The Tuatha de Danaan
pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.
A long time afterwards, Caoilte is wounded badly with a poisoned spear, and goes again beneath the ground into the hill of Ilbrec, now in search of healing.
Caoilte, an Irish warrior of the Fianna, the battalion of warrior champions in pagan Ireland, meets one of his former comrades who now lives beneath a hill with the Tuatha de Danaan, the ancient population who live on as fairy folk, otherwise known as the Sidhe (pronounced Shee). This young man nostalgically recalls his time with the Fianna, and invites Caoilte (pronounced Cweeltia) into the hill of Ilbrec, as night is coming on.
Here, Caoilte is told how, for the past year, a nightly visitant in the shape of a great bird has wreaked havoc in their dwelling.
The bird comes again that night, and all the spears that can be cast fall only upon the people who have thrown them. Caoilte at last makes a cast of his spear and kills the ravaging bird. The people of the hill celebrate with feasting and when the bird’s avengers are defeated in the morning, Caoilte takes his leave.
A long time afterwards, Caoilte is wounded badly with a poisoned spear, and goes again beneath the ground into the hill of Ilbrec, now in search of healing. Once again he helps to defend the hill against its enemies, casting stones at a flock of birds to drive them away.
'And there is another thing you can do for us’ they said, and they explain how every year three ravens come flying from the north when their youngsters are playing their games upon the field, and each of these birds carries one of the lads away. And these games are due to be played again tomorrow.
Caoilte destroys the ravens and receives his healing; and then with much lamentation from those inside the hill, he re-emerges into the world of men.