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Title: Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry
Author: Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
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 "Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry" ***

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  G. R.


  THE TROOPING FAIRIES--                                            PAGE

        The Fairies                                                    3
        Frank Martin and the Fairies                                   5
        The Priest's Supper                                            9
        The Fairy Well of Lagnanay                                    13
        Teig O'Kane and the Corpse                                    16
        Paddy Corcoran's Wife                                         31
        Cusheen Loo                                                   33
        The White Trout; A Legend of Cong                             35
        The Fairy Thorn                                               38
        The Legend of Knockgrafton                                    40
        A Donegal Fairy                                               46


        The Brewery of Egg-shells                                     48
        The Fairy Nurse                                               51
        Jamie Freel and the Young Lady                                52
        The Stolen Child                                              59

        The Soul Cages                                                61
        Flory Cantillon's Funeral                                     75


        The Lepracaun; or, Fairy Shoemaker                            81
        Master and Man                                                84
        Far Darrig in Donegal                                         90
        The Piper and the Puca                                        95
        Daniel O'Rourke                                               97
        The Kildare Pooka                                            105
        How Thomas Connolly met the Banshee                          108
        A Lamentation for the Death of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald        112
        The Banshee of the MacCarthys                                113


        A Dream                                                      129
        Grace Connor                                                 130
        A Legend of Tyrone                                           132
        The Black Lamb                                               134
        The Radiant Boy                                              136
        The Fate of Frank M'Kenna                                    139


        Bewitched Butter (Donegal)                                   149
        A Queen's County Witch                                       151
        The Witch Hare                                               154
        Bewitched Butter (Queen's County)                            155
        The Horned Women                                             165
        The Witches' Excursion                                       168
        The Confessions of Tom Bourke                                170
        The Pudding Bewitched                                        185


        The Legend of O'Donoghue                                     201
        Rent-Day                                                     203
        Loughleagh (Lake of Healing)                                 206
        Hy-Brasail.--The Isle of the Blest                           212
        The Phantom Isle                                             213


        The Priest's Soul                                            215
        The Priest of Coloony                                        220
        The Story of the Little Bird                                 222
        Conversion of King Laoghaire's Daughters                     224
        King O'Toole and his Goose                                   224


        The Demon Cat                                                229
        The Long Spoon                                               231
        The Countess Kathleen O'Shea                                 232
        The Three Wishes                                             235


        The Giant's Stairs                                           260
        A Legend of Knockmany                                        266


        The Twelve Wild Geese                                        280
        The Lazy Beauty and her Aunts                                286
        The Haughty Princess                                         290
        The Enchantment of Gearoidh Iarla                            294
        Munachar and Manachar                                        296
        Donald and his Neighbours                                    299
        The Jackdaw                                                  303
        The Story of Conn-eda                                        306

  NOTES                                                              319


Dr. Corbett, Bishop of Oxford and Norwich, lamented long ago the
departure of the English fairies. "In Queen Mary's time" he wrote--

    "When Tom came home from labour,
      Or Cis to milking rose,
    Then merrily, merrily went their tabor,
      And merrily went their toes."

But now, in the times of James, they had all gone, for "they were of the
old profession," and "their songs were Ave Maries." In Ireland they are
still extant, giving gifts to the kindly, and plaguing the surly. "Have
you ever seen a fairy or such like?" I asked an old man in County Sligo.
"Amn't I annoyed with them," was the answer. "Do the fishermen along
here know anything of the mermaids?" I asked a woman of a village in
County Dublin. "Indeed, they don't like to see them at all," she
answered, "for they always bring bad weather." "Here is a man who
believes in ghosts," said a foreign sea-captain, pointing to a pilot of
my acquaintance. "In every house over there," said the pilot, pointing
to his native village of Rosses, "there are several." Certainly that now
old and much respected dogmatist, the Spirit of the Age, has in no
manner made his voice heard down there. In a little while, for he has
gotten a consumptive appearance of late, he will be covered over
decently in his grave, and another will grow, old and much respected, in
his place, and never be heard of down there, and after him another and
another and another. Indeed, it is a question whether any of these
personages will ever be heard of outside the newspaper offices and
lecture-rooms and drawing-rooms and eel-pie houses of the cities, or if
the Spirit of the Age is at any time more than a froth. At any rate,
whole troops of their like will not change the Celt much. Giraldus
Cambrensis found the people of the western islands a trifle paganish.
"How many gods are there?" asked a priest, a little while ago, of a man
from the Island of Innistor. "There is one on Innistor; but this seems a
big place," said the man, and the priest held up his hands in horror, as
Giraldus had, just seven centuries before. Remember, I am not blaming
the man; it is very much better to believe in a number of gods than in
none at all, or to think there is only one, but that he is a little
sentimental and impracticable, and not constructed for the nineteenth
century. The Celt, and his cromlechs, and his pillar-stones, these will
not change much--indeed, it is doubtful if anybody at all changes at any
time. In spite of hosts of deniers, and asserters, and wise-men, and
professors, the majority still are averse to sitting down to dine
thirteen at table, or being helped to salt, or walking under a ladder,
or seeing a single magpie flirting his chequered tail. There are, of
course, children of light who have set their faces against all this,
though even a newspaper man, if you entice him into a cemetery at
midnight, will believe in phantoms, for every one is a visionary, if you
scratch him deep enough. But the Celt is a visionary without scratching.

Yet, be it noticed, if you are a stranger, you will not readily get
ghost and fairy legends, even in a western village. You must go adroitly
to work, and make friends with the children, and the old men, with those
who have not felt the pressure of mere daylight existence, and those
with whom it is growing less, and will have altogether taken itself off
one of these days. The old women are most learned, but will not so
readily be got to talk, for the fairies are very secretive, and much
resent being talked of; and are there not many stories of old women who
were nearly pinched into their graves or numbed with fairy blasts?

At sea, when the nets are out and the pipes are lit, then will some
ancient hoarder of tales become loquacious, telling his histories to
the tune of the creaking of the boats. Holy-eve night, too, is a great
time, and in old days many tales were to be heard at wakes. But the
priests have set faces against wakes.

In the Parochial Survey of Ireland it is recorded how the
story-tellers used to gather together of an evening, and if any had a
different version from the others, they would all recite theirs and
vote, and the man who had varied would have to abide by their verdict.
In this way stories have been handed down with such accuracy, that the
long tale of Dierdre was, in the earlier decades of this century, told
almost word for word, as in the very ancient MSS. in the Royal Dublin
Society. In one case only it varied, and then the MS. was obviously
wrong--a passage had been forgotten by the copyist. But this accuracy
is rather in the folk and bardic tales than in the fairy legends, for
these vary widely, being usually adapted to some neighbouring village
or local fairy-seeing celebrity. Each county has usually some family,
or personage, supposed to have been favoured or plagued, especially by
the phantoms, as the Hackets of Castle Hacket, Galway, who had for
their ancestor a fairy, or John-o'-Daly of Lisadell, Sligo, who wrote
"Eilleen Aroon," the song the Scotch have stolen and called "Robin
Adair," and which Handel would sooner have written than all his
oratorios,[1] and the "O'Donahue of Kerry." Round these men stories
tended to group themselves, sometimes deserting more ancient heroes
for the purpose. Round poets have they gathered especially, for poetry
in Ireland has always been mysteriously connected with magic.

These folk-tales are full of simplicity and musical occurrences, for
they are the literature of a class for whom every incident in the old
rut of birth, love, pain, and death has cropped up unchanged for
centuries: who have steeped everything in the heart: to whom
everything is a symbol. They have the spade over which man has leant
from the beginning. The people of the cities have the machine, which
is prose and a _parvenu_. They have few events. They can turn over the
incidents of a long life as they sit by the fire. With us nothing has
time to gather meaning, and too many things are occurring for even a
big heart to hold. It is said the most eloquent people in the world
are the Arabs, who have only the bare earth of the desert and a sky
swept bare by the sun. "Wisdom has alighted upon three things," goes
their proverb; "the hand of the Chinese, the brain of the Frank, and
the tongue of the Arab." This, I take it, is the meaning of that
simplicity sought for so much in these days by all the poets, and not
to be had at any price.

The most notable and typical story-teller of my acquaintance is one
Paddy Flynn, a little, bright-eyed, old man, living in a leaky
one-roomed cottage of the village of B----, "The most gentle--_i.e._,
fairy--place in the whole of the County Sligo," he says, though
others claim that honour for Drumahair or for Drumcliff. A very pious
old man, too! You may have some time to inspect his strange figure and
ragged hair, if he happen to be in a devout humour, before he comes to
the doings of the gentry. A strange devotion! Old tales of Columkill,
and what he said to his mother. "How are you to-day, mother?" "Worse!"
"May you be worse to-morrow;" and on the next day, "How are you
to-day, mother?" "Worse!" "May you be worse to-morrow;" and on the
next, "How are you to-day, mother?" "Better, thank God." "May you be
better to-morrow." In which undutiful manner he will tell you
Columkill inculcated cheerfulness. Then most likely he will wander off
into his favourite theme--how the Judge smiles alike in rewarding the
good and condemning the lost to unceasing flames. Very consoling does
it appear to Paddy Flynn, this melancholy and apocalyptic cheerfulness
of the Judge. Nor seems his own cheerfulness quite earthly--though a
very palpable cheerfulness. The first time I saw him he was cooking
mushrooms for himself; the next time he was asleep under a hedge,
smiling in his sleep. Assuredly some joy not quite of this steadfast
earth lightens in those eyes--swift as the eyes of a rabbit--among so
many wrinkles, for Paddy Flynn is very old. A melancholy there is in
the midst of their cheerfulness--a melancholy that is almost a portion
of their joy, the visionary melancholy of purely instinctive natures
and of all animals. In the triple solitude of age and eccentricity and
partial deafness he goes about much pestered by children.

As to the reality of his fairy and spirit-seeing powers, not all are
agreed. One day we were talking of the Banshee. "I have seen it," he
said, "down there by the water 'batting' the river with its hands."
He it was who said the fairies annoyed him.

Not that the Sceptic is entirely afar even from these western
villages. I found him one morning as he bound his corn in a merest
pocket-handkerchief of a field. Very different from Paddy
Flynn--Scepticism in every wrinkle of his face, and a travelled man,
too!--a foot-long Mohawk Indian tatooed on one of his arms to evidence
the matter. "They who travel," says a neighbouring priest, shaking his
head over him, and quoting Thomas Á'Kempis, "seldom come home holy." I
had mentioned ghosts to this Sceptic. "Ghosts," said he; "there are no
such things at all, at all, but the gentry, they stand to reason; for
the devil, when he fell out of heaven, took the weak-minded ones with
him, and they were put into the waste places. And that's what the
gentry are. But they are getting scarce now, because their time's
over, ye see, and they're going back. But ghosts, no! And I'll tell ye
something more I don't believe in--the fire of hell;" then, in a low
voice, "that's only invented to give the priests and the parsons
something to do." Thereupon this man, so full of enlightenment,
returned to his corn-binding.

The various collectors of Irish folk-lore have, from our point of
view, one great merit, and from the point of view of others, one great
fault. They have made their work literature rather than science, and
told us of the Irish peasantry rather than of the primitive religion
of mankind, or whatever else the folk-lorists are on the gad after. To
be considered scientists they should have tabulated all their tales in
forms like grocers' bills--item the fairy king, item the queen.
Instead of this they have caught the very voice of the people, the
very pulse of life, each giving what was most noticed in his day.
Croker and Lover, full of the ideas of harum-scarum Irish gentility,
saw everything humorised. The impulse of the Irish literature of their
time came from a class that did not--mainly for political
reasons--take the populace seriously, and imagined the country as a
humorist's Arcadia; its passion, its gloom, its tragedy, they knew
nothing of. What they did was not wholly false; they merely magnified
an irresponsible type, found oftenest among boatmen, carmen, and
gentlemen's servants, into the type of a whole nation, and created the
stage Irishman. The writers of 'Forty-eight, and the famine combined,
burst their bubble. Their work had the dash as well as the shallowness
of an ascendant and idle class, and in Croker is touched everywhere
with beauty--a gentle Arcadian beauty. Carleton, a peasant born, has
in many of his stories--I have been only able to give a few of the
slightest--more especially in his ghost stories, a much more serious
way with him, for all his humour. Kennedy, an old bookseller in
Dublin, who seems to have had a something of genuine belief in the
fairies, came next in time. He has far less literary faculty, but is
wonderfully accurate, giving often the very words the stories were
told in. But the best book since Croker is Lady Wilde's _Ancient
Legends_. The humour has all given way to pathos and tenderness. We
have here the innermost heart of the Celt in the moments he has grown
to love through years of persecution, when, cushioning himself about
with dreams, and hearing fairy-songs in the twilight, he ponders on
the soul and on the dead. Here is the Celt, only it is the Celt

Besides these are two writers of importance, who have published, so
far, nothing in book shape--Miss Letitia Maclintock and Mr. Douglas
Hyde. Miss Maclintock writes accurately and beautifully the half
Scotch dialect of Ulster; and Mr. Douglas Hyde is now preparing a
volume of folk tales in Gaelic, having taken them down, for the most
part, word for word among the Gaelic speakers of Roscommon and Galway.
He is, perhaps, most to be trusted of all. He knows the people
thoroughly. Others see a phase of Irish life; he understands all its
elements. His work is neither humorous nor mournful; it is simply
life. I hope he may put some of his gatherings into ballads, for he is
the last of our ballad-writers of the school of Walsh and
Callanan--men whose work seems fragrant with turf smoke. And this
brings to mind the chap-books. They are to be found brown with turf
smoke on cottage shelves, and are, or were, sold on every hand by the
pedlars, but cannot be found in any library of this city of the
Sassanach. "The Royal Fairy Tales," "The Hibernian Tales," and "The
Legends of the Fairies" are the fairy literature of the people.

Several specimens of our fairy poetry are given. It is more like the
fairy poetry of Scotland than of England. The personages of English
fairy literature are merely, in most cases, mortals beautifully
masquerading. Nobody ever believed in such fairies. They are romantic
bubbles from Provence. Nobody ever laid new milk on their doorstep for

As to my own part in this book, I have tried to make it
representative, as far as so few pages would allow, of every kind of
Irish folk-faith. The reader will perhaps wonder that in all my notes
I have not rationalised a single hobgoblin. I seek for shelter to the
words of Socrates.[2]

"_Phædrus._ I should like to know, Socrates, whether the place is not
somewhere here at which Boreas is said to have carried off Orithyia
from the banks of the Ilissus?

"_Socrates._ That is the tradition.

"_Phædrus._ And is this the exact spot? The little stream is
delightfully clear and bright; I can fancy that there might be maidens
playing near.

"_Socrates._ I believe the spot is not exactly here, but about a
quarter-of-a-mile lower down, where you cross to the temple of
Artemis, and I think that there is some sort of an altar of Boreas at
the place.

"_Phædrus._ I do not recollect; but I beseech you to tell me,
Socrates, do you believe this tale?

"_Socrates._ The wise are doubtful, and I should not be singular if,
like them, I also doubted. I might have a rational explanation that
Orithyia was playing with Pharmacia, when a northern gust carried her
over the neighbouring rocks; and this being the manner of her death,
she was said to have been carried away by Boreas. There is a
discrepancy, however, about the locality. According to another version
of the story, she was taken from the Areopagus, and not from this
place. Now I quite acknowledge that these allegories are very nice,
but he is not to be envied who has to invent them; much labour and
ingenuity will be required of him; and when he has once begun, he must
go on and rehabilitate centaurs and chimeras dire. Gorgons and winged
steeds flow in apace, and numberless other inconceivable and
portentous monsters. And if he is sceptical about them, and would fain
reduce them one after another to the rules of probability, this sort
of crude philosophy will take up all his time. Now, I have certainly
not time for such inquiries. Shall I tell you why? I must first know
myself, as the Delphian inscription says; to be curious about that
which is not my business, while I am still in ignorance of my own
self, would be ridiculous. And, therefore, I say farewell to all this;
the common opinion is enough for me. For, as I was saying, I want to
know not about this, but about myself. Am I, indeed, a wonder more
complicated and swollen with passion than the serpent Typho, or a
creature of gentler and simpler sort, to whom nature has given a
diviner and lowlier destiny?"

       *       *       *       *       *

I have to thank Messrs Macmillan, and the editors of _Belgravia_, _All
the Year Round_, and _Monthly Packet_, for leave to quote from Patrick
Kennedy's _Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts_, and Miss
Maclintock's articles respectively; Lady Wilde, for leave to give what
I would from her _Ancient Legends of Ireland_ (Ward & Downey); and Mr.
Douglas Hyde, for his three unpublished stories, and for valuable and
valued assistance in several ways; and also Mr. Allingham, and other
copyright holders, for their poems. Mr. Allingham's poems are from
_Irish Songs and Poems_ (Reeves and Turner); Fergusson's, from Sealey,
Bryers, & Walker's shilling reprint; my own and Miss O'Leary's from
_Ballads and Poems of Young Ireland_, 1888, a little anthology
published by Gill & Sons, Dublin.

                                                        W. B. YEATS.

[Footnote 1: He lived some time in Dublin, and heard it then.]

[Footnote 2: _Phædrus._ Jowett's translation. (Clarendon Press.)]



The Irish word for fairy is _sheehogue_ [_sidheóg_], a diminutive of
"shee" in _banshee_. Fairies are _deenee shee_ [_daoine sidhe_] (fairy

Who are they? "Fallen angels who were not good enough to be saved, nor
bad enough to be lost," say the peasantry. "The gods of the earth,"
says the Book of Armagh. "The gods of pagan Ireland," say the Irish
antiquarians, "the _Tuatha De Danān_, who, when no longer
worshipped and fed with offerings, dwindled away in the popular
imagination, and now are only a few spans high."

And they will tell you, in proof, that the names of fairy chiefs are
the names of old _Danān_ heroes, and the places where they
especially gather together, _Danān_ burying-places, and that the
_Tuath De Danān_ used also to be called the _slooa-shee_ [_sheagh
sidhe_] (the fairy host), or _Marcra shee_ (the fairy cavalcade).

On the other hand, there is much evidence to prove them fallen angels.
Witness the nature of the creatures, their caprice, their way of being
good to the good and evil to the evil, having every charm but
conscience--consistency. Beings so quickly offended that you must not
speak much about them at all, and never call them anything but the
"gentry," or else _daoine maithe_, which in English means good people,
yet so easily pleased, they will do their best to keep misfortune away
from you, if you leave a little milk for them on the window-sill over
night. On the whole, the popular belief tells us most about them,
telling us how they fell, and yet were not lost, because their evil
was wholly without malice.

Are they "the gods of the earth?" Perhaps! Many poets, and all mystic
and occult writers, in all ages and countries, have declared that
behind the visible are chains on chains of conscious beings, who are
not of heaven but of the earth, who have no inherent form but change
according to their whim, or the mind that sees them. You cannot lift
your hand without influencing and being influenced by hoards. The
visible world is merely their skin. In dreams we go amongst them, and
play with them, and combat with them. They are, perhaps, human souls
in the crucible--these creatures of whim.

Do not think the fairies are always little. Everything is capricious
about them, even their size. They seem to take what size or shape
pleases them. Their chief occupations are feasting, fighting, and
making love, and playing the most beautiful music. They have only one
industrious person amongst them, the _lepra-caun_--the shoemaker.
Perhaps they wear their shoes out with dancing. Near the village of
Ballisodare is a little woman who lived amongst them seven years. When
she came home she had no toes--she had danced them off.

They have three great festivals in the year--May Eve, Midsummer Eve,
November Eve. On May Eve, every seventh year, they fight all round,
but mostly on the "Plain-a-Bawn" (wherever that is), for the harvest,
for the best ears of grain belong to them. An old man told me he saw
them fight once; they tore the thatch off a house in the midst of it
all. Had anyone else been near they would merely have seen a great
wind whirling everything into the air as it passed. When the wind
makes the straws and leaves whirl as it passes, that is the fairies,
and the peasantry take off their hats and say, "God bless them."

On Midsummer Eve, when the bonfires are lighted on every hill in
honour of St. John, the fairies are at their gayest, and sometime
steal away beautiful mortals to be their brides.

On November Eve they are at their gloomiest, for, according to the old
Gaelic reckoning, this is the first night of winter. This night they
dance with the ghosts, and the _pooka_ is abroad, and witches make
their spells, and girls set a table with food in the name of the
devil, that the fetch of their future lover may come through the
window and eat of the food. After November Eve the blackberries are no
longer wholesome, for the _pooka_ has spoiled them.

When they are angry they paralyse men and cattle with their fairy darts.

When they are gay they sing. Many a poor girl has heard them, and
pined away and died, for love of that singing. Plenty of the old
beautiful tunes of Ireland are only their music, caught up by
eavesdroppers. No wise peasant would hum "The Pretty Girl milking the
Cow" near a fairy rath, for they are jealous, and do not like to hear
their songs on clumsy mortal lips. Carolan, the last of the Irish
bards, slept on a rath, and ever after the fairy tunes ran in his
head, and made him the great man he was.

Do they die? Blake saw a fairy's funeral; but in Ireland we say they
are immortal.



    Up the airy mountain,
      Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting
      For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
      Trooping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
      And white owl's feather!

    Down along the rocky shore
      Some make their home,
    They live on crispy pancakes
      Of yellow tide-foam;
    Some in the reeds
      Of the black mountain lake,
    With frogs for their watch-dogs
      All night awake.

    High on the hill-top
      The old King sits;
    He is now so old and gray
      He's nigh lost his wits.
    With a bridge of white mist
      Columbkill he crosses,
    On his stately journeys
      From Slieveleague to Rosses;
    Or going up with music
      On cold starry nights,
    To sup with the Queen
      Of the gay Northern Lights.

    They stole little Bridget
      For seven years long;
    When she came down again
      Her friends were all gone.
    They took her lightly back,
      Between the night and morrow,
    They thought that she was fast asleep,
      But she was dead with sorrow.
    They have kept her ever since
      Deep within the lake,
    On a bed of flag-leaves,
      Watching till she wake.

    By the craggy hill-side,
      Through the mosses bare,
    They have planted thorn-trees
      For pleasure here and there.
    Is any man so daring
      As dig them up in spite,
    He shall find their sharpest thorns
      In his bed at night.

    Up the airy mountain,
      Down the rushy glen,
    We daren't go a-hunting
      For fear of little men;
    Wee folk, good folk,
      Trooping all together;
    Green jacket, red cap,
      And white owl's feather!



Martin was a thin pale man, when I saw him, of a sickly look, and a
constitution naturally feeble. His hair was a light auburn, his beard
mostly unshaven, and his hands of a singular delicacy and whiteness,
owing, I dare say, as much to the soft and easy nature of his
employment as to his infirm health. In everything else he was as
sensible, sober, and rational as any other man; but on the topic of
fairies, the man's mania was peculiarly strong and immovable. Indeed,
I remember that the expression of his eyes was singularly wild and
hollow, and his long narrow temples sallow and emaciated.

Now, this man did not lead an unhappy life, nor did the malady he
laboured under seem to be productive of either pain or terror to him,
although one might be apt to imagine otherwise. On the contrary, he
and the fairies maintained the most friendly intimacy, and their
dialogues--which I fear were wofully one-sided ones--must have been a
source of great pleasure to him, for they were conducted with much
mirth and laughter, on his part at least.

"Well, Frank, when did you see the fairies?"

"Whist! there's two dozen of them in the shop (the weaving shop) this
minute. There's a little ould fellow sittin' on the top of the sleys,
an' all to be rocked while I'm weavin'. The sorrow's in them, but
they're the greatest little skamers alive, so they are. See, there's
another of them at my dressin' noggin.[3] Go out o' that, you
_shingawn_; or, bad cess to me, if you don't, but I'll lave you a
mark. Ha! cut, you thief you!"

"Frank, arn't you afeard o' them?"

"Is it me! Arra, what ud' I be afeard o' them for? Sure they have no
power over me."

"And why haven't they, Frank?"

"Because I was baptized against them."

"What do you mean by that?"

"Why, the priest that christened me was tould by my father, to put in
the proper prayer against the fairies--an' a priest can't refuse it
when he's asked--an' he did so. Begorra, it's well for me that he
did--(let the tallow alone, you little glutton--see, there's a weeny
thief o' them aitin' my tallow)--becaise, you see, it was their
intention to make me king o' the fairies."

"Is it possible?"

"Devil a lie in it. Sure you may ax them, an' they'll tell you."

"What size are they, Frank?"

"Oh, little wee fellows, with green coats, an' the purtiest little shoes
ever you seen. There's two of them--both ould acquaintances o'
mine--runnin' along the yarn-beam. That ould fellow with the bob-wig is
called Jim Jam, an' the other chap, with the three-cocked hat, is called
Nickey Nick. Nickey plays the pipes. Nickey, give us a tune, or I'll
malivogue you--come now, 'Lough Erne Shore.' Whist, now--listen!"

The poor fellow, though weaving as fast as he could all the time, yet
bestowed every possible mark of attention to the music, and seemed to
enjoy it as much as if it had been real.

But who can tell whether that which we look upon as a privation may
not after all be a fountain of increased happiness, greater, perhaps,
than any which we ourselves enjoy? I forget who the poet is who says--

      "Mysterious are thy laws;
    The vision's finer than the view;
    Her landscape Nature never drew
      So fair as Fancy draws."

Many a time, when a mere child, not more than six or seven years of
age, have I gone as far as Frank's weaving-shop, in order, with a
heart divided between curiosity and fear, to listen to his
conversation with the good people. From morning till night his tongue
was going almost as incessantly as his shuttle; and it was well known
that at night, whenever he awoke out of his sleep, the first thing he
did was to put out his hand, and push them, as it were, off his bed.

"Go out o' this, you thieves, you--go out o' this now, an' let me
alone. Nickey, is this any time to be playing the pipes, and me wants
to sleep? Go off, now--troth if yez do, you'll see what I'll give yez
to-morrow. Sure I'll be makin' new dressin's; and if yez behave
decently, maybe I'll lave yez the scrapin' o' the pot. There now. Och!
poor things, they're dacent crathurs. Sure they're all gone, barrin'
poor Red-cap, that doesn't like to lave me." And then the harmless
monomaniac would fall back into what we trust was an innocent slumber.

About this time there was said to have occurred a very remarkable
circumstance, which gave poor Frank a vast deal of importance among
the neighbours. A man named Frank Thomas, the same in whose house
Mickey M'Rorey held the first dance at which I ever saw him, as
detailed in a former sketch; this man, I say, had a child sick, but
of what complaint I cannot now remember, nor is it of any importance.
One of the gables of Thomas's house was built against, or rather into,
a Forth or Rath, called Towny, or properly Tonagh Forth. It was said
to be haunted by the fairies, and what gave it a character peculiarly
wild in my eyes was, that there were on the southern side of it two or
three little green mounds, which were said to be the graves of
unchristened children, over which it was considered dangerous and
unlucky to pass. At all events, the season was mid-summer; and one
evening about dusk, during the illness of the child, the noise of a
hand-saw was heard upon the Forth. This was considered rather strange,
and, after a little time, a few of those who were assembled at Frank
Thomas's went to see who it could be that was sawing in such a place,
or what they could be sawing at so late an hour, for every one knew
that nobody in the whole country about them would dare to cut down the
few white-thorns that grew upon the Forth. On going to examine,
however, judge of their surprise, when, after surrounding and
searching the whole place, they could discover no trace of either saw
or sawyer. In fact, with the exception of themselves, there was no
one, either natural or supernatural, visible. They then returned to
the house, and had scarcely sat down, when it was heard again within
ten yards of them. Another examination of the premises took place, but
with equal success. Now, however, while standing on the Forth, they
heard the sawing in a little hollow, about a hundred and fifty yards
below them, which was completely exposed to their view, but they could
see nobody. A party of them immediately went down to ascertain, if
possible, what this singular noise and invisible labour could mean;
but on arriving at the spot, they heard the sawing, to which were now
added hammering, and the driving of nails upon the Forth above, whilst
those who stood on the Forth continued to hear it in the hollow. On
comparing notes, they resolved to send down to Billy Nelson's for
Frank Martin, a distance of only about eighty or ninety yards. He was
soon on the spot, and without a moment's hesitation solved the enigma.

"'Tis the fairies," said he. "I see them, and busy crathurs they are."

"But what are they sawing, Frank?"

"They are makin' a child's coffin," he replied; "they have the body
already made, an' they're now nailin' the lid together."

That night the child died, and the story goes that on the second
evening afterwards, the carpenter who was called upon to make the
coffin brought a table out from Thomas's house to the Forth, as a
temporary bench; and, it is said, that the sawing and hammering
necessary for the completion of his task were precisely the same which
had been heard the evening but one before--neither more nor less. I
remember the death of the child myself, and the making of its coffin,
but I think the story of the supernatural carpenter was not heard in
the village for some months after its interment.

Frank had every appearance of a hypochondriac about him. At the time I
saw him, he might be about thirty-four years of age, but I do not
think, from the debility of his frame and infirm health, that he has
been alive for several years. He was an object of considerable
interest and curiosity, and often have I been present when he was
pointed out to strangers as "the man that could see the good people."

[Footnote 3: The dressings are a species of sizy flummery, which is
brushed into the yarn to keep the thread round and even, and to
prevent it from being frayed by the friction of the reed.]



It is said by those who ought to understand such things, that the good
people, or the fairies, are some of the angels who were turned out of
heaven, and who landed on their feet in this world, while the rest of
their companions, who had more sin to sink them, went down farther to
a worse place. Be this as it may, there was a merry troop of the
fairies, dancing and playing all manner of wild pranks, on a bright
moonlight evening towards the end of September. The scene of their
merriment was not far distant from Inchegeela, in the west of the
county Cork--a poor village, although it had a barrack for soldiers;
but great mountains and barren rocks, like those round about it, are
enough to strike poverty into any place: however, as the fairies can
have everything they want for wishing, poverty does not trouble them
much, and all their care is to seek out unfrequented nooks and places
where it is not likely any one will come to spoil their sport.

On a nice green sod by the river's side were the little fellows
dancing in a ring as gaily as may be, with their red caps wagging
about at every bound in the moonshine, and so light were these bounds
that the lobs of dew, although they trembled under their feet, were
not disturbed by their capering. Thus did they carry on their gambols,
spinning round and round, and twirling and bobbing and diving, and
going through all manner of figures, until one of them chirped out,

    "Cease, cease, with your drumming,
    Here's an end to our mumming;
        By my smell
        I can tell
    A priest this way is coming!"

And away every one of the fairies scampered off as hard as they could,
concealing themselves under the green leaves of the lusmore, where, if
their little red caps should happen to peep out, they would only look
like its crimson bells; and more hid themselves at the shady side of
stones and brambles, and others under the bank of the river, and in
holes and crannies of one kind or another.

The fairy speaker was not mistaken; for along the road, which was
within view of the river, came Father Horrigan on his pony, thinking
to himself that as it was so late he would make an end of his journey
at the first cabin he came to. According to this determination, he
stopped at the dwelling of Dermod Leary, lifted the latch, and entered
with "My blessing on all here."

I need not say that Father Horrigan was a welcome guest wherever he
went, for no man was more pious or better beloved in the country. Now
it was a great trouble to Dermod that he had nothing to offer his
reverence for supper as a relish to the potatoes, which "the old
woman," for so Dermod called his wife, though she was not much past
twenty, had down boiling in a pot over the fire; he thought of the net
which he had set in the river, but as it had been there only a short
time, the chances were against his finding a fish in it. "No matter,"
thought Dermod, "there can be no harm in stepping down to try; and
maybe, as I want the fish for the priest's supper, that one will be
there before me."

Down to the river-side went Dermod, and he found in the net as fine a
salmon as ever jumped in the bright waters of "the spreading Lee;" but
as he was going to take it out, the net was pulled from him, he could
not tell how or by whom, and away got the salmon, and went swimming
along with the current as gaily as if nothing had happened.

Dermod looked sorrowfully at the wake which the fish had left upon the
water, shining like a line of silver in the moonlight, and then, with
an angry motion of his right hand, and a stamp of his foot, gave vent
to his feelings by muttering, "May bitter bad luck attend you night
and day for a blackguard schemer of a salmon, wherever you go! You
ought to be ashamed of yourself, if there's any shame in you, to give
me the slip after this fashion! And I'm clear in my own mind you'll
come to no good, for some kind of evil thing or other helped you--did
I not feel it pull the net against me as strong as the devil himself?"

"That's not true for you," said one of the little fairies who had
scampered off at the approach of the priest, coming up to Dermod Leary
with a whole throng of companions at his heels; "there was only a
dozen and a half of us pulling against you."

Dermod gazed on the tiny speaker with wonder, who continued, "Make
yourself noways uneasy about the priest's supper; for if you will go
back and ask him one question from us, there will be as fine a supper
as ever was put on a table spread out before him in less than no time."

"I'll have nothing at all to do with you," replied Dermod in a tone of
determination; and after a pause he added, "I'm much obliged to you
for your offer, sir, but I know better than to sell myself to you, or
the like of you, for a supper; and more than that, I know Father
Horrigan has more regard for my soul than to wish me to pledge it for
ever, out of regard to anything you could put before him--so there's
an end of the matter."

The little speaker, with a pertinacity not to be repulsed by Dermod's
manner, continued, "Will you ask the priest one civil question for us?"

Dermod considered for some time, and he was right in doing so, but he
thought that no one could come to harm out of asking a civil question.
"I see no objection to do that same, gentlemen," said Dermod; "but I
will have nothing in life to do with your supper--mind that."

"Then," said the little speaking fairy, whilst the rest came crowding
after him from all parts, "go and ask Father Horrigan to tell us
whether our souls will be saved at the last day, like the souls of
good Christians; and if you wish us well, bring back word what he says
without delay."

Away went Dermod to his cabin, where he found the potatoes thrown out
on the table, and his good woman handing the biggest of them all, a
beautiful laughing red apple, smoking like a hard-ridden horse on a
frosty night, over to Father Horrigan.

"Please your reverence," said Dermod, after some hesitation, "may I
make bold to ask your honour one question?"

"What may that be?" said Father Horrigan.

"Why, then, begging your reverence's pardon for my freedom, it is, If
the souls of the good people are to be saved at the last day?"

"Who bid you ask me that question, Leary?" said the priest, fixing his
eyes upon him very sternly, which Dermod could not stand before at all.

"I'll tell no lies about the matter, and nothing in life but the
truth," said Dermod. "It was the good people themselves who sent me to
ask the question, and there they are in thousands down on the bank of
the river, waiting for me to go back with the answer."

"Go back by all means," said the priest, "and tell them, if they want
to know, to come here to me themselves, and I'll answer that or any
other question they are pleased to ask with the greatest pleasure in

Dermod accordingly returned to the fairies, who came swarming round
about him to hear what the priest had said in reply; and Dermod spoke
out among them like a bold man as he was: but when they heard that
they must go to the priest, away they fled, some here and more there,
and some this way and more that, whisking by poor Dermod so fast and
in such numbers that he was quite bewildered.

When he came to himself, which was not for a long time, back he went
to his cabin, and ate his dry potatoes along with Father Horrigan, who
made quite light of the thing; but Dermod could not help thinking it a
mighty hard case that his reverence, whose words had the power to
banish the fairies at such a rate, should have no sort of relish to
his supper, and that the fine salmon he had in the net should have
been got away from him in such a manner.



    Mournfully, sing mournfully--
      "O listen, Ellen, sister dear:
    Is there no help at all for me,
      But only ceaseless sigh and tear?
      Why did not he who left me here,
    With stolen hope steal memory?
      O listen, Ellen, sister dear,
    (Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
      I'll go away to Sleamish hill,
    I'll pluck the fairy hawthorn-tree,
      And let the spirits work their will;
      I care not if for good or ill,
    So they but lay the memory
      Which all my heart is haunting still!
    (Mournfully, sing mournfully)--
      The Fairies are a silent race,
    And pale as lily flowers to see;
      I care not for a blanched face,
      For wandering in a dreaming place,
    So I but banish memory:--
      I wish I were with Anna Grace!"
    Mournfully, sing mournfully!

    Hearken to my tale of woe--
      'Twas thus to weeping Ellen Con,
    Her sister said in accents low,
      Her only sister, Una bawn:
      'Twas in their bed before the dawn,
    And Ellen answered sad and slow,--
      "Oh Una, Una, be not drawn
    (Hearken to my tale of woe)--
      To this unholy grief I pray,
    Which makes me sick at heart to know,
      And I will help you if I may:
      --The Fairy Well of Lagnanay--
    Lie nearer me, I tremble so,--
      Una, I've heard wise women say
    (Hearken to my tale of woe)--
      That if before the dews arise,
    True maiden in its icy flow
      With pure hand bathe her bosom thrice,
      Three lady-brackens pluck likewise,
    And three times round the fountain go,
      She straight forgets her tears and sighs."
    Hearken to my tale of woe!

    All, alas! and well-away!
      "Oh, sister Ellen, sister sweet,
    Come with me to the hill I pray,
      And I will prove that blessed freet!"
      They rose with soft and silent feet,
    They left their mother where she lay,
      Their mother and her care discreet,
    (All, alas! and well-away!)
      And soon they reached the Fairy Well,
    The mountain's eye, clear, cold, and grey,
      Wide open in the dreary fell:
      How long they stood 'twere vain to tell,
    At last upon the point of day,
      Bawn Una bares her bosom's swell,
    (All, alas! and well-away!)
      Thrice o'er her shrinking breasts she laves
      Of subtly-streaming fairy waves:--
      And now the charm three brackens craves,
    She plucks them in their fring'd array:--
      Now round the well her fate she braves,
    All, alas! and well-away!

    Save us all from Fairy thrall!
      Ellen sees her face the rim
    Twice and thrice, and that is all--
      Fount and hill and maiden swim
      All together melting dim!
    "Una! Una!" thou may'st call,
      Sister sad! but lith or limb
    (Save us all from Fairy thrall!)
      Never again of Una bawn,
    Where now she walks in dreamy hall,
      Shall eye of mortal look upon!
      Oh! can it be the guard was gone,
    The better guard than shield or wall?
      Who knows on earth save Jurlagh Daune?
    (Save us all from Fairy thrall!)
      Behold the banks are green and bare,
    No pit is here wherein to fall:
      Aye--at the fount you well may stare,
      But nought save pebbles smooth is there,
    And small straws twirling one and all.
      Hie thee home, and be thy pray'r,
    Save us all from Fairy thrall.



     [I found it hard to place Mr. Douglas Hyde's magnificent story.
     Among the ghosts or the fairies? It is among the fairies on the
     grounds that all these ghosts and bodies were in no manner ghosts
     and bodies, but _pishogues_--fairy spells. One often hears of
     these visions in Ireland. I have met a man who had lived a wild
     life like the man in the story, till a vision came to him in
     County ---- one dark night--in no way so terrible a vision as
     this, but sufficient to change his whole character. He will not
     go out at night. If you speak to him suddenly he trembles. He has
     grown timid and strange. He went to the bishop and was sprinkled
     with holy water. "It may have come as a warning," said the
     bishop; "yet great theologians are of opinion that no man ever
     saw an apparition, for no man would survive it."--ED.]

There was once a grown-up lad in the County Leitrim, and he was strong
and lively, and the son of a rich farmer. His father had plenty of
money, and he did not spare it on the son. Accordingly, when the boy
grew up he liked sport better than work, and, as his father had no
other children, he loved this one so much that he allowed him to do in
everything just as it pleased himself. He was very extravagant, and he
used to scatter the gold money as another person would scatter the
white. He was seldom to be found at home, but if there was a fair, or
a race, or a gathering within ten miles of him, you were dead certain
to find him there. And he seldom spent a night in his father's house,
but he used to be always out rambling, and, like Shawn Bwee long ago,
there was

    "grádh gach cailin i mbrollach a léine,"

"the love of every girl in the breast of his shirt," and it's many's
the kiss he got and he gave, for he was very handsome, and there
wasn't a girl in the country but would fall in love with him, only for
him to fasten his two eyes on her, and it was for that someone made
this _rann_ on him--

                "Feuch an rógaire 'g iarraidh póige,
                  Ni h-iongantas mór é a bheith mar atá
                Ag leanamhaint a gcómhnuidhe d'árnán na gráineóige
                  Anuas 's anios 's nna chodladh 'sa' lá."

    _i.e._--"Look at the rogue, its for kisses he's rambling,
                  It isn't much wonder, for that was his way;
                He's like an old hedgehog, at night he'll be scrambling
                  From this place to that, but he'll sleep in the day."

At last he became very wild and unruly. He wasn't to be seen day nor
night in his father's house, but always rambling or going on his
_kailee_ (night-visit) from place to place and from house to house, so
that the old people used to shake their heads and say to one another,
"it's easy seen what will happen to the land when the old man dies;
his son will run through it in a year, and it won't stand him that
long itself."

He used to be always gambling and card-playing and drinking, but his
father never minded his bad habits, and never punished him. But it
happened one day that the old man was told that the son had ruined the
character of a girl in the neighbourhood, and he was greatly angry,
and he called the son to him, and said to him, quietly and
sensibly--"Avic," says he, "you know I loved you greatly up to this,
and I never stopped you from doing your choice thing whatever it was,
and I kept plenty of money with you, and I always hoped to leave you
the house and land, and all I had after myself would be gone; but I
heard a story of you to-day that has disgusted me with you. I cannot
tell you the grief that I felt when I heard such a thing of you, and I
tell you now plainly that unless you marry that girl I'll leave house
and land and everything to my brother's son. I never could leave it to
anyone who would make so bad a use of it as you do yourself, deceiving
women and coaxing girls. Settle with yourself now whether you'll marry
that girl and get my land as a fortune with her, or refuse to marry
her and give up all that was coming to you; and tell me in the morning
which of the two things you have chosen."

"Och! _Domnoo Sheery!_ father, you wouldn't say that to me, and I such
a good son as I am. Who told you I wouldn't marry the girl?" says he.

But his father was gone, and the lad knew well enough that he would
keep his word too; and he was greatly troubled in his mind, for as
quiet and as kind as the father was, he never went back of a word that
he had once said, and there wasn't another man in the country who was
harder to bend than he was.

The boy did not know rightly what to do. He was in love with the girl
indeed, and he hoped to marry her sometime or other, but he would much
sooner have remained another while as he was, and follow on at his old
tricks--drinking, sporting, and playing cards; and, along with that,
he was angry that his father should order him to marry, and should
threaten him if he did not do it.

"Isn't my father a great fool," says he to himself. "I was ready
enough, and only too anxious, to marry Mary; and now since he
threatened me, faith I've a great mind to let it go another while."

His mind was so much excited that he remained between two notions as
to what he should do. He walked out into the night at last to cool his
heated blood, and went on to the road. He lit a pipe, and as the night
was fine he walked and walked on, until the quick pace made him begin
to forget his trouble. The night was bright, and the moon half full.
There was not a breath of wind blowing, and the air was calm and mild.
He walked on for nearly three hours, when he suddenly remembered that
it was late in the night, and time for him to turn. "Musha! I think I
forgot myself," says he; "it must be near twelve o'clock now."

The word was hardly out of his mouth, when he heard the sound of many
voices, and the trampling of feet on the road before him. "I don't
know who can be out so late at night as this, and on such a lonely
road," said he to himself.

He stood listening, and he heard the voices of many people talking
through other, but he could not understand what they were saying. "Oh,
wirra!" says he, "I'm afraid. It's not Irish or English they have; it
can't be they're Frenchmen!" He went on a couple of yards further, and
he saw well enough by the light of the moon a band of little people
coming towards him, and they were carrying something big and heavy
with them. "Oh, murder!" says he to himself, "sure it can't be that
they're the good people that's in it!" Every _rib_ of hair that was on
his head stood up, and there fell a shaking on his bones, for he saw
that they were coming to him fast.

He looked at them again, and perceived that there were about twenty
little men in it, and there was not a man at all of them higher than
about three feet or three feet and a half, and some of them were grey,
and seemed very old. He looked again, but he could not make out what
was the heavy thing they were carrying until they came up to him, and
then they all stood round about him. They threw the heavy thing down
on the road, and he saw on the spot that it was a dead body.

He became as cold as the Death, and there was not a drop of blood
running in his veins when an old little grey _maneen_ came up to him
and said, "Isn't it lucky we met you, Teig O'Kane?"

Poor Teig could not bring out a word at all, nor open his lips, if he
were to get the world for it, and so he gave no answer.

"Teig O'Kane," said the little grey man again, "isn't it timely you
met us?"

Teig could not answer him.

"Teig O'Kane," says he, "the third time, isn't it lucky and timely
that we met you?"

But Teig remained silent, for he was afraid to return an answer, and
his tongue was as if it was tied to the roof of his mouth.

The little grey man turned to his companions, and there was joy in his
bright little eye. "And now," says he, "Teig O'Kane hasn't a word, we
can do with him what we please. Teig, Teig," says he, "you're living a
bad life, and we can make a slave of you now, and you cannot withstand
us, for there's no use in trying to go against us. Lift that corpse."

Teig was so frightened that he was only able to utter the two words,
"I won't;" for as frightened as he was, he was obstinate and stiff,
the same as ever.

"Teig O'Kane won't lift the corpse," said the little _maneen_, with a
wicked little laugh, for all the world like the breaking of a _lock_
of dry _kippeens_, and with a little harsh voice like the striking of
a cracked bell. "Teig O'Kane won't lift the corpse--make him lift it;"
and before the word was out of his mouth they had all gathered round
poor Teig, and they all talking and laughing through other.

Teig tried to run from them, but they followed him, and a man of them
stretched out his foot before him as he ran, so that Teig was thrown in
a heap on the road. Then before he could rise up the fairies caught him,
some by the hands and some by the feet, and they held him tight, in a
way that he could not stir, with his face against the ground. Six or
seven of them raised the body then, and pulled it over to him, and left
it down on his back. The breast of the corpse was squeezed against
Teig's back and shoulders, and the arms of the corpse were thrown around
Teig's neck. Then they stood back from him a couple of yards, and let
him get up. He rose, foaming at the mouth and cursing, and he shook
himself, thinking to throw the corpse off his back. But his fear and his
wonder were great when he found that the two arms had a tight hold round
his own neck, and that the two legs were squeezing his hips firmly, and
that, however strongly he tried, he could not throw it off, any more
than a horse can throw off its saddle. He was terribly frightened then,
and he thought he was lost. "Ochone! for ever," said he to himself,
"it's the bad life I'm leading that has given the good people this power
over me. I promise to God and Mary, Peter and Paul, Patrick and Bridget,
that I'll mend my ways for as long as I have to live, if I come clear
out of this danger--and I'll marry the girl."

The little grey man came up to him again, and said he to him, "Now,
Teig_een_," says he, "you didn't lift the body when I told you to lift
it, and see how you were made to lift it; perhaps when I tell you to
bury it you won't bury it until you're made to bury it!"

"Anything at all that I can do for your honour," said Teig, "I'll do
it," for he was getting sense already, and if it had not been for the
great fear that was on him, he never would have let that civil word
slip out of his mouth.

The little man laughed a sort of laugh again. "You're getting quiet
now, Teig," says he. "I'll go bail but you'll be quiet enough before
I'm done with you. Listen to me now, Teig O'Kane, and if you don't
obey me in all I'm telling you to do, you'll repent it. You must carry
with you this corpse that is on your back to Teampoll-Démus, and you
must bring it into the church with you, and make a grave for it in the
very middle of the church, and you must raise up the flags and put
them down again the very same way, and you must carry the clay out of
the church and leave the place as it was when you came, so that no one
could know that there had been anything changed. But that's not all.
Maybe that the body won't be allowed to be buried in that church;
perhaps some other man has the bed, and, if so, it's likely he won't
share it with this one. If you don't get leave to bury it in
Teampoll-Démus, you must carry it to Carrick-fhad-vic-Orus, and bury
it in the churchyard there; and if you don't get it into that place,
take it with you to Teampoll-Ronan; and if that churchyard is closed
on you, take it to Imlogue-Fada; and if you're not able to bury it
there, you've no more to do than to take it to Kill-Breedya, and you
can bury it there without hindrance. I cannot tell you what one of
those churches is the one where you will have leave to bury that
corpse under the clay, but I know that it will be allowed you to bury
him at some church or other of them. If you do this work rightly, we
will be thankful to you, and you will have no cause to grieve; but if
you are slow or lazy, believe me we shall take satisfaction of you."

When the grey little man had done speaking, his comrades laughed and
clapped their hands together. "Glic! Glic! Hwee! Hwee!" they all cried;
"go on, go on, you have eight hours before you till daybreak, and if you
haven't this man buried before the sun rises, you're lost." They struck
a fist and a foot behind on him, and drove him on in the road. He was
obliged to walk, and to walk fast, for they gave him no rest.

He thought himself that there was not a wet path, or a dirty _boreen_,
or a crooked contrary road in the whole county, that he had not walked
that night. The night was at times very dark, and whenever there would
come a cloud across the moon he could see nothing, and then he used
often to fall. Sometimes he was hurt, and sometimes he escaped, but he
was obliged always to rise on the moment and to hurry on. Sometimes
the moon would break out clearly, and then he would look behind him
and see the little people following at his back. And he heard them
speaking amongst themselves, talking and crying out, and screaming
like a flock of sea-gulls; and if he was to save his soul he never
understood as much as one word of what they were saying.

He did not know how far he had walked, when at last one of them cried
out to him, "Stop here!" He stood, and they all gathered round him.

"Do you see those withered trees over there?" says the old boy to him
again. "Teampoll-Démus is among those trees, and you must go in there
by yourself, for we cannot follow you or go with you. We must remain
here. Go on boldly."

Teig looked from him, and he saw a high wall that was in places half
broken down, and an old grey church on the inside of the wall, and
about a dozen withered old trees scattered here and there round it.
There was neither leaf nor twig on any of them, but their bare crooked
branches were stretched out like the arms of an angry man when he
threatens. He had no help for it, but was obliged to go forward. He
was a couple of hundred yards from the church, but he walked on, and
never looked behind him until he came to the gate of the churchyard.
The old gate was thrown down, and he had no difficulty in entering. He
turned then to see if any of the little people were following him, but
there came a cloud over the moon, and the night became so dark that he
could see nothing. He went into the churchyard, and he walked up the
old grassy pathway leading to the church. When he reached the door, he
found it locked. The door was large and strong, and he did not know
what to do. At last he drew out his knife with difficulty, and stuck
it in the wood to try if it were not rotten, but it was not.

"Now," said he to himself, "I have no more to do; the door is shut,
and I can't open it."

Before the words were rightly shaped in his own mind, a voice in his
ear said to him, "Search for the key on the top of the door, or on the

He started. "Who is that speaking to me?" he cried, turning round; but
he saw no one. The voice said in his ear again, "Search for the key
on the top of the door, or on the wall."

"What's that?" said he, and the sweat running from his forehead; "who
spoke to me?"

"It's I, the corpse, that spoke to you!" said the voice.

"Can you talk?" said Teig.

"Now and again," said the corpse.

Teig searched for the key, and he found it on the top of the wall. He
was too much frightened to say any more, but he opened the door wide,
and as quickly as he could, and he went in, with the corpse on his
back. It was as dark as pitch inside, and poor Teig began to shake and

"Light the candle," said the corpse.

Teig put his hand in his pocket, as well as he was able, and drew out
a flint and steel. He struck a spark out of it, and lit a burnt rag he
had in his pocket. He blew it until it made a flame, and he looked
round him. The church was very ancient, and part of the wall was
broken down. The windows were blown in or cracked, and the timber of
the seats was rotten. There were six or seven old iron candlesticks
left there still, and in one of these candlesticks Teig found the
stump of an old candle, and he lit it. He was still looking round him
on the strange and horrid place in which he found himself, when the
cold corpse whispered in his ear, "Bury me now, bury me now; there is
a spade and turn the ground." Teig looked from him, and he saw a spade
lying beside the altar. He took it up, and he placed the blade under a
flag that was in the middle of the aisle, and leaning all his weight
on the handle of the spade, he raised it. When the first flag was
raised it was not hard to raise the others near it, and he moved three
or four of them out of their places. The clay that was under them was
soft and easy to dig, but he had not thrown up more than three or four
shovelfuls, when he felt the iron touch something soft like flesh. He
threw up three or four more shovelfuls from around it, and then he saw
that it was another body that was buried in the same place.

"I am afraid I'll never be allowed to bury the two bodies in the same
hole," said Teig, in his own mind. "You corpse, there on my back,"
says he, "will you be satisfied if I bury you down here?" But the
corpse never answered him a word.

"That's a good sign," said Teig to himself. "Maybe he's getting
quiet," and he thrust the spade down in the earth again. Perhaps he
hurt the flesh of the other body, for the dead man that was buried
there stood up in the grave, and shouted an awful shout. "Hoo! hoo!!
hoo!!! Go! go!! go!!! or you're a dead, dead, dead man!" And then he
fell back in the grave again. Teig said afterwards, that of all the
wonderful things he saw that night, that was the most awful to him.
His hair stood upright on his head like the bristles of a pig, the
cold sweat ran off his face, and then came a tremour over all his
bones, until he thought that he must fall.

But after a while he became bolder, when he saw that the second corpse
remained lying quietly there, and he threw in the clay on it again, and
he smoothed it overhead and he laid down the flags carefully as they had
been before. "It can't be that he'll rise up any more," said he.

He went down the aisle a little further, and drew near to the door,
and began raising the flags again, looking for another bed for the
corpse on his back. He took up three or four flags and put them aside,
and then he dug the clay. He was not long digging until he laid bare
an old woman without a thread upon her but her shirt. She was more
lively than the first corpse, for he had scarcely taken any of the
clay away from about her, when she sat up and began to cry, "Ho, you
_bodach_ (clown)! Ha, you _bodach_! Where has he been that he got no

Poor Teig drew back, and when she found that she was getting no answer,
she closed her eyes gently, lost her vigour, and fell back quietly and
slowly under the clay. Teig did to her as he had done to the man--he
threw the clay back on her, and left the flags down overhead.

He began digging again near the door, but before he had thrown up
more than a couple of shovelfuls, he noticed a man's hand laid bare by
the spade. "By my soul, I'll go no further, then," said he to himself;
"what use is it for me?" And he threw the clay in again on it, and
settled the flags as they had been before.

He left the church then, and his heart was heavy enough, but he shut
the door and locked it, and left the key where he found it. He sat
down on a tombstone that was near the door, and began thinking. He was
in great doubt what he should do. He laid his face between his two
hands, and cried for grief and fatigue, since he was dead certain at
this time that he never would come home alive. He made another attempt
to loosen the hands of the corpse that were squeezed round his neck,
but they were as tight as if they were clamped; and the more he tried
to loosen them, the tighter they squeezed him. He was going to sit
down once more, when the cold, horrid lips of the dead man said to
him, "Carrick-fhad-vic-Orus," and he remembered the command of the
good people to bring the corpse with him to that place if he should be
unable to bury it where he had been.

He rose up, and looked about him. "I don't know the way," he said.

As soon as he had uttered the word, the corpse stretched out suddenly
its left hand that had been tightened round his neck, and kept it
pointing out, showing him the road he ought to follow. Teig went in
the direction that the fingers were stretched, and passed out of the
churchyard. He found himself on an old rutty, stony road, and he stood
still again, not knowing where to turn. The corpse stretched out its
bony hand a second time, and pointed out to him another road--not the
road by which he had come when approaching the old church. Teig
followed that road, and whenever he came to a path or road meeting it,
the corpse always stretched out its hand and pointed with its fingers,
showing him the way he was to take.

Many was the cross-road he turned down, and many was the crooked
_boreen_ he walked, until he saw from him an old burying-ground at
last, beside the road, but there was neither church nor chapel nor any
other building in it. The corpse squeezed him tightly, and he stood.
"Bury me, bury me in the burying-ground," said the voice.

Teig drew over towards the old burying-place, and he was not more than
about twenty yards from it, when, raising his eyes, he saw hundreds
and hundreds of ghosts--men, women, and children--sitting on the top
of the wall round about, or standing on the inside of it, or running
backwards and forwards, and pointing at him, while he could see their
mouths opening and shutting as if they were speaking, though he heard
no word, nor any sound amongst them at all.

He was afraid to go forward, so he stood where he was, and the moment
he stood, all the ghosts became quiet, and ceased moving. Then Teig
understood that it was trying to keep him from going in, that they
were. He walked a couple of yards forwards, and immediately the whole
crowd rushed together towards the spot to which he was moving, and
they stood so thickly together that it seemed to him that he never
could break through them, even though he had a mind to try. But he had
no mind to try it. He went back broken and dispirited, and when he had
gone a couple of hundred yards from the burying-ground, he stood
again, for he did not know what way he was to go. He heard the voice
of the corpse in his ear, saying "Teampoll-Ronan," and the skinny hand
was stretched out again, pointing him out the road.

As tired as he was, he had to walk, and the road was neither short nor
even. The night was darker than ever, and it was difficult to make his
way. Many was the toss he got, and many a bruise they left on his
body. At last he saw Teampoll-Ronan from him in the distance, standing
in the middle of the burying-ground. He moved over towards it, and
thought he was all right and safe, when he saw no ghosts nor anything
else on the wall, and he thought he would never be hindered now from
leaving his load off him at last. He moved over to the gate, but as
he was passing in, he tripped on the threshold. Before he could
recover himself, something that he could not see seized him by the
neck, by the hands, and by the feet, and bruised him, and shook him,
and choked him, until he was nearly dead; and at last he was lifted
up, and carried more than a hundred yards from that place, and then
thrown down in an old dyke, with the corpse still clinging to him.

He rose up, bruised and sore, but feared to go near the place again,
for he had seen nothing the time he was thrown down and carried away.

"You corpse, up on my back," said he, "shall I go over again to the
churchyard?"--but the corpse never answered him. "That's a sign you
don't wish me to try it again," said Teig.

He was now in great doubt as to what he ought to do, when the corpse
spoke in his ear, and said "Imlogue-Fada."

"Oh, murder!" said Teig, "must I bring you there? If you keep me long
walking like this, I tell you I'll fall under you."

He went on, however, in the direction the corpse pointed out to him.
He could not have told, himself, how long he had been going, when the
dead man behind suddenly squeezed him, and said, "There!"

Teig looked from him, and he saw a little low wall, that was so broken
down in places that it was no wall at all. It was in a great wide
field, in from the road; and only for three or four great stones at
the corners, that were more like rocks than stones, there was nothing
to show that there was either graveyard or burying-ground there.

"Is this Imlogue-Fada? Shall I bury you here?" said Teig.

"Yes," said the voice.

"But I see no grave or gravestone, only this pile of stones," said Teig.

The corpse did not answer, but stretched out its long fleshless hand,
to show Teig the direction in which he was to go. Teig went on
accordingly, but he was greatly terrified, for he remembered what had
happened to him at the last place. He went on, "with his heart in his
mouth," as he said himself afterwards; but when he came to within
fifteen or twenty yards of the little low square wall, there broke out
a flash of lightning, bright yellow and red, with blue streaks in it,
and went round about the wall in one course, and it swept by as fast
as the swallow in the clouds, and the longer Teig remained looking at
it the faster it went, till at last it became like a bright ring of
flame round the old graveyard, which no one could pass without being
burnt by it. Teig never saw, from the time he was born, and never saw
afterwards, so wonderful or so splendid a sight as that was. Round
went the flame, white and yellow and blue sparks leaping out from it
as it went, and although at first it had been no more than a thin,
narrow line, it increased slowly until it was at last a great broad
band, and it was continually getting broader and higher, and throwing
out more brilliant sparks, till there was never a colour on the ridge
of the earth that was not to be seen in that fire; and lightning never
shone and flame never flamed that was so shining and so bright as that.

Teig was amazed; he was half dead with fatigue, and he had no courage
left to approach the wall. There fell a mist over his eyes, and there
came a _soorawn_ in his head, and he was obliged to sit down upon a
great stone to recover himself. He could see nothing but the light,
and he could hear nothing but the whirr of it as it shot round the
paddock faster than a flash of lightning.

As he sat there on the stone, the voice whispered once more in his
ear, "Kill-Breedya;" and the dead man squeezed him so tightly that he
cried out. He rose again, sick, tired, and trembling, and went
forwards as he was directed. The wind was cold, and the road was bad,
and the load upon his back was heavy, and the night was dark, and he
himself was nearly worn out, and if he had had very much farther to go
he must have fallen dead under his burden.

At last the corpse stretched out its hand, and said to him, "Bury me

"This is the last burying-place," said Teig in his own mind; "and the
little grey man said I'd be allowed to bury him in some of them, so it
must be this; it can't be but they'll let him in here."

The first faint streak of the _ring of day_ was appearing in the east,
and the clouds were beginning to catch fire, but it was darker than
ever, for the moon was set, and there were no stars.

"Make haste, make haste!" said the corpse; and Teig hurried forward as
well as he could to the graveyard, which was a little place on a bare
hill, with only a few graves in it. He walked boldly in through the
open gate, and nothing touched him, nor did he either hear or see
anything. He came to the middle of the ground, and then stood up and
looked round him for a spade or shovel to make a grave. As he was
turning round and searching, he suddenly perceived what startled him
greatly--a newly-dug grave right before him. He moved over to it, and
looked down, and there at the bottom he saw a black coffin. He
clambered down into the hole and lifted the lid, and found that (as he
thought it would be) the coffin was empty. He had hardly mounted up
out of the hole, and was standing on the brink, when the corpse, which
had clung to him for more than eight hours, suddenly relaxed its hold
of his neck, and loosened its shins from round his hips, and sank down
with a _plop_ into the open coffin.

Teig fell down on his two knees at the brink of the grave, and gave
thanks to God. He made no delay then, but pressed down the coffin lid
in its place, and threw in the clay over it with his two hands; and
when the grave was filled up, he stamped and leaped on it with his
feet, until it was firm and hard, and then he left the place.

The sun was fast rising as he finished his work, and the first thing
he did was to return to the road, and look out for a house to rest
himself in. He found an inn at last, and lay down upon a bed there,
and slept till night. Then he rose up and ate a little, and fell
asleep again till morning. When he awoke in the morning he hired a
horse and rode home. He was more than twenty-six miles from home where
he was, and he had come all that way with the dead body on his back in
one night.

All the people at his own home thought that he must have left the
country, and they rejoiced greatly when they saw him come back.
Everyone began asking him where he had been, but he would not tell
anyone except his father.

He was a changed man from that day. He never drank too much; he never
lost his money over cards; and especially he would not take the world
and be out late by himself of a dark night.

He was not a fortnight at home until he married Mary, the girl he had
been in love with; and it's at their wedding the sport was, and it's
he was the happy man from that day forward, and it's all I wish that
we may be as happy as he was.

     GLOSSARY.--_Rann_, a stanza; _kailee (céilidhe)_, a visit in the
     evening; _wirra (a mhuire)_, "Oh, Mary!" an exclamation like the
     French _dame_; _rib_, a single hair (in Irish, _ribe_); _a lock
     (glac)_, a bundle or wisp, or a little share of anything;
     _kippeen (cipín)_, a rod or twig; _boreen (bóithrín)_ a lane;
     _bodach_, a clown; _soorawn (suarán)_, vertigo. _Avic (a Mhic)_ =
     son, or rather, Oh, son. Mic is the vocative of Mac.

[Footnote 4: None of Mr. Hyde's stories here given have been published
before. They will be printed in the original Irish in his forthcoming
_Leabhar Sgeulaigheachta_ (Gill, Dublin).]


William Carleton.

Paddy Corcoran's wife was for several years afflicted with a kind of
complaint which nobody could properly understand. She was sick, and she
was not sick; she was well, and she was not well; she was as ladies wish
to be who love their lords, and she was not as such ladies wish to be.
In fact nobody could tell what the matter with her was. She had a
gnawing at the heart which came heavily upon her husband; for, with the
help of God, a keener appetite than the same gnawing amounted to could
not be met with of a summer's day. The poor woman was delicate beyond
belief, and had no appetite at all, so she hadn't, barring a little
relish for a mutton-chop, or a "staik," or a bit o' mait, anyway; for
sure, God help her! she hadn't the laist inclination for the dhry
pratie, or the dhrop o' sour buttermilk along wid it, especially as she
was so poorly; and, indeed, for a woman in her condition--for, sick as
she was, poor Paddy always was made to believe her in _that_
condition--but God's will be done! she didn't care. A pratie an' a grain
o' salt was a welcome to her--glory be to his name!--as the best roast
an' boiled that ever was dressed; and why not? There was one comfort:
she wouldn't be long wid him--long troublin' him; it matthered little
what she got; but sure she knew herself, that from the gnawin' at her
heart, she could never do good widout the little bit o' mait now and
then; an', sure, if her own husband begridged it to her, who else had
she a better right to expect it from?

Well, as we have said, she lay a bedridden invalid for long enough,
trying doctors and quacks of all sorts, sexes, and sizes, and all
without a farthing's benefit, until, at the long run, poor Paddy was
nearly brought to the last pass, in striving to keep her in "the bit
o' mait." The seventh year was now on the point of closing, when, one
harvest day, as she lay bemoaning her hard condition, on her bed
beyond the kitchen fire, a little weeshy woman, dressed in a neat red
cloak, comes in, and, sitting down by the hearth, says:--

"Well, Kitty Corcoran, you've had a long lair of it there on the broad
o' yer back for seven years, an' you're jist as far from bein' cured
as ever."

"Mavrone, ay," said the other; "in throth that's what I was this
minnit thinkin' ov, and a sorrowful thought it's to me."

"It's yer own fau't, thin," says the little woman; "an', indeed, for
that matter, it's yer fau't that ever you wor there at all."

"Arra, how is that?" asked Kitty; "sure I wouldn't be here if I could
help it? Do you think it's a comfort or a pleasure to me to be sick
and bedridden?"

"No," said the other, "I do not; but I'll tell you the truth: for the
last seven years you have been annoying us. I am one o' the good
people; an' as I have a regard for you, I'm come to let you know the
raison why you've been sick so long as you are. For all the time
you've been ill, if you'll take the thrubble to remimber, your
childhre threwn out yer dirty wather afther dusk an' before sunrise,
at the very time we're passin' yer door, which we pass twice a-day.
Now, if you avoid this, if you throw it out in a different place, an'
at a different time, the complaint you have will lave you: so will the
gnawin' at the heart; an' you'll be as well as ever you wor. If you
don't follow this advice, why, remain as you are, an' all the art o'
man can't cure you." She then bade her good-bye, and disappeared.

