Dream-Walker and the Giant

Welcome to another tale of the Dream-Walker.  These stories grew out of an idea for a people who live to the north of the Gaellic Plain of Tir na Nua called Deer Riders, the Norfolk, or by some Bramblewood Elves.  The Dream-Walker is a wild seer, not a shaman or a holy man of any sort, but a man who can slip his body and walk time and space, see things nobody else could see, and return to his time and his own place on the those Gaellic Plains among the Scythians.  He has kept his journeys secret for most of his life, but now he is elderly and he shares his stories with his grandsons.  You can read the first story (which got totally out of hand) it begins with Concerning the Deer Riders.

Dream-Walker and the Giant

“Is this really the best way to catch a fish?” Asked the young plains rider, skeptically.

“Well, if you’re old like me young fellow, this is not only the best way, it’s the only way to catch a fish.”  The man chuckled.

“Catching a fish is boring, if you ask me.” said the boy.

“As I remember, you asked me, Bres,” said the old man. “Catching a fish isn’t boring, its waiting to catch a fish that wears on a body.  You’ll see, when you catch one yourself.”

The man tipped his head back, sun warming his bald head, and let himself slip out of his shell, just a bit.  They called him Dream-walker, at least the Norfolk had, but he didn’t need to dream to do it.  Any moment of quiet contemplation could serve.  His dream self slipped into the pond and with eyes sharper than human and much sharper than his withered human shell, he looked for a fish worth the name and a memory for his grandson.

With a gasp and a snort he came back to himself.  The boy eyed him accusingly.  “See?  Boring Grandfather, you went to sleep.  Tell me that isn’t boring,” said the boy, but returned to contemplating the spot where his line disappeared into the still water of the pond.

“Well Bres, my boy, the secret to finding a fish is thinking like a fish.”

“How do I do that?” said the boy, exasperated but interested.

“Well, if you were a fish, what would you want?”

The boy pondered that awhile, his plump cheeks puffed out and his eyes squinting, “I guess I’d want food.”

Bres was the youngest and always the hungriest of his grandsons so the old man was ready for his answer, “Sure you’re right, a fish wants food, but for a big fish, for a fish that lives past being a fry, such a fish wants protection first.  There is always a heron or an eagle looking for a meal too.  The fish wants to eat, but if he has lived long enough to be worthy of catching he has always wanted NOT to be eaten still more.

“I never thought of that,” said Bres.

“And you’ve caught no fish,” said the old man.

The boy looked over at his grandfather and his smile turned sly,”but grandfather, you haven’t caught a fish either.”

“Oh ho,” laughed the man, and he reached over to tickle the boy, “do you think I don’t know where the fish are?  I’ve caught more fish than you’ve eaten. I just didn’t want to make you feel bad.”

The plump little boy squealed with delight, “oh grandfather.”

“Let me help you boy.  Why I know where the Bass of Knowledge lies right over there in the pond.”

“The Bass of Knowledge?” Bres asked skeptically.

“Why it’s the biggest meanest fish anywhere around here.  It has lived for a hundred years at least and all that time it has listened to the whispering of the wind and the murmur of the land and it has rested in this pond near the Dagda, so it has heard all his dreams too.”

“The Dagda?  What is the Dagda?” asked Bres, fishing and the Bass of Knowledge forgotten for the moment. 

Bres was the man’s favorite grandson, though he knew he shouldn’t have favorites, and the man was no doubt Bres’ favorite grandfather too.  The man always took pride in how he had a nose for a story.

“Bres my boy, let’s give the Bass of Knowledge a little more time to listen to the wind and to the land and to the giant’s dreams. Let’s you and I have a walk and a stretch and I’ll tell you about the Dagda.”  They pulled in their lines and set them aside, then hand in hand they walked up the hill that held the little pond in its embrace.