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Title: Fairies and Folk of Ireland
Author: Frost, William Henry, 1863-1902
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Fairies and Folk of Ireland" ***

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                           [Illustration: ]

                           FAIRIES AND FOLK

                              OF IRELAND


                         WILLIAM HENRY FROST


                               NEW YORK

                       CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS


                         COPYRIGHT, 1900, BY

                       CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS

       *       *       *       *       *


Jane Grey Allen and Elizabeth Allen

       *       *       *       *       *














"'IS IT TIME?' THE WARRIOR SAID"            _Frontispiece_



















       *       *       *       *       *


The story which runs through and makes up the bulk of this book is my
own. The intention has been, however, to make it conform to the laws
governing certain beings commonly regarded in this country as
mythical, as those laws are revealed in the folk-lore of many peoples,
and particularly of the Irish people. Almost every incident in which
the fairies are concerned might occur, and very many of them do
actually occur, in Irish folk-lore. But in a real folk-tale there are
usually only two or three, or, at any rate, only a few, of the
characteristic incidents, while this story attempts to combine many of

The shorter stories wherewith the main story is interspersed are all,
to the best of my information and belief, genuine Irish folk-tales. I
have told them in my own way, of course. I have sometimes condensed
and sometimes elaborated them, but I have seldom, if ever, I think,
materially changed their substance. I have never had the opportunity
to collect such stories as these for myself, and if I had, I should
probably find that I had not the ability. I have therefore had to turn
for the substance of these tales to collections made by others--men
whose patient and affectionate care and labor have preserved a great
mass of the beautiful Irish legends, which, without them, might have

It seems hardly right to give to any one of these collectors a
preference over the others by naming him first. But when I count up my
indebtedness, I find that the book to which I owe more stories than to
any other is Patrick Kennedy's "Legendary Fictions of the Irish
Celts." From this book I have borrowed, as to their substance, the
story of Earl Gerald, in Chapter II. of my own book; the story of the
children of Lir, in the same chapter; the account of the changeling
who was tempted by the bagpipes, which Naggeneen tells of himself, in
Chapter V.; the changeling story which Mrs. O'Brien tells, in Chapter
VI.; and the most of the story of Oisin, in Chapter IX., besides part
of the story of the fairies' tune, in Chapter VII. With respect to
Oisin I got a little help from an article on "The Neo-Latin Fay," by
Henry Charles Coote, in "The Folk-Lore Record," Vol. II. The story of
the fairies' tune is in part derived from T. Crofton Croker's "Fairy
Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland." This delightful book
as well deserves the first place in my list as does Kennedy's, for it
gave me one of my most important stories, that of O'Donoghue, in
Chapter I., and it gave me Naggeneen. Him I first saw, with Mr.
Croker's help, sitting on the cask of port in the cellar of old
MacCarthy of Ballinacarthy, as he himself describes in Chapter III. It
is not enough to say that after that he came readily into my story; he
simply could not be kept out of it. The tale of the fairies who wanted
to question a priest, in Chapter X., is also from Croker. Mrs.
O'Brien's method of getting rid of a changeling is founded on one of
Croker's stories, and a story almost exactly like it is told by Grimm.
There is also a form of it in Brittany. Two books by W.B. Yeats have
been of much value--"Irish Fairy and Folk Tales" and "The Celtic
Twilight." Of the former Mr. Yeats is the editor, rather than, in a
strict sense, the author, though it contains some of his own work, and
his introduction, notes, and other comments are of great interest.
From this book I have the story of Hudden, Dudden, and Donald, in
Chapter VII. Mr. Yeats reproduces it from an old chap-book. A version
of it is also found in Samuel Lover's "Legends and Stories of
Ireland." Those who like to compare the stories which they find in
various places will not fail to note its likeness to Hans Christian
Andersen's "Big Claus and Little Claus." The story of the monk and the
bird, in Chapter IX., Mr. Yeats reproduces from Croker, though not
from the work of his which has already been mentioned. I could not
resist the temptation to better the story, as I thought, by the
addition of an incident from a German version of it, and everybody
will remember the beautiful form in which it appears in Longfellow's
"The Golden Legend." From Mr. Yeats's "The Celtic Twilight" I have the
little story of the conversation between the diver and the conger, in
Chapter II. It is a pleasure to refer to two such fine and scholarly
works as Dr. Douglas Hyde's "Beside the Fire" and William Larminie's
"West Irish Folk-Tales and Romances." From the former of these I have
borrowed the substance of the story of Guleesh na Guss Dhu, in Chapter
IV., and from the latter that of the ghost and his wives, in Chapter

Having thus confessed my indebtedness, it would seem that my next duty
was to pay it. I fear that I can pay it only with thanks. I have not
taken a story from the work of any living collector without his
permission. It thus becomes my pleasure, no less than my duty, to
express my gratitude to Mr. Yeats for permission to use the stories in
"Irish Fairy and Folk Tales" and "The Celtic Twilight;" to Dr. Hyde
for his permission to take what I chose from "Beside the Fire," and to
Mr. Larminie and his publisher, Elliott Stock, for the same permission
with regard to his "West Irish Folk-Tales and Romances." My thanks are
equally due to Macmillan & Co., Limited, for permission to take
stories from Kennedy's "Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts," the
rights to which they own. I wish to say also that in each of these
cases the permission asked has been given with a readiness and a
cordiality no less pleasing than the permission itself.

I have learned much concerning the ways of Irish fairies from Lady
Wilde's "Ancient Legends, Mystic Charms, and Superstitions of Ireland"
and "Ancient Cures, Charms, and Usages of Ireland," and I have gained
not a little from the books of William Carleton, especially his
"Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry," but from none of these
have I taken any considerable part of a story. Indeed I have found
help, greater or less, in more books than I can name here.

It may seem by this time that I am like the lawyer who conceded this
and that to his opponent till the judge said: "Do not concede any
more; you conceded your whole case long ago." But I have not conceded
my whole case. I have used the threads which others have spun, but I
have done my own weaving. The shorter stories have been told before,
but they have never been put together in this way before, and, as I
said at first, the main story is my own.


NEW YORK, September 1, 1900.

       *       *       *       *       *





It was in a poor little cabin somewhere in Ireland. It does not matter
where. The walls were of rough stone, the roof was of thatch, and the
floor was the hard earth. There was very little furniture. Poor as it
was, the whole place was clean. It is right to tell this, because,
unhappily, a good many cabins in Ireland are not clean. What furniture
there was had been rubbed smooth and spotless, and the few dishes that
there were fairly shone. The floor was as carefully swept as if the
Queen were expected.

The three persons who lived in the cabin had eaten their supper of
potatoes and milk and were sitting before the turf fire. It had been a
poor supper, yet a little of it that was left--a few potatoes, a
little milk, and a dish of fresh water--had been placed on a bench
outside the door. There was no light except that of the fire. There
was no need of any other, and there was no money to spend on candles
that were not needed.

The three who sat before the fire, and needed no other light, were a
young man, a young woman, and an elderly woman. She did not like to be
called old, for she said, and quite truly, that sixty was not old for
anybody who felt as young as she did. This woman was Mrs. O'Brien. The
young man was her son, John, and the young-woman was his wife, Kitty.

"Kitty," said John, "it's not well you're lookin' to-night. Are ye
feelin' anyways worse than common?"

"It's only a bit tired I am," said Kitty, "wid the work I was afther
doin' all day. I'll be as well as ever in the morning."

"It's a shame, that it is," said John, "that ye have to be workin'
that way, day afther day, and you not sthrong at all. It's a shame
that I can't do enough for the three of us, and the more, maybe, that
there'll be, but you must be at it, too, all the time."

"What nonsinse ye're talkin', John," Kitty answered. "What would I be
doin', settin' up here like a lady, doin' nothin', and you and mother
workin' away like you was my servants? Did you think it was a duchess
or the daughter of the Lord Lieutenant ye was marryin', that ye're
talkin' that way?"

"And it'll be worse a long time before it's betther," John went on.
"Wid the three of us workin' all the time, we just barely get along.
And it's the end of the summer now. What we'll do at all when the
winter comes, I dunno."

The older woman listened to the others and said nothing. Perhaps she
had heard such talk as this so many times that she did not care to
join in it again, or perhaps she was waiting to be asked to speak. For
it was to her that these younger people always turned when they were
in trouble. It was her advice and her opinion that they always asked
when they felt that they needed a better opinion than their own. The
three sat silent now for a time, and then John broke out, as if the
talk had been going on in his mind all the while: "What's the good of
us tryin' to live at all?" he said. "Is livin' any use to us? We do
nothin' but work all day, and eat a little to give us the strength to
work the next day, and then we sleep all night, if we can sleep. And
it's that and nothing else all the year through. Are we any better
when the year ends than we were when it began? If we've paid the
rent, we've done well. We never do more."

"John," the old woman answered, "it's not for us to say why we're here
or what for we're living. It's God that put us here, and He'll keep us
here till it's our time to go. He has made it the way of all His
creatures to provide for themselves and for their own, and to keep
themselves alive while they can. When He's ready for us to die, we
die. That's all we know. The rest is with Him."

"I know all that's true, mother," said John; "but what is there for us
to hope for, that we'ld wish to live? It's nothing but work to keep
the roof over us. We don't even eat for any pleasure that's in
it--only so that we can work. If we rested for a day, we'ld be driven
out of our house. If we rested for another day, we'ld starve. Is there
any good to be hoped for such as us? Will there ever be any good times
for Ireland? I mean for all the people in it."

"There will," the old woman said. "Everything has an end, and so these
troubles of ours will end, and all the troubles of Ireland will end,

"And why should we believe that?" John asked again. "Wasn't Ireland
always the poor, unhappy country, and all the people in it, only the
landlords and the agents, and why should we think it will ever be

"Everything has an end," the old woman repeated. "Ireland was not
always the unhappy country. It was happy once and it will be happy
again. It's not you, John O'Brien, that ought to be forgetting the
good days of Ireland, long ago though they were. For you yourself are
the descendant of King Brian Boru, and you know well, for it's many
times I've told you, how in his days the country was happy and
peaceful and blessed. He drove out the heathen and saved the country
for his people. He had strict laws, and the people obeyed them. In his
days a lovely girl, dressed all in fine silk and gold and jewels,
walked alone the length of Ireland, and there was no one to rob her or
to harm her, because of the good King and the love the people had for
him and for his laws. And you, that are descended from King Brian, ask
if Ireland wasn't always the poor, unhappy country."

"But all that was so long ago," said John; "near a thousand years, was
it not? Since then it's been nothing but sorrow for the country and
for the people. What good is it to us that the country was happy in
King Brian's time? Will that help us pay the rent? And how we'll pay
the rent when the winter comes, I dunno, and if we don't pay it we'll
be evicted."

"Shaun," said his mother, calling him by the Irish name that she used
sometimes--"Shaun, we'll not be evicted; never fear that. Things are
bad, and they may be worse, but take my word, whatever comes, we'll
not be evicted."

"Mother," said the young man, "you never spoke the word, so far as I
know, that wasn't true, but I dunno how it'll be this time. We've been
workin' all we can and we only just manage to pay the rent and live,
and here's the summer over and the winter coming, and how will we pay
the rent then?"

The mother did not answer this question directly. She began talking in
a way that did not seem to have anything to do with the rent, though
it really had something to do with it, in her own mind, and perhaps in
her son's mind too.

"It's over-tired that you are with your hard day's work, Shaun," she
said, "and that and seeing Kitty so tired, too, has maybe made you
look at things a little worse than they are. We've never been so bad
off as many of our neighbors; you know that. And yet I know it's been
worse of late and harder for you than it might have been, and you
can't remember the better times that our family had, and that's why
you forget that the times were ever better. No, you wasn't born then,
but the time was when good luck seemed to follow your father and me
everywhere and always. Yes, and the good luck has not all left us
yet, though we had the bad luck to lose your father so long ago. We
could not hope to be rich or happy while the whole country was in such
distress as it's been sometimes, yet there were always many that were
worse off than we, and when I think of those days of '47 and '48 it
makes the sorrows seem light that we're suffering now. And I always
know that whatever comes, there'll be some good for me and mine while
I live. I've told you how I know that, but you always forget, and I
must tell you again."

They had not forgotten. They knew the story that was coming by heart,
but they knew that the old woman liked to tell it, so they let her go
on and said not a word.

For a little while, too, the old woman said not a word. She sat with
her eyes closed, and smiling, as if she were in a dream. Then she
began to speak softly, as if she were still only just waking out of a
dream. "Blessed days there were," she said--"blessed days for Ireland
once--long ago--many hundreds of years. O'Donoghue--it was he was the
good King, and happy were his people. A fierce warrior he was to guard
them from their enemies, and a just ruler to those who minded his
laws. It was in the West that he ruled, by the beautiful Lakes of
Killarney. The rich and the poor among his people were alike in one
thing--they all had justice. He punished even his own son when he did
wrong, as if he had been a poor man and a stranger.

"He gave grand feasts to his friends, and the greatest and the best
men of all Erin came to sit at his table and to hear the wise words
that he spoke. And the greatest bards of all Erin came to sing before
him and his guests of the brave deeds of the heroes of old days and of
the greatness and the goodness of O'Donoghue himself. At one of these
feasts, after a bard had been singing of the noble days of Erin long
ago, O'Donoghue began to speak of the years that were to come for
Ireland. He told of much good and of much evil. He told how true and
brave and noble men would live and work and fight and die for their
country, and how cowards would betray her. He told of glory and he
told of shame. He spoke of riches and honor, and poetry and beauty; he
spoke of want and disgrace, and degradation and sorrow.

"Those who sat at his table listened to him in wonder. Sometimes their
hearts swelled with pride at the noble lives and deeds of those who
were to come after them, sometimes they wept at the sufferings that
their children were to feel, and sometimes they hid their faces from
each other in shame at the tales of cowardice and of treachery.


"As he finished speaking he rose from the table, crossed the hall,
and walked out at the door and down to the shore of the lake. The
others followed him and watched him, full of wonder. They saw him go
to the edge of the lake and then walk out upon it, as if the water had
been firm ground under his feet. He walked far and far out on the
bright lake as they stood and gazed at him. Then he turned toward
them, he waved his hand in farewell, and he was gone. They saw him no

The old woman paused for a moment and the dreaming look came back to
her face. Then she went on. "They saw him no more--but others saw
him--and I have seen him. Every year, on the 1st of May, just as the
sun is rising, he rides across the lake on his beautiful white horse.
He is not always seen, but sometimes a few can see him. And it always
brings good luck to see O'Donoghue riding across the lake on May
morning. And I saw him."

Again there was a pause, but she had no look of dreaming now. Her eyes
were open and she seemed to be looking at something wonderful and
beautiful that was far off. Slowly and softly she began speaking
again. "I was a girl then. My father lived by the Lakes of Killarney.
On that May morning I was standing at the door as the sun was rising.
I was looking out upon the lake, far away to the east. The first that
I saw was that the water, far off toward the sun, was ruffled, and
then all at once a great, white-crested wave rose, as if a strong wind
had struck the water, only all the air was still, and no wind ever
raises such a wave as that on the lake. The wave came swiftly toward
me, and I drew back, in a kind of dread, though I knew that it could
not reach me where I stood. But still I looked--and then I saw him.

"Through the flying water and foam and mist I saw the old King, on his
white horse, following the great wave across the lake. The sun made
all his armor gleam like the silver of the lake itself, and the plume
of his helmet streamed away behind him like the spray that a strong
wind blows back from the crest of a breaker. After him came a train of
glowing, beautiful forms--spirits of the lake or of the air, or some
of the Good People--I do not know. They wore soft, flowing garments,
that were like the morning mists; they carried chains of pearls and
they scattered other pearls about them, that glistened like the drops
of a shower when the sun is shining through it. They had garlands of
flowers, and they plucked the flowers out and threw them high in the
air, so that they fell before the King. They looked like flecks of
foam from the waves, turned rosy and violet by the rising sun, but
they were flowers. And there was a sound of sweet, soft music, like
harps and mellow horns.

"The King and his train came nearer and I saw them plainer, and the
music sounded louder. Then they passed me and moved far away again on
the lake. The sight of them grew dim and the music grew faint, and I
strained my eyes and my ears for the last of them, and they were gone.
Then I could move and speak and breathe again, for it had seemed to me
that I could not do any one of these things while the King was
passing, and I knew that I had seen O'Donoghue."

The old woman stopped, as if the story were ended, but the younger
people did not speak, for they knew that she had something else to
tell. "O'Donoghue had passed and was gone," she said, "but he always
leaves good luck behind him, and he left the good luck with me. That
summer some rich young ladies came from Dublin to see the Lakes of
Killarney. They heard the story of O'Donoghue, and the people told
them that I was the last who had seen him. They came to my father's
house and asked me to tell them what I had seen. They seemed pleased
with what I told them, or with something that they saw in me, and they
asked my father to let them take me back to the city with them, for a
lady's maid. He did not like to let me go, but they said that they
would pay me well and would have me taught better than I could be at
home. He was poor, there were others at home who needed all that he
could earn, I wished to go, and at last he said I might.

"So I went to Dublin and lived in a grand house, among grand people. I
tried to do my duties well, and they were kind to me. They kept the
promise that they had made to my father. They gave me books and
allowed me time to study them, and they helped me in things that I
could not well have learned by myself, even with the books. I was
quick at study, and in the little time that I had, I learned all that
I could. Three times they took me to London with them, and I saw still
grander people and grander life.

"Those were happy days, but happier came. Your father came, Shaun. He
was a servant of the family, like myself--a coachman. But he was wiser
than I, and he talked with me and showed me that there was something
better for us than to be servants always. We saved all the money that
we could, and when we had enough we came here, where your father had
lived before, and took a little farm. The luck of O'Donoghue was
always with us. We had a good landlord, who asked a fair rent. We both
worked hard, we saved more money and took more land, and all our
neighbors thought that we were prosperous, and so we were.

"Then came '47. Nobody could be prosperous then. Nobody that had a
heart in him at all could even keep what he had saved then. What we
had and what our neighbors had belonged to all, and little enough
there was of it. It is well for you young people to talk of these
times being hard. Harder than some they may be, but good and easy
compared with those days of '47 and '48. You talk of injustice and
wrong to Ireland! What think you of those times, when every day great
ships sailed away from Ireland loaded down with food--corn and bacon,
and beef and butter--and Ireland's own people left without the bit of
food to keep the life in them? All summer long was the horrible wet
weather, and the potatoes rotting in the ground before they'ld be
ripe, and never fit to eat. To add to all that was the fever, that
killed its thousands, and then the cold. And when the days came again
that the crops would grow, many and many of the people were so weak
with the hunger and the sickness that they could not work in the
fields. Ah! and you call these hard times!

"Those were the bad days for Ireland, those days of '47. Not even the
luck of O'Donoghue could make us prosper or give us comforts then. But
we lived through the time, as many others did. The poor helped those
who were poorer than themselves; the sick tended those who were
sicker; the cold gave clothes and fire to those who were colder. The
little money that we had saved helped us and some of our neighbors.
And we lived through it all.

"Better times came, though never again so good as the old. We worked
again and we saved a trifle. Then you were born to us, John. We had a
worse landlord now. He was of the kind that cared nothing for his
tenants and nothing for his land, but to get the last penny off it.
The rent was raised, and we never could have paid it but for the care
and the skill and the hard work of your father. And then, John, you
know that when you were hardly old enough to take his place with the
work, let alone knowing how to work as well as he, he died and left
us--Heaven rest his soul!"

For a long time the old woman said no more, and neither of the others
spoke. Then she said: "John, the country is in trouble enough and the
times are hard enough for you and for Kitty, here, and for all of us,
I know. But don't be cast down. There have been worse days than these;
there have been better days, too, and there will be better again."

[Illustration: ]



There was a knock at the door, and John opened it. "God save all here
except the cat!" said a voice outside.

"God save you kindly!" John answered.

A young man and a young woman came in. They were neighbors--Peter
Sullivan and his wife, Ellen. "Good avenin' to you, Pether," said
John; "you're lookin' fine and hearty, and it's like a rose you're
lookin', Ellen."

"It's more like nettles than roses we're feelin'," Ellen answered,
"but something with prickles anyway, wid the bother we have every day
and all day."

"Thrue for you, it's hard times," said John; "we was speaking about
them just the minute before you came in; but we all have to bear them.
It's not you ought to complain, as long as you've good health; now
here's Kitty--I dunno how--"

"It's not the hard times I'm speakin' of now," said Ellen; "they're
bad enough, goodness knows; but it's the bother we have all the time,
and we can't tell how or why. Half the time the cow gives no milk, and
when she does, you can make no butther wid it. The pig, the crathur,
won't get fat; he ates everything he can reach, and still he looks
like a basket wid a skin over it. The smoke of the fire comes down the
chimney, the dishes are thrown on the floor, wid nobody near them, and
such noises are goin' on all night long that never a wink of sleep can
a body get. What we'll do at all if it goes on, I dunno."

"By all the books that ever was opened and shut," Peter added, "it's
all thrue what she says, and more. What wid all that and what wid the
throubles that's on the whole counthry, if I only had the money saved
to do it, I'ld lave it all to-morrow and go to the States--I would

"Leave off the things you do that make you all these troubles," said
the older Mrs. O'Brien, "and you'll have no more need to go to the
States than others."

"What things are them that we do?" Ellen asked.

"Haven't I told you before this," said Mrs. O'Brien, "that it's the
Good People that trouble you? If you'ld treat them well, as we do,
they'ld never bother you. If you'ld even take good care never to harm
them, it's likely they'ld never come near you."

"It's the fairies you're speakin' of," said Peter. "Sure I don't
believe in them at all. It's old woman's nonsense that your head's
full of, savin' your presence, Mrs. O'Brien. There's no fairies at
all. Don't talk to me."

"You'ld better be more respectful to them, Peter," Mrs. O'Brien
answered. "Say less about not believing in them and don't call them by
that name, that they don't like. Call them 'the Good People' or 'the
gentry.' They don't like the name that you called them, any more than
they like those who disbelieve in them or those who try to know too
much about them. Speak well about them and treat them well, as we do,
and they'll not trouble you; maybe they'll even help you. Didn't you
see, as you came in, how we left something for them to eat and drink
outside the door there? We've not much, but they like fresh milk and
clean water, and we always give them these, and they hold nothing but
friendliness for us. Look and see now if they've taken what we left
there for them after supper."

Peter went to the door and looked. "There's nothing in the dishes
there," he said; "but how do we know it wasn't the pig that ate it, or
some poor dog, maybe?"

"You don't know," said Mrs. O'Brien, "only as I tell you, and you'ld
better be attending to them that know more than yourself. If you did
chance to give a meal to some poor dog, instead of to the Good People,
there'ld be no great harm done, but it's the Good People that get what
we put there. We always leave it for them and they always come and
take it, and it's that makes them friendly, and so they would be to
you, if you did the same. But you do nothing for them, because you say
you don't believe in them, and you do worse than nothing. Didn't I see
Ellen the other evening throwing out some dirty water and never saying
'Take care of the water?'"

"And what if I did?" said Ellen. "Can't I throw out wather when I
plase, widout talkin' about it?"

"You can if you like," said the old woman, "but when you throw out
water without warning, it's as likely as not some of the Good People
may be passing, and they don't like dirty water to be thrown on them;
and so after that your cow gives no milk, your pig is thin, and your
dishes are thrown around the room. Do as you like with your water, or
with anything else, but if you anger the Good People, be sure they'll
do you harm."

"It's superstitious you are. Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter; "I dunno what
it is that's throubling us, but there's no fairies at all."

"Superstitious, is it?" said the old woman. "And so you're not
superstitious at all, and you don't believe in the Good People! Now
tell me, Peter Sullivan, when you came to that door just now and said
'God save all here,' like a decent man, why did you add 'except the
cat?' What did you mean by those words 'except the cat?' Tell me that

"Why, sure, Mrs. O'Brien," Peter answered, just a bit confused, "sure,
we're told that cats is avil spirits, so we mustn't put blessings on
them, and when we say 'God save all here,' we add onto it 'except the
cat,' so as not to be calling down a blessing on an avil spirit."

"Ah!" said Mrs. O'Brien, "it's not the likes of you that's
superstitious. You can't put a blessing on the poor cat, when you're
blessing everybody and everything else in the house, for fear you'ld
be putting it on an evil spirit; but you're not superstitions, and so
you throw dirty water on the Good People as they're passing, and you
call them by names that they don't like, and then you wonder what it
is that's troubling you."

"No, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter, again, "I dunno what it is at all. It
may be the avil spirits themselves, for what I know, and whatever it
is. I'ld go away and leave it and leave the country, if I had the
money to get to the States. I heard once of a man that was druv out of
the counthry by a monsther that I suppose was maybe something like
the fairies--like them in making trouble for the man, anyway. It was a
great conger that lived in a hole in the Sligo River, and I suppose he
was ten yards long, and the man was a diver. He was gettin' stones out
of the bottom of the river, and the conger says to him, 'What are you
afther there?' says he. 'Stones, sor,' says the diver. 'Hadn't you
betther be goin?' says the conger. 'I think so, sor,' says the diver,
and afther that he never stopped goin' till he got to the States."

"That's you, Peter," said the old woman; "you don't believe in the
Good People or strange monsters or anything of the sort, but you want
to run away from them."

If Peter had been quite honest about it, he could scarcely have said,
even to himself, whether he believed that there were any fairies or
not; but he was really afraid of them, though he put on such a bold
front and said that he did not believe in them, to make people think
that he was uncommonly knowing. "Mrs. O'Brien," he said, "do you think
it's true, what they say, that in the States you can pick up goold
everywhere in the streets?"

"What good would it do you if it was true?" she asked.

"What good would it do me? Are ye askin' what good would goold do me?
Sure, then, wouldn't I pick up all of it I could carry, and wouldn't I
take land wid it and pay rent and buy stock for a big farm and grow as
rich as Damer? What good would goold be? Ha! Ha! What couldn't you do
in a country where ye could be pickin' up goold in the street?"

"There's no gold to be picked up in the streets there, any more than
here," said the old woman, "and if there was, it would be no use to
you. Only suppose, now, that you had picked up all the gold you could
carry, and that you wanted to buy a loaf of bread with it. And suppose
you went into a baker's shop and chose even the smallest loaf of bread
you could find, and threw down a whole gold sovereign for it--aye, or
a hundred gold sovereigns. Would the baker sell you the bread for your
gold, do you think? Wouldn't he say to you: 'Go on out of this, for
the silly Irishman that you are! What for would I be giving you good
bread for that gold of yours, when I can pick up as much and as good
as that any minute here before my own door and keep my bread as well?'
If you could find gold in the street, it would be worth no more than
the stones that you find there."

"I don't know how that is, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter, "but I can't see
why goold wouldn't be goold, wherever you could find it."

"It's not sensible," said John, "to be talkin' of findin' gold in the
streets, but there's a deal in what Peter says, for all that, and it's
often I've thought, too, that I'ld go to the States and be away from
all these throubles, if only we could save up the money to take us all
there. It's not any gold or any riches I'm thinkin' about, but what I
want to know, mother, is this: Could a man in the States, if he was
strong and if he worked hard--and if he didn't drink a great
deal--could he make enough to keep himself and his wife both, so that
she needn't work too hard--not so that she would sit idle, I don't
mean, but so that she needn't be doin' hard work and doin' it all the
time--could he do that?"

"That's the sensible and the honest talk," said his mother; "he could
do that. Those that do nothing get nothing, in the States the same as
anywhere else. But I've talked with them that know, and they tell me
that in the States those that will work are paid for their work, and
those that are strong and industrious and honest can keep their
families from want, and that's more than some can do here, God help

"It would be a great thing," said John, speaking slowly, as if he were
trying to make himself believe this dream of a land where a man's work
could make his wife and his children sure of a home and food--"a great
thing. And do you think, mother--but no, no--I suppose not--do you
think, if we was once there--do you think that I could work enough to
make it so that it would be easier for you and for Kitty both? Could
one do enough for three?"

"It would be easier than here, maybe," was all that the old woman said
in answer to this. She had heard this talk of America many times
before, and she did not like it. She would rather believe, and make
others believe, that better times were coming for Ireland. She was not
so young as the others and not so ready to leave her old home, yet
lately she had seen how it was growing harder and harder to stay, and
there seemed to be little left of the good luck of which she boasted.

She was thinking of all this now, and John knew her thoughts, though
she did not speak them, and he said: "You always tell us that there's
betther times comin', mother, and I've learned to know that all you
say is true. She was sayin' it just before you came in, Pether. But
how can we believe in the betther times? They don't come. They get
worse and worse. How do we know they'll ever come?"

Again Mrs. O'Brien seemed lost in deep thought, or in a dream, just as
when, a little while before, she had told them of O'Donoghue. What she
told them now was a sort of answer to John's question, but perhaps
she told it quite as much to draw their thoughts away from America.
She was silent for a little while, and they all waited for her to

"Good times for Ireland there will be again," she said, "when Earl
Gerald comes back. It was hundreds of years ago that Earl Gerald lived
in his great castle of Mullaghmast. He was a strong warrior and he
fought many a good fight for his people against their foes. More than
that, he was powerful in magic. He could work mighty charms and he
could change himself into any form he liked.

"His wife knew that he could do this, but he had never shown himself
to her in any form but his own. She often begged him to let her see
what his magic could do, and to change himself to some other form for
her. But he knew there was danger in it, and he put her off with one
reason and another. But at last, she asked him so many times, he told
her that if she took any fright at all while he was in any form but
his own he could never live in the world again in his own form till
all the people of the country had passed away many times. 'I'ld not be
a fit wife for you,' she said, 'if I'ld be easily frightened.'

"'You might not be easily frightened,' he said, 'but you might have
great cause, and if you were only a little frightened you would never
see me like myself again.'

"Then one day, as they were sitting together, the Earl turned away his
head and muttered some words which his wife could not understand, and
that instant he was gone, and instead of him sitting beside her she
saw a little goldfinch flying around the room. The goldfinch flew out
at the window into the garden; then it flew back and sat on the lady's
shoulder and on her hand and on her head, and it sang to her, and so
they played together for a time. Then it flew out into the open air
once more, but in a second it darted back through the window and
straight into the lady's bosom. The next instant she saw a wild hawk,
that was chasing the little bird and was coming straight through the
window after it. She put both her hands over her bosom, to save her
husband's life, but she was frightened and she gave one scream as the
hawk darted into the room, dashed itself against a table, and was
killed. Then she looked where the little bird had been, and it was
gone. She never saw Earl Gerald again.

"But Earl Gerald was not dead, and he is not dead, though all this was
hundreds of years ago. He is sleeping, down under the ground, just
beneath where his old castle used to stand. His warriors are there
with him. They are in a great hall. The Earl sits at the head of a
long table and the men sit down the sides. All rest their heads upon
the table and all are asleep. Against the wall there are rows of
stalls, and behind each man, in one of the stalls, is his horse.

"Once in every seven years Earl Gerald wakes at night. He rises and
mounts his horse. A door of the hall opens. He rides out into the free
air. He rides around the Curragh of Kildare and then back into the
cave, to sleep again for seven years.

"While he is out the door is open. Once, long ago, a horse-dealer was
going home late, and he had been drinking a little. He saw the door in
the hill open and he walked in. And there he found himself in a hall,
dim and high. A row of dim lamps hung along the hall, and he saw the
smoke of them rise up to the roof, where many old banners, faded and
torn, stirred a little in the light breeze that came in by the open
door. And the light of the lamps shone down and glistened on the
bright armor of rows of men who sat with their steel helmets bowed
upon the table, and behind them were rows of horses, with their
saddles and their bridles on, ready for their riders.

"There was no sound in the cave but the shuffle of his own foot, and
the stillness and the sight that he saw made him afraid. His hand
trembled, and a bridle that he had fell upon the floor. The noise
echoed and echoed through the cave, and the warrior who sat nearest to
the poor man raised his head. 'Is it time?' the warrior said.

"'Not yet, but soon will be,' the man answered, and the warrior's head
sank again upon the table. The man went out of the cave as quickly as
he could, and he never could find the door of it again.

"They say that Earl Gerald's horse has silver shoes. They were half an
inch thick when the Earl's sleep began. When they are worn as thin as
a cat's ear it will be time. Then a miller's son, who will have six
fingers on each hand, will blow a trumpet, and Earl Gerald and all his
warriors will come out of the cave. They will fight a great battle and
will conquer the enemies of Ireland. Then the country will be peaceful
and prosperous and happy, and Gerald will be its King for forty

Peter's mind could not be set at rest by any such stories as this
to-night. "What's the good of all thim old tales to us?" he asked,
"Can we pay our rint wid the knowledge that Earl Gerald will be King
of Ireland for forty years? They do be all the time fortellin' and
prophesyin' and predictin' this thing and that thing and the other
thing in thim old tales, and nothin' ever comes o' thim. Did you ever
know, now, Mrs. O'Brien--I ask you--will you tell me this--did ye ever
know of any of the prophecies in any of thim old woman's tales comin'

"It's surprised I am," said the old woman, "to hear you, Peter
Sullivan, talking that way--you, that had a decent man for your
father, and that's a decent man yourself, all but knowing
nothing--you, that have heard the stories of your people. Tell me now,
did you ever hear what was foretold of the children of Lir, and did
you ever hear if it came true or not?"

Perhaps Peter had never heard about the children of Lir, or perhaps he
had heard and did not like to say so, because the story would be proof
that a prophecy had come true. At any rate, he said nothing. But the
old woman seemed resolved that if he had never heard about the
children of Lir he should hear about them now.

"Lir was a powerful man in the old days of Ireland," she said, "He had
three sons and one daughter, and their mother was dead. The names of
the sons were Hugh, Fiachra, and Conn, and the name of the daughter
was Fair-shoulder, and beautiful and good children were they all. Lir
was visiting once at the castle of Bogha Derg, the King of Conacht,
and he saw the daughter of the King, and he fell in love with her and
married her.

"For a time they were happy, and then the new wife began to be jealous
of the love of her husband for his four children. It troubled her so
much that she began to lose her beauty and her health, and at last she
took to her bed and did not leave it for a year. And after that time
there came a great Druid to visit her. You know who and what the
Druids were, I think. They were the priests of the old religion of
Ireland, before St. Patrick came and made the people Christians. They
were powerful in magic; they could bring storms and could drive them
away; they could foretell the future; they could work powerful
enchantments on people and beasts, and trees and stones, and they
could do many other marvellous things.

"This Druid talked with the wife of Lir for a long time alone. He made
her tell him all that troubled her, and then he told her what she
could do to be rid of her husband's children. He gave her a magic wand
and went on his way.

"Then she rose from her bed and took the four children with her in her
chariot and set out for her father's castle. On the way she ordered
the driver of the chariot to kill the children, but he refused. Then
they passed near a lake, and the step-mother told the children to go
into the water and bathe. But Fair-shoulder believed that she meant
them some harm, and she refused to go, and begged her brothers not to
go. So the step-mother called her men, and she and they forced the
children out of the chariot and pushed them into the water. Then she
touched each of them on the head with the Druid's wand, and they were
changed into four beautiful white swans.

"After she had done that, she went on to her father's castle. When her
father had welcomed her, he said, 'Where are your husband's children?'

"'They are at home,' she answered, 'in their father's castle.'

"'And are they well?'

"'They are well.'

"Now the King himself was a Druid, and more powerful than the one who
had given his daughter the wand. More than that, he was a good man,
and the other was a wicked one. He did not believe what his daughter
told him about the children, and so he put her into a magic sleep.
When she was asleep he said to her, 'Where are your husband's

"And she answered, 'They are in the lake which we passed by the way as
we came here.'

"'And what did you do to them?'

"'I changed them into white swans.'

"'Why did you do that?'

"'Because my husband loved them more than he loved me.'

