peasantry; and because h i s conception of the peasantry i s complicated by h i s own assessment of the I r i s h p o l i t i c a l predicament, h i s ch a r a c t e r i z a t -ion i s accordingly complex. The King of Ireland's Son, who i s a spokesman for a genre, a set of conventions, more than for a s o c i a l c l a s s , can be brought almost f u l l y formed from the t r a d i t i o n of romantic heroism, but G i l l y , who i s made to re f e r to an aspect of the r e a l world as well as to convention, must be more i n t r i c a t e l y composed. S p e c i f i c a l l y , Colum requires G i l l y to accommodate the notion of the peasant-hero. "For Colum, the peasant i s hero," writes Richard Loftus: Colum t o l d me i n January, 1961, that the underlying motif of his work has always been the heroism of the peasantry. At a seminar at the National University of Ireland, Dublin (U.C.D.) i n February, 1961, Colum while t a l k i n g of heroism used the phrase, "Plutarch l i e d , " by which he meant to suggest that Plutarch was wrong i n i d e n t i f y i n g Heroism with great and noble men.^ In h i s attempt to integrate the peasant i n G i l l y with notions of heroism, Colum draws on diverse antecedents. G i l l y i s many characters: the I r i s h Strong John, the Master Thief, the stolen babe of the Unique Tale, the callow youth unlucky i n love, the "natural man" who i s intimate with the f o r e s t , the r i v e r , and the animals, and the resourceful but also f o r g e t f u l hero. G i l l y , fashioned to include these myriad elements, becomes not only a more o r i g i n a l creation than the King's Son but also one closer to the core of Colum's n a t i o n a l i s t perceptions. The most important source for G i l l y of the Goatskin's heroism i s a matrix of f o l k t a l e characters from I r i s h l o w l i f e t a l e (novelle), i n p a r t i c u l a r , I r i s h versions of "Strong John," touched on i n Chapter I above. How one Strong John t a l e type can give r i s e to d i f f e r e n t I r i s h f o l k t a l e characters can be i l l u s t r a t e d by comparing two t a l e s that appear i n Kennedy's Legendary F i c t i o n s  of the I r i s h Celts and F i r e s i d e Tales of Ireland with Thompson's del i n e a t i o n of Strong John in The F o l k t a l e . "Strong John," according to Thompson, i s not simply a character but a t a l e type (Type 650). The opening, which t h i s t a l e shares with "The Bear's Son" (Type 301), often gives Strong John extraordinary o r i g i n s — h e may be fathered by a bear or struck from iron by a smith—and continues to d e t a i l his youth, which usually i s characterized both by precocity and by a "long nurturing" (Motif FQ11.2.3), often meaning that he i s suckled u n t i l he i s a teenager The opening sequence ends when Strong John, whose great appetite brings r u i n on the household, i s sent out to seek his fortune. After a preliminary adventure at a smithy, John enters into one of three strange labor contracts. In the one relevant to G i l l y of the Goatskin, "The Anger Bargain" (Type 1000) outlined more f u l l y i n Chapter I, John and h i s employer agree that whichever one of them becomes angry and sorry f o r the contract w i l l lose e i t h e r wages or some other compensation. The employer sets p h y s i c a l l y demanding and treacherous tasks, but Strong John uses his great strength both to accomplish the tasks and to wreak havoc in the process, eventually d r i v i n g the employer to anger and winning the wager.^ The two Kennedy ta l e s most relevant to Colum's G i l l y of the Goatskin are "Jack and h i s Master," i n F i r e s i d e S t o r i e s , and "Adventures of ' G i l l a na Chreck an Gour" i n Legendary F i c t i o n s . (Both are reprinted i n Jacobs' C e l t i c Fairy Tales.) These are the tales that contribute s p e c i f i c elements of plot or character to Colum's construct, but other t a l e s such as "Jack and h i s Comrades" may be consulted as examples of related c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . The f i r s t two, however, are c l e a r l y variants of the t a l e of Strong John. In "Jack and His Master," we have a clear and e x p l i c i t instance of Type 650, "The Anger Bargain." The differences between t h i s version of the type and Thompson's o u t l i n e are as i n t e r e s t i n g as the s i m i l a r i t i e s . F i r s t , the opening sequence i s omitted e n t i r e l y i n the Kennedy t a l e . Jack i s the youngest son of a widow and i s thought to be rather simple; there i s no extraordinary b i r t h , no precocity, and no long nurturing. But even more s u r p r i s i n g , Jack has no p a r t i c u l a r excess of strength i n t h i s v ersion. Instead of using h i s phy s i c a l strength to f r u s t r a t e h i s employer, i n t h i s case c a l l e d the Gray Churl of the Townland of Mischance, Jack f o i l s him with h i s cleverness: he pretends to be simple, takes h i s master's metaphoric d i r e c t i o n s l i t e r a l l y , and f i n a l l y wins the bargain. It i s c l e a r that Colum drew e i t h e r from t h i s very t a l e or from one quite l i k e i t i n co n t r i v i n g the episode of G i l l y and the Churl of the Townland of Mischance. The almost exact c o i n c i -dence of the names of the respective c r u e l masters—Colum merely drops the adjective " G r a y " — i l l u s t r a t e s the closeness of the two accounts, and there are as well the memorable stake i n the wager (a s t r i p of skin one and a hal f inches wide from the neck to the heel); the two predecessors who return sore and scarred; the hero willingness to forego the s t r i p of the Churl's skin i n return for double wages for the unfortunate predecessors; and the seeming b r u t a l i t y of the l a s t t r i c k , involving sheep's eyes i n Kennedy and horses' legs i n Colum, which the hero takes care to reveal to the townspeople as r e a l l y only a harmless ruse. Of the change from the t a l e type i n t h i s version, the most important for Colum' purposes, as s h a l l become cl e a r , i s the su b s t i t u t i o n of Jack's cleverness for Strong John's strength. There are other s i g n i f i c a n t elements of the Strong John t a l e which are not present i n "Jack and His Master." Some of these elements, s p e c i f i c a l l y the "long nurturing" motif, occur i n the second Kennedy t a l e . "The Adventures of ' G i l l a na Chreck an Gour,'" or the Lad with the Goatskin, begins with a b r i e f account of the youth of the hero, here c a l l e d "Tom." He i s slow to f e e l h i s independence; h i s mother keeps him and covers him with ashes f o r warmth u n t i l she procures a goatskin for him to wear. He i s f i n a l l y sent out at age nineteen to gather wood for the f i r e . While doing so, he encounters a giant, the struggle with whom reveals h i s great strength. The main events of the t a l e i r r e l e v a n t for Colum, are not one of the strange contracts of the Strong John t a l e type but concern how Tom wins a serious princess by making her laugh. One further d e t a i l of the opening l i n k s Kennedy's Tom to the opening of the Strong John t a l e : the version Thompson mentions i n which Strong John i s struck from iron by a smith appears to have degenerated into the otherwise gratuitous d e t a i l that Tom and h i s mother l i v e "near the iron forge at Enniscorthy. In The King of Ireland's Son, not only i s the name of the hero the same (the Lad, or G i l l y , with the Goatskin), but the wearing of the goatskin i s woven into the d e t a i l s of the Long Nurturing. Colum's use of t h i s motif d i f f e r s s i g n i f i c a n t l y from Kennedy's. For the mother and the ash-heap, Colum substitutes the Hags of the Long Teeth and the cradle. As a r e s u l t , G i l l y becomes an oppressed captive rather than a sluggard, a symbolic representation of an I r i s h people made l e t h a r g i c through t h e i r absence of prospects and l i v e l i h o o d , j u s t p r i o r to t h e i r emergence into a f f a i r s — G i l l y ' s leap into the world. At the same time, the remnants of the long-nurturing motif l i n k G i l l y through Tom to Strong John. But Tom of "The Adventures of ' G i l l a na Chreck Gour' retains very d i f f e r e n t q u a l i t i e s of the type than the hero of "Jack and His Master." This Strong John i s indeed s t r o n g — t h a t motif i s restored, and he i s good-natured but he i s also crude and i f not stupid then extremely naive i n the ways of the world. Furthermore, Kennedy emphasizes h i s lowliness of b i r t h and clas s by putting his t a l e into Stage I r i s h accents which exhibit a l o w l i -ness of expression and manner as well. Kennedy's s t o r y t e l l e r worries e x p l i c i t l y over Tom's lack of " c l a s s " : Well, I suppose, before they were married, Tom got some man, l i k e Pat Mara of Tomenine, to learn him the " p r i n c i p l e s of politeness", f l u x i o n s , gunnery and f o r t i f i c a t i o n , decimal f r a c t i o n s , p r a c t i c e , and the r u l e of three d i r e c t , the way he'd be able to keep up a conversation with the royal family. Whether he ever l o s t his time learning them sciences, I'm not sure, but i t ' s as sure as fate that his mother never saw any want t i l l the end of her d a y s . ^ The narrator's crude and anarchronistic ("royal family") expression of the learning Tom ought to