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The Sword of Light and the Unique Tale
With as Much of the Adventures of Gilly
of the Goatskin
as is Given in "The Craneskin Book"


He came to the house that was thatched with the one great wing of a bird, and, as before, the Little Sage of the Mountain asked him to do a day's work. The King's Son reaped the corn for the Little Sage, and as he was reaping it his two foster-brothers, Dermott and Downal, rode by on their fine horses. They did not know who the young fellow was who was reaping in the field and they shouted for the Little Sage of the Mountain to come out of the house and speak to them. "We want to know where to find the Gobaun Saor who is to give us the Sword of Light," said Dermott.

"Come in," said the Sage, "and help me with my day's work, and I'll search in my book for some direction."

"We can't do such an unprincely thing as take service with you," said Downal. "Tell us now where we must go to find the Gobaun Saor."

"I think you have made a mistake," said the Little Sage. "I'm an ignorant man, and I can't answer such a question without study."

"Ride on, brother," said Downal, "he can tell us nothing." Dermott and Downal rode off on their fine horses, the silver bells on their bridles ringing.

That night, when he had eaten his supper, the Little Sage told the King's Son where to go. It is forbidden to tell where the King of Ireland's Son found the Builder and Shaper for the Gods. In a certain place he came to where the Gobaun Saor had set up his forge and planted his anvil, and he saw the Gobaun Saor beating on a shape of iron.

"You want to find the Sword of Light," said the Gobaun, his eyes as straight as the line of a sword-blade, "but show me first your will, your mind and your purpose."

"How can I do that?" said the King of Ireland's Son.

"Guard my anvil for a few nights," said the Gobaun Saor. "A Fua comes out of the river sometimes and tries to carry it off."

The Gobaun Saor had to make a journey to look at trees that were growing in the forest, and the King's Son guarded his anvil. And at night a Fua came out of the river and flung great stones, striving to drive him away from the anvil. He ran down to the river bank to drive it away, but the creature caught him in its long arms and tried to drown him in the deep water. The King of Ireland's Son was near his death, but he broke away from the Fua, and when the creature caught him again, he dragged it up the bank and held it against a tree. "I will give you the mastery of all arts because you have mastered me," said the Fua. "I do not want the mastery of arts, but maybe you can tell me where to find the Sword of Light." "You want to know that--do you?" said the Fua, and then it twisted from him and went into the river.

The Fua came the next night and flung stones as before, and the King's Son wrestled with it in the very middle of the river, and held him so that he could not get to the other bank. "I will give you heaps of wealth because you have mastered me," said the creature with the big eyes and the long arms. "Not wealth, but the knowledge of where to come on the Sword of Light is what I want from you," said the King of Ireland's Son. But the Fua twisted from him and ran away again.

The next night the Fua came again, and the King's Son wrestled with him in the middle of the river and followed him up the other bank, and held him against a tree. "I will give you the craft that will make you the greatest of Kings, because you have mastered me." "Not craft, but knowledge of where the Sword of Light is, I want from you," said the King's Son. "Only one of the People of Light can tell you that," said the Fua. It became a small, empty sort of creature and lay on the ground like a shadow.

The Gobaun Saor came back to his forge and his anvil. "You have guarded my anvil for me," he said, "and I will tell you where to go for the Sword of Light. It is in the Palace of the Ancient Ones under the Lake. You have an enchanted steed that can go to that Lake. I shall turn his head, and he shall go straight to it. When you come to the edge of the Lake pull the branches of the Fountain Tree and give the Slight Red Steed the leaves to eat. Mount now and go."

The King of Ireland's Son mounted the Slight Red Steed and went traveling again.

Next: Part II