High on an Oak tree one morning in June
A fairy queen sat and played a fine tune.
As she plucked on her harp strings an old Irish air
Her sweet lilting music was heard everywhere.
Today was a day that she yearned to be free.
Far away from her kingdom she wished she could be.
Sometimes being queen, her patience was tested.
But after playing her harp she always felt rested.
Unbeknownst to the queen hiding right down below
Was a creature in black with a face white as snow.
The creature was wearing a smile ear to ear
And the thoughts it was thinking were far from sincere.
Before the queen knew it that Banshee appeared
And spread her black cloak and they both disappeared.
The queen was then taken to cliffs by the sea
And kept in a cave with the howling banshee.
An hour or two passed till a search had begun.
The fairies looked everywhere under the sun.
They tried to imagine just where she would go
No queen could they find, though they looked high and low.
The queen had been put deep into a trance
To endlessly play for the Banshee’s wild dance.
She strummed on her harp through that entire morn
While her fingertips blistered and bleeding were torn.
The Banshee joined in with a horrible scream
And the poor fairy wished she could wake from her dream.
But she didn’t know then that back at the fort
The fairies had all gathered round to hold court.
They agreed on a plan they knew what to do
They’d send for the leprechauns Owen and Hugh!
The duo were famous throughout fairyland
For their trickery deeds were greater than grand.
They soon headed out to look for the queen
And first started searching the place where she’d been.
Which everyone knew was the Royal Oak tree
They hoped for a clue as to where she might be.
As Owen looked round he scratched on his beard
Then through the damp leaves a small hedgehog appeared.
He waddled around him and sniffed at his shoe
And told him a hawk up the tree had a clue.
Owen called out, “Can you please come down here?
This hedgehog said you saw the queen disappear.”
“Yes!” said the hawk. “She was with the banshee.
They vanished this morning from this very tree.
I watched that dark spirit take her off to her Cave
And I’m sure if you go there you’ll find your queen Maeve.
So climb on my wings and I’ll take you right now.”
“We both thank you kindly,” said Hugh with a bow.
“Be japers” said Hugh, “There’s a crow flying by
And I notice a very strange look in its eye
And though I’m not certain of what if could be
I wonder if that bird could be our banshee.”
Well his hunch was correct for the crow turned around
And tried to knock Owen and Hugh to the ground.
It lunged at the hawk and pecked hard with its beak
“Stay away” shrieked the crow, “If the queens who you seek.”
The banshee flew off as the hawk tried to land
“Well good luck if she thinks we’ll obey her command!”
Said Hugh, as he waved a goodbye to the hawk.
As he circled above them heading up the cliff walk.
Hugh then asked Owen had he thought of a plan.
“Are you codding me? Course I have, silly young man!
First we’ve to find her, and then we’ll proceed
with her majesty’s rescue so stay close, take heed!”
So the pair kept on looking and listening to hear
If the banshee or fairy queen somehow was near.
And deep in a cave the queen kept on strumming
While hoping and praying that someone was coming.
“Do you hear that?” said Owen. “It must be the queen!
At least she’s alive, though she hasn’t been seen!
How do you suppose we’re going to get through
With this rock in the way, and only us two?”
Then Hugh said “Let’s see if there’s a small little hole
And we’ll squeeze in and rescue her. How’s that for a goal”?
“Oh you’re good, very good!” said Owen quite brightly.
“Well come then.” said Hugh, “Let’s go very quietly!”
While the waves splashed below them the pair looked about.
Till Hugh spied a crack, “We’ll get through it, no doubt!”
So with pushing and shoving the pair did succeed
And they lowered themselves with pure leprechaun speed.
The cave was in darkness except for one spot
And there sat the queen in the dampness and rot.
When the queen saw the boys she cried out, “Who are you?”
“Pleased to meet you your majesty, I’m Owen, he’s Hugh!
We were hired by your subjects when they voted at court
To carry you safely back home to your fort.
So please can we leave here as quick as can be
Before the return of the wicked banshee?”
But just then the Banshee returned to her cave
And Owen and Hugh did their best to look brave.
The Banshee howled out “There’ll be no rescue today
Since a spell has been cast only me she’ll obey!
And now ye’ll pay dearly for acting so sly
Since you have all seen me prepare ye to die.”
But Owen recalled an old leprechaun spell
And lifted his arms and let out a yell!
“Dul amach, dul amach Banshee dul amach
as an tirna anois, dul amach, dul amach.”
A moment went by, and then Owen could see
That they were well rid of the wailing Banshee.
The spell was now broken and the queen jumped up free
And flew around the cave with her harp joyously.
With the spirit now gone from her dark evil den.
The queen then gave thanks to the brave little men.
They quickly got out of that dark dreary cave
And returned to the fort of the jubilant Maeve.
Now safe and set free the queen was delighted.
And the leprechaun heroes. Well, they became knighted!
And all was then well throughout fairyland
For Owen and Hugh did exactly as planned.
Now Fairyland’s back to its normal routine
And Maeve’s more content with her duties as queen.
And the fairies still talk of those leprechauns, brave,
And remember the rescue of Fairy Queen Maeve.
(C) Copyright Deirdre McCarthy