have i s of course i r o n i c . But t h i s passage, i t s supposed humor notwithstanding, indicates t h i s Strong John, l i k e Uriah Heep, i s forever humble. I r i s h f o l k l o r e , i t seems, has developed from the character and events of the Strong John t a l e type two quite d i s t i n c t peasant protagonists, both of whom inform Colum's p o r t r a i t of G i l l y of the Goatskin. Cert a i n l y G i l l y e x h ibits some of the slowness of Kennedy's " G i l l a na Chreck an Gour," or of such a related f o l k t a l e character as Jack in Kennedy's "Jack and His ^Comrades," who without any e x p l i c i t formal r e l a t i o n s h i p to Strong John i s very 18 s i m i l a r i n character and language to the Lad with the Goatskin. G i l l y ' s slowness i s established most strongly in the opening v i g n e t t e — a p o l i t i c i z e d version of the Long Nurturing motif, as we have already seen. Colum does give to G i l l y a decisiveness not common to his f o l k t a l e antecedents, but the opening also emphasizes a tardiness of maturity consistent with l a t e r episodes the infat u a t i o n with Flame-of-Wine, the s u s c e p t i b i l i t y to Gilveen the bumbling i n the second encounter with the Hags of the Long Teeth, and the i n a b i l i t y to recover the Crystal Egg or to sustain the search.for i t — w h i c h Colum extrapolates into G i l l y ' s rhythm of f a i l u r e . If G i l l y represents Colum's version of the peasant, then the peasant as Colum sees him i s quite understandably lacking i n the s k i l l s necessary for success i n the heroic world. This aspect of the peasant i n G i l l y contrasts him with the King of Ireland's Son. The King's Son, being not only born a prince but raised as one, in the t r a d i t i o n of heroic Marchen, i s well equipped for heroic action. Not only does G i l l y ' s n a r r a t i v e rhythm d i f f e r , from his half-brother's, but i n addition, he often f a i l s at what would be a natural accomplishment for the King's Son. The King's Son, in an e f f o r t to take G i l l y under his wing, gives him advice from time to time. For instance, when G i l l y i s at a loss about how he i s ever to discover who his parents are, the King's Son counsels that he "Go to the Hags of the Long Teeth and force them to t e l l you" (KS, 185). These p l a i n , bold words accord p e r f e c t l y well with the King's Son's mode of a c t i v i t y . They mix much l e s s happily with G i l l y ' s mode of a c t i v i t y , unfortunatly. For one, G i l l y at the moment i s wholly consumed by his inf a t u a t i o n with Flame-of-Wine. '"I w i l l do that says G i l l y : . . . but in his own mind he said, "I w i l l f i r s t bring the Comb of Magnificence to Flame-of-Wine, and I w i l l t e l l her that I w i l l have to be away for so many years with Mogue and I s h a l l ask her to remember me u n t i l I come back to her. Then I s h a l l go to the Hags of the Long Teeth and force them to t e l l me what King and Queen were my father and mother. KS, 185 According to t h i s r e v i s i o n of his would-be mentor's plan, G i l l y could not f r e e l y pursue his own destiny for a f u l l seven years. But even when t h i s complication, through the good o f f i c e s of the Spae-Woman, i s resolved and G i l l y confronts the Hags of the Long Teeth, the issue i s not happy. The p a r a l l e l i s with the King's Son's pursuit of the Enchanter of the Black Backlands, from whom he wrests the beginning and the end of the Unique Tale at sword point. In decided contrast, when G i l l y boldly accosts the treacherous Hags, he i s quickly duped, incapacitated, and conveyed into the service of Crom Duv. The kind of d i r e c t action the King's Son quite n a t u r a l l y suggests does not accord with G i l l y ' s a b i l i t i e s . G i l l y ' s ventures do occasionally turn out better, however. At the beginning of his Adventures, he does subdue the Hags, although his prowess with the bow and arrow gets some magical assistance. His Anger Bargain with the Churl of the Townland of Mischance, h i s adventures with the robbers that earn him the t i t l e of Captain of the Robbers, and h i s escape from the w e l l -guarded house of Crom Duv a l l demonstrate that the sluggishness of Kennedy's Lad with the Goatskin i s not the sole determinant of G i l l y ' s character. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , none of these successes, a f t e r 145. he f i r s t escapes from the Hags, i s c r u c i a l to the main p l o t . Moreover, they demonstrate an important d i s t i n c t i o n i n the two heroes' modes of success. The sources of G i l l y ' s mode are the Strong John of "Jack and His Master" on the one hand, and on the other "The Master Thief," from Type 1525, represented i n Kennedy by "Jack the Cunning Thief" ( F i r e s i d e Tales). Both of these p r a c t i c a l heroes—both p e a s a n t s — r i s e above circumstance through t h e i r cleverness rather than through brute force or physical s k i l l . This i s the same p r a c t i c a l cunning behind G i l l y ' s successes. G i l l y ' s cleverness at f i r s t wears a disguise that a s s i s t s the accommodation with his slowness: he wins the Anger Bargain by pretending to be stupid. The f a m i l i a r t a l e of "Jack and the Beanstalk" provides a paradigm for t h i s p e c u l i a r mixture of slowness and cleverness. This Jack too i s rather dim by the world's standards; entrusted with his mother's farm produce, he brings home from the market as payment only a handful of beans. Magic, which also attends G i l l y , turns the beans into the great beanstalk, but :Jack defeats the giant with his own wit. G i l l y ' s cleverness derives from peasant characters i n the f o l k t a l e , as Colum's f i r s t name for G i l l y , Jack, helps to 19 confirm. But G i l l y ' s cunning represents the peasantry i n another way as well. Often the only weapon that the r e a l peasant had against oppressive circumstances was his own wit. Colum incorporates an example i n Castle Conquer. An old woman r e c a l l s how the landlord's agent years ago threatened to f i n e her because her donkey had brayed. She enacted the scene. "The donkey knows you have j u s t come back, s i r . He was going to welcome you. The donkey knows, s i r , how much we missed you." The children by the f i r e l i v e d the scene that t h e i r grandmother acted with such i r o n i c power. (]C, 183 G i l l y ' s b a t t l e with the Churl i s likewise waged underground, in i r o n i c r h e t o r i c rather than d i r e c t action. I f G i l l y ' s na'ivete and earthiness represent the peasant's legacy from years of deprivation, his cleverness, a modified common sense, represents the cunning of the dispossessed, of the man whose perennial disadvantage means that open combat i s impossible, and that his only weapon i s irony. The elements of G i l l y ' s peasant heroism thus far discussed are drawn by Colum out of select f o l k l o r e representations of the peasant. G i l l y ' s q u a l i t i e s , in contrast to those of the King's Son, are not the heroic v i r t u e s of the t r a d i t i o n a l , romantic stereotype, but are part of Colum's attempt to modify t r a d i t i o n a l concepts of heroism to embrace the experience of his primary subject, the peasantry. In keeping, Colum combines G i l l y ' s s p e c i a l q u a l i t i e s of innocence, na'ivet£, p r a c t i c a l i t y , and clever resourcefulness—metaphorically the products of centuries of dispossesion imposed on the once heroic C e l t s , now the I r i s h peasants—with a closeness to nature that characterizes most of Colum's peasant-heroes. It. i s t h i s association with nature which in the end of the book s u i t s G i l l y to rule over "the waste places and the v i l l a g e s and the roads where masterless men walked." G i l l y ' s exploration of nature begins as soon as he escapes the Hags of the Long Teeth. The joy of G i l l y ' s newfound freedom i s also the joy of nature: He was out, as I have said, i n the width and the height, the length and the breadth, the gloom and the gleam of the world. He f i r e d arrows into the a i r . He leaped over ditches, he r o l l e d down h i l l s i d e s , he raced over l e v e l places u n t i l he came to what surprised him more than a l l the things in the w o r l d — a r i v e r . He had never seen such water before and he wondered to see i t moving with swiftness. KS_, 101 G i l l y f e e l s so close to the phenomenon of the r i v e r that he p e r s o n i f i e s i t when the Weasel inquires where he's going. "I'm going the way he's going," said G i l l y , nodding toward the r i v e r , "and I ' l l keep beside him t i l l he wants to turn back." KS, 102 G i l l y s t i l l has something to learn about nature at t h i s point. One of the charms of the r i v e r that G i l l y wants to duplicate in his house i s i t s r e f l e c t i o n of his image—self-knowledge on the most physical l e v e l . When G i l l y creates a lodging a f t e r he acquires the magic Crystal Egg, he incorporates into i t not only a mirror but as much of nature as possible. G i l l y of the Goatskin wished for wide windows i n his house and he got them. He wished for a l i g h t within when there was darkness without, and he got a s i l v e r lamp that burned u n t i l he wished to sleep. He wished for the songs of birds and he had a blackbird singing