Set against the colorful and magical backdrop of Ireland, The Grey Horse chronicles a time when the Irish people suffered under harsh English overlords who sought to destroy their culture and way of life.
Into the Irish town of Carraroe, a magnificent, completely grey stallion appears. The horse brings with him the promise of better times and magical happenings, for he is actually the shape-shifted form of Ruairi MacEibhir, journeyed to such a time of danger in order to win the hand of the woman he loves.
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September 20, 2004
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Excerpt from The Grey Horse by R.A. MacAvoy
An Sruth?n, or The Eddies
The sky was full of the grey scum of a soup kettle on the boil. The wind blew from the east, or the north, or south from Galway Bay; it was always changing. Anra? ? Reachtaire came along the Cois Fhairrge Road holding his hand up against his forehead as a sort of makeshift hatbrim, equally ineffective against the pinching hail and the unexpected flashes of sunlight that made his eyes water.
Anra?'s hair was thin on top, and the wind was doing its best to thin it further. It might have been that years of leaving his hat behind in places as far from home as Dublin and London had worked the damage, but the weathers of Connemara were enough cause for baldness by themselves. He was a man of approximately seventy years and had never been noted for either grace of body or beauty of feature: not even in his coming-up years. His pride in those early days had always been the length of time passed (once, five years, and another time, seven) since a horse had unseated him. At this time in his life Anra? was wary of that subject, and it was his study to get the better of the animals that were his occupation without undue risk. He always carried a rope halter concealed under his shirt, to save trips to the stable.
He had come this route last night, delivering a yearling filly to a man at Doleen Harbor, but his own mount had begun the day lame, and Anra? had decided to walk until he could catch a ride on some passing wagon. There had been no wagons and a lot of weather.
Anra? stopped to breathe, for the way from here to Carraroe was uphill, and he let the wind turn his face toward the water. He braced his feet and locked his knees.
So much activity in the air and on the ruffled water, and even grass sods being blown, root, dirt, and all, over the road... Only the granite of the hills was safe from it. Anra? found himself wishing he himself had a few more of the characteristics of stone, but as the eroded clods blew over the toes of his boots it struck him with some satisfaction that even the earth could not keep its hair on. He laughed out loud in a social fashion, as though he'd have been glad for someone to hear him.
There was someone to hear and to answer him. Anra? saw a movement of grey against grey and he heard a surprised throaty sound. He shifted his head and received a spatter of hail across his nose.
There was a bare, round hillock of stone, with sparks of quartz shining in the wet. It was thirty feet high, and the road went unambitiously around it. Anra? put his face into a squint and made out the shape of a horse or pony at the top of the hill.
A horse on a hill was as common a thing as a dog on a front stoop, but Anra?, being who he was, could never have left it alone; it was necessary he go up and see what horse it was.
The slope was slippery and gave him a twinge in the lower back. The horse looked down upon Anra?'s slow progress. There was something laughable in the position of the man: hair in his face, and hands as much as booted feet scrabbling over the bright stone and oozing mud. There was also something undecided about him, for Anra? was neither looking at the beast nor approaching it directly. Despite the effort he was expending, it did not seem the man had any interest in the horse at all, but instead only wanted the small increase in view the elevation would give him.