"He woke her out of the magic sleep and called all his people
together. Before them all he told her that she should be punished for
her wickedness, and then he changed her, by his Druidic power, into a
gray vulture. Then he said to the people: 'This creature that was my
daughter has laid a wicked enchantment on her husband's children. She
has changed them into swans. They must keep that shape for many
hundreds of years; they must swim in the lakes and the seas and fly
over the land, and they must travel far and must suffer much. But
there is a hope for them. Many, many hundred years will pass away--so
many that even the Druid's eye can scarcely see what is at the end of
them. But at last there shall come strange men across the sea to
Erin--men with shaven heads. They shall build houses and shall set up
tables in the east ends of their houses, and they shall ring bells.
And when the swans that were the children of Lir shall hear the first
sound of these bells, they shall have their human shape again, and
then they shall be happy forever. But she--the gray vulture--she shall
fly in the sky, where it is stormy and cold. Where there are thick
clouds and where the rain is made, there shall be her home. She shall
not fly where the heaven is blue and where the sun shines warm. The
bells of the good men from over the sea shall bring her no peace. Her
way shall be with the wind and the hail. If she has any rest it shall
be on the peak of some wet crag, where the snow whirls around her, or
the fog drives past her, or the sleet cuts against her, or the cold
spray of the sea dashes over her. And it shall be so with her till the
Day of Doom.'

"When the King had finished speaking the gray vulture flew away, and
she was never seen again. But the King and all the court rode in
chariots to the lake where the white swans were, and Lir and all his
people came there, too, when they heard what had been done. And there
they all stood and listened to the singing of the four swans. So
beautiful was the song that those who listened could think of nothing
else while they heard it. They left their horses and their chariots
and stood on the shore of the lake and listened to the enchanting
music, and never thought of food, or of drink, or of sleep. Even the
horses listened to the song as the people did. Day and night they
stood there, and many days and nights, and no hunger came upon them,
and they felt no cold and no heat, and no wind and no wet.

"But the time came when the enchantment that was upon them compelled
the four white swans to leave the place. They rose up into the air and
flew away and out of sight into the sky. Then the King and his people,
and Lir and his people, went back to their castles, and they never saw
the four white swans again.

"The four white swans flew to Loch Derg, and there for many years they
swam on the lake, and fed and slept among the rushes along the shores.
In the summer the lake was pleasant and cool, the air was clear and
mild, the sky was blue, and the sun was bright and beautiful. Then
Fair-shoulder and her brothers forgot that they were unhappy. They
sang songs to one another and scarcely remembered that they had ever
been anything but swans, swimming on this peaceful water. But when the
winter came and the ice was all around, and the wind from the north
blew the snow against them, so that it froze among their feathers and
they could scarcely move, they were so stiff and so cold--then they
remembered how happy they had been in their father's castle. They
could not sing now--not even sad songs. They only longed to have their
human shape again and to be back in their old home.

"But after many, many years more had passed they ceased to wish for
home. They had been swans so long now that it did not seem to them
that they had ever been anything else. When the winter came again and
again and again, and the days of chilling storm and the nights of
freezing darkness were upon them, the poor brothers longed for nothing
but the end of it all. The thought of the old castle hall, with its
bright fires and its feasts and its music of minstrels and its dances
and its games, was only another pain to them, and they wished only to
die and to leave their sorrows.

"Then they crowded close together, to be as warm as they could, and
Fair-shoulder tried to spread her wings over her brothers, to keep the
storm from them. She tried to comfort them, and she told them again
and again the story that she had heard from the people who stood by
the lake to hear them sing, the story that the King had told, that,
after many hundreds of years, strange men should come across the sea
to Erin--men with shaven heads; that they should build houses and set
up tables in the east ends of their houses, and that they should ring
bells; and when the swans should hear the first sound of those bells
they should have their human shape again, and then they should be
happy forever.

"For three hundred years they were at Loch Derg, and then, by the
power of their enchantment, they were compelled to leave it. They flew
to the sea of Moyle, and there they stayed, through the summer's heat
and the winter's cold, for three hundred years more. Still the sister
told her brothers of the strange men who were to come to Erin and of
the bells that were to free them. But they could not be comforted. The
strange men were too long in coming.

"When the three hundred years were past they had to fly away again to
another sea. As they flew, they passed over the spot where their
father's castle had stood and where they had been happy children
together. Not a stone of the beautiful castle could they see. It had
all crumbled down, and the grass had grown over it for many a year.
They saw the fox that had its hole where their father's bright hearth
fire had been, and they saw the ditch of dirty water where their
father used to welcome kings and bards and wise men at his gate. They
kept their way through the air and saw no more; yet they had seen all
that there was to see. It gave the poor swans only a little ache at
the heart, for they were past hope now. They had suffered too much to
believe anything or to think of anything but the suffering that was
past and the more suffering that was to come.

"The end of their journey came and they swam in a new sea. Again the
sister tried to cheer her brothers, but they could not be cheered. The
strange men with the shaven heads would never come, they thought. They
had waited for them too long.

"But the hundreds of years that had passed had done more than to bring
sorrow to the poor swans. In lands far away a new faith had grown up,
not like the Druids' faith. And at last across the sea to Erin came
the holy St. Patrick. He brought monks with him, and they had shaven
heads. They went about the island and preached, and built chapels. In
the east end of each chapel they set up an altar, and they said masses
and rang bells. And they built a chapel on the island that has since
been called the Isle of Glory.

"And so, one bright morning, Fair-shoulder and her brothers were
swimming near the Isle of Glory, when, of a sudden, there came to them
from the shore the sweet sound of a bell. Then Fair-shoulder called to
her brothers, and they all swam to the shore. And as soon as they were
on shore their form of swans was gone. Fair-shoulder was a beautiful
young girl again, and the brothers were strong, beautiful boys. They
walked up to the little chapel together, and there a monk baptized

"And as soon as they were baptized they were young and strong no
longer. Fair-shoulder was an old, old woman, and her brothers were
old, old men. They were so weak with the age of a thousand years that
they fell upon the floor of the chapel. The monks took them up and
cared for them for a few days, and then they died. And so the word of
the Druid came to pass, that when the strange men should ring their
bells the children of Lir should be swans no longer, and should be
happy forever."

They all waited for a few minutes, to be sure that there was no more
of the story, and then John said: "Mother, it's easy for you to be
tellin' us them tales, and they may be all thrue enough, and I'm not
sayin' they're not. But what good are they to us? The word of the
Druid came thrue, but how long was it in comin' thrue? A thousand

"A thousand years or more," said his mother; "but the stories can
teach us to be patient, if they can do nothing else."

"They may do that," said John; "the blessed Lord He knows you've been
patient, and He knows the rest of us have tried to be. But what does
it all come to? We can't wait a thousand years for the betther times.
Pether, here, is right. The States would be a betther place for all of
us. If we had the money I'ld say that we ought to go there."

"It's not the bad times alone that's in it," said Peter. "As I told
you before, I could stand them. It's the bother that we're put to all
the time. It's that would make us go to the States this minute, if we
had the chance. But I suppose your mother could never be leavin'
Ireland now, John; she's gettin' so old now, maybe she couldn't stand
the journey."

"Have no fear about that," John answered; "mother's not so old as
you'ld make out, and she's likely to live longer now than some others
that's here this minute."

As he said this John felt Kitty's hand suddenly holding his closer,
and he knew that he ought not to have said it. "Don't mind what I'm
sayin'," he said to her in a whisper; "I dunno what I'm talkin' about,
but I didn't mean you at all, darlin', nor anybody particular. It'll
all come right somehow, and we'll soon see the roses back in your
cheek, and the smile on your lips, and the light in your eyes. Don't
mind what I said."

"But what's the use talkin' of it at all?" said Peter. "You've no
money and we've less. We might as well be talkin' of goin' to the moon
as to the States."

The old woman did not seem to be paying any attention to what the
others were saying, and now nobody at all said anything for a little
while. Then Mrs. O'Brien began: "John and Kitty, I think sometimes
it's true I'm getting old and foolish. I don't know what has made me
talk the way I have to-night I've seen it coming--oh, I've seen it
coming all along--yes, longer than any one of you has seen it--and I
knew I couldn't stand in the way. And yet to be leaving the old
places--the old fields and hills and paths--the old streams and trees
and rocks--the old places where your father and I walked and sat and
talked so often together, where you were born and where he lies--I
couldn't bear to think of it. It's old and weak and foolish I'm
getting, and I couldn't bear to think of it. And so I've tried to make
you think of other things and to make you think that it would be
better somehow, some time. Maybe I've said too much, and maybe I've
kept you from going when you ought to have gone, but you'll know that
it was because I couldn't bear to think of leaving all the dear
places, and you'll forgive me; John and Kitty, you'll forgive me. I
can say no more. If I couldn't think of it, yet I must do it. It is
right that we should go, and we will go."

"And why should you be talkin' that way, mother?" said John. "Was it
what you said that kept us from goin' to the States long ago? Sure, if
you had said nothing at all, we hadn't the money to go, and so what
difference was it what you said?"

"Listen to me, John," said his mother; "it was all through me that you
didn't leave this land of sorrow long ago. It was because it had been
a land of joy as well to me that we all stayed here; and now, since
you're sure that it's right and best for you to go, it's not the want
of money that shall stand in your way. It's yourself knows, John, that
your father--Heaven be his bed!--was always the careful and the saving
man, and I always tried to help him the best I could. The times got a
little better with us, as you know, after those worst ones in '47 and
'48, and we saved a little again--it was not much, but it was
something. Your father left it with me before he died, and he said:
'Keep it always by you till you need it most. Don't use it till the
time comes when you can say, "I shall never need this money more than
I need it now."' So I have always kept it, and I have it now. That was
why I told you not to fear about the winter. It would have paid our
rent if all else had failed, and it would have taken us all through
the winter. But it's better that it should take us to the States. If
we stayed here and used the money, we'ld be as bad off in another
year. Kitty will be getting strong again there, and it'll be better
for all of us. The time that your father said has come; I'm sure we'll
never be needing the money that he left more than we're needing it
now. There's no more to be said; we'll go."

For a little while no more was said. John and Kitty gazed at the old
woman in wonder. The thing that they had thought about for so long,
and wished for as a happiness that could never be, was come to them.
And now it scarcely seemed a happiness; it was half a sorrow. Then
Ellen spoke: "Oh, Mrs. O'Brien, it was always you was the good
neighbor to us! It was always you was with us in joy and in sorrow!
What'll we ever do at all when you're gone and we're left here alone,
with none to be so kind to us as you've always been?"

And Peter said: "I was thinkin' that same. The Lord go wid you and
keep you, wherever you go, but it'll be the sad day for us when you go

"Peter and Ellen," said the old woman "how could you think that we'ld
do a thing like that? You may be a fool sometimes, Peter, but you're
your father's son. Do you know what your father did for us, Peter?
When my John was dying with the fever, he sat and watched with him,
and brought him the water and the whey all night, and night after
night, when I was so worn out that I could watch no longer. He might
have taken the fever himself, and he might have died with it, and he
did take it, but the Lord spared his life for a while after that,
Heaven rest his soul! And another thing that John said to me before he
died was this: 'As long as you have a bit to eat or a drop to drink or
a penny to buy, never let Tom Sullivan or any of his want more than
you want yourself.'

"And so, Peter and Ellen, when we go to the States, you'll both go
too. There's enough of the money to take us all there. If you're ever
able to pay it back, you can do it, if you like; but if not, we'll
never ask you for it. If we went away from here without you, my
husband would look down from Heaven and see me doing what he told me,
with his dying breath, never to do. He would come to me at night and
he would say: 'Mary, you are deserting in their sorrow the children of
them that never deserted us in our sorrow.' Do you think that I could
bear that? Do you think that I would do that?"

       *       *       *       *       *

Now I have told you all the talk that went on in the O'Briens' house
that night. Perhaps you think that I have been a good while in doing
it. If you will forgive me, I will try to get on with the story a
little faster after this. Only one word more about this talk: you must
not think that this was the first time that these five people had ever
gone over and over this subject of America, or "the States," as they
called it. They had talked of it many times, but Mrs. O'Brien had
never given the word that they should go. The rest of them talked on
and on of what they wished. But when she spoke, they all knew that she
spoke of what was to be. They knew now that they should never talk of
going again, but they should go.

[Illustration: ]



There was a good deal of commotion that night in the rath near where
the O'Briens and the Sullivans lived. Do you know what a rath is? I
suppose not. It is hard work to tell stories to you, you are so
ignorant. I will tell you what a rath is. First I will tell you what
it looks like. It looks like a mound of earth, in the shape of a ring,
covered with turf, and perhaps with bushes. They are found all over
Ireland. Some people, who have studied so much that they have lost all
track of what they know and of what they don't know, say that these
raths were made by the people who lived in Ireland many hundreds of
years ago, and that they were strongholds to guard themselves and
their sheep and their cattle from their enemies or from wild beasts.
But people who know as much as Mrs. O'Brien, know that they are the
places where the fairies live, or the Good People, as she would call

On this night that I have been telling you about, the Good People
inside the rath were eating and drinking and dancing and making merry
generally, as they do, you know, the most of the time. Perhaps you
would like to have me tell you how the inside of the rath looked too.
I will do the best I can. In the first place, the walls were all of
silver and the floor was all of gold. Perhaps you don't know--no, I
suppose you don't know--still you may happen to have heard of this
before: the fairies know just where to find pretty much all the gold
and silver and precious stones that there are in the world, if they
happen to want them. They don't want much of them, of course--only
just enough to make the walls and the roofs and the floors of their
houses of, and to put all over their clothes and to make all their
furniture and dishes of, and all their carriages and their boats, and
a few other things--but they know where to find plenty of gold and
silver, if they want it.

Now I think that I had better give you a little science. I believe
that a book which children are to read, always ought to teach
something, so I mean to teach you as much as I can. You must know,
then, that gold is one of the heaviest things in the world. Now you
know that the earth is always whirling round and round, so that the
things that it is made of naturally get shaken up more or less.
Besides that, it was once a good deal softer than it is now, so that
the things that it is made of could move about more than they can now.
And so the most of the gold, being, as I said, one of the heaviest
things, got sifted down toward the bottom--that is, toward the centre
of the earth. Only a little of it was left near the top, compared with
what went to the bottom. It would not be at all surprising if the
middle of the earth were a solid lump of gold, a thousand miles thick.
But we poor men cannot dig down very deep into the earth. We can only
scratch a little dirt off the top, and if we happen to grub up a few
pounds of gold we think that we are rich, and the rest of the world
thinks so too.

But the fairies laugh at us. They know how to go as deep into the
earth as they choose, and so any fairy who chooses can give away gold
all his life, and still have more of it in his dust-bin all the time
than all the kings in the world have in their treasuries. And the
other fairies don't call him rich.

But now we will go back to the rath. Of course it was all under the
ground, so that there was no daylight. At the time we are talking
about, there would not have been any anyway, for it was night. The
place was lighted up with thousands of diamonds and rubies and
emeralds, which were set all over the ceiling and shone like lamps.
Now I won't call you ignorant just because you say that you don't
understand how diamonds could light up anything, for I don't
understand it myself. Let us talk about it together and try to decide.
Suppose you try the experiment. Some night, after dark, take all the
diamonds you have--every one of them--and carry them into a dark room
and spread them out, and see if they light up the room at all. I am
sure that you will find that they do not. On the contrary, if you let
go of them, you will have to go and get a light to hunt for them by.
But I suppose the fairies have some other kind of diamonds than ours,
or else they know some other way of using the same kind. Sometimes
they use fireflies, caught in spider-web nets, but these are generally
for out of doors. To light up their houses they almost always use

There were two tiny bits of turf fire in the rath. One of them was at
one end of the hall, where the King sat, for the King to light his
pipe by, and the other was at the other end, for the other fairy men
to light their pipes by. Fairies do not like fire, as a rule, and they
would never have any more of it about than they could help. But I know
that they must have had some, for I know that Irish fairies smoke
pipes, and how could they light them unless they kept a little fire on

Now, I know what you will say to that. You will say: "If they could
light a room with diamonds, why couldn't they light pipes with them?"
Well, that is not very easy to answer, but I feel sure that even a
fairy would never think of lighting a pipe with a diamond. I have
owned up already that I don't know exactly how they light rooms with
them, but it is easier for me to imagine a diamond giving light than
giving heat. Isn't it for you? Now, be honest about it.

At one end of the hall sat the King and the Queen, on their thrones.
Near them were half a dozen fairy men who were playing on pipes and
fiddles. All over the floor there were dozens and scores of fairies,
men and women, dancing to the music. All around the walls stood or sat
many more of them, looking at the dancers, and now and then applauding
and shouting at particular ones, or talking together, or simply
smoking their pipes.

Suddenly two fairies rushed into the hall, with a little sound like
the noise of a humming-bird's wings when it passes close to you. From
the lower end of the hall, where they came in, they went straight
through the crowd to where the King and Queen sat. They dropped on
their knees before them for an instant, and then rose and spoke to
them. In a moment the King clapped his hands, with a sign for the
pipers and the fiddlers to stop playing. The instant that they
stopped, everybody in the hall was still.

The King stood up and said to them: "Will ye be still now and listen,
all of ye, to the news that's come to me this minute, and then will ye
help me to think what we're to do about it at all? Here's these two
that's just come in, and they're just afther tellin' me that they've
been at the O'Briens' house this evenin', and there they heard talk
betune the O'Briens and the Sullivans, and it's all decided that both
the O'Briens and the Sullivans is goin' to the States. And it's sorry
I'll be to see the O'Briens lavin' the counthry. I don't care so much
for the Sullivans."

"It was the O'Briens," said the Queen, "that always put the bit and
sup outside the door for us, and what we'll be doin' widout the milk
and the pertaties and the fresh wather, I dunno."

"Ye needn't be throubled about that," the King answered; "haven't we
always enough to eat and drink of our own, whatever happens?"

"Thrue for you," said the Queen, "we have our own food and drink, but
it's not the same that we get from human people. Ye know that same
yourself, and it's you as much as any that'll be missin' them things
when the O'Briens is gone."

"That's the thrue word too," said the King; "it'll be the bad day for
us all out, when they go. What for are they lavin' the counthry at

"If ye plase, Your Majesty," said one of the fairies who had brought
the news, "we heard all that too. It's the hard times that's in it.
It's that makes them all want to go, and then, more than that, it's
the bother the Sullivans are put to all the time, wid the cow givin'
no milk and the pig not gettin' fat, and all that, and they're bound
that they'll go away and stand it no longer."

"Is that it?" said the King. "It's that divil Naggeneen that's in it.
I told him he could bother them a little if he liked, but not to
bother them too much, and now he's drivin' them and their neighbors
out of the counthry, and we all have to suffer for it. He'll make it
up to us in some way, if they go, or I'll take it out of him. Come
here, Naggeneen! What are ye doin' down there by yourself? Come up
here and stand forninst me, till I give ye a piece of me mind. Now,
what's all this about the O'Briens and the Sullivans lavin' the
counthry? What have ye been about wid them?"

A fairy who had not been in the hall before had just come in at the
far end from the King, who had caught sight of him. He was smoking a
pipe. He had his hands in the pockets of his little green breeches, he
wore a red jacket, and on his head was a red cap. He came slowly up
the hall, when the King called him, and stood before the throne. "Take
off your cap, ye worthless vagabone," said the King, "when you speak
to me."

"I wasn't spakin' to you," said Naggeneen; "it was you that spoke to
me. You called me, and here I am to the fore, though I don't belong to
your pitiful little thribe, and I needn't come when you call, if I
don't like."

"Oh, needn't ye?" said the King. "Take off your cap now, or it'll be
taken off for ye."

Naggeneen took off his cap.

"Now," said the King, "what have ye been doin' to the Sullivans, that
they're lavin' the counthry and persuadin' the O'Briens to go wid

"I've been doin' nothin'," said Naggeneen, "but what you said I might

"Oh, haven't ye?" said the King. "And what was that?"

"Oh," said Naggeneen, "I just took all the cream and the most of the
milk from their cow, and you yourself had a share of it, as you know
well; and I put a charm on their pig, so that it wouldn't get fat, no
matter how much it 'uld be atin'; and then I druv the smoke of their
fire down the chimney, and I threw the dishes and the pans around in
the night, just so they wouldn't get lazy wid restin' too well, and a
few more little things like that."

"Was that all ye did?" said the King. "And how long have ye been at it
that way?"

"Ever since the day that Mrs. Sullivan threw the dirthy wather on me,
as I was passin' the house. But I'm not the only one that's in it.
Some of your own people here have helped me, and good they are at
divilment too."

"And those things was all you did, was they?" said the King. "And
didn't I tell ye ye could bother them a little, but not too much? What
would ye have done if I had told ye to do what ye liked wid them?"

"What would I have done then? Oh, I'ld have shown ye the real fun
then. What would I have done then? I'ld have pinched them and stuck
pins in them all day and all night. I'ld have put charms on
themselves, so that they'ld grow thinner than the pig. I'ld have took
the pertaties out of the creel when they were put to drain at the
door. If they went away from home I'ld make them think that they saw
their house burning up, and so I'ld scare them to death. What would I
do if you gave me leave? What wouldn't I do?"

"Well, you've done enough as it is," said the King, "to get the whole
of us into throuble, and now let's hear what you're goin' to do to
get us out of it. Here they are lavin' the counthry and takin' the
O'Briens wid them, that was always the good neighbors to us, and they
themselves were sometimes useful in their own way, in spite of
themselves. And now I ask ye, Naggeneen, what are ye goin' to do to
get us out of the throuble ye've got us into?"

"I'm in no throuble meself," Naggeneen answered, "and I dunno what I
have to do wid any throuble that you may be in."

"You're in no throuble yourself? Haven't ye been as good as livin' on
the Sullivans all this time? And now what are ye goin' to do widout

"I'm goin' to do nothin' widout them; I'm goin' wid them."

"Goin' wid them! Goin' wid them!"

"Them was me words; you and your silly little thribe can do what ye
like; I'm goin' wid them. It's a stuffy little place, this rath of
yours, and I've a notion thravellin' would be good for me health, any

"But how can ye go wid them?"

"It's not hard at all," said Naggeneen, "and it's been done before
this. I was near doin' it meself once. I don't suppose ye remember me
old friend MacCarthy."

"MacCarthy of Ballinacarthy?" the King asked.

"The same," said Naggeneen, "and it was he was the good friend to
mortal or fairy. It was he kept the good house and the good table and
the good cellar--more especially the good cellar. That was not so many
years ago--a hundred and odd, maybe. A fine man he was; we don't see
his like now. I lived wid him the most of the time--in the cellar. And
the strange thing about him was that, though nobody ever had a bad
word for him, though all his servants said that he was the kindest and
the best masther that ever stepped, he could get nobody to stay in the
place of butler. It was all well enough wid the rest--cooks, maids,
hostlers, stable boys--but the first time ever a new butler went into
that beautiful wine cellar for wine, back he'ld come in a hurry and
say that he'ld lave his place the next day, and nothing on earth would
keep him in it. Now, wasn't that strange?"

"Did you say you lived in that cellar?" the King asked.

"The most of the time," said Naggeneen.

"Then it was not strange," said the King.

"Any way, strange or not strange," Naggeneen went on, "it was the
truth. Never a butler could he keep in his service. A new butler would
come and he'ld think he was a made man, old MacCarthy was that well
known and that well liked all over the counthry. He'ld wait once at
dinner and then down he'ld go to the cellar for wine. Sometimes he'ld
come back wid the wine and oftener he'ld come back widout it, but
every time he'ld say: 'Mr. MacCarthy, sir, it's much obliged to you I
am for all your kindness, but I'll have to be lavin' your service
to-morrow.' And nobody could see the why of it.

"And at long last there was young Jack Leary, that had been all his
life in old MacCarthy's stable, and he knew how the old man was bad
off for a butler, and he made bold to ask for the place. 'If I make ye
me butler,' says the old man, 'will ye go into the cellar and bring
the wine when I ask ye, and make no throuble about it?'

"'Is that all?' says Jack; 'sure, yer honor, I'ld be glad to spend all
me time, day and night, in the cellar, only ye might be wantin' me
somewhere else now and then.'

"'Then look sharp,' says old MacCarthy, 'for there's gintlemin comin'
to dinner to-day. Wait on the table the best ye know how, and at the
end of it, when I ring the bell three times, do ye go to the cellar
and bring plenty of wine, and let's have no more nonsinse about it.'

"'Niver say it twice,' says Jack; 'yer honor can depind on me.'

"Well, ye may belave I was listenin' to all this, for I wasn't in the
cellar all the time. 'His honor may say it twice,' says I to meself,
'or as many times as he likes, but you'll never go into that cellar
twice, Jack, me fine boy.'

"So Jack went about his work, and the dinner went all well enough,
till late in the evenin', when old MacCarthy rang the bell three
times, and off started Jack for the cellar, wid a basket to bring back
the wine. 'It's the silly lot they war,' says he to himself, 'thim
butlers, that they'ld be afraid to go to the cellar and bring back a
bit of a basket full of wine. The only thing I don't like about it is
that I can't bring it back in me skin instead of in the basket.'

"He was thinkin' like this in his mind as he went down the long, dark
stairs wid his candle, and you may depend I was ready for him, by the
time he got to the bottom. So no sooner did he touch the key to the
lock than I give him a sort of a laugh and a scream that set the empty
wine bottles that stood outside the door a-dancin' together. Jack was
a good bold boy, sure enough, and he got the key into the lock and
turned it. Wid that I swung the door open for him, so hard that it
crashed against the wall and near shook the house down. And then me
fine boy saw all the casks and the hogsheads in the cellar a-swingin'
and a-rockin' and a-whirlin' around, as if all the wine had been in
him instead of in them.

"You may be sure he didn't wait long afther that, but he just dropped
his basket and fell all the way up the stairs and into the room where
the gintlemin was waitin' for their wine. Well, it was then that old
MacCarthy was in the towerin' rage. Never a word could Jack say to
tell where he'd been or how he came back, or why.

"'Gintlemin,' says MacCarthy, 'ye'll get your wine, if I have to go to
the cellar for it meself. But this I tell ye: I'll live no longer in
this house, where I can't get servants to serve me. I'll be lavin' it
to-morrow, and no later. The next time ye find me at home, ye'll find
me in a place where I can keep a butler and have him do his work.'

"Wid that he took the lantern and started for the cellar himself.
Ye'll guess that I was in the dining-room as soon as Jack and heard
all this, and I was back in the cellar, too, before MacCarthy got
there. I was sittin' on a cask of port, when he came in and saw me be
the light of the lantern. I was sittin' there, wid a spiggot over me
shoulder. 'Are ye there?' says MacCarthy. 'Who are ye, anyway, and
what are ye doin' there?'


"'Sure, your honor,' says I, 'a'n't we goin' to move to-morrow, and
it's not the likes of a kind man like you that would be wishin' to
lave poor little Naggeneen behind.'

"'Is that the way of it?' says MacCarthy. 'Well, if you're agoin' to
move wid us, I see no use in movin' at all. If I'm to have you in me
cellar, wherever it is, it may as well be at Ballinacarthy as

"And from that day till the day of his death me and old MacCarthy was
the best of friends. And he always brought all his wine from the
cellar himself."

"And what has all that to do wid us?" said the King.

"What has it to do wid ye?" said Naggeneen. "It has nothin' to do wid
ye, unless ye want to make it, and never a care I care whether ye do
or not. But it has a good deal to do wid me. It shows, doesn't it,
that I was ready to go wid old MacCarthy, and him runnin' away from
me; and just so I'm ready to go wid the Sullivans, now that they're
runnin' away from me. I've given ye a good hint. Ye can do as ye

"It's glad I'ld be," said the Queen, "if we could be rid of the
Sullivans and Naggeneen both at once, but I dunno what we'll do at all
if the O'Briens go away."

"I'm not over-fond of Naggeneen meself," said the King, "but it's a
sharp bit of a boy he is, and I'm thinkin' he may not be far from
right this time. It might be that a new counthry would be as good for
us as for the O'Briens or the Sullivans, and, anyway, we'ld still be
near to them."

"Do ye mean," the Queen said, "that ye think we might all go to the
States along wid the O'Briens and the Sullivans and Naggeneen?"

"If Naggeneen goes," the King replied, "he'll go along wid us; we'll
not go wid him; but it was just that same that I was thinkin'. And yet
we couldn't do a thing like that widout the lave of the King of All

When the King spoke of the King of All Ireland, of course he meant the
King of all the fairies in Ireland. He was himself only the King of
this rath. Of course you know that the people of Ireland have no kings
of their own any more.

"Naggeneen, me boy," said the King, "just take your fut in your hand
and go to the King of All Ireland. Give him me compliments and ask him
would he think there was anything against the whole of us goin' to the

"Is it me that would be runnin' arrants to the King of All Ireland,"
Naggeneen answered: "me, that don't belong to your thribe at all, and
forty lazy spalpeens around here wearin' their legs off wid dancin' or
rustin' them off wid doin' nothin' at all?"

"It's thrue you don't belong to me thribe," said the King, "and glad I
am of that same. But while ye stay in me rath ye'll do what I bid ye.
Why would I kape a dog and bark meself? Go on, now, and do what I tell
ye, or ye know what I'll do to ye. Be off now!"

Naggeneen was off.

Now, while Naggeneen is gone with his message to the King of All
Ireland, I will just take a minute to say something that I have felt
like saying for quite a little while. He will not be gone much more
than a minute. What I have to say is this: Nearly all the people in
this story, mortals and fairies, too, had the way of speaking that
most Irish people have, which we call a brogue. Mrs. O'Brien had only
a little of it--just the bit of a soft brogue that comes from Dublin,
where she had lived for a long time. The most of the others had a good
deal more. But as I go on with the story from here, I see no use in
trying to write the brogue. It is hard to spell and confusing to read.
If you do not know what a good Irish brogue is, you would never learn
from any attempt of mine to spell it out for you; and if you do know
what it is, you can put it in for yourself. I may have to try to write
a little of it now and then, for there is some Irish that does not
look like Irish when it is written in English, but I shall use as
little of it after this as I can. Naggeneen is back by this time.

Naggeneen sauntered into the hall where the King and the Queen and all
the company were waiting for him, with his hands in his pockets, quite
as if he had been out for a quiet stroll and had come back because he
was tired of it. "Well," said the King, "did you see the King of All

"I saw him with my good-looking eyes," Naggeneen answered.

"And what did he say?"

"He said he'ld come here and talk to you himself, and, by the look of
him, I think it's a pleasant time he'll be giving you."

"Then why is he not here as soon as you?" the King asked.

"Oh, nothing would do for him," said Naggeneen, "but that he and his
men must come on horseback. They can come no faster that way, but they
think it's due to their dignity. They had to wait for the horses to be
ready, and so I beat them."

Naggeneen had scarcely said this when the door flew open at the end of
the hall, and, with a rush and a whirl, in came a great troupe of
fairies on horseback--the King of All Ireland and his men. They all
leaped down from their horses, and instantly every horse turned into a
green rush, such as grows beside the bogs. The King of All Ireland
walked quickly up to the King of the rath and stood before him, with
an awful frown on his face. The King of the rath was plainly nervous.
"Will you have a light for your pipe, Your Majesty?" he asked.

"Never mind my pipe now," said the King of All Ireland. "Tell me first
of all, who is this messenger that you sent to me?" The King of All
Ireland had only a little bit of brogue--the Dublin kind.

"Sure," said the King of the rath, "that's only poor Naggeneen."

"Only poor Naggeneen!" cried the King of All Ireland. "And what are
you doing with him? Do you see the red jacket he has on? Why doesn't
he wear a green jacket, like your people? You know what his red jacket
means as well as I. He belongs to the fairies who live by themselves,
not to those who live together honestly in a rath. Why do you have him
with your honest green jackets?"

"Sure, Your Majesty," said the King of the rath, "I thought it was no
harm. He said he was tired of being by himself, and you know how handy
he is with the fiddle or the pipes. If he'd been a fir darrig, that's
always playing tricks and making trouble everywhere, why, then, of
course--but he was only a poor cluricaun--"

"Yes," the King of All Ireland interrupted, "only a poor cluricaun,
that does nothing but rob gentlemen's wine cellars and keep himself so
drunk that he's of no use when he's wanted for any good. And hasn't he
made you as much trouble as any fir darrig could do?"

"I was a lepracaun, too, once, Your Majesty," Naggeneen said.

"A lepracaun, were you? What did you do then? And when was it and how
did it happen that a lazy lump like you was ever a lepracaun?"

"It was a long time ago," said Naggeneen, ready enough to talk about
anything to draw the King's thoughts away from the trouble that he had
made. "After old MacCarthy, of Ballinacarthy, died, those that came
after him did not keep up his cellar well, and I felt lonely and sad,
and I didn't care to drink any more--"

"Lonely and sad you must have been," said the King of All Ireland;
"but you did drink still, did you not, though you didn't care for it?"

"True for you, Your Majesty," said Naggeneen, "I did a little, just
for my health. But I was so lonely and so falling to pieces with

"Falling to pieces with idleness!" the King interrupted again. "If
idleness could make you fall to pieces, there wouldn't have been a
piece of you left big enough to make trouble in a fly's eye, these
last seven hundred years."

"As you say, Your Majesty," Naggeneen went on, "but, anyway, I was a
lepracaun, and I did what any other lepracaun does: I sat in the field
or under a tree and made brogues. But it was sorry work and people was
always trying to catch me, to make me show them the gold they thought
I had. And one time a great brute of a spalpeen did catch me, and he
nearly broke me in two with the squeeze he gave me, so that I wouldn't
get away till I'd showed him the gold. And I nearly had to show it to
him, but I made him look away for a second, and then of course I was
off. And after that my friend the King here let me come and live in
the rath, just for company--not that I belong to his little tribe at

"And now you see," said the King of All Ireland, turning from
Naggeneen to the King of the rath, "what trouble comes to you from
taking those into your rath that have no right there. He's sending
people out of Ireland that might be of use to you and to all of us. He
wants to go with them, and that is no loss, but you want to go, too
and to take all your people. That might be a loss, though I don't know
that it would."

"We think it's best that we should go, Your Majesty," the King of the
rath answered, meekly, "if you see no reason why not."

"I see reasons enough why not," said the King of All Ireland. "You
don't know where you are going, nor what you'll find there. You don't
know how you're to live, nor whether it'll be any fit place to live.
You don't know whether the people there will help you or hinder you."

"Wherever the O'Briens go, they'll help us," the King of the rath
answered. "We don't like to have them leave us here."

"You've gone contrary to the law enough already," said the King of All
Ireland, "in taking in this fellow with the red coat. Now you may take
all the consequences of it and go where you like. I don't care where
you go and I think nobody cares, only I think it may be best for all
the Good People in Ireland to have you out of it. Mount your horses,"
he shouted to his men, "and we'll be off out of this!"

He took one of the little green rushes from the floor and sat astride
it, as a little boy rides on his father's cane. "Borram, borram,
borram!" he said, and instantly the rush was a beautiful white horse.
Every one of his men did the same. Each one took one of the rushes and
sat astride of it and said, "Borram, borram, borram!" and every one of
the rushes grew into a horse. There was a little whirring sound, like
that of a swarm of bees, and they were all gone.

Everybody in the rath was silent for a few minutes. The King and the
Queen looked at each other and were much troubled. Naggeneen, without
making a bit of noise, scuttled down to the farthest corner of the
hall. The others seemed not to know where to look or what to do or to
think. Then the King turned toward them and said; "It's all over; we
couldn't stay here now. Wherever has Naggeneen got to?"

The fairies who were nearest to Naggeneen hustled him forward and he
stood before the King again. "Naggeneen," said the King, "it's trouble
enough you've made for all of us, and it's ballyragging enough you and
all the rest of us have got for it, and we don't know, as His Majesty
said, what more is to come. So now do the only thing you was ever good
for and give us a tune out of the fiddle."

It was the only thing that Naggeneen was good for, and the only thing
that was not mischief that he liked to do. He took a fiddle from one
of the fairies who had been playing for the dancing before all the
confusion began. He held the fiddle under his chin for a moment, while
everybody waited, and then he began to play.

