…So, Deirdru was kept in a place apart
until she was ready for Connavor’s bed.
No one was allowed into her enclosure
save her foster-mother, her foster-father,
and her nurse maid, Leborcham, the satirist.
One winter’s day when Deirdru’s foster-father was busy
skinning a milk-fed calf, outside, to cook it for her, a
raven flew down and drunk up the blood from the snow.
“I could love a man with those colours,”
mused Deirdru dreamily, “raven-black hair,
blood-red cheeks, and a body white as snow.”
“Why, luck and success on you,” said Leborcham,“for
such a man is not far off, Neesh, the Son of Ushna, fits that
description, he and his brothers Ardan and Ainle are together
renowned, as the three valorous lights of the Ulstermen, for their
musical battle-cry, their speed in hunting, and their skill in weaponry. ”
In that case,” said Deirdru, “I shall pine until I see Neesh!”…
Songs of the Stone
“To regain the Ulster Spoil,
Seek out the Nine Chief Culdees of Erin…
Then journey with them to the Ogham Stone of Fergus Mac Roy,
And there fast for three nights and three days.
If the question, given to each Culdee in turn,
during their fast, be spoken to the Stone of Fergus
as if to that mighty man himself…
Then, ‘The Spoil’, will be again revealed
in plain and perfect form
for the instruction of the ages.”
– A Hag Load of Lard
Cover artwork – Sue Vincent