Though Tyrel the boar was far away that night (ravaging elsewhere),
Con’s luck and fate, his doom, were near: he sensed not saw:
movement flicker in the moonlight: he stared and saw: a horse:
a colt or filly, pure yearling, beautiful and white (or grey),
gazing rapt into a still dark pool, as if reflection lingered there.
He crept closer, struck by awe and dazed by fascination, until
his farmer’s tread betrayed him and broke her concentration;
startled! unawares! she turned and ran from him
revealing her true nature in her surprise and haste:
…. a spirit or a kelpie, a familiar, a magical young changeling.
The solitary man, foolhardy man, forgetful of his purpose, followed her ….
lost her from his sight …. then heard a whinnied cry
echo in a weird and shaded grove, more ancient than he knew,
which chilled him all the same, but, heedlessly and wilfully
Con pushed ahead and grappled through the copse;
And blinked, and looked away, and looked again:
she was transformed: changed to a faerie, thin and sallow pale,
trapped in a jagged bush that caught and tore her wings.
He pitied her. He stepped forward. With care,
Con freed her from the thorns, one by agonising one;
Careless of the cuts his body bore unnoticed,
scratched through living bleeding flesh to bone
by the bush he’d entered step by step, each thorn a barb
inflamed by mistletoe – the fatal plant of older myth –
Con was compassioned by her pain beyond his own.