He played first some old tunes that every fairy in Ireland knows well.
But not every fairy in Ireland can play them as Naggeneen did. They
were tunes which everybody listening in that rath had known for
hundreds of years. There were wild and strange airs that made them
remember days when Ireland was a strange country, even to them; then
the music was full of wonder and mystery, like the spells of the old
Druids; then it was strong and free and fierce, and they thought of
Finn McCool and the Fenians, and the days when Erin had heroes to
guard her from her foes. The fiddle was telling them the story of
their own lives and of all that they had ever seen and known. Now it
was a strange music, which they could not understand--which the player
could understand as little as the rest--but it was soft and sweet, and
yet deep and bold, and the fairies trembled as they remembered the
holy Patrick and a mighty power in the worlds of the seen and of the
unseen. This passed away and the music came with the stir and the
swing of marching men, and the fairies were again in the days of King
Brian Boru, with Ireland free and brave and strong. It grew sad; it
gushed out like sobs from a broken heart; then it was quieter, but
still full of a softer sorrow; now it was merry and reckless. It made
the fairies remember all that they had ever seen in the lives of the
people whom they had known so long--the cruel hardship, war, sickness,
hunger, and then, besides, the faith, the kindliness, the
light-heartedness that had saved them through it all. There were tunes
that every man and woman in Ireland knows--tunes that you know--old
airs that every Irish fiddler or piper or singer learns from the older
ones, that the oldest ones of all learned, they say, from the fairies.
And under all the music, whether grave or gay, there went a strain of
grief, sometimes almost harsh and sometimes scarcely heard, and as the
fairies listened to it they grew pale at the thought that now they
were to go away from all that they had known, to find something which
they did not know. While they were thinking of this the music changed
again. It was a soft murmur, like the sound of the sea that is kept
forever in a sea-shell. Then it grew loud and rough, with the rush of
winds and the crash of waves. The fairies were filled with fright, and
before they knew that they were afraid, the music was singing a song
of hope, and then, all at once, it grew as merry as if there had never
been a sad thought in the world.

For a moment the fairies listened to it and all their feet began to
stir restlessly on the floor. One of the fairy men caught the hand of
a fairy girl--a fairy girl with cheeks like the tiny petals in the
heart of a rose, with a white gown like a mist, and hair like fine
sunbeams falling on the mist; he threw his arm about her waist, and
they danced away down the hall. In an instant all the rest were
dancing, too, alone, in pairs, and in rings. Naggeneen looked on and
laughed till he could scarcely play. All this time his music had moved
him less than anybody else who heard it. He did not feel what he had
made the others feel, but he knew how to pour it all out of his

The King made a sign for him to stop. All the dancers were still in an
instant. The lights in the hall went out. The next minute, if you had
been outside the rath and had laid your ear down on the turf which
covered it, you would have heard nothing more than you might hear
under the turf at any other time or in any other place.

[Illustration: ]



If you live in the city of New York, or if you have ever been in the
city of New York for any long time, you know how disheartening, how
terrible, and how altogether unreasonable the climate can be at times.
But you also know how heavenly it can be on an autumn day, when the
sky and the air and the water are all in a good humor. To see and to
feel the best of it, you must be down in the Narrows, or somewhere
near there. The fierce heat has gone out of the air, but there is a
gentle warmth left in it. All the shores near you are turning from
green to brown and yellow, with here and there a dash of red. The sun
makes every sail in the bay a gleaming spot of white. Far up the bay
you see just an end of the city, with the tall buildings standing so
close that it looks like one great castle, built all over a hill that
slopes steeply down to the water on both sides. The Bridge looks like
a spider's web, spun across to the other shore. Beyond it all the
hills look purple, through the thin mist. If, instead of having seen
all this often, you saw it for the first time--if you were coming from
a far country, where you had always been poor--if you had toiled all
your life to pay your rent, never expecting to do more--then perhaps
you would look, more than anything else, at the giant woman standing
before you and holding her torch high into the sky to light the world.

It was on such a day as this that the O'Briens and the Sullivans saw
New York first. It was on the same day that the fairies who had left
the rath and followed them saw it too. The O'Briens and the Sullivans
had left their old home and gone to Queenstown, and the fairies had
followed them. Cork and Queenstown had rather alarmed the fairies.
They did not like the look of a city. It looked cold and stony and
uncomfortable. It did not look like a good place to dance out of doors
at night. They almost wished that they had stayed at home and let the
O'Briens and the Sullivans go where they liked without them. Some of
them even wanted to go back, but Naggeneen laughed at them, and
fairies can stand being laughed at even less than human beings. But
they all hoped that when the O'Briens and the Sullivans got wherever
they were going, it would not prove to be in a city.

Then the O'Briens and the Sullivans went on board a ship and were
stowed away in a place forward, with many other people, which the
fairies did not think roomy or airy or pleasant in any way. But they
were not obliged to stay in it. They found better places on the ship.
Nobody could see them, so they went where they liked. They went out on
the bow, where the lookout stood, and watched with him for sails and
for tiny puffs of smoke by day and for little glimmers of light by
night. They ran about the bridge and swarmed up the rigging. They even
danced on the deck, as if they were in a field at home; and the deck
was dewy at night, just like the field. They fluttered and whirled in
circles around the red light on the one side of the ship and the green
light on the other side, and they reminded them of the rubies and the
emeralds that had helped to light their own rath.

One day they saw swimming in the water beside the ship an ugly
creature, like a man, with a red nose, tangled green hair, green
teeth, and fingers with webs between them, like a duck's foot. There
was another creature, like a woman, very beautiful, but with green
hair, like the man. These were merrows--sea fairies.

"Where are you bound in that ship?" the merrows called to them.


"Where would we be bound at all," the King answered, "but to the
States, where the ship's bound?"

"And what are ye goin' there for?" the merrows asked again.

"Sure," said Naggeneen, "it's followin' the O'Briens and the Sullivans
we are, and it's the long way they're takin' us."

"Could you tell us what the States is like at all?" asked the King.
"Is it like Cork?"

"There's parts of them," said the man merrow, "that's more like Cork
than Cork itself, and there's other parts of them that's no more like
Cork than the sea here is like Cork Harbor."

"But are there no places there," the King asked again, "like the
country parts of Ireland, with the fields and the bogs and all?"

"I can't tell you that," the merrow answered. "We've never been far on
the land. Deep down under the sea it's the same way it is under the
sea about Ireland. There's the land at the bottom, with the sand all
fine and firm, like a floor, and there's the water above, like a green
sky, and there are the shells and the sea-flowers, and there are the
weeds that wave around you and over you, like red and green and purple
curtains to your house, and it's all as cool and as neat as any of the
sea-places around Ireland. And if you like to go up to get the warmth
of the sun or the light of the stars, there's white sand where you
can lie at your ease, and there's great rocks where you can sit and
look out over the sea and get the fresh breeze. And that's all we know
of it; we've not been away from the sea."

And after a week of voyaging through the sea--after going on and on
for so long and so far that both fairies and mortals began to think
that they must soon fall over the edge of the earth--the ship suddenly
stood up straight, instead of rolling and pitching about, and a little
later they saw the giant woman before them, holding up her torch, and
beyond her they saw the city. And then it was only a bit of a while
longer till they came close to the city.

"Look at it!" cried the King to all the fairies, who were crowded at
the bow; "it's like the country, after all! Look at all the grass and
the trees! But it has an iron chain all around it. I don't like the
look of that." All fairies hate iron. They more than hate it; they
simply cannot endure it. To touch any iron at all would hurt a fairy
more than it would hurt you to touch it when it was red hot.

"But it's only a small place, anyway," said Naggeneen. "Look at the
houses beyond there! There was nothing like them in Cork! And do you
mind them strings of coaches, running along up in the air?"

"I was takin' note of them," said the King; "sure it's the strange

The fairies all followed the O'Briens and the Sullivans. They were
resolved not to lose sight of their only friends, in a land like this.
They found that the O'Briens and the Sullivans were quickly taken to a
big round house, in the very bit of a place like the country that they
had first seen. The fairies did not like the inside of the big round
house, so the King left a few to watch the O'Briens and the Sullivans,
and to bring word if they made any important move, and the rest went
out and found pleasanter places on the grass and under the trees. They
had managed to get into the Battery Park without touching any of the
horrible iron chains that were around it. They would have been a very
sorry-looking company, if anybody could have seen them.

"I don't like it at all," the King said, "and nothing would please me
better than to be at home again. If they're going to live in that big
round house, I dunno what we'll do. We want to be near to them, and
yet this is no place for us. We could stand it a little while, maybe.
The grass is fine and smooth for dancing, but these lights, like suns,
that they have all around on the tops of the poles, are terrible. Do
they want no night at all here? And then what a noise there is! It's
nothing but rattle and roar all day, and then the boats do be
screeching around all night."

"Have no fear," said the Queen. "The O'Briens would never live in a
place like this. They'll soon be out of it, and then we'll follow them
and find a better place near where they go."

It proved that the Queen was right. Before long there came an alarm
from those who had been left to watch, that the O'Briens and the
Sullivans were coming out. In a moment more they came, and the whole
tribe followed them. Old Mrs. O'Brien, who never forgot anything that
was worth remembering, had not forgotten to write to some old friends
who had come to America years before, that she and her son and his
wife and their neighbors were coming. These old friends had found
tenements for them, and soon they were in new homes. There was enough
of Mrs. O'Brien's money to keep them for a little while, and they
hoped that before it was gone, John and Peter would find work and
would be getting more money.

The fairies followed them, filled with more and more wonder. For miles
they followed, and then for more miles. It was not that the distance
troubled them. They could have gone a hundred times as far without
thinking of being tired. But they could scarcely believe their eyes
when they saw these never-ending stone roads and these never-ending
rows of stone and brick houses, all built so that they touched one
another. They could not understand how people could live so close
together, nor why they should want to do it, if they could. Perhaps
you have never thought of it, but it is really true that the ways of
mortals are just as wonderful to fairies as the ways of fairies are to

Indeed, the place where they found themselves at last was not a
pleasant one for fairies. It was two places, in fact, but they were so
much alike that there was nothing to choose between them. A tenement
had been found for the O'Briens, up many flights of stairs, in a house
with many other tenements. There was barely enough room in it for them
to live, though it was better, in that respect, than their old cabin
in Ireland. The stairs and the passage were far from clean, and they
led down to a street that was just as far from clean.

It was hard all over with square stones, which had sunk, in places,
and made hollows, which were filled with muddy water. Lean cats
scuttled about here and there, and ran away, if anybody came near
them, as if they expected to have stones thrown at them, and then,
when the danger seemed past, they rummaged in the ash-barrels for
scraps of meat or fish or bread. The people who lived in the houses
sat on the doorsteps and on the curb-stones, and chattered and
laughed and quarrelled and slept. The sun shone into the street, but
it could not shine between the houses. A breeze blew up from the East
River, which was not far away, but the air was none too fresh, for all
that. The place that had been found for the Sullivans was in another
street, not far away. It was much the same, as I have said, but it was
even smaller, for there were only two of the Sullivans, and they could
get on with less space.

The fairies were fairly terrified at all this. And was it any wonder?
The poor little Good People! They had been used to a beautiful, bright
hall, to green, fresh grass to dance on in the quiet, misty moonlight,
and to cool shade for the day. What could they do in such a place as
this? They remembered how the King of All Ireland had told them that
they did not know whether the place where they were going was a place
fit for them to live in.

The first thing that the King did was to send some of the fairies in
all directions to see if they could spy out any place where the whole
tribe could live in a decent and comfortable manner. The street, he
was sure, would never do. Of course, if the Fairy King wanted a rock
or a hill to open and let him into it, it would open, and he could
live in it, if he chose, just as he used to in his own old rath. And
no mortal who might happen to be about would know that anything
unusual was happening. And just so the street would open for him, if
he wanted it to. But before he had decided to try it he saw a place
where some men had opened it, and that was quite enough for him. If
you have ever seen a New York street opened, you know what it was
like; if you have not, it is of no use to try to tell you.

But the messengers whom the King had sent in all directions were
scarcely gone when those who had started toward the west were back
with joyful news. "We have found a beautiful place," they said. "It's
only a bit of a way from here, and if we live there we'll not be far
from the O'Briens. Ye never saw grass smoother in your life, though
it's not quite so green, maybe, as it is at home. And then there's
tall trees of all kinds, and there's bushes that'll have flowers on
them, belike, in the right time of the year. And there's smooth roads
and walks, and there's hills and great rocks, that we could live
inside of as easy as in a rath itself. It's a much quieter place than
here, too, and the air is better, though it's so near. It's not wide
toward the west, but off to the south it reaches as far as we can see,
like a forest."

The King left a guard to watch, lest the O'Briens should like the
place as little as himself and should leave it and be lost, and then
he hurried with the rest to see the new country that had been
discovered. If you know New York very well indeed, you have guessed
already that it was the north end of Central Park which the fairies
had found. But you may know New York pretty well and not know, as a
good many people who live in it do not, that there is any north end to
Central Park, still less that it is far prettier than the south end.

After all the distressing streets and houses that he had seen, the
King was delighted with it. He found a big rock, which was the base of
a hill, and at the top of it stood a queer little square stone house.
Back in this hill, he declared, behind the rock and under the stone
house, would be as pleasant a place to live as ever the rath was. He
made the rock open, and he and all the fairies with him went in,
although the policemen and the men and women in carriages and on
horses and on bicycles and on foot who were all about, did not see
that the rock looked at all different.

"A fine place for us it will make," said the King; "we couldn't be
asking for a better. Get to work now, all of you. Hollow out the
inside of the hill, only leave pillars to hold up the roof, and go and
find gold for the floor and silver for the walls, and you can have
every other pillar gold and every other one silver, after you get the
rest done, and take down the rock that you left. And then find
diamonds and rubies and emeralds to light it with."

No, I am not going to explain to you how the fairies did all this. I
shall not tell you how they got the rock out nor what they did with it
after they got it out. I will tell you all that there is any need of
your knowing about it, and that is that in a very short time it was
all done; that the new fairy palace was as much larger and finer and
better than any fairy palace in Ireland ever was as we Americans
intend that everything here shall be larger and finer and better than
anything anywhere else. And it was all done before the most of the
messengers who had been sent in other directions got back to tell what
they had found.

These fairies went straight to where the O'Briens lived, and there the
fairies who had been left on guard told them where to find the King,
and asked them to say to him that they were tired of their duty and
they wished that he could send somebody else to take their places.

The fairies were not much surprised when they found the King and all
the tribe settled in a new palace, as comfortably as if they had never
moved. The building of a palace in a night is no more to a fairy than
it is to a New York man to come back after he has been out of town for
a month and find a house twenty stories high in a place where there
was a hole in the ground when he went away.

"What's the use at all to be tellin' Your Majesty what we've found in
the places we've been," said one of the first who came back, "and you
livin' this minute in the finest palace that was ever dug out of a

"You may tell us all the same," said the King.

"Well and good," said the fairy. "It's to the south I've been. First
there's all this island that we're on, down to the place with the
grass and the iron chain around it. Then there's the bay, with the
ships. Then there's another island, with hills and trees, and then
there's the sea, and a long shore, all sand, and hundreds of houses,
big and little, where people live. And that's all."

Another fairy said: "I went farther to the west than this, but not
much farther till I came to a great river. Of course I couldn't be
crossin' the runnin' water, so I went round the mouth of it and then
kept on. The country was all flat for a good way, and bars of iron
everywhere, laid two and two, so many of them that I didn't dare rest
anywhere, and there were towns and plenty of people, and then at long
last I came to hills."

I suppose you know, without my telling you, that fairies cannot bear
to cross running water, any more than they can bear to touch iron, and
that was why this fairy had to go around the mouth of the Hudson River
instead of going across it.

Then came another fairy, who had been to the north, and he said: "It
beats everything, the lovely country I've seen. Never a better did I
see anywhere. Hills and woods and mountains, and the trees all yellow
and red and green and brown. I went up the big river on this side for
a long way, and then I saw great mountains on the other side. So
beautiful they looked, I wanted to go to them, only, sure, I couldn't
cross the river. So I went round the head of it and came down back to
the mountains. And there I found that they were full of fairies
already. But they seemed to be Dutch, and it's little English they
could talk, let alone Irish. Still we got along, and they gave me some
mighty fine drink that they had. And they said that we could come
there, the whole tribe, and welcome kindly, and I'ld say it was a good
place to go, only it's farther off than this from them we want to be

"We'll stay where we are," said the King. "It's as well that we know
what's all around us, but here we'll be more to ourselves, as many
people as there are, for I'm thinkin' there's no fairies but us here."

Then slowly out of the crowd of fairies one came forward and said:
"Your Majesty, could I be saying something that's breakin' my heart?
It's hard for me to say and it'll maybe be harder for you to hear; but
it's on my mind and I can't get it off my mind. Will you forgive me if
I say it?"

And the King answered: "It's much that's bad and a little that's good
we've heard since we left our own home. But it's best that we know all
there is to know, bad or good. Say what you have to say."

"It's not far I've been," said the fairy; "only around here in the
city that's all about us; but many things I've seen, and wonderful
things. Ah, Your Majesty, don't blame me for what I'm saying, but
what's to become of us all and of you yourself, I dunno. We know all
about magic; we've known all about it for years--aye, for ages. And we
thought that made us better than mortals. We thought they could never
do the things we could do; maybe they never can. But oh, Your Majesty,
they're doing things as good as we can do, or better. You wouldn't
believe what the mortals in this country do, if you wasn't after
seein' it. They do things as wonderful as we ourselves, and it's iron,
iron, iron everywhere. We can do nothing with iron--we can't touch
it--and what will we do at all to be ahead of them, or even up with

"What's all this they do?" said the King.

"You saw yourself," the fairy said, "the coaches that went along up in
the air. They go on bridges, miles long, built of iron. And they run
on bars of iron. You saw for yourself that they had no horses, and the
coach in front that pulls them is all made of iron, and men ride in
them, as if it was no harm at all to touch iron. And that's not all.
There are other coaches that go in the streets without horses. They
have no iron coach in front to pull them. They go in different ways.
Sometimes there's an iron rope, that's all the time moving and moving
along under the street, and there's a gripping iron under the coach
that takes hold on it, and so it's pulled along. And sometimes there's
only a little string--not iron, I think, but some other metal--and
something just reaches down from the coach and touches it, and that
makes it go. I dunno how it is, but it makes it go. And sometimes
there's fire comes out of it."

Then another fairy came out of the crowd and stood before the King.
"Your Majesty," he said, "I can tell you more than that. I have been
about the city, too, and I went into some of the houses. I saw a man
talking to a little box on the wall. I came close and I heard that the
box was talking to him too. I thought there was a fairy inside it, but
I looked inside, and there was nothing there but iron and strange
works that I couldn't understand. There were little strings of copper
coming out of the box, and then a long string of iron, that led away
over the tops of the houses."

The fairy stopped and shivered as he thought of the horrible string of
iron. Then he went on: "I followed it and it came into another house,
where there was so much iron that I couldn't stay there. But the
strings of iron came out of this house and led in all directions. I
followed them and I listened everywhere and I found what they were
for, though how they do it all I dunno. And it's this way: Anywhere
that there's a box you can talk to them that's in the house where all
the iron strings go. And if they like to help you, you can talk to
anybody else where there's a box. It may be a mile off or it may be a
dozen miles off. Many a time those in the house where all the strings
are will not help them that wants to talk, but when they will, it's
easy. Yes, Your Majesty, one man talks to another ten miles off, as if
he was standing by his side."

"Your Majesty," said another fairy, "you saw yourself the bright
lights that were at the place where the grass was, that we came to
first, and you've seen thousands more of them since. Do you know that
they're not candles, and they're not lamps, and that there's no fire
to them at all? There's strings of something, whatever it is, from one
of them to another, and the light goes through that, whatever it is."

"There's another thing that they do with strings like that," said
still another fairy. "I saw men doing it not far from here. They made
a hole in a rock and they put one end of a string in it. Then where
the other end was, a man pushed a thing like a sort of handle, and the
rock was all burst open, and nobody had touched it."

And another fairy said: "Your Majesty, there are boats all the time
going across the rivers--across the running water. Of course we always
knew that mortals could cross running water, but these boats go
without sails or oars, like the ship that we came here on. To be sure
I couldn't go on one, because it was across running water, but I went
near one, when it was at the shore, and it was all full of iron, and I
got the most awful pains from being near it. It was as bad, almost, as
I felt coming here, when I'ld get too near the iron sides of the

"And a strange thing it was that I saw too," said another fairy. "I
saw people looking into little boxes of wood, so I looked in too. And
in one I saw a woman dancing, and in another there were horses
running, and in another I saw two men fighting. And it was not a real
woman or real horses or real men, but only pictures that moved and did
the things that real people and horses would do."

The King listened to all this and then he sat and thought. "What is
there in it that I can't do?" he asked. "Do you not all know of the
coaches in Ireland that are drawn by horses without heads and driven
by coachmen without heads?"

All the fairies looked at one another and nodded and said, "Yes, yes,
we know."

But Naggeneen came forward and stood before the throne. Nobody had
noticed that he had been listening or that he was there. "And what if
those coaches were in Ireland?" he said. "They had horses, though the
horses had no heads. Can you make iron coaches go without any horses
at all?"

The King was trying to talk boldly, but he stammered and grew pale at
the very thought of having anything to do with an iron coach, and he
did not answer. He went on instead: "Can I not send any one of you on
a message, as fast as the wind?"

"But can you talk for ten miles," Naggeneen asked, "and will the very
voice of you go as fast as the lightning?"

"Why would I want to be doin' that," said the King, "when I can send a
messenger as fast as I like?"

"That's not the question," said the cruel Naggeneen; "can you do it?"

"I never tried," said the King. "And can I not light up this palace,"
he went on, "or any other palace, with diamonds? Can I not make a
light so that a man who looks behind him when he is going on a journey
or at work in the fields will think his house is on fire and run

"And when he has run back," said Naggeneen, "will he find that his
house is on fire? You know that he will not. It's only glamour, and
he'll soon be laughing at you. Oh, we can catch a few firebugs in
spiders' webs and deceive a boy or a girl that's passing, and maybe
make them turn aside and dance with us, but can you put real lights
all over the country for miles--lights that will burn on and on and
show real things? Our lights are lies themselves and they can no more
than lead a silly mortal astray for a time; their lights tell the
truth. What else can you do?"

The King had lost the most of his boldness. "They say," he said, "that
men can burst open the rock. Can I not do that as well?"

"You can open this rock for us to pass through," said Naggeneen; "and
what then? A man can see it open for a moment, if you choose to let
him, and the next minute it's all as one as if you had never touched
it. And the man thinks that's wonderful, for he doesn't know that you
can do it no other way. All glamour again! Can you burst the rock open
and leave it open, so that it will always be so, for mortal and for

"Why should I want to be doin' that?" said the King.

"For the same reason makes the men want to do it, but you couldn't.
And those boats that cross the river, full of iron--can you make them,
and can you cross the running water in them?"

The King had no voice to answer. "And the pictures in the boxes,"
Naggeneen went on; "can you make pictures dance?"

"Sure," said the King, "I can make a man think he sees anything I
like--a woman dancing or a horse running, or anything."

"Glamour! Glamour! Glamour!" cried Naggeneen. "You can make him think
he sees! Yes, but he does not see. You can no more make a picture
dance than you can cross a river!" And Naggeneen turned on his heel
and walked off, as if he thought the King a poor creature that was not
worth talking to.

The King had no more courage left in him than if he had been talking
to the King of All Ireland instead of to Naggeneen. "Naggeneen," he
cried, "come back and tell us something better nor all this. It's not
pleasant you are in your talk, and it's often you make me angry with
you, but after all you're cleverer than any of us. Tell us what to do.
It was not like this where we lived before. There we could do all
manner of things that mortals could not, and they were afraid of us."

"And so here too," said Naggeneen, "you can do all manner of things
that mortals cannot, but they can do as many that you cannot--as many
and better."

"But what are we to do," the King went on, "to show them that we're
their masters? Sure we're cleverer than them all out, and we can prove
it in some way."

"King," said Naggeneen, speaking as boldly as if he were himself a
greater king, "you can never prove that you're cleverer than men, for
you're not cleverer. It was a poor, wasted, weak, and sorrowful
country that we came from, and it's a rich, new, strong, and happy
country that we've come to. There's the differ. Clever you are, maybe,
and your people, too, and I may be clever in my own way, and we may
play our little tricks on mortals, as I did on the Sullivans, if
they're as stupid as them. But mortals can be cleverer than we ever
can when they are clever, and they can beat us every time if they know
how. And do you know why? Because they have what we have not--because
they have souls. I heard a school-master say once that the word
'mortal' was made from a word that meant death. And they call mortals
that, I'm thinkin', because they never die. But you will die, King,
and all your people, and I. We live on and on for thousands of years,
and men come and change and pass away, but at the last day we shall be
gone, as a bit of cloud up in the sky is gone when the sun shines on
it. That's why men will always be greater and finer and stronger than
us, with all our magic."

The fairies were all so terrified that they shrank away from Naggeneen
and clung together and shook, in their fright, for this fear of living
for a long time and then going out like a candle is their greatest
fear. There was not a bit of color left in the King's face now. It was
almost with a sob that he spoke again, and there was a kind of
beseeching in his tone as he said: "Naggeneen, don't talk like that to
us! We don't know it! It may be so, but we don't know it! We've tried
many a time to find out, but no one that knew would ever tell us! We
may have souls! We don't know that we've not! We may be saved!"

"You do know it!" Naggeneen cried. "Why will you try to deceive
yourselves? You've no soul and I've no soul, and there's no way that
we can have them. If there'd been any way, I'ld have had one long ago.
But we'll never have them, and mortals will always outwit us, if they
half know how. Shall I tell you how one of them outwitted me--a big,
lazy, stupid gommoch, with not enough brains to keep his neck safe?"

The fairies were far past caring whether they heard a story or not,
but they listened as Naggeneen went on. "I'm after tellin' you," he
said, "that if there was any way that one of us could be gettin' a
soul, I'ld have had one long ago. This was the way I tried it, and a
silly mortal outwitted me. Guleesh na Guss Dhu was the name that was
on him. I had heard--and I believed it--that if I could get a mortal
woman married to me--a woman with a soul--that I would get a soul,
too, that way. Well, I was never over-modest in my tastes, you know,
and I thought that the daughter of the King of France was about right
for me. A beautiful girl she was, with the rose and the lily fighting
in her cheeks, and she was eighteen years old. But sure I thought that
the differ of a few thousand years in our ages would be nothing to me,
and I hoped it would be nothing to her either.

"I was living in a rath and wearing a green jacket then. All the
others in the rath promised that they'ld help me. The King's daughter
was to be married to the son of the King of another country on
November Eve; and you know there's no better time to steal a girl than
the night she's to be married, and November Eve is a fine time, too,
so it was settled that we'ld go over to France and steal her on that
night. But, as you know, we needed a mortal to help us. How else could
we be bringin' her across from France? If we could put her on a horse
behind a man, she'ld have flesh and blood to take a grip of, but if
she was put up behind one of us, she might as well try to hold to a
puff of smoke. You know that.

"We got ready, making sure that we'ld find some fool of a mortal ready
for us when the time came, and sure enough, when we'd been out for a
little look at the country before starting, and were coming back,
there sat this same Guleesh na Guss Dhu, between the rath and the
gable of his father's house, that was near by, staring up at the moon,
like he'd never seen one before. There was no need to try to catch him
or to bring him with us, or the likes of that. All we had to do was to
let him hear us as we passed and let him see the door of the rath
open, and in he came of himself to see what it was all about. We
hadn't let him see ourselves yet, but he heard us all calling: 'My
horse and bridle and saddle! My horse and bridle and saddle!' and what
did he do but call out after us: 'My horse and bridle and saddle!'

"There was the beam of a plough lying near, and I changed it into a
horse for him, and pleased he was when he saw it standing forninst
him, with its bridle of gold and saddle of silver and all. The minute
he saw it he jumped on it, and then we let him see all ourselves and
our horses, and he nearly fell off again, with the sight of the crowd
of us.

"Then I said to him: 'Are you coming with us to-night, Guleesh?'

"'I am,' he said.

"And with that we set off, and we overtook the wind that was before
us, and the wind that was behind us did not overtake us. And we never
stopped till we came to the sea. Then every one of us said: 'Hie over
cap! Hie over cap!' and Guleesh said it after us, and the next second
we was all up in the air, and we never stopped till we was in Rome.
And why the whole tribe wanted to go by the way of Rome, never a know
I know, for it's not on the way from Ireland to the palace of the King
of France at all.

"Then I spoke up to Guleesh and says I: 'Do you know why we brought
you here?' says I. 'The daughter of the King of France is to be
married this night, and we mean to carry her off, and we need you so
that she can sit behind you on the horse, for you are flesh and blood
and she'll have something to hold to. Will you do that for us now?'

"'I'll do whatever you say,' says Guleesh; 'and where are we now, if
you please?'

"'We're in Rome,' says I.

"'Oh, in Rome is it?' says Guleesh. 'Sure, then, I'm glad of that. The
priest of our parish lost his place a little while ago, only because
they said he drank too much, as if there'ld be any harm in that, and
now is the fine time to go to the Pope and get a bull to put him back
in his place.'

"'Ah, we've no time for that, Guleesh,' says I, 'and we must be
gettin' to the palace of the King of France before we lose any more.'

"'Not a foot will I go,' says Guleesh, 'till I get the bull for the
priest. You can go on and leave me here if you like, and you can stop
for me when you come back.'

"Well, we had more talk about it, and then one of the others says:
'Sure, Naggeneen, we can't go without him and we can't get him to come
with us, so we'll have to try to get the Pope's bull for him. Go with
him to the Pope and help him all you can, and we'll wait for you.'

"'Come with me, then,' says I, and I took him by the hand, and before
he knew how I did it, I had him in the room where the Pope was. The
Pope was sitting by himself, reading a book, and he had a tumbler of
hot whiskey, with a little bit of sugar, beside him on the table, all
as comfortable as you please. 'Now, Guleesh,' says I, 'ask him for the
bull, and tell him that if he won't give it to you, you'll set the
house on fire. Then leave the rest to me.'

"So Guleesh walked up to him as bold as you please, and when the Pope
saw him he was near scared to death, because he thought that nobody
could get into the room where he was. Then Guleesh says to him: 'Don't
be afraid, Your Honor; all I want of you is your bull to put our
parish priest back in his place, that lost it some time ago, because
somebody told lies about him and said that he drank too much. And when
I have your bull I'll be leavin' you in peace again.'

"'Go on out o' this,' says the Pope; 'where are all my servants?' and
he began calling for them, but Guleesh put his back against the door,
so that nobody could open it on the other side, and then he began
telling the Pope all about the priest, and the Pope had nothing to do
but listen.

"And when he was done the Pope refused up and down to give him any
pardon for the priest. 'Then,' says Guleesh, 'unless you give it to
me at once I'll burn your house.' And with that I began blowing fire
out of my mouth all around the room.

"'Oh, stop the fire,' cries the Pope, 'and I'll give you the pardon or
anything else you ask!'

"So then I stopped the fire, and the Pope sat down and wrote the
pardon for the priest, giving him back his old place, and gave it to
Guleesh. That second I caught him by the hand and we were off again
through the keyhole to where the other fairies were. In another minute
we were all on our horses and away again. We overtook the wind that
was before us, and the wind that was behind us did not overtake us
till we were at the palace of the King of France. And there my fine
boy Guleesh saw sights that he never saw the like of before.

"The place was almost as fine as this of yours here. There were long
tables all about it, with everything on them that a body would be
wanting to eat and drink, and as fast as any of it was eaten or drunk,
there was more put in its place. Then there were hundreds of noblemen
and ladies, all in clothes of silk and velvet and gold and silver, and
all covered with jewels, till they shone in the light of the gold
chandeliers, almost like they'd been chandeliers themselves. And they
were talking and laughing and singing and playing, and some of them
were dancing--not so well as we dance, of course, when we've a mind,
but enough to make Guleesh think he was seeing the grandest sight that
ever was in the world entirely. And up at one end of the hall was an
altar and two bishops, ready to marry the Princess to the King's son
as soon as it would be the right time.

"'And which of them all is the Princess?' says Guleesh to me.

"'That one there near to ye,' says I, pointing her out."

Naggeneen stopped in his story and seemed to forget for a moment that
he was telling it. "Oh, but she was the beauty of the world!" he went
on, speaking so low that the fairies could scarcely hear him. "There
was the lily and the rose in her cheeks, and her arms like snow, and
her hair like soft gold. Not like the gold that you dig out of the
ground for your palace, but gold with life in it. And her eyes were
like two big violets with the dew on them. And there stood the others
all around her, all merry and happy, and she--

"'What is she crying for?' says Guleesh to me. 'Sure it's not right
that eyes like those would have tears in them.'

"'True for you, it's not, Guleesh,' said I, 'and it's because there's
no love in her heart for the man that she's to be married to. It's
her father that's compelling her, for he has some arrangement of the
sort with the other King, that's the father of the young man. And it's
for that,' I said, 'that we're going to carry her off, and it's the
best thing we could be doing for her as well as ourselves.'

"Just that minute the young Prince came and offered her his hand, and
away they went in the dance, and the tears in her eyes all the time.
And as soon as the dance was over, the King, her father, and the
Queen, her mother, came and said that it was time they were married,
and the two bishops waiting there all the time. So they led the Prince
and the Princess up toward the altar, and she with the rose all gone
out of her cheeks and only the lily left. But when they were not more
than four yards from the altar I put out my foot before the Princess,
and she fell, and then, with a word of a charm, I made her invisible
to all but Guleesh and ourselves. Then I made a sign to Guleesh, and
he took up the Princess and ran with her out of the hall, and all the
rest of us after them. 'My horse and bridle and saddle!' says every
one of us, and the same says Guleesh. He lifted the Princess up behind
him on his horse and we were away again. We overtook the wind that was
before us, and the wind that was behind us did not overtake us till
we came to the sea. 'Hie over cap!' cried every one of us, and 'Hie
over cap!' cried Guleesh, and in a moment we were in Ireland again.

"Another minute and we were close to our own rath, and it was then
that all the work of the night was lost. For then what did the fool
Guleesh do but take the Princess in his arms and leap down off his
horse, and he cried: 'I call you to myself, in the name of--' Oh, now,
you little cowards, you've no call to shrink away like that and to try
to be hiding in the dark corners! You know I can't say the name that
he said. But he said it, and then the enchantment was all gone, and he
saw that the horse he'd been riding was nothing but the beam of a
plough and that the horse that each of the others had was only an old
broom, or maybe a rag weed, or the like of that.

"And you know that there was no getting the Princess away from him
after the words that he said. But I came close to her and struck her
on the mouth. 'Now, Guleesh,' said I, 'you may keep her if you will,
but she'll be dumb forever.' And with that we all disappeared from

"But you may be sure I watched them. They stood there together and
Guleesh talked to her and tried to make her talk back, but it was of
no use at all, and he soon found that she was dumb completely. Then
he stood thinking what would he do with her, and at last he took her
by the hand and started toward the priest's house. It was getting near
day now, and the priest was up by the time they came to the door, and
he opened it himself. And when he saw Guleesh and the girl, sure he
thought they were come to be married, and he said: 'Ah, Guleesh, isn't
it the nice boy ye are, that ye can't wait till a decent hour to be
married, but ye must be comin' to me this early? And don't ye know I
can't marry ye lawfully anyway, and I put out of my place?'

"Then says Guleesh: 'Sure, father, you can marry me or anybody else
you like, for you have your place back again, and here's the Pope's
bull for that same. But it's not that I come for, but to ask you to
give shelter to this young lady, the daughter of the King of France.'


