Wayland touched me on the elbow in a gesture that I knew meant I should follow him. He led me through a yet more stony fields until we came to a rocky hill. It seemed to be a circular outcrop perhaps a couple of hundred metres in diameter, surrounded by a stone wall about waist high. There was a small gap in the wall just like the one that had started me on this strange journey. Once through, we picked our way through a boulder strewn field overgrown with bushes and briars. Urging me to stay near, Wayland wound his way through the boulders. I followed close behind. At last, as we stood at the very base of the cliff, we turned to walk towards the setting sun, with the cliff at our left, and the fields to the right, still clambering over and around boulders and brambles.
We walked for what seemed like miles until I was quite sure we had walked all the way around the hill. In fact I could tell we must have done so by the way the shadows fell. Yet still we carried on, making what seemed to be another complete circuit, and yet another. Each time I became certain we had returned to our starting point I looked around carefully for some landmark or sign but could not recognise a single feature to prove we had already passed that way. I could not even see the gap in the wall by which we had entered the field. Finally, on what I was sure by the now lengthening shadows must be our third circuit, Wayland stopped and pointed back to a cave entrance that we just passed. It looked like a tall door in the rocks. I was absolutely certain we had not passed it before. I would have seen it. It was puzzling.
“We go through there. ” he said. “Through the… thairseach, what do you call it? Portal.”
“Portal? To Where?”
He looked at me as if I was a bit slow. A half smile crinkled his eyes. One eyebrow lifted.
“You are kidding.” I said. “You are taking me to faeryland?”
“We don’t use that term, Alan. It is too… Disney. We prefer to call it talamh síochánta – the Peaceful Land.” And yes, that is where you and I must go this day…”