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When Fedelma and the King of Ireland's Son came to the Spae-Woman's house, who was the first person they saw there but Gilveen, Fedelma's sister! She came to where they reined their horse and smiled in the faces of her sister and the King of Ireland's Son. And she it was who gave them their first welcome. "And you will be asking how I came here," said Gilveen, "and I will tell you without wasting candle-light. Myself and sister Aefa went to the court of the King of Ireland after you, my sister, had gone from us with the lucky man of your choice. And as for Aefa, she has been lucky too in finding a match and she is now married to Maravaun the King's Councillor. I have been with Caintigern the Queen. And now the Queen is in the house of the Spae-Woman with the youth Flann and she is longing to give the clasp of welcome to both of you. And if you sit beside me on this grassy ditch I will tell you the whole story from the first to the last syllable."

They sat together, and Gilveen told Fedelma and the King's Son the story. The Spae-Woman had sent a message to Caintigern the Queen to tell her she hadtidings of her first-born son. Thereupon Caintigern went to the Spae-Woman's house and Gilveen, her attendant, went with her. She found there Flann who had been known as Gilly of the Goatskin, and knew him for the son who had been stolen from her when he was born. Flann gave his mother a token which had been given him by a young woman. The token was a handkerchief and it held seven drops of heart's blood. The Spae-Woman told the Queen that these seven drops would disenchant her brothers who had been changed from their own forms into the forms of seven wild geese.

And while Gilveen was telling them all this Flann came to see whose horse was there, and great was his joy to find his comrade the King of Ireland's Son. They knew now that they were the sons of the one father, and they embraced each other as brothers. And Flann took the hand of Fedelma and he told her and the King's Son of his love for Morag. But when he was speaking of Morag, Gilveen went away.

Then Flann took them into the Spae-Woman's house, and the Queen who was seated at the fire rose up and gave them the clasp of welcome. The face she turned to the King's Son was kindly and she called him by his child's name. She said too that she was well pleased that he and Flann her son were good comrades, and she prayed they would be good comrades always.


Fedelma and the King of Ireland's Son rested themselves for a day. Then the Spae-Woman said that the Queen would strive on the next night--it was the night of the full moon--to bring back her seven brothers to their own forms. The Spae-Woman said too that the Queen and herself should be left alone in the house and that the King of Ireland's Son with Flann and Fedelma and Gilveen should go towards the King of Ireland's Castle with MacStairn the woodman, and wait for the Queen at a place a day's journey away.

So the King of Ireland's Son and Flann, Fedelma and Gilveen bade good-by to the Queen, to the Spae-Woman and to the Spae-Woman's house, and started their journey towards the King's Castle with MacStairn the Woodman who walked beside their horses, a big axe in his hands.

At night MacStairn built two bothies for them--one covered with green boughs for Fedelma and Gilveen and one covered with cut sods for Flann and the King of Ireland's Son. Flann lay near the opening of this bothie. And at night, when the only stir in the forest was that of the leaves whispering to the Secret People, Gilveen arose from where she lay and came to the other bothie and whispered Flann's name. He awakened, and thinking that Morag had come back to him (he had been dreaming of her), he put out his arms, drew Gilveen to him and kissed her. Then Gilveen ran back to her own bothie. And Flann did not know whether he had awakened or whether he had remained in a dream.

But when he arose the next morning no thought of Morag was in his mind. And when the King's Son rode with Fedelma he rode with Gilveen. Afterwards Gilveen gave him a drink that enchanted him, so that he thought of her night and day.

Neither Fedelma nor the King's Son knew what had come over Flann. They mentioned the name he had spoken of so often--Morag's name but it seemed as if it had no meaning for him. At noon they halted to bide until the Queen came with or without her seven brothers. Flann and Gilveen were always together. And always Gilveen was smiling.

Next: Part III