Due to the lengthy quotes, this article turned out to be too long for a single blog post, so I will present it in three parts over the next few days.
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.
After this Earth there is the world of the Shi'. Beyond it again lies the Many-Coloured Land. Next comes the Land of Wonder, and after that the Land of Promise awaits us. You will cross clay to get into the Shi'; you will cross water to attain the Many-Coloured Land; fire must be passed ere the Land of Wonder is attained, but we do not know what will be crossed for the fourth world.
This adventure of Conn the Hundred Fighter and his son Art was by the way of water...
She stepped into a coracle, it was pushed on the enchanted waters, and it went forward, world within world, until land appeared, and her boat swung in low tide against a rock at the foot of Ben Edair.
He grew more and more despondent, and less and less fitted to cope with affairs of state, and one day he instructed his son Art to take the rule during his absence, and he set out for Ben Edair.
For a great wish had come upon him to walk beside the sea; to listen to the roll and boom of long, grey breakers; to gaze on an unfruitful, desolate wilderness of waters; and to forget in those sights all that he could forget, and if he could not forget then to remember all that he should remember.
He was thus gazing and brooding when one day he observed a coracle drawing to the shore. A young girl stepped from it and walked to him among black boulders and patches of yellow sand.
He went to Ben Edair. He stepped into a coracle and pushed out to the deep, and he permitted the coracle to go as the winds and the waves directed it.
fragrant with apple trees, sweet with wells of wine; and, hearkening towards the shore, his ears, dulled yet with the unending rhythms of the sea, distinguished and were filled with song; for the isle was, as it were, a nest of birds, and they sang joyously, sweetly, triumphantly.
He landed on that lovely island, and went forward under the darting birds, under the apple boughs, skirting fragrant lakes about which were woods of the sacred hazel and into which the nuts of knowledge fell and swam; and he blessed the gods of his people because of the ground that did not shiver and because of the deeply rooted trees that could not gad or budge.
When they got back, Segda understood why he was there, and at first refused to be killed, then seeing the plight of the starving people, agreed. However, he was rescued by his mother, who tricked Conn's druids and prophesied that the real cause of the problem was Becuma. She took her son, and left, leaving them to think things over.
Things dragged on in a bad state in Ireland, and a great enmity grew up between Becuma and Art. One day Becuma challenged Art to a game of chess, and having won the game she gave him the following forfeit:
"I bind you," said Becuma, "to eat no food in Ireland until you have found Delvcaem, the daughter of Morgan."
"Where do I look for her?" said Art in despair.
"She is in one of the islands of the sea," Becuma replied, "that is all I will tell you."
Continue to part 2 - Art's Quest