A Celtic tale of love and loss, deception and deceit. Part III.
Aveil had thoughts of a trap. One that would drive a wedge between the newly found lovers, Liadan and Kurithir. Moria did as she was instructed. Summoning Aillain to Aveil’s chambers.
All the while Kurithir grew sick of Aveil’s efforts to woo and warm attention within the court. She sat with his foster brother, Flann, who laughed when she laughed. Flann had obviously forgotten their words upon the cliff.
Kurithir went to the courtyard. No light was showing but the soft note of the little harp was heard and its sweetness was dear to him, for it was his own song of the night she was playing.
“It is well Liadan is playing that,” said Aveil. “All the day she was making practice of it because you, Aillain, gave it praise.”
“I?” said the youth Aillain.
“What does a manling do when music is made by fair lady to his liking?” she asked. “A gold-caged thrush would be fitting for a lady’s gift or flowers for fragrance.”
They made jests of him as at a lover they were training for love.
Straightway he started for the garden in the dusk, glad to show grace to so fair a guest. The boy paused to look up where the harp strings were softly touched, then there was silence and a white hand dropped a crushed red rose from where it had lain under the linen of her warm bosom.
The youth was amazed and stood waiting with staring eyes. Something finer came to him: it was the hushed voice of Liadan singing. A very whisper of a song it was, heard only by him and by a Kurithir hidden at the casement.
Liadan sang of love and pain of separation.
The voice ceased and the harp strings gave a wail as a heavy hand of discord crashed it. The boy could make nothing of that and walked slowly into the dusk of the garden. Then there came swiftly the rush of a slender form into the garden’s dusk. Like a low-flying bird before a hawk she ran, for the dark woman was in pursuit.
“O rose of flame,” said Liadan sobbing, “that I should have given snow for your fragrance!”
The tall youth, Aillain, had plucked a hand full of bloom but stared at her strangeness and drew back from her.
“The roses are for you fair Liadan,” he began courteously, but at his voice she moaned in terror and caught his shoulder.
“O rose of brief bloom for me,” she said, and fell in whiteness at his feet. He bent to lift her, but the dark woman was first.
Liadan lay in her arms like a broken flower and thus she faced Kurithir whom had steeped into the dim light; he was white as the maid, as he barred her way.
“Tell me of this meaning,” he said, and Moria laughed as Aevil herself might have laughed.
“You are a man and should know,” she said. “The boy is a new plaything and she broke the lock to keep tryst with him. You poets play over much at the love game and oft choose your mates strangely.”
“If you were a man my hand would send you to hell for that saying.”
“Even that would not make her over or change the heart of her,” said Moria. “Give way that I may put her back under lock ere her sister learns this newest shame.”
He gave way, and paced like a chained thing under the wall where he could see the light of her window. He listened for her voice but no sound came.
Twas the morning and Kurithir bade farewell to his friend Flann and took a boat for the sea.
“The thrushes do not sing, even for poets, on the sea,” said Flann, and that was the first time he mentioned the dream of love of Kurithir.
“There are no longer thrushes singing for me in the shadows and no dreamhouse of love in any forest,” said Kurithir.
Straight south he steered and then east, through storm and stress seeking new ports, seeing new faces, hearing new songs but singing no more. Women looked on him with warm invitings in many a harbour and one of sweet words and grey eyes sent him out into open seas against wind and tide.
“Other men are not remembering like this,” he said. “Back of the look in every woman I see the look of Liadan, O lost grey bird of mine–Liadan–Liadan!”
There in the prow he saw–something! It was the faint grey shadow of a girl with a broken harp.
“Liadan,” he whispered, and moved to her, but white spray dashed between them. That was the first time she came.
“She is dead,” he said and the world was more empty for the thought. When sleep came she began to come very close to him and very much alive in his minds eye. In the dusk of starlight he saw her, shadowy, with his earthly eyes again and again and at times he thought the fragrance of hawthorn and roses of May was on the sea.
“Is it the way of a madman I am going?” he asked himself, “for there can no more be fragrance of roses here than there can be songs of thrushes.”
O Liadan! O mist of honey fragrance! Within my dreams, You drift the night with me!You are the star Old sea reflects forever, You are the grianan (fort or castle) within my heart.The white-breast bird are you, The whitest rose, The ever-singing harp of silver string.You are my secret, Breast unto my breast, Until the lark shall call the sun, O Liadan!
It was the first time song had come to him since he sang under her window at Dun Dearg of the sea cliff and all the call of his heart for her was wakened in new strength. He turned the boat and steered west and then north and every twilight she sat in the prow faintly grey and in every sleep his head rested on her warm bosom, and warm arms were holding him and her face was bending over him with her eyes looking into the depths of his own.
“Even though it be madness on me I will follow the way it leads,” he said. “I will go as bid to the rath of Donal, her father. I will put out of mind all else I saw or heard for mystical things and deep things are sending fair winds to me at every turn of tide and never a day but the seas are glittering fair like silver.”
It was so. Never a storm touched him after the night he saw her first and at last at home he arrived.
Was it a dream or a simple vison that brings Kurithur back to Liadan? What makes a vision different to a dream? Although Liadan reaches out to Kurithur, who returns in the knowledge of his dream. He has no knowledge of the outcome of his returning. It appears that the dream guided him to return.
I can only add here my personal experience of a powerful and significantly different vision that was given to me as a dream. This was given to me prior to my genealogical investigations into my family. Subsequently, also guiding me into the formation of the story to my current book. The dream gave me a sense of where it was, a location I didn’t know. I could feel, smell and almost taste the environment. I was given names of events, areas and dates that I had no prior knowledge of. It was so vivid and real…only through the eyes of another.
Do we pay enough attention to our subconscious dreams? Are they visions? And when do we awaken to them so that we pay attention to them?
So was it just a simple dream or a life changing moment? For me, it has changed the way I think about my future direction in life. It has given me inspiration to look into a linked family history through this shared perspective. It has awakened me to a perception of the importance of the message we receive.
You may have some thought about this? Please let me know and comment.
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I found this story on the Sacred Texts site. Visit the site for the full version of the story together with a fantastic selection of texts and tales from around the world.
NOTICE OF ATTRIBUTION
Scanned at sacred-texts.com, January 2005. John Bruno Hare, redactor. This text is in the public domain in the US because it was published prior to 1922. It is in the public domain in the EU and UK since 2004 because the author died in 1934. These files may be used for any non-commercial purpose, provided this notice of attribution is left intact in all copies.