On a remote west-coast isle in 15th-century Ireland, the boy Colm makes a startling discovery:
The girl lay on the sand just above the surf, looking as if she had been dropped from the sky. Her dark mane twisted about her body, her hair coal-black and shiny as a raven’s. Her face appeared rather serene, as if she were deep into a long, peaceful slumber. There was no wound, no sign of struggle or violence. She was a very young woman, and Colm could not guess her age. Perhaps she was fifteen, sixteen years…What truly intrigued him was the girl’s coloring and features. He had never seen another human being like her: So dark, her skin tawny and golden, like an oatcake left to brown on the griddle. About her neck was a fiber cord with a small orb, a dull gleam in the fog-shrouded light of dawn. He reached out to touch this shining pebble, round as a small bird’s egg or berry. Beneath his fingers, the girl’s skin was warm to the touch, not clammy cold as it should have been. She was alive!