When I was a small boy in Ireland my parents would take us to our grandfather’s farm near Castlecomer in County Kilkenny. On the farm there was a hired man whose name was John Brennan.
John lived in a thatched cottage about half a mile away. In the evening after the cows were milked, he would sit on a large flat stone outside the stable door and smoke a stained clay pipe. Sometimes I would sit beside him and he would tell me stories.
One story John told me I never forgot. He told me to look up into the sky. Summer evenings in Ireland are very long. The moon had appeared, still ghostlike because the light of the sun was not fully gone. Here and there, the odd star could be seen.