"And with that he takes the Pope's bull out of his pocket and gives it
to the priest, and the priest looked at the writing and the seal and
saw that there was no doubt but it was right. And so he made Guleesh
and the Princess come in and sit down, while Guleesh told him the
whole story, and not a word of it would he have believed only there
was the Pope's bull that he couldn't deny, and so at long last he had
to believe all that Guleesh told him. And the end of it was that the
Princess stayed at the priest's house, for they didn't know how to
send her back to her father's palace, and they had no money, and she
couldn't speak to help them. And the priest gave out that she was the
daughter of his brother, that lived in another county, and that she
was making him a visit. And Guleesh went home and said how he'd been
sleeping beside the rath all night."

Naggeneen paused in his story, while all the fairies drew quietly
closer to him. "Do you see," he said, "how I was tricked by a fool of
a mortal? Oh, she was the beauty of the world, and he took her from me
with a word, as easily as you'ld steal the butter out of a churn. And
that was not all.

"I said to myself that I was not done with my revenge on them yet. She
could not speak and it was a sore punishment on the both of them. Yet
she stayed on at the priest's house. The priest wrote letters to her
father, as I heard, and gave them to merchants who were travelling,
but none of them ever reached him. And Guleesh got mighty serious
about his soul all at once, so that he had to be at the priest's house
every day, and every day he saw the Princess. She could never talk to
him, but she learned to make signs that he could understand. And so it
went on for a year.

"And then, when it was November Eve again, and we had been out of
the rath and were all coming into it again in a great crowd, there sat
Guleesh, the same as before. He couldn't see us, but he must have
heard us, for you could see that he was listening with all his ears.
And I thought now was the fine time to be having the laugh on him. By
that time everybody was shouting: 'My horse and bridle and saddle! My
horse and bridle and saddle!' and Guleesh shouted as before: 'My horse
and bridle and saddle! My horse and bridle and saddle!'

"'Now is my chance to be even with him,' thought I, and I said: 'Ah,
Guleesh, my boy, is that yourself that's to the fore again? You'll get
no horse to-night and you'll play no more tricks on us. How are you
getting on with your Princess? Does she talk to you much? Or do you
just like to sit and look at her?'

"And when I said that, he looked so pale and so sad that I almost
screamed with joy, and I couldn't keep myself from whispering to the
man that was next to me: 'And isn't he the stupid omadhaun, not to
know that there's an herb growing close to his own door that would
give her back her speech if he'd only boil it and give it to her?'

"'It's the stupid omadhaun he is,' said the other man.

"Oh, and it was me that was the omadhaun, to be saying it at all. Oh,
why couldn't I hold my jaw? But it was like some spell was on me, and
I had to say it. I had to say it! I couldn't have kept it back if I'd
tried. And he heard every word!

"It's little more there is to tell. The next morning, as soon as there
was light, there was Guleesh searching for any herb that was strange
to him around the door. And it was not long till he found it. Then he
boiled it, and he drank some of it himself, to see whether it might be
poison, and it put him into a deep sleep. And when he woke he went to
the priest's house and told the whole story and gave the Princess some
of the drink, and then she went to sleep and did not wake till the
next day. And when she woke she had her speech back.

"Ah, well, by this time they was both in love with each other, and all
that I did for myself or against them had only helped them. But it was
not long before the Princess was saying that she must be off to her
father, and nothing that the priest and Guleesh could do would make
her stay. So the priest took the jewels that she had on her when
Guleesh first brought her, and he sold them and gave her the money,
and she took it and paid her way back to France.

"And after that great grief and melancholy came over Guleesh, and
nothing would do him but he must start off for France to find the
Princess again. Start off he did, and that was the last that I ever
saw of him, only I heard that he found the Princess at her father's
court and that at long last they were married."

There was nothing strange in the last that Naggeneen had told--nothing
more strange, I mean, than that a peasant boy should marry the
daughter of the King of France--but his voice, before he had ended,
was so low and so full of grief that all the other fairies kept very
still to listen, and when he had told his story none of them spoke for
a little while. At last the King said: "How long was all this ago,

"Many years," Naggeneen answered; "I couldn't be counting how many."

"Then what is it to you now?" said the King. "Sure they're both dead
long ago, and here are you as sound as ever."

"Yes," Naggeneen cried, "as sound as ever and as sound as I'll ever
be. They're not dead. They had souls. They're alive now, and when what
they call 'the Last Day' comes, they'll live still, forever. And then
I shall go out, like a shadow when the light falls on it. There's no
more of me that can last than a shadow. And you will go out that way,
too, and all of us. It was not her that I wanted so much. It was the
soul that I thought I'ld get, and her married to me. That was it. And
a stupid mortal had tricked me twice. It was then I left the rath. It
was then I could bear to look at nobody, man or fairy. Then I put on
the red jacket and went by myself. After a time I was a lepracaun, and
a cluricaun, and nothing at all, as it suited me, and sometimes I
lived in a rath with others, as I have in yours, and other times I
went by myself. But I never forgot how I was tricked by a mortal, and
I've never forgot how I missed getting a soul when I was near to it.

"You've never liked me; you've always thought me sour and harsh and
cruel. Do you see why now? Since that time I've always hated all men,
because of the one that tricked me; and I've always hated all women,
because of the one I lost; and I've always hated all fairies, because
they are all as weak and helpless and pitiful as myself. I hate myself
and I hate all of you, because there's no good for any of us in all
the world forever."

"Naggeneen," said the King, "we've never been too fond of you, it's
true, but maybe we'ld have liked you better if you'd told us this
before. But you're cleverer than all of us. Tell us what we'll do now,
so that these mortals won't be getting the better of us all out."

"What'll you do?" Naggeneen answered; "there's nothing you can do.
They'll outwit you, whatever you do."

"But there must be some way. Tell us what to do, Naggeneen," the King

"I'll tell you what to do, then," said Naggeneen; "send out your
people and let them learn the ways of men. Let them learn to make the
iron coaches that go up in the air; let them learn to make the coaches
that go on the ground, with the iron ropes; let them learn to talk
miles away through iron strings; let them learn to make the bright
lights that you see; let them learn to open the rock so that it will
not close again; let them learn to cross running water in boats full
of iron; let them learn to handle iron and do what they like with it,
as if it were only gold, and then, maybe, they'll be able to do all
the things that men do."

The fairies were simply cowering away from the King and Naggeneen and
shivering and squealing with fright at the talk of handling iron and
crossing running water. "Ah, Naggeneen," said the King, "you know we
can't do all that. Tell us what we'll do at all."

"There's nothing that you can do," said Naggeneen. "There's only one
thing I know you can try, and I think that'll do no good either."

"But what is it?" said the King. "We'll try it, anyway."

"It's not the time to try it yet," Naggeneen answered. "When the time
comes I'll tell you."

"Then, Naggeneen," said the King, "give us a tune out of the fiddle."

And Naggeneen took the fiddle and played. But there was no merriment
in it now. It was only the breath of sorrow and loss and
disappointment that breathed from the shivering strings. The fairies
did not dance; they only stood and listened, pale and still. In a few
moments the King gave the sign for Naggeneen to stop, and in a minute
more the lights were out and the whole palace was as quiet as the
hill, before any palace was there.

[Illustration: ]



Little happened that needs to be told in the next few months, either
to the fairies or to the human people. John O'Brien and Peter Sullivan
were not long in finding work to do, and they were paid for it, and
the two families got on better than they had in Ireland. The O'Briens
got on better than the Sullivans. John was a better workman than
Peter. Peter could do the work that was set before him in the way that
he was told. But John could do better than that. He could see for
himself how the work ought to be done, and he saw that if he did it
well he might get better work to do. In Ireland, work as he would, he
could no more than live, and so he had come to care little what he did
or how he did it. But it was different here. The men who employed him
saw that he was not a common workman, and soon they gave him better
than the common work and more than the common pay.

But Peter was a common workman. Then, too, John's mother knew how to
care for the house better than Ellen did, and because of that, too,
the O'Briens did better. Every day, just as she used to do in Ireland,
Mrs. O'Brien left something to eat and drink outside the house for the
Good People. She said that she did not know whether there were any
Good People here, but if there were they must be well treated. And
when she found that what she left for them was taken, she said that
she knew that there were Good People here. Of course she did not know
that they were the same ones who had lived near them in Ireland. She
put the milk and the water and the bread, or whatever she had for
them, on the fire-escape, at the back of the rooms where they lived.
And first she always laid down a little piece of carpet to put the
dishes on, so that the fairies could come and get the food without
touching the iron, for she knew that they could never do that. There
was only one thing that did not go well with the O'Briens. Kitty's
health did not come back to her, as they had hoped that it would. She
did not need to do any work now, though she would do some, and the
rest was good for her, but she was still pale and still weak.

Though the Sullivans did not find their fortunes so much improved in
the new country as the O'Briens did, yet they felt that they had
gained, too, and in one way especially. For the King of the fairies
had forbidden Naggeneen to trouble them any more. Naggeneen asked what
for at all he had come over all the sea, if he was not to trouble the
Sullivans. The King was always ready enough to have Naggeneen's help,
when he thought that his cleverness would be of use; but there were
times when he would be obeyed, and this was one of them, so Naggeneen
had to do as he was told.

The King tried all the things that Naggeneen had told him to do, to
make his people learn all the wonderful magic that the human people
knew so well. Naggeneen had told him at first that it would all be of
no use, and so the King found it. The fairies were sent out to watch
the men, to see all that they did, and to learn how to do it. It was
all in vain.

The King often asked Naggeneen what was the one other way that he had
said they might try. Naggeneen would never tell. When the time came to
try it, he said, he would tell what it was, but it would be of no more
use than the rest that they had done. Naggeneen laughed at all the
others when they came home baffled and out of sorts. "You'll never do
the things that men do," he said, "any more than they'll ever do the
things that you do. And their wonders are more and better than yours."

After a time they ceased to try to learn any more. They began to live
much as they had lived in Ireland. They had found a green place where
they could dance, near the palace, but it was winter now, and the snow
was over everything much of the time. They went to the O'Briens every
day for the food that was left outside the window for them, and, for
the most part, they spent the rest of the time in the palace. Often
Naggeneen played the fiddle or the pipes for them. Then they forgot
that it was his fault that they had ever come here, but when he
stopped playing they remembered it and hated him again. And Naggeneen
laughed at them. He had a strange laugh, without a bit of merriment or
good-humor in it. There was something sad in his laugh and something
sour, but nothing that it was pleasant to hear.

Then the spring began to come. The grass was looking a bit green and
the air was warmer. They could dance on the grass now, whenever they
liked. They had given up trying to learn the ways of men, and they
were beginning to feel as if they had always lived here. Then
Naggeneen came one evening and stood before the King and said: "It is
the time now to try my plan, if you want to try it, but it's no

"What's the plan, then, at all?" the King asked.

"You know well," said Naggeneen, "that your people can find out
nothing by going out and watching what men do. Now, what you want is
to get a human child here, or maybe two of them, and keep them and let
them grow up with you here, and then send them out to learn everything
that men do, and come back and teach it to your people. Then you'll
learn all these things that men do, and you can do the like."

"Ah, Naggeneen," said the King, "it's yourself was always the clever
boy. We'll do that same."

"You will so," Naggeneen replied, "and no good will it ever do you.
I've told you before and I tell you again, you'll never do the things
that men do. But it's crazy you are to try all ways, and I have to be
telling you the ways to try. Go on and do it, if it divarts you."

"And where'll we get the human child at all?" the Queen asked.

"Sure then," said Naggeneen, "and haven't you heard the news? Why,
there's a baby at the Sullivans' since this morning, and one at the
O'Briens' since this afternoon. The one at the Sullivans' is a boy
and the one at the O'Briens' is a girl. Go and get them and leave two
of your own people in their places. You know how to do that; it's
nothing new to you."

"Take a child from the O'Briens!" the Queen cried. "From them that's
always been so good to us and always given us the bit and sup, when
they scarcely had it themselves? I'd never do such a thing."

"But you'ld be leaving one of your own people in the place of it,"
Naggeneen answered, "and they'ld never know the differ. Or if they
did, it would be no matter. A woman makes a great hullabaloo when her
child looks sick and she thinks it's dying on her, but she doesn't
care at all after a little. And then, it doesn't die, and she thinks
it's her own child all the time, and there's no harm done. And His
Majesty here thinks it's going to do a power of good for all of you.
It's not, but he thinks it is."

"We'll never take a child from the O'Briens if I can help it," the
Queen said. "From the Sullivans I don't care, but not from the

"We'll have to do it," said the King. "I don't like to hurt the
O'Briens myself, but it's for the good of us all, and it's our only
chance. These mortals are getting ahead of us that far, and they'll be
doing something next that will exterminate us entirely. We'll send
and get both the children."

The Queen urged again that the O'Briens had always been good to the
Good People and must not be harmed, but the King had his mind set on
Naggeneen's plan and he would hear of nothing else. It was settled and
it could not be changed. They must have both children. They should
live among the fairies till they were old enough to be sent out to
learn the ways of men. And they should always come back and teach the
fairies the ways of men that they had learned.

"And it's to-night we'd better be doing it, if we're to do it at all,"
said the King. "Now, who'll be the ones to go and be put in the place
of the children?"

Nobody seemed to care about going to play the part of a baby with the
Sullivans, or even with the O'Briens. Everybody was trying to get out
of the King's sight behind the others. "We'ld have to be lyin' still
all day," one whispered, "with never a dance to rest ourselves with."

"They might be puttin' holy water on us," said another, and all who
heard him shivered.

"There'll be all sorts of unpleasantness, anyway," said a third.

"Maybe they'ld find us out," said a fourth, "and then they'ld be
puttin' all sorts of horrible charms on us to be rid of us."

But the King called one of the women and told her that she must go and
stay in the place of the baby at the O'Briens. She whimpered a little,
but she knew that what the King said must be done. Then the King
looked around him and said, "Where's Naggeneen got to at all now?"

"Here I am to the fore," said Naggeneen.

"You'll go," said the King, "and you'll be put in the place of the boy
that's at the Sullivans."

"I go!" said Naggeneen. "Never a step. Didn't I tell you of the plan?
And that's enough. Now do it for yourself. I don't belong to you and
you know it. Do your own work."

"I'll not be disputin' with you," said the King. "Whether you belong
to me or no, you're in my palace along with my tribe, and you'll do
what I tell you. It's tired of you I've been this great while, and now
I've a chance to be rid of you. You'll go to the Sullivans and you'll
stay there and you'll grow up like their child. And mind you play your
part well and don't let them know what you are. If you do, they'll
work some charm on you and be rid of you, and then we'll have to send
back the real child, and all your own plan will be lost."

"And how will you carry out my plan without me?" Naggeneen asked.
"Don't I always tell you what to do? You'll want me a dozen times a

"We'll not want you at all. You do tell us what to do and we do it
when we like, and it's small good ever came of it. And then, if we do
want anything of you, we know where to find you, and we'll easily come
to you. It's been done before. You was left in the place of a young
man that was taken away once before, and when the tribe that you was
with then wanted to talk to you they came to you, and we can do the
same if we like, but I don't think we shall like."

"That's just it," Naggeneen cried; "did you know about that time? This
time would be just like it. Do you know how they drove me off? I
couldn't help it then and I couldn't help it again. There's times when
it seems like there's a charm on me, and so there is, belike, and I
have to do a thing that it's bad for me to do. Do you know the whole
of it, how it was that time?

"It was a man that time, as you say, and not a child. Rickard the Rake
he was called, I remember, and a fine rake he was. Never a bit of work
would he do, but he'ld always be at every fair or wake or the like of
that. And so little good there was in him that the fairies in the rath
where I was then said: 'It's an easy thing it'll be stealing him away,
and serve him right, too, and he'll be handy for us, he's so good a

"I was ordered to be the one to be left in his place, though I knew no
good would come of it. And so one night, when he was dancing, we
struck him with a dart in the hip, and he fell down where he was. And
then, in all the bother and the noise that there was, it was easy to
get him away and to leave me in the place of him. So they took me up
and put me in bed and nursed me and did all they could think of for
me, and me all the time squirming and squealing, like it was dying I

"They gave me everything I could think of to eat, and that was not so
bad, for I never lived better in my life; but it was worn out I was
getting, with lying there all the time and playing sick, and never a
chance to stir about or get any air or a minute to myself. And the
thing I was spoiling for was a tune out of the pipes or the fiddle.
Then they brought a fairy-man to look at me, and he said it was a
fairy and not Rickard at all that was in it, and I couldn't be telling
you all the bad names he put on me and the things he said about me.
And he said: 'Leave a pair of bagpipes near him, and maybe he'll play
them. You know well Rickard never could play at all, and so if he
plays them we'll know that it's not Rickard, but a fairy changeling,
and then we'll know what to do.'"

Just here I must stop Naggeneen in his story for a minute, to tell you
that when people in Ireland speak of a "fairy-man" they do not mean a
man fairy. They mean a man who knows all about fairies. The fairy-men
know all that the fairies can do, and they know the charms against
them and the ways to cure a sickness that the fairies have brought
upon anyone, and the ways to keep them from stealing the cream from
the milk and the milk from the cow. So the people have great respect
for a fairy-man or a fairy-woman, and they often send to one of them
for help, when they think that the fairies may have done them a

"They left the pipes beside me," Naggeneen went on, "and then they
went away. Oh, it was then I had the terrible time all out. Oh, may I
never long for anything again as I longed to play them pipes! But I
knew that they'ld be listening and watching, and if they caught me at
it, I'ld have to pay for it, if they could make me. So I kept my hands
off them and only groaned and took on as if the dart in my hip was
killing me entirely.

"Then there was one hot afternoon, and everything was still about the
house, and it was the harvest time, and they all had a right to be in
the fields at work. And sure I thought it was there they were. And
then the wish to play the pipes came on me worse than ever before. And
it was then that it was like there was a charm on me, as I was telling
you. I had to do what I did. I could no more help doing it than a girl
can help dancing with us, when we get her in our ring on May Eve. But
first I opened the door a crack and looked out into the kitchen, to
see was there anybody there, and there was nobody. But they were all
in another room, as I found out after, waiting and listening. There
was the fairy-man and a fairy-woman and all the people of the house,
and some of the neighbors.

"But if I'd seen them all I dunno if I could have done other than I
did, the power, whatever it was, was on me that strong. And I took the
pipes and played. It was soft I played at first, and then the music
got the better of me and I went on more and louder, and I played tunes
and tunes. I could play as well then as I can now, and so the other
fairies, that had been without me for some time, must have heard me
playing, for soon I heard the rustle and the whisper and the patter of
their coming, and then they gathered round me, and I had been left
there lonely for so long that I kept on playing, to keep them with me.

"It was then the fairy-man and the fairy-woman began talking, and I
heard every word they said, as no doubt they meant I should. 'What'll
we do with the little beast at all?' says she.

"'We'll do something that's not too unpleasant at first,' says he.
'We'll take him and hold his head under the water, and see will that
drive any of the devilment out of him.'

"'Oh, the thief!' says she. 'That's not the way to treat him at all.
Let's heat the shovel and put him on it and throw him out the window.'

"'Ah, why will you be that cruel?' says he. 'Just let me heat the
tongs red hot in the fire and then I'll catch him by the nose with
them, and we'll find out will that make him go home and send poor
Rickard back to us.'

"'That's not enough,' says she. 'I'll go and bring some of the juice
of the lussmore that I have, and we'll make him drink it, and then if
he's a fairy he'll wish that he was a man, so that he could die, it'll
make that consternation inside him.'

"'We'll do the both of them things,' says he, and with that they both
started into the kitchen, and all the rest of the people after them.
But you may believe that by that time I was not there at all. I'd had
enough of their kindness and I didn't think it was right to wait for
any more of it. But I looked in at the window for a last glimpse of
them, and one of the women saw me, and she screamed, and then the
fairy-man made after me with the tongs, and I had to vanish
completely. And you know what would happen then. When they drove me
off, of course we had to send back Rickard, and there they found him
the next morning, asleep in his bed, as sound as ever he was in his

"And that was not all. The lesson that he'd had was enough for him,
and he left drinking and fighting and swearing, and he helped his old
father and his brothers on the farm, and he was another man
altogether. And so it's as I told you. You can never get the better of
men, if they know anything, and all you do to hurt them only helps
them. And so it will be if you send me to the Sullivans."

"If you're done talking about it now," said the King, "you'll go to
the Sullivans and stay in the place of the child that we're to carry
off. It's not likely they'll be leaving any pipes or any fiddle about
for you to play on, and you can stay there quite comfortable.

"Off with him now!" the King cried to a dozen of his men, "and mind
you don't come back without the child. And the same to you," he said
again to others of his men; "take the woman and leave her in the place
of the child at the O'Briens'."

The two parties were off, like two little swarms of bees, the one with
Naggeneen and the other with the woman. The rest of the fairies
waited. The Queen sat on her throne, with her face turned away from
the rest and hidden in her hands. The King, with a troubled face, sat
looking straight before him, not moving an eye or a hand. The others
stood as far off as they could go. Nobody played; nobody danced;
nobody laughed or whispered. They waited and watched and listened.
Then there was a little murmur and buzz of one of the parties coming
back. It was the one that had been to the Sullivans.

The King looked up and seemed to look through the fairies without
seeing them. "Have you the child with you?" he asked.

"We have," said the leader.

"And where's Naggeneen?" the King asked.

"Lying in the bed beside Mrs. Sullivan," the leader answered, "and
squealing like a pig under a gate."

"Give the child something to eat and make him comfortable," said the

The Queen turned suddenly around. "Don't give him anything to eat
yet," she said. "We've nothing here but our own food. You couldn't
give him that. What did you bring him here for? Was it not so that you
could send him out again, as he grows up, to learn to do the things
that men do? And if he touched a bit of our food or our drink, you
know he could never leave us."

"That's the true word," said the King. "Here! Some of you go to the
O'Briens' and see is there any milk left out of the window. And bring
back enough so there'll be some for the other child, when we get her."

As the fairies set off on this errand there came a sound like the
whistling of the wind through the door, and those who had gone to
bring the O'Briens' child were back. They were back in a whirl and a
rush and a scramble and a rout. They were all screaming and crying and
whimpering and gabbling and gibbering together, and they all fell and
sprawled together in a heap before the King. In the midst of them was
the woman who had been sent to take the place of the O'Briens' child.

"What for are you here without the child?" the King cried. "And what
are you all doing there on the floor, like fish tumbled out of a
basket? Get up and tell me what's wrong with you! Where is the

The fairies all choked and gasped and groaned and tried to speak. Then
the leader of the party staggered up to his feet and stammered out:
"The child is where it was before we went for it. We could not bring
it; we could not take it; we could not touch it. You might as well be
asking us to bring a lily from the fields of heaven."

"And why could you not take it?" the King asked. "Was the mother
holding it so fast in her arms? Could you not make her look the other
way while you'ld be taking it? Could you not put some charm on her so
that she'ld let it go? Or was she praying all the time, so that you
could do nothing with her? Or was she making those signs over it that
none of us can stand?"

"No, no," said the leader, so low that they could scarcely hear him;
"no, it wasn't that; the mother was doing none of them things. The
mother was dead!"

For a minute everybody was still. The Queen started and looked at the
leader of the party and leaned toward him. All the others gazed at him
too. Then the King said, "And why did you not bring the child?"

"I'm after telling you we couldn't touch the child," the leader
answered. "I went to take it, and all at once I felt burning hot, and
like I was all dried up into a cinder, and I think they must have
drawn a circle of fire round the child. And then I had that fearful
feeling that you have when you're near a horseshoe nail. There must
have been one somewhere about. You couldn't mistake that feeling--as
if needles of ice were going all through and through you. And so I was
driven back and could get no nearer to the child."

The woman who had been sent to take the place of the child was
standing near the King now, though she could scarcely stand at all,
and her face was all wet with tears. "But they made me go nearer to
the child than that," she cried. "These others pushed me close to her,
so that I'ld take her place and give the child to them. And I felt
burned up like a cinder, too, and then I felt the icy needles, and
then worse than that. I felt as if I was all cut across and across and
through and through with flaming swords, and torn with red-hot saws.
Not the way it is when you divide yourself, so that you can be in two
places at once. Anybody can do that, and it hurts no more than cutting
a lock of hair, but this was--oh! there's only one thing could do
this. There was a pair of open scissors lying close to the child, and
I almost touched them!"

She could say no more, and there was no more to be said. "You
couldn't get the child, then," said the King, "and there's the end of
it. Nobody could, if they did all them things. I dunno how it is," the
King went on, half to himself, "a child lies there with a pair of
scissors open near by, and a horseshoe nail close to it--maybe hung
around its neck--and a circle drawn around it with a coal of fire, and
it never minds it at all. It sleeps and wakes and lies there as
peaceful and happy and quiet as if there was nothing at all out of the
common about it. I dunno how they can do it. They're queer people,
these mortals. We can't get the girl. They was too clever for us. But
we've got the boy, and we'll do the best we can with him."

[Illustration: ]



The next morning John O'Brien was sitting alone, when there was a
knock at the door. Then Peter Sullivan opened it, said "God save all
here!" and came in.

"God save you kindly!" John answered.

"It's distressed we are," said Peter, "to hear of the death of poor
Kitty. Ellen would be here with me to tell you so, only bein' in bed
herself and not able to stir, and what'll come to all of us I dunno.
I'm that disturbed about her I dunno what I'll do at all. I left her
with one of the neighbors and came to see your mother about her. But
sure it's you has the great grief on you already, whatever comes to
us. It's not only you I'm thinkin' of, but it's the child, left with
no mother. Oh, it's a terrible thing."

"My own mother can bring up any child," John answered. "Have no fear
of that. It's us that knew Kitty that'll feel the loss of her."

"And how is the child doing, anyway?" Peter asked.

"She looks fine and healthy, glory be to God!" said John.

"It's a girl, they tell me."

"It is."

"Do you know yet what you'll call her?"

"We'll name her Kathleen, after her mother," said John.

"Then you'll be calling her Kitty, like her mother, I suppose."

"No--no," John answered, slowly; "I don't think I'll call her that.
The child will be always Kathleen. I dunno if I can tell you how I
feel about that. It was a name for a child, more than a
woman--Kitty--and yet, now that she's gone from me, I've a feeling
like it was something more than the name of a woman--like it was
something holy, like the name of the blessed Mother of God. When I
think of that name now, I want to think only of her, and I wouldn't
like to be calling even her own child by it. It's Kathleen I'll call
her--nothing else."

"You're right about all that, no doubt," said Peter; "but I can't be
staying here, and Ellen and the child at home the way they are. You
have your child left, and you say it's healthy--thank God for that
same!--but it looks like I might have neither wife nor child."

"Don't say that, man alive," said John; "what's the matter at all

"I can't stop discoursin' here," Peter answered. "I came to ask would
your mother, being a knowledgable woman, step over for a bit and see
can she tell at all what's the matter with Ellen and the child. There
was a doctor there, but he seemed to do no good, and Ellen said your
mother would know more than all the doctors, so I came to ask would
she come. And if you care to come yourself, I'll be telling you how
they are as we go along, but I can't stay here; it's too long to be
away from them."

"Mother is with the child," said John; "I'll speak to her."

He went into another room, where the baby was sleeping and his mother
was sitting beside her. He told her why Peter had come. "Step
downstairs," said Mrs. O'Brien, "and ask Mrs. Mulvey will she sit by
the baby till I'm back. Then I'll go with him. And you'd better come,
too, John; the air will do you good."

John went down to another of the tenements in the house and came back
with their neighbor, Mrs. Mulvey. "If you'll be so kind," Mrs. O'Brien
said, "sit here by the baby till I'm back, and I'll not be long. And
mind you keep everything as it is, unless she wakes, and then you'll
know what to do as well as I, for you've children of your own. But
don't disturb the pair of scissors that's there beside her, and don't
take off the horseshoe nail that's hung round her neck."

"And what's them things for?" Mrs. Mulvey asked, with wonder in her

"Why, to keep the Good People from stealing the child," Mrs. O'Brien
answered. "Did you never hear of those things? Don't you know the Good
People can't stand the touch of iron, or even to be near it? And
especially a horseshoe nail they can't stand. And the scissors, too,
they couldn't come near, and then leaving them open they make a cross,
and that keeps the child all the more from the Good People."

John and his mother left Mrs. Mulvey with little Kathleen and went
with Peter. "And what's wrong with Ellen, then?" Mrs. O'Brien asked.

"I dunno that there's so much wrong with herself, as you might say,"
Peter answered. "I think it's more than anything else that she's
worried about the child."

"And what's wrong with the child, then?"

"There's everything wrong with the child," said Peter. "It's not like the
same child at all. Last night he was as healthy a boy as you'ld wish to
see--quiet and peaceable and good-tempered and strong-looking, for his
age. And now this morning he's thin and sick-looking, and there's black
hair all over his arms, and his face is wrinkled, like he was a little
old man, and he does nothing but cry and scream till you can't bear it,
and twist and squirm till you can't hold him. It's like he was
fairy-struck, only I don't believe in them things at all."

"Did you watch him close last night?" Mrs. O'Brien asked.

"Part of the time," Peter answered, "but I dare say we was both asleep
other times."

"Was Ellen careful about her prayers last night, and were you so,

"I can't say about that," Peter said. "We might be letting some of
them go, such a time as that, you know, and make it up after."

"Yes," said Mrs. O'Brien, "make it up after by losing your child! Was
there any iron anywhere about him?"

"I don't know that there was."

"And did you make a circle of fire about the place where he was

"I did not."

"The child's not been struck," said Mrs. O'Brien; "not the way you
mean. It's not your child at all, but one of the Good People
themselves, that's in it. They've stolen your child and left a
changeling in the place of it."

"It's the same way you always talked, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter. "I
don't believe them things."

They had come to Peter's door by this time. They found Ellen lying in
bed, looking frightened half to death, and beside her was the baby, or
the fairy, or whatever it was. It was not crying loudly now, but it
was keeping up a little whining and whimpering noise that was quite as
unpleasant to listen to as a good, honest cry. Its face looked thin
and pinched and old; it had a little thin, wispy hair on its head
where no baby of the age that this one was supposed to be has a right
to have any. Its arms and hands were thin and bony. It looked weak and
sick, but it was rolling and wriggling about in the liveliest way. It
would give a spring as if it were going straight off the bed upon the
floor, and when poor Ellen caught at it to save it, it would roll back
toward her, stop its crying for a second, and seem to be laughing at
her, and then it would do the same thing again.

"It's plain enough," Mrs. O'Brien said, as soon as she saw it. "It's
one of the Good People. But it's quick enough we'll be rid of it and
have back your own child. Bring me some eggs."

"I'll have nothing of the sort now," said Ellen. "It's bad the poor
child is with some sickness or other, but it's my own child, and I'll
have nothing done to it that's not to do it good. If you know anything
that'll help it, Mrs. O'Brien, tell me that, but don't be sayin' it's
not my child."

"I'll not hurt the child, whatever it is," said Mrs. O'Brien, "but
there are ways to tell whether it's your own child at all or one of
the Good People. If you find it's one of them, then it's easy to do
more, but in the meantime it's not harmed."

"I'll not have you trying any of them things," said Ellen. "I'll not
have you saying it's not my child, and I'll not be thinking of such a
thing myself. You see how poor and sick it's looking. If there's
anything you can do for the child, do it, but don't be talking that
way any more."

"Ellen," said Mrs. O'Brien, "you don't know what you're talking about
at all. Wait now till I tell you what was told to me when I lived in
Dublin, and I think that it was not far from there that it happened.
It's about a woman that talked as you do. A sailor's wife she was, and
there was a child born to her while her husband was away at sea. She
thought he'ld be home soon, and so she wanted to put off the
christening of the child till he'ld be back. So she waited and waited
for a long time, and her husband did not come. The neighbors told her
she was doing wrong to wait so long and she ought to have the child
christened before anything would happen to it. But she wouldn't listen
to them.

"So it went on for a year and a half, and still the father didn't come
home. But the boy was healthy and happy, and the mother never had any
trouble with him. But the trouble came. One day she'd been working in
the field, and she came home, and as soon as she was in the house she
heard crying from the bed where the child used to sleep. She ran to
look at him, and he lay there, looking sick and thin and weak, the way
your boy does, and crying that he was hungry. He was like her child
and he was not like him. He'd grown so pale and bad-looking that she
thought he'd had a stroke from the Good People. But she went to get
him some bread and milk, and she asked her other boy, that was about
seven years old, when it was and how it was that he began to be sick.

"'I left him playing near the fire,' the boy said, 'and I was in the
other room. And I heard a rushing noise, like a great flock of birds
flying down the chimney, and then I heard a cry from my brother and
then again the noise, like the birds were flying out at the chimney
again. And then I ran in and found him there the way you see him

"Well, if the poor woman had never had trouble with the child before,
she had nothing but trouble now. Crying and squalling it was all the
time, and it nearly ate her out of house and home, and yet it seemed
always sick and weak and thin. The neighbors came and they told her it
was not her child at all, but one of the Good People that had been put
in the place of it, and it was all her own fault for not having it
christened in the right time. But not a word of it all would she
listen to, and she said all the time that, whatever was wrong with it,
it was her own child and she'ld hear nothing to the contrary.

"It was an out-of-the-way place where they lived, and there was no
priest near, or she never could have kept it from being christened as
long as she did. But at last the neighbors themselves said that if she
didn't see to it, they would. And they said to her: 'It's not your
child at all that's in it, and if you'll have it christened you'll
see. And if you won't take the child to the priest with us now, we'll
go to him ourselves and tell him all about it. It's not right to keep
it from him longer.'

"So with that she thought it was no use and she'ld have to do as they
said, and she took the child and tried to dress him, ready to take him
to the priest to be christened. But the roars and the screams that he
let out of him were more than anybody could bear, and at the last she
said: 'Oh, I can't do it; it's too terrible a thing for him; he won't
bear it, and how can I make him?'

"The next day when she came in from her work the other boy said to
her: 'Mother, it was uncommon quiet he was while you was away to-day.
And by and by I went in to see what was ailing him. And there he sat,
looking so like an old man that I was near afraid of him. And he
looked at me and he spoke as plain as an old man, and he says: "Pat,"
says he, "bring me a pipe, till I have a bit of a smoke. It's tired of
life I am, lying here without it."'

"'"Ah," says I, "wait till my mother gets home and I'll tell her of

"'"Tell her," says he, "and she'll not believe a word from you."'

"'And no more do I believe a word from you,' says the woman.

"Well, soon after that there came a letter from the father, saying
that he'ld be at home now in a few days. With that the woman set off
to town to buy things to eat and drink to welcome her husband home,
and she said: 'Now we'll have the christening, as soon as ever he

"Then as soon as she was off, the neighbors said: 'Now is the time
that we'll be done with that imp. We'll take him and have him
christened while she's away, and we'll not give her the chance to put
it off again because he cries.'

"So they went to the house and one of the women came up to the bed and
clapped a quilt over him and had him wrapped up in it before he knew
what was happening to him, and away they all went down toward the
brook, on the way to the priest. Well, he kicked and he struggled to
get free, but the woman held him so tight it was no use. But when they
came to the running water, it was then he began bellowing like a herd
of bulls, and kicking and pulling so that it was all she could do to
hold him.

"She got her foot on the first of the stepping-stones, and it was then
he began to get heavy, as if it was a stone that she was carrying. But
she held hard and reached the second stone, and it seemed to her that
he was nothing but a lump of lead, only still roaring and struggling;
and, what with that and the rushing of the water below her, she began
to get dizzy, but still she held on, and she had her foot on the stone
in the middle of the stream when plump down he fell through the quilt
that he was wrapped in, as if it had been nothing but a muslin


"And there he went floating down the stream, and shouting and laughing
at them. For, you know, it's not being in running water that can
hurt one of the Good People, but only crossing it, and if they tried
to cross it they'ld be in awful pain till they got to the middle, and
then nothing could keep them from falling in.