Kitty, who was glad to be cured on such easy terms, immediately
complied with the injunction of the fairy; and the consequence was,
that the next day she found herself in as good health as ever she
enjoyed during her life.



     [This song is supposed to have been sung by a young bride, who
     was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common
     in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of
     resorting. Under pretence of hushing her child to rest, she
     retired to the outside margin of the fort, and addressed the
     burthen of her song to a young woman whom she saw at a short
     distance, and whom she requested to inform her husband of her
     condition, and to desire him to bring the steel knife to dissolve
     the enchantment.]

    Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees,
    Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze,
    And fairy songs of sweetest note,
    Around us gently float.

    Sleep! for the weeping flowers have shed
    Their fragrant tears upon thy head,
    The voice of love hath sooth'd thy rest,
    And thy pillow is a mother's breast.
                            Sleep, my child!

    Weary hath pass'd the time forlorn,
    Since to your mansion I was borne,
    Tho' bright the feast of its airy halls,
    And the voice of mirth resounds from its walls.
                            Sleep, my child!

    Full many a maid and blooming bride
    Within that splendid dome abide,--
    And many a hoar and shrivell'd sage,
    And many a matron bow'd with age.
                            Sleep, my child!

    Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear,
    To the mourner's home these tidings bear.
    Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade,
    At whose lightning-flash the charm will fade.
                            Sleep, my child!

    Haste! for to-morrow's sun will see
    The hateful spell renewed for me;
    Nor can I from that home depart,
    Till life shall leave my withering heart.
                            Sleep, my child!

    Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees,
    Stirr'd by the breath of summer breeze,
    And fairy songs of sweetest note,
    Around us gently float.



There was wanst upon a time, long ago, a beautiful lady that lived in
a castle upon the lake beyant, and they say she was promised to a
king's son, and they wor to be married, when all of a sudden he was
murthered, the crathur (Lord help us), and threwn into the lake above,
and so, of course, he couldn't keep his promise to the fair lady,--and
more's the pity.

Well, the story goes that she went out iv her mind, bekase av loosin'
the king's son--for she was tendher-hearted, God help her, like the rest
iv us!--and pined away after him, until at last, no one about seen her,
good or bad; and the story wint that the fairies took her away.

Well, sir, in coorse o' time, the White Throut, God bless it, was seen
in the sthrame beyant, and sure the people didn't know what to think
av the crathur, seein' as how a _white_ throut was never heard av
afor, nor since; and years upon years the throut was there, just where
you seen it this blessed minit, longer nor I can tell--aye throth, and
beyant the memory o' th' ouldest in the village.

At last the people began to think it must be a fairy; for what else
could it be?--and no hurt nor harm was iver put an the white throut,
until some wicked sinners of sojers kem to these parts, and laughed at
all the people, and gibed and jeered them for thinkin' o' the likes;
and one o' them in partic'lar (bad luck to him; God forgi' me for
saying it!) swore he'd catch the throut and ate it for his dinner--the

Well, what would you think o' the villainy of the sojer? Sure enough
he cotch the throut, and away wid him home, and puts an the
fryin'-pan, and into it he pitches the purty little thing. The throut
squeeled all as one as a christian crathur, and, my dear, you'd think
the sojer id split his sides laughin'--for he was a harden'd villain;
and when he thought one side was done, he turns it over to fry the
other; and, what would you think, but the divil a taste of a burn was
an it at all at all; and sure the sojer thought it was a _quare_
throut that could not be briled. "But," says he, "I'll give it another
turn by-and-by," little thinkin' what was in store for him, the

Well, when he thought that side was done he turns it agin, and lo and
behould you, the divil a taste more done that side was nor the other.
"Bad luck to me," says the sojer, "but that bates the world," says he;
"but I'll thry you agin, my darlint," says he, "as cunnin' as you
think yourself;" and so with that he turns it over and over, but not a
sign of the fire was on the purty throut. "Well," says the desperate
villain--(for sure, sir, only he was a desperate villain _entirely_,
he might know he was doing a wrong thing, seein' that all his
endeavours was no good)--"Well," says he, "my jolly little throut,
maybe you're fried enough, though you don't seem over well dress'd;
but you may be better than you look, like a singed cat, and a tit-bit
afther all," says he; and with that he ups with his knife and fork to
taste a piece o' the throut; but, my jew'l, the minit he puts his
knife into the fish, there was a murtherin' screech, that you'd think
the life id lave you if you hurd it, and away jumps the throut out av
the fryin'-pan into the middle o' the flure; and an the spot where it
fell, up riz a lovely lady--the beautifullest crathur that eyes ever
seen, dressed in white, and a band o' goold in her hair, and a sthrame
o' blood runnin' down her arm.

"Look where you cut me, you villain," says she, and she held out her
arm to him--and, my dear, he thought the sight id lave his eyes.

"Couldn't you lave me cool and comfortable in the river where you
snared me, and not disturb me in my duty?" says she.

Well, he thrimbled like a dog in a wet sack, and at last he stammered
out somethin', and begged for his life, and ax'd her ladyship's
pardin, and said he didn't know she was on duty, or he was too good a
sojer not to know betther nor to meddle wid her.

"I _was_ on duty, then," says the lady; "I was watchin' for my true love
that is comin' by wather to me," says she, "an' if he comes while I'm
away, an' that I miss iv him, I'll turn you into a pinkeen, and I'll
hunt you up and down for evermore, while grass grows or wather runs."

Well the sojer thought the life id lave him, at the thoughts iv his
bein' turned into a pinkeen, and begged for mercy; and with that says
the lady--

"Renounce your evil coorses," says she, "you villain, or you'll repint
it too late; be a good man for the futhur, and go to your duty[5]
reg'lar, and now," says she, "take me back and put me into the river
again, where you found me."

"Oh, my lady," says the sojer, "how could I have the heart to drownd a
beautiful lady like you?"

But before he could say another word, the lady was vanished, and there
he saw the little throut an the ground. Well he put it in a clean plate,
and away he runs for the bare life, for fear her lover would come while
she was away; and he run, and he run, even till he came to the cave
agin, and threw the throut into the river. The minit he did, the wather
was as red as blood for a little while, by rayson av the cut, I suppose,
until the sthrame washed the stain away; and to this day there's a
little red mark an the throut's side, where it was cut.[6]

Well, sir, from that day out the sojer was an altered man, and
reformed his ways, and went to his duty reg'lar, and fasted three
times a-week--though it was never fish he tuk an fastin' days, for
afther the fright he got, fish id never rest an his stomach--savin'
your presence.

But anyhow, he was an altered man, as I said before, and in coorse o'
time he left the army, and turned hermit at last; and they say he
_used to pray evermore for the soul of the White Throut_.

     [These trout stories are common all over Ireland. Many holy wells
     are haunted by such blessed trout. There is a trout in a well on
     the border of Lough Gill, Sligo, that some paganish person put
     once on the gridiron. It carries the marks to this day. Long ago,
     the saint who sanctified the well put that trout there. Nowadays
     it is only visible to the pious, who have done due penance.]

[Footnote 5: The Irish peasant calls his attendance at the
confessional "going to his duty."]

[Footnote 6: The fish has really a red spot on its side.]


_An Ulster Ballad._


    "Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning-wheel;
      For your father's on the hill, and your mother is asleep;
    Come up above the crags, and we'll dance a highland-reel
      Around the fairy thorn on the steep."

    At Anna Grace's door 'twas thus the maidens cried,
      Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green;
    And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside,
      The fairest of the four, I ween.

    They're glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve,
      Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare;
    The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave,
      And the crags in the ghostly air:

    And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,
      The maids along the hill-side have ta'en their fearless way,
    Till they come to where the rowan trees in lonely beauty grow
      Beside the Fairy Hawthorn grey.

    The Hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim,
      Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;
    The rowan berries cluster o'er her low head grey and dim
      In ruddy kisses sweet to see.

    The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row,
      Between each lovely couple a stately rowan stem,
    And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds they go,
      Oh, never caroll'd bird like them!

    But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze
      That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,
    And dreamily the evening has still'd the haunted braes,
      And dreamier the gloaming grows.

    And sinking one by one, like lark-notes from the sky
      When the falcon's shadow saileth across the open shaw,
    Are hush'd the maiden's voices, as cowering down they lie
      In the flutter of their sudden awe.

    For, from the air above, and the grassy ground beneath,
      And from the mountain-ashes and the old Whitethorn between,
    A Power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,
      And they sink down together on the green.

    They sink together silent, and stealing side by side,
      They fling their lovely arms o'er their drooping necks so fair,
    Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,
      For their shrinking necks again are bare.

    Thus clasp'd and prostrate all, with their heads together bow'd,
      Soft o'er their bosom's beating--the only human sound--
    They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd,
      Like a river in the air, gliding round.

    No scream can any raise, no prayer can any say,
      But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three--
    For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,
      By whom they dare not look to see.

    They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold,
      And the curls elastic falling as her head withdraws;
    They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,
      But they may not look to see the cause:

    For heavy on their senses the faint enchantment lies
      Through all that night of anguish and perilous amaze;
    And neither fear nor wonder can ope their quivering eyes,
      Or their limbs from the cold ground raise,

    Till out of night the earth has roll'd her dewy side,
      With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below;
    When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide,
      The maidens' trance dissolveth so.

    Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may,
      And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain--
    They pined away and died within the year and day,
      And ne'er was Anna Grace seen again.



There was once a poor man who lived in the fertile glen of Aherlow, at
the foot of the gloomy Galtee mountains, and he had a great hump on
his back: he looked just as if his body had been rolled up and placed
upon his shoulders; and his head was pressed down with the weight so
much that his chin, when he was sitting, used to rest upon his knees
for support. The country people were rather shy of meeting him in any
lonesome place, for though, poor creature, he was as harmless and as
inoffensive as a newborn infant, yet his deformity was so great that
he scarcely appeared to be a human creature, and some ill-minded
persons had set strange stories about him afloat. He was said to have
a great knowledge of herbs and charms; but certain it was that he had
a mighty skilful hand in plaiting straws and rushes into hats and
baskets, which was the way he made his livelihood.

Lusmore, for that was the nickname put upon him by reason of his
always wearing a sprig of the fairy cap, or lusmore (the foxglove), in
his little straw hat, would ever get a higher penny for his plaited
work than any one else, and perhaps that was the reason why some one,
out of envy, had circulated the strange stories about him. Be that as
it may, it happened that he was returning one evening from the pretty
town of Cahir towards Cappagh, and as little Lusmore walked very
slowly, on account of the great hump upon his back, it was quite dark
when he came to the old moat of Knockgrafton, which stood on the
right-hand side of his road. Tired and weary was he, and noways
comfortable in his own mind at thinking how much farther he had to
travel, and that he should be walking all the night; so he sat down
under the moat to rest himself, and began looking mournfully enough
upon the moon, which--

    "Rising in clouded majesty, at length
    Apparent Queen, unveil'd her peerless light,
    And o'er the dark her silver mantle threw."

Presently there rose a wild strain of unearthly melody upon the ear of
little Lusmore; he listened, and he thought that he had never heard
such ravishing music before. It was like the sound of many voices,
each mingling and blending with the other so strangely that they
seemed to be one, though all singing different strains, and the words
of the song were these--

    _Da Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort;_

when there would be a moment's pause, and then the round of melody
went on again.

Lusmore listened attentively, scarcely drawing his breath lest he might
lose the slightest note. He now plainly perceived that the singing was
within the moat; and though at first it had charmed him so much, he
began to get tired of hearing the same round sung over and over so often
without any change; so availing himself of the pause when _Da Luan, Da
Mort_, had been sung three times, he took up the tune, and raised it
with the words _augus Da Dardeen_, and then went on singing with the
voices inside of the moat, _Da Luan, Da Mort_, finishing the melody,
when the pause again came, with _augus Da Dardeen_.

The fairies within Knockgrafton, for the song was a fairy melody, when
they heard this addition to the tune, were so much delighted that,
with instant resolve, it was determined to bring the mortal among
them, whose musical skill so far exceeded theirs, and little Lusmore
was conveyed into their company with the eddying speed of a whirlwind.

Glorious to behold was the sight that burst upon him as he came down
through the moat, twirling round and round, with the lightness of a
straw, to the sweetest music that kept time to his motion. The
greatest honour was then paid him, for he was put above all the
musicians, and he had servants tending upon him, and everything to his
heart's content, and a hearty welcome to all; and, in short, he was
made as much of as if he had been the first man in the land.

Presently Lusmore saw a great consultation going forward among the
fairies, and, notwithstanding all their civility, he felt very much
frightened, until one stepping out from the rest came up to him and

    "Lusmore! Lusmore!
    Doubt not, nor deplore,
    For the hump which you bore
    On your back is no more;
    Look down on the floor,
    And view it, Lusmore!"

When these words were said, poor little Lusmore felt himself so light,
and so happy, that he thought he could have bounded at one jump over
the moon, like the cow in the history of the cat and the fiddle; and
he saw, with inexpressible pleasure, his hump tumble down upon the
ground from his shoulders. He then tried to lift up his head, and he
did so with becoming caution, fearing that he might knock it against
the ceiling of the grand hall, where he was; he looked round and round
again with the greatest wonder and delight upon everything, which
appeared more and more beautiful; and, overpowered at beholding such a
resplendent scene, his head grew dizzy, and his eyesight became dim.
At last he fell into a sound sleep, and when he awoke he found that it
was broad daylight, the sun shining brightly, and the birds singing
sweetly; and that he was lying just at the foot of the moat of
Knockgrafton, with the cows and sheep grazing peaceably round about
him. The first thing Lusmore did, after saying his prayers, was to put
his hand behind to feel for his hump, but no sign of one was there on
his back, and he looked at himself with great pride, for he had now
become a well-shaped dapper little fellow, and more than that, found
himself in a full suit of new clothes, which he concluded the fairies
had made for him.

Towards Cappagh he went, stepping out as lightly, and springing up at
every step as if he had been all his life a dancing-master. Not a
creature who met Lusmore knew him without his hump, and he had a great
work to persuade every one that he was the same man--in truth he was
not, so far as the outward appearance went.

Of course it was not long before the story of Lusmore's hump got
about, and a great wonder was made of it. Through the country, for
miles round, it was the talk of every one, high and low.

One morning, as Lusmore was sitting contented enough at his cabin
door, up came an old woman to him, and asked him if he could direct
her to Cappagh.

"I need give you no directions, my good woman," said Lusmore, "for
this is Cappagh; and whom may you want here?"

"I have come," said the woman, "out of Decie's country, in the county
of Waterford, looking after one Lusmore, who, I have heard tell, had
his hump taken off by the fairies; for there is a son of a gossip of
mine who has got a hump on him that will be his death; and maybe, if
he could use the same charm as Lusmore, the hump may be taken off him.
And now I have told you the reason of my coming so far: 'tis to find
out about this charm, if I can."

Lusmore, who was ever a good-natured little fellow, told the woman all
the particulars, how he had raised the tune for the fairies at
Knockgrafton, how his hump had been removed from his shoulders, and
how he had got a new suit of clothes into the bargain.

The woman thanked him very much, and then went away quite happy and
easy in her own mind. When she came back to her gossip's house, in the
county of Waterford, she told her everything that Lusmore had said,
and they put the little hump-backed man, who was a peevish and cunning
creature from his birth, upon a car, and took him all the way across
the country. It was a long journey, but they did not care for that, so
the hump was taken from off him; and they brought him, just at
nightfall, and left him under the old moat of Knockgrafton.

Jack Madden, for that was the humpy man's name, had not been sitting
there long when he heard the tune going on within the moat much sweeter
than before; for the fairies were singing it the way Lusmore had settled
their music for them, and the song was going on: _Da Luan, Da Mort, Da
Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort, augus Da Dardeen_, without ever
stopping. Jack Madden, who was in a great hurry to get quit of his hump,
never thought of waiting until the fairies had done, or watching for a
fit opportunity to raise the tune higher again than Lusmore had; so
having heard them sing it over seven times without stopping, out he
bawls, never minding the time or the humour of the tune, or how he
could bring his words in properly, _augus Da Dardeen, augus Da Hena_,
thinking that if one day was good, two were better; and that if Lusmore
had one new suit of clothes given him, he should have two.

No sooner had the words passed his lips than he was taken up and
whisked into the moat with prodigious force; and the fairies came
crowding round about him with great anger, screeching and screaming,
and roaring out, "Who spoiled our tune? who spoiled our tune?" and one
stepped up to him above all the rest, and said--

    "Jack Madden! Jack Madden!
    Your words came so bad in
    The tune we felt glad in;--
    This castle you're had in,
    That your life we may sadden;
    Here's two humps for Jack Madden!"

And twenty of the strongest fairies brought Lusmore's hump, and put it
down upon poor Jack's back, over his own, where it became fixed as
firmly as if it was nailed on with twelve-penny nails, by the best
carpenter that ever drove one. Out of their castle they then kicked him;
and in the morning, when Jack Madden's mother and her gossip came to
look after their little man, they found him half dead, lying at the foot
of the moat, with the other hump upon his back. Well to be sure, how
they did look at each other! but they were afraid to say anything, lest
a hump might be put upon their own shoulders. Home they brought the
unlucky Jack Madden with them, as downcast in their hearts and their
looks as ever two gossips were; and what through the weight of his other
hump, and the long journey, he died soon after, leaving, they say, his
heavy curse to any one who would go to listen to fairy tunes again.



Ay, it's a bad thing to displeasure the gentry, sure enough--they can
be unfriendly if they're angered, an' they can be the very best o'
gude neighbours if they're treated kindly.

My mother's sister was her lone in the house one day, wi' a' big pot
o' water boiling on the fire, and ane o' the wee folk fell down the
chimney, and slipped wi' his leg in the hot water.

He let a terrible squeal out o' him, an' in a minute the house was
full o' wee crathurs pulling him out o' the pot, an' carrying him
across the floor.

"Did she scald you?" my aunt heard them saying to him.

"Na, na, it was mysel' scalded my ainsel'," quoth the wee fellow.

"A weel, a weel," says they. "If it was your ainsel scalded yoursel',
we'll say nothing, but if she had scalded you, we'd ha' made her pay."



Sometimes the fairies fancy mortals, and carry them away into their
own country, leaving instead some sickly fairy child, or a log of wood
so bewitched that it seems to be a mortal pining away, and dying, and
being buried. Most commonly they steal children. If you "over look a
child," that is look on it with envy, the fairies have it in their
power. Many things can be done to find out in a child a changeling,
but there is one infallible thing--lay it on the fire with this
formula, "Burn, burn, burn--if of the devil, burn; but if of God and
the saints, be safe from harm" (given by Lady Wilde). Then if it be a
changeling it will rush up the chimney with a cry, for, according to
Giraldus Cambrensis, "fire is the greatest of enemies to every sort of
phantom, in so much that those who have seen apparitions fall into a
swoon as soon as they are sensible of the brightness of fire."

Sometimes the creature is got rid of in a more gentle way. It is on
record that once when a mother was leaning over a wizened changeling
the latch lifted and a fairy came in, carrying home again the
wholesome stolen baby. "It was the others," she said, "who stole it."
As for her, she wanted her own child.

Those who are carried away are happy, according to some accounts, having
plenty of good living and music and mirth. Others say, however, that
they are continually longing for their earthly friends. Lady Wilde gives
a gloomy tradition that there are two kinds of fairies--one kind merry
and gentle, the other evil, and sacrificing every year a life to Satan,
for which purpose they steal mortals. No other Irish writer gives this
tradition--if such fairies there be, they must be among the solitary
spirits--Pookas, Fir Darrigs, and the like.



Mrs. Sullivan fancied that her youngest child had been exchanged by
"fairies theft," and certainly appearances warranted such a
conclusion; for in one night her healthy, blue-eyed boy had become
shrivelled up into almost nothing, and never ceased squalling and
crying. This naturally made poor Mrs. Sullivan very unhappy; and all
the neighbours, by way of comforting her, said that her own child was,
beyond any kind of doubt, with the good people, and that one of
themselves was put in his place.

Mrs. Sullivan of course could not disbelieve what every one told her,
but she did not wish to hurt the thing; for although its face was so
withered, and its body wasted away to a mere skeleton, it had still a
strong resemblance to her own boy. She, therefore, could not find it
in her heart to roast it alive on the griddle, or to burn its nose off
with the red-hot tongs, or to throw it out in the snow on the
road-side, notwithstanding these, and several like proceedings, were
strongly recommended to her for the recovery of her child.

One day who should Mrs. Sullivan meet but a cunning woman, well known
about the country by the name of Ellen Leah (or Grey Ellen). She had
the gift, however she got it, of telling where the dead were, and what
was good for the rest of their souls; and could charm away warts and
wens, and do a great many wonderful things of the same nature.

"You're in grief this morning, Mrs. Sullivan," were the first words of
Ellen Leah to her.

"You may say that, Ellen," said Mrs. Sullivan, "and good cause I have
to be in grief, for there was my own fine child whipped of from me out
of his cradle, without as much as 'by your leave' or 'ask your
pardon,' and an ugly dony bit of a shrivelled-up fairy put in his
place; no wonder, then, that you see me in grief, Ellen."

"Small blame to you, Mrs. Sullivan," said Ellen Leah, "but are you
sure 'tis a fairy?"

"Sure!" echoed Mrs. Sullivan, "sure enough I am to my sorrow, and can
I doubt my own two eyes? Every mother's soul must feel for me!"

"Will you take an old woman's advice?" said Ellen Leah, fixing her
wild and mysterious gaze upon the unhappy mother; and, after a pause,
she added, "but maybe you'll call it foolish?"

"Can you get me back my child, my own child, Ellen?" said Mrs.
Sullivan with great energy.

"If you do as I bid you," returned Ellen Leah, "you'll know." Mrs.
Sullivan was silent in expectation, and Ellen continued, "Put down the
big pot, full of water, on the fire, and make it boil like mad; then
get a dozen new-laid eggs, break them, and keep the shells, but throw
away the rest; when that is done, put the shells in the pot of boiling
water, and you will soon know whether it is your own boy or a fairy.
If you find that it is a fairy in the cradle, take the red-hot poker
and cram it down his ugly throat, and you will not have much trouble
with him after that, I promise you."

Home went Mrs. Sullivan, and did as Ellen Leah desired. She put the
pot on the fire, and plenty of turf under it, and set the water
boiling at such a rate, that if ever water was red-hot, it surely was.

The child was lying, for a wonder, quite easy and quiet in the cradle,
every now and then cocking his eye, that would twinkle as keen as a
star in a frosty night, over at the great fire, and the big pot upon
it; and he looked on with great attention at Mrs. Sullivan breaking
the eggs and putting down the egg-shells to boil. At last he asked,
with the voice of a very old man, "What are you doing, mammy?"

Mrs. Sullivan's heart, as she said herself, was up in her mouth ready
to choke her, at hearing the child speak. But she contrived to put the
poker in the fire, and to answer, without making any wonder at the
words, "I'm brewing, _a vick_" (my son).

"And what are you brewing, mammy?" said the little imp, whose
supernatural gift of speech now proved beyond question that he was a
fairy substitute.

"I wish the poker was red," thought Mrs. Sullivan; but it was a large
one, and took a long time heating; so she determined to keep him in
talk until the poker was in a proper state to thrust down his throat,
and therefore repeated the question.

"Is it what I'm brewing, _a vick_," said she, "you want to know?"

"Yes, mammy: what are you brewing?" returned the fairy.

"Egg-shells, _a vick_," said Mrs. Sullivan.

"Oh!" shrieked the imp, starting up in the cradle, and clapping his
hands together, "I'm fifteen hundred years in the world, and I never
saw a brewery of egg-shells before!" The poker was by this time quite
red, and Mrs. Sullivan, seizing it, ran furiously towards the cradle;
but somehow or other her foot slipped, and she fell flat on the floor,
and the poker flew out of her hand to the other end of the house.
However, she got up without much loss of time and went to the cradle,
intending to pitch the wicked thing that was in it into the pot of
boiling water, when there she saw her own child in a sweet sleep, one
of his soft round arms rested upon the pillow--his features were as
placid as if their repose had never been disturbed, save the rosy
mouth, which moved with a gentle and regular breathing.



    Sweet babe! a golden cradle holds thee,
    And soft the snow-white fleece enfolds thee;
    In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
    Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen, sho, lulo lo!

    When mothers languish broken-hearted,
    When young wives are from husbands parted,
    Ah! little think the keeners lonely,
    They weep some time-worn fairy only.
                  Shuheen sho, lulo lo!

    Within our magic halls of brightness,
    Trips many a foot of snowy whiteness;
    Stolen maidens, queens of fairy--
    And kings and chiefs a sluagh-shee airy,
                  Shuheen sho, lulo lo!

    Rest thee, babe! I love thee dearly,
    And as thy mortal mother nearly;
    Ours is the swiftest steed and proudest,
    That moves where the tramp of the host is loudest.
                  Shuheen sho, lulo lo!

    Rest thee, babe! for soon thy slumbers
    Shall flee at the magic koelshie's[7] numbers;
    In airy bower I'll watch thy sleeping,
    Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping.
                  Shuheen sho, lulo, lo!

[Footnote 7: _Ceól-sidhe_--_i.e._, fairy music.]


_A Donegal Tale._


Down in Fannet, in times gone by, lived Jamie Freel and his mother.
Jamie was the widow's sole support; his strong arm worked for her
untiringly, and as each Saturday night came round, he poured his wages
into her lap, thanking her dutifully for the halfpence which she
returned him for tobacco.

He was extolled by his neighbours as the best son ever known or heard
of. But he had neighbours, of whose opinion he was ignorant--neighbours
who lived pretty close to him, whom he had never seen, who are, indeed,
rarely seen by mortals, except on May eves and Halloweens.

An old ruined castle, about a quarter of a mile from his cabin, was said
to be the abode of the "wee folk." Every Halloween were the ancient
windows lighted up, and passers-by saw little figures flitting to and
fro inside the building, while they heard the music of pipes and flutes.

It was well known that fairy revels took place; but nobody had the
courage to intrude on them.

Jamie had often watched the little figures from a distance, and
listened to the charming music, wondering what the inside of the
castle was like; but one Halloween he got up and took his cap, saying
to his mother, "I'm awa' to the castle to seek my fortune."

"What!" cried she, "would you venture there? you that's the poor
widow's one son! Dinna be sae venturesome an' foolitch, Jamie! They'll
kill you, an' then what'll come o' me?"

"Never fear, mother; nae harm 'ill happen me, but I maun gae."

He set out, and as he crossed the potato-field, came in sight of the
castle, whose windows were ablaze with light, that seemed to turn the
russet leaves, still clinging to the crabtree branches, into gold.

Halting in the grove at one side of the ruin, he listened to the elfin
revelry, and the laughter and singing made him all the more determined
to proceed.

Numbers of little people, the largest about the size of a child of
five years old, were dancing to the music of flutes and fiddles, while
others drank and feasted.

"Welcome, Jamie Freel! welcome, welcome, Jamie!" cried the company,
perceiving their visitor. The word "Welcome" was caught up and
repeated by every voice in the castle.

Time flew, and Jamie was enjoying himself very much, when his hosts
said, "We're going to ride to Dublin to-night to steal a young lady.
Will you come too, Jamie Freel?"

"Ay, that will I!" cried the rash youth, thirsting for adventure.

A troop of horses stood at the door. Jamie mounted, and his steed rose
with him into the air. He was presently flying over his mother's
cottage, surrounded by the elfin troop, and on and on they went, over
bold mountains, over little hills, over the deep Lough Swilley, over
towns and cottages, when people were burning nuts, and eating apples,
and keeping merry Halloween. It seemed to Jamie that they flew all
round Ireland before they got to Dublin.

"This is Derry," said the fairies, flying over the cathedral spire;
and what was said by one voice was repeated by all the rest, till
fifty little voices were crying out, "Derry! Derry! Derry!"

In like manner was Jamie informed as they passed over each town on the
rout, and at length he heard the silvery voices cry, "Dublin! Dublin!"

It was no mean dwelling that was to be honoured by the fairy visit,
but one of the finest houses in Stephen's Green.

The troop dismounted near a window, and Jamie saw a beautiful face, on
a pillow in a splendid bed. He saw the young lady lifted and carried
away, while the stick which was dropped in her place on the bed took
her exact form.

The lady was placed before one rider and carried a short way, then
given another, and the names of the towns were cried out as before.

They were approaching home. Jamie heard "Rathmullan," "Milford,"
"Tamney," and then he knew they were near his own house.

"You've all had your turn at carrying the young lady," said he. "Why
wouldn't I get her for a wee piece?"

"Ay, Jamie," replied they, pleasantly, "you may take your turn at
carrying her, to be sure."

Holding his prize very tightly, he dropped down near his mother's door.

"Jamie Freel, Jamie Freel! is that the way you treat us?" cried they,
and they too dropped down near the door.

Jamie held fast, though he knew not what he was holding, for the
little folk turned the lady into all sorts of strange shapes. At one
moment she was a black dog, barking and trying to bite; at another, a
glowing bar of iron, which yet had no heat; then, again, a sack of wool.

But still Jamie held her, and the baffled elves were turning away,
when a tiny woman, the smallest of the party, exclaimed, "Jamie Freel
has her awa' frae us, but he sall hae nae gude o' her, for I'll mak'
her deaf and dumb," and she threw something over the young girl.

While they rode off disappointed, Jamie lifted the latch and went in.

"Jamie, man!" cried his mother, "you've been awa' all night; what have
they done on you?"

"Naething bad, mother; I ha' the very best of gude luck. Here's a
beautiful young lady I ha' brought you for company.

"Bless us an' save us!" exclaimed the mother, and for some minutes she
was so astonished that she could not think of anything else to say.

Jamie told his story of the night's adventure, ending by saying,
"Surely you wouldna have allowed me to let her gang with them to be
lost forever?"

"But a _lady_, Jamie! How can a lady eat we'er poor diet, and live in
we'er poor way? I ax you that, you foolitch fellow?"

"Weel, mother, sure it's better for her to be here nor over yonder,"
and he pointed in the direction of the castle.

Meanwhile, the deaf and dumb girl shivered in her light clothing,
stepping close to the humble turf fire.

"Poor crathur, she's quare and handsome! Nae wonder they set their
hearts on her," said the old woman, gazing at her guest with pity and
admiration. "We maun dress her first; but what, in the name o'
fortune, hae I fit for the likes o' her to wear?"

She went to her press in "the room," and took out her Sunday gown of
brown drugget; she then opened a drawer, and drew forth a pair of
white stockings, a long snowy garment of fine linen, and a cap, her
"dead dress," as she called it.

These articles of attire had long been ready for a certain triste
ceremony, in which she would some day fill the chief part, and only
saw the light occasionally, when they were hung out to air; but she
was willing to give even these to the fair trembling visitor, who was
turning in dumb sorrow and wonder from her to Jamie, and from Jamie
back to her.

The poor girl suffered herself to be dressed, and then sat down on a
"creepie" in the chimney corner, and buried her face in her hands.

"What'll we do to keep up a lady like thou?" cried the old woman.

"I'll work for you both, mother," replied the son.

"An' how could a lady live on we'er poor diet?" she repeated.

"I'll work for her," was all Jamie's answer.

He kept his word. The young lady was very sad for a long time, and
tears stole down her cheeks many an evening while the old woman spun
by the fire, and Jamie made salmon nets, an accomplishment lately
acquired by him, in hopes of adding to the comfort of his guest But
she was always gentle, and tried to smile when she perceived them
looking at her; and by degrees she adapted herself to their ways and
mode of life. It was not very long before she began to feed the pig,
mash potatoes and meal for the fowls, and knit blue worsted socks.

So a year passed, and Halloween came round again. "Mother," said
Jamie, taking down his cap, "I'm off to the ould castle to seek my

"Are you mad, Jamie?" cried his mother, in terror; "sure they'll kill
you this time for what you done on them last year."

Jamie made light of her fears and went his way.

As he reached the crabtree grove, he saw bright lights in the castle
windows as before, and heard loud talking. Creeping under the window,
he heard the wee folk say, "That was a poor trick Jamie Freel played
us this night last year, when he stole the nice young lady from us."

"Ay," said the tiny woman, "an' I punished him for it, for there she
sits, a dumb image by his hearth; but he does na' know that three
drops out o' this glass I hold in my hand wad gie her her hearing and
her speeches back again."

Jamie's heart beat fast as he entered the hall. Again he was greeted
by a chorus of welcomes from the company--"Here comes Jamie Freel!
welcome, welcome, Jamie!"

As soon as the tumult subsided, the little woman said, "You be to
drink our health, Jamie, out o' this glass in my hand."

Jamie snatched the glass from her and darted to the door. He never
knew how he reached his cabin, but he arrived there breathless, and
sank on a stove by the fire.

"You're kilt surely this time, my poor boy," said his mother.

"No, indeed, better luck than ever this time!" and he gave the lady
three drops of the liquid that still remained at the bottom of the
glass, notwithstanding his mad race over the potato-field.

The lady began to speak, and her first words were words of thanks to

The three inmates of the cabin had so much to say to one another, that
long after cock-crow, when the fairy music had quite ceased, they were
talking round the fire.

"Jamie," said the lady, "be pleased to get me paper and pen and ink,
that I may write to my father, and tell him what has become of me."

She wrote, but weeks passed, and she received no answer. Again and
again she wrote, and still no answer.

At length she said, "You must come with me to Dublin, Jamie, to find
my father."

"I ha' no money to hire a car for you," he replied, "an' how can you
travel to Dublin on your foot?"

But she implored him so much that he consented to set out with her,
and walk all the way from Fannet to Dublin. It was not as easy as the
fairy journey; but at last they rang the bell at the door of the house
in Stephen's Green.

"Tell my father that his daughter is here," said she to the servant
who opened the door.

"The gentleman that lives here has no daughter, my girl. He had one,
but she died better nor a year ago."

"Do you not know me, Sullivan?"

"No, poor girl, I do not."

"Let me see the gentleman. I only ask to see him."

"Well, that's not much to ax; we'll see what can be done."

In a few moments the lady's father came to the door.

"Dear father," said she, "don't you know me?"

"How dare you call me your father?" cried the old gentleman, angrily.
"You are an impostor. I have no daughter."

"Look in my face, father, and surely you'll remember me."

"My daughter is dead and buried. She died a long, long time ago." The
old gentleman's voice changed from anger to sorrow. "You can go," he

"Stop, dear father, till you look at this ring on my finger. Look at
your name and mine engraved on it."

"It certainly is my daughter's ring; but I do not know how you came by
it. I fear in no honest way."

"Call my mother, _she_ will be sure to know me," said the poor girl,
who, by this time, was crying bitterly.

"My poor wife is beginning to forget her sorrow. She seldom speaks of
her daughter now. Why should I renew her grief by reminding her of her

But the young lady persevered, till at last the mother was sent for.

"Mother," she began, when the old lady came to the door, "don't _you_
know your daughter?"

"I have no daughter; my daughter died and was buried a long, long time

"Only look in my face, and surely you'll know me."

The old lady shook her head.

"You have all forgotten me; but look at this mole on my neck. Surely,
mother, you know me now?"

"Yes, yes," said the mother, "my Gracie had a mole on her neck like
that; but then I saw her in her coffin, and saw the lid shut down upon

It became Jamie's turn to speak, and he gave the history of the fairy
journey, of the theft of the young lady, of the figure he had seen
laid in its place, of her life with his mother in Fannet, of last
Halloween, and of the three drops that had released her from her

She took up the story when he paused, and told how kind the mother and
son had been to her.

The parents could not make enough of Jamie. They treated him with
every distinction, and when he expressed his wish to return to Fannet,
said they did not know what to do to show their gratitude.

But an awkward complication arose. The daughter would not let him go
without her. "If Jamie goes, I'll go too," she said. "He saved me from
the fairies, and has worked for me ever since. If it had not been for
him, dear father and mother, you would never have seen me again. If
he goes, I'll go too."

This being her resolution, the old gentleman said that Jamie should
become his son-in-law. The mother was brought from Fannet in a coach
and four, and there was a splendid wedding.

They all lived together in the grand Dublin house, and Jamie was heir
to untold wealth at his father-in-law's death.



    Where dips the rocky highland
      Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,
    There lies a leafy island
      Where flapping herons wake
    The drowsy water-rats.
    There we've hid our fairy vats
    Full of berries,
    And of reddest stolen cherries.
    Come away, O, human child!
    To the woods and waters wild,
    With a fairy hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wave of moonlight glosses
      The dim grey sands with light,
    Far off by furthest Rosses
      We foot it all the night,
    Weaving olden dances,
    Mingling hands, and mingling glances,
      Till the moon has taken flight;
    To and fro we leap,
      And chase the frothy bubbles,
      While the world is full of troubles.
    And is anxious in its sleep.
    Come away! O, human child!
    To the woods and waters wild.
    With a fairy hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Where the wandering water gushes
      From the hills above Glen-Car,
    In pools among the rushes,
      That scarce could bathe a star,
    We seek for slumbering trout,
      And whispering in their ears;
        We give them evil dreams,
    Leaning softly out
      From ferns that drop their tears
        Of dew on the young streams.
    Come! O, human child!
    To the woods and waters wild,
    With a fairy hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than you can understand.

    Away with us, he's going,
      The solemn-eyed;
    He'll hear no more the lowing
      Of the calves on the warm hill-side.
    Or the kettle on the hob
      Sing peace into his breast;
    Or see the brown mice bob
      Round and round the oatmeal chest.
    For he comes, the human child,
    To the woods and waters wild,
    With a fairy hand in hand,
    For the world's more full of weeping than he can understand.



The _Merrow_, or if you write it in the Irish, _Moruadh_ or
_Murrúghach_, from _muir_, sea, and _oigh_, a maid, is not uncommon,
they say, on the wilder coasts. The fishermen do not like to see them,
for it always means coming gales. The male _Merrows_ (if you can use
such a phrase--I have never heard the masculine of _Merrow_) have
green teeth, green hair, pig's eyes, and red noses; but their women
are beautiful, for all their fish tails and the little duck-like scale
between their fingers. Sometimes they prefer, small blame to them,
good-looking fishermen to their sea lovers. Near Bantry, in the last
century, there is said to have been a woman covered all over with
scales like a fish, who was descended from such a marriage. Sometimes
they come out of the sea, and wander about the shore in the shape of
little hornless cows. They have, when in their own shape, a red cap,
called a _cohullen druith_, usually covered with feathers. If this is
stolen, they cannot again go down under the waves.

Red is the colour of magic in every country, and has been so from the
very earliest times. The caps of fairies and magicians are well-nigh
always red.



Jack Dogherty lived on the coast of the county Clare. Jack was a
fisherman, as his father and grandfather before him had been. Like
them, too, he lived all alone (but for the wife), and just in the
same spot. People used to wonder why the Dogherty family were so fond
of that wild situation, so far away from all human kind, and in the
midst of huge shattered rocks, with nothing but the wide ocean to look
upon. But they had their own good reasons for it.

The place was just the only spot on that part of the coast where
anybody could well live. There was a neat little creek, where a boat
might lie as snug as a puffin in her nest, and out from this creek a
ledge of sunken rocks ran into the sea. Now when the Atlantic,
according to custom, was raging with a storm, and a good westerly wind
was blowing strong on the coast, many a richly-laden ship went to
pieces on these rocks; and then the fine bales of cotton and tobacco,
and such like things, and the pipes of wine, and the puncheons of rum,
and the casks of brandy, and the kegs of Hollands that used to come
ashore! Dunbeg Bay was just like a little estate to the Doghertys.

Not but they were kind and humane to a distressed sailor, if ever one
had the good luck to get to land; and many a time indeed did Jack put
out in his little _corragh_ (which, though not quite equal to honest
Andrew Hennessy's canvas life-boat, would breast the billows like any
gannet), to lend a hand towards bringing off the crew from a wreck.
But when the ship had gone to pieces, and the crew were all lost, who
would blame Jack for picking up all he could find?

"And who is the worse of it?" said he. "For as to the king, God bless
him! everybody knows he's rich enough already without getting what's
floating in the sea."

Jack, though such a hermit, was a good-natured, jolly fellow. No
other, sure, could ever have coaxed Biddy Mahony to quit her father's
snug and warm house in the middle of the town of Ennis, and to go so
many miles off to live among the rocks, with the seals and sea-gulls
for next-door neighbours. But Biddy knew that Jack was the man for a
woman who wished to be comfortable and happy; for, to say nothing of
the fish, Jack had the supplying of half the gentlemen's houses of
the country with the _Godsends_ that came into the bay. And she was
right in her choice; for no woman ate, drank, or slept better, or made
a prouder appearance at chapel on Sundays, than Mrs. Dogherty.

Many a strange sight, it may well be supposed, did Jack see, and many a
strange sound did he hear, but nothing daunted him. So far was he from
being afraid of Merrows, or such beings, that the very first wish of his
heart was to fairly meet with one. Jack had heard that they were mighty
like Christians, and that luck had always come out of an acquaintance
with them. Never, therefore, did he dimly discern the Merrows moving
along the face of the waters in their robes of mist, but he made direct
for them; and many a scolding did Biddy, in her own quiet way, bestow
upon Jack for spending his whole day out at sea, and bringing home no
fish. Little did poor Biddy know the fish Jack was after!

It was rather annoying to Jack that, though living in a place where
the Merrows were as plenty as lobsters, he never could get a right
view of one. What vexed him more was that both his father and
grandfather had often and often seen them; and he even remembered
hearing, when a child, how his grandfather, who was the first of the
family that had settled down at the creek, had been so intimate with a
Merrow that, only for fear of vexing the priest, he would have had him
stand for one of his children. This, however, Jack did not well know
how to believe.

Fortune at length began to think that it was only right that Jack
should know as much as his father and grandfather did. Accordingly,
one day when he had strolled a little farther than usual along the
coast to the northward, just as he turned a point, he saw something,
like to nothing he had ever seen before, perched upon a rock at a
little distance out to sea. It looked green in the body, as well as he
could discern at that distance, and he would have sworn, only the
thing was impossible, that it had a cocked hat in its hand. Jack stood
for a good half-hour straining his eyes, and wondering at it, and all
the time the thing did not stir hand or foot. At last Jack's patience
was quite worn out, and he gave a loud whistle and a hail, when the
Merrow (for such it was) started up, put the cocked hat on its head,
and dived down, head foremost, from the rock.

Jack's curiosity was now excited, and he constantly directed his steps
towards the point; still he could never get a glimpse of the
sea-gentleman with the cocked hat; and with thinking and thinking
about the matter, he began at last to fancy he had been only dreaming.
One very rough day, however, when the sea was running mountains high,
Jack Dogherty determined to give a look at the Merrow's rock (for he
had always chosen a fine day before), and then he saw the strange
thing cutting capers upon the top of the rock, and then diving down,
and then coming up, and then diving down again.

Jack had now only to choose his time (that is, a good blowing day),
and he might see the man of the sea as often as he pleased. All this,
however, did not satisfy him--"much will have more;" he wished now to
get acquainted with the Merrow, and even in this he succeeded. One
tremendous blustering day, before he got to the point whence he had a
view of the Merrow's rock, the storm came on so furiously that Jack
was obliged to take shelter in one of the caves which are so numerous
along the coast; and there, to his astonishment, he saw sitting before
him a thing with green hair, long green teeth, a red nose, and pig's
eyes. It had a fish's tail, legs with scales on them, and short arms
like fins. It wore no clothes, but had the cocked hat under its arm,
and seemed engaged thinking very seriously about something.

Jack, with all his courage, was a little daunted; but now or never,
thought he; so up he went boldly to the cogitating fishman, took off
his hat, and made his best bow.

"Your servant, sir," said Jack.

"Your servant, kindly, Jack Dogherty," answered the Merrow.

"To be sure, then, how well your honour knows my name!" said Jack.

"Is it I not know your name, Jack Dogherty? Why, man, I knew your
grandfather long before he was married to Judy Regan, your
grandmother! Ah, Jack, Jack, I was fond of that grandfather of yours;
he was a mighty worthy man in his time: I never met his match above or
below, before or since, for sucking in a shellful of brandy. I hope,
my boy," said the old fellow, with a merry twinkle in his eyes, "I
hope you're his own grandson!"

"Never fear me for that," said Jack; "if my mother had only reared me
on brandy, 'tis myself that would be a sucking infant to this hour!"

"Well, I like to hear you talk so manly; you and I must be better
acquainted, if it were only for your grandfather's sake. But, Jack,
that father of yours was not the thing! he had no head at all."

"I'm sure," said Jack, "since your honour lives down under the water,
you must be obliged to drink a power to keep any heat in you in such a
cruel, damp, _could_ place. Well, I've often heard of Christians
drinking like fishes; and might I be so bold as ask where you get the

"Where do you get them yourself, Jack?" said the Merrow, twitching his
red nose between his forefinger and thumb.

"Hubbubboo," cries Jack, "now I see how it is; but I suppose, sir,
your honour has got a fine dry cellar below to keep them in."

"Let me alone for the cellar," said the Merrow, with a knowing wink of
his left eye.

"I'm sure," continued Jack, "it must be mighty well worth the looking

"You may say that, Jack," said the Merrow; "and if you meet me here
next Monday, just at this time of the day, we will have a little more
talk with one another about the matter."

Jack and the Merrow parted the best friends in the world. On Monday
they met, and Jack was not a little surprised to see that the Merrow
had two cocked hats with him, one under each arm.

"Might I take the liberty to ask, sir," said Jack, "why your honour has
brought the two hats with you to day? You would not, sure, be going to
give me one of them, to keep for the _curiosity_ of the thing?"

"No, no, Jack," said he, "I don't get my hats so easily, to part with
them that way; but I want you to come down and dine with me, and I
brought you the hat to dine with."

"Lord bless and preserve us!" cried Jack, in amazement, "would you
want me to go down to the bottom of the salt sea ocean? Sure, I'd be
smothered and choked up with the water, to say nothing of being
drowned! And what would poor Biddy do for me, and what would she say?"

"And what matter what she says, you _pinkeen_? Who cares for Biddy's
squalling? It's long before your grandfather would have talked in that
way. Many's the time he stuck that same hat on his head, and dived
down boldly after me; and many's the snug bit of dinner and good
shellful of brandy he and I have had together below, under the water."

"Is it really, sir, and no joke?" said Jack; "why, then, sorrow from
me for ever and a day after, if I'll be a bit worse man nor my
grandfather was! Here goes--but play me fair now. Here's neck or
nothing!" cried Jack.

"That's your grandfather all over," said the old fellow; "so come
along, then, and do as I do."

They both left the cave, walked into the sea, and then swam a piece
until they got to the rock. The Merrow climbed to the top of it, and
Jack followed him. On the far side it was as straight as the wall of a
house, and the sea beneath looked so deep that Jack was almost cowed.

"Now, do you see, Jack," said the Merrow: "just put this hat on your
head, and mind to keep your eyes wide open. Take hold of my tail, and
follow after me, and you'll see what you'll see."

In he dashed, and in dashed Jack after him boldly. They went and they
went, and Jack thought they'd never stop going. Many a time did he
wish himself sitting at home by the fireside with Biddy. Yet where was
the use of wishing now, when he was so many miles, as he thought,
below the waves of the Atlantic? Still he held hard by the Merrow's
tail, slippery as it was; and, at last, to Jack's great surprise, they
got out of the water, and he actually found himself on dry land at the
bottom of the sea. They landed just in front of a nice house that was
slated very neatly with oyster shells! and the Merrow, turning about
to Jack, welcomed him down.

Jack could hardly speak, what with wonder, and what with being out of
breath with travelling so fast through the water. He looked about him
and could see no living things, barring crabs and lobsters, of which
there were plenty walking leisurely about on the sand. Overhead was
the sea like a sky, and the fishes like birds swimming about in it.

"Why don't you speak, man?" said the Merrow: "I dare say you had no
notion that I had such a snug little concern here as this? Are you
smothered, or choked, or drowned, or are you fretting after Biddy, eh?"

"Oh! not myself, indeed," said Jack, showing his teeth with a
good-humoured grin; "but who in the world would ever have thought of
seeing such a thing?"

"Well, come along, and let's see what they've got for us to eat?"

Jack really was hungry, and it gave him no small pleasure to perceive
a fine column of smoke rising from the chimney, announcing what was
going on within. Into the house he followed the Merrow, and there he
saw a good kitchen, right well provided with everything. There was a
noble dresser, and plenty of pots and pans, with two young Merrows
cooking. His host then led him into the room, which was furnished
shabbily enough. Not a table or a chair was there in it; nothing but
planks and logs of wood to sit on, and eat off. There was, however, a
good fire blazing upon the hearth--a comfortable sight to Jack.

"Come now, and I'll show you where I keep--you know what," said the
Merrow, with a sly look; and opening a little door, he led Jack into a
fine cellar, well filled with pipes, and kegs, and hogsheads, and

"What do you say to that, Jack Dogherty? Eh! may be a body can't live
snug under the water?"

"Never the doubt of that," said Jack, with a convincing smack of his
under lip, that he really thought what he said.

They went back to the room, and found dinner laid. There was no
tablecloth, to be sure--but what matter? It was not always Jack had
one at home. The dinner would have been no discredit to the first
house of the country on a fast day. The choicest of fish, and no
wonder, was there. Turbots, and sturgeons, and soles, and lobsters,
and oysters, and twenty other kinds, were on the planks at once, and
plenty of the best of foreign spirits. The wines, the old fellow said,
were too cold for his stomach.

Jack ate and drank till he could eat no more: then, taking up a shell
of brandy, "Here's to your honour's good health, sir," said he;
"though, begging you pardon, it's mighty odd that as long as we've
been acquainted I don't know your name yet."

"That's true, Jack," replied he; "I never thought of it before, but
better late than never. My name's Coomara."

"And a mighty decent name it is," cried Jack, taking another
shellfull: "here's to your good health, Coomara, and may ye live these
fifty years to come!"

"Fifty years!" repeated Coomara; "I'm obliged to you, indeed! If you
had said five hundred, it would have been something worth the wishing."

"By the laws, sir," cries Jack, "_youz_ live to a powerful age here
under the water! You knew my grandfather, and he's dead and gone better
than these sixty years. I'm sure it must be a healthy place to live in."

"No doubt of it; but come, Jack, keep the liquor stirring."

Shell after shell did they empty, and to Jack's exceeding surprise,
he found the drink never got into his head, owing, I suppose, to the
sea being over them, which kept their noddles cool.

Old Coomara got exceedingly comfortable, and sung several songs; but
Jack, if his life had depended on it, never could remember more than

    "_Rum fum boodle boo,
      Ripple dipple nitty dob;
    Dumdoo doodle coo,
      Raffle taffle chittiboo!_"

It was the chorus to one of them; and, to say the truth, nobody that I
know has ever been able to pick any particular meaning out of it; but
that, to be sure, is the case with many a song nowadays.

At length said he to Jack, "Now, my dear boy, if you follow me, I'll
show you my _curiosities_!" He opened a little door, and led Jack into
a large room, where Jack saw a great many odds and ends that Coomara
had picked up at one time or another. What chiefly took his attention,
however, were things like lobster-pots ranged on the ground along the

"Well, Jack, how do you like my _curiosities_?" said old Coo.

"Upon my _sowkins_,[8] sir," said Jack, "they're mighty well worth the
looking at; but might I make so bold as to ask what these things like
lobster-pots are?"

"Oh! the Soul Cages, is it?"

"The what? sir!"

"These things here that I keep the souls in."

"_Arrah!_ what souls, sir?" said Jack, in amazement; "sure the fish
have no souls in them?"

"Oh! no," replied Coo, quite coolly, "that they have not; but these
are the souls of drowned sailors."

"The Lord preserve us from all harm!" muttered Jack, "how in the world
did you get them?"

"Easily enough: I've only, when I see a good storm coming on, to set
a couple of dozen of these, and then, when the sailors are drowned and
the souls get out of them under the water, the poor things are almost
perished to death, not being used to the cold; so they make into my
pots for shelter, and then I have them snug, and fetch them home, and
keep them here dry and warm; and is it not well for them, poor souls,
to get into such good quarters?"

Jack was so thunderstruck he did not know what to say, so he said
nothing. They went back into the dining-room, and had a little more
brandy, which was excellent, and then, as Jack knew that it must be
getting late, and as Biddy might be uneasy, he stood up, and said he
thought it was time for him to be on the road.

"Just as you like, Jack," said Coo, "but take a _duc an durrus_[9]
before you go; you've a cold journey before you."

Jack knew better manners than to refuse the parting glass. "I wonder,"
said he, "will I be able to make out my way home?"

"What should ail you," said Coo, "when I'll show you the way?"

Out they went before the house, and Coomara took one of the cocked
hats, and put it upon Jack's head the wrong way, and then lifted him
up on his shoulder that he might launch him up into the water.

"Now," says he, giving him a heave, "you'll come up just in the same
spot you came down in; and, Jack, mind and throw me back the hat."

He canted Jack off his shoulder, and up he shot like a bubble--whirr,
whirr, whiz--away he went up through the water, till he came to the
very rock he had jumped off, where he found a landing-place, and then
in he threw the hat, which sunk like a stone.

The sun was just going down in the beautiful sky of a calm summer's
evening. _Feascor_ was seen dimly twinkling in the cloudless heaven, a
solitary star, and the waves of the Atlantic flashed in a golden flood
of light. So Jack, perceiving it was late, set off home; but when he
got there, not a word did he say to Biddy of where he had spent his day.

The state of the poor souls cooped up in the lobster-pots gave Jack a
great deal of trouble, and how to release them cost him a great deal of
thought. He at first had a mind to speak to the priest about the matter.
But what could the priest do, and what did Coo care for the priest?
Besides, Coo was a good sort of an old fellow, and did not think he was
doing any harm. Jack had a regard for him, too, and it also might not be
much to his own credit if it were known that he used to go dine with
Merrows. On the whole, he thought his best plan would be to ask Coo to
dinner, and to make him drunk, if he was able, and then to take the hat
and go down and turn up the pots. It was, first of all, necessary,
however, to get Biddy out of the way; for Jack was prudent enough, as
she was a woman, to wish to keep the thing secret from her.

Accordingly, Jack grew mighty pious all of a sudden, and said to Biddy
that he thought it would be for the good of both their souls if she
was to go and take her rounds at Saint John's Well, near Ennis. Biddy
thought so too, and accordingly off she set one fine morning at
day-dawn, giving Jack a strict charge to have an eye to the place. The
coast being clear, away went Jack to the rock to give the appointed
signal to Coomara, which was throwing a big stone into the water. Jack
threw, and up sprang Coo!

"Good morning, Jack," said he; "what do you want with me?"

"Just nothing at all to speak about, sir," returned Jack, "only to
come and take a bit of dinner with me, if I might make so free as to
ask you, and sure I'm now after doing so."

"It's quite agreeable, Jack, I assure you; what's your hour?"

"Any time that's most convenient to you, sir--say one o'clock, that
you may go home, if you wish, with the daylight."

"I'll be with you," said Coo, "never fear me."

Jack went home, and dressed a noble fish dinner, and got out plenty of
his best foreign spirits, enough, for that matter, to make twenty men
drunk. Just to the minute came Coo, with his cocked hat under his arm.
Dinner was ready, they sat down, and ate and drank away manfully.
Jack, thinking of the poor souls below in the pots, plied old Coo well
with brandy, and encouraged him to sing, hoping to put him under the
table, but poor Jack forgot that he had not the sea over his own head
to keep it cool. The brandy got into it, and did his business for him,
and Coo reeled off home, leaving his entertainer as dumb as a haddock
on a Good Friday.

Jack never woke till the next morning, and then he was in a sad way.
"'Tis to no use for me thinking to make that old Rapparee drunk," said
Jack, "and how in this world can I help the poor souls out of the
lobster-pots?" After ruminating nearly the whole day, a thought struck
him. "I have it," says he, slapping his knee; "I'll be sworn that Coo
never saw a drop of _poteen_, as old as he is, and that's the _thing_
to settle him! Oh! then, is not it well that Biddy will not be home
these two days yet; I can have another twist at him."

Jack asked Coo again, and Coo laughed at him for having no better
head, telling him he'd never come up to his grandfather.

"Well, but try me again," said Jack, "and I'll be bail to drink you
drunk and sober, and drunk again."

"Anything in my power," said Coo, "to oblige you."

At this dinner Jack took care to have his own liquor well watered, and
to give the strongest brandy he had to Coo. At last says he, "Pray,
sir, did you ever drink any poteen?--any real mountain dew?"

"No," says Coo; "what's that, and where does it come from?"

"Oh, that's a secret," said Jack, "but it's the right stuff--never
believe me again, if 'tis not fifty times as good as brandy or rum
either. Biddy's brother just sent me a present of a little drop, in
exchange for some brandy, and as you're an old friend of the family, I
kept it to treat you with."

"Well, let's see what sort of thing it is," said Coomara.

The _poteen_ was the right sort. It was first-rate, and had the real
smack upon it. Coo was delighted: he drank and he sung _Rum bum boodle
boo_ over and over again; and he laughed and he danced, till he fell
on the floor fast asleep. Then Jack, who had taken good care to keep
himself sober, snapt up the cocked hat--ran off to the rock--leaped
in, and soon arrived at Coo's habitation.

All was as still as a churchyard at midnight--not a Merrow, old or
young, was there. In he went and turned up the pots, but nothing did
he see, only he heard a sort of a little whistle or chirp as he raised
each of them. At this he was surprised, till he recollected what the
priests had often said, that nobody living could see the soul, no more
than they could see the wind or the air. Having now done all that he
could do for them, he set the pots as they were before, and sent a
blessing after the poor souls to speed them on their journey wherever
they were going. Jack now began to think of returning; he put the hat
on, as was right, the wrong way; but when he got out he found the
water so high over his head that he had no hopes of ever getting up
into it, now that he had not old Coomara to give him a lift. He walked
about looking for a ladder, but not one could he find, and not a rock
was there in sight. At last he saw a spot where the sea hung rather
lower than anywhere else, so he resolved to try there. Just as he came
to it, a big cod happened to put down his tail. Jack made a jump and
caught hold of it, and the cod, all in amazement, gave a bounce and
pulled Jack up The minute the hat touched the water away Jack was
whisked, and up he shot like a cork, dragging the poor cod, that he
forgot to let go, up with him tail foremost. He got to the rock in no
time, and without a moment's delay hurried home, rejoicing in the good
deed he had done.

But, meanwhile, there was fine work at home; for our friend Jack had
hardly left the house on his soul-freeing expedition, when back came
Biddy from her soul-saving one to the well. When she entered the house
and saw the things lying _thrie-na-helah_[10] on the table before
her--"Here's a pretty job!" said she; "that blackguard of mine--what
ill-luck I had ever to marry him! He has picked up some vagabond or
other, while I was praying for the good of his soul, and they've been
drinking all the _poteen_ that my own brother gave him, and all the
spirits, to be sure, that he was to have sold to his honour." Then
hearing an outlandish kind of a grunt, she looked down, and saw
Coomara lying under the table. "The blessed Virgin help me," shouted
she, "if he has not made a real beast of himself! Well, well, I've
often heard of a man making a beast of himself with drink! Oh hone, oh
hone!--Jack, honey, what will I do with you, or what will I do without
you? How can any decent woman ever think of living with a beast?"

With such like lamentations Biddy rushed out of the house, and was
going she knew not where, when she heard the well-known voice of Jack
singing a merry tune. Glad enough was Biddy to find him safe and
sound, and not turned into a thing that was like neither fish nor
flesh. Jack was obliged to tell her all, and Biddy, though she had
half a mind to be angry with him for not telling her before, owned
that he had done a great service to the poor souls. Back they both
went most lovingly to the house, and Jack wakened up Coomara; and,
perceiving the old fellow to be rather dull, he bid him not to be cast
down, for 'twas many a good man's case; said it all came of his not
being used to the _poteen_, and recommended him, by way of cure, to
swallow a hair of the dog that bit him. Coo, however, seemed to think
he had had quite enough. He got up, quite out of sorts, and without
having the manners to say one word in the way of civility, he sneaked
off to cool himself by a jaunt through the salt water.

Coomara never missed the souls. He and Jack continued the best
friends in the world, and no one, perhaps, ever equalled Jack for
freeing souls from purgatory; for he contrived fifty excuses for
getting into the house below the sea, unknown to the old fellow, and
then turning up the pots and letting out the souls. It vexed him, to
be sure, that he could never see them; but as he knew the thing to be
impossible, he was obliged to be satisfied.

Their intercourse continued for several years. However, one morning, on
Jack's throwing in a stone as usual, he got no answer. He flung another,
and another, still there was no reply. He went away, and returned the
following morning, but it was to no purpose. As he was without the hat,
he could not go down to see what had become of old Coo, but his belief
was, that the old man, or the old fish, or whatever he was, had either
died, or had removed from that part of the country.

[Footnote 8: _Sowkins_, diminutive of soul.]

[Footnote 9: _Recte, deoch án dorrus_--door-drink or stirrup-cup.]

[Footnote 10: _Tri-na-cheile, literally through other_--_i.e._,



The ancient burial-place of the Cantillon family was on an island in
Ballyheigh Bay. This island was situated at no great distance from the
shore, and at a remote period was overflowed in one of the encroachments
which the Atlantic has made on that part of the coast of Kerry. The
fishermen declare they have often seen the ruined walls of an old chapel
beneath them in the water, as they sailed over the clear green sea of a
sunny afternoon. However this may be, it is well-known that the
Cantillons were, like most other Irish families, strongly attached to
their ancient burial-place; and this attachment led to the custom, when
any of the family died, of carrying the corpse to the seaside, where the
coffin was left on the shore within reach of the tide. In the morning it
had disappeared, being, as was traditionally believed, conveyed away by
the ancestors of the deceased to their family tomb.

Connor Crowe, a county Clare man, was related to the Cantillons by
marriage. "Connor Mac in Cruagh, of the seven quarters of Breintragh,"
as he was commonly called, and a proud man he was of the name. Connor,
be it known, would drink a quart of salt water, for its medicinal
virtues, before breakfast; and for the same reason, I suppose, double
that quantity of raw whiskey between breakfast and night, which last
he did with as little inconvenience to himself as any man in the
barony of Moyferta; and were I to add Clanderalaw and Ibrickan, I
don't think I should say wrong.

On the death of Florence Cantillon, Connor Crowe was determined to
satisfy himself about the truth of this story of the old church under
the sea: so when he heard the news of the old fellow's death, away
with him to Ardfert, where Flory was laid out in high style, and a
beautiful corpse he made.

Flory had been as jolly and as rollicking a boy in his day as ever was
stretched, and his wake was in every respect worthy of him. There was
all kind of entertainment, and all sort of diversion at it, and no
less than three girls got husbands there--more luck to them.
Everything was as it should be; all that side of the country, from
Dingle to Tarbert, was at the funeral. The Keen was sung long and
bitterly; and, according to the family custom, the coffin was carried
to Ballyheigh strand, where it was laid upon the shore, with a prayer
for the repose of the dead.

The mourners departed, one group after another, and at last Connor
Crowe was left alone. He then pulled out his whiskey bottle, his drop
of comfort, as he called it, which he required, being in grief; and
down he sat upon a big stone that was sheltered by a projecting rock,
and partly concealed from view, to await with patience the appearance
of the ghostly undertakers.

The evening came on mild and beautiful. He whistled an old air which
he had heard in his childhood, hoping to keep idle fears out of his
head; but the wild strain of that melody brought a thousand
recollections with it, which only made the twilight appear more pensive.

"If 'twas near the gloomy tower of Dunmore, in my own sweet country, I
was," said Connor Crowe, with a sigh, "one might well believe that the
prisoners, who were murdered long ago there in the vaults under the
castle, would be the hands to carry off the coffin out of envy, for
never a one of them was buried decently, nor had as much as a coffin
amongst them all. 'Tis often, sure enough, I have heard lamentations
and great mourning coming from the vaults of Dunmore Castle; but,"
continued he, after fondly pressing his lips to the mouth of his
companion and silent comforter, the whiskey bottle, "didn't I know all
the time well enough, 'twas the dismal sounding waves working through
the cliffs and hollows of the rocks, and fretting themselves to foam.
Oh, then, Dunmore Castle, it is you that are the gloomy-looking tower
on a gloomy day, with the gloomy hills behind you; when one has gloomy
thoughts on their heart, and sees you like a ghost rising out of the
smoke made by the kelp burners on the strand, there is, the Lord save
us! as fearful a look about you as about the Blue Man's Lake at
midnight. Well, then, anyhow," said Connor, after a pause, "is it not
a blessed night, though surely the moon looks mighty pale in the face?
St. Senan himself between us and all kinds of harm."

It was, in truth, a lovely moonlight night; nothing was to be seen
around but the dark rocks, and the white pebbly beach, upon which the
sea broke with a hoarse and melancholy murmur. Connor, notwithstanding
his frequent draughts, felt rather queerish, and almost began to
repent his curiosity. It was certainly a solemn sight to behold the
black coffin resting upon the white strand. His imagination gradually
converted the deep moaning of old ocean into a mournful wail for the
dead, and from the shadowy recesses of the rocks he imaged forth
strange and visionary forms.

As the night advanced, Connor became weary with watching. He caught
himself more than once in the act of nodding, when suddenly giving
his head a shake, he would look towards the black coffin. But the
narrow house of death remained unmoved before him.

It was long past midnight, and the moon was sinking into the sea, when
he heard the sound of many voices, which gradually became stronger,
above the heavy and monotonous roll of the sea. He listened, and
presently could distinguish a Keen of exquisite sweetness, the notes
of which rose and fell with the heaving of the waves, whose deep
murmur mingled with and supported the strain!

The Keen grew louder and louder, and seemed to approach the beach, and
then fell into a low, plaintive wail. As it ended Connor beheld a
number of strange and, in the dim light, mysterious-looking figures
emerge from the sea, and surround the coffin, which they prepared to
launch into the water.

"This comes of marrying with the creatures of earth," said one of the
figures, in a clear, yet hollow tone.

