When St. Brendain, who went to search for the sunk isle of Hy-Breasil, was about to build his Cathedral of Ardfert in the kingdom of Kerry, he fixed on a spot where lay the remains of a deserted lios. This was a favourite resort of the red-capped gentry, a circumstance unknown to the saint. He cleared the foundation, and had made some progress in the building, when he was thus interrupted. The projected building would occupy a tolerably high rock, opposite to which stood another, and between them lay a wooded valley. One fine sunny morning as the trowel was making merry music on the stones, and the workmen were singing, a large crow came from the rookery in the valley, deliberately took up the measuring line in his bill, flew across the wood with it, and deposited it on the other eminence. The saint accepted the omen, and raised the sacred edifice on the spot pointed out by the fairy in disguise. We use the word fairy advisedly. If the messenger had been from another quarter, he would have made his appearance under snowy plumes.
The legend we are about to relate does not properly fall into the present category; but if we waited for a suitable niche, we should have probably to bring in St. Brendain again very unceremoniously, and here we have him without doing violence to good manners or classification. Our story-tellers sometimes represent the fairies,--either the original stock, or the human beings who have assumed their nature,--as showing good-will to mortals in distress. We would quote some instances of O'Donoghue's beneficence; but are they not sufficiently trumpeted in Killarney Guide-books? Such being the case, it would not be just or natural that our national saints should neglect their poor countrymen. But as our business in this section is not with legends of saints, but of fairies, we would not cite the following piece of supernatural interference were it not for its rather doubtful character:--