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And having come to the River of the Ox he sought the ford and waited there for Laheen the Eagle. When it was high noon he saw the shadow of the Eagle in the water of the ford. He looked up. Laheen let something fall into the shallows. It was a wheel. Then Laheen lighted on the rocks of a waterfall above the ford and spoke to the King of Ireland's Son.

"Son of King Connal," she said, "roll this wheel before you and follow it where it goes. It will bring you first where Blackfoot the Elk abides. Ask the Elk has he knowledge of the Unique Tale. If he has no knowledge of it start the wheel rolling again. It will bring you then where the Crow of Achill abides. If the Crow cannot tell you anything of the Unique Tale, let the wheel bring you to where the Old Woman of Beare lives. If she cannot tell you of the Unique Tale, I cannot give you any further help."

Laheen the Eagle then spread out her wings and rising above the mist of the waterfall flew away.

The King of Ireland's Son took the wheel out of the shallow water and set it rolling before him. It went on without his touching it again. Then he was going and ever going with the clear day going before him and the dark night coming behind him, going through scrubby fields and shaggy bog-lands, going up steep mountain sides and along bare mountain ridges, until at last he came to a high mound on a lonesome mountain. And as high as the mound and as lonesome as the mountain was the Elk that was standing there with wide, wide horns. The wheel ceased rolling.

"I am from Laheen the Eagle," said the King of Ireland's Son.

The Elk moved his wide-horned head and looked down at him. "And why have you come to me, son?" said the Elk.

"I came to ask if you had knowledge of the Unique Tale," said the King of Ireland's Son.

"I have no knowledge of the Unique Tale," said the Elk in a deep voice.

"And are you not Blackfoot, the Elk of Ben Gulban, one of the five of the oldest creatures in the world?" said the King of Ireland's Son.

"I am the Elk of Ben Gulban," said Blackfoot, "and it may be that there is no creature in the world more ancient than I am. The Fianna hunted me with their hounds before the Sons of Mile' came to the Island of Woods. If it was a Tale of Finn or Caelta or Goll, of Oscar or Oisin or Conan, I could tell it to you. But I know nothing of the Unique Tale."

Then Blackfoot the Elk of Ben Gulban turned his wide-horned head away and looked at the full old moon that was coming up in the sky. And the King of Ireland's Son took up the wheel and went to look for a shelter. He found a sheep-cote on the side of the mountain and lay down and slept between sheep.

Next: Part V