By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, First Series
Author: Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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 "Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, First Series" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                           _By Lady Gregory_


  Seven Short Plays
  Folk-History Plays, 2 vols.
  New Comedies
  The Image
  The Golden Apple
  Our Irish Theatre. A Chapter of Autobiography

                       IRISH FOLK LORE AND LEGEND

  Visions and Beliefs, 2 vols.
  Cuchulain of Muirthemne
  Gods and Fighting Men
  Saints and Wonders
  Poets and Dreamers
  The Kiltartan Poetry Book

[Illustration: Coole Lake

From a picture by Robert Gregory in Sir Hugh Lane's Collection]

                         VISIONS AND BELIEFS IN
                          THE WEST OF IRELAND
                       COLLECTED AND ARRANGED BY
                     LADY GREGORY: WITH TWO ESSAYS
                        AND NOTES BY W. B. YEATS

          "_There's no doubt at all but that there's the same
           sort of things in other countries; but you hear
           more about them in these parts because the Irish
           do be more familiar in talking of them._"

                             _FIRST SERIES_

                          G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS
                          NEW YORK AND LONDON
                       =The Knickerbocker Press=

                            COPYRIGHT, 1920
                              LADY GREGORY

                  =The Knickerbocker Press, New York=


The Sidhe cannot make themselves visible to all. They are
shape-changers; they can grow small or grow large, they can take what
shape they choose; they appear as men or women wearing clothes of
many colours, of today or of some old forgotten fashion, or they are
seen as bird or beast, or as a barrel or a flock of wool. They go by
us in a cloud of dust; they are as many as the blades of grass. They
are everywhere; their home is in the forths, the lisses, the ancient
round grass-grown mounds. There are thorn-bushes they gather near
and protect; if they have a mind for a house like our own they will
build it up in a moment. They will remake a stone castle, battered by
Cromwell's men, if it takes their fancy, filling it with noise and
lights. Their own country is Tir-nan-Og--the Country of the Young. It
is under the ground or under the sea, or it may not be far from any
of us. As to their food, they will use common things left for them
on the hearth or outside the threshold, cold potatoes it may be, or
a cup of water or of milk. But for their feasts they choose the best
of all sorts, taking it from the solid world, leaving some worthless
likeness in its place; when they rob the potatoes from the ridges
the diggers find but rottenness and decay; they take the strength
from the meat in the pot, so that when put on the plates it does not
nourish. They will not touch salt; there is danger to them in it.
They will go to good cellars to bring away the wine.

Fighting is heard among them, and music that is more beautiful than
any of this world; they are seen dancing on the rocks; they are often
seen playing at the hurling, hitting balls towards the goal. In each
one of their households there is a queen, and she has more power than
the rest; but the greatest power belongs to their fool, the Fool of
the Forth, Amadan-na-Briona. He is their strongest, the most wicked,
the most deadly; there is no cure for any one he has struck.

When they are friendly to a man they give him help in his work,
putting their strength into his body. Or they may tell him where to
find treasure, hidden gold; or through certain wise men or women
who have learned from them or can ask and get their knowledge they
will tell where cattle that have strayed may be found, or they will
cure the sick or tell if a sickness is not to be cured. They will
sometimes work as if against their own will or intention, giving back
to the life of our world one who had received the call to go over to
their own. They call many there, summoning them perhaps through the
eye of a neighbour, the evil eye, or by a touch, a blow, a fall, a
sudden terror. Those who have received their touch waste away from
this world, lending their strength to the invisible ones; for the
strength of a human body is needed by the shadows, it may be in their
fighting, and certainly in their hurling to win the goal. Young men
are taken for this, young mothers are taken that they may give the
breast to newly born children among the Sidhe, young girls that they
may themselves become mothers there.

While these are away a body in their likeness, or the likeness of a
body, is left lying in their place. They may be given leave to return
to their village after a while, seven years it may be, or twice or
three times seven. But some are sent back only at the end of the
years allotted them at the time of their birth, old spent men and
women, thought to have been dead a long time, given back to die and
be buried on the face of the earth.

There are two races among the Sidhe. One is tall and handsome, gay,
and given to jesting and to playing pranks, leading us astray in
the fields, giving gold that turns to withered leaves or to dust.
These ride on horses through the night-time in large companies and
troops, or ride in coaches, laughing and decked with flowers and
fine clothes. The people of the other race are small, malicious,
wide-bellied, carrying before them a bag. When a man or woman is
about to die, a woman of the Sidhe will sometimes cry for a warning,
keening and making lamentation. At the hour of death fighting may be
heard in the air or about the house--that is, when the man in danger
has friends among the shadows, who are fighting on his behalf.

The dead are often seen among them, and will give help in danger to
comrade or brother or friend. Sometimes they have a penance to work
out, and will come and ask the living for help, for prayers, for the
payment of a debt. They may wander in some strange shape, or be bound
in the one place, or go through the air as birds. When the Sidhe pass
by in a blast of wind we should say some words of blessing, for there
may be among them some of our own dead. The dead are of the nature
of the Saints, mortals who have put on immortality, who have known
the troubles of the world. The Sidhe have been, like the Angels, from
before the making of the earth. In the old times in Ireland they were
called gods or the children of gods; now it is laid down they are
those Angels who were cast out of heaven, being proud.

This is the news I have been given of the people of the Sidhe by many
who have seen them and some who have known their power.

                                          A. G.

  COOLE, February, 1916.



   I.--SEA-STORIES                                                    3

  II.--SEERS AND HEALERS                                             35

           BIDDY EARLY                                               35

           MRS. SHERIDAN                                             70

           MR. SAGGARTON                                             92

           "A GREAT WARRIOR IN THE BUSINESS"                        103

           OLD DERUANE                                              112

  III.--THE EVIL EYE--THE TOUCH--THE PENALTY                        127

   IV.--AWAY                                                        169

            WITCHES AND WIZARDS AND IRISH FOLK-LORE                 247

            NOTES                                                   265





_"The Celtic Twilight" was the first book of Mr. Yeats's that I read,
and even before I met him, a little time later, I had begun looking
for news of the invisible world; for his stories were of Sligo and
I felt jealous for Galway. This beginning of knowledge was a great
excitement to me, for though I had heard all my life some talk of
the faeries and the banshee_ (_having indeed reason to believe in
this last_), _I had never thought of giving heed to what I, in common
with my class, looked on as fancy or superstition. It was certainly
because of this unbelief that I had been told so little about them.
Even when I began to gather these stories, I cared less for the
evidence given in them than for the beautiful rhythmic sentences in
which they were told. I had no theories, no case to prove, I but
"held up a clean mirror to tradition."_

_It is hard to tell sometimes what has been a real vision and what
is tradition, a legend hanging in the air, a "vanity" as our people
call it, made use of by a story-teller here and there, or impressing
itself as a real experience on some sensitive and imaginative
mind. For tradition has a large place in "the Book of the People"
showing a sowing and re-sowing, a continuity and rebirth as in
nature. "Those," "The Others," "The Fallen Angels" have some of the
attributes of the gods of ancient Ireland; we may even go back yet
farther to the early days of the world when the Sons of God mated
with the Daughters of Men. I believe that if Christianity could be
blotted out and forgotten tomorrow, our people would not be moved at
all from the belief in a spiritual world and an unending life; it has
been with them since the Druids taught what Lucan called "the happy
error of the immortality of the soul." I think we found nothing so
trivial in our search but it may have been worth the lifting; a clue,
a thread, leading through the maze to that mountain top where things
visible and invisible meet._

_To gather folk-lore one needs, I think, leisure, patience,
reverence, and a good memory. I tried not to change or alter
anything, but to write down the very words in which the story had
been told. Sometimes Mr. Yeats was with me at the telling; or I would
take him to hear for himself something I had been told, that he might
be sure I had missed or added nothing. I filled many copybooks, and
came to have a very faithful memory for all sides of folk-lore,
stories of saints, of heroes, of giants and enchanters, as well as
for these visions. For this I have had to "pay the penalty" by losing
in some measure that useful and practical side of memory that is
concerned with names and dates and the multiplication table, and the
numbers on friends' houses in a street._

_It was on the coast I began to gather these stories, and I went
after a while to the islands Inishmor, Inishmaan, Inisheer, and so I
give the sea-stories first._

_I was told by:

A Man on the Height near Dun Conor:_

It's said there's everything in the sea the same as on the land, and
we know there's horses in it. This boy here saw a horse one time out
in the sea, a grey one, swimming about. And there were three men from
the north island caught a horse in their nets one night when they
were fishing for mackerel, but they let it go; it would have broke
the boat to bits if they had brought it in, and anyhow they thought
it was best to leave it. One year at Kinvara, the people were missing
their oats that was eaten in the fields, and they watched one night
and it was five or six of the sea-horses they saw eating the oats,
but they could not take them, they made off to the sea.

And there was a man on the north island fishing on the rocks one
time, and a mermaid came up before him, and was partly like a fish
and the rest like a woman. But he called to her in the name of God to
be off, and she went and left him.

There was a boy was sent over here one morning early by a friend of
mine on the other side of the island, to bring over some cattle that
were in a field he had here, and it was before daylight, and he came
to the door crying, and said he heard thirty horses or more galloping
over the roads there, where you'd think no horse could go.

Surely those things are on the sea as well as on the land. My father
was out fishing one night off Tyrone and something came beside the
boat, that had eyes shining like candles. And then a wave came in,
and a storm rose of a moment, and whatever was in the wave, the
weight of it had like to sink the boat. And then they saw that it was
a woman in the sea that had the shining eyes. So my father went to
the priest, and he bid him always to take a drop of holy water and a
pinch of salt out in the boat with him, and nothing would harm him.

_A Galway Bay Lobster-Seller:_

They are on the sea as well as on the land, and their boats are often
to be seen on the bay, sailing boats and others. They look like our
own, but when you come near them they are gone in an instant. (_Note_

My mother one time thought she saw our own boat come in to the pier
with my father and two other men in it, and she got the supper ready,
but when she went down to the pier and called them there was nothing
there, and the boat didn't come in till two hours after.

There were three or four men went out one day to fish, and it was a
dead calm; but all of a sudden they heard a blast and they looked,
and within about three mile of the boat they saw twelve men from the
waist, the rest of them was under water. And they had sticks in their
hands and were striking one another. And where they were, and the
blast, it was rough, but smooth and calm on each side.

There's a sort of a light on the sea sometimes; some call it a "Jack
O'Lantern" and some say it is sent by _them_ to mislead them. (_Note_

There's many of them out in the sea, and often they pull the boats
down. (_Note_ 3.) It's about two years since four fishermen went out
from Aran, two fathers and two sons, where they saw a big ship coming
in and flying the flag for a pilot, and they thought she wanted to be
brought in to Galway. And when they got near the ship, it faded away
to nothing and the boat turned over and they were all four drowned.

There were two brothers of my own went to fish for the herrings, and
what they brought up was like the print of a cat, and it turned with
the inside of the skin outside, and no hair. So they pulled up the
nets, and fished no more that day. There was one of _them_ lying on
the strand here, and some of the men of the village came down of a
sudden and surprised him. And when he saw he was taken he began a
great crying. But they only lifted him down to the sea and put him
back into it. Just like a man they said he was. And a little way out
there was another just like him, and when he saw that they treated
the one on shore so kindly, he bowed his head as if to thank them.

Whatever's on the land, there's the same in the sea, and between the
islands of Aran they can often see the horses galloping about at the
bottom. (_Note_ 4.)

There was a sort of a big eel used to be in Tully churchyard, used to
come and to root up the bodies, but I didn't hear of him of late--he
may be done away with now.

There was one Curran told me one night he went down to the strand
where he used to be watching for timber thrown up and the like.
And on the strand, on the dry sands, he saw a boat, a grand one
with sails spread and all, and it up farther than any tide had ever
reached. And he saw a great many people round about it, and it was
all lighted up with lights. And he got afraid and went away. And four
hours after, after sunrise, he went there again to look at it, and
there was no sign of it, or of any fire, or of any other thing. The
Mara-warra (mermaid) was seen on the shore not long ago, combing out
her hair. She had no fish's tail, but was like another woman.

_John Corley:_

There is no luck if you meet a mermaid and you out at sea, but storms
will come, or some ill will happen.

There was a ship on the way to America, and a mermaid was seen
following it, and the bad weather began to come. And the captain said,
"It must be some man in the ship she's following, and if we knew which
one it was, we'd put him out to her and save ourselves." So they drew
lots, and the lot fell on one man, and then the captain was sorry
for him, and said he'd give him a chance till tomorrow. And the next
day she was following them still, and they drew lots again, and the
lot fell on the same man. But the captain said he'd give him a third
chance, but the third day the lot fell on him again. And when they were
going to throw him out he said, "Let me alone for a while." And he went
to the end of the ship and he began to sing a song in Irish, and when
he sang, the mermaid began to be quiet and to rock like as if she was
asleep. So he went on singing till they came to America, and just as
they got to the land the ship was thrown up into the air, and came down
on the water again. There's a man told me that was surely true.

And there was a boy saw a mermaid down by Spiddal not long ago, but
he saw her before she saw him, so she did him no harm. But if she'd
seen him first, she'd have brought him away and drowned him.

Sometimes a light will come on the sea before the boats to guide them
to the land. And my own brother told me one day he was out and a
storm came on of a sudden, and the sail of the boat was let down as
quick and as well as if two men were in it. Some neighbour or friend
it must have been that did that for him. Those that go down to the
sea after the tide going out, to cut the weed, often hear under the
sand the sound of the milk being churned. There's some didn't believe
that till they heard it themselves.

_A Man from Roundstone:_

One night I was out on the boat with another man, and we saw a big ship
near us with about twenty lights. She was as close to us as that rock
(about thirty yards), but we saw no one on board. And she was like some
of the French ships that sometimes come to Galway. She went on near us
for a while, and then she turned towards the shore and then we knew
that she was not a right ship. And she went straight on to the land,
and when she touched it, the lights went out and we saw her no more.

There was a comrade of mine was out one night, and a ship came after
him, with lights, and she full of people. And as they drew near the
land, he heard them shouting at him and he got afraid, and he went
down and got a coal of fire and threw it at the ship, and in a minute
it was gone.

_A Schoolmaster:_

A boy told me last night of two men that went with poteen to the
Island of Aran. And when they were on the shore they saw a ship
coming as if to land, and they said, "We'll have the bottle ready
for those that are coming." But when the ship came close to the land,
it vanished. And presently they got their boat ready and put out to
sea. And a sudden blast came and swept one of them off. And the other
saw him come up again, and put out the oar across his breast for him
to take hold of it. But he would not take it but said, "I'm all right
again now," and sank down again and was never seen no more.

_John Nagle:_

For one there's on the land there's ten on the sea. When I lived at
Ardfry there was never a night but there was a voice heard crying
and roaring, by them that were out in the bay. A baker he was from
Loughrea, used to give short weight and measure, and so he was put
there for a punishment.

I saw a ship that was having a race with another go suddenly down
into the sea, and no one could tell why. And afterwards one of the
Government divers was sent down to look for her, and he told me he'd
never as long as he'd live go down again, for there at the bottom he
found her, and the captain and the saloon passengers, and all sitting
at the table and eating their dinner, just as they did before.

_A Little Girl:_

One time a woman followed a boat from Galway twenty miles out, and
when they saw that she was some bad thing, wanting some of them,
they drowned her.

_Mrs. Casey:_

I was at home and I got some stories from a man I had suspected of
having newses. And he told me that when he was a youngster he was
at a height where there used to be a great many of them. And all of
a sudden he saw them fly out to where a boat was coming from Duras
with seaweed. And they went in two flights, and so fast that they
swept the water away from each side the boat, and it was left on the
sand, and this they did over and over, just to be humbugging the man
in the boat, and he was kept there a long time. When they first rose
up, they were like clouds of dust, but with all sorts of colours, and
then he saw their faces turned, but they kept changing colour every
minute. (_Note_ 5.) Laughing and humbugging they seemed to be.

My uncle that used to go out fishing for mackerel told me that one
night some sort of a monster came under the boat and it wasn't a
fish, and it had them near upset.

_At an evening gathering in Inishmaan, by a Son of the House:_

There was a man on this island was down on the beach one evening with
his dog, and some black thing came up out of the sea, and the dog
made for it and began to fight it. And the man began to run home and
he called the dog, and it followed him, but every now and again it
would stop and begin to fight again. And when he got to the house he
called the dog in and shut the door, and whatever was outside began
hitting against the door but it didn't get in. But the dog went in
under the bed in the room, and before morning it was dead.

_The Man of the House:_

A horse I've seen myself on the sea and on the rocks--a brown one,
just like another. And I threw a stone at it, and it was gone in a
minute. We often heard there was fighting amongst _these._ And one
morning before daybreak I went down to the strand with some others,
and the whole of the strand, and it low tide, was covered with blood.

_Colman Kane:_

I knew a woman on this island and she and her daughter went down to
the strand one morning to pick weed, and a wave came and took the
daughter away. And a week after that, the mother saw her coming to
the house, but she didn't speak to her.

There was a man coming from Galway here and he had no boatman. And on
the way he saw a man that was behind him in the boat, that was putting
up the sail and taking the management of everything, and he spoke no
word. And he was with him all the way, but when the boat came to land,
he was gone, and the man isn't sure, but he thinks it was his brother.

You see that sand below on the south side. When the men are out with
the mackerel boats at early morning, they often see those sands
covered with boys and girls.

There were some men out fishing in the bay one time, and a man came
and held on to the boat, and wanted them to make room for him to get
in, and after a time he left them. He was one of _those_. And there
was another of them came up on the rocks one day, and called out to
Martin Flaherty that was going out and asked what was his name.

There's said to be another island out there that's enchanted, and
there are some that see it. And it's said that a fisherman landed on
it one time, and he saw a little house, and he went in, and a very
nice-looking young woman came out and said, "What will you say to
me?" and he said, "You are a very nice lady." And a second came and
asked him the same thing and a third, and he made the same answer.
And after that they said, "You'd best run for your life," and so he
did, and his curragh was floating along and he had but just time to
get into it, and the island was gone. But if he had said "God bless
you," the island would have been saved.

_A Fisherman on Kilronan Pier:_

I don't give in to these things myself, but they'd make you believe
them in the middle island. Mangan, that I lodged with there, told me of
seeing a ship when he was out with two other men, that followed them
and vanished. And he said one of the men took to his bed from that
time and died. And Doran told me about the horse he saw, that was in
every way like a horse you'd see on land. And a man on the south island
told me how he saw a calf one morning on the strand, and he thought it
belonged to a neighbour, and was going to drive it up to his field,
when its mother appeared on the sea, and it went off to her.

They are in the sea as well as on the land. That is well known by
those that are out fishing by the coast. When the weather is calm,
they can look down sometimes and see cattle and pigs and all such
things as we have ourselves. And at nights their boats come out and
they can be seen fishing, but they never last out after one o'clock.

The cock always crows on the first of March every year at one
o'clock. And there was a man brought a cock out with him in his boat
to try them. And the first time when it crowed they all vanished.
That is how they were detected.

There are more of them in the sea than on the land, and they
sometimes try to come over the side of the boat in the form of
fishes, for they can take their choice shape.

_Pat O'Hagan:_

There were two fine young women--red-haired women--died in my village
about six months ago. And I believe they're living yet. And there
are some have seen them appear. All I ever saw myself was one day I
was out fishing with two others, and we saw a canoe coming near us,
and we were afraid it would come near enough to take away our fish.
And as we looked it turned into a three-masted ship, and people in
it. I could see them well, dark-coloured and dressed like sailors.
But it went away and did us no harm.

One night I was going down to the curragh, and it was a night in
harvest, and the stars shining, and I saw a ship fully rigged going
towards the coast of Clare where no ship could go. And when I looked
again, she was gone.

And one morning early, I and other men that were with me, and one of
them a friend of the man here, saw a ship coming to the island, and he
thought she wanted a pilot, and put out in the curragh. But when we got
to where she was, there was no sign of her, but where she was the water
was covered with black gulls, and I never saw a black gull before,
thousands and crowds of them, and not one white bird among them. And
one of the boys that was with me took a tarpin and threw it at one of
the gulls and hit it on the head, and when he did, the curragh went
down to the rowlocks in the water--up to that--and it's nothing but a
miracle she ever came up again, but we got back to land. I never went
to a ship again, for the people said it was on account of me helping in
the Preventive Service it happened, and that if I'd hit at one of the
gulls myself, there would have been a bad chance for us. But those were
no right gulls, and the ship was no living ship.

_The Old Man in the Kitchen:_

It's in the middle island the most of them are, and I'll tell you a
thing that I know of myself that happened not long ago. There was a
young girl, and one evening she was missing, and they made search for
her everywhere and they thought that she was drowned or that she had
gone away with some man. And in the evening of the next day there was
a boy out in a curragh, and as he passed by a rock that is out in the
sea there was the girl on it, and he brought her off. And surely she
could not go there by herself. I suppose she wasn't able to give much
account of it, and now she's after going to America. (_Note_ 6.)

And in Aran there were three boys and their uncle went out to a ship
they saw coming, to pilot her into the bay. But when they got to where
she was, there was no ship, and a sea broke over the canoe, and they
were drowned, all fine strong men. But a man they had with them that
was no use or of no account, he came safe to land. And I know a man in
this island saw curraghs and curraghs full of people about the island
of a Sunday morning early, but I never saw them myself. And one Sunday
morning in my time there were scores and scores lying their length by
the sea on the sand below, and they saw a woman in the sea, up to her
waist, and she racking her hair and settling herself and as clean and
as nice as if she was on land. Scores of them saw that.

There's a house up there where the family have to leave a plate of
potatoes ready every night, and all's gone in the morning. (_Note_ 7.)

They are said to have all things the same as ourselves under the
sea, and one day a cow was seen swimming as if for the headland, but
before she got to it she turned another way and went down. And one
time I got a small muc-warra (porpoise) and I went to cut it up to
get what was good of it, for it had about two inches of fat, and when
I cut it open the heart and the liver and every bit of it were for
all the world like a pig you would cut up on land.

There's a house in the village close by this that's haunted. My
sister was sitting near it one day, and it empty and locked, and some
other little girls, and they heard a noise in it, and at the same
time the flags they were sitting on grew red-hot, that they had to
leave them. And another time the woman of the house was sick, and a
little girl that was sitting by the fire in the kitchen saw standing
in the door the sister of the woman that was sick, and she a good
while dead, and she put up her arm, as if to tell her not to notice
her. And the poor woman of that house, she had no luck, nothing but
miscarriages or dead babies. And one child lived to be nine months
old, and there was less flesh on it at the end of the nine months
than there was the day it was born. She has a little girl now that's
near a year old, but her arm isn't the size of that, and she's
crabbed and not like a child as she should be. Many a one that's long
married without having a child goes to the fortune-teller in Galway,
and those that think anything of themselves go to Roundstone.

_A Man near Loughmore:_

I know a woman was washed and laid out, and it went so far that two
half-penny candles were burned over her. And then she sat up, came
back again, and spoke to her husband, and told him how to divide his
property, and to manage the children well. And her step-son began to
question her, and he might have got a lot out of her but her own son
stopped him and said to let her alone. And then she turned over on
her side and died. She was not to say an old woman. It's not often
the old are taken. What use would there be for them? But a woman to
be taken young, you know there's demand for her. It's the people in
the middle island know about these things. There were three boys from
there lost in a curragh at the point near the lighthouse, and for
long after their friends were tormented when they came there fishing,
and they would see ships there when the people of this island that
were out at the same time couldn't see them. There were three or four
out in a curragh near the lighthouse, and a conger-eel came and upset
it, and they were all saved but one, but he was brought down and for
the whole day they could hear him crying and screeching under the
sea. And they were not the only ones, but a fisherman that was there
from Galway had to go away and leave it, because of the screeching.

There was a coast-guard's wife there was all but gone, but she was
saved after. And there's a boy here now was for a long time that
they'd give the world he was gone altogether, with the state he was,
in, and now he's as strong as any boy in the island; and if ever any
one was away and came back again, it was him. Children used often to
be taken, but there's a great many charms in use in these days that
saves them. A big sewing-needle you'll see the woman looking for to
put with a baby, and as long as that's with it, it's safe. But anyway
they're always put back again into the world before they die in the
place of some young person. And even a beast of any consequence if
anything happens to it, no one in the island would taste it; there
might be something in it, some old woman or the like.

There were a few young men from here were kept in Galway for a day,
and they went to a woman there that works the cards. And she told
them of deaths that would come in certain families. And it wasn't a
fortnight after that five boys were out there, just where you see the
curragh now, and they were upset and every one drowned, and they were
of the families that she had named on the cards.

My uncle told me that one night they were all up at that house up
the road, making a match for his sister, and they stopped till near
morning, and when they went out, they all had a drop taken. And
he was going along home with two or three others and one of them,
Michael Flaherty, said he saw people on the shore. And another of
them said that there were not, and my uncle said, "If Flaherty said
that and it not true, we have a right to bite the ear off him, and
it would be no harm." And then they parted, and my uncle had to pass
by the beach, and then he saw whole companies of people coming up
from the sea, that he didn't know how he'd get through them, but they
opened before him and let him pass.

There were men going to Galway with cattle one morning from the beach
down there, and they saw a man up to his middle in the sea--all of
them saw it.

There was a man was down early for lobsters on the shore at the
middle island, and he saw a horse up to its middle in the sea, and
bowing its head down as if to drink. And after he had watched it
awhile it disappeared.

There was a woman walking over by the north shore--God have mercy on
her--she's dead since--and she looked out and saw an island in the
sea, and she was a long time looking at it. It's known to be there,
and to be enchanted, but only few can see it.

There was a man had his horse drawing seaweed up there on the rocks,
the way you see them drawing it every day, in a basket on the mare's
back. And on this day every time he put the load on, the mare would
let its leg slip and it would come down again, and he was vexed and
he had a stick in his hand and he gave the mare a heavy blow. And
that night she had a foal that was dead, not come to its full growth,
and it had spots over it, and every spot was of a different colour.
And there was no sire on the island at that time, so whatever was the
sire must have come up from the sea. (_Note_ 8.)

_A Man Watching the Weed-gatherers:_

There's no doubt at all about the sea-horses. There was a man out at
the other side of the island, and he saw one standing on the rocks
and he threw a stone at it and it went off in the sea. He said it was
grand to see it swimming, and the mane and the tail floating on the
top of the water.

_A Woman from the Connemara Side:_

I was told there was a mare that had a foal, and it had never had
a horse. And one day the mare and foal were down by the sea, and a
horse put up its head and neighed, and away went the foal to it and
came back no more.

And there was a man on this island watched his field one night where
he thought the neighbours' cattle were eating his grass, and what he
saw was horses and foals coming up from the sea. And he caught a foal
and kept it, and set it racing, and no horse or no pony could ever come
near it, till one day the race was on the strand, and away with it into
the sea, and the jockey along with it, and they never were seen again.

_Mrs. O'Dea and Mrs. Daly:_

There was a cow seen come up out of the sea one day and it walked
across the strand, and its udder like as if it had been lately
milked. And Tommy Donohue was running up to tell his father to come
down and see it, and when he looked back it was gone out to sea again.

There was a man here was going to build a new house, and he brought
a wise woman to see would it be in the right place. And she made
five heaps of stones in five places, and said, "Whatever heap isn't
knocked in the night, build it there." And in the morning all the
heaps were knocked but one, and so he built it there. (_Note_ 9.)

One time I was out over by that island with another man, and we saw
three women standing by the shore, beating clothes with a beetle. And
while we looked, they vanished, and then we heard the cry of a child
passing over our heads twenty feet in the air.

I know they go out fishing like ourselves, for Father Mahony told me
so; and one night I was out myself with my brother, beyond where that
ship is, and we heard talk going on, so we knew that a boat was near,
and we called out to let them know we heard them, and then we saw the
boat and it was just like any other one, and the talk went on, but we
couldn't understand what they were saying. And then I turned to light
my pipe, and while I lighted it, the boat and all in it were gone.

_Mrs. Casey:_

I got a story from an old man down by the sea at Tyrone. He says
there was a man went down one night to move his boat from the shore
where it was to the pier. And when he had put out, he found it was
going out to sea, instead of to touch the pier, and he felt it very
heavy in the water, and he looked behind him and there on the back of
the boat were six men in shiny black clothes like sailors, and there
was one like a harvest-man dressed in white flannel with a belt round
his waist. And he asked what they were doing, and the man in white
said he had brought the others out to make away with them there, and
he took and cut their bodies in two and threw them one by one over
the boat, and then he threw himself after them into the sea. And the
boat went under water too, and the poor man himself lost his wits,
but it came up again and he said he had never seen as many people as
he did in that minute under the water. And then he got home and left
the boat, and in the morning he came down to it, and there was blood
in it; and first he washed it and then he painted it, but for all he
could do, he couldn't get rid of the blood.

_Peter Donohue:_

There was a woman, a friend of this man's, living out in the middle
island, and one day she came down to where a man of this island was
putting out his curragh to come back, and she said, "I just saw a
great crowd of them--that's the Sheogue--going over to your island
like a cloud." And when he got home he went up to a house there
beyond, where the old woman used to be selling poteen on the sly. And
while he was there her little boy came running in and cried, "Hide
away the poteen, for the police are on the island! Such a man called
to me from his curragh to give warning, for he saw the road full of
them with the crowd of them and they with their guns and cutlasses
and all the rest." But the man was in the house first knew well what
it was, after what he heard from the woman on the other island, and
that they were no right police, and sure enough no other one ever saw
them. And that same day, my mother had put out wool to dry in front
of where that house is with the three chimneys, near the Chapel.
And I was there talking to some man, one on each side of the yard,
and the wall between us. And the day was as fine as this day is and
finer, and not a breath of air stirring. And a woman that lived near
by had her wool out drying too. And the wool that was in my mother's
yard began to rise up, as if something was under it, and I called to
the other man to help me to hold it down, but for all we could do it
went up in the air, a hundred feet and more, till we could see it no
more. And after a couple of hours it began to drop again, like snow,
some on the thatch and some on the rocks and some in the gardens. And
I think it was a fortnight before my mother had done gathering it.
And one day she was spinning it, I don't know what put it in my mind,
but I asked her did she lose much of that wool. And what she said
was, "If I didn't get more than my own, I didn't get less." That's
true and no lie, for I never told a lie in my life--I think. But the
wool belonging to the neighbouring woman was never stirred at all.

And the woman that had the wool that wasn't stirred, she is the woman
I married after, and that's now my wife.

There was a man, one Power, died in this island, and one night that
was bright there was a friend of his going out for mackerel, and he
saw these sands full of people hurling, and he well knew Power's
voice that he heard among them.

There was a cousin of my own built a new house, and when they were
first in it and sitting round the fire, the woman of the house that
was singing for them saw a great blot of blood come down the chimney
on to the floor, and they thought there would be no luck in the house
and that it was a wrong place. But they had nothing but good luck
ever after.

_Peter Dolan:_

There was a man that died in the middle island, that had two wives.
And one day he was out in the curragh he saw the first wife appear.
And after that one time the son of the second wife was sick, and the
little girl, the first wife's daughter, was out tending cattle, and
a can of water with her and she had a waistcoat of her father's put
about her body, where it was cold. And her mother appeared to her in
the form of a sheep, and spoke to her, and told her what herbs to
find, to cure the step-brother, and sure enough they cured him. And
she bid her leave the waistcoat there and the can, and she did. And
in the morning the waistcoat was folded there, and the can standing
on it. And she appeared to her in her own shape another time, after
that. Why she came like a sheep the first time was that she wouldn't
be frightened. The girl is in America now, and so is the step-brother
that got well. (_Note_ 10.)

_A Galway Woman:_

One time myself, I was up at the well beyond, and looking into it,
a very fine day, and no breath of air stirring, and the stooks were
ripe standing about me. And all in a minute a noise began in them,
and they were like as if knocking at each other and fighting like
soldiers all about me.

_Mary Moran:_

There was a girl here that had been to America and came back, and one
day she was coming over from Liscannor in a curragh, and she looked
back and there behind the curragh was the "Gan ceann" the headless
one. And he followed the boat a great way, but she said nothing. But
a gold pin that was in her hair fell out, and into the sea, that she
had brought from America, and then it disappeared. And her sister was
always asking her where was the pin she brought from America, and she
was afraid to say. But at last she told her, and the sister said,
"It's well for you it fell out, for what was following you would
never have left you, till you threw it a ring or something made of
gold." It was the sister herself that told me this.

Up in the village beyond they think a great deal of these things and
they won't part with a drop of milk on May Eve, and last Saturday
week that was May Eve there was a poor woman dying up there, and she
had no milk of her own, and as is the custom, she went out to get a
drop from one or other of the neighbours. But not one would give it
because it was May Eve. I declare I cried when I heard it, for the
poor woman died on the second day after.

And when my sister was going to America she went on the first of May
and we had a farewell party the night before, and in the night a
little girl that was there saw a woman from that village go out, and
she watched her, and saw her walk round a neighbour's house, and pick
some straw from the roof.

And she told of it, and it happened a child had died in that house
and the father said the woman must have had a hand in it, and there
was no good feeling to her for a long while. Her own husband is lying
sick now, so I hear.


                           SEERS AND HEALERS


                           SEERS AND HEALERS

                              BIDDY EARLY

_In talking to the people I often heard the name of Biddy Early, and
I began to gather many stories of her, some calling her a healer and
some a witch. Some said she had died a long time ago, and some that
she was still living. I was sure after a while that she was dead, but
was told that her house was still standing, and was on the other side
of Slieve Echtge, between Feakle and Tulla. So one day I set out and
drove Shamrock, my pony, to a shooting lodge built by my grandfather
in a fold of the mountains, and where I had sometimes, when a young
girl, stayed with my brothers when they were shooting the wild deer
that came and sheltered in the woods. It had like other places on our
estate a border name brought over from Northumberland, but though we
called it Chevy Chase the people spoke of its woods and outskirts
as Daire-caol, the Narrow Oak Wood, and Daroda, the Two Roads, and
Druim-da-Rod, their Ridge. I stayed the night in the low thatched
house, setting out next day for Feakle "eight strong miles over the
mountain." It was a wild road, and the pony had to splash his way
through two unbridged rivers, swollen with the summer rains. The red
mud of the road, the purple heather and foxglove, the brown bogs
were a contrast to the grey rocks and walls of Burren and Aidhne,
and there were many low hills brown when near, misty blue in the
distance; then the Golden Mountain, Slieve nan-Or, "where the last
great battle will be fought before the end of the world." Then I was
out of Connacht into Clare, the brown turning to green pasture as I
drove by Raftery's Lough Greine._

_I put up my pony at a little inn. There were portraits of John
Dillon and Michael Davitt hanging in the parlour, and the landlady
told me Parnell's likeness had been with them, until the priest had
told her he didn't think well of her hanging it there. There was also
on the wall, in a frame, a warrant for the arrest of one of her sons,
signed by, I think, Lord Cowper, in the days of the Land War. "He got
half a year in gaol the same year Parnell did. He got sick there,
and though he lived for some years the doctor said when he died the
illness he got in gaol had to do with his death."_

_I had been told how to find Biddy Early's house "beyond the little
humpy bridge," and I walked on till I came to it, a poor cottage
enough, high up on a mass of rock by the roadside. There was only a
little girl in the house, but her mother came in afterwards and told
me that Biddy Early had died about twenty years before, and that
after they had come to live in the house they had been "annoyed for
a while" by people coming to look for her. She had sent them away,
telling them Biddy Early was dead, though a friendly priest had said
to her, "Why didn't you let on you were her and make something out of
them?" She told me some of the stories I give below, and showed me
the shed where the healer had consulted with her invisible friends. I
had already been given by an old patient of hers a "bottle" prepared
for the cure, but which she had been afraid to use. It lies still
unopened on a shelf in my storeroom. When I got back at nightfall to
the lodge in the woods I found many of the neighbours gathered there,
wanting to hear news of "the Tulla Woman" and to know for certain if
she was dead. I think as time goes on her fame will grow and some of
the myths that always hang in the air will gather round her, for I
think the first thing I was told of her was, "There used surely to
be enchanters in the old time, magicians and freemasons. Old Biddy
Early's power came from the same thing."_ (_Note_ 11.)

_An Old Woman in the Lodge Kitchen_ says:

Do you remember the time John Kevin beyond went to see Biddy Early,
for his wife, she was sick at the time. And Biddy Early knew
everything, and that there was a forth behind her house, and she
said, "Your wife is too fond of going out late at night."

_I was told by a Gate-keeper:_

There was a man at Cranagh had one of his sheep shorn in the night,
and all the wool taken. And he got on his horse and went to Feakle
and Biddy Early, and she told him the name of the man that did it,
and where it was hidden, and so he got it back again.

There was a man went to Biddy Early, and she told him that the woman
he'd marry would have her husband killed by his brother. And so it
happened, for the woman he married was sitting by the fire with her
husband, and the brother came in, having a drop of drink taken, and
threw a pint at him that hit him on the head and killed him. It was
the man that married her that told me this.

_Mrs. Kearns:_

Did I know any one that was taken by them? Well, I never knew one
that was brought back again. Himself went one time to Biddy Early
for his uncle, Donohue, that was sick, and he found her there and her
fingers all covered with big gold rings, and she gave him a bottle,
and she said: "Go in no house on your way home, or stop nowhere, or
you'll lose it." But going home he had a thirst on him and he came to
a public-house, and he wouldn't go in, but he stopped and bid the boy
bring him out a drink. But a little farther on the road the horse got
a fall, and the bottle was broke.

_Mrs. Cregan:_

It's I was with this woman here to Biddy Early. And when she saw
me, she knew it was for my husband I came, and she looked in her
bottle and she said, "It's nothing put upon him by my people that's
wrong with him." And she bid me give him cold oranges and some other
things--herbs. He got better after.

_Daniel Curtin:_

Did I ever hear of Biddy Early? There's not a man in this countryside
over forty year old that hasn't been with her some time or other.
There's a man living in that house over there was sick one time, and
he went to her, and she cured him, but says she, "You'll have to lose
something, and don't fret after it." So he had a grey mare and she
was going to foal, and one morning when he went out he saw that the
foal was born, and was lying dead by the side of the wall. So he
remembered what she said to him and he didn't fret.

There was one Dillane in Kinvara, Sir William knew him well, and he
went to her one time for a cure. And Father Andrew came to the house
and was mad with him for going, and says he, "You take the cure out
of the hands of God." And Mrs. Dillane said, "Your Reverence, none of
us can do that." "Well," says Father Andrew, "then I'll see what the
devil can do and I'll send my horse tomorrow, that has a sore in his
leg this long time, and try will she be able to cure him."

So next day he sent a man with his horse, and when he got to Biddy
Early's house she came out, and she told him every word that Father
Andrew had said, and she cured the sore. So after that, he left the
people alone; but before it, he'd be dressed in a frieze coat and a
riding whip in his hand, driving away the people from going to her.

She had four or five husbands, and they all died of drink one after
another. Maybe twenty or thirty people would be there in the day
looking for cures, and every one of them would bring a bottle of
whiskey. Wild cards they all were, or they wouldn't have married her.
She'd help too to bring the butter back. Always on the first of May,
it used to be taken, and maybe what would be taken from one man would
be conveyed to another.