upon his half-door, a l a r k over his chimney, a goldfinch and a green l i n n e t within h i s window, and a shy wren in the evening singing from the top of his dresser. Then he wished to hear the conversation of the beasts and a l l the creatures of the f i e l d s and the wood and the mountain top came into h i s house. KS, 104. G i l l y ' s house i s turned inside out. I t s i n t e r i o r extends the outside world inward, into a charmed, magical realm where the usua l l y divergent spheres of humanity and nature overlap. His desires are mainly two: il l u m i n a t i o n , both day and night, and communication, either musical or verbal, with the various species of animals. He o f f e r s h i s h o s p i t a l i t y to many: the s k i t t i s h hare. the comical hedgehog, the g l i b and stealthy fox, the crude and majestic boar. Most magical and impressive, however, are the deer. The deer never came into the house, and G i l l y had a shed made for them outside. They would come into i t and stay there for many nights and days, and G i l l y used to go out and t a l k with them. They knew about f a r countries, and strange paths and passes, but they did not know so much about men and about the doings of other creatures as the Fox did. KS, 106 These mentors o f f e r important knowledge and wisdom to G i l l y . Their r e f u s a l to cross even into G i l l y ' s highly modified human sphere gives them a unique c r e d i b i l i t y , mystique, and seriousness consequently, they seem to speak from the heart of the experience of nature. S i g n i f i c a n t l y , the desolate places l a r g e l y unknown to that they t e l l G i l l y of are the very places eventually entrusted to him. G i l l y ' s l i f e i n the woods elaborates on the f o l k t a l e ' s 149. treatment of nature and the creatures who inhabit i t . F olktales usually confine de s c r i p t i o n of se t t i n g to v i v i d , rhythmic, formulaic "runs," which may be quite extravagant in heroic Marchen or more homely i n novelle. The patterns of the homelier kind of run may be heard as Colum t e l l s of "a blackbird singing upon h i s h a l f -door, a l a r k over his chimney, a goldfinch and a green l i n n e t within his window, and a shy wren in the evening singing from the top of his dresser," but the des c r i p t i o n of G i l l y ' s animal v i s i t o r s overflows the f o l k t a l e form and becomes more important to the story than i s usual i n f o l k t a l e s . Folktales are often f u l l of creatures-—magic horses, t a l k i n g r a b b i t s and h e l p f u l birds, i n addition to hounds and horses that the hero must f i n d and birds and beasts of a l l sorts who are rendered more or les s r e a l i s t i c a l l y . Colum's creatures in t h i s episode owe much to f o l k t a l e creatures, including t h e i r general f r i e n d l i n e s s and t h e i r a b i l i t y to communicate. In making them not only G i l l y ' s comrades but his tutors, Colum elaborates on the r o l e of animals in f o l k t a l e s . G i l l y i s interested i n the conversation and knowledge not j u s t of the deer but of a l l of the creatures, who have d i f f e r e n t things to t e l l him according to t h e i r species. By consciously choosing his l i f e in the woods with the animals, wishing i t into existence through the agency of the Cr y s t a l Egg, G i l l y chooses as well the manner of his i n i t i a t i o n into the ways of the world. He in s e r t s himself into a f o l k t a l e - i n s p i r e d , f a n c i f u l version of a f o l k community, i n which knowledge and wisdom, the f r u i t s of experience and observation, are passed on by word of mouth. This informal tutelage contrasts with the King of Ireland's Son's education at the knee of Marauvan, the King's Councillor, who teaches him from "The Breastplate of I n s t r u c t i o n . " The King's Son, one could say, has an e d u c a t i o n — books, tutors, lessons—whereas G i l l y has " l o r e " — a d i s t i n c t i o n made clear at the end of the,book, where G i l l y ' s deeds are remembered by the f o l k shanachies rather than by the court s t o r y t e l l e r s who recount the adventures of the King of Ireland's Son. By putting G i l l y i n the house in the woods, Colum situates him in the m i l i e u of the I r i s h peasant, the countryside. Nature as i t i s presented here i s a source of knowledge and wisdom, however, and suggests that the peasant's closeness to nature gives him not only joy and rejuvenation but also a s p e c i a l insight into the world, unattainable by any other means. G i l l y ' s immersion in the natural world i s part of h i s educating progress through the book, which leads him gradually to an understanding of his place both i n nature and in human society. But Colum makes the experience of the land, which i n Colum's day was sought by many of those who anticipated a r o l e in t h e i r country's l i t e r a r y or p o l i t i c a l destiny, a v i t a l part of the development of a l l of the primary characters i n The King of Ireland's Son. Downal and Dermott, for instance, b r i e f l y i n competition with the King's Son for the Sword of Light, discover that no character can a f f o r d to sever himself either from nature or from the humble l i f e associated with i t . Their arrogance when the L i t t l e Sage of the Mountain asks them to help him in h i s labors d e r a i l s t h e i r quest, while t h e i r half-brother, the King of Ireland's Son, reaps corn for the Sage, who rewards him with d i r e c t i o n s to his next mentor, the Gobaun Saor. Downal and Dermott, however, eventually have a redeeming change of heart, in keeping with the m e l i o r i s t i c s p i r i t of the book, which goes beyond the natural meliorism of the f o l k t a l e in turning bad characters to good account. An important sign of t h e i r redemption i s t h e i r new a t t i t u d e toward nature. "We have taken the world for our pillow. We are going to leave our grooms asleep one f i n e morning, and go as the salmon goes down the r i v e r . " KS, 168 What i s s t r i k i n g i n these l i n e s i s how Downal and Dermott's intent to follow the r i v e r echoes G i l l y ' s journey by the r i v e r s i d e at the beginning of his adventures. In f a c t , the King's Son, Fedelma and Morag a l l t r a v e l along the r i v e r before t h e i r fates are resolved. Although the King of Ireland's Son i s a more w a r r i o r - l i k e and c o u r t l y hero than G i l l y of the Goatskin, he spends time in nature refreshing and schooling his f a c u l t i e s as well. Not only does he reap the L i t t l e Sage's corn at the beginning of h i s quest for the means to release Fedelma, but also he and Fedelma return to the L i t t l e Sages's curious house—"thatched with one great wing of a b i r d " — t o restore themselves a f t e r the r i g o r s with which the quest ends. The King of Ireland's Son went into the garden and Fedelma sat at the quern-stone that was just outside the door; he dug and she ground while the L i t t l e Sage sat at the f i r e looking into a big book. And when Fedelma and the King's Son were t i r e d with t h e i r labor he gave them a drink of buttermilk. She made cakes out of the wheat she had ground and the King's Son washed the potatoes and the L i t t l e Sage boiled them and so they made t h e i r supper. KS, 2 9 The almost r e l i g i o u s quiet of t h i s l i t t l e scene shares something with the devout layman's retreat to a monastery, an I r i s h experience explored by Colum i n A Boy in E i r i n n . The King's Son and Fedelma's peaceful excursion into country l i f e , with i t s b oiled potatoes and wheaten cakes, also echoes the experience of the young men and-women of Colum's day who went into the country to learn Gaelic and acquaint themselves with peasant l i f e . The s i m i l a r i t y of t h i s scene to many of the episodes involving G i l l y of the Goatskin, with t h e i r r e l a t e d emphases on labor and humility within the context of a d i s t i n c t l y I r i s h countryside, indicates a t r u t h that, i n the discussion of the differences i n two heroes' characters, should not be forgotten. For a l l that Colum draws an e x p l i c i t and c r u c i a l contrast between the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin, he nevertheless means them to complement each other. Colum's double v i s i o n of I r i s h heroism i n The King of Ireland's Son does not i n s i s t on the utter i s o l a t i o n of the two heroic modes. The c o r d i a l personal r e l a t i o n s h i p of the two heroes demonstrates the p r i n c i p l e that each hero and each heroic mode have something to o f f e r to the other. The King's Son o f f e r s G i l l y the advantages of his own greater experience and more p r i v i l e g e d and a c t i v e education, while G i l l y tenders h i s more i n t u i t i v e understanding of the forces of nature and of the human heart. S i m i l a r l y , the romantic heroism of the King's Son and the peasant heroism of G i l l y , each by themselves an i n s u f f i c i e n t model for the heroism of New Ireland, together form a unifying v i s i o n of I r i s h character as well as of what may be considered heroic in Ireland. The c l o s i n g passage c i t e d above (p.123) provides a paradigm for t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p ; the heroes w i l l r u l e d i f f e r e n t parts