In the long ago, which we remember in our hearts which holds the fire of the First One, Fear, He that dreams and Bearch, She of the green, who live in the deep cave of Branòrd find a young women standing in the opening of that cave. The woman is as white as the snows of Branòrd and the milk of Bó, The Mother Cow, and seems to illuminate the darkness of the cave. She holds out her hands to the couple and they see that the cupped hands hold a single drop of shining water. She sings a song, a soft haunting song, a song older than the long ago. Bearch remembers the song of her mothers in the singing and Fear hears the song of his mother Bó caress his body as it did in time long gone by. Gealach, The Maiden Moon, for that is the truth of this woman of white, tips her hands and the single drop of shining water, falls to the earth below. As the water hits the stone floor of the cave, it swells as a bubbling spring, then as trickling stream to fall from the mountain as a surging river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na Gealach. Gealach takes thirteen pebbles from her breast and casts them one by one into the river, all the while singing louder and louder, until her song is gathered by the waters and is carried by its torrent. Gealach takes a small green twig and offers it to both Fear and Bearch. As they reach for it she casts this also into the waters and it is carried with the song into the lands beyond. With this Gealach takes her form as the moon and rises up into the sky, her light turning the river into a shining thread of silver.
Fear and Bearch called by the song and the yearning for the green twig, gather only what they can carry; the bear skin, the salmon tail, the hawks heart, the thorn, the plum stone, the honey, the stone of the mountain struck by the lightning, a burning brand from the fire and some milk, and set themselves to follow the flowing river.
It takes many days and night to follow the crashing waters down the mountain, yet there comes a night when Gealach appears in the sky again and they find themselves in the mists of Rùinidh. All about them the mists turn the rocks and stones ghostly white, the river flows as it were milk, the pale insipid trees bloom with large white flowers that exude an intoxicating perfume and whitened sparrows call and sing as they fly amongst the blossom. They follow the white waters until they come to a great chasm and it seems their way is blocked, for there seems no way to cross the shear gulf. And so here they stay and non can say how long they tarried in this place amongst the perfumed blooms, or how many times the shining moon beckoned them onwards. Yet in this place Bearch sings with the sparrows and on such a day unknown, a whitened tear of Mear Dao-ean, The Mother of Ghosts, falls upon her and Bearch births her first daughter Cear-Lin, child of the mists. Fear knows that now they must move forwards and stands on the edge of the crevasse lookin
g at the far edge. In the far mists he spies Bó, her horns curving out to reach for him. He reaches down and takes a vine, which he casts out towards the horns. Bó rest her body against the cliff edge. Fear gathers Bearch who carries all they have except the cup of milk, and their child, and he carries them across the chasm. He embraces the cow in gratitude and looking back at Rùinidh, and taking the burning brand, he burns the mark of the cow into his thigh. And so it is that the tribes of Rùinidh take the bones and
likeness of Bó to be their totem.
The family follows the shining river into the lands of the burning sun Grian.
The river steams and bubbles, the trees short to the earth and all that lives here scurries and keeps close to the ground. To follow the river is a hardship, with the fiery plains taxing their every step and the waters flowing beneath the earth, so Fear follows the low laying trees to keep their journey held in the shadows. One darkened night in the coolness of the grassland breeze, Gealach shines bright and Fear sees the river shining from beneath ground, and yet it flows to a darker part of the plains which was not the way the Fear had planned to take, for it seems that this path has not shady trees along its way. As the day dawns and Grian dances into the sky, they begin their journey, but it is too much toil with the heat of the day. Fear digs a hole in the grounds and the three shelters here from the heat. Night comes and Fear seems the shining of the river; he despairs. Without warning Damh, The Great Stag, charges past him into the darkness, each step marked with a glowing fire. Fear gathers Bearch and Cear-Lin and they follow the fiery steps into the night. As the dawn comes, Fear plants the plum stone and a plum tree grows to shade them from the day. Each ni
ght they risk the dark and journey trusting the steps of Damh, and each dawn they plant a plum seed to make the shade for the day. And so it is the tribes of Lonn Lasail take the bones and likeness of Damh to be their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na rises up from the ground and meanders its way in great weaving curves, warmed by the desert and cooled by the distant waters. Here in the marshes of Ceàrdach fire and water weave together making the wind crackle and spark with the fires of the marsh; Sionnach Tine .
