16 Ballyfey Tales - Boru

Ch3pt4

Meanwhile Granny and Grandpa were sitting next to the fire at home enjoying a cup of afternoon tea and biscuits, discussing all manner of things, from the new management of the Apothecary to the forthcoming celebrations.

“I suppose as the full moon is on the 20th December you will be doing your ritual on Gaelech Island will you?” asked Grandpa.

“Yes indeed we will” replied Granny “and hopefully you will be sending out a general invitation for all of us to join with
you druids at Calib’s Mound for Sunrise at Winter Solstice.
It’s the 22nd December this year isn’t it ?”

“Of course we will invite everyone to be there for the sunrise on the morning of 22nd. On the evening of the 21st though the Druids will do their ritual at sunset alone -just to make sure that all will be right for sunrise ” said Grandpa.

“What do you mean ‘all will be right for the sunrise’, you’re not in control of when the sun rises are you ?” enquired Granny.

“Ah no, we are not that clever. What I mean is that the sun stone at the end of the chamber will have been scrubbed clean so that it is nice and bright, the floor will have been swept clean of debris and the cobwebs removed from the walls.
We always make a gift of them webs to the Apothecary, you know ?” said Grandpa

“Well that’s all news to me! After all the years you and I have been together, I never knew that there was such a practical side to Druid ritual” said Granny with a grin.

Grandpa took a long puff on his pipe, leaned back into his chair and gave a big smile to Granny and said not a word.

Granny said “ Have I ever shared with you what I thoroughly enjoy about this time of the year? It is a growing air of expectancy in the atmosphere that starts a few days before the Winter Solstice that fills me with wonder ” she explained.

“I presume that this has nothing to do with the exchange of presents that takes place has it ?” replied Grandpa, with a wink.

Granny said “ No ! It has not. For as you well know every ritual time has it’s own energy.”

Grandpa said nothing, he just sat at the table puffing his pipe and continued smiling because he knew exactly what Granny was talking about.
Grandpa suddenly turned in his chair to lean forward staring intently into the flames of the fire.
Granny recognised this as being something he did when he was looking for answers to the thoughts that were in his head.
So she sat in silence waiting for him to speak.

Finally Grandpa spoke “It might be a bit early to mention this, yet there is no harm in us making our observations I suppose. What will we suggest to Rufus and Snapdragon about which society might suit them? ”

Granny replied: “Mmm, it is too soon to make any suggestions to them and you are right, we do need to see what group would suit them best. I cannot help but see a pun in your words - ‘which’ and witch! Was that deliberate Robur or merely an unconscious Druidism ?”

“Oh it was very definitely unconscious” replied Grandpa.

Granny changed the subject by saying “ Robur please tell me, what arrangements are you making for Winter Solstice this year, because I have heard a whisper that a new structure has been built within the vicinity of Calib’s Mound ?”

Grandpa replied “Your ears are not deceived m’dear!
Indeed, Boru and his friends have constructed a dome in the centre of the small copse behind the mound and tomorrow morning I am off to see it for the first time. Oh and I shall stay there until the Solstice, if you don’t mind ?”

“ That Boru is a very skilled man for all of his grumpiness at times. How wise of him to place it in the centre of the copse as no matter which direction the wind blows the dome will always be sheltered by the trees” mused Granny.
“No it would waste time Robur and I never expected you to return in-between celebrations. I shall have Toby for company, so I will be fine.“

After a good nights’ rest Grandpa was awake earlier than usual and he crept out of the bedroom, leaving Granny fast asleep, to breakfast alone on tea and porridge. Afterwards he picked up his stave and put a small pack on his back filled with goodies which Granny had prepared for him. His route was a familiar one that he had walked many times before. On this occasion he was accompanied by the bird song of the dawn chorus. Each breed of bird sang from the trees as the light of the new day awakened them.
“A truly magical time of the day” thought Grandpa as his strides took him closer to Calib’s Mound, a mere three hour walk from home.

On his arrival he found to his delight that he was the first person there which gave him an opportunity to have a good look around and too see if he could find the dome on his own. He knew that the copse was about two hundred metres past and below the level of the mound for he had often seen the tree tops in the distance. Grandpa walked steadily down the hill towards the copse using his stave to prevent him from slipping on the dewy grass.

He had stopped where the ground levelled out to look for a pathway through the trees when a snowy owl flew from nowhere and slowly circled him three times as if to gain his attention.
The white bird then flew very slowly low over the ground to perch on a branch at the edge of the copse. Grandpa followed
and noticed that the owl would lean forward, stare at him, then look to the right as if giving direction.

So he walked slowly forward, past the owl, then he stopped and remembering what he had been taught as an apprentice druid all those years ago, he retrieved from his pack a small piece of fat bacon - about the size of mouse and tossed it on the ground near to the owl, then walked along a recently cleared path. A few moments later the owl give two loud hoots as a thank you for the gift of meat.

The pathway curved inwards for several metres and brought Grandpa to the entrance door of the dome. He pushed it open
and stepped inside expecting it to be dark and was amazed to find that there were glazed panels in the upper sections that let in the light. All around the circumference was a curved wooden bench to sit on, a fire pit in the middle of the floor and a hole in the roof above to let the smoke out.

Grandpa said aloud “Perfect, perfect Boru you have done us all proud.”

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