_Mr. McCabe:_

Biddy Early? Not far from this she lived, above at Feakle. I got
cured by her myself one time. Look at this thumb--I got it hurted one
time, and I went out into the field after and was ploughing all the
day, I was that greedy for work. And when I went in I had to lie on
the bed with the pain of it, and it swelled and the arm with it, to
the size of a horse's thigh. I stopped two or three days in the bed
with the pain of it, and then my wife went to see Biddy Early and
told her about it, and she came home and the next day it burst, and
you never seen anything like all the stuff that came away from it. A
good bit after I went to her myself, where it wasn't quite healed,
and she said, "You'd have lost it altogether if your wife hadn't been
so quick to come." She brought me into a small room, and said holy
words and sprinkled holy water and told me to believe. The priests
were against her, but they were wrong. How could that be evil doing
that was all charity and kindness and healing?

She was a decent looking woman, no different from any other woman of
the country. The boy she was married to at the time was lying drunk
in the bed. There were side-cars and common cars and gentry and
country people at the door, just like Gort market, and dinner for all
that came, and everyone would bring her something, but she didn't
care what it was. Rich farmers would bring her the whole side of a
pig. Myself, I brought a bottle of whiskey and a shilling's worth
of bread, and a quarter of sugar and a quarter pound of tea. She was
very rich, for there wasn't a farmer but would give her the grass
of a couple of bullocks or a filly. She had the full of a field of
fillies if they'd all been gathered together. She left no children,
and there's no doubt at all that the reason of her being able to do
cures was that she was _away_ seven years. She didn't tell me about
it but she spoke of it to others.

When I was coming away I met a party of country people on a cart from
Limerick, and they asked where was her house, and I told them: "Go on
to the cross, and turn to the left, and follow the straight road till
you come to the little humpy bridge, and soon after that you'll come
to the house."

But the priests would be mad if they knew that I told any one the way.

She died about twelve year ago; I didn't go to the wake myself, or
the funeral, but I heard that her death was natural.

No, Mrs. Early is no relation to Biddy Early--the nuns asked her the
same thing when she was married. A cousin of hers had her hand cut with
a jug that was broke, and she went up to her and when she got there,
Biddy Early said: "It's a thing you never should do, to beat a child
that breaks a cup or a jug." And sure enough it was a child that broke
it, and she beat her for doing it. But cures she did sure enough.

_Bartley Coen:_

There was a neighbour of my own, Andrew Dennehy:

I was knocked up by him one night to go to the house, because he
said _they_ were calling to him. But when they got there, there was
nothing to be found. But some see these things, and some can't. It's
against our creed to believe in them. And the priests won't let on
that they believe in them themselves, but they are more in dread of
going about at night than any of us. They were against, Biddy Early
too. There was a man I knew living near the sea, and he set out to
go to her one time. And on his way he went into his brother-in-law's
house, and the priest came in there, and bid him not to go on. "Well,
Father," says he, "cure me yourself if you won't let me go to her to
be cured." And when the priest wouldn't do that (for the priests can
do many cures if they like to), he went on to her. And the minute
he came in, "Well," says she, "you made a great fight for me on the
way." For though it's against our creed to believe it, she could hear
any earthly thing that was said in every part, miles off. But she had
two red eyes, and some used to say, "If she can cure so much, why
can't she cure her own eyes?"

No, she wasn't _away_ herself. It is said it was from a son of her
own she got the knowledge, a little chap that was astray. And one day
when he was lying sick in the bed he said: "There's such and such a
woman has a hen down in the pot, and if I had the soup of the hen, I
think it would cure me." So the mother went to the house, and when
she got there, sure enough, there was a hen in the pot on the fire.
But she was ashamed to tell what she came for, and she let on to have
only come for a visit, and so she sat down. But presently in the heat
of the talking she told what the little chap had said. "Well," says
the woman, "take the soup and welcome, and the hen too if it will do
him any good." So she brought them with her, and when the boy saw the
soup, "It can't cure me," says he, "for no earthly thing can do that.
But since I see how kind and how willing you are, and did your best
for me, I'll leave you a way of living." And so he did, and taught
her all she knew. That's what's said at any rate.

_Mr. Fahy:_

Well, that's what's believed, that it's from her son Biddy Early got
it. After his death always lamenting for him she was, till he came
back, and gave her the gift of curing.

She had no red eyes, but was a fresh clean-looking woman; sure any
one might have red eyes when they'd got a cold.

She wouldn't refuse even a person that would come from the very
bottom of the black North.

       *       *       *       *       *

"I was with Biddy Early myself one time, and got a cure from her for
my little girl that was sick. A bottle of whiskey I brought her, and
the first thing she did was to open it and to give me a glass out of
it. "For," says she, "you'll maybe want it my poor man." But I had
plenty of courage in those days."

The priests were against her; often Father Boyle would speak of her
in his sermons. They can all do those cures themselves, but that's a
thing it's not right to be talking about.

_The Little Girl of Biddy Early's House:_

The people do be full of stories of all the cures she did. Once after
we came to live here a carload of people came, and asked was Biddy
Early here, and my mother said she was dead. When she told the priest
he said she had a right to shake a bottle and say she was her, and
get something from them. It was by the bottle she did all, to shake
it, and she'd see everything when she looked in it. Sometimes she'd
give a bottle of some cure to people that came, but if she'd say to
them, "You'll never bring it home," break it they should on the way
home, with all the care they'd take of it.

She was as good, and better, to the poor as to the rich. Any poor
person passing the road, she'd call in and give a cup of tea or a
glass of whiskey to, and bread and what they wanted.

She had a big chest within in that room, and it full of pounds of tea
and bottles of wine and of whiskey and of claret, and all things in
the world. One time she called in a man that was passing and gave
him a glass of whiskey, and then she said to him, "The road you were
going home by, don't go by it." So he asked why not, and she took
the bottle--a long shaped bottle it was--and looked into it, holding
it up, and then she bid him look through it, and he'd see what would
happen him. But her husband said, "Don't show it to him, it might
give him a fright he wouldn't get over." So she only said, "Well, go
home by another road." And so he did and got home safe, for in the
bottle she had seen a party of men that wouldn't have let him pass
alive. She got the rites of the Church when she died, but first she
had to break the bottle.

It was from her brother that she got the power, when she had to go to
the workhouse, and he came back, and gave her the way of doing the

_The Blacksmith I met near Tulla:_

I know you to be a respectable lady and an honourable one because I
know your brothers, meeting them as I do at the fair of Scariff. No
fair it would be if they weren't there. I knew Biddy Early well, a
nice fresh-looking woman she was. It's to her the people used to be
flocking, to the door and even to the window, and if they'd come late
in the day, they'd have no chance of getting to her, they'd have to
take lodgings for the night in the town. She was a great woman. If
any of the men that came into the house had a drop too much drink
taken, she'd turn them out if they said an unruly word. And if any
of them were fighting or disputing or going to law, she'd say, "Be
at one, and ye can rule the world." The priests were against her and
used to be taking the cloaks and the baskets from the country people
to keep them back from going to her.

I never went to her myself--for you should know that no ill or harm
ever comes to a blacksmith.

_An Old Midwife:_

Tell me now is there anything wrong about you or your son that you
went to that house? I went there but once myself, when my little girl
that was married was bad, after her second baby being born. I went to
the house and told her about it, and she took the bottle and shook it
and looked in it, and then she turned and said something to himself
[her husband] that I didn't hear--and she just waved her hand to me
like that, and bid me go home, for she would take nothing from me.
But himself came out and told that what she was after seeing in the
bottle was my little girl, and the coffin standing beside her. So I
went home, and sure enough on the tenth day after, she was dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The lodge people came rushing out to see the picture of Biddy
Early's house and ask, "Did she leave the power to any one else?" and
I told of the broken bottle. But Mr. McCabe said, "She only had the
power for her own term, and-no one else could get it from her."_

       *       *       *       *       *

_I asked old Mr. McCabe if he had lost anything when she cured him,
and he said: "Not at that time, but sometimes I thought afterwards it
came on my family when I lost so many of my children. A grand stout
girl went from me, stout and broad, what would ail her to go?"_

_I was told by Mat King:_

Biddy Early surely did thousands of cures. Out in the stable she used
to go, where her _friends_ met her, and they told her all things.
There was a little priest long ago used to do cures,--Soggarthin
Mina, they used to call him,--and once he came in this house he
looked up and said, "There--it's full of them--there they are."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man, one Flaherty, came to his brother-in-law's house one
day to borrow a horse. And the next day the horse was sent back, but
he didn't come himself. And after a few days more they went to ask
for him, but he had never come back at all. So the brother-in-law
went to Biddy Early's and she and some others were drinking whiskey,
and they were sorry that they were near at the bottom of the bottle.
And she said: "That's no matter, there's a man on his way now,
there'll soon be more." And sure enough there was, for he brought
a bottle with him. So when he came in, he told her about Flaherty
having disappeared. And she described to him a corner of a garden
at the back of a house and she said, "Go look and you'll find him
there," and so they did, dead and buried.

Another time a man's cattle was dying, and he went to her and she
said, "Is there such a place as Benburb, having a forth up on the
hill beyond there? for it's there they're gone." And sure enough, it
was towards that forth they were straying before they died.

_An Old Man on the Beach:_

The priests were greatly against Biddy Early. And there's no doubt
it was from the faeries she got the knowledge. But who wouldn't go
to hell for a cure if one of his own was sick? And the priests don't
like to be doing cures themselves. Father Flynn said to me (rather
incoherent in the high wind), if I do them, I let the devil into me.
But there was Father Carey used to do them, but he went wrong, with
the people bringing too much whiskey to pay him--and Father Mahony
has him stopped now.

_Maher of Slieve Echtge:_

I knew a man went to Biddy Early, and while she was in the other room
he made the tongs red hot and laid them down, and when she came back
she took them up and burned herself. And he said, if she had known
anything she'd have known not to touch it, that it was red hot. So
he walked off and asked for no cure.

_The Spinning-Woman:_

Biddy Early was a witch, wherever she got it. There was a priest at
Feakle spoke against her one time, and soon after he was passing
near her house and she put something on the horse so that he made a
bolt into the river and stopped there in the middle, and wouldn't go
back or forward. Some people from the neighbourhood went to her, and
she told them all about the whole place, and that one time there was
a great battle about the castle, and that there is a passage going
from here to the forth beyond on Dromore Hill, and to another place
that's near Maher's house. And she said that there is a cure for all
sicknesses hidden between the two wheels of Ballylee mill. And how
did she know that there was a mill here at all? Witchcraft wherever
she got it; away she may have been in a trance. She had a son, and
one time he went to the hurling beyond at some place in Tipperary,
and none could stand against him; he was like a deer.

       *       *       *       *       *

I went to Biddy Early one time myself, about my little boy that's now
in America that was lying sick in the house. But on the way to her I
met a sergeant of police and he asked where was I going, and when I
told him, he said, to joke with me, "Biddy Early's dead." "May the
devil die with her," says I. Well, when I got to the house, what do
you think, if she didn't know that, and what I said. And she was vexed
and at the first, she would do nothing for me. I had a pound for her
here in my bosom. But when I held it out she wouldn't take it, but she
turned the rings on her fingers, for she had a ring for every one, and
she said, "A shilling for this one, sixpence for another one." But all
she told me was that the boy was nervous, and so he was, she was right
in that, and that he'd get well, and so he did.

There was a man beyond in Cloon, was walking near the gate the same
day and his little boy with him, and he turned his foot and hurt it,
and she knew that. She told me she slept in Ballylee mill last night,
and that there was a cure for all things in the world between the two
wheels there. Surely she was _away_ herself, and as to her son, she
brought him back with her, and for eight or nine year he lay in the
bed in the house. And he'd never stir so long as she was in it, but no
sooner was she gone away anywhere than he'd be out down the village
among the people, and then back again before she'd get to the house.

She had three husbands, I saw one of them when I was there, but I
knew by the look of him he wouldn't live long. One man I know went to
her and she sent him on to a woman at Kilrush--one of her own sort,
and they helped one another. She said to some woman I knew: "If you
have a bowl broke or a plate throw it out of the door, and don't
make any attempt to mend it, it vexes _them_."

_Mrs. McDonagh:_

Our religion doesn't allow us to go to fortune tellers. They don't
get the knowledge from God, and so it must be from demons.

The priests took the bottle from Biddy Early before she died, and
they found black things in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never went to Biddy Early myself. I think there was a good deal of
devilment in the things she did. The priests can do cures as well as
she did, but they don't like to do them, unless they're curates that
like to get the money.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man in Cloughareeva and his wife was that bad she would
go out in her shift at night into the field. And he went to Biddy
Early and she said, "Within three days a disgraced priest will come
to you and will cure her."

And after three days the disgraced priest that had been put out for
drink came bowling into the house, and they reached down from the
shelf a bottle of whiskey. Father Boyle was mad when he heard of it,
but he cured her all the same.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man on this estate, and he sixty years, and he took to
the bed, and his wife went to Biddy Early and she said, "It can't
be by _them_ he's taken, what use would it be to them, he being so
old." And Biddy Early is the one that should surely know. I went to
her myself one time, to get a cure for myself when I fell coming down
that hill up there, and got a hurt on my knee. And she gave me one
and she told me all about the whole place, and that there was a bowl
broken in the house, and so there was. The priests can do cures by
the same power that she had, but those that have much stock don't
like to be doing them; for they're sure to lose all.

       *       *       *       *       *

I knew one went to Biddy Early about his wife, and as soon as she saw
him, she said, "On the fourth day a discarded priest will call in and
cure your wife"; and so he did--one Father James.

_Mrs. Nelly:_

The old man here that lost his hair went to Biddy Early but he didn't
want to go, and we forced him and persuaded him. And when he got to
the house she said, "It wasn't of your own free will you came here,"
and she wouldn't do anything for him.

She didn't like either for you to go too late. Dolan's sister was
sick a long time, and when the brother went at the last to Biddy
Early she gave him a bottle with a cure. But on the way home the
bottle was broke, and the car, and the horse got a fright and ran
away. She said to him then, "Why did you go to cut down the bush of
white thorn you see out of the window?" And then she told him an old
woman in the village had overlooked him--Murphy's sister--and she
gave him a bottle to sprinkle about her house. I suppose she didn't
like that bush being interfered with, she had too much charms.

And when Doctor Folan was sent for to see her he was led astray, and
it is beyond Ballylee he found himself. And surely she was _taken_ if
ever any one was.

_An Old Woman:_

I went up to Biddy Early's one time with another woman. A fine stout
woman she was, sitting straight up on her chair. She looked at me and
she told me that my son was worse than what I was, and for myself
she bid me to take what I was taking before, and that's dandelions.
Five leaves she bid me pick and lay them out on the table with three
pinches of salt on the three middle ones. As to my son, she gave me a
bottle for him but he wouldn't take it and he got better without.

The priests were against her, but there was one of them passed near
her house one day, and his horse fell forward. And he sent his boy
to her and she said, "Tell him to spit on the horse and to say,
'God bless it,'" and he did and it rose again. He had looked at it
proud-like without saying "God bless it" in his heart.

_Daniel Shea:_

It was all you could do to get to Biddy Early with your skin whole,
the priests were so set against her. I went to her one time myself,
and it was hard when you got near to know the way, for all the people
were afraid to tell it.

It was about a little chap of my own I went, that some strange thing
had been put upon. When I got to her house there were about fifty to
be attended to before me, and when my turn came she looked in the
bottle, a sort of a common greenish one that seemed to have nothing
in it. And she told me where I came from, and the shape of the
house and the appearance of it, and of the lake you see there, and
everything round about. And she told me of a lime-kiln that was near,
and then she said, "The harm that came to him came from the forth
beyond that." And I never knew of there being a forth there, but
after I came home I went to look, and there sure enough it was.

And she told me how it had come on him, and bid me remember a day
that a certain gentleman stopped and spoke to me when I was out
working in the hayfield, and the child with me playing about. And I
remembered it well, it was old James Hill of Creen, that was riding
past, and stopped and talked and was praising the child. And it was
close by that forth beyond that James Hill was born.

It was soon after that day that the mother and I went to Loughrea,
and when we came back, the child had slipped on the threshold of the
house and got a fall, and he was screeching and calling out that his
knee was hurt, and from that time he did no good, and pined away and
had the pain in the knee always.

And Biddy Early said, "While you're talking to me now the child lies
dying," and that was at twelve o'clock in the day. And she made up a
bottle for me, herbs I believe it was made of, and she said, "Take care
of it going home, and whatever may happen, don't drop it"; and she
wrapped it in all the folds of my handkerchief. So when I was coming
home and got near Tillyra I heard voices over the wall talking, and
when I got to the Roxborough gate there were many people talking and
coming to where we were. I could hear them and see them, and the man
that was with me. But when I heard them I remembered what she said,
and I took the bottle in my two hands and held it, and so I brought it
home safely. And when I got home they told me the child was worse, and
that at twelve o'clock the day before he lay as they thought dying. And
when I brought the bottle to him, he pulled the bed-clothes up over his
head, and we had the work of the world to make him taste it. But from
the time he took it, the pain in the knee left him and he began to get
better, and Biddy Early had told me not to let many days pass without
coming to her again, when she gave me the bottle. But seeing him so
well, I thought it no use to go again, and it was not on May Day, but
it was during the month of May he died. He took to the bed before that,
and he'd be always calling to me to come inside the bed where he was,
and if I went in, he'd hardly let me go. But I got afraid, and I didn't
like to be too much with him.

He was but eight years old when he died, but Ned Cahel that used to
live beyond there then told me privately that when I'd be out of the
house and he'd come in, the little chap would ask for the pipe, and
take it and smoke it, but he'd never let me see him doing it. And he
was old-fashioned in all his ways.

Another thing Biddy Early told me to do was to go out before sunrise
to where there'd be a boundary wall between two or three estates, and
to bring a bottle, and lay it in the grass and gather the dew into
it. But there were hundreds of people she turned away, because she'd
say, "What's wrong with you has nothing to do with my business."

There was a Clare woman with me when I went there, and she told me
there was a boy from a village near her was brought tied in a cart
to Biddy Early, and she said, "If I cure you, will you be willing to
marry me?" And he said he would. So she cured him and married him. I
saw him there at her house. It might be that she had the illness put
upon him first.

The priests don't do cures by the same means, and they don't like to
do them at all. It was in my house that you see that Father Gregan did
one on Mr. Phayre. And he cured a girl up in the mountains after, and
where is he now but in a madhouse. They are afraid of the power they
do them by, that it will be too strong for them. Some say the bishops
don't like them to do cures because the whiskey they drink to give them
courage before they do them is very apt to make drunkards of them. It's
not out of the prayer-book they read, but out of the Roman ritual, and
that's a book you can read evil out of as well as good.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy of the Saggartons in the house went to Biddy Early
and she told him the house of his bachelor [the girl he would marry]
and he did marry her after. And she cured him of a weakness he had
and cured many, but it was seldom the bottle she'd give could be
brought home without being spilled. I wonder did she go to _them_
when she died. She got the cure among them anyway.

_Mrs. Dillon:_

My mother got crippled in her bed one night--God save the hearers--and
it was a long time before she could walk again with the pain in her
back. And my father was always telling her to go to Biddy Early, and
so at last she went. But she could do nothing for her, for she said,
"What ails you has nothing to do with my business." And she said, "You
have lost three, and one was a grand little fair-haired one, and if
you'd like to see her again, I'll show her to you." And when she said
that, my mother had no courage to look and to see the child she lost,
but fainted then and there. And then she said, "There's a field of corn
beyond your house and a field with hay, and it's not long since that
the little fellow that wears a Llanberis cap fell asleep there on a
cock of hay. And before the stooks of corn are in stacks he'll be taken
from you, but I'll save him if I can." And it was true enough what she
said, my little brother that was wearing a Llanberis cap had gone to
the field, and had fallen asleep on the hay a few days before. But no
harm happened him, and he's all the brother I have living now. Out in
the stable she used to go to meet her _people_.

_Mrs. Locke:_

It was my son was thatching Heniff's house when he got the touch, and
he came back with a pain in his back and in his shoulders, and took
to the bed. And a few nights after that I was asleep, and the little
girl came and woke me and said, "There's none of us can sleep, with
all the cars and carriages rattling round the house." But though I
woke and heard her say that, I fell into a sound sleep again and
never woke till morning. And one night there came two taps at the
window, one after another, and we all heard it and no one there. And
at last I sent the eldest boy to Biddy Early and he found her in the
house. She was then married to her fourth man. And she said he came
a day too soon and would do nothing for him. And he had to walk away
in the rain. And the next day he went back and she said, "Three days
later and you'd have been too late." And she gave him two bottles,
the one he was to bring to a boundary water and to fill it up, and
that was to be rubbed to the back, and the other was to drink. And
the minute he got them he began to get well, and he left the bed and
could walk, but he was always delicate. When we rubbed his back we
saw a black mark, like the bite of a dog, and as to his face, it was
as white as a sheet.

I have the bottle here yet, though it's thirty year ago I got it. She
bid the boy to bring whatever was left of it to a river, and to pour
it away with the running water. But when he got well I did nothing
with it, and said nothing about it--and here it is now for you to
see. I never let on to Father Folan that I went to her, but one time
the Bishop came, MacInerny. I knew he was a rough man, and I went to
him and made my confession, and I said, "Do what you like with me,
but I'd walk the world for my son when he was sick." And all he said
was, "It would have been no wonder if the two feet had been cut off
from the messenger." And he said no more and put nothing on me.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy I saw went to Biddy Early, and she gave him a bottle
and told him to mind he did not lose it in the crossing of some road.
And when he came to the place it was broke.

       *       *       *       *       *

Often I heard of Biddy Early, and I knew of a little girl was sick
and the brother went to Biddy Early to ask would she get well. And
she said, "They have a place ready for her, room for her they have."
So he knew she would die, and so she did.

The priests can do things too, the same way as she could, for there
was one Mr. Lyne was dying, a Protestant, and the priest went in and
baptized him a Catholic before he died, and he said to the people
after, "He's all right now, in another world." And it was more than
the baptizing made him sure of that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Brennan, in the house beyond, went one time to Biddy Early,
where the old man was losing his health. And all she told him was to
bid him give over drinking so much whiskey. So after she said that,
he used only to be drinking gin.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy went to Biddy Early for his father, and she said, "It's
not any of my business that's on him, but it's good for yourself that
you came to me. Weren't you sowing potatoes in such a field one day
and didn't you find a bottle of whiskey, and bring it away and drink
what was in it?" And that was true and it must have been a bottle
_they_ brought out of some cellar and dropped there, for they can bring
everything away, and put in its place what will look like it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy near Feakle got the touch in three places, and he
got a great desire to go out night-walking, and he got sick. And they
asked Biddy Early and she said, "Watch the hens when they come in to
roost at night, and catch a hold of the last one that comes." So the
mother caught it, and then she thought she'd like to see what would
Biddy Early do with it. So she brought it up to her house and laid it
on the floor, and it began to rustle its wings, and it lay over and
died. It was from her brother Biddy Early got the cure. He was sick a
long time, and there was a whitethorn tree out in the field, and he'd
go and lie under it for shade from the sun. And after he died, every
day for a year she'd go to the whitethorn tree, and it is there she'd
cry her fill. And then he brought her under and gave her the cure. It
was after that she was in service beyond Kinvara. She did her first
cure on a boy, after the doctors giving him up.

_An Old Man from Kinvara:_

My wife is paralysed these thirty-six years, and the neighbours
said she'd get well if the child died, for she got it after her
confinement, all in a minute. But the child died in a year and eleven
months, and she got no better. And then they said she'd get taken
after twenty-one years, but that passed, and she's just the same way.
And she's as good a Christian as any all the time.

I went to Biddy Early one time about her. She was a very old woman,
all shaky, and the crankiest woman I ever saw. And the husband was
a fine young man, and he lying in the bed. It was a man from Kinvara
half-paralysed I brought with me, and she would do nothing for him at
first, and then the husband bid her do what she could. So she took
the bottle and shook it and looked in it, and she said what was in
him was none of her business. And I had work to get him a lodging
that night in Feakle, for the priests had all the people warned
against letting any one in that had been to her. She wouldn't take
the whiskey I brought, but the husband and myself, we opened it and
drank it between us.

She gave me a bottle for my wife, but when I got to the workhouse,
where I had to put her in the hospital, they wouldn't let me through
the gate for they heard where I had been. So I had to hide the bottle
for a night by a wall, on the grass, and I sent my brother's wife to
find it, and to bring it to her in the morning into the workhouse.
But it did her no good, and Biddy Early told her after it was because
I didn't bring it straight to her, but had left it on the ground for
the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

Biddy Early beat all women. No one could touch her. I knew a girl,
a friend of my own, at Burren and she was sick a long while and the
doctors could do nothing for her, and the priests read over her but
they could do nothing. And at last the husband went to Biddy Early and
she said, "I can't cure her, and the woman that can cure her lives in
the village with her." So he went home and told this and the women of
the village came into the house and said, "God bless her," all except
one, and nothing would make her come into the house. But they watched
her, and one night when a lot of them were sitting round the fire
smoking, she let a spit fall on the floor. So they gathered that up
(with respects to you), and brought it in to the sick woman and rubbed
it to her, and she got well. It might have done as well if they brought
a bit of her petticoat and burned it and rubbed the ashes on her. But
there's something strange about spits, and if you spit on a child or a
beast it's as good as if you'd say, "God bless it."

_John Curtin:_

I was with Biddy Early one time for my brother. She was out away in
Ennis when we got to the house, and her husband that she called Tommy.
And the kitchen was full of people waiting for her to come in. So then
she came, and the day was rainy, and she was wet, and she went over
to the fire, and began to take off her clothes, and to dry them, and
then she said to her husband: "Tommy, get the bottle and give them
all a drop." So he got the bottle and gave a drink to everyone. But
my brother was in behind the door, and he missed him and when he came
back to the fire she said: "You have missed out the man that has the
best heart of them all, and there he is behind the door." And when my
brother came out she said, "Give us a verse of a song," and he said,
"I'm no songster," but she said, "I know well that you are, and a good
dancer as well." She cured him and his wife after.

There was a neighbour of mine went to her too, and she said: "The
first time you got the touch was the day you had brought a cart of
turf from that bog at Ballinabucky to Scahanagh. And when you were
in the road you got it, and you had to lie down on the creel of turf
till you got to the public road." And she told him that he had a pane
of glass broke in his window and that was true enough. She must have
been away walking with the faeries every night or how did she know
that, or where the village of Scahanagh was?

       *       *       *       *       *

Mrs. Kenny has been twice to Biddy Early. Once for her brother who
was ill, and light-headed and sent to Galway. And Biddy Early shook
the bottle twice, and she said, "It is none of my business, and it's
a heavy cold that settled in his head." And she would not take the
shilling. A red, red woman she was.

_Mary Glyn:_

I am a Clare woman, but the last fifty years I spent in Connacht.
Near Feakle I lived, but I only saw Biddy Early once, the time she
was brought to the committee and to the courthouse. She lived in a
little house near Feakle that time, and her landlord was Dr. Murphy
in Limerick, and he sent men to evict her and to pull the house
down, and she held them in the door and said: "Whoever will be the
first to put a bar to the house, he'll remember it." And then a man
put his bar in between two stones, and if he did, he turned and got
a fall someway and he broke the thigh. After that Dr. Murphy brought
her to the court, "Faeries and all," he said, for he brought the
bottle along with her. So she was put out, but Murphy had cause to
remember it, for he was living in a house by himself, and one night
it caught fire and was burned down, and all that was left of him
was one foot that was found in a corner of the walls. She had four
husbands, and the priest wouldn't marry her to the last one, and
it was by the teacher that she was married. She was a good-looking
woman, but like another, the day I saw her. My husband went to her
the time Johnny, my little boy, was dying. He had a great pain in his
temple, and she said: "He has enough in him to kill a hundred; but if
he lives till Monday, come and tell me." But he was dead before that.
And she said, "If you came to me before this, I'd not have let you
stop in that house you're in." But Johnny died; and there was a blush
over his face when he was going, and after that I couldn't look at
him, but those that saw him said that _he_ wasn't in it. I never saw
him since, but often and often the father would go out thinking he
might see him. But I know well he wouldn't like to come back and to
see me fretting for him.

We left the house after that and came here. A travelling woman that
came in to see me one time in that house said, "This is a fine airy
house," and she said that three times, and then she said, "But in that
corner of it you'll lose your son," and it happened, and I wish now
that I had minded what she said. A man and his family went into that
house after, and the first summer they were in it, he and his sons
were putting up a stack of hay in the field with pitchforks, and the
pitchfork in his hand turned some way into his stomach and he died.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is Biddy Early had the great name, but priests were against her.
There went a priest one time to stop her, and when he came near the
door the horse fell that was in his car. Biddy Early came out then
and bid him to give three spits on the horse, and he did that, and it
rose up then and there. It was himself had put the evil eye on it.
"It was yourself did it, you bodach," she said to the priest. And he
said, "You may do what you like from this out, and I will not meddle
with you again."

_Mrs. Crone:_

I was myself digging potatoes out in that field beyond, and a woman
passed by the road, but I heard her say nothing, but a pain came on
my head and I fell down, and I had to go to my bed for three weeks.
My mother went then to Biddy Early. Did you ever hear of her? And
she looked in the blue bottle she had, and she said my name. And she
saw me standing before her, and knew all about me and said, "Your
daughter was digging potatoes with her husband in the field, and a
woman passed by and she said, 'It is as good herself is with a spade
as the man,'" for I was a young woman at the time. She gave my mother
a bottle for me, and I took three drinks of it in the bed, and then I
got up as well as I was before.

_Peter Feeney:_

Biddy Early said to a man that I met in America and that went to her
one time, that this place between Finevara and Aughanish is the most
haunted place in all Ireland.

Surely Biddy Early was _away_ herself. That's what I always heard.
And I hear that at a hurling near Feakle the other day there was a
small little man, and they say he was a friend of hers and has got
her gift.

                             MRS. SHERIDAN

_Mrs. Sheridan, as I call her, was wrinkled and half blind, and had
gone barefoot through her lifetime. She was old, for she had once met
Raftery, the Gaelic poet, at a dance, and he died before the famine
of '47. She must have been comely then, for he had said to her: "Well
planed you are; the carpenter that planed you knew his trade"; and she
was ready of reply and answered him back, "Better than you know yours,"
for his fiddle had two or three broken strings. And then he had spoken
of a neighbour in some way that vexed her father, and he would let him
speak no more with her. And she had carried a regret for this through
her long life, for she said: "If it wasn't for him speaking as he did,
and my father getting vexed, he might have made words about me like he
did for Mary Hynes and for Mary Brown." She had never been to school
she told me, because her father could not pay the penny a week it would
have cost. She had never travelled many miles from the parish of her
birth, and I am sure had never seen pictures except the sacred ones on
chapel walls; and yet she could tell of a Cromwellian castle built up
and of a drawbridge and of long-faced, fair-haired women, and of the
yet earlier round house and saffron dress of the heroic times, I do not
know whether by direct vision, or whether as Myers wrote: "It may even
be that a World-soul is personally conscious of all its past, and that
individual souls, as they enter into deeper consciousness enter into
something which is at once reminiscence and actuality.... Past facts
were known to men on earth, not from memory only but by written record;
and these may be records, of what kind we know not, which persist in
the spiritual world. Our retrocognitions seem often a recovery of
isolated fragments of thought and feeling, pebbles still hard and
rounded amid the indecipherable sands over which the mighty waters are
'rolling evermore.'"_

_She had never heard of the great mystic Jacob Behmen, and yet when
an unearthly visitor told her the country of youth is not far from
the place where we live, she had come near to his root idea that "the
world standeth in Heaven and Heaven in the World, and are in one
another as day and night."_

_I was told by Mrs. Sheridan:_

There was a woman, Mrs. Keevan, killed near the big tree at Raheen, and
her husband was after that with Biddy Early, and she said it was not
the woman that had died at all, but a cow that died and was put in her
place. All my life I've seen _them_ and enough of them. One day I was
with Tom Mannion by the big hole near his house, and we saw a man and
a woman come from it, and a great troop of children, little boys they
seemed to be, and they went through the gate into Coole, and there we
could see them running and running along the wall. And I said to Tom
Mannion, "It may be a call for one of us." And he said, "Maybe it's for
some other one it is." But on that day week he was dead.

One time I saw the old Colonel standing near the road, I know well
it was him. But while I was looking at him, he was changed into the
likeness of an ass.

I was led astray myself one day in Coole when I went to gather sticks
for the fire. I was making a bundle of them, and I saw a boy beside
me, and a little grey dogeen with him, and at first I thought it was
William Hanlon, and then I saw it was not. And he walked along with me,
and I asked him did he want any of the sticks and he said he did not,
and he seemed as we were walking to grow bigger and bigger. And when
he came to where the caves go underground he stopped, and I asked him
his name, and he said, "You should know me, for you've seen me often
enough." And then he was gone, and I know that he was no living thing.

There was a child I had, and he a year and a half old, and he got
a quinsy and a choking in the throat and I was holding him in my
arms beside the fire, and all in a minute he died. And the men
were working down by the river, washing sheep, and they heard the
crying of a child from over there in the air, and they said, "That's
Sheridan's child." So I knew sure enough that he was _taken_.

Come here close and I'll tell you what I saw at the old castle there
below (Ballinamantane). I was passing there in the evening and I
saw a great house and a grand one with screens (clumps of trees) at
the ends of it, and the windows open--Coole house is nothing like
what it was for size or grandeur. And there were people inside and
ladies walking about, and a bridge across the river. For they can
build up such things all in a minute. And two coaches came driving
up and across the bridge to the castle, and in one of them I saw
two gentlemen, and I knew them well and both of them had died long
before. As to the coaches and the horses I didn't take much notice of
them for I was too much taken up with looking at the two gentlemen.
And a man came and called out and asked me would I come across the
bridge, and I said I would not. And he said, "It would be better for
you if you did, you'd go back heavier than you came." I suppose they
would have given me some good thing. And then two men took up the
bridge and laid it against the wall. Twice I've seen that same thing,
the house and the coaches and the bridge, and I know well I'll see it
a third time before I die. (_Note_ 12.)

One time when I was living at Ballymacduff there was two little boys
drowned in the river there, one was eight years old and the other
eleven years. And I was out in the fields, and the people looking
in the river for their bodies, and I saw a man coming away from it,
and the two boys with him, he holding a hand of each and leading
them away. And he saw me stop and look at them and he said, "Take
care would you bring them from me, for you have only one in your own
house, and if you take these from me, she'll never come home to you
again." And one of the little chaps broke from his hand and ran to
me, and the other cried out to him, "Oh, Pat, would you leave me!" So
then he went back and the man led them away. And then I saw another
man, very tall he was, and crooked, and watching me like this with
his head down and he was leading two dogs the other way, and I knew
well where he was going and what he was going to do with them.

And when I heard the bodies were laid out, I went to the house to
have a look at them, and those were never the two boys that were
lying there, but the two dogs that were put in their places. I knew
this by a sort of stripes on the bodies such as you'd see in the
covering of a mattress; and I knew the boys couldn't be in it, after
me seeing them led away.

And it was at that time I lost my eye, something came on it, and I
never got the sight again. All my life I've seen _them_ and enough of
them. One time I saw one of the fields below full of them, some were
picking up stones and some were ploughing it up. But the next time I
went by there was no sign of it being ploughed at all. They can do
nothing without some live person is looking at them, that's why they
were always so much after me. Even when I was a child I could see
them, and once they took my walk from me, and gave me a bad foot, and
my father cured me, and if he did, in five days after he died.

But there's no harm at all in them, not much harm.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman lived near me at Ballymacduff, and she used to go
about to attend women; Sarah Redington was her name. And she was
brought _away_ one time by a man that came for her into a hill,
through a door, but she didn't know where the hill was. And there
were people in it, and cradles and a woman in labour, and she helped
her and the baby was born, and the woman told her it was only that
night she was brought away. And the man led her out again and put
her in the road near her home and he gave her something rolled in a
bag, and he bid her not to look at it till she'd get home, and to
throw the first handful of it away from her. But she wouldn't wait to
get home to look at it, and she took it off her back and opened it,
and there was nothing in it but cow-dung. And the man came to her and
said, "You have us near destroyed looking in that, and we'll never
bring you in again among us."

There was a man I know well was away with them, often and often, and
he was passing one day by the big tree and they came about him and he
had a new pair of breeches on, and one of them came and made a slit
in them, and another tore a little bit out, and then they all came
running and tearing little bits till he hadn't a rag left. Just to be
humbugging him they did that. And they gave him good help, for he had
but an acre of land, and he had as much on it as another would have on
a big farm. But his wife didn't like him to be going and some one told
her of a cure for him, and she said she'd try it and if she did, within
two hours after she was dead; killed they had her before she'd try it.
He used to say that where he was brought was into a round very big
house, and Cairns that went with them told me the same. (_Note_ 13.)

Three times when I went for water to the well, the water spilled
over me, and I told Bridget after that they must bring the water
themselves, I'd go for it no more. And the third time it was done
there was a boy, one of the Heniffs, was near, and when he heard what
happened me he said, "It must have been the woman that was at the
well along with you that did that." And I said there was no woman at
the well along with me. "There was," said he; "I saw her there beside
you, and the two little tins in her hand."

One day after I came to live here at Coole, a strange woman came into
the house, and I asked what was her name and she said, "I was in it
before ever you were in it," and she went into the room inside and I
saw her no more.

But Bridget and Peter saw her coming in, and they asked me who she
was, for they never saw her before. And in the night when I was
sleeping at the foot of the bed, she came and threw me out on the
floor, that the joint of my arm has a mark in it yet. And every night
she came, and she'd spite me or annoy me in some way. And at last
we got Father Nolan to come and to drive her out. And as soon as he
began to read, there went out of the house a great blast, and there
was a sound as loud as thunder. And Father Nolan said, "It's well for
you she didn't have you killed before she went."

       *       *       *       *       *

There's something that's not right about an old cat and it's well not
to annoy them. I was in the house one night, and one came in, and he
tried to bring away the candle that was lighted in the candlestick,
and it standing on the table. And I had a little rod beside me, and I
made a hit at him with it, and with that he dropped the candle and
made at me as if to tear me. And I went on my knees and asked his
pardon three times, and when I asked it the third time he got quiet
all of a minute, and went out at the door.

And as to hares--bid Master Robert never to shoot a hare, for you
wouldn't know what might be in it. There were two women I knew,
mother and daughter, and they died. And one day I was out by the
wood, and I saw two hares sitting by the wall, and the minute I saw
them I knew well who they were. And the mother made as though she'd
kill me, but the daughter stopped her. Bad they must have been to
have been put into that shape, and indeed I know that they weren't
too good. I saw the mother another time come up near the door as if
to see me, and when she got near, she turned herself into a red hare.

The priests can do cures out of their book, and the time the cure is
done is when they turn the second leaf. There was a boy near Kinvara
got a hurt and he was brought into a house and Father Grogan was got
to do a cure on him. And he did it, and within two days the priest's
brother was made a fool of, and is locked up in a madhouse ever
since, and it near seven years ago. (_Note_ 14.)