This place of fire and water has many eyes that watch as the three move on the dry land the bridges the marshes and the steps each takes is heavy and laborious. Bearch gathers the red earth and places it beside the hearth, to her surprise the earth becomes as hard as rock and holds the water of the marsh. She shows this to Fear, who also takes the earth and places it in the fire. It glows a deeper red, lifting it from the fire he too tries to use it to contain the water, but for him it sizzles and spits and forms a blade. Fear takes up the blade and I saddened that his fiery creation is not as the one that Bearch shares with her daughter Cear-lin and he wanders into the deep green. It is here that he meets the Wilden Beast Grroh-Goh and after long battle, he brings him home and takes him as his son. The three now four wander for many times many a time, always coming around to where they started. On night Gealach shines bright in the sky and in her song Seabhac the Hawk grabs the blade of Fear and flies into the night sky. Fear sees the moonlight glinting on the blade and waking his family he hurries them to follow the silver beacon ahead. Bearch as she runs casts the hawk’s heart into Sionnach Tine. If she had but looked back she would have seen the heart burn and melt into an arrowhead.
And so it is the tribes of Ceàrdach take the bones and likeness of Seabhac to be their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na twists and turns until it touches the Great Waters. Beside the shores of the Great Waters; Mórcoth , Fear and his family take rest, everything is plentiful and Cear-Lin is growing fast and strong, Grroh Goh still watching. Everything about them seems to be the perfect place and time for all that they need, and the following of the river seems surely to be at an end as the river has flowed into Mórcoth and become one with the waters. The family builds a buath with strong wood and held by rocks and set to make this place of all, their home. Yet the songs of the ones before are different than the singing of Fear and Bearch. Once again in the dark night Gealach rises above the ocean that birthed her and turns the waters of Mórcoth as liquid silver and there floating on the shining waters is the green twig. Fear reaches out to gather it up, when a great storm rises; a tempest of the wild waters and the wild wind. The lightning flashes and the thunders shakes the earth and a great wave crashes into the buath and brings it low sweeping it and the three out into the wild waters. Fear and Bearch fear that all will be lost beneath the surging waves when Muc the Great Sow, rises from beneath the waves scooping up the buath on her snout and catching the three on her tusks, she flings them into the upturned buath. She rises up higher than the sky herself and Fear sees all the land below and all the many rivers that flow into Mórcoth, and the one rive
r that flows from Mórcoth. Fear takes the salmon tail and casts it into the water; Muc dives to catch it and in doing so creates a rippling wave that drives the buath towards the river that flows from Mórcoth. And so it is that the tribes of Mórcoth take the bones and the likeness of Muc as their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na, churns and rolls against the land, no longer swift flowing, more crawling across the land as a morass and so it was in this way that Fear, Bearch, Cear-Lin and Grroh Goh come to Bruail . Everything they carry becomes a great weight, everything gets caught in the mire and for some these have to be let go of, for to keep hold they would drag them down into the cloying depths. The buath is lost, the blade is lost, the cup is lost, what little they have to eat is lost; it seems that in this struggle all is to be lost. What they thought was solid ground beneath them gives way to mire, what they think are rooted trees to hold them, gives way to mire, all that they gathered in Mórcoth gives way to mire, even the shining river gives way to mire. Above them Iarmailt (ear marta) showers her tears that it seems they might drown in the torrent and the more she weeps the mire rises up they it to seems may drown them and from somewhere in the tangled trees a robin looks down for the longest while. The robin flies to a stump that rises just about the mud and sings its song. The stump trembles and a single eye open beneath it. The robin seems again, the stump trembles more and in a thunderous slurping sound the sinewy, scaled form of Dadgra-Dear, rises from the mire. As if guided by the robin he turns his huge head towards the struggling quartet. He ponders for a long, long, longest while, watching the four struggle, going nowhere, yet slowly sinking. With a wide saw toothed grin; he begins to weave his way towards them! And yet as always Gealach rises above the scene, she whispers to Dadgra-Dear and he smiles even wider and as he does he sheds a tear that drops to into the mud and becomes Nathair
, the serpent. The serpent winds it way to solid ground just ahead of the four. It coils on the earth and leaves its tail in the mud. Fear watches and waits, the serpent does not move. He knows he could grab the tail and pull himself and his family to safety or the serpent will descend and kill him and his family will be lost. The eye of Dadgra-Dear watching and the moon singing, he grabs the tail with one hand and reaches for Bearch with the other. Bearch reaches for her daughter who reaches for her brother. Fear pulls his family to the solid ground. He feels the sting of the serpent’s strike and turns to see, yet sees only his hand grasping the twisted roo
t of a tree with the torn lodged in his palm. He turns to see the robin rise up into the moonlit trees, and he sees the wide smile of Dadgra-Dear, wider yet, sink back into the mire. And so it is that the tribes of Bruail take the bones and the likeness of Nathair as their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na, rises up from the mire and flows down into the green valleys of Géibhis-glois , where Grian the sun sets and Nòin-reuilt the evening star rises. Here in the stillness and lushness of the green sure here is peace and journeys end?
There is a silence in the deep green and in that silence the group know that many of tooth, claw and talon watch them. There is a wild gentleness that weaves through the green like a soft breeze, consoling and comforting.