of Ireland and appear in the s t o r i e s of d i f f e r e n t groups of people, but together they w i l l r u l e a l l of Ireland and speak to a l l of the people. Because of Colum's double v i s i o n of modern heroism, there are in The King of Ireland's Son two heroes inhabiting two kinds of narrative characterized by two d i s t i n c t , though r e l a t e d , "rhythms of a c t i o n " — d e f e r r a l and f a i l u r e . Because of Colum's emphasis on the symbiosis of his two heroic modes, there are some noteworthy p a r a l l e l s between the King's Son's and G i l l y ' s adventures, in spite of t h e i r inherent differences. For instance, the sequences by which each of the heroes in turn acquires a donor are divergent in content but s t r i k i n g l y s i m i l a r i n form. Laheen the Eagle, who becomes the Law-Maker for the animals a f t e r the King's Son rescues her from her struggle with the e e l , i s a venerable and noble figure next to the plain-dealing Weasel, although the Weasel's claim to be "'the l i o n of these parts'" parodies Laheen's status. More important than t h i s d i f f e r e n c e in status, the King's Son and G i l l y both earn the assistance of t h e i r respective donors by rescuing them f o r c e f u l l y from the death-grip of another animal, in Laheen's case an e e l , in the Weasel's a crane. The assistance the donors render d i f f e r s according to the demands of the d i f f e r e n t plots—Laheen gives the knowledge and d i r e c t i o n c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of many f o l k t a l e s of the type, while the Weasel, as b e f i t s G i l l y ' s episodic n a r r a t i v e , becomes his companion for a period—and in s p i t e of the Weasel's assertion of a l o r d l y status, h i s comic, unromantic character helps give G i l l y ' s adventures t h e i r l o w l i f e f l a v o r . Nevertheless, the p a r a l l e l donor sequences reveal the King's Son and G i l l y in heroic postures that are s t r u c t u r a l l y i d e n t i c a l . The King's Son and G i l l y acquire donors i n the same way, and both have preliminary adventures which require them to perform e x t r a o r d i n a r i l y d i f f i c u l t tasks. (The King's Son succeeds at the tasks which the Enchanter of the Black Backlands assigns through the agency of Fedelma, while G i l l y must outwit the Churl of the Townland of Mischance himself.) In a d d i t i o n , both G i l l y and the King of Ireland's Son are t o l d t a l e s , based on the same incident, which are embedded in the enveloping na r r a t i v e in s t r u c t u r a l l y s i m i l a r ways. "The King of the Cats," as we have already seen, i s t o l d i n episodes on successive nights, and thus i s sandwiched between daytime events c r u c i a l to the main nar r a t i v e (with which the i n - t a l e has l i t t l e to do). Like the t a l e of "The King of the Cats," the story c a l l e d "The Fairy Rowan Tree" i n Cycle III i s embedded in the narration. In f a c t , i t i s one layer further embedded; the King's Son hears the f i r s t t a l e d i r e c t l y from Art, but G i l l y gets the second one second-hand, for i t i s Morag who t e l l s the t a l e , repeating i t as i t was t o l d her by the King of Senlabor's Councillor. This extra narrative layer i n part compensates for the fact that, while "The Fairy Rowan,-Tree" occupies successive evenings, i t does not occupy so many as "The King of the Cats." S i m i l a r l y , "The Fairy Rowan Tree" does not come at quite so important a moment as does "The King of the Cats," but i t almost makes up for i t by occupying a p o s i t i o n of importance i n two pl o t s , the story of G i l l y of the Goatskin and the story of Morag. There s t i l l remains-a diff e r e n c e in nar r a t i v e tension, however, which i t s e l f corresponds to the dif f e r e n c e i n the construction of the narratives of the King's Son and G i l l y . The slackening of suspense and nar r a t i v e tension in the story of "The Fai r y Rowan Tree" f i t s t h e nature of G i l l y ' s p l o t , with i t s generally slower rhythms and more episodic structure. The incident that each of these i n - t a l e s shares i s the fabled hurling match between the Fianna and the F a i r i e s to determine whether Fergus or the druid Curoi should marry Ain£, daughter of Mananaun. C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , each version of t h i s story i n The King of Ireland's Son i s independent of the other, making no a l l u s i o n to the p a r t i c u l a r events associated with the story i n the other i n - t a l e . As with the various versions of the story of the Cry s t a l Egg, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to rec o n c i l e these two accounts of the one event. A hypothetical comprehensive version, in which f i r s t the hurlers become involved in the b a t t l e between the King of the Cats and the Eagle-Emperor, and then a stray magic rowan berry, provided by Mananaun to re f r e s h the hurlers, springs into the Fa i r y Rowan Tree, hardly seems convincing. Once again, Colum seems to be playing with the inconsistencies that are almost ne c e s s a r i l y a part of o r a l l o r e . He suggests a l i n k between the two i n - t a l e s , but by refusing to make them cohesive, makes the nature of the l i n k mysterious, even magical. A further sign of the p a r a l l e l i s m between the two heroes i s the poem which Colum gives each as an accompaniment to t h e i r journeys. When the King of Ireland's Son sets out at the beginning of h i s adventures, Colum captures in verse the jauntiness of his outlook as well as the nature of his progress. Colum has him r i d e out His hound at his heel, His hawk on his wrist; A brave steed to carry him whither he l i s t And the blue sky over him. KS, 2 Colum gives these l i n e s f i v e times in a l l , sometimes varying the l a s t l i n e . In addition, he has the King's Son sing a song to himself that also helps to e s t a b l i s h the King's Son's heroic mode. I put the fastenings on my boat For a year and for a day, And I went where the rowans grow, And where the moorhens lay; And I went over the steppingstones And dipped my feet i n the f o r d , And came at l a s t to the Swineherd's house— The Youth without a Sword. A swallow sang upon his porch "Glu-ee, glu-ee, glu-ee," "The wonder of a l l wandering, The wonder of the sea"; A swallow soon to leave ground sang "Glue-ee, glu-ee, glu-ee." KS, 3 The fastenings on the boat and the steppingstones and the ford, taken from well-known f o l k t a l e runs, a n t i c i p a t e the King's Son's coming immersion in a f a i r y - t a l e world whose magic, as we have seen, at f i r s t surprises him. The "Youth without a Sword" i s the King's Son himself, of course, whose search for the Sword of Light i s a metaphor for the i n i t i a t i o n into arms. The swallow in the l a s t stanza sounds the keynotes of the coming adventures—wonder, wandering and maturation. The King of Ireland's Son gets h i s hunting song at the beginning of his adventures; G i l l y of the Goatskin has to wait for h i s b i t of verse u n t i l r e l a t i v e l y l a t e i n h i s story, in keeping with the gradualism with which h i s heroism i s established. Indeed, Colum f i t s verse to G i l l y ' s progress at the beginning of the most heroic section of h i s adventures, when he sets out with more purpose and determination than ever before to confront the Hags of the Long Teeth about his parentage. G i l l y t r a v e l s on foot in t h i s journey, in contrast to the King's Son, who l i k e most romantic heroes t r a v e l s on horseback. The imagery of G i l l y ' s poem, furthermore, invokes the landscape that w i l l be his province, very d i f f e r e n t from the c o u r t l y world suggested by the King Son's t r a v e l l i n g poem and the Marchen-like world of the song that he sings. The blackbird shakes his metal notes Against the edge of day, And I am l e f t upon my road With one star on my way. The night has t o l d i t to the h i l l s , And t o l d the partridge in the nest, And l e f t i t on the long white roads, She w i l l give l i g h t instead of r e s t . Behold the sky i s covered, As with a mighty shroud: A f o r l o r n l i g h t i s l y i n g Between the earth and cloud. In the s i l e n c e of the morning Myself, myself went by, Where lonely trees sway branches Against spaces of the sky. KS, 211-212 There i s much in t h i s poem that t y p i f i e s G i l l y ' s world. The birds are reminiscent of the birds G i l l y i n v i t e d into h i s l i t t l e house, while the i l l u m i n a t i o n that the one star gives r e c a l l s G i l l y ' s desire to have l i g h t i n his house at night. Moreover, the lonely scene described here i s a foretaste of the sphere which G i l l y i s given to r u l e at the book's end, with the "long white roads" here a n t i c i p a t i n g "the roads where masterless men walk" there (KS, 275). Colum chooses verses that express the d i f f e r i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of his two heroes, then, although they have s i m i l a r functions in t h e i r respective n a r r a t i v e s . Both sets of verses put into play a consideration that Colum associates 20 very strongly with the f o l k t a l e : verbal pattern. The rhythm within the poems as well as the rhythm created by the a l t e r n a t i o n of prose and