The Last of the Sidhe

Position and Context

After Weer and Dan French take a reporter on a tour of the plant, Weer has some free time available before his doctor's appointment and asks Dan to tell him an Irish story. Dan is descended from Kate Boyne, presumably the original source of this story. The story incorporates elements from the Irish legend The Children of Lir, although Wolfe has made a large number of changes. After the story, Weer finds that his yellow slip for the doctor's appointment is nailed to his desk, he hears his aunt's voice on the intercom saying it is time to go to sleep, and the book ends.

The Story

Before any people lived in Ireland, the sidhe lived there. One of them foresaw that the time of the sidhe was ending, so to preserve his three children, he turned them into a flock of geese, thinking that while individual geese die, the flock would live forever. However, the flock dwindled over time, until at last there was only one goose left. She looks for somebody with the second sight to help her. Not finding any, she asks a hermit for help. He says "Little there is that I can do for you. The time of the sidhe is long past, and the time of the geese is passing. And in time men, too, will pass, as every man who lives long learns in his own body. But Jesus Christ saves all." He baptizes her with holy water, and she turns back into the three sidhe, but now old and bent, with white hair, "for they had far outlived their time."


The name of the sidhe's daughter, Deirdre, the only one of his children named in the story, is said to mean sorrow.


The point of this story seems to be that Weer has outlived his time as a ghost. His road to salvation is clearly set forth in this story: "Jesus Christ saves all." But does he take it? It seems not. The second to last line of Peace is "It is time, I think, that I see the enchanted headrest of the Chinese philosopher looming behind me, and I wait its coming." Weer has not achieved salvation, and must relive his afterlife again.

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