"True," replied another, with a voice still more fearful, "our king
would never have commanded his gnawing white-toothed waves to devour
the rocky roots of the island cemetery, had not his daughter,
Durfulla, been buried there by her mortal husband!"

"But the time will come," said a third, bending over the coffin,

    "When mortal eye--our work shall spy,
    And mortal ear--our dirge shall hear."

"Then," said a fourth, "our burial of the Cantillons is at an end for

As this was spoken the coffin was borne from the beach by a retiring
wave, and the company of sea people prepared to follow it; but at the
moment one chanced to discover Connor Crowe, as fixed with wonder and
as motionless with fear as the stone on which he sat.

"The time is come," cried the unearthly being, "the time is come; a
human eye looks on the forms of ocean, a human ear has heard their
voices. Farewell to the Cantillons; the sons of the sea are no longer
doomed to bury the dust of the earth!"

One after the other turned slowly round, and regarded Connor Crowe,
who still remained as if bound by a spell. Again arose their funeral
song; and on the next wave they followed the coffin. The sound of the
lamentation died away, and at length nothing was heard but the rush of
waters. The coffin and the train of sea people sank over the old
churchyard, and never since the funeral of old Flory Cantillon have
any of the family been carried to the strand of Ballyheigh, for
conveyance to their rightful burial-place, beneath the waves of the



"The name _Lepracaun_," Mr. Douglas Hyde writes to me, "is from the
Irish _leith brog_--_i.e._, the One-shoemaker, since he is generally
seen working at a single shoe. It is spelt in Irish _leith bhrogan_,
or _leith phrogan_, and is in some places pronounced Luchryman, as
O'Kearney writes it in that very rare book, the _Feis Tigh Chonain_."

The _Lepracaun_, _Cluricaun_, and _Far Darrig_. Are these one spirit
in different moods and shapes? Hardly two Irish writers are agreed. In
many things these three fairies, if three, resemble each other. They
are withered, old, and solitary, in every way unlike the sociable
spirits of the first sections. They dress with all unfairy homeliness,
and are, indeed, most sluttish, slouching, jeering, mischievous
phantoms. They are the great practical jokers among the good people.

The _Lepracaun_ makes shoes continually, and has grown very rich. Many
treasure-crocks, buried of old in war-time, has he now for his own. In
the early part of this century, according to Croker, in a newspaper
office in Tipperary, they used to show a little shoe forgotten by a

The _Cluricaun_, (_Clobhair-ceann_, in O'Kearney) makes himself drunk
in gentlemen's cellars. Some suppose he is merely the Lepracaun on a
spree. He is almost unknown in Connaught and the north.

The _Far Darrig (fear dearg)_, which means the Red Man, for he wears a
red cap and coat, busies himself with practical joking, especially
with gruesome joking. This he does, and nothing else.

The _Fear-Gorta_ (Man of Hunger) is an emaciated phantom that goes
through the land in famine time, begging an alms and bringing good
luck to the giver.

There are other solitary fairies, such as the House-spirit and the
_Water-sheerie_, own brother to the English Jack-o'-Lantern; the _Pooka_
and the _Banshee_--concerning these presently; the _Dallahan_, or
headless phantom--one used to stand in a Sligo street on dark nights
till lately; the Black Dog, a form, perhaps, of the _Pooka_. The ships
at the Sligo quays are haunted sometimes by this spirit, who announces
his presence by a sound like the flinging of all "the tin porringers in
the world" down into the hold. He even follows them to sea.

_The Leanhaun Shee_ (fairy mistress), seeks the love of mortals. If
they refuse, she must be their slave; if they consent, they are hers,
and can only escape by finding another to take their place. The fairy
lives on their life, and they waste away. Death is no escape from her.
She is the Gaelic muse, for she gives inspiration to those she
persecutes. The Gaelic poets die young, for she is restless, and will
not let them remain long on earth--this malignant phantom.

Besides these are divers monsters--the _Augh-iska_, the Waterhorse,
the Payshtha (_píast = bestia_), the Lake-dragon, and such like; but
whether these be animals, fairies, or spirits, I know not.




    Little Cowboy, what have you heard,
      Up on the lonely rath's green mound?
    Only the plaintive yellow bird[11]
      Sighing in sultry fields around,
    Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee!--
    Only the grasshopper and the bee?--
      "Tip tap, rip-rap,
    Scarlet leather, sewn together,
      This will make a shoe.
    Left, right, pull it tight;
      Summer days are warm;
    Underground in winter,
      Laughing at the storm!"
    Lay your ear close to the hill.
    Do you not catch the tiny clamour,
    Busy click of an elfin hammer,
    Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill
        As he merrily plies his trade?
          He's a span
          And a quarter in height.
    Get him in sight, hold him tight,
          And you're a made


    You watch your cattle the summer day,
    Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;
      How would you like to roll in your carriage,
      Look for a duchess's daughter in marriage?
    Seize the Shoemaker--then you may!
        "Big boots a-hunting,
        Sandals in the hall,
      White for a wedding-feast,
        Pink for a ball.
      This way, that way,
        So we make a shoe;
      Getting rich every stitch,
    Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks
    This keen miser-fairy hath,
    Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,
    Ruin and round-tow'r, cave and rath,
      And where the cormorants build;
    From times of old
    Guarded by him;
    Each of them fill'd
    Full to the brim
      With gold!


    I caught him at work one day, myself,
      In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,--
    A wrinkled, wizen'd, and bearded Elf,
      Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,
      Silver buckles to his hose,
      Leather apron--shoe in his lap--
          "Rip-rap, tip-tap,
        (A grasshopper on my cap!
          Away the moth flew!)
        Buskins for a fairy prince,
          Brogues for his son,--
        Pay me well, pay me well,
          When the job is done!"
    The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.
    I stared at him; he stared at me;
    "Servant, Sir!" "Humph!" says he,
      And pull'd a snuff-box out.
    He took a long pinch, look'd better pleased,
      The queer little Lepracaun;
    Offer'd the box with a whimsical grace,--
    Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,
        And, while I sneezed,
            Was gone!

[Footnote 11: "Yellow bird," the yellow-bunting, or _yorlin_.]



Billy Mac Daniel was once as likely a young man as ever shook his
brogue at a patron,[12] emptied a quart, or handled a shillelagh;
fearing for nothing but the want of drink; caring for nothing but who
should pay for it; and thinking of nothing but how to make fun over
it; drunk or sober, a word and a blow was ever the way with Billy Mac
Daniel; and a mighty easy way it is of either getting into or of
ending a dispute. More is the pity that, through the means of his
thinking, and fearing, and caring for nothing, this same Billy Mac
Daniel fell into bad company; for surely the good people are the worst
of all company any one could come across.

It so happened that Billy was going home one clear frosty night not
long after Christmas; the moon was round and bright; but although it
was as fine a night as heart could wish for, he felt pinched with
cold. "By my word," chattered Billy, "a drop of good liquor would be
no bad thing to keep a man's soul from freezing in him; and I wish I
had a full measure of the best."

"Never wish it twice, Billy," said a little man in a three-cornered
hat, bound all about with gold lace, and with great silver buckles in
his shoes, so big that it was a wonder how he could carry them, and he
held out a glass as big as himself, filled with as good liquor as ever
eye looked on or lip tasted.

"Success, my little fellow," said Billy Mac Daniel, nothing daunted,
though well he knew the little man to belong to the _good people_;
"here's your health, anyway, and thank you kindly; no matter who pays
for the drink;" and he took the glass and drained it to the very
bottom without ever taking a second breath to it.

"Success," said the little man; "and you're heartily welcome, Billy;
but don't think to cheat me as you have done others,--out with your
purse and pay me like a gentleman."

"Is it I pay you?" said Billy; "could I not just take you up and put
you in my pocket as easily as a blackberry?"

"Billy Mac Daniel," said the little man, getting very angry, "you
shall be my servant for seven years and a day, and that is the way I
will be paid; so make ready to follow me."

When Billy heard this he began to be very sorry for having used such
bold words towards the little man; and he felt himself, yet could not
tell how, obliged to follow the little man the live-long night about
the country, up and down, and over hedge and ditch, and through bog
and brake, without any rest.

When morning began to dawn the little man turned round to him and
said, "You may now go home, Billy, but on your peril don't fail to
meet me in the Fort-field to-night; or if you do it may be the worse
for you in the long run. If I find you a good servant, you will find
me an indulgent master."

Home went Billy Mac Daniel; and though he was tired and weary enough,
never a wink of sleep could he get for thinking of the little man; but
he was afraid not to do his bidding, so up he got in the evening, and
away he went to the Fort-field. He was not long there before the
little man came towards him and said, "Billy, I want to go a long
journey to-night; so saddle one of my horses, and you may saddle
another for yourself, as you are to go along with me, and may be tired
after your walk last night."

Billy thought this very considerate of his master, and thanked him
accordingly: "But," said he, "if I may be so bold, sir, I would ask
which is the way to your stable, for never a thing do I see but the
fort here, and the old thorn tree in the corner of the field, and the
stream running at the bottom of the hill, with the bit of bog over
against us."

"Ask no questions, Billy," said the little man, "but go over to that
bit of bog, and bring me two of the strongest rushes you can find."

Billy did accordingly, wondering what the little man would be at; and
he picked two of the stoutest rushes he could find, with a little
bunch of brown blossom stuck at the side of each, and brought them
back to his master.

"Get up, Billy," said the little man, taking one of the rushes from
him and striding across it.

"Where shall I get up, please your honour?" said Billy.

"Why, upon horseback, like me, to be sure," said the little man.

"Is it after making a fool of me you'd be," said Billy, "bidding me get
a horseback upon that bit of a rush? May be you want to persuade me that
the rush I pulled but a while ago out of the bog over there is a horse?"

"Up! up! and no words," said the little man, looking very angry; "the
best horse you ever rode was but a fool to it." So Billy, thinking all
this was in joke, and fearing to vex his master, straddled across the
rush. "Borram! Borram! Borram!" cried the little man three times
(which, in English, means to become great), and Billy did the same
after him; presently the rushes swelled up into fine horses, and away
they went full speed; but Billy, who had put the rush between his
legs, without much minding how he did it, found himself sitting on
horseback the wrong way, which was rather awkward, with his face to
the horse's tail; and so quickly had his steed started off with him
that he had no power to turn round, and there was therefore nothing
for it but to hold on by the tail.

At last they came to their journey's end, and stopped at the gate of a
fine house. "Now, Billy," said the little man, "do as you see me do,
and follow me close; but as you did not know your horse's head from
his tail, mind that your own head does not spin round until you can't
tell whether you are standing on it or on your heels: for remember
that old liquor, though able to make a cat speak, can make a man dumb."

The little man then said some queer kind of words, out of which Billy
could make no meaning; but he contrived to say them after him for all
that; and in they both went through the key-hole of the door, and
through one key-hole after another, until they got into the
wine-cellar, which was well stored with all kinds of wine.

The little man fell to drinking as hard as he could, and Billy, noway
disliking the example, did the same. "The best of masters are you,
surely," said Billy to him; "no matter who is the next; and well pleased
will I be with your service if you continue to give me plenty to drink."

"I have made no bargain with you," said the little man, "and will make
none; but up and follow me." Away they went, through key-hole after
key-hole; and each mounting upon the rush which he left at the hall
door, scampered off, kicking the clouds before them like snow-balls,
as soon as the words, "Borram, Borram, Borram," had passed their lips.

When they came back to the Fort-field the little man dismissed Billy,
bidding him to be there the next night at the same hour. Thus did they
go on, night after night, shaping their course one night here, and
another night there; sometimes north, and sometimes east, and
sometimes south, until there was not a gentleman's wine-cellar in all
Ireland they had not visited, and could tell the flavour of every wine
in it as well, ay, better than the butler himself.

One night when Billy Mac Daniel met the little man as usual in the
Fort-field, and was going to the bog to fetch the horses for their
journey, his master said to him, "Billy, I shall want another horse
to-night, for may be we may bring back more company than we take." So
Billy, who now knew better than to question any order given to him by
his master, brought a third rush, much wondering who it might be that
would travel back in their company, and whether he was about to have a
fellow-servant. "If I have," thought Billy, "he shall go and fetch the
horses from the bog every night; for I don't see why I am not, every
inch of me, as good a gentleman as my master."

Well, away they went, Billy leading the third horse, and never stopped
until they came to a snug farmer's house, in the county Limerick,
close under the old castle of Carrigogunniel, that was built, they
say, by the great Brian Boru. Within the house there was great
carousing going forward, and the little man stopped outside for some
time to listen; then turning round all of a sudden, said, "Billy, I
will be a thousand years old to-morrow!"

"God bless us, sir," said Billy; "will you?"

"Don't say these words again, Billy," said the little old man, "or you
will be my ruin for ever. Now Billy, as I will be a thousand years in
the world to-morrow, I think it is full time for me to get married."

"I think so too, without any kind of doubt at all," said Billy, "if
ever you mean to marry."

"And to that purpose," said the little man, "have I come all the way
to Carrigogunniel; for in this house, this very night, is young Darby
Riley going to be married to Bridget Rooney; and as she is a tall and
comely girl, and has come of decent people, I think of marrying her
myself, and taking her off with me."

"And what will Darby Riley say to that?" said Billy.

"Silence!" said the little man, putting on a mighty severe look; "I
did not bring you here with me to ask questions;" and without holding
further argument, he began saying the queer words which had the power
of passing him through the key-hole as free as air, and which Billy
thought himself mighty clever to be able to say after him.

In they both went; and for the better viewing the company, the little
man perched himself up as nimbly as a cocksparrow upon one of the big
beams which went across the house over all their heads, and Billy did
the same upon another facing him; but not being much accustomed to
roosting in such a place, his legs hung down as untidy as may be, and
it was quite clear he had not taken pattern after the way in which the
little man had bundled himself up together. If the little man had been
a tailor all his life he could not have sat more contentedly upon his

There they were, both master and man, looking down upon the fun that
was going forward; and under them were the priest and piper, and the
father of Darby Riley, with Darby's two brothers and his uncle's son;
and there were both the father and the mother of Bridget Rooney, and
proud enough the old couple were that night of their daughter, as good
right they had; and her four sisters, with bran new ribbons in their
caps, and her three brothers all looking as clean and as clever as any
three boys in Munster, and there were uncles and aunts, and gossips
and cousins enough besides to make a full house of it; and plenty was
there to eat and drink on the table for every one of them, if they had
been double the number.

Now it happened, just as Mrs. Rooney had helped his reverence to the
first cut of the pig's head which was placed before her, beautifully
bolstered up with white savoys, that the bride gave a sneeze, which
made every one at table start, but not a soul said "God bless us." All
thinking that the priest would have done so, as he ought if he had
done his duty, no one wished to take the word out of his mouth, which,
unfortunately, was preoccupied with pig's head and greens. And after a
moment's pause the fun and merriment of the bridal feast went on
without the pious benediction.

Of this circumstance both Billy and his master were no inattentive
spectators from their exalted stations. "Ha!" exclaimed the little
man, throwing one leg from under him with a joyous flourish, and his
eye twinkled with a strange light, whilst his eyebrows became elevated
into the curvature of Gothic arches; "Ha!" said he, leering down at
the bride, and then up at Billy, "I have half of her now, surely. Let
her sneeze but twice more, and she is mine, in spite of priest,
mass-book, and Darby Riley."

Again the fair Bridget sneezed; but it was so gently, and she blushed
so much, that few except the little man took, or seemed to take, any
notice; and no one thought of saying "God bless us."

Billy all this time regarded the poor girl with a most rueful
expression of countenance; for he could not help thinking what a
terrible thing it was for a nice young girl of nineteen, with large
blue eyes, transparent skin, and dimpled cheeks, suffused with health
and joy, to be obliged to marry an ugly little bit of a man, who was a
thousand years old, barring a day.

At this critical moment the bride gave a third sneeze, and Billy
roared out with all his might, "God save us!" Whether this exclamation
resulted from his soliloquy, or from the mere force of habit, he never
could tell exactly himself; but no sooner was it uttered than the
little man, his face glowing with rage and disappointment, sprung from
the beam on which he had perched himself, and shrieking out in the
shrill voice of a cracked bagpipe, "I discharge you from my service,
Billy Mac Daniel--take that for your wages," gave poor Billy a most
furious kick in the back, which sent his unfortunate servant sprawling
upon his face and hands right in the middle of the supper-table.

If Billy was astonished, how much more so was every one of the company
into which he was thrown with so little ceremony. But when they heard
his story, Father Cooney laid down his knife and fork, and married the
young couple out of hand with all speed; and Billy Mac Daniel danced
the Rinka at their wedding, and plenty he did drink at it too, which
was what he thought more of than dancing.

[Footnote 12: A festival held in honour of some patron saint.]



Pat Diver, the tinker, was a man well-accustomed to a wandering life,
and to strange shelters; he had shared the beggar's blanket in smoky
cabins; he had crouched beside the still in many a nook and corner
where poteen was made on the wild Innishowen mountains; he had even
slept on the bare heather, or on the ditch, with no roof over him but
the vault of heaven; yet were all his nights of adventure tame and
commonplace when compared with one especial night.

During the day preceding that night, he had mended all the kettles and
saucepans in Moville and Greencastle, and was on his way to Culdaff,
when night overtook him on a lonely mountain road.

He knocked at one door after another asking for a night's lodging,
while he jingled the halfpence in his pocket, but was everywhere

Where was the boasted hospitality of Innishowen, which he had never
before known to fail? It was of no use to be able to pay when the
people seemed so churlish. Thus thinking, he made his way towards a
light a little further on, and knocked at another cabin door.

An old man and woman were seated one at each side of the fire.

"Will you be pleased to give me a night's lodging, sir?" asked Pat

"Can you tell a story?" returned the old man.

"No, then, sir, I canna say I'm good at story-telling," replied the
puzzled tinker.

"Then you maun just gang further, for none but them that can tell a
story will get in here."

This reply was made in so decided a tone that Pat did not attempt to
repeat his appeal, but turned away reluctantly to resume his weary

"A story, indeed," muttered he. "Auld wives fables to please the weans!"

As he took up his bundle of tinkering implements, he observed a barn
standing rather behind the dwelling-house, and, aided by the rising
moon, he made his way towards it.

It was a clean, roomy barn, with a piled-up heap of straw in one
corner. Here was a shelter not to be despised; so Pat crept under the
straw, and was soon asleep.

He could not have slept very long when he was awakened by the tramp
of feet, and, peeping cautiously through a crevice in his straw
covering, he saw four immensely tall men enter the barn, dragging a
body, which they threw roughly upon the floor.

They next lighted a fire in the middle of the barn, and fastened the
corpse by the feet with a great rope to a beam in the roof. One of
them then began to turn it slowly before the fire. "Come on," said he,
addressing a gigantic fellow, the tallest of the four--"I'm tired; you
be to tak' your turn."

"Faix an' troth, I'll no turn him," replied the big man. "There's Pat
Diver in under the straw, why wouldn't he tak' his turn?"

With hideous clamour the four men called the wretched Pat, who, seeing
there was no escape, thought it was his wisest plan to come forth as
he was bidden.

"Now, Pat," said they, "you'll turn the corpse, but if you let him
burn you'll be tied up there and roasted in his place."

Pat's hair stood on end, and the cold perspiration poured from his
forehead, but there was nothing for it but to perform his dreadful task.

Seeing him fairly embarked in it, the tall men went away.

Soon, however, the flames rose so high as to singe the rope, and the
corpse fell with a great thud upon the fire, scattering the ashes and
embers, and extracting a howl of anguish from the miserable cook, who
rushed to the door, and ran for his life.

He ran on until he was ready to drop with fatigue, when, seeing a
drain overgrown with tall, rank grass, he thought he would creep in
there and lie hidden till morning.

But he was not many minutes in the drain before he heard the heavy
tramping again, and the four men came up with their burthen, which
they laid down on the edge of the drain.

"I'm tired," said one, to the giant; "it's your turn to carry him a
piece now."

"Faix and troth, I'll no carry him," replied he, "but there's Pat
Diver in the drain, why wouldn't he come out and tak' his turn?"

"Come out, Pat, come out," roared all the men, and Pat, almost dead
with fright, crept out.

He staggered on under the weight of the corpse until he reached
Kiltown Abbey, a ruin festooned with ivy, where the brown owl hooted
all night long, and the forgotten dead slept around the walls under
dense, matted tangles of brambles and ben-weed.

No one ever buried there now, but Pat's tall companions turned into
the wild graveyard, and began digging a grave.

Pat, seeing them thus engaged, thought he might once more try to
escape, and climbed up into a hawthorn tree in the fence, hoping to be
hidden in the boughs.

"I'm tired," said the man who was digging the grave; "here, take the
spade," addressing the big man, "it's your turn."

"Faix an' troth, it's no my turn," replied he, as before. "There's Pat
Diver in the tree, why wouldn't he come down and tak' his turn?"

Pat came down to take the spade, but just then the cocks in the little
farmyards and cabins round the abbey began to crow, and the men looked
at one another.

"We must go," said they, "and well is it for you, Pat Diver, that the
cocks crowed, for if they had not, you'd just ha' been bundled into
that grave with the corpse."

Two months passed, and Pat had wandered far and wide over the county
Donegal, when he chanced to arrive at Raphoe during a fair.

Among the crowd that filled the Diamond he came suddenly on the big man.

"How are you, Pat Diver?" said he, bending down to look into the
tinker's face.

"You've the advantage of me, sir, for I havna' the pleasure of knowing
you," faltered Pat.

"Do you not know me, Pat?" Whisper--"When you go back to Innishowen,
you'll have a story to tell!"


The Pooka, _rectè_ Púca, seems essentially an animal spirit. Some
derive his name from _poc_, a he-goat; and speculative persons
consider him the forefather of Shakespere's "Puck." On solitary
mountains and among old ruins he lives, "grown monstrous with much
solitude," and is of the race of the nightmare. "In the MS. story,
called 'Mac-na-Michomhairle,' of uncertain authorship," writes me Mr.
Douglas Hyde, "we read that 'out of a certain hill in Leinster, there
used to emerge as far as his middle, a plump, sleek, terrible steed,
and speak in human voice to each person about November-day, and he was
accustomed to give intelligent and proper answers to such as consulted
him concerning all that would befall them until the November of next
year. And the people used to leave gifts and presents at the hill
until the coming of Patrick and the holy clergy.' This tradition
appears to be a cognate one with that of the Púca." Yes! unless it
were merely an _augh-ishka [each-uisgé]_, or Waterhorse. For these, we
are told, were common once, and used to come out of the water to
gallop on the sands and in the fields, and people would often go
between them and the marge and bridle them, and they would make the
finest of horses if only you could keep them away from sight of the
water; but if once they saw a glimpse of the water, they would plunge
in with their rider, and tear him to pieces at the bottom. It being a
November spirit, however, tells in favour of the Pooka, for
November-day is sacred to the Pooka. It is hard to realise that wild,
staring phantom grown sleek and civil.

He has many shapes--is now a horse, now an ass, now a bull, now a goat,
now an eagle. Like all spirits, he is only half in the world of form.



     Translated literally from the Irish of the _Leabhar

In the old times, there was a half fool living in Dunmore, in the county
Galway, and although he was excessively fond of music, he was unable to
learn more than one tune, and that was the "Black Rogue." He used to get
a good deal of money from the gentlemen, for they used to get sport out
of him. One night the piper was coming home from a house where there had
been a dance, and he half drunk. When he came to a little bridge that
was up by his mother's house, he squeezed the pipes on, and began
playing the "Black Rogue" (an rógaire dubh). The Púca came behind him,
and flung him up on his own back. There were long horns on the Púca, and
the piper got a good grip of them, and then he said----

"Destruction on you, you nasty beast, let me home. I have a ten-penny
piece in my pocket for my mother, and she wants snuff."

"Never mind your mother," said the Púca, "but keep your hold. If you
fall, you will break your neck and your pipes." Then the Púca said to
him, "Play up for me the 'Shan Van Vocht' (an t-seann-bhean bhocht)."

"I don't know it," said the piper.

"Never mind whether you do or you don't," said the Púca. "Play up, and
I'll make you know."

The piper put wind in his bag, and he played such music as made
himself wonder.

"Upon my word, you're a fine music-master," says the piper then; "but
tell me where you're for bringing me."

"There's a great feast in the house of the Banshee, on the top of
Croagh Patric to-night," says the Púca, "and I'm for bringing you
there to play music, and, take my word, you'll get the price of your

"By my word, you'll save me a journey, then," says the piper, "for
Father William put a journey to Croagh Patric on me, because I stole
the white gander from him last Martinmas."

The Púca rushed him across hills and bogs and rough places, till he
brought him to the top of Croagh Patric. Then the Púca struck three
blows with his foot, and a great door opened, and they passed in
together, into a fine room.

The piper saw a golden table in the middle of the room, and hundreds
of old women (cailleacha) sitting round about it. The old women rose
up, and said, "A hundred thousand welcomes to you, you Púca of
November (na Samhna). Who is this you have with you?"

"The best piper in Ireland," says the Púca.

One of the old women struck a blow on the ground, and a door opened in
the side of the wall, and what should the piper see coming out but the
white gander which he had stolen from Father William.

"By my conscience, then," says the piper, "myself and my mother ate
every taste of that gander, only one wing, and I gave that to Moy-rua
(Red Mary), and it's she told the priest I stole his gander."

The gander cleaned the table, and carried it away, and the Púca said,
"Play up music for these ladies."

The piper played up, and the old women began dancing, and they were
dancing till they were tired. Then the Púca said to pay the piper, and
every old woman drew out a gold piece, and gave it to him.

"By the tooth of Patric," said he, "I'm as rich as the son of a lord."

"Come with me," says the Púca, "and I'll bring you home."

They went out then, and just as he was going to ride on the Púca, the
gander came up to him, and gave him a new set of pipes. The Púca was
not long until he brought him to Dunmore, and he threw the piper off
at the little bridge, and then he told him to go home, and says to
him, "You have two things now that you never had before--you have
sense and music (ciall agus ceól)."

The piper went home, and he knocked at his mother's door, saying, "Let
me in, I'm as rich as a lord, and I'm the best piper in Ireland."

"You're drunk," said the mother.

"No, indeed," says the piper, "I haven't drunk a drop."

The mother let him in, and he gave her the gold pieces, and, "Wait
now," says he, "till you hear the music I'll play."

He buckled on the pipes, but instead of music, there came a sound as
if all the geese and ganders in Ireland were screeching together. He
wakened the neighbours, and they were all mocking him, until he put on
the old pipes, and then he played melodious music for them; and after
that he told them all he had gone through that night.

The next morning, when his mother went to look at the gold pieces,
there was nothing there but the leaves of a plant.

The piper went to the priest, and told him his story, but the priest
would not believe a word from him, until he put the pipes on him, and
then the screeching of the ganders and geese began.

"Leave my sight, you thief," says the priest.

But nothing would do the piper till he would put the old pipes on him
to show the priest that his story was true.

He buckled on the old pipes, and he played melodious music, and from
that day till the day of his death, there was never a piper in the
county Galway was as good as he was.



People may have heard of the renowned adventures of Daniel O'Rourke,
but how few are there who know that the cause of all his perils, above
and below, was neither more nor less than his having slept under the
walls of the Pooka's tower. I knew the man well. He lived at the
bottom of Hungry Hill, just at the right-hand side of the road as you
go towards Bantry. An old man was he, at the time he told me the
story, with grey hair and a red nose; and it was on the 25th of June
1813 that I heard it from his own lips, as he sat smoking his pipe
under the old poplar tree, on as fine an evening as ever shone from
the sky. I was going to visit the caves in Dursey Island, having spent
the morning at Glengariff.

"I am often _axed_ to tell it, sir," said he, "so that this is not the
first time. The master's son, you see, had come from beyond foreign
parts in France and Spain, as young gentlemen used to go before
Buonaparte or any such was heard of; and sure enough there was a
dinner given to all the people on the ground, gentle and simple, high
and low, rich and poor. The _ould_ gentlemen were the gentlemen after
all, saving your honour's presence. They'd swear at a body a little,
to be sure, and, may be, give one a cut of a whip now and then, but we
were no losers by it in the end; and they were so easy and civil, and
kept such rattling houses, and thousands of welcomes; and there was no
grinding for rent, and there was hardly a tenant on the estate that
did not taste of his landlord's bounty often and often in a year; but
now it's another thing. No matter for that, sir, for I'd better be
telling you my story.

"Well, we had everything of the best, and plenty of it; and we ate,
and we drank, and we danced, and the young master by the same token
danced with Peggy Barry, from the Bohereen--a lovely young couple they
were, though they are both low enough now. To make a long story short,
I got, as a body may say, the same thing as tipsy almost, for I can't
remember ever at all, no ways, how it was I left the place; only I did
leave it, that's certain. Well, I thought, for all that, in myself,
I'd just step to Molly Cronohan's, the fairy woman, to speak a word
about the bracket heifer that was bewitched; and so as I was crossing
the stepping-stones of the ford of Ballyashenogh, and was looking up
at the stars and blessing myself--for why? it was Lady-day--I missed
my foot, and souse I fell into the water. 'Death alive!' thought I,
'I'll be drowned now!' However, I began swimming, swimming, swimming
away for the dear life, till at last I got ashore, somehow or other,
but never the one of me can tell how, upon a _dissolute_ island.

"I wandered and wandered about there, without knowing where I
wandered, until at last I got into a big bog. The moon was shining as
bright as day, or your fair lady's eyes, sir (with your pardon for
mentioning her), and I looked east and west, and north and south, and
every way, and nothing did I see but bog, bog, bog--I could never find
out how I got into it; and my heart grew cold with fear, for sure and
certain I was that it would be my _berrin_ place. So I sat down upon a
stone which, as good luck would have it, was close by me, and I began
to scratch my head, and sing the _Ullagone_--when all of a sudden the
moon grew black, and I looked up, and saw something for all the world
as if it was moving down between me and it, and I could not tell what
it was. Down it came with a pounce, and looked at me full in the face;
and what was it but an eagle? as fine a one as ever flew from the
kingdom of Kerry. So he looked at me in the face, and says he to me,
'Daniel O'Rourke,' says he, 'how do you do?' 'Very well, I thank you,
sir,' says I; 'I hope you're well;' wondering out of my senses all the
time how an eagle came to speak like a Christian. 'What brings you
here, Dan,' says he. 'Nothing at all, sir,' says I; 'only I wish I was
safe home again.' 'Is it out of the island you want to go, Dan?' says
he. ''Tis, sir,' says I: so I up and told him how I had taken a drop
too much, and fell into the water; how I swam to the island; and how I
got into the bog and did not know my way out of it. 'Dan,' says he,
after a minute's thought, 'though it is very improper for you to get
drunk on Lady-day, yet as you are a decent sober man, who 'tends mass
well, and never fling stones at me or mine, nor cries out after us in
the fields--my life for yours,' says he; 'so get up on my back, and
grip me well for fear you'd fall off, and I'll fly you out of the
bog.' 'I am afraid,' says I, 'your honour's making game of me; for
who ever heard of riding a horseback on an eagle before?' ''Pon the
honour of a gentleman,' says he, putting his right foot on his breast,
'I am quite in earnest: and so now either take my offer or starve in
the bog--besides, I see that your weight is sinking the stone.'

"It was true enough as he said, for I found the stone every minute
going from under me. I had no choice; so thinks I to myself, faint
heart never won fair lady, and this is fair persuadance. 'I thank your
honour,' says I, 'for the loan of your civility; and I'll take your
kind offer.' I therefore mounted upon the back of the eagle, and held
him tight enough by the throat, and up he flew in the air like a lark.
Little I knew the trick he was going to serve me. Up--up--up, God
knows how far up he flew. 'Why then,' said I to him--thinking he did
not know the right road home--very civilly, because why? I was in his
power entirely; 'sir,' says I, 'please your honour's glory, and with
humble submission to your better judgment, if you'd fly down a bit,
you're now just over my cabin, and I could be put down there, and many
thanks to your worship.'

"'_Arrah_, Dan,' said he, 'do you think me a fool? Look down in the next
field, and don't you see two men and a gun? By my word it would be no
joke to be shot this way, to oblige a drunken blackguard that I picked
up off of a _could_ stone in a bog.' 'Bother you,' said I to myself, but
I did not speak out, for where was the use? Well, sir, up he kept,
flying, flying, and I asking him every minute to fly down, and all to no
use. 'Where in the world are you going, sir?' says I to him. 'Hold your
tongue, Dan,' says he: 'mind your own business, and don't be interfering
with the business of other people.' 'Faith, this is my business, I
think,' says I. 'Be quiet, Dan,' says he: so I said no more.

"At last where should we come to, but to the moon itself. Now you can't
see it from this, but there is, or there was in my time, a reaping-hook
sticking out of the side of the moon, this way (drawing the figure thus
[Illustration] on the ground with the end of his stick).

"'Dan,' said the eagle, 'I'm tired with this long fly; I had no notion
'twas so far.' 'And my lord, sir,' said I, 'who in the world _axed_ you
to fly so far--was it I? did not I beg and pray and beseech you to stop
half an hour ago?' 'There's no use talking, Dan,' said he; 'I'm tired
bad enough, so you must get off, and sit down on the moon until I rest
myself.' 'Is it sit down on the moon?' said I; 'is it upon that little
round thing, then? why, then, sure I'd fall off in a minute, and be
_kilt_ and spilt, and smashed all to bits; you are a vile deceiver--so
you are.' 'Not at all, Dan,' said he; 'you can catch fast hold of the
reaping-hook that's sticking out of the side of the moon, and 'twill
keep you up.' 'I won't then,' said I. 'May be not,' said he, quite
quiet. 'If you don't, my man, I shall just give you a shake, and one
slap of my wing, and send you down to the ground, where every bone in
your body will be smashed as small as a drop of dew on a cabbage-leaf in
the morning.' 'Why, then, I'm in a fine way,' said I to myself, 'ever to
have come along with the likes of you;' and so giving him a hearty curse
in Irish, for fear he'd know what I said, I got off his back with a
heavy heart, took hold of the reaping-hook, and sat down upon the moon,
and a mighty cold seat it was, I can tell you that.

"When he had me there fairly landed, he turned about on me, and said,
'Good morning to you, Daniel O'Rourke,' said he; 'I think I've nicked
you fairly now. You robbed my nest last year' ('twas true enough for
him, but how he found it out is hard to say), 'and in return you are
freely welcome to cool your heels dangling upon the moon like a

"'Is that all, and is this the way you leave me, you brute, you,' says
I. 'You ugly unnatural _baste_, and is this the way you serve me at
last? Bad luck to yourself, with your hook'd nose, and to all your
breed, you blackguard.' 'Twas all to no manner of use; he spread out
his great big wings, burst out a laughing, and flew away like
lightning. I bawled after him to stop; but I might have called and
bawled for ever, without his minding me. Away he went, and I never saw
him from that day to this--sorrow fly away with him! You may be sure
I was in a disconsolate condition, and kept roaring out for the bare
grief, when all at once a door opened right in the middle of the moon,
creaking on its hinges as if it had not been opened for a month
before, I suppose they never thought of greasing 'em, and out there
walks--who do you think, but the man in the moon himself? I knew him
by his bush.

"'Good morrow to you, Daniel O'Rourke,' said he; 'how do you do?'
'Very well, thank your honour,' said I. 'I hope your honour's well.'
'What brought you here, Dan?' said he. So I told him how I was a
little overtaken in liquor at the master's, and how I was cast on a
_dissolute_ island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the
thief of an eagle promised to fly me out of it, and how, instead of
that, he had fled me up to the moon.

"'Dan,' said the man in the moon, taking a pinch of snuff when I was
done, 'you must not stay here.' 'Indeed, sir,' says I, ''tis much
against my will I'm here at all; but how am I to go back?' 'That's
your business,' said he; 'Dan, mine is to tell you that here you must
not stay; so be off in less than no time.' 'I'm doing no harm,' says
I, 'only holding on hard by the reaping-hook, lest I fall off.'
'That's what you must not do, Dan,' says he. 'Pray, sir,' says I, 'may
I ask how many you are in family, that you would not give a poor
traveller lodging: I'm sure 'tis not so often you're troubled with
strangers coming to see you, for 'tis a long way.' 'I'm by myself,
Dan,' says he; 'but you'd better let go the reaping-hook.' 'Faith, and
with your leave,' says I, 'I'll not let go the grip, and the more you
bids me, the more I won't let go;--so I will.' 'You had better, Dan,'
says he again. 'Why, then, my little fellow,' says I, taking the whole
weight of him with my eye from head to foot, 'there are two words to
that bargain; and I'll not budge, but you may if you like.' 'We'll see
how that is to be,' says he; and back he went, giving the door such a
great bang after him (for it was plain he was huffed) that I thought
the moon and all would fall down with it.

"Well, I was preparing myself to try strength with him, when back
again he comes, with the kitchen cleaver in his hand, and, without
saying a word, he gives two bangs to the handle of the reaping-hook
that was keeping me up, and _whap!_ it came in two. 'Good morning to
you, Dan,' says the spiteful little old blackguard, when he saw me
cleanly falling down with a bit of the handle in my hand; 'I thank you
for your visit, and fair weather after you, Daniel.' I had not time to
make any answer to him, for I was tumbling over and over, and rolling
and rolling, at the rate of a fox-hunt. 'God help me!' says I, 'but
this is a pretty pickle for a decent man to be seen in at this time of
night: I am now sold fairly.' The word was not out of my mouth when,
whiz! what should fly by close to my ear but a flock of wild geese,
all the way from my own bog of Ballyasheenogh, else how should they
know _me_? The _ould_ gander, who was their general, turning about his
head, cried out to me, 'Is that you, Dan?' 'The same,' said I, not a
bit daunted now at what he said, for I was by this time used to all
kinds of _bedevilment_, and, besides, I knew him of _ould_. 'Good
morrow to you,' says he, 'Daniel O'Rourke; how are you in health this
morning?' 'Very well, sir,' says I, 'I thank you kindly,' drawing my
breath, for I was mightily in want of some. 'I hope your honour's the
same.' 'I think 'tis falling you are, Daniel,' says he. 'You may say
that, sir,' says I. 'And where are you going all the way so fast?'
said the gander. So I told him how I had taken the drop, and how I
came on the island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the
thief of an eagle flew me up to the moon, and how the man in the moon
turned me out. 'Dan,' said he, 'I'll save you: put out your hand and
catch me by the leg, and I'll fly you home.' 'Sweet is your hand in a
pitcher of honey, my jewel,' says I, though all the time I thought
within myself that I don't much trust you; but there was no help, so I
caught the gander by the leg, and away I and the other geese flew
after him as fast as hops.

"We flew, and we flew, and we flew, until we came right over the wide
ocean. I knew it well, for I saw Cape Clear to my right hand, sticking
up out of the water. 'Ah, my lord,' said I to the goose, for I
thought it best to keep a civil tongue in my head any way, 'fly to
land if you please.' 'It is impossible, you see, Dan,' said he, 'for a
while, because you see we are going to Arabia.' 'To Arabia!' said I;
'that's surely some place in foreign parts, far away. Oh! Mr. Goose:
why then, to be sure, I'm a man to be pitied among you.' 'Whist,
whist, you fool,' said he, 'hold your tongue; I tell you Arabia is a
very decent sort of place, as like West Carbery as one egg is like
another, only there is a little more sand there.'

"Just as we were talking, a ship hove in sight, scudding so beautiful
before the wind. 'Ah! then, sir,' said I, 'will you drop me on the
ship, if you please?' 'We are not fair over it,' said he; 'if I
dropped you now you would go splash into the sea.' 'I would not,' says
I; 'I know better than that, for it is just clean under us, so let me
drop now at once.'

"'If you must, you must,' said he; 'there, take your own way;' and he
opened his claw, and faith he was right--sure enough I came down plump
into the very bottom of the salt sea! Down to the very bottom I went,
and I gave myself up then for ever, when a whale walked up to me,
scratching himself after his night's sleep, and looked me full in the
face, and never the word did he say, but lifting up his tail, he
splashed me all over again with the cold salt water till there wasn't
a dry stitch upon my whole carcass! and I heard somebody saying--'twas
a voice I knew, too--'Get up, you drunken brute, off o' that;' and
with that I woke up, and there was Judy with a tub full of water,
which she was splashing all over me--for, rest her soul! though she
was a good wife, she never could bear to see me in drink, and had a
bitter hand of her own.

"'Get up,' said she again: 'and of all places in the parish would no
place _sarve_ your turn to lie down upon but under the _ould_ walls of
Carrigapooka? uneasy resting I am sure you had of it.' And sure enough
I had: for I was fairly bothered out of my senses with eagles, and men
of the moons, and flying ganders, and whales, driving me through
bogs, and up to the moon, and down to the bottom of the green ocean.
If I was in drink ten times over, long would it be before I'd lie down
in the same spot again, I know that."



Mr. H---- R----, when he was alive, used to live a good deal in
Dublin, and he was once a great while out of the country on account of
the "ninety-eight" business. But the servants kept on in the big house
at Rath---- all the same as if the family was at home. Well, they used
to be frightened out of their lives after going to their beds with the
banging of the kitchen-door, and the clattering of fire-irons, and the
pots and plates and dishes. One evening they sat up ever so long,
keeping one another in heart with telling stories about ghosts and
fetches, and that when--what would you have of it?--the little
scullery boy that used to be sleeping over the horses, and could not
get room at the fire, crept into the hot hearth, and when he got tired
listening to the stories, sorra fear him, but he fell dead asleep.

Well and good, after they were all gone and the kitchen fire raked up,
he was woke with the noise of the kitchen door opening, and the
trampling of an ass on the kitchen floor. He peeped out, and what
should he see but a big ass, sure enough, sitting on his curabingo and
yawning before the fire. After a little he looked about him, and began
scratching his ears as if he was quite tired, and says he, "I may as
well begin first as last." The poor boy's teeth began to chatter in
his head, for says he, "Now he's goin' to ate me;" but the fellow with
the long ears and tail on him had something else to do. He stirred the
fire, and then he brought in a pail of water from the pump, and
filled a big pot that he put on the fire before he went out. He then
put in his hand--foot, I mean--into the hot hearth, and pulled out the
little boy. He let a roar out of him with the fright, but the pooka
only looked at him, and thrust out his lower lip to show how little he
valued him, and then he pitched him into his pew again.

Well, he then lay down before the fire till he heard the boil coming
on the water, and maybe there wasn't a plate, or a dish, or a spoon on
the dresser that he didn't fetch and put into the pot, and wash and
dry the whole bilin' of 'em as well as e'er a kitchen-maid from that
to Dublin town. He then put all of them up on their places on the
shelves; and if he didn't give a good sweepin' to the kitchen, leave
it till again. Then he comes and sits foment the boy, let down one of
his ears, and cocked up the other, and gave a grin. The poor fellow
strove to roar out, but not a dheeg 'ud come out of his throat. The
last thing the pooka done was to rake up the fire, and walk out,
giving such a slap o' the door, that the boy thought the house
couldn't help tumbling down.

Well, to be sure if there wasn't a hullabullo next morning when the
poor fellow told his story! They could talk of nothing else the whole
day. One said one thing, another said another, but a fat, lazy
scullery girl said the wittiest thing of all. "Musha!" says she, "if
the pooka does be cleaning up everything that way when we are asleep,
what should we be slaving ourselves for doing his work?" "_Shu gu
dheine_,"[14] says another; "them's the wisest words you ever said,
Kauth; it's meeself won't contradict you."

So said, so done. Not a bit of a plate or dish saw a drop of water
that evening, and not a besom was laid on the floor, and every one
went to bed soon after sundown. Next morning everything was as fine as
fine in the kitchen, and the lord mayor might eat his dinner off the
flags. It was great ease to the lazy servants, you may depend, and
everything went on well till a foolhardy gag of a boy said he would
stay up one night and have a chat with the pooka.

He was a little daunted when the door was thrown open and the ass
marched up to the fire.

"An then, sir," says he, at last, picking up courage, "if it isn't
taking a liberty, might I ax who you are, and why you are so kind as
to do half of the day's work for the girls every night?" "No liberty
at all," says the pooka, says he: "I'll tell you, and welcome. I was a
servant in the time of Squire R.'s father, and was the laziest rogue
that ever was clothed and fed, and done nothing for it. When my time
came for the other world, this is the punishment was laid on me--to
come here and do all this labour every night, and then go out in the
cold. It isn't so bad in the fine weather; but if you only knew what
it is to stand with your head between your legs, facing the storm,
from midnight to sunrise, on a bleak winter night." "And could we do
anything for your comfort, my poor fellow?" says the boy. "Musha, I
don't know," says the pooka; "but I think a good quilted frieze coat
would help to keep the life in me them long nights." "Why then, in
troth, we'd be the ungratefullest of people if we didn't feel for you."

To make a long story short, the next night but two the boy was there
again; and if he didn't delight the poor pooka, holding up a fine warm
coat before him, it's no mather! Betune the pooka and the man, his
legs was got into the four arms of it, and it was buttoned down the
breast and the belly, and he was so pleazed he walked up to the glass
to see how he looked. "Well," says he, "it's a long lane that has no
turning. I am much obliged to you and your fellow-servants. You have
made me happy at last. Good-night to you."

So he was walking out, but the other cried, "Och! sure your going too
soon. What about the washing and sweeping?" "Ah, you may tell the
girls that they must now get their turn. My punishment was to last
till I was thought worthy of a reward for the way I done my duty.
You'll see me no more." And no more they did, and right sorry they
were for having been in such a hurry to reward the ungrateful pooka.

[Footnote 13: _Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts._--Macmillan.]

[Footnote 14: Meant for _seadh go deimhin_--_i.e._, yes, indeed.]



     [The _banshee_ (from _ban [bean]_, a woman, and _shee [sidhe]_, a
     fairy) is an attendant fairy that follows the old families, and
     none but them, and wails before a death. Many have seen her as
     she goes wailing and clapping her hands. The keen [_caoine_], the
     funeral cry of the peasantry, is said to be an imitation of her
     cry. When more than one banshee is present, and they wail and
     sing in chorus, it is for the death of some holy or great one. An
     omen that sometimes accompanies the banshee is the _coach-a-bower
     [cóiste-bodhar]_--an immense black coach, mounted by a coffin,
     and drawn by headless horses driven by a _Dullahan_. It will go
     rumbling to your door, and if you open it, according to Croker, a
     basin of blood will be thrown in your face. These headless
     phantoms are found elsewhere than in Ireland. In 1807 two of the
     sentries stationed outside St. James's Park died of fright. A
     headless woman, the upper part of her body naked, used to pass at
     midnight and scale the railings. After a time the sentries were
     stationed no longer at the haunted spot. In Norway the heads of
     corpses were cut off to make their ghosts feeble. Thus came into
     existence the _Dullahans_, perhaps; unless, indeed, they are
     descended from that Irish giant who swam across the Channel with
     his head in his teeth.--ED.]



Aw, the banshee, sir? Well, sir, as I was striving to tell ye, I was
going home from work one day, from Mr. Cassidy's that I tould ye of,
in the dusk o' the evening. I had more nor a mile--aye, it was nearer
two mile--to thrack to, where I was lodgin' with a dacent widdy woman
I knew, Biddy Maguire be name, so as to be near me work.

It was the first week in November, an' a lonesome road I had to
travel, an' dark enough, wid threes above it; an' about half-ways
there was a bit of a brudge I had to cross, over one o' them little
sthrames that runs into the Doddher. I walked on in the middle iv the
road, for there was no toe-path at that time, Misther Harry, nor for
many a long day afther that; but, as I was sayin', I walked along till
I come nigh upon the brudge, where the road was a bit open, an' there,
right enough, I seen the hog's back o' the ould-fashioned brudge that
used to be there till it was pulled down, an' a white mist steamin' up
out o' the wather all around it.

Well, now, Misther Harry, often as I'd passed by the place before,
that night it seemed sthrange to me, an' like a place ye might see in
a dhrame; an' as I come up to it I began to feel a could wind blowin'
through the hollow o' me heart. "Musha Thomas," sez I to meself, "is
it yerself that's in it?" sez I; "or, if it is, what's the matter wid
ye at all, at all?" sez I; so I put a bould face on it, an' I made a
sthruggle to set one leg afore the other, ontil I came to the rise o'
the brudge. And there, God be good to us! in a cantle o' the wall I
seen an ould woman, as I thought, sittin' on her hunkers, all crouched
together, an' her head bowed down, seemin'ly in the greatest affliction.

Well, sir, I pitied the ould craythur, an' thought I wasn't worth a
thraneen, for the mortial fright I was in, I up an' sez to her,
"That's a cowld lodgin' for ye, ma'am." Well, the sorra ha'porth she
sez to that, nor tuk no more notice o' me than if I hadn't let a word
out o' me, but kep' rockin' herself to an' fro, as if her heart was
breakin'; so I sez to her again, "Eh, ma'am, is there anythin' the
matther wid ye?" An' I made for to touch her on the shouldher, on'y
somethin' stopt me, for as I looked closer at her I saw she was no
more an ould woman nor she was an ould cat. The first thing I tuk
notice to, Misther Harry, was her hair, that was sthreelin' down
over his showldhers, an' a good yard on the ground on aich side of
her. O, be the hoky farmer, but that was the hair! The likes of it I
never seen on mortial woman, young or ould, before nor sense. It grew
as sthrong out of her as out of e'er a young slip of a girl ye could
see; but the colour of it was a misthery to describe. The first squint
I got of it I thought it was silvery grey, like an ould crone's; but
when I got up beside her I saw, be the glance o' the sky, it was a
soart iv an Iscariot colour, an' a shine out of it like floss silk. It
ran over her showldhers and the two shapely arms she was lanin' her
head on, for all the world like Mary Magdalen's in a picther; and then
I persaved that the grey cloak and the green gownd undhernaith it was
made of no earthly matarial I ever laid eyes on. Now, I needn't tell
ye, sir, that I seen all this in the twinkle of a bed-post--long as I
take to make the narration of it. So I made a step back from her, an'
"The Lord be betune us an' harm!" sez I, out loud, an' wid that I
blessed meself. Well, Misther Harry, the word wasn't out o' me mouth
afore she turned her face on me. Aw, Misther Harry, but 'twas that was
the awfullest apparation ever I seen, the face of her as she looked up
at me! God forgive me for sayin' it, but 'twas more like the face of
the "Axy Homo" beyand in Marlboro' Sthreet Chapel nor like any face I
could mintion--as pale as a corpse, an' a most o' freckles on it, like
the freckles on a turkey's egg; an' the two eyes sewn in wid red
thread, from the terrible power o' crying the' had to do; an' such a
pair iv eyes as the' wor, Misther Harry, as blue as two
forget-me-nots, an' as cowld as the moon in a bog-hole of a frosty
night, an' a dead-an'-live look in them that sent a cowld shiver
through the marra o' me bones. Be the mortial! ye could ha' rung a tay
cupful o' cowld paspiration out o' the hair o' me head that minute, so
ye could. Well, I thought the life 'ud lave me intirely when she riz
up from her hunkers, till, bedad! she looked mostly as tall as
Nelson's Pillar; an' wid the two eyes gazin' back at me, an' her two
arms stretched out before hor, an' a keine out of her that riz the
hair o' me scalp till it was as stiff as the hog's bristles in a new
hearth broom, away she glides--glides round the angle o' the brudge,
an' down with her into the sthrame that ran undhernaith it. 'Twas then
I began to suspect what she was. "Wisha, Thomas!" says I to meself,
sez I; an' I made a great struggle to get me two legs into a throt, in
spite o' the spavin o' fright the pair o' them wor in; an' how I
brought meself home that same night the Lord in heaven only knows, for
I never could tell; but I must ha' tumbled agin the door, and shot in
head foremost into the middle o' the flure, where I lay in a dead
swoon for mostly an hour; and the first I knew was Mrs. Maguire
stannin' over me with a jorum o' punch she was pourin' down me throath
(throat), to bring back the life into me, an' me head in a pool of
cowld wather she dashed over me in her first fright. "Arrah, Mister
Connolly," shashee, "what ails ye?" shashee, "to put the scare on a
lone woman like that?" shashee. "Am I in this world or the next?" sez
I. "Musha! where else would ye be on'y here in my kitchen?" shashee.
"O, glory be to God!" sez I, "but I thought I was in Purgathory at the
laste, not to mintion an uglier place," sez I, "only it's too cowld I
find meself, an' not too hot," sez I. "Faix, an' maybe ye wor more nor
half-ways there, on'y for me," shashee; "but what's come to you at
all, at all? Is it your fetch ye seen, Mister Connolly?" "Aw,
naboclish!"[15] sez I. "Never mind what I seen," sez I. So be degrees
I began to come to a little; an' that's the way I met the banshee,
Misther Harry!

"But how did you know it really was the banshee after all, Thomas?"

"Begor, sir, I knew the apparation of her well enough; but 'twas
confirmed by a sarcumstance that occurred the same time. There was a
Misther O'Nales was come on a visit, ye must know, to a place in the
neighbourhood--one o' the ould O'Nales iv the county Tyrone, a rale
ould Irish family--an' the banshee was heard keening round the house
that same night, be more then one that was in it; an' sure enough,
Misther Harry, he was found dead in his bed the next mornin'. So if it
wasn't the banshee I seen that time, I'd like to know what else it
could a' been."

[Footnote 15: _Na bac leis_--_i.e._, don't mind it.]


_For the Death of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald, Knight, of Kerry, who was
killed in Flanders, 1642._


    There was lifted up one voice of woe,
      One lament of more than mortal grief,
    Through the wide South to and fro,
      For a fallen Chief.
    In the dead of night that cry thrilled through me,
      I looked out upon the midnight air?
    My own soul was all as gloomy,
      As I knelt in prayer.

    O'er Loch Gur, that night, once--twice--yea, thrice--
      Passed a wail of anguish for the Brave
    That half curled into ice
      Its moon-mirroring wave.
    Then uprose a many-toned wild hymn in
      Choral swell from Ogra's dark ravine,
    And Mogeely's Phantom Women
      Mourned the Geraldine!

    Far on Carah Mona's emerald plains
      Shrieks and sighs were blended many hours.
    And Fermoy in fitful strains
      Answered from her towers.
    Youghal, Keenalmeaky, Eemokilly,
      Mourned in concert, and their piercing keen
    Woke to wondering life the stilly
      Glens of Inchiqueen.

    From Loughmoe to yellow Dunanore
      There was fear; the traders of Tralee
    Gathered up their golden store,
      And prepared to flee;
    For, in ship and hall from night till morning,
      Showed the first faint beamings of the sun,
    All the foreigners heard the warning
      Of the Dreaded One!

    "This," they spake, "portendeth death to us,
      If we fly not swiftly from our fate!"
    Self-conceited idiots! thus
      Ravingly to prate!
    Not for base-born higgling Saxon trucksters
      Ring laments like those by shore and sea!
    Not for churls with souls like hucksters
      Waileth our Banshee!

    For the high Milesian race alone
      Ever flows the music of her woe!
    For slain heir to bygone throne,
     And for Chief laid low!
    Hark!... Again, methinks, I hear her weeping
      Yonder! Is she near me now, as then?
    Or was but the night-wind sweeping
      Down the hollow glen?



Charles Mac Carthy was, in the year 1749, the only surviving son of a
very numerous family. His father died when he was little more than
twenty, leaving him the Mac Carthy estate, not much encumbered,
considering that it was an Irish one. Charles was gay, handsome,
unfettered either by poverty, a father, or guardians, and therefore
was not, at the age of one-and-twenty, a pattern of regularity and
virtue. In plain terms, he was an exceedingly dissipated--I fear I may
say debauched, young man. His companions were, as may be supposed, of
the higher classes of the youth in his neighbourhood, and, in general,
of those whose fortunes were larger than his own, whose dispositions
to pleasure were, therefore, under still less restrictions, and in
whose example he found at once an incentive and an apology for his
irregularities. Besides, Ireland, a place to this day not very
remarkable for the coolness and steadiness of its youth, was then one
of the cheapest countries in the world in most of those articles which
money supplies for the indulgence of the passions. The odious
exciseman,--with his portentous book in one hand, his unrelenting
pen held in the other, or stuck beneath his hat-band, and the
ink-bottle ('black emblem of the informer') dangling from his
waistcoat-button--went not then from ale-house to ale-house,
denouncing all those patriotic dealers in spirits, who preferred
selling whiskey, which had nothing to do with English laws (but to
elude them), to retailing that poisonous liquor, which derived its
name from the British "Parliament" that compelled its circulation
among a reluctant people. Or if the gauger--recording angel of the
law--wrote down the peccadillo of a publican, he dropped a tear upon
the word, and blotted it out for ever! For, welcome to the tables of
their hospitable neighbours, the guardians of the excise, where they
existed at all, scrupled to abridge those luxuries which they freely
shared; and thus the competition in the market between the smuggler,
who incurred little hazard, and the personage ycleped fair trader, who
enjoyed little protection, made Ireland a land flowing, not merely
with milk and honey, but with whiskey and wine. In the enjoyments
supplied by these, and in the many kindred pleasures to which frail
youth is but too prone, Charles Mac Carthy indulged to such a degree,
that just about the time when he had completed his four-and-twentieth
year, after a week of great excesses, he was seized with a violent
fever, which, from its malignity, and the weakness of his frame, left
scarcely a hope of his recovery. His mother, who had at first made
many efforts to check his vices, and at last had been obliged to look
on at his rapid progress to ruin in silent despair, watched day and
night at his pillow. The anguish of parental feeling was blended with
that still deeper misery which those only know who have striven hard
to rear in virtue and piety a beloved and favourite child; have found
him grow up all that their hearts could desire, until he reached
manhood; and then, when their pride was highest, and their hopes
almost ended in the fulfilment of their fondest expectations, have
seen this idol of their affections plunge headlong into a course of
reckless profligacy, and, after a rapid career of vice, hang upon the
verge of eternity, without the leisure or the power of repentance.
Fervently she prayed that, if his life could not be spared, at least
the delirium, which continued with increasing violence from the first
few hours of his disorder, might vanish before death, and leave enough
of light and of calm for making his peace with offended Heaven. After
several days, however, nature seemed quite exhausted, and he sunk into
a state too like death to be mistaken for the repose of sleep. His
face had that pale, glossy, marble look, which is in general so sure a
symptom that life has left its tenement of clay. His eyes were closed
and sunk; the lids having that compressed and stiffened appearance
which seemed to indicate that some friendly hand had done its last
office. The lips, half closed and perfectly ashy, discovered just so
much of the teeth as to give to the features of death their most
ghastly, but most impressive look. He lay upon his back, with his
hands stretched beside him, quite motionless; and his distracted
mother, after repeated trials, could discover not the least symptom of
animation. The medical man who attended, having tried the usual modes
for ascertaining the presence of life, declared at last his opinion
that it was flown, and prepared to depart from the house of mourning.
His horse was seen to come to the door. A crowd of people who were
collected before the windows, or scattered in groups on the lawn in
front, gathered around when the door opened. These were tenants,
fosterers, and poor relations of the family, with others attracted by
affection, or by that interest which partakes of curiosity, but is
something more, and which collects the lower ranks round a house where
a human being is in his passage to another world. They saw the
professional man come out from the hall door and approach his horse;
and while slowly, and with a melancholy air, he prepared to mount,
they clustered round him with inquiring and wistful looks. Not a word
was spoken, but their meaning could not be misunderstood; and the
physician, when he had got into his saddle, and while the servant was
still holding the bridle as if to delay him, and was looking anxiously
at his face as if expecting that he would relieve the general
suspense, shook his head, and said in a low voice, "It's all over,
James;" and moved slowly away. The moment he had spoken, the women
present, who were very numerous, uttered a shrill cry, which, having
been sustained for about half a minute, fell suddenly into a full,
loud, continued, and discordant but plaintive wailing, above which
occasionally were heard the deep sounds of a man's voice, sometimes in
deep sobs, sometimes in more distinct exclamations of sorrow. This was
Charles's foster-brother, who moved about the crowd, now clapping his
hands, now rubbing them together in an agony of grief. The poor fellow
had been Charles's playmate and companion when a boy, and afterwards
his servant; had always been distinguished by his peculiar regard, and
loved his young master as much, at least, as he did his own life.

When Mrs. Mac Carthy became convinced that the blow was indeed struck,
and that her beloved son was sent to his last account, even in the
blossoms of his sin, she remained for some time gazing with fixedness
upon his cold features; then, as if something had suddenly touched the
string of her tenderest affections, tear after tear trickled down her
cheeks, pale with anxiety and watching. Still she continued looking at
her son, apparently unconscious that she was weeping, without once
lifting her handkerchief to her eyes, until reminded of the sad duties
which the custom of the country imposed upon her, by the crowd of
females belonging to the better class of the peasantry, who now,
crying audibly, nearly filled the apartment. She then withdrew, to
give directions for the ceremony of waking, and for supplying the
numerous visitors of all ranks with the refreshments usual on these
melancholy occasions. Though her voice was scarcely heard, and though
no one saw her but the servants and one or two old followers of the
family, who assisted her in the necessary arrangements, everything was
conducted with the greatest regularity; and though she made no effort
to check her sorrows they never once suspended her attention, now more
than ever required to preserve order in her household, which, in this
season of calamity, but for her would have been all confusion.

The night was pretty far advanced; the boisterous lamentations which had
prevailed during part of the day in and about the house had given place
to a solemn and mournful stillness; and Mrs. Mac Carthy, whose heart,
notwithstanding her long fatigue and watching, was yet too sore for
sleep, was kneeling in fervent prayer in a chamber adjoining that of her
son. Suddenly her devotions were disturbed by an unusual noise,
proceeding from the persons who were watching round the body. First
there was a low murmur, then all was silent, as if the movements of
those in the chamber were checked by a sudden panic, and then a loud cry
of terror burst from all within. The door of the chamber was thrown
open, and all who were not overturned in the press rushed wildly into
the passage which led to the stairs, and into which Mrs. Mac Carthy's
room opened. Mrs. Mac Carthy made her way through the crowd into her
son's chamber, where she found him sitting up in the bed, and looking
vacantly around, like one risen from the grave. The glare thrown upon
his sunk features and thin lathy frame gave an unearthy horror to his
whole aspect. Mrs. Mac Carthy was a woman of some firmness; but she was
a woman, and not quite free from the superstitions of her country. She
dropped on her knees, and, clasping her hands, began to pray aloud. The
form before her moved only its lips, and barely uttered "Mother"; but
though the pale lips moved, as if there was a design to finish the
sentence, the tongue refused its office. Mrs. Mac Carthy sprung forward,
and catching the arm of her son, exclaimed, "Speak! in the name of God
and His saints, speak! are you alive?"

He turned to her slowly, and said, speaking still with apparent
difficulty, "Yes, my mother, alive, and--but sit down and collect
yourself; I have that to tell which will astonish you still more than
what you have seen." He leaned back upon his pillow, and while his
mother remained kneeling by the bedside, holding one of his hands
clasped in hers, and gazing on him with the look of one who distrusted
all her senses, he proceeded: "Do not interrupt me until I have done.
I wish to speak while the excitement of returning life is upon me, as
I know I shall soon need much repose. Of the commencement of my
illness I have only a confused recollection; but within the last
twelve hours I have been before the judgment-seat of God. Do not stare
incredulously on me--'tis as true as have been my crimes, and as, I
trust, shall be repentance. I saw the awful Judge arrayed in all the
terrors which invest him when mercy gives place to justice. The
dreadful pomp of offended omnipotence, I saw--I remember. It is fixed
here; printed on my brain in characters indelible; but it passeth
human language. What I _can_ describe I _will_--I may speak it
briefly. It is enough to say, I was weighed in the balance, and found
wanting. The irrevocable sentence was upon the point of being
pronounced; the eye of my Almighty Judge, which had already glanced
upon me, half spoke my doom; when I observed the guardian saint, to
whom you so often directed my prayers when I was a child, looking at
me with an expression of benevolence and compassion. I stretched forth
my hands to him, and besought his intercession. I implored that one
year, one month, might be given to me on earth to do penance and
atonement for my transgressions. He threw himself at the feet of my
Judge, and supplicated for mercy. Oh! never--not if I should pass
through ten thousand successive states of being--never, for eternity,
shall I forget the horrors of that moment, when my fate hung
suspended--when an instant was to decide whether torments unutterable
were to be my portion for endless ages! But Justice suspended its
decree, and Mercy spoke in accents of firmness, but mildness, 'Return
to that world in which thou hast lived but to outrage the laws of Him
who made that world and thee. Three years are given thee for
repentance; when these are ended, thou shalt again stand here, to be
saved or lost for ever.' I heard no more; I saw no more, until I awoke
to life, the moment before you entered."

Charles's strength continued just long enough to finish these last
words, and on uttering them he closed his eyes, and lay quite
exhausted. His mother, though, as was before said, somewhat disposed
to give credit to supernatural visitations, yet hesitated whether or
not she should believe that, although awakened from a swoon which
might have been the crisis of his disease, he was still under the
influence of delirium. Repose, however, was at all events necessary,
and she took immediate measures that he should enjoy it undisturbed.
After some hours' sleep, he awoke refreshed, and thenceforward
gradually but steadily recovered.

Still he persisted in his account of the vision, as he had at first
related it; and his persuasion of its reality had an obvious and
decided influence on his habits and conduct. He did not altogether
abandon the society of his former associates, for his temper was not
soured by his reformation; but he never joined in their excesses, and
often endeavoured to reclaim them. How his pious exertions succeeded,
I have never learnt; but of himself it is recorded that he was
religious without ostentation, and temperate without austerity; giving
a practical proof that vice may be exchanged for virtue, without the
loss of respectability, popularity, or happiness.

