Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry - by William Butler Yeats

Free US/UK Kindle Classic

Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry is an 1888 collection edited by the Irish poet, William Butler Yeats.  (US Edition)  (UK Edition) 

I have to say, I love those Amazon Reader Reviews!
From Amazon UK:  "These stories that Yeats collected are as deeply moving as his poetry. You have the feeling that this collection is a part of the deep well that Yeats' created his earlier 'Celtic Twilight' poetry from. These stories are faery tales, but there is an element of realism to them for, as you read, you doubt not the truth of the tales, and immediately want to escape to Ireland and dance on the hills with the fey folk. Read this in the winter by the fire with a copy of Yeats' early poetry and prepare for a twilight wandering amongst shadowy woods, quiet country roads and green green hills. This is one of those books which you hold up to your heart upon completion, and sigh deeply from the experience of reading it - more of a journey than the act of turning pages and interpreting words...."
Yeats is always one to transport you to a time when everything is winding down and a way of life is passing away . . .  He answers the question, "Who are the fairies?"
"Fallen angels who were not good enough to be saved, nor bad enough to be lost," say the peasantry. "The gods of the earth," says the Book of Armagh. "The gods of pagan Ireland," say the Irish antiquarians, "the Tuatha De Danān, who, when no longer worshipped and fed with offerings, dwindled away in the popular imagination, and now are only a few spans high."
Well despite Tolkien's warrior elves, I know he spent some time with Yeats!  How could he not?
And they will tell you, in proof, that the names of fairy chiefs are the names of old Danān heroes, and the places where they especially gather together, Danān burying-places, and that the Tuath De Danān used also to be called the slooa-shee [sheagh sidhe] (the fairy host), or Marcra shee (the fairy cavalcade).
Tolkien and Yeats are both linguists.
An old man told me he saw them fight once; they tore the thatch off a house in the midst of it all. Had anyone else been near they would merely have seen a great wind whirling everything into the air as it passed. When the wind makes the straws and leaves whirl as it passes, that is the fairies, and the peasantry take off their hats and say, "God bless them."
It's a lovely book. 'Tis.
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