"So they were rid of him, and you know when you're rid of a changeling
the Good People must send your own child back. And so the neighbors
had not got back to the house when they met the mother running to meet
them and bringing her own child, that she had found in its bed, when
she got back from the town, sleeping, as well and as sound as ever it

"And now, Ellen," said Mrs. O'Brien, "will you let me try, in ways
that I know, that can do no harm, whether this is your own child or
not? And if it's not, you'll have your own back, as well as it was
last night."

"This is my own child," Ellen answered, "and it's not by any silly
tales like that that you can make me believe it isn't. I'll not have
you doing anything of the sort. If you know anything that can help a
baby when it's sick, you may do that, but nothing else."

"I do know one thing that can help a sick baby," Mrs. O'Brien answered
"and that I'll do, if you like it or not. If that thing there is one
of the Good People, as I think, it's not sick, and it will live for
thousands of years after we are dead. We can neither help it nor much
hurt it. But if that is your child, it doesn't look to me as if it
would live an hour. I'll not try whether it's yours or not, but if
it's yours I'll not stand by and see its soul die, that ought to be
the soul of a Christian. Ellen Sullivan, that child will be christened
before I leave this house."

"Christened!" poor Ellen cried in amazement. "And who's to christen
him? We couldn't get a priest here in an hour--maybe not to-day."

"There's no need of a priest," Mrs. O'Brien said; "I'll christen him
myself. Bring me some water there, Peter."

"But sure you can't do that," Peter protested. "Nobody but a priest
could christen a child."

"I can christen the child as well as a priest," said Mrs. O'Brien;
"you take a child to the priest to be christened, when it's easy and
convenient, but when there's no priest near, and the child is sick and
seems likely to die before one can come, anybody can christen it; and
that christening stands, and it never has to be christened after.
That's the law of the Church. Bring me the water. I never saw a child
that seemed more likely to die than this one, if it's a child at all."

And Peter brought the water.

"What do you call the child?" Mrs. O'Brien asked.

"I think we'll call him Terence," Peter answered. "That was my
grandfather's name, on my mother's side, and a decent man he was, and
uncommon fond of myself when I was a bit of a gossoon, till he died,
Heaven rest his soul! and I think I'd like to name the boy after him."

Now all that the child had been doing and all the noise that he had
been making before were simply nothing to what he had been doing ever
since Mrs. O'Brien first said the word "christen." He was screaming so
that all this talk could scarcely be heard, and it was almost more
than Mrs. O'Brien could do to hold him, when she took him in her arms.
But she did hold him for a moment with one arm, while she dipped up
some water with her hand and sprinkled it over him. Then the creature
gave one great jump and was away from her and fell on the floor.

Before anybody else could move, Mrs. O'Brien herself picked him up and
laid him on the bed. There was no sign that he was hurt. No child that
was hurt could have screamed as he did. "Come, John," said Mrs.
O'Brien, "we've done all that we can."

"May I walk back with you a piece?" said Peter. "There was something
more that I was thinking I would say."

"Come back with us, of course, and welcome," said John.

They left the house and walked along the street.

"I think it was right, what you done, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter. "I
can't think about the child the way you think, but it was right what
you done."

Mrs. O'Brien made no answer. "John," said Peter, "there's something
that I was thinking of last night and this morning, and it was this:
You have a girl and I have a boy, that was both born on the one day.
It's good friends we've always been, and your father and your mother
and my father and my mother before us. And I was just thinking when
your girl and my boy grows up, supposing that they like each other
well enough, it might be pleasant to all of us that they'ld be married
some time.

"There's no man's son that I'd rather see a daughter of mine married
to than yours, Peter," said John, "if she herself was pleased. I'ld
not ask her to take anybody she didn't like, but if she came to love
him, and he came to love her, I'ld be as pleased as yourself."

"It was that I wanted to say," said Peter, "and I'd better go back to
Ellen now."

John and his mother said no more till they were at home. They both
went into the room where little Kathleen was. Mrs. Mulvey sat watching
the baby. She went out and left them. The child was sleeping as
peacefully as if there were no such thing in the world as sorrow or
loss or doubt, or a fairy to help or harm.

"John," said Mrs. O'Brien, "I'd think I might have done harm to that
child in trying to christen it, only I'm as sure as ever I was of
anything that it's not a child at all, but one of the Good People, so
I think there's no harm done. I don't know what would happen any of
the Good People if he was to be rightly christened. I think he'ld not
be able to stand it and would be driven out, so that they'ld have to
send back the real child. Now, if a priest ever sees that creature
that we've just seen, and asks: 'Has this child been christened?'
they'll have to answer 'Yes,' and he cannot be christened again. And
yet, with the jump that he gave out of my arms when I sprinkled the
water, it's not sure I am that a drop of it touched him."

[Illustration: ]



This is a chapter that you can skip, if you want to. And really I
should advise you to. Nothing of importance happened in the next
eighteen years. Of course I am obliged to write a little something to
fill in all that time, but you are not obliged to read it. That is
where you have such an advantage. I think it is much better for a book
to have some parts that can be skipped just as well as not, you get
through it so much faster. I have often thought what a good thing it
would be if somebody would write a book that we could skip the whole
of. I think a good many people would like to have such a book as that.
I know I should.

Then there is another reason why it will be well for you to skip a
little about here. When you get farther on, if you happen to come to
something that you don't understand, you can say: "Oh, this is
probably all explained by something in that part that I skipped," and
you can go right on. But if you had not skipped anything and then came
to something that you did not understand, you would have to say:
"There, now, I must have been reading carelessly and missed
something," and you would have to go back and read the book all
through again.

In these eighteen years Kathleen O'Brien and Terence Sullivan were
growing up. I don't suppose there ever was another such child as
Kathleen. And I should hope there never was another such child as
Terence. Kathleen's grandmother had the most of the care of her, of
course, but it was really no care at all. It would have been a
pleasure for anybody to have the care of Kathleen. Even when she was a
baby she was a perfect delight, and you know what babies are
sometimes. At any rate, you would know, if you had known Terence. And
when she got to be a few years older, say seven or eight--

Well, it is perfectly impossible for me to tell you how good and
lovely Kathleen was. It is all very well to try to describe
snow-capped mountains at sunrise, or a storm at sea, or moonlight at
Niagara, or a prairie on fire, or anything of that sort, but nobody
could tell you how good and lovely Kathleen was, so that you could
understand it. I suppose she was a good deal the sort of child that
you would be if you didn't put your elbows on the table, or your spoon
in your mouth, or slam the doors, or cry when your hair is combed, or
tease for things that you ought not to have, or whisper in company, or
talk out loud when there are older persons present, or leave your
playthings about when you are done with them, or get your clothes
soiled when you play out of doors, or want to play at all when you
ought to study your lessons, or ask to be allowed to sit up after
bed-time, or bite your nails, or cut your bread, or leave your spoon
in your cup instead of in your saucer, or take the biggest apple.

I don't say that Kathleen never did any of these things. I only say
that she was so good that you would have to leave off every one of
them or you would never catch up with her. If Kathleen had a fault, it
was that she was too good. If I were going to have anything to do with
her I would rather she should be a little bit worse than a single bit
better. I am so glad you are skipping this part, because I shouldn't
want you to try to be a bit worse than you are just for the sake of
pleasing me. And I don't mean by all this that Kathleen was one of
those children who are a bother all the time because they are so
good. She may have done things that she ought not to do sometimes. I
dare say she did. I know she did once. I will tell you all about that
in the next chapter. She was just a dear, sweet little girl, as bright
and merry and healthy as any little girl in the world ever was. And
you would think so yourself, if you had known her and were not so
jealous. If I should tell you that she was as pretty as she was good,
I don't suppose you would believe me. But she was, just as surely as I
am writing this book and you are reading it. I mean just as surely as
I am writing it. I am not sure yet whether you are reading it or not.

But Terence! Well, the less said about him the better. Still, I
suppose, I shall have to say something. He did every one of the things
that I have just mentioned. And it wasn't because he didn't know any
better; he seemed to like to do them, just because he knew that they
were wrong. When he was a baby he was more trouble than twins, and bad
twins at that. He cried all the time, except when he was eating or
sleeping, and he slept only a little of the time and ate a great deal
of it. He always seemed to be just about so sick, but it never hurt
his appetite and he never got any sicker. After a while Ellen got used
to his being sick, and she always said that he was delicate, poor
child, and that was why he was so cross and so much trouble.

"And is that why he eats so much?" Mrs. O'Brien would ask.

"I dunno about that," Ellen would answer; "I think it's the kind of
sickness that's on him that makes him eat so much."

"More likely it's eating so much that gives him the kind of sickness
that's on him," Mrs. O'Brien would say. "But I tell you again, it's no
sickness at all he has. He's just one of the Good People, and you
could be rid of him and have your own child back any time you would do
any of the things I would tell you."

But not a word of this would Ellen ever heed. Terence was her own
child, and he might be a bit troublesome, as any child might, but he
was not really bad at all, and it was Kathleen, that was always so
good, the Lord knew why, that made Mrs. O'Brien think that every child
ought to be that way. But there was one strange thing about Terence,
and Ellen herself had to admit it. After that very hour, when he was
one day old, when Mrs. O'Brien came to see him and christened him, or
tried to--she never felt sure till long afterward whether she had done
it or not--he was always quiet when she was near. He would drive poor
Ellen nearly crazy, in spite of all her excuses for him, when he was
alone with her, but the moment that Mrs. O'Brien came into the house
he would get as far away from her as he could, and then lie perfectly
still and watch her, for all the world, as John said once, like a rat
in a trap watching a cat. Ellen said that it was because he always
remembered that it was Mrs. O'Brien who had dropped him once. To this
John replied: "Then maybe he'ld be making you less trouble, Ellen, if
you was to drop him yourself once or twice." But Mrs. O'Brien said
that it was just because he knew what she would do to him if she had
the chance.

And there was another strange thing about Terence. As he grew a little
older, he never could be got inside a church. Father Duffy had never
even seen him, except when he came to the house while he was still a
baby, and then Terence would scream and kick so, when the good priest
came near him, that he never dared touch him. The first time that he
came, Ellen told him about Mrs. O'Brien's christening the child, and
asked him if it was right for her to do it.

"Was the child looking sick, and as if he was likely to die?" Father
Duffy asked.

"He was, father," Ellen answered; "I couldn't deny that."

"Then it was right for her to christen him," the priest answered,
"and he'll not need to be christened again. In fact, he can't be
christened again."

But long after that, when they tried to take him to church, he would
never go. If Peter and Ellen started for church with him he would run
away from them. They could not even hold him. He would get away from
them, and sometimes they could not tell how he did it, only he would
be gone. And then the only way that they could find him was to go home
again, and there he was sure to be, as safe as ever, only he had not
been at church. And so, after a while, they stopped trying to make him

When the two children were old enough to play together, Terence never
seemed to be happy except when he was with Kathleen. He did not care
in the least to play with other boys. He did not seem to care in the
least to play at all. All he wanted was to be with Kathleen. Kathleen
never liked him, and she did not like to have him with her so much of
the time. But she was too kind-hearted to hurt anybody in any way,
even a boy whom she did not like, so she tried to treat him as nicely
as she could, and she told nobody but her grandmother, to whom she
told everything, that she was not as pleased to be with him as he was
to be with her.

Terence, in his turn, did not always treat Kathleen well, any more
than he did anybody else. He was ill-natured with her and he played
tricks on her that were not pleasant at all, and yet he wanted to be
always with her. Perhaps it was partly because she was more kind to
him than anybody else, except Ellen. For nobody else liked him. And if
he was bad-tempered and unkind to other people, it made other people
unkind and bad-tempered to him, but nothing could make Kathleen unkind
to anybody.

"It's not fair you all are to Terence," Ellen said once to Mrs.
O'Brien, "to think bad of him the way you do. There's things about him
that don't seem right, I know, but those things don't show the way he
really is. I dunno if I'm making you understand me. I'm his mother and
I know him better nor anybody else, and I know he's different from the
way he seems to you, and even the way he seems to me sometimes. And
I'll tell you how I know that. When I'm asleep I often dream about
him. And when I dream about him, he looks a little the way he does
other times, but he's taller and he's better-looking in the face, and
he looks stronger and brighter and healthier like. And he speaks to
me, and his voice is lower and pleasanter in the sound of it. And
that's the way he'ld be, I know, if he had his health, poor child, and
if everything was right with him. And you'ld all know that and you'ld
feel more for him, if you knew him the way I do."

This was when Terence was six or seven years old. And Ellen often
spoke in this way afterward. She saw Terence in her dreams, and he was
a very different Terence from the one who made her so much trouble
when she was awake, and yet he was partly the same.

And there was one thing that Terence did that almost everybody liked.
I might as well say everybody except Kathleen. He played the fiddle.
Nobody knew how he learned. There was a neighbor of the Sullivans who
came from the same county in Ireland that they did, and he played a
fiddle in an orchestra at a cheap theatre. One day Peter had gone to
see this man and had taken little Terence with him. The fiddle was
lying on the table. The two men went into another room and left
Terence by himself. They were talking busily and they forgot about
him. Then they heard a soft little tune played on the fiddle. "Who's
that playing my fiddle?" said the owner of it.

"Sure," said Peter, "we left nobody there but Terence."

They went quickly back into the room and found Terence hastily laying
the fiddle down where he had found it. "Ah, can't I leave you alone a
minute," said Peter, "but you must be meddling with things that don't
belong to you? What'll I do now if you've gone and hurt the fiddle?"

"Don't be talking that way to the child," said the musician; "sure he
did it no harm. But where at all did he learn to play that way? That's
what I'm thinking. Have you been letting him learn all this time and
never told me?"

"He never learned at all that I know of," Peter answered. "I never saw
him have a fiddle in his hand till this minute."

"It's a strange thing, then," the musician said. "Anybody that can
play a tune like he did that one has a right to play more and better.
Where did you learn it, my boy?"

"I never learned it at all," Terence answered; "I just saw the fiddle
there and I thought I'ld see could I play it. But it's little I could
be doing with it, I'm thinking."

Peter was surprised enough to find that Terence could play a tune on a
fiddle, and so was Ellen, when she heard about it. But they did not
wonder at it so much as they would have done if they had known more
about such things. They had a sort of notion that one person could
play the fiddle and another could not, much as one person can move his
ears and another cannot. So they thought little about it. But when
Terence begged them to buy him a fiddle of his own, they saved up
money a little at a time, and at last they bought him one.

Then for days Terence did nothing but play. He played simple little
tunes at first, but soon he began to play harder ones. Then he got
impatient with himself, as it seemed, and he began to play such music
as nobody who heard him had ever heard before. Often he would not play
when he was asked, but he would play for hours by himself, when he
thought that no one was listening. His father brought his friend the
musician to hear him, and he said that it was wonderful. He had never
heard the fiddle played so well. Nobody had ever heard the fiddle
played so well.

And Kathleen never cared to hear Terence play. She did hear him play,
many times, of course, and she listened politely, but she told her
grandmother that she did not care about it at all. She would much
rather hear the poor fiddler of the little orchestra, who had come
from their county in Ireland. Their neighbor the fiddler himself was
as much shocked as anyone to hear Kathleen talk like this. "Did you
ever hear anybody play the fiddle like Terence plays it?" he asked
her, when she said something of the sort to him.

"No," Kathleen answered. "I never heard anybody play it like Terence,
but I have heard some play it better than Terence. You play it

"Oh, child," he said, "I'ld give all the money I'll be earning in the
next ten years if I could play like he does. Don't you see I can't do
half the things he does with it?"

"I know that," Kathleen said; "it isn't the way he plays a bit that
makes everybody talk so about him; it's just the things he does. When
he plays a tune it just doesn't mean anything, and when you play a
tune it does."

And that was as near as Kathleen could ever come to telling why she
did not care about Terence's playing. Everybody else said that it was
wonderful, but she said that it didn't mean anything. And when
Kathleen talked in this way they said that she was too critical. That
is what people will always tell you when you can see through a fraud
and they cannot.

You will suppose, without my telling you, that as soon as Kathleen was
old enough to listen to them, her grandmother began telling her the
old stories of Ireland. Often Terence would come and listen to them,
too, for he seemed to be less afraid of Mrs. O'Brien as he grew a
little older. But it never seemed to be because of the stories that he
came; he only wanted to be near Kathleen.

Mrs. O'Brien told the children stories about the Good People, and
about the old heroes and kings of Ireland who had fought to save the
country from its enemies. Terence never liked the stories about the
Good People. "Don't be telling us about them fairies all the time," he
would say. "Tell us about men; that's what I like better."

"Don't call them by that name," Mrs. O'Brien would answer. "They don't
like it, and if you call them by it they may do you harm."

"I'll call them what I like," Terence would say, "and they'll do me no
harm. It's a worthless lot they are, and you know that same yourself,
Mrs. O'Brien, if you'ld only think so. They can do no harm to you, or
to any woman or man that knows how to deal with them. Why will you
bother with them all the time?"

And all this made Mrs. O'Brien think the more that Terence was one of

One day Mrs. O'Brien happened to tell the children a ghost story. I
don't know whether your mother allows you to read ghost stories. I
don't see any harm in them myself, any more than Mrs. O'Brien did, but
some people do, and if your mother does, then it is lucky that you are
skipping this part. I think that your mother will be very glad that
you skipped this part with the ghost story in it. That is, of course,
she won't really be glad, because, since you are skipping it, you
won't know that there is any ghost story here, and so you won't tell
your mother that you skipped a ghost story, and so she won't really
care whether you skipped it or not. What I mean is that if you had
read it instead of skipping it, so that you could tell your mother
that there was a ghost story, she would be glad that you had
skipped--well, what is the use of my trying to tell you what I mean,
as long as you are skipping it, anyway? I had better go on with the

"Once a man was coming home from a funeral," said Mrs. O'Brien. "As he
was walking along the road, near a churchyard, he found the head of a
man. He took it up and left it in the churchyard. Then he went on his
way, and soon he met a man who looked like a gentleman.

"'Where have you been?' said the gentleman.

"'I was at a funeral,' said the man, 'and as I came back I found the
head of a man, and I left it in the churchyard.'

"'It was well for you that you did that,' said the gentleman. 'That
was my head, and if you had done any wrong by it, it would be the
worse for you.'

"'And how did you lose your head, then?' the man asked.

"'I did not lose it,' the gentleman answered; 'I left it on the road,
where you found it, to see what you would do with it.'

"'Then you must be one of the Good People,' said the man, 'and it's
sorry I am that I met you.'

"'Don't be afraid,' said the gentleman. 'I'll do you no harm, and I
may do you good.'

"'I'm obliged to you,' said the man; 'will you come home with me to

"They went to the man's house, and the man told his wife to get dinner
ready for them. When they had eaten dinner they played cards, and then
they went to bed and slept till morning. In the morning they had
breakfast, and after a while the gentleman said: 'Come with me.'

"'Where am I to come with you?' the man asked.

"'I want you to see the place where I live,' the gentleman said.

"They went together till they came to the churchyard. The gentleman
pointed to a tombstone and said: 'Lift it up.'

"The man lifted it up, and there was a stairway underneath. They went
down the stairs together till they came to a door, and it led into a
kitchen. Two women were sitting by the fire. Said the gentleman to one
of the women: 'Get up and get dinner ready for us.'

"The woman got up and brought some small potatoes. 'Are those all you
have for us?' the gentleman asked.

"'Those are all I have,' the woman answered.

"'As those are all you have,' said the gentleman, 'keep them.'

"Then he said to the other woman: 'Get up and get dinner ready for

"The woman got up and brought some meal and husks. 'Are those all you
have?' the gentleman asked.

"'Those are all I have,' the woman answered.

"'As those are all you have,' said the gentleman, 'keep them.'

"He led the man up the stairs and knocked at a door. A beautiful woman
opened it. She was dressed in a gown of silk, and it was all trimmed
with gold and jewels. He asked her if she could give him and the
stranger a dinner. Then she placed before them the finest dinner that
was ever seen. And when they had eaten and drunk as much as they
liked, the gentleman said: 'Do you know why this woman was able to
give us such a dinner?'

"'I do not know,' said the man, 'but I should like to know, if you
care to tell me.'

"'When I was alive,' said the gentleman, 'I had three wives. And the
first wife I had would never give anything to any poor man but little
potatoes. And now she has nothing but little potatoes herself, and
she can give nothing else to anyone, till the Day of Judgment. And my
second wife would never give anything to the poor but meal and husks,
and now she has nothing but meal and husks herself, and she can give
nothing else to anyone, till the Day of Judgment. But my third wife
always gave to the poor the best that she had, and so she will always
have the best that there is in the world, and she can always give the
best in the world to anyone, till the Day of Judgment.'

"Then the gentleman took the man about and showed him his house, and
it was a palace, more beautiful than anything that he had ever seen.
And while he was walking about it he heard music. And he thought that
he had never heard music so beautiful. And while he was listening to
the music he felt like sleeping, so he lay down and slept. And when he
woke he was in his own home. He never saw the gentleman again and he
could never find the place where he had been."

"It's all the time fairies and ghosts with you, Mrs. O'Brien," Terence
said. "Who cares what they do? It's what men do that counts. I'll tell
you a story now."

So Mrs. O'Brien and Kathleen listened to Terence's story.

"There was three men," Terence began, "that lived near together, and
their names was Hudden and Dudden and Donald. Each one of them had an
ox that he'ld be ploughing with. Donald was a cleverer man than the
others and he got on better. So the other two put their heads together
to think what would they do to hurt Donald and to ruin him entirely,
so that he'ld have to give up his farm and they could get it cheap.
Well, after a while they thought that if they could kill his ox he
couldn't plough his land, and then he'ld lose the use of it and he'ld
have to give it up. So one night they went and killed Donald's ox.

"And to be sure, when Donald found his ox killed, he thought it was
all over with him. But he wasn't the man to be thinking that way long.
So he thought he'd better make the best he could of it, and he took
the skin off the ox and started with it to the town to sell it. And as
he was going along a magpie perched on the skin and began pecking at
it, and all the time chattering, for it had been taught to talk. With
that Donald put round his hand and caught the magpie and held it under
his coat.

"He went on to the town and sold the skin, and then he went to an inn
for a drink. He followed the landlady down into the cellar, and while
she was drawing the liquor he pinched the magpie and it began
chattering again. 'By the powers,' says the landlady, 'who's that
talking and what's he saying at all?'

"'It's a bird,' says Donald, 'that I carry around with me, and it
knows a great deal and tells me many a thing that it's good for me to
know. And it's after telling me just now that the liquor you're giving
me is not the best you have.'

"'It's the wonderful bird all out,' says the landlady, and with that
she went to another cask for the liquor. Then said she: 'Will you sell
that bird?'

"'I wouldn't like to do that,' says Donald. 'It's a valuable bird, and
then it's been my friend a long time, and I dunno what it would be
thinking of me if I'd sell it.'

"'Maybe I'ld make it worth your while.' said the landlady.

"'I'm a poor man,' says Donald.

"'I'll fill your hat with silver,' says the landlady, 'if you'll leave
me the bird.'

"'I couldn't refuse that,' says Donald; 'you may have the bird.'

"So she filled his hat with silver, and he left her the bird and went
on his way home.

"It wasn't long after he got home till he met Hudden and Dudden.
'Aha!' says he to them, 'you thought it was the bad turn you was doing
me, but you couldn't have done me a better. Look what I got for the
hide of my ox, that you killed on me.' And he showed them the hatful
of silver. 'You never saw such a demand for hides in your life,' says
he, 'as there is in the town this present time.'

"No sooner had he said that than Hudden and Dudden went home and
killed their own oxen and set off for the town to sell the hides. But
when they got there they could get no more for them than the common
price of hides, and they came home again vowing vengeance on Donald.

"This time they were bound there would be no mistake about it, so they
went to his house and they seized him and put him into a sack and tied
up the top of it. 'Now,' says one of them, 'you'll not be doing us any
dirty turn this time, I'm thinking. We're going to take you to the
river and throw you in and drown you; that's what we're going to do
and I'm telling you of it now, so that you'll have the pleasure of
thinking that all your sorrows are nearly over, as you go along.'

"Well, Donald said never a word, but he kept thinking, and those words
'all your sorrows are nearly over' gave him something particular to
think about, and it wasn't long till he began to see his way, if he
could only get a chance to do what he was thinking of.

"They took up the sack and they carried it by turns for a time, but
both of them soon began to get mighty tired and thirsty. Then they
came to a tavern, and they left the sack outside, and Donald in it,
and went in to get a drink. Donald knew that if they once began
drinking they would stay inside for some time. Then presently he heard
a great trampling sound, and he knew it must be a herd of cattle
coming, and he knew there must be somebody driving them. With that he
began singing, like he was the happiest man in the world.

"The man that was driving the cattle came up to him and he says:
'Who's inside the sack there, and what are you singing like that for?'

"'I'm singing because I'm the happiest man alive,' says Donald. 'I had
plenty of troubles in my life, but I'm going to heaven now, and
they're all over. There's a blessing on this same sack, you must know,
and whoever's in it goes straight to heaven, and isn't it myself
that's a right to be singing?'

"'Surely you have,' says the man, 'and it's glad I'ld be to take your
place. What would you take from me now to let me get in that sack in
your place?'

"'There's not money enough in the world to make me do it,' says
Donald, and he began singing again.


"'Ah, be reasonable!' says the man. 'I'll pay you well.'

"'I tell you the whole world couldn't do it,' says Donald. 'It's not
every day a man gets a chance to go to heaven. Think of being over
with all the sorrows and the troubles of this world, and nothing but
happiness any more forever. Sure I'ld be a fool if I'ld give it up.'

"'Oh, but think of me,' says the man. 'It's me that has the sorrows on
me so that I can't bear them. There's my wife died three months ago,
and all the children was dead before her, and it was she always helped
me with the farm and knew how to manage better nor myself, so that now
she's gone I can do nothing with it. And I've lost money on it till I
can't pay the rent, and now I'll lose the farm itself, and here I am
driving these cattle to town to sell them to get money to take another
piece of land and keep the life in me, and yet I don't want to live at
all. Oh, give me your place in that sack and you'll go to heaven in
your own time, if it was only for that one good deed. Give me your
place and I'll give you these twenty fine cattle, and you'll have
better luck nor me and you'll surely do well with them.'

"'I can't resist you,' says Donald; 'sure it's you needs to go to
heaven more nor me. It's the truth I hate to do it, but I'll give you
my place.'

"So with that the man untied the sack and Donald got out of it and he
got into it, and Donald tied it up again. Then Donald went away home,
driving the cattle before him.

"It was not long then till Hudden and Dudden came out of the inn, and
they took up the sack, thinking that Donald was still inside it, and
they took it to the river and threw it into a deep place. Then they
went home, and there they found Donald before them, and a herd of the
finest cattle they ever saw. 'How is this, Donald?' they said. 'We
drowned you in the river, and here you are back home before us. And
where are you after getting all these cattle?'

"'Oh, sure,' says Donald, 'it's myself has the bad luck all out. Here
I've only twenty of these cattle, and if I'd only had help I could
have had a hundred--aye, or five hundred. Sure in the place where you
threw me in, down at the bottom of the river, there was hundreds of
the finest cattle you ever saw, and plenty of gold besides. Oh, it's
the misfortunate creature that I am, not to have any help while I was
down there. Just these poor twenty was all I could manage to drive
away with me, and these not the best that was there.'

"Then they both swore that they would be his friends if he would only
show them the place in the river where they could get cattle like
his. So he said he'ld show them the place and they could drive home
as many of them as they liked. Well, Hudden and Dudden was in such a
hurry they couldn't get to the river soon enough, and when they were
there Donald picked up a stone, and said he: 'Watch where I throw this
stone, and that's where you'll find the most of the cattle.'

"Then he threw the stone into a deep part of the river, and he said:
'One of you jump in there now, and if you find more of the cattle than
you can manage, just come to the top and call for help, and the other
two of us will come in and help you.'

"So Hudden jumped in first and he went straight to the bottom. In a
minute he came up to the top and shouted: 'Help! help!'

"'He's calling for help,' says Donald; 'wait now till I go in and help

"'Stay where you are,' says Dudden; 'haven't you cattle enough
already? It's my turn to have some of them now.' And in he jumped, and
Hudden and Dudden was both drowned. And then Donald went home and
looked after his cattle and his farm, and soon he made money enough to
take the two farms that Hudden and Dudden had left, besides his own.

"And that's the way," said Terence, "to get on in this world or any
world. Get the better of them that's trying to get the better of you,
and don't hope for any help from fairies or ghosts."

"Terence," said Mrs. O'Brien, "there's a little that's right in what
you say, and there's more that's wrong. Depend on yourself and don't
look for help from Good People or ghosts. So much of what you say is
right. But Donald was not honest and he got on by tricks, and I don't
want you or Kathleen to be that way. You'll not get on that way;
you'll only come to grief. But I want you to be kind and helpful to
mortals and Good People because it's right to be so, not to get any
reward. The reward you may get or you may not in this world, but it's
not that I want you to work for. And I'll tell you a story now to show
you what I mean.

"There was a poor little bit of a boy once, and he had a hump on his
back. He made his living by plaiting rushes and straw into hats and
baskets and beehives, and he could do it better than anybody else for
miles around. I don't know what his right name was, but the people
called him Lusmore, after the flower of that name. The flower, you
know, is the one that some call fairy-cap--the Lord between us and
harm!--and others call it foxglove. And they called him after it,
because he would always be wearing a sprig of it in his cap. And in
spite of having a crooked back, which often makes a body sulky, he
was a good-natured little fellow, and never had a bad word or a bad
thought for anybody.

"One day he had been at a fair to sell some of the things that he made
out of straw and rushes, and as he was coming home he felt tired with
the long walk. So he sat down to rest for a little, and he leaned his
back on a bank of earth, not thinking that it was a place that was
said to be a rath of the Good People. He sat there for a long time,
and at last he began to hear music. It was very soft at first, and he
had to listen hard to catch it at all. Then it sounded clearer, and
after a little he could tell that there were fiddlers and pipers. Then
he thought that he could hear the feet of dancers, and finally
singers, and he could hear the words of the song that they sang. And
these were the words:

    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort.

"And there were no other words but these, and these the singers sang
over and over and over again. And all they mean is, 'Monday, Tuesday,
Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday.' After the singers had sung these
words they would make a little pause and then they would go on with
them. Lusmore knew now that the music came from inside the rath, and
he knew well enough that it was the Good People he was listening to.
He kept very quiet and listened, and it seemed a wonderfully sweet
song to him, only after a while he got tired of hearing no other
words. And he thought: 'Maybe they'd like the song better themselves
if there was more of it, and I wonder couldn't I help them with it.'

"But he knew he must not disturb the Good People, so he waited till
one of the little pauses, and then he sang very softly: 'Augus da

"Then he kept on singing all the words, along with the singers inside
the rath, adding on his own new line every time:

    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort,
       Augus da Cadine.

"And that means: 'Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday,
and Wednesday too.'

"As he went on he sang a little louder and a little louder, till by
and by the Good People in the rath began to listen to hear who or what
it was that was singing their song with them, and then they caught the
line that Lusmore had added. Then they were so pleased that they
scarcely knew what to do, for they were more tired of the song than he
was, only they did not know what to do to make it any better. And when
they found it was somebody outside the rath that was singing it and
was making more out of it than they ever did, they wanted to have him
inside as soon as possible.

"So all at once Lusmore saw a door open in the rath, close beside him,
and a great light streaming out, and then there was the sound of wings
all around him, and next he saw the forms of the Good People pouring
out and flying and whirling around him like a swarm of butterflies.
They caught him up and carried him inside the rath, so lightly that he
could not tell what was holding him, and he felt as if he was floating
in the air. He was a little frightened at first, but when they had him
inside the rath they set him up above all the musicians and thanked
him for mending their song, and did him all sorts of honor.

"Then he saw some of the Good People talking together in a little
group, and presently they came up to him, and one of them said:
'Lusmore, we've been thinking what will we do for you as a reward for
mending our song, and we've decided to ask yourself what it is that
you'ld rather we'ld give you. Think, now, what it is that you'ld
rather have than anything else in the world.'

"'It's obliged to you I am for your kindness, gentlemen,' said
Lusmore, 'but if you'ld do what would please me most in all the world,
it's not giving me anything you'ld be, but taking something from me,
and that's this hump that I have on my back.'

"'That's easy done,' said the one of them that had spoken before;
'come on now and dance with us.'

"Well, Lusmore, being crooked the way he was, and always weak, had
never danced before in his life, and he never thought he could; but
when they took hold of him on both sides and led him out, he found
that he was dancing with the best of them, and he felt so light and he
moved so easily that it seemed to him as if he was no more than a
feather that the wind was blowing about. Then one of the Good People
said to him, 'Lusmore, where is your hump now?'

"And he felt behind him for it, and it was not on his back at all.
'Look down on the floor,' said the one that had spoken to him, again.
And he looked down, and there was his hump, lying on the floor before

"Then they all began dancing again and Lusmore with them, till he felt
tired and then dizzy, and then he fell to the ground, and he knew
nothing more till he awoke in the morning and found himself lying on
the ground outside the rath, where he had sat down to rest the night
before. The first thing he thought was that it was a dream that he had
had, but he never had felt so well and so strong in his life as he did
that minute. So he put his hand behind him, and there was no hump
there. And, what was more, he had on a new suit of clothes that the
Good People had given him. Then he went home and told his neighbors
what had happened to him, and they could scarcely believe it. But
everyone knew that there were Good People in that rath, and there was
himself, too, the same boy as before, only without the hump, and so,
at long last, they had to believe the whole story.

"Well, the news of Lusmore's wonderful cure was told all through the
country, and at last it came to a place a long way off, where there
was another boy lived that had a hump on his back. And a different
sort of boy he was from Lusmore. His temper was as bad as his body. He
was ill-natured and spiteful and lazy, and he would always rather be
making trouble than saving it. So when his mother heard the way
Lusmore had had the hump taken off him, she thought maybe her boy
could get rid of his own in the same way.

"With that she set off with the boy and a neighbor of hers, and they
came to where Lusmore lived, and asked him would he tell them all
about how it was that he had the hump taken off him. And he went over
it all with them and told them everything that he did and everything
that happened to him. And in the end he went with them to show them
the very spot where he had sat down beside the rath, and there they
left the little hunchback, and told him to do everything just as
Lusmore had done it.

"He sat there listening for a long time and heard nothing, and so at
last he went to sleep, and then all at once he was awakened by hearing
the Good People singing in the rath. And they were singing much better
now than when Lusmore heard them first, for they had the song now as
he had improved it for them, and they were singing:

    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort,
    Da Luan, da Mort,
       Augus da Cadine.

"And as soon as he heard it the little fellow, not waiting for time or
tune, shouted out: 'Augus da Hena.' And if it was all put together
right that would make it mean: 'Monday, Tuesday, Monday, Tuesday,
Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday too, and Thursday too.' Only he didn't
trouble to put it together right, but just bawled it out any way.

"Then the music stopped all at once, and he heard the people inside
the rath shouting: 'Who is spoiling our tune? Who is spoiling our
tune?' and out they all came and caught him up and hurried him inside
the rath so that the breath nearly went out of his body. And one of
them shouted: 'What shall we do to him for spoiling our tune?' and
another said: 'Ask him what he wants us to do for him!' and another
said: 'What do you want from us, anyway?'

"And he just found breath enough to say: 'I want the same that Lusmore
had,' meaning by that he wanted them to reward him the same way they
did Lusmore.

"But one of the Good People shouted: 'You'll get what Lusmore had,
then; it was a hump on the back that Lusmore had, and we took it off
him, but we don't want it and it's easy to give it to you. Be lively
there now, some of you, and hand that hump down here.'

"And then some of the Good People got Lusmore's hump, that was hanging
up under the roof, and they clapped it on his back, on the top of his
own, and then they threw him out of the rath. And there his mother
found him in the morning, more dead than alive and with a hump twice
as big as before."

