"Usheen's Return to Ireland"

Hello, and welcome to the July 2022 Folklore & Fiction dispatch. First, my thanks to PJ Lynch, whose illustration of Oisín as an old man graces my social media cards this month, for permitting me to utilize his work. You'll find him online at www.pjlynchgallery.com. After May's discussion of fairy magic, I thought it would be interesting to discuss fairy time, specifically the supernatural lapse of time found in folktales about human travel to the fairy otherworld. There is a powerful sense of the implacable in these tales; our heroes might visit the otherworld for any number of reasons, but time still passes in our world, and death often waits for them to return. With this in mind, it's also worth discussing how these heroes navigate the internal conflicts associated with time and death to see if there is any wisdom for storytellers who want to write characters like them. I'll begin with a tale of the Fianna titled "Usheen's Return to Ireland," recorded by Lady Gregory and collected by renowned folklore scholar Henry Glassie in a book titled Irish Folktales.

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