“Da, tell us a story!” pleaded the young lad sitting next to the fire, his hair as blazing red as the flames.
“Yes, I want to hear about the time you met a Banshee!” said Patrick his older brother, “Besides, Michael hasn’t heard that one yet.”
“Well alright, but ye have to promise that ye won’t be scared.” Michael’s eyes got very big, but he was reassured by his father’s broad grin.
“It was a night like tonight, the air so fresh and cold that you could nearly touch it. I had stopped for the night in a glen, weary from the day’s ramblings. I looked about me for somethn’ to burn for it was promising to be a fearfully cold night, even for a Delaney! I set up a fire with some small twigs and dried grass but the way the flames were greedily devouring that meager material, I knew that I would have to look for something more substantial before long. I got up from my fire and kicked it out and went into the woods to look for more fuel and perhaps some supper. It was not a bad night to be out on; there was no moon, but the stars shown down as brightly as they could to guide my feet.
I had been searching for some time when I saw a clearing with a soft glowing light up ahead. Perhaps tis a farm or cottage, I thought to myself, stumbling forward, excited at the possibility of a warm place to stay and perhaps a hot meal. When I came closer, I saw that it was only a forgotten grave yard, filled with crumbling stones reaching into the sky like black teeth flooded with the ghostly moonlight. Then I remembered, there is no moon tonight. Stricken, I turned slowly and discovered the source of the light. There in the other corner of the graveyard was a tall pale woman kneeling over a washtub weeping silently, her hair and garments swirling around her as if she were being swept by unseen winds or currents. She was the light, it was radiating off her, around, and through her.
A Banshee! I thought to myself, tis the end for me now, for as both you lads know if ye hears the wail of a Banshee, it is a warning of impending death and that ye best prepare to meet your maker. Ye can image that I wished to run from that place as quickly as my legs could carry me, but something stopped me. She was weeping and perhaps there was something I could do to help the poor lass. As I came nearer, I saw that she was washing a shirt soaked in blood, her hands as red as the rest of her was white. She turned her tearstained face to me. She was quite lovely in her way, but she was nothing compared with your mother. I asked if there was anything I could do for her, she gave me a sad smile and shook her head. She continued washing the shirt, and I knew that there was nothing I could do for her and it was time for me to leave. I left and surprisingly I found my way home, then it struck me what danger I had been in, and I was sure that I was the luckiest man in Ireland to have seen a Banshee and live to tell the tale.”
“Daddo, did that really happen?” said Michael clinging tightly to his father. “I mean did you really hear the wail of banshee?”
“Whether or not, that is not the point of the story.” His father said, hugging his sons, “The important part is that you must never fear death for it is just a passing to something better, and all you need is to be prepared.”