There was a boy of the Nally's died near a year ago; and when I heard
he was dead I went down to the house, and there I saw him outside and
two men bringing him away, and one of them said to me, "We couldn't
do this but for you being there watching us." That's the last time I
saw any of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy got a fall from a cart near the house beyond, and he
was brought in to Mrs. Raynor's and laid in the bed and I went in to
see him. And he said what he saw was a little boy run across the road
before the cart, and the horse took fright and ran away and threw
him from it. And he asked to be brought to my house, for he wouldn't
stop where he was; "for" says he, "the woman of this house gave me no
drink and showed me no kindness, and she'll be repaid for that." And
sure enough within the year she got the dropsy and died. And he was
carried out of the door backwards, but the mother brought him to her
own house and wouldn't let him come to mine, and 'twas as well, for I
wouldn't refuse him, but I don't want to be annoyed with _them_ any
more than I am.

Did you know Mrs. Byrne that lived in Doolin? Swept she was after
her child was born. And near a year after I saw her coming down the
road near the old castle. "Is that you, Mary?" I said to her, "and
is it to see me you are coming?" But she went on. It was in May when
_they_ are all changing. (_Note_ 15.) There was a priest, Father
Waters, told me one time that he was after burying a boy, one Fahy,
in Kilbecanty churchyard. And he was passing by the place again in
the evening, and there he saw a great fire burning, but whether it
was of turf or of sticks he couldn't tell, and there was the boy he
had buried sitting in the middle of it.

I know that I used to be away among them myself, but how they brought
me I don't know, but when I'd come back, I'd be cross with the husband
and with all. I believe when I was with them I was cross that they
wouldn't let me go, and that's why they didn't keep me altogether,
they didn't like cross people to be with them. The husband would ask
me where I was, and why I stopped so long away, but I think he knew I
was _taken_ and it fretted him, but he never spoke much about it. But
my mother knew it well, but she'd try to hide it. The neighbours would
come in and ask where was I, and she'd say I was sick in the bed--for
whatever was put there in place of me would have the head in under the
bed-clothes. And when a neighbour would bring me in a drink of milk,
my mother would put it by and say, "Leave her now, maybe she'll drink
it tomorrow." And maybe in a day or two I'd meet someone and he'd say,
"Why wouldn't you speak to me when I went into the house to see you?"
And I was a young fresh woman at that time. Where they brought me to
I don't know, or how I got there, but I'd be in a very big house, and
it round, the walls far away that you'd hardly see them, and a great
many people all round about. I saw there neighbours and friends that
I knew, and they in their own clothing and with their own appearance,
but they wouldn't speak to me nor I to them, and when I'd meet them
again I'd never say to them that I saw them there. But the others had
striped clothes of all colours, and long faces, and they'd be talking
and laughing and moving about. What language had they? Irish of course,
what else would they talk?

And there was one woman of them, very tall and with a long face,
standing in the middle, taller than any one you ever saw in this
world, and a tall stick in her hand; she was the mistress. She had
a high yellow thing on her head, not hair, her hair was turned back
under it, and she had a long yellow cloak down to her feet and
hanging down behind. Had she anything like that in the picture in
her hand? [a crown of gold balls or apples.] It was not on her head,
it was lower down here about the body, and shining, and a thing [a
brooch] like that in the picture, but down hanging low like the
other. And that picture you have there in you hand, I saw no one like
it, but I saw a picture like it hanging on the wall. (_Note_ 16.) It
was a very big place and very grand, and a long table set out, but
I didn't want to stop there and I began crying to go home. And she
touched me here in the breast with her stick, she was vexed to see
me wanting to go away. They never brought me away since. Grand food
they'd offer me and wine, but I never would touch it, and sometimes
I'd have to give the breast to a child.

Himself died, but it was _they_ took him from me. It was in the
night and he lying beside me, and I woke and heard him move, and I
thought I heard some one with him. And I put out my hand and what I
touched was an iron hand, like knitting needles it felt. And I heard
the bones of his neck crack, and he gave a sort of a choked laugh,
and I got out of the bed and struck a light and I saw nothing, but I
thought I saw some one go through the door. And I called to Bridget
and she didn't come, and I called again and she came and she said she
struck a light when she heard the noise and was coming, and someone
came and struck the light from her hand. And when we looked in the
bed, himself was lying dead and not a mark on him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman, Mrs. Leary, had something wrong with her, and she
went to Biddy Early. And nothing would do her but to bring my son
along with her, and I was vexed. What call had she to bring him with
her? And when Biddy Early saw him she said, "You'll travel far, but
wherever you go you'll not escape them." The woman he went up with
died about six months after, but he went to America, and he wasn't
long there when what was said came true, and he died. They followed
him as far as he went.

And one day since then I was on the road to Gort, and Madden said to
me, "Your son's on the road before you." And I said, "How could that
be, and he dead?" But still I hurried on. And at Coole gate I met a
little boy and I asked did he see any one and he said, "You know
well who I saw." But I got no sight of him at all myself.

I saw the coach one night near Kiltartan Chapel. Long it was and
black, and I saw no one in it. But I saw who was sitting up driving
it, and I knew it to be one of the Miskells that was taken before
that. (_Note_ 17.)

       *       *       *       *       *

One day I was following the goat to get a sup of milk from her, and
she turned into the field and up into the castle of Lydican and went
up from step to step up the stairs to the top, and I followed and on
the stairs a woman passed me, and I knew her to be Colum's wife. And
when we got to the room at the top, I looked up, and there standing
on the wall was a woman looking down at me, long-faced and tall and
with grand clothes, and on her head something yellow and slippery,
not hair but like marble. (_Note_ 18.) And I called out to ask her
wasn't she afraid to be up there, and she said she was not. And a
shepherd that used to live below in the castle saw the same woman one
night he went up to the top, and a room and a fire and she sitting by
it, but when he went there again there was no sign of her nor of the
room, nothing but the stones as before.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never saw them on horses; but when I came to live at Peter Mahony's
he used to bring in those red flowers [ragweed] that grow by the
railway, when their stalks were withered, to make the fire. And one
day I was out in the road, and two men came over to me and one was
wearing a long grey dress. And he said to me, "We have no horses to
ride on and have to go on foot, because you have too much fire." So
then I knew it was their horses we were burning. (_Note_ 19.)

       *       *       *       *       *

I know the cure for anything they can do to you, but it's few I'd
tell it to. It was a strange woman came in and told it to me, and
I never saw her again. She bid me spit and use the spittle, or to
take a graineen of dust from the navel, and that's what you should
do if any one you care for gets a cold or a shivering, or _they_ put
anything upon him.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I went up to a forth beyond Raheen to pick up a few sticks,
and I was beating one of the sticks on the ground to break it, and a
voice said from below, "Is it to break down the house you want?" And a
thing appeared that was like a cat, but bigger than any cat ever was.
And another time in a forth a man said, "Here's gold for you, but don't
look at it till you go home." And I looked and I saw horse-dung and I
said, "Keep it yourself, much good may it do you." They never gave me
anything did me good, but a good deal of torment I had from them. And
they're often walking the road, and if you met them you wouldn't know
them from any other person; but I'd know them well enough, but I'd say
nothing--and that's a grand bush we're passing by--whether it belongs
to them I don't know, but wherever they get shelter, there they might
be--but anyway it's a very fine bush--God bless it.

And when you speak of them you should always say the day of the week.
Maybe you didn't notice that I said, "This is Friday" just when we
were hardly in at the gate.

       *       *       *       *       *

It's very weak I am, and took to my bed since yesterday. _They've_
changed now out of where they were near the castle, and it's inside
Coole demesne they are. It was an old man told me that, I met him on
the road there below. First I thought he was a young man, and then I
saw he was not, and he grew very nice-looking after, and he had plaid
clothes. "We're moved out of that now," he said, "and it's strangers
will be coming in it. And you ought to know me," he said. And when I
looked at him I thought I did.

And one day I was down in Coole I saw their house, more like a big
dairy, with red tiles and a high chimney and a lot of smoke out of
it, and there was a woman at the door and two or three outside. But
they'll do you no harm, for the man told me so. "They needn't be
afraid," he said, "we're good neighbours, but let them not say too
much if the milk might go from the cows now and again."

I was over beyond Raheen one time, and I saw a woman milking and she
at the wrong side of the cow. And when she saw me she got up, and
she had a bucket that was like a plate, and it full of milk and she
gave it to a man that was waiting there, that I thought first was one
of the O'Heas, and they went away. And the cow was a grand fine one,
but who it belonged to I didn't know--maybe to themselves.

       *       *       *       *       *

It's about a week ago one night some one came into the room in
the dark, and I saw it was my son that I lost--he that went to
America--James. He didn't die, he was whipped away--I knew he wasn't
dead, for I saw him one day on the road to Gort on a coach, and he
looked down and he said, "That's my poor mother." And when he came in
here, I couldn't see him, but I knew him by his talk. And he said,
"It's asleep she is," and he put his two hands on my face and I never
stirred. And he said, "I'm not far from you now." For he is with the
others inside Coole near where the river goes down the swallow hole.
To see me he came, and I think he'll be apt to come again before
long. And last night there was a light about my head all the night
and no candle in the room at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Yes, the Sidhe sing, and they have pipers among them, a bag on each
side and a pipe to the mouth, I think I never told you of one I saw.

I was passing a field near Kiltartan one time when I was a girl,
where there was a little lisheen, and a field of wheat, and when I was
passing I heard a piper beginning to play, and I couldn't but begin to
dance, it was such a good tune; and there was a boy standing there, and
he began to dance too. And then my father came by, and he asked why
were we dancing, and no one playing for us. And I said there was, and
I began to search through the wheat for the piper, but I couldn't find
him, and I heard a voice saying, "You'll see me yet, and it will be
in a town." Well, one Christmas eve I was in Gort and my husband with
me, and that night at Gort I heard the same tune beginning again--the
grandest I ever heard--and I couldn't but begin to dance. And Glynn the
chair-maker heard it too, and he began to dance with me in the street,
and my man thought I had gone mad, and the people gathered round us,
for they could see or hear nothing. But I saw the piper well, and he
had plaid clothes, blue and white, and he said, "Didn't I tell you that
when I saw you again it would be in a town?"

       *       *       *       *       *

I never saw fire go up in the air, but in the wood beyond the tree at
Raheen I used often to see like a door open at night, and the light
shining through it, just as it might shine through the house door,
with the candle and the fire inside, if it would be left open.

Many of _them_ I have seen--they are like ourselves only wearing
bracket clothes (_Note_ 20.), and their bodies are not so strong or
so thick as ours, and their eyes are more shining than our eyes. I
don't see many of them here, but Coole is alive with them, as plenty
as grass; I often go awhile and sit inside the gate there. I saw them
make up a house one time near the natural bridge, and I saw them
coming over the gap twice near the chapel, a lot of little boys, and
two men and a woman, and they had old talk and young talk. One of
them came in here twice, and I gave him a bit of bread, but he said,
"There's salt in it" and he put it away. (_Note_ 21.)

       *       *       *       *       *

When Annie Rivers died the other day, there were two funerals in it,
a big funeral with a new coffin and another that was in front of
them, men walking, the handsomest I ever saw, and they with black
clothes about their body. I was out there looking at them, and there
was a cow in the road, and I said, "Take care would you drive away
the cow." And one of them said, "No fear of that, we have plenty of
cows _on the other side of the wall_." But no one could see them but
myself. I often saw them and it was they took the sight of my eyes
from me. And Annie Rivers was not in the grand coffin, she was with
_them_ a good while before the funeral.

       *       *       *       *       *

That time I saw the two funerals at Rivers's that I was telling you
about, I heard Annie call to those that were with her, "You might as
well let me have Bartley; it would be better for the two castles to
meet." And since then the mother is uneasy about Bartley, and he
fell on the floor one day and I know well he is _gone_ since the day
Annie was buried. And I saw others at the funeral, and some that you
knew well among them. And look now, you should send a coat to some
poor person, and your own friends among the dead will be covered, for
you could see the skin here. [_She made a gesture passing her hand
down each arm, exactly the same gesture as old Mary Glynn of Slieve
Echtge had made yesterday when she said, "Have you a coat you could
send me, for my arms are bare?" and I had promised her one._]

       *       *       *       *       *

Would I have gone among them if I had died last month? I think not. I
think that I have lived my time out, since my father was taken.

He was a young man at that time, and one time I was out in the field,
and I got a knock on the foot, and a lump rose; there is the mark
of it yet. It was after that I was on the road with my father, near
Kinvara, and a man came and began to beat him. And I thought that he
was going to beat me, and I got in near the wall and my father said,
"Spare the girl!" "I will do that, I will spare her," said the man.
He went away then, and within a week my father was dead.

And my mother told me that before the burying, she saw the corpse on
the bed, sitting on the side of the bed, and his feet hanging down. I
saw my father often since then, but not this good while now. He had
always a young appearance when I saw him.

A big woman came to the window and looked in at me, the time I was on
the bed lately. "Rise up out of that," she said. I saw her another
time on the road, and the wind blew her dress open, and I could see
that she had nothing at all on underneath it.

In May they are as thick everywhere as the grass, but there's no fear
at all for you or for Master Robert. I know that, for _one_ told it
to me.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Tir-nan-og" that is not far from us. One time I was in the chapel
at Labane, and there was a tall man sitting next me, and he dressed
in grey, and after the Mass I asked him where he came from. "From
Tir-nan-og," says he. "And where is that?" I asked him. "It's not far
from you," he said; "it's near the place where you live." I remember
well the look of him and him telling me that. The priest was looking
at us while we were talking together. (_Note_ 22.)

       *       *       *       *       *

_She died some years ago and I am told:

"There is a ghost in Mrs. Sheridan's house. They got a priest to say
Mass there, but with all that there is not one in it has leave to lay
a head on the pillow till such time as the cock crows."_

                             MR. SAGGARTON

_I was told one day by our doctor, a good fowler an physician, now,
alas, passed away, of an old man in Clare who had knowledge of "the
Others," and I took Mr. Yeats to see him._

_We found him in his hayfield, and he took us to his thatched
lime-white house and told us many things. A little later we went
there again to verify what I had put down. I remember him as very
gentle and courteous, and that a cloth was spread and tea made for us
by his daughters, he himself sitting at the head of the table._

_Mr. Yeats at that time wore black clothes and a soft black hat, but
gave them up later, because he was so often saluted as a priest.
But this time another view was taken, and I was told after a while
that the curate of the Clare parish had written to the curate of a
Connacht parish that Lady Gregory had come over the border with "a
Scripture Reader" to try and buy children for proselytizing purposes.
But the Connacht curate had written back to the Clare curate that he
had always thought him a fool, and now he was sure of it._

_The old man I have called Mr. Saggarton said:_

Our family diminished very much till at last there were but three
brothers left, and they separated. One went to Ennis and another came
here and the other to your own place beyond. It was a long time before
they could make one another out again. It was my uncle used to go away
among _them_. When I was a young chap, I'd go out in the field working
with him, and he'd bid me go away on some message, and when I'd come
back it might be in a faint I'd find him. It was he himself was taken;
it was but his shadow or some thing in his likeness was left behind.
He was a very strong man. You might remember Ger Kelly what a strong
man he was, and stout, and six feet two inches in height. Well, he and
my uncle had a dispute one time, and he made as if to strike at him,
and my uncle, without so much as taking off his coat, gave one blow
that stretched him on the floor. And at the barn at Bunahowe he and
my father could throw a hundred weight over the collar beam, what no
other could do. (_Note_ 23.) My father had no notion at all of managing
things. He lived to be eighty years, and all his life he looked as
innocent as that little chap turning the hay. My uncle had the same
innocent look; I think they died quite happy.

One time the wife got a touch, and she got it again, and the third
time she got up in the morning and went out of the house and never
said where she was going. But I had her watched, and I told the boy
to follow her and never to lose sight of her, and I gave him the sign
to make if he'd meet any bad thing. So he followed her, and she kept
before him, and while he was going along the road something was up
on top of the wall with one leap--a red-haired man it was, with no
legs and with a thin face. (_Note_ 24.) But the boy made the sign and
got hold of him and carried him till he got to the bridge. At the
first he could not lift the man, but after he made the sign he was
quite light. And the woman turned home again, and never had a touch
after. It's a good job the boy had been taught the sign. Make that
sign with your thumbs if ever when you're walking out you feel a sort
of a shivering in the skin, for that shows there's some bad thing
near, but if you hold your hands like that, if you went into a forth
itself, it couldn't harm you. And if you should any time feel a sort
of a pain in your little finger, the surest thing is to touch it with
human dung. Don't neglect that, for if they're glad get one of us,
they'd be seven times better pleased to get the like of you.

Youngsters they take mostly to do work for them, and they are death
on handsome people, for they are handsome themselves. To all sorts
of work they put them, and digging potatoes and the like, and they
have wine from foreign parts, and cargoes of gold coming in to them.
Their houses are ten times more beautiful and ten times grander than
any house in this world. And they could build one of them up in that
field in ten minutes. Clothes of all colours they wear, and crowns
like that one in the picture, and of other shapes. (_Note_ 25.) They
have different queens, not always the same. The people they bring
away must die some day; as to themselves, they were living from past
ages, and they can never die till the time when God has His mind made
up to redeem them.

And those they bring away are always glad to be brought back again.
If you were to bring a heifer from those mountains beyond and to put
it into a meadow, it would be glad to get back again to the mountain,
because it is the place it knows.

Coaches they make up when they want to go driving, with wheels and
all, but they want no horses. There might be twenty of them going out
together sometimes, and all full of them.

They are everywhere around us, and may be within a yard of us now in
the grass. But if I ask you, "What day is tomorrow," and you said,
"Thursday," they wouldn't be able to overhear us. They have the power
to go in every place, even on to the book the priest is using.

There was one John Curran lived over there towards Bunahowe, and he
had a cow that died, and they were striving to rear the calf--boiled
hay they were giving it, the juice the hay was boiled in. And you
never saw anything to thrive as it did. And one day some man was
looking at it and he said, "You may be sure the mother comes back
and gives it milk." And John Curran said, "How can that be, and she
dead?" But the man said, "She's not dead, she's in the forth beyond.
And if you go towards it half an hour before sunrise you'll find
her, and you should catch a hold of her and bring her home and milk
her, and when she makes to go away again, take a hold of her tail
and follow her." So he went out next morning, half an hour before
sunrise, up toward the forth, and brought her home and milked her,
and when the milking was done she started to go away and he caught a
hold of the tail and was carried along with her. And she brought him
into the forth, through a door. And behind the door stood a barrel,
and what was in the barrel is what they put their finger in, and
touch their forehead with when they go out, for if they didn't do
that all people would be able to see them. And as soon as he got in,
there were voices from all sides. "Welcome, John Curran, welcome,
John Curran." And he said: "The devil take you, how well you know my
name; it's not a welcome I want, it's my cow to bring home again."
So in the end he got the cow and brought her home. And he saw there
a woman that had died out of the village about ten years before, and
she suckling a child. (_Note_ 26.)

Surely I knew Biddy Early, and my uncle was a friend of hers. It
was from the same power they got the cures. My uncle left me the
power, and I was well able to do them and did many, but my stock
was all dying and what could I do? So I gave a part of the power to
Mrs. Tobin that lives in Gort, and she can cure a good many things.
Biddy Early told me herself that where she got it was when she was a
servant girl in a house, there was a baby lying in the cradle, and he
went on living for a few years. But he was friendly to her and used
to play tunes for her and when he went away he gave her the bottle
and the power. She had but to look in it and she'd see all that had
happened and all that was going to happen. But he made her make a
promise never to take more than a shilling for any cure she did,
and she would not have taken fifty pounds if you offered it to her,
though she might take presents of bread and wine and such things.

The cure for all things in the world? Surely she had it and knew
where it was. And I knew it myself too--but I could not tell you of
it. Seven parts I used to make it with, and one of them is a thing
that's in every house.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a lake beyond there, and my uncle one day told us by name of
a man that would be drowned there at twelve o'clock that day. And so
it happened.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was walking on the road to Galway, near the sea, and
another man along with me. And I saw in a field beside the road
a very small woman walking down towards us, and she smiling and
carrying a can of water in her hand, and she was dressed in a blue
spencer. So I asked the other man did he see her, and he said he did
not, and when I came up to the wall she was gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time myself when I went to look for a wife, I went to the house,
and there was a hen and some chickens before the door. Well, after I
went home one of the chickens died. And what do you think they said,
but that it was I overlooked it.

       *       *       *       *       *

They hate me because I do cures, and they hated Biddy Early too. The
priests do them but not in the same way--they do them by the power of
Almighty God.

       *       *       *       *       *

My wife got a touch from them, and they have a watch on her ever
since. It was the day after I married and I went to the fair at
Clarenbridge. And when I came back the house was full of smoke, but
there was nothing on the hearth but cinders, and the smoke was more
like the smoke of a forge. And she was within lying on the bed, and
her brother was sitting outside the door crying. So I went to the
mother and asked her to come in, and she was crying too. And she knew
well what had happened, but she didn't tell me, but she sent for the
priest. And when he came he sent me for Geoghegan and that was only
an excuse to get me away, and what he and the mother tried to bring
her to do was to face death, and they knew I wouldn't allow that if
I was there. But the wife was very stout and she wouldn't give in to
them. So the priest read more, and he asked would I be willing to
lose something, and I said, so far as a cow or a calf I wouldn't mind
losing that. Well, she partly recovered, but from that day, no year
went by but I lost ten lambs maybe or other things. And twice they
took my children out of the bed, two of them I have lost. And the
others they gave a touch to. That girl there,--see the way she is,
and can't walk. In one minute it came on her out in the field, with
the fall of a wall. (_Note_ 27.)

It was one among _them_ that wanted the wife. A woman and a boy we
often saw come to the door, and she was the matchmaker. And when we
would go out, they would have vanished.

       *       *       *       *       *

Biddy Early's cure that you heard of, it was the moss on the water
of the mill-stream between the two wheels of Ballylee. It can cure
all things brought about by _them_, but not any common ailment. But
there is no cure for the stroke given by a queen or a fool. There
is a queen in every house or regiment of them. It is of those they
steal away they make queens for as long as they live or that they are
satisfied with them.

There were two women fighting at a spring of water, and one hit the
other on the head with a can and killed her. And after that her
children began to die. And the husband went to Biddy Early and as
soon as she saw him she said, "There's nothing I can do for you, your
wife was a wicked woman, and the one she hit is a queen among them,
and she is taking your children one by one and you must suffer till
twenty-one years are up." And so he did.

The stroke of a fool, there's no cure for either. There are many
fools among them dressed in strange clothes like one of the mummers
that used to be going through the country. But it might be the fools
are the wisest after all. There are two classes, the Dundonians that
are like ourselves, and another race, more wicked and more spiteful.
Very small they are and wide, and their belly sticks out in front, so
that what they carry they don't carry it on the back, but in front,
on the belly in a bag. (_Note_ 28.)

       *       *       *       *       *

They were fighting when Johnny Casey died; that's what often happens.
Everyone has friends among them, and the friends would be trying to
save you when the others would be trying to bring you away. Youngsters
they pick up here and there, to help them in their fights and in their
work. They have cattle and horses, but all of them have only three legs.

They don't have children themselves, only the women that are brought
away among them, they have children, but they don't live for ever,
like the Dundonians.

The handsome they like, and the good dancers. And if they get a boy
amongst them, the first to touch him, he belongs to her.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy was a splendid dancer, and straight and firm, for
they don't like those that go to right or left as they walk. Well,
one night he was going to a house where there was a dance, and when
he was about half-way to it, he came to another house, where there
was music and dancing going on. So he turned in, and there was a room
all done up with curtains and with screens, and a room inside where
the people were sitting, and it was only those that were dancing sets
that came to the outside room.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to their treasure, it's best to be without it. There was a man
living by a forth, and where his house touched the forth, he built a
little room and left it for them, clean and in good order, the way
they'd like it. And whenever he'd want money, for a fair or the like,
he'd find it laid on the table in the morning. And when he had it
again, he'd leave it there, and it would be taken away in the night.
But after that going on for a time he lost his son.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a room at Crags where things used to be thrown about, and
everyone could hear the noises there. They had a right to clear it
out and settle it the way they'd like it. You should do that in your
own big house. Set a little room for them--with spring water in it
always--and wine you might leave--no, not flowers--they wouldn't want
so much as that--but just what would show your good will.

Now I have told you more than I told my wife.

                   "A GREAT WARRIOR IN THE BUSINESS"

_It was on the bounds of Connemara I heard of this healer, and went to
see his wife in her little rock-built cabin among the boulders, to ask
if a cure could be done for Mr. Yeats, who was staying at a friend's
house near, and who was at that time troubled by uncertain eyesight._

_One evening later we walked beside the sea to the cottage where we
were to meet the healer; a storm was blowing and we were glad when
the door was opened and we found a bright turf fire._

_He was short and broad, with regular features, and his hair was
thick and dark, though he was an old man. He wore a flannel-sleeved
waistcoat, and his trousers were much patched on the knees. He sat
on a low bench in the wide chimney nook, holding a soft hat in his
hands which kept nervously moving. The woman of the house came over
now and then to look at the iron tripod on the hearth. She, like the
healer, spoke only Irish. The man of the house sat between us and
interpreted, holding a dip candle in his hands. A dog growled without
ceasing at one side of the hearth, a reddish cat sat at the other.
The woman seemed frightened and angry at times as the old man spoke,
and clutched the baby to her breast._

_I was told by the man of the house, Coneely:_

There's a man beyond is a great warrior in this business, and no man
within miles of the place will build a house or a cabin or any other
thing without him going there to say if it's in a right place.

It was Fagan cured me of a pain I had in my arm, I couldn't get rid
of. He gave me a something to drink, and he bid me go to a quarry and
to touch some of the stones that were lying outside it and not to
touch others of them. Anyway I got well.

And one time down by the hill we were gathering in the red seaweed,
and there was a boy there that was leading a young horse, the same
way he'd been leading him a year or more. But this day of a sudden he
made a snap to bite him, and secondly he reared as if to jump on top
of him, and thirdly turned around and made at him with the hoofs. And
the boy threw himself to one side and escaped, but with the fright he
got he went into his bed and stopped there. And the next day Fagan
came and told him everything that had happened, and he said, "I saw
thousands on the strand near where it was last night."

_Fagan's wife said to me in her house:_

Are you _right_? You are? Then you're my friend. Come here close and
tell me is there anything himself can do for you?

I do the fortunes no more since I got great abuse from the priest for
it. Himself got great abuse from the priest too--Father Haverty--and
he gave him plaster of Paris,--I mean by that he spoke soft and
blathered him, but he does them all the same, and Father Kilroy gave
him leave when he was here.

It was from his sister he got the cure. Taken she was when her baby
was born. She died in the morning and the baby at night. We didn't
tell John of it for a month after, where he was away, caring horses.
But he knew of it before he came home, for she followed him there one
day he was out in the field, and when he didn't know her she said,
"I'm your sister Kate." And she said, "I bring you a cure that you
may cure both yourself and others." And she told him of the herb and
the field he'd find it growing, and that he must choose a plant with
seven branches, the half of them above the clay and the half of them
covered up. And she told him how to use it.

Twenty years she's gone, but she's not dead yet, but the last time he
saw her he said that she was getting grey. Every May and November he
sees her, he'll be seeing her soon now. When her time comes to die,
she'll be put in the place of some other one that's taken, and so
she'll get absolution. (_Note_ 29.)

He has cured many. But sometimes they are vexed with him, for some
cure he has done, when he interferes with some person they're meaning
to bring away. And many's the good beating they gave him out in the
fields for doing that.

Myself they gave a touch to, here in the thigh, so that I lost my
walk; vexed with me they are for giving up the throwing of the cup.

A nurse she's been all the time among them. And don't believe those
that say they have no children. A boy among them is as clever as any
boy here, but he must be matched with a woman from earth. And the
same way with their women, they must get a husband here. And they
never can give the breast to a child, but must get a nurse from here.

One time I saw them myself, in a field and they hurling. Bracket caps
they wore and bracket clothes that were of all colours.

Some were the same size as ourselves and some looked like gossoons
that didn't grow well. But himself has the second sight and can see
them in every place.

There's as many of them in the sea as on the land, and sometimes they
fly like birds across the bay.

The first time he did a cure it was on some poor person like
ourselves, and he took nothing for it, and in the night the sister
came and bid him not to do it any more without a fee. And that time
we lost a fine boy.

They'll all be watching round when a person is dying; and suppose it
was myself, there'd be my own friends crying, crying, and themselves
would be laughing and jesting, and glad I'd go. (_Note_ 30.)

There is always a mistress among them. When one of us goes among them
they would all be laughing and jesting, but when that tall mistress you
heard of would tip her stick on the ground, they'd all draw to silence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tell me the Christian name of your friend you want the cure for.
"William Butler," I'll keep that. (_Note_ 31.) And when himself
gathers the herb, if it's for a man, he must call on the name of some
other man, and call him a king--Righ--and if it's for a woman he must
call on the name of some other woman and call her a queen that is
calling on the king or the queen of the plant.

_Fagan said to W. B. Yeats and to me:_

It's not from _them_ the harm came to your eyes. I see them in all
places--and there's no man mowing a meadow that doesn't see them at
some time or other. As to what they look like, they'll change colour
and shape and clothes while you look round. Bracket caps they always
wear. There is a king and a queen and a fool in each house of them,
that is true enough--but they would do you no harm. The king and the
queen are kind and gentle, and whatever you'll ask them for they'll
give it. They'll do no harm at all if you don't injure them. You might
speak to them if you'd meet them on the road, and they'd answer you, if
you'd speak civil and quiet and show respect, and not be laughing or
humbugging--they wouldn't like that. One night I was in bed with the
wife beside me, and the child near me, near the fire. And I turned and
saw a woman sitting by the fire, and she made a snap at the child, and
I was too quick for her and got hold of it, and she was at the door and
out of it in one minute, before I could get to her.

Another time in the field a woman came beside me, and I went on to a
gap in the wall and she was in it before me. And then she stopped me
and she said: "I'm your sister that was taken; and don't you remember
how I got the fever first and you tended me, and then you got it
yourself, and one had to be taken and I was the one." And she taught me
the cure, and the way to use it. And she told me that she was in the
best of places, and told me many things that she bound me not to tell.
And I asked was it here she was kept ever since, and she said it was,
but she said, "In six months I'll have to move to another place, and
others will come where I am now, and it would be better for you if we
stopped here, for the most of us here now are your neighbours and your
friends." And it was she gave me the second sight. (_Note_ 32.)

Last year I was digging potatoes and a man came by, one of _them_,
and one that I knew well before. And he said, "You have them this
year, and we'll have them the next two years." And you know the
potatoes were good last year and you see that they are bad now, and
have been made away with. (_Note_ 33.) And the sister told me that
half the food in Ireland goes to them, but that if they like they can
make out of cow-dung all they want, and they can come into a house
and use what they like and it will never be missed in the morning.

       *       *       *       *       *

_The old man suddenly stooped and took a handful of hot ashes in
his hand, and put them in his pocket. And presently he said he'd be
afraid tonight going home the road. When we asked him why, he said
he'd have to tell what errand he had been on._

_He said one eye of W. B. Y.'s was worse than the other, and asked if
he had ever slept out at nights. We asked if he goes to enquire of_
them (_the Others_) _what is wrong with those who came to him and he
said, "Yes, when it has to do with their business--but in this case
it has nothing to do with it."_ (_Note_ 34.)

_Coneely said next day:_

I walked home with the old man last night, he was afraid to go by
himself. He pointed out to me on the way a graveyard where he had got
a great beating from _them_ one night. He had a drop too much taken
after being at a funeral, and he went there and gathered the plant
wrong. And they came and punished him, that his head is not better of
it ever since.

He told me the way he knows in the gathering of the plant what is
wrong with the person that is looking for a cure. He has to go on
his knees and say a prayer to the king and the queen and the gentle
and the simple among them, and then he gathers it, and if there are
black leaves about it, or white ones, but chiefly a black leaf folded
down, he knows the illness is some of their business; but for this
young man the plant came fresh and green and clean. He has been among
them and has seen the king and the queen, and he says that they are
no bigger than the others, but the queen wears a wide cap, and the
others have bracket caps.

He never would allow me to build a shed there beside the house,
though I never saw anything there myself.

                              OLD DERUANE

_Old Deruane lived in the middle island of Aran, Inishmaan, where I
have stayed more than once. He was one of the evening visitors to the
cottage I stayed in, when the fishers had come home and had eaten, and
the fire was stirred and flashed on the dried mackerel and conger eels
hanging over the wide hearth, and the little vessel of cod oil had a
fresh wick put in it and lighted. The men would sit in a half-circle
on the floor, passing the lighted pipe from one to another; the women
would find some work with yarn or wheel. The talk often turned on the
fallen angels or the dead, for the dwellers in those islands have not
been moulded in that dogma which while making belief in the after-life
an essential, makes belief in the shadow-visit of a spirit yearning
after those it loved a vanity, a failing of the great essential, common
sense, and sets down one who believes in such things as what Burton
calls in his Anatomy "a melancholy dizzard."_

_I was told by Old Deruane:_

I was born and bred in the North Island, and ten old fathers of mine
are buried there.

I can speak English, because I went to earn in England in the
hard times, and I was for five quarters in a country town called
Manchester; and I have threescore and fifteen years.

I knew two fine young women were brought away after childbirth, and
they were seen after in the North Island going about with _them_. One
of them I saw myself there, one time I was out late at night going to
the east village. I saw her pattern walking on the north side of the
wall, on the road near me, but she said nothing. And my body began
to shake, and I was going to get to the south side of the wall, to
put it between us; but then I said, "Where is God?" and I walked on
and passed her, and she looked aside at me but she didn't speak. And
I heard her after me for a good while, but I never looked back, for
it's best not to look back at them.

And there was another woman had died, and one evening late I was
coming from the schoolmaster, for he and I are up to one another, and
he often gives me charity. And then I saw her or her pattern walking
along that field of rock you passed by just now. But I stopped and I
didn't speak to her, and she went on down the road, and when she was
about forty fathoms below me I could hear her abusing some one, but
no one there. I thought maybe it was that she was vexed at me that
I didn't question her. She was a young woman too. I'll go bail they
never take an old man or woman--what would they do with them? If by
chance they'd come among them they'd throw them out again.

Another night I was out and the moon shining, I knew by the look of it
the night was near wore away. And when I came to the corner of the road
beyond, my flesh began to shake and my hair rose up, and every hair was
as stiff as that stick. So I knew that some evil thing was near, and
I got home again. This island is as thick as grass with them, or as
sand; but good neighbours make good neighbours, and no woman minding a
house but should put a couple of the first of the potatoes aside on the
dresser, for there's no house but they'll visit it some time or other.
Myself, I always brush out my little tent clean of a night before I lie
down, and the night I'd do it most would be a rough night. How do we
know what poor soul might want to come in?

I saw them playing ball one day when the slip you landed at was being
made, and I went down to watch the work. There were hundreds of them
in the field at the top of it, about three feet tall, and little caps
on them; but the men that were working there, they couldn't see
them. (_Note_ 35.) And one morning I went down to the well to leave
my pampooties in it to soak--it was a Sabbath morning and I was going
to Mass--and the pampooties were hard and wore away my feet, and I
left them there. And when I came back in a few minutes they were
gone, and I looked in every cleft, but I couldn't find them. And when
I was going away, I felt _them_ about me, and coming between my two
sticks that I was walking with. And I stopped and looked down and
said, "I know you're there," and then I said, "_Gentlemen_, I know
you're here about me," and when I said that word they went away. Was
it they took my pampooties? Not at all--what would they want with
such a thing as pampooties? It was some children must have taken
them, and I never saw them since.

One time I wanted to settle myself clean, and I brought down my
waistcoat and a few little things I have, to give them a rinse in
the sea-water, and I laid them out on a stone to dry, and I left
one of my sticks on them. And when I came back after leaving them
for a little time, the stick was gone. And I was vexed at first to
be without it, but I knew that they had taken it to be humbugging
me, or maybe for their own use in fighting. For there is nothing
there is more fighting among than them. So I said, "Welcome to it,
_Gentlemen_, may it bring you luck; maybe you'll make more use of it
than ever I did myself."

One night when I was sleeping in my little tent, I heard a great noise
of fighting, and I thought it was down at Mrs. Jordan's house, and that
maybe the children were troublesome in the bed, she having a great
many of them. And in the morning as I passed the house I said to her,
"What was on you in the night?" And she said there was nothing happened
there, and that she heard no noise. So I said nothing but went on; and
when I came to the flag-stones beyond her house, they were covered with
great splashes and drops of blood. So I said nothing of that either,
but went on. What time of the year? Wait till I think, it was this very
same time of the year, the month of May.

One time I was out putting seed in the ground, and the ridges all
ready and the seaweed spread in them; and it was a fine day, but I
heard a storm in the air, and then I knew by signs that it was they
were coming. And they came into the field and tossed the seaweed and
the seed about, and I spoke to them civil and then they went in to
a neighbour's field, and from that down to the sea, and there they
turned into a ship, the grandest that ever I saw.

There was a man on this island went out with two others fishing in his
curragh, and when they were about a mile out they saw a ship coming
towards them, and when they looked again, instead of having three masts
she had none, and just when they were going to take up the curragh to
bring it ashore, a great wave came and turned it upside down. And the
man that owned her got such a fright that he couldn't walk, and the
other two had to hold him under the arms to bring him home. And he went
to his bed, and within a week after, he was dead.

One night I heard a crying down the road, and the next day, there was
a child of Tom Regan's dead. And it was a few months after that, that
I heard a crying again. And the next day another of his children was

There was a fine young man was buried in the graveyard below, and
a good time after that, there was work being done in it, and they
came on his coffin, and the mother made them open it, and there was
nothing in it at all but a broom, and it tied up with a bit of a rope.

There was a man was passing by that Sheoguy place below, "Breagh" we
call it. And he saw a man come riding out of it on a white horse. And
when he got home that night there was nothing for him or for any of
them to eat, for the potatoes were not in yet. And in the morning he
asked the wife was there anything to eat, and she said a neighbour
had sent in a pan of meal. So she made that into stirabout, and he
took but a small bit of it out of her hand to leave more for the
rest. And then he took a sheet, and bid her make a bag of it, and he
got a horse and rode to the place where he saw the man ride out, for
he knew he was the master of _them_. And he asked for the full of the
bag of meal, and said he'd bring it back again when he had it. And
the man brought the bag in, and filled it for him and brought it out
again. And when the oats were ripe, the first he cut, he got ground
at the mill and brought it to the place and gave it in. And the man
came out and took it, and said whatever he'd want at any time, to
come to him and he'd get it.

In a bad year they say they bring away the potatoes and that may be so.
They want provision, and they must get them at one place or another.

_Mr. McArdle joins in and says:_

This I can tell you and be certain of, and I remember well that the
man in the third house to this died after being sick a long time. And
the wife died after, and she was to be buried in the same place, and
when they came to the husband's coffin they opened it, and there was
nothing in it at all, neither brooms nor anything else.

There's a boy, I know him well, that was up at that forth above the
house one day, and a blast of wind came and blew the hat off him. And
when he saw it going off in the air he cried out, "Do whatever is
pleasing to you, but give me back my cap!" And in the moment it was
settled back again on to his head.