Time rolled on, and long before the three years were ended the story
of his vision was forgotten, or, when spoken of, was usually mentioned
as an instance proving the folly of believing in such things.
Charles's health, from the temperance and regularity of his habits,
became more robust than ever. His friends, indeed, had often occasion
to rally him upon a seriousness and abstractedness of demeanour,
which grew upon him as he approached the completion of his
seven-and-twentieth year, but for the most part his manner exhibited
the same animation and cheerfulness for which he had always been
remarkable. In company he evaded every endeavour to draw from him a
distinct opinion on the subject of the supposed prediction; but among
his own family it was well known that he still firmly believed it.
However, when the day had nearly arrived on which the prophecy was, if
at all, to be fulfilled, his whole appearance gave such promise of a
long and healthy life, that he was persuaded by his friends to ask a
large party to an entertainment at Spring House, to celebrate his
birthday. But the occasion of this party, and the circumstances which
attended it, will be best learned from a perusal of the following
letters, which have been carefully preserved by some relations of his
family. The first is from Mrs. Mac Carthy to a lady, a very near
connection and valued friend of her's, who lived in the county of
Cork, at about fifty miles' distance from Spring House.

                            "TO MRS. BARRY, CASTLE BARRY.

                                    "_Spring House, Tuesday morning,
                                            October 15th, 1752._


"I am afraid I am going to put your affection for your old friend and
kinswoman to a severe trial. A two days' journey at this season, over
bad roads and through a troubled country, it will indeed require
friendship such as yours to persuade a sober woman to encounter. But
the truth is, I have, or fancy I have, more than usual cause for
wishing you near me. You know my son's story. I can't tell you how it
is, but as next Sunday approaches, when the prediction of his dream,
or vision, will be proved false or true, I feel a sickening of the
heart, which I cannot suppress, but which your presence, my dear Mary,
will soften, as it has done so many of my sorrows. My nephew, James
Ryan, is to be married to Jane Osborne (who, you know, is my son's
ward), and the bridal entertainment will take place here on Sunday
next, though Charles pleaded hard to have it postponed for a day or
two longer. Would to God--but no more of this till we meet. Do prevail
upon yourself to leave your good man for _one_ week, if his farming
concerns will not admit of his accompanying you; and come to us, with
the girls, as soon before Sunday as you can.

"Ever my dear Mary's attached cousin and friend,

                                                  "ANN MAC CARTHY."

Although this letter reached Castle Barry early on Wednesday, the
messenger having travelled on foot over bog and moor, by paths
impassable to horse or carriage, Mrs. Barry, who at once determined on
going, had so many arrangements to make for the regulation of her
domestic affairs (which, in Ireland, among the middle orders of the
gentry, fall soon into confusion when the mistress of the family is
away), that she and her two young daughters were unable to leave until
late on the morning of Friday. The eldest daughter remained to keep
her father company, and superintend the concerns of the household. As
the travellers were to journey in an open one-horse vehicle, called a
jaunting-car (still used in Ireland), and as the roads, bad at all
times, were rendered still worse by the heavy rains, it was their
design to make two easy stages--to stop about midway the first night,
and reach Spring House early on Saturday evening. This arrangement was
now altered, as they found that from the lateness of their departure
they could proceed, at the utmost, no farther than twenty miles on
the first day; and they, therefore, purposed sleeping at the house of
a Mr. Bourke, a friend of theirs, who lived at somewhat less than that
distance from Castle Barry. They reached Mr. Bourke's in safety after
a rather disagreeable ride. What befell them on their journey the next
day to Spring House, and after their arrival there, is fully recounted
in a letter from the second Miss Barry to her eldest sister.

                                    "_Spring House, Sunday evening,
                                            20th October 1752._


"As my mother's letter, which encloses this, will announce to you
briefly the sad intelligence which I shall here relate more fully, I
think it better to go regularly through the recital of the
extraordinary events of the last two days.

"The Bourkes kept us up so late on Friday night that yesterday was
pretty far advanced before we could begin our journey, and the day
closed when we were nearly fifteen miles distant from this place. The
roads were excessively deep, from the heavy rains of the last week,
and we proceeded so slowly that, at last, my mother resolved on
passing the night at the house of Mr. Bourke's brother (who lives
about a quarter-of-a-mile off the road), and coming here to breakfast
in the morning. The day had been windy and showery, and the sky looked
fitful, gloomy, and uncertain. The moon was full, and at times shone
clear and bright; at others it was wholly concealed behind the thick,
black, and rugged masses of clouds that rolled rapidly along, and were
every moment becoming larger, and collecting together as if gathering
strength for a coming storm. The wind, which blew in our faces,
whistled bleakly along the low hedges of the narrow road, on which we
proceeded with difficulty from the number of deep sloughs, and which
afforded not the least shelter, no plantation being within some miles
of us. My mother, therefore, asked Leary, who drove the jaunting-car,
how far we were from Mr. Bourke's? ''Tis about ten spades from this
to the cross, and we have then only to turn to the left into the
avenue, ma'am.' 'Very well, Leary; turn up to Mr. Bourke's as soon as
you reach the cross roads.' My mother had scarcely spoken these words,
when a shriek, that made us thrill as if our very hearts were pierced
by it, burst from the hedge to the right of our way. If it resembled
anything earthly it seemed the cry of a female, struck by a sudden and
mortal blow, and giving out her life in one long deep pang of expiring
agony. 'Heaven defend us!' exclaimed my mother. 'Go you over the
hedge, Leary, and save that woman, if she is not yet dead, while we
run back to the hut we have just passed, and alarm the village near
it.' 'Woman!' said Leary, beating the horse violently, while his voice
trembled, 'that's no woman; the sooner we get on, ma'am, the better;'
and he continued his efforts to quicken the horse's pace. We saw
nothing. The moon was hid. It was quite dark, and we had been for some
time expecting a heavy fall of rain. But just as Leary had spoken, and
had succeeded in making the horse trot briskly forward, we distinctly
heard a loud clapping of hands, followed by a succession of screams,
that seemed to denote the last excess of despair and anguish, and to
issue from a person running forward inside the hedge, to keep pace
with our progress. Still we saw nothing; until, when we were within
about ten yards of the place where an avenue branched off to Mr.
Bourke's to the left, and the road turned to Spring House on the
right, the moon started suddenly from behind a cloud, and enabled us
to see, as plainly as I now see this paper, the figure of a tall, thin
woman, with uncovered head, and long hair that floated round her
shoulders, attired in something which seemed either a loose white
cloak or a sheet thrown hastily about her. She stood on the corner
hedge, where the road on which we were met that which leads to Spring
House, with her face towards us, her left hand pointing to this place,
and her right arm waving rapidly and violently as if to draw us on in
that direction. The horse had stopped, apparently frightened at the
sudden presence of the figure, which stood in the manner I have
described, still uttering the same piercing cries, for about half a
minute. It then leaped upon the road, disappeared from our view for
one instant, and the next was seen standing upon a high wall a little
way up the avenue on which we purposed going, still pointing towards
the road to Spring House, but in an attitude of defiance and command,
as if prepared to oppose our passage up the avenue. The figure was now
quite silent, and its garments, which had before flown loosely in the
wind, were closely wrapped around it 'Go on, Leary, to Spring House,
in God's name!' said my mother; 'whatever world it belongs to, we will
provoke it no longer.' ''Tis the Banshee, ma'am,' said Leary; 'and I
would not, for what my life is worth, go anywhere this blessed night
but to Spring House. But I'm afraid there's something bad going
forward, or _she_ would not send us there.' So saying, he drove
forward; and as we turned on the road to the right, the moon suddenly
withdrew its light, and we saw the apparition no more; but we heard
plainly a prolonged clapping of hands, gradually dying away, as if it
issued from a person rapidly retreating. We proceeded as quickly as
the badness of the roads and the fatigue of the poor animal that drew
us would allow, and arrived here about eleven o'clock last night. The
scene which awaited us you have learned from my mother's letter. To
explain it fully, I must recount to you some of the transactions which
took place here during the last week.

"You are aware that Jane Osborne was to have been married this day to
James Ryan, and that they and their friends have been here for the last
week. On Tuesday last, the very day on the morning of which cousin Mac
Carthy despatched the letter inviting us here, the whole of the company
were walking about the grounds a little before dinner. It seems that an
unfortunate creature, who had been seduced by James Ryan, was seen
prowling in the neighbourhood in a moody, melancholy state for some days
previous. He had separated from her for several months, and, they say,
had provided for her rather handsomely; but she had been seduced by the
promise of his marrying her; and the shame of her unhappy condition,
uniting with disappointment and jealousy, had disordered her intellects.
During the whole forenoon of this Tuesday she had been walking in the
plantations near Spring House, with her cloak folded tight round her,
the hood nearly covering her face; and she had avoided conversing with
or even meeting any of the family.

"Charles Mac Carthy, at the time I mentioned, was walking between James
Ryan and another, at a little distance from the rest, on a gravel path,
skirting a shrubbery. The whole party was thrown into the utmost
consternation by the report of a pistol, fired from a thickly planted
part of the shrubbery which Charles and his companions had just passed.
He fell instantly, and it was found that he had been wounded in the leg.
One of the party was a medical man. His assistance was immediately
given, and, on examining, he declared that the injury was very slight,
that no bone was broken, it was merely a flesh wound, and that it would
certainly be well in a few days. 'We shall know more by Sunday,' said
Charles, as he was carried to his chamber. His wound was immediately
dressed, and so slight was the inconvenience which it gave that several
of his friends spent a portion of the evening in his apartment.

"On inquiry, it was found that the unlucky shot was fired by the poor
girl I just mentioned. It was also manifest that she had aimed, not at
Charles, but at the destroyer of her innocence and happiness, who was
walking beside him. After a fruitless search for her through the
grounds, she walked into the house of her own accord, laughing and
dancing, and singing wildly, and every moment exclaiming that she had
at last killed Mr. Ryan. When she heard that it was Charles, and not
Mr. Ryan, who was shot, she fell into a violent fit, out of which,
after working convulsively for some time, she sprung to the door,
escaped from the crowd that pursued her, and could never be taken
until last night, when she was brought here, perfectly frantic, a
little before our arrival.

"Charles's wound was thought of such little consequence that the
preparations went forward, as usual, for the wedding entertainment on
Sunday. But on Friday night he grew restless and feverish, and on
Saturday (yesterday) morning felt so ill that it was deemed necessary to
obtain additional medical advice. Two physicians and a surgeon met in
consultation about twelve o'clock in the day, and the dreadful
intelligence was announced, that unless a change, hardly hoped for, took
place before night, death must happen within twenty-four hours after.
The wound, it seems, had been too tightly bandaged, and otherwise
injudiciously treated. The physicians were right in their anticipations.
No favourable symptom appeared, and long before we reached Spring House
every ray of hope had vanished. The scene we witnessed on our arrival
would have wrung the heart of a demon. We heard briefly at the gate that
Mr. Charles was upon his death-bed. When we reached the house, the
information was confirmed by the servant who opened the door. But just
as we entered we were horrified by the most appalling screams issuing
from the staircase. My mother thought she heard the voice of poor Mrs.
Mac Carthy, and sprung forward. We followed, and on ascending a few
steps of the stairs, we found a young woman, in a state of frantic
passion, struggling furiously with two men-servants, whose united
strength was hardly sufficient to prevent her rushing upstairs over the
body of Mrs. Mac Carthy, who was lying in strong hysterics upon the
steps. This, I afterwards discovered, was the unhappy girl I before
described, who was attempting to gain access to Charles's room, to 'get
his forgiveness,' as she said, 'before he went away to accuse her for
having killed him.' This wild idea was mingled with another, which
seemed to dispute with the former possession of her mind. In one
sentence she called on Charles to forgive her, in the next she would
denounce James Ryan as the murderer, both of Charles and her. At length
she was torn away; and the last words I heard her scream were, 'James
Ryan, 'twas you killed him, and not I--'twas you killed him, and not I.'

"Mrs. Mac Carthy, on recovering, fell into the arms of my mother,
whose presence seemed a great relief to her. She wept--the first
tears, I was told, that she had shed since the fatal accident. She
conducted us to Charles's room, who, she said, had desired to see us
the moment of our arrival, as he found his end approaching, and wished
to devote the last hours of his existence to uninterrupted prayer and
meditation. We found him perfectly calm, resigned, and even cheerful.
He spoke of the awful event which was at hand with courage and
confidence, and treated it as a doom for which he had been preparing
ever since his former remarkable illness, and which he never once
doubted was truly foretold to him. He bade us farewell with the air of
one who was about to travel a short and easy journey; and we left him
with impressions which, notwithstanding all their anguish, will, I
trust, never entirely forsake us.

"Poor Mrs. Mac Carthy----but I am just called away. There seems a
slight stir in the family; perhaps----"

The above letter was never finished. The enclosure to which it more
than once alludes told the sequel briefly, and it is all that I have
further learned of the family of Mac Carthy. Before the sun had gone
down upon Charles's seven-and-twentieth birthday, his soul had gone to
render its last account to its Creator.


Ghosts, or as they are called in Irish, _Thevshi_ or _Tash_
(_taidhbhse_, _tais_), live in a state intermediary between this life
and the next. They are held there by some earthly longing or affection,
or some duty unfulfilled, or anger against the living. "I will haunt
you," is a common threat; and one hears such phrases as, "She will haunt
him, if she has any good in her." If one is sorrowing greatly after a
dead friend, a neighbour will say, "Be quiet now, you are keeping him
from his rest;" or, in the Western Isles, according to Lady Wilde, they
will tell you, "You are waking the dog that watches to devour the souls
of the dead." Those who die suddenly, more commonly than others, are
believed to become haunting Ghosts. They go about moving the furniture,
and in every way trying to attract attention.

When the soul has left the body, it is drawn away, sometimes, by the
fairies. I have a story of a peasant who once saw, sitting in a fairy
rath, all who had died for years in his village. Such souls are
considered lost. If a soul eludes the fairies, it may be snapped up by
the evil spirits. The weak souls of young children are in especial
danger. When a very young child dies, the western peasantry sprinkle
the threshold with the blood of a chicken, that the spirits may be
drawn away to the blood. A Ghost is compelled to obey the commands of
the living. "The stable-boy up at Mrs. G----'s there," said an old
countryman, "met the master going round the yards after he had been
two days dead, and told him to be away with him to the lighthouse, and
haunt that; and there he is far out to sea still, sir. Mrs. G---- was
quite wild about it, and dismissed the boy." A very desolate
lighthouse poor devil of a Ghost! Lady Wilde considers it is only the
spirits who are too bad for heaven, and too good for hell, who are
thus plagued. They are compelled to obey some one they have wronged.

The souls of the dead sometimes take the shapes of animals. There is a
garden at Sligo where the gardener sees a previous owner in the shape
of a rabbit. They will sometimes take the forms of insects, especially
of butterflies. If you see one fluttering near a corpse, that is the
soul, and is a sign of its having entered upon immortal happiness. The
author of the _Parochial Survey of Ireland_, 1814, heard a woman say
to a child who was chasing a butterfly, "How do you know it is not the
soul of your grandfather." On November eve the dead are abroad, and
dance with the fairies.

As in Scotland, the fetch is commonly believed in. If you see the
double, or fetch, of a friend in the morning, no ill follows; if at
night, he is about to die.



    I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night;
    I went to the window to see the sight;
    All the Dead that ever I knew
    Going one by one and two by two.

    On they pass'd, and on they pass'd;
    Townsfellows all, from first to last;
    Born in the moonlight of the lane,
    Quench'd in the heavy shadow again.

    Schoolmates, marching as when we play'd
    At soldiers once--but now more staid;
    Those were the strangest sight to me
    Who were drown'd, I knew, in the awful sea.

    Straight and handsome folk; bent and weak, too;
    Some that I loved, and gasp'd to speak to;
    Some but a day in their churchyard bed;
    Some that I had not known were dead.

    A long, long crowd--where each seem'd lonely,
    Yet of them all there was one, one only,
    Raised a head or look'd my way.
    She linger'd a moment,--she might not stay.

    How long since I saw that fair pale face!
    Ah! Mother dear! might I only place
    My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,
    While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest!

    On, on, a moving bridge they made
    Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade,
    Young and old, women and men;
    Many long-forgot, but remember'd then.

    And first there came a bitter laughter;
    A sound of tears the moment after;
    And then a music so lofty and gay,
    That every morning, day by day,
    I strive to recall it if I may.



Thady and Grace Connor lived on the borders of a large turf bog, in
the parish of Clondevaddock, where they could hear the Atlantic surges
thunder in upon the shore, and see the wild storms of winter sweep
over the Muckish mountain, and his rugged neighbours. Even in summer
the cabin by the bog was dull and dreary enough.

Thady Connor worked in the fields, and Grace made a livelihood as a
pedlar, carrying a basket of remnants of cloth, calico, drugget, and
frieze about the country. The people rarely visited any large town,
and found it convenient to buy from Grace, who was welcomed in many a
lonely house, where a table was hastily cleared, that she might
display her wares. Being considered a very honest woman, she was
frequently entrusted with commissions to the shops in Letterkenny and
Ramelton. As she set out towards home, her basket was generally laden
with little gifts for her children.

"Grace, dear," would one of the kind housewives say, "here's a
farrel[16] of oaten cake, wi' a taste o' butter on it; tak' it wi' you
for the weans;" or, "Here's half-a-dozen of eggs; you've a big family
to support."

Small Connors of all ages crowded round the weary mother, to rifle her
basket of these gifts. But her thrifty, hard life came suddenly to an
end. She died after an illness of a few hours, and was waked and
buried as handsomely as Thady could afford.

Thady was in bed the night after the funeral, and the fire still
burned brightly, when he saw his departed wife cross the room and bend
over the cradle. Terrified, he muttered rapid prayers, covered his
face with the blanket; and on looking up again the appearance was gone.

Next night he lifted the infant out of the cradle, and laid it behind
him in the bed, hoping thus to escape his ghostly visitor; but Grace
was presently in the room, and stretching over him to wrap up her
child. Shrinking and shuddering, the poor man exclaimed, "Grace,
woman, what is it brings you back? What is it you want wi' me?"

"I want naething fae you, Thady, but to put thon wean back in her
cradle," replied the spectre, in a tone of scorn. "You're too feared
for me, but my sister Rose willna be feared for me--tell her to meet
me to-morrow evening, in the old wallsteads."

Rose lived with her mother, about a mile off, but she obeyed her
sister's summons without the least fear, and kept the strange tryste
in due time.

"Rose, dear," she said, as she appeared before her sister in the old
wallsteads, "my mind's oneasy about them twa' red shawls that's in the
basket. Matty Hunter and Jane Taggart paid me for them, an' I bought
them wi' their money, Friday was eight days. Gie them the shawls the
morrow. An' old Mosey McCorkell gied me the price o' a wiley coat;
it's in under the other things in the basket. An' now farewell; I can
get to my rest."

"Grace, Grace, bide a wee minute," cried the faithful sister, as the
dear voice grew fainter, and the dear face began to fade--"Grace,
darling! Thady? The children? One word mair!" but neither cries nor
tears could further detain the spirit hastening to its rest!

[Footnote 16: When a large, round, flat griddle cake is divided into
triangular cuts, each of these cuts is called a farrel, farli, or



    Crouched round a bare hearth in hard, frosty weather,
    Three lonely helpless weans cling close together;
    Tangled those gold locks, once bonnie and bright--
    There's no one to fondle the baby to-night.

    "My mammie I want; oh! my mammie I want!"
    The big tears stream down with the low wailing chant.
    Sweet Eily's slight arms enfold the gold head:
    "Poor weeny Willie, sure mammie is dead--

    And daddie is crazy from drinking all day--
    Come down, holy angels, and take us away!"
    Eily and Eddie keep kissing and crying--
    Outside, the weird winds are sobbing and sighing.

    All in a moment the children are still,
    Only a quick coo of gladness from Will.
    The sheeling no longer seems empty or bare,
    For, clothed in soft raiment, the mother stands there.

    They gather around her, they cling to her dress;
    She rains down soft kisses for each shy caress.
    Her light, loving touches smooth out tangled locks,
    And, pressed to her bosom, the baby she rocks.

    He lies in his cot, there's a fire on the hearth;
    To Eily and Eddy 'tis heaven on earth,
    For mother's deft fingers have been everywhere;
    She lulls them to rest in the low _suggaun_[17] chair.

    They gaze open-eyed, then the eyes gently close,
    As petals fold into the heart of a rose,
    But ope soon again in awe, love, but no fear,
    And fondly they murmur, "Our mammie is here."

    She lays them down softly, she wraps them around;
    They lie in sweet slumbers, she starts at a sound,
    The cock loudly crows, and the spirit's away--
    The drunkard steals in at the dawning of day.

    Again and again, 'tween the dark and the dawn,
    Glides in the dead mother to nurse Willie Bawn:
    Or is it an angel who sits by the hearth?
    An angel in heaven, a mother on earth.

[Footnote 17: Chair made of twisted straw ropes.]



It is a custom amongst the people, when throwing away water at night,
to cry out in a loud voice, "Take care of the water;" or literally,
from the Irish, "Away with yourself from the water"--for they say that
the spirits of the dead last buried are then wandering about, and it
would be dangerous if the water fell on them.

One dark night a woman suddenly threw out a pail of boiling water
without thinking of the warning words. Instantly a cry was heard, as
of a person in pain, but no one was seen. However, the next night a
black lamb entered the house, having the back all fresh scalded, and
it lay down moaning by the hearth and died. Then they all knew that
this was the spirit that had been scalded by the woman, and they
carried the dead lamb out reverently, and buried it deep in the earth.
Yet every night at the same hour it walked again into the house, and
lay down, moaned, and died; and after this had happened many times,
the priest was sent for, and finally, by the strength of his exorcism,
the spirit of the dead was laid to rest; the black lamb appeared no
more. Neither was the body of the dead lamb found in the grave when
they searched for it, though it had been laid by their own hands deep
in the earth, and covered with clay.

[Footnote 18: _Ancient Legends of Ireland._]



    When all were dreaming
      But Pastheen Power,
    A light came streaming
      Beneath her bower:
    A heavy foot
      At her door delayed,
    A heavy hand
      On the latch was laid.

    "Now who dare venture,
      At this dark hour,
    Unbid to enter
      My maiden bower?"
    "Dear Pastheen, open
      The door to me,
    And your true lover
      You'll surely see."

    "My own true lover,
      So tall and brave,
    Lives exiled over
      The angry wave."
    "Your true love's body
      Lies on the bier,
    His faithful spirit
      Is with you here."

    "His look was cheerful,
      His voice was gay;
    Your speech is fearful,
      Your face is grey;
    And sad and sunken
      Your eye of blue,
    But Patrick, Patrick,
      Alas! 'tis you!"

    Ere dawn was breaking
      She heard below
    The two cocks shaking
      Their wings to crow.
    "Oh, hush you, hush you,
      Both red and grey,
    Or you will hurry
      My love away.

    "Oh, hush your crowing,
      Both grey and red,
    Or he'll be going
      To join the dead;
    Or, cease from calling
      His ghost to the mould,
    And I'll come crowning
      Your combs with gold."

    When all were dreaming
      But Pastheen Power,
    A light went streaming
      From out her bower;
    And on the morrow,
      When they awoke,
    They knew that sorrow
      Her heart had broke.



Captain Stewart, afterwards Lord Castlereagh, when he was a young man,
happened to be quartered in Ireland. He was fond of sport, and one day
the pursuit of game carried him so far that he lost his way, The
weather, too, had become very rough, and in this strait he presented
himself at the door of a gentleman's house, and sending in his card,
requested shelter for the night. The hospitality of the Irish country
gentry is proverbial; the master of the house received him warmly;
said he feared he could not make him so comfortable as he could have
wished, his house being full of visitors already, added to which, some
strangers, driven by the inclemency of the night, had sought shelter
before him, but such accommodation as he could give he was heartily
welcome to; whereupon he called his butler, and committing the guest
to his good offices, told him he must put him up somewhere, and do the
best he could for him. There was no lady, the gentleman being a widower.

Captain Stewart found the house crammed, and a very jolly party it
was. His host invited him to stay, and promised him good shooting if
he would prolong his visit a few days: and, in fine, he thought
himself extremely fortunate to have fallen into such pleasant quarters.

At length, after an agreeable evening, they all retired to bed, and
the butler conducted him to a large room, almost divested of
furniture, but with a blazing turf fire in the grate, and a shake-down
on the floor, composed of cloaks and other heterogeneous materials.

Nevertheless, to the tired limbs of Captain Stewart, who had had a
hard day's shooting, it looked very inviting; but before he lay down,
he thought it advisable to take off some of the fire, which was
blazing up the chimney in what he thought an alarming manner. Having
done this, he stretched himself on his couch and soon fell asleep.

He believed he had slept about a couple of hours when he awoke
suddenly, and was startled by such a vivid light in the room that he
thought it on fire, but on turning to look at the grate he saw the
fire was out, though it was from the chimney the light proceeded. He
sat up in bed, trying to discover what it was, when he perceived the
form of a beautiful naked boy, surrounded by a dazzling radiance. The
boy looked at him earnestly, and then the vision faded, and all was
dark. Captain Stewart, so far from supposing what he had seen to be of
a spiritual nature, had no doubt that the host, or the visitors, had
been trying to frighten him. Accordingly, he felt indignant at the
liberty, and on the following morning, when he appeared at breakfast,
he took care to evince his displeasure by the reserve of his
demeanour, and by announcing his intention to depart immediately. The
host expostulated, reminding him of his promise to stay and shoot.
Captain Stewart coldly excused himself, and, at length, the gentleman
seeing something was wrong, took him aside, and pressed for an
explanation; whereupon Captain Stewart, without entering into
particulars, said he had been made the victim of a sort of practical
joking that he thought quite unwarrantable with a stranger.

The gentleman considered this not impossible amongst a parcel of
thoughtless young men, and appealed to them to make an apology; but
one and all, on honour, denied the impeachment. Suddenly a thought
seemed to strike him; he clapt his hand to his forehead, uttered an
exclamation, and rang the bell.

"Hamilton," said he to the butler; "where did Captain Stewart sleep
last night?"

"Well, sir," replied the man; "you know every place was full--the
gentlemen were lying on the floor, three or four in a room--so I gave
him the _Boy's Room_; but I lit a blazing fire to keep him from coming

"You were very wrong," said the host; "you know I have positively
forbidden you to put anyone there, and have taken the furniture out of
the room to ensure its not being occupied." Then, retiring with
Captain Stewart, he informed him, very gravely, of the nature of the
phenomena he had seen; and at length, being pressed for further
information, he confessed that there _existed_ a tradition in the
family, that whoever the "Radiant boy" appeared to will rise to the
summit of power; and when he has reached the climax, will die a
violent death, and I must say, he added, that the records that have
been kept of his appearance go to confirm this persuasion.



There lived a man named M'Kenna at the hip of one of the mountainous
hills which divide the county of Tyrone from that of Monaghan. This
M'Kenna had two sons, one of whom was in the habit of tracing hares of
a Sunday whenever there happened to be a fall of snow. His father, it
seems, had frequently remonstrated with him upon what he considered to
be a violation of the Lord's day, as well as for his general neglect
of mass. The young man, however, though otherwise harmless and
inoffensive, was in this matter quite insensible to paternal reproof,
and continued to trace whenever the avocations of labour would allow
him. It so happened that upon a Christmas morning, I think in the year
1814, there was a deep fall of snow, and young M'Kenna, instead of
going to mass, got down his cock-stick--which is a staff much thicker
and heavier at one end than at the other--and prepared to set out on
his favourite amusement. His father, seeing this, reproved him
seriously, and insisted that he should attend prayers. His enthusiasm
for the sport, however, was stronger than his love of religion, and he
refused to be guided by his father's advice. The old man during the
altercation got warm; and on finding that the son obstinately scorned
his authority, he knelt down and prayed that if the boy persisted in
following his own will, he might never return from the mountains
unless as a corpse. The imprecation, which was certainly as harsh as
it was impious and senseless, might have startled many a mind from a
purpose that was, to say the least of it, at variance with religion
and the respect due to a father. It had no effect, however, upon the
son, who is said to have replied, that whether he ever returned or
not, he was determined on going; and go accordingly he did. He was
not, however, alone, for it appears that three or four of the
neighbouring young men accompanied him. Whether their sport was good
or otherwise, is not to the purpose, neither am I able to say; but the
story goes that towards the latter part of the day they started a
larger and darker hare than any they had ever seen, and that she kept
dodging on before them bit by bit, leading them to suppose that every
succeeding cast of the cock-stick would bring her down. It was
observed afterwards that she also led them into the recesses of the
mountains, and that although they tried to turn her course homewards,
they could not succeed in doing so. As evening advanced, the
companions of M'Kenna began to feel the folly of pursuing her farther,
and to perceive the danger of losing their way in the mountains should
night or a snow-storm come upon them. They therefore proposed to give
over the chase and return home; but M'Kenna would not hear of it. "If
you wish to go home, you may," said he; "as for me, I'll never leave
the hills till I have her with me." They begged and entreated of him
to desist and return, but all to no purpose: he appeared to be what
the Scotch call _fey_--that is, to act as if he were moved by some
impulse that leads to death, and from the influence of which a man
cannot withdraw himself. At length, on finding him invincibly
obstinate, they left him pursuing the hare directly into the heart of
the mountains, and returned to their respective homes.

In the meantime one of the most terrible snow-storms ever remembered
in that part of the country came on, and the consequence was, that the
self-willed young man, who had equally trampled on the sanctities of
religion and parental authority, was given over for lost. As soon as
the tempest became still, the neighbours assembled in a body and
proceeded to look for him. The snow, however, had fallen so heavily
that not a single mark of a footstep could be seen. Nothing but one
wide waste of white undulating hills met the eye wherever it turned,
and of M'Kenna no trace whatever was visible or could be found. His
father, now remembering the unnatural character of his imprecation,
was nearly distracted; for although the body had not yet been found,
still by every one who witnessed the sudden rage of the storm and who
knew the mountains, escape or survival was felt to be impossible.
Every day for about a week large parties were out among the
hill-ranges seeking him, but to no purpose. At length there came a
thaw, and his body was found on a snow-wreath, lying in a supine
posture within a circle which he had drawn around him with his
cock-stick. His prayer-book lay opened upon his mouth, and his hat was
pulled down so as to cover it and his face. It is unnecessary to say
that the rumour of his death, and of the circumstances under which he
left home, created a most extraordinary sensation in the country--a
sensation that was the greater in proportion to the uncertainty
occasioned by his not having been found either alive or dead. Some
affirmed that he had crossed the mountains, and was seen in Monaghan;
others, that he had been seen in Clones, in Emyvale, in
Five-mile-town; but despite of all these agreeable reports, the
melancholy truth was at length made clear by the appearance of the
body as just stated.

Now, it so happened that the house nearest the spot where he lay was
inhabited by a man named Daly, I think--but of the name I am not
certain--who was a herd or care-taker to Dr. Porter, then Bishop of
Clogher. The situation of this house was the most lonely and
desolate-looking that could be imagined. It was at least two miles
distant from any human habitation, being surrounded by one wide and
dreary waste of dark moor. By this house lay the route of those who
had found the corpse, and I believe the door of it was borrowed for
the purpose of conveying it home. Be this as it may, the family
witnessed the melancholy procession as it passed slowly through the
mountains, and when the place and circumstances are all considered, we
may admit that to ignorant and superstitious people, whose minds, even
upon ordinary occasions, were strongly affected by such matters, it
was a sight calculated to leave behind it a deep, if not a terrible
impression. Time soon proved that it did so.

An incident is said to have occurred at the funeral in fine keeping with
the wild spirit of the whole melancholy event. When the procession had
advanced to a place called Mullaghtinny, a large dark-coloured hare,
which was instantly recognised, by those who had been out with him on
the hills, as the identical one that led him to his fate, is said to
have crossed the roads about twenty yards or so before the coffin. The
story goes, that a man struck it on the side with a stone, and that the
blow, which would have killed any ordinary hare, not only did it no
injury, but occasioned a sound to proceed from the body resembling the
hollow one emitted by an empty barrel when struck.

In the meantime the interment took place, and the sensation began,
like every other, to die away in the natural progress of time, when,
behold, a report ran abroad like wild-fire that, to use the language
of the people, "Frank M'Kenna was _appearing_!"

One night, about a fortnight after his funeral, the daughter of Daly,
the herd, a girl about fourteen, while lying in bed saw what appeared
to be the likeness of M'Kenna, who had been lost. She screamed out,
and covering her head with the bed-clothes, told her father and mother
that Frank M'Kenna was in the house. This alarming intelligence
naturally produced great terror; still, Daly, who, notwithstanding his
belief in such matters, possessed a good deal of moral courage, was
cool enough to rise and examine the house, which consisted of only one
apartment. This gave the daughter some courage, who, on finding that
her father could not see him, ventured to look out, and she _then_
could see nothing of him herself. She very soon fell asleep, and her
father attributed what she saw to fear, or some accidental combination
of shadows proceeding from the furniture, for it was a clear moonlight
night. The light of the following day dispelled a great deal of their
apprehensions, and comparatively little was thought of it until
evening again advanced, when the fears of the daughter began to
return. They appeared to be prophetic, for she said when night came
that she knew he would appear again; and accordingly at the same hour
he did so. This was repeated for several successive nights, until the
girl, from the very hardihood of terror, began to become so far
familiarised to the spectre as to venture to address it.

"In the name of God!" she asked, "what is troubling you, or why do you
appear to me instead of to some of your own family or relations?"

The ghost's answer alone might settle the question involved in the
authenticity of its appearance, being, as it was, an account of one of
the most ludicrous missions that ever a spirit was despatched upon.

"I'm not allowed," said he, "to spake to any of my friends, for I
parted wid them in anger; but I'm come to tell you that they are
quarrelin' about my breeches--a new pair that I got made for Christmas
day; an' as I was comin' up to thrace in the mountains, I thought the
ould one 'ud do betther, an' of coorse I didn't put the new pair an
me. My raison for appearin'," he added, "is, that you may tell my
friends that none of them is to wear them--they must be given in

This serious and solemn intimation from the ghost was duly
communicated to the family, and it was found that the circumstances
were exactly as it had represented them. This, of course, was
considered as sufficient proof of the truth of its mission. Their
conversations now became not only frequent, but quite friendly and
familiar. The girl became a favourite with the spectre, and the
spectre, on the other hand, soon lost all his terrors in her eyes. He
told her that whilst his friends were bearing home his body, the
handspikes or poles on which they carried him had cut his back, and
_occasioned him great pain_! The cutting of the back also was known to
be true, and strengthened, of course, the truth and authenticity of
their dialogues. The whole neighbourhood was now in a commotion with
this story of the apparition, and persons incited by curiosity began
to visit the girl in order to satisfy themselves of the truth of what
they had heard. Everything, however, was corroborated, and the child
herself, without any symptoms of anxiety or terror, artlessly related
her conversations with the spirit. Hitherto their interviews had been
all nocturnal, but now that the ghost found his footing made good, he
put a hardy face on, and ventured to appear by daylight. The girl also
fell into states of syncope, and while the fits lasted, long
conversations with him upon the subject of God, the blessed Virgin,
and Heaven, took place between them. He was certainly an excellent
moralist, and gave the best advice. Swearing, drunkenness, theft, and
every evil propensity of our nature, were declaimed against with a
degree of spectral eloquence quite surprising. Common fame had now a
topic dear to her heart, and never was a ghost made more of by his
best friends than she made of him. The whole country was in a tumult,
and I well remember the crowds which flocked to the lonely little
cabin in the mountains, now the scene of matters so interesting and
important. Not a single day passed in which I should think from ten to
twenty, thirty, or fifty persons, were not present at these singular
interviews. Nothing else was talked of, thought of, and, as I can well
testify, dreamt of. I would myself have gone to Daly's were it not for
a confounded misgiving I had, that perhaps the ghost might take such a
fancy of appearing to _me_, as he had taken to cultivate an intimacy
with the girl; and it so happens, that when I see the face of an
individual nailed down in the coffin--chilling and gloomy
operation!--I experience no particular wish to look upon it again.

The spot where the body of M'Kenna was found is now marked by a little
heap of stones, which has been collected since the melancholy event of
his death. Every person who passes it throws a stone upon the heap;
but why this old custom is practised, or what it means, I do not know,
unless it be simply to mark the spot as a visible means of preserving
the memory of the occurrence.

Daly's house, the scene of the supposed apparition, is now a shapeless
ruin, which could scarcely be seen were it not for the green spot that
once was a garden, and which now shines at a distance like an emerald,
but with no agreeable or pleasing associations. It is a spot which no
solitary schoolboy will ever visit, nor indeed would the unflinching
believer in the popular nonsense of ghosts wish to pass it without a
companion. It is, under any circumstances, a gloomy and barren place;
but when looked upon in connection with what we have just recited, it
is lonely, desolate, and awful.


Witches and fairy doctors receive their power from opposite dynasties;
the witch from evil spirits and her own malignant will; the fairy
doctor from the fairies, and a something--a temperament--that is born
with him or her. The first is always feared and hated. The second is
gone to for advice, and is never worse than mischievous. The most
celebrated fairy doctors are sometimes people the fairies loved and
carried away, and kept with them for seven years; not that those the
fairies' love are always carried off--they may merely grow silent and
strange, and take to lonely wanderings in the "gentle" places. Such
will, in after-times, be great poets or musicians, or fairy doctors;
they must not be confused with those who have a _Lianhaun shee_
[_leannán-sidhe_], for the _Lianhaun shee_ lives upon the vitals of
its chosen, and they waste and die. She is of the dreadful solitary
fairies. To her have belonged the greatest of the Irish poets, from
Oisin down to the last century.

Those we speak of have for their friends the trooping fairies--the gay
and sociable populace of raths and caves. Great is their knowledge of
herbs and spells. These doctors, when the butter will not come on the
milk, or the milk will not come from the cow, will be sent for to find
out if the cause be in the course of common nature or if there has
been witchcraft. Perhaps some old hag in the shape of a hare has been
milking the cattle. Perhaps some user of "the dead hand" has drawn
away the butter to her own churn. Whatever it be, there is the
counter-charm. They will give advice, too, in cases of suspected
changelings, and prescribe for the "fairy blast" (when the fairy
strikes any one a tumour rises, or they become paralysed. This is
called a "fairy blast" or a "fairy stroke"). The fairies are, of
course, visible to them, and many a new-built house have they bid the
owner pull down because it lay on the fairies' road. Lady Wilde thus
describes one who lived in Innis Sark:--"He never touched beer,
spirits, or meat in all his life, but has lived entirely on bread,
fruit, and vegetables. A man who knew him thus describes him--'Winter
and summer his dress is the same--merely a flannel shirt and coat. He
will pay his share at a feast, but neither eats nor drinks of the food
and drink set before him. He speaks no English, and never could be
made to learn the English tongue, though he says it might be used with
great effect to curse one's enemy. He holds a burial-ground sacred,
and would not carry away so much as a leaf of ivy from a grave. And he
maintains that the people are right to keep to their ancient usages,
such as never to dig a grave on a Monday, and to carry the coffin
three times round the grave, following the course of the sun, for then
the dead rest in peace. Like the people, also, he holds suicides as
accursed; for they believe that all its dead turn over on their faces
if a suicide is laid amongst them.

"'Though well off, he never, even in his youth, thought of taking a
wife; nor was he ever known to love a woman. He stands quite apart from
life, and by this means holds his power over the mysteries. No money
will tempt him to impart his knowledge to another, for if he did he
would be struck dead--so he believes. He would not touch a hazel stick,
but carries an ash wand, which he holds in his hand when he prays, laid
across his knees; and the whole of his life is devoted to works of grace
and charity, and though now an old man, he has never had a day's
sickness. No one has ever seen him in a rage, nor heard an angry word
from his lips but once, and then being under great irritation, he
recited the Lord's Prayer backwards as an imprecation on his enemy.
Before his death he will reveal the mystery of his power, but not till
the hand of death is on him for certain.'" When he does reveal it, we
may be sure it will be to one person only--his successor. There are
several such doctors in County Sligo, really well up in herbal medicine
by all accounts, and my friends find them in their own counties. All
these things go on merrily. The spirit of the age laughs in vain, and is
itself only a ripple to pass, or already passing, away.

The spells of the witch are altogether different; they smell of the
grave. One of the most powerful is the charm of the dead hand. With a
hand cut from a corpse they, muttering words of power, will stir a
well and skim from its surface a neighbour's butter.

A candle held between the fingers of the dead hand can never be blown
out. This is useful to robbers, but they appeal for the suffrage of
the lovers likewise, for they can make love-potions by drying and
grinding into powder the liver of a black cat. Mixed with tea, and
poured from a black teapot, it is infallible. There are many stories
of its success in quite recent years, but, unhappily, the spell must
be continually renewed, or all the love may turn into hate. But the
central notion of witchcraft everywhere is the power to change into
some fictitious form, usually in Ireland a hare or a cat. Long ago a
wolf was the favourite. Before Giraldus Cambrensis came to Ireland, a
monk wandering in a forest at night came upon two wolves, one of whom
was dying. The other entreated him to give the dying wolf the last
sacrament. He said the mass, and paused when he came to the viaticum.
The other, on seeing this, tore the skin from the breast of the dying
wolf, laying bare the form of an old woman. Thereon the monk gave the
sacrament. Years afterwards he confessed the matter, and when Giraldus
visited the country, was being tried by the synod of the bishops. To
give the sacrament to an animal was a great sin. Was it a human being
or an animal? On the advice of Giraldus they sent the monk, with
papers describing the matter, to the Pope for his decision. The result
is not stated.

Giraldus himself was of opinion that the wolf-form was an illusion,
for, as he argued, only God can change the form. His opinion coincides
with tradition, Irish and otherwise.

It is the notion of many who have written about these things that magic
is mainly the making of such illusions. Patrick Kennedy tells a story of
a girl who, having in her hand a sod of grass containing, unknown to
herself, a four-leaved shamrock, watched a conjurer at a fair. Now, the
four-leaved shamrock guards its owner from all _pishogues_ (spells), and
when the others were staring at a cock carrying along the roof of a shed
a huge beam in its bill, she asked them what they found to wonder at in
a cock with a straw. The conjurer begged from her the sod of grass, to
give to his horse, he said. Immediately she cried out in terror that the
beam would fall and kill somebody.

This, then, is to be remembered--the form of an enchanted thing is a
fiction and a caprice.



Not far from Rathmullen lived, last spring, a family called Hanlon;
and in a farm-house, some fields distant, people named Dogherty. Both
families had good cows, but the Hanlons were fortunate in possessing a
Kerry cow that gave more milk and yellower butter than the others.

Grace Dogherty, a young girl, who was more admired than loved in the
neighbourhood, took much interest in the Kerry cow, and appeared one
night at Mrs. Hanlon's door with the modest request--

"Will you let me milk your Moiley cow?"

"An' why wad you wish to milk wee Moiley, Grace, dear?" inquired Mrs.

"Oh, just becase you're sae throng at the present time."

"Thank you kindly, Grace, but I'm no too throng to do my ain work.
I'll no trouble you to milk."

The girl turned away with a discontented air; but the next evening,
and the next, found her at the cow-house door with the same request.

At length Mrs. Hanlon, not knowing well how to persist in her refusal,
yielded, and permitted Grace to milk the Kerry cow.

She soon had reason to regret her want of firmness. Moiley gave no
more milk to her owner.

When this melancholy state of things lasted for three days, the
Hanlons applied to a certain Mark McCarrion, who lived near Binion.

"That cow has been milked by someone with an evil eye," said he. "Will
she give you a wee drop, do you think? The full of a pint measure wad

"Oh, ay, Mark, dear; I'll get that much milk frae her, any way."

"Weel, Mrs. Hanlon, lock the door, an' get nine new pins that was
never used in clothes, an' put them into a saucepan wi' the pint o'
milk. Set them on the fire, an' let them come to the boil."

The nine pins soon began to simmer in Moiley's[19] milk.

Rapid steps were heard approaching the door, agitated knocks followed,
and Grace Dogherty's high-toned voice was raised in eager entreaty.

"Let me in, Mrs. Hanlon!" she cried. "Tak off that cruel pot! Tak out
them pins, for they're pricking holes in my heart, an' I'll never
offer to touch milk of yours again."

     [There is hardly a village in Ireland where the milk is not thus
     believed to have been stolen times upon times. There are many
     counter-charms. Sometimes the coulter of a plough will be heated
     red-hot, and the witch will rush in, crying out that she is
     burning. A new horse-shoe or donkey-shoe, heated and put under
     the churn, with three straws, if possible, stolen at midnight
     from over the witches' door, is quite infallible.--ED.]

[Footnote 19: In Connaught called a "mweeal" cow--_i.e._, a cow
without horns. Irish _maol_, literally, blunt. When the new hammerless
breech-loaders came into use two or three years ago, Mr. Douglas Hyde
heard a Connaught gentleman speak of them as the "mweeal" guns,
because they had no cocks.]


It was about eighty years ago, in the month of May, that a Roman
Catholic clergyman, near Rathdowney, in the Queen's County, was
awakened at midnight to attend a dying man in a distant part of the
parish. The priest obeyed without a murmur, and having performed his
duty to the expiring sinner, saw him depart this world before he left
the cabin. As it was yet dark, the man who had called on the priest
offered to accompany him home, but he refused, and set forward on his
journey alone. The grey dawn began to appear over the hills. The good
priest was highly enraptured with the beauty of the scene, and rode
on, now gazing intently at every surrounding object, and again cutting
with his whip at the bats and big beautiful night-flies which flitted
ever and anon from hedge to hedge across his lonely way. Thus engaged,
he journeyed on slowly, until the nearer approach of sunrise began to
render objects completely discernible, when he dismounted from his
horse, and slipping his arm out of the rein, and drawing forth his
"Breviary" from his pocket, he commenced reading his "morning office"
as he walked leisurely along.

He had not proceeded very far, when he observed his horse, a very
spirited animal, endeavouring to stop on the road, and gazing intently
into a field on one side of the way where there were three or four
cows grazing. However, he did not pay any particular attention to this
circumstance, but went on a little farther, when the horse suddenly
plunged with great violence, and endeavoured to break away by force.
The priest with great difficulty succeeded in restraining him, and,
looking at him more closely, observed him shaking from head to foot,
and sweating profusely. He now stood calmly, and refused to move from
where he was, nor could threats or entreaty induce him to proceed. The
father was greatly astonished, but recollecting to have often heard of
horses labouring under affright being induced to go by blindfolding
them, he took out his handkerchief and tied it across his eyes. He
then mounted, and, striking him gently, he went forward without
reluctance, but still sweating and trembling violently. They had not
gone far, when they arrived opposite a narrow path or bridle-way,
flanked at either side by a tall, thick hedge, which led from the high
road to the field where the cows were grazing. The priest happened by
chance to look into the lane, and saw a spectacle which made the blood
curdle in his veins. It was the legs of a man from the hips downwards,
without head or body, trotting up the avenue at a smart pace. The good
father was very much alarmed, but, being a man of strong nerve, he
resolved, come what might, to stand, and be further acquainted with
this singular spectre. He accordingly stood, and so did the headless
apparition, as if afraid to approach him. The priest, observing this,
pulled back a little from the entrance of the avenue, and the phantom
again resumed its progress. It soon arrived on the road, and the
priest now had sufficient opportunity to view it minutely. It wore
yellow buckskin breeches, tightly fastened at the knees with green
ribbon; it had neither shoes nor stockings on, and its legs were
covered with long, red hairs, and all full of wet, blood, and clay,
apparently contracted in its progress through the thorny hedges. The
priest, although very much alarmed, felt eager to examine the phantom,
and for this purpose summoned all his philosophy to enable him to
speak to it. The ghost was now a little ahead, pursuing its march at
its usual brisk trot, and the priest urged on his horse speedily until
he came up with it, and thus addressed it--

"Hilloa, friend! who art thou, or whither art thou going so early?"

The hideous spectre made no reply, but uttered a fierce and superhuman
growl, or "Umph."

"A fine morning for ghosts to wander abroad," again said the priest.

Another "Umph" was the reply.

"Why don't you speak?"


"You don't seem disposed to be very loquacious this morning."

"Umph," again.

The good man began to feel irritated at the obstinate silence of his
unearthly visitor, and said, with some warmth--

"In the name of all that's sacred, I command you to answer me, Who art
thou, or where art thou travelling?"

Another "Umph," more loud and more angry than before, was the only

"Perhaps," said the father, "a taste of whipcord might render you a
little more communicative;" and so saying, he struck the apparition a
heavy blow with his whip on the breech.

The phantom uttered a wild and unearthly yell, and fell forward on the
road, and what was the priest's astonishment when he perceived the
whole place running over with milk. He was struck dumb with amazement;
the prostrate phantom still continued to eject vast quantities of milk
from every part; the priest's head swam, his eyes got dizzy; a stupor
came all over him for some minutes, and on his recovering, the
frightful spectre had vanished, and in its stead he found stretched on
the road, and half drowned in milk, the form of Sarah Kennedy, an old
woman of the neighbourhood, who had been long notorious in that
district for her witchcraft and superstitious practices, and it was
now discovered that she had, by infernal aid, assumed that monstrous
shape, and was employed that morning in sucking the cows of the
village. Had a volcano burst forth at his feet, he could not be more
astonished; he gazed awhile in silent amazement--the old woman
groaning, and writhing convulsively.

"Sarah," said he, at length, "I have long admonished you to repent of
your evil ways, but you were deaf to my entreaties; and now, wretched
woman, you are surprised in the midst of your crimes."

"Oh, father, father," shouted the unfortunate woman, "can you do nothing
to save me? I am lost; hell is open for me, and legions of devils
surround me this moment, waiting to carry my soul to perdition."

The priest had not power to reply; the old wretch's pains increased; her
body swelled to an immense size; her eyes flashed as if on fire, her
face was black as night, her entire form writhed in a thousand different
contortions; her outcries were appalling, her face sunk, her eyes
closed, and in a few minutes she expired in the most exquisite tortures.

The priest departed homewards, and called at the next cabin to give
notice of the strange circumstances. The remains of Sarah Kennedy were
removed to her cabin, situate at the edge of a small wood at a little
distance. She had long been a resident in that neighbourhood, but
still she was a stranger, and came there no one knew from whence. She
had no relation in that country but one daughter, now advanced in
years, who resided with her. She kept one cow, but sold more butter,
it was said, than any farmer in the parish, and it was generally
suspected that she acquired it by devilish agency, as she never made a
secret of being intimately acquainted with sorcery and fairyism. She
professed the Roman Catholic religion, but never complied with the
practices enjoined by that church, and her remains were denied
Christian sepulture, and were buried in a sand-pit near her own cabin.

On the evening of her burial, the villagers assembled and burned her
cabin to the earth. Her daughter made her escape, and never after

[Footnote 20: _Dublin University Review, 1839._]



I was out thracking hares meeself, and I seen a fine puss of a thing
hopping, hopping in the moonlight, and whacking her ears about, now
up, now down, and winking her great eyes, and--"Here goes," says I,
and the thing was so close to me that she turned round and looked at
me, and then bounced back, as well as to say, do your worst! So I had
the least grain in life of _blessed powder_ left, and I put it in the
gun--and bang at her! My jewel, the scritch she gave would frighten a
rigment, and a mist, like, came betwixt me and her, and I seen her no
more; but when the mist wint off I saw blood on the spot where she had
been, and I followed its track, and at last it led me--whist,
whisper--right up to Katey MacShane's door; and when I was at the
thrashold, I heerd a murnin' within, a great murnin', and a groanin',
and I opened the door, and there she was herself, sittin' quite
content in the shape of a woman, and the black cat that was sittin' by
her rose up its back and spit at me; but I went on never heedin', and
asked the ould ---- how she was and what ailed her.

"Nothing," sis she.

"What's that on the floor?" sis I.

"Oh," she says, "I was cuttin' a billet of wood," she says, "wid the
reaping hook," she says, "an' I've wounded meself in the leg," she
says, "and that's drops of my precious blood," she says.


About the commencement of the last century there lived in the vicinity
of the once famous village of Aghavoe[22] a wealthy farmer, named
Bryan Costigan. This man kept an extensive dairy and a great many
milch cows, and every year made considerable sums by the sale of milk
and butter. The luxuriance of the pasture lands in this neighbourhood
has always been proverbial; and, consequently, Bryan's cows were the
finest and most productive in the country, and his milk and butter the
richest and sweetest, and brought the highest price at every market at
which he offered these articles for sale.

Things continued to go on thus prosperously with Bryan Costigan, when,
one season, all at once, he found his cattle declining in appearance,
and his dairy almost entirely profitless. Bryan, at first, attributed
this change to the weather, or some such cause, but soon found or
fancied reasons to assign it to a far different source. The cows,
without any visible disorder, daily declined, and were scarcely able
to crawl about on their pasture: many of them, instead of milk, gave
nothing but blood; and the scanty quantity of milk which some of them
continued to supply was so bitter that even the pigs would not drink
it; whilst the butter which it produced was of such a bad quality, and
stunk so horribly, that the very dogs would not eat it. Bryan applied
for remedies to all the quacks and "fairy-women" in the country--but
in vain. Many of the impostors declared that the mysterious malady in
his cattle went beyond _their_ skill; whilst others, although they
found no difficulty in tracing it to superhuman agency, declared that
they had no control in the matter, as the charm under the influence of
which his property was made away with, was too powerful to be
dissolved by anything less than the special interposition of Divine
Providence. The poor farmer became almost distracted; he saw ruin
staring him in the face; yet what was he to do? Sell his cattle and
purchase others! No; that was out of the question, as they looked so
miserable and emaciated, that no one would even take them as a
present, whilst it was also impossible to sell to a butcher, as the
flesh of one which he killed for his own family was as black as a
coal, and stunk like any putrid carrion.

The unfortunate man was thus completely bewildered. He knew not what
to do; he became moody and stupid; his sleep forsook him by night,
and all day he wandered about the fields, amongst his "fairy-stricken"
cattle like a maniac.

Affairs continued in this plight, when one very sultry evening in the
latter days of July, Bryan Costigan's wife was sitting at her own
door, spinning at her wheel, in a very gloomy and agitated state of
mind. Happening to look down the narrow green lane which led from the
high road to her cabin, she espied a little old woman barefoot, and
enveloped in an old scarlet cloak, approaching slowly, with the aid of
a crutch which she carried in one hand, and a cane or walking-stick in
the other. The farmer's wife felt glad at seeing the odd-looking
stranger; she smiled, and yet she knew not why, as she neared the
house. A vague and indefinable feeling of pleasure crowded on her
imagination; and, as the old woman gained the threshold, she bade her
"welcome" with a warmth which plainly told that her lips gave
utterance but to the genuine feelings of her heart.

"God bless this good house and all belonging to it," said the stranger
as she entered.

"God save you kindly, and you are welcome, whoever you are," replied
Mrs. Costigan.

"Hem, I thought so," said the old woman with a significant grin. "I
thought so, or I wouldn't trouble you."

The farmer's wife ran, and placed a chair near the fire for the
stranger; but she refused, and sat on the ground near where Mrs. C.
had been spinning. Mrs. Costigan had now time to survey the old hag's
person minutely. She appeared of great age; her countenance was
extremely ugly and repulsive; her skin was rough and deeply embrowned
as if from long exposure to the effects of some tropical climate; her
forehead was low, narrow, and indented with a thousand wrinkles; her
long grey hair fell in matted elf-locks from beneath a white linen
skull-cap; her eyes were bleared, blood-shotten, and obliquely set in
their sockets, and her voice was croaking, tremulous, and, at times,
partially inarticulate. As she squatted on the floor, she looked round
the house with an inquisitive gaze; she peered pryingly from corner
to corner, with an earnestness of look, as if she had the faculty,
like the Argonaut of old, to see through the very depths of the earth,
whilst Mrs. C. kept watching her motions with mingled feelings of
curiosity, awe, and pleasure.

"Mrs.," said the old woman, at length breaking silence, "I am dry with
the heat of the day; can you give me a drink?"

"Alas!" replied the farmer's wife, "I have no drink to offer you
except water, else you would have no occasion to ask me for it."

"Are you not the owner of the cattle I see yonder?" said the old hag,
with a tone of voice and manner of gesticulation which plainly
indicated her foreknowledge of the fact.

Mrs. Costigan replied in the affirmative, and briefly related to her
every circumstance connected with the affair, whilst the old woman
still remained silent, but shook her grey head repeatedly; and still
continued gazing round the house with an air of importance and

When Mrs. C. had ended, the old hag remained a while as if in a deep
reverie: at length she said--

"Have you any of the milk in the house?"

"I have," replied the other.

"Show me some of it."

She filled a jug from a vessel and handed it to the old sybil, who
smelled it, then tasted it, and spat out what she had taken on the

"Where is your husband?" she asked.

"Out in the fields," was the reply.

"I must see him."

A messenger was despatched for Bryan, who shortly after made his

"Neighbour," said the stranger, "your wife informs me that your cattle
are going against you this season."

"She informs you right," said Bryan.

"And why have you not sought a cure?"

"A cure!" re-echoed the man; "why, woman, I have sought cures until I
was heart-broken, and all in vain; they get worse every day."

"What will you give me if I cure them for you?"

"Anything in our power," replied Bryan and his wife, both speaking
joyfully, and with a breath.

"All I will ask from you is a silver sixpence, and that you will do
everything which I will bid you," said she.

The farmer and his wife seemed astonished at the moderation of her
demand. They offered her a large sum of money.

"No," said she, "I don't want your money; I am no cheat, and I would
not even take sixpence, but that I can do nothing till I handle some
of your silver."

The sixpence was immediately given her, and the most implicit
obedience promised to her injunctions by both Bryan and his wife, who
already began to regard the old beldame as their tutelary angel.

The hag pulled off a black silk ribbon or fillet which encircled her
head inside her cap, and gave it to Bryan, saying--

"Go, now, and the first cow you touch with this ribbon, turn her into
the yard, but be sure don't touch the second, nor speak a word until
you return; be also careful not to let the ribbon touch the ground,
for, if you do, all is over."

Bryan took the talismanic ribbon, and soon returned, driving a red cow
before him.

The old hag went out, and, approaching the cow, commenced pulling hairs
out of her tail, at the same time singing some verses in the Irish
language in a low, wild, and unconnected strain. The cow appeared
restive and uneasy, but the old witch still continued her mysterious
chant until she had the ninth hair extracted. She then ordered the cow
to be drove back to her pasture, and again entered the house.

"Go, now," said she to the woman, "and bring me some milk from every
cow in your possession."

She went, and soon returned with a large pail filled with a
frightful-looking mixture of milk, blood, and corrupt matter. The old
woman got it into the churn, and made preparations for churning.

"Now," she said, "you both must churn, make fast the door and
windows, and let there be no light but from the fire; do not open your
lips until I desire you, and by observing my directions, I make no
doubt but, ere the sun goes down, we will find out the infernal
villain who is robbing you."

Bryan secured the doors and windows, and commenced churning. The old
sorceress sat down by a blazing fire which had been specially lighted
for the occasion, and commenced singing the same wild song which she
had sung at the pulling of the cow-hairs, and after a little time she
cast one of the nine hairs into the fire, still singing her mysterious
strain, and watching, with intense interest, the witching process.

A loud cry, as if from a female in distress, was now heard approaching
the house; the old witch discontinued her incantations, and listened
attentively. The crying voice approached the door.

"Open the door quickly," shouted the charmer.

Bryan unbarred the door, and all three rushed out in the yard, when
they heard the same cry down the _boreheen_, but could see nothing.

"It is all over," shouted the old witch; "something has gone amiss,
and our charm for the present is ineffectual."

They now turned back quite crestfallen, when, as they were entering
the door, the sybil cast her eyes downwards, and perceiving a piece of
horseshoe nailed on the threshold,[23] she vociferated--

"Here I have it; no wonder our charm was abortive. The person that was
crying abroad is the villain who has your cattle bewitched; I brought
her to the house, but she was not able to come to the door on account
of that horseshoe. Remove it instantly, and we will try our luck again."

Bryan removed the horseshoe from the doorway, and by the hag's
directions placed it on the floor under the churn, having previously
reddened it in the fire.

They again resumed their manual operations. Bryan and his wife began
to churn, and the witch again to sing her strange verses, and casting
her cow-hairs into the fire until she had them all nearly exhausted.
Her countenance now began to exhibit evident traces of vexation and
disappointment. She got quite pale, her teeth gnashed, her hand
trembled, and as she cast the ninth and last hair into the fire, her
person exhibited more the appearance of a female demon than of a human

Once more the cry was heard, and an aged red-haired woman[24] was seen
approaching the house quickly.

"Ho, ho!" roared the sorceress, "I knew it would be so; my charm has
succeeded; my expectations are realised, and here she comes, the
villain who has destroyed you."

"What are we to do now?" asked Bryan.

"Say nothing to her," said the hag; "give her whatever she demands,
and leave the rest to me."

The woman advanced screeching vehemently, and Bryan went out to meet
her. She was a neighbour, and she said that one of her best cows was
drowning in a pool of water--that there was no one at home but
herself, and she implored Bryan to go rescue the cow from destruction.

Bryan accompanied her without hesitation; and having rescued the cow
from her perilous situation, was back again in a quarter of an hour.

It was now sunset, and Mrs. Costigan set about preparing supper.

During supper they reverted to the singular transactions of the day.
The old witch uttered many a fiendish laugh at the success of her
incantations, and inquired who was the woman whom they had so
curiously discovered.

Bryan satisfied her in every particular. She was the wife of a
neighbouring farmer; her name was Rachel Higgins; and she had been
long suspected to be on familiar terms with the spirit of darkness.
She had five or six cows; but it was observed by her sapient
neighbours that she sold more butter every year than other farmers'
wives who had twenty. Bryan had, from the commencement of the decline
in his cattle, suspected her for being the aggressor, but as he had no
proof, he held his peace.

"Well," said the old beldame, with a grim smile, "it is not enough
that we have merely discovered the robber; all is in vain, if we do
not take steps to punish her for the past, as well as to prevent her
inroads for the future."

"And how will that be done?" said Bryan.

"I will tell you; as soon as the hour of twelve o'clock arrives
to-night, do you go to the pasture, and take a couple of swift-running
dogs with you; conceal yourself in some place convenient to the
cattle; watch them carefully; and if you see anything, whether man or
beast, approach the cows, set on the dogs, and if possible make them
draw the blood of the intruder; then ALL will be accomplished. If
nothing approaches before sunrise, you may return, and we will try
something else."

Convenient there lived the cow-herd of a neighbouring squire. He was a
hardy, courageous young man, and always kept a pair of very ferocious
bull-dogs. To him Bryan applied for assistance, and he cheerfully
agreed to accompany him, and, moreover, proposed to fetch a couple of
his master's best greyhounds, as his own dogs, although extremely
fierce and bloodthirsty, could not be relied on for swiftness. He
promised Bryan to be with him before twelve o'clock, and they parted.

Bryan did not seek sleep that night; he sat up anxiously awaiting the
midnight hour. It arrived at last, and his friend, the herdsman, true
to his promise, came at the time appointed. After some further
admonitions from the _Collough_, they departed. Having arrived at the
field, they consulted as to the best position they could chose for
concealment. At last they pitched on a small brake of fern, situated
at the extremity of the field, adjacent to the boundary ditch, which
was thickly studded with large, old white-thorn bushes. Here they
crouched themselves, and made the dogs, four in number, lie down
beside them, eagerly expecting the appearance of their as yet unknown
and mysterious visitor.

Here Bryan and his comrade continued a considerable time in nervous
anxiety, still nothing approached, and it became manifest that morning
was at hand; they were beginning to grow impatient, and were talking
of returning home, when on a sudden they heard a rushing sound behind
them, as if proceeding from something endeavouring to force a passage
through the thick hedge in their rear. They looked in that direction,
and judge of their astonishment, when they perceived a large hare in
the act of springing from the ditch, and leaping on the ground quite
near them. They were now convinced that this was the object which they
had so impatiently expected, and they were resolved to watch her
motions narrowly.

After arriving to the ground, she remained motionless for a few
moments, looking around her sharply. She then began to skip and jump
in a playful manner; now advancing at a smart pace towards the cows,
and again retreating precipitately, but still drawing nearer and
nearer at each sally. At length she advanced up to the next cow, and
sucked her for a moment; then on to the next, and so respectively to
every cow on the field--the cows all the time lowing loudly, and
appearing extremely frightened and agitated. Bryan, from the moment
the hare commenced sucking the first, was with difficulty restrained
from attacking her; but his more sagacious companion suggested to him,
that it was better to wait until she would have done, as she would
then be much heavier, and more unable to effect her escape than at
present. And so the issue proved; for being now done sucking them all,
her belly appeared enormously distended, and she made her exit slowly
and apparently with difficulty. She advanced towards the hedge where
she had entered, and as she arrived just at the clump of ferns where
her foes were couched, they started up with a fierce yell, and
hallooed the dogs upon her path.

The hare started off at a brisk pace, squirting up the milk she had
sucked from her mouth and nostrils, and the dogs making after her
rapidly. Rachel Higgins's cabin appeared, through the grey of the
morning twilight, at a little distance; and it was evident that puss
seemed bent on gaining it, although she made a considerable circuit
through the fields in the rear. Bryan and his comrade, however, had
their thoughts, and made towards the cabin by the shortest route, and
had just arrived as the hare came up, panting and almost exhausted,
and the dogs at her very scut. She ran round the house, evidently
confused and disappointed at the presence of the men, but at length
made for the door. In the bottom of the door was a small, semicircular
aperture, resembling those cut in fowl-house doors for the ingress and
egress of poultry. To gain this hole, puss now made a last and
desperate effort, and had succeeded in forcing her head and shoulders
through it, when the foremost of the dogs made a spring and seized her
violently by the haunch. She uttered a loud and piercing scream, and
struggled desperately to free herself from his gripe, and at last
succeeded, but not until she left a piece of her rump in his teeth.
The men now burst open the door; a bright turf fire blazed on the
hearth, and the whole floor was streaming with blood. No hare,
however, could be found, and the men were more than ever convinced
that it was old Rachel, who had, by the assistance of some demon,
assumed the form of the hare, and they now determined to have her if
she were over the earth. They entered the bedroom, and heard some
smothered groaning, as if proceeding from some one in extreme agony.
They went to the corner of the room from whence the moans proceeded,
and there, beneath a bundle of freshly-cut rushes, found the form of
Rachel Higgins, writhing in the most excruciating agony, and almost
smothered in a pool of blood. The men were astounded; they addressed
the wretched old woman, but she either could not, or would not answer
them. Her wound still bled copiously; her tortures appeared to
increase, and it was evident that she was dying. The aroused family
thronged around her with cries and lamentations; she did not seem to
heed them, she got worse and worse, and her piercing yells fell
awfully on the ears of the bystanders. At length she expired, and her
corpse exhibited a most appalling spectacle, even before the spirit
had well departed.