verse establishes a patterning of sound that Colum associated with the aural experience of a f o l k t a l e , but which also 159. was often a feature of early I r i s h manuscripts. The narratives of the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin quote each other's donor sequences, tasks, i n - t a l e s and interpolated poems. While Colum always observes the d i f f e r i n g characters of the heroes within these s i m i l a r episodes, and in fac t uses them i n part to extend the d i s t i n c t i o n between the youths, the broad pattern which nonetheless r e s u l t s brings the heroes under the umbrella of an overarching unity that accommodates t h e i r differences to a broadened concept of heroism. The model for the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the King's Son's more romantic and w a r r i o r - l i k e heroism—the heroism of the I r i s h r e b e l — a n d G i l l y ' s peasant heroism i s the blood-kinship of the two. G i l l y and the King's Son are half-brothers, r e l a t e d through t h e i r father only. Accordingly, G i l l y and the King's Son preserve t h e i r separate i d e n t i t i e s while remaining linked by what we may think of as a family resemblance, the family being Gaeldom. We must remember as well that t h i s kinship i s revealed, and thus represents the discovery on the part of the contemporaries of Colum's youth of kinship with the Gaelic peasant. Colum writes of t h i s i n his Introduction to Poems of the I r i s h Revolutionary Brotherhood, published with The King of Ireland's Son in 1916. The generation that became conscious twenty years ago turned with hope, f a i t h and reverence to Gaelic Ireland. From the remnant of the Gaelic-speaking people they would learn what c i v i l i z a t i o n t h e i r country was capable of a t t a i n i n g to. Those who regarded themselves as the h i s t o r i c I r i s h nation were then r e d i s -covering t h e i r o r i g i n s and t h e i r achievements: they were Celts; they were of the race of Brennus and Vercingetorix, of Cuchullain and Maeve, of Columbanus and Scotus Ei r i g e n a ; they were of the breed of the warriors who had shaken a l l empires although they had founded none; of the race of the missionary saints, and of the lovers of learning who had made themselves the patrons and protectors of European culture. The Ireland they w i l l e d would not be an autonomous West B r i t a i n , but a resurgent Gaelic n a t i o n a l i t y . And t h e i r race-dream was as f a n t a s t i c perhaps as the race-dream of any other rev i v i n g people.21 The King of Ireland's Son i t s e l f i s a fantasy on the theme of the I r i s h "race-dream," including the emerging consciousness of a generation who would at l a s t accomplish something i n the p o l i t i c a l arena, the l i n k between these people and Gaelic Ireland, and the existence among the Gaelic peasantry of vestiges of an ancient, heroic Ireland. It i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p of these themes that the r e v e l a t i o n of the kinship of the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin expresses. Colum also uses blood kinship to symbolize the i n t e r r e l a t e d -ness of the various C e l t i c sub-races of Ireland. When the King's Son and G i l l y , now Flann, whose r e l a t i o n s h i p has yet to be discovered, meet Downal and Dermott, the King's Son's brothers, at the Town of the Red Castle, Colum makes a comparison of the four youths' physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . They looked f i n e youths, Downal and Dermott, in t h e i r red cloaks, with t h e i r heads held high, and a brag i n t h e i r walk and t h e i r words. . . . They were t a l l and ruddy; the King's Son was more brown i n the h a i r and more hawklike in the face: the three were d i f f e r e n t from the dark-haired, dark-eyed, red-lipped lad to whom the Old Woman of Beare had given the name of Flann. KS_, 167 The brothers are f i r s t of a l l divided into "red" and "black" I r i s h . Colum comments on these d i s t i n c t I r i s h physiognomies i n My I r i s h Year (1912) and f e e l s moved to repeat h i s remarks twenty years l a t e r i n The Road Round Ireland (192 6). Someone once t o l d me that the bright-haired Milesian type was disappearing out of Ireland, and that the surviving I r i s h type would be Iberian and dark-haired. There were no bright heads [at t h i s dance]. Man a f t e r man, g i r l a f t e r g i r l , was dark of hair and face.22 Colum makes a s i m i l a r r a c i a l d i s t i n c t i o n regarding the four h a l f -brothers of The King of Ireland's Son. There i s a suggestion not only of the d i f f e r e n c e between the Iberian ("black") and more northerly Celts, but the ancient h i s t o r i c a l and mythical C e l t i c races as w e l l — t h e t a l l , red-haired, a r i s t o c r a t i c Milesians, 23 the F i r b o l g s , "a race dark, short and plebian," and the Tuatha da Danaan, whose s k i l l at swordcraft Downal and Dermott aspire to. Here Colum extends his o p t i m i s t i c , u n i f y i n g v i s i o n of the I r i s h nation to include the d i f f e r e n t races as well as d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l milieux and backgrounds and d i f f e r e n t occupations, a concern of Colum's which becomes evident again in the arrangement of The  Poet's C i r c u i t s (1960). The r a c i a l component of the symbolism of The King of Ireland's  Son, however b r i e f l y developed, c e r t a i n l y confirms the nationalism inherent in Colum's exploration of heroism in the book. More than heroism as a general concept, "the heroism of the I r i s h peasantry" and the heroism of the I r i s h nation engage him i n The King's Son. 162. Such a theme seems a legitimate concern for an I r i s h writer, e s p e c i a l l y one writing in Colum's time. Considering the importance of nationhood to I r i s h writers, the d i s t a s t e for " p o l i t i c a l overtones" expressed by Zack Bowen,.Colum's p r i n c i p a l c r i t i c , seems su r p r i s i n g . Bowen fi d g e t s whenever Colum l i g h t s on p o l i t i c a l themes, and seems almost r e l i e v e d when he can dismiss a book or parts of i t — A Boy in E i r i n n , for example, or even Castle Conquer—because i t descends to "propaganda." But Colum's p o l i t i c a l perceptions are so important to his a r t i s t i c motivation, as i s c e r t a i n l y true of The King of Ireland's Son, that one discounts them at the r i s k of misunderstanding his work. P o l i t i c s i s a well-known guest in the house of I r i s h f i c t i o n . The d i s t i n c t i o n of Colum's treatment of p o l i t i c a l themes in The King of Ireland's Son l i e s in the way he binds them to I r i s h heroic and anti-heroic f o l k t a l e s . In the rhythms of acti o n , d e f e r r a l , f a i l u r e and gathering, Colum remains true to the s t y l e of the f o l k t a l e , with i t s emphasis on e x t e r n a l i z i n g states of mind into happenings; yet at the same time he builds into the story of his heroes' adventures character depths and l i t e r a r y themes that make The King's Son not merely a r e t e l l i n g of I r i s h f o l k t a l e s but a l i t e r a r y use of them. The King's Son himself, for instance, i s based on the romantic heroes of I r i s h Marchen, but Colum opens up t h i s heroic t r a d i t i o n , with the help of the rhythm of d e f e r r a l , to give, the King's Son the s p i r i t u a l strength and moral energy to serve as a model for the modern I r i s h r e b e l . G i l l y ' s character, on the other hand, derives from peasant characters in l e s s romantic t a l e s , novelle (or what Kennedy c a l l s "household s t o r i e s , " in his organization of t a l e s in Legendary  F i c t i o n s ) . The rhythm of f a i l u r e helps Colum to extend the record of peasant l i f e contained in t h i s kind of t a l e to express the f r u s t r a t i o n and awkwardness of the Gaelic peasant's p o s i t i o n during the centuries of subordination to the Normans. Both G i l l y ' s and the King's Son's parts of the n a r r a t i v e are subordinated to Destiny, an I r i s h Destiny, which i s present in the book not so much as a theme as a force. This Destiny, referred to once as "Diachbha," i s obscured by the garbling of episodes l i k e the C r y s t a l Egg sequence, but nevertheless remains powerful enough in the n a r r a t i v e to guide the multiple p l o t s to t h e i r separate but i n t r i c a t e l y r e l a t e d resolutions, with overtones of the euphoric, post-revolution future that Colum projects for Ireland. Deriving l i t e r a t u r e from the I r i s h f o l k or manuscript t r a d i t i o n i s perhaps the archetypal l i t e r a r y a c t i v i t y of the I r i s h L i t e r a r y Revival, but Colum's intimacy with the I r i s h f o l k t a l e means that he does not merely extract characters and events from his sources for conventional l i t e r a r y treatment, but that he transforms the f o l k t a l e from the inside to create forms as well as content for The King of Ireland's Son. 164. Notes Type No. 2412B. O'Sullivan observes i n the note to Tale 31, "The Man Who Had No Story," i n Folk t a l e s of Ireland (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), p. 274, that t h i s t a l e type escaped the notice of Aarne and Thompson in The Types of the  Fol k t a l e . 