The Celtic Twilight eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about The Celtic Twilight.
story:  A great quantity of treasure had been buried in the rath in pagan times, and a number of evil faeries set to guard it; but some day it was to be found and belong to the family of the O’Byrnes.  Before that day three O’Byrnes must find it and die.  Two had already done so.  The first had dug and dug until at last he had got a glimpse of the stone coffin that contained it, but immediately a thing like a huge hairy dog came down the mountain and tore him to pieces.  The next morning the treasure had again vanished deep into the earth.  The second O’Byrne came and dug and dug until he found the coffer, and lifted the lid and saw the gold shining within.  He saw some horrible sight the next moment, and went raving mad and soon died.  The treasure again sank out of sight.  The third O’Byrne is now digging.  He believes that he will die in some terrible way the moment he finds the treasure, but that the spell will be broken, and the O’Byrne family made rich for ever, as they were of old.

A peasant of the neighbourhood once saw the treasure.  He found the shin-bone of a hare lying on the grass.  He took it up; there was a hole in it; he looked through the hole, and saw the gold heaped up under the ground.  He hurried home to bring a spade, but when he got to the rath again he could not find the spot where he had seen it.

DRUMCLIFF AND ROSSES

Drumcliff and Rosses were, are, and ever shall be, please Heaven! places of unearthly resort.  I have lived near by them and in them, time after time, and have gathered thus many a crumb of faery lore.  Drumcliff is a wide green valley, lying at the foot of Ben Bulben, the mountain in whose side the square white door swings open at nightfall to loose the faery riders on the world.  The great St. Columba himself, the builder of many of the old ruins in the valley, climbed the mountains on one notable day to get near heaven with his prayers.  Rosses is a little sea-dividing, sandy plain, covered with short grass, like a green tablecloth, and lying in the foam midway between the round cairn-headed Knocknarea and “Ben Bulben, famous for hawks”: 

    But for Benbulben and Knocknarea
    Many a poor sailor’d be cast away,

as the rhyme goes.

At the northern corner of Rosses is a little promontory of sand and rocks and grass:  a mournful, haunted place.  No wise peasant would fall asleep under its low cliff, for he who sleeps here may wake “silly,” the “good people” having carried off his soul.  There is no more ready shortcut to the dim kingdom than this plovery headland, for, covered and smothered now from sight by mounds of sand, a long cave goes thither “full of gold and silver, and the most beautiful parlours and drawing-rooms.”  Once, before the sand covered it, a dog strayed in, and was heard yelping helplessly deep underground in a fort far inland.  These forts or raths, made before modern history had begun, cover all Rosses

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The Celtic Twilight from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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