The bleating of sheep reverberates around the mountain. The early morning sky is dark and forbidding. A dense blanket of rain hides the distant horizon. Water runs in rivulets between boulders, soaking heather and grass. At the foot of the mountain, beside the sheep pen, sits a small, damp thatched hut.
Meeting A Wise Old Man
Patrick rolls over in his bed of straw, reluctant to get up on such a damp wet day. He lies in bed reflecting on the previous day's conversation.
"I was right to make that promise to Conchubhar, but I can't see how I am ever going to achieve my mission," he ponders despondently. Patrick feels confused and frustrated. "I wish I had someone to talk to," he sighs, "But there is no one."
Eventually, with the demands of the day prominent in his mind, he rises, picks up his sheepskin bag, throws on his cloak and heads out to collect some fresh drinking water from the Holy Well.
Emerging from his hut he briefly gazes up the slope into the dense grey mist that is clothing Slieve Miss in a thick blanket of fog and rain.
"Such a damp day," he sighs, and sets off around the mountain to the Holy Well.
As he walks he can feel the cold rain run down his neck and water rise through the sodden earth to squelch between his toes.
"My life is so full of adversity how can I possibly find and achieve my mission?" he ponders with a downhearted sigh.
Eventually Patrick sees the Holy Well emerging from the mist and rain. Marking the site of the well is the mysterious Sacred Tree – the only tree able to grow on this windswept mountainside. Patrick decides to shelter from the rain under its overarching branches. As he approaches he sees someone sitting with his back to the trunk in what appears to be a Druid's cloak.
"May I sit with you out of the rain?" Patrick asks.
The stranger pulls back his hood, gazes lovingly towards Patrick and says in a deep resonant voice, "Certainly, sit on this stone beside me."
The two men sit in silence gazing across the mountainside at the mist and rain. Patrick senses a deep love radiate from the wizened, old man. As the two strangers begin to talk he feels drawn to tell his life story, while the old man sits and listens patiently.
"So you see," says Patrick concluding his tale, "I feel this strong sense of mission, but it appears so out of reach."
The old man feels Patrick's frustration.
"You need to remember," he says, "That it is not possible to do great things, it is only possible to do small things with great love every day. Continue with your promise to your master and his family. For the present try and be content to serve faithfully with a good heart. Time brings many changes. If you continue to serve faithfully and loyally opportunities will be revealed."
Patrick sits in silence. As he contemplates these words of wisdom, the rain stops. The sun breaks through from behind grey cloud and lights up the whole mountain. The rocks and grass glisten and shimmer in the strong sunlight. Patrick and the old man rise, bid each other farewell, and go their separate ways.
As Patrick is walking back to his hut carrying his bag of fresh water, he remembers the comment Maebh whispered on the shore of the Vanishing Lake and thinks excitedly, "That must be Mythendical the Druid!"
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