_Old Deruane goes on:_

There are many can do cures, because they have something walking
with them, what one may call a ghost from among the Sheogue. A few
cures I can do myself, and this is how I got them. I told you that
I was for five quarters in Manchester, and where I lodged were two
old women in the house, from the farthest end of Mayo, for they were
running from Mayo at the time because of the hunger. And I knew that
they were likely to have a cure, for St. Patrick blessed the places
he was not in more than the places he was in, and with the cure he
left and the fallen angels, there are many in Mayo can do them.

Now it's the custom in England never to clean the table but once
in the week and that on a Saturday night. And on that night all is
set out clean, and all the crutches of bread and bits of meat and
the like are gathered together in a tin can, and thrown out in the
street, and women that have no other way of living come round then
with a bag that would hold two stone, and they pick up all that's
thrown out in the street, and live on it for a week. And often I
didn't eat the half of what was before me, and I wouldn't throw it
out, but I'd bring it to the two old women that were in the house, so
they grew very fond of me.

Well, when the time came that I thought to draw towards home, I brought
them one day to a public-house and made a drop of punch for them, and
then I picked the cure out of them, for I was wise in those days.

Those that get a touch I could save from being brought away, but I
couldn't bring back a man that's away, for it's only those that have
been living among them for a while that can do that. There was a
neighbour's child was sick, and I got word of it, and I went to the
house, for the woman there had showed me kindness. And I went in to the
cradle and I lifted the quilt off the child's face and you could see by
it, and I knew the sign, that there was some of their work there. And
I said, "You are not likely to have the child long with you, Ma'am."
And she said, "Indeed I know I won't have him long." So I said nothing
but I went out, and whatever I did, and whatever I got there, I brought
it again and gave it to the child, and he began to get better. And the
next day I brought the same thing again, and gave it the child, and I
looked at it and I said to the mother, "He'll live to comb his hair
grey." And from that time he got better, and now there's no stronger
child in the island, and he the youngest in the house.

After that the husband got sick, and the woman said to me one day,
"If there's anything you can do to cure him, have pity on me and on
my children, and I'll give you what you'll wish." But I said, "I'll
do what I can for you, but I'll take nothing from you except maybe
a grain of tea or a glass of porter, for I wouldn't take money for
this, and I refused £2 one time for a cure I did." So I went and I
brought back the cure, and I mixed it with flour and made it into
three little pills that it couldn't be lost, and gave them to him,
and from that time he got well.

There's a woman lived down the road there, and one day I went in to
the house, when she was after coming from Galway town, and I asked
charity of her. And it was in the month of August when the bream
fishing was going on, and she said, "There's no one need be in want
now, with fresh fish in the sea and potatoes in the gardens"; and
gave me nothing. But when I was out the door she said, "Well, come
back here." And I said, "If you were to offer me all you brought from
Galway, I wouldn't take it from you now."

And from that time she began to pine and to wear away and to lose her
health, and at the end of three years, she walked outside her house
one day, and when she was two yards from her own threshold she fell
on the ground, and the neighbours came and lifted her up on a door
and brought her into the house, and she died.

I think I could have saved her then--I think I could, when I saw her
lying there. But I remembered that day, and I didn't stretch out a
hand and I spoke no word.

       *       *       *       *       *

I'm going to rise out of the cures and not to do much more of them,
for _they_ have given me a touch here in the right leg, so that it's
the same as dead. And a woman of my village that does cures, she is
after being struck with a pain in the hand.

Down by the path at the top of the slip from there to the hill,
that's the way they go most nights, hundreds and thousands of them.
There are two old men in the island got a beating from them; one of
them told me himself and brought me out on the ground, that I'd see
where it was. He was out in a small field, and was after binding up
the grass, and the sky got very black over him and very dark. And he
was thrown down on the ground, and got a great beating, but he could
see nothing at all. He had done nothing to vex them, just minding his
business in the field.

And the other was an old man too, and he was out on the roads, and
they threw him there and beat him that he was out of his mind for a

One night sleeping in that little cabin of mine, I heard them ride
past, and I could hear by the feet of the horses that there was a
long line of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is a story was going about twenty years ago. There was a curate
in the island, and one day he got a call to the other island for the
next day. And in the evening he told the servant maid that attended him
to clean his boots good and very good, for he'd be meeting good people
where he was going. And she said, "I will, Holy Father, and if you'll
give me your hand and word to marry me for nothing, I'll clean them
grand." And he said "I will; whenever you get a comrade I'll marry you
for nothing, I give you my hand and word." So she had the boots grand
for him in the morning. Well, she got a sickness after, and after seven
months going by, she was buried. And six months after that, the curate
was in his parlour one night and the moon shining, and he saw a boy and
a girl outside the house, and they came to the window, and he knew it
was the servant girl that was buried. And she said, "I have a comrade
now, and I came for you to marry us as you gave your word." And he
said, "I'll hold to my word since I gave it," and he married them then
and there, and they went away again. (_Note_ 36.)


                      THE EVIL EYE--THE TOUCH--THE


                      THE EVIL EYE--THE TOUCH--THE

_"Some friendly Teyâmena, sorry to see my suffering plight, said to
me: 'This is because thou hast been eye-struck--what! you do not
understand 'eye-struck'? Certainly they have looked in your eyes,
Khalîl. We have lookers_ (_God cut them off!_) _among us, that with
their only_ (_malignant_) _eye-glances may strike down a fowl flying;
and you shall see the bird tumble in the air with loud shrieking
kâk-kâ-kâ-kâ-kâ. Wellah their looking can blast a palm-tree so that
you shall see it wither away. These are things well ascertained by
many faithful witnesses."_--DOUGHTY'S _Travels in the Arabian Desert_.

       *       *       *       *       *

_There is one visit I have always been a little remorseful about. It
was in Mayo where I had gone to see the broken walls and grass-grown
hearthstone that remain of the house where Raftery the poet was born.
I was taken to see an old woman near, and the friend who was with me
asked her about "Those." I could see she was unwilling to speak, and
I would not press her, for there are some who fear to vex invisible
hearers; so we talked of America where she had lived for a little
while. But presently she said, "All I ever saw of_ them _myself was one
night when I was going home, and they were behind in the field watching
me. I couldn't see them but I saw the lights they carried, two lights
on the top of a sort of dark oak pole. So I watched them and they
watched me, and when we were tired watching one another the lights all
went into one blaze, and then they went away and it went out." She told
also one or two of the traditional stories, of the man who had a hump
put on him, and the woman "taken" and rescued by her husband, who she
had directed to seize the horse she was riding with his left hand._

_Then she gave a cry and took up her walking stick from the hearth,
burned through, and in two pieces, though the fire had seemed to be but
a smouldering heap of ashes. We were very sorry, but she said "Don't be
sorry. It is well it was into it the harm went." I passed the house two
or three hours afterwards; shutters and door were closed, and I felt
that she was fretting for the stick that had been "to America and back
with me, and had walked every part of the world," and through the loss
of which, it may be, she had "paid the penalty."_

_I told a neighbour about the doctor having attended a man on the
mountains--and how after some time, he found that one of the children
was sick also, but this had been hidden from him, because if one had
to die they wanted it to be the child._

_"That's natural," he said. "Let the child pay the penalty if it has
to be paid. That's a thing that might happen easy enough."_

_I was told by M. McGarity:_

There was a boy of the Cloonans I knew was at Killinane thatching
Henniff's house. And a woman passed by, and she looked up at him, but
she never said, "God bless the work." And Cloonan's mother was in
the road to Gort and the woman met her and said, "Where did your son
learn thatching?" And that day he had a great fall and was brought
home hurt, and the mother went to Biddy Early. And she said, "Didn't
a red-haired woman meet you one day going into Gort and ask where
did your son learn thatching? And didn't she look up at him as she
passed? It was then it was done." And she gave a bottle and he got
well after a while. (_Note_ 37.)

       *       *       *       *       *

Some say the evil eye is in those who were baptized wrong, but I
believe it's not that, but if, when a woman is carrying, some one
that meets her says, "So you're in that way," and she says, "The
devil a fear of me," as even a married woman might say for sport or
not to let on, the devil gets possession of the child at that moment,
and when it is born it has the evil eye.

_Margaret Bartly:_

There was a woman below in that village where I lived to my grief and
my sorrow, and she used to be throwing the evil eye, but she is in
the poor-house now--Mrs. Boylan her name is. Four she threw it on,
not children but big men, and they lost the walk and all, and died.
Maybe she didn't know she had it, but it is no load to any one to say
"God bless you." I faced her one time and told her it would be no
load to her when she would see the man in the field, and the horses
ploughing to say "God bless them," and she was vexed and she asked
did I think she had the evil eye, and I said I did. So she began
to scold and I left her. That was five years ago, and it is in the
poor-house in Ballyvaughan she is this two years; but she can do no
harm there because she has lost her sight.

_Mrs. Nelly of Knockmogue:_

There was a girl lived there near the gate got sick. And after
waiting a long time and she getting no better the mother brought in
a woman that lived in the bog beyond, that used to do cures. And
when she saw the girl, she knew what it was, and that she had been
overlooked. And she said, "Did you meet three men on the road one
day, and didn't one of them, a dark one, speak to you and give no
blessing?" And she said that was so. And she would have done a cure
on her, but we had a very good priest at that time, Father Hayden, a
curate, and he used to take a drop of liquor and so he had courage
to do cures. And he said this was a business for him, and he cured
her, and the mother gave him money for it.

It was by herbs that woman used to do cures, and whatever power she
got in the gathering of them, she was able to tell what would happen.
But she was in great danger all her life from gathering the herbs, for
_they_ don't like any one to be cured that they have put a touch on.

_Mrs. Clerey:_

I can tell you what happened to two sons of mine. A woman that passed
by them said, "You've often threatened me by night, and my curse is
on you now." And the one answered her back but the other didn't. And
after that they both took sick, but the one that didn't answer her
was the worst. And they pined a long time. And I brought the one
that was so bad over to Kilronan to the priest and he read over him.
It was a lump in his mouth he had, that you could hardly put down a
spoonful of milk, and there was a good doctor there and he sliced
it, and he got well. But the priest often told me that but for what
he did for him he would never have got well. For there's no doubt
there's _some_ in the world it's not well to talk with.

The time my son got the pain, he came in roaring and said he got
a stab in the knee. It was surely some evil thing that put it on
him. There are some that have the evil eye, and that don't know it
themselves. Father McEvilly told me that. He said a woman that was
carrying, and that was not married, but that got married while she
was carrying, she might put the evil eye on you, and not know it at
all. And he said anyway it would be no great load to say "God bless
you" to any one you might meet.

The priests can do cures if they like, but those that have stock
don't like to be doing it, Father Folan won't do it, but Father
McEvilly would.

One time my brother got a great pain, and my father sent me to Father
Gallagher, to ask could he cure and read the Mass of the Holy Ghost
over him. But when I asked him he called out, "I won't do that, I
won't read for any one." He was afraid to go as far as that for fear
it might fall on his stock, that he had a great deal of.

_James Fahey:_

Do you think the _drohuil_ is not in other places besides Aran? My
mother told me herself that she was out at a dance one evening, and
there was a fine young man there and he dancing till he had them all
tired; and a woman that was sitting there said "He can do what he
likes with his legs," and at that instant he fell dead. My mother
told me that herself, and she heard the woman say it, and so did many
others that were there.

_Frank McDaragh:_

There's none can do cures well in this island like Biddy Early used to
do. I want to know of some good man or woman in that line to go to, for
that little girl of my own got a touch last week. Coming home from Mass
she was, and she felt a pain in her knee, and it ran down to the foot
and up again, and since then the feet are swelled, you might see them.

_Mrs. Meade:_

And about here they all believe in the faeries--and I hear them
say--but I don't give much heed to it--that Mrs. Hehir the butcher's
sister that died last week--but I don't know much about it. But
anyhow she was married three years, and had a child every year, and
this time she died. And when the coffin was leaving the house, the
young baby began to scream, and to go into convulsions, for all the
world as if it was put on the fire.

_Another says about this same woman, Mrs. Hehir:_

It's overlooked she was when she went out for a walk with a scholar
from the seminary that is going to be a priest, and she without a shawl
over her head. It's then she was overlooked; they seeing what a fine
handsome woman she was, she was took away to be nurse to _themselves_.

_Mrs. Quade:_

A great pity it was about Mrs. Hehir and she leaving three young
orphans. But sure they do be saying a great big black bird flew into
the house and around about the kitchen--and it was the next day the
sickness took her.

_The Doctor:_

Mrs. Hehirs was a difficult case to diagnose, and I could not give it
a name. At the end she was flushed and delirious; and when one of the
women attending her said, "She looks so well you wouldn't think it
was herself that was in it at all," I knew what was in their minds.
Afterwards I was told that the day the illness began she had been
churning, and a strange woman came in and said, "Give me a hold of
the staff and I'll do a bit of the churning for you." But she refused
and the woman said, "It's the last time you'll have the chance of
refusing anyone that asks you" and went out, and she was not seen
again, then or afterwards.

_J. Madden:_

There's one thing should never be done, and that's to say "That's
a fine woman," or such a thing and not to say "God bless her." I
never believed that till a man that lives in the next holding to my
own told me what happened to a springer he had. She was as fine a
creature as ever you seen, and one day a friend of his came in to see
him, and when he was going away, "That's a grand cow," says he, but
he didn't say "God bless it." Well, the owner of the cow went into
the house and he sat down by the fire and lit a pipe, and when he
had the pipe smoked out he came out again, and there she was lying
down and not able to stir. So he remembered what happened and he
went after his friend, and found him in a neighbour's house. And he
brought him back with him, and made him go into the field and say,
"God bless it," and spit on the cow. And with that she got up and
walked away as well as before.

_John McManus:_

They can only take a child or a horse or such things through the eye
of a sinner. If his eye falls on it, and he speaks to praise it and
doesn't say "God bless it," they can bring it away then. But if you
say it yourself in your heart, it will do as well.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man lived about a mile beyond Spiddal, and he was one day
at a play, and he was the best at the hurling and the throwing and
every game. And a woman of the crowd called out to him, "You're the
straightest man that's in it." And twice after that a man that was
beside him and that heard that said, saw him pass by with his coat on
before sunrise. And on the fifth day after that he was dead.

He left four or five sons and some of them went to America and the
eldest of them married and was living in the place with his wife.
And he was going to Galway for a fair, and his wife was away with
her father and mother on the road to Galway and she bid him to come
early, that she'd have some commands for him to do. So it was before
sunrise when he set out, and he was going over a little side road
through the fields, and he came on the biggest fair he ever saw, and
the most people in it. And they made a way for him to pass through
and a man with a big coat and a tall hat came out from them and
said, "Do you know me?" And he said, "Are you my father?" And the
man said, "I am, and but for me you'd be sorry for coming here, but
I saved you, but don't be coming out so early in the morning again."
And he said, "It was a year ago that Jimmy went to America. And that
was time enough." And then he said, "And it was you that drove your
sister away, and gave her no fortune." And that was true enough.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time there was two brothers standing in a gap in that field
you're looking at. And a woman passed by, I wouldn't like to tell you
her name, for we should speak no evil of her and she's dead now,--the
Lord have mercy on her. And when she passed they heard her say in
Irish, "The devil take you," but whether she knew they were there or
not, I don't know. And the elder of the brothers called out, "The
devil take yourself as well." But the younger one said nothing. And
that night the younger one took sick, and through the night he was
calling out and talking as if to people in the room. And the next day
the mother went to a woman that gathered herbs, the mother of the
woman that does cures by them now, and told her all that happened.

And she took a rag of an old red coat, and went down to the last
village, and into the house of the woman that had put it, the evil
eye, on him. And she sat there and was talking with her, and watched
until she made a spit on the floor, and then she gathered it up on
the rag and came to the sick man in the bed and rubbed him with it,
and he got well on the minute.

It was hardly ever that woman would say "God bless the work" as she
passed, and there were some would leave the work and come out on the
road and hold her by the shoulder till she'd say it.

_A Man on the Boat:_

There are many can put on the _drohuil_. I knew a child in our
village and a neighbour came in and said, "That's a fine child"; and
no sooner was he gone than the child got a fit. So they brought him
back and made him spit on the child and it got well after. Those that
have that power, I believe it's born with them, and it's said they
can do it on their own children as well as on ours.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy called Faherty, nephew to Faherty that keeps the
licensed house, and he was a great one for all games, and at every
pattern, and whenever anything was going on. And one time he went
over to Kilronan where they had some sports, and it the 24th of June.
And they were throwing the weight, and he took it up and he threw it
farther than the police or any that were there; and the second time
he did the same thing. And when he was going to throw it the third
time, his uncle came to him and said "It's best for you to leave it
now; you have enough done." But he wouldn't mind him, and threw it
the third time, and farther than they all.

And the next year at that time on the 24th of June, he was stretched
on his bed, and he died. And some one was talking about the day he did
so much at Kilronan, and the father said: "I remember him coming into
the house after that, and he put up his arm on the dresser as if there
was something ailed him." And the boy spoke from his bed and said, "You
ought to have said 'God bless you' then. If my mother had been living
then she'd have said it, and I wouldn't be lying here now."

       *       *       *       *       *

There were two other fine young men died in the same year, and one
night after, the three of them appeared to a sick man, Jamsie Power,
on the south island, and talked with him. But they didn't stay long
because, they said, they had to go on to the coast of Clare.

       *       *       *       *       *

My own first-born child wasn't spared. He was born in February and
all the neighbours said they never saw so fine a child. And one night
towards the end of March, I was in the bed, and the child on my
arm between me and the wall, sleeping warm and well, and the wife
was settling things about the house. And when she got into bed, she
wanted to take the child, and I said, "Don't stir him, where he's
so warm and so well"; but she took him in her own arm. And in the
morning he was dead. And up to the time he was buried, you'd say he
wasn't dead at all, so fresh and so full in the face he looked.

There was a neighbour about the same time had a child and it was
in the bed with them, but it was sick. And one night he was sure
he heard some one say outside the house, "It's time he should be
stretched out to me." So he got up and opened the window, and he
threw a vessel of dirty water over whatever was outside, and he heard
no more, and his child got well and grew up strong.

_An Island Woman:_

And there's some people the fishermen wouldn't pass when they are
going to the boats, but would turn back again if they'd meet them.
One day two boys of mine, Michael and Danny, were down on the rocks,
bream-fishing with lines, and I had a job of washing with the wife of
the head coast-guard. But when it came to one o'clock something came
over me, and I thought the boys might have got the hunger, and I went
to Mrs. Patterson and said I must leave work for that day, and I went
and bought a three-halfpenny loaf and brought it down to where they
were fishing, and when I got there I saw that Michael the younger one
was limping, and I said, "It must be from the hunger you're not able
to walk." "Oh, no," he said, "but it's a pain I got in my heel, and I
can't put it to the ground." And when we got home he went into his bed,
and he didn't leave it for three months. And one day I said to him,
"What was it happened you, did you meet any one on the road that day
that said anything to you?" And he said, "I did, I met a woman of the
village and she said, 'It's good to be you and to have a fine basket of
bream,' and she said no more than that, and that very minute the pain
came on my heel. But I won't tell you her name, for fear there'd be a
row." But I made him tell me, and I promised never to say a word to her
and I never did; but he's not the first she did that to.

_An Old Man with a Basket:_

They can put the _drohuil_ here and I suppose in all parts, and you
should watch not to let any one meet you unless they would say, "God
bless you," and spit.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman in this island lost her walk for a year and a half,
till they went to Galway to a woman that throws the cups, and she bid
them go into the next house where there was a black man living, and
give him tobacco to be smoking, and take up the spit and rub his leg.
And she got well after that.

There was another man in that island besides that neighbour of mine
that would give the _drohuil_--the evil eye. Tom Griffith his name was.
There was one Flanagan came back from Clare one day with three bonifs
he bought there. And Griffith came out as he passed and said, "No
better bonifs than those ever came into the island." And when Flanagan
came home, there was a little hill in the front of his house and two of
them fell down against it on their side. And when Mrs. Flanagan came
out to see the bonifs, there was only one of them living before her.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a man in this island now puts the evil eye--the _drohuil_.
It's about four years since I heard of him doing it last. There was
a nice young woman he passed and he said, "You're the best walker in
Aran." And that day she got a pain in her leg and she took to her bed,
and there she lay for six months, and then she sent for him, and he was
made--with respects to you--to throw a spit on her. And after that she
got well and got up again. And there was a child died about the same
time, and the friends said it was he did it. Ned Buckley is his name.
Devil a foot he ever goes to a wedding or such like; they wouldn't ask
him, they'd be afraid of him. But he goes to Mass--at least he did in
his bloom--but he's an old man now. Does the priest know about him?
It's not likely he does. There's no one would like to go and make an
attack on him like that. And anyway the priests don't like any one to
speak to them of such things, they'd sooner not hear about them.

_Mrs. Folan:_

There was one of my brothers overlooked, no doubt at all about that.
He was the best rower of a canoe that ever was, and there was a match
at Kinvara today and he won it, and there was a match at Ballyvaughan
tomorrow and he was in it, and the foam was as high as mountains,
that the hooker could hardly stand, and he won there. And when he was
come to the pier and the people all running to carry him in their
arms, the way the jockey is carried after a race, he was ruz up his
own height off the ground, and no one could see what did it.

He was wrong in the head after that, and he would sit by the hearth
without speaking. My mother that would be out binding the wheat would
say to me now and again "There he is coming across to us," and she
put it on me to think it, but I could see nothing, for it is not
everyone can see those things. Then she would ask the father when we
went in, did he stir from the fireside, and when he said he never
stirred she knew it was his shadow she saw and that he had not long
to live, and it was not long till he was gone.

_Mr. Stephens:_

There was a man coming along the road from Gort to Garryland one
night, and he had a drop taken, and before him on the road he saw a
pig walking. And having a drop in, he gave a shout and made a kick at
it and bid it get out of that.

And from the time he got home, his arm had swelled from the shoulder
to be as big as a bag, and he couldn't use his hand with the pain in
it. And his wife brought him after a few days to a woman that used to
do cures at Rahasane.

And on the road all she could do would hardly keep him from lying
down to sleep on the grass. And when they got to the woman, she knew
all that happened, and says she: "It's well for you that your wife
didn't fall asleep on the grass, for if you had done that but for an
instant, you'd be a gone man."

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a woman lived near Ballinasloe and she had two children,
and they both died, one after the other. And when the third was born,
she consulted an old woman, and she said to watch the cradle all day
where it was standing by the side of the fire. And so she did, and
she saw a sort of a shadow come into it, and give the child a touch.
And she came in, and drove it away. And the second day the same thing
happened, and she was afraid that the third time the child would go,
the same as the others. So she went to the old woman again, and she
bid her take down the hanger from the chimney, and the tongs and the
waistcoat of the child's father and to lay them across the cradle,
with a few drops of water from a blessed well. So she did all this
and laid these three things in the cradle, but she saw the shadow or
whatever it was come again, and she ran in and drove it away.

But when she told the old woman she said "You need trouble yourself
no more about it being touched or not, for no harm will come to it if
you keep those three things on it for twelve days." So she did that,
and reared eight children after, and never lost one.

_An Old Woman from Kinvara:_

Did I know any one was taken? My own brother was, and no mistake
about it. It was one day he was out following two horses with the
plough, and it was about five o'clock, for a gentleman was passing
when he got the touch, and one of his tenants asked him the time, and
he said five o'clock. And what way it came I don't know, but he fell
twice on the stones--God bless the hearers and the place I'm telling
it in. And at ten o'clock the next morning he was dead in his bed.
Young he was, not twenty year, and nothing ailed him when he went
out, but the place he was ploughing in that day was a bad pass. Sure
and certain I am it's by _them_ he was taken. I used often to hear
crying in the field after, but I never saw him again.

_A Connemara Woman:_

There was a boy going to America, and when he was going he said to
the girl next door "Wherever I am, when you are married I'll come
back to the wedding"; and not long after he went to America he died.
And when the girl was married and all the friends and neighbours
in the house, he appeared in the room, but no one saw him but his
comrade he used to have here, and the girl's brother saw him too,
but no one else. And the comrade followed him and went close to him
and said, "Is it you indeed?" And he said, "It is, and from America
I came tonight." And he asked, "How long did that journey take?" and
he said, "Three-quarters of an hour," and then he went away. And the
comrade was never the better of it, or he got the touch or the other
called him, very true friends as they were, and he soon died. But the
girl is now middle-aged and is living in that house we are just after
passing and is married to one Kelly.

Whether all that die go among them I can't say, but it is said they
can take no one without the touch of a Christian hand, or the want of
a blessing from a Christian that would be noticing them.

_A North Galway Woman:_

There are many young women taken in childbirth. I lost a sister of my
own in that way.

There's a place in the river at Newtown where there's stepping-stones
in the middle you can get over by, and one day she was crossing,
and there in the middle of the river, and she standing on a stone,
she felt a blow on the face. And she looked round to see who gave
it and there was no one there, so then she knew what had happened,
and she came to the mother's house, and she carrying at the time. I
was a little slip at that time, with my books in my hand coming from
school, and I ran in and said to my mother, "Here's Biddy coming,"
and she said, "What would bring her at this time of day?" But she
came in and sat down on a chair and she opened the whole story, and
my mother said to quiet her, "It was only a pain in the ear you got,
and you thought it was a blow." And she said, "I never got a blow
that hurted me like that." And the next day, and every day after
that, the ear would swell a little in the afternoon, and then she
began to eat nothing, and five minutes after her baby was born she
died. And my mother used to watch for her for three or four years
after, thinking she'd come back, but she never did.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a forth near our house in Meath, and when I was a baby a
woman was carrying me in her arms, and she walked down the four steps
that led into it, and there was a nice garden around it, and she
slipped and fell, and my cheek struck against one of the steps--you can
see the mark yet that I got there. And the woman told my mother and
said, "It's a wonder the child wasn't taken altogether then and there."

One day I was out digging in the field for my brothers, and there
was a sort of a half-ditch between the oats and the potatoes, and I
was digging it down, and of a sudden a sleep came on me and I lay
down. And I suppose I had been asleep about twenty minutes when I was
waked with a hard clout on the face. And I thought it was one of my
brothers and I called out, "You have no right to give me a clout like
that." But my brother was away down the field, and came when he heard
me calling. And I felt a pain in my side as well, and I went into the
house and didn't leave it for two months after with pleurisy, and the
pain never left me till after I was married. I suppose I must have
been on some way of theirs, or some place that belonged to them and
that was known to be an enchanted place, and my father used often to
see it lighted up with candles.

_A Man Herding Sheep:_

I'll tell you now what happened to a little one of my own. She was
just five years. And the day I'm speaking of she was running to
school down the path before me, as strong and as funny as the day she
was born, and laughing and looking back at me. And that night she
went to bed as well as ever she was. And it was about eleven o'clock
in the night she awoke and gave a great cry, and she said there was
a great pain in her knee, and it was in no other part of her. And in
the morning she had it yet, and her walk had gone, and I lifted her
and brought her out into the street, and she couldn't walk one step
if you were to give her the three isles of Aran. And she lived for
two nights after that.

When the doctor came and I told him, he said it was the strangest
case he ever heard of, and the schoolmistress said, "I thought if I'd
brought that child to the hill beyond and threw her down into the sea
it would do her no harm, she was that strong."

But if such things happen, it happened to her, and touched she was.
It was not death, it was being took away.

_An Old Woman in an Aran village:_

I'll tell you what happened a son of my own that was so strong and so
handsome and so good a dancer, he was mostly the pride of the island.
And he was that educated that when he was twenty-six years, he could
write a letter to the Queen. And one day a pain came in the thigh,
and a little lump came inside it, and a hole in it that you could
hardly put the point of a pin in, and it was always drawing. And he
took to his bed and was there for eleven months. And every night when
it would be twelve o'clock, he would begin to be singing and laughing
and going on. And what the neighbours said was, that it was at that
hour there was some other left in his place. I never went to any one
or any witchcraft, for my husband wouldn't let me but left it to the
will of God; and anyway at the end of the eleven months he died.

And his sister was in America, and the same thing came to her there,
a little lump by the side of the face, and she came home to die. But
she died quiet and was like any other in the night.

And a daughter-in-law of mine died after the second birth, and even
the priest said it was not _dead_ she was, he that was curate then. I
was surprised the priest to say that, for they mostly won't give in
to it, unless it's one that takes a drop of drink.

_An Old Man in the Kitchen:_

I had a son that it was mostly given in to in Aran to be the best
singer to give out a couple of verses, so that he'd hardly go out of
the house but some one would want to be bringing him into theirs. And
he took sick of a sudden, with a pain in the shoulder. I went to the
doctor and he says, "Does your wife take tea?" "She does when she can
get it;" says I, and he told me then to put the spout of the kettle
to where the pain was. And after that he went to Galway Hospital, but
he got no better there and a Sister of Mercy said to him at last,
"I'm thinking by the look of you, your family at home is poor."
"That's true enough," says he. Then says she: "It's best for you to
stop here, and they'll be free from the cost of burying you." But
he said he'd sooner go die at home, if he had but two days to live
there. So he came back and he didn't last long. It's always the like
of him that's taken, that are good for singing or dancing or for any
good thing at all. And young women are often taken in that way, both
in the middle island and in this.

_Patrick Madden:_

I'll tell you how I lost the first son I had. He was just three years
old and as fine and as strong as any child you'd see. And one day my
wife said she'd bring the child to her mother's house to stop the
evening with her, for I was going out. And there was a neighbour of
ours, a man that lived near us, and no one was the better of being
spoken to by him. And as they were passing his house he came out,
and he said, "That's the finest child that's in the island." And a
woman that was passing at the same time stopped and said, "It was the
smallest that ever I saw the day it was born, God bless it." And the
mother knew what she meant, and she wanted to say "God bless him,"
but it was like as if a hand took and held her throat, and choked
her that she couldn't say the words. And when I came to the mother's
house, and began to make fun with the child, I saw a round mark on
the side of his head, the size of a crown piece. And I said to the
wife, "Why would you beat the child in the head, why don't you get
a little rod to beat him if he wants it?" And she said that she had
never touched him at all.

And at that time I was very much given to playing cards, and that
night I went out to a friend's house to play. And the wife before
she went to bed broiled a bit of fish and put it on a plate with
potatoes, and put it in a box in the room, for fear it might be
touched by a cat or a rat or such like. But I was late coming in and
didn't mind to eat it. And the next night I was out again. And when
we were playing cards we'd play first with tobacco and we'd go on to
tea, and we'd end up with whiskey. And the next morning when the wife
opened the box she laughed and she said "You didn't drink your tea
when you were out last night, for I see you have your dinner eaten."
And I said, "Why should you say that? I never touched it." And she
held up the plate and showed me that the potatoes were taken off it;
but the fish wasn't touched, for it was a bit of a herring and salty.

Well, the child was getting sick all the day, and I didn't go out
that evening. And in the night we could hear the noise as if of
scores of rats, going about the room. And every now and again I
struck a light, but so soon as the light was in it we'd hear nothing.
But the noise would begin again as soon as it was dark, and sometimes
it would seem as if they came up on the bed, and I could feel the
weight of them on my chest as if they would smother me.

And in the morning I chanced to open the box where the dinner used to
be put, and it as big a box as any in Aran, and when I opened it I
saw it was all full of blood, up the sides and to the top, that you
couldn't put your hand in without it getting bloody. I said nothing
but shut the lid down again. But after, when I came into the house,
I saw the wife rubbing at it with a thing they call flannel they got
at Killinny, and I asked her what was she doing, and she said, "I'm
cleaning the box, where it's full of blood." And after that I gave up
the child and I had no more hope for its life. But if they had told
me that about the neighbour speaking to him, I'd have gone over, and
I'd have killed him with my stick, but I'd have made him come and
spit on him. After that we didn't hear the noise the same again, but
we heard like the sound of a clock all through the night and every
night. And the child got a swelling under the feet, and he couldn't
put a foot to the ground. But that made little difference to him, for
he didn't hold out a week.

       *       *       *       *       *

I lost another son after--but he died natural, there was nothing of
that sort. And I have one son remaining now, and one day he went to
sleep out in a field and that's a bad thing to do. And the sister
found him there, and when she woke him he couldn't get up hardly, or
move his hand, and she had to help him to the house.

_Pat Doherty:_

I know a gentleman too got the touch, one of the Butlers. It was on
a day he made a great leap he got it. And he went to the bed and for
three or four days he couldn't stir, and red marks came out over him
shaped like a bow. And then I went for the priest and brought him to
see him, and when he heard of the marks, "I'm as bad as that myself,"
he said, making fun; "for I'm after making a journey in a curragh."
But when the clothes were stripped back and he saw his skin, "Oh,
murder!" he said, and he put on his stole and got out a book. And he
said, "Did you hear what I did to the man at Iona? He went to the
well with a tin can for water, and when he got to the well, a few
yards away from it, it was spilled. And he went back and filled it
again, and the second time at the well it was spilled, and he fell
along with it, and he got a little cut in the fall, and he began to
bleed, and all the people said as much blood as would be in three men
came away from him. And they sent for me, and the minute I came the
bleeding stopped, and he was all right again and the cut closed up."

And then he put his head down and what he read I don't know, but he
hardly got to the turn of the road outside the house, when the boy
stood up from the bed and asked for something to eat.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another time I was drawing turf that came in the boats from Connemara
to Kilronan pier. And of a sudden there came a swelling in my arm,
and it was next day the size of an egg, and it turned black. And I
couldn't lift the arm, and Healy the coast-guard said to me to go to
Doctor Lydon. And I said I would, but in the way I met with Father
Jordan and I showed it to him. And he said; "What do you want with
your Healy and your Lydons? Let me see it." And he pressed his hand
on it two or three times like that, and the swelling began to go, and
when I got home they were clearing weed on the shore, and I was able
to go down and to give them a hand with it.

_A Piper:_

There was a cousin of my own used to feel some heavy thing coming on
him in the bed in the night time. And he went to the friars at Esker
to take it off of him, and they took it off. But Father Williams
said, "If this is gone from you some other thing will be put on you."
And sure enough it wasn't a twelvemonth after, he was carting planks
and the horse fell, and the planks fell on his foot and broke it in
two pieces. And after that again he got a fall, over some stones, and
he died with throwing off blood.

I had a fall myself in Galway the other day that I couldn't move
my arm to play the pipes if you gave me Ireland. And a man said to
me--and they are very smart people in Galway--that two or three got a
fall and a hurt in that same place. "There is places in the sea where
there is drowning," he said, "and places on the land as well where
there do be accidents, and no man can save himself from them, for it
is the Will of God."

_Mrs. Scanlon:_

Some people call Mrs. Tobin "Biddy Early." She has done a good many
cures. Her brother was _away_ for a while and it was from him she
got the knowledge. I believe that it's before sunrise that she
gathers the herbs, anyway no one ever saw her gathering them. (_Note_
38.) She has saved many a woman from being brought away when their
child was born, by whatever she does. She told me herself that one
night when she was going to the lodge gate to attend the woman there,
three magpies came before her and began roaring into her mouth, to
try to drive her back. Father Folan must know about her, but he is a
dark man and says nothing, and anyway the priests know as much, and
are as much in dread as any one else.

I wish I had sent for her for my own little boy. It's often he asked
me to bring him to the friars at Loughrea. But he never would tell
how or where he got the touch. It came like a lump in the back, and
he got weaker and smaller till you could put him into a tin can, and
he twenty years. Often I asked him about it, but he'd say nothing. I
believe that they are afraid to tell or they would be worse treated.
I asked him was it at the jumping, for they used to be jumping over a
pole, and he said it was not, and that he never took a jump that was
too much for him.

But some that saw his back said he had been beat. And when the Doctor
came in to see him, he was lying on the bed, and he turned him over
and looked at him and said, "If he had all Lady Gregory's estate he
couldn't live a week." And sure enough within five days he died. And
many of the neighbours said they never heard such a storm of wind as
rose about the house that night. I never saw him since, and I went
late and early, in the mill and down by the river. But it's maybe a
hundred or two hundred miles he was brought away.

_Tom Flatley:_

There is a priest now, a curate down in Cloughmore, is doing great
cures. There is often silence between him and the parish priest, Father
Rock, for he wouldn't like him to be doing them. There was a little
chap went to bed one night as well as yourself, and in the morning he
rose up with one of his ears as deaf as that he wouldn't hear you if
he died. And the mother brought him to Father Dolan and he came out as
well as ever he was. It was but a fortnight ago that happened, and I
didn't hear did the misfortune fall on any of the stock.

But wherever there is a cure something will go, and what would a
sheep or a heifer be beside a misfortune on a child?

There was a priest near Ennis, a woman I knew went to for a cure,
and he wouldn't do it. "_Tha me bocht_," he said, "I am poor, but I
will not do it." "I will pay you well," said the woman. "I will not
do it," said he, "for my heart was killed two years ago with one I
did. And it isn't money I'd ask of you if I did it," he said, "but to
offer you my blessing and the blessing of God."

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a woman down by the sea that had a very severe time when her
baby was born, and they did not think she or the baby would live after.
So the husband went and brought Father Rivers and he said, "Which would
you sooner lose--the wife or the child--for one must go?" And the
husband said, "If the wife is taken I might as well close the door."
And then Father Rivers said, "She's going up and down like the swinging
of a clock, but for all that I'll strive to keep her for you, but maybe
you must lose two or more." So he read some prayers over her, and the
next day the baby died, and a fine cow out in the field, but the woman
recovered and is living still. But Father Rivers died within two years.
They never live long when they do these cures, because that they say
prayers that they ought not to say.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's Father Heseltine of Killinan has lost his health and no
person knows where he is. They say he's gone abroad because he did a
cure on one of his sisters.

_Mrs. Cassilis:_

A young mare I lost. It was on the 15th August, something came on it
in the field, and it did no good, and the son was tending it. And on
S. Colman's Day he was taken with a weakness in the chapel that they
had to bring him home, and he did not go fasting to the chapel. He
got well, but the mare died. I didn't mind that, I knew something
must go, and it was better the mare to go than the son.

There were many said, the mare not to have died there would be no
chance for him. So I am well content, for whatever way we'll struggle
we might get another mare. But a person to go, there is no one for
you to get in his place.

_A County Galway Magistrate:_

That time I was laid up at Luke Manning's they sent for Father
Heseltine to "read a gospel" over me. He said when he came in, "You'll
lose something tonight." I heard him say this, but what he read over me
I don't know, it seemed a sort of muttering. At all events I got well
after it, and the next morning, a sheep was found dead.

_Pat Hayden:_

My father was gardener here at Coole in the time of Mr. Robert's
grandfather. He was sick one time, and he thought to go to the
friars at Esker for a cure, and he asked Mr. Gregory for the loan
of a horse, and he bade him to take it. So he saddled and bridled
the horse, and he set out one morning and went to the friars, and
whatever they did they cured him, and he came back again. But in the
morning the horse was found dead in the stable. I suppose whatever
they took off him they put upon the horse. And when Mr. Gregory came
out in the morning, "How is Pat?" he says to one of the men. "Pat
is well," says he, "but the horse he brought with him is dead in the
stable." "So long as Pat is well," said Mr. Gregory, "I wouldn't mind
if five horses in the stable were dead."

