Stories
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Charles Dickens' classic tale of Scrooge and Tiny Tim Cratchit, divided into segments and ready to dramatize.

This story has literally dozens of variations.  The common theme is that a person is kind to an animal (usually a bird) and is then visited by very kind, beautiful young woman.  Eventually, she takes it upon herself to weave a beautiful length of cloth in secrecy.  Selling the cloth brings the person previously unimagined wealth.  When she weaves another bolt of cloth, her true nature is discovered and she must leave.

Classic variation on the themes of "Be kind to strangers" and "Be careful what you wish for."  Two daughters, one mysterious old woman.  Treat her with kindness and be rewarded, treat her poorly and suffer.

This story comes from the Finn cycle as recorded by MacPherson in the nineteenth century.  It is a classic story of desire and betrayal.  Morna loves Angus, but Mark (the King) desires her, so he arranges Angus' death.  He had not counted, however on the strength of Morna MicCormac.

Death makes a powerful benefactor, but she's a demanding ally as a young man discovers too late.

The Three Sorrows of Storytelling
Irish mythology is full of stories which interconnect with each other. One of these groups of stories is known collectively as the Three Sorrows of Storytelling. It encompasses three tragic tales including:
  • The Fate of the Sons of Tuirenn
  • The Children of Lir
  • Deirdre of the Sorrows (also known as The Exile of the Sons of Usnech)
Is worth noting a few points about these tales since their part of tradition not commonly known outside of Ireland (certainly not with the kind of exposure afforded the traditional Greek tales through movies and television). First and foremost, these are hero tales, not histories. The characters might accurately be described as archetypes, as mythological constructions, and certainly as non-mortal.

Secondly, time is very problematic in these stories. The Celts did not have a linear conception of time; in fact, it was more commonly perceived as circles spiraling forever within each other (Lugh, the solar diety, is born at the winter solstice and raises an army comprised of the Tuatha de Danaan which overthrows Balor of the Evil Eye and the Fomorians by the time of the summer solstice, but Lugh has not been born yet and he has already defeated the Fomorians, etc.). The past is the future and the future is the past; the present has happened and will happen (or more simply, "Causality? We don't need no stinking causality!").

One of the other interesting side effects of this time perception is the time periods given for events to take place. A year and a day is a highly significant, magical length of time. The exile of the Children of Lir lasts for 900 years. Since the Celts believed in reincarnation, it is an open question among scholars as to whether the Tuatha de Dunn were extremely long lived (they were purported to be immortal, although they could be killed) or if the characters reincarnated, retaining the memories of their previous lives. Support for both views can be found in the literature. From the standpoint of dramatizing story, I believe it is simpler to treat them as extremely long lived.

Thirdly, two important concepts which are uniquely Celtic need to be explained for the stories to make sense. The first is the concept of the eric; an eric was a fine to settle an honor debt. Honor was more important to the Celtic warrior than his life (remember they believed in reincarnation and had little fear of death). The price of the eric would vary according to the status of the individual or object injured. Second is the concept of the geis; this is an obligation which must be fulfilled regardless of the circumstances. Lugh assists the Sons of Tuirenn because of his geis to grant the second request made him by any person. Fergus is forced to leave Deidre and Sons of Usnech in care of lesser warriors because his geis requires him to attend any banquet held in his honor.

Finally, the traditional sense of "justice" present in many modern children's stories is markedly absent from these stories (as is true for many Greek tales). The Children of Lir do not deserve their exile. Deirdre's fate is determined before she is even born (there are those who blame her for her own downfall; however, I believe that Conner bears most of the fault). They are tragedies, and consequently they are not everyone. There also extremely powerful, wonderful stories that with the right group of children will produce some remarkable drama.

I offer these versions of the Sorrows because I find them so remarkable and compelling. That is the mission of the Amergin Press, to present stories to dramatize that are not commonly available through other sources.

  • The Sons of Tuirenn had blood feud with the Sons of Cainte. The depth of their hatred was so great that they slew Cain, the oldest son, father of Lugh, during a time of war. When the murder was discovered, Lugh tricked the Sons of Tuirenn into undertaking a series of labors. After traveling the world, the Sons of Tuirenn were able to satisfy the eric price demanded although it cost them their lives.

  • Lir has four children who he loves. This causes great jealousy in their stepmother. She causes them to be transformed into swans and live in exile for 900 years. By the time their exile ends, the Tuatha de Danaan have passed into legend and there's no place for them in the mortal world.

  • Deirdre of the Sorrows
    Before Deirdre was born, it was prophesied that she would bring about the downfall of Conner and his kingdom. In an attempt to stymie the prophecy, Conner orders her secluded from all men until she comes of age and he can marry her. Before she can be brought before the wedding, Deirdre falls in love with the oldest of the Sons of Usnech. Together, they flee to Scotland, but Conner pursues them obsessively ultimately destroying his own kingdom in pursuit of a woman who'd rather die than be his wife.


Poems
Incantation to the Land of Ireland
Amergin's poem which caused the Island to rise out of a magical storm to allow the Milesian landing.

Song of Amergin
Amergin's first words when he set foot upon the shore of Ireland. It is one of the earliest recorded poems of transformation.

In the Works
The Three Sorrows of Storytelling
                     The Tragedy of the Children of Lyr
                     Deirdre of the Sorrows
                     The Children of Tunnan