Bryan and his friend returned home. The old hag had been previously
aware of the fate of Rachel Higgins, but it was not known by what
means she acquired her supernatural knowledge. She was delighted at
the issue of her mysterious operations. Bryan pressed her much to
accept of some remuneration for her services, but she utterly rejected
such proposals. She remained a few days at his house, and at length
took her leave and departed, no one knew whither.

Old Rachel's remains were interred that night in the neighbouring
churchyard. Her fate soon became generally known, and her family,
ashamed to remain in their native village, disposed of their property,
and quitted the country for ever. The story, however, is still fresh
in the memory of the surrounding villagers; and often, it is said,
amid the grey haze of a summer twilight, may the ghost of Rachel
Higgins, in the form of a hare, be seen scudding over her favourite
and well-remembered haunts.

[Footnote 21: _Dublin University Magazine, 1839._]

[Footnote 22: _Aghavoe_--"the field of kine"--a beautiful and romantic
village near Borris-in-Ossory, in the Queen's County. It was once a
place of considerable importance, and for centuries the episcopal seat
of the diocese of Ossory, but for ages back it has gone to decay, and
is now remarkable for nothing but the magnificent ruins of a priory of
the Dominicans, erected here at an early period by St. Canice, the
patron saint of Ossory.]

[Footnote 23: It was once a common practice in Ireland to nail a piece
of horseshoe on the threshold of the door, as a preservative against
the influence of the fairies, who, it is thought, dare not enter any
house thus guarded. This custom, however, is much on the wane, but
still it is prevalent in some of the more uncivilised districts of the

[Footnote 24: Red-haired people are thought to possess magic power.]



A rich woman sat up late one night carding and preparing wool, while
all the family and servants were asleep. Suddenly a knock was given at
the door, and a voice called--"Open! open!"

"Who is there?" said the woman of the house.

"I am the Witch of the one Horn," was answered.

The mistress, supposing that one of her neighbours had called and
required assistance, opened the door, and a woman entered, having in
her hand a pair of wool carders, and bearing a horn on her forehead,
as if growing there. She sat down by the fire in silence, and began to
card the wool with violent haste. Suddenly she paused, and said aloud:
"Where are the women? they delay too long."

Then a second knock came to the door, and a voice called as before,
"Open! open!"

The mistress felt herself constrained to rise and open to the call,
and immediately a second witch entered, having two horns on her
forehead, and in her hand a wheel for spinning wool.

"Give me place," she said, "I am the Witch of the two Horns," and she
began to spin as quick as lightning.

And so the knocks went on, and the call was heard, and the witches
entered, until at last twelve women sat round the fire--the first with
one horn, the last with twelve horns.

And they carded the thread, and turned their spinning-wheels, and
wound and wove.

All singing together an ancient rhyme, but no word did they speak to
the mistress of the house. Strange to hear, and frightful to look
upon, were these twelve women, with their horns and their wheels; and
the mistress felt near to death, and she tried to rise that she might
call for help, but she could not move, nor could she utter a word or a
cry, for the spell of the witches was upon her.

Then one of them called to her in Irish, and said--

"Rise, woman, and make us a cake." Then the mistress searched for a
vessel to bring water from the well that she might mix the meal and
make the cake, but she could find none.

And they said to her, "Take a sieve and bring water in it."

And she took the sieve and went to the well; but the water poured from
it, and she could fetch none for the cake, and she sat down by the
well and wept.

Then a voice came by her and said, "Take yellow clay and moss, and
bind them together, and plaster the sieve so that it will hold."

This she did, and the sieve held the water for the cake; and the voice
said again--

"Return, and when thou comest to the north angle of the house, cry
aloud three times and say, 'The mountain of the Fenian women and the
sky over it is all on fire.'"

And she did so.

When the witches inside heard the call, a great and terrible cry broke
from their lips, and they rushed forth with wild lamentations and
shrieks, and fled away to Slievenamon,[26] where was their chief
abode. But the Spirit of the Well bade the mistress of the house to
enter and prepare her home against the enchantments of the witches if
they returned again.

And first, to break their spells, she sprinkled the water in which she
had washed her child's feet (the feet-water) outside the door on the
threshold; secondly, she took the cake which the witches had made in
her absence of meal mixed with the blood drawn from the sleeping
family, and she broke the cake in bits, and placed a bit in the mouth
of each sleeper, and they were restored; and she took the cloth they
had woven and placed it half in and half out of the chest with the
padlock; and lastly, she secured the door with a great crossbeam
fastened in the jambs, so that they could not enter, and having done
these things she waited.

Not long were the witches in coming back, and they raged and called
for vengeance.

"Open! open!" they screamed, "open, feet-water!"

"I cannot," said the feet-water, "I am scattered on the ground, and my
path is down to the Lough."

"Open, open, wood and trees and beam!" they cried to the door.

"I cannot," said the door, "for the beam is fixed in the jambs and I
have no power to move."

"Open, open, cake that we have made and mingled with blood!" they
cried again.

"I cannot," said the cake, "for I am broken and bruised, and my blood
is on the lips of the sleeping children."

Then the witches rushed through the air with great cries, and fled
back to Slievenamon, uttering strange curses on the Spirit of the
Well, who had wished their ruin; but the woman and the house were left
in peace, and a mantle dropped by one of the witches in her flight was
kept hung up by the mistress as a sign of the night's awful contest;
and this mantle was in possession of the same family from generation
to generation for five hundred years after.

[Footnote 25: _Ancient Legends of Ireland._]

[Footnote 26: _Sliábh-na-mban_--_i.e._, mountains of the women.]



Shemus Rua[28] (Red James) awakened from his sleep one night by noises
in his kitchen. Stealing to the door, he saw half-a-dozen old women
sitting round the fire, jesting and laughing, his old housekeeper,
Madge, quite frisky and gay, helping her sister crones to cheering
glasses of punch. He began to admire the impudence and imprudence of
Madge, displayed in the invitation and the riot, but recollected on
the instant her officiousness in urging him to take a comfortable
posset, which she had brought to his bedside just before he fell
asleep. Had he drunk it, he would have been just now deaf to the
witches' glee. He heard and saw them drink his health in such a
mocking style as nearly to tempt him to charge them, besom in hand,
but he restrained himself.

The jug being emptied, one of them cried out, "Is it time to be gone?"
and at the same moment, putting on a red cap, she added--

    "By yarrow and rue,
    And my red cap too,
      Hie over to England."

Making use of a twig which she held in her hand as a steed, she
gracefully soared up the chimney, and was rapidly followed by the
rest. But when it came to the housekeeper, Shemus interposed. "By your
leave, ma'am," said he, snatching twig and cap. "Ah, you desateful
ould crocodile! If I find you here on my return, there'll be wigs on
the green--

    'By yarrow and rue,
    And my red cap too,
      Hie over to England.'"

The words were not out of his mouth when he was soaring above the
ridge pole, and swiftly ploughing the air. He was careful to speak no
word (being somewhat conversant with witch-lore), as the result would
be a tumble, and the immediate return of the expedition.

In a very short time they had crossed the Wicklow hills, the Irish
Sea, and the Welsh mountains, and were charging, at whirlwind speed,
the hall door of a castle. Shemus, only for the company in which he
found himself, would have cried out for pardon, expecting to be
_mummy_ against the hard oak door in a moment; but, all bewildered, he
found himself passing through the key-hole, along a passage, down a
flight of steps, and through a cellar-door key-hole before he could
form any clear idea of his situation.

Waking to the full consciousness of his position, he found himself
sitting on a stillion, plenty of lights glimmering round, and he and
his companions, with full tumblers of frothing wine in hand,
hob-nobbing and drinking healths as jovially and recklessly as if the
liquor was honestly come by, and they were sitting in _Shemus's_ own
kitchen. The red birredh[29] had assimilated _Shemus's_ nature for the
time being to that of his unholy companions. The heady liquors soon
got into their brains, and a period of unconsciousness succeeded the
ecstasy, the head-ache, the turning round of the barrels, and the
"scattered sight" of poor Shemus. He woke up under the impression of
being roughly seized, and shaken, and dragged upstairs, and subjected
to a disagreeable examination by the lord of the castle, in his state
parlour. There was much derision among the whole company, gentle and
simple, on hearing Shemus's explanation, and, as the thing occurred in
the dark ages, the unlucky Leinster man was sentenced to be hung as
soon as the gallows could be prepared for the occasion.

The poor Hibernian was in the cart proceeding on his last journey,
with a label on his back, and another on his breast, announcing him as
the remorseless villain who for the last month had been draining the
casks in my lord's vault every night. He was surprised to hear himself
addressed by his name, and in his native tongue, by an old woman in
the crowd. "Ach, Shemus, alanna! is it going to die you are in a
strange place without your _cappeen d'yarrag_?"[30] These words
infused hope and courage into the poor victim's heart. He turned to
the lord and humbly asked leave to die in his red cap, which he
supposed had dropped from his head in the vault. A servant was sent
for the head-piece, and Shemus felt lively hope warming his heart
while placing it on his head. On the platform he was graciously
allowed to address the spectators, which he proceeded to do in the
usual formula composed for the benefit of flying stationers--"Good
people all, a warning take by me;" but when he had finished the line,
"My parents reared me tenderly," he unexpectedly added--"By yarrow and
rue," etc., and the disappointed spectators saw him shoot up obliquely
through the air in the style of a sky-rocket that had missed its aim.
It is said that the lord took the circumstance much to heart, and
never afterwards hung a man for twenty-four hours after his offence.

[Footnote 27: _Fictions of the Irish Celts._]

[Footnote 28: Irish, _Séumus Ruadh_. The Celtic vocal organs are
unable to pronounce the letter j, hence they make Shon or Shawn of
John, or Shamus of James, etc.]

[Footnote 29: Ir., _Birreud_--_i.e._, a cap.]

[Footnote 30: Irish, _caipín dearg_--_i.e._, red cap.]



Tom Bourke lives in a low, long farm-house, resembling in outward
appearance a large barn, placed at the bottom of the hill, just where
the new road strikes off from the old one, leading from the town of
Kilworth to that of Lismore. He is of a class of persons who are a
sort of black swans in Ireland: he is a wealthy farmer. Tom's father
had, in the good old times, when a hundred pounds were no
inconsiderable treasure, either to lend or spend, accommodated his
landlord with that sum, at interest; and obtained as a return for his
civility a long lease, about half-a-dozen times more valuable than the
loan which procured it. The old man died worth several hundred pounds,
the greater part of which, with his farm, he bequeathed to his son
Tom. But besides all this, Tom received from his father, upon his
death-bed, another gift, far more valuable than worldly riches,
greatly as he prized and is still known to prize them. He was invested
with the privilege, enjoyed by few of the sons of men, of
communicating with those mysterious beings called "the good people."

Tom Bourke is a little, stout, healthy, active man, about fifty-five
years of age. His hair is perfectly white, short and bushy behind, but
rising in front erect and thick above his forehead, like a new
clothes-brush. His eyes are of that kind which I have often observed
with persons of a quick, but limited intellect--they are small, grey,
and lively. The large and projecting eyebrows under, or rather within,
which they twinkle, give them an expression of shrewdness and
intelligence, if not of cunning. And this is very much the character of
the man. If you want to make a bargain with Tom Bourke you must act as
if you were a general besieging a town, and make your advances a long
time before you can hope to obtain possession; if you march up boldly,
and tell him at once your object, you are for the most part sure to have
the gates closed in your teeth. Tom does not wish to part with what you
wish to obtain; or another person has been speaking to him for the whole
of the last week. Or, it may be, your proposal seems to meet the most
favourable reception. "Very well, sir;" "That's true, sir;" "I'm very
thankful to your honour," and other expressions of kindness and
confidence greet you in reply to every sentence; and you part from him
wondering how he can have obtained the character which he universally
bears, of being a man whom no one can make anything of in a bargain. But
when you next meet him the flattering illusion is dissolved: you find
you are a great deal further from your object than you were when you
thought you had almost succeeded; his eye and his tongue express a total
forgetfulness of what the mind within never lost sight of for an
instant; and you have to begin operations afresh, with the disadvantage
of having put your adversary completely upon his guard.

Yet, although Tom Bourke is, whether from supernatural revealings, or
(as many will think more probable) from the tell-truth experience, so
distrustful of mankind, and so close in his dealings with them, he is
no misanthrope. No man loves better the pleasures of the genial board.
The love of money, indeed, which is with him (and who will blame him?)
a very ruling propensity, and the gratification which it has received
from habits of industry, sustained throughout a pretty long and
successful life, have taught him the value of sobriety, during those
seasons, at least, when a man's business requires him to keep
possession of his senses. He has, therefore, a general rule, never to
get drunk but on Sundays. But in order that it should be a general one
to all intents and purposes, he takes a method which, according to
better logicians than he is, always proves the rule. He has many
exceptions; among these, of course, are the evenings of all the fair
and market-days that happen in his neighbourhood; so also all the days
in which funerals, marriages, and christenings take place among his
friends within many miles of him. As to this last class of exceptions,
it may appear at first very singular, that he is much more punctual in
his attendance at the funerals than at the baptisms or weddings of his
friends. This may be construed as an instance of disinterested
affection for departed worth, very uncommon in this selfish world. But
I am afraid that the motives which lead Tom Bourke to pay more court
to the dead than the living are precisely those which lead to the
opposite conduct in the generality of mankind--a hope of future
benefit and a fear of future evil. For the good people, who are a
race as powerful as they are capricious, have their favourites among
those who inhabit this world; often show their affection by easing the
objects of it from the load of this burdensome life; and frequently
reward or punish the living according to the degree of reverence paid
to the obsequies and the memory of the elected dead.

Some may attribute to the same cause the apparently humane and
charitable actions which Tom, and indeed the other members of his
family, are known frequently to perform. A beggar has seldom left
their farm-yard with an empty wallet, or without obtaining a night's
lodging, if required, with a sufficiency of potatoes and milk to
satisfy even an Irish beggar's appetite; in appeasing which, account
must usually be taken of the auxiliary jaws of a hungry dog, and of
two or three still more hungry children, who line themselves well
within, to atone for their nakedness without. If one of the
neighbouring poor be seized with a fever, Tom will often supply the
sick wretch with some untenanted hut upon one of his two large farms
(for he has added one to his patrimony), or will send his labourers to
construct a shed at a hedge-side, and supply straw for a bed while the
disorder continues. His wife, remarkable for the largeness of her
dairy, and the goodness of everything it contains, will furnish milk
for whey; and their good offices are frequently extended to the family
of the patient, who are, perhaps, reduced to the extremity of
wretchedness, by even the temporary suspension of a father's or a
husband's labour.

If much of this arises from the hopes and fears to which I above
alluded, I believe much of it flows from a mingled sense of compassion
and of duty, which is sometimes seen to break from an Irish peasant's
heart, even where it happens to be enveloped in a habitual covering of
avarice and fraud; and which I once heard speak in terms not to be
misunderstood: "When we get a deal, 'tis only fair we should give back
a little of it."

It is not easy to prevail on Tom to speak of those good people, with
whom he is said to hold frequent and intimate communications. To the
faithful, who believe in their power, and their occasional delegation
of it to him, he seldom refuses, if properly asked, to exercise his
high prerogative when any unfortunate being is _struck_ in his
neighbourhood. Still he will not be won unsued: he is at first
difficult of persuasion, and must be overcome by a little gentle
violence. On these occasions he is unusually solemn and mysterious,
and if one word of reward be mentioned he at once abandons the unhappy
patient, such a proposition being a direct insult to his supernatural
superiors. It is true that, as the labourer is worthy of his hire,
most persons gifted as he is do not scruple to receive a token of
gratitude from the patients or their friends _after_ their recovery.
It is recorded that a very handsome gratuity was once given to a
female practitioner in this occult science, who deserves to be
mentioned, not only because she was a neighbour and a rival of Tom's,
but from the singularity of a mother deriving her name from her son.
Her son's name was Owen, and she was always called _Owen sa vauher_
(Owen's mother). This person was, on the occasion to which I have
alluded, _persuaded_ to give her assistance to a young girl who had
lost the use of her right leg; _Owen sa vauher_ found the cure a
difficult one. A journey of about eighteen miles was essential for the
purpose, probably to visit one of the good people who resided at that
distance; and this journey could only be performed by _Owen sa vauher_
travelling upon the back of a white hen. The visit, however, was
accomplished; and at a particular hour, according to the prediction of
this extraordinary woman, when the hen and her rider were to reach
their journey's end, the patient was seized with an irresistible
desire to dance, which she gratified with the most perfect freedom of
the diseased leg, much to the joy of her anxious family. The gratuity
in this case was, as it surely ought to have been, unusually large,
from the difficulty of procuring a hen willing to go so long a journey
with such a rider.

To do Tom Bourke justice, he is on these occasions, as I have heard
from many competent authorities, perfectly disinterested. Not many
months since he recovered a young woman (the sister of a tradesman
living near him), who had been struck speechless after returning from
a funeral, and had continued so for several days. He steadfastly
refused receiving any compensation, saying that even if he had not as
much as would buy him his supper, he could take nothing in this case,
because the girl had offended at the funeral of one of the _good
people_ belonging to his own family, and though he would do her a
kindness, he could take none from her.

About the time this last remarkable affair took place, my friend Mr.
Martin, who is a neighbour of Tom's, had some business to transact with
him, which it was exceedingly difficult to bring to a conclusion. At
last Mr. Martin, having tried all quiet means, had recourse to a legal
process, which brought Tom to reason, and the matter was arranged to
their mutual satisfaction, and with perfect good-humour between the
parties. The accommodation took place after dinner at Mr. Martin's
house, and he invited Tom to walk into the parlour and take a glass of
punch, made of some excellent _poteen_, which was on the table: he had
long wished to draw out his highly-endowed neighbour on the subject of
his supernatural powers, and as Mrs. Martin, who was in the room, was
rather a favourite of Tom's, this seemed a good opportunity.

"Well, Tom," said Mr. Martin, "that was a curious business of Molly
Dwyer's, who recovered her speech so suddenly the other day."

"You may say that, sir," replied Tom Bourke; "but I had to travel far
for it: no matter for that now. Your health, ma'am," said he, turning
to Mrs. Martin.

"Thank you, Tom. But I am told you had some trouble once in that way
in your own family," said Mrs Martin.

"So I had, ma'am; trouble enough: but you were only a child at that

"Come, Tom," said the hospitable Mr. Martin, interrupting him, "take
another tumbler;" and he then added, "I wish you would tell us
something of the manner in which so many of your children died. I am
told they dropped off, one after another, by the same disorder, and
that your eldest son was cured in a most extraordinary way, when the
physicians had given him over."

"'Tis true for you, sir," returned Tom; "your father, the doctor (God
be good to him, I won't belie him in his grave), told me, when my
fourth boy was a week sick, that himself and Dr. Barry did all that
man could do for him; but they could not keep him from going after the
rest. No more they could, if the people that took away the rest wished
to take him too. But they left him; and sorry to the heart I am I did
not know before why they were taking my boys from me; if I did, I
would not be left trusting to two of 'em now."

"And how did you find it out, Tom?" inquired Mr. Martin.

"Why, then, I'll tell you, sir," said Bourke. "When your father said
what I told you, I did not know very well what to do. I walked down
the little _bohereen_[31] you know, sir, that goes to the river-side
near Dick Heafy's ground; for 'twas a lonesome place, and I wanted to
think of myself. I was heavy, sir, and my heart got weak in me, when I
thought I was to lose my little boy; and I did not well know how to
face his mother with the news, for she doated down upon him. Besides,
she never got the better of all she cried at his brother's
_berrin_[32] the week before. As I was going down the _bohereen_ I met
an old _bocough_, that used to come about the place once or twice
a-year, and used always to sleep in our barn while he staid in the
neighbourhood. So he asked me how I was. 'Bad enough, Shamous,'[33]
says I. 'I'm sorry for your trouble,' says he; 'but you're a foolish
man, Mr. Bourke. Your son would be well enough if you would only do
what you ought with him.' 'What more can I do with him, Shamous?'
says I; 'the doctors give him over.' 'The doctors know no more what
ails him than they do what ails a cow when she stops her milk,' says
Shamous; 'but go to such a one,' telling me his name, 'and try what
he'll say to you.'"

"And who was that, Tom?" asked Mr. Martin.

"I could not tell you that, sir," said Bourke, with a mysterious look;
"howsomever, you often saw him, and he does not live far from this.
But I had a trial of him before; and if I went to him at first, maybe
I'd have now some of them that's gone, and so Shamous often told me.
Well, sir, I went to this man, and he came with me to the house. By
course, I did everything as he bid me. According to his order, I took
the little boy out of the dwelling-house immediately, sick as he was,
and made a bed for him and myself in the cow-house. Well, sir, I lay
down by his side in the bed, between two of the cows, and he fell
asleep. He got into a perspiration, saving your presence, as if he was
drawn through the river, and breathed hard, with a great _impression_
on his chest, and was very bad--very bad entirely through the night. I
thought about twelve o'clock he was going at last, and I was just
getting up to go call the man I told you of; but there was no
occasion. My friends were getting the better of them that wanted to
take him away from me. There was nobody in the cow-house but the child
and myself. There was only one halfpenny candle lighting it, and that
was stuck in the wall at the far end of the house. I had just enough
of light where we were lying to see a person walking or standing near
us: and there was no more noise than if it was a churchyard, except
the cows chewing the fodder in the stalls.

"Just as I was thinking of getting up, as I told you--I won't belie my
father, sir, he was a good father to me--I saw him standing at the
bedside, holding out his right hand to me, and leaning his other on the
stick he used to carry when he was alive, and looking pleasant and
smiling at me, all as if he was telling me not to be afeard, for I would
not lose the child. 'Is that you, father?' says I. He said nothing. 'If
that's you,' says I again, 'for the love of them that gone, let me
catch your hand.' And so he did, sir; and his hand was as soft as a
child's. He stayed about as long as you'd be going from this to the gate
below at the end of the avenue, and then went away. In less than a week
the child was as well as if nothing ever ailed him; and there isn't
to-night a healthier boy of nineteen, from this blessed house to the
town of Ballyporeen, across the Kilworth mountains."

"But I think, Tom," said Mr. Martin, "it appears as if you are more
indebted to your father than to the man recommended to you by Shamous;
or do you suppose it was he who made favour with your enemies among
the good people, and that then your father----"

"I beg your pardon, sir," said Bourke, interrupting him; "but don't
call them my enemies. 'Twould not be wishing to me for a good deal to
sit by when they are called so. No offence to you, sir. Here's wishing
you a good health and long life."

"I assure you," returned Mr. Martin, "I meant no offence, Tom; but was
it not as I say?"

"I can't tell you that, sir," said Bourke; "I'm bound down, sir.
Howsoever, you may be sure the man I spoke of and my father, and those
they know, settled it between them."

There was a pause, of which Mrs. Martin took advantage to inquire of
Tom whether something remarkable had not happened about a goat and a
pair of pigeons, at the time of his son's illness--circumstances often
mysteriously hinted at by Tom.

"See that, now," said he, turning to Mr. Martin, "how well she
remembers it! True for you, ma'am. The goat I gave the mistress, your
mother, when the doctors ordered her goats' whey?"

Mrs. Martin nodded assent, and Tom Bourke continued, "Why, then, I'll
tell you how that was. The goat was as well as e'er goat ever was, for
a month after she was sent to Killaan, to your father's. The morning
after the night I just told you of, before the child woke, his mother
was standing at the gap leading out of the barn-yard into the road,
and she saw two pigeons flying from the town of Kilworth off the
church down towards her. Well, they never stopped, you see, till they
came to the house on the hill at the other side of the river, facing
our farm. They pitched upon the chimney of that house, and after
looking about them for a minute or two, they flew straight across the
river, and stopped on the ridge of the cow-house where the child and I
were lying. Do you think they came there for nothing, sir?"

"Certainly not, Tom," returned Mr. Martin.

"Well, the woman came in to me, frightened, and told me. She began to
cry. 'Whist, you fool?' says I; 'tis all for the better.' 'Twas true
for me. What do you think, ma'am; the goat that I gave your mother,
that was seen feeding at sunrise that morning by Jack Cronin, as merry
as a bee, dropped down dead without anybody knowing why, before Jack's
face; and at that very moment he saw two pigeons fly from the top of
the house out of the town, towards the Lismore road. 'Twas at the same
time my woman saw them, as I just told you."

"'Twas very strange, indeed, Tom," said Mr. Martin; "I wish you could
give us some explanation of it."

"I wish I could, sir," was Tom Bourke's answer; "but I'm bound down. I
can't tell but what I'm allowed to tell, any more than a sentry is let
walk more than his rounds."

"I think you said something of having had some former knowledge of the
man that assisted in the cure of your son," said Mr. Martin.

"So I had, sir," returned Bourke. "I had a trial of that man. But
that's neither here nor there. I can't tell you anything about that,
sir. But would you like to know how he got his skill?"

"Oh! very much, indeed," said Mr. Martin.

"But you can tell us his Christian name, that we may know him better
through the story," added Mrs. Martin.

Tom Bourke paused for a minute to consider this proposition.

"Well, I believe that I may tell you that, anyhow; his name is
Patrick. He was always a smart, 'cute[34] boy, and would be a great
clerk if he stuck to it. The first time I knew him, sir, was at my
mother's wake. I was in great trouble, for I did not know where to
bury her. Her people and my father's people--I mean their friends,
sir, among the _good people_--had the greatest battle that was known
for many a year, at Dunmanwaycross, to see to whose churchyard she'd
be taken. They fought for three nights, one after another, without
being able to settle it. The neighbours wondered how long I was before
I buried my mother; but I had my reasons, though I could not tell them
at that time. Well, sir, to make my story short, Patrick came on the
fourth morning and told me he settled the business, and that day we
buried her in Kilcrumper churchyard, with my father's people."

"He was a valuable friend, Tom," said Mrs. Martin, with difficulty
suppressing a smile. "But you were about to tell how he became so

"So I will and welcome," replied Bourke. "Your health, ma'am. I'm
drinking too much of this punch, sir; but to tell the truth, I never
tasted the like of it; it goes down one's throat like sweet oil. But
what was I going to say? Yes--well--Patrick, many a long year ago, was
coming home from a _berrin_ late in the evening, and walking by the
side of a river, opposite the big inch,[35] near Ballyhefaan ford. He
had taken a drop, to be sure; but he was only a little merry, as you
may say, and knew very well what he was doing. The moon was shining,
for it was in the month of August, and the river was as smooth and as
bright as a looking-glass. He heard nothing for a long time but the
fall of the water at the mill weir about a mile down the river, and
now and then the crying of the lambs on the other side of the river.
All at once there was a noise of a great number of people laughing as
if they'd break their hearts, and of a piper playing among them. It
came from the inch at the other side of the ford, and he saw, through
the mist that hung over the river, a whole crowd of people dancing on
the inch. Patrick was as fond of a dance, as he was of a glass, and
that's saying enough for him; so he whipped off his shoes and
stockings, and away with him across the ford. After putting on his
shoes and stockings at the other side of the river he walked over to
the crowd, and mixed with them for some time without being minded. He
thought, sir, that he'd show them better dancing than any of
themselves, for he was proud of his feet, sir, and a good right he
had, for there was not a boy in the same parish could foot a double or
treble with him. But pwah! his dancing was no more to theirs than mine
would be to the mistress' there. They did not seem as if they had a
bone in their bodies, and they kept it up as if nothing could tire
them. Patrick was 'shamed within himself, for he thought he had not
his fellow in all the country round; and was going away, when a little
old man, that was looking at the company bitterly, as if he did not
like what was going on, came up to him. 'Patrick,' says he. Patrick
started, for he did not think anybody there knew him. 'Patrick,' says
he, 'you're discouraged, and no wonder for you. But you have a friend
near you. I'm your friend, and your father's friend, and I think
worse[36] of your little finger than I do of all that are here, though
they think no one is as good as themselves. Go into the ring and call
for a lilt. Don't be afeard. I tell you the best of them did not do it
as well as you shall, if you will do as I bid you.' Patrick felt
something within him as if he ought not to gainsay the old man. He
went into the ring, and called the piper to play up the best double he
had. And sure enough, all that the others were able for was nothing to
him! He bounded like an eel, now here and now there, as light as a
feather, although the people could hear the music answered by his
steps, that beat time to every turn of it, like the left foot of the
piper. He first danced a hornpipe on the ground. Then they got a
table, and he danced a treble on it that drew down shouts from the
whole company. At last he called for a trencher; and when they saw
him, all as if he was spinning on it like a top, they did not know
what to make of him. Some praised him for the best dancer that ever
entered a ring; others hated him because he was better than
themselves; although they had good right to think themselves better
than him or any other man that ever went the long journey."

"And what was the cause of his great success?" inquired Mr. Martin.

"He could not help it, sir," replied Tom Bourke. "They that could make
him do more than that made him do it. Howsomever, when he had done,
they wanted him to dance again, but he was tired, and they could not
persuade him. At last he got angry, and swore a big oath, saving your
presence, that he would not dance a step more; and the word was hardly
out of his mouth when he found himself all alone, with nothing but a
white cow grazing by his side."

"Did he ever discover why he was gifted with these extraordinary
powers in the dance, Tom?" said Mr. Martin.

"I'll tell you that too, sir," answered Bourke, "when I come to it.
When he went home, sir, he was taken with a shivering, and went to
bed; and the next day they found he had got the fever, or something
like it, for he raved like as if he was mad. But they couldn't make
out what it was he was saying, though he talked constant. The doctors
gave him over. But it's little they knew what ailed him. When he was,
as you may say, about ten days sick, and everybody thought he was
going, one of the neighbours came in to him with a man, a friend of
his, from Ballinlacken, that was keeping with him some time before. I
can't tell you his name either, only it was Darby. The minute Darby
saw Patrick he took a little bottle, with the juice of herbs in it,
out of his pocket, and gave Patrick a drink of it. He did the same
every day for three weeks, and then Patrick was able to walk about, as
stout and as hearty as ever he was in his life. But he was a long
time before he came to himself; and he used to walk the whole day
sometimes by the ditch-side, talking to himself, like as if there was
someone along with him. And so there was, surely, or he wouldn't be
the man he is to-day."

"I suppose it was from some such companion he learned his skill," said
Mr. Martin.

"You have it all now, sir," replied Bourke. "Darby told him his
friends were satisfied with what he did the night of the dance; and
though they couldn't hinder the fever, they'd bring him over it, and
teach him more than many knew beside him. And so they did. For you
see, all the people he met on the inch that night were friends of a
different faction; only the old man that spoke to him, he was a friend
of Patrick's family, and it went again his heart, you see, that the
others were so light and active, and he was bitter in himself to hear
'em boasting how they'd dance with any set in the whole country round.
So he gave Patrick the gift that night, and afterwards gave him the
skill that makes him the wonder of all that know him. And to be sure
it was only learning he was at that time when he was wandering in his
mind after the fever."

"I have heard many strange stories about that inch near Ballyhefaan
ford," said Mr. Martin. "'Tis a great place for the good people, isn't
it, Tom?"

"You may say that, sir," returned Bourke. "I could tell you a great
deal about it. Many a time I sat for as good as two hours by
moonlight, at th' other side of the river, looking at 'em playing goal
as if they'd break their hearts over it; with their coats and
waistcoats off, and white handkerchiefs on the heads of one party, and
red ones on th' other, just as you'd see on a Sunday in Mr. Simming's
big field. I saw 'em one night play till the moon set, without one
party being able to take the ball from th' other. I'm sure they were
going to fight, only 'twas near morning. I'm told your grandfather,
ma'am, used to see 'em there too," said Bourke, turning to Mrs. Martin.

"So I have been told, Tom," replied Mrs. Martin. "But don't they say
that the churchyard of Kilcrumper is just as favourite a place with
the good people as Ballyhefaan inch?"

"Why, then, maybe you never heard, ma'am, what happened to Davy Roche
in that same churchyard," said Bourke; and turning to Mr. Martin,
added, "'Twas a long time before he went into your service, sir. He
was walking home, of an evening, from the fair of Kilcumber, a little
merry, to be sure, after the day, and he came up with a berrin. So he
walked along with it, and thought it very queer that he did not know a
mother's soul in the crowd but one man, and he was sure that man was
dead many years afore. Howsomever, he went on with the berrin till
they came to Kilcrumper churchyard; and, faith, he went in and stayed
with the rest, to see the corpse buried. As soon as the grave was
covered, what should they do but gather about a piper that _come_
along with 'em, and fall to dancing as if it was a wedding. Davy
longed to be among 'em (for he hadn't a bad foot of his own, that
time, whatever he may now); but he was loth to begin, because they all
seemed strange to him, only the man I told you that he thought was
dead. Well, at last this man saw what Davy wanted, and came up to him.
'Davy,' says he, 'take out a partner, and show what you can do, but
take care and don't offer to kiss her.' 'That I won't,' says Davy,
'although her lips were made of honey.' And with that he made his bow
to the _purtiest_ girl in the ring, and he and she began to dance.
'Twas a jig they danced, and they did it to th' admiration, do you
see, of all that were there. 'Twas all very well till the jig was
over; but just as they had done, Davy, for he had a drop in, and was
warm with the dancing, forgot himself, and kissed his partner,
according to custom. The smack was no sooner off of his lips, you see,
than he was left alone in the churchyard, without a creature near him,
and all he could see was the tall tombstones. Davy said they seemed as
if they were dancing too, but I suppose that was only the wonder that
happened him, and he being a little in drink. Howsomever, he found it
was a great many hours later than he thought it; 'twas near morning
when he came home; but they couldn't get a word out of him till the
next day, when he woke out of a dead sleep about twelve o'clock."

When Tom had finished the account of Davy Roche and the berrin, it
became quite evident that spirits, of some sort, were working too strong
within him to admit of his telling many more tales of the good people.
Tom seemed conscious of this. He muttered for a few minutes broken
sentences concerning churchyards, river-sides, leprechauns, and _dina
magh_,[37] which were quite unintelligible, perhaps, to himself,
certainly to Mr. Martin and his lady. At length he made a slight motion
of the head upwards, as if he would say, "I can talk no more;" stretched
his arm on the table, upon which he placed the empty tumbler slowly, and
with the most knowing and cautious air; and rising from his chair,
walked, or rather rolled, to the parlour door. Here he turned round to
face his host and hostess; but after various ineffectual attempts to bid
them good-night, the words, as they rose, being always choked by a
violent hiccup, while the door, which he held by the handle, swung to
and fro, carrying his unyielding body along with it, he was obliged to
depart in silence. The cow-boy, sent by Tom's wife, who knew well what
sort of allurement detained him when he remained out after a certain
hour, was in attendance to conduct his master home. I have no doubt that
he returned without meeting any material injury, as I know that within
the last month he was, to use his own words, "as stout and hearty a man
as any of his age in the county Cork."

[Footnote 31: _Bohereen_, or _bogheen_, _i.e._, a green lane.]

[Footnote 32: _Berrin_, burying.]

[Footnote 33: _Shamous_, James.]

[Footnote 34: _'Cute_, acute.]

[Footnote 35: _Inch_, low meadow ground near a river.]

[Footnote 36: _Worse_, more.]

[Footnote 37: _Daoine maithe_, _i.e._, the good people.]



"Moll Roe Rafferty was the son--daughter I mane--of ould Jack Rafferty,
who was remarkable for a habit he had of always wearing his head undher
his hat; but indeed the same family was a quare one, as everybody knew
that was acquainted wid them. It was said of them--but whether it was
thrue or not I won't undhertake to say, for 'fraid I'd tell a lie--that
whenever they didn't wear shoes or boots they always went barefooted;
but I heard aftherwards that this was disputed, so rather than say
anything to injure their character, I'll let that pass. Now, ould Jack
Rafferty had two sons, Paddy and Molly--hut! what are you all laughing
at?--I mane a son and daughter, and it was generally believed among the
neighbours that they were brother and sisther, which you know might be
thrue or it might not: but that's a thing that, wid the help o'
goodness, we have nothing to say to. Troth there was many ugly things
put out on them that I don't wish to repate, such as that neither Jack
nor his son Paddy ever walked a perch widout puttin' one foot afore the
other like a salmon; an' I know it was whispered about, that whinever
Moll Roe slep', she had an out-of-the-way custom of keepin' her eyes
shut. If she did, however, for that matther the loss was her own; for
sure we all know that when one comes to shut their eyes they can't see
as far before them as another.

"Moll Roe was a fine young bouncin' girl, large and lavish, wid a
purty head o' hair on her like scarlet, that bein' one of the raisons
why she was called _Roe_, or red; her arms an' cheeks were much the
colour of the hair, an' her saddle nose was the purtiest thing of its
kind that ever was on a face. Her fists--for, thank goodness, she was
well sarved wid them too--had a strong simularity to two thumpin'
turnips, reddened by the sun; an' to keep all right and tight, she had
a temper as fiery as her head--for, indeed, it was well known that all
the Rafferties were _warm_-hearted. Howandiver, it appears that God
gives nothing in vain, and of coorse the same fists, big and red as
they were, if all that is said about them is thrue, were not so much
given to her for ornament as use. At laist, takin' them in connection
wid her lively temper, we have it upon good authority, that there was
no danger of their getting blue-moulded for want of practice. She had
a twist, too, in one of her eyes that was very becomin' in its way,
and made her poor husband, when she got him, take it into his head
that she could see round a corner. She found him out in many quare
things, widout doubt; but whether it was owin' to that or not, I
wouldn't undertake to say _for fraid I'd tell a lie_.

"Well, begad, anyhow it was Moll Roe that was the _dilsy_.[38] It
happened that there was a nate vagabone in the neighbourhood, just as
much overburdened wid beauty as herself, and he was named Gusty
Gillespie. Gusty, the Lord guard us, was what they call a black-mouth
Prosbytarian, and wouldn't keep Christmas-day, the blagard, except
what they call 'ould style.' Gusty was rather good-lookin' when seen
in the dark, as well as Moll herself; and, indeed, it was purty well
known that--accordin' as the talk went--it was in nightly meetings
that they had an opportunity of becomin' detached to one another. The
quensequence was, that in due time both families began to talk very
seriously as to what was to be done. Moll's brother, Pawdien
O'Rafferty, gave Gusty the best of two choices. What they were it's
not worth spakin' about; but at any rate _one_ of them was a poser,
an' as Gusty knew his man, he soon came to his senses. Accordianly
everything was deranged for their marriage, and it was appointed that
they should be spliced by the Rev. Samuel M'Shuttle, the Prosbytarian
parson, on the following Sunday.

"Now this was the first marriage that had happened for a long time in
the neighbourhood betune a black-mouth an' a Catholic, an' of coorse
there was strong objections on both sides aginst it; an' begad, only
for one thing, it would never 'a tuck place at all. At any rate, faix,
there was one of the bride's uncles, ould Harry Connolly, a fairy-man,
who could cure all complaints wid a secret he had, and as he didn't
wish to see his niece married upon sich a fellow, he fought bittherly
against the match. All Moll's friends, however, stood up for the
marriage barrin' him, an' of coorse the Sunday was appointed, as I
said, that they were to be dove-tailed together.

"Well, the day arrived, and Moll, as became her, went to mass, and
Gusty to meeting, afther which they were to join one another in Jack
Rafferty's, where the priest, Father M'Sorley, was to slip up afther
mass to take his dinner wid them, and to keep Misther M'Shuttle, who
was to marry them, company. Nobody remained at home but ould Jack
Rafferty an' his wife, who stopped to dress the dinner, for, to tell
the truth, it was to be a great let-out entirely. Maybe, if all was
known, too, that Father M'Sorley was to give them a cast of his office
over an' above the ministher, in regard that Moll's friends were not
altogether satisfied at the kind of marriage which M'Shuttle could
give them. The sorrow may care about that--splice here--splice
there--all I can say is, that when Mrs. Rafferty was goin' to tie up a
big bag pudden, in walks Harry Connolly, the fairy-man, in a rage, and
shouts out,--'Blood and blunderbushes, what are yez here for?'

"'Arrah why, Harry? Why, avick?'

"'Why, the sun's in the suds and the moon in the high Horicks; there's
a clipstick comin' an, an' there you're both as unconsarned as if it
was about to rain mether. Go out and cross yourselves three times in
the name o' the four Mandromarvins, for as prophecy says:--Fill the
pot, Eddy, supernaculum--a blazing star's a rare spectaculum. Go out
both of you and look at the sun, I say, an' ye'll see the condition
he's in--off!'

"Begad, sure enough, Jack gave a bounce to the door, and his wife
leaped like a two-year-ould, till they were both got on a stile beside
the house to see what was wrong in the sky.

"'Arrah, what is it, Jack,' said she; 'can you see anything?'

"'No,' says he, 'sorra the full o' my eye of anything I can spy,
barrin' the sun himself, that's not visible in regard of the clouds.
God guard us! I doubt there's something to happen.'

"'If there wasn't, Jack, what 'ud put Harry, that knows so much, in
the state he's in?'

"'I doubt it's this marriage,' said Jack: 'betune ourselves, it's not
over an' above religious for Moll to marry a black-mouth, an' only
for----; but it can't be helped now, though you see not a taste o' the
sun is willin' to show his face upon it.'

"'As to that,' says the wife, winkin' wid both her eyes, 'if Gusty's
satisfied wid Moll, it's enough. I know who'll carry the whip hand,
anyhow; but in the manetime let us ax Harry 'ithin what ails the sun.'

"Well, they accordianly went in an' put the question to him:

"'Harry, what's wrong, ahagur? What is it now, for if anybody alive
knows, 'tis yourself?'

"'Ah!' said Harry, screwin' his mouth wid a kind of a dhry smile, 'the
sun has a hard twist o' the cholic; but never mind that, I tell you
you'll have a merrier weddin' than you think, that's all;' and havin'
said this, he put on his hat and left the house.

"Now, Harry's answer relieved them very much, and so, afther calling
to him to be back for the dinner, Jack sat down to take a shough o'
the pipe, and the wife lost no time in tying up the pudden and puttin'
it in the pot to be boiled.

"In this way things went on well enough for a while, Jack smokin'
away, an' the wife cookin' and dhressin' at the rate of a hunt. At
last, Jack, while sittin', as I said, contentedly at the fire, thought
he could persave an odd dancin' kind of motion in the pot that puzzled
him a good deal.

"'Katty,' said he, 'what the dickens is in this pot on the fire?'

"'Nerra thing but the big pudden. Why do you ax?' says she.

"'Why,' said he, 'if ever a pot tuck it into its head to dance a jig,
and this did. Thundher and sparbles, look at it!'

"Begad, it was thrue enough; there was the pot bobbin' up an' down and
from side to side, jiggin' it away as merry as a grig; an' it was
quite aisy to see that it wasn't the pot itself, but what was inside
of it, that brought about the hornpipe.

"'Be the hole o' my coat,' shouted Jack, 'there's something alive in
it, or it would never cut sich capers!'

"'Be gorra, there is, Jack; something sthrange entirely has got into
it. Wirra, man alive, what's to be done?'

"Jist as she spoke, the pot seemed to cut the buckle in prime style,
and afther a spring that 'ud shame a dancin'-masther, off flew the
lid, and out bounced the pudden itself, hoppin', as nimble as a pea on
a drum-head, about the floor. Jack blessed himself, and Katty crossed
herself. Jack shouted, and Katty screamed. 'In the name of goodness,
keep your distance; no one here injured you!'

"The pudden, however, made a set at him, and Jack lepped first on a
chair and then on the kitchen table to avoid it. It then danced
towards Kitty, who was now repatin' her prayers at the top of her
voice, while the cunnin' thief of a pudden was hoppin' and jiggin' it
round her, as if it was amused at her distress.

"'If I could get the pitchfork,' said Jack, 'I'd dale wid it--by goxty
I'd thry its mettle.'

"'No, no,' shouted Katty, thinkin' there was a fairy in it; 'let us
spake it fair. Who knows what harm it might do? Aisy now,' said she to
the pudden, 'aisy, dear; don't harm honest people that never meant to
offend you. It wasn't us--no, in troth, it was ould Harry Connolly
that bewitched you; pursue _him_ if you wish, but spare a woman like
me; for, whisper, dear, I'm not in a condition to be frightened--troth
I'm not.'

"The pudden, bedad, seemed to take her at her word, and danced away
from her towards Jack, who, like the wife, believin' there was a fairy
in it, an' that spakin' it fair was the best plan, thought he would
give it a soft word as well as her.

"'Plase your honour,' said Jack, 'she only spaiks the truth; an', upon
my voracity, we both feels much oblaiged to your honour for your
quietness. Faith, it's quite clear that if you weren't a gentlemanly
pudden all out, you'd act otherwise. Ould Harry, the rogue, is your
mark; he's jist gone down the road there, and if you go fast you'll
overtake him. Be me song, your dancin' masther did his duty, anyhow.
Thank your honour! God speed you, an' may you never meet wid a parson
or alderman in your thravels!'

"Jist as Jack spoke the pudden appeared to take the hint, for it
quietly hopped out, and as the house was directly on the road-side,
turned down towards the bridge, the very way that ould Harry went. It
was very natural, of coorse, that Jack and Katty should go out to see
how it intended to thravel; and, as the day was Sunday, it was but
natural, too, that a greater number of people than usual were passin'
the road. This was a fact; and when Jack and his wife were seen
followin' the pudden, the whole neighbourhood was soon up and afther it.

"'Jack Rafferty, what is it? Katty, ahagur, will you tell us what it

"'Why,' replied Katty, 'it's my big pudden that's bewitched, an' it's
now hot foot pursuin'----;' here she stopped, not wishin' to mention
her brother's name--'_some one_ or other that surely put _pishrogues_
an it.'[39]

"This was enough; Jack, now seein' that he had assistance, found his
courage comin' back to him; so says he to Katty, 'Go home,' says he,
'an' lose no time in makin' another pudden as good, an' here's Paddy
Scanlan's wife, Bridget, says she'll let you boil it on her fire, as
you'll want our own to dress the rest o' the dinner: and Paddy himself
will lend me a pitchfork, for purshuin to the morsel of that same
pudden will escape till I let the wind out of it, now that I've the
neighbours to back an' support me,' says Jack.

"This was agreed to, and Katty went back to prepare a fresh pudden,
while Jack an' half the townland pursued the other wid spades, graips,
pitchforks, scythes, flails, and all possible description of
instruments. On the pudden went, however, at the rate of about six
Irish miles an hour, an' sich a chase never was seen. Catholics,
Prodestants, an' Prosbytarians, were all afther it, armed, as I said,
an' bad end to the thing but its own activity could save it. Here it
made a hop, and there a prod was made at it; but off it went, an' some
one, as eager to get a slice at it on the other side, got the prod
instead of the pudden. Big Frank Farrell, the miller of Ballyboulteen,
got a prod backwards that brought a hullabaloo out of him you might
hear at the other end of the parish. One got a slice of a scythe,
another a whack of a flail, a third a rap of a spade that made him
look nine ways at wanst.

"'Where is it goin'?' asked one. 'My life for you, it's on it's way to
Meeting. Three cheers for it if it turns to Carntaul.' 'Prod the sowl
out of it, if it's a Prodestan',' shouted the others; 'if it turns to
the left, slice it into pancakes. We'll have no Prodestan' puddens

"Begad, by this time the people were on the point of beginnin' to have
a regular fight about it, when, very fortunately, it took a short turn
down a little by-lane that led towards the Methodist praichin-house,
an' in an instant all parties were in an uproar against it as a
Methodist pudden. 'It's a Wesleyan,' shouted several voices; 'an' by
this an' by that, into a Methodist chapel it won't put a foot to-day,
or we'll lose a fall. Let the wind out of it. Come, boys, where's your

"The divle purshuin to the one of them, however, ever could touch the
pudden, an' jist when they thought they had it up against the gavel of
the Methodist chapel, begad it gave them the slip, and hops over to
the left, clane into the river, and sails away before all their eyes
as light as an egg-shell.

"Now, it so happened that a little below this place, the demesne-wall
of Colonel Bragshaw was built up to the very edge of the river on each
side of its banks; and so findin' there was a stop put to their
pursuit of it, they went home again, every man, woman, and child of
them, puzzled to think what the pudden was at all, what it meant, or
where it was goin'! Had Jack Rafferty an' his wife been willin' to let
out the opinion they held about Harry Connolly bewitchin' it, there is
no doubt of it but poor Harry might be badly trated by the crowd,
when their blood was up. They had sense enough, howandiver, to keep
that to themselves, for Harry bein' an' ould bachelor, was a kind
friend to the Raffertys. So, of coorse, there was all kinds of talk
about it--some guessin' this, and some guessin' that--one party sayin'
the pudden was of there side, another party denyin' it, an' insistin'
it belonged to them, an' so on.

"In the manetime, Katty Rafferty, for 'fraid the dinner might come
short, went home and made another pudden much about the same size as
the one that had escaped, and bringin' it over to their next
neighbour, Paddy Scanlan's, it was put into a pot and placed on the
fire to boil, hopin' that it might be done in time, espishilly as they
were to have the ministher, who loved a warm slice of a good pudden as
well as e'er a gintleman in Europe.

"Anyhow, the day passed; Moll and Gusty were made man an' wife, an' no
two could be more lovin'. Their friends that had been asked to the
weddin' were saunterin' about in pleasant little groups till
dinner-time, chattin' an' laughin'; but, above all things, sthrivin'
to account for the figaries of the pudden; for, to tell the truth, its
adventures had now gone through the whole parish.

"Well, at any rate, dinner-time was dhrawin' near, and Paddy Scanlan
was sittin' comfortably wid his wife at the fire, the pudden boilen
before their eyes, when in walks Harry Connolly, in a flutter,
shoutin'--'Blood an' blunderbushes, what are yez here for?'

"'Arra, why, Harry--why, avick?' said Mrs. Scanlan.

"'Why,' said Harry, 'the sun's in the suds an' the moon in the high
Horicks! Here's a clipstick comin' an, an' there you sit as
unconsarned as if it was about to rain mether! Go out both of you, an'
look at the sun, I say, and ye'll see the condition he's in--off!'

"'Ay, but, Harry, what's that rowled up in the tail of your
cothamore[40] (big coat)?'

"'Out wid yez,' said Harry, 'an' pray aginst the clipstick--the sky's

"Begad, it was hard to say whether Paddy or the wife got out first,
they were so much alarmed by Harry's wild thin face an' piercin' eyes;
so out they went to see what was wondherful in the sky, an' kep'
lookin' an' lookin' in every direction, but not a thing was to be
seen, barrin' the sun shinin' down wid great good-humour, an' not a
single cloud in the sky.

"Paddy an' the wife now came in laughin', to scould Harry, who, no
doubt, was a great wag in his way when he wished. 'Musha, bad scran to
you, Harry----.' They had time to say no more, howandiver, for, as
they were goin' into the door, they met him comin' out of it wid a
reek of smoke out of his tail like a lime-kiln.

"'Harry,' shouted Bridget, 'my sowl to glory, but the tail of your
cothamore's a-fire--you'll be burned. Don't you see the smoke that's
out of it?'

"'Cross yourselves three times,' said Harry, widout stoppin', or even
lookin' behind him, 'for, as the prophecy says--Fill the pot,
Eddy----' They could hear no more, for Harry appeared to feel like a
man that carried something a great deal hotter than he wished, as
anyone might see by the liveliness of his motions, and the quare faces
he was forced to make as he went along.

"'What the dickens is he carryin' in the skirts of his big coat?'
asked Paddy.

"'My sowl to happiness, but maybe he has stole the pudden,' said
Bridget, 'for it's known that many a sthrange thing he does.'

"They immediately examined the pot, but found that the pudden was
there as safe as tuppence, an' this puzzled them the more, to think
what it was he could be carryin' about wid him in the manner he did.
But little they knew what he had done while they were sky-gazin'!

"Well, anyhow, the day passed and the dinner was ready, an' no doubt
but a fine gatherin' there was to partake of it. The Prosbytarian
ministher met the Methodist praicher--a divilish stretcher of an
appetite he had, in throth--on their way to Jack Rafferty's, an' as he
knew he could take the liberty, why he insisted on his dinin' wid
him; for, afther all, begad, in thim times the clargy of all
descriptions lived upon the best footin' among one another, not all as
one as now--but no matther. Well, they had nearly finished their
dinner, when Jack Rafferty himself axed Katty for the pudden; but,
jist as he spoke, in it came as big as a mess-pot.

"'Gintlemen,' said he, 'I hope none of you will refuse tastin' a bit
of Katty's pudden; I don't mane the dancin' one that tuck to its
thravels to-day, but a good solid fellow that she med since.'

"'To be sure we won't,' replied the priest; 'so, Jack, put a thrifle
on them three plates at your right hand, and send them over here to
the clargy, an' maybe,' he said, laughin'--for he was a droll
good-humoured man--'maybe, Jack, we won't set you a proper example.'

"'Wid a heart an' a half, yer reverence an' gintlemen; in throth, it's
not a bad example ever any of you set us at the likes, or ever will
set us, I'll go bail. An' sure I only wish it was betther fare I had
for you; but we're humble people, gintlemen, and so you can't expect
to meet here what you would in higher places.'

"'Betther a male of herbs,' said the Methodist praicher, 'where pace
is----.' He had time to go no farther, however; for much to his
amazement, the priest and the ministher started up from the table jist
as he was goin' to swallow the first spoonful of the pudden, and
before you could say Jack Robinson, started away at a lively jig down
the floor.

"At this moment a neighbour's son came runnin' in, an' tould them that
the parson was comin' to see the new-married couple, an' wish them all
happiness; an' the words were scarcely out of his mouth when he made
his appearance. What to think he knew not, when he saw the ministher
footing it away at the rate of a weddin'. He had very little time,
however, to think; for, before he could sit down, up starts the
Methodist praicher, and clappin' his two fists in his sides chimes in
in great style along wid him.

"'Jack Rafferty,' says he--and, by the way, Jack was his tenant--'what
the dickens does all this mane?' says he; 'I'm amazed!'

"'The not a particle o' me can tell you,' says Jack; 'but will your
reverence jist taste a morsel o' pudden, merely that the young couple
may boast that you ait at their weddin'; for sure if _you_ wouldn't,
_who_ would?'

"'Well,' says he, 'to gratify them I will; so just a morsel. But,
Jack, this bates Bannagher,' says he again, puttin' the spoonful o'
pudden into his mouth; 'has there been dhrink here?'

"'Oh, the divle a _spudh_,' says Jack, 'for although there's plinty in
the house, faith, it appears the gintlemen wouldn't wait for it.
Unless they tuck it elsewhere, I can make nothin' of this.'

"He had scarcely spoken, when the parson, who was an active man, cut a
caper a yard high, an' before you could bless yourself, the three
clargy were hard at work dancin', as if for a wager. Begad, it would
be unpossible for me to tell you the state the whole meetin' was in
when they seen this. Some were hoarse wid laughin'; some turned up
their eyes wid wondher; many thought them mad, an' others thought they
had turned up their little fingers a thrifle too often.

"'Be goxty, it's a burnin' shame,' said one, 'to see three black-mouth
clargy in sich a state at this early hour!' 'Thundher an' ounze,
what's over them at all?' says others; 'why, one would think they're
bewitched. Holy Moses, look at the caper the Methodis cuts! An' as for
the Recther, who would think he could handle his feet at such a rate!
Be this an' be that, he cuts the buckle, and does the threblin' step
aiquil to Paddy Horaghan, the dancin'-masther himself? An' see! Bad
cess to the morsel of the parson that's not hard at _Peace upon a
trancher_, an' it of a Sunday too! Whirroo, gintlemen, the fun's in
yez afther all--whish! more power to yez!'

"The sorra's own fun they had, an' no wondher; but judge of what they
felt, when all at once they saw ould Jack Rafferty himself bouncin' in
among them, and footing it away like the best o' them. Bedad, no play
could come up to it, an' nothin' could be heard but laughin', shouts of
encouragement, and clappin' of hands like mad. Now the minute Jack
Rafferty left the chair where he had been carvin' the pudden, ould Harry
Connolly comes over and claps himself down in his place, in ordher to
send it round, of coorse; an' he was scarcely sated, when who should
make his appearance but Barney Hartigan, the piper. Barney, by the way,
had been sent for early in the day, but bein' from home when the message
for him went, he couldn't come any sooner.

"'Begorra,' said Barney, 'you're airly at the work, gintlemen! but
what does this mane? But, divle may care, yez shan't want the music
while there's a blast in the pipes, anyhow!' So sayin' he gave them
_Jig Polthogue_, an' after that _Kiss my Lady_, in his best style.

"In the manetime the fun went on thick an' threefold, for it must be
remimbered that Harry, the ould knave, was at the pudden; an' maybe he
didn't sarve it about in double quick time too. The first he helped
was the bride, and, before you could say chopstick, she was at it hard
an' fast before the Methodist praicher, who gave a jolly spring before
her that threw them into convulsions. Harry liked this, and made up
his mind soon to find partners for the rest; so he accordianly sent
the pudden about like lightnin'; an' to make a long story short,
barrin' the piper an' himself, there wasn't a pair o' heels in the
house but was as busy at the dancin' as if their lives depinded on it.

"'Barney,' says Harry, 'just taste a morsel o' this pudden; divle the
such a bully of a pudden ever you ett; here, your sowl! thry a snig of
it--it's beautiful.'

"'To be sure I will,' says Barney. 'I'm not the boy to refuse a good
thing; but, Harry, be quick, for you know my hands is engaged, an' it
would be a thousand pities not to keep them in music, an' they so well
inclined. Thank you, Harry; begad that is a famous pudden; but blood
an' turnips, what's this for?'

"The word was scarcely out of his mouth when he bounced up, pipes an'
all, an' dashed into the middle of the party. 'Hurroo, your sowls, let
us make a night of it! The Ballyboulteen boys for ever! Go it, your
reverence--turn your partner--heel an' toe, ministher. Good! Well done
again--Whish! Hurroo! Here's for Ballyboulteen, an' the sky over it!'

"Bad luck to the sich a set ever was seen together in this world, or
will again, I suppose. The worst, however, wasn't come yet, for jist
as they were in the very heat an' fury of the dance, what do you think
comes hoppin' in among them but another pudden, as nimble an' merry as
the first! That was enough; they all had heard of--the ministhers
among the rest--an' most o' them had seen the other pudden, and knew
that there must be a fairy in it, sure enough. Well, as I said, in it
comes to the thick o' them; but the very appearance of it was enough.
Off the three clargy danced, and off the whole weddiners danced afther
them, every one makin' the best of their way home; but not a sowl of
them able to break out of the step, if they were to be hanged for it.
Throth it wouldn't lave a laugh in you to see the parson dancin' down
the road on his way home, and the ministher and Methodist praicher
cuttin' the buckle as they went along in the opposite direction. To
make short work of it, they all danced home at last, wid scarce a puff
of wind in them; the bride and bridegroom danced away to bed; an' now,
boys, come an' let us dance the _Horo Lheig_ in the barn 'idout. But
you see, boys, before we go, an' in ordher that I may make everything
plain, I had as good tell you that Harry, in crossing the bridge of
Ballyboulteen, a couple of miles below Squire Bragshaw's demense-wall,
saw the pudden floatin' down the river--the truth is he was waitin'
for it; but be this as it may, he took it out, for the wather had made
it as clane as a new pin, and tuckin' it up in the tail of his big
coat, contrived, as you all guess, I suppose, to change it while Paddy
Scanlan an' the wife were examinin' the sky; an' for the other, he
contrived to bewitch it in the same manner, by gettin' a fairy to go
into it, for, indeed, it was purty well known that the same Harry was
hand an' glove wid the _good people_. Others will tell you that it was
half a pound of quicksilver he put into it; but that doesn't stand to
raison. At any rate, boys, I have tould you the adventures of the Mad
Pudden of Ballyboulteen; but I don't wish to tell you many other
things about it that happened--_for fraid I'd tell a lie_."[41]

[Footnote 38: Perhaps from Irish _dilse_--_i.e._, love.]

[Footnote 39: Put it under fairy influence.]

[Footnote 40: Irish, _cóta mór_.]

[Footnote 41: Some will insist that a fairy-man or fairy-woman has the
power to bewitch a pudding by putting a fairy into it; whilst others
maintain that a competent portion of quicksilver will make it dance
over half the parish.]


     [There is a country called Tír-na-n-Og, which means the Country of
     the Young, for age and death have not found it; neither tears nor
     loud laughter have gone near it. The shadiest boskage covers it
     perpetually. One man has gone there and returned. The bard, Oisen,
     who wandered away on a white horse, moving on the surface of the
     foam with his fairy Niamh, lived there three hundred years, and
     then returned looking for his comrades. The moment his foot touched
     the earth his three hundred years fell on him, and he was bowed
     double, and his beard swept the ground. He described his sojourn in
     the Land of Youth to Patrick before he died. Since then many have
     seen it in many places; some in the depths of lakes, and have heard
     rising therefrom a vague sound of bells; more have seen it far off
     on the horizon, as they peered out from the western cliffs. Not
     three years ago a fisherman imagined that he saw it. It never
     appears unless to announce some national trouble.

     There are many kindred beliefs. A Dutch pilot, settled in Dublin,
     told M. De La Boullage Le Cong, who travelled in Ireland in 1614,
     that round the poles were many islands; some hard to be
     approached because of the witches who inhabit them and destroy by
     storms those who seek to land. He had once, off the coast of
     Greenland, in sixty-one degrees of latitude, seen and approached
     such an island only to see it vanish. Sailing in an opposite
     direction, they met with the same island, and sailing near, were
     almost destroyed by a furious tempest.

     According to many stories, Tír-na-n-Og is the favourite dwelling
     of the fairies. Some say it is triple--the island of the living,
     the island of victories, and an underwater land.]



In an age so distant that the precise period is unknown, a chieftain
named O'Donoghue ruled over the country which surrounds the romantic
Lough Lean, now called the lake of Killarney. Wisdom, beneficence, and
justice distinguished his reign, and the prosperity and happiness of
his subjects were their natural results. He is said to have been as
renowned for his warlike exploits as for his pacific virtues; and as a
proof that his domestic administration was not the less rigorous
because it was mild, a rocky island is pointed out to strangers,
called "O'Donoghue's Prison," in which this prince once confined his
own son for some act of disorder and disobedience.

His end--for it cannot correctly be called his death--was singular and
mysterious. At one of those splendid feasts for which his court was
celebrated, surrounded by the most distinguished of his subjects, he
was engaged in a prophetic relation of the events which were to happen
in ages yet to come. His auditors listened, now wrapt in wonder, now
fired with indignation, burning with shame, or melted into sorrow, as
he faithfully detailed the heroism, the injuries, the crimes, and the
miseries of their descendants. In the midst of his predictions he rose
slowly from his seat, advanced with a solemn, measured, and majestic
tread to the shore of the lake, and walked forward composedly upon its
unyielding surface. When he had nearly reached the centre he paused
for a moment, then, turning slowly round, looked toward his friends,
and waving his arms to them with the cheerful air of one taking a
short farewell, disappeared from their view.

The memory of the good O'Donoghue has been cherished by successive
generations with affectionate reverence; and it is believed that at
sunrise, on every May-day morning, the anniversary of his departure,
he revisits his ancient domains: a favoured few only are in general
permitted to see him, and this distinction is always an omen of good
fortune to the beholders; when it is granted to many it is a sure
token of an abundant harvest,--a blessing, the want of which during
this prince's reign was never felt by his people.

Some years have elapsed since the last appearance of O'Donoghue. The
April of that year had been remarkably wild and stormy; but on
May-morning the fury of the elements had altogether subsided. The air
was hushed and still; and the sky, which was reflected in the serene
lake, resembled a beautiful but deceitful countenance, whose smiles,
after the most tempestuous emotions, tempt the stranger to believe
that it belongs to a soul which no passion has ever ruffled.

The first beams of the rising sun were just gilding the lofty summit
of Glenaa, when the waters near the eastern shore of the lake became
suddenly and violently agitated, though all the rest of its surface
lay smooth and still as a tomb of polished marble, the next morning a
foaming wave darted forward, and, like a proud high-crested war-horse,
exulting in his strength, rushed across the lake toward Toomies
mountain. Behind this wave appeared a stately warrior fully armed,
mounted upon a milk-white steed; his snowy plume waved gracefully from
a helmet of polished steel, and at his back fluttered a light blue
scarf. The horse, apparently exulting in his noble burden, sprung
after the wave along the water, which bore him up like firm earth,
while showers of spray that glittered brightly in the morning sun were
dashed up at every bound.

The warrior was O'Donoghue; he was followed by numberless youths and
maidens, who moved lightly and unconstrained over the watery plain, as
the moonlight fairies glide through the fields of air; they were
linked together by garlands of delicious spring flowers, and they
timed their movements to strains of enchanting melody. When O'Donoghue
had nearly reached the western side of the lake, he suddenly turned
his steed, and directed his course along the wood-fringed shore of
Glenaa, preceded by the huge wave that curled and foamed up as high as
the horse's neck, whose fiery nostrils snorted above it. The long
train of attendants followed with playful deviations the track of
their leader, and moved on with unabated fleetness to their celestial
music, till gradually, as they entered the narrow strait between
Glenaa and Dinis, they became involved in the mists which still
partially floated over the lakes, and faded from the view of the
wondering beholders: but the sound of their music still fell upon the
ear, and echo, catching up the harmonious strains, fondly repeated and
prolonged them in soft and softer tones, till the last faint
repetition died away, and the hearers awoke as from a dream of bliss.

[Footnote 42: _Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland._]


"Oh, ullagone! ullagone! this is a wide world, but what will we do in
it, or where will we go?" muttered Bill Doody, as he sat on a rock by
the Lake of Killarney. "What will we do? To-morrow's rent-day, and Tim
the Driver swears if we don't pay our rent, he'll cant every
_ha'perth_ we have; and then, sure enough, there's Judy and myself,
and the poor _grawls_,[43] will be turned out to starve on the
high-road, for the never a halfpenny of rent have I!--Oh hone, that
ever I should live to see this day!"

