I wanted to share an excerpt from Chapter 3 of “Hope From the Ocean.”
This is but a sneak peek into the lives of the family Flynn and what makes them so special to me and to so many readers already.
By Christmas night, they were all stuffed fatter than the goose and huddled together for one of Loch’s tales. He was going to stick to the stories of the Bible but chose to veer from the course and snap them from their food-induced sleepiness with the story of Tír na nÓg.
“I love this story, Dillon,” Aideen whispered, sliding closer to him on the rug.
Dan watched from his usual place and reflected on the confrontation with Loch that morning. He wondered if perhaps he could be wrong about his eldest son and hoped whatever animosity Loch held towards Patrick would work itself out over time. Either way, he’d keep as close an eye as he could on the situation to make sure his stern words had taken root. For Loch to have the gift to express himself so genuinely and with so much expression and emotion, Dan believed there had to be more to the lad beneath his armor.
“Gather ‘round now all ye children, as I’m about to tell the tale of the great Oisin and the Princess Niamh. Find a seat, close yer mouths and open yer ears,” Loch declared, pulling up his chair. They scampered to their spots and pulled in together in a semi-circle in front of him, leaving him enough room to prance about as he told the tale.
Loch placed his forefinger to his lips and leaned in, hushing them to silence and in turn, capturing every eye—even Patrick’s. He paced back and forth before them, one hand behind his back and the other cupping his upturned chin, as if he were pondering something deep and wonderful. His preparations left them all in the agony of anticipation and it cleared their heads of any other thought, leaving them wide open and empty for filling as if they’d never heard the tale before. Loch made a final skim over his audience and settled into his chair.
“Close yer eyes now, children, and I’ll fill them up with a vision of a magical place called Tír na nÓg,” Loch whispered. “Long ago, there lived a young handsome hunter by the name of Oisin. Oisin would hunt with his father and his fellow warrior-hunters, called the Fianna. There came a fateful day, while huntin’ deer, when the leader of the Fianna spotted somethin’ comin’ toward them across the sea.” Loch was again on his feet with a hand above his brow as if he himself were standin’ on the beach and so he began to play each part:
“‘What is this I see?’ said Fionn, the leader of the Fianna. ‘It’s a horse! It’s a white horse gallopin’ over the sea!’” Loch exclaimed, gallopin’ about. “‘But wait! There is a rider upon the horse!’” He paused, his eyes wide. “‘Be still, my heart! It is the most beautiful girl I’ve ever laid me eyes on,’ said Oisin. There before them, ridin’ on the back of the white horse, was a young maiden with hair of gold down to her waist. Her golden tresses blew back and danced in the wind as she approached them. She wore a gown of blue to match the sky and it was covered in silver stars that sparkled in the sunlight. There they stood, unable to move until Fionn finally spoke up.
“‘Who are ye and where have ye come from?’
“‘I am Princess Niamh and I have come across the sea from my home on the island of Tír na nÓg.’
“‘But why have ye come here?’”
The children giggled softly as he spoke in the voice of each character, especially Princess Niamh.
“‘I have heard stories of a great hero named Oisin. I have come to bring him back to my home on Tír na nÓg to live with me and my family.’
“‘What is this place ye speak of? asked Oisin.
“‘Oh, it is a magical place! Flowers bloom all the year round, nothin’ and no one ever dies, all of yer dreams and wishes come true and most of all, no one ever grows old. I wish to bring Oisin back with me so that we can spend our lives together forever. Come with me, Oisin, and ye will see that everythin’ I say is true.’
“Oisin could not refuse the beautiful princess so he climbed upon the white horse with Niamh and bid farewell to his father and friends but not before tellin’ them that someday, he would return and share his story of life on Tír na nÓg,” Loch said, placin’ his hands over his heart. “Off they flew over the sea, off to Tír na nÓg. When they arrived at the island, Oisin blinked and blinked at the wondrous sights. Niamh’s father the king had prepared a huge feast to welcome him and they spent their days together, sharin’ the many joys and offerin’s of the island. Until…” Loch paused, scanning their eyes and making them wait as long as he could before continuing.
“What happened, Loch?” shouted Dillon, who’d of course never heard this story before.
Loch chuckled along with the other children. “Well, I’m ‘bout to tell ye just that! Even though Oisin loved Niamh and Tír na nÓg, he had a sadness in him, for he missed his home and his father. He missed his friends the Fianna and huntin’ with them. One day, Niamh asked him:“‘Oisin, what is botherin’ ye so? This is the happiest place in the world yet ye seem sad’
“‘I want to go home and visit my friends and my family and ye must help me. I miss them very much!’
“‘Ye may return on my horse to visit but the moment yer feet touch the soil of Ireland, ye will be lost to me forever. Ye can never again return to Tír na nÓg.’
“Niamh was very sad and worried but she wanted Oisin to be happy and she hoped he would heed her warnin’ and not set one foot on Irish soil. Oisin climbed onto the big white horse and off they flew across the sea to Ireland. When they reached land, Oisin remembered not to get off the horse. He had only one problem,” Loch said, acting as a man who was pondering the meaning of life.
“I know! I know! He forgot that a day on was like a hundred years!” shouted Aideen.
“Exactly! He forgot that even though it only seemed he’d been at Tír na nÓg a few days, in Ireland, three hundred years had passed. All of his friends and his family had long ago died. His home was in ruins and everythin’ had changed so much that he was lost.”
“Oh no, Loch! What did he do? What did he say?” cried Dillon.
“Well, I’m about to tell ye that. He walked about on that big white horse until he came upon some men in a field who were strugglin’ to move a very large stone. Now as ye can imagine, Oisin was like a giant to the men, especially sittin’ atop that big shiny white horse. The men all backed away as Oisin and the horse approached the stone and…” Loch paused, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out, shaking his head.
“Oh Loch! Please!” Dillon cried out again.
“Oisin wanted to help the weak men because he knew he could move that big stone with no trouble at all. So he leaned over as far as he could to reach the stone and with a flick of his hand, he sent it rolling.”
“Oh, good for Oisin,” Dillon shouted, raising his fist in the air.
Aideen pulled at his arm, pushing it down and holding his hand tightly.
“What’s wrong?” Dillon asked her.
“Ye have to wait for the rest,” she whispered.
And so do you my friends…myBook.to/HopeFromtheOcean