"A fine story that is, Mrs. O'Brien," Terence said, when the old woman
had finished. "And why didn't the one of them get the same reward as
the other? Sure he did the same as the other in lengthening the song
for the fairies, didn't he?"

"He did the same in a way," Mrs. O'Brien answered, "but not for the
same reason. Lusmore helped them with the song because he thought they
might be the better for his help, and that was all the reason. And he
did it in a way that wouldn't disturb them. But the other did it only
to help himself, because he thought that he'ld get a great reward for
it, and he had no real wish to do them any kindness. Don't you see the
difference between the two of them?"

"Stuff!" said Terence.

[Illustration: ]



This is to be another sort of chapter altogether. I am going to tell
you now what happened. The eighteen years are gone now and we have
come to the time when there is something to tell.

When those eighteen years began, you know, Kathleen and Terence were
not much more than born. So, if you have got as far as addition and
can add eighteen to nothing and find that it makes eighteen, you will
see that by this time they were about eighteen years old. John O'Brien
and his mother and Kathleen did not live on the east side of Central
Park any more. John had got on better and better with the work that he
was doing. After a while, instead of having to do work of common kinds
any more, he had been put in charge of other men who were doing it.
After another while he learned so much about the work and how it was
done and how it ought to be done, that he was made one of the partners
in the company that did it. So he got a good deal more money and he
was able to take his mother and Kathleen out of the little tenement
where she was born, and to live in a better place. Then he had a house
of his own, over on the west side of the Park, and it was there that
Kathleen lived when she was eighteen years old.

Peter had not got along so well. John himself employed him, but Peter
knew enough to go only just so far, and there he stuck. He lived in a
little better place than he did at first, but he could never make his
way like John. And then Terence, as he grew up, made a good deal of
trouble. He never would learn anything useful and he never would do
anything useful. He never helped his father at all, and always his
father had to help him. If there was any fight or any accident or
anything troublesome or wrong within a mile, Terence was always in the
midst of it. He was constantly getting his head and his ribs broken,
and Peter was always having to pay for other people's things that he
had broken, from their heads to their windows.

Ellen's excuse for him, that he was never well and had never been
quite himself since he was born, was pretty well worn out. For,
people said, he had always been exactly the same ever since he was
born, and if that same was not himself, who was it? But Ellen kept
saying it none the less. Many a time Mrs. O'Brien tried to make her
believe that the boy was a changeling, and not her child at all, and
many a time she begged Ellen to let her only try a charm to see if he
was, but Ellen never would hear of it. She always said what she had
said at first, that nobody knew him but her. She saw him better when
she dreamed about him, for then she saw him as he really was, without
all the harm that had been done to him by all the sickness that had
been on him one time and another.

You might suppose that anybody who could play the fiddle as well as
Terence need not have any trouble in making his own living. He might
have found a place in a theatre, like the man whose fiddle he had
played on first. He might have taught others to play. Or he might have
played all by himself, and hundreds of people would have paid to hear
him. But he would play only when he chose, and he would never do
anything useful with his fiddle. And everybody said he played so
wonderfully--everybody except Kathleen.

And this brings us back to Kathleen. Terence heard before he was many
years old something about the plan that Peter and John had made, that
he and Kathleen should be married when they grew up, if they both
liked the plan. He seemed to forget all about this last part, "if they
both liked the plan." He liked the plan himself and he seemed to think
that that was enough. He had talked about it to Kathleen many times,
before they were both eighteen years old, and it troubled Kathleen so
that she tried never to see Terence when she could possibly help it.
She had always disliked him, though she had always tried not to show
it; but as they got a little older and she found that there was no
other way to keep away from him at all, she had to tell him so.

But do you suppose that made any difference with Terence? Well, it did
make a difference with him, but he did not let anybody see that it
did. When Kathleen told him for the first time that she did not like
him at all, he went away by himself. He went straight to the hill that
is in the north end of the Park, and there he threw himself down on
his face on the grass. For hours he lay there, trembling and crying,
and beating the ground with his feet and his fists. And it would take
another book as large as this to tell all that he was saying to
himself or to the grass, or to something under the grass--how can I
tell? And you would not want to read the book. It is not likely that
you will ever see anybody in such a rage as he was in. But at the end
of it he stood up and looked just as he usually did, and went straight
to the O'Briens' and stayed all the evening and kept as near Kathleen
as he could, and stared at her all the time. And he talked to her then
and afterward, just as if she had told him that she liked him better
than anybody else that she knew.

So Kathleen had to go to her grandmother, as she always did when she
was in any trouble, and tell her all about it. And her grandmother
told her that she and Terence were both a good deal too young to think
of anything of the sort, and that she would do all that she could to
help her. But she could not do much. She told John about it, and he
said that he should be sorry if the plan that he and Peter had made
could not be carried out, but he would forbid it himself, as long as
Terence was so lazy and so worthless and so bad as he was now. When he
got a little older, he hoped that everything would be better, and
there was no hurry about anything.

And though Terence made her so much trouble, Kathleen had many other
things to think about. She went to school and learned a great deal,
and her grandmother taught her a great deal more. Her grandmother told
her stories still, and, though she was nearly eighteen and felt that
she was getting so dreadfully old, she still liked stories. Then she
had a good many friends, and she spent much of her time with them. She
visited Ellen often, too, going to see her at times when she thought
that Terence would not be at home. Ellen and Peter still lived on the
east side of the Park, and some of her friends lived there, too, so
that Kathleen often walked through the north end of the Park, near
that hill that I have told you about so many times before.

Kathleen was fond of this part of the Park, as everybody is who knows
it. But especially she was fond of one little spot that nobody else
seemed to notice much. So Kathleen got a feeling that this one place
belonged to her, and she was all the more fond of it because of that.
It was a tiny little basin of water, near the path, but up a grassy
bank. On the side toward the path it was all open, but on the other
side there were rocks, and out of a little cleft in the rocks ran a
bit of a stream of water that fed the little basin. Then, around the
rocks and over them there was more grass, and the hill rose at both
sides and above. On the edge of the hill, right over the basin, was a
pine-tree, and around it were other trees. Their branches came
together over the water and almost shut out the sky from it, but not

Every time that Kathleen passed it, she went up the bank and looked
into the still water. She had a feeling that if she ever went by and
did not do this the water would miss her and would feel hurt. When she
did this by daylight and in summer, if she stood up and looked into
the water, she could see a patch of branches and green leaves and blue
sky through them, about as big as the basin itself, and that was
scarcely larger than a fair-sized tub. But if she stooped down close
to the water and looked into it, she saw that there was a great deal
of sky under it, below the trees, which grew upside down. There was
almost as much sky under the water as she could see above it, and she
believed that there would prove to be quite as much if she could only
get her head where she could see it.

She used to look in at night sometimes, too, and try to see if there
were any stars in that sky; but in the summer she never could see any,
because the leaves on the trees were so thick that they almost hid the
sky, and they seemed to be thicker and to hide the sky more by night
than they did by day. In the winter it was different. Then there were
no leaves, but only branches and twigs, which covered the sky like
lace work, and through these Kathleen sometimes thought that she could
see a star or two in the water, but she was seldom quite sure. Yet she
never passed the place without looking in it, to see the green leaves
and the blue sky or the black leaves and the almost black sky, or the
stars, if she could find any.

       *       *       *       *       *

On a certain day--the last day of April it was--there was a good deal
of excitement in the fairy palace under the hill. The reason of it was
that a new fairy had come to live there. Perhaps you never heard of a
baby fairy. I have read a good many stories about fairies that said
nothing about any such thing. Now, you needn't try to be so bright
about it and say that of course there must be baby fairies, or there
could not be any grown-up fairies. That isn't so at all. Fairies are
not like men about growing old and dying and other fairies taking
their places. I have heard of a fairy funeral, but I can't imagine how
it happened, and I think that the story about it must have been a
mistake. If you have read this book as far as here, you know that most
fairies are thousands of years old, and you know, too--for Naggeneen
has told you--what is likely to become of them in the end. Still,
there is no sort of doubt that now and then a new fairy is born, and
there was one born on this day. He was the son of the King and the
Queen, and you can guess well enough that a fairy prince is a person
of some consequence.

"What will we do at all for a nurse for the baby?" said the Queen.

"What will we do at all?" said the King.

"It never would do for me to have the care of him at the first," said
the Queen.

"Never a bit," said the King; "it would ruin him."

"How would it ruin him?" said the Queen.

"Never a know I know, no more nor you," said the King, "but you know
as well as I it would ruin him."

"Why can't I care for my own child?" said the Queen, "the same as a
human mother does?"

"I dunno," said the King, "only we know you can't. We've never dared
try, to see what would happen. He must have a human nurse. Maybe it's
something to do with them things Naggeneen was always talking about
our having no souls--"

"Don't be talking about Naggeneen," said the Queen, "and me not well
at all." Then she was silent for a little while and then she went on
talking about Naggeneen herself. "Are you sorry he left us?"

"Who?" said the King.

"Naggeneen," said the Queen.

"I'm not sorry," said the King. "We've more peace without him. Though
he was clever and he often told us the right thing to do and he might
tell us the right thing to do now."

"Did he tell us the right thing to do when he told us to bring Terence
here to learn the ways of men and to teach them to us?"

"Sure Terence is a good boy," said the King, "and he plays the fiddle
as well as Naggeneen himself, so we don't miss Naggeneen for the only
thing that he was good for. And Terence is easier to have about other

"But has he ever learned the ways of men and taught them to us?" the
Queen asked.

The King was getting annoyed. "He has learned them, I think," he said,
"but he has never taught them to us. And you know Naggeneen himself
said the plan would be no use."

"He did," said the Queen; "only you would try it. And just so all this
talk is no use. What will we do for a nurse for the baby?"

"We'll find one some way," the King answered. "Was you thinking of
anyone in particular?"

"I was not thinking of anyone in particular."

"How would Kathleen O'Brien do, do you think?" the King asked.

"I don't want to be troubling the O'Briens," the Queen said, "and they
always so kind to us."

"It would not be troubling them much; we'ld only keep her a little
while and they'ld hardly miss her."

"If she was once here," said the Queen, "some one of your men would
want to keep her, and it would break the heart of her grandmother. So
it would her father's, too, but I'm not thinking so much of him."

"We'll not keep her," said the King, "only as long as the child needs

"You say that now," said the Queen; "it would be different if she was
once here--I'ld like to have her as well as anyone I know."

"We could find no one else so good," said the King. "It's May Eve, you
mind. There's no time when we have more power, and few when we have so
much. We'll all be dancing to-night, and Kathleen often passes along
just about dark. It's likely we could get her to dance with us, and
then we'ld be sure enough of her. If that fails, there's other ways.
Our power lasts till sunrise."

"And you think we'ld not be keeping her long?" said the Queen.

"We'ld have her home almost before she was missed," the King answered.

"I wouldn't mind if you tried," said the Queen.

Kathleen had been to visit Ellen. She was on her way home through the
Park, and she had meant to get there before dark, but it was a little
later than she had thought, and she saw the red in the sky before her
getting darker and duller every minute. As she walked along she saw
two other girls of about her own age, whom she knew, in front of her.
She overtook them and the three walked on together, though the others
could scarcely keep up, Kathleen hurried so.

When they were nearly through the Park they came to the little basin
where the water ran down out of the rock. Though she wanted to get
home so quickly, she could not pass this place without going up the
bank and looking into the water, because she felt so sure that if she
did not the water would miss her and feel hurt. She ran up the bank
and looked into the still little pool. The other girls went on, and
she heard one of them call after her: "Thought you were in a hurry!"

Kathleen did not mind them, but only looked into the water, which was
almost black, it was getting so dark all around. She had not seen the
water look so dark in a long time. She looked up over her head and she
saw that it was because the little new leaves had begun to come out on
the trees and were beginning to hide the sky. She saw one or two of
the brightest stars, that had already come out in the sky, and she
looked back into the water and tried to see them there, but she could
not find them. There was nothing but the little, still, black pool.

She went back to the path and ran on after the other girls. She saw
them walking on slowly, only a little way ahead of her. Just as she
had nearly come up with them she stood still to look at a wonderful
sight. She just thought dimly that it was strange that the other girls
were not watching it, too, but the sight itself excited her so that
she had not much time to think of that. On the grass, close beside the
path, there were ever so many boys and girls--at least she thought at
first that they were boys and girls--dancing. The grass in that place
sloped upward from the path, and the ground was a little hollowed, in
a sort of shell shape. All around the place, except where the path
was, trees and bushes hung over the grass. The buds were just opening
here, too, and the air was full of the smell of the new spring grass
and leaves, which always grows stronger in the evening.

Kathleen stood gazing at the boys and girls dancing. There were so
many of them that she could not count them. She thought that they
seemed to be a little younger and smaller than herself. The boys all
wore green jackets and red caps. When she looked at them more closely
she could not tell whether they were boys at all or not. They looked
more like old men. And she could scarcely believe that either, because
they danced so fast and seemed so lively. Her father could not dance
like that, she was sure, and he was not an old man.

But she had no doubt that the girls were girls. Usually she could not
tell a pretty girl from an ugly one, any more than any other girl can,
but she knew that these were pretty. Anybody would. They had long,
golden hair that hung all loose and free and came down to their knees,
when the little wind did not blow it away in some other direction.
They had deep, soft eyes. They were dressed in long, white gowns, so
white that they shone, now like a sheet of pale light and now with a
hundred little sparkles, as the water of the sea does sometimes, when
it is broken into foam by the prow of a ship. All the men carried
lanterns and all the girls had something that looked like long
flower-stems, only there were tiny lights on the ends of them, instead
of flowers. These and the lanterns did not seem to trouble them at all
in dancing, and if Kathleen had seen the lights and had not seen the
dancers, she would have thought that they were a swarm of fireflies.

She had scarcely stood there for a minute before one of the men came
up to her and asked her to dance with him. Kathleen's first thought
was that she ought to be afraid, and her second thought was that she
was not afraid a bit. She liked dancing and she had just been wishing
that she could dance with these boys and girls. Then she wondered if
it was quite right. Then she could not see what there could be wrong
about it. Then she let the little man take her hand and she stepped
off the path upon the grass and began to dance. She heard the other
girls calling to her again, farther up the path. She called back to
them: "I am coming in a minute! Wait for me!" And then she went on

When she had been only looking on, the dancing had seemed to Kathleen
to be quite wonderful, but now she found that she could do it all
nearly as well as the little boys and girls. She thought that it might
be because the little old man was a better partner for dancing than
she had ever had before. They danced around by themselves, moving in
and out among the others, no matter how close together they were, and
always finding their way, now in the midst of the whole company and
now out beyond the very edge of it, and then suddenly all the dancers
would join hands and whirl about in a great circle, so fast that
Kathleen could not tell whether her feet were touching the ground at

It seemed to her that she had never done anything so delightful
before. She did not think of going on with the other girls any more.
She did not think of getting home early, or of anything but the
dancing. She could not tell at all how long she had been dancing, but
it was all dark, except for the little lanterns and the little lights
on the flower-stems, and the stars were all out in the sky. And then
somebody said: "It is time to go."

The man who had been dancing with Kathleen whispered to her: "You are
to go with us."

And Kathleen thought of nothing but of going with the queer little old
men and the beautiful little girls. They all left the shell-shaped
grass-plot and moved along together--Kathleen could scarcely tell even
now whether her feet were on the ground or not--over the grass, till
they came to a little pool of water--Kathleen's own little pool.

She looked down into it, and there was no doubt about the stars now.
There were hundreds of them down under the water, shining up through
it from as far below, it seemed, as the stars in the sky were up
above. The dancers who came to it first stepped on the surface of the
pool, and it bore them up as if it had been a floor of glass. Then
Kathleen saw that the rocks behind the pool were not as she had ever
seen them before. There was an opening straight into the hill, and
when she came nearer still she saw that the water was no longer a
little pool. It was more like a long, narrow lake, and it covered the
bottom of the opening that led into the hill. All the people were
going in, walking along the path of water as easily as if it had been
a path of ice.

Again it seemed to Kathleen that she ought to be afraid, and again it
seemed to her, still more clearly, that she was not afraid. When she
came to the water she put her foot upon it and walked along it as
easily as the others were doing. She thought that she would remember
that this water could be walked on, and would try it the next day. She
had never thought of trying it before.

But now she and the others were moving along the path into the hill.
It was still dark, except for the lights that they carried and the
stars that shone up through the water. And these were not the
reflection of any stars in the sky, for there was no sky to be seen
over them now--only rocks. Then there was a pale violet light shining
on the walls of the passage ahead of them. Then, as Kathleen looked
down at the water again, to see if she were really walking on it, she
saw that there were no more stars, but the water was of a faint,
shining yellow, and in a moment she was not walking on water any more,
but on a floor, that seemed to her to be all of gold.

She could do nothing now but stand still and look around at the
wonderful sight. All around her were walls of silver, so bright that
they reflected everything in the great hall, and she could not tell at
all how large it was. But she made out that in the middle was a great
dome, held up by the most wonderful gleaming columns of gold and
silver, first a column of gold and then a column of silver, and these
she saw again and again in the walls all about. She could not see the
top of the dome from where she stood, it was so high, but all around
the sides of it she saw great diamonds and rubies and emeralds, some
of them as big as her head, that poured down soft white and red and
green lights, and these she saw, too, shining up, a little dimmer,
from the gold of the floor, which was almost as good a mirror as the

The sides of the dome, in which the jewels were set, were all of bands
and lines and ribbons of gold and silver, wonderfully woven together
into shapes and patterns which she could not follow or trace out with
her eyes, because they seemed to be always slowly moving--turning and
twisting and winding and wreathing about, never for a moment the same,
but always new and always beautiful. And when this was reflected in
the golden floor it was like the wavering shapes in water that is
almost still, but yet has little waves that dance and break up every
reflection that is seen in it.

And still, although she saw no lamps except the great white and red
and green gems, there came from somewhere--perhaps from the top of the
dome, she thought--that violet light that she had seen first on the
walls of the passage, and it filled the whole hall, like the glow of a
glorious sunset that never faded. And all this was inside a hill that
Kathleen had known all the years of her life, and she had never seen
anything wonderful about it.

       *       *       *       *       *

While Kathleen is wondering at the fairy palace I will explain to you
the subject which you have been wondering about. If you only knew more
we could get on with the story so much faster. It is most annoying.
And you have been brought up so well too! I don't see that it is
anybody's fault but your own. You have been wondering all along how it
was that the fairies seemed to Kathleen to be, as I said, only a
little smaller than herself, when you have always heard that fairies
were so very little.

Well, to think of your not understanding that! I am bound to say that
when I was of your age I was just as ignorant about it as you are now,
but then, children now have a good many more advantages than they had
in my day. Considering how few advantages we had, it is a great credit
to people of my age that we know anything at all, and, considering how
many of them you have, it is a disgrace to you that you do not know

When I was a child I used to read about fairies, and the book would
say that they were six inches tall, or that they were about as big as
a man's thumb, or it would tell about their sitting in flowers. And
then I would look at the pictures and they would appear to be as high
as a man's knees, or even higher. And I could not understand it. But I
made up my mind to find out about it. That is what you must do, when
there is anything that you don't understand. There are very few things
that you can't do, if you make up your mind to them, except things
that are too hard for you. I hate to have morals getting into a story
as much as you do, but that is such a good one that it might as well
go in.

Now I will tell you. Fairies can be of any size they like, and you
never can tell what size they are going to be, from one minute to
another. They can be giants, if they like. And as soon as they had
Kathleen with them they could make her of any size they liked too. So
as long as she was among them they could keep her and themselves just
the same size, or as near to it as they liked.

But when fairies are not taking the trouble to be of any particular
size--when they are letting themselves alone, as you might say--then
they are about six inches tall. And I think that is a very good size
to be. It would be better if you were of that size. You wouldn't eat
so much and you wouldn't be so much in the way, and you would be much
better-looking. Just think: if your face were only three-quarters of
an inch long, all those features of it that are so disagreeable
wouldn't show so plainly. You might even look rather pretty. You
wouldn't need to be so, but you might look so.

And it would be so much easier to know where you were, if you were of
that size, that it would save your mother a good deal of trouble. All
she would have to do would be to put you on the mantelpiece, and then
you could not get off without breaking your necks--and that would be
such an advantage. I don't mean that it would be an advantage to break
your necks, because then who would read this book, and why should I
take all this trouble to write it? I mean, it would be an advantage
that you could not get off. Well, now you see how much better off you
would be if you were only six inches tall, and now you understand
about the fairies.

       *       *       *       *       *

While Kathleen was still wondering at the place that she was in, a man
whom she had not seen before came up to her. He wore a crown, and she
guessed at once that he was some sort of king. It did not surprise her
to see a man with a crown. A man with a church steeple on his head
would not have surprised her, by this time. "Come with me," he said;
"you're wanted at once."

Kathleen followed him to the opposite side of the hall and through a
door, into another room. It was much smaller than the hall, but it was
just as beautiful, in its own way. There was a woman in this
room--another of the beautiful girls, Kathleen would have said--lying
on a gold couch. Her hair was hanging down over the pillow on which
her head lay, so that Kathleen could scarcely tell which was the hair
and which was the gold of the couch. There was a crown lying on a
little table beside her, and so Kathleen guessed that she was the
Queen. "Kathleen," said the Queen, "do you know why they have brought
you here?"

"No, Your Majesty," said Kathleen. She was not a bit frightened, any
more than she had been all along, and she knew that that was the way
to speak to a queen, just as well as if she had never spoken to
anybody else in her life.

"They brought you here, then," said the Queen, "to take care of my
baby; but he'll not need you long, and then you can be going back

"I'm afraid," Kathleen said, "that I don't know how to take care of a
baby very well. I might do something wrong with it. You see my mother
died when I was born, and so I was the only baby that there ever was
at our house, and I have hardly ever had anything to do with a real
live baby."

"You've had something to do with them that was not alive, haven't
you?" the Queen asked.

Kathleen smiled a little at that. "There were fifteen of them, I
think," she said.

"Well, you'll be having no more trouble with this one," the Queen
said, "than with any of those fifteen. Only do as you're told. I can't
take care of it myself, because it's the law that it must have a nurse
that's a mort--I mean it must have a nurse from outside this place.
There's the baby in the cradle there. Try can you make him go to

Kathleen went to the cradle and looked at the baby. It was wide awake
and it stared at her like a little owl. Except for that, it looked
like any other baby. The way that the baby stared at her came nearer
to making Kathleen afraid than anything that she had seen yet. But she
took him out of the cradle, sat down on a low seat that she found,
began to rock him gently, and sang an old song that her grandmother
used to sing to her and that she had sung to her own fifteen babies
many a time.

It was scarcely an instant before the baby was asleep. She put him
back into the cradle and then turned to the Queen and said: "Shall I
do anything more?"

"Not now," said the King; "come now and have something to eat and
drink with us."

The Queen started at this and cried: "No, no!" but Kathleen did not
know what she meant. She knew that she was very hungry, and she
followed the King out of the room, back into the hall. Tables had been
brought into the hall now, and they were all covered with things to
eat that looked very good, and the men and women were sitting at the
tables, eating and drinking and talking and laughing. They all stood
up as the King came in, and waited till he had taken his place at the
head of the table, and then they all sat down again, and the eating
and drinking and talking and laughing went on.

One of the men led Kathleen to a seat and put something to eat and
drink before her. She did not know what it was, but it looked good.
She was just going to taste it, when somebody touched her on the
shoulder and somebody said: "Don't eat that; don't taste a bit of it."

She looked around and saw a boy--perhaps she would have said a young
man--standing behind her. He was very different from all the other
men. He did not look old, as they did. She thought that he was of
about her own age, and he was taller than she, while all the others
were shorter. "Don't eat anything or drink anything that they give
you," he said again. "I will give you something to eat."

He sat down beside her and put a little package on the table before
them. He opened it and took out some bread and meat, some
strawberries, a little flask full of cream, and a larger one full of
water. He gave Kathleen a part of all these and kept a part for
himself. "I am not sure," Kathleen said, "that I ought to let you talk
to me, because, you see, I don't know who you are."

She had let several people talk to her that evening, without knowing
who they were, but this boy seemed to be somehow altogether different.

"My name is Terence," he said. "Now I know you are going to ask
'Terence what?' It's Terence nothing; I have no name at all except

"I know a boy named Terence," Kathleen said, "and I don't like him a

"I hope that won't make any difference about your liking me," said the

"Oh, not at all," said Kathleen. "It isn't his name that I don't like;
it's himself. He is only just as old as I am, and he looks--" Kathleen
stopped, surprised at herself, for she had not thought of it before.
"He looks a little like these men here, who all seem to be so old;
and, besides, he isn't nice at all."

"Then let's not talk about him," said the boy. "Will you tell me what
your name is?"

"Oh, yes; didn't I tell you? My name is Kathleen O'Brien."

"And must I call you Kathleen or Miss O'Brien? You see you will have
to call me by my first name, because it is the only one I have, and so
I think you ought to let me call you by your first name."

"But if you have only one name," Kathleen said, "it is your last name
just as much as it is your first, so perhaps you ought to call me by
my last one."

"Oh, no," Terence answered; "you see my name ought to be a first name,
only I haven't any last one, so I think I ought to call you by your
first one."

Kathleen did not say that he might, but he afterward did. She thought
that it would be better to change the subject. "It's just as if we
were at a picnic and had brought our own luncheon, isn't it?" she
said. "And all these other people are eating just as if they were at
home. Why don't we do the same way they do?"

"Because," Terence said, "we are not like them. We mustn't talk about
it aloud. You see they are the Good People, and we are not. I don't
know what I am at all, but you are like the people outside. I knew
that as soon as I saw you, and I saw that they were going to let you
eat their food. I almost wish I had let you do it now--no, I don't
wish so, either. It would be mean to let you, and I don't want you to,
anyway. You did come from outside, didn't you? Well, then, you must
not eat or drink the least bit of anything while you are here, except
what I bring you. All that I bring you is from outside. If you eat a
crumb or drink a drop of anything that they have here, you can never
get out again."

"But they all get out," said Kathleen. "They were all outside when I
saw them first."

"Oh, yes," Terence answered, "they are different. They can go out and
come in whenever they like; but if anybody from outside eats anything
here, he can never go out again. It is that way with me, too, for I am
different from the Good People, though I don't know whether I came
from outside or not."

"You don't know whether you came from outside or not?"

"No. I came here when I was a little baby. I have often asked them how
I came here, but they never would tell me. I have lived here ever
since I can remember. Have you a father and a mother?"

"My mother is dead," Kathleen answered; "I have a father."

"Yes," said Terence, as if he were trying to work out a puzzle.
"Nearly all the people outside seem to have fathers and mothers. I
never had either. I have always lived here, but nobody here is my
father or my mother, and I don't know how I came here. I have been
here so long, and yet it seems so strange to me. This is my only home,
and yet I never feel at home in it. I always feel as if I belonged
somewhere else. I see the people outside and I feel as if I belonged
with them more than here, yet I have never been outside this place one
single night."

"You go out often in the daytime, then?" Kathleen asked.

"Oh, yes; I go out every day, almost, and I go to school. Have you
been to school?"

"Why, of course," Kathleen answered; "doesn't everybody have to go to

"These people here never go to school," Terence said. "I am the only
one who goes, and then I have to try to teach them what I have
learned. Do you go home from school and try to teach your father what
you have learned?"

"Why, no, indeed," said Kathleen; "what a funny idea!"

"Sometimes it seems funny to me too," Terence said, "but you see I
can't tell whether it is funny or not, because I know so little about
the people outside. I don't like to ask them, because they would think
it was so strange that I didn't know; but it is different with you.
You have come in here, and I can ask you things that I wouldn't ask of
people outside."

"If they want to know things," said Kathleen, "why don't they go to
school themselves?"

"I don't know that, either," said Terence, "but they seem to expect me
to go to school for all of them. I think that is what I am here for.
Before I was old enough to go to school at all they used to bring me
things to eat from outside, because, you know, if I ate anything of
theirs I never could go out. Then as soon as I was old enough to go to
school, they sent me, and I came back every night, and they gave me
money to buy all my own food outside, and I have done that ever since,
and I have never eaten a bit of the Good People's food."

"And don't you like to stay here?" Kathleen asked. "It seems to me a
very beautiful place."

"No," said Terence; "they are very kind to me, but I think that I
should like to live outside better, and I hope that I shall some time.
And then, you see, if I ate anything here I could not go out to go to
school, and so I could not teach them. And it is all so strange. It
almost makes me cry, it is such a bother sometimes, and then they are
so sorry about it themselves and I am so sorry for them, and it almost
makes me laugh sometimes, because they can never learn anything. You
will see. I think it is time now."

Some of the men were taking away the tables. "It is time for the
lesson," the King called out. Some of the other men brought in a big
blackboard and set it up. Everybody stopped talking and laughing and
stood near the blackboard. Terence made some lines and some letters on
the board, with a piece of chalk.

"I shall have to try again," said Terence, "to prove to you the same
thing that I tried to prove to you last night. But I'll try a
different way, and maybe you'll see it better. Now mind, what I am to
prove is this: if any triangle has two sides equal, the angles
opposite those sides are also equal."

"And what difference does it make if they're equal or not?" said one
of the men who stood near Kathleen.

"Be still there," the King said; "do we want to make telephones or do
we not? And sure we can't make telephones without geometry. Hasn't
Terence told you that?"

Terence went on: "Let ABC be any triangle in which the sides AB and AC
are equal."

"How can it be any triangle, when it's only one triangle?" said
another of the men.

"Keep your silly head shut," said the King. "Terence didn't say it was
any triangle; he said let it be. Now will you let that triangle be, or
will I come over there and make you let it be?"

The man said nothing more and Terence went on: "Now, consider this
triangle as two triangles, BAC and CAB."

"How can it be two triangles," another of the men said, "when it's
only one triangle?"

"Will you be still there?" the King said. "Terence doesn't say it's
two triangles; he says you're to consider it. Will you consider that
triangle two triangles, or will I come over there and make you
consider it two triangles?"

"I'll consider it seven triangles, if you like, Your Majesty," the
man answered, "but I dunno what good it'll do me."

"Then consider it," said the King, "and don't talk about it. Go on,

"Now, you see that since the sides AB and AC in each triangle are
equal, AB and AC in the first are respectively equal to AC and AB in
the second, and the angles between these sides are equal. So the two
triangles are equal, by previous proposition. And so the angles of one
are equal to the angles of the other, where they are opposite the
equal sides; that is, the angle ABC is equal to the angle ACB, being
opposite the equal sides AC and AB, by the same previous proposition,
and that is what I was to prove."

The King looked at the men with triumph in his eye. "There, you
blackguards," he said, "do you understand it at all, now that Terence
has made it clear to you?"

One by one the men and women began slowly to shake their heads. Not
one of them understood it. "Well, Terence," said the King, shaking his
own head, "I dunno how it is; nobody could be asking you to make it
any clearer than you have, and yet I'm obliged to say there's never a
bit of it I understand myself. Maybe to-morrow night you'll be able to
make us see it clearer."

Terence had come back to where Kathleen was. "Isn't it funny," he
said, "and yet isn't it a pity? I try to teach them as well as I can,
but they never can understand at all."

"And do you mean to say," said Kathleen, "that you haven't got any
farther in geometry than that? Why, that's only the fifth proposition
of the first book."

"Of course I've got farther than that," Terence answered, "but they
haven't, and they never will. I have been trying to teach them that
proposition--oh, I don't know how long--and they never will learn it
in the world. They want to learn to build railways and bridges and all
sorts of things, but how can anybody even get ready to build a railway
or a bridge till he's got over this bridge and the rest of the
geometry? I don't know whether I can ever learn it all myself, but I'm
going to the School of Engineering up at the University, next spring,
to learn chemistry, and qualitative analysis, and calculus, and
analytical mechanics, and graphical statics, and metallurgy, and
thermodynamics, and hydraulics, and a lot of other things. But these
people here will still be at work on this same triangle years after I
am dead, if they have anybody to teach them."

"Now, Terence, my boy," said the King, "there's one thing you can do
for us we can understand. Give us a tune out of the fiddle."

Kathleen was startled to hear this boy named Terence asked to play on
the fiddle, just as if he had been the other Terence whom she knew.
She wondered if he played like the other Terence. She scarcely dared
wait to hear, and she felt as if she should like to run away, only she
did not know where to run.

But she did not think any more about running after Terence began to
play. This was different. And yet in one way it was the same. For the
music that Terence was playing was just the music that the other
Terence often played and just what most people liked to hear him play
best, though Kathleen had always liked it as little as anything else
that he did. She had never heard anyone else play it till now. And now
it was so different. She could scarcely tell the difference, and yet
she could feel it in every clear note that Terence drew out with his

When she was a little girl, almost as long ago as she could remember,
she used to say, when the other Terence played this very music, that
it did not mean anything. But now it meant something. Meant something!
It meant--everything, Kathleen thought, and yet she could not tell at
all what it meant. It was not happiness that it meant, and it was not
sorrow; it was not merry, and it was not grave. Sometimes it was light
and gentle and sweet, and flowed along as if it were a little
fountain of music, bubbling and bubbling out of a hidden place; then
it would be slower, but fine and firm, and full and free and true. It
seemed to Kathleen to mean so much, and yet she could not tell what,
except that there was something like a deep longing that went all
through it.

And that made her think of the other Terence's music again, for she
remembered now, though she had never thought of it before, that there
was a longing in his music too. Perhaps she had done wrong, she
thought, to say that it did not mean anything. Still, this was so
different. If the other Terence's fiddle had ever seemed to be longing
for anything, it had seemed to be hopeless, and the fiddle always
seemed to be bitterly laughing at those who were listening to it and
thinking that it was so fine. She had never thought of anything like
this before, but it seemed clear to her now, listening to the same
music played so differently. For now, below all the longing and
sounding through it, there were strength and hope and life and faith
in something good.

I do not say that Kathleen thought all this out while she was
listening. She only felt the most of it. But she felt it so much that
she scarcely knew what she was doing, and she moved by little and
little toward Terence, till she was nearer to him than anybody else,
and looked at him as if he were something more wonderful than she had
ever seen before, till she found that she could not look at him,
because her eyes were wet. And then the music stopped.

Then said the King: "I said that was something that we could
understand, Terence, but I dunno if it is. It's the wonderful player
you are all out, but I never heard you play like that before, and I
think there's something in it that's more than I can find out. That's
enough of it for to-night."

Terence had already come back to Kathleen. She could scarcely speak to
him even yet. "Who taught you to play like that?" she said.

"I don't quite know," he answered, "whether anybody taught me. They
taught me to play here, and the music that I just played is their
music, but I don't play it the way they do. I don't know why that is.
Just as soon as they had taught me so that I could play at all, I
began to play in my own way. Their music is sweet and bright and merry
and sparkling, and sometimes it seems to be sad, but it never means

Kathleen was startled again to hear Terence say the very words that
she had said so many times about the other Terence's music. "But I
never played before in my life," Terence went on, "the way I have
been playing just now. I think it was because you were here. You
understood, and so I thought of nothing but you all the time that I
was playing, and I think it made me play better. They never
understand. They love music and they hate geometry, but they
understand one just as well as the other."

The King came up to Kathleen and said: "It is time for you to come and
be looking after the child again."

Kathleen went with him and he led her back into the room where the
Queen was. "Where is the box of ointment?" the King said to the Queen.

"I have it here under my pillow," the Queen answered; "come here and
get it, Kathleen."

The Queen took something from under her pillow and held it so that
Kathleen had to come close to her to get it. "Did you eat anything?"
the Queen asked, as Kathleen bent over her.

Kathleen did not quite know whether she ought to answer or not, but
the Queen looked at her so kindly that she thought that there could be
no harm, and she said: "Only what Terence gave me."

"That was right," said the Queen, and then she went on, speaking
louder, so that the King could hear: "Take this box of ointment. In
the morning, as soon as the baby is awake, take him out of the cradle
and wash him, and then just touch his eyes with this ointment; but be
careful that you do not touch your own eyes with it."

