"It was one hundred and ninety-three years ago—" Traeth and I exchanged glances. It wasn't a thousand years after all. It seemed that the Dirrians were very poor historians. "—when the giant arrived. We had seen him for months before, fishing in the seas on his little craft, but then he came and landed his raft on the beach. Our people hid in fear. We had never had a giant on the island before and we were unsure as to his intent."
Yes, I suppose compared to these felines, even the tiny Dirrians would be giants.
"My people stayed hidden in the trees at the edge of the woods and watched him. He dragged his raft ashore and then set about making a fire. It wasn't a very good one. While his initial kindling was dry and burned well, as soon as the flames were feeding, he added bundles of damp leaves to it. The fire began to sputter and fade, throwing out black smoke, so he threw on more and more of the damp kindling."
"He was making a signal fire," explained Traeth. "To tell his family he had arrived safely."
"Ah! That would make sense. Sadly, he did not succeed."
"Oh, but he did. Our history tells us that Farrell—the fisherman, did light a signal fire to tell of his safe arrival."
"He may have done, however," Arunga looked down sadly. "While he did arrive safely, his good fortune did not last for long I'm afraid. Among the leaves that he piled onto the fire were those of the celabub tree; a most unwise move. Rich in highly flammable oils, they suddenly caught, a ball of flame mushrooming into the air. He was not expecting it. Your man was caught in the blast and his clothing caught fire. If he had run into the sea, he may have stood a chance, but he did not. Instead, he ran around in circles on the beach until he finally collapsed. There was nothing we could do. I'm afraid he perished."
Silence fell as we all thought about Farrell's misfortune.
"He was buried on the edge of the woods, but his grave has long ago been forgotten beneath the great trees."
"So you didn't actually meet him?" I ventured.
"No. It was those that came afterwards that we came to fear."