The Voyage of Maeldun
12th century, Old Irish. Lebor na hUidre (Book of the Dun Cow).
A giant emerged from a forge and threw a huge ball of glowing iron towards their ship.
Maeldun is fated to sail for a long time around an enchanted ocean that he finds full of strange and wonderful islands, as he searches for the Ireland that he has been blown away from in a storm.
On one island, two members of his crew are sent ashore where they discover a huge racecourse. The impressions of horses’ hooves left in the turf are each the size of a boat’s sail. The men return to their ship and they make quickly for the open sea, but there is a great noise of shouting in the distance and they can see behind them some giant horses galloping around the racecourse.
On another island they find a giant shepherd, on another, giant ants, on yet another, a giant herdsman.
On another island still, Maeldun and his crew can hear sounds from a great forge long before they come to shore, and voices carrying in the wind: 'Small children is what they look like,' they hear. 'Out there on the sea, in a little wooden feeding-bowl.' They row quickly away, but not before a giant emerges from the forge and throws a huge ball of glowing iron at them, making the sea boil behind them as it lands with an almighty splash!