2 O'Sullivan, Folktales of Ireland, p. 184. 3 L e t i t i a MacLintock, "Far Darrig in Donegal," i n I r i s h  Folk Stories and Fairy Tales, ed. William Butler Yeats (1892; rpt. New York: Grosset and Dunlap, 1974), p. 87. Another example of t h i s t a l e , one whose events resemble the MacLintock rather than the O'Sullivan version, i s "Andrew. Coffey," i n Jacobs' C e l t i c F a i r y Tales (1891 and 1894; rpt. London: The Bodley Head, 1970), pp. 129-132. (Note that i n t h i s r e p r i n t , Jacobs' C e l t i c  F a i r y Tales and More C e l t i c Fairy Tales are reprinted together, under the name of the f i r s t volume only.) 4 Type 953. An example i s "Conall Cra Bhuidhe," from Campbell's Popular Tales of the West Highlands, No. v, pp. 105-108; Jacobs has a modified version c a l l e d "Conall Yellowclaw" i n C e l t i c F a i r y Tales (1970), pp. 27-34. Thompson discusses the t a l e type on p. 172 of The Fol k t a l e (1946; irpt. Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1977). Perhaps the best known story about s t o r y t e l l i n g i s "ScheKerezade',', where also the raconteur's l i f e * i s spared because of the t a l e s she t e l l s . Thompson points out that the term "hero t a l e , " which at f i r s t glance seems to define a rather narrow genre of f o l k t a l e , i s i n fact more i n c l u s i v e than e i t h e r the term "Marchen" or "novella." The Fo l k t a l e , p. 8. 6 Ibid. 7 I b i d -g Padraic Colum: A B i o g r a p h i c a l - C r i t i c a l Introduction, p. 138. 9 Colum himself r e t e l l s the story of Finn's a c q u i s i t i o n of the spear Brigha i n the beginning of "How the Harp Came to Tara," The Frenzied Prince (Philadelphia: David McKay, 1943), p. 76. Similar s t o r i e s t e l l how.Cuchulain won the "Gae Bulga," also a spear. The importance to the young hero of appropriate armaments i s stressed i n the story of Lieu Llaw Gyffes, obstructed in his search for arms by his own h o s t i l e mother, i n "Math, Son of Mathonwy," in The Mabingion. 165. Pearse i s quoted by Colum in his introduction to Poems  of the I r i s h Revolutionary Brotherhood, ed. Padraic Colum and Edward J. O'Brien (New York: Small, Maynard and Company, 1916), p. x. 11 New York: James and Pott and Co., 1912, p. 85. (The date of publication does not appear in the New York version. I have followed Denson in giving 1912, rather than Loftus who uses 1913. See Alan Denson, "Padraic Colum: An Appreciation with a Checklist of His P u b l i c a t i o n , " Dublin Magazine 6 (Spring, 1967) 1, p. 54). 12 ' Pp. 72-73. Loftus points out t h i s passage in Nationalism  in Modern Anglo-Irish L i t e r a t u r e , p. 176, r e f e r r i n g in a note (number 22, page 319) to My_ I r i s h Year. 13 Studies, Tower Press Booklets, Second Series, No. 2 (Dublin: Maunsel, 1907), p. 30. 14 Nationalism in Modern Anglo-Irish Poetry, p. 185 and Note 36, pp. 319-320. 1 5 Thompson, The F o l k t a l e , pp. 85-86. Legendary F i c t i o n s of the I r i s h Celts (1866; rpt. D e t r o i t : Singing Tree Press, 1968), p. 23. Legendary F i c t i o n s , p. 31. 18 -~ Colum based ' Six Who Were_JL,eft i n a Shoe (1924) , a t a l e for very young child r e n , on t h i s t a l e type. 19 Jack i s the hero, of "The Giant and His Servants," New York  Herald Tribune, 1915. The events in t h i s series of Colum's, however, do not include G i l l y ' s adventures with the Churl or with the Robbers but appear quite l a t e i n The King of Ireland's Son, in "The House of Crom Duv." 20 See Story T e l l i n g New and Old, p. 3. 21 Poems of the I r i s h Revolutionary Brotherhood, pp. v i i - v i l i . 22 My I r i s h Year, pp. 12-13. 23 According to Edmund C u r t i s , A History of Ireland (London: Methuen, 1936; rpt. as University Paperback, 1973), p. 1 165a Leaves 166, 167, 168 and 169 missed in numbering IV: Castle Conquer: From Folk to L i t e r a r y Heroism The very t i t l e of Castle Conquer (1923), published seven years a f t e r The King of Ireland's Son, indicates that i n t h i s novel, Colum t r i e s to i n s e r t himself into the t r a d i t i o n of I r i s h f i c t i o n . His t i t l e invokes Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent (1800), held by Colum and many others to mark the beginning of the I r i s h n o v e l . 1 In form and s t y l e , Castle Conquer l i t t l e resembles Edgeworth's masterpiece. Colum, of course, i s much closer to the peasantry than Edgeworth. He focuses on the l i f e of the cottage and the f i e l d rather than the manor house, although, l i k e Edgeworth, part of h i s subject-matter i s the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the gentry and t h e i r r e t a i n e r s . Colum shares with Edgeworth the use of peasant narrators, but here too he departs from Edgeworth's example. Whereas the story of Castle Rackrent i s e n t i r e l y i n the voice of Thady Quirk, the Conollys' steward, and whereas Thady's utterance i s surrounded by commentary—a Preface, often lengthy footnotes, and an extensive glossary—Colum's story i s cast i n the t h i r d person and has no comparable narrative superstructure. Colum uses h i s narrators within the main n a r r a t i v e , and the s t y l e , form and content of t h e i r embedded s t o r i e s probably owe more to Carleton's T r a i t s and Stories of the I r i s h Peasantry (1830-33) than to Castle  Rackrent. There i s a suggestion of Carleton as well i n the s i t u a t i o n of Castle Conquer. Like The Black Prophet (1847), Castle Conquer sets the melodrama that embroils i t s characters against the sharply 171. r e a l i z e d backdrop of h i s t o r i c a l upheaval, here the Land Wars, i n The Black Prophet the Great Famine. S t i l l , many of Castle ConTquer's themes had t h e i r f i r s t l i f e in Castle Rackrent, where they were treated with a gentler, l e s s p o l i t i c a l irony and a l i g h t e r tone than in Colum's book. Indeed, Castle Conquer announces i t s e l f as a transformation of Castle Ra'ckrent. It begins with a malevolent version of the degenerate "Big House" of Edgeworth's Conollys and ends with the return of the manor by force to the Catholic C e l t s — Thady Quirk's descendants, perhaps, schooled and hardened by t h e i r experience of g u e r r i l l a warfare. The rackrenting ways of the Anglo-Irish landlords give way before the conquering army of the I r i s h republicans, and the manor house, for so long the instrument of the oppression of the peasantry, becomes an emblem of i t s resurgence. Castle Conquer, i n other words, gives a revolutionary ending to the story begun in Castle Rackrent. I r i s h novels have a habit of appearing at important moments i n I r i s h h i s t o r y — C a s t l e Rackrent i n the year that the Protestant I r i s h Parliament endorsed Union and abolished i t s e l f , The Black Prophet i n the midst of the Great Famine, Colum's King of Ireland's Son i n the year of the Dublin r i s i n g — a n d Castle Conquer i s no exception. In 1923, the Treaty had j u s t been signed and the d i v i s i v e C i v i l War was burning f i e r c e l y . I t i s hardly s u r p r i s i n g , then, that Castle Conquer i s more e x p l i c i t l y p o l i t i c a l than most of Colum's 2 work. The novel ends with the signing of the Treaty, but f o r the most part takes place during the Land Wars. Indeed, i n Castle  Conquer, Colum takes as his subject the dawning of p o l i t i c a l aware-ness among the I r i s h peasantry i n the l a s t half of the nineteenth century, when agrarian disturbances of growing violence and popularity i n e f f e c t forced passage of the reforming Land Act of 1881 and Land Purchase Acts of 1887 and 1891. As Colum wrote e a r l i e r , i n " E i l i s A Woman's Story" (1907), i t was the time of the peasant's entrance into a f f a i r s . A nation had been born i n the shadow of past defeats and was beginning to s t i r . As yet the struggle was for a l i t t l e s e c u r i t y , a l i t t l e knowledge, a l i t t l e t o l e r a t i o n . The farmers of Ireland were cl o s i n g up for the b i t t e r struggle with feudal p r i v i l e g e . They had not enough detachment to r e a l i z e the nation.3 This f l e d g l i n g struggle has a profound e f f e c t on Castle Conquer's hero. Francis G i l l i c k finds himself p u l l e d inexorably toward i l l i c i t p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i t y , p u l l e d by the same forces that transform the sunny pastoralism of the opening pages of the book to the b i t t e r militancy of the end. Castle Conquer's f i r s t concern i s with the process by which p o l i t i c a l activism, once associated only with wild r a d i c a l s l i k e "Whiteboys" and "Ribbonmen," asserts i t s e l f as a norm i n the l i v e s of the people of the I r i s h countryside. The novel's secondary concern, appropriate to Colum's vocation as the poet of the peasantry, i s the e f f e c t on the domestic drama of the people of t h e i r growing p o l i t i c i z a t i o n . The agrarian a c t i v i s t s on whom Colum models h i s hero were often forced to pose t h e i r p o l i t i c a l commitment against t h e i r domestic security and t r a n q u i l i t y . In Castle Conquer, the hero's increasing p o l i t i c a l awareness and involvement i n e v i t a b l y jeopardize his love f o r Brighid Moynaugh. Francis G i l l i c k f i r s t takes to arms (the I r i s h 173. rebel's t r a d i t i o n a l pike) to