How About Some Free Irish Stories?

When I was a preteen, my favorite uncle read aloud Irish fairy tales by James Stephens to me and my cousin at our family’s vacation cottage in Western Massachusetts.

I don’t remember anything about the tales themselves, but I recall being enthralled not only by the stories but by Uncle John’s rendering of them.

Those stories and the pleasure of having them read to me sprang to mind when I was offered a review copy of The Last Storyteller, a novel by Frank Delaney. I don’t often write about fictional stories in this space, but the connection with Uncle John, James Stephens, and those Irish fairy tales was irresistible. Here’s a snippet:

Every legend and all mythologies exist to teach us how to run our days. In kind fashion. A loving way. But there’s no story, no matter how ancient, as important as one’s own. So if we’re to live good lives, we have to tell ourselves our own story. In a good way.” So says James Clare, Ben MacCarthy’s beloved mentor, and it is this fateful advice that will guide Ben through the tumultuous events of Ireland in 1956.

In conjunction with the release of The Last Storyteller, Delaney has launched The Storytellers Project:

Long long ago, when the pigs ate the apples off the trees and the birds flew upside down — so begins a tale by an Irish fireside. And thereby Frank Delaney, the New York Times bestselling author of Ireland, launches Storytellers, a new series of short stories in the oral tradition, created specially for e-readers. In his first story, this master of the legendary form creates The Druid, a fascinating character full of cunning and false magic, who tries to win the hand of a beautiful girl.

Now, here’s the cool part: The first two stories in Frank Delaney’s new series of Storytellers e-books, “The Druid,” and “The Girl Who Lived on the Moon,” will be free on Amazon for two days, starting today, February 7.

By the way, you can also read James Stephens’s fairy tales for free. Since they are in the public domain, they are available in several formats through Project Gutenberg. I might just peruse them to see if any of them tickle my memory.