It is, after all, the human interest of these old stories, and not primarily their importance as folklore and the history of manners, that appeals to most of us today. As the Arthurian legend all through the Middle Ages set before men's minds an ideal of high purpose, purity of life, and chivalrous behaviour in an age that was not over-inclined to practise these virtues, so these old Irish romances, so late rescued from oblivion, come to recall