When you were small, and could not read for yourselves, and the long winter twilights were wearisome to you sitting by the Jire while the shadows played with each other over the room I told you these stories of ancient days, when magic and mystery and the folk of the other world were part of every one's life and every one's belief. It is because you cared for them that I have re-written some of those about Fionn and his warriors, thinking that other children might wish as you did to know something about the old gods so often mentioned in the legends, and about Fionn and the Fianna Eireann. I would like to think, too, that in these old stones you will find something more than mere adventure or enchantment, for I would have you see in them a record of some qualities which the heroes of ancient times held to be of far greater worth than anything else an absolute truthfulness and courtesy in thought and speech and action ; a nobility and chivalry of mind which refused to believe evil of any one, and was ever ready to praise the good in an enemy ; and a generosity which would give to the very end. For the heroes knew that in possessing these qualities they owned a greater wealth than any king of the world had power to bestow, and this is the wealth I desire for you beyond all else.
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