DM

1. The Birth and Early Life of Mael Duin

LONG AGO, there lived among the Eoganacht clan of Ninuss, in the kingdom of Thomond, a warrior named Alill Ocar Agha (or ‘Alill of the Edge of Battle’). He was a hero and a chief among his clan and family, and he was famed as a brave fighter. The king of Thomond led a raid…

2. Mael Duin learns the Truth

ONE DAY, the youths of the Royal Court were at play, competing among themselves in tests of strength and skill. Máel Dúin was winning every contest, and at last one of his companions, consumed with envy, burst out in anger and frustration: “To think that you, whose clan and kin no one knows, whose father…

3. Mael Duin builds a boat and sets sail

BEFORE HE DID ANYTHING ELSE, Máel Dúin went to the country of Corcomroe, to see Nuca the druid, to ask him for charms and blessings for the boat he had decided to build. The druid gave Máel Dúin the charms and blessings he asked for, and told him on what day he should begin to…

4. The Island of the Murderers

AND THEY ROWED into the night, until at about midnight they came to two small and barren islands, on each of which was a fort. Coming from the forts was the sound of a gathering, the outcry of intoxication, the commotion of warriors boasting of spoils won, and the cries of prisoners and hostages. Máel…

5. The Island of the Ants

THEY DRIFTED AIMLESSLY for three days and nights, with no sign of land.But early on the morning of the third day, before the sun had risen, they could hear a sound from the northeast. “It is the voice of waves against the shore,” said Máel Dúin. When the sun rose and the day brightened, they…

6. The Island of the Great Birds

IN THE EARLY HOURS of the fourth day after they had fled the island of the ants, they again heard the murmur of waves on a distant beach. As the day dawned, they saw a large island, with high terraces all around it, rising one behind another. On the terraces grew rows of tall trees,…

7. The Island of the Fierce Beast

FOR ANOTHER THREE DAYS they sailed without seeing land, and then on the fourth day, they came upon an island that was great in size, with vast and flat sandy beaches. As they approached it, they saw a huge animal standing on the beach, looking at them attentively. It was like a horse in shape;…

8. The Demonic Horse Race

AFTER SAILING for several more days, a broad, flat island came into view. The crew cast lots, and it fell to Germane to go and examine it, but he did not think the task a pleasant one, for thoughts of the gigantic ants and the taloned monster they had met on the other islands were…

9. The Palace of Solitude

HAVING LEFT THE DEMONS to their horse racing, they sailed for a full week with no sign of land, and suffered greatly from lack of food and water.Their hunger was great by the time they came upon a vast island, which rose high out of the waves. On the shore, right on the water’s edge,…

10. The Apple Tree

AND NOW they were a long while voyaging, and again they were without food and drink. So they suffered from hunger and thirst, until they came to an island with great cliffs all around it. A single apple tree grew in the middle of the island. It was very tall, and all its branches were…

11. The Island of the Wondrous Beast

THE NEXT ISLAND had a stone wall all round it. When they came near the shore, an animal of vast size, with a thick, rough skin, started up inside the wall, and commenced to run around and around the island. Its racing seemed swifter than the rush of the cold wind of March to Máel…

12. The Island of the Bloodthirsty Horses

A MOST BEAUTIFUL island next came into view. On it they saw multitudes of large animals shaped like horses that were standing tightly packed together, one next to the other. As they drew near, the voyagers watched as one of the horse-like creatures opened its mouth and tore a great piece out of the side…

13. The Island of the Fiery Swine

THEY SAILED for a long time, suffering much from hunger and thirst, and praying fervently to be relieved from their distress. At last, when they were beginning to sink into a state of despondency, being quite worn out with toil and hardship of every kind, they sighted land. It was a large and beautiful island,…

14. The Palace of the Little Cat

AFTER ROWING for a long time, their store of apples failed them, and again they had nothing to eat or drink. They baked under a hot and merciless sun, and the sea gave forth an evil stench, which filled their mouths and noses, so that it was hard to breathe. They were mightily relieved when…

15. The Island of the Black and the White Sheep

ON THE MORNING of the third day, they came to another island, which was divided into two halves by a wall of brass running clear across the middle. They saw two great flocks of sheep, one on each side of the wall; and all those on one side were black, while those on the other…

16. The Burning River

ON THE THIRD DAY, a large, broad island came into view. On it was a herd of gracefully shaped swine; they were most handsome creatures. They killed one of the smaller young for food, but it was to heavy to carry to the boat, so they butchered and cooked it on the spot. Towards the…

17. The Mill

THE NEXT ISLAND they came to, not far from the last, had a large mill on it. Near the door stood the miller; he was a huge, strong, and burly man. Both the mill and the miller were hideous, and ugly to the eye. Máel Dúin saw countless crowds of men and horses laden with…

18. The Island of Weeping

THEY HAD NOT been sailing for long when they discovered another large island, on which there was a great multitude of people who had entirely black skin and clothes, and black head-dresses as well. They were all perfectly black, from head to foot. They kept walking about, sighing and weeping and wringing their hands, as…