The King of Ireland's Son

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The King of Ireland's Son
Author Padraic Colum
Illustrator Willy Pogany
Country Ireland
Language English
Genre Children's novel
Publication date
1916
Media type Print (Hardcover)

The King of Ireland's Son is a children's novel published in Ireland in 1916 written by Padraic Colum, and illustrated by Willy Pogany. It is the story of the eldest of the King of Ireland's sons, and his adventures winning and then finding Fedelma, the Enchanter's Daughter, who after being won is kidnapped from him by the King of the Land of Mist. It is solidly based in Irish folklore, itself being originally a folktale.

This is one of the classics of Irish children's literature, its magical stories winding in and out of each other from the start, when the careless son goes out,

His hound at his heel,
His hawk on his wrist,
A brave steed to carry him whither he list,
The blue sky above him,
The green grass below him

and meets an eccentric old man full of harmlessness and duplicity who invites him to a game of chess for whatever stake the winner might like. Characters like Flann, otherwise known as Gilly the Goat-Boy, the proud and heartless Lasarfhiona or Flame-of-Wine, the magical Spae-Woman and the vicious farmer who takes on Flann as a farmhand make this an entrancing, funny and always-remembered story.

Written in the years before 1916 in America by Colum, a close friend and colleague of some of those who led the Easter Rising, this was the ultimate calling-up of Irish mythology and legend, and, paired with James Stephens' Irish Fairy Tales, made many happy hours for children curled up before glowing turf fires to read by the light of Tilley lamps in the long winter evenings of the new Ireland.

Another evolution from the original folktale was written by Brendan Behan, published in Brendan Behan's Island, 1962, pp. 136–141.

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