Characters Discussed

(Great Characters in Literature)

The Old Philosopher

The Old Philosopher, living in the center of a pine wood. Many come to seek his advice.

Another Old Philosopher

Another Old Philosopher, who lives with the first philosopher. When he decides that he has learned all he is capable of learning, he spins around in the room until he falls dead.

The Grey Woman

The Grey Woman, the wife of the second philosopher. She spins herself to death because of her grief over her husband’s demise. These two bodies are buried under the hearthstone by the Thin Woman. The finding of them later results in the first philosopher’s arrest.

The Thin Woman

The Thin Woman, the wife of the first philosopher. After his arrest, she goes to seek help from Angus Og, who with all the other gods comes to bring happiness to the people. The charges against the philosopher are forgotten, and he is freed.


Seumas, the son of the first couple.


Brigid, the daughter of the second couple. For a while they are lured away by the vengeful and troublemaking leprechauns, but they are freed because the leprechauns fear the Thin Woman.

Meehawl MacMurrachu

Meehawl MacMurrachu, who, in following the philosopher’s advice to steal the leprechauns’ crock of gold because they stole his wife’s washboard, rouses the ire of the leprechauns.


Caitilin, Meehawl’s daughter. The leprechauns send Pan to steal her away.

The Great God Pan

The Great God Pan, god of the beast that is in every man. He lures Caitilin away and teaches her the meaning of hunger and pain.

Angus Og

Angus Og, an early Irish god. Petitioned by the philosopher, he forces Caitilin to choose between Pan and him. He is Divine Inspiration. She chooses Angus Og and so is saved from the beast in man. At the story’s end, the birth of Angus Og’s and Caitilin’s child is awaited.

The Most Beautiful Man

The Most Beautiful Man,

The Strongest Man

The Strongest Man, and

The Ugliest Man

The Ugliest Man, “the Three Absolutes,” gods whose questions the Thin Woman must answer on her way to seek Angus Og’s aid for her husband.