Arthur Rackham: Irish Fairy Tales

There are more worlds than one, and in many ways they are unlike each other. But joy and sorrow, or, in other words, good and evil, are not absent in their degree from any of the worlds, for wherever there is life there is action, and action is but the expression of one or other of these qualities. ~James Stephens, Irish Fairy Tales

Irish Fairy Tales was translated by / retold by James Stephens, a friend of James Joyce, and published with Arthur Rackham's illustrations in 1920. Despite the title, the stories are not the usual fare and perhaps not well-suited for children, with adultery and violence being common themes. I particularly like the Story of Tuan mac Cairill, an introvert who retains his memories from previous incaranations going back to the beginning of time in Ireland.

Since these aren't familiar tales, a hint about a few of the stories:

    The Boyhood of Fionn - Fionn is raised in secret by female druids, poets, a robber, a king and a wise man. He grows wise and strong and defeats the deadly faery god Aillen mac Midna on Samhain.

    The Birth of Bran - One of Fionn's favorite dogs who is really his cousin after a jealous fairy turns a fair maiden into a hound.

    Oisin's Mother - the story of Fionn's son, a poet, born to him by his faery love Saeve.

    The Dark Man of the Shi - Saeve is turned into a fawn and stolen from her husband.

    The Wooing of Becfola - King Dermod's wife become taken with, and by, two other men.

    Becuma of the White Skin - The King of Ireland, Conn the Hundred Fighter, marries badly. The story is long but interestingly reminiscent of Arthur and Guinevere.

Every beast pursued me... so that I got no rest. Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

Every Beast Pursued Me

Every beast pursued me... so that I got no rest

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

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'This one is fat, said Cuillan, and she rolled a bulky Fenian along like a wheel. Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

This One is Fat

'This one is fat,' said Cuillan, and she rolled a bulky Fenian along like a wheel.

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

Mongan's Frenzy: The Hag of the Mill, Irish Fairy Tales

The Hag of the Mill

Mongan's Frenzy: The hag of the mill was a bony, thin pole of a hag with odd feet.

13 inches by 17 inches. $91

They offered a cow for each leg of her cow, 
but she would not accept that offer. Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

No Trade

They offered a cow for each leg of her cow, but she would not accept that offer.

13 inches by 19 inches. $91

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Becuma of the White Skin: Surrounded by Giant Toads, Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

Giant Toads

Becuma of the White Skin: In a forked glen into which he had slipped at night-fall, he was surrounded by giant toads

13 inches by 19 inches. $91

I'll be Eaten by Wolves, Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

I'll be Eaten by Wolves

The Wooing of Becfola: "I cannot climb a tree," she sobbed. "I'll be eaten by the wolves." And that was true.

13 inches by 19 inches. $91

 The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill. Arthur Rackham, Irish Fairy Tales

The Story of Tuan Mac Cairill:

Wild and shy and monstrous creatures ranged in her plains and forests.

13 inches by 19 inches. $91

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