The House that Fish Built V…

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…So Long-Horn O’Leary was taken into the presence of the one whose mouth is sweet: “Welcome,” said Maeve, “in preference to Connor Cruel-Crest, I assign to you a cup of gold with a bird chased in silver on its bottom. Take it with you as a token of award. No one else is to see it until, at the days end, you are in the mead hall of king Grim-Gaze. When the champion’s portion is exhibited among the men of Albion then shall you bring out the cup in their presence and none of them will dispute further with you.”

Then the cup with its full of luscious mead was given to O’Leary, and he downed the contents in a draught.

“Having tasted the mead of kings,” said Maeve, “I wish that you may enjoy it a hundred years at the head of all the men of Albion.”

*

Then Connor Cruel-Crest came before the one whose mouth is sweet.

“Welcome,” said Maeve, “in preference to Long-Horn O’Leary, I assign to you a cup of silver with a bird chased in gold on its bottom. Take it with you as a token of award. No one else is to see it until, at the days end, you are in the mead hall of king Grim-Gaze.

When the champion’s portion is exhibited among the men of Albion, then shall you bring out the cup in their presence and none of them will dispute further with you.”

So the cup with its full of luscious mead was given to Connor, and he downed the contents in a draught.

“Having tasted the mead of kings,” said Maeve, “I wish that you may enjoy it a hundred years at the head of all the men of Albion.”

*

…In the mead house of Grim-Gaze, King of the Slug-Men, the Heroes of Albion ceased their boastings, the ladder-vat of ale was filled for them, and the spencers came to serve the Champion’s Portion.

Father Fish slipped out of the mead house unnoticed.

Connor Cruel-Crest stood and lifted on high the silver cup, with the bird chased in gold on the bottom, given to him by Sweet-Mouthed Maeve, “the Champion’s Portion is mine,” he said, “and none of the men of Albion may contest it with me.”

“That is not so,” said Long-Horn O’Leary, raising his own cup which was gold with a bird chased in silver on the bottom, “from the difference in the tokens which Maeve gave to us it is clear that the Champion’s Portion belongs to me alone.”

In the silence which had fallen on the company, a loud wailing from without the mead house could be heard by all those present.

Into the house that Father Fish built strode a big, uncouth, fellow of un-surpassing ugliness…

– Excerpt from; The Heart of Albion: tales from the Wondrous Head

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3 thoughts on “The House that Fish Built V…

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