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Morag, with the three gifts that the Queen of Senlabor gave her, came again to the Spae-Woman's house. Her Little Red Hen was in the courtyard, and she fluttered up to meet her. But there was no sign of any other life about the place. Then, below at the washing-stream she found the Spae-Woman rinsing clothes. She was standing on the middle-stones, clapping her hands as if in great trouble. "Oh, Morag, my daughter Morag," cried the Spae-Woman, "there are signs on the clothes--there are signs on the clothes!"

After a while she ceased crying and clapping her hands and came up from the stream. She showed Morag that in all the shifts and dimities she washed for her, a hole came just above where her heart would be. Morag grew pale when she saw that, hut she stood steadily and she did not wail. "Should I go to the King's Castle, fosterer?" said she. "No," said the Spae-Woman, "but to the woodman's hut that is near the King's Castle. And take your Little Red Hen with you, my daughter," said she, "and do not forget the three presents that the Queen of Senlabor gave you." Then the Spae-Woman stood up and said the blessing of the journey over Morag:--

May the Olden
One, whom Fairy
Women nurtured
Through seven ages,
Bring you seven
Waves of fortune.

Morag gave her the clasp of farewell then, and went on her way with the Little Red Hen under her arm and the three presents that the Queen of Senlabor gave her in her pouch.


Morag was going and ever going from the blink of day to the mouth of dark and that for three crossings of the sun, and at last she came within sight of the Castle of the King of Ireland. She asked a dog-boy for the hut of MacStairn the Woodman and the hut was shown to her. She went to it and saw the wife of MacStairn. She told her she was a girl traveling alone and she asked for shelter. "I can give you shelter," said MacStairn's wife, "and I can get you earnings too, for there is much sewing-work to be done at this time." Morag asked her what reason there was for that, and the woodman's wife told her there were two couples in the Castle to be married soon. "One is the youth whom we have always called the King of Ireland's Son. He is to be married to a maiden called Fedelma. The other is a youth who is the King's son too, hut who has been away for a long time. Flann is his name. And he is to be married to a damsel called Gilveen."

When she heard that, it was as if a knife had been put into and turned in her heart. She let the Little Red Hen drop from her arm. "I would sew the garments that the damsel Gilveen is to wear," said she, and she sat down on the stone outside the woodman's hut. MacStairn's wife then sent to the Castle to say that there was one in her hut who could sew all the garments that Gilveen would send her.

The next day, with a servant walking behind, Gilveen came to the woodman's hut with a basket of cloths and patterns. The basket was left down and Gilveen began to tell MacStairn's wife how she wanted them cut, stitched and embroidered. Morag took up the crimson doth and let her scissors--the scissors that the Queen of Senlabor gave her--run through it. It cut out the pattern exactly. "What a wonderful scissors," said Gilveen. She stooped down to where Morag was sitting on the stone outside of the woodman's house and took up the scissors in her hand. She examined it. "I cannot give it back to you," said she. "Give it to me, and I will let you have any favor you ask." "Since you want me to ask you for a favor," said Morag, "I ask that you let me sit at the supper-table to-night alone with the youth you are to marry." "That will do me no harm," said Gilveen. She went away, taking the scissors and smiling to herself.

That night Morag went into the Castle and came to the supper-table where Flann was seated alone. But Gilveen had put a sleeping-draught into Flann's cup and he neither saw nor knew Morag when she sat at the table. "Do you remember, Flann," said she, "how we used to sit at the supper-board in the house of Crom Duv?" But Flann did not hear her, nor see her, and then Morag had to go away.

Next: Part VI