12 Ballyfey Tales - The Eve of Samhain

Ch2 pt5

On the eve of Samhain a great line of pagans followed the Druids of Blavma along the side of the mountain as they walked towards the Man of Stone. Fortunately it was one of those rare winter nights that was dry and cool, without any wind.
Ollie walked with Dermot the Ollave and behind them came the Brambles’ Coven with Granny and Sheersha. Every so often one of them pushed a hooked stave into the ground with a lantern hanging on it. As Ollie glanced backwards it looked like a giant serpent was following them, Dermot agreed with him saying
“So it does!”

Ollie was very impressed with The Man of Stone for it stood about ten feet high and had been built with loose stones placed one on top of the other without any mortar between them.

A the start of the ritual Ollie noticed lots of small, coloured lights twinkling as they hovered a few feet above the ground and moving towards the circle. He knew they were not stars. Dermot noticed that Ollie looked puzzled, so whispered to him that the lights would soon reveal themselves in greater detail and that even more natural magic would soon be seen.
He was right for in the northern part of the circle each light transformed itself into a figure.
Some figures wore red caps on their heads and were about four foot high, others were twice that height wearing an array of very colourful clothing. Ollie realised that he was looking at a School of Faeries, two schools to be precise, which he recalled  hearing about in a pagan lecture.

The young Filli in training also noticed a cloud of mist forming around the circle from which even more figures were emerging, this time of elderly men and women wearing red robes.

“Ah see now Ollie, here they come, these are the ancient Brehons, the learned judges, who used this site long ago to give announcements on the Law and its’ benefit to us” said Dermot.

The ritual continued with the Ollave giving an account of the meaning of Samhain: the ending of the summer season and the start of winter, the meaning of darkness when the nature rests from it’s labours, the time of the year when coldness creeps across the land.
He explained how important it is for all of us to treat the land with great respect, then asked all those present to listen to Ollie reading his poem.

When he had finished Grandpa Druid asked everyone to think about the message of the poem and to make a picture of it in their minds. He instructed them to hold that image,to turn to face outwards and then send their images out to the wider population so they too would know about loving the earth.

When the work was complete Dermot the Ollave said a few words of welcome to all of the visitors attending this special Samhain Ritual and thanking those gathered for adding their energy.
He explained that the customary feast would be held at the home of Arch Druid of Blavma and that all were welcome.

A very old Brehon stepped forward congratulating Ollie for reciting his poem and said he thought that the goddess Sive would be pleased too.
As the mist returned to flow over the Brehons they melted into
the vapour and disappeared from sight.

The leader of each Faerie School replied that they would be delighted to attend the feast and would play their music and sing songs in the garden. They asked for food and whisky be put outside for them and Granny and Grandpa agreed it would be their pleasure to do that for their guests.

Alice stepped forward from out of the crowd and said “Would it be possible for the faeries to light some fires in the garden to keep us all warm and then we can all feast together ?”

“That is a wonderful idea. Will you ask them ?” said Granny
“I’m sure that they will agree. I will ask the leader of each school to make a fire” said Grandpa.

Everyone walked back to Granny & Grandpa’s home collecting the lanterns on the way. The Faerie folk of course arrived first, well ahead of the others and had two fires burning brightly by the time everyone else had entered the garden.

Ollie noticed that there was a lot of food on the trestle tables,some of which he recognised from Brambles. He knew the food would be delicious so his tummy started to rumble and his mouth watered at the sight of almond slices,fruit cake,roast ham
and the double sausage rolls.

Granny said “Everyone take a plate and tuck in please”

So Ollie grabbed a large plate and piled the food high, much to the amusement of Alice and Rosheen. He then went and made himself comfortable by one of the fires.

Grandpa Druid staggered across the garden carrying six large bottles of drink, which looked like water. He placed them on the trestles calling to the faeries:

“Here you are my friends, your preferred beverage, White Whisky.
Please help yourselves, there is more where that came from ”

He then spoke quietly to two of the faeries, a tall one named Fistle and a shorter one, Hazel.
Ollie recognised Hazel from a mural of him on Grandpa’s wall, the only difference being that now his cap was red instead of blue. Ollie heard their names and was trying to hear more of the conversation when Rosheen called him to come and help her serve the food.

Both groups of faeries started playing music together and as all chatter stopped, Ollie felt as if the air itself was being electrified, such was the intensity of the rhythms.
Then the Red Caps stopped and the Tall Ones played on, using pipes, whistles and bodhrans. On a signal from Fistle they too stopped and the Red Caps took over again picking up their fiddles to play a few airs. Hazel signalled that people should dance to the faery music.

Alice said “Come and join us Ollie, Dermot too with Rosheen, Seersha with Ciaran and Goban with Granny please” Together they did several sets of jigs and reels as the music got faster and faster and then stopped. Hazel took up a bottle of White Whisky
giving it to Fistle to share, then Fistle responded and gave a bottle to Hazel for his group.

The dancers sat down on the benches to rest. ‘Just as well’ thought Ollie, for his legs were very tired!
Granny noticed this and quietly said to Ollie
“Slip away now Ollie up into the sleeping loft with you, your mattress is the one on the right at the back”

Ollie went and slowly climbed the loft ladder to his warm bed and as he drifted off to sleep he was able to feel the gentle fairy music soothing him from toe to head and into the land of dreams.

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