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Kevin G Hare

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The Bribe of Eire

Have you every wondered why there are no true giants left in the world? Might you think time caused their eventual demise, they being too big for the land to keep them perhaps? I say not and if you lend me your ear, I would learn you the story learned to me by my forefathers. The story of how they were wiped out in a single battle because of the mingling of gods, restless from boredom.

We know the land as Ireland but there was a time when she was known as Eire by her native speakers in her youth, a name melodic in sound that rolls off the tongue like a word spoken by the Creator Himself. A name simple to voice, exact yet filled with the spirit of an unconquerable people. Of all the mortal life on earth, none was more prized than man as he was blessed above all others with free will. The god, Puck, known for his mischievous undertakings and troublesome activities, enjoyed little else than to exploit this gifted characteristic.

Puck knew the pride and valour of the people of Eire and would delight to see them fall under the weight of odds beyond even their imaginings, but more so, he reveled his own cunning to trick the gods he wagered. He sought out Badb, goddess of battle who could influence the outcome of war using fear and courage as her weapons, and he proposed to her a wager. He bribed her with immense gold coins, stacked high as a mountain, hers to claim if she could send an army against man he could not defeat.

Intrigued by his proposal, Badb accepted his contest and when she won, she would use the prize to build herself a city of gold, a shining example of her power over man. She set out to address a clan of giants to assign the task and obvious opposing force to man’s smaller stature. She convinced them of an easy victory and a promise of some of the gold from her own winnings.

The two gods watched their challenge unfold from afar. The giants began their assault upon the land but Puck had forewarned mankind of what awaited them. The chieftain’s of the Celtic clans immediately stopped their own trivial wars and banded together as a singular fighting force against a common threat and when the giants brought the fight to their gates, their were quickly overwhelmed by the unexpected numbers and unity of their enemy. The men triumphed and decided to never again allow such a force to threaten their land of Eire again by striking every living giant down until there were none left.

Puck laughed in his victory but Badb learned of his interference and scorned him for cheating. To make up for his trickiness, Puck still offered the mountain of gold to keep his head but Badb could not accept for her city would reflect only the shame of her defeat. With none to claim the prize, the mountain of gold coins sat on the shore of the island and over time became encrusted with the elements of the sea and air. It remains there today as a uniquely formed pile of rock known as The Giant’s Causeway.