Wayland was lecturing.
“Almost every culture in the world has a record of us in their mythology”. he said.
“The People, or The Folk – as we tend to call ourselves, or sometimes The Good Folk (though in fact we are neither better nor worse than the rest of humankind), are found almost everywhere around the world. Or we have been, in the past.
The stories about us have been garbled and exaggerated, mixed with fantastic tall tales, religious mythology and local superstition. We have been called Aos Sí, Aziza, Curupira, Duende, Fée, Fay Fagja Fata Peri Joga, Menehune Mogwai, Teg, Tiune, Xana or Zana,. Even in New Zealand your Maori people talk of the Patupaiarehe, the vanishing people of the Turehu, Ngati Hotu and the red-headed Urukehu tribes in the mountains. There is a reason we got all around the world, and are often associated with mountains, caves and barrows. I will come to that. And I shall talk more later about words. It is important you understand the power of them. It may be vitally important”.
That sounded ominous, I thought.
“We have our own language of course, similar to ancient Irish, for we were Stone Age Celtic in origin, as you may have already guessed. We have adopted other languages in our intercourse with the rest of humanity. Yes, the rest of humanity. We are human. Do not doubt it. Human. No more, no less. But we have followed a different path. A path that gave us another world.
We were the Sleagh Maith, the Tuatha Dé Danann and in the days of what your culture now call the Early Modern Humans, we were gradually driven across Europe by other tribes. We fought to defend our culture and lands but were defeated by the ancestors of modern mankind. They vaguely remember us still in their folklore. We were said to have withdrawn to the sidhe or fairy mounds, which is not too far from the truth”.
He looked at me expectantly.
“The portals” I said. “You discovered the portals. That is what I want to ask about. Where exactly are we? How does the portal work, and how did we get here?”
Wayland looked pleased. “It doesn’t frighten you?” he asked.
“In a sense it does, and why shouldn’t it?” I replied. “After all you have just taken me through a hole in a rock to a place I know is not Ireland in a world I can tell is not the Earth. At least not any part of it I have ever seen either in life or on television. We are sitting outside a house that appears to be carved from the largest living tree I have ever seen or even heard of, under a sky of the strangest most indescribable colour. I should be terrified. Here I am, drinking this water that is about the best thing I have ever tasted, talking to my imaginary friend from when I was four. I would be witless except the one thing I still remember well from my very young days was a feeling of security when you were around. I hardly think you have brought me here to pay your tithe to hell”.
“You have heard that story then?” His hazel eyes twinkled and his quick grin flashed. “Tam Llyn is another of my names. Which version have you heard I wonder? Never mind, that is for another time. We have other matters to discuss. Such as where we are.” He paused, then added “And why.”