Irish stories

Lately my older son has been demanding “Irish stories”, which is where the whole salmon leap incident came from. This is, in itself, all well and good, but I had forgotten just how much of Irish folklore and mythology is extremely, extremely violent.

As a result, I’ve been doing sort of a on-the-fly bowdlerization of the Mythological Cycle, which is working out OK so far; we had a multi-night rendition of the Sons of Tuireann in which they found relatively peaceful ways of gathering all the random magic items, and Lugh was not in fact an enormous dick at the end. Of course, sugar-coating the violence doesn’t really work that well; the story I told was that the Sons of Tuireann had “hurt Lugh’s father really bad”, but in future installments my son was asking questions about how they killed him.

You can’t really get around Balor taking a spear to the eye, either; in the bedtime version Lugh used the spear that the Sons of Tuireann recovered which has to be immersed in water when not in use, because reincorporation is awesome.

He is freaking fascinated by Irish mythological spears; we had to talk at extreme length about the episode where Sreng of the Firbolg and Bres of the Tuatha de Danann meet on the field of potential battle, size each other up, and say, “Dang, son, where’d you get those sweet spears?”

I already used up the bits of the Ulster Cycle which are not tragic tales of honor and revenge, which turns out to be not very much of it. A 4-year-old with a younger brother does not need to know the tale of Cu Chulainn and Ferdiad at the ford.

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