Kathleen took the box, which seemed to be of solid gold, and looked at
it. What was in it looked like a soft, green salve. She slipped it
into the pocket of her gown. "How shall I know when it is morning?"
she asked. It seemed to her that here under the hill there would not
be much difference between night and day.

"You'll know it's morning when the child wakes up," the Queen said;
"or when you wake up yourself, for that matter. You can go to bed now.
There's your bed, next to the cradle."

The King left them, and Kathleen, who was really very tired, lay down
on another gold couch, almost like the Queen's, that had been placed
near the cradle, and in a minute she was asleep.

It seemed scarcely another minute before she was awake again. She
remembered that the Queen had said that when she awoke it would be
morning, and she looked to see if the baby was awake too. He was, and
she took him out of the cradle. Then she saw a large gold basin full
of water. She washed the baby in it, and he stared at her all the
time, with big, owlish eyes. Then she took the box of ointment out of
her pocket. She touched it with her finger and then touched each of
the baby's eyes with it. Instantly his eyes looked brighter and
deeper, and instead of staring at her stupidly, as they had done
before, they seemed to look straight through her. Nothing had
frightened her at all, and now she was getting so that nothing
startled her. So she only laid the baby back in his cradle and put the
box of ointment into her pocket.

In a moment the King came in and said it was time for breakfast. He
and the Queen went out into the hall together and Kathleen followed
them. As soon as she was in the hall she saw Terence. He was looking
for her and they sat down and ate breakfast together. Then Terence
went away.

All day, except when it was time for meals, Kathleen sat with the
Queen or looked after the baby, though there was really nothing to do
for him. Whenever it was time for a meal they went out into the hall,
and there Kathleen always found Terence, and she always ate with him,
and ate only what he brought her.

In the evening the King came to her and said, "Kathleen, it is time
for us to go and dance again; come with us."

Then Terence took her by both hands and said, "Don't go with them;
don't go; if you do, I am afraid that you will never come back."

"Of course I shall come back," she said; "you have been very kind to
me, and I would come back to see you again, if it was for nothing
else. And then I don't know whether I must do anything more for the
baby. And then--" Kathleen stopped short as she thought. "I ought not
to come back--not to-night! I ought to go home! Oh, how anxious my
father and my grandmother must be about me! I have been here all night
and all day, and they must think that I am dead. And I have not
thought of them the whole time. I am wicked to have stayed here so

"Then you will not come back," Terence said. "You know why I brought
you all that you have had to eat and to drink. It was so that you
might leave this place. I might have let you eat their food, and then
you could never leave it, unless to go out with them and dance on
their green and then come back again. I made it so that you could go,
and now you will go and you will not come back."

"I will come back," Kathleen answered, "but I must see my father and
my grandmother and tell them that I am safe. Perhaps I will come back
to-morrow, if I can, but I will come back. I would come back just
because you wanted to see me, you have been so good to me. It was very
good of you, if you wanted me to stay, to bring me the things to eat
and drink, so that I could go if I liked."

"No, it was not good of me at all," Terence answered; "I had no right
to let them keep you here always, even if I wanted you to be here. But
I hoped and I always hope that I shall leave this place some time
myself, and I did not want to have to leave you here. I would not have
left you here. Promise that you will come back."

"I will come back," Kathleen answered.

"Come along now," said the King, hurrying up to Kathleen again. "It's
time we were dancing this minute."

All the little men and women were moving out of the hall and Kathleen
went with them. In an instant they were again in the passage that
Kathleen remembered. The floor was of gold, like the floor of the
hall, and then she saw that she was walking on the water once more.
The yellow glow was under it still, but fainter than in the hall. The
violet light on the walls of the passage grew dimmer; she saw the
lights that the men and women carried, shining ahead of her and all
around her. Then she looked down at the water and saw the stars
shining up through it, as if there were another sky far down under her
feet. And then--she felt the cool, fresh breath of the outside air,
and it was delicious to her, and she was standing on her own little
pool, and deep down under it there were thousands of stars. She and
all the others walked--or drifted, as it seemed to Kathleen--up the
bank of sweet-smelling new grass, to the little hollowed place, with
the trees and the bushes growing around it and hanging over it, where
Kathleen had first seen the Good People. And then they began the

[Illustration: ]



When Kathleen did not come home at the time she was expected, her
father and her grandmother were not much surprised at first. She was
in the habit of going where she pleased and of coming back when she
pleased. If she chose to be an hour or two late her father or her
grandmother might ask her why, or they might not think of it. So, on
that May Eve when she danced with the Good People, as it began to get
late and still she did not come, they had no doubt that she had
decided to make her visit at the Sullivans' a little longer than she
had intended. When it got later and still she did not come, her father
said that he would walk over to the Sullivans' and come back with her.
He never thought of not finding her there. Even when he got there and
Ellen told him that Kathleen had gone away hours ago and had said that
she was going home, he did not think that any harm could have come to

"She met some of the girls that she knew and went with them, maybe,"
he said, "and she'll be home before me."

But when he got home again and found that she was not there, and when
he told his mother that she was not at the Sullivans', they both began
to be a little worried. They told each other over and over that
Kathleen knew how to take care of herself and that no harm was likely
to come to her, but they both doubted their own words. Late at night
John went to the Sullivans' again, taking the way that he thought
Kathleen would be likely to take, and looking everywhere for her,
though he knew that to search for her in such a way as that was

The Sullivans had all gone to bed when he got there, but Peter got up
and walked back with him, by another way. They went to a police
station and asked if there had been any accident--if any girl had been
hurt and taken to a hospital. There had been no accident that night.
They went home and waited again. At last John could wait no longer. He
and Peter started out again and went different ways. They went to
other police stations and asked if there had been accidents. There had
been one or two, but nobody at all like Kathleen had had anything to
do with them. They went to hospitals and asked about all the new
patients. There was not one of them that was at all like Kathleen.

It does not belong to the story to tell how they went on searching.
All the next day they searched. They tried every way that they knew,
and every way that the police knew, and every way that anybody could
think of, to find her, and there was no trace. Late that day one of
the girls who had walked through the Park with Kathleen came to see
her, not knowing that she was lost. Then she told where she had seen
Kathleen last. She told how Kathleen had dropped behind the others,
though she had said that she wanted to get home early, how they had
called to her, how she had answered, and how they had gone on,
thinking that she would soon follow.

Then Mrs. O'Brien said to John: "You do not need to search for her any
longer. She is with the Good People. I have seen that place often, and
it always looked to me like a place where the Good People might be.
Last night was May Eve. There is no time in the whole year when the
Good People have more power, and especially to carry off young girls.
They have taken her with them. Some time she may come back, or some
time we may get her back, but it is of no use for you to search for
her any more."

But John went on searching still. The next day and for many days he
looked for her and tried every means to find her, but she could not be
found. Again and again his mother told him that it was of no use, but
still he said: "It might be some use, and I wouldn't be easy if I
didn't try."

By and by there came a time when even John did not think that there
was any use in trying longer. He read many papers, from many different
cities, hoping always to find something about some unknown girl who
had been found, sick or hurt or helpless, somewhere, but he said
little about her. He went on with his old work, and he and his mother
were alone and lonely in the house. Then John came to believe that
Kathleen was dead. He told his mother this and she answered: "Kathleen
is not dead."

"And how do you know that, mother?" John said. "You always say that
the Good People took her away, but that might be true, and still she
might be dead by now. And the Good People might not have taken her at
all. How do you know?"

"I don't know that the Good People took her," she answered, "though I
think they did; but I am sure she is not dead."

"And how are you sure, mother?"

"Kathleen could never die," Mrs. O'Brien said, "without I'ld hear the

"The banshee?" said John. "There's no banshee here. There's banshees
only in Ireland."

"Our banshee is here," his mother answered. "I know she is here.
You've heard me tell of her. She's the sad, mourning woman of the Good
People that weeps and wails about the house when anybody of the family
is to die, anywhere in the world. It's true, as you say, that the
banshees mostly stay in Ireland, though they are heard to cry and moan
for those of the family who are to die in any part of the world. But
sometimes the banshee leaves Ireland with the family that she belongs
to, and so did ours. Wouldn't I know her voice? Didn't I hear her wail
and scream before your father died, so many, many years ago? Oh, I'ld
never forget it. I'ld know her voice."

"Then why didn't you hear her," John asked "before Kitty died, and why
didn't you know before that she was to die?"

"I did hear the banshee that time," his mother answered, "but I
couldn't tell that it was Kitty that was to die. It was the night
before she died. I heard a little moan, that was more like the wind
than anything else, and then it grew louder, and it was a sob and a
soft wail. It did not grow very loud. Then I could hear that it was
like the keen that the women cry over the dead at home. I knew that it
was the banshee. No, I could not be wrong about her; I had heard her
before. But I never thought of Kitty then. I thought: 'I'm an old
woman--an old woman--though I would never let them say so; and now my
time has come. I shall soon be with him again. If I could only see a
child of John's and Kitty's before I go, I'ld go gladly. If I could
only say to him: "Before I came to you I held John's and Kitty's child
in my arms," then I'ld go gladly.' That was what I said to myself that
time. But it was Kitty that the banshee meant. And now, though I felt
then the first time that I was an old woman, here I am still, and
Kitty is gone and the child is grown up to be a woman and she is lost.
But she is not dead, John; she is not dead. Kathleen couldn't die
without I'ld hear the banshee."

It was not once only that John and his mother talked together in some
such way as this. It was a dozen times at least, perhaps two dozen
times, that she told him that, whatever had come to Kathleen, she was
not dead--that she could not be dead, because the banshee had not
moaned and cried about the house, as she was sure to do before any one
of the O'Briens could die. And so John, seeing his mother careworn
and anxious, but never so full of sorrow as himself, came to think
that he ought to bear it better, and not let her see him always so
troubled and so sad. Yet he could not believe all that his mother said
quite as she believed it, and she had to tell him all of it again and
again, and she told him, too, that when the time came she meant to try
to get Kathleen back from the Good People. And after a while John did
not think every time that he heard anybody at the door that it was
Kathleen at last, and all in the house went on as it had gone before,
only that Kathleen was not there. But that "only" was enough, and it
was a different house.

The dreadful spring was past; the horrible, dull, anxious summer was
gone; the cruel, chilly autumn went by; the cold, dead, heartless
winter dragged through; another spring came, cheerless, hopeless,
helpless, like the last.

"Shaun," said Mrs. O'Brien, "do you know when it was that Kathleen
went away?"

"Could I ever forget?" said John.

"When was it?"

"It was May Eve."

"And what is to-day, John?"

"It's the last day of April," John answered; "it's a year this night
she's been away. Could I forget it? Don't I think of it all the

"There's no time in the year," Mrs. O'Brien said, "when the Good
People have more power than on May Eve."

"Oh, mother," said John, "don't talk to me of the Good People; I've
heard too much of them. I don't care if there are any Good People or
not. I only know that Kathleen has been from us a year. When her
mother died I could bear it, because I had Kathleen left, but now
she's gone, and how can I bear it?"

"Listen to me, John," his mother went on. "It's on May Eve, as I told
you, that the Good People have great power. It's then that they dance,
and then they make young girls or young men that they want come and
dance with them, and then they carry them off. But it's on May Eve,
too, sometimes, that they can be got back by those who know what to
do. And so it's to-night that we must try to get Kathleen back. I
wouldn't tell you till the time came, for fear you might hope too
much. We may not find her, and then we may, and you must come with us,
for we don't know how much help we'll need."

"Who is it that I must come with?" John asked.

"With me and with the girls that were with Kathleen that night and saw
her last."

"How do we know that they can come?" said John. "It's late in the day
now and they may be away from home."

"I've taken care of all that," Mrs. O'Brien said; "they'll be here in
a little while to go with us."

In a little while the girls came. Then they and Mrs. O'Brien and John
went together to the place where Kathleen had met the girls, on her
way home from the Sullivans', a year ago. "Was it about this time of
the day," Mrs. O'Brien asked, "that you met Kathleen here a year ago

"It was," one of the girls said, "about this time."

"Then you must take us," Mrs. O'Brien went on, "just the way that you
went, and show us the very place where Kathleen stood, the last
instant that you saw her."

They all walked along through the Park, the girls leading the way.
"How can they find the very place again?" said John. "It's been a year
since then. It's likely they have forgot the spot. How could they
remember it so long?"

"John," said his mother, "will you never trust me? Do you think that
I've been waiting for them to forget all this time? The very evening
after Kathleen was lost they brought me here and then took me to the
very spot where they saw her last. They talked of it between
themselves and decided just where it was, and many a time since
they've been with me here, so that they could not forget it."

In a few minutes the girls stopped. "This is the place where we saw
her last," they said; "just here. She stood here and seemed to be
looking at something there on the grass."

Mrs. O'Brien whispered: "Stand still here, all of you, and do not
speak or stir unless I call to you; then do whatever I tell you, and
do it quickly."

Mrs. O'Brien drew out something which was hung about her neck, by a
chain, under her gown. She held it before her in her hand. She stepped
upon the grass and looked all around her. She went a few steps forward
and looked around again. She went a little to the left, then a little
more to the right. And then, to those who were watching, it seemed as
if she saw something, though they could see nothing but her. For she
made a few hurried steps and then put out her left hand, as if to take
hold of something. Then they saw her raise her right hand, as if to
touch the something that she had taken hold of, with what she held in
it. Still they could see nothing except her, but now she hurried
toward them, and suddenly they saw that she was leading Kathleen, with
her left arm around her and holding her right hand against her

"Take her and go home with her," she said to John, "as quickly as you
can. The rest of us will follow."

"Oh, father," said Kathleen, "I am so glad that you came to meet me!
Have you and grandmother been worried about me all day? I was afraid
you would be, but the baby needed me, and I couldn't send any word to
you. And I promised Terence that I would come back--not Terence
Sullivan, but the Terence that lives in there. Please ask some of the
Good People to tell him that I will come back to-morrow. Then I will
go home with you."

"Take her home! Take her home!" her grandmother cried. And John led
her away as fast as he could, while the rest followed.

No one said anything more till they were at home, for it was only a
little way. Kathleen scarcely looked at her father till they came into
the house, where it was light. "Why, father," she said, "what makes
you look so queer? You look so much older than you did yesterday, and
you--oh, I am afraid you were dreadfully worried about me. I didn't
think you would be--such a little while. I forgot that you would be
worried. There was so much to see there, and then I had to take care
of the baby--and so I forgot. It was very wrong for me to forget, and
I am so sorry you were anxious about me. But I thought of you and
grandmother just as we were coming out to dance to-night, and as soon
as we were done dancing I was coming home. And why were you all there
where we were dancing? Did you think that I would be there? You ought
not to have been afraid, father. It was just such a little while."

John did not seem to think anything about its being wrong for Kathleen
to forget. He did not seem to think of anything but that she had come
back. "Just a little while, do you call it?" he said. "Do you call a
year a little while for you to be away from me, Kathleen? And from
your grandmother? Don't you see how she has worried about you, too,
all this long year? And what could I think but that you was dead? Your
grandmother never thought so, but I could think nothing else."

"A year!" Kathleen cried. "What do you mean, father? What do you mean?
Oh, grandmother, is there anything wrong? Has he been sick? What is

"Be quiet, John," said Mrs. O'Brien, "and let me talk with Kathleen.
Come here, Kathleen. No, there is nothing wrong, dear. Now listen, and
answer what I ask you. When did you see your father and me last before

"Why, you know that, grandmother," Kathleen answered. "I saw father
yesterday morning, and I saw you yesterday afternoon, when I left you
to go to the Sullivans'."

"And where have you been since then?" Mrs. O'Brien asked.

Kathleen closed her eyes and clasped her hands, as she thought of it.
"Oh, it was so wonderful!" she said. "I was inside the hill in the
Park. I walked right in there on the water with the Good People. And
it was so beautiful there--all gold and silver and jewels--and the
music--the music that Terence played! And I must go back. I promised
him I would."

"And how long were you there?" Mrs. O'Brien asked.

"All the time," Kathleen said; "all night and all day; I didn't go
anywhere else. And when it was time for them all to come out to dance
to-night--they were dancing, you know, when I first saw them, and they
asked me to dance with them, and then I went into the hill with them.
And to-night we came out to dance again, and it was only a little
while when you came, and then I saw father, and he brought me home.
But I was coming home myself as soon as the dancing was over."

"Kathleen," said Mrs. O'Brien, "listen to me now. Don't be frightened,
but listen. You've been away from us for a whole year. It was a year
ago this night that you danced with the Good People that first time.
All this year you have been with them there in the hill. If we had not
gone after you to-night, and if I had not known how to bring you back,
they would have taken you into the hill for another year, and you
might have stayed there, perhaps, as long as you lived."

"But, grandmother! A year! Why, you know it was yesterday!"

"Yesterday was a year ago," her grandmother said. "You can't
understand it now. Don't try. You must eat something now, and then you
must go to bed. To-morrow I can tell you about it better, and then
perhaps you can understand."

But Kathleen could not eat. Her going away had been so strange, her
coming back had been so wonderful, and what her grandmother had told
her had been so marvelous, that she could think of nothing else. By
and by she went to her room. While she was undressing she felt
something hard in her pocket. She took it out, and it was the little
box of ointment that the Queen had given her to put on the baby's
eyes. Now that she was at home again she felt as if she had dreamed
all that she had seen and heard while she was away. But she had not
dreamed it. Here was this little gold box to prove it. Yet she could
not believe it. And they told her that she had been away for a year!
What they said must be a dream too. But here was the little gold box,
just as the Queen had given it to her. It was a green salve that was
in it. She would open it and see if there really was a green salve. If
there was, then it was not a dream.

She opened it. There was the green salve. Yes, it was exactly as she
remembered it. And she could remember it all so well. She remembered
how the Queen had given it to her, and surely that was last night. She
remembered how she had touched the baby's eyes with the salve, and how
much brighter they had looked after she had done it. Surely it was
only this morning that she did that. It seemed to her all so plain.
And they said that it had been a year. She could not understand it at
all. She laid the little gold box on her bureau, under her glass, and
went to bed.

The next morning Kathleen could think about things a little more
clearly. She could not remember what she had seen and heard in the
hill quite so distinctly. She had not forgotten anything, but it all
seemed dimmer in her mind than it had been, as if it were long ago.
And still it seemed as if it had all happened yesterday. Everybody
whom she knew had heard that she was at home again, and everybody came
to see her. And they all told her that she had been away for a year.
She could not doubt it any longer, and yet she could not understand
it. What had she been doing all that time? She could remember just
enough to fill up one night and one day, and that was all. Could it be
that she had slept for three hundred and sixty-four days and been
awake for only one? No, she could not believe that. And so, at last,
she came to her grandmother to ask if she could explain it to her.

"No," the old woman said, "I can't do that. It's too wonderful for any
of us to understand. But it's no more wonderful than many things that
are true, and I've heard tales of it before. Often one stays in the
land of the Good People, and in other places, too, and thinks that the
time has been short, when it has been long. Shall I tell you what
happened once to a monk--a holy man--much more wonderful than what
happened to you?

"One day this monk was in the garden of the monastery where he lived,
reading in his book. He was reading in the Psalms, where it says, 'For
a thousand years in thy sight are as yesterday, which is past. And as
a watch in the night, things that are counted nothing, shall their
years be.'

"And he found it hard to believe that even to God Himself a thousand
years could seem no more than a day. As he was thinking of this, a
bird in a tree near him began to sing, and the song was so beautiful
that he forgot the psalm that he had been reading and his thoughts
about it, and only listened to the bird. It seemed to him that in all
his life he had never heard any music so beautiful.

"But soon the bird flew to another tree, farther from the monastery,
and the monk followed, to listen to its song again. Then the bird flew
to a tree farther off, and still the monk followed. Once more the bird
flew to another tree, and once more the monk followed it, for it
seemed to him that as long as that bird sang he could listen to
nothing else and could think of nothing else. But he saw that the sun
had gone down and he knew that it was time for him to go back to the
monastery. As he went back he looked at the colors that the sun had
left behind it in the sky, and he thought that they were as beautiful
to see as the voice of the bird was to hear.

"They were all faded and the darkness had come on when he reached the
monastery and went in. And if he had wondered at the song of the bird
and at the colors in the sky, he wondered yet more when he found
himself again in the place where he had lived for many years. For
many things about the place were changed, and the men in it were all
changed. There was not one face among them that he knew. One of the
brothers saw him and came toward him, and he said: 'Brother, why have
all these changes been made here since this morning? And who are all
these whom I do not know? I scarcely know my own monastery.'

"And the other answered: 'Who are you that ask this, and why do you
come here? For you wear the dress of our order, but you are a
stranger. You speak as if you knew the place, yet I myself have lived
here for fifty years and I have never seen you before.'

"Then the monk told his name and told how he had been at mass in the
chapel in the morning and had then gone into the garden to read. And
he told how he had read in the Psalms, 'A thousand years in thy sight
are as yesterday, which is past,' and how, while he was thinking of
these words, he had heard the bird singing. He told how he had
followed the bird, till he saw that night was coming, and then had
come back to the monastery.

"And the other said: 'I remember now that when I first came into this
place they told me of a legend that a monk of your name had gone out
of this monastery a hundred and fifty years before, and had never come
back and had never been heard of again. And now, counting my own
fifty years here, that must have been two hundred years ago.'

"Then the monk said: 'God has given me such happiness as He gives to
few until they are with Him in Heaven, for these two hundred years
have seemed to me to be only a part of a day. Now hear my confession,
for I know that I soon shall die.'

"So the other monk heard his confession, and before midnight he died.
And this was the way that God had chosen to show him the meaning of
His word."

It was a pretty story, but Kathleen understood no more than before.
"No," said her grandmother, "you cannot understand, and I cannot. We
live here such a little while and we are so shut in by time, that we
cannot understand how it is with those who live always. But we shall
understand when the right time comes, and then we shall wonder how we
could ever wonder. And I will tell you another story about it, not to
make you understand, but to show you how it is.

"Long ago Finn McCool was the great champion of Ireland. He had many
warriors, who were called Fenians. He had a son, Oisin, who was a
great warrior, too, and besides that a poet and a minstrel. Some of
his poems are left to us yet. One day the Fenians were hunting, when
they met a beautiful girl riding on a white horse. She called to
Oisin, and he went apart from the others to speak with her.

"She told him that she was the Princess of Tir-na-n-Oge, and that she
had come to take him there, where she was to be married to him.
'Tir-na-n-Oge' means 'Land of the Young,' and they say that nobody
ever grows old there. The Princess was as beautiful as moonlight, and
her voice was as sweet as the wind blowing on a harp, and Oisin was in
love with her and eager to go before she had done speaking.

"He went back to his father and his companions and bade them farewell.
It was with tears that Finn said good-by to Oisin, for I think he knew
that he should never see him again. But Oisin did not know. Then Oisin
mounted the white horse and set the Princess in front of him, and the
horse galloped away toward the west. In a little while they came to
the sea, and the horse kept straight on, galloping over the water as
if it had been a smooth road. Then some say that the water rose around
them and covered them and that they were in a beautiful place under
the sea. I am not sure of that. Lands there are under the sea, they
say, and no doubt there are, but I am not so sure that the real
Tir-na-n-Oge is there.

"For others say that the tops of blue hills rose before them, and
changed to green as they came nearer, and then Oisin saw that soft
grass sloped down to the very water here and there, and in other
places there were tall cliffs, and trailing vines hung down from the
tops of them, covered with bright flowers, and they swung to and fro
in the light breeze. Beyond there were more hills, covered with rich
woods. Little veils of mist hid them partly and made them more
beautiful, and streams poured down from high places and looked like
thin, silky tassels hung upon the hills, and they waved in the air,
like the waving vines, and some of them seemed never to reach the
ground at all, but to blow away into fine silver spray and to mix with
the mists of the hills. And golden sunlight poured down over it all,
and there was a warm shimmer in the air that made it all look like
something seen in a dream. And this was Tir-na-n-Oge.

"The horse came to the shore and galloped over soft turf till it
seemed to Oisin that they were in the very middle of the island, and
there they came to a palace, and Oisin thought that it was more
beautiful than anything else that he had seen. It may be that the
palace was built of marble, but to Oisin it seemed like blocks of pure
snow. It was so long that one might well mount his horse to go the
length of it, instead of walking. It had gilded domes that looked
like suns, with the light shining on them, and the whole palace was
dazzling to look at. All around it were gardens, with trees and plants
in full bloom, of all the colors of the rainbow, and colors that are
not in the rainbow, and other trees with only deep green leaves, and
pathways among them which led down into cool, shady hollows, with
clear brooks running through them between banks of soft, dark-green
moss, sinking their quiet little song.

"Oisin got down off his horse and then lifted the Princess down, and
they went into the palace. There the Princess's father, the King of
Tir-na-n-Oge, made Oisin welcome and led both of them to the banquet
hall, where a great feast was spread in honor of the Princess and the
new Prince. And Oisin thought that if the palace was beautiful
outside, it was much more beautiful inside, and as for the table that
was before him, he could not think of any of the best things in the
world to eat and to drink that were not on it.

"The next day the Princess was married to Oisin. For a long time Oisin
and the Princess lived in the palace and Oisin thought that he never
could be more happy than he was now. The old warriors cared much for
what they ate and drank, and Oisin ate and drank better things than he
had ever tasted before. He walked with the Princess down through the
shady ways among the trees and across the brooks and up the hill-sides
among the flowers. They sat together in the garden or in the palace
and she sang to him and told him wonderful tales of heroes and of
princesses of olden times. Sometimes they rode hunting together, and
everywhere they found game, the finest that Oisin had ever seen.

"But at last Oisin began to feel that he cared less for all these
things than he had done at first. The grass and the flowers and the
woods did not seem so fair to him as they had seemed; the sunshine was
not such pure gold; he wished that the silver streams would not blow
away in spray and mix with the mists; he wanted to see them come down
yellow with the earth of the mountains and plunge into caverns with
great rushing and roaring; he felt that the warm air was taking his
strength from him; he no longer liked the rich feasts that were spread
before him every day; he longed to follow the deer through the woods,
with his old friends, to kill it and to cook it and eat it in the
woods, and then to sleep there, under the trees and the stars; these
trees and these gardens were beautiful, it was true, but they were too
beautiful; a hard way through a rough forest would have pleased him
better now; he did not love the Princess less, but he longed to see
his father and his men again; her singing was no less sweet to him
than it had ever been before, but he wished that he could be again
where the Fenians, after a hard day's hunt or a hard day's fight, sat
about the fire in their stronghold, and listened to one of
them--perhaps himself, for he was the best singer of them all--while
he sang songs of great heroes and of great fights.

"And one day, when the Princess had been singing to him, he took her
harp from her and sang a song of one of his father's battles, a battle
which he had seen himself, where Diarmuid had slain hundreds, and
Orcur had slain hundreds, and Erin had been kept from her enemies.
Then he said to the Princess: 'Do not think that I am ungrateful for
all the happiness that I have had here, but I am longing to see Erin
again and to see my father and his men. It is not so beautiful a land
as this, but it is my own land, and I am longing to see it. The air
here is sweet and the sunshine is warm, but I should like to breathe
the mists and to feel the chill again, if I could only see Erin once

Mrs. O'Brien stopped a moment, with the way that she had of seeming to
look at things far off. Kathleen said nothing when she paused in this
way, and in a minute the old woman went on:

"'You would not be so happy in Erin as you think,' the Princess
answered him. 'This is the best place for you to stay, and it would
break my heart for you to go.'

"So Oisin said no more then, but the great longing grew upon him, and
every day the delights of Tir-na-n-Oge pleased him less. And at last
he spoke of it again, and asked the Princess to let him go for a
little while. 'You would find Erin changed,' she said, 'and the
Fenians are all gone. How long have you been here with me?'

"'I cannot tell you to a day,' Oisin answered, 'but I know that it is
weeks since I saw my country and my people.'

"'You have been here,' said the Princess, 'for three hundred years.'

"Oisin could not understand it, but he thought that if he could live
so long and not know that the time had passed, the Fenians, too, might
be living still, and he begged again to be allowed to go. At last the
Princess saw that he would never be happy unless he went, so she
brought him the same white horse that had brought them both to
Tir-na-n-Oge. 'The horse,' she said, 'will take you to Erin. But you
must sit upon his back and never loose his bridle or get down upon the
ground. If you touch the ground of Erin you will be at once a weak,
old man, you can never come back to Tir-na-n-Oge, you will never see
me, and I shall never see you again. Will you promise me, if I will
let you go, that you will not get off the horse's back or let go his

"Oisin promised and she let him go. Away over the water the horse
galloped again. Tir-na-n-Oge, with its warm sun and its sweet air, was
left behind. A damp sea-wind came up, and it blew the salt spray
harshly into Oisin's face as the horse dashed along. It was a joy to
him. No more of the soft comforts of that weary island. This was
something for a man to face. Yet he did not forget the Princess, and
he meant to go back to her when he had seen his land and his people
once more. Then the clouds and the fog drifted away and the sun shone
out, but still the salt spray covered him, and he felt stronger as he
made his way against it and felt the great, free breeze from the east.
And now he saw something like a little cloud on the horizon, and it
rose higher and grew wider, and then its misty brown faded away and he
saw the beautiful green shores of Erin."

The old woman paused again and said over softly to herself: "The
beautiful--beautiful green shores of Erin."

"The horse and the rider soon reached the land now. Oisin rode first
to the spot where he had first met the Princess of Tir-na-n-Oge and
where he had last seen his father and his companions. He did not think
to find them there, but he felt that it was the first place to which
he should go. The forest had been cleared away a little, and a strange
building stood there. It was a small house, built of stone, and there
was a cross on the top of it. Inside he heard a sound of singing. He
rode to the door and looked in. There were people kneeling before a
man who stood in a higher place than the rest and held up a golden

"This was something that Oisin did not understand, and he rode away,
remembering what the Princess had told him, that he would find Ireland
changed. He wondered if he had been wise to come at all. But he went
on, and now he rode fast, in this direction and in that, to try to
find the Fenians. Sometimes he asked people whom he met if they could
tell him of his father. Some of them shook their heads and said that
they knew no such person as Finn McCool. Others laughed at him. One or
two old men told him that the Fenians had all died long ago and that
the man of greatest power in Ireland now was Patrick. It was hard for
him to believe. He would have thought himself in a dream, but a dream
seems right and true while it lasts, and this seemed all wrong and
false. Yet, when he found a place that he knew and looked for some
familiar stronghold of the Fenians, he found only a low mound of
earth, grown all over with grass, or perhaps with weeds and bushes.
And everywhere he saw these houses of stone, with crosses on their

"Then it came into his mind to find this Patrick of whom he heard so
much, and to see what sort of man was now the greatest in Ireland.
This was an easier matter than searching for the Fenians. Everyone
knew where the holy Patrick was, and soon Oisin came near the place
and found that the saint was building another of the stone houses. As
Oisin came near he saw some men trying to lift a heavy stone upon a
car, to take it to the new building. It almost made him laugh to see
how small and weak the men were. He knew well that he could put the
stone on the car alone. It was no larger than the stones that the
Fenians used to throw for sport.

"He came near and leaned down from his saddle to lift the stone for
the men. He took hold of it and began to raise it, but with the weight
the girth of his saddle broke, the saddle slipped around on the horse,
Oisin fell, and the horse ran away. Oisin lay there on the ground of
Erin, which the Princess had forbidden him to touch, an old man, weak,
helpless, blind, hollow-cheeked, wrinkled, white-haired.

"The men took him up and carried him to St. Patrick, who welcomed him
kindly and kept him for a while in his own house. Many times the saint
talked with him and tried to make him a Christian, but Oisin could
think of nothing but the grand days of the Fenians. When St. Patrick
talked with him he would begin to tell of these, and he would make the
poems about them that have been kept till now and give us what we know
of Finn McCool and his heroes. And these poems Patrick would have
written down. And always Oisin was mourning for the brave old days of
Finn McCool or for the days of Tir-na-n-Oge, which seemed to him now
still farther off.

"Old as he was now, with the heavy weight of more than three hundred
years upon him, blind and weak, there was one thing in which Oisin
felt himself a better man that St. Patrick or any of his band. St.
Patrick and all those who were with him fasted much, and when they ate
it was frugally, of bread and the herbs of the field, and but little
meat. But this was not enough for Oisin. He remembered how he and his
fellow-huntsmen used to follow the deer and kill it, and dress it, and
cook it on the moor in the fresh, cool evening, and feast till it was
time to sleep, and then wake and follow the deer again. And so the
food which was given to him in St. Patrick's house seemed poor and
scanty to him.

"He said this to the cook and others in the house, and they made sport
of him, because so old a man as he should wish to eat so much. Then he
told them tales of the days of his father, how great and strong the
men of Erin were then, how much more fertile the land was, and of the
great beasts and the great trees and plants and vines that it brought
forth. In those days, he said, the leg of a lark was as large as a leg
of mutton now, a berry of the wild ash was as large as a sheep, and an
ivy leaf as broad as a shield.

"They all laughed at him the more when he said these things, and they
did not believe a word of it all. 'Alas!' he said, 'how can I show you
that what I say is true? The dear heroes whom I knew are all gone. I
am left alone to mourn for them, among men who do not even believe how
great they were. Everything that I have found is changed, but there
may be something that is not changed. Will one of you go with me in a
war chariot and drive where I shall tell him, and let me see if I can
find anything as I knew it once?'

"Then one of them said that he would go with him. The next morning
they set out. Oisin told the man where to drive, till they came to a
place where Oisin said: 'Look around you and tell me what you can see
on the plain.'

"'I see a stone pillar,' the man answered.

"'Drive the chariot to it,' said Oisin, 'and dig at the foot of the
pillar, on the south side of it.'

"The man did as Oisin told him, and when he had dug for a while Oisin
asked him if he had found anything. 'There is something long and hard
here,' said the man, 'like a wooden pole.'

"'Dig it out,' said Oisin.

"The man dug more. 'I have it out now,' he said; 'it is like a great
spear, for it has a huge head of rusty iron. I can scarcely lift it.'

"'It is a spear such as the Fenians used,' said Oisin. 'Dig still

"The man dug again. 'Do you find anything more?' said Oisin.

"'I have found a great horn,' the man answered, 'many times as large
as any horn that I ever saw.'

"'It is the great war-horn of my father, Finn McCool,' said Oisin.
'Dig deeper.'

"The man dug again and said, 'I have found a lump of bog butter.'

"'Now blow the horn,' said Oisin.

"The man was scarcely able to blow the horn, but he did blow it, and
it gave forth a harsh, terrible note, which sounded over the plain
and was echoed back from the woods and the rocks with a hoarse,
dreadful sound.

"'Look about you,' said Oisin, 'and tell me what you see.'

"'Oh, I see,' said the man, 'a great flock of birds coming toward us,
and every one of them is many times as large as the largest eagle that
I have ever seen. I fear that we cannot escape them and that they will
kill us. The dog is nearly dead with terror and he is trying to break
his chain.'

"'Give him a piece of the bog butter,' said Oisin, 'and let him go.
Then tell me what he does.'

"'He is running straight toward the birds,' the man answered, 'and
they are coming straight toward him and toward us, along the ground.
Ah! he has caught one of them, and all the rest have flown away! He
has killed the bird! He is rushing back to us, with madness in his
eyes and his mouth covered with blood and foam! I fear that he will be
worse for us than the birds would have been.'

"'Hold the spear straight in front of you as he comes,' said Oisin,
'and let him run upon the point of it and kill him.'


"The man held the spear as Oisin told him, and when the dog came on he
was caught upon the point of it, and it went through his heart and
he fell dead.