defend a neighboring tenant farmer, Martin Jordan, against e v i c t i o n . This courageous undertaking, doomed to f a i l from the s t a r t , never r e a l l y endangers the l o c a l powers, who don't take Francis s e r i o u s l y enough to prosecute him. Never-theless, Francis has marked himself as a "Whiteboy" i n the eyes of some, and the b a r r i e r s he had hoped to avoid quickly r i s e between him and Brighid's proud mother. More s e r i o u s l y , as the only known i n s u r r e c t i o n i s t i n the d i s t r i c t , Francis G i l l i c k i s e a s i l y framed f o r conspiracy and murder, for which he must stand t r i a l . Thus Francis G i l l i c k ' s dedication to the cause of the people occasions b i t t e r s a c r i f i c e not only for himself but for B r i g h i d as w e l l . Francis i s cleared of murder but convicted of the less serious offense. Like many of Colum's characters, he s u f f e r s i n c a r c e r a t i o n . Brighid saves Francis's l i f e , but only at great personal cost. She confesses i n court that during the e n t i r e night of the murder Francis G i l l i c k was alone with her i n a bedroom i n her mother's house. For Brighid, Francis's p o l i t i c a l involvement leads to shame and ignominy--notoriety i n the community and r e j e c t i o n by the family. As he must, Colum banishes the surface trappings of the f o l k t a l e — t h e t a l k i n g animals, magic swords and d i f f i c u l t g e a s a — when he moves from the fantasy of The King of Ireland's Son to the peasant realism of Castle Conquer. Colum does not even venture here the kind of overt reference to the f o l k t a l e that he includes i n h i s second novel, The F l y i n g Swans. Nevertheless, as Colum's comments on James Stephens' contributions to I r i s h l i t e r a t u r e demonstrate, Colum saw considerable promise i n the l i t e r a r y use of I r i s h f o l k l o r e . Stephens, writes Colum i n 1915, produced "the f i r s t contemporary romances that are d i s t i n c t i v e l y I r i s h " ; he elucidates t h i s statement i n 1923, the year of Castle Conquer, when he points out that Stephens' use of the f o l k t a l e i n The Charwoman's Daughter (1912) and The Crock of Gold (1912) and h i s use of s t o r y t e l l i n g i n I r i s h F a i r y Tales (1920) brought new forms 4 to the I r i s h novel. Like Stephens, Colum turns to I r i s h f o l k t a l e s for some of the forms for h i s own prose romance, Castle Conquer. In s p i t e of the absence of some of the most obvious c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the f o l k t a l e , both the content of the I r i s h f o l k t a l e and i t s context, I r i s h o r a l t r a d i t i o n , are profoundly present i n Castle  Conquer. In Castle Conquer, the kind of s a c r i f i c e exacted from the characters duplicates what Colum, w r i t i n g i n 1944, saw as the ce n t r a l s i t u a t i o n of the f o l k t a l e . The primary s t o r i e s — l e a v i n g out of account fables and anecdotes—are concerned with subjection, the subjection of the hero or heroine, and t h i s has to be made s t r i k i n g or pathetic; with wisdom from within or without that provides release, and t h i s has to be made transcendent, with compensation that means a return to a human l i f e that i s greatly enhanced.-5 This pattern of subjection, s a c r i f i c e and release, ending with an amelioration of the human condition, i s exactly the pattern of Castle Conquer. On the larger scale, of course, i t i s the I r i s h nation that i s subjected, or subjugated, and released into a better 175. world through the wisdom and s a c r i f i c e of p o l i t i c a l a c t i v i s t s . But the i n t e r a c t i o n on the personal l e v e l , between Francis G i l l i c k , B r i g h i d Moynaugh and the l o c a l embodiments of B r i t i s h hegemony, manifests' the f o l k t a l e model more p a r t i c u l a r l y . Imprisonment, e s p e c i a l l y u n j u s t i f i e d imprisonment, i s the r e a l - l i f e equivalent of the f o l k t a l e character's i n c a r c e r a t i o n , bewitchment or entrap-ment at the hands of a v i l l a i n . Just as G i l l y of the Goatskin and the King of Ireland's Son at d i f f e r e n t times are rescued from without, by Morag and Fedelma, so Francis G i l l i c k must depend on Brighid's courage, i n t e l l i g e n c e and l o y a l t y to win for him h i s l i f e . The resumption a f t e r the c r i s i s of normal human a f f a i r s i s more complicated i n the p o l i t i c i z e d , r e a l i s t i c world of Castle Conquer than i t was i n The King of Ireland's Son, but Francis G i l l i c k ends the book with a v i s i o n of the long b a t t l e f or I r i s h freedom that has ended i n his own l i f e t i m e ..The c e n t r a l drama of Castle  Conquer, i n short, translates the core events of the f o l k t a l e into the terms of l i t e r a r y realism. I f the c e n t r a l events of Castle Conquer are based on the f o l k t a l e ' s archetypal c o n f l i c t , then Francis G i l l i c k (and to a l e s s e r degree, Brighid Moynaugh) ex h i b i t s many of the same q u a l i t i e s and performs some of the same functions as the f o l k t a l e hero. Both the Marchen's romantic hero and the novella's l o w - l i f e a n t i - h e r o — t h e King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the G o a t s k i n — inform the character of Francis G i l l i c k . But Francis's heroism i s not the exclusive product of the f o l k t r a d i t i o n . Two other I r i s h heroic types are also important. F i r s t , there i s the h i s t o r i c a l t r a d i t i o n , which positions Francis i n a family l i n e that has produced 176. heroic warriors from before the f i r s t invasion of the Normans and as l a t e as the parliamentary war of the 1640s. Secondly, there i s the type of more complicated heroism of Colum's own day, the t r a d i t i o n s of modern I r i s h p o l i t i c a l martyrs, many of whom, l i k e Thomas MacDonagh and Padraic Pearse, were also poets and teachers. The invocation of these various heroic types signals Colum's desire to probe the concept of heroism i t s e l f . Colum f e e l s that the h i s t o r i c a l warriors, the f o l k -t a l e G i l l i e s and King's sons, and the modern Thomas MacDonaghs comment c r u c i a l l y on each other. The character of F r a n c i s — t h e modern rebel with legendary forebears and f o l k t a l e a s s o c i a t i o n s — i s an e f f o r t to order and to assimilate the q u a l i t i e s of these three models. The l i n k of Francis G i l l i c k to a h i s t o r i c a l past i s made through Francis's discovery that he i s not simply an undistinguished member of the peasantry but a descendant of a noble C e l t i c l i n e . The vagaries of I r i s h h i s t o r y have rung the same changes on Francis's ancient family, the Clann O'Failey, as on many h i s t o r i c a l I r i s h f a m i l i e s . The O'Faileys were the descendants of a brother of an I r i s h High King and held the area i n which the story takes place u n t i l the wave of invading Normans, led by the de Courceys, broke over i t , forced them out, and l e f t a c a s t l e — C a s t l e Conquer—on th e i r place of assembly. Before the O'Faileys f e l l i nto complete disarray, there was a l a s t emanation of t h e i r c h a r a c t e r i s t i c v a l o r . Angus O'Failey, a captain with Owen Roe O ' N e i l l , raised the remains of the Clann and expelled the de Courceys from Castle Conquer. This interlude of I r i s h r u l e i n a long Norman supremacy did not l a s t long, but i t too l e f t behind a r e l i c , O'Failey's Tower. Angus O'Failey's i s Francis G i l l i c k ' s ancestor, and i n O'Failey's Tower, where he j o i n s a secret "combination," Francis takes h i s 177. f i r s t step towards revolutionary a c t i v i t y . Francis G i l l i c k ' s discovery of a blood connection to a h i s t o r i c I r i s h hero and before him to an ascendant Milesian clann, l i k e G i l l y of the Goatskin's discovery of name, n o b i l i t y and family, i s a f i c t i o n a l r e a l i z a t i o n of one of the archetypes of the I r i s h renaissance. Colum voices the I r i s h n a t i o n a l i s t ' s e s s e n t i a l p o s i t i o n on the noble heritage of the I r i s h peasant i n My I r i s h Year (1912). Many peasant f a m i l i e s i n Ireland can well claim noble descent, as p r a c t i c a l l y a l l the native a r i s t o c r a c y who did not go over to France, Spain or Aus t r i a were, i n the phrase of a native h i s t o r i a n , "Melted into the peasantry."6 Colum was so struck by t h i s l a s t phrase that he repeats i t twice i n h i s work. In The Road Round Ireland (1926), i n a sketch s i g n i -f i c a n t l y e n t i t l e d "Romance from History," Colum traces the r i s e and f a l l of the great O'Reilly clann, on whom Castle Conquer's O'Faileys are probably modelled. Like the O'Faileys, the O'Reillys were associated i n the early days with the O'Neills. They '"melt into the peasantry'" j u s t as the O'Faileys do^ (CC, 44), but they too re-enter h i s t o r y , when Andrew O'Reilly, who l i k e Angus O'Failey establishes h i s clann's Spanish connection, becomes "one of the g Cavan leaders of the revolutionary United Irishmen." Francis G i l l i c k ' s discovery of h i s family's heroic past has important consequences f o r I r i s h nationalism: