Albion, ancient sites, Art, Books, sacred sites

Songs of the Stone: Talon and Beak…



        …Now, one day the Leinster men were gathering together on their Game-Plain in order to take sport.

 “Those ravens are making a terrible cackle over there,” said one.

“They have been cawing at each other like that for a full season,” said another.

As they were talking they saw Bove Derrig’s steward coming toward them up the hill.

“That great commotion over there,” he said, “I could swear they’re the same two birds that we had down South last year, they were at it a whole season!”

Just then the two ravens turned into human shape.

It was Bristle and Grunt, the two hog-guards.

The men of Leinster bade them both welcome.

“You can spare your welcome,” said Bristle, and he spat on the ground.

“What have you been up to?” asked the Leinster men.

“Nothing good,” said Grunt, and he spat on the ground too.

“From our last out to this day?” said Bristle, “a gusts roar, a raven’s shout, as Talon and Beak.”

“Now the Erinn men, North and South, have seen our power,” said Grunt, and then they each went their separate way…

The one of them jumped into the river Suir, became an eel, and swam off…

While the other jumped into the river Shannon, became an eel, and swam off…

Two full years as eels they spent under water, one year they were seen attacking each other in the Suir, the next in the Shannon.

So ferocious was their fight that the men of Connacht came round them on each side.

They came out of the Shannon then.

And as soon as they touched the shore they became again the hog-guards Bristle and Grunt.

“What have you two been doing?” asked the Connacht men.

“Nothing good,” said Bristle.

“From our last out to this day?” said Grunt, “a wave’s charge, a fish’s snout, as Slither and Slide.”

“Now the Erinn men of both East and West have seen our strength,” said Bristle, and then they each again went their separate way…


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