_Mrs. Manning:_

There was a friar in Esker could do cures. Many I've seen brought to
him tied in a cart, and able to walk home after. Father Callaghan he
was. There was one man brought to him, wrong in his head he was, and
he cured him and he gave him some sort of a Gospel rolled up, and bid
him to put it about his neck, and never to take it off. Well, he went
to America after that and was as well as another and got work, and sent
home £10 one time to Father Callaghan he was that grateful to him.

But one day in America he was shaving, and whether he cut the string
or that he took it off I don't know, but he laid the charm down on a
table. And when he looked for it again, if he was to burn the house
down he couldn't find it. And it all came back on him again, and he
was as bad as he was before.

So the wife wrote home to Father Callaghan, and he sent out another
thing of the same sort; and bid him wear it, and from the time he put
it on, he got well again. A priest has the power to do cures, but if
he does he can keep nothing, one thing will die after another.

Biddy Early could do the same thing, she had to cast the sickness on
some other thing--it might be a dog or a goat or a bird.

       *       *       *       *       *

Priests can do cures if they will, but they are afraid to do them
because their stock will die, and because they are afraid of loss
in the other world as well as in this. There's a neighbour of your
own lost his milch cow the other day for a small one he did,--Father
Mulhall that is.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was Father Rivers was called in to a woman that was bad,
between Roxborough and Dunsandle. And he said to the father, "Which
would you sooner keep, the wife or the child?" And he said, "Sure
I'd sooner have the wife than all the children of the world." So
Father Rivers went in and cured her so that she got well, but he put
whatever she had on the son, so that he grew up an idiot. Harmless he
used to be, not doing much. Well, when he came to twenty years, the
mother said, "Come outside into the field, and cut the eyes of a few
stone of potatoes for me." But he took up the graip that was at the
door and made at her to kill her. And she ran in and shut the door,
and then he made for the window and broke it. And at that time Mr.
Singleton from Ceramina was passing by, and he stopped and called
some men and they took him and took the graip from him, and he was
brought away to Ballinasloe Asylum, but he didn't live more than six
months after. Waiting all that time he was to do his revenge, but
hadn't the power to do it till the twenty years were up.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a man that is living strong and well in the village of Lochlan
and that has sixteen or seventeen children, and one time something came
on him and he wore away till there was no more strength in him than
in that thraneen. And there was an old woman used to be doing cures
with herbs, and he sent for her, and she went out into the field and
she picked two or three leaves of a plant she knew of. And as she was
carrying it through the fields to the house she fell dead.

And his strength came back to him when the death fell on her and he
was as well and as strong as ever he was. I will bring you three of
those leaves if I have to walk two miles--three-cornered leaves they
are (penny royal). No harm will come upon me, for I am nothing but an
old hag. Before sunrise they must be picked, and the best day to do
it is a Friday.

_An Old Army Man:_

I knew a man had charms for headache and for toothache and other
things, and he did a great many cures, but all his own children began
to die. So then he put away the charms, and made a promise not to do
cures for others again; and after that he lost no more children.

       *       *       *       *       *

Priests can do cures as well as Biddy Early did, and there was a
man of the neighbours digging potatoes in that field beyond, and
a woman passed by, and she never said anything. And presently the
top of his fingers got burned off, and he called out with the pain,
a blast he got from her as she passed. Often he'd come into this
house, and crying out with the hurt of the pain. And at last he went
to the priests at Esker, and they cured him, but they said, "Your
own priests could have done the same for you." And when he came back
there were two cows dead.

And the same thing when Carey's wife--that is a tenant of your
own--was sick, they called in Father Gardiner and he cured her, and
he told them to watch by her for two or three days. And then the
priest went out to see the stabling, and Carey with him, for Carey
had always a pair of good horses. And when they went into the stable,
the horses were dead before them.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was Flaherty gave his life for my sister that was his wife. When
she fell sick he brought her to Biddy Early in the mountains beyond.
And she cured her the first time. But she said, "If you bring her
again, you'll pay the penalty." But when she fell sick again he
brought her, but he stopped a mile from the house. But she knew it
well, and told the wife where he was, and that time the horse died.
But the third time she fell sick he went again, knowing full well
he'd pay the penalty; and so he did and died. But she was cured; and
married one O'Dea afterwards.

The priests know well about these things, but they won't let on to
have seen them, and the people don't much like to be telling them
about them. But there was Father Gallagher that did cures by means of
them, and at last he got a touch himself, and was sent for a while to
an asylum, and now he has promised to leave them alone. Fallen angels
some say they are. I know a man that saw them hurling up there in
Hanlon's field. Red caps they wore and looked very diminutive, but
they were hurling away like Old Boots.

       *       *       *       *       *

The way the bad luck came on Tom Hurley was when a cow fell sick on
him and lay like dead. He had a right to leave it or to kill it; but
the father-in-law cut a bit off the leg of it and it rose again, and
they sold it for seven pounds at the fair of Tubber. But he had no
luck since then, but lost four or five head of cattle, near all that
he owned.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man did a cure on his son that came from America sick.
He didn't like to see him ailing, and one night he did the cure. But
before sunrise the sight of one of his eyes was gone.

_A Mountainy Man:_

There's some people living about three miles from here on Slieve-Mor,
and they came from the North at the time of the famine, and they can
do cures, but they don't like to say much about it--for the people of
the North all have it. Their names are natural, McManus, and Irwin
and Taylor. There's one of them gave a cure for a man that was sick,
and he grew better, but a calf died. And the son was going to him
again, but the mother said: "Let him alone, let him die, or we'll
lose all the stock"; for she'd sooner have the husband die than any
other beast. So the son was out and he met the man, and he said, "It
is to me you're coming?" And the son said it was, for he didn't like
to tell about what his mother said or about the death of the calf.
So the man got him a bottle, and said he'd come home with him, but
when they were on the road they met some one that spoke of the death
of the calf. So when the man heard that, he was angry and he said,
"If I knew that I wouldn't have helped you," and he broke the bottle
against the wall. So the father died, and the wife kept the stock--a
very unkind woman she was.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman of my village never put a shoe on her feet from the
time of her birth till the time of her death. Doing a penance she
said she was. And she never married and would never eat meat.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to cures, there's none can do them like the priests can, if they
will. There was a woman I knew, and her little boy was sick and
couldn't move. And she got the priest to come and do a cure on him,
but no one knew what he did. And often he said to the woman: "You
have a horse and a pony, and which do you value the most?" And she
said she valued the pony the most. And next day the horse had died,
but the little boy got well.

_A Man of the Islands:_

There's an old woman here now--there she is passing the road--that
does cures with herbs. But last year she got a sore hand and she had
to go to the hospital, and before she came back they took two fingers
off her. And there's no luck about bone-setters either. There's one
here on the island and a good many go to him. But he had but one son
and he never did any good, and now he's gone away from him.

_John Curtis:_

When Father Callan was a curate he did a cure for me one time for my
cattle, and I gave him half a sovereign in his hand for it, in this
road. It was the time I had so much trouble, and my brothers trying
to rob me, and but for our landlord I wouldn't have kept the farm.
And all my stock began to die. There was hardly a day I'd come out
but I'd see maybe two or three sheep lying there in the field with
froth at their mouths, and they turning black. The same thing was
happening Tommy Hare's stock, and he went to Father Callan and he
came to the house and read some sort of a Mass and took the sickness
off them. So then I went to him myself, and he said he'd read a Mass
in the chapel for me, and so he did. And the stock were all right
from that time, and the day he came to see them and that I gave him
the money, there ran a dog out of Roche's house and came behind the
priest and gave him a bite in the leg, that he had to go to Dublin to
cut it out. Why did the dog do it? He did it because he was mad when
he saw the stock getting well. And weren't the Roches queer people
that they wouldn't kill the dog when the priest wanted it, the way
he'd be in no danger if the dog would go mad after?





_Pwyll, Prince of Dyved ... let loose the dogs in the wood and
sounded the horn and began the chase. And as he followed the dogs he
lost his companions; and while he listened to the hounds he heard the
cry of other hounds, a cry different from his own, and coming in the
opposite direction.... And he saw a horseman coming towards him on a
large light-grey steed with a hunting horn round his neck, and clad
in garments of grey woollen in the fashion of a hunting garb, and
the horseman drew near and spoke to him thus:... "A crowned King I
am in the land whence I come.... There is a man whose dominions are
opposite to mine, who is ever warring against me, and by ridding me
of this oppression which thou can'st easily do, shalt thou gain my
friendship." "Gladly will I do this," said he. "Show me how I may."
"I will show thee. Behold, thus it is thou mayest. I will send thee
to Annwyvn in my stead, and I will give thee the fairest lady thou
didst ever behold to be thy companion, and I will put my form and
semblance upon thee, so that not a page of the chamber nor an officer
nor any other man that has always followed me shall know that it is
not I. And this shall be for the space of a year from tomorrow and
then we will meet in this place." ... "Verily," said Pwyll, "what
shall I do concerning my kingdom?" Said Arawn: "I will cause that no
one in all thy dominions, neither man nor woman, shall know that I am
not thou, and I will go there in thy stead."_--"The Mabinogion."

_I was told by a Man of Slieve Echtge:_

That girl of the Cohens that was away seven year, she was bid tell
nothing of what she saw, but she told her mother some things and told
of some she met there. There was a woman--a cousin of my own--asked
was her son over there, and she had to press her a long time, but at
last she said he was. And he was taken too with little provocation,
fifty years ago. We were working together, myself and him and a lot
of others, making that trench you see beyond, to drain the wood. And
it was contract work, and he was doing the work of two men and was
near ready to take another piece. And some of them began to say to
him, "It's a shame for you to be working like that, and taking the
bread out of the hands of another," and I standing there. And he
said he didn't care, and he took the spade and sent the scraws out
flying, to the right and to the left. And he never put a spade into
the ground again, for that night he was taken ill, and died shortly
after. Watched he was, and taken by _them_.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the woman brought back again, it was told me by a boy going to
school there at the time, so I know there's no lie in it. It was
one of the Taylors, a rich family in Scariff. His wife was sick and
pining away for seven years, and at the end of that time one day he
came in he had a drop of drink taken, and he began to be a bit rough
with her. And she said, "Don't be rough with me now, after bearing
so well with me all these seven years. But because you were so good
and so kind to me all that time," says she, "I'll go away from you
now and I'll let your own wife come back to you." And so she did, for
it was some old hag she was, and the wife came back again and reared
a family. And before she went away, she had a son that was reared a
priest, and after she came back, she had another son that was reared
a priest, so that shows a blessing came on them. (_Note_ 39.)

_A Man on the Beach:_

I remember when a great many young girls were taken, it is likely by
_them_. And two year ago two fine young women were brought away from
Aranmor one in a month and one in a week after the birth. And lately I
heard that her own little girl and another little girl that was with
her saw one of them appear in a cabin outside when she came to have a
look at the child she left, but she didn't want to appear herself.

_John Flatley:_

There was a man I knew, Andy White, had a little chap, a little
_summach_ of four years. And one day Andy was away to sell a pig in
the market at Mount Bellew, and the mother was away someplace with
the dinner for the men in the field, and the little chap was in the
house with the grandmother, and he sitting by the fire. And he said
to the grandmother: "Put down a skillet of potatoes for me, and an
egg." And she said: "I will not; what do you want with them, sure
you're not long after eating." And he said, "Take care but I'll throw
you over the roof of the house." And then he said, "Andy"--that was
his father--"is after selling the pig to a jobber, and the jobber
has it given back to him again, and he'll be at no loss by that, for
he'll get a half-a-crown more at the end." So when the grandmother
heard that she wouldn't stop in the house with him but ran out, and
he only four years old.

When the mother came back and was told about it she went out and she
got some of the leaves of the Lus-Mor, and she brought them in and
put them on him; and he went, and her own child came back again. They
didn't see him going or the other coming, but they knew it by him.
But if her child had died among them, and they can die there as well
as in this world, then he wouldn't come back, but that shape in his
place would take the appearance of death.

_Mrs. Cooke:_

There's a man in Kildare that lost his wife. And every night at
twelve o'clock she came back, to look at her child. And it was told
the husband that if he had twelve men with him with forks when she
came in, they would be able to stop her from going out again.

So the next night he was there, and with him his twelve friends with
forks. And when she came in they shut the door, and when she could
not get out she sat down and was quiet.

And one night she was sitting by the hearth with them all, she said
to her husband, "It's a strange thing that Lenchar would be sitting
there so quiet, with the bottom after being knocked out of his churn."

So the husband went to Lenchar's house, and he found it was true
what she had said, and the bottom was after being knocked out of
his churn. But after that he left her, and lived in the village and
wouldn't go near her any more.

       *       *       *       *       *

Myself, I saw when I was but a child a woman come to the door that
had been seven years with the good people, but do you think that
could be true? And she had two strong girls with her. My brother was
ill at the time, where he had his hip hurt with the shaft of a cart
he was backing into the shed, and my father asked her could she cure
him. And she said, "I will, if you will give me the reward I ask
for." "What is that?" said he. And she stooped down and pointed at a
little kettle that stood below the dresser, and it was the last thing
my mother had bought in this world before she died. So he was vexed
because she cast her eye on that, and he bid her go out of the house
for she wouldn't get it, and so she went away.

But I remember well her being there and telling us that while the
seven years were going by, she was often glad to come outside the
houses in the night-time, and pick a bit of what was in the pigs'
troughs. And she bid us always to leave a bit somewhere about the
house for them that couldn't come in and ask for it. And though my
father was a cross man and didn't believe in such things, to the day
of his death he never dared to go up to bed without leaving a bit of
food outside the door. (_Note_ 40.)

_A Herd:_

The McGarritys in the house beyond, they have plenty of money. It was
money they got _out_, buried money, and _they_ are after them.

There is one of them--Ned--is rather silly; I meet him often on the
farm stretched by the side of the wall. He met with something one
night and he is not the same since then.

There is another of them was walking one evening by the brink of the
bushes and he met with two fillies--he thought them to be fillies--and
one of them called out, "How are you, John?" and he legged it home as
fast as he could. It is likely it was the father or the uncle.

Sure leaving town one time he was brought away to the railway
station, and some of the people brought him hither again and set him
towards home and he was brought back to the very same place. They
had a right to have got the priest to say a few Masses in that house
before they went to live in it at all.

It was the time their uncle was dying there was a whistle heard
outside and the man in the bed answered it, and it was that very
night he died. To keep money you would get _out_ like, that is not
right unless you might give the first of it in a few Masses. It was
the man the money was took from gave that whistle.

_Mrs. Donnely:_

My mother told me that when she was a young girl, and before the
time of side-cars, a man that was living in Duras married a girl
from Ardrahan side. And it was the custom in those days for a newly
married girl to ride home on a horse, behind her next-of-kin.

And she was sitting behind her uncle on the horse, and when they were
passing by Ardrahan churchyard he felt her to shiver and nearly to
slip off the horse, and he put his hand behind for to support her,
and all he could feel in his hand was for all the world like a piece
of tow. So he asked her what ailed her, and she said that she thought
of her mother when she was passing by the churchyard. A year after
that when her baby was born, then she died. But everyone said the
night she was taken was on her wedding-night.

And sure a sister-in-law of my own was taken the same way that poor
Mrs. Hehir was. It was a couple of days after her baby was born, and
I went to see her, and she Fardy's daughter and niece to Johnson that
has the demesne land. And she was sitting up on the bed and so well
and so strong that her mother says to me, "Catherine, try could you
get a chicken any place; I think she'll be able to eat it tomorrow."
"Chicken's is scarce, ma'am," says I, "but anyway I'll do my best and
someway or other I'll find one."

Well, after that we left, and her husband being tired with the nights
he'd been sitting up came with us to sleep at the house of his uncle,
Johnson. And hardly had he got to the house when bad news followed
him. And when he got home his wife was dead before him. Hardly were
we out of the house when she said to her mother "Take off my boots."
"Sure, you have no boots on," said the mother. "Well," says she, "lay
me at the foot of the bed." And presently she says, "Send in to the
McInerneys and ask them if the coffin they have is a better one than
mine." And the mother saw she was going, and sent for the husband,
but she was gone before he could come. And she so well and sitting up
in the bed. But Hehir's wife was out of bed altogether, and brought
her husband his tea in the hayfield before she was took.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now I'll tell your ladyship a story that's all truth and no lie.
There was an uncle of my own living near Kinvara, and one night his
wife was coming home from Kinvara town, and she passed three men that
were lying by the roadside. And the first of them said to her in
Irish, "Go home, my poor woman." And the second said, "Go home if you
can." And when she got home and told the story, she said the voice of
the second was like the voice of her brother that was dead.

And from that day she began to waste away, and was wasting for
seven year, until she died. And at the last some person said to her
husband, "It's time for you to ask her what way she's been spending
these seven years."

So he went into the room where she was on the bed, and said, "I
believe it's time to ask you now what way have you been spending
these seven years." And she said, "I'll tell you presently when you
come in again, but leave me now for a while." And he went back into
the kitchen and took his pipe for to have a smoke before he'd go back
and ask her again. And the servant girl that was in the house was the
first to go into the room, and found her cold and dead before her.

They had her took away before she had the time to tell what she had
been doing all those seven years.

_J. Kenny:_

I was in a house one night with a man used to go away with the
faeries. He got up in the night and opened the house door and went
out. About four hours he was away, and when he came back he seemed
to be very angry. I saw him putting off his clothes.

_Nora Whelan:_

Indeed Moneen has a great name for things that do be going on there
beside that big forth. Sure there's many can hear them galloping,
galloping all the night. You know Stephen's house at the meadow?
Well, his daughter got a touch from them one night when she heard
them going past with horses and with carriages, and she the only one
in the house that felt them. She got silly like for a bit, but she's
getting better now.

       *       *       *       *       *

An old woman from Loughrea told me that a woman, I believe it was from
Shragwalla close to the town, was taken away one time for fourteen
years when she went out into the field at night with nothing on but her
shift. And she was swept there and then, and an old hag put into the
bed in her place, and she suckling her young son at the time.

It was a great many years after that, there was a pedlar used to be
going about, and in his travels he went to England. And up in the
north of England he saw a rich house and went into the kitchen of it,
and there he saw that same woman, in a corner working. And he went up
to her and said, "I know where you come from." "Where's that?" says
she, and he gave her the name of her own village. Well, she laughed
and she went out of the kitchen, and I don't know did she buy
anything from him. But anyhow not long after that she come back and
walked into her own house.

The husband never knew her, but the boy that was then fourteen year
come up and touched her, and the father cried out, "Leave off putting
your hand to that fine dress," for she had very rich clothes on. But
she stood up and said, "I'm no other than your wife come back again,
and the first thing you have to do is to bring in all you can carry
of turf, and to make a big fire here in the middle of the floor."

Well, the old hag was in the room within, in the bed where she'd been
lying a long time, and they thinking she was dying. And when the
smoke of the fire went in at the door she jumps up and away with her
out of the house, and tale or tidings of her they never had again.

My mother often told me about her sister's child--my cousin--that
used to spend the nights in the big forth at Moneen. Every night she
went there, and she got thin and tired like. She used to say that she
saw grand things there, and the horses galloping and the riding. But
then she'd say, "I must tell no more than that, or I'll get a great
beating." She wasted away, but one night they were so sure that she
was dead they had the pot boiling full of water to wash her. But she
recovered again and lived five years after that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sure there was a faery in the house out beyond fourteen years. Katie
Morgan she was called. She never kept the bed, but she'd sit in the
corner of the kitchen on a mat, and from a good stout lump of a girl
that she was she wasted to nothing, and her teeth grew as long as
your fingers and then they dropped out. And she'd eat nothing at all
only crabs and sour things. And she'd never leave the house in the
day-time, but in the night she'd go out and pick things out of the
fields she could eat. And the hurt she got or whatever it was touched
her, it was one day that she was swinging on the corner gate just
there by the forth. She died as quiet as another. But you wouldn't
like to be looking at her after the teeth fell out.

_Martin Rabitt:_

There's some people it's lucky to meet and others it's unlucky, and
if you set off to go to America or around the world, and one of the
unlucky ones comes and speaks to you on the boat, you might as well
turn back and come home again.

My own sister was taken away, she and her husband within twenty-four
hours, and not a thing upon them, and she with a baby a week old.
Well, the care of that child fell on me, and sick or sorry it never
was but thriving always.

And a friend of mine told me the same thing. His wife was taken away in
child-birth--and the five children she left that did be always ailing
and sickly--from that day there never was a hap'orth ailed them.

Did the mother come back to care them? Sure and certain she did, and
I'm the one can tell that. For I slept in the room with my sister's
child after she dying; and as sure as I stand here talking to you,
she was back in the room that night.

Walking towards nightfall myself, I've seen the shadows dancing
before me, but I wasn't afeared, no more than I am of you. And I've
felt them other times crying and groaning about the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the faeries, up beyond Ballymore there's a woman that was said
to be with them for seven years. But she came back after that and had
an impediment in her speech ever since.

_Martin King:_

There's a little forth on this side of Clough behind Glyn's house, and
there was a boy in Clough was said to have passed a night and a day
in it. I often saw him, and he was dull looking, but for cleverness
there was no one could touch him. I saw a picture of a train he drew
one time, with not a bolt nor a ha'porth left out; and whatever he put
his hand to he could do it, and he with no more teaching than any other
poor boy in the town. I believe that he went to America afterwards.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I remember a boy was about my own age over at Annagh at the other
side of the water, and it's said that he was away for two years.
Anyway for all that time he was sick in bed, and no one ever saw bit
or sup cross his lips in all that time, though the food that was
left in the room would disappear, whatever happened it. He recovered
after and went to America.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl near taken, in the Prestons' house. I saw her myself
in the bed, near gone. But of a sudden she sat up and looked on the
floor and began to curse, and then they left her for they can't bear
curses. They have the hope of Heaven or they wouldn't leave one on
the face of the earth, and they are afraid of God. They'll not do you
much harm if you leave them alone; it's best not to speak to them at
all if you should meet them. If they bring any one away they'll leave
some old good-for-nothing thing in its place, and the same way with a
cow or a calf or such things. But a sheep or a lamb it's beyond their
power to touch, because of our Lord.

_An Old Butcher:_

I was born myself by daylight, and my mother often told me that I'd
never see anything worse than myself. There's some can see those
things and some that can't.

But one time I went up by the parish of Killisheen to look for
half-beef, I having at the time a contract for the workhouse. And I
went astray on the mountains, and near Killifin I came to a weaver's
house and went in. And there was sitting in the corner such a
creature as I never saw before, with nothing on him but a shirt, and
eyes that would go through you. And I wouldn't stop in the house but
went out again. And the weaver followed me and says he, "Is it afraid
of him you are?" "It is," says I. "I thought you would be," says he,
"and would you believe that he's my own son, and as fine a young chap
as ever you seen until seven year ago when I sent him to Clough on
a message, and he fell going over a wall, and it's then he got the
touch, and it's like this he's been ever since." "Does he ask to eat
much?" says I. "He'd eat the whole world," says he. "Then it's not
your son that's in it, you may be sure of that," says I, and I turned
and went away and never went back there again.

And it's not many year ago that such a lot of fine women were taken
from Clough, very sudden, after childbirth--fine women--I knew them
all myself. And I'll tell you a thing I heard of in the country.
There was a woman died, and left her child. And every night at twelve
o'clock she'd come back, and brought it out of the bed to the fire,
and she'd comb it and wash it. And at last six men came and watched
and stopped her at the door, and she went very near to tear them all
asunder. But they got the priest, and he took it off her. Well, the
husband had got another wife, and the priest came and asked him would
he put her away, and take the first again. And so he did, and he
brought her to the chapel to be married to her again, and the whole
congregation saw her there. That was rather hard on the second wife?
Well, but wasn't it a great thing for the first poor creature to be
brought back? Sure there's many of those poor souls wandering about.

Sure enough, some are brought away and kept for years, but sometimes
they come back again. There was a woman beyond at Cahirmacun was away
for a year, and came back and reared a family after. They know well
what happened them, but they don't speak of it. There was a young
fellow got a touch there near Ballytown, and a little chap met him
wandering in the field. And he bid him put out food for him every
night, for he had none of their food ate yet, and so they hadn't got
full power over him. So food was left for him, and after a time he
came back as well as another.

_A Connemara man:_

There are many that die and don't go out of the world at all. The
priests know that. There was a boy dying in a house up the road, and
the priest came to him and he was lying as if dead, that he could
not speak nor hear, and the priest said, "_The boys_ have a hand in
this." He meant by that, the faeries. I was outside the house myself
at the time, for the boy was a friend of mine, and I didn't like him
to die. And you never saw such a storm as arose when the priest was
coming to the house, a storm of wind, and a cloud over the moon. But
after a while the boy died, and the storm went down and the moon
shone out as bright as before.

There was a man was said to go away of nights with _them_. When he
got the call, away he must go if he liked it or not.

And one day he was out in the bay with some others, and all of a sudden
he said, "Let me go home, my horse is like to die." And they wouldn't
mind him for a time, but at last they turned and rowed home, and they
found his horse that was well when he went out, stretched on the field.

Another time he was with a man that had a grand three-year-old filly
and was showing it to him. And he said, "You won't have her long";
and it wasn't long after that she died.

_Mrs. Feeney:_

There was a man died and his wife died, and an uncle took charge of
the children. The man had a shop but the uncle lived a little way
from the shop, and he would leave the children alone through the
night. There were two men making a journey, and a storm rose up, and
they asked could they have a part of the night in the house where the
shop was, and the uncle said they could, and he went to his own house.

The men were sitting up by the fire and the children were sleeping at
the other side of the room. And one of the men said to the other "God
rest the soul of the man that died here. He was a good man." And the
other said, "The wife wasn't so good." And just then they heard a noise
below, and they saw the wife that had died coming into the room and she
went across and lay down on the bed where the baby was. And the baby
that was crying before got quiet then and made no sound at all.

But as to the two men, bad as the storm was outside, they thought
better to be out in it than to stop in the room where the woman was,
so they went away. It was to quiet the baby she used to come back.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was an old woman I remember, Mrs. Sheridan, and she had to
go with them for two or three hours every night for a while, and
she'd make great complaints of the hardship she'd meet with, and how
she'd have to spend the night going through little boreens or in the
churchyard at Kinvara, or they'd bring her down to the seashore. They
often meet with hardships like that, those they bring with them, so
it's no wonder they're glad to get back. This world's the best.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman living over there near Aughsulis, and a few years
ago she lost a fine young milch cow, with its first calf. And she
and the three boys in the house salted it down and they ate the half
of it and they couldn't eat the other half, it was too hard or too
tough, and they put it under the dung that was in the yard, the way
it would melt into it. And when the springtime came, they turned up
the dung, and in the place it was buried they found nothing but three
planks of the wood that's cut in Connemara--deal they call it. So
the cow never died, but was brought away with _themselves_. For many
a young boy and young woman goes like that, and there's no doubt at
all that Mary Hynes was taken. There's some living yet can remember
her coming to the pattern was there beyond, and she was said to be
the handsomest girl in Ireland. (_Note_ 41.)

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a man now living between this place and Kinvara, Fannen his
name is, and he goes away with them, and he's got delicate and silly
like. One night he was in that bad place that's near the chapel of
Kinvara, and he found a great crowd of them about him and a man on a
white horse was with them, and tried to keep him, and he cried and
struggled and they let him go at last. But now the neighbours all
say he does be going with them, and he told me himself he does. I
wouldn't be afraid of him when I'd meet him on the road, but many of
the neighbours would be afraid.

And two of his sons have got silly. They found a bar of gold one time
out playing in the field, and the money they got for it they put
it in the bank. But I believe it's getting less now, and what good
did it do them when they went like that? One of the boys was to be
a priest, but they had to give that up when he got silly. It was no
right money. And they'd best not have touched it.

_Mrs. Finnegan:_

Dreams, we should not pay too much attention to, and we should judge
them well, that is, if a dream is bad or good, we should say "It's a
good dream"; and we should never tell a dream to anyone fasting; and
it's said if you tell your dream to a tree fasting, it will wither
up. And it's better to dream of a person's downfall than of him being
up. When the good people take a cow or the like, you'll know if they
did it by there being no fat on what's left in its place and no eyes
in it. When my own springer died so sudden this year, I was afraid
to use it. But Pat Hevenor said, "It's a fool you are, and it might
save you the price of a bag of meal to feed the bonifs with a bit of
it." And he brought the cart and brought it home to me. So I put down
a bit to boil for the bonifs to try it, for I heard that if it was
_their_ work, it would go to water. But there was fat rising to the
top, that I have enough in the shed to grease the cart wheels for a
year. So then I salted a bit of it down.

If they take any one with them, yourself or myself it might be,
they'll put some old spent man in his place, that they had with them
a long time, and the father and the mother and the children will
think it is the child or the father or the mother that is in it. And
so it may be he'd get absolution. But as for the old faeries that
were there from the beginning, I don't know about them. (_Note_ 42.)

It's said that if we know how to be neighbourly with them, they'd be
neighbourly and friendly with us. It's said it was they brought away
the potatoes in the bad time, when all the potatoes turned black. But
it wasn't for spite, it was because they wanted them themselves.

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a woman in Ballinamore died after the baby being born.
And the husband took another wife and she very young, that everyone
wondered she'd like to go into the house. And every night the first
wife came to the loft, and looked down at her baby, and they couldn't
see her; but they'd know she was there by the child looking up and
smiling at her.

So at last some one said that if they'd go up in the loft after the
cock crowing three times they'd see her. And so they did, and there
she was, with her own dress on, a plaid shawl she had brought from
America, and a cotton skirt with some edging at the bottom.

So they went to the priest, and he said Mass in the house, and they
didn't see so much of her after that. But after a year, the new wife
had a baby. And one day she bid the first child to rock the cradle.
But when she sat down to it, a sort of a sickness came over her, and
she could do nothing, and the same thing always happened, for her
mother didn't like to see her caring the second wife's baby.

And one day the wife herself fell in the fire and got a great many
burns, and they said that it was _she_ did it.

So they went to the blessed well Tubbermacduagh near Kinvara, and
they were told to go there every Friday for twelve weeks, and they
said seven prayers and gathered seven stones every time. And since
then she doesn't come to the house, but the little girl goes out
and meets her mother at a faery bush. And sometimes she speaks to
her there, and sometimes in her dreams. But no one else but her own
little girl has seen her of late.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one time a tailor, and he was a wild card, always going to
sprees. And one night he was passing by a house, and he heard a voice
saying, "Who'll take the child?" And he saw a little baby held out,
and the hands that were holding it, but he could see no more than
that. So he took it, and he brought it to the next house, and asked
the woman there to take it in for the night.

Well, in the morning the woman in the first house found a dead child
in the bed beside her. And she was crying and wailing and called all
the people. And when the woman from the neighbouring house came,
there in her arms was the child she thought was dead. But if it
wasn't for the tailor that chanced to be passing by and to take it,
we know very well what would have happened it.

       *       *       *       *       *

That's a thing happens to many, to have faery children put upon them.

_A Man at Corcomroe:_

There was one Delvin, that lies under a slab yonder, and for seven
years he was brought away every night, and into this abbey. And he
was beat and pinched, and when he'd come home he'd faint; but he used
to say that the place that he went to was grander than any city. One
night he was with a lot of others at a wake, and they knew the time
was coming for him to go, and they all took hold of him. But he was
drawn out of the door, and the arms of those that were holding him
were near pulled out of their sockets.

       *       *       *       *       *

Mischievous they are, but they don't do much harm. Some say they are
fallen angels, and hope yet to be saved.

_A Slieve Echtge Woman:_

I knew another was away for seven years--and it was in the next
townland to this she lived. Bridget Clonkelly her name was. There
was a large family of them, and she was the youngest, and a very
fine-looking fair-haired girl she was. I knew her well, she was the
one age with myself.

It was in the night she used to go to them, and if the door was shut,
she'd come in by the key-hole. The first time they came for her, she
was in bed between her two sisters, and she didn't want to go, And
they beat her and pinched her, till her brother called out to know
what was the matter.

She often told me about them, and how she was badly treated because
she wouldn't eat their food. She got no more than about three cold
potatoes she could eat all the time she was with them.

All the old people about here put out food every night, the first of
the food before they have any of it tasted themselves. And she said
there was a red-haired girl among them, that would throw her into the
river she got so mad with her. But if she'd had their food ate, she'd
never have got away from them at all.

She married a serving-man after, and they went to Sydney, and if
nothing happened in the last two years they're doing well there now.

_Mrs. Casey:_

Near my own house by the sea there was a girl went out one day to get
nuts near the wood, and she heard music inside the wood. And when
she went home she told her mother. But the next day she went again,
and the next, and she stopped so long that the mother sent the other
little girl to look for her, but she could see no one. But she came
in after a time, and she went inside into the room, and while she was
there the mother heard music from the room; but when the girl came
out she said she heard nothing. But the next day after that she died.

The neighbours all came in to the wake, and there was tobacco and
snuff there, but not much, for it's the custom not to have so much
when a young person dies. But when they looked at the bed, it was no
young person they saw in it, but an old woman with long teeth that
you'd be frightened, and the face wrinkled, and the hands. So they
didn't stop but went away, and she was buried the next day. And in
the night the mother would hear music all about the house, and lights
of all colours flashing about the windows.

She was never seen again except by a boy that was working about the
place. He met her one evening at the end of the house, dressed in her
own clothes. But he could not question her where she was, for it's
only when you meet them by a bush you can question them there.

_A Man of Slieve Echtge:_

There was a man, and he a cousin of my own, lost his wife. And one
night he heard her come into the room, where he was in bed with the
child beside him, and he let on to be asleep, and she took the child
and brought her out to the kitchen fire and sat down beside it and
suckled it.

And then she put it back into the bed again, and he lay still and
said nothing. The second night she came again, and he had more
courage and he said, "Why have you got no boots on?" For he saw that
her feet were bare. And she said, "Because there's iron nails in
them." So he said, "Give them to me," and he got up and drew all the
nails out of them, and she brought them away.

The third night she came again, and when she was suckling the child
he saw that she was still barefoot, and he asked why didn't she wear
the boots. "Because," says she, "you left one sprig in them, between
the upper and the lower sole, But if you have courage," says she,
"you can do more than that for me. Come tomorrow night to the gap up
there beyond the hill, and you'll see the riders going through, and
the one you'll see on the last horse will be me. And bring with you
some fowl droppings and urine, and throw them at me as I pass, and
you'll get me again." Well he got so far as to go to the gap, and to
bring what she told him, and when they came riding through the gap,
he saw her on the last horse, but his courage failed him, and he let
it drop, and he never got the chance to see her again.

Why she wanted the nails out of her boots? Because it's well known
_they_ will have nothing to do with iron. And I remember when every
child would have an old horse nail hung round its neck with a bit of
straw, but I don't see it done now.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was another man though, one of the family of the Coneys beyond
there, and his wife was away from him four years. And after that
he put out the old hag was in her place, and got his wife back and
reared children after that, and one of them was trained a priest.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a drunken man in Scariff, and one night he had drink taken
he couldn't get home, and fell asleep by the roadside near the
bridge. And in the night he awoke and heard _them_ at work with cars
and horses. And one said to another, "This work is too heavy, we'll
take the white horse belonging to so and so"--giving the name of a
rich man in the town. So as soon as it was light he went to this man,
and told him what he had heard them say. But he would only laugh at
him and say, "I'll pay no attention to what a drunkard dreams." But
when he went out after to the stable, his white horse was gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

That's easy understood. They are shadows, and how could a shadow move
anything? But they have power over mankind that they can bring them
away to do their work.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman used to go out among them at night, and she said to
her sister, "I'll be out on a white horse and I'll stop and knock at
your door," and so she would do sometimes.

And one day there was a man asked her for a debt she owed, and she
said, "I have no money now." But then she put her hand behind her
and brought it back filled with gold. And then she rubbed it in her
hand, and when she opened the hand there was nothing in it but dried
cow-dung. And she said, "I could give you that but it would be no use
to you."

_An Old Woman Talking of Cruachmaa:_

I remember my father being there, and telling me of a girl that was
away for seven years, and all thought she was dead. And at the end
of the seven years she walked back one day into her father's house,
and she all black-looking. And she said she was married there and
had two children, but they died and then she was driven away. And
she stopped on at her father's house, but the neighbours used to say
there was never a day but she'd go up the hill and be there crying
for one or two hours.

_An Old Woman who only Speaks Irish:_

I remember a young man coming to the island fourteen years ago that had
never been in it before and that knew everything that was in it, and
could tell you as much as to the stones of the chimney in every house.
And after a few days he was gone and never came again, for they brought
him about to every part. But I saw him and spoke to him myself.

_Mr. Sullivan:_

There was a man had buried his wife, and she left three children. And
then he took a second wife, and she did away with the children, hurried
them off to America, and the like. But the first wife used to be seen
up in the loft, and she making a plan of revenge against the other wife.

The second one had one son and three daughters; and one day the son
was out digging the field, and presently he went into what is called
a faery hole. And there was a woman came before him, and, says she,
"what are you doing here trespassing on my ground?" And with that she
took a stone and hit him in the head, and he died with the blow of
the stone she gave him. And all the people said it was by the faeries
he was taken.

_Peter Henderson:_

There was a first cousin of mine used sometimes to go out the house,
that none would see him going, And one night his brother followed
him, and he went down a path to the sea, and then he went into a hole
in the rocks, that the smallest dog wouldn't go into. And the brother
took hold of his feet and drew him out again. He went to America
after that, and is living there now; and sometimes in his room
they'll see him kicking and laughing as if _some_ were with him.

One night when some of the neighbours from these islands were with him,
he told them he'd been back to Inishmaan, and told all that was going
on. And some would not believe him. And he said, "You'll believe me
next time." So the next night he told them again he had been there, and
he brought out of his pocket a couple of boiled potatoes and a bit of
fish and showed them, so then they all believed it.

_An Old Man from the State of Maine says, hearing this:_

I knew him in America, and he used often to visit this island, and
would know about all of them were living, and would bring us word of
them, and all he'd tell us would turn out right. He's living yet in

_An Aran Woman:_

There was a woman in Killinny was dying, and it was she used to be
minding the Lodge over there, and when she was near death her own
little girl went out, and she saw her standing, and a black-haired
woman with her. And she came back and said to her father "Don't be
fretting, my mother's not there in the bed, I saw her up by the Lodge
and a black woman with her, that took her in with her." And there was a
man from Arklow there, and he said, "That's not your wife at all that's
in the bed--that's not Maggie Mulkair. That is a black woman and Maggie
Mulkair is red-haired." And the husband looked in the bed, and so it
wasn't Maggie Mulkair that was in it, but at that minute she died. It's
well known they bring back the old to put in the place of the young.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl in the County Clare, and she went to get married,
and she and the husband were riding back on the one horse and it
slipped and fell. And when she got to the house, she sat quiet and
not a word out of her. And everybody said she used to be a pleasant,
jolly girl, but this was like an old woman.