Thus did Bill Doody bemoan his hard fate, pouring his sorrows to the
reckless waves of the most beautiful of lakes, which seemed to mock
his misery as they rejoiced beneath the cloudless sky of a May
morning. That lake, glittering in sunshine, sprinkled with fairy isles
of rock and verdure, and bounded by giant hills of ever-varying hues,
might, with its magic beauty, charm all sadness but despair; for alas,

    "How ill the scene that offers rest
      And heart that cannot rest agree!"

Yet Bill Doody was not so desolate as he supposed; there was one
listening to him he little thought of, and help was at hand from a
quarter he could not have expected.

"What's the matter with you, my poor man?" said a tall, portly-looking
gentleman, at the same time stepping out of a furze-brake. Now Bill
was seated on a rock that commanded the view of a large field. Nothing
in the field could be concealed from him, except this furze-brake,
which grew in a hollow near the margin of the lake. He was, therefore,
not a little surprised at the gentleman's sudden appearance, and began
to question whether the personage before him belonged to this world or
not. He, however, soon mustered courage sufficient to tell him how his
crops had failed, how some bad member had charmed away his butter, and
how Tim the Driver threatened to turn him out of the farm if he didn't
pay up every penny of the rent by twelve o'clock next day.

"A sad story, indeed," said the stranger; "but surely, if you
represented the case to your landlord's agent, he won't have the heart
to turn you out."

"Heart, your honour; where would an agent get a heart!" exclaimed
Bill. "I see your honour does not know him; besides, he has an eye on
the farm this long time for a fosterer of his own; so I expect no
mercy at all at all, only to be turned out."

"Take this, my poor fellow, take this," said the stranger, pouring a
purse full of gold into Bill's old hat, which in his grief he had
flung on the ground. "Pay the fellow your rent, but I'll take care it
shall do him no good. I remember the time when things went otherwise
in this country, when I would have hung up such a fellow in the
twinkling of an eye!"

These words were lost upon Bill, who was insensible to everything but
the sight of the gold, and before he could unfix his gaze, and lift up
his head to pour out his hundred thousand blessings, the stranger was
gone. The bewildered peasant looked around in search of his
benefactor, and at last he thought he saw him riding on a white horse
a long way off on the lake.

"O'Donoghue, O'Donoghue!" shouted Bill; "the good, the blessed
O'Donoghue!" and he ran capering like a madman to show Judy the gold,
and to rejoice her heart with the prospect of wealth and happiness.

The next day Bill proceeded to the agent's; not sneakingly, with his
hat in his hand, his eyes fixed on the ground, and his knees bending
under him; but bold and upright, like a man conscious of his

"Why don't you take off your hat, fellow? don't you know you are
speaking to a magistrate?" said the agent.

"I know I'm not speaking to the king, sir," said Bill; "and I never
takes off my hat but to them I can respect and love. The Eye that sees
all knows I've no right either to respect or love an agent!"

"You scoundrel!" retorted the man in office, biting his lips with rage
at such an unusual and unexpected opposition, "I'll teach you how to
be insolent again; I have the power, remember."

"To the cost of the country, I know you have," said Bill, who still
remained with his head as firmly covered as if he was the Lord
Kingsale himself.

"But, come," said the magistrate; "have you got the money for me? this
is rent-day. If there's one penny of it wanting, or the running gale
that's due, prepare to turn out before night, for you shall not remain
another hour in possession.

"There is your rent," said Bill, with an unmoved expression of tone
and countenance; "you'd better count it, and give me a receipt in full
for the running gale and all."

The agent gave a look of amazement at the gold; for it was gold--real
guineas! and not bits of dirty ragged small notes, that are only fit
to light one's pipe with. However willing the agent may have been to
ruin, as he thought, the unfortunate tenant, he took up the gold, and
handed the receipt to Bill, who strutted off with it as proud as a
cat of her whiskers.

The agent going to his desk shortly after, was confounded at beholding
a heap of gingerbread cakes instead of the money he had deposited
there. He raved and swore, but all to no purpose; the gold had become
gingerbread cakes, just marked like the guineas, with the king's head;
and Bill had the receipt in his pocket; so he saw there was no use in
saying anything about the affair, as he would only get laughed at for
his pains.

From that hour Bill Doody grew rich; all his undertakings prospered;
and he often blesses the day that he met with O'Donoghue, the great
prince that lives down under the lake of Killarney.

[Footnote 43: Children.]


"Do you see that bit of a lake," said my companion, turning his eyes
towards the acclivity that overhung Loughleagh. "Troth, and as little
as you think of it, and as ugly as it looks with its weeds and its
flags, it is the most famous one in all Ireland. Young and ould, rich
and poor, far and near, have come to that lake to get cured of all
kinds of scurvy and sores. The Lord keep us our limbs whole and sound,
for it's a sorrowful thing not to have the use o' them. 'Twas but last
week we had a great grand Frenchman here; and, though he came upon
crutches, faith he went home sound as a bell; and well he paid Billy
Reily for curing him."

"And, pray, how did Billy Reily cure him?"

"Oh, well enough. He took his long pole, dipped it down to the bottom
of the lake, and brought up on the top of it as much plaster as would
do for a thousand sores!"

"What kind of plaster?"

"What kind of plaster? why, black plaster to be sure; for isn't the
bottom of the lake filled with a kind of black mud which cures all the

"Then it ought to be a famous lake indeed."

"Famous, and so it is," replied my companion, "but it isn't for its
cures neather that it is famous; for, sure, doesn't all the world know
there is a fine beautiful city at the bottom of it, where the good
people live just like Christians. Troth, it is the truth I tell you;
for _Shemus-a-sneidh_ saw it all when he followed his dun cow that was

"Who stole her?"

"I'll tell you all about it:--Shemus was a poor gossoon, who lived on
the brow of the hill, in a cabin with his ould mother. They lived by
hook and by crook, one way and another, in the best way they could.
They had a bit of ground that gave 'em the preaty, and a little dun
cow that gave 'em the drop o' milk; and, considering how times go,
they weren't badly off, for Shemus was a handy gossoon to boot; and,
while minden the cow, cut heath and made brooms, which his mother
sould on a market-day, and brought home the bit o' tobaccy, the grain
of salt, and other nic-nackenes, which a poor body can't well do
widout. Once upon a time, however, Shemus went farther than usual up
the mountain, looken for long heath, for town's-people don't like to
stoop, and so like long handles to their brooms. The little dun cow
was a'most as cunning as a Christian sinner, and followed Shemus like
a lap-dog everywhere he'd go, so that she required little or no
herden. On this day she found nice picken on a round spot as green as
a leek; and, as poor Shemus was weary, as a body would be on a fine
summer's day, he lay down on the grass to rest himself, just as we're
resten ourselves on the cairn here. Begad, he hadn't long lain there,
sure enough, when, what should he see but whole loads of ganconers[45]
dancing about the place. Some o' them were hurlen, some kicking a
football, and others leaping a kick-step-and-a-lep. They were so
soople and so active that Shemus was highly delighted with the sport,
and a little tanned-skinned chap in a red cap pleased him better than
any o' them, bekase he used to tumble the other fellows like
mushrooms. At one time he had kept the ball up for as good as
half-an-hour, when Shemus cried out, 'Well done, my hurler!' The word
wasn't well out of his mouth when whap went the ball on his eye, and
flash went the fire. Poor Shemus thought he was blind, and roared out,
'Mille murdher!'[46] but the only thing he heard was a loud laugh.
'Cross o' Christ about us,' says he to himself, 'what is this for?'
and afther rubbing his eyes they came to a little, and he could see
the sun and the sky, and, by-and-by, he could see everything but his
cow and the mischievous ganconers. They were gone to their rath or
mote; but where was the little dun cow? He looked, and he looked, and
he might have looked from that day to this, bekase she wasn't to be
found, and good reason why--the ganconers took her away with 'em.

"Shemus-a-sneidh, however, didn't think so, but ran home to his mother.

"'Where is the cow, Shemus?' axed the ould woman.

"'Och, musha, bad luck to her,' said Shemus, 'I donna where she is!'

"'Is that an answer, you big blaggard, for the likes o' you to give
your poor ould mother?' said she.

"'Och, musha,' said Shemus, I don't kick up saich a _bollhous_ about
nothing. The ould cow is safe enough, I'll be bail, some place or
other, though I could find her if I put my eyes upon _kippeens_,[47]
and, speaking of eyes, faith, I had very good luck o' my side, or I
had naver a one to look after her.'

"'Why, what happened your eyes, agrah?' axed the ould woman.

"'Oh! didn't the ganconers--the Lord save us from all hurt and
harm!--drive their hurlen ball into them both! and sure I was stone
blind for an hour.'

"'And may be,' said the mother, 'the good people took our cow?'

"'No, nor the devil a one of them,' said Shemus, 'for, by the powers,
that same cow is as knowen as a lawyer, and wouldn't be such a fool as
to go with the ganconers while she could get such grass as I found for
her to-day.'"

In this way, continued my informant, they talked about the cow all
that night, and next mornen both o' them set off to look for her.
After searching every place, high and low, what should Shemus see
sticking out of a bog-hole but something very like the horns of his
little beast!

"Oh, mother, mother," said he, "I've found her!"

"Where, alanna?" axed the ould woman.

"In the bog-hole, mother," answered Shemus.

At this the poor ould creathure set up such a _pullallue_ that she
brought the seven parishes about her; and the neighbours soon pulled
the cow out of the bog-hole. You'd swear it was the same, and yet it
wasn't, as you shall hear by-and-by.

Shemus and his mother brought the dead beast home with them; and, after
skinnen her, hung the meat up in the chimney. The loss of the drop o'
milk was a sorrowful thing, and though they had a good deal of meat,
that couldn't last always; besides, the whole parish _faughed_ upon them
for eating the flesh of a beast that died without bleeden. But the
pretty thing was, they couldn't eat the meat after all, for when it was
boiled it was as tough as carrion, and as black as a turf. You might as
well think of sinking your teeth in an oak plank as into a piece of it,
and then you'd want to sit a great piece from the wall for fear of
knocking your head against it when pulling it through your teeth. At
last and at long run they were forced to throw it to the dogs, but the
dogs wouldn't smell to it, and so it was thrown into the ditch, where it
rotted. This misfortune cost poor Shemus many a salt tear, for he was
now obliged to work twice as hard as before, and be out cutten heath on
the mountain late and early. One day he was passing by this cairn with a
load of brooms on his back, when what should he see but the little dun
cow and two red-headed fellows herding her.

"That's my mother's cow," said Shemus-a-sneidh.

"No, it is not," said one of the chaps.

"But I say it is," said Shemus, throwing the brooms on the ground, and
seizing the cow by the horns. At that the red fellows drove her as
fast as they could to this steep place, and with one leap she bounced
over, with Shemus stuck fast to her horns. They made only one splash
in the lough, when the waters closed over 'em, and they sunk to the
bottom. Just as Shemus-a-sneidh thought that all was over with him, he
found himself before a most elegant palace built with jewels, and all
manner of fine stones. Though his eyes were dazzled with the splendour
of the place, faith he had gomsh[48] enough not to let go his holt,
but in spite of all they could do, he held his little cow by the
horns. He was axed into the palace, but wouldn't go.

The hubbub at last grew so great that the door flew open, and out
walked a hundred ladies and gentlemen, as fine as any in the land.

"What does this boy want?" axed one o' them, who seemed to be the

"I want my mother's cow," said Shemus.

"That's not your mother's cow," said the gentleman.

"Bethershin!"[49] cried Shemus-a-sneidh; "don't I know her as well as
I know my right hand?"

"Where did you lose her?" axed the gentleman. And so Shemus up and
tould him all about it: how he was on the mountain--how he saw the
good people hurlen--how the ball was knocked in his eye, and his cow
was lost.

"I believe you are right," said the gentleman, pulling out his purse,
"and here is the price of twenty cows for you."

"No, no," said Shemus, "you'll not catch ould birds wid chaff. I'll
have my cow and nothen else."

"You're a funny fellow," said the gentleman; "stop here and live in a

"I'd rather live with my mother."

"Foolish boy!" said the gentleman; "stop here and live in a palace."

"I'd rather live in my mother's cabin."

"Here you can walk through gardens loaded with fruit and flowers."

"I'd rather," said Shemus, "be cutting heath on the mountain."

"Here you can eat and drink of the best."

"Since I've got my cow, I can have milk once more with the praties."

"Oh!" cried the ladies, gathering round him, "sure you wouldn't take
away the cow that gives us milk for our tea?"

"Oh!" said Shemus, "my mother wants milk as bad as anyone, and she
must have it; so there is no use in your palaver--I must have my cow."

At this they all gathered about him and offered him bushels of gould,
but he wouldn't have anything but his cow. Seeing him as obstinate as
a mule, they began to thump and beat him; but still he held fast by
the horns, till at length a great blast of wind blew him out of the
place, and in a moment he found himself and the cow standing on the
side of the lake, the water of which looked as if it hadn't been
disturbed since Adam was a boy--and that's a long time since.

Well, Shemus-a-sneidh drove home his cow, and right glad his mother
was to see her; but the moment she said "God bless the beast," she
sunk down like the _breesha_[50] of a turf rick. That was the end of
Shemus-a-sneidh's dun cow.

"And, sure," continued my companion, standing up, "it is now time for
me to look after my brown cow, and God send the ganconers haven't
taken her!"

Of this I assured him there could be no fear; and so we parted.

[Footnote 44: _Dublin and London Magazine, 1825._]

[Footnote 45: Ir. _gean-canach_--_i.e._, love-talker, a kind of fairy
appearing in lonesome valleys, a dudeen (tobacco-pipe) in his mouth,
making love to milk-maids, etc.]

[Footnote 46: A thousand murders.]

[Footnote 47: Ir. _cipin_--_i.e._, a stick, a twig.] [Footnote 48:
Otherwise "gumshun--" _i.e._, sense, cuteness.]

[Footnote 49: Ir. _B'éidir sin_--_i.e._, "that is possible."]

[Footnote 50: Ir. _briscadh_--_i.e._, breaking.]



    On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell,
    A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell;
    Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest,
    And they called it _Hy-Brasail_, the isle of the blest.
    From year unto year on the ocean's blue rim,
    The beautiful spectre showed lovely and dim;
    The golden clouds curtained the deep where it lay,
    And it looked like an Eden, away, far away!

    A peasant who heard of the wonderful tale,
    In the breeze of the Orient loosened his sail;
    From Ara, the holy, he turned to the west,
    For though Ara was holy, _Hy-Brasail_ was blest.
    He heard not the voices that called from the shore--
    He heard not the rising wind's menacing roar;
    Home, kindred, and safety, he left on that day,
    And he sped to _Hy-Brasail_, away, far away!

    Morn rose on the deep, and that shadowy isle,
    O'er the faint rim of distance, reflected its smile;
    Noon burned on the wave, and that shadowy shore
    Seemed lovelily distant, and faint as before;
    Lone evening came down on the wanderer's track,
    And to Ara again he looked timidly back;
    Oh! far on the verge of the ocean it lay,
    Yet the isle of the blest was away, far away!

    Rash dreamer, return! O, ye winds of the main,
    Bear him back to his own peaceful Ara again.
    Rash fool! for a vision of fanciful bliss,
    To barter thy calm life of labour and peace.
    The warning of reason was spoken in vain;
    He never revisited Ara again!
    Night fell on the deep, amidst tempest and spray,
    And he died on the waters, away, far away!



Among the other islands is one newly formed, which they call the
Phantom Isle, which had its origin in this manner. One calm day a
large mass of earth rose to the surface of the sea, where no land had
ever been seen before, to the great amazement of islanders who
observed it. Some of them said that it was a whale, or other immense
sea-monster; others, remarking that it continued motionless, said,
"No; it is land." In order, therefore, to reduce their doubts to
certainty, some picked young men of the island determined to approach
nearer the spot in a boat. When, however, they came so near to it that
they thought they should go on shore, the island sank in the water and
entirely vanished from sight. The next day it re-appeared, and again
mocked the same youths with the like delusion. At length, on their
rowing towards it on the third day, they followed the advice of an
older man, and let fly an arrow, barbed with red-hot steel, against
the island; and then landing, found it stationary and habitable.

This adds one to the many proofs that fire is the greatest of enemies
to every sort of phantom; in so much that those who have seen
apparitions, fall into a swoon as soon as they are sensible of the
brightness of fire. For fire, both from its position and nature, is
the noblest of the elements, being a witness of the secrets of the

The sky is fiery; the planets are fiery; the bush burnt with fire, but
was not consumed; the Holy Ghost sat upon the apostles in tongues of

[Footnote 51: "Giraldus Cambrensis" was born in 1146, and wrote a
celebrated account of Ireland.]


Everywhere in Ireland are the holy wells. People as they pray by them
make little piles of stones, that will be counted at the last day and
the prayers reckoned up. Sometimes they tell stories. These following
are their stories. They deal with the old times, whereof King Alfred
of Northumberland wrote--

    "I found in Innisfail the fair,
    In Ireland, while in exile there,
    Women of worth, both grave and gay men,
    Many clericks and many laymen.

    Gold and silver I found, and money,
    Plenty of wheat, and plenty of honey;
    I found God's people rich in pity,
    Found many a feast, and many a city."

There are no martyrs in the stories. That ancient chronicler Giraldus
taunted the Archbishop of Cashel because no one in Ireland had
received the crown of martyrdom. "Our people may be barbarous," the
prelate answered, "but they have never lifted their hands against
God's saints; but now that a people have come amongst us who know how
to make them (it was just after the English invasion), we shall have
martyrs plentifully."

The bodies of saints are fastidious things. At a place called
Four-mile-Water, in Wexford, there is an old graveyard full of saints.
Once it was on the other side of the river, but they buried a rogue
there, and the whole graveyard moved across in the night, leaving the
rogue-corpse in solitude. It would have been easier to move merely the
rogue-corpse, but they were saints, and had to do things in style.



In former days there were great schools in Ireland, where every sort of
learning was taught to the people, and even the poorest had more
knowledge at that time than many a gentleman has now. But as to the
priests, their learning was above all, so that the fame of Ireland went
over the whole world, and many kings from foreign lands used to send
their sons all the way to Ireland to be brought up in the Irish schools.

Now, at this time there was a little boy learning at one of them who
was a wonder to everyone for his cleverness. His parents were only
labouring people, and of course poor; but young as he was, and as poor
as he was, no king's or lord's son could come up to him in learning.
Even the masters were put to shame; for when they were trying to teach
him he would tell them something they never heard of before, and show
them their ignorance. One of his great triumphs was in argument; and
he would go on till he proved to you that black was white, and then
when you gave in, for no one could beat him in talk, he would turn
round and show you that white was black, or maybe that there was no
colour at all in the world. When he grew up his poor father and mother
were so proud of him that they resolved to make him a priest, which
they did at last, though they nearly starved themselves to get the
money. Well, such another learned man was not in Ireland, and he was
as great in argument as ever, so that no one could stand before him.
Even the bishops tried to talk to him, but he showed them at once they
knew nothing at all.

Now, there were no schoolmasters in those times, but it was the
priests taught the people; and as this man was the cleverest in
Ireland, all the foreign kings sent their sons to him, as long as he
had house-room to give them. So he grew very proud, and began to
forget how low he had been, and worst of all, even to forget God, who
had made him what he was. And the pride of arguing got hold of him, so
that from one thing to another he went on to prove that there was no
Purgatory, and then no Hell, and then no Heaven, and then no God; and
at last that men had no souls, but were no more than a dog or a cow,
and when they died there was an end of them. "Whoever saw a soul?" he
would say. "If you can show me one, I will believe." No one could make
any answer to this; and at last they all came to believe that as there
was no other world, everyone might do what they liked in this; the
priest setting the example, for he took a beautiful young girl to
wife. But as no priest or bishop in the whole land could be got to
marry them, he was obliged to read the service over for himself. It
was a great scandal, yet no one dared to say a word, for all the
king's sons were on his side, and would have slaughtered anyone who
tried to prevent his wicked goings-on. Poor boys; they all believed in
him, and thought every word he said was the truth. In this way his
notions began to spread about, and the whole world was going to the
bad, when one night an angel came down from Heaven, and told the
priest he had but twenty-four hours to live. He began to tremble, and
asked for a little more time.

But the angel was stiff, and told him that could not be.

"What do you want time for, you sinner?" he asked.

"Oh, sir, have pity on my poor soul!" urged the priest.

"Oh, no! You have a soul, then," said the angel. "Pray, how did you
find that out?"

"It has been fluttering in me ever since you appeared," answered the
priest. "What a fool I was not to think of it before."

"A fool, indeed," said the angel. "What good was all your learning,
when it could not tell you that you had a soul?"

"Ah, my lord," said the priest, "If I am to die, tell me how soon I
may be in Heaven?"

"Never," replied the angel. "You denied there was a Heaven."

"Then, my lord, may I go to Purgatory?"

"You denied Purgatory also; you must go straight to Hell," said the

"But, my lord, I denied Hell also," answered the priest, "so you can't
send me there either."

The angel was a little puzzled.

"Well," said he, "I'll tell you what I can do for you. You may either
live now on earth for a hundred years, enjoying every pleasure, and
then be cast into Hell for ever; or you may die in twenty-four hours
in the most horrible torments, and pass through Purgatory, there to
remain till the Day of Judgment, if only you can find some one person
that believes, and through his belief mercy will be vouchsafed to you,
and your soul will be saved."

The priest did not take five minutes to make up his mind.

"I will have death in the twenty-four hours," he said, "so that my
soul may be saved at last."

On this the angel gave him directions as to what he was to do, and
left him.

Then immediately the priest entered the large room where all the
scholars and the kings' sons were seated, and called out to them--

"Now, tell me the truth, and let none fear to contradict me; tell me
what is your belief--have men souls?"

"Master," they answered, "once we believed that men had souls; but
thanks to your teaching, we believe so no longer. There is no Hell,
and no Heaven, and no God. This is our belief, for it is thus you
taught us."

Then the priest grew pale with fear, and cried out--"Listen! I taught
you a lie. There is a God, and man has an immortal soul. I believe now
all I denied before."

But the shouts of laughter that rose up drowned the priest's voice,
for they thought he was only trying them for argument.

"Prove it, master," they cried. "Prove it. Who has ever seen God? Who
has ever seen the soul?"

And the room was stirred with their laughter.

The priest stood up to answer them, but no word could he utter. All
his eloquence, all his powers of argument had gone from him; and he
could do nothing but wring his hands and cry out, "There is a God!
there is a God! Lord have mercy on my soul!"

And they all began to mock him! and repeat his own words that he had
taught them--

"Show him to us; show us your God." And he fled from them, groaning
with agony, for he saw that none believed; and how, then, could his
soul be saved?

But he thought next of his wife. "She will believe," he said to
himself; "women never give up God."

And he went to her; but she told him that she believed only what he
taught her, and that a good wife should believe in her husband first
and before and above all things in Heaven or earth.

Then despair came on him, and he rushed from the house, and began to
ask every one he met if they believed. But the same answer came from
one and all--"We believe only what you have taught us," for his
doctrine had spread far and wide through the country.

Then he grew half mad with fear, for the hours were passing, and he
flung himself down on the ground in a lonesome spot, and wept and
groaned in terror, for the time was coming fast when he must die.

Just then a little child came by. "God save you kindly," said the
child to him.

The priest started up.

"Do you believe in God?" he asked.

"I have come from a far country to learn about him," said the child.
"Will your honour direct me to the best school they have in these

"The best school and the best teacher is close by," said the priest,
and he named himself.

"Oh, not to that man," answered the child, "for I am told he denies
God, and Heaven, and Hell, and even that man has a soul, because he
cannot see it; but I would soon put him down."

The priest looked at him earnestly. "How?" he inquired.

"Why," said the child, "I would ask him if he believed he had life to
show me his life."

"But he could not do that, my child," said the priest. "Life cannot be
seen; we have it, but it is invisible."

"Then if we have life, though we cannot see it, we may also have a
soul, though it is invisible," answered the child.

When the priest heard him speak these words, he fell down on his knees
before him, weeping for joy, for now he knew his soul was safe; he had
met one at last that believed. And he told the child his whole
story--all his wickedness, and pride, and blasphemy against the great
God; and how the angel had come to him, and told him of the only way
in which he could be saved, through the faith and prayers of someone
that believed.

"Now, then," he said to the child, "take this penknife and strike it
into my breast, and go on stabbing the flesh until you see the
paleness of death on my face. Then watch--for a living thing will soar
up from my body as I die, and you will then know that my soul has
ascended to the presence of God. And when you see this thing, make
haste and run to my school, and call on all my scholars to come and
see that the soul of their master has left the body, and that all he
taught them was a lie, for that there is a God who punishes sin, and a
Heaven, and a Hell, and that man has an immortal soul destined for
eternal happiness or misery."

"I will pray," said the child, "to have courage to do this work."

And he kneeled down and prayed. Then when he rose up he took the
penknife and struck it into the priest's heart, and struck and struck
again till all the flesh was lacerated; but still the priest lived,
though the agony was horrible, for he could not die until the
twenty-four hours had expired.

At last the agony seemed to cease, and the stillness of death settled
on his face. Then the child, who was watching, saw a beautiful living
creature, with four snow-white wings, mount from the dead man's body
into the air and go fluttering round his head.

So he ran to bring the scholars; and when they saw it, they all knew
it was the soul of their master; and they watched with wonder and awe
until it passed from sight into the clouds.

And this was the first butterfly that was ever seen in Ireland; and
now all men know that the butterflies are the souls of the dead,
waiting for the moment when they may enter Purgatory, and so pass
through torture to purification and peace.

But the schools of Ireland were quite deserted after that time, for
people said, What is the use of going so far to learn, when the wisest
man in all Ireland did not know if he had a soul till he was near
losing it, and was only saved at last through the simple belief of a
little child.

[Footnote 52: _Ancient Legends of Ireland._]



    Good Father John O'Hart
      In penal days rode out
    To a _shoneen_[53] in his freelands,
      With his snipe marsh and his trout.

    In trust took he John's lands,
      --_Sleiveens_[54] were all his race--
    And he gave them as dowers to his daughters,
      And they married beyond their place.

    But Father John went up,
      And Father John went down;
    And he wore small holes in his shoes,
      And he wore large holes in his gown.

    All loved him, only the _shoneen_,
      Whom the devils have by the hair,
    From their wives and their cats and their children,
      To the birds in the white of the air.

    The birds, for he opened their cages,
      As he went up and down;
    And he said with a smile, "Have peace, now,"
      And went his way with a frown.

    But if when anyone died,
      Came keeners hoarser than rooks,
    He bade them give over their keening,
      For he was a man of books.

    And these were the works of John,
      When weeping score by score,
    People came into Coloony,
      For he'd died at ninety-four.

    There was no human keening;
      The birds from Knocknarea,
    And the world round Knocknashee,
      Came keening in that day,--

    Keening from Innismurry,
      Nor stayed for bit or sup;
    This way were all reproved
      Who dig old customs up.

     [Coloony is a few miles south of the town of Sligo. Father O'Hart
     lived there in the last century, and was greatly beloved. These
     lines accurately record the tradition. No one who has held the
     stolen land has prospered. It has changed owners many times.]

[Footnote 53: _Shoneen_--_i.e._, upstart.]

[Footnote 54: _Sleiveen_--_i.e._, mean fellow.]



Many years ago there was a very religious and holy man, one of the
monks of a convent, and he was one day kneeling at his prayers in the
garden of his monastery, when he heard a little bird singing in one of
the rose-trees of the garden, and there never was anything that he had
heard in the world so sweet as the song of that little bird.

And the holy man rose up from his knees where he was kneeling at his
prayers to listen to its song; for he thought he never in all his life
heard anything so heavenly.

And the little bird, after singing for some time longer on the
rose-tree, flew away to a grove at some distance from the monastery,
and the holy man followed it to listen to its singing, for he felt as
if he would never be tired of listening to the sweet song it was
singing out of its throat.

And the little bird after that went away to another distant tree, and
sung there for a while, and then to another tree, and so on in the
same manner, but ever further and further away from the monastery, and
the holy man still following it farther, and farther, and farther,
still listening delighted to its enchanting song.

But at last he was obliged to give up, as it was growing late in the
day, and he returned to the convent; and as he approached it in the
evening, the sun was setting in the west with all the most heavenly
colours that were ever seen in the world, and when he came into the
convent, it was nightfall.

And he was quite surprised at everything he saw, for they were all
strange faces about him in the monastery that he had never seen
before, and the very place itself, and everything about it, seemed to
be strangely altered; and, altogether, it seemed entirely different
from what it was when he had left in the morning; and the garden was
not like the garden where he had been kneeling at his devotion when
he first heard the singing of the little bird.

And while he was wondering at all he saw, one of the monks of the
convent came up to him, and the holy man questioned him, "Brother,
what is the cause of all these strange changes that have taken place
here since the morning?"

And the monk that he spoke to seemed to wonder greatly at his
question, and asked him what he meant by the change since morning?
for, sure, there was no change; that all was just as before. And then
he said, "Brother, why do you ask these strange questions, and what is
your name? for you wear the habit of our order, though we have never
seen you before."

So upon this the holy man told his name, and said that he had been at
mass in the chapel in the morning before he had wandered away from the
garden listening to the song of a little bird that was singing among
the rose-trees, near where he was kneeling at his prayers.

And the brother, while he was speaking, gazed at him very earnestly,
and then told him that there was in the convent a tradition of a
brother of his name, who had left it two hundred years before, but
that what was become of him was never known.

And while he was speaking, the holy man said, "My hour of death is
come; blessed be the name of the Lord for all his mercies to me,
through the merits of his only-begotten Son."

And he kneeled down that very moment, and said, "Brother, take my
confession, for my soul is departing."

And he made his confession, and received his absolution, and was
anointed, and before midnight he died.

The little bird, you see, was an angel, one of the cherubims or
seraphims; and that was the way the Almighty was pleased in His mercy
to take to Himself the soul of that holy man.

[Footnote 55: _Amulet_, 1827. T. C. Croker wrote this, he says, word
for word as he heard it from an old woman at a holy well.]


Once when Patrick and his clericks were sitting beside a well in the
Rath of Croghan, with books open on their knees, they saw coming
towards them the two young daughters of the King of Connaught. 'Twas
early morning, and they were going to the well to bathe.

The young girls said to Patrick, "Whence are ye, and whence come ye?"
and Patrick answered, "It were better for you to confess to the true
God than to inquire concerning our race."

"Who is God?" said the young girls, "and where is God, and of what
nature is God, and where is His dwelling-place? Has your God sons and
daughters, gold and silver? Is he everlasting? Is he beautiful? Did
Mary foster her son? Are His daughters dear and beauteous to men of
the world? Is He in heaven, or on earth, in the sea, in rivers, in
mountainous places, in valleys?"

Patrick answered them, and made known who God was, and they believed
and were baptised, and a white garment put upon their heads; and
Patrick asked them would they live on, or would they die and behold
the face of Christ? They chose death, and died immediately, and were
buried near the well Clebach.



"By Gor, I thought all the world, far and near, heerd o' King
O'Toole--well, well, but the darkness of mankind is ontellible! Well,
sir, you must know, as you didn't hear it afore, that there was a
king, called King O'Toole, who was a fine ould king in the ould
ancient times, long ago; and it was him that owned the churches in the
early days. The king, you see, was the right sort; he was the rale
boy, and loved sport as he loved his life, and huntin' in partic'lar;
and from the risin' o' the sun, up he got, and away he wint over the
mountains beyant afther the deer; and the fine times them wor.

"Well, it was all mighty good, as long as the king had his health;
but, you see, in coorse of time the king grew ould, by raison he was
stiff in his limbs, and when he got sthriken in years, his heart
failed him, and he was lost intirely for want o' divarshin, bekase he
couldn't go a huntin' no longer; and, by dad, the poor king was
obleeged at last for to get a goose to divart him. Oh, you may laugh,
if you like, but it's truth I'm tellin' you; and the way the goose
divarted him was this-a-way: You see, the goose used for to swim
acrass the lake, and go divin' for throut, and cotch fish on a Friday
for the king, and flew every other day round about the lake, divartin'
the poor king. All went on mighty well, antil, by dad, the goose got
sthriken in years like her master, and couldn't divart him no longer,
and then it was that the poor king was lost complate. The king was
walkin' one mornin' by the edge of the lake, lamentin' his cruel fate,
and thinkin' o' drownin' himself, that could get no divarshun in life,
when all of a suddint, turnin' round the corner beyant, who should he
meet but a mighty dacent young man comin' up to him.

"'God save you,' says the king to the young man.

"'God save you kindly, King O'Toole,' says the young man. 'Thrue for
you,' says the king. 'I am King O'Toole,' says he, 'prince and
plennypennytinchery o' these parts,' says he; 'but how kem ye to know
that?' says he. 'Oh, never mind,' says St. Kavin.

"You see it was Saint Kavin, sure enough--the saint himself in
disguise, and nobody else. 'Oh, never mind,' says he, 'I know more
than that. May I make bowld to ax how is your goose, King O'Toole?'
says he. 'Blur-an-agers, how kem ye to know about my goose?' says the
king. 'Oh, no matther; I was given to understand it,' says Saint
Kavin. After some more talk the king says, 'What are you?' 'I'm an
honest man,' says Saint Kavin. 'Well, honest man,' says the king, 'and
how is it you make your money so aisy?' 'By makin' ould things as good
as new,' says Saint Kavin. 'Is it a tinker you are?' says the king.
'No,' says the saint; 'I'm no tinker by thrade, King O'Toole; I've a
betther thrade than a tinker,' says he--'what would you say,' says he,
'if I made your ould goose as good as new?'

"My dear, at the word o' making his goose as good as new, you'd think
the poor ould king's eyes was ready to jump out iv his head. With that
the king whistled, and down kem the poor goose, all as one as a hound,
waddlin' up to the poor cripple, her masther, and as like him as two
pays. The minute the saint clapt his eyes on the goose, 'I'll do the
job for you,' says he, 'King O'Toole.' 'By _Jaminee_!' says King
O'Toole, 'if you do, bud I'll say you're the cleverest fellow in the
sivin parishes.' 'Oh, by dad,' says St. Kavin, 'you must say more nor
that--my horn's not so soft all out,' says he, 'as to repair your ould
goose for nothin'; what'll you gi' me if I do the job for you?--that's
the chat,' says St. Kavin. 'I'll give you whatever you ax,' says the
king; 'isn't that fair?' 'Divil a fairer,' says the saint; 'that's the
way to do business. Now,' says he, 'this is the bargain I'll make with
you, King O'Toole: will you gi' me all the ground the goose flies
over, the first offer, afther I make her as good as new?' 'I will,'
says the king. 'You won't go back o' your word?' says St. Kavin.
'Honor bright!' says King O'Toole, howldin' out his fist. 'Honor
bright!' says St. Kavin, back agin, 'it's a bargain. Come here!' says
he to the poor ould goose--'come here, you unfort'nate ould cripple,
and it's I that'll make you the sportin' bird.' With that, my dear, he
took up the goose by the two wings--'Criss o' my crass an you,' says
he, markin' her to grace with the blessed sign at the same minute--and
throwin' her up in the air, 'whew,' says he, jist givin' her a blast
to help her; and with that, my jewel, she tuk to her heels, flyin'
like one o' the aigles themselves, and cuttin' as many capers as a
swallow before a shower of rain.

"Well, my dear, it was a beautiful sight to see the king standin' with
his mouth open, lookin' at his poor ould goose flyin' as light as a
lark, and betther nor ever she was: and when she lit at his fut,
patted her an the head, and, '_Ma vourneen_,' says he, 'but you are
the _darlint_ o' the world.' 'And what do you say to me,' says Saint
Kavin, 'for makin' her the like?' 'By gor,' says the king, 'I say
nothin' bates the art o' man, barrin' the bees.' 'And do you say no
more nor that?' says Saint Kavin. 'And that I'm behoulden to you,'
says the king. 'But will you gi'e me all the ground the goose flew
over?' says Saint Kavin. 'I will,' says King O'Toole, 'and you're
welkim to it,' says he, 'though it's the last acre I have to give.'
'But you'll keep your word thrue?' says the saint. 'As thrue as the
sun,' says the king. 'It's well for you, King O'Toole, that you said
that word,' says he; 'for if you didn't say that word, _the devil
receave the bit o' your goose id ever fly agin_.' Whin the king was as
good as his word, Saint Kavin was _plazed_ with him, and thin it was
that he made himself known to the king. 'And,' says he, 'King O'Toole,
you're a decent man, for I only kem here to _thry you_. You don't know
me," says he, "bekase I'm disguised.' 'Musha! thin,' says the king,
'who are you?' 'I'm Saint Kavin,' said the saint, blessin' himself.
'Oh, queen iv heaven!' says the king, makin' the sign 'o the crass
betune his eyes, and fallin' down on his knees before the saint; 'is
it the great Saint Kavin,' says he, 'that I've been discoorsin' all
this time without knowin' it,' says he, 'all as one as if he was a
lump iv a _gossoon_?--and so you're a saint?' says the king. 'I am,'
says Saint Kavin. 'By gor, I thought I was only talking to a dacent
boy,' says the king. 'Well, you know the differ now,' says the saint.
'I'm Saint Kavin,' says he, 'the greatest of all the saints.' And so
the king had his goose as good as new, to divart him as long as he
lived: and the saint supported him afther he kem into his property, as
I tould you, until the day iv his death--and that was soon afther;
for the poor goose thought he was ketchin' a throut one Friday; but,
my jewel, it was a mistake he made--and instead of a throut, it was a
thievin' horse-eel; and by gor, instead iv the goose killin' a throut
for the king's supper,--by dad, the eel killed the king's goose--and
small blame to him; but he didn't ate her, bekase he darn't ate what
Saint Kavin laid his blessed hands on."




There was a woman in Connemara, the wife of a fisherman; as he had
always good luck, she had plenty of fish at all times stored away in
the house ready for market. But, to her great annoyance, she found
that a great cat used to come in at night and devour all the best and
finest fish. So she kept a big stick by her, and determined to watch.

One day, as she and a woman were spinning together, the house suddenly
became quite dark; and the door was burst open as if by the blast of
the tempest, when in walked a huge black cat, who went straight up to
the fire, then turned round and growled at them.

"Why, surely this is the devil," said a young girl, who was by,
sorting fish.

"I'll teach you how to call me names," said the cat; and, jumping at
her, he scratched her arm till the blood came. "There, now," he said,
"you will be more civil another time when a gentleman comes to see
you." And with that he walked over to the door and shut it close, to
prevent any of them going out, for the poor young girl, while crying
loudly from fright and pain, had made a desperate rush to get away.

Just then a man was going by, and hearing the cries, he pushed open
the door and tried to get in; but the cat stood on the threshold, and
would let no one pass. On this the man attacked him with his stick,
and gave him a sound blow; the cat, however, was more than a match in
the fight, for it flew at him and tore his face and hands so badly
that the man at last took to his heels and ran away as fast as he could.

"Now, it's time for my dinner," said the cat, going up to examine the
fish that was laid out on the tables. "I hope the fish is good to-day.
Now, don't disturb me, nor make a fuss; I can help myself." With that
he jumped up, and began to devour all the best fish, while he growled
at the woman.

"Away, out of this, you wicked beast," she cried, giving it a blow
with the tongs that would have broken its back, only it was a devil;
"out of this; no fish shall you have to-day."

But the cat only grinned at her, and went on tearing and spoiling and
devouring the fish, evidently not a bit the worse for the blow. On
this, both the women attacked it with sticks, and struck hard blows
enough to kill it, on which the cat glared at them, and spit fire;
then, making a leap, it tore their heads and arms till the blood came,
and the frightened women rushed shrieking from the house.

But presently the mistress returned, carrying with her a bottle of holy
water; and, looking in, she saw the cat still devouring the fish, and
not minding. So she crept over quietly and threw holy water on it
without a word. No sooner was this done than a dense black smoke filled
the place, through which nothing was seen but the two red eyes of the
cat, burning like coals of fire. Then the smoke gradually cleared away,
and she saw the body of the creature burning slowly till it became
shrivelled and black like a cinder, and finally disappeared. And from
that time the fish remained untouched and safe from harm, for the power
of the evil one was broken, and the demon cat was seen no more.

[Footnote 56: _Ancient Legends of Ireland._]



The devil and the hearth-money collector for Bantry set out one summer
morning to decide a bet they made the night before over a jug of
punch. They wanted to see which would have the best load at sunset,
and neither was to pick up anything that wasn't offered with the
good-will of the giver. They passed by a house, and they heard the
poor ban-a-t'yee[58] cry out to her lazy daughter, "Oh, musha, ----
take you for a lazy sthronsuch[59] of a girl! do you intend to get up
to-day?" "Oh, oh," says the taxman, "there's a job for you, Nick."
"Ovock," says the other, "it wasn't from her heart she said it; we
must pass on." The next cabin they were passing, the woman was on the
bawn-ditch[60] crying out to her husband that was mending one of his
brogues inside: "Oh, tattheration to you, Nick! you never rung them
pigs, and there they are in the potato drills rootin' away; the ----
run to Lusk with them." "Another windfall for you," says the man of
the ink-horn, but the old thief only shook his horns and wagged his
tail. So they went on, and ever so many prizes were offered to the
black fellow without him taking one. Here it was a gorsoon playing
_marvels_ when he should be using his clappers in the corn-field; and
then it was a lazy drone of a servant asleep with his face to the sod
when he ought to be weeding. No one thought of offering the
hearth-money man even a drink of buttermilk, and at last the sun was
within half a foot of the edge of Cooliagh. They were just then
passing Monamolin, and a poor woman that was straining her supper in a
skeeoge outside her cabin-door, seeing the two standing at the bawn
gate, bawled out, "Oh, here's the hearth-money man--run away wid him."
"Got a bite at last," says Nick. "Oh, no, no! it wasn't from her
heart," says the collector. "Indeed, an' it was from the very
foundation-stones it came. No help for misfortunes; in with you," says
he, opening the mouth of his big black bag; and whether the devil was
ever after seen taking the same walk or not, nobody ever laid eyes on
his fellow-traveller again.

[Footnote 57: _Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts._]

[Footnote 58: Woman of the house.]

[Footnote 59: Ir. _strŏinse_--_i.e._, a lazy thing.]

[Footnote 60: Ir. _bádhun_--_i.e._, enclosure, or wall round a house.
From _ba_, cows, and _dún_, a fortress. Properly, cattle-fortress.]


A very long time ago, there suddenly appeared in old Ireland two
unknown merchants of whom nobody had ever heard, and who nevertheless
spoke the language of the country with the greatest perfection. Their
locks were black, and bound round with gold, and their garments were
of rare magnificence.

Both seemed of like age; they appeared to be men of fifty, for their
foreheads were wrinkled and their beards tinged with grey.

In the hostelry where the pompous traders alighted it was sought to
penetrate their designs; but in vain--they led a silent and retired
life. And whilst they stopped there, they did nothing but count over
and over again out of their money-bags pieces of gold, whose yellow
brightness could be seen through the windows of their lodging.

"Gentlemen," said the landlady one day, "how is it that you are so
rich, and that, being able to succour the public misery, you do no
good works?"

"Fair hostess," replied one of them, "we didn't like to present alms
to the honest poor, in dread we might be deceived by make-believe
paupers. Let want knock at our door, we shall open it."

The following day, when the rumour spread that two rich strangers had
come, ready to lavish their gold, a crowd besieged their dwelling; but
the figures of those who came out were widely different. Some carried
pride in their mien; others were shame-faced.

The two chapmen traded in souls for the demon. The souls of the aged
was worth twenty pieces of gold, not a penny more; for Satan had had
time to make his valuation. The soul of a matron was valued at fifty,
when she was handsome, and a hundred when she was ugly. The soul of a
young maiden fetched an extravagant sum; the freshest and purest
flowers are the dearest.

At that time there lived in the city an angel of beauty, the Countess
Kathleen O'Shea. She was the idol of the people and the providence of
the indigent. As soon as she learned that these miscreants profited to
the public misery to steal away hearts from God, she called to her

"Patrick," said she to him, "how many pieces of gold in my coffers?"

"A hundred thousand."

"How many jewels?"

"The money's worth of the gold."

"How much property in castles, forests, and lands?"

"Double the rest."

"Very well, Patrick; sell all that is not gold; and bring me the
account. I only wish to keep this mansion and the demesne that
surrounds it."

Two days afterwards the orders of the pious Kathleen were executed,
and the treasure was distributed to the poor in proportion to their
wants. This, says the tradition, did not suit the purposes of the Evil
Spirit, who found no more souls to purchase. Aided by an infamous
servant, they penetrated into the retreat of the noble dame, and
purloined from her the rest of her treasure. In vain she struggled
with all her strength to save the contents of her coffers; the
diabolical thieves were the stronger. If Kathleen had been able to
make the sign of the Cross, adds the legend, she would have put them
to flight, but her hands were captive. The larceny was effected.

Then the poor called for aid to the plundered Kathleen, alas, to no
good: she was able to succour their misery no longer; she had to
abandon them to the temptation.

Meanwhile, but eight days had to pass before the grain and provender
would arrive in abundance from the western lands. Eight such days were
an age. Eight days required an immense sum to relieve the exigencies
of the dearth, and the poor should either perish in the agonies of
hunger, or, denying the holy maxims of the Gospel, vend, for base
lucre, their souls, the richest gift from the bounteous hand of the
Almighty. And Kathleen hadn't anything, for she had given up her
mansion to the unhappy. She passed twelve hours in tears and mourning,
rending her sun-tinted hair, and bruising her breast, of the whiteness
of the lily; afterwards she stood up, resolute, animated by a vivid
sentiment of despair.

She went to the traders in souls.

"What do you want?" they said.

"You buy souls?"

"Yes, a few still, in spite of you. Isn't that so, saint, with the
eyes of sapphire?"

"To-day I am come to offer you a bargain," replied she.


"I have a soul to sell, but it is costly."

"What does that signify if it is precious? The soul, like the diamond,
is appraised by its transparency."

"It is mine."

The two emissaries of Satan started. Their claws were clutched under
their gloves of leather; their grey eyes sparkled; the soul, pure,
spotless, virginal of Kathleen--it was a priceless acquisition!

"Beauteous lady, how much do you ask?"

"A hundred and fifty thousand pieces of gold."

"It's at your service," replied the traders, and they tendered Kathleen
a parchment sealed with black, which she signed with a shudder.

The sum was counted out to her.

As soon as she got home she said to the butler, "Here, distribute
this: with this money that I give you the poor can tide over the
eight days that remain, and not one of of their souls will be
delivered to the demon."

Afterwards she shut herself up in her room, and gave orders that none
should disturb her.

Three days passed; she called nobody, she did not come out.

When the door was opened, they found her cold and stiff; she was dead
of grief.

But the sale of this soul, so adorable in its charity, was declared
null by the Lord; for she had saved her fellow-citizens from eternal

After the eight days had passed, numerous vessels brought into
famished Ireland immense provisions in grain. Hunger was no longer
possible. As to the traders, they disappeared from their hotel without
anyone knowing what became of them. But the fishermen of the
Blackwater pretend that they are enchained in a subterranean prison by
order of Lucifer, until they shall be able to render up the soul of
Kathleen, which escaped from them.

[Footnote 61: This was quoted in a London-Irish newspaper. I am unable
to find out the original source.]



In ancient times there lived a man called Billy Dawson, and he was
known to be a great rogue. They say he was descended from the family
of the Dawsons, which was the reason, I suppose, of his carrying their
name upon him.

Billy, in his youthful days, was the best hand at doing nothing in all
Europe; devil a mortal could come next or near him at idleness; and,
in consequence of his great practice that way, you may be sure that if
any man could make a fortune by it he would have done it.

Billy was the only son of his father, barring two daughters; but they
have nothing to do with the story I'm telling you. Indeed it was kind
father and grandfather for Billy to be handy at the knavery as well as
at the idleness; for it was well known that not one of their blood
ever did an honest act, except with a roguish intention. In short,
they were altogether a _dacent_ connection, and a credit to the name.
As for Billy, all the villainy of the family, both plain and
ornamental, came down to him by way of legacy; for it so happened that
the father, in spite of all his cleverness, had nothing but his
roguery to _lave_ him.

Billy, to do him justice, improved the fortune he got: every day
advanced him farther into dishonesty and poverty, until, at the long
run, he was acknowledged on all hands to be the completest swindler
and the poorest vagabond in the whole parish.

Billy's father, in his young days, had often been forced to
acknowledge the inconvenience of not having a trade, in consequence of
some nice point in law, called the "Vagrant Act," that sometimes
troubled him. On this account he made up his mind to give Bill an
occupation, and he accordingly bound him to a blacksmith; but whether
Bill was to _live_ or _die_ by _forgery_ was a puzzle to his
father,--though the neighbours said that _both_ was most likely. At
all events, he was put apprentice to a smith for seven years, and a
hard card his master had to play in managing him. He took the proper
method, however, for Bill was so lazy and roguish that it would vex a
saint to keep him in order.

"Bill," says his master to him one day that he had been sunning
himself about the ditches, instead of minding his business, "Bill, my
boy, I'm vexed to the heart to see you in such a bad state of health.
You're very ill with that complaint called an _All-overness_;
however," says he, "I think I can cure you. Nothing will bring you
about but three or four sound doses every day of a medicine called
'the oil o' the hazel.' Take the first dose now," says he; and he
immediately banged him with a hazel cudgel until Bill's bones ached
for a week afterwards.

"If you were my son," said his master, "I tell you that, as long as I
could get a piece of advice growing convenient in the hedges, I'd
have you a different youth from what you are. If working was a sin,
Bill, not an innocenter boy ever broke bread than you would be. Good
people's scarce, you think; but however that may be, I throw it out as
a hint, that you must take your medicine till you're cured, whenever
you happen to get unwell in the same way."

From this out he kept Bill's nose to the grinding-stone; and whenever
his complaint returned, he never failed to give him a hearty dose for
his improvement.

In the course of time, however, Bill was his own man and his own
master; but it would puzzle a saint to know whether the master or the
man was the more precious youth in the eyes of the world.

He immediately married a wife, and devil a doubt of it, but if _he_
kept _her_ in whiskey and sugar, _she_ kept _him_ in hot water. Bill
drank and she drank; Bill fought and she fought; Bill was idle and she
was idle; Bill whacked her and she whacked Bill. If Bill gave her one
black eye, she gave him another; _just to keep herself in
countenance_. Never was there a blessed pair so well met; and a
beautiful sight it was to see them both at breakfast-time, blinking at
each other across the potato-basket, Bill with his right eye black,
and she with her left.

In short, they were the talk of the whole town: and to see Bill of a
morning staggering home drunk, his shirt sleeves rolled up on his
smutted arms, his breast open, and an old tattered leather apron, with
one corner tucked up under his belt, singing one minute, and fighting
with his wife the next;--she, reeling beside him, with a discoloured
eye, as aforesaid, a dirty ragged cap on one side of her head, a pair
of Bill's old slippers on her feet, a squalling child on her arm--now
cuffing and dragging Bill, and again kissing and hugging him! Yes, it
was a pleasant picture to see this loving pair in such a state!

This might do for a while, but it could not last. They were idle,
drunken, and ill-conducted; and it was not to be supposed that they
would get a farthing candle on their words. They were, of course,
_dhruv_ to great straits; and faith, they soon found that their
fighting, and drinking, and idleness made them the laughing-sport of
the neighbours; but neither brought food to their _childhre_, put a
coat upon their backs, nor satisfied their landlord when he came to
look for his own. Still, the never a one of Bill but was a funny
fellow with strangers, though, as we said, the greatest rogue unhanged.

One day he was standing against his own anvil, completely in a brown
study--being brought to his wit's end how to make out a breakfast for
the family. The wife was scolding and cursing in the house, and the
naked creatures of childhre squalling about her knees for food. Bill
was fairly at an amplush, and knew not where or how to turn himself,
when a poor withered old beggar came into the forge, tottering on his
staff. A long white beard fell from his chin, and he looked as thin
and hungry that you might blow him, one would think, over the house.
Bill at this moment had been brought to his senses by distress, and
his heart had a touch of pity towards the old man; for, on looking at
him a second time, he clearly saw starvation and sorrow in his face.

"God save you, honest man!" said Bill.

The old man gave a sigh, and raising himself with great pain, on his
staff, he looked at Bill in a very beseeching way.

"Musha, God save you kindly!" says he; "maybe you could give a poor,
hungry, helpless ould man a mouthful of something to ait? You see
yourself I'm not able to work; if I was, I'd scorn to be behoulding to

"Faith, honest man," said Bill, "if you knew who you're speaking to,
you'd as soon ask a monkey for a churn-staff as me for either mate or
money. There's not a blackguard in the three kingdoms so fairly on the
_shaughran_ as I am for both the one and the other. The wife within is
sending the curses thick and heavy on me, and the childhre's playing
the cat's melody to keep her in comfort. Take my word for it, poor
man, if I had either mate or money I'd help you, for I know
particularly well what it is to want them at the present spaking; an
empty sack won't stand, neighbour."

So far Bill told him truth. The good thought was in his heart, because
he found himself on a footing with the beggar; and nothing brings down
pride, or softens the heart, like feeling what it is to want.

"Why, you are in a worse state than I am," said the old man; "you have
a family to provide for, and I have only myself to support."

"You may kiss the book on that, my old worthy," replied Bill; "but
come, what I can do for you I will; plant yourself up here beside the
fire, and I'll give it a blast or two of my bellows that will warm the
old blood in your body. It's a cold, miserable, snowy day, and a good
heat will be of service."

"Thank you kindly," said the old man; "I _am_ cold, and a warming at
your fire will do me good, sure enough. Oh, it _is a bitter, bitter
day; God bless it!" _ He then sat down, and Bill blew a rousing blast
that soon made the stranger edge back from the heat. In a short time
he felt quite comfortable, and when the numbness was taken out of his
joints, he buttoned himself up and prepared to depart.

"Now," says he to Bill, "you hadn't the food to give me, but _what you
could you did_. Ask any three wishes you choose, and be they what they
may, take my word for it, they shall be granted."

Now, the truth is, that Bill, though he believed himself a great man
in point of 'cuteness, wanted, after all, a full quarter of being
square; for there is always a great difference between a wise man and
a knave. Bill was so much of a rogue that he could not, for the blood
of him, ask an honest wish, but stood scratching his head in a puzzle.

"Three wishes!" said he. "Why, let me see--did you say _three_?"

"Ay," replied the stranger, "three wishes--that was what I said."

"Well," said Bill, "here goes,--aha!--let me alone, my old
worthy!--faith I'll overreach the parish, if what you say is true.
I'll cheat them in dozens, rich and poor, old and young: let me alone,
man,--I have it here;" and he tapped his forehead with great glee.
"Faith, you're the sort to meet of a frosty morning, when a man wants
his breakfast; and I'm sorry that I have neither money nor credit to
get a bottle of whiskey, that we might take our _morning_ together."

"Well, but let us hear the wishes," said the old man; "my time is
short, and I cannot stay much longer."

"Do you see this sledge-hammer?" said Bill; "I wish, in the first
place, that whoever takes it up in their hands may never be able to
lay it down till I give them lave; and that whoever begins to sledge
with it may never stop sledging till it's my pleasure to release him."

"Secondly--I have an arm-chair, and I wish that whoever sits down in
it may never rise out of it till they have my consent."

"And, thirdly--that whatever money I put into my purse, nobody may
have power to take it out of it but myself!"

"You devil's rip!" says the old man in a passion, shaking his staff
across Bill's nose, "why did you not ask something that would sarve
you both here and hereafter? Sure it's as common as the market-cross,
that there's not a vagabone in his Majesty's dominions stands more in
need of both."

"Oh! by the elevens," said Bill, "I forgot that altogether! Maybe
you'd be civil enough to let me change one of them? The sorra purtier
wish ever was made than I'll make, if you'll give me another chance."

"Get out, you reprobate," said the old fellow, still in a passion.
"Your day of grace is past. Little you knew who was speaking to you
all this time. I'm St. Moroky, you blackguard, and I gave you an
opportunity of doing something for yourself and your family; but you
neglected it, and now your fate is cast, you dirty, bog-trotting
profligate. Sure, it's well known what you are! Aren't you a by-word
in everybody's mouth, you and your scold of a wife? By this and by
that, if ever you happen to come across me again, I'll send you to
where you won't freeze, you villain!"

He then gave Bill a rap of his cudgel over the head, and laid him at
his length beside the bellows, kicked a broken coal-scuttle out of his
way, and left the forge in a fury.

When Billy recovered himself from the effects of the blow, and began
to think on what had happened, he could have quartered himself with
vexation for not asking great wealth as one of the wishes at least;
but now the die was cast on him, and he could only make the most of
the three he pitched upon.

He now bethought him how he might turn them to the best account, and
here his cunning came to his aid. He began by sending for his
wealthiest neighbours on pretence of business; and when he got them
under his roof, he offered them the arm-chair to sit down in. He now
had them safe, nor could all the art of man relieve them except worthy
Bill was willing. Bill's plan was to make the best bargain he could
before he released his prisoners; and let him alone for knowing how to
make their purses bleed. There wasn't a wealthy man in the country he
did not fleece. The parson of the parish bled heavily; so did the
lawyer; and a rich attorney, who had retired from practice, swore that
the Court of Chancery itself was paradise compared to Bill's chair.

This was all very good for a time. The fame of his chair, however,
soon spread; so did that of his sledge. In a short time neither man,
woman, nor child would darken his door; all avoided him and his
fixtures as they would a spring-gun or man-trap. Bill, so long as he
fleeced his neighbours, never wrought a hand's turn; so that when his
money was out, he found himself as badly off as ever. In addition to
all this, his character was fifty times worse than before; for it was
the general belief that he had dealings with the old boy. Nothing now
could exceed his misery, distress, and ill-temper. The wife and he and
their children all fought among one another. Everybody hated them,
cursed them, and avoided them. The people thought they were acquainted
with more than Christian people ought to know. This, of course, came
to Bill's ears, and it vexed him very much.

One day he was walking about the fields, thinking of how he could
raise the wind once more; the day was dark, and he found himself,
before he stopped, in the bottom of a lonely glen covered by great
bushes that grew on each side. "Well," thought he, when every other
means of raising money failed him, "it's reported that I'm in league
with the old boy, and as it's a folly to have the name of the
connection without the profit, I'm ready to make a bargain with him
any day;--so," said he, raising his voice, "Nick, you sinner, if you
be convanient and willing, why stand out here; show your best
leg--here's your man."

The words were hardly out of his mouth when a dark, sober-looking old
gentleman, not unlike a lawyer, walked up to him. Bill looked at the
foot and saw the hoof.--"Morrow, Nick," says Bill.

"Morrow, Bill," says Nick. "Well, Bill, what's the news?"

"Devil a much myself hears of late," says Bill; "is there anything
_fresh_ below?"

"I can't exactly say, Bill; I spend little of my time down now; the
Tories are in office, and my hands are consequently too full of
business here to pay much attention to anything else."

"A fine place this, sir," says Bill, "to take a constitutional walk
in; when I want an appetite I often come this way myself--hem! _High_
feeding is very bad without exercise."

"High feeding! Come, come, Bill, you know you didn't taste a morsel
these four-and-twenty hours."

"You know that's a bounce, Nick. I eat a breakfast this morning that
would put a stone of flesh on you, if you only smelt at it."

"No matter; this is not to the purpose. What's that you were
muttering to yourself awhile ago? If you want to come to the brunt,
here I'm for you."

"Nick," said Bill, "you're complate; you want nothing barring a pair
of Brian O'Lynn's breeches."

Bill, in fact, was bent on making his companion open the bargain,
because he had often heard that, in that case, with proper care on his
own part, he might defeat him in the long run. The other, however, was
his match.

"What was the nature of Brian's garment," inquired Nick. "Why, you
know the song," said Bill--

    "'Brian O'Lynn had no breeches to wear,
    So he got a sheep's skin for to make him a pair;
    With the fleshy side out and the woolly side in,
    They'll be pleasant and _cool_, says Brian O'Lynn.'

"A _cool_ pare would sarve you, Nick."

"You're mighty waggish to-day, Misther Dawson."

"And good right I have," said Bill; "I'm a man snug and well to do in
the world; have lots of money, plenty of good eating and drinking, and
what more need a man wish for?"

"True," said the other; "in the meantime it's rather odd that so
respectable a man should not have six inches of unbroken cloth in his
apparel. You are as naked a tatterdemalion as I ever laid my eyes on;
in full dress for a party of scare-crows, William."

"That's my own fancy, Nick; I don't work at my trade like a gentleman.
This is my forge dress, you know."

"Well, but what did you summon me here for?" said the other; "you may
as well speak out, I tell you; for, my good friend, unless _you_ do,
_I_ shan't. Smell that."

"I smell more than that," said Bill; "and by the way, I'll thank you
to give me the windy side of you--curse all sulphur, I say. There,
that's what I call an improvement in my condition. But as you _are_ so
stiff," says Bill, "why, the short and long of it is--that--hem--you
see I'm--tut--sure you know I have a thriving trade of my own, and
that if I like I needn't be at a loss; but in the meantime I'm rather
in a kind of a so--so--don't you _take_?"

And Bill winked knowingly, hoping to trick him into the first proposal.

"You must speak above-board, my friend," says the other. "I'm a man of
few words, blunt and honest. If you have anything to say, be plain.
Don't think I can be losing my time with such a pitiful rascal as you

"Well," says Bill, "I want money, then, and am ready to come into
terms. What have you to say to that, Nick?"

"Let me see--let me look at you," says his companion, turning him
about. "Now, Bill, in the first place, are you not as finished a
scare-crow as ever stood upon two legs?"

"I play second fiddle to you there again," says Bill.

"There you stand, with the blackguards' coat of arms quartered under
your eye, and----"

"Don't make little of _black_guards," said Bill, "nor spake
disparagingly of _your own_ crest."

"Why, what would you bring, you brazen rascal, if you were fairly put
up at auction?"

"Faith, I'd bring more bidders than you would," said Bill, "if you
were to go off at auction to-morrow. I tell you they should bid
_downwards_ to come to your value, Nicholas. We have no coin _small_
enough to purchase you."

"Well, no matter," said Nick. "If you are willing to be mine at the
expiration of seven years, I will give you more money than ever the
rascally breed of you was worth."

"Done!" said Bill; "but no disparagement to my family, in the
meantime; so down with the hard cash, and don't be a _neger_."

The money was accordingly paid down! but as nobody was present, except
the giver and receiver, the amount of what Bill got was never known.

"Won't you give me a luck-penny?" said the old gentleman.

"Tut," said Billy, "so prosperous an old fellow as you cannot want it;
however, bad luck to you, with all my heart! and it's rubbing grease
to a fat pig to say so. Be off now, or I'll commit suicide on you.
Your absence is a cordial to most people, you infernal old profligate.
You have injured my morals even for the short time you have been with
me; for I don't find myself so virtuous as I was."

"Is that your gratitude, Billy?"

"Is it gratitude _you_ speak of, man? I wonder you don't blush when
you name it. However, when you come again, if you bring a third eye in
your head you will see what I mane, Nicholas, ahagur."

The old gentleman, as Bill spoke, hopped across the ditch, on his way
to _Downing_-street, where of late 'tis thought he possesses much

Bill now began by degrees to show off; but still wrought a little at
his trade to blindfold the neighbours. In a very short time, however,
he became a great man. So long indeed as he was a _poor_ rascal, no
decent person would speak to him; even the proud serving-men at the
"Big House" would turn up their noses at him. And he well deserved to
be made little of by others, because he was mean enough to make little
of himself. But when it was seen and known that he had oceans of
money, it was wonderful to think, although he was _now_ a greater
blackguard than ever, how those who despised him before began to come
round him and court his company. Bill, however, had neither sense nor
spirit to make those sunshiny friends know their distance; not
he--instead of that he was proud to be seen in decent company, and so
long as the money lasted, it was, "hail fellow, well met," between
himself and every fair-faced _spunger_ who had a horse under him, a
decent coat to his back, and a good appetite to eat his dinners. With
riches and all, Bill was the same man still; but, somehow or other,
there is a great difference between a rich profligate and a poor one,
and Bill found it so to his cost in _both_ cases.

Before half the seven years was passed, Bill had his carriage, and his
equipages; was hand and glove with my Lord This, and my Lord That;
kept hounds and hunters; was the first sportsman at the Curragh;
patronised every boxing ruffian he could pick up; and betted night and
day on cards, dice, and horses. Bill, in short, _should_ be a blood,
and except he did all this, he could not presume to mingle with the
fashionable bloods of his time.

It's an old proverb, however, that "what is got over the devil's back
is sure to go off under it;" and in Bill's case this proved true. In
short, the old boy himself could not supply him with money so fast as
he made it fly; it was "come easy, go easy," with Bill, and so sign
was on it, before he came within two years of his time he found his
purse empty.

And now came the value of his summer friends to be known. When it was
discovered that the cash was no longer flush with him--that stud, and
carriage, and hounds were going to the hammer--whish! off they went,
friends, relations, pot-companions, dinner-eaters, black-legs, and
all, like a flock of crows that had smelt gunpowder. Down Bill soon
went, week after week, and day after day, until at last he was obliged
to put on the leather apron, and take to the hammer again; and not
only that, for as no experience could make him wise, he once more
began his tap-room brawls, his quarrels with Judy, and took to his
"high feeding" at the dry potatoes and salt. Now, too, came the
cutting tongues of all who knew him, like razors upon him. Those that
he scorned because they were poor and himself rich, now paid him back
his own with interest; and those that he measured himself with,
because they were rich, and who only countenanced him in consequence
of his wealth, gave him the hardest word in their cheeks. The devil
mend him! He deserved it all, and more if he had got it.

Bill, however, who was a hardened sinner, never fretted himself down
an ounce of flesh by what was said to him, or of him. Not he; he
cursed, and fought, and swore, and schemed away as usual, taking in
every one he could; and surely none could match him at villainy of all
sorts, and sizes.

