On Thursday, July 3rd, 2014, I went to a cultural event called “Celtic Tales: Story Telling Sessions.” This event was a modernization of the ancient Celtic storytelling tradition. The stories traditionally are often told around the fire, but the event was held at The Cottage Bar in Salthill, Ireland and the story teller was Rab Swannock Fulton. In the preamble to his tales, the storyteller told the audience that the tales to be told that evening were a mixture of Irish and Scottish myths that when combined are commonly known as Celtic myth.
The Celtic myths are the testament to a long-standing oral tradition in which stories are handed down from generation to generation, and each generation of tellers embroiders details into the already well-known myths, creating another story layer. The tradition of Celtic tales was carried on during this event and the stories varied from funny to horror, ending with a variation of an Aesop fable.
WARNING: if anyone reading this post is squeamish do not read the following paragraph, although it’s LOL funny.
The funny portion of the night was a story of a well-dressed, drunk woman on a train. This tale pokes fun at the behavior of people when intoxicated, and the punchline was that the woman found another person’s piece of mucus on her fur coat and assuming that it was hers, she ate it out of disorientation, trying to hide it. (Of course, the “moral” of the story is that when you are in doubt about a piece of snot have some else taste it for you before jumping to conclusion and assuming that it’s yours.)
The second story had a more serious and spooky tone. It was about a rich and beautiful woman going to get married to a sailor off the Irish coast, but the woman is mysteriously murdered before the marriage can take place. Here’s the twist of the story, the woman is already dead. The story repeats itself on every full moon, so beware the next time you go to the beach at night, check that there’s not a full moon, because you just might see the woman looking out onto the water waiting for her lover.
The last story of the night was a tale, fit for the whole family, about a fox, a porcupine, a badger, a weasel, and a piece of cake. In a funny way, this story combines the “moral” of the first story about the woman on the train and the mystery of the dead woman on the sea, but the delightful part of the fable was that it kept you asking, who ate the cake, until the end. The culprit was the smallest and most active of the four animals: the weasel.