And she sat there by the hob for three days and she didn't turn her
face to the people. But the husband said, "Let her alone, maybe
she's shy yet." But his mother got angry at last and she said, "I'd
sooner be rubbing stones on the clothes than watching an idle woman."
And she went out to the flax and she said to the girl, "You'd best
get the dinner ready before the men come in." But when she came in
there was nothing done; and she gave her a blow with some pieces of
the flax that were in her hand, and said, "Get out of this for a
good-for-nothing woman!" And with that she went up the chimney and
was gone. And the mother got the dinner ready, and then she went out,
not knowing in the world how to tell the husband what she had done.
But when she got to the field where they were working, there was the
girl walking down the hill, and she took the two hands of the mother
and said, "It's well for me you hadn't patience to last two days more
or I'd never have got back, but I never touched any of the food while
I was with them."

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a girl one time, and a boy wanted to marry her, but the
father and mother wouldn't let her have him, for he had no money. And
he died, and they made a match for her with another. And one day she
was out going to her cousins' house, and he came before her and put
out his hand and said, "You promised yourself to me, and come with
me now." And she ran, and when she got to the house she fell on the
floor. And the cousins thought she had taken a drop of drink, and
they began to scold her.

Another day after that she was walking with her husband and her
brother, and a little white dog with them, and they came to a little
lake. And he appeared to her again, and the husband and the brother
didn't see him, but the dog flew at him, and began barking at him and
he was hitting at the dog with a stick, and all the time trying to
get hold of the girl's hand. And the husband and the brother wondered
what the dog was barking at and why it drew down to the lake in the
end, and out into the water. For it was into it that he was wanting
to draw the girl.

       *       *       *       *       *

It's a strange thing that you'll see a man in his coffin and buried;
and maybe a fortnight after, the neighbours will tell you they saw
him walking about. There was one Flaherty lived up at Johnny Reed's
and he died. And a few days later Johnny Reed's sister and another
woman went out with baskets of turnips to the field where the sheep
were, to throw them out for them. And when they got to the field they
could see Flaherty walking, just in the same clothes he had before he
died, long skirts and a jacket, and frieze trousers. So they left the
turnips and came away.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man up there near Loughrea, one of the Mahers, was away
for seven years. In the night he'd be taken, and sometimes in the
daytime when he was in the bed sick, that's the time he'd be along
with them; riding out and going out across the bay, going as fast as
the wind in the sky. Did he like to be with them? Not at all, he'd
sooner be at home; and it is bad for the health too to be going out
these rough nights. There were three men near him that had horses,
Daniel O'Dea and Farragher and Flynn, and he told them they should
sell their horses. And Daniel O'Dea and Farragher sold theirs, but
the other man wouldn't mind him. And after a few days his horse died.
Of course they had been with him at night riding their own horses,
and that's how he knew what would happen and gave the warning.

_The Spinning Woman:_

There was a man got married, and he began to pine away, and after a
few weeks the mother asked him what ailed him. And he opened his coat
and showed her his breast inside, that it was all torn and bloody. And
he said: "That's the way I am; and that's what she does to me in the
nights." So the mother brought her out and bid her to pick the green
flax, and she was against touching it, but the mother made her. And no
sooner had she touched three blades of it but she said, "I'm gone now,"
and away with her. And when they went back to the room they found the
daughter lying in a deep sleep, where she had just been put back.

_An Old Woman at Kinvara:_

There was a woman put in her coffin for dead, but a man that was
passing by knew that she wasn't dead, and he brought her away and
married her and lived with her for seven years, and had seven children
by her. And one day he brought her to a fair near the place she came
from, and the people that saw her said: "If that woman that died ever
had a sister, that would be her sister." So he let it out to them then
about her. But his mother always minded her, that she wouldn't wet her
hands. But one day the mother was hurried, and the woman made a cake.
And after making it she washed her hands, and with that they had her
again and she went from the husband and from her children.

_A Herd:_

One time I was tending this farm for Flaherty, and I came in late one
evening after being out with cattle, and I sent my wife for an ounce
of tobacco, and I stopped in the house with the child. And after a
time I heard the rattle of the door, and the wife came in half out of
her mind. She said she was walking the road and she met four men, and
she knew that they were not of this world, and she fell on the road
with the fright she got, but she thought one of them was her brother,
and he put his hand under her head when she fell, so that she got no
hurt. And for a long time after she wasn't in her right mind, and
she'd bring the child out in the field, to see her brother. And at
last I brought her to the priest, and when we were on the way there
she called out that those fields of stones were full of them, and
they all dressed in tall hats and black coats. But the priest read
something over her and she's been free from them since then.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were three women died within a year, one here, John Harragher's
wife, and two at Inishmaan. And the year after they were all seen
together, riding on white horses at the other side of the island.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were two young women lived over in that village you see there,
and they were not good friends, for they were in two public houses.
And one of them died in January, after her baby being born. Some said
it was because of her mother or the nurse giving her strong tea, but
it wasn't that, it was because her time had come. And when the other
woman heard it she said to her husband, "Give me the concertina, and
I'll play till you dance for joy that Mrs. Considine is gone." But in
April her own child was born, and though the doctor tried to save her
he couldn't and she died.

And since then they're often seen to appear walking together. People
wonder to see them together, and they not friends while they lived.
But it's bad to give way to temper, and who is nearer to us than a

_A Young Woman:_

I know a girl that lost her mother soon after she was born. And surely
the mother came back to her every night and suckled her, for she'd lie
as quiet as could be, without a bottle or a hap'orth and they'd hear
her sucking. And one night the grandmother felt her daughter that was
gone lying in the clothes, and made a grab at her, but she was gone.
Maybe she'd have kept her if she'd taken her time, for there's charms
to bring such back. But the little girl grew, that she was never the
same in the morning that she was the night before, and there's no finer
girl in the island now. I call to my own mother sometimes when things
go wrong with me, and I think I'm always the better of it. And I often
say those that are gone are troubled with those they leave behind. But
God have mercy on all the mothers of the world!

_Mrs. Maher:_

There was a woman with her husband passing by Esserkelly, and she had
left her child at home. And a man came and called her in, and promised
to leave her on the road where she was before. So she went, and there
was a baby in the place she was brought to, and they asked her to
suckle it. And when she had come out again she said, "One question I'll
ask. What were those two old women sitting by the fire?" And the man
said, "We took the child today, and we'll have the mother tonight and
one of them will be put in her place, and the other in the place of
some other person." And then he left her where she was before.

But there's no harm in them, no harm at all.

_Tom Hislop:_

Scully told me he was by the hedge up there by Ballinamantane one
evening and a blast came, and as it passed he heard something crying,
crying, and he knew by the sound that it was a child that they were
carrying away.

       *       *       *       *       *

And a woman brought in at Esserkelly heard a baby crying and a woman
singing to it not to fret, for such a woman would die that night or
the next and would come to mind her. And the very next night the
woman she heard the name of died in childbirth.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Aughanish there were two couples came to the shore to be married,
and one of the new-married women was in the boat with the priest, and
they going back to the island. And a sudden blast of wind came, and
the priest said some blessed Aves that were able to save himself, but
the girl was swept.

_Peter Hanrahan:_

No, I never went to Biddy Early. What would they want with the like
of me? It's the good and the pious they come for.

I remember fourteen years ago how eleven women were taken in
childbirth from this parish. But as to the old, what business would
they have with them? They'd be nothing but a bother to them. There
was a woman living by the road that goes to Scahanagh, and one day a
carriage stopped at her door, and a grand lady came out of it, and
asked would she come and give the breast to her child, and she said
she couldn't leave her own children. But the lady said no harm would
happen her, and brought her away to a big house, but when she got
there she wouldn't stop, but went home again. And in the morning the
woman's cow was dead. And the husband that had a card for carding
flax looked through it; and in the place of the cow, there was
nothing but an old man.

       *       *       *       *       *

And there was a man and a girl that gave one another a hard promise
he never to marry any other woman, and she never to marry any other
man. But he broke his promise and married another. And the girl died,
and one night he saw a sort of a shadow coming across the grass, and
she spoke to him, and it was the girl he had promised to marry, and
she kept him in talk till midnight. And she came every night after
that, and would stop till midnight, and he began to waste away and
to get thin, and his wife asked him what was on him, and she picked
out of him what it was. And after that the girl asked him to come and
save her, and she would be on the second first horse going through
a gap. And he went, and when he got there his courage failed, and he
did nothing to save her, but after that he never saw her again.

_Mrs. Roche:_

There was a woman used to go away with them, and they'd leave her at
the doorstep in the morning, and she wouldn't be the better for a
long time of all she'd gone through. She got out of it after, and was
a fine woman when I knew her.

       *       *       *       *       *

My mother told me of a woman that used to go with them, and one night
they were passing by a house, and there was no clean water in it,
and it was readied up. And they said, "We'll have the blood of the
man of the house." And there was a big pot of broth on the fire for
the morning, for the poor people had no tea in those days; and the
woman said, "Won't broth do you?" And they took the broth. And in the
morning early, the woman after she was left back went to the house,
and there was the woman of the house getting ready the broth, for it
looked just like it did before. And she said, "Throw it out before
you lose your husband." For she knew that the first that would taste
it would die, and that it's to the man of the house that the first
share is always given.

       *       *       *       *       *

My mother was always wanting to call one of her children Pat, the
name of her own father, but my father always made her give them some
different name. But when one of the youngest was born he said, "Give
him what name you like." So they gave him the name of her father;
and he was like the apple of her eye, she was so fond of him. But a
sickness came on him and he wasted away, and she went to a strange
forge and brought forge water away, for she wouldn't take it from our
own forge, and gave him a drink of it. And I saw her and I said to
her, "I'll tell my father you're giving forge water to Paddy." And
she said, "If you do I'll kill you," so I said nothing. And she gave
him a second drink of it and not a third, for he was gone before he
could get it. If it had been her own child, it would have saved him,
but she told me after she knew it was another, his kneecaps were so
big and other parts of his body.

There was another little one she lost. She was sitting one time
nursing it outside the door, and a lady and a gentleman came up the
road, and the lady said, "Who are you nursing the child for?" And
she said, "For no one in the world but God and myself." And then the
lady and the gentleman were gone and no sign of them, though it was a
straight road, you know that long straight road in Galway that goes by
Prospect, and it wasn't many days after that when the child got ill,
and in a few days it was dead. And when it was lying there stretched
out on two chairs, the lady came in again and looked at it and said,
"What a pity!" And then she said, "It's gone to a better place." "I
hope it may be so," said my mother, stiff like that; and she went away.

I was delicate one time myself, and I lost my walk, and one of the
neighbours told my mother it wasn't myself that was there. But my
mother said she'd soon find that out, for she'd tell me that she was
going to get a herb that would cure me, and if it was myself I'd want
it, but if I was another I'd be against it. So she came in and she
said to me, "I'm going to Dangan to look for the _lus-mor_, that will
soon cure you." And from that day I gave her no peace till she'd go
to Dangan and get it; so she knew that I was all right. She told me
all this afterwards.

_M. Cushin:_

It is about the forths they are, not about the churchyards. The
Amadán is the worst of them all.

They say people are brought away by them. I knew a girl one time near
Ballyvaughan was said to be with them for nine months. She never eat
anything all that time, but the food used to go all the same.

There was a man called Hession died at that time and after the
funeral she began to laugh, and they asked her what was she laughing
at, and she said, "You would all be laughing yourselves if you could
open the coffin and see what it is you were carrying in it." The
priest heard of her saying that and he was vexed.

Did they open the coffin? They did not, where would be the use, for
whatever was in it would be in the shape of some person, young or
old. They would see nothing by looking at that.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman near Feakle, Mrs. Colman, brought away for seven
years; she was the priest's sister. But she came back to her husband
after, and she cured till the day of her death came every kind of
sores, just putting her hand on them and saying, "In the Name of the
Father, of the Son, and the Holy Ghost."

There was a man in Gort was brought for a time to Tir-ran-og, that is
a part of heaven.

_A North Galway Woman:_

There was a woman died near this after her baby being born, and there
was only the father to mind it. And a girl of the neighbours that
came in to watch it one night said that surely she saw the mother
come back to it, and stoop down to the cradle and give it the breast.
And anyway she grew and throve better than any other child around.
And there was a woman died near Monivea, and sometimes in the daytime
they'd see her in the garden combing the children's hair.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a Connemara man digging potatoes in that field beyond, and
he told us that back in Connemara there was a woman died, and a few
nights after she came back and the husband saw her. And she said,
"Let you not put a hand on me _yourself_, but I'll come back tomorrow
night and others with me, and let me not cross the threshold when we
are going out, but let your brother be there that has the strength of
six men in him, and let him hold me." And so they did, and she reared
four children after.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman died two houses from this, and it wasn't many days
after she being buried the woman in the next house, Sibby her name
is, came in here in the morning, and she told me she saw her coming
in here the night before. And the sweat was on Sibby's face and she
said, "God knows I am speaking the truth. Why would I put a lie on
that poor woman?" And why would she indeed?

And she said that in the night when she was in her bed, and two or
three children along with her, the woman that had died came beside
the bed and called her, and then she went out and said, "I'll come
again and I'll bring my company with me."

And so she did, for she came back and her company with her, and they
with umbrellas and hats in their hands, dressed grand, just now like
the servants at Newtown. And she stooped over the bed again, and she
said, "It was through Thomas I was lost." For there was one of her
sons was called Thomas, and coming home one day he got a little turn
of his foot, that the mother was doing what she could for with herbs
and the like for a long time, so that he got well all but a little
limp. So that's why she said that it was through Thomas she was lost.
And she said, "There'll be a station at Athenry on such a day, and
send three of the children"--and she named the three--"to do it for
me." And so they did, and she was seen no more. And I'm sure it was
no lie Sibby was telling. And she told the priest about what she saw
and all he said was, "Well, if you saw that you're happy."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman died, and every night she'd come back and bring the
baby to the fire, and dress it and suckle it. And the brother got to
speak with her one night, and she said, "Oh why wasn't I put in the
coffin with my own dress on that I was wearing? It's ashamed I was to
go into such a crowd and such a congregation with nothing about me but
a white sheet. And if it wasn't that I saw a boy of the neighbours
among them that I knew before, I would have been very lonely."

       *       *       *       *       *

There were two boys that were comrades, and if you'd see Dermot
you'd say, "Where is Pat?" And if you'd see Pat you'd say, "Where is
Dermot?" And one of them died, and everybody wondered at the comrade
not being all the day to the corpse-house. And when he came in the
evening he took a pinch of snuff, and he held it to the nose of the
boy that was laid out on the table and he saw it sniff a little. So
he made up the fire and he called another boy, and they laid the body
down behind the fire; and if they did away with it, the boy himself
came walking in at the door.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl I heard of brought away among _them_--and there was
the finest of eating to be had. But there's always a friend in such
places, and she got warning not to eat a bit of the food without
she'd get salt with it. So when they put her down to eat, she asked
a grain of salt, but not a grain was to be had. So she would eat
nothing. But I believe they did away with her after.

_John Phelan:_

Mike Folan was here the other day telling us newses, and he told the
strangest thing ever I heard--that happened to his own first cousin.
She died and was buried, and a year after, her husband was sitting
by the fire, and she came back and walked in. He gave a start, but
she said, "Have no fear of me, I was never in the coffin and never
buried, but I was kept away for the year." So he took her again and
they reared four children after that. She was Mike Folan's own first
cousin and he saw the four children himself.

_An Old Army Man:_

My family were of the Glynns of Athenry. I had an aunt that married a
man of the name of Roche, and their child was taken. So they brought
it to the Lady Well near Athenry, where there's patterns every
fifteenth of August, to duck it. And such a ducking they gave it that
it walked away on crutches, and it swearing. And their own child they
got back again, but he didn't live long after that.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man I know, that was my comrade often, used to be taken
away for nights, and he'd speak of the journeys he had with them. And
he got severe treatment and didn't want to go, but they'd bring him
by force. He recovered after, and joined the army, and I was never so
surprised as I was the day he walked in when I was in India.

_Mrs. Brown:_

There was a woman in Tuam, Mrs. Shannon knew her well, was said to
be away for seven years. And she was always sitting in the corner
by the fire, not speaking, but a kind of a sound like moaning she'd
make to herself; and they'd always bring her her dinner over in the
corner, and if any one came in to see her--and many came hearing she
was away--she'd draw the shawl over her face. And at the end of the
seventh year she began to get a little life and strength coming in
to her, and within a week she was strong and well, and lived a good
many years after. And it's not long since some one that had a falling
out with her daughters said to them, "It's well known your mother
was away in Cruachmaa." And the poor girls when they heard that said
cried a great deal.

_Mrs. Casey:_

Some people from Lismara I was talking to told me there was a girl
the mother thought to be away, and she'd go out in the evening. And
the mother followed her one time, and after she went a bit into the
fields she saw her with an old woman very strangely dressed, with a
white cap with an edging, and a green shawl and a black apron and a
red petticoat. And the woman was smoking, and she gave the girl a
smoke of the pipe. And the mother went home, and by and by the girl
came in, and she smelling of tobacco. And the mother asked where was
she? And she said, in some neighbour's house; and the mother knew she
wasn't there, but that she was going with the faeries. And two or
three days after that, they had her taken altogether; and the clergy
that attended her said it was some old hag that was put in her place.

_Mrs. Oliver:_

There was Farly Folan's wife going, going, and all the night they
thought that she was at the last puff. But the minute the cock crew,
she sat up straight and strong. "I had a hard fight for it," she
said, "but care me well now ye have me back again." And she lived a
bit, but not long, after that.

That child of the Latteys that is silly, she was walking about today
shaking hands with everyone that would come into the house. And the
reason she's like that is, when she was born the breath had left her
and the mother began to cry and to scream and to roar, and then the
breath came back. She had a right to have let her go and not to have
brought her back.

There's a girl of Fardy Folan's is said to be away. Anyway she's a
fool, and a blow from her would kill you, it is always like that with
a fool. And it was her mother I told you of that was as they thought
gone, and that sat up again and said, "Take care of me now, I had a
hard fight for it." But indeed she didn't live long after that.

_Mrs. Feeney:_

When one is taken, the body is taken as well as the spirit, and some
good-for-nothing thing left in its place. What they take them for
is to work for them, and to do things they can't do themselves. You
might notice it's always the good they take. That's why when we see a
child good for nothing we say, "Ah, you little faery."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man lost his wife and a hag was put in her place, and
she came back and told him to come out at night where she'd be riding
with the rest, and to throw something belonging to her after her--he'd
know her by her being on a white horse. And so he did and got her back
again. And when they were going home he said, "I'll have the life of
that old hag that was put in your place." But when they got to the
house, she was out of it before him, and was never heard of again.

There was a man telling me it was in a house where the woman was
after a youngster, and she died, that is, we'll call it died, but she
was _taken_, that the husband saw her coming back to give the breast
to the child and to wash it. And the second night he got hold of her
and held her until morning, and when the cock crowed she sat down
again and stayed; they had no more power over her.

       *       *       *       *       *

Surely some go among them for seven years. There was Kitty Hayes
lived at Kilcloud, for seven years she had everything she could want,
and music and dancing could be heard around her house every night,
and all she did prospered; but she ate no food all that time, only
she took a drink of the milk after the butter being churned. But at
the end of the seven years all left her, and she was glad at the last
to get Indian meal.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man driving cattle from Craughwell to Athenry for a fair.
And it was before sunrise and dark, and presently he saw a light by
the side of the road, and he was glad of it, for he had no matches
and he wanted to light his pipe to smoke it. So he turned aside,
and there were some people sitting there, and they brought him in,
through a sort of a door and asked him to sit down. And so he did,
and he saw that they were all strangers, not one he knew among them.
And there was a fire and they put food and drink on the table, and
asked him what would he have. And there opposite him he saw his own
cows that were brought in too, and he knew that he was in a faery
place. But in all these places there's always one well-wisher, so
while he was sitting there, an old woman came to him and whispered in
his ear, "Don't for your life eat a bit or drink a drop of what they
give you, or you'll never go away again." So he would take nothing.
If it hadn't been for the old woman, he might have taken something,
just not to vex them. And at sunrise they let him out, and he was on
the road again and his cattle before him.

Well, when he was coming back from the fair, there were two men with
him, and he pointed them out the place where all this happened, for
when three persons are together, there's no fear of anything and they
can say what they like. And the others told him it was a faery place
and many strange things had happened there. And they told him how
there was a woman had a baby lived close by there, and before it was
a week old her husband had to leave her because of his brother having
died. And no sooner was she left alone than she was _taken_, and they
sent for the priest to say Mass in the house, but she was calling out
every sort of thing they couldn't understand, and within a few days
she was dead.

And after death the corpse began to change, and first it looked like
an old woman, and then like an old man, and they had to bury it the
next day. And before a week was over she began to appear. They always
appear when they leave a child like that. And surely she was taken
to nurse the faery children, just like poor Mrs. Raynor was last year.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a well near Kinvara, Tubbermacduagh it's called, and it's all
hung with rags, and piles of seven stones about it, for it's a great
place to bring children to, to get them back when they've been changed
by the faeries. Nine days they should be going to it, and saying
prayers each day. And you'll see the child that's coming back will be
like itself one day and like an old person another day and sometimes
it will feel a picking, picking at it and it in its mother's arms.
McCullagh's daughter that was _taken_ is often to be seen there.

       *       *       *       *       *

When any one is taken something is put in their place--even when a
cow or the like goes. There was one of the Simons used to be going
about the country skinning cattle and killing them, even for the
country people if they were sick. One day he was skinning a cow that
was after dying by the roadside, and another man with him. And Simon
said, "It's a pity he can't sell this meat to some butcher, he might
get something for it." But the other man made a ring of his fingers
like this, and looked through it and then bade Simon to look, and
what he saw was an old piper; and when he thought he was skinning the
cow, what he was doing was cutting off his leather breeches. So it's
very dangerous to eat beef you buy from any of those sort of common
butchers. You don't know what might have been put in its place.

_A Man at Corcomroe:_

There was Shane Rua that was away every night for seven years. He told
his brother-in-law that told me that in that hill behind the abbey
there is the most splendid town that was ever seen. Often he was in it,
and ought not to have been talking about it, but he said he wouldn't
give them the satisfaction of it, he didn't care what they did to him.
But he fainted that night they took him from the wake, and you know
what a strong man Peter Nestor was, and _he_ couldn't hold him.

Buried he is now beside that wall.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cloran the plumber's mother was taken away, it's always said. The way
it's known is, it was not long after her baby was born but she was
doing well. And one morning very early a man and his wife were going
in a cart to Loughrea one Thursday for the market, and they met some
of _those people_ and they asked the woman that had her own child
with her, would she give a drink to their child that was with them,
and while she was doing it they said, "We won't be in want of a nurse
tonight, we'll have Mrs. Cloran of Cloon." And when they got back in
the evening, Mrs. Cloran was dead before them.

They said it of Glynn's wife last year. And anyway, her mother was
taken in the same way before her.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy I know lived between our house and Clough, and his
hand was lame all his life from a burn he got when he was a child.
And one evening in winter he walked out of the house and was never
heard of or seen again, or any account of him. And it was not the
time of year to go look for work, and anyway, he could never make a
living with his lame hand.

_Mrs. Casey:_

My sister told me that near Tyrone or Cloughballymore there was a man
walking home one night late, and he had to pass by a smith's forge
where one Kinealy used to work. And when he came near, he heard the
noise of the anvil, and he wondered Kinealy would be working so late in
the night. But when he went in he saw that they were strange men that
were in it. So he asked them the time, and they told him, and he said,
"I won't be home this long time yet." And one of the men said, "You'll
be home sooner than what you think." And another said, "There's a man
on a grey horse gone the road, you'll get a lift from him." And he
wondered that they'd know the road he was going to his home. But sure
enough as he was walking he came up with a man on a grey horse, and
he gave him a lift. But when he got home his wife saw that he looked
strange-like, and she asked what ailed him, and he told her all that
happened. And when she looked at him she saw that he was taken. So he
went into the bed, and the next evening he was dead. And all the people
that came in knew by the appearance of the corpse that it was an old
man had been put in his place, and that he was taken when he got on the
grey horse. For there's something not right about a grey horse or a
white horse, or about a red-haired woman.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl buried in Kilisheen, one of the Shaws, and when she
was laid out on the bed a woman that went in to look at her saw that
she opened her eyes, and made a sort of a face at her. But she said
nothing, but sat down by the hearth. But another woman came in after
that and the same thing happened, and she told the mother, and she
began to cry and to roar that they'd say such a thing of her poor
little girl. But it wasn't the little girl that was in it at all but
some old person. And the man that nailed down the coffin left the nails
loose, and when they came to Kilisheen churchyard he looked in, and not
one thing was inside it but the sheet and a bundle of shavings.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man lived beyond on the Kinvara road, and his child died
and he buried it. But he was passing the place after, and he asked
a light for his pipe in some house, and after lighting it he threw
the sod, and it glowing, just where he buried the child, and what do
you think but it came back to him again, and he brought it to its
mother. For they can't bear fire.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a tailor working in a house one time, and the woman of
the house was near wore out with a baby that was always petting and
crying for the breast-milk and never quiet, and he as thin as the
tongs. Well, one day she made a big fire, and went out for a can of
water to put in the pot. And the tailor had taken notice of the child
and knew he was a _lad_. So no sooner was the woman gone than he took
hold of him and said, "I know well what you are, and I'll put you at
the back of the fire unless you'll give me a tune." So when he felt
the fire he said he would; and where did he bring his bagpipes from
but down from the rafters, and played them till the woman came back
again. So when she had the fire well settled up round the pot, he
told her what the child was that had her wore out screeching for the
breast. And he made as though to put him on the fire. And with that
it made one leap and was out of the door, and brought the bagpipes
with it and was never seen again. Aren't they the schemers now to do
such things as that?

_Honor Whelan:_

There is a boy now of the Egans, but I wouldn't for the world let
them think I spoke of him, but it's two years since he came from
America. And since that time he never went to Mass or to church or
to market or to stand on the cross-roads or to the hurling or to
nothing. And if any one comes into the house, it's into the room
he'll slip not to see them. And as to work, he has the garden dug to
bits, and the whole place smeared with cow-dung, and such a crop as
was never seen, and the alders all plaited that they look grand.

One day he went as far as Castle Daly church, but as soon as he got
to the door he turned straight round again as if he hadn't power to
pass it. I wonder he wouldn't get the priest to read a Mass for him
or some such thing. But the crop he has is grand, and you may know
well that he has _some_ that help him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy in the bed for seven years, and when the seven years
were at an end there was a tailor working in the house, and he kept his
eye on him, and sat working where he could see into the room. And so
all of a sudden he got up, and walked out into the kitchen and called
to his mother for his breeches. For it was himself come back again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man used to disappear every night, and no one knew where
he went. But one morning a boy that was up saw him on the side of the
mountain beyond, putting on his boots. So then it was known he had
been at these hurlings.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a sister of my own went away among them in a trance. She
went to America after, but didn't live long.

_Mrs. Hayden of Slieve Echtge:_

There was a woman one time travelling here with my sister from
Loughrea, and she had her child in the cart with her. And as they went
along the road, a man came out of a sort of a hollow with bushes beside
the road, and he asked the woman to come along with him for a minute.
And she reddened, but my sister bid her go, and so she went. And the
man brought her into a house, and there lying on a bed was a baby, and
she understood she was to give suck to it and so she did, and came
away; and when she was away out, she saw that the man that brought her
was her brother that was dead, and that is the reason she was chosen.

There was another woman, my husband knew her, was taken and an old
hag put in her place, that keeps to her bed all the time. And when
the seven years were at an end, she got restless like, for they must
change every seven years.

So she told the husband the way he should redeem his wife, and where
he'd see her with the riders if he'd go out to some place at night.
And so he did, and threw what he had at her and she sitting on a
horse behind a young man. And when they came home, the old hag was
gone. She said the young man was very kind to her and had never done
anything to offend her. And she had two or three children and left
them behind. But for all that she was glad to come back to her own
house. When children are left like that, the mother being brought
back again, it's then they want a nurse for them, to give them milk
and to attend them.

       *       *       *       *       *

I know a man was away among them. Every night he would be taken and
his wife got used to it after some time; at first she didn't like him
to be taken out of the bed beside her. And in harvest, to see that
man reap--he'd reap three times as much as any other help he had--of
course that's well known.

_One Dempsey:_

There was a girl at Inniskill in the east of the country, of the same
name as my own, was lying on a mat for eight years. When she first
got the touch the mother was sick, and there was no room in the bed,
so they laid a mat on the floor for her, and she never left it for
the eight years; but the mother died soon after.

She never got off the mat for any one to see. But one night there was
a working-man came to the house, and they gave him lodging for the
night, and he watched from the other room, and in the night he saw
the outer door open, and three or four boys come in, and a piper with
them or a fiddler--I'm not sure which--and he played to them and they
danced, and the girl got up off the mat and joined them. And in the
morning when he was sitting at breakfast he looked over to her where
she was lying and said, "You were the best dancer among them last

There was a priest came when she had been about two years lying there
and said something should be done for her, and he came to the house
and read Masses, and then he took her by the hand and bid her stand
up. But she snatched the hand away and said, "Get away you devil."
At last Father Lahiff came to Inniskill, and he came and whatever he
did, he drove away what was there, and brought the girl back again,
and since then she walks and does the work of the house as well as
another. And Father Lahiff said in the Chapel it was a shame for no
priest to have done that for her before.


Sibby Dempsey of my own name that lives in the next house to me is
away still. Every time I go back she can tell me if anything happened
me, and where I was or what I did. And more than that, she can tell the
future and what will happen you. But there's not many like to go to
her, for the priest is against her, and if he'd hear you went to her
house he'd be speaking against you at the altar on Sundays. But she
has a good many cured. Some she cured that were going to be brought to
the asylum in Ballinasloe. By charms she does it, wherever she gathers
herbs, she that never left the bed these ten years. Twenty years she
was when she got the touch, and it's on her ten years now.

There was a woman had a little girl, and her side got paralysed that
she couldn't stir, and she went to the priest, Father Dwyer--he's
dead since. For the priests can do all cures, but they wouldn't like
to be doing them, to bring themselves into danger. And she asked him
to do a cure on the little girl, but what he said was, "Do you ask me
to take God's own mercy from Himself?" So when she heard that, she
went away, and she went to Sibby Dempsey. And she is the best writer
that ever you saw, and she got a pen and wrote some words on a bit
of paper, and gave them to the old woman to put on the little girl's
arm, and so she did, and on the moment she was cured.

We don't talk much to her now, we don't care to meddle much with
those that have been brought back, so we keep out of her way. She'll
most likely go to America.

       *       *       *       *       *

To bring any one back from being in the faeries you should get the
leaves of the _lus-mor_ and give them to him to drink. And if he only
got a little touch from them and had some complaint in him at the
same time, that makes him sick-like, that will bring him back. But if
he is altogether in the faeries, then it won't bring him back, for
he'll know what it is and he'll refuse to drink it.

In a trance the soul goes from the body, but to be among the Sheogue
the body is taken and something left in its place.


That girl I was telling you about in my own village, Sibby Dempsey,
I had a letter about her the other day when I was in Cashel, and she
that had been in her bed seventeen years is walking out and going
to Mass, a nice respectable woman. They told me no more than that
in the letter, but Tom Carden the policeman that had been there for
his holiday told that there had come a wandering woman--one of her
own sort, it's likely--to the house one night, and asked a lodging
in the name of God. Sibby called out, and asked Maggie, the girl,
who was that? And the woman stopped the night, and whatever they did
was between themselves, and in the morning the wandering woman went
away, and Sibby got up out of the bed, that she never had left for
seventeen years. Now she never was there all that time in my belief,
for if it was an oak stick was lying there through all those years
wouldn't it be rotten? It is in the faeries she was, and it not
herself used to be in it in the night-time. (_Note_ 43.)

(_Later._) Sibby Dempsey is getting ready now for her wedding. She is
all right now; she has gone through her years.

But what do you say to what happened her father shortly after she
being brought back? His horse fell with him coming home one evening
and both his legs were broke, and the horse was killed. That is the
revenge they took for the girl being taken away from them.

_One Lanigan:_

My own mother was away for twenty-one years, and at the end of every
seven years she thought it would be off her, but she never could
leave the bed. She could not sit up and make a little shirt or such a
thing for us. It was of the fever she died at last.

The way she got the touch was one day after we left the place we used
to be in. And we got our choice place in the estate, and my father
chose Cahirbohil, but a great number of the neighbours went to Moneen.
And one day a woman that had been our neighbour came over from Moneen,
and my mother showed her everything and told her of her way of living.
And she walked a bit of the way with her, and when they were parting
the woman said, "You'll soon be the same as such a one," and as she
turned away she felt a pain in her hand. And from that day she lost her
health. My father went to Biddy Early, but she said it was too late,
she could do nothing, but she would take nothing from him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man out at Roxborough, Colevin was his name, was known to
be away with them. And one day there were a lot of the people footing
turf, and a blast of wind came and passed by. And after it passed a
joking fellow that was among them called out, "Is Colevin with you?"
And the blast turned and knocked an eye out of him, that he never had
the sight of it again.

_J. Joyce:_

There was a little chap I used to go to school with was away. He was in
bed for three or four years, and then he could only walk on two sticks,
till one day his father was going into Clough and he wanted to go, and
the father said, "They'll be laughing at you going on your two sticks."
So then he said, "Well, I'll go on one," and threw one away and after
that he got rid of the other as well--and got all right. He never would
tell anything about where he was, but if any one asked him he'd begin
to cry. He was very smart at his books, and very handy, so that when he
got well he got a good offer of work and went to America.

_An Islander:_

There was a girl on the middle island used to be away every night,
and they never missed her, for there was something left in her place,
but she got thin in the face and wasted away. She told the priest at
last, and he bid her go and live in some other place, and she went to
America, and there she is still. And she told them after, it was a
comrade she had among them used to call her and to bring her about to
every place, and that if she took a bit of potato off the skib in the
house, it might be on Black Head she'd be eating it. And to parties the
other girl would bring her, and she'd be sitting on her lap at them.

But those that are brought away would be glad to be back. It's a poor
thing to go there after this life. Heaven is the best place, Heaven
and this world we're in now.

_A Man whose Son is Said to be Away:_

I don't know what's wrong with my son unless that he's a real
regular Pagan. He lies in the bed the most of the day and he won't
go out till evening and he won't go to Mass. And he has a memory for
everything he ever heard or read. I never knew the like. Most people
forget what they read in a book within one year after.

_A Travelling Man:_

A man I met in America told me that one time before they left this
country they were working in a field. And in the next field but one
they saw a little funeral, a very little one, and it passed into a
forth. And there was a child sick in the house near by; and that
evening she died. But they had her taken away in the daytime.

_Mr. Feeney:_

It's a saying that the Sheogue take away the blackberries in the month
of November; anyway we know that when the potatoes are taken it's by
the _gentry_, and surely this year they have put their fancy on them.

I know the brothers of a man that was away for seven years, and he
was none the better for it and had no riches after. It was in that
place beyond--where you'd see nothing but hills and hollows--but when
he was brought in, he saw what was like a gentleman's avenue, and it
leading to a grand house. He didn't mind being among them, when once
he got used to it and was one of the force. Of course they wouldn't
like you to touch a bush that would belong to them. They might want
it for shelter; or it might only be because it belongs to them that
they wouldn't like it touched.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one of the Readys, John, was away for seven years lying in
the bed, but brought away at nights. And he knew everything. And one
Kearney up in the mountains, a cousin of his own, lost two hoggets and
came and told him. And he saw the very spot where they were and bid him
to bring them back again. But they were vexed at that and took away the
power, so that he never knew anything again, no more than another.

       *       *       *       *       *

Surely I believe that any woman taken in childbirth is taken among
them. For I knew of a woman that died some years ago and left her
young child. And the woman that was put to look after it neglected
it. And one night the two doors were blown open, and a blast of wind
came in and struck her, and she never was the better of it after.

_A Herd:_

There was a house I stopped in one night near Tallaght where I was
going for a fair, and there was a sick girl in the house, and she
lying in a corner near the fire.

And some time after, I was told that no one could do anything for
her, but that one evening a labouring man that was passing came in
and asked a night's lodging. And he was sitting by the fire on a
stool and the girl behind him.

And every now and again when no one was looking he'd take a coal of
fire and throw it under the stool on to where she was lying till he
had her tormented. And in the morning there was the girl lying, and
her face all torn and scarred. And he said, "It's not you that was in
it these last few months." And she said, "No, but I wouldn't be in it
now but for you. And see how the old hag that was in it treated me,
she was so mad with the treatment that you gave her last night."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one Cronan on the road to Galway, I knew him well, was away
with them seven years. It was at night he used to be brought away,
and when they called him, go he should. They'd leave some sort of a
likeness of him in his place. He had a wart on his back, and his wife
would rub her hand down to feel was the wart there, before she'd
know was it himself was in it or not. He told some of the way he used
to be brought riding about at night, and that he was often in that
castle below at Ballinamantane. And he saw then a great many of his
friends that were dead.

And Mrs. Kelly asked him did ever he see her son Jimmy that died
amongst them. And he told her he did, and that mostly all the people
that he knew, that had died out of the village, were amongst them now.

Himself and his pony would go up to the sky.

And if his wife had a clutch of geese, they'd be ten times better than
any other ones, and the wheat and the stock and all they had was better
and more plentiful than what any one else had. Help he got from them of
course. And at last the wife got the priest in to read a Mass and to
take it off him. But after that all that they had went to flitters.

_A Hillside Woman:_

Surely there are many taken; my own sister that lived in the house
beyond, and her husband and her three children, all in one year.
Strong they were and handsome and good--the best--and that's the sort
that are taken. They got in the priest when first it came on the
husband, and soon after a fine cow died and a calf. But he didn't
begrudge that if he'd get his health, but it didn't save him after.
Sure Father Andrews in Kilbrennan said not long ago in the chapel
that no one had gone to _heaven_ for the last ten years.

But whatever life God has granted them, when it's at an end go they
must, whether they're among them or not. And they'd sooner be among
them than to go to Purgatory.

There was a little one of my own taken. Till he was a year old he was
the stoutest and the best and the finest of all my children, and then
he began to pine till he wasn't thicker than that straw; but he lived
for about four years.

How did it come on him? I know that well. He was the grandest ever you
saw, and I proud of him, and I brought him to a ball in this house
and he was able to drink punch. And I was stopped one day at a house
beyond, and a neighbouring woman came in with her child and she says,
"If he's not the stoutest he's the longest," and she took off her apron
and the string to measure them both. I had no right to let her do that
but I thought no harm at the time. But it was from that night he began
to screech and from that time he did no good. He'd get stronger through
the winter, and about the Pentecost, in the month of May, he'd always
fall back again, for that's the time they're at the worst.

I didn't have the priest in. It does them no good, but harm, to have
a priest take notice of them when they're like that.

It was in the month of May at the Pentecost he went at last. He was
always pining, but I didn't think he'd go so soon. At the end of the
bed he was lying with the others, and he called to me and put up his
arms. But I didn't want to take too much notice of him or to have
him always after me, so I only put down my foot to where he was. And
he began to pick straws out of the bed and to throw them over the
little sister beside him, till he had thrown as much as would thatch
a goose. And when I got up, there he was dead, and the little sister
asleep beside him all covered with straws.