i t i n s p i r e s h i s own militancy. Angus O'Failey i s a model for Francis; when he j o i n s the revolutionary Clann Melidh i n O'Failey's tower, he f e e l s that "the O'Failey who had once taken the ca s t l e and who had b u i l t t h i s tower had l a i d a hand on him" (CC, 47-48). Not only does Angus's 178. example i n s p i r e Francis's defense of the evicted tenant, but also, Francis passes the t r a d i t i o n of Angus O'Failey on to h i s own son. Named a f t e r the family paragon, F a i l e y eventually becomes the e f f e c t i v e m i l i t a r y leader that Francis G i l l i c k i s not and recaptures Castle Conquer. When Francis meets him on the day the treaty i s signed, he places h i s hand on h i s son's shoulder as he f e l t O'Failey's on h i s , to s i g n i f y that F a i l e y ' s m i l i t a r y s k i l l and h i s a b i l i t y to lead men are Angus O'Failey's legacy. In modelling h i s actions on the example of h i s heroic ancestor, Francis conforms to the pattern of the I r i s h p a t r i o t s of Colum's day who eventually won freedom for Ireland; yet Colum's admiration for Francis's "romance from h i s t o r y " i s equivocal. Colum undercuts the kind of i n s p i r a t i o n that Francis G i l l i c k takes from Angus O'Failey's deeds. When, for example, Francis approaches Castle Conquer for the f i r s t time, h i s imagination becomes inflamed with a v i s i o n of h i s heroic ancestor's assault on the Norman holding. Down that slope had come the young captain with h i s troop of I r i s h s o l d i e r s when they swept forward and seized the c a s t l e of the de Courceys. Down that slope the r i d e r s had come. He f e l t how the company would be ordered, and he saw the r i d e r s — o n e e s p e c i a l l y i n Spanish dress and with Spanish arms; his memoirs, written i n L a t i n , had been l e f t [where Francis had studied] i n Salamanca. And a f t e r he had expelled the Norman de Courceys the young chief b u i l t a tower here that, i n the minds of the people at l e a s t , s t i l l kept hi s name. O'Failey's Tower. O'Failey! He cri e d out the name and i t came back to him from the buttressed gate they had now come before him—the gate of Castle Conquer. CC, 38. In spite of Francis's ebullience, his shouting match with Judkin de Courcey, the ancient " r a c i a l enmity" heating h i s blood (CC, 42), i s only an absurdly debased version of O'Failey's m i l i t a r y maneuver. Francis, a f t e r a l l , comes to Castle Conquer not with Spanish arms and I r i s h s o l d i e r s but with a sneer for de Courcey's young wife and with her l o s t doves c a r r i e d s e r v i l e l y under his arm. Francis G i l l i c k ' s heroic i n s t i n c t s are as yet undeveloped, and there i s something naive and c h i l d i s h about Francis's response to the heady imagery of Spanish dress and Spanish arms, I r i s h s o l d i e r s and grand m i l i t a r y ventures. Indeed, Colum takes care to disburden the reader of any i l l u s i o n s that Francis G i l l i c k ' s f i r s t move into p o l i t i c s , i n i m i t a t i o n of h i s ancestor, i s s i g n i f i c a n t or e f f e c t i v e . Francis's premature e l a t i o n at the thought of "Castle Conquer unmanned'." which, he f e e l s , "could not stand against the resurgency that he f e l t i n himself and that he thought was shared i n the secret camps of men," i s undercut when Colum reveals that "already the organization" that Francis was j o i n i n g , the Clann Melidh, "had passed i t s great moment and that even now i t was crumbling at the top" (CC, 48). Whether or not Angus O'Failey r e a l l y lays h i s hand on Francis G i l l i c k ' s shoulder, Francis's p o l i t i c a l activism loses some of i t s c r e d i b i l i t y when Colum t e l l s us t h i s . The progress of Francis G i l l i c k , the King of Ireland's Son and G i l l y of the Goatskin indicates that, i n Colum's view, the a b i l i t y to act e f f e c t i v e l y and h e r o i c a l l y develops only gradually. A modern rebel i n p a r t i c u l a r requires a period of i n i t i a t i o n into heroic a c t i v i t y , because i n a l l l i k e l i h o o d he has not been born or 180. bred to i t . This, indeed, i s one of Francis G i l l i c k ' s disadvantages: unlike Angus O'Failey or the heroes of the great Ulster and Finn cycles, Francis has had no m i l i t a r y t r a i n i n g , and the idea that he has an important contribution to make to the good of the people i s foreign to him. A further problem i s F r a n c i s ' s i n i t i a l romanti-cism. Heroes, Colum suggests, must be r e a l i s t s . As long as Francis G i l l i c k i s d i s t r a c t e d by v i s i o n s of h i s ancestor's glory, his own e f f o r t s w i l l be f u t i l e . Part of Francis G i l l i c k ' s develop-ment i s the j e t t i s o n i n g of his romantic outlook. Thus his defense of Martin Jordan's decaying cottage, a l b e i t rash, i s i n t e l l i g e n t , well-planned and p h y s i c a l l y courageous next to h i s pointless wanderings i n the countryside on the clandestine business of the Clann Melidh. Francis i s clever and p r a c t i c a l as he devises his impromptu f o r t i f i c a t i o n s , and i n the f i g h t i t s e l f , he r e s i s t s s t o u t l y , with scanty assistance. Yet i n s p i t e of Francis G i l l i c k ' s e f f o r t s , i n s p i t e of h i s planning and the momentary ele v a t i o n of h i s two u n l i k e l y comrades-at-arms, a f o o l and a d e r e l i c t , t h i s encounter, too, i s f u l l of disappointment: the townsmen who disingenuously promised aid f a i l to appear, and Francis i s e a s i l y overthrown. Francis G i l l i c k i s f i g h t i n g against an almost overpowering i n e r t i a as well as de Courcey's b a i l i f f s , an i n e r t i a which seems sure to defeat both Francis and h i s cause. The inappropriateness of Francis G i l l i c k ' s attempt to duplicate the glamorous :heroism of h i s ancestor i s evident i n the manner of Francis's c a p i t u l a t i o n (he i s h i t on h i s head) i n the midst of his b a t t l e with the b a i l i f f s on Martin Jordan's steps. Suddenly he f e l t he had been struck. He had the sense of an enormous blow on h i s head. He rose up i n defence with the pike held up. Paddy Sharkey cheered f o r him, and he smiled. But the smile on Francis G i l l i c k ' s face became a queer g r i n . He jumped o f f the steps to prevent h i s pitching o f f ; he swayed and f e l l down. He had been struck on the f o r e -head with a stone; i t had been flung from a cata-pul t by "The Knocker." CC, 219 The heroic p o t e n t i a l suggested by Francis's cunning as he plans his b a t t l e and by h i s s k i l l and tenacity as he wields the rebel's truncheon f a i l s when "The Knocker" hurls h i s lucky shot. Suddenly, Francis becomes a r i d i c u l o u s posturer. Francis's three-man r i s i n g against B r i t i s h rule i s exposed as naive. Francis looks f o o l i s h , j u s t as G i l l y of the Goatskin did a f t e r attempting to use the t a c t i c s of the King of Ireland's Son on the Hags of the Long Teeth. Francis, i n f a c t , i s reproducing G i l l y ' s error of t r y i n g to d u p l i -cate a heroism that i s inherently at odds with his nature, h i s experience and h i s time. The h i s t o r i c a l I r i s h heroism that Angus O'Failey represents, an i n s u f f i c i e n t determinant of Francis G i l l i c k ' s heroism, i s augmented and p a r t i a l l y corrected by the t r a d i t i o n of the f o l k t a l e hero, p a r t i c u l a r l y the novella's l o w - l i f e hero as Colum himself adapted him i n the character.of G i l l y of the Goatskin. Indeed, a G i l l y - l i k e fatuousness manifests i t s e l f with the desc r i p t i o n of Francis G i l l i c k ' s horse as Francis f i r s t rides up the bohereen to Honor Paralon's house. The hero of romance and the h i s t o r i c warrior are both accustomed to having a horse of appropriate power and valour. Colum places the King of Ireland's Son i n th i s context when he gives him a hunting horse to ride at the beginning of h i s adventures. I f the manner of horse one rides reveals something about one's character, then Francis G i l l i c k ' s entry i s decidedly inauspicious. His "eccentric beast with a smooth dun body, shaggy brown legs, and a shapeless head" immediately locates Francis i n the t r a d i t i o n of u n l i k e l y heroes (CC, 2). Though th i s beast's f o l k t a l e s i r e s are generally summed up with an epithet of just one word, such as "shaggy," or "bony," there can be no mistaking h i s lineage. One of h i s forefathers i s the horse of the Gruff G i l l i e , from a well-known I r i s h f o l k t a l e , described by Colum himself i n t h i s way: Into the camp came a shambling fellow leading a shambling horse. . . . The horse's r i b s showed through i t s f l e a - b i t t e n hide. I t was a long horse, or, rather, a long mare, with a back l i k e the ridge of a house.9 Colum,in t h i s r e t e l l i n g of the t r a d i t i o n a l story, embellishes the Gruff G i l l i e ' s famous horse to heighten the comedy of the t a l e , but he preserves the f o l k t a l e ' s c e n t r a l i r o n y — t h e worn-looking animal has magical properties and secret strength. Many are the shaggy beasts i n f o l k l o r e who turn out to have not only the truest of l o y a l t i e s but also t