The Woman that I was
In this story I have re-imagined The Call of the Fianne by
This is tale of of young woman who encountered the Fianna. The Fianna was a band of ferocious warriors. Fionn MacChaLl was the most famous leader of the band. They pledge to protect Ireland His son Oisin was the last brave warrior of the band. It is said they will return if the they are summoned for Ireland's defence.
The woman that I was young and blessed on that day. It was a bright and warm day in late September and I walked the track way across the Bog of Allen to collect mosses and then on the woodlands beyond to collect autumn's bounty, filberts, sloes, berry and fruit to provide for winters dark cold days.
I am a healer following in the tradition of the old religion as my mother and grandmother and those others far back in time. Today they call us the cunning folk and our healing is hidden from sight of the monks. But never mind our troubles as that day my heart sang, Coilm had declared his love for me and we were to be married in spring.
My basket was soon filled and I placed it down and climbed to the top of the Dún of Allen. When I crested the summit I saw a black clouds streaming towards the hill. I turned back picked up my skirts and began to run home. The darkness over took me and I missed stepped, I stumbled and almost fell. I felt confused and realised I was lost. The wind and freezing sleet lashed at me cruelly. Bent double I reached my hands in front of me to feel for the path. My hands encountered a rock wall and a niche in it which might shelter me from the full fury of the storm. as I felt my way into shelter I found that it opened up into a cave.
I slipped inside feeling me way along the side of the rocks.The wall was running with water and moss gave it a soft velvet feel. I sunk back against the wall as I began to regain my breathe which echoed around the cave, but as my breathing stilled I heard the breathing of others.
"Who is there" I called.
I called again, "Who are you."
Again no answer.
Fearful I flung my self back against the wall of the cave and felt my way back towards the entrance. . The breathing filled my ears there was more than one living thing in the cave. My eyes growing accustomed to the dark could make out rocks hunched together.
As my hands sought to guide me back to the entrance I felt something in hole in the wall I grasped it. A horn my fingers had grasped Dord of Finn!
A voice called,
"Woman blow the horn
I was afraid to blow it, trembling with fright I heard again that voice echoing around and around the cave
"Blow the horn", it commanded.
Mesmerised I put the horn to my lips and blew it. The sound echoed round the cave. The rocks shudder and rose up.
"Blow the horn again," came the terrible voice.
I shivered and shook but the voice compelled me to blow the horn again. This time I saw the rocks move and
take on the shapes of men. I heard the ring of swords on rock. I was so fearful I collapsed to my knees.
"Blow the horn a third time," came the voice.
I cried, "No!"
I was filled with a dread, I saw a vision of Ireland in terrible strife. families and communities divided,
blood pooled on the street and the sound of women weeping.
The voice howled its command yet again,
"Blow the horn a third time woman."
The horn dropped from my hand and clattered onto the floor of the cave.
The Spell of the voice was broken and I crawled trembling from the cave.
Then I ran and ran until I could run no more.
As dusk fell Coilm became fearful that I may have strayed from the trackways through the bog. He searched the way I had gone and found my basket. He was filled with fear that the bog has swallowed me up. Distraught he search and called my name. Eventually he found me trembling, fallen to the ground in mortal fear. as if I had been struck down. I could still hear that terrible voice howling it's command,
"Blow the horn a third time woman."
And I could still see the stirring of an army of warriors and I could still feel the terror which filled
Coilm picked me up and carried me home. I lay senseless for days and when I woke I felt exhausted and
could not remember what had happened. .But that dreadful voice haunted me in my dreams and I would see the shadows moving in the dark, in the morning the nightmare would fade from my memory, but sometimes in the day I would jump at shadows and feel a terrible sense of dread. I preferred to go out collecting herbs and mosses with someone rather than be alone out there on the bog or hillside.
My life has been good and long, my children have prospered Coilm and I are loving parents and
grandparents and our love is true. My granddaughter learnt from me how make our cordials, balms and salves and as times have changed sells them openly at market.
Now lying here in the shade of this great oak my soul remembers the woman that I was and sees the vision of the cave and Finn Mcall, Oisin and the warrior of Fianna trapped in time I wonder should I have blown the Dord that third time and set the Fianna free. My old soul knew that when the horn was blown for the first time true Celts all over the world knelt and touched the ground and on the second blast they looked
skyward and there entered into their hearts a yearning they knew not what for.
Even today the Irish travel the world seeking an intangible dream. Some of them
seek the Dord of Finn to awake the Fianna.
I asked you here now,
"Or may be you?
"Would you have blown the Dord of Finn that third time?"
"Would you have woken Finn Mcall, Oisin and the warrior of Fianna?"