Once, as they rested during a hunt for wild deer, Fionn mac Cumhaill and his men debated what the finest music in the world might be.
“Then tell us what it is,” said Fionn to Oisín, who’d started the discussion.
“The cuckoo calling from the tree that’s highest in the hedge,” cried his son.
Fionn nodded. “That’s a good sound,” he admitted. “And you, Oscar? “What is finest of music to your mind?”
“The finest of music is the clash of a spear against a shield in battle,” the warrior exclaimed.
“It is a good sound,” said Fionn.
Working his way through the party, he asked each of his men what they thought and each gave their answer: the belling of a stag across the water, the baying of a tuneful pack of hunt hounds heard somewhere in the distance, the throaty song of a lark, the happy laugh of a gleeful girl, the whisper of a loved one in the darkness of night.
“These are all good sounds,” said Fionn.“
So, tell us, a Fionn,” one of his men ventured finally, for there was genuine curiosity amongst them. “What do you think? What would your answer be?”
Fionn considered the question for a moment.
“The music of what happens,” he said at last. “That is the finest music in the world.”
Note: This is a segment I’ve adapted from one of the ‘old style’ Fionn mac Cumhaill stories, in this case from a book called ‘Irish Fairy Tales’ by James Stephens. Stephens actually adapted it from the 12th century Macgnímartha Find [The Boyhood Deeds of Fionn] back in 1920. This is how a lot of the Fenian Cycle (and other Irish mythology) works.