At last the seven years became expired, and Bill was one morning
sitting in his forge, sober and hungry, the wife cursing him, and the
childhre squalling, as before; he was thinking how he might defraud
some honest neighbour out of a breakfast to stop their mouths and his
own too, when who walks in to him but old Nick, to demand his bargain.

"Morrow, Bill!" says he with a sneer.

"The devil welcome you!" says Bill; "but you have a fresh memory."

"A bargain's a bargain between two _honest_ men, any day," says Satan;
"when I speak of _honest_ men, I mean _yourself_ and _me_, Bill;" and
he put his tongue in his cheek to make game of the unfortunate rogue
he had come for.

"Nick, my worthy fellow," said Bill, "have bowels; you wouldn't do a
shabby thing; you wouldn't disgrace your own character by putting more
weight upon a falling man. You know what it is to get a _come down_
yourself, my worthy; so just keep your toe in your pump, and walk off
with yourself somewhere else. A _cool_ walk will sarve you better than
my company, Nicholas."

"Bill, it's no use in shirking," said his friend; "your swindling
tricks may enable you to cheat others, but you won't cheat _me_, I
guess. You want nothing to make you perfect in your way but to travel;
and travel you shall under my guidance, Billy. No, no--_I'm_ not to be
swindled, my good fellow. I have rather a--a--better opinion of
myself, Mr. D., than to think that you could outwit one Nicholas
Clutie, Esq.--ahem!"

"You may sneer, you sinner," replied Bill; "but I tell you that I have
outwitted men who could buy and sell you to your face. Despair, you
villain, when I tell you that _no attorney_ could stand before me."

Satan's countenance got blank when he heard this; he wriggled and
fidgeted about, and appeared to be not quite comfortable.

"In that case, then," says he, "the sooner I _deceive_ you the better;
so turn out for the _Low Countries_."

"Is it come to that in earnest?" said Bill, "and are you going to act
the rascal at the long run?"

"'Pon honour, Bill."

"Have patience, then, you sinner, till I finish this horse shoe--it's
the last of a set I'm finishing for one of your friend the attorney's
horses. And here, Nick, I hate idleness, you know it's the mother of
mischief; take this sledge-hammer, and give a dozen strokes or so, till
I get it out of hands, and then here's with you, since it must be so."

He then gave the bellows a puff that blew half a peck of dust in
Club-foot's face, whipped out the red-hot iron, and set Satan sledging
away for bare life.

"Faith," says Bill to him, when the shoe was finished, "it's a
thousand pities ever the sledge should be out of your hand; the great
_Parra Gow_ was a child to you at sledging, you're such an able tyke.
Now just exercise yourself till I bid the wife and childhre good-bye,
and then I'm off."

Out went Bill, of course, without the slightest notion of coming back;
no more than Nick had that he could not give up the sledging, and
indeed neither could he, but was forced to work away as if he was
sledging for a wager. This was just what Bill wanted. He was now
compelled to sledge on until it was Bill's pleasure to release him;
and so we leave him very industriously employed, while we look after
the worthy who outwitted him.

In the meantime, Bill broke cover, and took to the country at large;
wrought a little journey-work wherever he could get it, and in this
way went from one place to another, till, in the course of a month, he
walked back very coolly into his own forge, to see how things went on
in his absence. There he found Satan in a rage, the perspiration
pouring from him in torrents, hammering with might and main upon the
naked anvil. Bill calmly leaned his back against the wall, placed his
hat upon the side of his head, put his hands into his breeches
pockets, and began to whistle _Shaun Gow's_ hornpipe. At length he
says, in a very quiet and good-humoured way--

"Morrow, Nick!"

"Oh!" says Nick, still hammering away--"Oh! you double-distilled
villain (hech!), may the most refined, ornamental (hech!),
double-rectified, super-extra, and original (hech!) collection of
curses that ever was gathered (hech!) into a single nosegay of
ill-fortune (hech!), shine in the button-hole of your conscience
(hech!) while your name is Bill Dawson! I denounce you (hech!) as a
double-milled villain, a finished, hot-pressed knave (hech!), in
comparison of whom all the other knaves I ever knew (hech!), attorneys
included, are honest men. I brand you (hech!) as the pearl of cheats,
a tip-top take-in (hech!). I denounce you, I say again, for the
villainous treatment (hech!) I have received at your hands in this
most untoward (hech!) and unfortunate transaction between us; for
(hech!) unfortunate, in every sense, is he that has anything to do
with (hech!) such a prime and finished impostor."

"You're very warm, Nicky," says Bill; "what puts you into a passion,
you old sinner? Sure if it's your own will and pleasure to take
exercise at my anvil, _I'm_ not to be abused for it. Upon my credit,
Nicky, you ought to blush for using such blackguard language, so
unbecoming your grave character. You cannot say that it was I set you
a hammering at the empty anvil, you profligate. However, as you are so
industrious, I simply say it would be a thousand pities to take you
from it. Nick, I love industry in my heart, and I always encourage it;
so work away, it's not often you spend your time so creditably. I'm
afraid if you weren't at that you'd be worse employed."

"Bill, have bowels," said the operative; "you wouldn't go to lay more
weight on a falling man, you know; you wouldn't disgrace your
character by such a piece of iniquity as keeping an inoffensive
gentleman, advanced in years, at such an unbecoming and rascally job
as this. Generosity's your top virtue, Bill; not but that you have
many other excellent ones, as well as that, among which, as you say
yourself, I reckon industry; but still it is in generosity you
_shine_. Come, Bill, honour bright, and release me."

"Name the terms, you profligate."

"You're above terms, William; a generous fellow like you never thinks
of terms."

"Good-bye, old gentleman!" said Bill, very coolly; "I'll drop in to
see you once a month."

"No, no, Bill, you infern--a--a--you excellent, worthy, delightful
fellow, not so fast; not so fast. Come, name your terms, you
sland----my dear Bill, name your terms."

"Seven years more."

"I agree; but----"

"And the same supply of cash as before, down on the nail here."

"Very good; very good. You're rather simple, Bill; rather soft, I must
confess. Well, no matter. I shall yet turn the tab--a--hem! You are an
exceedingly simple fellow, Bill; still there will come a day, my
_dear_ Bill--there will come----"

"Do you grumble, you vagrant? Another word, and I double the terms."

"Mum, William--mum; _tace_ is Latin for a candle."

"Seven years more of grace, and the same measure of the needful that I
got before. Ay or no?"

"Of grace, Bill! Ay! ay! ay! There's the cash. I accept the terms. Oh
blood! the rascal--of grace!! Bill!"

"Well, now drop the hammer, and vanish," says Billy; "but what would
you think to take this sledge, while you stay, and give me a----eh!
why in such a hurry?" he added, seeing that Satan withdrew in
double-quick time.

"Hollo! Nicholas!" he shouted, "come back; you forgot something!" and
when the old gentleman looked behind him, Billy shook the hammer at
him, on which he vanished altogether.

Billy now got into his old courses; and what shows the kind of people
the world is made of, he also took up with his old company. When they
saw that he had the money once more, and was sowing it about him in
all directions, they immediately began to find excuses for his former

"Say what you will," said one, "Bill Dawson's a spirited fellow, and
bleeds like a prince."

"He's a hospitable man in his own house, or out of it, as ever lived,"
said another.

"His only fault is," observed a third, "that he is, if anything, too
generous, and doesn't know the value of money; his fault's on the
right side, however."

"He has the spunk in him," said a fourth; "keeps a capital table,
prime wines, and a standing welcome for his friends."

"Why," said a fifth, "if he doesn't enjoy his money while he lives, he
won't when he's dead; so more power to him, and a wider throat to his

Indeed, the very persons who were cramming themselves at his expense
despised him at heart. They knew very well, however, how to take him
on the weak side. Praise his generosity, and he would do anything;
call him a man of spirit, and you might fleece him to his face.
Sometimes he would toss a purse of guineas to this knave, another to
that flatterer, a third to a bully, and a fourth to some broken down
rake--and all to convince them that _he_ was a sterling friend--a man
of mettle and liberality. But never was he known to help a virtuous
and struggling family--to assist the widow or the fatherless, or to do
any other act that was _truly_ useful. It is to be supposed the reason
of this was, that as he spent it, as most of the world do, in the
service of the devil, by whose aid he got it, he was prevented from
turning it to a good account. Between you and me, dear reader, there
are more persons acting after Bill's fashion in the same world than
you dream about.

When his money was out again, his friends played him the same rascally
game once more. No sooner did his poverty become plain, than the knaves
began to be troubled with small fits of modesty, such as an
unwillingness to come to his place when there was no longer anything to
be got there. A kind of virgin bashfulness prevented them from speaking
to him when they saw him getting out on the wrong side of his clothes.
Many of them would turn away from him in the prettiest and most delicate
manner when they thought he wanted to borrow money from them--all for
fear of putting him to the blush by asking it. Others again, when they
saw him coming towards their houses about dinner hour, would become so
confused, from mere gratitude, as to think themselves in another place;
and their servants, seized, as it were, with the same feeling, would
tell Bill that their masters were "not at home."

At length, after travelling the same villainous round as before, Bill
was compelled to betake himself, as the last remedy, to the forge; in
other words, he found that there is, after all, nothing in this world
that a man can rely on so firmly and surely as his own industry. Bill,
however, wanted the organ of common sense; for his experience--and it
was sharp enough to leave an impression--ran off him like water off a

He took to his employment sorely against his grain; but he had now no
choice. He must either work or starve, and starvation is like a great
doctor--nobody tries it till every other remedy fails them. Bill had
been twice rich; twice a gentleman among blackguards, but always a
blackguard among gentlemen; for no wealth or acquaintance with decent
society could rub the rust of his native vulgarity off him. He was now
a common blinking sot in his forge; a drunken bully in the tap-room,
cursing and brow-beating every one as well as his wife; boasting of
how much money he had spent in his day; swaggering about the high
doings he carried on; telling stories about himself and Lord This at
the Curragh; the dinners he gave--how much they cost him, and
attempting to extort credit upon the strength of his former wealth. He
was too ignorant, however, to know that he was publishing his own
disgrace, and that it was a mean-spirited thing to be proud of what
ought to make him blush through a deal board nine inches thick.

He was one morning industriously engaged in a quarrel with his wife,
who, with a three-legged stool in her hand, appeared to mistake his
head for his own anvil; he, in the meantime, paid his addresses to her
with his leather apron, when who steps in to jog his memory about the
little agreement that was between them, but old Nick. The wife, it
seems, in spite of all her exertions to the contrary, was getting the
worst of it; and Sir Nicholas, willing to appear a gentleman of great
gallantry, thought he could not do less than take up the lady's
quarrel, particularly as Bill had laid her in a sleeping posture. Now
Satan thought this too bad; and as he felt himself under many
obligations to the sex, he determined to defend one of them on the
present occasion; so as Judy rose, he turned upon the husband, and
floored him by a clever facer.

"You unmanly villain," said he, "is this the way you treat your wife?
'Pon honour, Bill, I'll chastise you on the spot. I could not stand
by, a spectator of such ungentlemanly conduct without giving up all
claim to gallant----" Whack! the word was divided in his mouth by the
blow of a churn-staff from Judy, who no sooner saw Bill struck, than
she nailed Satan, who "fell" once more.

"What, you villain! that's for striking my husband like a murderer
behind his back," said Judy, and she suited the action to the word,
"that's for interfering between man and wife. Would you murder the
poor man before my face? eh? If _he_ bates me, you shabby dog you, who
has a better right? I'm sure it's nothing out of your pocket. Must you
have your finger in every pie?"

This was anything but _idle_ talk; for at every word she gave him a
remembrance, hot and heavy. Nicholas backed, danced, and hopped; she
advanced, still drubbing him with great perseverance, till at length
he fell into the redoubtable arm-chair, which stood exactly behind
him. Bill, who had been putting in two blows for Judy's one, seeing
that his enemy was safe, now got between the devil and his wife, _a
situation that few will be disposed to envy him_.

"Tenderness, Judy," said the husband, "I hate cruelty. Go put the
tongs in the fire, and make them red hot. Nicholas, you have a nose,"
said he.

Satan began to rise, but was rather surprised to find that he could
not budge.

"Nicholas," says Bill, "how is your pulse? you don't look well; that
is to say, you look worse than usual."

The other attempted to rise, but found it a mistake.

"I'll thank you to come along," said Bill. "I have a fancy to travel
under your guidance, and we'll take the _Low Countries_ in our way,
won't we? Get to your legs, you sinner; you know a bargain's a bargain
between two _honest men_, Nicholas; meaning _yourself_ and _me_. Judy,
are the tongs hot?"

Satan's face was worth looking at, as he turned his eyes from the
husband to the wife, and then fastened them on the tongs, now nearly
at a furnace heat in the fire, conscious at the same time that he
could not move out of the chair.

"Billy," said he, "you won't forget that I rewarded your generosity
the last time I saw you, in the way of business." "Faith, Nicholas, it
fails me to remember any generosity I ever showed you. Don't be
womanish. I simply want to see what kind of stuff your nose is made
of, and whether it will stretch like a rogue's conscience. If it does,
we will flatter it up the _chimly_ with red-hot tongs, and when this
old hat is fixed on the top of it, let us alone for a weather-cock."
"Have a _fellow-feeling_, Mr. Dawson; you know _we_ ought not to
dispute. Drop the matter, and I give you the next seven years." "We
know all that," says Billy, opening the red-hot tongs very coolly.
"Mr. Dawson," said Satan, "if you cannot remember my friendship to
yourself, don't forget how often I stood your father's friend, your
grandfather's friend, and the friend of all your relations up to the
tenth generation. I intended, also, to stand by your children after
you, so long as the name of Dawson, and a respectable one it is, might
last." "Don't be blushing, Nick," says Bill, "you are too modest; that
was ever your failing; hould up your head, there's money bid for you.
I'll give you such a nose, my good friend, that you will have to keep
an outrider before you, to carry the end of it on his shoulder." "Mr.
Dawson, I pledge my honour to raise your children in the world as high
as they can go; no matter whether they desire it or not." "That's very
kind of you," says the other, "and I'll do as much for your nose."

He gripped it as he spoke, and the old boy immediately sung out; Bill
pulled, and the nose went with him like a piece of warm wax. He then
transferred the tongs to Judy, got a ladder, resumed the tongs,
ascended the chimney, and tugged stoutly at the nose until he got it
five feet above the roof. He then fixed the hat upon the top of it,
and came down.

"There's a weather-cock," said Billy; "I defy Ireland to show such a
beauty. Faith, Nick, it would make the purtiest steeple for a church,
in all Europe, and the old hat fits it to a shaving."

In this state, with his nose twisted up the chimney, Satan sat for
some time, experiencing the novelty of what might be termed a peculiar
sensation. At last the worthy husband and wife began to relent.

"I think," said Bill, "that we have made the most of the nose, as well
as the joke; I believe, Judy, it's long enough." "What is?" says Judy.

"Why, the joke," said the husband.

"Faith, and I think so is the nose," said Judy.

"What do you say yourself, Satan?" said Bill.

"Nothing at all, William," said the other; "but that--ha! ha!--it's a
good joke--an excellent joke, and a goodly nose, too, as it _stands_.
You were always a gentlemanly man, Bill, and did things with a grace;
still, if I might give an opinion on such a trifle----"

"It's no trifle at all," says Bill, "if you spake of the nose." "Very
well, it is not," says the other; "still, I am decidedly of opinion,
that if you could shorten both the joke and the nose without further
violence, you would lay me under very heavy obligations, which I shall
be ready to acknowledge and _repay_ as I ought." "Come," said Bill,
"shell out once more, and be off for seven years. As much as you came
down with the last time, and vanish."

The words were scarcely spoken, when the money was at his feet, and
Satan invisible. Nothing could surpass the mirth of Bill and his wife
at the result of this adventure. They laughed till they fell down on
the floor.

It is useless to go over the same ground again. Bill was still
incorrigible. The money went as the devil's money always goes. Bill
caroused and squandered, but could never turn a penny of it to a good
purpose. In this way, year after year went, till the seventh was
closed, and Bill's hour come. He was now, and had been for some time
past, as miserable a knave as ever. Not a shilling had he, nor a
shilling's worth, with the exception of his forge, his cabin, and a
few articles of crazy furniture. In this state he was standing in his
forge as before, straining his ingenuity how to make out a breakfast,
when Satan came to look after him. The old gentleman was sorely
puzzled how to get at him. He kept skulking and sneaking about the
forge for some time, till he saw that Bill hadn't a cross to bless
himself with. He immediately changed himself into a guinea, and lay in
an open place where he knew Bill would see him. "If," said he, "I once
get into his possession, I can manage him." The honest smith took the
bait, for it was well gilded; he clutched the guinea, put it into his
purse, and closed it up. "Ho! ho!" shouted the devil out of the purse,
"you're caught, Bill; I've secured you at last, you knave you. Why
don't you despair, you villain, when you think of what's before you?"
"Why, you unlucky ould dog," said Bill, "is it there you are? Will you
always drive your head into every loop-hole that's set for you? Faith,
Nick achora, I never had you bagged till now."

Satan then began to tug and struggle with a view of getting out of the
purse, but in vain.

"Mr. Dawson," said he, "we understand each other. I'll give the seven
years additional, and the cash on the nail." "Be aisey, Nicholas. You
know the weight of the hammer, that's enough. It's not a whipping with
feathers you're going to get, anyhow. Just be aisey." "Mr. Dawson, I
grant I'm not your match. Release me, and I double the cash. I was
merely trying your temper when I took the shape of a guinea."

"Faith and I'll try yours before I lave it, I've a notion." He
immediately commenced with the sledge, and Satan sang out with a
considerable want of firmness. "Am I heavy enough!" said Bill.

"Lighter, lighter, William, if you love me. I haven't been well
latterly, Mr. Dawson--I have been delicate--my health, in short, is in
a very precarious state, Mr. Dawson." "I can believe _that_," said
Bill, "and it will be more so before I have done with you. Am I doing
it right?" "Bill," said Nick, "is this gentlemanly treatment in your
own respectable shop? Do you think, if you dropped into my little
place, that I'd act this rascally part towards you? Have you no
compunction?" "I know," replied Bill, sledging away with vehemence,
"that you're notorious for giving your friends a _warm_ welcome. Divil
an ould youth more so; but you must be daling in bad coin, must you?
However, good or bad, you're in for a sweat now, you sinner. Am I
doin' it purty?"

"Lovely, William--but, if possible, a little more delicate."

"Oh, how delicate you are! Maybe a cup o' tay would sarve you, or a
little small gruel to compose your stomach."

"Mr. Dawson," said the gentleman in the purse, "hold your hand and let
us understand one another. I have a proposal to make." "Hear the
sinner anyhow," said the wife. "Name your own sum," said Satan, "only
set me free." "No, the sorra may take the toe you'll budge till you
let Bill off," said the wife; "hould him hard, Bill, barrin' he sets
_you_ clear of your engagement." "There it is, my posy," said Bill;
"that's the condition. If you don't give _me up_, here's at you once
more--and you must double the cash you gave the last time, too. So, if
you're of that opinion, say _ay_--leave the cash and be off."

The money again appeared in a glittering heap before Bill, upon which
he exclaimed--"The _ay_ has it, you dog. Take to your pumps now, and
fair weather after you, you vagrant; but Nicholas--Nick--here,
here----" The other looked back, and saw Bill, with a broad grin upon
him, shaking the purse at him--"Nicholas come back," said he. "I'm
short a guinea." Nick shook his fist, and disappeared.

It would be useless to stop now, merely to inform our readers that
Bill was beyond improvement. In short, he once more took to his old
habits, and lived on exactly in the same manner as before. He had two
sons--one as great a blackguard as himself, and who was also named
after him; the other was a well-conducted, virtuous young man, called
James, who left his father, and having relied upon his own industry
and honest perseverance in life, arrived afterwards to great wealth,
and built the town called Castle Dawson; which is so called from its
founder until this day.

Bill, at length, in spite of all his wealth, was obliged, as he
himself said, "to travel,"--in other words, he fell asleep one day,
and forgot to awaken; or, in still plainer terms, he died.

Now, it is usual, when a man dies, to close the history of his life
and adventures at once; but with our hero this cannot be the case. The
moment Bill departed, he very naturally bent his steps towards the
residence of St. Moroky, as being, in his opinion, likely to lead him
towards the snuggest berth he could readily make out. On arriving, he
gave a very humble kind of a knock, and St. Moroky appeared.

"God save your Reverence!" said Bill, very submissively.

"Be off; there's no admittance here for so poor a youth as you are,"
said St Moroky.

He was now so cold and fatigued that he cared little where he went,
provided only, as he said himself, "he could rest his bones, and get
an air of the fire." Accordingly, after arriving at a large black
gate, he knocked, as before, and was told he would get _instant_
admittance the moment he gave his name.

"Billy Dawson," he replied.

"Off, instantly," said the porter to his companions, "and let his
Majesty know that the rascal he dreads so much is here at the gate."

Such a racket and tumult were never heard as the very mention of Billy
Dawson created.

In the meantime, his old acquaintance came running towards the gate
with such haste and consternation, that his tail was several times
nearly tripping up his heels.

"Don't admit that rascal," he shouted; "bar the gate--make every
chain, and lock and bolt, fast--I won't be safe--and I won't stay
here, nor none of us need stay here, if he gets in--my bones are sore
yet after him. No, no--begone you villain--you'll get no entrance
here--I know you too well."

Bill could not help giving a broad, malicious grin at Satan, and,
putting his nose through the bars, he exclaimed--"Ha! you ould dog, I
have you afraid of me at last, have I?"

He had scarcely uttered the words, when his foe, who stood inside,
instantly tweaked him by the nose, and Bill felt as if he had been
gripped by the same red-hot tongs with which he himself had formerly
tweaked the nose of Nicholas.

Bill then departed, but soon found that in consequence of the
inflammable materials which strong drink had thrown into his nose,
that organ immediately took fire, and, indeed, to tell the truth, kept
burning night and day, winter and summer, without ever once going out,
from that hour to this.

Such was the sad fate of Billy Dawson, who has been walking without
stop or stay, from place to place, ever since; and in consequence of
the flame on his nose, and his beard being tangled like a wisp of hay,
he has been christened by the country folk Will-o'-the-Wisp, while, as
it were, to show the mischief of his disposition, the circulating
knave, knowing that he must seek the coldest bogs and quagmires in
order to cool his nose, seizes upon that opportunity of misleading the
unthinking and tipsy night travellers from their way, just that he may
have the satisfaction of still taking in as many as possible.


When the pagan gods of Ireland--the _Tuath-De-Danān_--robbed of
worship and offerings, grew smaller and smaller in the popular
imagination, until they turned into the fairies, the pagan heroes grew
bigger and bigger, until they turned into the giants.



On the road between Passage and Cork there is an old mansion called
Ronayne's Court. It may be easily known from the stack of chimneys and
the gable-ends, which are to be seen, look at it which way you will.
Here it was that Maurice Ronayne and his wife Margaret Gould kept
house, as may be learned to this day from the great old chimney-piece,
on which is carved their arms. They were a mighty worthy couple, and
had but one son, who was called Philip, after no less a person than
the King of Spain.

Immediately on his smelling the cold air of this world the child
sneezed, which was naturally taken to be a good sign of his having a
clear head; and the subsequent rapidity of his learning was truly
amazing, for on the very first day a primer was put into his hands he
tore out the A, B, C page and destroyed it, as a thing quite beneath
his notice. No wonder, then, that both father and mother were proud of
their heir, who gave such indisputable proofs of genius, or, as they
called it in that part of the world, "_genus_."

One morning, however, Master Phil, who was then just seven years old,
was missing, and no one could tell what had become of him: servants
were sent in all directions to seek him, on horseback and on foot, but
they returned without any tidings of the boy, whose disappearance
altogether was most unaccountable. A large reward was offered, but it
produced them no intelligence, and years rolled away without Mr. and
Mrs. Ronayne having obtained any satisfactory account of the fate of
their lost child.

There lived at this time, near Carrigaline, one Robert Kelly, a
blacksmith by trade. He was what is termed a handy man, and his
abilities were held in much estimation by the lads and the lasses of
the neighbourhood; for, independent of shoeing horses, which he did to
great perfection, and making plough-irons, he interpreted dreams for
the young women, sung "Arthur O'Bradley" at their weddings, and was so
good-natured a fellow at a christening, that he was gossip to half the
country round.

Now it happened that Robin had a dream himself, and young Philip
Ronayne appeared to him in it, at the dead hour of the night. Robin
thought he saw the boy mounted upon a beautiful white horse, and that
he told him how he was made a page to the giant Mahon MacMahon, who
had carried him off, and who held his court in the hard heart of the
rock. "The seven years--my time of service--are clean out, Robin,"
said he, "and if you release me this night I will be the making of you
for ever after."

"And how will I know," said Robin--cunning enough, even in his
sleep--"but this is all a dream?"

"Take that," said the boy, "for a token"--and at the word the white
horse struck out with one of his hind legs, and gave poor Robin such a
kick in the forehead that, thinking he was a dead man, he roared as
loud as he could after his brains, and woke up, calling a thousand
murders. He found himself in bed, but he had the mark of the blow, the
regular print of a horse-shoe, upon his forehead as red as blood; and
Robin Kelly, who never before found himself puzzled at the dream of
any other person, did not know what to think of his own.

Robin was well acquainted with the Giant's Stairs--as, indeed, who is
not that knows the harbour? They consist of great masses of rock,
which, piled one above another, rise like a flight of steps from very
deep water, against the bold cliff of Carrigmahon. Nor are they badly
suited for stairs to those who have legs of sufficient length to
stride over a moderate-sized house, or to enable them to clear the
space of a mile in a hop, step, and jump. Both these feats the giant
MacMahon was said to have performed in the days of Finnian glory; and
the common tradition of the country placed his dwelling within the
cliff up whose side the stairs led.

Such was the impression which the dream made on Robin, that he
determined to put its truth to the test. It occurred to him, however,
before setting out on this adventure, that a plough-iron may be no bad
companion, as, from experience, he knew it was an excellent knock-down
argument, having on more occasions than one settled a little
disagreement very quietly: so, putting one on his shoulder, off he
marched, in the cool of the evening, through Glaun a Thowk (the Hawk's
Glen) to Monkstown. Here an old gossip of his (Tom Clancey by name)
lived, who, on hearing Robin's dream, promised him the use of his skiff,
and, moreover, offered to assist in rowing it to the Giant's Stairs.

After a supper, which was of the best, they embarked. It was a
beautiful still night, and the little boat glided swiftly along. The
regular dip of the oars, the distant song of the sailor, and sometimes
the voice of a belated traveller at the ferry of Carrigaloe, alone
broke the quietness of the land and sea and sky. The tide was in their
favour, and in a few minutes Robin and his gossip rested on their oars
under the dark shadow of the Giant's Stairs. Robin looked anxiously
for the entrance to the Giant's palace, which, it was said, may be
found by any one seeking it at midnight; but no such entrance could he
see. His impatience had hurried him there before that time, and after
waiting a considerable space in a state of suspense not to be
described, Robin, with pure vexation, could not help exclaiming to
his companion, "'Tis a pair of fools we are, Tom Clancey, for coming
here at all on the strength of a dream."

"And whose doing is it," said Tom, "but your own?"

At the moment he spoke they perceived a faint glimmering of light to
proceed from the cliff, which gradually increased until a porch big
enough for a king's palace unfolded itself almost on a level with the
water. They pulled the skiff directly towards the opening, and Robin
Kelly, seizing his plough-iron, boldly entered with a strong hand and
a stout heart. Wild and strange was that entrance, the whole of which
appeared formed of grim and grotesque faces, blending so strangely
each with the other that it was impossible to define any: the chin of
one formed the nose of another; what appeared to be a fixed and stern
eye, if dwelt upon, changed to a gaping mouth; and the lines of the
lofty forehead grew into a majestic and flowing beard. The more Robin
allowed himself to contemplate the forms around him, the more terrific
they became; and the stoney expression of this crowd of faces assumed
a savage ferocity as his imagination converted feature after feature
into a different shape and character. Losing the twilight in which
these indefinite forms were visible, he advanced through a dark and
devious passage, whilst a deep and rumbling noise sounded as if the
rock was about to close upon him, and swallow him up alive for ever.
Now, indeed, poor Robin felt afraid.

"Robin, Robin," said he, "if you were a fool for coming here, what in
the name of fortune are you now?" But, as before, he had scarcely
spoken, when he saw a small light twinkling through the darkness of
the distance, like a star in the midnight sky. To retreat was out of
the question; for so many turnings and windings were in the passage,
that he considered he had but little chance of making his way back.
He, therefore, proceeded towards the bit of light, and came at last
into a spacious chamber, from the roof of which hung the solitary lamp
that had guided him. Emerging from such profound gloom, the single
lamp afforded Robin abundant light to discover several gigantic
figures seated round a massive stone table, as if in serious
deliberation, but no word disturbed the breathless silence which
prevailed. At the head of this table sat Mahon MacMahon himself, whose
majestic beard had taken root, and in the course of ages grown into
the stone slab. He was the first who perceived Robin; and instantly
starting up, drew his long beard from out the huge piece of rock in
such haste and with so sudden a jerk that it was shattered into a
thousand pieces.

"What seek you?" he demanded in a voice of thunder.

"I come," answered Robin, with as much boldness as he could put on,
for his heart was almost fainting within him; "I come," said he, "to
claim Philip Ronayne, whose time of service is out this night."

"And who sent you here?" said the giant.

"'Twas of my own accord I came," said Robin.

"Then you must single him out from among my pages," said the giant;
"and if you fix on the wrong one, your life is the forfeit. Follow
me." He led Robin into a hall of vast extent, and filled with lights;
along either side of which were rows of beautiful children, all
apparently seven years old, and none beyond that age, dressed in
green, and every one exactly dressed alike.

"Here," said Mahon, "you are free to take Philip Ronayne, if you will;
but, remember, I give but one choice."

Robin was sadly perplexed; for there were hundreds upon hundreds of
children; and he had no very clear recollection of the boy he sought.
But he walked along the hall, by the side of Mahon, as if nothing was
the matter, although his great iron dress clanked fearfully at every
step, sounding louder than Robin's own sledge battering on his anvil.

They had nearly reached the end without speaking, when Robin, seeing
that the only means he had was to make friends with the giant,
determined to try what effect a few soft words might have.

"'Tis a fine wholesome appearance the poor children carry," remarked
Robin, "although they have been here so long shut out from the fresh
air and the blessed light of heaven. 'Tis tenderly your honour must
have reared them!"

"Ay," said the giant, "that is true for you; so give me your hand; for
you are, I believe, a very honest fellow for a blacksmith."

Robin at the first look did not much like the huge size of the hand,
and, therefore, presented his plough-iron, which the giant seizing,
twisted in his grasp round and round again as if it had been a potato
stalk. On seeing this all the children set up a shout of laughter. In
the midst of their mirth Robin thought he heard his name called; and
all ear and eye, he put his hand on the boy who he fancied had spoken,
crying out at the same time, "Let me live or die for it, but this is
young Phil Ronayne."

"It is Philip Ronayne--happy Philip Ronayne," said his young
companions; and in an instant the hall became dark. Crashing noises
were heard, and all was in strange confusion; but Robin held fast his
prize, and found himself lying in the grey dawn of the morning at the
head of the Giant's Stairs with the boy clasped in his arms.

Robin had plenty of gossips to spread the story of his wonderful
adventure: Passage, Monkstown, Carrigaline--the whole barony of
Kerricurrihy rung with it.

"Are you quite sure, Robin, it is young Phil Ronayne you have brought
back with you?" was the regular question; for although the boy had
been seven years away, his appearance now was just the same as on the
day he was missed. He had neither grown taller nor older in look, and
he spoke of things which had happened before he was carried off as one
awakened from sleep, or as if they had occurred yesterday.

"Am I sure? Well, that's a queer question," was Robin's reply; "seeing
the boy has the blue eye of the mother, with the foxy hair of the
father; to say nothing of the _purty_ wart on the right side of his
little nose."

However Robin Kelly may have been questioned, the worthy couple of
Ronayne's Court doubted not that he was the deliverer of their child
from the power of the giant MacMahon; and the reward they bestowed on
him equalled their gratitude.

Philip Ronayne lived to be an old man; and he was remarkable to the
day of his death for his skill in working brass and iron, which it was
believed he had learned during his seven years' apprenticeship to the
giant Mahon MacMahon.

[Footnote 62: _Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland._]



What Irish man, woman, or child has not heard of our renowned
Hibernian Hercules, the great and glorious Fin M'Coul? Not one, from
Cape Clear to the Giant's Causeway, nor from that back again to Cape
Clear. And, by-the-way, speaking of the Giant's Causeway brings me at
once to the beginning of my story. Well, it so happened that Fin and
his gigantic relatives were all working at the Causeway, in order to
make a bridge, or what was still better, a good stout pad-road, across
to Scotland; when Fin, who was very fond of his wife Oonagh, took it
into his head that he would go home and see how the poor woman got on
in his absence. To be sure, Fin was a true Irishman, and so the sorrow
thing in life brought him back, only to see that she was snug and
comfortable, and, above all things, that she got her rest well at
night; for he knew that the poor woman, when he was with her, used to
be subject to nightly qualms and configurations, that kept him very
anxious, decent man, striving to keep her up to the good spirits and
health that she had when they were first married. So, accordingly, he
pulled up a fir-tree, and, after lopping off the roots and branches,
made a walking-stick of it, and set out on his way to Oonagh.

Oonagh, or rather Fin, lived at this time on the very tip-top of
Knockmany Hill, which faces a cousin of its own called Cullamore, that
rises up, half-hill, half-mountain, on the opposite side--east-east by
south, as the sailors say, when they wish to puzzle a landsman.

Now, the truth is, for it must come out, that honest Fin's affection
for his wife, though cordial enough in itself, was by no manner of
means the real cause of his journey home. There was at that time
another giant, named Cucullin--some say he was Irish, and some say he
was Scotch--but whether Scotch or Irish, sorrow doubt of it but he was
a _targer_. No other giant of the day could stand before him; and such
was his strength, that, when well vexed, he could give a stamp that
shook the country about him. The fame and name of him went far and
near; and nothing in the shape of a man, it was said, had any chance
with him in a fight. Whether the story is true or not, I cannot say,
but the report went that, by one blow of his fists he flattened a
thunderbolt, and kept it in his pocket, in the shape of a pancake, to
show to all his enemies, when they were about to fight him.
Undoubtedly he had given every giant in Ireland a considerable
beating, barring Fin M'Coul himself; and he swore, by the solemn
contents of Moll Kelly's Primer, that he would never rest, night or
day, winter or summer, till he would serve Fin with the same sauce, if
he could catch him. Fin, however, who no doubt was the cock of the
walk on his own dunghill, had a strong disinclination to meet a giant
who could make a young earthquake, or flatten a thunderbolt when he
was angry; so he accordingly kept dodging about from place to place,
not much to his credit as a Trojan, to be sure, whenever he happened
to get the hard word that Cucullin was on the scent of him. This,
then, was the marrow of the whole movement, although he put it on his
anxiety to see Oonagh; and I am not saying but there was some truth in
that too. However, the short and long of it was, with reverence be it
spoken, that he heard Cucullin was coming to the Causeway to have a
trial of strength with him; and he was naturally enough seized, in
consequence, with a very warm and sudden sit of affection for his
wife, poor woman, who was delicate in her health, and leading,
besides, a very lonely, uncomfortable life of it (he assured them) in
his absence. He accordingly pulled up the fir-tree, as I said before,
and having _snedded_ it into a walking-stick, set out on his
affectionate travels to see his darling Oonagh on the top of
Knockmany, by the way.

In truth, to state the suspicions of the country at the time, the people
wondered very much why it was that Fin selected such a windy spot for
his dwelling-house, and they even went so far as to tell him as much.

"What can you mane, Mr. M'Coul," said they, "by pitching your tent
upon the top of Knockmany, where you never are without a breeze, day
or night, winter or summer, and where you're often forced to take your
nightcap[63] without either going to bed or turning up your little
finger; ay, an' where, besides this, there's the sorrow's own want of

"Why," said Fin, "ever since I was the height of a round tower, I was
known to be fond of having a good prospect of my own; and where the
dickens, neighbours, could I find a better spot for a good prospect
than the top of Knockmany? As for water, I am sinking a pump,[64] and,
plase goodness, as soon as the Causeway's made, I intend to finish it."

Now, this was more of Fin's philosophy; for the real state of the case
was, that he pitched upon the top of Knockmany in order that he might
be able to see Cucullin coming towards the house, and, of course, that
he himself might go to look after his distant transactions in other
parts of the country, rather than--but no matter--we do not wish to
be too hard on Fin. All we have to say is, that if he wanted a spot
from which to keep a sharp look-out--and, between ourselves, he did
want it grievously--barring Slieve Croob, or Slieve Donard, or its own
cousin, Cullamore, he could not find a neater or more convenient
situation for it in the sweet and sagacious province of Ulster.

"God save all here!" said Fin, good-humouredly, on putting his honest
face into his own door.

"Musha, Fin, avick, an' you're welcome home to your own Oonagh, you
darlin' bully." Here followed a smack that is said to have made the
waters of the lake at the bottom of the hill curl, as it were, with
kindness and sympathy.

"Faith," said Fin, "beautiful; an' how are you, Oonagh--and how did
you sport your figure during my absence, my bilberry?"

"Never a merrier--as bouncing a grass widow as ever there was in sweet
'Tyrone among the bushes.'"

Fin gave a short, good-humoured cough, and laughed most heartily, to
show her how much he was delighted that she made herself happy in his

"An' what brought you home so soon, Fin?" said she.

"Why, avourneen," said Fin, putting in his answer in the proper way,
"never the thing but the purest of love and affection for yourself.
Sure you know that's truth, anyhow, Oonagh."

Fin spent two or three happy days with Oonagh, and felt himself very
comfortable, considering the dread he had of Cucullin. This, however,
grew upon him so much that his wife could not but perceive something
lay on his mind which he kept altogether to himself. Let a woman
alone, in the meantime, for ferreting or wheedling a secret out of her
good man, when she wishes. Fin was a proof of this.

"It's this Cucullin," said he, "that's troubling me. When the fellow
gets angry, and begins to stamp, he'll shake you a whole townland;
and it's well known that he can stop a thunderbolt, for he always
carries one about him in the shape of a pancake, to show to anyone
that might misdoubt it."

As he spoke, he clapped his thumb in his mouth, which he always did
when he wanted to prophesy, or to know anything that happened in his
absence; and the wife, who knew what he did it for, said, very sweetly,

"Fin, darling, I hope you don't bite your thumb at me, dear?"

"No," said Fin; "but I bite my thumb, acushla," said he.

"Yes, jewel; but take care and don't draw blood," said she. "Ah, Fin!
don't, my bully--don't."

"He's coming," said Fin; "I see him below Dungannon."

"Thank goodness, dear! an' who is it, avick? Glory be to God!"

"That baste, Cucullin," replied Fin; "and how to manage I don't know.
If I run away, I am disgraced; and I know that sooner or later I must
meet him, for my thumb tells me so."

"When will he be here?" said she.

"To-morrow, about two o'clock," replied Fin, with a groan.

"Well, my bully, don't be cast down," said Oonagh; "depend on me, and
maybe I'll bring you better out of this scrape than ever you could
bring yourself, by your rule o' thumb."

This quieted Fin's heart very much, for he knew that Oonagh was hand
and glove with the fairies; and, indeed, to tell the truth, she was
supposed to be a fairy herself. If she was, however, she must have
been a kind-hearted one, for, by all accounts, she never did anything
but good in the neighbourhood.

Now it so happened that Oonagh had a sister named Granua, living
opposite them, on the very top of Cullamore, which I have mentioned
already, and this Granua was quite as powerful as herself. The
beautiful valley that lies between them is not more than about three
or four miles broad, so that of a summer's evening, Granua and Oonagh
were able to hold many an agreeable conversation across it, from the
one hill-top to the other. Upon this occasion Oonagh resolved to
consult her sister as to what was best to be done in the difficulty
that surrounded them.

"Granua," said she, "are you at home?"

"No," said the other; "I'm picking bilberries in Althadhawan"
(_Anglicé_, the Devil's Glen).

"Well," said Oonagh, "get up to the top of Cullamore, look about you,
and then tell us what you see."

"Very well," replied Granua; after a few minutes, "I am there now."

"What do you see?" asked the other.

"Goodness be about us!" exclaimed Granua, "I see the biggest giant
that ever was known coming up from Dungannon."

"Ay," said Oonagh, "there's our difficulty. That giant is the great
Cucullin; and he's now commin' up to leather Fin. What's to be done?"

"I'll call to him," she replied, "to come up to Cullamore and refresh
himself, and maybe that will give you and Fin time to think of some plan
to get yourselves out of the scrape. But," she proceeded, "I'm short of
butter, having in the house only half-a-dozen firkins, and as I'm to
have a few giants and giantesses to spend the evenin' with me, I'd feel
thankful, Oonagh, if you'd throw me up fifteen or sixteen tubs, or the
largest miscaun you have got, and you'll oblige me very much."

"I'll do that with a heart and a-half," replied Oonagh; "and, indeed,
Granua, I feel myself under great obligations to you for your kindness
in keeping him off of us till we see what can be done; for what would
become of us all if anything happened Fin, poor man."

She accordingly got the largest miscaun of butter she had--which might
be about the weight of a couple a dozen mill-stones, so that you may
easily judge of its size--and calling up to her sister, "Granua,"
said she, "are you ready? I'm going to throw you up a miscaun, so be
prepared to catch it."

"I will," said the other; "a good throw now, and take care it does not
fall short."

Oonagh threw it; but, in consequence of her anxiety about Fin and
Cucullin, she forgot to say the charm that was to send it up, so that,
instead of reaching Cullamore, as she expected, it fell about half-way
between the two hills, at the edge of the Broad Bog near Augher.

"My curse upon you!" she exclaimed; "you've disgraced me. I now change
you into a grey stone. Lie there as a testimony of what has happened;
and may evil betide the first living man that will ever attempt to
remove or injure you!"

And, sure enough, there it lies to this day, with the mark of the four
fingers and thumb imprinted in it, exactly as it came out of her hand.

"Never mind," said Granua, "I must only do the best I can with
Cucullin. If all fail, I'll give him a cast of heather broth to keep
the wind out of his stomach, or a panada of oak-bark to draw it in a
bit; but, above all things, think of some plan to get Fin out of the
scrape he's in, otherwise he's a lost man. You know you used to be
sharp and ready-witted; and my own opinion, Oonagh, is, that it will
go hard with you, or you'll outdo Cucullin yet."

She then made a high smoke on the top of the hill, after which she put
her finger in her mouth, and gave three whistles, and by that Cucullin
knew he was invited to Cullamore--for this was the way that the Irish
long ago gave a sign to all strangers and travellers, to let them know
they were welcome to come and take share of whatever was going.

In the meantime, Fin was very melancholy, and did not know what to do,
or how to act at all. Cucullin was an ugly customer, no doubt, to meet
with; and, moreover, the idea of the confounded "cake" aforesaid
flattened the very heart within him. What chance could he have,
strong and brave though he was, with a man who could, when put in a
passion, walk the country into earthquakes and knock thunderbolts into
pancakes? The thing was impossible; and Fin knew not on what hand to
turn him. Right or left--backward or forward--where to go he could
form no guess whatsoever.

"Oonagh," said he, "can you do nothing for me? Where's all your
invention? Am I to be skivered like a rabbit before your eyes, and to
have my name disgraced forever in the sight of all my tribe, and me
the best man among them? How am I to fight this man-mountain--this
huge cross between an earthquake and a thunderbolt?--with a pancake in
his pocket that was once----"

"Be easy, Fin," replied Oonagh; "troth, I'm ashamed of you. Keep your
toe in your pump, will you? Talking of pancakes, maybe we'll give him
as good as any he brings with him--thunderbolt or otherwise. If I
don't treat him to as smart feeding as he's got this many a day, never
trust Oonagh again. Leave him to me, and do just as I bid you."

This relieved Fin very much; for, after all, he had great confidence
in his wife, knowing, as he did, that she had got him out of many a
quandary before. The present, however, was the greatest of all; but
still he began to get courage, and was able to eat his victuals as
usual. Oonagh then drew the nine woollen threads of different colours,
which she always did to find out the best way of succeeding in
anything of importance she went about. She then platted them into
three plats with three colours in each, putting one on her right arm,
one round her heart, and the third round her right ankle, for then she
knew that nothing could fail with her that she undertook.

Having everything now prepared, she sent round to the neighbours and
borrowed one-and-twenty iron griddles, which she took and kneaded into
the hearts of one-and-twenty cakes of bread, and these she baked on
the fire in the usual way, setting them aside in the cupboard
according as they were done. She then put down a large pot of new
milk, which she made into curds and whey, and gave Fin due
instructions how to use the curds when Cucullin should come. Having
done all this, she sat down quite contented, waiting for his arrival
on the next day about two o'clock, that being the hour at which he was
expected--for Fin knew as much by the sucking of his thumb. Now, this
was a curious property that Fin's thumb had; but, notwithstanding all
the wisdom and logic he used, to suck out of it, it could never have
stood to him here were it not for the wit of his wife. In this very
thing, moreover, he was very much resembled by his great foe,
Cucullin; for it was well known that the huge strength he possessed
all lay in the middle finger of his right hand, and that, if he
happened by any mischance to lose it, he was no more, notwithstanding
his bulk, than a common man.

At length, the next day, he was seen coming across the valley, and
Oonagh knew that it was time to commence operations. She immediately
made the cradle, and desired Fin to lie down in it, and cover himself
up with the clothes.

"You must pass for you own child," said she; "so just lie there snug,
and say nothing, but be guided by me." This, to be sure, was wormwood
to Fin--I mean going into the cradle in such a cowardly manner--but he
knew Oonagh well; and finding that he had nothing else for it, with a
very rueful face he gathered himself into it, and lay snug, as she had
desired him.

About two o'clock, as he had been expected, Cucullin came in. "God
save all here!" said he; "is this where the great Fin M'Coul lives?"

"Indeed it is, honest man," replied Oonagh; "God save you
kindly--won't you be sitting?"

"Thank you, ma'am," says he, sitting down; "you're Mrs. M'Coul, I

"I am," said she; "and I have no reason, I hope, to be ashamed of my

"No," said the other, "he has the name of being the strongest and
bravest man in Ireland; but for all that, there's a man not far from
you that's very desirous of taking a shake with him. Is he at home?"

"Why, then, no," she replied; "and if ever a man left his house in a
fury, he did. It appears that some one told him of a big basthoon of a
giant called Cucullin being down at the Causeway to look for him, and
so he set out there to try if he could catch him. Troth, I hope, for
the poor giant's sake, he won't meet with him, for if he does, Fin
will make paste of him at once."

"Well," said the other, "I am Cucullin, and I have been seeking him
these twelve months, but he always kept clear of me; and I will never
rest night or day till I lay my hands on him."

At this Oonagh set up a loud laugh, of great contempt, by-the-way, and
looked at him as if he was only a mere handful of a man.

"Did you ever see Fin?" said she, changing her manner all at once.

"How could I?" said he; "he always took care to keep his distance."

"I thought so," she replied; "I judged as much; and if you take my
advice, you poor-looking creature, you'll pray night and day that you
may never see him, for I tell you it will be a black day for you when
you do. But, in the meantime, you perceive that the wind's on the
door, and as Fin himself is from home, maybe you'd be civil enough to
turn the house, for it's always what Fin does when he's here."

This was a startler even to Cucullin; but he got up, however, and
after pulling the middle finger of his right hand until it cracked
three times, he went outside, and getting his arms about the house,
completely turned it as she had wished. When Fin saw this, he felt a
certain description of moisture, which shall be nameless, oozing out
through every pore of his skin; but Oonagh, depending upon her woman's
wit, felt not a whit daunted.

"Arrah, then," said she, "as you are so civil, maybe you'd do another
obliging turn for us, as Fin's not here to do it himself. You see,
after this long stretch of dry weather we've had, we feel very badly
off for want of water. Now, Fin says there's a fine spring-well
somewhere under the rocks behind the hill here below, and it was his
intention to pull them asunder; but having heard of you, he left the
place in such a fury, that he never thought of it. Now, if you try to
find it, troth I'd feel it a kindness."

She then brought Cucullin down to see the place, which was then all
one solid rock; and, after looking at it for some time, he cracked his
right middle finger nine times, and, stooping down, tore a cleft about
four hundred feet deep, and a quarter of a mile in length, which has
since been christened by the name of Lumford's Glen. This feat nearly
threw Oonagh herself off her guard; but what won't a woman's sagacity
and presence of mind accomplish?

"You'll now come in," said she, "and eat a bit of such humble fare as
we can give you. Fin, even although he and you are enemies, would
scorn not to treat you kindly in his own house; and, indeed, if I
didn't do it even in his absence, he would not be pleased with me."

She accordingly brought him in, and placing half-a-dozen of the cakes we
spoke of before him, together with a can or two of butter, a side of
boiled bacon, and a stack of cabbage, she desired him to help
himself--for this, be it known, was long before the invention of
potatoes. Cucullin, who, by the way, was a glutton as well as a hero,
put one of the cakes in his mouth to take a huge whack out of it, when
both Fin and Oonagh were stunned with a noise that resembled something
between a growl and a yell. "Blood and fury!" he shouted; "how is this?
Here are two of my teeth out! What kind of bread is this you gave me?"

"What's the matter?" said Oonagh coolly.

"Matter!" shouted the other again; "why, here are the two best teeth
in my head gone."

"Why," said she, "that's Fin's bread--the only bread he ever eats when
at home; but, indeed, I forgot to tell you that nobody can eat it but
himself, and that child in the cradle there. I thought, however, that,
as you were reported to be rather a stout little fellow of your size,
you might be able to manage it, and I did not wish to affront a man
that thinks himself able to fight Fin. Here's another cake--maybe it's
not so hard as that."

Cucullin at the moment was not only hungry, but ravenous, so he
accordingly made a fresh set at the second cake, and immediately
another yell was heard twice as loud as the first. "Thunder and
giblets!" he roared, "take your bread out of this, or I will not have
a tooth in my head; there's another pair of them gone!"

"Well, honest man," replied Oonagh, "if you're not able to eat the
bread, say so quietly, and don't be wakening the child in the cradle
there. There, now, he's awake upon me."

Fin now gave a skirl that startled the giant, as coming from such a
youngster as he was represented to be. "Mother," said he, "I'm
hungry--get me something to eat." Oonagh went over, and putting into his
hand a cake _that had no griddle in it_, Fin, whose appetite in the
meantime was sharpened by what he saw going forward, soon made it
disappear. Cucullin was thunderstruck, and secretly thanked his stars
that he had the good fortune to miss meeting Fin, for, as he said to
himself, I'd have no chance with a man who could eat such bread as that,
which even his son that's but in his cradle can munch before my eyes.

"I'd like to take a glimpse at the lad in the cradle," said he to
Oonagh; "for I can tell you that the infant who can manage that
nutriment is no joke to look at, or to feed of a scarce summer."

"With all the veins of my heart," replied Oonagh; "get up, acushla,
and show this decent little man something that won't be unworthy of
your father, Fin M'Coul."

Fin, who was dressed for the occasion as much like a boy as possible,
got up, and bringing Cucullin out, "Are you strong?" said he.

"Thunder an' ounds!" exclaimed the other, "what a voice in so small a

"Are you strong?" said Fin again; "are you able to squeeze water out
of that white stone?" he asked, putting one into Cucullin's hand. The
latter squeezed and squeezed the stone, but to no purpose; he might
pull the rocks of Lumford's Glen asunder, and flatten a thunderbolt,
but to squeeze water out of a white stone was beyond his strength. Fin
eyed him with great contempt, as he kept straining and squeezing and
squeezing and straining, till he got black in the face with the efforts.

"Ah, you're a poor creature!" said Fin. "You a giant! Give me the
stone here, and when I'll show what Fin's little son can do; you may
then judge of what my daddy himself is."

Fin then took the stone, and slyly exchanging it for the curds, he
squeezed the latter until the whey, as clear as water, oozed out in a
little shower from his hand.

"I'll now go in," said he "to my cradle; for I scorn to lose my time
with any one that's not able to eat my daddy's bread, or squeeze water
out of a stone. Bedad, you had better be off out of this before he
comes back; for if he catches you, it's in flummery he'd have you in
two minutes."

Cucullin, seeing what he had seen, was of the same opinion himself; his
knees knocked together with the terror of Fin's return, and he
accordingly hastened in to bid Oonagh farewell, and to assure her, that
from that day out, he never wished to hear of, much less to see, her
husband. "I admit fairly that I'm not a match for him," said he, "strong
as I am; tell him I will avoid him as I would the plague, and that I
will make myself scarce in this part of the country while I live."

Fin, in the meantime, had gone into the cradle, where he lay very
quietly, his heart at his mouth with delight that Cucullin was about
to take his departure, without discovering the tricks that had been
played off on him.

"It's well for you," said Oonagh, "that he doesn't happen to be here,
for it's nothing but hawk's meat he'd make of you."

"I know that," says Cucullin; "divil a thing else he'd make of me; but
before I go, will you let me feel what kind of teeth they are that
can eat griddle-bread like _that_?"--and he pointed to it as he spoke.

"With all pleasure in life," said she; "only, as they're far back in
his head, you must put your finger a good way in."

Cucullin was surprised to find such a powerful set of grinders in one
so young; but he was still much more so on finding, when he took his
hand from Fin's mouth, that he had left the very finger upon which his
whole strength depended, behind him. He gave one loud groan, and fell
down at once with terror and weakness. This was all Fin wanted, who
now knew that his most powerful and bitterest enemy was completely at
his mercy. He instantly started out of the cradle, and in a few
minutes the great Cucullin, that was for such a length of time the
terror of him and all his followers, lay a corpse before him. Thus did
Fin, through the wit and invention of Oonagh, his wife, succeed in
overcoming his enemy by stratagem, which he never could have done by
force: and thus also is it proved that the women, if they bring us
_into_ many an unpleasant scrape, can sometimes succeed in getting us
_out_ of others that are as bad.

[Footnote 63: A common name for the cloud or rack that hangs, as a
forerunner of wet weather, about the peak of a mountain.]

[Footnote 64: There is upon the top of this hill an opening that bears
a very strong resemblance to the crater of an extinct volcano.]




There was once a King and Queen that lived very happily together, and
they had twelve sons and not a single daughter. We are always wishing
for what we haven't, and don't care for what we have, and so it was
with the Queen. One day in winter, when the bawn was covered with
snow, she was looking out of the parlour window, and saw there a calf
that was just killed by the butcher, and a raven standing near it.
"Oh," says she, "if I had only a daughter with her skin as white as
that snow, her cheeks as red as that blood, and her hair as black as
that raven, I'd give away every one of my twelve sons for her." The
moment she said the word, she got a great fright, and a shiver went
through her, and in an instant after, a severe-looking old woman stood
before her. "That was a wicked wish you made," said she, "and to
punish you it will be granted. You will have such a daughter as you
desire, but the very day of her birth you will lose your other
children." She vanished the moment she said the words.

And that very way it turned out. When she expected her delivery, she had
her children all in a large room of the palace, with guards all round
it, but the very hour her daughter came into the world, the guards
inside and outside heard a great whirling and whistling, and the twelve
princes were seen flying one after another out through the open window,
and away like so many arrows over the woods. Well, the king was in great
grief for the loss of his sons, and he would be very enraged with his
wife if he only knew that she was so much to blame for it.

Everyone called the little princess Snow-white-and-Rose-red on account
of her beautiful complexion. She was the most loving and lovable child
that could be seen anywhere. When she was twelve years old she began
to be very sad and lonely, and to torment her mother, asking her about
her brothers that she thought were dead, for none up to that time ever
told her the exact thing that happened them. The secret was weighing
very heavy on the Queen's conscience, and as the little girl
persevered in her questions, at last she told her. "Well, mother,"
said she, "it was on my account my poor brothers were changed into
wild geese, and are now suffering all sorts of hardship; before the
world is a day older, I'll be off to seek them, and try to restore
them to their own shapes."

The King and Queen had her well watched, but all was no use. Next night
she was getting through the woods that surrounded the palace, and she
went on and on that night, and till the evening of next day. She had a
few cakes with her, and she got nuts, and _mugoreens_ (fruit of the
sweet briar), and some sweet crabs, as she went along. At last she came
to a nice wooden house just at sunset. There was a fine garden round it,
full of the handsomest flowers, and a gate in the hedge. She went in,
and saw a table laid out with twelve plates, and twelve knives and
forks, and twelve spoons, and there were cakes, and cold wild fowl, and
fruit along with the plates, and there was a good fire, and in another
long room there were twelve beds. Well, while she was looking about her
she heard the gate opening, and footsteps along the walk, and in came
twelve young men, and there was great grief and surprise on all their
faces when they laid eyes on her. "Oh, what misfortune sent you here?"
said the eldest. "For the sake of a girl we were obliged to leave our
father's court, and be in the shape of wild geese all day. That's twelve
years ago, and we took a solemn oath that we would kill the first young
girl that came into our hands. It's a pity to put such an innocent and
handsome girl as you are out of the world, but we must keep our oath."
"But," said she, "I'm your only sister, that never knew anything about
this till yesterday; and I stole away from our father's and mother's
palace last night to find you out and relieve you if I can." Every one
of them clasped his hands, and looked down on the floor, and you could
hear a pin fall till the eldest cried out, "A curse light on our oath!
what shall we do?" "I'll tell you that," said an old woman that appeared
at the instant among them. "Break your wicked oath, which no one should
keep. If you attempted to lay an uncivil finger on her I'd change you
into twelve _booliaun buis_ (stalks of ragweed), but I wish well to you
as well as to her. She is appointed to be your deliverer in this way.
She must spin and knit twelve shirts for you out of bog-down, to be
gathered by her own hands on the moor just outside of the wood. It will
take her five years to do it, and if she once speaks, or laughs, or
cries the whole time, you will have to remain wild geese by day till
you're called out of the world. So take care of your sister; it is worth
your while." The fairy then vanished, and it was only a strife with the
brothers to see who would be first to kiss and hug their sister.

So for three long years the poor young princess was occupied pulling
bog-down, spinning it, and knitting it into shirts, and at the end of
the three years she had eight made. During all that time, she never
spoke a word, nor laughed, nor cried: the last was the hardest to
refrain from. One fine day she was sitting in the garden spinning,
when in sprung a fine greyhound and bounded up to her, and laid his
paws on her shoulder, and licked her forehead and her hair. The next
minute a beautiful young prince rode up to the little garden gate,
took off his hat, and asked for leave to come in. She gave him a
little nod, and in he walked. He made ever so many apologies for
intruding, and asked her ever so many questions, but not a word could
he get out of her. He loved her so much from the first moment, that he
could not leave her till he told her he was king of a country just
bordering on the forest, and he begged her to come home with him, and
be his wife. She couldn't help loving him as much as he did her, and
though she shook her head very often, and was very sorry to leave her
brothers, at last she nodded her head, and put her hand in his. She
knew well enough that the good fairy and her brothers would be able to
find her out. Before she went she brought out a basket holding all her
bog-down, and another holding the eight shirts. The attendants took
charge of these, and the prince placed her before him on his horse.
The only thing that disturbed him while riding along was the
displeasure his stepmother would feel at what he had done. However, he
was full master at home, and as soon as he arrived he sent for the
bishop, got his bride nicely dressed, and the marriage was celebrated,
the bride answering by signs. He knew by her manners she was of high
birth, and no two could be fonder of each other.

The wicked stepmother did all she could to make mischief, saying she
was sure she was only a woodman's daughter; but nothing could disturb
the young king's opinion of his wife. In good time the young queen was
delivered of a beautiful boy, and the king was so glad he hardly knew
what to do for joy. All the grandeur of the christening and the
happiness of the parents tormented the bad woman more than I can tell
you, and she determined to put a stop to all their comfort. She got a
sleeping posset given to the young mother, and while she was thinking
and thinking how she could best make away with the child, she saw a
wicked-looking wolf in the garden, looking up at her, and licking his
chops. She lost no time, but snatched the child from the arms of the
sleeping woman, and pitched it out The beast caught it in his mouth,
and was over the garden fence in a minute. The wicked woman then
pricked her own fingers, and dabbled the blood round the mouth of the
sleeping mother.

Well, the young king was just then coming into the big bawn from
hunting, and as soon as he entered the house, she beckoned to him,
shed a few crocodile tears, began to cry and wring her hands, and
hurried him along the passage to the bedchamber.

Oh, wasn't the poor king frightened when he saw the queen's mouth
bloody, and missed his child? It would take two hours to tell you the
devilment of the old queen, the confusion and fright, and grief of the
young king and queen, the bad opinion he began to feel of his wife,
and the struggle she had to keep down her bitter sorrow, and not give
way to it by speaking or lamenting. The young king would not allow any
one to be called, and ordered his stepmother to give out that the
child fell from the mother's arms at the window, and that a wild beast
ran off with it. The wicked woman pretended to do so, but she told
underhand to everybody she spoke to what the king and herself saw in
the bedchamber.

The young queen was the most unhappy woman in the three kingdoms for a
long time, between sorrow for her child, and her husband's bad
opinion; still she neither spoke nor cried, and she gathered bog-down
and went on with the shirts. Often the twelve wild geese would be seen
lighting on the trees in the park or on the smooth sod, and looking in
at her windows. So she worked on to get the shirts finished, but
another year was at an end, and she had the twelfth shirt finished
except one arm, when she was obliged to take to her bed, and a
beautiful girl was born.

Now the king was on his guard, and he would not let the mother and
child be left alone for a minute; but the wicked woman bribed some of
the attendants, set others asleep, gave the sleepy posset to the
queen, and had a person watching to snatch the child away, and kill
it. But what should she see but the same wolf in the garden looking up
and licking his chops again? Out went the child, and away with it flew
the wolf, and she smeared the sleeping mother's mouth and face with
blood, and then roared, and bawled, and cried out to the king and to
everybody she met, and the room was filled, and everyone was sure the
young queen had just devoured her own babe.

The poor mother thought now her life would leave her. She was in such
a state she could neither think nor pray, but she sat like a stone,
and worked away at the arm of the twelfth shirt.

The king was for taking her to the house in the wood where he found
her, but the stepmother, and the lords of the court, and the judges
would not hear of it, and she was condemned to be burned in the big
bawn at three o'clock the same day. When the hour drew near, the king
went to the farthest part of his palace, and there was no more unhappy
man in his kingdom at that hour.

When the executioners came and led her off, she took the pile of
shirts in her arms. There was still a few stitches wanted, and while
they were tying her to the stakes she still worked on. At the last
stitch she seemed overcome and dropped a tear on her work, but the
moment after she sprang up, and shouted out, "I am innocent; call my
husband!" The executioners stayed their hands, except one
wicked-disposed creature, who set fire to the faggot next him, and
while all were struck in amaze, there was a rushing of wings, and in a
moment the twelve wild geese were standing around the pile. Before you
could count twelve, she flung a shirt over each bird, and there in the
twinkling of an eye were twelve of the finest young men that could be
collected out of a thousand. While some were untying their sister, the
eldest, taking a strong stake in his hand, struck the busy executioner
such a blow that he never needed another.

While they were comforting the young queen, and the king was hurrying
to the spot, a fine-looking woman appeared among them holding the babe
on one arm and the little prince by the hand. There was nothing but
crying for joy, and laughing for joy, and hugging and kissing, and
when any one had time to thank the good fairy, who in the shape of a
wolf, carried the child away, she was not to be found. Never was such
happiness enjoyed in any palace that ever was built, and if the wicked
queen and her helpers were not torn by wild horses, they richly
deserved it.

[Footnote 65: _The Fireside Stories of Ireland_ (Gill & Son, Dublin).]



There was once a poor widow woman, who had a daughter that was as
handsome as the day, and as lazy as a pig, saving your presence. The
poor mother was the most industrious person in the townland, and was a
particularly good hand at the spinning-wheel. It was the wish of her
heart that her daughter should be as handy as herself; but she'd get
up late, eat her breakfast before she'd finish her prayers, and then
go about dawdling, and anything she handled seemed to be burning her
fingers. She drawled her words as if it was a great trouble to her to
speak, or as if her tongue was as lazy as her body. Many a heart-scald
her poor mother got with her, and still she was only improving like
dead fowl in August.

Well, one morning that things were as bad as they could be, and the
poor woman was giving tongue at the rate of a mill-clapper, who should
be riding by but the king's son. "Oh dear, oh dear, good woman!" said
he, "you must have a very bad child to make you scold so terribly.
Sure it can't be this handsome girl that vexed you!" "Oh, please your
Majesty, not at all," says the old dissembler. "I was only checking
her for working herself too much. Would your majesty believe it? She
spins three pounds of flax in a day, weaves it into linen the next,
and makes it all into shirts the day after." "My gracious," says the
prince, "she's the very lady that will just fill my mother's eye, and
herself's the greatest spinner in the kingdom. Will you put on your
daughter's bonnet and cloak, if you please, ma'am, and set her behind
me? Why, my mother will be so delighted with her, that perhaps she'll
make her her daughter-in-law in a week, that is, if the young woman
herself is agreeable."

Well, between the confusion, and the joy, and the fear of being found
out, the women didn't know what to do; and before they could make up
their minds, young Anty (Anastasia) was set behind the prince, and
away he and his attendants went, and a good heavy purse was left
behind with the mother. She _pullillued_ a long time after all was
gone, in dread of something bad happening to the poor girl.

The prince couldn't judge of the girl's breeding or wit from the few
answers he pulled out of her. The queen was struck in a heap when she
saw a young country girl sitting behind her son, but when she saw her
handsome face, and heard all she could do, she didn't think she could
make too much of her. The prince took an opportunity of whispering her
that if she didn't object to be his wife she must strive to please his
mother. Well, the evening went by, and the prince and Anty were
getting fonder and fonder of one another, but the thought of the
spinning used toe send the cold to her heart every moment. When
bed-time came, the old queen went along with her to a beautiful
bedroom, and when she was bidding her good-night, she pointed to a
heap of fine flax, and said, "You may begin as soon as you like
to-morrow morning, and I'll expect to see these three pounds in nice
thread the morning after." Little did the poor girl sleep that night.
She kept crying and lamenting that she didn't mind her mother's advice
better. When she was left alone next morning, she began with a heavy
heart; and though she had a nice mahogany wheel and the finest flax
you ever saw, the thread was breaking every moment. One while it was
as fine as a cobweb, and the next as coarse as a little boy's
whipcord. At last she pushed her chair back, let her hands fall in her
lap, and burst out a-crying.