"Then the man went and cut off one of the legs of the bird which had
been killed, and they took it with them and started back. As they went
they passed a mountain ash which had berries of enormous size, and the
man put one of them into the chariot. Then the man saw huge ivy
leaves, and he took one of them too. So they went back to St.
Patrick's house and showed all the men there what they had brought.
The leg of the bird and the berry and the ivy leaf were even larger
than Oisin had said. And after that they all believed the stories that
Oisin told them, and all of them agreed that a man who had lived in
the days when there were such trees and such beasts and such men in
Erin should be his own judge as to how much he needed to eat. And so
after that all of St. Patrick's men treated him as well as did St.
Patrick himself.

"But Oisin died only a little while after that, the last of the great
heroes of Erin. He had lived for more than three hundred years, and it
seemed to him no more than the life of a young man."

[Illustration: ]



Kathleen had not been at home long, of course, before Peter and Ellen
came to see her, and Terence came with them. It seemed to Kathleen
that she had never seen him look as he did then. She had never seen
him look so evil or so crafty or so sad. She felt afraid of him,
because he looked so evil and so crafty, and she felt sorry for him,
because he looked so sad. She sat in the corner of the room that was
farthest from him, and it was also the farthest from all the others,
as they were all sitting near together. Then, when all the others were
busy talking among themselves, Terence suddenly came and sat close to
her, and between her and the others, so that she could not get away
from him.

"What did you do all the year that you was inside the hill?" he said.

"I don't know," Kathleen answered; "it seemed only a day to me, and I
can't remember and I can't think what it was that I did to fill all
that time."

"And how did you like the fairies?" said Terence.

"The Good People? They were very kind to me and I liked them very
much, but I wouldn't have let them keep me--I wouldn't have stayed--so
long, if I had known."

"You wouldn't have let them? You wouldn't have stayed? And what would
you have done?"

"I don't know," said Kathleen.

"And who was there besides the fairies?" Terence asked.

"Why, there was--oh, I don't want to talk to you about it, and I don't
think you ought to make me."

"You don't need," said Terence. "I know who was there. I know who he
is and what he is, and I know the kind of talk that he talked to you.
He made love to you. I know that well enough. That's what he would do.
But do you mind the promise that your father made to my father the day
after we was born? I want you should remember that promise."

"It was no promise at all," Kathleen said, "and I won't let you talk
to me that way, and I don't see that it matters to you what he--what
anybody said to me anywhere, and I won't tell you any more."

"Ah!" said Terence; "he did make love to you. And you think you can
talk any way you like to me and you won't let me talk any way I like
to you. Do you know that his staying in that hill with the fairies
depends on me? Do you know that--"

Terence turned to see if anybody else was listening and saw Mrs.
O'Brien looking straight at him. He stopped short in what he was
saying, and then, speaking lower, he went on: "Don't dare to tell
anybody what I was saying to you; you don't know what I can do, but I
might show you if I took the notion."

For the rest of the time that he stayed Terence said not a word, but
he sat and stared at Kathleen. And now she thought that there was
something more terrible in his look than there had been before. It
seemed to have a kind of spell about it. Kathleen had a feeling that
she could not move while he looked at her, although when she tried it
she found that she could.

The most natural thing in the world for Kathleen to do would have been
to tell her grandmother about this and about all that Terence had said
to her, but, whether it was because of the way that Terence had looked
at her or for some other reason, she did not tell her. Sometimes
after that, when she and Terence met, he reminded her again of what he
called the promise, but oftener he said nothing, or next to nothing,
and only looked at her in that same way, and then she felt as if she
could do nothing of herself, and that if he told her to do anything,
she would have to do it.

Kathleen did not forget the promise which she had made to the other
Terence in the hill, that she would come back. She had said that she
would come back to-morrow if she could. But when to-morrow came, so
many people who had heard that she was at home again came to see her,
that she was not left alone for a moment. It was several days before
she could get away from the house to go where she pleased alone. Then
she went straight to the little pool in the Park.

If you live in New York, perhaps you would like to know just where
this pool was--and still is. Well, then--go to the northwest corner of
Central Park and go in by the little gate at the right of the
carriage-drive. Then you will have to go down a flight of steps. Keep
to the right, along the west side of the Park, and you will have to go
only a few steps till you come to the pool, which is a little way up
the bank, on the left, with the rocks behind it and the trees around
it, as I have described it to you before. Then go back to the path and
keep on the way that you were going, till you have gone up two short
flights of steps. Then, only a few feet farther on, you will see, on
the left, the little, shell-shaped, grassy slope where Kathleen danced
with the Good People. Seeing these places will prove to you that this
whole story is true.

Kathleen went straight to the pool, as I said, never thinking but
that, when she got there, she could walk into the hill as easily as
she had done before. But there was no opening at all in the rocks.
They were just as they had always looked before she went through them
with the Good People. Then she tried to step on the water, and instead
of stepping on it she stepped into it and wet her foot. She almost
concluded that everything had been a dream after all. She felt
frightened about it, and she hurried home to look at the little box of
green ointment. If she found it where she had left it, it would prove
that she had really been inside the hill and that it was not a dream.
She ran to her room to look for it, and there it was just as she had
left it. It was not a dream.

But how was she to keep her promise to Terence?--the Hill Terence, she
called him now, when she thought of him, so as not to confuse him with
Terence Sullivan. She went to the pool again and again and tried to
find the door in the rocks open and the water so that she could walk
on it, but she never found them so. Yet she could not think of any
other way to get into the hill again. After a while it seemed so
hopeless that she gave up going to the pool so often.

Then one day a thought came to her which made it all seem so simple
that she was quite surprised at herself for not thinking of it before.
Terence had told her that he came out every day to go to school. He
had said that the next year he was to go to the School of Engineering
at the University. It was when she first came into the hill that he
told her that, and so it was next year now. Now the University was not
very far away, up on the hill, beyond the north end of the Park. She
did not know whether there was any other way to get into the hill than
this way through the rocks behind the pool, but if anybody were at the
University and wanted to get into the hill, this would surely be the
nearest way. Then she felt sure that if she went to the pool at the
right time of the day she should meet Terence when he came out or when
he went in.

When she thought again she decided that she would not do anything of
the kind. If Terence wanted to see her, it was his business to find
her, not hers to find him. After that she thought still more. Terence
had no way of finding her. She had never told him where she lived,
and he might spend the rest of his life searching for her and never
find her. And then she had promised him that she would come back. She
had tried so hard to keep that promise already that most people would
have said it was right for her to give it up now, but she had a
feeling that a promise which she had made to Terence must be kept. She
said to herself that it was because he had been so kind to her when
she was in the hill.

So she spent all the time she could near the pool, in the hope of
seeing Terence. And what do you think happened? She did see him. One
afternoon as she was walking along the same old path toward the gate
at the corner of the Park, she saw Terence come through that gate and
down the steps. And now you will never in the world guess what she
did. I suppose you have believed this whole story till now, but I am
afraid you will not believe this. I should not believe it myself, if I
did not know that it was so. But there is no doubt about it. She
turned and walked straight back along the path, and tried to get away
without letting Terence see her. Don't expect me to explain it. I
don't blame you for being surprised. It was the most wonderful thing I
ever heard of. A sensible girl like Kathleen too!

But Terence had seen her and he walked swiftly along the path and
overtook her. "What makes you try to get away from me?" he said.

"I don't know," said Kathleen.

"Didn't you want to see me?" he asked.

"Yes," said Kathleen, "I wanted--I don't know--oh, yes, I did want to
see you! How is the little Prince?"

"The little Prince is very well," said Terence. "You promised that you
would come back, you know."

"Yes," said Kathleen, "and didn't I try? But how could I get through
those hard rocks? I don't suppose it was your fault about the rocks,
though. How are they getting on with their triangles?"

"They are not getting on at all," Terence answered. "You promised that
you would come back, and then, when you saw me you tried to run away.
What made you do that?"

"Oh, but I tried so hard to find you!" Kathleen said. "You don't know
how hard I tried."

"But what made--?"

"I don't know; I just couldn't help it."

You notice how uninteresting Terence and Kathleen's conversation was
getting. They kept on with it, however, dull as it was. They turned
and went up over the hill to the blockhouse, and then down the steep
path on the other side and back along the north end of the Park. "Do
you come here often?" Terence asked.

"I have been here very often," Kathleen said, "trying to keep my
promise to you."

"I am here," he said, "nearly every day, at about this time; will you
come again?"

"Yes," Kathleen said, "if you would like me to."

They were close to the pool again now. "See that bright star up there
in the west?" said Terence.

Kathleen turned to look at it. "It is Venus," she said. Then she
turned back toward where Terence had stood. He was gone. She looked up
and down the path and all around, but she could not find him. She went
up to the pool. The rocks were just as usual--just as close, just as
hard. She tried the water again to see if she could stand on it. She
could not. Terence was gone and she went home to think about it.

She thought about it and she thought more about it, but she could not
understand it at all. So she very sensibly gave up understanding it.
She kept her promise and met Terence again near the pool. And then she
met him again and a few times more. Every time he would make her look
away from him for a moment, or wait till she did look away, and when
she looked back he would be gone. It did not take her long to find
out that he did not want her to see him go, of course, and so one day,
when she turned her head away she turned it back again quickly, and
saw him standing close to the pool with his face toward the rocks. She
watched him for a moment while he stood there, and neither of them
moved. Then he said, without looking around: "Let me go, Kathleen; I
can't go while you're looking."

So she turned away for another instant, and when she looked again he
was gone.

I don't know how many times Terence and Kathleen strolled about the
Park in this way, or what they talked about, or just how long a time
went by, and I suppose that all these things interest you as little as
they do me. But there is no doubt that one day, as they were walking
together and talking together of whatever they found to talk about,
they came face to face with Terence Sullivan. He passed them as if he
had not seen them, but his face was black.

The next day he came to see Kathleen, and he said to her: "Do you
think I don't know who that was with you in the Park yesterday? And
does your father know? He will, if I tell him, and what will he say,
do you think, when he knows that you're meeting that fine boy without
his knowledge? If I see the two of you there again I'll tell him, and
I'll be watching for you too. What do you say to that now?"

"I say nothing to it," Kathleen answered; "what did you think I would

"What did I think you would say? What did I think you could say?
Nothing, of course. And is that all you say?"

"That is all," said Kathleen.

And that was all. He tried his best to get her to say more, but she
would not. But it did not take her a minute to think what to do. And
it was so simple that she wondered why she had never thought of it
before. It was a wonder, too, that Terence Sullivan did not think of
it himself and know that she would do it. But he was not clever in
some ways, though he was so clever in others.

The next day Kathleen met Terence in the Park, and she said to him:
"Terence, we must not stay here for a single minute. You must come
straight home with me. I want you to see my father and my

And Terence went straight home with her and she told her grandmother
who he was--and indeed she had told her of him before--and that she
had met him in the Park. Her father came soon and Terence was
introduced to him too.

After that Terence came often and Kathleen seldom met him in the Park,
though they still walked there sometimes. Mrs. O'Brien and John were
immensely pleased with him. It was the strangest thing to see how much
he liked to be in a house, just because it was a house, and how
wonderful the ways of people who lived in a house seemed to him. When
he and Kathleen sat together in a corner of the room and John sat
reading a paper and Mrs. O'Brien knitting and reading a book at the
same time, it was as astonishing a sight to him as it would be to you
to see a dozen mermaids playing at the bottom of the sea.

"Isn't it beautiful?" he whispered to Kathleen.

"Isn't what beautiful?" Kathleen asked.

"The way you live here," Terence answered. "All these years, you know,
I have just come out of the hill to go to school, and then I have gone
back again. I have seen the people outside, but I never was in one of
their houses before. And don't you ever dance?"

"Why, of course we do," Kathleen said; "we go to balls sometimes, and
to parties where there is dancing, and then--"

"But do you never dance here, where you live?"

"Oh, yes, sometimes we do, but the rooms are not large enough to do it
very well, you know."

"I never thought before," said Terence, "of people's not dancing all
the time that they were not at work or eating or sleeping. You know
there in the hill they dance a good deal of the time, and I get so
tired of it that it seems to me as if they danced all the time. I
think it is delightful not to dance. And what is your grandmother
doing? Is she studying?"

"Why, no, she is only reading."

"But what does she read, if she is not studying?"

"Why, I don't know; a story, maybe, or history, or poetry, or a
sermon, or--it might be anything."

"Will you tell me about all those things some time?" Terence asked. "I
have heard people tell stories, but I never read a story, and I never
read anything except books to help me learn to make railways and
telegraphs, so as to teach it to the people in the hill. That is all
they think of when they are not dancing."

And Terence wondered like this at everything that he saw, and he often
told Kathleen how tired he was of living in the hill and how much he
wished that he could live outside among the real people, as he called
them, instead of with the Good People. Once Kathleen tried to take
Terence to see Peter and Ellen, and then a strange thing was
discovered. Terence could not go there. When he came to the corner of
the street where Peter and Ellen lived, he turned straight around and
walked the other way. "This is the way," Kathleen called, and she
hurried back after him.

When she came up with him he turned again and walked with her as they
had been going at first. "I don't know why I did that," he said. "I
didn't mean to. It was as if my feet turned me around and brought me

By this time they were at the corner again, and Terence did just the
same thing over. He turned square around and walked back. He could not
help it. He tried it again and again and he could not turn that
corner. If you had been there and had seen him trying it, you would
have thought that it was the funniest sight that you ever saw, though
it may not sound so funny to tell about it. Kathleen was vexed that
Terence could not go where she wanted him to, but she laughed till she
had to sit down on a doorstep and rest.

Terence did not understand it any more than Kathleen did, and
afterward he tried it again, but it was of no use. He begged her not
to tell her father or her grandmother, because, he said, it would make
him look so ridiculous. But one day, when he and Kathleen were on
their way together to the O'Briens' house, as he came to the last
corner, Terence turned around and walked away. "I can't go home with
you to-day," he said. "I don't know why it is. I can't walk that way.
It is just the same as when I try to go to the Sullivans'."

He went back to the Park and Kathleen went home alone and found that
Peter and Ellen were there. Then she simply could not keep herself
from telling her grandmother all about it. Afterward she wished that
she had not told her, for her grandmother laughed a little and nodded
and looked as if she knew everything, and she would tell nothing.

So the Hill Terence came to the O'Briens' so often that he felt quite
at home, and everyone there was glad to have him come, and if he
stayed away for as long as three or four days, they wondered what had
become of him. And all this, you may suppose, did not improve Terence
Sullivan's temper. He and the Hill Terence never met except that one
time in the Park, but he knew all about it. And he talked with
Kathleen about it sometimes, too, and it made her very uncomfortable.
He talked in the same way that he did the day after Kathleen came back
from the hill, of his having something to do with the Hill Terence and
of the harm that he could do if he chose. He never said anything that
Kathleen could understand, but he always made her afraid. She told the
Hill Terence about it, and she told her grandmother about it. Her
grandmother seemed to understand it perfectly, and she told her not to
be afraid. Terence did not seem to understand it at all, and he told
her not to be afraid.

Then one day, when Terence Sullivan had been talking to her in the
same way and had been looking at her in a more terrible way than ever
before, she told her grandmother that she could not bear it any
longer. If something could not be done to make Terence stop talking to
her so, and looking at her so, she should ask her father to let her go
away somewhere.

"There's nothing for you to be afraid of," her grandmother said, "but
if you are afraid and if it troubles you so much, we will see what we
can do."

Then Mrs. O'Brien went to her own room and came back with something
which she gave to Kathleen. It was a little crucifix, made of iron.
"It was this," she said, "that I touched you with to bring you out of
the circle when you were dancing with the Good People. Hang it around
your neck, and if Terence troubles you, hold it up before you and
before him. I have always said that Terence was one of the Good
People, and I never believed it more than this minute. If he is one of
them, he cannot come near the cross, and the iron will be a terror to
him too. If he tries to come too near to you, touch him with it, and
then we'll see."

"Why can he not come near the cross?" Kathleen asked.

"Because," Mrs. O'Brien said, "the Good People are a kind of spirits,
and no spirits can do you any harm if you hold the cross before you,
or if you make the sign of the cross. Did I never tell you what the
Good People were? They were angels and lived in Heaven once. When
Satan and his angels rebelled against God and were driven out of
Heaven, the angels that are the Good People were driven out too. They
were not good enough to stay in Heaven, and they were not bad enough
to fall as Satan and his angels fell, so some of them stayed on the
land and some of them stayed in the sea. And so they will live till
the Day of Judgment, and then, some say, they will vanish like dew
when it dries away; and some say that they will be saved like the
souls of Christians. But we do not know."

"You do not know," Kathleen repeated, "if the Good People will be
saved or not? They were very good to me, though they kept me away from
home so long, and I should like to believe--"

"I have read of one of them," Mrs. O'Brien went on, "who looked in at
the gate of Heaven, and an angel told him that he could come in, if
he could bring with him the thing which was counted in Heaven the most
precious in all the world. And he found it and brought it and went
into Heaven. But for the most of them--the Good People themselves do
not know whether they are to be saved, and we common people do not
know, but they say that priests know. And sometimes the Good People
themselves have tried to find out from them.

"There was a troupe of fairies dancing one night on a green near a
river, and they were all having the merry kind of time that you know
better than I do, Kathleen. But they stopped all at once and ran to
hide themselves among the grass and behind leaves and weeds. For they
knew, in the way that they have of knowing, that a priest was coming,
and the Good People cannot bear to be near a priest.

"The priest who was coming had been on some errand at a long distance
from home, and he was a long way from home still. Indeed, he was just
making up his mind that, as it was so late, he would not try to go
home at all that night, but would ask for a supper and a bed at the
first cabin he should come to. And well he knew he would find it and

"And true for him, close by where the Good People had been dancing, he
came to a cabin and knocked at the door. The man and his wife who
lived there were proud enough to see the priest in their house and to
give him all that he asked, and the trouble that was on them was that
they had no more to give. For there was nothing to offer him but
potatoes, though they were as good potatoes as there were in Ireland.

"It was only a little while ago that the man of the house had set a
net in the river, and he thought that there would hardly be a fish in
it so soon. But then he thought that there could be no harm in
looking, so down to the river he went to try could he find something
for the priest's supper more than the potatoes. And true enough, there
in the net was the finest salmon he ever saw. He was about to take him
out, when the net was pulled away from him by something that he could
not see, and away went the salmon swimming down the river.

"It may be that he said things to the fish that I wouldn't like to be
saying after him, and at the same time he looked around to see what it
was that was pulling his net. And then he saw the Good People.

"'Give yourself no trouble about the fish,' one of them said to him.
'If you'll only go back to your house and ask the priest one question
from us we'll see that he and you have the finest supper that was ever

"Now the man thought that it was not safe to be talking and making
bargains with the Good People, so he said: 'I'll not have anything to
do with you at all.' And then he thought neither was it safe to make
them angry with him, and so he said again: 'I've no wish to offend you
and I thank you for your offer, but I can't take it from you, and I
don't think his Reverence would like me to do that same.'

"Then the one that had spoken first said: 'We'll not ask you to take
anything you don't want, but will you ask the priest one question for

"'I see no harm in that,' said he, 'for sure he needn't answer it if
he doesn't like; but I'll not take your supper.'

"'Then,' said the little man, 'ask him if we are to be saved at the
Day of Judgment, like the souls of Christians, and bring us back word
what he says, and we'll be grateful to you forever.'

"He went back to his cabin and found his wife and the priest sitting
down to supper. 'Your Reverence,' said he, 'might I ask you one

"'And what might that be?' said the priest.

"'Will you tell me,' said he 'will the Good People be saved at the Day
of Judgment, the same as Christians?'

"'You never thought of asking that yourself,' the priest said; 'who
told you to ask it?'

"'It was the Good People themselves,' said the man, 'and they are down
there by the river, waiting for me to tell them what you answer to

"'Go and tell them, then,' said the priest, 'that if they will come
here and ask me that or any other question themselves, I will answer

"So he went back and told them what the priest said, and the instant
they heard it they all flew away over the grass and up into the air
and vanished. Then he went back to eat his potatoes with the priest,
still feeling sorry that he had lost the salmon."

"But still I don't see," Kathleen said. "You say that the cross will
help me against Terence if he is one of the Good People, because they
are a kind of spirits. But why wouldn't it help me against him just as
much if he wasn't one of the Good People--if he was just a bad man?"

"No, no," said the old woman; "that little bit of iron will keep you
against any evil spirit, and never one of them dare come near it; but
no poor human creature with a soul to save, no matter how wicked, was
ever turned away from the blessed cross, or ever will be. The cross
was made for them. And now, dear, you have been crying and your eyes
are all red. Go to your room and try to make them look better. There
might be someone to see you before long, and you wouldn't like your
eyes to look that way."

Someone did come to see Kathleen before long, but, as it happened,
neither she nor her grandmother stayed to see him.

Kathleen scarcely knew that she had been crying till her grandmother
told her, but she had. She went to her room and looked in the glass
and was surprised to see how red her eyes were. And just at the same
instant she saw the little gold box of green ointment, just under the
glass, where she had left it, and where it had been ever since that
night when she came back from the hill. Then she remembered how the
Fairy Queen had given it to her to put on the little Prince's eyes,
and how she had done it, and how bright his eyes looked when she
touched them with the ointment. She wondered if it would make her eyes
look bright, too, and take the marks of the tears away from them. She
took a tiny bit of the ointment on her finger and just touched each
eye with it. It did make them look brighter; there was no doubt about

The next instant Kathleen started away from the mirror and across the
room with a little frightened gasp. For, looking in the glass, she
had seen a dark form pass behind her, as if it had just come in at the
door of the room. She knew who it was without turning around. It was
Terence Sullivan. He was still close to the door now, and she was
across the room. She had the little iron crucifix in her hand and she
turned and faced him.

"What are you doing here?" she said.

Terence only stared at her, for an instant, more surprised than she
was herself. Then he stammered: "What--what am I--"

"What are you here for?" said Kathleen. "Why do you follow me like
this? I won't let you. Go away."

Terence was a little more himself now. "Which eye do you see me with?"
he cried.

"With both eyes, of course," said Kathleen.

"This for both of them, then!" Terence cried, and he struck at
Kathleen's eyes with his fist.

She raised her hand quickly to ward off the blow, and Terence's hand
touched the iron crucifix. The blow did not reach her eyes. Terence
started back from her and fell upon the floor. Only for an instant
Kathleen saw his face. His eyes blazed, but the rest of it was as if
he had been dead. Somehow he found his way out of the room, Kathleen
could scarcely see how. He did not rise, but he seemed to run like a
beast running for its life. Kathleen followed him out of the room and
to the stairs. She saw him just leaving the house by the door. And yet
she could not see how he went, for the door was shut.

Kathleen ran downstairs to find her grandmother and to tell her what
had happened. Mrs. O'Brien listened and then she said: "Kathleen, you
have been thinking too much about Terence and you have got too
nervous. Nobody has come into the house since you left me, only a few
minutes ago."

"But I saw him, grandmother," Kathleen answered, "and it was all just
as I told you. How could I see him if he did not come?"

Mrs. O'Brien sat and thought for a few minutes. "What did you do
before you saw Terence?" she asked.

Kathleen thought for a minute, too, for she was so much excited that
she could scarcely remember. "I had been crying," she said, "as you
told me, and I put some of the ointment in the little gold box on my
eyes to see if it would make them look better."

"It was that," said Mrs. O'Brien. "I've heard the like of it before.
When you have touched your eyes with that ointment you can always see
the Good People, whether they want you to or not. That was why he
tried to strike your eyes, and if he had struck them he would have put
them out. You will always see the Good People now wherever you meet
them. They don't like to be seen except when they choose, and so they
may try to do you harm, and you must be careful. Keep the little cross
always by you.

"And now come with me," the old woman went on. "I have had enough of
this, and I will have no more."

"Come with you where, grandmother?" Kathleen asked.

"To the Sullivans," the old woman answered.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was only a little while after they had gone when the Hill Terence
came to the door. "Mrs. O'Brien and Miss Kathleen have gone to the
Sullivans'," the servant told him.

"Will they be back soon?" he asked.

"I don't think so," the servant said; "it was only a few minutes ago
that they went away."

"I will go to the Sullivans' and find them," Terence said.

Now that, you know, was about the most remarkable thing that Terence
could say. He had tried to go to the Sullivans' so many times and had
found so many times that his feet simply would not take him there,
that he had given up trying long ago. But now he resolved that he
would go, and, more than that, he had a feeling such as he had never
had before that he must go.

He knew the street and the number, though he had never been there. He
started off as if there could not be the slightest doubt of his going
wherever he wished to go. He walked quickly through the Park and past
the little pool as if he had never seen the place. He came out of the
Park at the other side and went on till he came to the corner which he
could never turn before. He turned it as if it had been any other
corner. It did not even surprise him to find that he could. He thought
that he was doing all this just because he was so determined to go
just where he chose, but he had never felt anything like the force or
the determination or whatever it was which was drawing him straight

He reached the house and went up the steps. The door was open, and,
instead of ringing, he went straight in. But what he did next was the
strangest of all. He could not have told you why he did it any more
than he could have told you why he did anything else. Instead of
knocking at the door or going into any room that he passed, he went
downstairs to the door of the kitchen. There, just for one instant,
he stopped--the first instant that he had stopped since he left the
O'Briens' house. Then, still without knocking, he pushed the door open
and went in.

[Illustration: ]



When Mrs. O'Brien and Kathleen left home they walked through the Park
and to the Sullivans'. Peter was away. Terence half sat and half lay
on the floor in a corner. He held his right hand behind him and
covered his face with his left arm. His whole body shook as if he were
riding in a cart over a rough road. Ellen sat close to him, trying to
soothe him and trying to get him to tell her what was the matter.

When Mrs. O'Brien and Kathleen came in Terence seemed to try to make
himself smaller, but he did nothing else. "Ellen," said Mrs. O'Brien,
"come outside the room here for a moment; I have something to tell

"Look at Terence there," Ellen answered; "how can I leave him when
he's that way?"

"Leave him," said Mrs. O'Brien, "and come out here with me."

She took Ellen by the hand and led her, and Ellen followed. There was
something in Mrs. O'Brien's look now that told her she would have to
come. "Now look at me," said Mrs. O'Brien, when they were out of the
room; "do I look as if I would mean every word I said, or do I not?"

Ellen did not answer, and Mrs. O'Brien said: "Ellen, when it was only
your own affair I told you what you ought to do, but I let you take
your own way. But now it is Kathleen's affair and John's and mine, and
it is time that I had my way. Look at me, Ellen, and tell me, do I
look as if I meant to have it?"

Again Ellen looked in the old woman's face and said nothing for an
instant. Then she looked down again in a confused way, and said: "I
must go back to Terence."

"Ellen," said the old woman, "go down to the kitchen. We'll follow
you, and Terence can come, too, if he likes, and I think he will."

Without a word Ellen went down the stairs. Mrs. O'Brien called to
Terence: "We are going to the kitchen; you can come if you like."

Mrs. O'Brien and Kathleen followed Ellen, and Terence followed them.
He slipped down the stairs like a bundle of rags. He stole into the
kitchen after the others and half sat and half lay in the corner, as
he had done in the room above, only he did not cover his face with his
arm, but kept his eyes on Mrs. O'Brien to see what she was going to

"Now, Ellen," Mrs. O'Brien whispered, "put your largest pot on the
fire, put water in it, and let it boil."

Ellen looked at the old woman as if she were begging her not to do
this. The old woman looked back at her, and then she did it. She put
the pot on the fire and the water in the pot. "Now bring all the eggs
you have in the house," Mrs. O'Brien said.

Ellen was past asking questions now, and she brought the eggs. It
always takes a long time for water to boil, and it seemed to all of
them as if it took hours for this water to boil. While they were
waiting not one of them spoke and they scarcely moved. Terence was all
but holding his breath, and his eyes, red and staring, were now upon
Mrs. O'Brien and now upon Ellen, and never at rest. Kathleen looked at
Terence and clutched the little crucifix in her hand. But she need not
have been afraid of Terence; he knew the crucifix as well as he cared
to know it.

After a long time the water boiled. Mrs. O'Brien waited till it was
boiling as hard as ever it could, and then she whispered to Ellen:
"Break the eggs now; keep the shells and throw away the rest."

Poor Ellen could not guess what it all meant, but she broke the eggs,
laid the shells carefully aside, and threw away the rest.

"Now," said Mrs. O'Brien, "put the shells in the pot."

Ellen did as she was told.

"What are you doing, mother?" Terence called from his corner.

"Tell him you are brewing," Mrs. O'Brien whispered.

"I'm brewing, Terence," said Ellen, scarcely loud enough to be heard.

"And what are you brewing?" Terence asked again.

"Say egg-shells," Mrs. O'Brien whispered.

"Egg-shells, Terence," Ellen said.

Terence sprang to his feet. "Egg-shells!" he cried. "For near six
thousand years I have lived on this earth, and never till this minute
did I see anybody brew egg-shells!"

Mrs. O'Brien had turned upon him before he had done speaking. "Six
thousand years, is it, that you've been on this earth?" she cried.
"Then go and spend the rest of the years where you spent the six
thousand! You've been long enough here! And send back the child that
was stolen when you came here!"

Terence sprang toward a window. Ellen stood in his way; he struck her
in the face with his open hand and threw her on the floor. After that
nobody saw him but Kathleen. She saw him go toward the window. It was
open just a little crack. Before her very eyes he grew smaller and
smaller, till he scrambled and rolled and slipped through the crack
and was gone.

That very instant the door opened and the Hill Terence came in. He saw
Ellen lying on the floor, and, without noticing anyone else, he went
to her and lifted her up. Ellen looked in his face, started back from
him for an instant, still gazing in his face, and then caught him in
her arms and cried, with her voice all full of tears, "It's my own
boy--my own boy--the one I always saw in my dreams! Don't come near
me, any of you, or you'll wake me and it'll be another dream! Oh, let
me keep this dream while I can!"

"You'll keep this dream always, Ellen, dear," the old woman said.
"Have no more fear. This is the dream that's for all your life and

It was about that time, or it may have been a little later, that Peter
came in. They told him all about it as well as they could. "It's glad
I am that it all came out so," Peter said, after they had completely
bewildered him by trying to make him understand the story; "it's glad
I am. And yet I did like to hear Terence play the fiddle."

"I can play the fiddle a little too," the new Terence said.

"Oh, yes, indeed he can!" said Kathleen. "Bring the fiddle and he will
show you."

Peter brought the fiddle and Terence played, and the fiddle sang a
great song of gladness--the song of a soul born to find itself a full
man all at once.

"Ah! don't you see now? Don't you see now?" Kathleen cried. "That
means something!"

       *       *       *       *       *

The fairies in the hill were dancing their endless dance, when
Naggeneen, as if he had been lifted up in the air and dropped, was
suddenly among them. They stopped the dance and gathered around him.
"What for are you back here?" the King asked.

"They drove me out!" Naggeneen cried. "I knew they would! I told you
they would! I told you you could do nothing and I could do nothing!
It's the only wonder that they didn't drive me out long ago."

"What do you keep your hand behind you for?" the King asked.

"I couldn't tell you that," said Naggeneen; "I couldn't say the words
that I'ld have to say to tell you."

"And how did they drive you out?"

"By brewing egg-shells."

"And do you mean," the King cried, "that you let them catch you with
that old trick? I thought you was clever."

"Let them catch me! I couldn't help what they did! I tried to help it,
but it's a spell that's too strong for me or for any of us. If I was
to get a soul by it, I couldn't help saying: 'What are you doing,
mother?' and then I couldn't help saying how long I had been on the
earth. Ah, didn't I always tell you mortals was more powerful than us,
if they only knew how? What are our spells and our charms to theirs?"

"And where is Terence, then?" the King asked.

"He's not come in yet," somebody answered.

"You know where he must be by this time," said Naggeneen. "He's back
with his father and his mother by now. Where else could he be?"

"There'll be no geometry to-night," the King said. "It's all done;
we've failed in that. We'll always be as we are, as you told us,
Naggeneen. So now be as you were yourself and give us a tune to dance
by. We was dancing when you came in, but it was no good music we had."

"I'll not play any more," Naggeneen said; "that's all done too. But I
have something more to tell you. Kathleen O'Brien can see us, whether
we like it or not. Some fool of you must have given her the ointment
when she was here, and now she has used it on her eyes. She saw me
when I meant to be invisible, and by the same token she can see any of
you any time, whether you want to be seen or not. Now you know it's
the rule that she must be blinded in some way. Any of you can do it
that likes. I've had enough and I warn you. She carries something that
none of you can face, if she uses it. But you can watch your chance
and do it when she's asleep or in some way off her guard."

An angry murmur ran around when Naggeneen said this. The King was
about to speak, but the Queen spoke first. "Never a one of you shall
harm her," she said. "Look what she did for me and the little Prince,
at that time when we can do nothing for ourselves. And how good her
grandmother has always been to us; and her mother, when she was alive.
I don't care if she sees everything we do; no one of us shall ever
harm her or anyone that belongs to her."

"You are right," the King said, "and it's ordered as you say."

"And she's not to be blinded, then?" said Naggeneen.

"She's not to be harmed," the King answered. "I forbid you ever to
touch her, Naggeneen, and none of us ever will."

"Don't fear for me," said Naggeneen. "I'll never go near her. I've had

"And we've all had enough," said the King; "so now, Naggeneen, play
for us."

"Leave me be," said Naggeneen; "I'll never play for you again. King,
did you ever lose what you cared for more than all the world? When you
do, you'll know more than you know now, with all your age and with all
your power. I told you once how I carried off the Princess of France
and how Guleesh na Guss Dhu stole her from me. I cared nothing for
her. It was only the soul that I'ld get from her that I wanted. And
this time it was only the soul that I wanted, too, at first, but I
loved this one in the end. But a soul will always find out another
soul, and there's nothing for one like us, that has no soul. Oh, I
couldn't even tell her like a man. All I could do was to be always
frightening her and threatening her, and I knew all the time that it
would drive her away from me at last, or me away from her. And I'll be
like the rest of you till the Last Day, and then it's not even a
little smoke that there'll be left of us. Dance and play and do what
you like, but leave me be."

Naggeneen turned away from the King, pushed his way through the crowd,
and threw himself down in a corner of the hall, with his face against
the wall. The rest did not dance any more that night. Naggeneen had
frightened them, as he always frightened them when he chose.

After that for a time everything went with the fairies as it had gone
at first, except that Naggeneen was not among them. Sometimes he was
in the hall by himself and sometimes he was out of it by himself, but
he never danced with the others, he never talked with them, and he
never played for them.

One day the King came to him as he sat in his corner alone and said,
"Naggeneen, we are all going to the wedding. Will you come with us?"

"Leave me be," said Naggeneen. "Why would I want to see it? I don't
know if I'll ever go with you or do anything with you again, or with
anyone, but I know I'll not now."

All the people who were passing St. Patrick's Cathedral could tell by
the looks of things that if they waited long enough they would see
somebody come out. So a good many waited. After a while they saw
Terence and Kathleen come out and get into a carriage.

"Look," said Kathleen: "do you see them? They are the Good People!
Don't you see them all around us, in the street and in the air, and
everywhere? I remember every one of them--the funny little men and the
pretty little girls. Oh, you goose, you have lived with them all your
life, and still you can't see them except when they want you to. But
my eyes are different, and I can see them always. Here is one of them
coming close to the carriage. It is the King. Yes, Your Majesty. What
do you think he says, Terence? He says that they are never going to
try to put my eyes out and are never going to do me any harm at all,
and that I am never to be afraid of them."

Presently the people who were waiting outside the Cathedral saw John
O'Brien and his mother come out and get into another carriage.
"Shaun," said the old woman, "I'm wishing that poor Kitty--Heaven rest
her soul!--could be here to-day."

"I was thinking that same, mother," said John.

"I think she sees it all," said his mother.

"I think so," said John.

"Shaun," said the old woman again, "isn't it all as well as it could
be? Isn't my old King back with us, and isn't it the luck of
O'Donoghue that we've found again?"

       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *





       *       *       *       *       *




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for Young Readers


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       *       *       *       *       *

Charles Scribner's Sons--Publishers

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