_Mrs. Madden:_

There were three women living at Ballinakill--Mary Grady, the mother,
and Mary Flanagan the daughter, and Ellen Lydon that was a by-child
of hers; and they had a little dog called Floss that was like a
child to them. And the grandmother went first and then the little
dog, and then Mary Flanagan within a half year. And there was a boy
wanted to marry Ellen Lydon that was left alone. But his father and
mother wouldn't have her, because of her being a by-child. And the
priest wouldn't marry them not to give offence. So it wasn't long
before she was taken too, and those that saw her after death knew
that it was the mother that was there in place of her. And when the
priest was called the day before she died he said, "She's gone since
twelve o'clock this morning, and she'll die between the two Masses
tomorrow," for it was Father Hubert, that had understanding of these
things. And so she did.

There was a man had a son, and he was lying in the bed a long time.
And one day, the day of the races, he asked the father and mother
were they going to them, and they said they were not. "Well," says
he, "I'll show you as good sport as if you went."

And he had a dog, and he called to it and said something to it,
and it began to make a run and to gallop and to jump backwards and
forwards over the half-door, for there was a very high half-door to
the house. "So now," says he, "didn't you see as good sport as if you
were in the Newtown race-course?"

       *       *       *       *       *

There was my own uncle that lived where the shoemaker's shop is now,
and two of his children were brought away from him. And the third he
was determined he'd keep, and he put it to sleep between the wife and
himself in the bed. And one night a hand came at the window and tried
to take the child, and he knew who the hand belonged to, and he saw
it was a woman of the village that was dead. So he drove her away and
held the child, and he was never troubled again after that.

_H. Henty:_

There was an old man on the road one night near Burren and he heard
a cry in the air over his head, the cry of a child that was being
carried away. And he called out some words and the child was let
down into his arms and he brought it home. And when he got there
he was told that it was dead. So he brought in the live child, and
you may be sure that it was some sort of a thing that was good for
nothing that was put in its place.

It's the good and the handsome they take, and those that are of use,
or whose name is up for some good action. Idlers they don't like, but
who would like idlers?

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a forth away in County Clare, and they say it's so long
that it has no end. And there was a pensioner, one Gavornan, came
back from the army, and a soldier has more courage than another, and
he said he'd go try what was in it, and he got two other men to go
with him, and they went a long, long way, and saw nothing. And then
they came to where there was the sound of a woman beetling. And then
they began to meet people they knew before, that had died out of the
village, and they all told them to go back, but still they went on.

And then they met the parish priest of Ballyvaughan, Father Cregan
that was dead. And he told them to go back and so they turned and
went. They were just beginning to come to the grandeur when they were
turned away. Those that are brought away among them never come back,
or if they do they're not the same as they were before.

_Honor Whelan:_

There was a woman beyond at Ardrahan died, and she came back one night
and her husband saw her at the dresser, looking for something to eat.
And she slipped away from him that time, but the next time she came
he got hold of her, and she bid him come for her to the fair at some
place, and watch for her at the Customs' gap and she'd be on the last
horse that would pass through. And then she said, "It's best for you
not come yourself but send your brother." So the brother came and she
dropped down to him and he brought her to his house. But in a week
after he was dead and buried. And she lived a long time, and never
would speak three words to any one that would come into the house, but
working, working all the day. I wouldn't have liked to live in the
house with her after her being away like that. I don't think the old go
among them when they die, but believe me, it's not many of the young
they spare, but bring them away till such time as God sends for them.
It's about fourteen years since so many young women were brought away
after their child being born--Peter Roche's wife, and James Shannan's
wife, and Clancy's wife of Lisdaragh--hundreds were carried off in that
year--they didn't bring so many since then. I suppose they brought
enough then to last them a good time.

All go among them when they die except the old people. And it's
better to be there than in the pains of Purgatory. As to Purgatory, I
don't think it is after being with _them_ we have to go there. But
I know we're told to give some clothing to the poor, and it will be
thrown down afterwards to quench the flames for us.

_A Policeman's Wife:_

There was a girl in County Clare was away, and the mother used to
hear horses coming about the door every night. And one day the mother
was picking flax in the house, and of a sudden there came in her hand
an herb with the best smell and the sweetest that ever was smelt
(_Note_ 44). And she closed it with her hand, and called to the son
that was making up a stack of hay outside "Come in, Denis, for I
have the best smelling herb that ever you saw." And when he came in
she opened her hand, and the herb was gone clear and clean. She got
annoyed at last with the horses coming about the door, and some told
her to gather all the fire into the middle of the floor and to lay
the little girl upon it, and to see could she come back again. So
she did as she was told, and brought the little girl out of the bed
and laid her on the coals. And she began to scream and to call out,
and the neighbours came running in, and the police heard of it, and
they came and arrested the mother and brought her to the Court-house
before the magistrate, Mr. MacWalter, and my own husband was one of
the police that arrested her. And when the magistrate heard all, he
said she was an ignorant woman, and that she did what she thought
right, and he would give her no punishment. And the girl got well
and was married. It was after she was married I knew her.

_An Old Woman at Chiswick:_

There was a woman went to live in a house where the faeries were
known to be very much about. And the first day she was there one of
them came in and asked her for the loan of a pot, and she gave it.
And the next day she came in again and asked for the loan of some
meal, and when she got it the woman said, "I hope you'll find it
to be fine enough." "It is," she said, "and to show you I think it
fine and good, I'll mix it here and boil the stirabout and we'll eat
it together." And so they did. And she said "We'll always be your
friends; and what you may miss in the morning, never grudge it, for
you'll have more than what you lost before night." And her tribe was
going away, and when she was going out the door, she made a hole with
her heel in the stone, and she filled it up with mud and earth, and
she said "If we die or if anything happens to us, blood will come in
this hole and fill it."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl used to be away with them, you'd never know when it
was she herself that was in it or not till she'd come back, and then
she'd tell she had been away. She didn't like to go, but she had to
go when they called to her. And she told her mother always to treat
kindly whoever was put in her place, sometimes one would be put,
and sometimes another, for she'd say "If you are unkind to whoever's
there, they'll be unkind to me."

       *       *       *       *       *

Three of my uncles were taken by them, young men; some sort of a
little cold they got between them, and there wasn't more than two
months before the first of them going and the last. They were seen
after by a man that lived in the house between there and the school,
and that used often to see them, and to bring them in to dinner with

                     WITCHES AND WIZARDS AND IRISH

                     WITCHES AND WIZARDS AND IRISH


Ireland was not separated from general European speculation when much
of that was concerned with the supernatural. Dr. Adam Clarke tells
in his unfinished autobiography how, when he was at school in Antrim
towards the end of the eighteenth century, a schoolfellow told him
of Cornelius Agrippa's book on Magic and that it had to be chained
or it would fly away of itself. Presently he heard of a farmer who
had a copy and after that made friends with a wandering tinker who
had another. Lady Gregory and I spoke of a friend's visions to an old
countryman. He said "he must belong to a society"; and the people
often attribute magical powers to Orangemen and to Freemasons, and
I have heard a shepherd at Doneraile speak of a magic wand with
Tetragramaton Agla written upon it. The visions and speculations
of Ireland differ much from those of England and France, for in
Ireland, as in Highland Scotland, we are never far from the old
Celtic mythology; but there is more likeness than difference. Lady
Gregory's story of the witch who in semblance of a hare, leads the
hounds such a dance, is the best remembered of all witch stories. It
is told, I should imagine, in every countryside where there is even a
fading memory of witchcraft. One finds it in a sworn testimony given
at the trial of Julian Cox, an old woman indicted for witchcraft
at Taunton in Somersetshire in 1663 and quoted by Joseph Glanvill.
"The first witness was a huntsman, who swore that he went out with a
pack of hounds to hunt a hare, and not far from Julian Cox her house
he at last started a hare: the dogs hunted her very close, and the
third ring hunted her in view, till at last the huntsman perceiving
the hare almost spent and making towards a great bush, he ran on
the other side of the bush to take her up and preserve her from the
dogs; but as soon as he laid hands on her, it proved to be Julian
Cox, who had her head grovelling on the ground, and her globes (as he
expressed it) upward. He knowing her, was so affrighted that his hair
on his head stood an end; and yet spake to her, and ask'd her what
brought her there; but she was so far out of breath that she could
not make him any answer; his dogs also came up full cry to recover
the game, and smelled at her and so left off hunting any further. And
the huntsman with his dogs went home presently sadly affrighted." Dr.
Henry More, the Platonist, who considers the story in a letter to
Glanvill, explains that Julian Cox was not turned into a hare, but
that "Ludicrous Dæmons exhibited to the sight of this huntsman and
his dogs, the shape of a hare, one of them turning himself into such
a form, another hurrying on the body of Julian near the same place,"
making her invisible till the right moment had come. "As I have heard
of some painters that have drawn the sky in a huge landscape, so
lively, that the birds have flown against it, thinking it free air,
and so have fallen down. And if painters and jugglers, by the tricks
of legerdemain can do such strange feats to the deceiving of the
sight, it is no wonder that these aerie invisible spirits have far
surpassed them in all such prestigious doings, as the air surpasses
the earth for subtlety." Glanvill has given his own explanation of
such cases elsewhere. He thinks that the sidereal or airy body is
the foundation of the marvel, and Albert de Rochas has found a like
foundation for the marvels of spiritism. "The transformation of
witches," writes Glanvill, "into the shapes of other animals ... is
very conceivable; since then, 'tis easy enough to imagine, that the
power of imagination may form those passive and pliable vehicles into
those shapes," and then goes on to account for the stories where an
injury, say to the witch hare, is found afterwards upon the witch's
body precisely as a French hypnotist would account for the stigmata
of a saint. "When they feel the hurts in their gross bodies, that
they receive in their airy vehicles, they must be supposed to have
been really present, at least in these latter; and 'tis no more
difficult to apprehend, how the hurts of those should be translated
upon their other bodies, than how diseases should be inflicted by the
imagination, or how the fancy of the mother should wound the fœtus,
as several credible relations do attest."

All magical or Platonic writers of the times speak much of the
transformation or projection of the sidereal body of witch or wizard.
Once the soul escapes from the natural body, though but for a moment,
it passes into the body of air and can transform itself as it please
or even dream itself into some shape it has not willed.

          "Chameleon-like thus they their colour change,
           And size contract and then dilate again."

One of their favourite stories is of some famous man, John Haydon
says Socrates, falling asleep among his friends, who presently see a
mouse running from his mouth and towards a little stream. Somebody
lays a sword across the stream that it may pass, and after a little
while it returns across the sword and to the sleeper's mouth again.
When he awakes he tells them that he has dreamed of himself crossing
a wide river by a great iron bridge.

But the witch's wandering and disguised double was not the worst
shape one might meet in the fields or roads about a witch's house.
She was not a true witch unless there was a compact (or so it seems)
between her and an evil spirit who called himself the devil, though
Bodin believes that he was often, and Glanvill always, "some human soul
forsaken of God," for "the devil is a body politic." The ghost or devil
promised revenge on her enemies and that she would never want, and she
upon her side let the devil suck her blood nightly or at need.

When Elizabeth Style made a confession of witchcraft before the
Justice of Somerset in 1664, the Justice appointed three men, William
Thick and William Read and Nicholas Lambert, to watch her, and
Glanvill publishes an affidavit of the evidence of Nicholas Lambert.
"About three of the clock in the morning there came from her head
a glistering bright fly, about an inch in length which pitched at
first in the chimney and then vanished." Then two smaller flies came
and vanished. "He, looking steadfastly then on Style, perceived
her countenance to change, and to become very black and ghastly
and the fire also at the same time changing its colour; whereupon
the Examinant, Thick and Read, conceiving that her familiar was
then about her, looked to her poll, and seeing her hair shake very
strangely, took it up and then a fly like a great miller flew out
from the place and pitched on the table board and then vanished away.
Upon this the Examinant and the other two persons, looking again in
Style's poll, found it very red and like raw beef. The Examinant
ask'd her what it was that went out of her poll, she said it was a
butterfly, and asked them why they had not caught it. Lambert said,
they could not. I think so too, answered she. A little while after,
the informant and the others, looking again into her poll, found the
place to be of its former colour. The Examinant asked again what
the fly was, she confessed it was her familiar and that she felt it
tickle in her poll, and that was the usual time for her familiar to
come to her." These sucking devils alike when at their meal, or when
they went here and there to do her will or about their own business,
had the shapes of pole-cat or cat or greyhound or of some moth or
bird. At the trials of certain witches in Essex in 1645 reported
in the English state trials a principal witness was one "Matthew
Hopkins, gent." Bishop Hutchinson, writing in 1730, describes him as
he appeared to those who laughed at witchcraft and had brought the
witch trials to an end. "Hopkins went on searching and swimming poor
creatures, till some gentlemen, out of indignation of the barbarity,
took him, and tied his own thumbs and toes as he used to tie others,
and when he was put into the water he himself swam as they did. That
cleared the country of him and it was a great pity that they did not
think of the experiment sooner." Floating when thrown into the water
was taken for a sign of witchcraft. Matthew Hopkins's testimony,
however, is uncommonly like that of the countryman who told Lady
Gregory that he had seen his dog and some shadow fighting. A certain
Mrs. Edwards of Manintree in Essex had her hogs killed by witchcraft,
and "going from the house of the said Mrs. Edwards to his own house,
about nine or ten of the clock that night, with his greyhound with
him, he saw the greyhound suddenly give a jump, and run as she had
been in full course after a hare; and that when this informant made
haste to see what his greyhound so eagerly pursued, he espied a white
thing, about the bigness of a kitlyn, and the greyhound standing
aloof from it; and that by and by the said white imp or kitlyn danced
about the greyhound, and by all likelihood bit off a piece of the
flesh of the shoulder of the said greyhound; for the greyhound came
shrieking and crying to the informant, with a piece of flesh torn
from her shoulder. And the informant further saith, that coming into
his own yard that night, he espied a black thing proportioned like
a cat, only it was thrice as big, sitting on a strawberry bed, and
fixing the eyes on this informant, and when he went towards it, it
leaped over the pale towards this informant, as he thought, but ran
through the yard, with his greyhound after it, to a great gate, which
was underset with a pair of tumble strings, and did throw the said
gate wide open, and then vanished; and the said greyhound returned
again to this informant, shaking and trembling exceedingly." At the
same trial Sir Thomas Bowes, Knight, affirmed "that a very honest
man of Manintree, whom he knew would not speak an untruth, affirmed
unto him, that very early one morning, as he passed by the said Anne
West's door" (this is the witch on trial) "about four o'clock, it
being a moonlight night, and perceiving her door to be open so early
in the morning, looked into the house and presently there came three
or four little things, in the shape of black rabbits, leaping and
skipping about him, who, having a good stick in his hand, struck at
them, thinking to kill them, but could not; but at last caught one
of them in his hand, and holding it by the body of it, he beat the
head of it against his stick, intending to beat out the brains of
it; but when he could not kill it that way, he took the body of it
in one hand and the head of it in another, and endeavoured to wring
off the head; and as he wrung and stretched the neck of it, it came
out between his hands like a lock of wool; yet he would not give over
his intended purpose, but knowing of a spring not far off, he went
to drown it; but still as he went he fell down and could not go, but
down he fell again, so that he at last crept upon his hands and knees
till he came at the water, and holding it fast in his hand, he put
his hand down into the water up to the elbow, and held it under water
a good space till he conceived it was drowned, and then letting go
his hand, it sprung out of the water up into the air, and so vanished
away." However, the sucking imps were not always invulnerable for
Glanvill tells how one John Monpesson, whose house was haunted by
such a familiar, "seeing some wood move that was in the chimney of
a room, where he was, as if of itself, discharged a pistol into it
after which they found several drops of blood on the hearth and in
divers places of the stairs." I remember the old Aran man who heard
fighting in the air and found blood in a fish-box and scattered
through the room, and I remember the measure of blood Odysseus poured
out for the shades.

The English witch trials are like the popular poetry of England,
matter-of-fact and unimaginative. The witch desires to kill some
one and when she takes the devil for her husband he as likely as
not will seem dull and domestic. Rebecca West told Matthew Hopkins
that the devil appeared to her as she was going to bed and told her
he would marry her. He kissed her but was as cold as clay, and he
promised to be "her loving husband till death," although she had,
as it seems, but one leg. But the Scotch trials are as wild and
passionate as is the Scottish poetry, and we find ourselves in the
presence of a mythology that differs little, if at all, from that
of Ireland. There are orgies of lust and of hatred and there is a
wild shamelessness that would be fine material for poets and romance
writers if the world should come once more to half-believe the tale.
They are divided into troops of thirteen, with the youngest witch for
leader in every troop, and though they complain that the embraces of
the devil are as cold as ice, the young witches prefer him to their
husbands. He gives them money, but they must spend it quickly, for it
will be but dry cow dung in two circles of the clock. They go often
to Elfhame or Faeryland and the mountains open before them and as
they go out and in they are terrified by the "rowtling and skoylling"
of the great "elf bulls." They sometimes confess to trooping in the
shape of cats and to finding upon their terrestrial bodies when they
awake in the morning the scratches they had made upon one another in
the night's wandering, or should they have wandered in the images
of hares the bites of dogs. Isobell Godie who was tried at Lochlay
in 1662 confessed that "We put besoms in our beds with our husbands
till we return again to them ... and then we would fly away where we
would be, even as straws would fly upon a highway. We will fly like
straws when we please; wild straws and corn straws will be horses to
us, and we put them betwixt our feet and say horse and hillock in the
devil's name. And when any see these straws in a whirlwind and do
not sanctify themselves, we may shoot them dead at our pleasure."[1]
When they kill people, she goes on to say, the souls escape them
"but their bodies remain with us and will fly as horses to us all
as small as straws." It is plain that it is the "airy body" they
take possession of; those "animal spirits" perhaps which Henry More
thought to be the link between soul and body and the seat of all
vital function. The trials were more unjust than those of England,
where there was a continual criticism from sceptics; torture was used
again and again to distort confessions, and innocent people certainly
suffered; some who had but believed too much in their own dreams
and some who had but cured the sick at some vision's prompting.
Alison Pearson who was burnt in 1588 might have been Biddy Early or
any other knowledgeable woman in Ireland today. She was convicted
"for haunting and repairing with the Good Neighbours and queen of
Elfhame, these divers years and bypast, as she had confessed in her
depositions, declaring that she could not say readily how long she
was with them; and that she had friends in that court who were of her
own blood and who had great acquaintance of the queen of Elfhame.
That when she went to bed she never knew where she would be carried
before dawn." When they worked cures they had the same doctrine
of the penalty that one finds in Lady Gregory's stories. One who
made her confession before James I. was convicted for "taking the
sick party's pains and sicknesses upon herself for a time and then
translating them to a third person."


There are more women than men mediums today; and there have been or
seem to have been more witches than wizards. The wizards of the
sixteenth and seventeenth centuries relied more upon their conjuring
book than the witches whose visions and experiences seem but half
voluntary, and when voluntary called up by some childish rhyme:

          Hare, hare, God send thee care;
          I am in a hare's likeness now,
          But I shall be a woman even now;
          Hare, hare, God send thee care.

More often than not the wizards were learned men, alchemists or
mystics, and if they dealt with the devil at times, or some spirit
they called by that name, they had amongst them ascetics and
heretical saints. Our chemistry, our metallurgy, and our medicine are
often but accidents that befell in their pursuit of the philosopher's
stone, the elixir of life. They were bound together in secret
societies and had, it may be, some forgotten practice for liberating
the soul from the body and sending it to fetch and carry them divine
knowledge. Cornelius Agrippa in a letter quoted by Beaumont has hints
of such a practice. Yet, like the witches, they worked many wonders
by the power of the imagination, perhaps one should say by their
power of calling up vivid pictures in the mind's eye. The Arabian
philosophers have taught, writes Beaumont, "that the soul by the
power of the imagination can perform what it pleases; as penetrate
the heavens, force the elements, demolish mountains, raise valleys
to mountains, and do with all material forms as it pleases."

          He shewed hym, er he wente to sopeer,
          Forestes, parkes ful of wilde deer;
          Ther saugh he hertes with hir hornes hye,
          The gretteste that evere were seyn with yë.

       *       *       *       *       *

          Tho saugh he knyghtes justing in a playn;
          And after this, he dide hym swich plaisaunce,
          That he hym shewed his lady on a daunce
          On which hymself he daunced, as hym thoughte.
          And whan this maister, that this magyk wroughte,
          Saugh it was tyme, he clapte his handes two,
          And, farewel! al our revel was ago.

One has not as careful a record as one has of the works of witches,
for but few English wizards came before the court, the only society
for psychical research in those days. The translation, however, of
Cornelius Agrippa's _De Occulta Philosophia_ in the seventeenth
century, with the addition of a spurious fourth book full of
conjurations, seems to have filled England and Ireland with whole
or half wizards. In 1703, the Reverend Arthur Bedford of Bristol
who is quoted by Sibley in his big book on astrology wrote to the
Bishop of Gloucester telling how a certain Thomas Perks had been to
consult him. Thomas Perks lived with his father, a gunsmith, and
devoted his leisure to mathematics, astronomy, and the discovery of
perpetual motion. One day he asked the clergyman if it was wrong to
commune with spirits, and said that he himself held that "there was
an innocent society with them which a man might use, if he made no
compacts with them, did no harm by their means, and were not curious
in prying into hidden things, and he himself had discoursed with
them and heard them sing to his great satisfaction." He then told
how it was his custom to go to a crossway with lantern and candle
consecrated for the purpose, according to the directions in a book
he had, and having also consecrated chalk for making a circle. The
spirits appeared to him "in the likeness of little maidens about a
foot and a half high ... they spoke with a very shrill voice like an
ancient woman" and when he begged them to sing, "they went to some
distance behind a bush from whence he could hear a perfect concert
of such exquisite music as he never before heard; and in the upper
part he heard something very harsh and shrill like a reed but as it
was managed did give a particular grace to the rest." The Reverend
Arthur Bedford refused an introduction to the spirits for himself
and a friend and warned him very solemnly. Having some doubt of his
sanity, he set him a difficult mathematical problem, but finding that
he worked it easily, concluded him sane. A quarter of a year later,
the young man came again, but showed by his face and his eyes that he
was very ill and lamented that he had not followed the clergyman's
advice for his conjurations would bring him to his death. He had
decided to get a familiar and had read in his magical book what he
should do. He was to make a book of virgin parchment, consecrate it,
and bring it to the cross-road, and having called up his spirits,
ask the first of them for its name and write that name on the first
page of the book and then question another and write that name on
the second page and so on till he had enough familiars. He had got
the first name easily enough and it was in Hebrew, but after that
they came in fearful shapes, lions and bears and the like, or hurled
at him balls of fire. He had to stay there among those terrifying
visions till the dawn broke and would not be the better of it till
he died. I have read in some eighteenth-century book whose name I
cannot recall of two men who made a magic circle and who invoked the
spirits of the moon and saw them trampling about the circle as great
bulls, or rolling about it as flocks of wool. One of Lady Gregory's
story-tellers considered a flock of wool one of the worst shapes that
a spirit could take.

There must have been many like experimenters in Ireland. An Irish
alchemist called Butler was supposed to have made successful
transmutations in London early in the eighteenth century, and in the
_Life of Dr. Adam Clarke_, published in 1833, are several letters
from a Dublin maker of stained glass describing a transmutation and a
conjuration into a tumbler of water of large lizards. The alchemist
was an unknown man who had called to see him and claimed to do all by
the help of the devil "who was the friend of all ingenious gentlemen."

                                         W. B. Y.



[1] I have modernized the old lowland Scotch in these quotations from
_Pitcairn's Criminal Trials_.



NOTE 1. THE FAERY PEOPLE. The first detailed account of the Faery
People of the Gaelic race was made by the Reverend Robert Kirk in
1691. His book which remained in manuscript till it was discovered
by Sir Walter Scott in 1815 was called _The Secret Commonwealth_,
an essay "of the nature of the subterranean (and for the most part
invisible people) heretofore going under the names of elves, fays,
and faeries." Kirk was a Gaelic scholar, a translator into Gaelic of
the Psalms. He is described upon his tomb as _Lignæ hibernæ lumen_,
for in his day little distinction was made between the Irish and the
Scottish-Irish among whom he lived and whose words he has recorded.
He died a year after he had finished his manuscript or, as the people
of his parish say, was taken by the faeries. The Reverend William
Taylor, the present incumbent of Abberfoyle, Kirk's old living,
told Mr. Wentz that it was generally believed at the time of Kirk's
death, that the faeries had carried him off because he had looked too
deeply into their secrets. He seems to have fainted while walking
upon a faery knoll, a little way from his own door, and to have died
immediately. Mr. Wentz found one old Gaelic speaker who believed that
his spirit had been taken, but others who said there was nothing in
the grave but a coffin full of stones, for body and soul had been
taken. Mr. Lang prints a tradition that Kirk appeared to his cousin
Graham of Ducray and could have been saved if the cousin had dared to
throw a knife over the apparition's head.

Kirk describes "the subterranean people" or "the abstruse people,"
as he sometimes calls them, much as they are described today in
Galway or in Mayo. He is clear that they are not demons and like
Father Sinistrari, a Catholic theologian of Padua, quotes the
Scriptures in support of this opinion. The "abstruse people" are
not indeed, without sin though midway between men and angels, but
being in no way "drenched into so gross and dredgy bodies as we, are
especially given to the more spiritual and haughty sins." "Whatever
their own laws, be sure according to ours and equity natural civil
and revealed" they do wrong by "their stealing of nurses to their
children and that other sort of Plaginism in catching our children
away (may seem to heir some estate in those invisible dominions)
which never return. For the inconvenience of their succubi who tryst
with men it is abominable, but for swearing and intemperance they
are not observed so subject to this irregularity as to envy, spite,
hypocrisy, lying, and simulation." Some have thought the spirit
controls of our best mediums no better. "They are not subject to
sore sickness, but dwindle and decay at a certain period all about
ane age" and "they pass after a long healthy life into one orb and
receptacle fitted to their degree till they come under the general
cognism at the last day." They are the "Sleagh Math or the good
people" being called so by the "Irish" ... "to prevent the dint of
their ill-attempts" and being "of a middle nature betwixt man and
angel" have "intelligent, studious spirits, and light changeable
bodies (like those called astral) somewhat of the nature of a
condensed cloud and best seen in twilight. Their bodies are so
pliable through the subtlety of the spirits that agitate them that
they can make them appear or disappear at pleasure. Some have bodies
or vehicles so spongeous, thin, and desiccate, that they are fed
by only sucking into some fine spirituous liquors that pierce like
pure air and oil; others feed more gross on the foisone or substance
of corns and liquors or corn itself that grows upon the surface of
the earth which these faeries steal away, partly invisible, partly
preying on the grain as do crows and mice." Lady Gregory has a story
of the crying of new dropped lambs of faery in November and some
evidence that there is a reversal of the seasons, our winter being
their summer, and some such belief was known to Kirk for "when we
have plenty they have scarcity at their homes; and on the contrary
(for they are empowered to catch as much prey everywhere as they
please)." "Their bodies of congealed air are sometimes carried aloft,
other whiles grovel in different shapes and enter into any cranny or
cleft of the earth where air enters to their ordinary dwellings, the
earth being full of cavities and cells and there being no place nor
creature but is supposed to have other animals greater or lesser,
living in or upon it as inhabitants, and no such thing as a pure
wilderness in the whole universe" and we must always "labour for that
abstruse people as well as for ourselves." Unless Kirk is in error,
as seems probable, they are unlike the Irish faeries who shift but
twice a year in May and in November, when the ancient Irish perhaps
shifted from their winter houses to summer pastures or home again,
for they have formed the custom to "remove to other lodgings at the
beginning of each quarter of the year, so traversing till doomsday
some being impudent [impotent?] of staying in one place and finding
some ease by so purning [turning] and changing habitations," and at
these times they are much seen when "their chameleon-like bodies swim
in the air near the earth with bag and baggage." He is evidently
puzzled how to place them among the orders and admits that it is
uncertain "what at the last revolution will become of them when they
are locked up into ane unchangeable condition." He even believes that
they are so beset with anxiety upon this subject that have they "any
frolic fits of mirth 'tis as the confirmed grinning of a mort head."

Many of the second-sighted men about him would have nothing of this
doctrine and still believed, it seems, the old Celtic theory of the
rebirth of the soul, a Manichæan and gnostic doctrine, for being
"unwary in their observations" they believed what the "abstruse
people" themselves declared "one averring those subterranean people
to be departed souls attending awhile in this inferior state and
clothed with bodies procured through their alms deeds in this life;
fluid, active ethereal vehicles to hold them that they may not
scatter or wander or be lost in the totum or the first nothing; but
if any were so impious as to have given no alms they say when the
souls of such do depart, they sleep in an uncertain state till they
resume the terrestrial body." These bodies, come at by the giving of
alms, suggest to one that body of Christ which, as Boehme taught,
alone enables the shade to escape from _turba magna_ the great wrath
and dream-like transformation into the shape of beasts. One remembers
also the celestial body of the seventeenth century Platonists.
The power attributed to almsgiving calls to mind those tales of
clothes given to the poor in some ghost's name thereby enabling the
ghost to be decked out in their double. Lady Gregory has found the
idea of rebirth in Aran, but in what seems the Cabalistic form not
the Celtic; and it occurs again and again in the Gaelic romances.
Cuchulain was the rebirth of Lug; and Mongan who was killed by
Arthur of Britain was the rebirth of Finn Mac Cool. Here and there
through the seventeenth century Platonists, Kirk's contemporaries,
one finds some story that might have been in Lady Gregory's book.
Glanvill in the second part of his _Sadducismus Triumphatus_
published in 1674 has an Irish tale where the dead and the faeries
are associated as in Galway today. "A gentleman in Ireland near to
the Earl of Orrery's seat sending his butler one afternoon to buy
cards; as he passed a field, he, to his wonder, espied a company
of people sitting round a table, with a deal of good cheer before
them in the midst of a field. And he going up towards them, they all
arose and saluted him, and desired him to sit down with them." But
one of them said these words in his ear: "Do nothing this company
invites you to." "He therefore refused to sit down at the table, and
immediately the table and all that belonged to it were gone; and the
company are now dancing and playing upon musical instruments, and the
butler being desired to join himself to them; but he refusing this
also, they fall all to work, and he not being to be prevailed with
to accompany them in working, any more than in feasting and dancing,
they all disappeared, and the butler is now alone." For some days
attempts are made to carry away the butler. During one of these he is
levitated in the presence of the Earl of Orrery and certain of his
guests. Then the man who warned him to do nothing he was bid, came to
his bedside. "'I have been dead,' said the spectre or ghost, 'seven
years and you know that I lived a loose life. And ever since have
been hurried up and down in a restless condition with the company you
saw and shall be till the Day of Judgment.'"

Throughout the Middle Ages, there must have been many discussions
upon those questions that divided Kirk's Highlanders. Were these
beings but the shades of men? Were they a separate race? Were they
spirits of evil? Above all, perhaps, were they capable of salvation?
Father Sinistrari in _De Dæmonialitate et Incubis, et Succubis_,
reprinted in Paris with an English translation in 1879, tells a
story which must have been familiar through the Irish Middle Ages,
and the seed of many discussions. The Abbot Anthony went once upon
a journey to visit St. Paul, the first hermit. After travelling for
some days into the desert, he met a centaur of whom he asked his
road and the centaur, muttering barbarous and unintelligible words,
pointed to the road with his outstretched hand and galloped away
and hid himself in a wood. St. Anthony went some way further and
presently went into a valley and met there a little man with goat's
feet and horns upon his forehead. St. Anthony stood still and made
the sign of the cross being afraid of some devil's trick. But the
sign of the cross did not alarm the little man who went nearer and
offered some dates very respectfully as it seemed to make peace. When
the old Saint asked him who he was, he said: "I am a mortal, one of
those inhabitants of the desert called fauns, satyrs, and incubi,
by the Gentiles. I have come as an ambassador from my people. I ask
you to pray for us to our common God who came as we know for the
salvation of the world and who is praised throughout the world." We
are not told whether St. Anthony prayed but merely that he thought of
the glory of Christ and thereafter of Christ's enemies and turning
towards Alexandria said: "Woe upon you harlots worshipping animals as
God." This tale so artfully arranged as it seems to set the pious by
the ears may have been the original of a tale one hears in Ireland
today. I heard or read that tale somewhere before I was twenty,
for it is the subject of one of my first poems. But the priest in
the Irish tale, as I remember it, tells the little man that there
is no salvation for such as he and it ends with the wailing of the
faery host. Sometimes too, one reads in Irish stories of hoof-footed
creatures, and it may well be that the Irish theologians who read
of St. Anthony in Sinistrari's authority, St. Hieronymus, thought
centaur and homunculus were of like sort with the shades haunting
their own raths and barrows. Father Sinistrari draws the moral
that those inhabitants of the desert called "fauns and satyrs and
incubi by the Gentiles" had souls that could be shrived, but Irish
theologians in a country full of poems very upsetting to youth about
the women of the Sidhe who could pass, it may be even monastic walls,
may have turned the doubtful tale the other way. Sometimes we are
told following the traditions of the eleventh-century poems that the
Sidhe are "the ancient inhabitants of the country" but more often
still they are fallen angels who, because they were too bad for
heaven and not bad enough for hell, have been sent into the sea and
into the waste places. More probably still the question was never
settled, sometimes Christ was represented as throwing them into hell
till someone said he would empty the whole paradise, and thereupon
his hand slackened and some fell in this place and some in that
other, as though providence itself were undecided. Father Sinistrari
is conscious of weighty opponents but believes that Scripture is
upon his side. He quotes St. John, Chapter x., verse 16: "And other
sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring
and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one
shepherd." He argues that the commentators are wrong who say that
the fold is the synagogue and the other sheep the Gentiles, because
the true church has been from the beginning of the world, and has
had nothing to do with Jewish observances, for its revelations were
made to the first man and Jews and Gentiles have belonged to it.
If the Gentiles were not also of Christ's fold, he would not have
sent them prodigies to announce his birth, the star of the Magi, the
silencing of their oracle, a miraculous spring of oil at Rome, the
falling down of the images of Egyptian gods and so on. The other fold
should therefore, he thinks, refer to those "rational animals" who
sent their ambassador to St. Anthony and who were to hear Christ's
voice "either directly through Himself or through His apostles."
He argues that they are a race superior to the human and must not
be confused with angels and devils who are pure spirits being in a
final state of salvation or of judgment. He has written his book as a
guide to confessors who have frequently, it seems, to protect men and
women, often nuns or monks, who are plagued by spirits or tempted by
spirit lovers, and to apportion penalties to those who have fallen.
It is a great sin should they confuse their lovers with devils, for
then they "sin through intention," but otherwise it is a venal sin,
and seeing that incubi and succubi by reason of their "rational and
immortal" spirits are the equal of man and by reason of their bodies
being "more noble because more subtle," "more dignified than man,"
a commerce that does not "degrade but rather dignify our nature"
(_et hoc homo jungens se incubo non vilificat, immo dignificat suam
naturam_). The incubus, (or succuba) however, does, he holds, commit
a very great sin considering that we belong to an inferior species.
It is difficult to drive them away, for unlike devils they are no
more subject to exorcism than we are ourselves, but just as we cannot
breathe in the higher peaks of the Alps because of the thinness of
the air, so they cannot come near to us if we make certain conditions
of the air. They are of different kinds but always one or other of
the four elements predominates, and those who are predominantly
fiery cannot come if we make the air damp, and those that are watery
cannot come if we use hot fumigations and so on. You can generally
judge the kind by remembering that a man attracts spirits according
to his own temperament, the sanguine, the spirits of fire, and the
lymphatic, those of watery nature, and those of a mixed nature, mixed
spirits; but it is easy to make mistakes. He tells of the case that
came into his own experience. He was asked to drive a spirit away
that was troubling a young monk and advised hot fumigations because
it was by their means "a very erudite theologian" drove away a spirit
who made passionate love in the form of "a very handsome young man
to a certain young nun" after holy candles burning all night and
"a crowd of relics and many exorcisms" had proved of but as little
value as her own vows and fasts. A vessel made of "glass-like earth"
containing "cubeb seed, roots of both aristolochies, great and small
cardamon, ginger, long pepper, caryophylias, cinnamon, cloves, mace,
nutmeg, calamite, storax, benzoin, aloes wood root, one ounce of
triasandates and three pounds of half brandy and water," was set upon
hot ashes to make it fume, and the door and window of the cell were
closed. The young friar, a deacon of the great Carthusian priory of
Padua, was further advised to carry about with him perfumes of musk,
amber, chive, peruvian bark, and the like, and to smoke tobacco and
drink brandy perfumed with musk. All was to no purpose for the spirit
appeared to him in many forms such as "a skeleton, a pig, an ass,
an angel, a bird" or "in the figure of one or other of the friars."
These appearances seem to have had no object except that like the
Irish faeries the spirit was pleased to make game of somebody.
Presently it came in the likeness of the abbot and heard the young
deacon's confession and recited with him the psalms _Exsurgat Deus_
and _Qui habitat_ and the Gospel according to St. John, and bent its
knee at the words _Verbum caro factum est_, and then after sprinkling
with holy water and blessing bed and cell and commanding the spirit
to come there no more, it vanished. Presently in the likeness of the
young friar, it called at the vicar's room and asked for some tobacco
and brandy perfumed with musk of which it was, it said, extremely
fond, and having received them "disappeared in the twinkling of an
eye." Sinistrari, however, having decided that the demon must be
igneous or "at the very least aërial, since he delighted in hot
substances" and since the monk's temperament seemed "choleric and
sanguine," advised the vicar to direct his penitent to strew about
the cell and hang by the window and door bundles of "water-lily,
liverwort, spurge, mandrake, house-leek, plantain," and henbane and
other herbs of a damp nature which drove the spirit away though it
came once to the cell door to speak of Sinistrari all the evil it
could. He has other like stories; one to show the uselessness of mere
sacred places and objects, describes a woman followed to the steps of
the Cathedral altar and there stripped by invisible hands.

One remembers a passage in PLUTARCH: "But to believe the gods have
carnal knowledge, and do delight in the outward beauty of creatures,
that seemeth to carry a very hard belief. Yet the wise Egyptians
think it probable enough and likely, that the spirit of the gods hath
given original of generation to women, and does beget fruits of their
bodies; howbeit they hold that a man can have no corporal company
with any divine nature."

One hears today in Galway, stories of love adventures between
countrywomen or countrymen and the People of Faery--there are several
in this book and these adventures have been always a principal theme
to Gaelic poets. A goddess came to Cuchulain upon the battlefield, but
sometimes it is the mortal who must go to them. "Oh beautiful woman,
will you come with me to the wonderful country that is mine? It is
pleasant to be looking at the people there: beautiful people without
any blemish; their hair is of the colour of the flag flower, their
fair body is as white as snow, the colour of the foxglove is on every
cheek. The young never grow old there, the fields and the flowers are
as pleasant to be looking at as the blackbird's eggs; warm and sweet
streams of mead and wine flow through that country; there is no care
and no sorrow upon any person; we see others, but we ourselves are not
seen." Did Dame Kettler, a great lady of Kilkenny who was accused of
witchcraft early in the fifteenth century, find such a lover when she
offered up the combs of cocks and the bronzed tail feathers of nine
peacocks; or had she indeed, as her enemies affirmed at the trial, been
enamoured with "one of the meaner sort of hell"?

