What is a Legend? an Epic? a Fable? Is this Myth?

A Story that Grows in the Telling

A legend, at its base, is a true story that has grown in the telling, resonating more and more with the audience, while it grows less and less true to its origin.  A legend, to a storyteller, is a tale too good to pass up.  In fact it is opportunity after opportunity to tell a story as you heard it, but instead, the bard, or skald, or elder decides to tell it so they see eyes grow wide, eyes that are rivetted on the storyteller. 

Fables are lessons often presented by talking animals, Myths report the deeds of gods and their interactions with people, Epics detail a series of critical events.  But can you really catagorize a story so easily? Epic Fable?  Mythological Epic?  Legendary Myth?  What are they?  What is it?

Could it be Lore?

One might say that the word Lore applies to the collected stories of a people, perhaps they are the stories that make them a people.  All these words for stories describe tales of different flavors, but all of these provide cultural cohesion.  They are a shared heritage.  And there is another word to add to our growing list, heritage.  Don’t you think?  

J. R. R. Tolkien set out to provide what he felt his people lacked, a mythos for the British people.  It was Epic, it was Mythical, it spoke to me and continues to speak.  As a reader, I hated to see it end, but it did.  There is a small enough corpus of polished Tolkien fiction.  I have to say that I have felt the lack, but then Tolkien himself is a legend. 

I think Dennis L. McKiernan expressed a similar sentiment.  I’m no JRR Tolkien and neither is Dennis.  Personally I much prefer Morgan Llywelyn to McKiernan,  or Parke Godwin or George Martin (George’s Website) or. . . almost anyone, (sorry Dennis, in fairness I need to read something more recent of yours because I think I read your first high fantasy book and felt it was derivative, but then you said right up front what I’ve always felt, that there needs to be more high fantasy like JRR’s and you tried to fill that massive void.  Good for you.)

And since Dennis has ventured forth into Heroic, Epic, High Fantasy I feel that I may too.  Perhaps I will meet with even less success.  But this is my wee bit flung into the void.  It is to that end, the filling of the void, that I have conceived of Tir na Nua.

Welcome to Tir na Nua

I am in the process of writing stories, short and long and several novels, but on the way to that I offer these thoughts, insights, resources, and diversions of interest to me and, I hope, to you. 

I hope to gather legends and lore, notes on antiquity, and present day reality. You see, a legend is changed by its times, a story is shaped by the telling.  Present reality makes an impression both on how a tale is told and how it is heard.   For now, welcome and please tell me what you like or you don’t.  I value your insights; I value your eyes, riveted, grown wide.

A Story Told (and told and told)

I’m a man with a story.  Even my name, O’Neill, has tales attached to it (like this one of the Hand Gules that is prominent in our heraldry,) but don’t we all?  I love old tales, tales of heroes, tales of real people in strange times and strange people in real times.  I have wanted to write such tales and, prodded by my friend, Jeffery, I have

I’ve just completed the first draft of a short story.  In the end Concerning The Deer Riders wandered a bit farther than I had anticipated.  Legendary wanderings?  You can read Concerning the Deer Riders yourself and see what you think.

I’ve also begun a novel.  At least that is my intent.  Considering changes to my schedule I think I may progress differently than I did for the Deer Riders.  I intend to get it done before my birthday.  A bit of a gift to me.  But we shall see.  As such, considering the time, with my available time, without a history of being able to work that quickly expect IF I DO that it will be very raw.  Dear reader, I am a new novelist and at present I believe that my best chance of developing is getting something out there.  If you disagree please tell me, perhaps I will progress on several tracks. putting out raw very rough drafts and going back through past stories to sharpen and polish them.  Here is the novel beginnings: Intro to and  Beginning of The Abbot and the Djinn. Follow my progress HERE.

Tir na Nua

I have imagined a world apart.  A land out of time.  Now, on Earth, there is little doubt about some things which have happened, have passed into history.  These things are written.  Before and between the stone of what is written are legends of things not written, but perhaps true none-the-less. 

Tir na Nua is neither and both.  Have you wished that there was a land where the Celtic world did not fall beneath the Roman?  Have you wondered what that world might have been?  Such things have happened in the new land and we have word of it, remembered by bards, lineage by rote, History in mind and on their lips.  I bring these stories.

At one time folk we identify now as Celtic dominated much of Europe. Except for ruins, and votive offerings, and the words of enemies, and a very few scratchings on stones we have nothing left of these people.  To imagine a Celtic world like insular Ireland one must imagine the real, because there is little enough to instruct us as to what that real, Earthly world was like.  Enter the legend maker, the storyteller, the bard. 

I have had an interest in the real Celts, Gauls, Britons, Welsh, all the diverse tribes of a people who shared a way of life and an asthetic sense and language if not blood.  I want to gather material, post what I find, and get your reactions to topics of Antiquity, Celts in general, Insular Ireland, and of course my stories.

Sometimes I wish I dwelled in Tir na Nua, but instead I live in a much less misty, more pedestrian, and I would say, far less noble world.  Some things that come to my attention must not pass without comment.  I will comment on current events. (sorry if this is a buzz kill, please feel free to ignore all political rants of the author and return to escapist literature.) 


I am working to put some of my scratchings, secreted away in numerous notebooks, into a form more conducive to your perusal and consumption.

Here is a bit of that ever expanding effort? work? uh, drekk? Hopefully fascinating fiction.

I have in mind to collect many things here, but I want to produce for you stories of places outside of your experience (or anyones) and yet true and recognizable. You are welcome to browse as it accretes (I think this may be another Steveism. I should really look for it in some authoritative Dictionary.*) I will update metatags and such to reflect the sites altered state. It will never be done…

I pray I have not taxed your resources too much. Enjoy! Comment! Dispute! Encourage! Correct! Guide! Request!

Welcome to this,


PS. * ac·crete (-krt)

v. ac·cret·ed, ac·cret·ing, ac·cretes
v.tr. To make larger or greater, as by increased growth.
v.intr. 1. To grow together; fuse.

2. To grow or increase gradually, as by addition.