The Moon Pool HTML version

Chapter 26. The Wooing Of Lakla
I HAD SLEPT soundly and dreamlessly; I wakened quietly in the great chamber into
which Rador had ushered O'Keefe and myself after that culminating experience of
crowded, nerve-racking hours--the facing of the Three.
Now, lying gazing upward at the high-vaulted ceiling, I heard Larry's voice:
"They look like birds." Evidently he was thinking of the Three; a silence--then: "Yes,
they look like BIRDS--and they look, and it's meaning no disrespect to them I am at all,
they look like LIZARDS"--and another silence--"they look like some sort of gods, and,
by the good sword-arm of Brian Boru, they look human, too! And it's NONE of them
they are either, so what--what the--what the sainted St. Bridget are they?" Another short
silence, and then in a tone of awed and absolute conviction: "That's it, sure! That's what
they are--it all hangs in--they couldn't be anything else--"
He gave a whoop; a pillow shot over and caught me across the head.
"Wake up!" shouted Larry. "Wake up, ye seething caldron of fossilized superstitions!
Wake up, ye bogy-haunted man of scientific unwisdom!"
Under pillow and insults I bounced to my feet, filled for a moment with quite real wrath;
he lay back, roaring with laughter, and my anger was swept away.
"Doc," he said, very seriously, after this, "I know who the Three are!"
"Yes?" I queried, with studied sarcasm.
"Yes?" he mimicked. "Yes! Ye--ye" He paused under the menace of my look, grinned.
"Yes, I know," he continued. "They're of the Tuatha De, the old ones, the great people of
Ireland, THAT'S who they are!"
I knew, of course, of the Tuatha De Danann, the tribes of the god Danu, the half-
legendary, half-historical clan who found their home in Erin some four thousand years
before the Christian era, and who have left so deep an impress upon the Celtic mind and
its myths.
"Yes," said Larry again, "the Tuatha De--the Ancient Ones who had spells that could
compel Mananan, who is the spirit of all the seas, an' Keithor, who is the god of all green
living things, an' even Hesus, the unseen god, whose pulse is the pulse of all the
firmament; yes, an' Orchil too, who sits within the earth an' weaves with the shuttle of
mystery and her three looms of birth an' life an' death--even Orchil would weave as they
He was silent--then: