Story for the Day: Caumharc Na Brigid
An Caumharc Na Brigid is the story of the famous bouts of Ogham, the ancient chieftain who was desperate to gain Brigid's hand. He offered gifts to her clan, pleaded with her father, fought with her brothers and the many warriors who cherished her honour, but the climax of his trials was the fight with Aoidhe, God of Fire and Passion (amongst many other things), which he won, but not without some great extenuation.
They moved toward the square, where a crowd was gathered round the visiting talemongers, who were come in from Sethshire and Hallanys, to recount the story of Brigid and Ogham, Frewyn’s oldest recorded literature. Some were repeating the original text, professing thealternating lines in Auld Fremhin with grand gestures and sharp intonation, and others were interpreting in Modern Common, with a different voice and inflection for every character, the features of every listener rapt in fascination. They acted out the various Trials of Ogham, making mocking blows and introducing all his celebrated opponents, and when they came to the section where Aoidhe is fabled to have appeared, an “Ooo!” rippled through the crowd, and the taleweavers reached their apex, imitating the voice of Aoidhe and pretending to be Frannach, who was fabled to have judged the last and deciding velitation. Ogham was writhing on the ground victorious by the time the storytellers had done with him, and Aoidhe was standing over him, with Frannach close by, the God of Passion impressed with Ogham’s perseverance in wanting Brigid’s hand and the God of War gratified by the fervent display of strength.
Weren’t no loomin’ over him near the end of it, said a voice from somewhere behind the royal party. Didn’t hit him that hard neither. Sure, took a few teeth aff him, not like he’d need ‘em bein’ in that family anyhow.
Alasdair knew that voice, and knowing that his shoes would probably be tied to one another the next moment, he sighed and clapped his hand over his eyes.
Nah, I didn’t do it, Yer Majesty, said the voice, a sultry grin creeping over Alasdair’s conscience. No fun in doin’ it while yer lookin’. I’ll get you good when yer not thinkin’ about it, so’s you’ll appreciate it.
“Thank you, Aoidhe,” Alasdair moaned, trying not to sound ungracious.
The voice vanished under the ovation of the crowds, and the prevailing consciousness of an entity that would rather amuse itself than infer leniency was gone. The story was over, Ogham had won Brigid’s heart, her father and brothers gave their approbation, the two lovers were to be married, and everyone rejoiced in a fulmination of song.
Don’t think he’s so great and all. I let him win, said a voice, the consciousness returning.
Alasdair closed his eyes and sunk all his natural remonstrances under the silence of pursed lips and tremulous heart.
Just wanted to rile him a bit, testin’ him and such. Had to see if his bainne were werkin’ right after I kicked him.
“You look rather disgruntled,” Boudicca observed, giving Alasdair a sideways glance. “Is someone distressing you?”
Alasdair made a chary expression. “…No?”
“Is someone talking to you then in a manner you wish he would not be?”
“Someone is talking to me…” was all Alasdair’s apprehensive reply.
“I don’t think he would do anything to embarrass you in front of your beloved subjects,” said Boudicca, laughing. “He would rather wait until you’re spending private time with Carrigh and then plague you.”
Alasdair withered in anguish and closed his eyes. “Please don’t give him any ideas. I know he’s a god and can hear us wherever we are, but knowing that he’s always around now should make more cautious.”
“You do realize the Gods can reach into our subconscious when we try to hide less than savoury thoughts.”
Alasdair sighed and was sure that if given the chance to have the Gods return to their celestial realm, he should not dissent at their meaning to go. Having them returned amongst their children, even at a nominal capacity, could only do Frewyn good, but that Aoidhe should be come to stay more often than was expected was become a trial to Alasdair’s nerves. Still he had the courts to contend with, and Aoidhe’s presence there, though a blessing to the dullness of a long and lugubrious case, was a terror where his own seriousness and concentration as main adjudicator was concerned. He liked Aoidhe—he must, if he wished his kingdom untouched by plagues of locusts and infertility—but he liked him rather against his will and against his inclination for sobriety on sobering subjects. The courts were no place for Aoidhe’s style of japery, but if he should commit a lark against Count Rosse, to check his ideas of needless opposition and his habilatory crimes, Alasdair had not a word to say against him.