Barnes and Noble Online
Regina M. Geither was raised on stories of legends, curses, and all things paranormal. Today, she is a teacher, writer, and published author of the middle grade short story, Swamp Stallion, part of McGraw-Hill’s Imagine It! reading series. Her most recent publication is the young adult paranormal fantasy novel, Island of Tory, a tale of Celtic myth and Irish curses. Along with being an intermediate school teacher, Regina teaches adults novel writing at Polaris Career Center. She resides in northern Ohio and is currently working on the sequel to Island of Tory, Cursing Stone. Find out more at www.reginamgeither.com.
My eyes followed the direction of his arm. A few meters away, among the shore’s pebbles, was a large gray rock. Algae and moss covered the slab of limestone, but anyone could see that it was unusually angular for a natural stone. “What is it?”
“That is Cloch Arclai, the pedestal of the Cursin’ Stone.”
“Wishing Stone, Cursing Stone-- how many special stones does this island have?”
My question made Declan smile, but he continued his original story without answering me. “Only Cloch Arclai remains, but it is a reminder ta all of the islanders of Tory’s mystical past.”
I grinned at Declan’s words. He was trying to distract me from my somber mood, and I had to admit it was working.
He lowered his voice to a whisper. “Some say that the Cursin’ Stone or Cloch na Mallacht was put here by St. Colm Cille. Others say that druids brought the stone ta Tory ta use against their enemies. Regardless of how it got here, it brought with it great magic.
“It was used as part of a pilgrimage called An Turas Mór. The pilgrims would walk the circumference of the island before sunrise, stoppin’ at designated points ta place a small stone and say a prayer or curse, as the case may be. Upon returnin’ ta Cloch Arclai, they would turn the Cursin’ Stone upside down ta end the ritual.”
“Where is the Cursing Stone now?” Though the account was obviously just a local folktale, Declan’s story telling skills had me wanting more.
“No one knows for sure. The last time anyone saw it was on the eve of September 23, 1884, right before the HMS WASP was dashed upon the rocks just off shore from the lighthouse.”
I twisted my chin in skepticism. “You’re saying someone deliberately used the Cursing Stone to make the HMS WASP wreck? Why?”
“It was coming ta our island ta collect taxes. The islanders were very poor and desperate. They would have been willin’ ta try anythin’ ta survive.”
“So why hide the Cursing Stone?”
“It isn’t known where the stone went. Someone could have taken it, or maybe the sea claimed it. Regardless, it’s gone, never ta be used again.”
I looked at Declan’s face trying to decide if he believed his own tale. His features were smooth, betraying no hint of a lie. “If someone did take it, what good would it do?”
“No more curses could be made, and no curses made could be undone.” The corners of Declan’s mouth hinted at a smile.