'Only did I think, said Deirdre, 'that if a youth could be found whose skin was white as snow, his cheek crimson as that pool of blood, and his hair black as the raven's wing, him could I love right gladly. Then Lavarcam spake: 'Such a man have I seen, and one only. 'His name, Lavarcam, his name? cried Deirdre. 'Whence comes he, and wherefrom he be found?

Then they rode on and rested not until they reached the black galley in the golden bay. The scent of the sea and the gleam of its blue waters and dancing waves made them strong and glad and free. As for Deirdre, who had never beheld the sea and its great wonders, she laughed with joy and sang a song of the ocean which Lavarcam had taught her long since and when its meaning was dark.

Once each week did the King visit the fair babe, and daily were stores of food and milk brought to the lone dwelling. And Deirdre each year grew more fair, but none beheld her beauty, save her nurse, her tutor, and Lavarcam. This Lavarcam was a woman well trusted of the King, and she alone went to and fro between the palace and the cottage.

Lonely are my days in this place, where none dwells save my nurse, my tutor, and Lavarcam. Never did harp-strings yield such music as her voice, never did fairy strains pour forth such wonder-stirring sound. 'Art thou indeed Deirdre the Star-eyed, and is it that King Concobar keepeth thee here like some caged bird?

Then Lavarcam hastened to the King and told him how that the sons of Usna had come to Erin to live peaceably, but how that the beauty of Deirdre had faded until she was no longer fairest among women. Then was Concobar wroth, and he sent yet another messenger. To this man he said, 'Who was it that slew thy father and thy brother? 'Nathos, son of Usna, O King!

And this messenger was none other than Lavarcam, who had been sent to discover if Deirdre were still as fair as in days of old. And when Lavarcam beheld Deirdre, her eyes filled with tears. 'You do not well, O Nathos, thus to play upon the chess-board which Concobar holds dearer than aught else save Deirdre, thy wife.

Seven days passed, and Deirdre roamed in the wood dreaming her dream, when of a sudden there came an unknown sound. Ah, could it be the hunting-horn of which Lavarcam had spoken in her tales of chase? The maiden paused. The horn ceased. Nathos had left the hunt and wandered through the glade.

It was in the wane of the morrow that Lavarcam went forth to take counsel of the King. And Deirdre ran with great speed to the well, but no man was there, and she waited long, but none came. While Deirdre waited by the well, Lavarcam came near to the King's palace. And lo! there, on the ground before her, lay the dead body of the swineherd.

It had been killed by her nurse to provide food for the little household, and its bright red blood dyed the thick-lying snow. As Deirdre watched the flow of the scarlet stream, a raven, black as night, flew down and drank of the warm blood. Then Deirdre smiled. 'Where are thy thoughts, fair child? asked Lavarcam, entering the room.

'I am Deirdre, and it is the King's will that I wander not forth from yonder cottage but by the side of Lavarcam. Ill would it please him that I should thus roam the forest alone. 'I love thee, Deirdre, and I would serve thee ever. 'I love thee, Nathos, and I would that I might be ever by thy side. Let me flee with thee from this place. Nathos knit his brows in thought.