The Celtic Twilight eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about The Celtic Twilight.

Others too have seen spirits in the Enchanted Woods.  A labourer told us of what a friend of his had seen in a part of the woods that is called Shanwalla, from some old village that was before the weed.  He said, “One evening I parted from Lawrence Mangan in the yard, and he went away through the path in Shanwalla, an’ bid me goodnight.  And two hours after, there he was back again in the yard, an’ bid me light a candle that was in the stable.  An’ he told me that when he got into Shanwalla, a little fellow about as high as his knee, but having a head as big as a man’s body, came beside him and led him out of the path an’ round about, and at last it brought him to the lime-kiln, and then it vanished and left him.”

A woman told me of a sight that she and others had seen by a certain deep pool in the river.  She said, “I came over the stile from the chapel, and others along with me; and a great blast of wind came and two trees were bent and broken and fell into the river, and the splash of water out of it went up to the skies.  And those that were with me saw many figures, but myself I only saw one, sitting there by the bank where the trees fell.  Dark clothes he had on, and he was headless.”

A man told me that one day, when he was a boy, he and another boy went to catch a horse in a certain field, full of boulders and bushes of hazel and creeping juniper and rock-roses, that is where the lake side is for a little clear of the woods.  He said to the boy that was with him, “I bet a button that if I fling a pebble on to that bush it will stay on it,” meaning that the bush was so matted the pebble would not be able to go through it.  So he took up “a pebble of cow-dung, and as soon as it hit the bush there came out of it the most beautiful music that ever was heard.”  They ran away, and when they had gone about two hundred yards they looked back and saw a woman dressed in white, walking round and round the bush.  “First it had the form of a woman, and then of a man, and it was going round the bush.”

II

I often entangle myself in argument more complicated than even those paths of Inchy as to what is the true nature of apparitions, but at other times I say as Socrates said when they told him a learned opinion about a nymph of the Illissus, “The common opinion is enough for me.”  I believe when I am in the mood that all nature is full of people whom we cannot see, and that some of these are ugly or grotesque, and some wicked or foolish, but very many beautiful beyond any one we have ever seen, and that these are not far away when we are walking in pleasant and quiet places.  Even when I was a boy I could never walk in a wood without feeling that at any moment I might find before me somebody or something I had long looked for without knowing what I looked for.  And now I will at times explore every little nook of some poor coppice with almost anxious footsteps,

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The Celtic Twilight from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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