A small, old woman with surprising big feet appeared before her at the
same moment, and said, "What ails you, you handsome colleen?" "An'
haven't I all that flax to spin before to-morrow morning, and I'll never
be able to have even five yards of fine thread of it put together." "An'
would you think bad to ask poor _Colliagh Cushmōr_ (Old woman
Big-foot) to your wedding with the young prince? If you promise me that,
all your three pounds will be made into the finest of thread while
you're taking your sleep to-night." "Indeed, you must be there and
welcome, and I'll honour you all the days of your life." "Very well;
stay in your room till tea-time, and tell the queen she may come in for
her thread as early as she likes to-morrow morning." It was all as she
said; and the thread was finer and evener than the gut you see with
fly-fishers. "My brave girl you were!" says the queen. "I'll get my own
mahogany loom brought into you, but you needn't do anything more to-day.
Work and rest, work and rest, is my motto. To-morrow you'll weave all
this thread, and who knows what may happen?"

The poor girl was more frightened this time than the last, and she was
so afraid to lose the prince. She didn't even know how to put the warp
in the gears, nor how to use the shuttle, and she was sitting in the
greatest grief, when a little woman, who was mighty well-shouldered
about the hips, all at once appeared to her, told her her name was
_Colliach Cromanmōr_, and made the same bargain with her as
Colliach Cushmōr. Great was the queen's pleasure when she found
early in the morning a web as fine and white as the finest paper you
ever saw. "The darling you were!" says she. "Take your ease with the
ladies and gentlemen to-day, and if your have all this made into nice
shirts to-morrow you may present one of them to my son, and be married
to him out of hand."

Oh, wouldn't you pity poor Anty the next day, she was now so near the
prince, and, maybe, would be soon so far from him. But she waited as
patiently as she could with scissors, needle, and thread in hand, till
a minute after noon. Then she was rejoiced to see the third old woman
appear. She had a big red nose, and informed Anty that people called
her _Shron Mor Rua_ on that account. She was up to her as good as the
others, for a dozen fine shirts were lying on the table when the queen
paid her an early visit.

Now there was nothing talked of but the wedding, and I needn't tell
you it was grand. The poor mother was there along with the rest, and
at the dinner the old queen could talk of nothing but the lovely
shirts, and how happy herself and the bride would be after the
honeymoon, spinning, and weaving, and sewing shirts and shifts without
end. The bridegroom didn't like the discourse, and the bride liked it
less, and he was going to say something, when the footman came up to
the head of the table and said to the bride, "Your ladyship's aunt,
Colliach Cushmōr, bade me ask might she come in." The bride blushed
and wished she was seven miles under the floor, but well became the
prince. "Tell Mrs. Cushmōr," said he, "that any relation of my
bride's will be always heartily welcome wherever she and I are." In
came the woman with the big foot, and got a seat near the prince. The
old queen didn't like it much, and after a few words she asked rather
spitefully, "Dear ma'am, what's the reason your foot is so big?"
"_Musha_, faith, your majesty, I was standing almost all my life at
the spinning-wheel, and that's the reason." "I declare to you, my
darling," said the prince, "I'll never allow you to spend one hour at
the same spinning-wheel." The same footman said again, "Your
ladyship's aunt, Colliach Cromanmōr, wishes to come in, if the
genteels and yourself have no objection." Very _sharoose_ (displeased)
was Princess Anty, but the prince sent her welcome, and she took her
seat, and drank healths apiece to the company. "May I ask, ma'am?"
says the old queen, "why you're so wide half-way between the head and
the feet?" "That, your majesty, is owing to sitting all my life at the
loom." "By my sceptre," says the prince, "my wife shall never sit
there an hour." The footman again came up. "Your ladyship's aunt,
Colliach Shron Mor Rua, is asking leave to come into the banquet."
More blushing on the bride's face, but the bridegroom spoke out
cordially, "Tell Mrs. Shron Mor Rua she's doing us an honour." In came
the old woman, and great respect she got near the top of the table,
but the people down low put up their tumblers and glasses to their
noses to hide the grins. "Ma'am," says the old queen, "will you tell
us, if you please, why your nose is so big and red?" "Throth, your
majesty, my head was bent down over the stitching all my life, and all
the blood in my body ran into my nose." "My darling," said the prince
to Anty, "if ever I see a needle in your hand, I'll run a hundred
miles from you."

"And in troth, girls and boys, though it's a diverting story, I don't
think the moral is good; and if any of you _thuckeens_ go about
imitating Anty in her laziness, you'll find it won't thrive with you as
it did with her. She was beautiful beyond compare, which none of you
are, and she had three powerful fairies to help her besides. There's no
fairies now, and no prince or lord to ride by, and catch you idling or
working; and maybe, after all, the prince and herself were not so very
happy when the cares of the world or old age came on them."

Thus was the tale ended by poor old _Shebale_ (Sybilla), Father Murphy's
housekeeper, in Coolbawn, Barony of Bantry, about half a century since.



There was once a very worthy king, whose daughter was the greatest
beauty that could be seen far or near, but she was as proud as
Lucifer, and no king or prince would she agree to marry. Her father
was tired out at last, and invited every king, and prince, and duke,
and earl that he knew or didn't know to come to his court to give her
one trial more. They all came, and next day after breakfast they stood
in a row in the lawn, and the princess walked along in the front of
them to make her choice. One was fat, and says she, "I won't have you,
Beer-barrel!" One was tall and thin, and to him she said, "I won't
have you, Ramrod!" To a white-faced man she said, "I won't have you,
Pale Death;" and to a red-cheeked man she said, "I won't have you,
Cockscomb!" She stopped a little before the last of all, for he was a
fine man in face and form. She wanted to find some defect in him, but
he had nothing remarkable but a ring of brown curling hair under his
chin. She admired him a little, and then carried it off with, "I won't
have you, Whiskers!"

So all went away, and the king was so vexed, he said to her, "Now to
punish your _impudence_, I'll give you to the first beggarman or
singing _sthronshuch_ that calls;" and, as sure as the hearth-money, a
fellow all over-rags, and hair that came to his shoulders, and a bushy
red beard all over his face, came next morning, and began to sing
before the parlour window.

When the song was over, the hall-door was opened, the singer asked in,
the priest brought, and the princess married to Beardy. She roared and
she bawled, but her father didn't mind her. "There," says he to the
bridegroom, "is five guineas for you. Take your wife out of my sight,
and never let me lay eyes on you or her again."

Off he led her, and dismal enough she was. The only thing that gave
her relief was the tones of her husband's voice and his genteel
manners. "Whose wood is this?" said she, as they were going through
one. "It belongs to the king you called Whiskers yesterday." He gave
her the same answer about meadows and corn-fields, and at last a fine
city. "Ah, what a fool I was!" said she to herself. "He was a fine
man, and I might have him for a husband." At last they were coming up
to a poor cabin. "Why are you bringing me here?" says the poor lady.
"This was my house," said he, "and now it's yours." She began to cry,
but she was tired and hungry, and she went in with him.

Ovoch! there was neither a table laid out, nor a fire burning, and she
was obliged to help her husband to light it, and boil their dinner,
and clean up the place after; and next day he made her put on a stuff
gown and a cotton handkerchief. When she had her house readied up, and
no business to keep her employed, he brought home _sallies_ [willows],
peeled them, and showed her how to make baskets. But the hard twigs
bruised her delicate fingers, and she began to cry. Well, then he
asked her to mend their clothes, but the needle drew blood from her
fingers, and she cried again. He couldn't bear to see her tears, so he
bought a creel of earthenware, and sent her to the market to sell
them. This was the hardest trial of all, but she looked so handsome
and sorrowful, and had such a nice air about her, that all her pans,
and jugs, and plates, and dishes were gone before noon, and the only
mark of her old pride she showed was a slap she gave a buckeen across
the face when he _axed_ her to go in an' take share of a quart.

Well, her husband was so glad, he sent her with another creel the next
day; but faith! her luck was after deserting her. A drunken huntsman
came up riding, and his beast got in among her ware, and made _brishe_
of every mother's son of 'em. She went home cryin', and her husband
wasn't at all pleased. "I see," said he, "you're not fit for business.
Come along, I'll get you a kitchen-maid's place in the palace. I know
the cook."

So the poor thing was obliged to stifle her pride once more. She was
kept very busy, and the footman and the butler would be very impudent
about looking for a kiss, but she let a screech out of her the first
attempt was made, and the cook gave the fellow such a lambasting with
the besom that he made no second offer. She went home to her husband
every night, and she carried broken victuals wrapped in papers in her
side pockets.

A week after she got service there was great bustle in the kitchen.
The king was going to be married, but no one knew who the bride was to
be. Well, in the evening the cook filled the princess's pockets with
cold meat and puddings, and, says she, "Before you go, let us have a
look at the great doings in the big parlour." So they came near the
door to get a peep, and who should come out but the king himself, as
handsome as you please, and no other but King Whiskers himself. "Your
handsome helper must pay for her peeping," said he to the cook, "and
dance a jig with me." Whether she would or no, he held her hand and
brought her into the parlour. The fiddlers struck up, and away went
_him_ with _her_. But they hadn't danced two steps when the meat and
the _puddens_ flew out of her pockets. Every one roared out, and she
flew to the door, crying piteously. But she was soon caught by the
king, and taken into the back parlour. "Don't you know me, my
darling?" said he. "I'm both King Whiskers, your husband the
ballad-singer, and the drunken huntsman. Your father knew me well
enough when he gave you to me, and all was to drive your pride out of
you." Well, she didn't know how she was with fright, and shame, and
joy. Love was uppermost anyhow, for she laid her head on her husband's
breast and cried like a child. The maids-of-honour soon had her away
and dressed her as fine as hands and pins could do it; and there were
her mother and father, too; and while the company were wondering what
end of the handsome girl and the king, he and his queen, _who_ they
didn't know in her fine clothes, and the other king and queen, came
in, and such rejoicings and fine doings as there was, none of us will
ever see, any way.

[Footnote 66: _Fireside Stories of Ireland._]



In old times in Ireland there was a great man of the Fitzgeralds. The
name on him was Gerald, but the Irish, that always had a great liking
for the family, called him _Gearoidh Iarla_ (Earl Gerald). He had a
great castle or rath at _Mullymast_ (Mullaghmast); and whenever the
English Government were striving to put some wrong on the country, he
was always the man that stood up for it. Along with being a great
leader in a fight, and very skilful at all weapons, he was deep in the
_black art_, and could change himself into whatever shape he pleased.
His lady knew that he had this power, and often asked him to let her
into some of his secrets, but he never would gratify her.

She wanted particularly to see him in some strange shape, but he put
her off and off on one pretence or other. But she wouldn't be a woman
if she hadn't perseverance; and so at last he let her know that if she
took the least fright while he'd be out of his natural form, he would
never recover it till many generations of men would be under the
mould. "Oh! she wouldn't be a fit wife for Gearoidh Iarla if she could
be easily frightened. Let him but gratify her in this whim, and he'd
see what a hero she was!" So one beautiful summer evening, as they
were sitting in their grand drawing-room, he turned his face away from
her and muttered some words, and while you'd wink he was clever and
clean out of sight, and a lovely _goldfinch_ was flying about the room.

The lady, as courageous as she thought herself, was a little startled,
but she held her own pretty well, especially when he came and perched
on her shoulder, and shook his wings, and put his little beak to her
lips, and whistled the delightfulest tune you ever heard. Well, he
flew in circles round the room, and played _hide and go seek_ with his
lady, and flew out into the garden, and flew back again, and lay down
in her lap as if he was asleep, and jumped up again.

Well, when the thing had lasted long enough to satisfy both, he took
one flight more into the open air; but by my word he was soon on his
return. He flew right into his lady's bosom, and the next moment a
fierce hawk was after him. The wife gave one loud scream, though there
was no need, for the wild bird came in like an arrow, and struck
against a table with such force that the life was dashed out of him.
She turned her eyes from his quivering body to where she saw the
goldfinch an instant before, but neither goldfinch nor Earl Gerald did
she ever lay eyes on again.

Once every seven years the Earl rides round the Curragh of Kildare on
a steed, whose silver shoes were half an inch thick the time he
disappeared; and when these shoes are worn as thin as a cat's ear, he
will be restored to the society of living men, fight a great battle
with the English, and reign king of Ireland for two-score years.[68]

Himself and his warriors are now sleeping in a long cavern under the
Rath of Mullaghmast. There is a table running along through the middle
of the cave. The Earl is sitting at the head, and his troopers down
along in complete armour both sides of the table, and their heads
resting on it. Their horses, saddled and bridled, are standing behind
their masters in their stalls at each side; and when the day comes,
the miller's son that's to be born with six fingers on each hand, will
blow his trumpet, and the horses will stamp and whinny, and the
knights awake and mount their steeds, and go forth to battle.

Some night that happens once in every seven years, while the Earl is
riding round the Curragh, the entrance may be seen by any one chancing
to pass by. About a hundred years ago, a horse-dealer that was late
abroad and a little drunk, saw the lighted cavern, and went in. The
lights, and the stillness, and the sight of the men in armour, cowed him
a good deal, and he became sober. His hands began to tremble, and he
let a bridle fall on the pavement. The sound of the bit echoed through
the long cave, and one of the warriors that was next him lifted his head
a little, and said, in a deep hoarse voice, "Is it time yet?" He had the
wit to say, "Not yet, but soon will," and the heavy helmet sunk down on
the table. The horse-dealer made the best of his way out, and I never
heard of any other one having got the same opportunity.

[Footnote 67: _Legendary Fiction of the Irish Celts._--(Macmillan).]

[Footnote 68: The last time _Gearoidh Iarla_ appeared the horse-shoes
were as thin as a sixpence.]



There once lived a Munachar and a Manachar, a long time ago, and it is
a long time since it was, and if they were alive then they would not
be alive now. They went out together to pick raspberries, and as many
as Munachar used to pick Manachar used to eat. Munachar said he must
go look for a rod to make a gad (a withy band) to hang Manachar, who
ate his raspberries every one; and he came to the rod. "God save you,"
said the rod. "God and Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going
looking for a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who
ate my raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the rod, "until you get an axe to cut me."
He came to the axe. "God save you," said the axe. "God and Mary save
you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for an axe, an axe to
cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the axe, "until you get a flag to edge
me." He came to the flag. "God save you," says the flag. "God and Mary
save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for an axe, axe to
cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," says the flag, "till you get water to wet me."
He came to the water. "God save you," says the water. "God and Mary
save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for water, water to
wet flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to
hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the water, "until you get a deer who will
swim me." He came to the deer. "God save you," says the deer. "God and
Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for a deer,
deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a
rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the deer, "until you get a hound who will
hunt me." He came to the hound. "God save you," says the hound. "God
and Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for a
hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag
to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang
Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the hound, "until you get a bit of butter
to put in my claw." He came to the butter. "God save you," says the
butter. "God and Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going
looking for butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer,
deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a
rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the butter, "until you get a cat who shall
scrape me." He came to the cat. "God save you," said the cat. "God and
Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for a cat, cat
to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer,
deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a
rod, a rod to make a gad, gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries
every one."

"You will not get me," said the cat, "until you will get milk which
you will give me." He came to the cow. "God save you," said the cow.
"God and Mary save you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for a
cow, cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape
butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to
swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a
rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries
every one."

"You will not get any milk from me," said the cow, "until you bring me
a whisp of straw from those threshers yonder." He came to the
threshers. "God save you," said the threshers. "God and Mary save ye."
"How far are you going?" "Going looking for a whisp of straw from ye
to give to the cow, the cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the
cat, cat to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to
hunt deer, deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe,
axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate
my raspberries every one."

"You will not get any whisp of straw from us," said the threshers,
"until you bring us the makings of a cake from the miller over
yonder." He came to the miller. "God save you." "God and Mary save
you." "How far are you going?" "Going looking for the makings of a
cake, which I will give to the threshers, the threshers to give me a
whisp of straw, the whisp of straw I will give to the cow, the cow to
give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter,
butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim water,
water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod to make a
gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every one."

"You will not get any makings of a cake from me," said the miller,
"till you bring me the full of that sieve of water from the river over

He took the sieve in his hand and went over to the river, but as often
as ever he would stoop and fill it with water, the moment he raised it
the water would run out of it again, and sure, if he had been there
from that day till this, he never could have filled it. A crow went
flying by him, over his head. "Daub! daub!" said the crow. "My soul to
God, then," said Munachar, "but it's the good advice you have," and he
took the red clay and the daub that was by the brink, and he rubbed it
to the bottom of the sieve, until all the holes were filled, and then
the sieve held the water, and he brought the water to the miller, and
the miller gave him the makings of a cake, and he gave the makings of
the cake to the threshers, and the threshers gave him a whisp of
straw, and he gave the whisp of straw to the cow, and the cow gave him
milk, the milk he gave to the cat, the cat scraped the butter, the
butter went into the claw of the hound, the hound hunted the deer, the
deer swam the water, the water wet the flag, the flag sharpened the
axe, the axe cut the rod, and the rod made a gad, and when he had it
ready--I'll go bail that Manachar was far enough away from him.

     There is some tale like this in almost every language. It
     resembles that given in that splendid work of industry and
     patriotism, Campbell's _Tales of the West Highlands_ under the
     name of _Moonachug and Meenachug_. "The English House that Jack
     built," says Campbell, "has eleven steps, the Scotch Old Woman
     with the Silver Penny has twelve, the Novsk Cock and Hen
     A-nutting has twelve, ten of which are double. The German story
     in Grimm has five or six, all single ideas." This, however, is
     longer than any of them. It sometimes varies a little in the
     telling, and the actors' names are sometimes _Suracha_ and
     _Muracha_, and the crow is sometimes a gull, who, instead of
     _daub! daub!_ says _cuir cré rua lesh!_


_From Hibernian Tales._[69]

Hudden and Dudden and Donald O'Nery were near neighbours in the barony
of Balinconlig, and ploughed with three bullocks; but the two former,
envying the present prosperity of the latter, determined to kill his
bullock, to prevent his farm being properly cultivated and laboured,
that going back in the world he might be induced to sell his lands,
which they meant to get possession of. Poor Donald finding his bullock
killed, immediately skinned it, and throwing the skin over his
shoulder, with the fleshy side out, set off to the next town with it,
to dispose of it to the best of his advantage. Going along the road a
magpie flew on the top of the hide, and began picking it, chattering
all the time. The bird had been taught to speak, and imitate the human
voice, and Donald, thinking he understood some words it was saying,
put round his hand and caught hold of it. Having got possession of it,
he put it under his greatcoat, and so went on to town. Having sold the
hide, he went into an inn to take a dram, and following the landlady
into the cellar, he gave the bird a squeeze which made it chatter some
broken accents that surprised her very much. "What is that I hear?"
said she to Donald. "I think it is talk, and yet I do not understand."
"Indeed," said Donald, "it is a bird I have that tells me everything,
and I always carry it with me to know when there is any danger.
Faith," says he, "it says you have far better liquor than you are
giving me." "That is strange," said she, going to another cask of
better quality, and asking him if he would sell the bird. "I will,"
said Donald, "if I get enough for it." "I will fill your hat with
silver if you leave it with me." Donald was glad to hear the news, and
taking the silver, set off, rejoicing at his good luck. He had not
been long at home until he met with Hudden and Dudden. "Mr.," said he,
"you thought you had done me a bad turn, but you could not have done
me a better; for look here, what I have got for the hide," showing
them a hatful of silver; "you never saw such a demand for hides in
your life as there is at present." Hudden and Dudden that very night
killed their bullocks, and set out the next morning to sell their
hides. On coming to the place they went through all the merchants, but
could only get a trifle for them; at last they had to take what they
could get, and came home in a great rage, and vowing revenge on poor
Donald. He had a pretty good guess how matters would turn out, and he
being under the kitchen window, he was afraid they would rob him, or
perhaps kill him when asleep, and on that account when he was going to
bed he left his old mother in his place, and lay down in her bed,
which was in the other side of the house, and they taking the old
woman for Donald, choked her in her bed, but he making some noise,
they had to retreat, and leave the money behind them, which grieved
them very much. However, by daybreak, Donald got his mother on his
back, and carried her to town. Stopping at a well, he fixed his mother
with her staff, as if she was stooping for a drink, and then went into
a public-house convenient and called for a dram. "I wish," said he to
a woman that stood near him, "you would tell my mother to come in; she
is at yon well trying to get a drink, and she is hard of hearing; if
she does not observe you, give her a little shake and tell her that I
want her." The woman called her several times, but she seemed to take
no notice; at length she went to her and shook her by the arm, but
when she let her go again, she tumbled on her head into the well, and,
as the woman thought, was drowned. She, in her great surprise and fear
at the accident, told Donald what had happened. "O mercy," said he,
"what is this?" He ran and pulled her out of the well, weeping and
lamenting all the time, and acting in such a manner that you would
imagine that he had lost his senses. The woman, on the other hand, was
far worse than Donald, for his grief was only feigned, but she
imagined herself to be the cause of the old woman's death. The
inhabitants of the town hearing what had happened, agreed to make
Donald up a good sum of money for his loss, as the accident happened
in their place, and Donald brought a greater sum home with him than he
got for the magpie. They buried Donald's mother, and as soon as he saw
Hudden he showed them the last purse of money he had got. "You thought
to kill me last night," said he, "but it was good for me it happened
on my mother, for I got all that purse for her to make gunpowder."

That very night Hudden and Dudden killed their mothers, and the next
morning set off with them to town. On coming to the town with their
burthen on their backs, they went up and down crying, "Who will buy
old wives for gunpowder," so that everyone laughed at them, and the
boys at last clotted them out of the place. They then saw the cheat,
and vowed revenge on Donald, buried the old women, and set off in
pursuit of him. Coming to his house, they found him sitting at his
breakfast, and seizing him, put him in a sack, and went to drown him
in a river at some distance. As they were going along the highway they
raised a hare, which they saw had but three feet, and throwing off the
sack, ran after her, thinking by her appearance she would be easily
taken. In their absence there came a drover that way, and hearing
Donald singing in the sack, wondered greatly what could be the matter.
"What is the reason," said he, "that you are singing, and you
confined?" "O, I am going to heaven," said Donald, "and in a short
time I expect to be free from trouble." "O dear," said the drover,
"what will I give you if you let me to your place?" "Indeed, I do not
know," said he, "it would take a good sum." "I have not much money,"
said the drover, "but I have twenty head of fine cattle, which I will
give you to exchange places with me." "Well," says Donald, "I do not
care if I should loose the sack, and I will come out." In a moment the
drover liberated him, and went into the sack himself, and Donald drove
home the fine heifers, and left them in his pasture.

Hudden and Dudden having caught the hare, returned, and getting the sack
on one of their backs, carried Donald, as they thought, to the river and
threw him in, where he immediately sank. They then marched home,
intending to take immediate possession of Donald's property, but how
great was their surprise when they found him safe at home before them,
with such a fine herd of cattle, whereas they knew he had none before.
"Donald," said they, "what is all this? We thought you were drowned,
and yet you are here before us." "Ah!" said he, "if I had but help along
with me when you threw me in, it would have been the best job ever I met
with, for of all the sight of cattle and gold that ever was seen is
there, and no one to own them, but I was not able to manage more than
what you see, and I could show you the spot where you might get
hundreds." They both swore they would be his friend, and Donald
accordingly led them to a very deep part of the river, and lifted up a
stone. "Now," said he, "watch this," throwing it into the stream; "there
is the very place, and go in, one of you first, and if you want help,
you have nothing to do but call." Hudden jumping in, and sinking to the
bottom, rose up again, and making a bubbling noise, as those do that are
drowning, attempted to speak, but could not. "What is that he is saying
now?" says Dudden. "Faith," says Donald, "he is calling for help; don't
you hear him? Stand about," said he, running back, "till I leap in. I
know how to do it better than any of you." Dudden, to have the advantage
of him, jumped in off the bank, and was drowned along with Hudden, and
this was the end of Hudden and Dudden.

[Footnote 69: A chap-book mentioned by Thackeray in his _Irish Sketch


Tom Moor was a linen draper in Sackville Street. His father, when he
died, left him an affluent fortune, and a shop of excellent trade.

As he was standing at his door one day a countryman came up to him
with a nest of jackdaws, and accosting him, says, "Master, will you
buy a nest of daws?" "No, I don't want any." "Master," replied the
man, "I will sell them all cheap; you shall have the whole nest for
nine-pence." "I don't want them," answered Tom Moor, "so go about your

As the man was walking away one of the daws popped out his head, and
cried "Mawk, mawk." "Damn it," says Tom Moor, "that bird knows my
name; halloo, countryman, what will you take for the bird?" "Why, you
shall have him for threepence." Tom Moor bought him, had a cage made,
and hung him up in the shop.

The journeymen took much notice of the bird, and would frequently tap
at the bottom of the cage, and say, "Who are you? Who are you? Tom
Moor of Sackville Street."

In a short time the jackdaw learned these words, and if he wanted
victuals or water, would strike his bill against the cage, turn up the
white of his eyes, cock his head, and cry, "Who are you? who are you?
Tom Moor of Sackville Street."

Tom Moor was fond of gaming, and often lost large sums of money;
finding his business neglected in his absence, he had a small hazard
table set up in one corner of his dining-room, and invited a party of
his friends to play at it.

The jackdaw had by this time become familiar; his cage was left open,
and he hopped into every part of the house; sometimes he got into the
dining-room, where the gentlemen were at play, and one of them being a
constant winner, the others would say, "Damn it, how he nicks them."
The bird learned these words also, and adding them to the former,
would call, "Who are you? who are you? Tom Moor of Sackville Street.
Damn it, how he nicks them."

Tom Moor, from repeated losses and neglect of business, failed in
trade, and became a prisoner in the Fleet; he took his bird with him,
and lived on the master's side, supported by friends, in a decent
manner. They would sometimes ask what brought you here? when he used
to lift up his hands and answer, "Bad company, by G--." The bird
learned this likewise, and at the end of the former words, would say,
"What brought you here? Bad company, by G--."

Some of Tom Moor's friends died, others went abroad, and by degrees he
was totally deserted, and removed to the common side of the prison,
where the jail distemper soon attacked him; and in the last stage of
life, lying on a straw bed; the poor bird had been for two days
without food or water, came to his feet, and striking his bill on the
floor, calls out, "Who are you? Tom Moor of Sackville Street; damn it,
how he nicks them, damn it, how he nicks them. What brought you here?
bad company, by G--, bad company, by G--."

Tom Moor, who had attended to the bird, was struck with his words, and
reflecting on himself, cried out, "Good God, to what a situation am I
reduced! my father, when he died, left me a good fortune and an
established trade. I have spent my fortune, ruined my business, and am
now dying in a loathsome jail; and to complete all, keeping that poor
thing confined without support. I will endeavour to do one piece of
justice before I die, by setting him at liberty."

He made a struggle to crawl from his straw bed, opened the casement,
and out flew the bird. A flight of jackdaws from the Temple were going
over the jail, and Tom Moor's bird mixed among them. The gardener was
then laying the plats of the Temple gardens, and as often as he placed
them in the day the jackdaws pulled them up by night. They got a gun
and attempted to shoot some of them; but, being cunning birds, they
always placed one as a watch in the stump of a hollow tree; who, as
soon as the gun was levelled cried "Mawk," and away they flew.

The gardeners were advised to get a net, and the first night it was
spread they caught fifteen; Tom Moor's bird was amongst them. One of
the men took the net into a garret of an uninhabited house, fastens
the doors and windows, and turns the birds loose. "Now," said he, "you
black rascals, I will be revenged of you." Taking hold of the first at
hand, he twists her neck, and throwing him down, cries, "There goes
one." Tom Moor's bird, who had hopped up to a beam at one corner of
the room unobserved, as the man lays hold of the second, calls out,
"Damn it, how he nicks them." The man alarmed, cries, "Sure I heard a
voice, but the house is uninhabited, and the door is fast; it could
only be imagination." On laying hold of the third, and twisting his
neck, Tom's bird again says, "Damn it, how he nicks them." The man
dropped the bird in his hand, and turning to where the voice came
from, seeing the other with his mouth open, cries out, "Who are you?"
to which the bird answered, "Tom Moor of Sackville Street, Tom Moor of
Sackville Street." "The devil you are; and what brought you here." Tom
Moor's bird, lifting up his pinions, answered, "Bad company, by G--,
bad company, by G--." The fellow, frightened almost out of his wits,
opened the door, ran down stairs, and out of the house, followed by
all the birds, who by this means regained their liberty.


_Translated from the original Irish of the Story-teller_, ABRAHAM

It was long before the time the western districts of _Innis
Fodhla_[71] had any settled name, but were indiscriminately called
after the person who took possession of them, and whose name they
retained only as long as his sway lasted, that a powerful king reigned
over this part of the sacred island. He was a puissant warrior, and no
individual was found able to compete with him either on land or sea,
or question his right to his conquest. The great king of the west held
uncontrolled sway from the island of Rathlin to the mouth of the
Shannon by sea, and far as the glittering length by land. The ancient
king of the west, whose name was Conn, was good as well as great, and
passionately loved by his people. His queen was a _Breaton_ (British)
princess, and was equally beloved and esteemed, because she was the
great counterpart of the king in every respect; for whatever good
qualification was wanting in the one, the other was certain to
indemnify the omission. It was plainly manifest that heaven approved
of the career in life of the virtuous couple; for during their reign
the earth produced exuberant crops, the trees fruit ninefold
commensurate with their usual bearing, the rivers, lakes, and
surrounding sea teemed with abundance of choice fish, while herds and
flocks were unusually prolific, and kine and sheep yielded such
abundance of rich milk that they shed it in torrents upon the
pastures; and furrows and cavities were always filled with the pure
lacteal produce of the dairy. All these were blessings heaped by
heaven upon the western districts of _Innis Fodhla_, over which the
benignant and just Conn swayed his sceptre, in approbation of the
course of government he had marked out for his own guidance. It is
needless to state that the people who owned the authority of this
great and good sovereign were the happiest on the face of the wide
expanse of earth. It was during his reign, and that of his son and
successor, that Ireland acquired the title of the "happy isle of the
west" among foreign nations. Con Mór and his good Queen Eda reigned in
great glory during many years; they were blessed with an only son,
whom they named Conn-eda, after both his parents, because the Druids
foretold at his birth that he would inherit the good qualities of
both. According as the young prince grew in years, his amiable and
benignant qualities of mind, as well as his great strength of body and
manly bearing, became more manifest. He was the idol of his parents,
and the boast of his people; he was beloved and respected to that
degree that neither prince, lord, nor plebeian swore an oath by the
sun, moon, stars, or elements, except by the head of Conn-eda. This
career of glory, however, was doomed to meet a powerful but temporary
impediment, for the good Queen Eda took a sudden and severe illness,
of which she died in a few days, thus plunging her spouse, her son,
and all her people into a depth of grief and sorrow from which it was
found difficult to relieve them.

The good king and his subjects mourned the loss of Queen Eda for a year
and a day, and at the expiration of that time Conn Mór reluctantly
yielded to the advice of his Druids and counsellors, and took to wife
the daughter of his Arch-Druid. The new queen appeared to walk in the
footsteps of the good Eda for several years, and gave great satisfaction
to her subjects. But, in course of time, having had several children,
and perceiving that Conn-eda was the favourite son of the king and the
darling of the people, she clearly foresaw that he would become
successor to the throne after the demise of his father, and that her son
would certainly be excluded. This excited the hatred and inflamed the
jealousy of the Druid's daughter against her step-son to such an extent,
that she resolved in her own mind to leave nothing in her power undone
to secure his death, or even exile from the kingdom. She began by
circulating evil reports of the prince; but, as he was above suspicion,
the king only laughed at the weakness of the queen; and the great
princes and chieftains, supported by the people in general, gave an
unqualified contradiction; while the prince himself bore all his trials
with the utmost patience, and always repaid her bad and malicious acts
towards him with good and benevolent ones. The enmity of the queen
towards Conn-eda knew no bounds when she saw that the false reports she
circulated could not injure him. As a last resource, to carry out her
wicked projects, she determined to consult her _Cailleach-chearc_
(hen-wife), who was a reputed enchantress.

Pursuant to her resolution, by the early dawn of morning she hied to
the cabin of the _Cailleach-chearc_, and divulged to her the cause of
her trouble. "I cannot render you any help," said the _Cailleach_,
"until you name the _duais_" (reward). "What _duais_ do you require?"
asked the queen, impatiently. "My _duais_," replied the enchantress,
"is to fill the cavity of my arm with wool, and the hole I shall bore
with my distaff with red wheat." "Your _duais_ is granted, and shall
be immediately given you," said the queen. The enchantress thereupon
stood in the door of her hut, and bending her arm into a circle with
her side, directed the royal attendants to thrust the wool into her
house through her arm, and she never permitted them to cease until all
the available space within was filled with wool. She then got on the
roof of her brother's house, and, having made a hole through it with
her distaff, caused red wheat to be spilled through it, until that was
filled up to the roof with red wheat, so that there was no room for
another grain within. "Now," said the queen, "since you have received
your _duais_, tell me how I can accomplish my purpose." "Take this
chess-board and chess, and invite the prince to play with you; you
shall win the first game. The condition you shall make is, that
whoever wins a game shall be at liberty to impose whatever _geasa_
(conditions) the winner pleases on the loser. When you win, you must
bid the prince, under the penalty either to go into _ionarbadh_
(exile), or procure for you, within the space of a year and a day, the
three golden apples that grew in the garden, the _each dubh_ (black
steed), and _coileen con na mbuadh_ (hound of supernatural powers),
called Samer, which are in the possession of the king of the Firbolg
race, who resides in Lough Erne.[72] Those two things are so precious,
and so well guarded, that he can never attain them by his own power;
and, if he would rashly attempt to seek them, he should lose his life."

The queen was greatly pleased at the advice, and lost no time in
inviting Conn-eda to play a game at chess, under the conditions she
had been instructed to arrange by the enchantress. The queen won the
game, as the enchantress foretold, but so great was her anxiety to
have the prince completely in her power, that she was tempted to
challenge him to play a second game, which Conn-eda, to her
astonishment, and no less mortification, easily won. "Now," said the
prince, "since you won the first game, it is your duty to impose your
_geis_ first." "My _geis_" said the queen, "which I impose upon you,
is to procure me the three golden apples that grow in the garden, the
_each dubh_ (black steed), and _cuileen con na mbuadh_ (hound of
supernatural powers), which are in the keeping of the king of the
Firbolgs, in Lough Erne, within the space of a year and a day; or, in
case you fail, to go into _ionarbadh_ (exile), and never return,
except you surrender yourself to lose your head and _comhead beatha_
(preservation of life)." "Well, then," said the prince, "the _geis_
which I bind you by, is to sit upon the pinnacle of yonder tower until
my return, and to take neither food nor nourishment of any
description, except what red-wheat you can pick up with the point of
your bodkin; but if I do not return, you are at perfect liberty to
come down at the expiration of the year and a day."

In consequence of the severe _geis_ imposed upon him, Conn-eda was
very much troubled in mind; and, well knowing he had a long journey to
make before he would reach his destination, immediately prepared to
set out on his way, not, however, before he had the satisfaction of
witnessing the ascent of the queen to the place where she was obliged
to remain exposed to the scorching sun of the summer and the blasting
storms of winter, for the space of one year and a day, at least.
Conn-eda being ignorant of what steps he should take to procure the
_each dubh_ and _cuileen con na mbuadh_, though he was well aware that
human energy would prove unavailing, thought proper to consult the
great Druid, Fionn Dadhna, of Sleabh Badhna, who was a friend of his
before he ventured to proceed to Lough Erne. When he arrived at the
bruighean of the Druid, he was received with cordial friendship, and
the _failte_ (welcome), as usual, was poured out before him, and when
he was seated, warm water was fetched, and his feet bathed, so that
the fatigue he felt after his journey was greatly relieved. The Druid,
after he had partaken of refreshments, consisting of the newest of
food and oldest of liquors, asked him the reason for paying the visit,
and more particularly the cause of his sorrow; for the prince appeared
exceedingly depressed in spirit. Conn-eda told his friend the whole
history of the transaction with his stepmother from the beginning to
end. "Can you not assist me?" asked the Prince, with downcast
countenance. "I cannot, indeed, assist you at present," replied the
Druid; "but I will retire to my _grianan_ (green place) at sun-rising
on the morrow, and learn by virtue of my Druidism what can be done to
assist you." The Druid, accordingly, as the sun rose on the following
morning, retired to his _grianan_, and consulted the god he adored,
through the power of his _draoidheacht_.[73] When he returned, he
called Conn-eda aside on the plain, and addressed him thus: "My dear
son, I find you have been under a severe--an almost impossible--_geis_
intended for your destruction; no person on earth could have advised
the queen to impose it except the Cailleach of Lough Corrib, who is
the greatest Druidess now in Ireland, and sister to the Firbolg, King
of Lough Erne. It is not in my power, nor in that of the Deity I
adore, to interfere in your behalf; but go directly to Sliabh Mis, and
consult _Eánchinn-duine_ (the bird of the human head), and if there be
any possibility of relieving you, that bird can do it, for there is
not a bird in the western world so celebrated as that bird, because it
knows all things that are past, all things that are present and exist,
and all things that shall hereafter exist. It is difficult to find
access to his place of concealment, and more difficult still to obtain
an answer from him; but I will endeavour to regulate that matter for
you; and that is all I can do for you at present."

The Arch-Druid then instructed him thus:--"Take," said he, "yonder
little shaggy steed, and mount him immediately, for in three days the
bird will make himself visible, and the little shaggy steed will conduct
you to his place of abode. But lest the bird should refuse to reply to
your queries, take this precious stone (_leag lorgmhar_), and present it
to him, and then little danger and doubt exist but that he will give you
a ready answer." The prince returned heartfelt thanks to the Druid, and,
having saddled and mounted the little shaggy horse without much delay,
received the precious stone from the Druid, and, after having taken his
leave of him, set out on his journey. He suffered the reins to fall
loose upon the neck of the horse according as he had been instructed, so
that the animal took whatever road he chose.

It would be tedious to relate the numerous adventures he had with the
little shaggy horse, which had the extraordinary gift of speech, and
was a _draoidheacht_ horse during his journey.

The Prince having reached the hiding-place of the strange bird at the
appointed time, and having presented him with the _leag lorgmhar_,
according to Fionn Badhna's instructions, and proposed his questions
relative to the manner he could best arrange for the fulfilment of his
_geis_, the bird took up in his mouth the jewel from the stone on
which it was placed, and flew to an inaccessible rock at some
distance, and, when there perched, he thus addressed the prince,
"Conn-eda, son of the King of Cruachan," said he, in a loud, croaking
human voice, "remove the stone just under your right foot, and take
the ball of iron and _corna_ (cup) you shall find under it; then mount
your horse, cast the ball before you, and having so done, your horse
will tell you all the other things necessary to be done." The bird,
having said this, immediately flew out of sight.

Conn-eda took great care to do everything according to the
instructions of the bird. He found the iron ball and _corna_ in the
place which had been pointed out. He took them up, mounted his horse,
and cast the ball before him. The ball rolled on at a regular gait,
while the little shaggy horse followed on the way it led until they
reached the margin of Lough Erne. Here the ball rolled in the water
and became invisible. "Alight now," said the _draoidheacht_ pony, "and
put your hand into mine ear; take from thence the small bottle of
_íce_ (all-heal) and the little wicker basket which you will find
there, and remount with speed, for just now your great dangers and
difficulties commence." Conn-eda, ever faithful to the kind advice of
his _draoidheacht_ pony, did what he had been advised. Having taken
the basket and bottle of _íce_ from the animal's ear, he remounted and
proceeded on his journey, while the water of the lake appeared only
like an atmosphere above his head. When he entered the lake the ball
again appeared, and rolled along until it came to the margin, across
which was a causeway, guarded by three frightful serpents; the
hissings of the monsters was heard at a great distance, while, on a
nearer approach, their yawning mouths and formidable fangs were quite
sufficient to terrify the stoutest heart. "Now," said the horse, "open
the basket and cast a piece of the meat you find in it into the mouth
of each serpent; when you have done this, secure yourself in your seat
in the best manner you can, so that we may make all due arrangements
to pass those _draoidheacht peists_. If you cast the pieces of meat
into the mouth of each _peist_ unerringly, we shall pass them safely,
otherwise we are lost." Conn-eda flung the pieces of meat into the
jaws of the serpents with unerring aim. "Bare a benison and victory,"
said the _draoidheacht_ steed, "for you are a youth that will win and
prosper." And, on saying these words, he sprang aloft, and cleared in
his leap the river and ford, guarded by the serpents, seven measures
beyond the margin. "Are you still mounted, prince Conn-eda?" said the
steed. "It has taken only half my exertion to remain so," replied
Conn-eda. "I find," said the pony, "that you are a young prince that
deserves to succeed; one danger is now over, but two others remain."
They proceeded onwards after the ball until they came in view of a
great mountain flaming with fire. "Hold yourself in readiness for
another dangerous leap," said the horse. The trembling prince had no
answer to make, but seated himself as securely as the magnitude of the
danger before him would permit. The horse in the next instant sprang
from the earth, and flew like an arrow over the burning mountain. "Are
you still alive, Conn-eda, son of Conn-mór?" inquired the faithful
horse. "I'm just alive, and no more, for I'm greatly scorched,"
answered the prince. "Since you are yet alive, I feel assured that you
are a young man destined to meet supernatural success and benisons,"
said the Druidic steed. "Our greatest dangers are over," added he,
"and there is hope that we shall overcome the next and last danger."
After they had proceeded a short distance, his faithful steed,
addressing Conn-eda, said, "Alight, now, and apply a portion of the
little bottle of _íce_ to your wounds." The prince immediately
followed the advice of his monitor, and, as soon as he rubbed the
_íce_ (all-heal) to his wounds, he became as whole and fresh as ever
he had been before. After having done this, Conn-eda remounted, and
following the track of the ball, soon came in sight of a great city
surrounded by high walls. The only gate that was visible was not
defended by armed men, but by two great towers that emitted flames
that could be seen at a great distance. "Alight on this plain," said
the steed, "and take a small knife from my other ear; and with this
knife you shall kill and flay me. When you have done this, envelop
yourself in my hide, and you can pass the gate unscathed and
unmolested. When you get inside you can come out at pleasure; because
when once you enter there is no danger, and you can pass and repass
whenever you wish; and let me tell you that all I have to ask of you
in return is that you, when once inside the gates, will immediately
return and drive away the birds of prey that may be fluttering round
to feed on my carcass; and more, that you will pour any drop of that
powerful _íce_, if such still remain in the bottle, upon my flesh, to
preserve it from corruption. When you do this in memory of me, if it
be not too troublesome, dig a pit, and cast my remains into it."

"Well," said Conn-eda, "my noblest steed, because you have been so
faithful to me hitherto, and because you still would have rendered me
further service, I consider such a proposal insulting to my feelings
as a man, and totally in variance with the spirit which can feel the
value of gratitude, not to speak of my feelings as a prince. But as a
prince I am able to say, Come what may--come death itself in its most
hideous forms and terrors--I never will sacrifice private friendship
to personal interest. Hence, I am, I swear by my arms of valour,
prepared to meet the worst--even death itself--sooner than violate the
principles of humanity, honour, and friendship! What a sacrifice do
you propose!" "Pshaw, man! heed not that; do what I advise you, and
prosper." "Never! never!" exclaimed the prince. "Well, then, son of
the great western monarch," said the horse, with a tone of sorrow, "if
you do not follow my advice on this occasion, I tell you that both you
and I shall perish, and shall never meet again; but, if you act as I
have instructed you, matters shall assume a happier and more pleasing
aspect than you may imagine. I have not misled you heretofore, and, if
I have not, what need have you to doubt the most important portion of
my counsel? Do exactly as I have directed you, else you will cause a
worse fate than death to befall me. And, moreover, I can tell you
that, if you persist in your resolution, I have done with you for ever."

When the prince found that his noble steed could not be persuaded from
his purpose, he took the knife out of his ear with reluctance, and
with a faltering and trembling hand essayed experimentally to point
the weapon at his throat. Conn-eda's eyes were bathed in tears; but no
sooner had he pointed the Druidic _scian_ to the throat of his good
steed, than the dagger, as if impelled by some Druidic power, stuck in
his neck, and in an instant the work of death was done, and the noble
animal fell dead at his feet. When the prince saw his noble steed fall
dead by his hand, he cast himself on the ground, and cried aloud until
his consciousness was gone. When he recovered, he perceived that the
steed was quite dead; and, as he thought there was no hope of
resuscitating him, he considered it the most prudent course he could
adopt to act according to the advice he had given him. After many
misgivings of mind and abundant showers of tears, he essayed the task
of flaying him, which was only that of a few minutes. When he found he
had the hide separated from the body, he, in the derangement of the
moment, enveloped himself in it, and proceeding towards the
magnificent city in rather a demented state of mind, entered it
without any molestation or opposition. It was a surprisingly populous
city, and an extremely wealthy place; but its beauty, magnificence,
and wealth had no charms for Conn-eda, because the thoughts of the
loss he sustained in his dear steed were paramount to those of all
other earthly considerations.

He had scarcely proceeded more than fifty paces from the gate, when
the last request of his beloved _draoidheacht_ steed forced itself
upon his mind, and compelled him to return to perform the last solemn
injunctions upon him. When he came to the spot upon which the remains
of his beloved _draoidheacht_ steed lay, an appalling sight presented
itself; ravens and other carnivorous birds of prey were tearing and
devouring the flesh of his dear steed. It was but short work to put
them to flight; and having uncorked his little jar of _íce_, he deemed
it a labour of love to embalm the now mangled remains with the
precious ointment. The potent _íce_ had scarcely touched the inanimate
flesh, when, to the surprise of Conn-eda, it commenced to undergo some
strange change, and in a few minutes, to his unspeakable astonishment
and joy, it assumed the form of one of the handsomest and noblest
young men imaginable, and in the twinkling of an eye the prince was
locked in his embrace, smothering him with kisses, and drowning him
with tears of joy. When one recovered from his ecstasy of joy, the
other from his surprise, the strange youth thus addressed the prince:
"Most noble and puissant prince, you are the best sight I ever saw
with my eyes, and I am the most fortunate being in existence for
having met you! Behold in my person, changed to the natural shape,
your little shaggy _draoidheacht_ steed! I am brother of the king of
the city; and it was the wicked Druid, Fionn Badhna, who kept me so
long in bondage; but he was forced to give me up when you came to
_consult_ him, for my _geis_ was then broken; yet I could not recover
my pristine shape and appearance unless you had acted as you have
kindly done. It was my own sister that urged the queen, your
stepmother, to send you in quest of the steed and powerful puppy
hound, which my brother has now in keeping. My sister, rest assured,
had no thought of doing you the least injury, but much good, as you
will find hereafter; because, if she were maliciously inclined towards
you, she could have accomplished her end without any trouble. In
short, she only wanted to free you from all future danger and
disaster, and recover me from my relentless enemies through your
instrumentality. Come with me, my friend and deliverer, and the steed
and the puppy-hound of extraordinary powers, and the golden apples,
shall be yours, and a cordial welcome shall greet you in my brother's
abode; for you will deserve all this and much more."

The exciting joy felt on the occasion was mutual, and they lost no
time in idle congratulations, but proceeded on to the royal residence
of the King of Lough Erne. Here they were both received with
demonstrations of joy by the king and his chieftains; and, when the
purpose of Conn-eda's visit became known to the king, he gave a free
consent to bestow on Conn-eda the black steed, the _coileen
con-na-mbuadh_, called Samer, and the three apples of health that were
growing in his garden, under the special condition, however, that he
would consent to remain as his guest until he could set out on his
journey in proper time, to fulfil his _geis_. Conn-eda, at the earnest
solicitation of his friends, consented, and remained in the royal
residence of the Firbolg, King of Lough Erne, in the enjoyment of the
most delicious and fascinating pleasures during that period.

When the time of his departure came, the three golden apples were
plucked from the crystal tree in the midst of the pleasure-garden, and
deposited in his bosom; the puppy-hound, Samer, was leashed, and the
leash put into his hand; and the black steed, richly harnessed, was
got in readiness for him to mount. The king himself helped him on
horseback, and both he and his brother assured him that he might not
fear burning mountains or hissing serpents, because none would impede
him, as his steed was always a passport to and from his subaqueous
kingdom. And both he and his brother extorted a promise from Conn-eda,
that he would visit them once every year at least.

Conn-eda took leave of his dear friend, and the king his brother. The
parting was a tender one, soured by regret on both sides. He proceeded
on his way without meeting anything to obstruct him, and in due time
came in sight of the _dún_ of his father, where the queen had been
placed on the pinnacle of the tower, in full hope that, as it was the
last day of her imprisonment there, the prince would not make his
appearance, and thereby forfeit all pretensions and right to the crown
of his father for ever. But her hopes were doomed to meet a
disappointment, for when it had been announced to her by her couriers,
who had been posted to watch the arrival of the prince, that he
approached, she was incredulous; but when she saw him mounted on a
foaming black steed, richly harnessed, and leading a strange kind of
animal by a silver chain, she at once knew he was returning in
triumph, and that her schemes laid for his destruction were
frustrated. In the excess of grief at her disappointment, she cast
herself from the top of the tower, and was instantly dashed to pieces.
Conn-eda met a welcome reception from his father, who mourned him as
lost to him for ever, during his absence; and, when the base conduct
of the queen became known, the king and his chieftains ordered her
remains to be consumed to ashes for her perfidy and wickedness.

Conn-eda planted the three golden apples in his garden, and instantly
a great tree, bearing similar fruit, sprang up. This tree caused all
the district to produce an exuberance of crops and fruits, so that it
became as fertile and plentiful as the dominions of the Firbolgs, in
consequence of the extraordinary powers possessed by the golden fruit.
The hound Samer and the steed were of the utmost utility to him; and
his reign was long and prosperous, and celebrated among the old people
for the great abundance of corn, fruit, milk, fowl, and fish that
prevailed during this happy reign. It was after the name Conn-eda the
province of Connaucht, or _Conneda_, or _Connacht_, was so called.

[Footnote 70: Printed first in the _Cambrian Journal_, 1855; reprinted
and re-edited in the _Folk-Lore Record_, vol. ii.]

[Footnote 71: _Innis Fodhla_--Island of Destiny, an old name for

[Footnote 72: The Firbolgs believed their elysium to be under water.
The peasantry still believe many lakes to be peopled.--See section on
_T'yeer na n-Oge_.]

[Footnote 73: _Draoidheacht_, _i.e._, the Druidic worship; magic,
sorcery, divination.]


GODS OF THE EARTH.--Par. 2, Page 2.

Occultists, from Paracelsus to Elephas Levi, divide the nature spirits
into gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, undines; or earth, air, fire, and
water spirits. Their emperors, according to Elephas, are named Cob,
Paralda, Djin, Hicks respectively. The gnomes are covetous, and of the
melancholic temperament. Their usual height is but two spans, though
they can elongate themselves into giants. The sylphs are capricious,
and of the bilious temperament. They are in size and strength much
greater than men, as becomes the people of the winds. The salamanders
are wrathful, and in temperament sanguine. In appearance they are
long, lean, and dry. The undines are soft, cold, fickle, and
phlegmatic. In appearance they are like man. The salamanders and
sylphs have no fixed dwellings.

It has been held by many that somewhere out of the void there is a
perpetual dribble of souls; that these souls pass through many shapes
before they incarnate as men--hence the nature spirits. They are
invisible--except at rare moments and times; they inhabit the interior
elements, while we live upon the outer and the gross. Some float
perpetually through space, and the motion of the planets drives them
hither and thither in currents. Hence some Rosicrucians have thought
astrology may foretell many things; for a tide of them flowing around
the earth arouses there, emotions and changes, according to its nature.

Besides those of human appearance are many animal and bird-like
shapes. It has been noticed that from these latter entirely come the
familiars seen by Indian braves when they go fasting in the forest,
seeking the instruction of the spirits. Though all at times are
friendly to men--to some men--"They have," says Paracelsus, "an
aversion to self-conceited and opinionated persons, such as
dogmatists, scientists, drunkards, and gluttons, and against vulgar
and quarrelsome people of all kinds; but they love natural men, who
are simple-minded and childlike, innocent and sincere, and the less
there is of vanity and hypocrisy in a man, the easier will it be to
approach them; but otherwise they are as shy as wild animals."

SIR SAMUEL FERGUSON.--Pages 13 and 38.

Many in Ireland consider Sir Samuel Ferguson their greatest poet. The
English reader will most likely never have heard his name, for
Anglo-Irish critics, who have found English audience, being more Anglo
than Irish, have been content to follow English opinion instead of
leading it, in all matters concerning Ireland.

CUSHEEN LOO.--Page 33.

Forts, otherwise raths or royalties, are circular ditches enclosing a
little field, where, in most cases, if you dig down you come to stone
chambers, their bee-hive roofs and walls made of unmortared stone. In
these little fields the ancient Celts fortified themselves and their
cattle, in winter retreating into the stone chambers, where also they
were buried. The people call them Dane's forts, from a misunderstanding
of the word Danān (Tuath-de-Danān). The fairies have taken up
their abode therein, guarding them from all disturbance. Whoever roots
them up soon finds his cattle falling sick, or his family or himself.
Near the raths are sometimes found flint arrow-heads; these are called
"fairy darts," and are supposed to have been flung by the fairies, when
angry, at men or cattle.


Moat does not mean a place with water, but a tumulus or barrow. The
words _Da Luan Da Mort agus Da Dardeen_ are Gaelic for "Monday,
Tuesday, and Wednesday too." Da Hena is Thursday. Story-tellers, in
telling this tale, says Croker, sing these words to the following
music--according to Croker, music of very ancient kind:--


    Da Lu-an, da Mort, da Lu-an, da Mort, da
    Lu-an, da Mort, au-gus da Dar-dine. Da Lu-an, da Mort, da
    Lu-an, da Mort, da Lu-an, da Mort, au-gus da Dar-dine.


Mr. Douglas Hyde has heard the story in Connaught, with the song of
the fairy given as "Peean Peean daw feean, Peean go leh agus leffin"
[_pighin, pighin, dà phighin, pighin go ieith agus leith phighin_],
which in English means, "a penny, a penny, twopence, a penny and a
half, and a halfpenny."


The places mentioned are round about Sligo. Further Rosses is a very
noted fairy locality. There is here a little point of rocks where, if
anyone falls asleep, there is danger of their waking silly, the
fairies having carried off their souls.


The trooping fairies wear green jackets, the solitary ones red. On the
red jacket of the Lepracaun, according to McAnally, are seven rows of
buttons--seven buttons in each row. On the western coast, he says, the
red jacket is covered by a frieze one, and in Ulster the creature
wears a cocked hat, and when he is up to anything unusually
mischievous, leaps on to a wall and spins, balancing himself on the
point of the hat with his heels in the air. McAnally tells how once a
peasant saw a battle between the green jacket fairies and the red.
When the green jackets began to win, so delighted was he to see the
green above the red, he gave a great shout. In a moment all vanished
and he was flung into the ditch.

BANSHEE'S CRY.--Page 108.

Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall give the following notation of the cry:--


OMENS.--Page 108.

We have other omens beside the Banshee and the Dullahan and the
Coach-a-Bower. I know one family where death is announced by the
cracking of a whip. Some families are attended by phantoms of ravens
or other birds. When McManus, of '48 celebrity, was sitting by his
dying brother, a bird of vulture-like appearance came through the
window and lighted on the breast of the dying man. The two watched in
terror, not daring to drive it off. It crouched there, bright-eyed,
till the soul left the body. It was considered a most evil omen.
Lefanu worked this into a tale. I have good authority for tracing its
origin to McManus and his brother.

A WITCH TRIAL.--Page 146.

The last trial for witchcraft in Ireland--there were never very
many--is thus given in MacSkimin's _History of Carrickfergus_:--"1711,
March 31st, Janet Mean, of Braid-island; Janet Latimer, Irish-quarter,
Carrickfergus; Janet Millar, Scotch-quarter, Carrickfergus; Margaret
Mitchel, Kilroot; Catharine M'Calmond, Janet Liston, alias Seller,
Elizabeth Seller, and Janet Carson, the four last from Island Magee,
were tried here, in the County of Antrim Court, for witchcraft."

Their alleged crime was tormenting a young woman, called Mary Dunbar,
about eighteen years of age, at the house of James Hattridge, Island
Magee, and at other places to which she was removed. The circumstances
sworn on the trial were as follows:--

"The afflicted person being, in the month of February, 1711, in the
house of James Hattridge, Island Magee (which had been for some time
believed to be haunted by evil spirits), found an apron on the parlour
floor, that had been missing some time, tied with _five strange
knots_, which she loosened.

"On the following day she was suddenly seized with a violent pain in
her thigh, and afterwards fell into fits and ravings; and, on
recovering, said she was tormented by several women, whose dress and
personal appearance she minutely described. Shortly after, she was
again seized with the like fits, and on recovering she accused five
other women of tormenting her, describing them also. The accused
persons being brought from different parts of the country, she
appeared to suffer extreme fear and additional torture as they
approached the house.

"It was also deposed that strange noises, as of whistling, scratching,
etc., were heard in the house, and that a sulphureous smell was
observed in the rooms; that stones, turf, and the like were thrown
about the house, and the coverlets, etc., frequently taken off the
beds and made up in the shape of a corpse; and that a bolster once
walked out of a room into the kitchen with a night-gown about it! It
likewise appeared in evidence that in some of her fits three strong
men were scarcely able to hold her in the bed; that at times she
vomited feathers, cotton yarn, pins, and buttons; and that on one
occasion she slid off the bed and was laid on the floor, as if
supported and drawn by an invincible power. The afflicted person was
unable to give any evidence on the trial, being during that time dumb,
but had no violent fit during its continuance."

In defence of the accused, it appeared that they were mostly sober,
industrious people, who attended public worship, could repeat the
Lord's Prayer, and had been known to pray both in public and private;
and that some of them had lately received communion.

Judge Upton charged the jury, and observed on the regular attendance
of accused at public worship; remarking that he thought it improbable
that real witches could so far retain the form of religion as to
frequent the religious worship of God, both publicly and privately,
which had been proved in favour of the accused. He concluded by giving
his opinion "that the jury could not bring them in guilty upon the
sole testimony of the afflicted person's visionary images." He was
followed by Judge Macarthy, who differed from him in opinion, "and
thought the jury might, from the evidence, bring them in guilty,"
which they accordingly did.

This trial lasted from six o'clock in the morning till two in the
afternoon; and the prisoners were sentenced to be imprisoned twelve
months, and to stand four times in the pillory of Carrickfergus.

Tradition says that the people were much exasperated against these
unfortunate persons, who were severely pelted in the pillory with
boiled cabbage stalks and the like, by which one of them had an eye
beaten out.

T'YEER-NA-N-OGE.--Page 200.

"_Tir-na-n-óg_," Mr. Douglas Hyde writes, "'The Country of the Young,'
is the place where the Irish peasant will tell you _geabhaedh tu an
sonas aer pighin_, 'you will get happiness for a penny,' so cheap and
common it will be. It is sometimes, but not often, called
_Tir-na-hóige_; the 'Land of Youth.' Crofton Croker writes it,
_Thierna-na-noge_, which is an unfortunate mistake of his, _Thierna_
meaning a lord, not a country. This unlucky blunder is, like many
others of the same sort where Irish words are concerned, in danger of
becoming stereotyped, as the name of Iona has been, from mere clerical


O'Kearney, a Louthman, deeply versed in Irish lore, writes of the
_gean-cānach_ (love-talker) that he is "another diminutive being of
the same tribe as the Lepracaun, but, unlike him, he personated love
and idleness, and always appeared with a dudeen in his jaw in lonesome
valleys, and it was his custom to make love to shepherdesses and
milk-maids. It was considered very unlucky to meet him, and whoever
was known to have ruined his fortune by devotion to the fair sex was
said to have met a _gean-cānach_. The dudeen, or ancient Irish
tobacco pipe, found in our raths, etc., is still popularly called a
_gean-canach's_ pipe."

The word is not to be found in dictionaries, nor does this spirit
appear to be well known, if known at all, in Connacht. The word is
pronounced _gánconâgh_.

In the MS. marked R.I.A. 23/E. 13 in the Roy' Ir. Ac., there is a long
poem describing such a fairy hurling-match as the one in the story,
only the fairies described as the _shiagh_, or host, wore plaids and
bonnets, like Highlanders. After the hurling the fairies have a hunt,
in which the poet takes part, and they swept with great rapidity
through half Ireland. The poem ends with the line--

    "_'S gur shiubhail me na cûig cúig cûige's gan fúm acht buachallân

"and I had travelled the five provinces with nothing under me but a
yellow bohalawn (rag-weed)."--[_Note by Mr. Douglas Hyde._]


Father O'Rorke is the priest of the parishes of Ballysadare and
Kilvarnet, and it is from his learnedly and faithfully and
sympathetically written history of these parishes that I have taken
the story of Father John, who had been priest of these parishes, dying
in the year 1739. Coloony is a village in Kilvarnet.

Some sayings of Father John's have come down. Once when he was
sorrowing greatly for the death of his brother, the people said to
him, "Why do you sorrow so for your brother when you forbid us to
keen?" "Nature," he answered, "forces me, but ye force nature." His
memory and influence survives, in the fact that to the present day
there has been no keening in Coloony.

He was a friend of the celebrated poet and musician, Carolan.


_Shoneen_ is the diminutive of _shone_ [Ir. _Seón_]. There are two
Irish names for John--one is _Shone_, the other is _Shawn_ [Ir.
_Seághan_]. Shone is the "grandest" of the two, and is applied to the
gentry. Hence _Shoneen_ means "a little gentry John," and is applied
to upstarts and "big" farmers, who ape the rank of gentleman.

_Sleiveen_, not to be found in the dictionaries, is a comical Irish
word (at least in Connaught) for a rogue. It probably comes from
_sliabh_, a mountain, meaning primarily a mountaineer, and in a
secondary sense, on the principle that mountaineers are worse than
anybody else, a rogue. I am indebted to Mr. Douglas Hyde for these
details, as for many others.

DEMON CAT.--Page 229.

In Ireland one hears much of Demon Cats. The father of one of the
present editors of the _Fortnightly_ had such a cat, say county Dublin
peasantry. One day the priest dined with him, and objecting to see a
cat fed before Christians, said something over it that made it go up
the chimney in a flame of fire. "I will have the law on you for doing
such a thing to my cat," said the father of the editor. "Would you
like to see your cat?" said the priest. "I would," said he, and the
priest brought it up, covered with chains, through the hearth-rug,
straight out of hell. The Irish devil does not object to these
undignified shapes. The Irish devil is not a dignified person. He has
no whiff of sulphureous majesty about him. A centaur of the
ragamuffin, jeering and shaking his tatters, at once the butt and
terror of the saints!


Carleton says--"Of the grey stone mentioned in this legend, there is a
very striking and melancholy anecdote to be told. Some twelve or
thirteen years ago, a gentleman in the vicinity of the site of it was
building a house, and, in defiance of the legend and curse connected
with it, he resolved to break it up and use it. It was with some
difficulty, however, that he could succeed in getting his labourers to
have anything to do with its mutilation. Two men, however, undertook
to blast it, but, somehow, the process of ignition being mismanaged,
it exploded prematurely, and one of them was killed. This coincidence
was held as a fulfilment of the curse mentioned in the legend. I have
heard that it remains in that mutilated state to the present day, no
other person being found who had the hardihood to touch it. This
stone, before it was disfigured, exactly resembled that which the
country people term a miscaun of butter, which is precisely the shape
of a complete prism, a circumstance, no doubt, which, in the fertile
imagination of the old Senachies, gave rise to the superstition
annexed to it."


Croker's _Legends of the South of Ireland_. Lady Wilde's _Ancient
Legends of Ireland_. Sir William Wilde's _Irish Popular
Superstitions_. McAnally's _Irish Wonders_. _Irish Folk-Lore_, by
Lageniensis. Lover's _Legends and Stories of the Irish Peasantry_.
Patrick Kennedy's _Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts_, _Banks of
the Boro_, _Legends of Mount Leinster_, and _Banks of the Duffrey_;
Carlton's _Traits and Stories of the Irish Peasantry_; and the
chap-books, _Royal Fairy Tales_, _Hibernian Tales_, and _Tales of the
Fairies_. Besides these there are many books on general subjects,
containing stray folk-lore, such as Mr. and Mrs. S. C. Hall's
_Ireland_; Lady Chatterton's _Rambles in the South of Ireland_; Gerald
Griffin's _Tales of a Jury-room_; and the _Leadbeater Papers_. For
banshee stories see Barrington's _Recollections_ and Miss Lefanu's
_Memoirs of my Grandmother_. In O'Donovan's introduction to the _Four
Masters_ are several tales. The principal magazine articles are in the
_Dublin and London Magazine_ for 1825-1828 (Sir William Wilde calls
this the best collection of Irish folk-lore in existence); and in the
_Dublin University Magazine_ for 1839 and 1878, those in '78 being by
Miss Maclintock. The _Folk-Lore Journal_ and the _Folk-Lore Record_
contain much Irish folk-lore, as also do the _Ossianic Society's_
publications and the proceedings of the _Kilkenny Archæological
Society_. Old Irish magazines, such as the _Penny Journal_, _Newry
Magazine_, and _Duffy's Sixpenny Magazine_ and _Hibernian Magazine_,
have much scattered through them. Among the peasantry are immense
quantities of ungathered legends and beliefs.


Transcriber's Note

    * Obvious punctuation and spelling errors repaired.

    * Footnotes have been moved to the end of the respective story.

    * Due to large amount, footnotes listed numerically.

    * Conn-eda and Conneda; horse-shoe, horse-shoes, and horseshoe;
    and Lu-an and Luan retained as printed.

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