The storyteller's old, creaking voice vibrated through the hall, sending shivers down the spines of her listeners. Her story echoed in their minds, and she bid them goodnight. One man in particular could not get her story out of his head. Only after all the youngsters had scampered off to bed, and the adults filtered to other parts of the manor, did he approach her. He was scared of her, to say the least, but there was something he needed to know, and this might be his only opportunity to find out…

"Dear child, I am old and weak! Please let me rest, I am done for the night…"

Caolán wasn't a child, and he couldn't say he was dear, either. But he needed to know.

"Please, Madam, I missed the first ¾ of your story, but walking by, you mentioned something… that sparked my interest. Could you please tell me the rest?"

The woman looked squintily up at him and shook her ancient head a little in amusement. She sighed, then smiled.

"No, Boyle. Not tonight, I am much well tired. I am continuing the story over the next two nights, but if you want to hear the first part again," she sighed, "I will tell you."

The young man's eyes brightened and he smiled broadly. The woman seemed pleased at his response, and continued.

"Tomorrow, it is then. In this very spot, lunchtime. And don't you be late!" she shook her finger at him mockingly.

"Thank you so much, Ma'am, you don't know how much this appeases my curiosity!"

"Well, young man, you make me feel like a better storyteller than I really am! Will you tell me your name, I don't want to keep calling you Boyle all night an' day!"


"Caolán, eh? Was it mean, lad? I think I've forgot."

"Slender, or something of the like. I'm named after my father, but my middle name is Darragh after yet another ancestor…"

The woman scratched her chin thoughtfully, "Darragh, eh? I might have known someone with that name… Let me think about it. Goodnight, my son. I will see you tomorrow."

Caolán was about to exit the hall before he thought of something.

"What's your name, fair lady?"

She laughed, "You wouldn't want to know MY name, would you?"

He looked at her expectantly.

"Fine. It's Magdalena. But that'll ruin the story for you, I guarantee it."

"You're in the story?"

"Of course. It's true, and I was there for the most of it. The rest I figured out later. But scoot off to bed, will you, and give a woman some rest!" she laughed, "No wonder your mother wanted you out of the house!"

"You know my mother?"

"You could say so, GO!" She waved him away from her seat by the stone hearth. When he turned back to look at her again, and to annoy her, she wasn't there. Caolán furrowed his brow but just dismissed it as one of the woman's famed tricks. And he went to bed, content that his questions would soon be answered the very next day at lunchtime.