Showing posts with label THE CHASE OF THE HARD GILLY-AN IRISH TALE. Show all posts
Showing posts with label THE CHASE OF THE HARD GILLY-AN IRISH TALE. Show all posts

Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Chase of the Hard Gilly

The Chase of the Hard Gilly
The Chase of the Gilla Dacar is another Fian tale. The Fianna, as the story goes, were going hunting one day on the hills and through the woods of Munster. Finn and his captains stood on a hillside listening to the baying of the hounds & the notes of the Fian hunting-horn from the dark woods below, they saw coming towards them a huge, ugly, misshapen churl dragging along towards by a halter a great raw-bone mare. He announced himself as 'Wishful'; to take services with Finn. The name he was called by he said was that of the Gilla Dacar (the Hard Gilly), because he was the hardest servant ever a lord would get great service of obedience from. In spite of this unpromising beginning, Finn whose principles were to never refuse any suitor , took him into service; and the Fianna now began to make their uncouth comrade the butt of all sorts of rough jokes which ended in thirteen of them, including Conan the Bald, all mounting up on the Gilla Dacar's steed. On this the newcomer complained that he was being mocked and he shambled away in great discontent, till he was over the ridge of the hill when he tucked up his skirts and ran westwards, faster than any March wind, toward the sea-shore . Thereupon at once the steed, which had stood still with drooping ears while the thirteen riders in vain belaboured it to make it move, suddenly threw up its head and started off in a furious gallop after its master. The Fianna ran alongside, as well as they could for laughter while Conan, in terror and rage, reviled them for not rescuing him and his comrades. At last the thing became serious. The Gilla Dacar plunged into the sea and the mare followed him with her thirteen riders. One more who managed to cling to her tail just as she left the shore; and all of them soon disappeared towards the fabled region of the West.
Dermot at the Well
Finn and the remaining Fianna now took counsel together as to what should be done, and finally decided to fit out a ship and go in search of their comrades. After many days of voyaging they reached an island guarded by precipitous cliffs. Dermot O'Dyna, as the most agile of the party was sent to climb them and to discover if he could find some way of helping the rest of the party of the high cliffs. When he did arrived at the top of the cliff , he found himself in a delightful land, full of song birds and hummingbirds, bees buzzing about and the murmur of streams, but there was no signs of any human life. Going into a dark forest that was a bit farther on the cliff, he soon came to a well, by which hung a curiously wrought drinking horn. As he filled the drinking horn to get a drink of the water, a low but threatening murmur came from the well, but Dermot O' Dyna thirst was too keen to let this new threat scare him off. So he bend down and drank his fill. In no long time there came through the wood an armed warrior, who violently upbraided him for drinking from his Well..... The Knight of the Well and Dermot then fought all that afternoon without either of them prevailing over the other, when as evening drew on the Knight suddenly leaped into the Well and disappeared. The next day the same thing happened; on the third, however, Dermot, as the Knight was about to take his leap, flung his arms around him, and both went down together, into the Well...
The Rescue of Fairyland
Dermot, after a moment of darkness and trance now found himself in Fairyland. A man of noble appearance roused him and led him away to the castle of a great king, where he was hospitably and entertained, It was explained to Dermot that the services of a champion like that of himself were very much needed to do combat against a rival monarch within the Kingdom of Faery. It is the same motive which we find in the adventures of Cuchulain with Fand, and which so frequently turns up in Celtic Fairy Lore. Finn and his companions, finding their way to the high cliffs that they had sent him, were worried that he had not return . They too found their way to the forest to the back of the cliffs and entered a great cavern which ultimately led them out to the same land of the Faery as that in which Dermot had arrived. Too .
There too, they are informed , are the fourteen Finna who had been carried off on the mare of the Hard Gilly. He , of course was the King who needed their services, and who had taken this method of decoying some thirty of the flower of Irish fighting men to his side. Finn and his men go into the battle with the best of goodwill, and scatter the enemy like chaff; Oscar slays the son of the rival king who is called the King of Greece. Finn wins the love of his daughter, Tasha of the white Arms, and the story closes with a delightful mixture of gaiety and mystery.

What reward wilt thou have for thou services?” asks the fairy King of Finn. “Thou wert once in service with me,” replies Finn, “ and I mind not that I gave thee any recompense. Let one service stand against the other.” “Never shall I agree to that,” cries Conan the Bald. “Shall I have nought for being carried off on thy wild mare and haled oversea?” “What wilt thou have ?” asks the Fairy King. “None of thy gold or goods,” replies Conan, “but mine honour hath suffered, and let mine honour be appeased. Set thirteen of thy fairest womenfolk on the wild mare, O King and thine own wife clinging to her tail, and let them be transported to Erin in like manner as we were dragged here, and I shall deem the indignity we have suffered fitly atoned for.” On this the King smiled and turned to the Finn and said,” O Finn, behold thy men.” Finn turned to look at them, but when he looked round again the scene had changed – the fairy King and his host and all the world of Faery had disappeared, and he found himself with his companions and the fair -armed Tasha standing on the beach whence the Hard Gilly and the mare had taken the water and carried off his men. And then all started with cheerful hearts for the great standing camp of the Fianna on the Hill of Allen to celebrate the wedding feast of Finn and Tasha. Tis that of thy Irish.. Enjoy ...

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