#writephoto: Sleep

For Sue Vincent’s Thursday photo prompt.

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Who knew who built the dolmen or why? Even in his time, it had been older than any race of men, a place haunted by the old ones. In his time, they had left offerings there on the eve of the longest night, to entice the sun to return and lit a fire in the sun’s image out of reverence. The sun always did return, and the year always turned. Though the days grew colder and bitter, they were longer and full of the promise of spring.

In his time, he made sure the traditions were respected. He was chief and sorcerer, smith and poet, hunter and healer. He knew the power of the natural world, and one half of his being was in the supernatural world. He had asked to be placed in this window on the world when he died, with the comfort of stone overhead to shield him from the rain, and the lush green grass draped all around like a cloak of the finest wool. From his window, he could look across the valley to the hill where his foster mother Tailtu lay beneath her cairn, and watch the games held in her honour each year, the leaping flames of the fire at nightfall.

For thousands of years he had watched the flames, each time wondering if it would be the last. Surely men’s memories would fail and the times would change. He had seen the flames dies after the last invasion, only to be revived when the invader was finally driven out. He had seen the stillness that fell when the games were outlawed, and he had seen the excitement of their revival when the wheel turned again.

In his bed of dark earth, beneath the stone warmed by the sun and the stories whispered by the fairy folk, Lugh lies and watches. From beneath her cairn, Tailtu still watches over him, and the ages old love of mother and son flows between the hill and the dolmen, filling the valley with green peace.


Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

27 thoughts on “#writephoto: Sleep”

    1. Thank you. You’re right, there is definitely a desire to get back to some kind of authenticity, but it’s still a minority interest. City people who are opposed to modern farming methods, hunting, road and airport building, and advocate phasing out fossil fueled cars, industrial meat production, pesticides a go-go are just called liberal lunatic fringe who don’t understand the real world by rurals.

      1. There is a vast difference between airy idealism and practicality… but at least it shows a growing awareness. A lot of changes begin with a lunatic fringe.

      2. The scientists don’t think it’s lunacy either though, so maybe common sense will prevail. The farming and the transport lobbies are VERY powerful though.

    1. I’m glad you do, Willow. It’s a bit of mythology I’m fond of. Lugh’s foster mother died clearing the land of Ireland for arable farming, and Lugh was heartbroken. It’s a story about selflessness and love. Rare in old stories.

  1. A beautiful story. There was an op-ed piece in the Times today by a small farmer warning that the old ways of using the land by replenishing it needed to be revived. But I’m afraid Big Agriculture has the last and largest word on farming practices…(K)

    1. Those old practices are being given a lot of air time here too. Even the small farmers’ association is paying lip service to it. As you say though, it’s the big boys who call all the shots.
      I wonder if I could have slipped in any more glib phrases if I’d tried…

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