Connla of the Fiery Hair was son of Conn of the Hundred Fights. One day as he stood by the side of his father on the Hill of Usnech, he saw a maiden clad in strange attire coming towards him.
"Whence comest thou, maiden?" said Connla.
"I come from the Plains of the Ever Living," she said, "there where there is neither death nor sin. There we keep holiday alway, nor need we help from any in our joy. And in all our pleasure we have no strife. And because we have our homes in the round green hills, men call us the Hill Folk."
The king and all with him wondered much to hear a voice when they saw no one. For save Connla alone, none saw the Fairy Maiden.
"To whom art thou talking, my son?" said Conn the king.
Then the maiden answered, "Connla speaks to a young, fair maid, whom neither death nor old age awaits. I love Connla, and now I call him away to the Plain of Pleasure, Mag Mell, where Boadach the Eternal is king, nor has there been complaint or sorrow in that land since he has held the kingship. Oh, come with me, Connla of the Fiery Hair, ruddy as the dawn with thy tawny skin. A fairy crown awaits thee to grace thy comely face and royal form. Come, and never shall thy comeliness fade, nor thy youth, till the last awful day of judgment."
The king in fear at what the maiden said, which he heard though he could not see her, called aloud to his Druid, Coran by name:
I appeal to you, Corann,
Skilled in song, skilled in arts!
A power has come over me
Too great for my skill,
Too great for my strength;
A battle has come upon me
Such as I have not met since I took the sovereignty.
By a treacherous attack the unseen shape overpowers me,
To rob me of my fair son,
With heathen words of magic.
He is snatched from my royal side
By women's words of magic.
Then Coran the Druid stood forth and chanted his spells towards the spot where the maiden's voice had been heard. And none heard her voice again, nor could Connla see her longer. Only as she vanished before the Druid's mighty spell, she threw an apple to Connla.
For a whole month from that day Connla would take nothing, either to eat or to drink, save only from that apple. But as he ate it grew again and always kept whole. And all the while there grew within him a mighty yearning and longing after the maiden he had seen.
But when the last day of the month of waiting came, Connla stood by the side of the king his father on Mag Archommin, and again he saw the maiden come towards him, and again she spoke to him.
A woeful seat where Connla sits!
Among short-lived mortals,
Awaiting only dreadful death.
The living, the immortal call to you;
They summon you to the people of Tethra
Who behold you every day
In the assemblies of your native land,
Among your beloved kinsmen.
When Conn the king heard the maiden's voice he called to his men aloud and said:
"Summon swift my Druid Coran, for I see she has again this day the power of speech."
Then the maiden said:
O Conn the Hundred-Fighter,
Thou shouldst not cling to druidry!
It will not be long before there will come
To give judgments on our broad strand
A righteous one, with many wonderful companies.
Soon his law will reach you.
He will annihilate the false law of the drus
In the sight of the black magic demon.
Then Conn the king observed that since the maiden came Connla his son spoke to none that spake to him. So Conn of the hundred fights said to him, "Is it to thy mind what the woman says, my son?"
"'Tis hard upon me," then said Connla; "I love my own folk above all things; but yet, but yet a longing seizes me for the maiden."
When the maiden heard this, she answered and said:
Thou strivest-most difficult of wishes to fulfill -
Against the wave of longing which drives thee hence.
That land we may reach in my crystal boat,
The fairy-mound of Boadach.
There is yet another land
That is no worse to reach;
I see it, now the sun sinks.
Although it is far, we may reach it before night.
That is the land which rejoices
The heart of everyone who wanders therein;
No other sex lives there
Save women and maidens.
When the maiden ceased to speak, Connla of the Fiery Hair rushed away from them and sprang into the curragh, the gleaming, straight-gliding crystal canoe. And then they all, king and court, saw it glide away over the bright sea towards the setting sun. Away and away, till eye could see it no longer, and Connla and the Fairy Maiden went their way on the sea, and were no more seen, nor did any know where they came.
From that day forward they were never seen again. And then said Conn as he gazed upon his other son Art, "To-day is Art left the lone one." Hence he came to be called "Art the Lone One" (Art Oenfer).