Rider to the Sea

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After Nine days of constant grieving for her missing son, Michael, old Maurya is fallen into a restless sleep. Her daughter, Cathleen, is busy with household tasks, when another daughter, Nora, slips quietly into the kitchen with a bundle given her by the young priest. It contains part of the clothes taken from the body of a drowned man far in the north. They have been sent to the family for identification, since the clothes may belong to her missing brother.

The girls go to open the package but then decide to hide it in case their mother, who is waking up, should come in and see them crying. Maurya enters. After the sea had claimed the lives of her husband and four eldest sons, Maurya tries to discourage Bartley, her last living son, from going to Connemara to sell a horse, which was the trip Michael took when he died. But Bartley insists that he will cross the mainland in spite of winds and high seas.

Mad and aggravated at Bartley for not listening to her pleas, Maurya allows him to go, however, without her blessing. Cathleen and Nora persuade their mother to chase Bartley with the food they forgot to give him and to give him her blessing regardless of her fears. While she is gone the girls open the package. Nora recognizes her own stitching in one of the socks, and immediately knows that the owner of the clothes was indeed her brother, Michael. Their only comfort is the hope that his body has been given a good Christian burial where it was washed up.

Maurya returns horrified with a vision she has seen of Michael riding on the horse behind Bartley. She claims that the vision proves that her fear of Bartley's death is being realized. When her daughters show Maurya the clothes her only response is that the boards she bought for Michael's coffin will serve for Bartley instead. As Maurya speaks the neighboring women enter keening. The Men follow shortly, carrying the body of Bartley who has been knocked off a cliff into the waves by...
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