Sunday 20 August 2017

First person: Stupid stuff of legend

An Irish fable led to a screaming match and wanton destruction of a book, says Sarah Carey, the culprit

Sarah Carey

Sarah Carey

I'm not saying I come out of this story very well. I'm just asking: why are Irish myths so profoundly miserable that a noble effort to read my child The Children of Lir ended in a psychodrama, with the pages hysterically torn from the book? And I was doing the ripping. I know. I know.

As usual, it began with good intentions. I bought two books of myths, Greek and Irish. The Greek tales had excellent morals and heroic deeds to admire. There's Midas, who wanted everything he touched to turn to gold, until he realised he couldn't touch his own daughter. He repents and the curse is lifted.

There's Theseus and Perseus, killing gruesome monsters and living to tell the tale. Pandora does mess things up a bit, but when she releases all the troubles of the world, at least one is left with hope. All is not lost. Unlike the Irish myths, where all is lost and everyone dies. Oisin goes to Tir na nOg. Dead. Cu Chulainn? Dead. Deirdre of the Sorrows. All dead. And the Children of Lir? That's what did me in.

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