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Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland

Product no.: 0-684-82952-5
This treasury of the greatest and most representative Irish folk and fairy tales grandly brings to life the sounds, the feel, and the magic of Ireland and its people.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Fairy and Folk Tales of Ireland combines two books of Irish folklore collected and edited by William Butler Yeats - Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry, first published in 1888, and Irish Fairy Tales, published in 1892.

In this delightful gathering of legend and song, the familiar characters of Irish myth come to life: the mercurial trooping fairies, as ready to make mischief as to do good; the solitary and industrious Lepracaun and his dissipated cousin, the Cluricaun; the fearsome Pooka, who lives among ruins and has "grown monstrous with much solitude"; and the Banshee, whose eerie wailing warns of death. More than an ambitious and successful effort to preserve the rich heritage of his native land, this volume confirms Yeats's conviction that imagination is the source of both life and art.

"The Irish word for fairy is sheehogue [sidheóg], a diminutive of 'shee' in banshee. Fairies are deenee shee [daoine sidhe] (fairy people).

Who are they? 'Fallen angels who were not good enough to be saved, nor bad enough to be lost,' say the peasantry. 'The gods of the earth,' says the Book of Armagh. 'The gods of pagan Ireland,' say the Irish antiquarians, 'the Tuatha De Danān, who, when no longer worshipped and fed with offerings, dwindled away in the popular imagination, and now are only a few spans high.'

And they will tell you, in proof, that the names of fairy chiefs are the names of old Danān heroes, and the places where they especially gather together, Danān burying-places, and that the Tuath De Danān used also to be called the slooa-shee [sheagh sidhe] (the fairy host), or Marcra shee (the fairy cavalcade).

On the other hand, there is much evidence to prove them fallen angels. Witness the nature of the creatures, their caprice, their way of being good to the good and evil to the evil, having every charm but conscience—consistency. Beings so quickly offended that you must not speak much about them at all, and never call them anything but the 'gentry,' or else daoine maithe, which in English means good people, yet so easily pleased, they will do their best to keep misfortune away from you, if you leave a little milk for them on the window-sill over night. On the whole, the popular belief tells us most about them, telling us how they fell, and yet were not lost, because their evil was wholly without malice."

Editor Yeats, W. B.
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 387 pp.
Publisher Touchstone Book 1998
Browse these categories as well: Mythology, Folk and Fairy Tales, Celtic Culture and Customs, Angelology: Watchers and Celestial Intelligences

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