The Orange Fairy Book HTML version
The Story of Manus
Far away over the sea of the West there reigned a king who had two sons; and
the name of the one was Oireal, and the name of the other was Iarlaid. When the
boys were still children, their father and mother died, and a great council was
held, and a man was chosen from among them who would rule the kingdom till
the boys were old enough to rule it themselves.
The years passed on, and by-and-by another council was held, and it was
agreed that the king's sons were now of an age to take the power which rightly
belonged to them. So the youths were bidden to appear before the council, and
Oireal the elder was smaller and weaker than his brother.
'I like not to leave the deer on the hill and the fish in the rivers, and sit in
judgment on my people,' said Oireal, when he had listened to the words of the
chief of the council. And the chief waxed angry, and answered quickly:
'Not one clod of earth shall ever be yours if this day you do not take on yourself
the vows that were taken by the king your father.'
Then spake Iarlaid, the younger, and he said: 'Let one half be yours, and the
other give to me; then you will have fewer people to rule over.'
'Yes, I will do that,' answered Oireal.
After this, one half of the men of the land of Lochlann did homage to Oireal, and
the other half to Iarlaid. And they governed their kingdoms as they would, and in
a few years they became grown men with beards on their chins; and Iarlaid
married the daughter of the king of Greece, and Oireal the daughter of the king of
Orkney. The next year sons were born to Oireal and Iarlaid; and the son of Oireal
was big and strong, but the son of Iarlaid was little and weak, and each had six
foster brothers who went everywhere with the princes.
One day Manus, son of Oireal, and his cousin, the son of Iarlaid, called to their
foster brothers, and bade them come and play a game at shinny in the great field
near the school where they were taught all that princes and nobles should know.
Long they played, and swiftly did the ball pass from one to another, when Manus
drove the ball at his cousin, the son of Iarlaid. The boy, who was not used to be
roughly handled, even in jest, cried out that he was sorely hurt, and went home
with his foster brothers and told his tale to his mother. The wife of Iarlaid grew
white and angry as she listened, and thrusting her son aside, sought the council
hall where Iarlaid was sitting.
'Manus has driven a ball at my son, and fain would have slain him,' said she. 'Let
an end be put to him and his ill deeds.'
But Iarlaid answered: