So there I was, just last week, finishing off that ‘ancient Irish beast’ that was required reading for last month’s school. The 600+ page book was nothing but sagas and epics about the heroes of old Ireland. Having been translated and written in 1936, I have to admit, it was a bit dry.
There was a ton of glory seeking and honor, and there was some mention of fairies, which I like more than I thought. One part that didn’t grab my attention as much were the five or so pages stuck right in the middle of the book going on and on about lists of men and who’s son they were. What do I mean by this? Well, it went something like;
And Lord So-and-so of the Blank Tribe, son of Whom, son of the Great Warrior Him, son of the Ancient Deed Maker, Slayer of the 39 bears.
The Great Wooer, son of Please Stop These Lists, heir to the Mighty Famous Crown, Blessed by the Fairy Mounds of Some Hill Over Beyond the hills that we can see.
And then entered the Great Descendant, son of …..
And on like that for a solid few pages.
Now of course the real lists weren’t silly like mine and my sarcasm. The real lists were filled with respectable men and their deeds of which actually helped the people in their areas and homes, so I’m not dissing anybody who was mentioned in the stories or the stories themselves. These Epics are a great part of the Irish culture and their history, and I have a great amount of respect for them.
I was just bored with the lists. So I still love you Ireland, just not the 1936 writing style that this particular book was done in.
And then, low and behold, I got to the last story in the book. Despite the old-fashioned writing, it was absolutely hilarious. Just look at these quotes!
This final story was hands down my favorite one in the book. It was “The Vision of Mac Conglinne”, so I’m not really sure what happened to the poor guy to give him visions like that, but I’m so glad he had them.
These two lines are my new favorite send-off and warning. Saying goodbye to someone? Don’t wish them a ‘good day’. Say, “May smooth juicy bacon protect you.” Need to “persuade” someone to do something for you? “Go and fetch me a drink, lest the gravy destroy you!”
You think I’m joking?
Well I can tell you, I am not. I have been using these phrases ever since reading this amazing story. And the best part? I’ve gotten my friends to use them, too.
I don’t know who was responsible for first writing this story down hundreds of years ago, but to them I say bless you, my fine sir, because without you we would not have this story today.
Have you ever read any old Epics from the Irish, English, or other cultures? Do you find the old-fashioned writing style hard to read sometimes after being so used to the way books are written today? And most importantly, who’s going to join me in adopting these phrases?! Let’s bring them to light!