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Why the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin: Traveller folktales usher readers into another way of life

Short stories: Why the Moon Travels

Oein DeBhairduin

Skein Press, 144 pages, hardcover €12.95

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Tales of wisdom: Oein DeBhairduin

Tales of wisdom: Oein DeBhairduin

Why the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin

Why the Moon Travels by Oein DeBhairduin

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Tales of wisdom: Oein DeBhairduin

Why the Moon Travels, penned by Oein DeBhairduin and illustrated by Leanne McDonagh is, its publisher says, "as far as we know, the first collection of folktales written by a Traveller about Travellers and illustrated by a Traveller".

One word comes to mind after reading this book: generosity. We are all, as DeBhairduin remarks in his gracious introduction, "made of stories" and to share a story is an intimate act. It invites trust. In sharing Irish Travellers' folktales, he is drawing back a curtain and showing us a way of life that is often dismissed. When we understand the stories that guide an individual, a community or a country, we come closer to a place of respect.

Many of us have moved away from storytelling in its old, more traditional form. Reading these tales - written with the attentive ear in mind - are a reminder of its pulsing power. They also allow non-Travellers to enter the same space as a community with whom settled people may not often interact, and that in itself is reason enough to read them. As the title story puts it: "When you don't see or hear yourself anywhere else, stories like this become important as an anchor to where and why you live."