NOTE 2. This light occurs again and again in modern spiritism as
in old legends. It shows in some form in almost every dark séance.
Grettir the Strong saw it over buried treasure. It surrounded the
head of Hereward the Wake in childhood, and in the middle of the
nineteenth century, Baron Reichenbach called it "odic light" and
published much evidence taken down from his "sensitives" who saw
it about crystals, magnets, and one another, and over new-made
graves. Holman Hunt represents in his _Flight into Egypt_ the souls
of the Innocents encircled by creeping and clinging fire. When this
fire encircles a good spirit it is generally described as white and
brilliant, but about the evil as lurid and smoky.

NOTE 3. When I was a boy, there was a countryman in a Sligo madhouse
who was sane in all ways except that he saw, in pools and rivers,
beings who called and beckoned. I have myself known a landscape
painter who after painting a certain stagnant pool was nightly
afflicted by a dream of strange shapes, bidding him to drown himself
there. The obsession was so strong that he could not throw it off
during his waking hours, and for some days struggled with the
temptation. I was with him at the time and had noticed his growing
gloom and had questioned him about it.

NOTE 4. Bran, in the _Voyage of Bran_ when sailing, meets Manannan the
sea-god. "And Manannan spoke to him in a song, and it is what he said:

"It is what Bran thinks, he is going in his curragh over the
wonderful, beautiful, clear sea; but to me, from far off in my
chariot, it is a flowery plain he is riding on.

"What is a clear sea to the good boat Bran is in, is a happy plain
with many flowers to me in my two-wheeled chariot.

"It is what Bran sees, many waves beating across the clear sea; it is
what I myself see, red flowers without any fault.

"The sea-horses are bright in summer-time, as far as Bran's eyes can
reach; there is a wood of beautiful acorns under the head of your
little boat.

"A wood with blossom and with fruit, that has the smell of wine; a
wood without fault, without withering, with leaves of the colour of
gold." (_Gods and Fighting Men_, by Lady Gregory.)

NOTE 5. Swedenborg describes these colours and I have a note of
similar visions as seen by a fellow-student of mine at the Dublin Art
School. Mrs. Besant in her _Ancient Wisdom_ and other writers of the
Modern Theosophical School describe them and moralize about them.

NOTE 6. There are constant stories in the history of modern spiritism
of people carried through the air often for considerable distances.
It is not my business to weigh the evidence at this moment, for I am
concerned only with similarity of belief. The medium, Mrs. Guppy,
somewhere in the "sixties" was believed to have been carried from
Hampstead, a pen in one hand and an account book in the other, and
dropped on to the middle of a table in South Conduit Street. Lord
Dunraven was one of a number of witnesses who testified to having
seen the medium Hume float out of one window of the upper room, where
they were sitting, and in at another window. I read the other day in
a spiritistic paper, of two boys carried through the air in Italy and
dropped in front of a bishop who immediately handed them over to the
police. And of course the folk-lore of all countries and the legends
of the saints are full of such tales.

NOTE 7. The offering to the Sidhe is generally made at Hallowe'en,
the old beginning of winter, and upon that night I was told when a
boy the offering was still made in the slums of Dublin.

NOTE 8. Father Sinistrari speaks of a like commerce between beasts
and spirits. "Et non solum hoc evenit cum mulieribus, sed etiam cum
equabus, cum quibus commicetur; quæ si libenter coitum admittunt, ab eo
curantur optime, ac ipsarum jubæ varie artificiosis et inextricabilibus
nodis texuntur; si autem illum adversentur, eas male tractat, percutit,
macras reddit, et tandem necat, ut quotidiana constat experienta."

NOTE 9. Houses built upon faery paths are thought to be unlucky.
Often the thatch will be blown away, or their inhabitants die or
suffer misfortune.

NOTE 10. The number of quotations I can find to prove the
universality of the thought that the dead and other spirits change
their shape as they please is but lessened by the fewness of the
books that are near my hand in the country where I am writing. John
Heydon, "a servant of God and secretary of nature," writing in 1662
in _The Rosie Cross Uncovered_ which is the last book of his _Holy
Guide_ says that a man may become one of the heroes: "A hero," he
writes, "is a dæmon, or good genius, and a genius a partaker of
divine things and a companion of the holy company of unbodied souls
and immortal angels who live according to their vehicles a versatile
life, turning themselves proteus-like into any shape."

And Mrs. Besant, a typical writer of the modern Theosophical School,
insists upon these changes of form, especially among those spirits that
are most free from the terrestrial body and explains it by saying that,
"astral matter takes form under every impulse of thought." Swedenborg
I have already quoted in my long essay, but to prove that the
shape-changer is a part of general literature--I have but Wordsworth
and Milton under my hand. When the white doe of Rylstone shows itself
at the church door according to its Sunday custom, one has one tale to
tell, another another, but an Oxford student will have it that it is
the faery that loved a certain "shepherd-lord."

          "'Twas said that she all shapes could wear."

And Milton writes like any Platonist of his time:

                              "For Spirits, when they please,
          Can either sex assume, or both; so soft
          And uncompounded is their essence pure,
          Not ty'd or manacled with joint or limb,
          Nor founded on the brittle strength of bones,
          Like cumbrous flesh; but, in what shape they choose,
          Dilated or condensed, bright or obscure,
          Can execute their aery purposes,
          And works of love or enmity fulfil."

NOTE 11. The seers and healers in this section differ but little
from clairvoyants and spirit mediums of the towns, and explain
their powers in much the same way. Indeed one of Lady Gregory's
story-tellers will have it that America is more full than Ireland
of faeries, and describes the mediums there to prove it. It is
often through some virtue in these country seers and healers that
the faeries or spirits are able to affect men and women and natural
objects. Mrs. Sheridan says that a child could not have been taken
if she had not been looking on, and one hears again and again that
even when the faeries fight among themselves or play at hurley,
there must be a man upon either side. We are all in a sense mediums,
if the village seer speaks truth, for through any unsanctified
emotion, love, affection, admiration, the spirits may attain power
over a child or horse or whatever is before our eyes, and perhaps,
as the controls of mediums will sometimes say, they can only see
the world through our eyes. Albert de Rochas, borrowing a theory
from the seventeenth century, has suggested with the general assent
of spiritists that the fluidic or sidereal body of the medium, the
mould upon which the physical body is, it may be, built up, is more
detachable than in persons who are not mediums, and that the spirits
make themselves visible by transforming it into their own shape or
into what shape they please and attain by its means a power over
physical objects. (See _L'Extériorisation de la Motricité_.) Instead
of the expensive crystal of the Bond Street clairvoyant, Biddy Early
gazed into her bottle, but that is almost the whole difference. If
the dreams and visions of Connacht have more richness and beauty
than those of Camberwell, it is that Connacht, having no doubts as
to our survival of death, is not always looking for but one sort of
evidence, and so can let things happen as they will. The brother
or sister or the like who comes to the knowledgeable man or woman
after death is but the "guide" that has been so common in England
and America, since the Rochester rappings, and a country form of
Plutarch's "dæmon." At other moments, however, "seer" or "healer"
resembles a witch or wizard rather than a modern medium.

       *       *       *       *       *

In one thing, however, they always resemble the medium and not the
witch. They seem to have no dealings with the devil. The Irish Trials
for witchcraft of the English and continental type took place among
the English settlers. I have never come across a case of a "compact"
nor has Lady Gregory, nor have I read of one.

NOTE 12. It is almost unthinkable to Lady Gregory and myself, who
know Mrs. Sheridan, that she can ever have seen a drawbridge in
a picture or heard one spoken of. Nor does this instance stand
alone. I have had in my own family what seemed the accurate calling
up of an unknown past but failing a link of difficult evidence
still unfound, coincidence, though exceedingly unlikely, is still
a possible explanation. I have come upon a number of other cases
which are, though no one case is decisive, a powerful argument taken
altogether. In _The Adventure_ (MacMillan), an elaborate vision
of this kind is recorded in detail and, accepting the record as
accurate, the verification is complete. Two ladies found themselves
in the garden of the Petit Trianon in the midst of what seemed to
be the court of Marie Antoinette, in just the same sudden way in
which some countryman finds himself among ladies and gentlemen
dressed in what seem the clothes of a long passed time. The record
purports to have been made in November and December 1901, whereas the
vision occurred in August. This lapse of time does not seem to me
to destroy the value of the evidence, if the record was made before
its corroboration by long and difficult research.[2] Accepting the
good faith of the narrators, both well-known women and of established
character, its evidence for some more obscure cause than unconscious
memory can only be weakened by the discovery in some book or magazine
accessible to the visionaries before their visit to the Trianon,
of historical information on such minute points as the dress Marie
Antoinette wore in a particular month, and the position of ornamental
buildings and rock work not now in existence. There is a great mass
of similar evidence in Denton's _Soul of Things_ though its value is
weakened by his not sufficiently allowing for thought transference
from his own mind to that of his sensitives.

A "theosophist" or "occultist" of almost any modern school explains
such visions by saying they are "pictures in the astral light" and that
all objects and events leave their images in the astral light as upon
a photographic plate, and that we must distinguish between spirits and
these unintelligent pictures. I was once at Madame Blavatsky's when she
tried to explain predestination, our freedom and God's full knowledge
of the use that we should make of it. All things past and to come were
present to the mind of God and yet all things were free. She soon
saw that she had carried us out of our depth and said to one of her
followers with a mischievous, mocking voice: "You with your impudence
and your spectacles will be sitting there in the Akasa to all eternity"
and then in a more meditative voice, "No, not to all eternity for a
day will come when even the Akasa will pass away and there will be
nothing but God, chaos, that which every man is seeking in his heart."
Akasa, she was accustomed to explain as some Indian word for the astral
light. Perhaps that theory of the astral pictures came always from the
despair of some visionary to find understanding for a more metaphysical
theory. It is, however, ancient. To Cornelius Agrippa it is the air
that reflects, but the air is something more than what the word means
for us. "It is a vital spirit passing through all beings giving life
and substance to all things ... it immediately receives into itself
the influences of all celestial bodies, and then communicates them
to the other elements as also to all mixed bodies. Also it receives
into itself as if it were a divine looking-glass the species of all
things, as well natural as artificial," it enters into men and animals
"through their pores" and "makes an impression upon them as well when
they sleep as when they awake and affords matter to divers strange
dreams and divinations.... Hence it is that a man passing by a place
where a man was slain and the carcase newly laid is moved by fear and
dread; because the air in that place being full of the dread species
of man-slaughter does being breathed in, move and trouble the spirit
of the man with a like species ... whence it is that many philosophers
were of the opinion that the air is the cause of dreams." Henry More
is more precise and philosophical and believes that this air which he
calls _Spiritus Mundi_ contains all forms, so that the parents when a
child is begotten, or a witch when the double is projected as a hare,
but as it were, call upon the _Spiritus Mundi_ for the form they need.
The name "Astral Light" was given to this air or spirit by the Abbé
Constant who wrote under the pseudonym of Élephas Lévi and like Madame
Blavatsky, claimed to be the voice of an ancient magical society. In
his _Dogma et Rituel de la Haute Magie_ published in the fifties, he
described in vague, eloquent words, influenced perhaps by the recent
discovery of the daguerreotype these pictures which we continually
confuse with the still animate shades. A more clear exposition of a
perhaps always incomprehensible idea is that of Swedenborg who says
that when we die, we live over again the events that lie in all their
minute detail in our memory, and this is the explanation of the authors
of _The Adventure_ who believe, as it seems, that they were entangled
in the memory of Marie Antoinette. I have met students who claimed to
have had knowledge of Lévi's sources and who believed that when at last
a spirit has been, as it were, pulled out of its coil, other spirits
may use its memory, not only of events but of words and of thoughts.
Did Cornelius Agrippa identify soul with memory when, after quoting
Ovid to prove that the flesh cleaves to earth, the ghost hovers over
the grave, the soul sinks to Oxos, and the spirit rises to the stars,
he explains that if the soul has done well it rejoices with the almost
faultless spirit, but if it has done ill, the spirit judges it and
leaves it for the devil's prey and "the sad soul wanders about hell
without a spirit and like an image?" Remembering these writings and
sayings, I find new meaning in that description of death taken down by
Lady Gregory in some cottage: "The shadow goes wandering and the soul
is tired and the body is taking a rest."

I was once talking with Professor James of experiences like to those
in _The Adventure_ and said that I found it easiest to understand
them by believing in a memory of nature distinguished from individual
memory, though including and enclosing it. He would, however, have
none of my explanation and preferred to think the past, present, and
future were only modes of our perception and that all three were in
the divine mind, present at once. It was Madame Blavatsky's thought,
and Shelley's in the _Sensitive Plant_:

          "That garden sweet, that lady fair,
           And all sweet shapes and odours there,
           In truth have never passed away;
           'Tis we, 'tis ours, are changed, not they.

          "For love, and beauty, and delight,
           There is no death nor change; their light
           Exceeds our organs, which endure
           No light, being themselves obscure."

NOTE 13. The ancient Irish had quadrilateral houses built of logs,
and round houses of clay and wattles. O'Sullivan, in his introduction
to O'Curry's _Manners and Customs_, writes: "The houses built in
_Duns_ and in _stone caiseal_, and those surrounded by mounds of
earth, were, probably in all cases round houses." A _Bo Aires_,
or farmer with ten cows was supposed to have a house at least
twenty-seven feet wide but the houses of better off men must have
made one room of considerable size, a whole household sleeping on
beds, sometimes with low partitions between, raying out from the
wall like spokes of a wheel. Petrie thought the great quadrilateral
banqueting hall of Tara was once ninety feet wide.

NOTE 14. In _The Roman Ritual_, there is an exorcism for evil spirits
and a ceremony for the succour of the sick (_cura infirmorum_). And
in the beginning of the chapter containing this ceremony (Caput
IV., verse 12), it is stated that images of Christ, the Virgin, and
of saints especially in veneration of the sick man, may cure him
if brought into the room. In the ceremony of exorcism, the priest
is directed to make numerous signs of the cross over the possessed
person (_sic. rubric: Tres cruces sequentes fiant in pectore
dæmoniaci_). The spirit is commanded to be gone in the name of the
Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. The ceremony with psalms
covers twenty-six pages of my copy. The exorcism is described as
a driving out of the "most unclean spirit" of every phantasm and
every legion. It commands the "most evil dragon, in the name of the
immaculate lamb who walked upon the asp and the basilisk and cast
down the lion and the dragon" to "go down out of this man."

In the ceremony for the sick, the priest places his hand on the head
of the sick man and says:

"Let them place their hands on the sick and they shall be well
[_Super ægros manus imponent, et bene habebunt_]. May Christ Son of
Mary, Saviour of the world and Lord, by the merits and intercession
of his holy apostles Peter and Paul and of all the saints be clement
and propitious to you."

The ceremony is ten pages and contains various psalms and selections
from the Gospels.

Round these two ceremonies have gathered in the minds of the country
people, at least, many traditional ideas. When any one is cured, there
is a victim, some other human being or some animal will die. If one
remembers that diseases were very commonly considered to be the work
of demons, one sees how the story of the Gadarene swine would support
the tradition. I know not into what subtlety the dreaming mind may not
carry the thought, for some few months ago in France, an excommunicated
miracle-working priest said in my hearing: "There is always a victim;
so-and-so was the victim for France," naming a holy Italian nun who had
just died. "And so-and-so," naming a living holy woman, "is the victim
for my own village." Various medieval saints, and even certain witches,
cured sick persons by taking the disease upon themselves.

Christian Scientists and Mental Healers are often afraid of
themselves acquiring the disease which they drive out of their
patient; they sometimes speak of the effort that it costs them to
shake it off. I was told a story the other day, which I have proved
not to be true, but which is evidence of the belief. A woman said to
me some such words as these: "My friend so-and-so, who is a Mental
Healer, was staying in the country. She saw a woman there with a
strange look. She asked what was wrong, and found that this woman was
expecting a periodical fit of madness. She offered to undertake her
cure, and brought her to her own house. The patient became violent,
but my friend was able by faith and prayer to soothe her till she
fell asleep. My friend went downstairs exhausted, and lay upon the
sofa. Presently she saw strange shadows coming into the room and
knew they had come from the patient upstairs, and these shadows,
taking the form of swine, threw themselves upon her and only after a
long struggle could she throw them off." The swine and their attack
were all moonshine, but the healer, whom I found and questioned, did
believe that she saw shadows leaving the patient.

The transference of disease was a generally recognized part
of medieval and ancient medicine; and Albert de Rochas gives
considerable space to it in his _L'Extériorisation de la
Sensibilité_, Paris, 1909. He quotes from a seventeenth-century
writer, Abbé de Vellemort, many examples from medical and scientific
writers of that time who believed themselves to have transferred
diseases from their patients to animals and to trees and to various
substances, "Mumia" as they called them, which absorb _des esprits
qui résident dans le sang_ and then describes various experiments
made in 1885 by Dr. Babinski "Chef de Clinique de M. Charcot" in
transferring now by magnets, now by suggestion various forms of
nervous disease from one patient to another. Where these diseases
were produced in the first instance by suggestion, the patient
from whom the disease was transferred, was freed from it, but
where the disease was natural and the cause of the patient being
at the hospital, there was no cure although in one case there was
improvement. Albert de Rochas then quotes as follows from a lecture
given by Dr. Luys to La Société de Biologie in 1894.

"M. D'Arsonval has, according to a communication from an English
physician, given an account at the last meeting of the Société de
Biologie, of the persistent action in a magnetized iron bar of the
magnetic fluid, which to a certain extent, kept a memory of its
former state.

"My researches of the same kind have given me proofs some time since
of analogous phenomena with the help of magnetized crowns placed on
the head of a subject in an hypnotic state.

"In this case, it is a question not only of storing vibrations of
magnetic nature, but of really living nature, of real cerebral
vibrations through the coating of the brain, stored in a magnetic
crown, in which they remain for a greater or less length of time.

"To arrive at this phenomenon, instead of using an unresponsive
physical instrument, I use a reacting living being--an hypnotized
subject, who has thus become sensitive to living magnetic vibrations. I
am presenting to the Society the magnetized crown, like several other
models which I have already shown. It is adapted to the head by means
of a system of straps, encircles it and leaves the frontal region free.

"It also forms a bent magnet with a positive and a negative pole.
This crown was put, more than a year ago, on the head of a woman
suffering from melancholia with ideas of persecution, agitation, and
a tendency to suicide, etc. The application of the crown lead to the
patient's getting slowly better after five or six séances; and at
the end of ten days I thought I could send her back to the hospital
without any danger. At the end of a fortnight, the crown having been
isolated, the idea came to me quite empirically of placing it on the
head of the 'subject' now before you.

"He is a male, hypnotizable, _hystérique_, given to frequent fits
of lethargy. What was my surprise to see this subject, put into the
somnambulistic state, complaining in exactly the same terms as those
the cured patient had used a fortnight before.

"_He_ first of all took on the sex of the patient; _he_ spoke in the
feminine gender; _he_ complained of violent headache; _he_ said he was
going mad, that his neighbours came into his room to do him harm. In a
word, the hypnotic subject had, thanks to the magnetized crown, taken
on the cerebral state of the melancholic patient. The magnetized crown
had been powerful enough to draw off the morbid cerebral influx of the
patient (who got well), which had persisted, like a memory, in the
intimate (or innermost) texture of the magnetic strip of metal.

"This is a phenomenon we have produced many times, for several years;
not only with the subject now present, but with others.

"This communication is, amongst physiological phenomena, on a line
with M. D'Arsonval's on the persistence of certain anterior states
in inorganic bodies; it will no doubt cause much astonishment and
scepticism amongst those who are not accustomed to hypnologic research.

"Doubts will be cast on the sincerity of the subject, on his tendency
to produce wonders, to being carried away, and also on what may
perhaps seem too easy an acquiescence on the part of the operator.

"To all these objections I will only answer: that this phenomenon
of the transmission of the psychical states of a subject by means
of a magnetized crown which keeps given impressions is quite in the
order of the phenomena formerly communicated by M. D'Arsonval. And,
further, the first time I made this experiment, it was done without
my knowing, in an entirely empirical way. The impregnated crown was
put on the head of the hypnotic subject about a fortnight after it
had been put on the patient's head. There has therefore necessarily
been a first operation, of which I did not foreknow the results;
for we did not know any more than the hypnotized subject, what was
going to happen, and the subject reacted, _motu proprio_, without any
excitant other than the magnetic crown.

"So one can assert, without trying to draw any other conclusions,
that certain vibratory states of the brain, and probably of the
nervous system, are capable of storing themselves in a magnetized
bent strip of metal, as the magnetic fluid is stored in the soft bar
of iron, and of leaving persistent traces; still further, that one
can only destroy this persistent magnetic property by fire. The crown
has to be red-hot before it ceases to act, as M. D'Arsonval found to
be the case with the iron bar."

Albert de Rochas makes this notable comment:

"The same phenomenon would certainly have been produced had the
patient been dead, and so one might by this means have a sort of
evocation of a personality no longer of this world."

NOTE 15. As late as the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the Irish
were accustomed to leave their houses on the plains and valleys in
spring and live with their cattle on the uplands, returning to the
valleys and plains in time to reap the harvest. Before tillage became
general they may not have returned till the chill of autumn. From
this perhaps came the faery flittings of May and November.

NOTE 16. The pictures shown were drawings of spirits "A. E." made
from his own visions. The yellow thing upon the head was, I suppose,
some sort of crown. These countrywomen have seen so little gold that
they do not describe anything as "of gold" or "like gold." They will
say of yellow hair that it is "bright like silver."

NOTE 17. The death-coach or more properly _coiste-bodhar_ or
"deaf-coach," so called from its rumbling sound. It is usually an
omen of death.

NOTE 18. The thing "yellow and slippery, not hair but like marble"
is evidently a crown of gold. Are these spirits in dress of ancient
authority the shepherds of the more recent dead?

NOTE 19. I have read somewhere, but cannot remember where, that
ragweed was once used to make some medicine for horses. This
would account for its association with them in the half-fantasy,
half-vision of the country seers. In the same way, the mushroom ring
of the faeries is, it seems, a memory of some intoxicating liquor
made of mushrooms, when intoxication was mysterious. The storyteller
speaks of "those red flowers," showing how vague her sense of colour,
or her knowledge of English, for ragweed is, of course, yellow.

NOTE 20. "Bracket" is Irish for "speckled" and seems to me a
description of the plaids and stripes of medieval Ireland.

NOTE 21. Bodin in his _De Magorum Dæmonomania_ speaks of salt as a
spell against spirits because a "symbol of eternity."

NOTE 22. Tir-na-n-og, the country of the young, the paradise of
the ancient Irish. It is sometimes described as under the earth,
sometimes as all about us, and sometimes as an enchanted island. This
island paradise has given rise to many legends; sailors have bragged
of meeting it. A Dutch pilot settled in Dublin in 1614, claimed
to have seen it off the coast of Greenland in 61° of latitude. It
vanished as he came near, but sailing in an opposite direction he
came upon it once more, but Giraldus Cambrensis claimed that shortly
before he came to Ireland such a phantom island was discovered off
the west coast of Ireland and made habitable. Some young men saw it
from the shore; when they came near it, it sank into the water. The
next day it reappeared 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.

NOTE 23. Supernatural strength is often spoken of by the people as
a sign of faery power. It is also enumerated in _The Roman Ritual_
among the signs of possession. I have read somewhere that the priests
of Apollo showed it in their religious transports.

NOTE 24. "Materializations" are generally imperfect. The spirit makes
just enough of mind and form for its purpose. Even when the form is
only visible to the clairvoyant there may still be materialization,
though not carried far enough to affect ordinary sight.

NOTE 25. The picture was made by "A. E." of one of the forms he sees
in vision.

NOTE 26. The barrel which contained a brew that made the spirits
invisible is probably the cauldron of the god Dagda, called "The
Undry" "because it was never empty." The Tuatha-de-Danaan, the old
Irish divine race, brought with them to Ireland four talismans, the
sword, the spear, the stone, and the cauldron. Rhys, in his _Celtic
Heathendom_, compares it with the Irish well of wisdom, overhung by
nine hazels, and the Welsh "Cauldron of the Head of Hades," set over
a fire, blown into a flame by the breath of nine young girls. Girls
and hazels were alike, he thinks, symbols of time because of the nine
days of the old Celtic week, and comparable with the nine Muses,
daughters of Memory. Nutt thought the Celtic cauldron the first form
of the Holy Grail.

NOTE 27. In my record of this conversation I find a sentence that has
dropped out in Lady Gregory's. The old man used these words: "And I
took down a fork from the rafters and asked her was it a broom and she
said it was," and it was that answer that proved her in the power of
the faeries. She was "suggestible" and probably in a state of trance.

NOTE 28. The Dundonians are, of course, the Tuatha-de-Danaan, and
those with the bag are the "firbolg" or "bag-men," we have now, it
may be, a true explanation of a name Professor Rhys has interpreted
with intricate mythology. I wonder if these bags are related to the
Sporran of the Highlanders.

NOTE 29. Here though maybe but in seeming, spiritism and folk-lore are
at issue with one another. The spirit of the séance room is described
as growing to maturity and remaining in that state. In Swedenborg it
moves toward "the day-spring of its youth." Among the country people
too, one sometimes hears of the dead growing to the likeness of thirty
years in heaven and remaining so. Thirty years, I suppose, because
at that age Christ began his ministry. The idea that underlies Mrs.
Fagan's statement seems to be that we have a certain measure of life to
live out on earth or in some intermediate state. Are the inhabitants of
this "intermediate state" the "earthbound" of the spiritists?

NOTE 30. Professor Lombroso quotes from Professor Faffofer the
following description of how he received news of the death
of Carducci: "On the 18th of February, in the evening, our
spirit-friends did not at once give us notice of their presence at
our sitting, and we waited for them about half an hour. 'Remigo,'
on being asked the reason why they had delayed, replied: 'We are in
a state of agitation and confusion here. We have just come from a
festival--of grief for you and joy for us. We have been present at
the death-bed of Carducci." He had died that day and in that very
hour and the news had not yet arrived by the ordinary channels.

NOTE 31. I was the patient; it seemed to be the only way of coming to
intimate speech with the knowledgeable man.

NOTE 32. The ghosts of "spiritism" are constantly changing place or
state. Sometimes for this reason they must say "goodbye" to a medium.
That they are passing to a "higher state" seems to be the usual phrase.
See for instance the account signed by A. I. Smart and a number of
witnesses, published in _The Medium and Daybreak_, of June 15, 1877.

NOTE 33. I have been several times told that a great battle for the
potatoes preceded the great famine. What decays with us seems to come
out, as it were, on the other side of the picture and is spirits'

NOTE 34. This is true but he might have guessed it from the
difference of my glasses; one is plain glass.

NOTE 35. They are only small when "upon certain errands," but when
small, three feet or thereabouts seems to be the almost invariable
height. Mary Battle, my uncle George Pollexfen's second-sighted
servant told me that "it is something in our eyes makes them big or
little." People in trance often see objects reduced. Mrs. Piper when
half awakened will sometimes see the people about her very small.

NOTE 36. The same story as that in one of the most beautiful of the
"Noh" plays of Japan. I tell the Japanese story in my long terminal

NOTE 37. Mediums have often said that the spirits see this world
through our eyes. John Heydon, upon the other hand, calls good
spirits "The eyes and ears of God."

NOTE 38. The herbs were gathered before dawn, probably that the dew
might be upon them. Dew, a signature or symbol of the philosopher's
stone, was held once to be a secretion from dawning light.

NOTE 39. The most puzzling thing in Irish folk-lore is the number of
countrymen and countrywomen who are "away." A man or woman or child
will suddenly take to the bed, and from that on, perhaps for a few
weeks, perhaps for a lifetime, will be at times unconscious, in a state
of dream, in trance, as we say. According to the peasant theory these
persons are, during these times, with the faeries, riding through the
country, eating or dancing, or suckling children. They may even, in
that other world, marry, bring forth, and beget, and may when cured of
their trances mourn for the loss of their children in faery. This state
generally commences by their being "touched" or "struck" by a spirit.
The country people do not say that the soul is away and the body in
the bed, as a spiritist would, but that body and soul have been taken
and somebody or something put in their place so bewitched that we do
not know the difference. This thing may be some old person who was
taken years ago and having come near his allotted term is put back to
get the rites of the church, or as a substitute for some more youthful
and more helpful person. The old man may have grown too infirm even to
drive cattle. On the other hand, the thing may be a broomstick or a
heap of shavings. I imagine that an explanatory myth arose at a very
early age when men had not learned to distinguish between the body and
the soul, and was perhaps once universal. The fact itself is certainly
"possession" and "trance" precisely as we meet them in spiritism, and
was perhaps once an inseparable part of religion. Mrs. Piper surrenders
her body to the control of her trance personality but her soul,
separated from the body has a life of its own, of which, however, she
is little if at all conscious.

There are two books which describe with considerable detail a like
experience in China and Japan respectively: _Demon Possession and
Allied Themes_, by the Rev. John L. Nevius, D.D. (Fleming H. Revell
& Co., 1894); _Occult Japan_, by Percival Lowell (Houghton, Mifflin,
1895). In both countries, however, the dualism of body and soul
is recognized, and the theory is therefore identical with that of
spiritism. Dr. Nevius is a missionary who gradually became convinced,
after much doubt and perplexity, of the reality of possession by what
he believes to be evil spirits precisely similar to that described in
the New Testament. These spirits take possession of some Chinese man
or woman who falls suddenly into a trance, and announce through their
medium's mouth, that when they lived on earth they had such and such a
name, sometimes if they think a false name will make them more pleasing
they will give a false name and history. They demand certain offerings
and explain that they are seeking a home; and if the offerings are
refused, and the medium seeks to drive them from body and house they
turn persecutors; the house may catch fire suddenly; but if they have
their way, they are ready to be useful, especially to heal the sick.
The missionaries expel them in the name of Christ, but the Chinese
exorcists adopt a method familiar to the west of Ireland--tortures or
threats of torture. They will light tapers which they stick upon the
fingers. They wish to make the body uncomfortable for its tenant. As
they believe in the division of soul and body they are not likely to
go too far. A man actually did burn his wife to death, in Tipperary
a few years ago, and is no doubt still in prison for it. My uncle,
George Pollexfen, had an old servant Mary Battle, and when she spoke
of the case to me, she described that man as very superstitious. I
asked what she meant by that and she explained that everybody knew that
you must only threaten, for whatever injury you did to the changeling
the faeries would do to the living person they had carried away. In
fact mankind and spiritkind have each their hostage. These explanatory
myths are not a speculative but a practical wisdom. And one can count
perhaps, when they are rightly remembered, upon their preventing the
more gross practical errors. The Tipperary witch-burner only half knew
his own belief. "I stand here in the door," said Mary Battle, "and I
hear them singing over there in the field, but I have never given in to
them yet." And by "giving in" I understood her to mean losing her head.

The form of possession described in Lowell's book is not involuntary
like that the missionary describes. And the possessing spirits are
believed to be those of holy hermits or of the gods. He saw it for
the first time on a pilgrimage to the top of Mount Ontaké. Close on
the border of the snow he came to a rest house which was arranged to
enclose the path, that all, it would seem, might stop and rest and
eat and give something to its keeper. Presently he saw three young
men dressed in white who passed on in spite of the entreaties of
the keeper. He followed and presently found them praying before a
shrine cut in the side of a cliff. When the prayer was finished one
of them took from his sleeve a stick that had hanging from it pieces
of zigzag paper, and sat himself on a bench opposite the shrine. One
of the others sat facing upon another bench, clasping his hands over
his breast and closing his eyes. Then the first young man began a
long evocation, chanting and twisting and untwisting his fingers
all the time. Presently he put the wand with the zigzag paper into
the other's hands and the other's hands began to twitch, and that
twitching grew more and more. The man was possessed. A spirit spoke
through his mouth and called itself the God, Hakkai.

Now the evoker became very respectful and asked if the peak would be
clear of clouds, and the pilgrimage a lucky one, and if the god would
take care of those left at home. The god answered that the peak would
be clear until the afternoon of the day following and all else go
well. The voice ceased and the evoker offered a prayer of adoration.
The entranced man was awakened by being touched on the breast and
slapped upon the back and now another of the three took his place.
And all was gone through afresh; and when that was over the third
young man was entranced in his turn.

Mr. Lowell made considerable further investigation and records many
cases, and was told that the god or spirit would sometimes speak in a
tongue unknown to the possessed man, or gave useful medical advice.
He is one of the few Europeans who have witnessed what seems to be
an important right of Shinto religion. Shintoism, or the Way of the
Gods, until its revival in the last half of the nineteenth century
remained lost and forgotten in the roots of Japanese life. It had
been superseded by Buddhism, if Mr. Lowell was correctly informed,
as completely as this old faery faith of Ireland has been superseded
by Christianity. Buddhism, however, having no Christian hostility to
friendly spirits, does not seem to have done anything to discourage
a revival which was one of the causes that brought Japan under the
single rule of the Mikado. It had always indeed in certain of its
sects practised ceremonies that had for their object the causing of

There is a story in _The Book of the Dun Cow_ which certainly
describes a like experience, though Prof. Rhys interprets it as a
solar myth. I will take the story from Lady Gregory's _Cuchulain of
Muirthemne_. The people of Ulster were celebrating the festival of
the beginning of winter, held always at the beginning of November.
The first of November is still a very haunted day and night. A flock
of wild birds lit upon the waters near to Cuchulain and certain fair
women. "In all Ireland there were not birds to be seen that were more

One woman said: "'I must have a bird of these birds on each of my
two shoulders.' 'We must all have the same,' said the other women.
'If any one is to get them, it is I that must first get them,' said
Eithne Inguba, who loved Cuchulain. 'What shall we do?' said the
women. 'It is I will tell you that,' said Levarcham, 'for I will go
to Cuchulain from you to ask him to get them.'"

So she went to Cuchulain and said: '"The women of Ulster desire that
you will get these birds for them.' Cuchulain put his hand upon his
sword as if to strike her, and he said: 'Have the idle women of
Ulster nothing better to do than to send me catching birds today?'
'It is not for you,' said Levarcham, 'to be angry with them; for
there are many of them are half blind today with looking at you, from
the greatness of their love for you.'"

After this Cuchulain catches the birds and divides them amongst the
women, and to every woman there are two birds, but when he comes to
his mistress, Eithne Inguba, he has no birds left. '"It is vexed
you seem to be,' he said, 'because I have given the birds to the
other women.' 'You have good reason for that,' she said, 'for there
is not a woman of them but would share her love and her friendship
with you; while as for me no person shares my love but you alone.'"
Cuchulain promises her whatever birds come, and presently there come
two birds who are linked together with a chain of gold and "singing
soft music that went near to put sleep on the whole gathering."
Cuchulain went in their pursuit, though Eithne and his charioteer
tried to dissuade him, believing them enchanted. Twice he casts a
stone from his sling and misses, and then he throws his spear but
merely pierces the wing of one bird. Thereupon the birds dive and he
goes away in great vexation, and he lies upon the ground and goes to
sleep, and while he sleeps two women come to him and put him under
enchantment. In the Connacht stories the enchantment begins with a
stroke, or with a touch from some person of faery and it is so the
women deal with Cuchulain. "The woman with the green cloak went up
to him and smiled at him and she gave him a stroke of a rod. The
other went up to him then and smiled at him and gave him a stroke
in the same way; and they went on doing this for a long time, each
of them striking him in turn till he was more dead than alive. And
then they went away and left him there." The men of Ulster found him
and they carried him to a house and to a bed and there he lay till
the next November came round. They were sitting about the bed when a
strange man came in and sat amongst them. It was the God, Ængus, and
he told how Cuchulain could be healed. A king of the other world,
Labraid, wished for Cuchulain's help in a war, and if he would give
it, he would have the love of Fand the wife of the sea god Manannan.
The women who gave him the strokes of the rods were Fand and her
sister Liban, who was Labraid's wife. They had sought his help as the
Connacht faeries will ask the help of some good hurler. Were they
too like our faeries "shadows" until they found it? When the god was
gone, Cuchulain awoke, and Conahar, the King of Ulster, who had been
watching by his bedside, told him that he must go again to the rock
where the enchantment was laid upon him. He goes there and sees the
woman with the green cloak. She is Liban and pleads with him that
he may accept the love of Fand and give his help to Labraid. If he
will only promise, he will become strong again. Cuchulain will not go
at once but sends his charioteer into the other world. When he has
his charioteer's good report, he consents, and wins the fight for
Labraid and is the lover of Fand. In the Connacht stories a wife can
sometimes get back her husband by throwing some spell-breaking object
over the heads of the faery cavalcade that keeps him spellbound.
Emir, in much the same way, recovers her husband Cuchulain, for she
and her women go armed with knives to the yew tree upon Baile's
strand where he had appointed a meeting with Fand and outface Fand
and drive her away.

We have here certainly a story of trance and of the soul leaving
the body, but probably after it has passed through the minds of
story-tellers who have forgotten its original meaning. There is
no mention of any one taking Cuchulain's place, but Prof. Rhys in
his reconstruction of the original form of the story of "Cuchulain
and the Beetle of Forgetfulness," a visit also to the other world,
makes the prince who summoned him to the adventure take his place in
the court of Ulster. There are many stories belonging to different
countries, of people whose places are taken for a time by angels or
spirits or gods, the best known being that of the nun and the Virgin
Mary, and all may have once been stories of changelings and entranced
persons. Pwyll and Arawyn in the Mabinogion change places for a
year, Pwyll going to the court of the dead in the shape of Arawyn to
overcome his enemies, and Arawyn going to the court of Dyved. Pwyll
overcomes Arawyn's enemies with one blow and the changeling's rule
at Dyved was marvellous for its wisdom. In all these stories strength
comes from men and wisdom from among gods who are but shadows. I have
read somewhere of a Norse legend of a false Odin that took the true
Odin's place, when the sun of summer became the wintry sun. When we
say a man has had a stroke of paralysis or that he is touched we
refer perhaps to a once universal faery belief.

NOTE 40. I suppose this woman who was glad to "pick a bit of what
was in the pigs' trough" had passed along the roads in a state of
semi-trance, living between two worlds. Boehme had for seven days
what he called a walking trance that began by his gazing at a gleam
of light on a copper pot and in that trance truth fell upon him "like
a bursting shower."

NOTE 41. A village beauty of Bally Lee. Raftery praised her in lines
quoted in my _Celtic Twilight_, and Lady Gregory speaks of her in her
essay on Raftery in _Poets and Dreamers_.

NOTE 42. An old, second-sighted servant to an uncle of mine used to
say that dreams were no longer true "when the sap began to rise" and
when I asked her how she knew that, she said; "What is the use of
having an intellect unless you know a thing like that."

NOTE 43. "In the faeries" is plainly a misspeaking of the old phrase
"in faery" that is to say "in glamour" "under enchantment." The word
"faery" as used for an individual is a modern corruption. The right
word is "fay."

NOTE 44. The sudden filling of the air by a sweet odour is a common
event of the Séance room. It is mentioned several times in the
"Diary" of Stanton Moses.


[2] Since writing the above the authors of _An Adventure_ have shown
me a mass of letters proving that they spoke of the visions to
various correspondents before the corroboration, and showing the long
and careful research that the corroboration involved.

                                                        W. B. Y.

  October, 1918.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation and spelling errors have been fixed throughout.

Inconsistent hyphenation is as in the original.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, First Series" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.