The four make a place to sit and prepare for the night. Bearch places the honey in the centre of them. When they look they see that after the struggles of the mire, all but one drop of honey remains; who shall take this last drop? They decide that each will recount their own story of how they have come to this last drop of honey, and the story that is most engaging will win the honey. They try to agree however they agree that not one can be dispassionate enough with their hunger to let the others win. Glumly they stare at the honey. This staring went on for many a long passing with each getting hungrier and less focused on the problem. Suddenly the ground shakes as if some giant beast is striding down upon them, and so it was, Art the great bear of the evening time comes striding into the gathering. The four are as speechless as they are motionless. Art comes and scoops up the honey and in less them one gulp it is gone. She sits her great sitdown beside them and stares at each in turn with some great expectation in her eyes. Bearch speaks up and tells the great bear that she is angry that the honey is gone for what will her children eat. Before she can finish speaking, Cear-lin stamps the ground and tells Art that the honey was there so her mother could hold the sweetness of the family and before she can finish Fear speaks up and say the honey was to keep the wild beast tamed. Art who has listened to each in turn automatically turns to Grroh-Goh. He flashes his wild teeth and tells the bear that he needed the honey so he could find his way home. Art places a clawed paw on Grroh-Goh and sighs a sigh of great longing. She stands and as she moves aside, the moon illuminates the river as it winds its way
to the Shores of Bhás . Each is nudged towards the dark shores except for Grroh-Goh; she holds him awhile and then giving him the honey, turns away into the deep dark green. And so it is that the tribes of Géibhis-glois take the bones and the likeness of Art as their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na, winds in a mournful heaving towards the silver shores of Bhás; Land of The Dead. In this land the light of day collides with the dark of night, silence against clamour, stillness against action. By the light of Gealach the river shines though the dark waters of the ocean of Marbh. There is a great wailing as a mournful unsatisfied wind in search of some forgotten treasure. Darkness and light gather the wind and come together and take form of the giant Arrnwath, his skeletal hands beckoning them. He guides them to the dark waves and sets before them three barks each smaller than the one before. The all climb into the largest vessel and set sail across the turbid water taking with them the other two vessels. All they have is the brand of fire and the bearskin. The journey is fretful with storm and tempest; Grroh Goh’s eyes cannot turn from the green valley as it fades in the distance, Bearch is caught in her longing for the children in the forest and her mother’s tears distress Cear-lin. Fear alone looks into the face of the storm, his heart fearful and full of dread should the boat not prevail against the storm. And the storm is not kind and it tears the boat into pieces and all are cast into the dark depths. With the fiery brand they find in the darkness the second bark and all struggle and climb into it, which is much smaller and as such all have to squeeze very tightly together. There is no time or space for longing and all four must focus on the boat so it does not capsize, but it does and once again all four struggle to hold onto the last boat that only one at a time may stand in. With nothing save the bearskin, and each other they come to Tír Na Diochuimhne , the land of forgetfulness. The land shines like a looking glass and every view is reflected back and forth one thousand times a thousand times. In the midst of the fragments of light and dark, the skeletal form of Arrnwath sings in the wind and the wild dog of the snows Cu snaps at the heels of each and drives them to a single gateway amidst all the myriads of images. Through the gate they see the tall mountain rising to the sky, with Gealach turning its snowy peak into a beacon fire. Between the gate and the mountai
n is Tír Na Frìnn the land of innocence. Bearch remembers the trees that wove her, Fear the beast that sang him, Grroh Goh, the wildness of his heart, Cear-Lin, the mists of dreaming and for one moment in all time, the barking of Cu fills Mora oa Croen the Great Song. And so it is that the tribes of Bhás take the bones and the likeness of Cu as their totem.
The river, which is An Chéad Abhainn Na, seems to come to flood at the base of the great mountain of Branòrd. Fear looks up at the mountain peak surrounded by the stars.
Bran the Raven of the night spreads his wings to be the starlit sky. Fear lays the bearskin upon the cold rock and bids them all rest upon the warm fur as he begins to climb up the mountain. High in the mountain he sees the great Tree Ygriddia spinning the world about her., for one moment he understands the journey that has brought him to see the tree. He looks up and sees the branches of the tree touching the stars and following his eyes down her see the great roots holding the Earth beneath his feet. He tries to take one more step to stand upon the same apex ridge that the great raven holds. He tries but cannot move and looking down sees his feet and the roots are the same. He looks up again and it is his hands that are reaching in the singing to touch the stars. The spinning causes him to grow faint and he falls to sleep. In his sleep he returns to his dreaming and stand in the deep cave of Branòrd. Beside him is Bearch holding the bearskin out to him. He reaches out to take the skin when a bright light fills the cave. He turns to the entrance to the cave and finds a young women standing in the opening of that cave. The woman is as white as the snows of Branòrd and the milk of Bó