The King of Ireland's Son
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By Padraic Colum
“Connal was the name of the King who ruled over Ireland at that time. He had three sons…one of them grew up so wild that in the end the King and the King’s Councillor had to let him have his own way in everything.” So begins Padraic Colum’s compendium of Irish folklore, The King of Ireland’s Son. With Flann, his loyal companion, the titular prince navigates a series of adventures as he woos and wins the “love of his heart,” Fedelma the Enchanter’s Daughter, braving the magical tests of her father and battling with her kidnapper, the King of the Land of Mist. Based upon the traditional motifs and characters of Gaelic romance, each adventure comprises a tale (or several) within its tale and contains a charming cast of figures both human and mythical.
“The King of Ireland’s Son rode abroad:
His hound at his heel,
His hawk on his wrist;
A brave steed to carry him whither he list,
And the blue sky over him…”
The fabulist, Padraic Colum once wrote, “does not aim at imposing forms on what we call reality—graceful, impressive or significant forms; he aims at transporting us from this reality altogether.” A fabulous crafting of Irish folk- and fairy-tales, The King of Ireland’s Son is an enchanting journey into the world of imagination.
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Padraic Colum (1881–1972) was an Irish poet, novelist, and playwright. A leading figure in the Irish Literary revival, he wrote over sixty books and numerous plays and collections of poetry. In 1961, Colum received the Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association, “awarded annually to a living exemplar of the words…only the rarest kind of best in anything can be good enough for the young.’”