The Shepherd and the Fairies E:220
When a young shepherd boy is lured away to the land of the fairies, he falls in love with lovely fairy lass, but after some time, he is so homesick for his native land, that he tells her he must return. A lovely Irish tale to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. An episode from storytelling podcast, Journey with Story, for kids ages 4-10. (duration -12 minutes)
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The Shepherd and the Fairies
Have you ever visited another country or even another town or city? Did you miss your home while you were away- feel a little homesick? What did you miss about your home most of all?
Hello everyone. I’m Kathleen Pelley. Welcome to Journey with Story. So, wondering how you answered what you missed about your home when you were away from it? As you know, for many years I lived in America – and when I was there I did miss some things about my native land of Scotland. But now I am back in Scotland, I find I miss some things about America – and I think that is probably true for most people who end up going off to another country- they will always miss something about the place they have left.
Well today’s story is a tale from Ireland – as we will be celebrating St. Patrick’s day this month – and of course, St. Patrick himself was born in Scotland and kidnapped by pirates and taken away to Ireland – and so he too knew what it was like to feel homesick for his native land. Today’s episode is about a young shepherd boy who is taken away to the fairy world where he begins to feel very homesick.
Before we begin – thanks to all of you who have been rating, reviewing and sharing this podcast with others. We really appreciate your support. Here is a lovely review from one of our listeners in Australia….
What a wonderful story podcast. My nephew (9) and I are mesmerised listening to these stories and find ourselves wanting to listen to more. I love learning all the folk tales from around the world. Thank you
trudibee1 via Apple Podcasts · Australia · 01/28/23
Thank you so much for that review…and if you have not already done so, please take a moment to rate, review and share today.
Now let’s take a journey with Eamon and the Fairies.
Long, long ago in Ireland, a young shepherd called Eamon, was herding his flock toward home when a heavy mist came down and cloaked the hills, so he could no longer see his way.
Eamon, walked and walked, but alas, he knew he was walking in circles. After some time, he came to a hollow place surrounded by rushes, and in the midst of those rushes, he saw rings.
At once he understood this was one of those places the villagers spoke of, the home of the fair folk. “‘Tis one of the dancing places,” he said aloud, and a shiver of fear passed through him. “I must be away,” and he turned to leave.
Alas, he could not move; it was as if he was frozen to the spot and no matter how hard he tried, he could not budge.
After a little while a jolly old man appeared, and Eamon hoped that perhaps this man could help him find his way home.
“Excuse me …” he began…
But before he could utter one more word, the old man put a chubby finger to his lips and shushed the lad. “Do not say another word until I tell you to,” he said. “Now follow me.”
Eamon had little choice but to do as the man said, and once the old man began to walk, Eamon too, could walk. He followed him for a while until they reached a standing stone, long and narrow — a stone the people call a “menhir.”
“Follow me. Don’t be afraid,” the old man said, and he tapped three times upon the stone. Then the great stone glided smoothly backward and revealed a dark, narrow path with steps leading downward.
Eamon felt a quiver of fear and wondered what would become of him now. He rubbed his eyes and when he opened them again, he saw a blue light shining from the stairwell.
The old man walked into the light and turned to Eamon. “Follow me.”
Eamon had no choice and so he fell into line behind the old man.
They walked for a while, and then they came to a forest, thick and fragrant. In the distance Eamon saw tall mountains rising, and as they walked, they followed the path of a beautiful, clear river.
Everywhere Eamon looked he saw a sight more beautiful than the last — towering trees bursting with bright blossoms, and all around him sweet scented flowers of all the colors of a rainbow. Suddenly, he heard the sound of birds and of heavenly music — violins and flutes and harps.
Finally they came to a palace, that Eamon guessed must be the home of the old man. He followed him inside, into a high-ceilinged room with a long wooden table.
“Sit and we shall feast,” the old man said. Soon platters of fruit and cheese and sweets began to appear, but they floated through the air, carried by no one.
Then Eamon heard voices all around him — strange whispery voices they were, but every time he turned to see who was speaking, he saw no one at all.
“Welcome,” the old man said. “Now you may speak.”
Eamon opened his mouth to ask the many questions he wished to ask, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not speak. He felt as though he had lost his tongue.
And then there before him appeared an old lady, followed by three beautiful young ladies. As soon as they caught sight of Eamon they smiled and called out to him. But no matter how hard he tried, still Eamon could not utter a sound.
One of the girls, Niamh, rushed forward and kissed him on the lips. And at once, Eamon’s voice returned. Everyone began to speak and laugh and joke and tell stories. Eamon felt his heart swell with joy and such happiness as he had never felt before.
Together they feasted and danced and made merry, and before they knew it, a whole year and one day had passed as if in a single afternoon.
Eamon loved this world and being with his beloved Niamh, but he missed his family and his old friends. So one day he said to the old man, “I must go home.”
“Wait a while,” the old man said. And so Eamaon waited. Another year passed.
But then he woke one day and he knew he must see his old friends. “I love you, dear Niamh,” he said, “but I must go home.”
“Oh, no. Do not leave me,” she begged.
“Do not worry,” Eamon told her. “I promise I will return to you.”
And so, Niamh, showered him with riches — dressing him in the finest silks and loading his pockets with silver and gold. “Take these with you, but make certain to come back here.”
Eamon bade her farewell, then he climbed the stairs, lifted the stone and at once, he set off for home, now certain of the way again.
But when he reached his village, no one knew him. They spoke the name of the boy they had known as Eamon.
“He died long ago,” they said. They refused to believe Eamon’s claim that he was the boy they once knew, for they did not recognize him in his fine clothing and regal airs. How could he possibly be a simple shepherd lad.
And so it came to pass that on the first day of the new moon, Eamon took his leave from his old home, and went back to see his beloved Niamh, who was waiting for him.
They were married that very day, and then Eamon asked her to come and live with him in his world.
All of the fairy folk gathered around to bid the young couple farewell and they gave the the gift of two ponies, as white as the morning frost.
When Eamon and Niamh reached the upper world, they began their new life there and lived happily ever after. Niamh was known as the fairest lady in all the land, and so it is to this day, that those who come from the Land of Enchantment are called the fair family.
So, do you wonder, as I do, if Niamh ever missed her land and wanted to go back there? I bet this tale must have painted some lovely pictures in your mind of that enchanting fairy land – if so, do get busy drawing and send your pictures to us at www.journeywithtory.com so we can share with others.
And remember, if you meet someone from another place, city, country, they might be feeling a little homesick, and so you might want to think of ways you could make them feel more at home in their new country.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day.
Cheerio then, join me next time for Journey with Story.