BOOK I – QUEEN MAEVE TRILOGY
The tribes of Ireland are no longer led by the mother-line. The bards do not sing of Queen Maeve’s glory.
Instead, the songs favor the boy-child who fought her, Cuchulain, and call him hero. The tales admire Maeve’s enemies, and call them good kings, rightful rulers. Queen Maeve is a villain in the memory of her own people.
But Breide the healer remembers Maeve’s true story.
Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.
— William Butler Yeats, The Stolen Child
“All stories spring from the land. See Ériu, our island of fog and soft grass. See the cattle that graze her body. They are small and black and their milk is abundant. It is our very life.
When the ancestors came across the sea long ago, the gods blessed them and their herds grew. The clans multiplied as the milk flowed, sweet with cream. If you listen carefully in the hollows and dells, you can still hear the ancestors singing. They live forever beneath the earth.
Sometimes, the tribes of Ériu forget that they have the same forebears. They curse themselves and steal from other clans, and the cattle-struggles soak the earth with blood…”