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Title: Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland, Second Series
Author: Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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

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                           _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: Ballylee Castle

From a sepia drawing by Robert Gregory]

                         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._"

                            _SECOND SERIES_

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


                            COPYRIGHT, 1920


                              LADY GREGORY

                  =The Knickerbocker Press, New York=



     I.--HERBS, CHARMS, AND WISE WOMEN                                 3

    II.--ASTRAY, AND TREASURE                                         29

   III.--BANSHEES AND WARNINGS                                        45

    IV.--IN THE WAY                                                   65

     V.--THE FIGHTING OF THE FRIENDS                                  77

    VI.--THE UNQUIET DEAD                                             89

   VII.--APPEARANCES                                                 111

  VIII.--BUTTER                                                      189

    IX.--THE FOOL OF THE FORTH                                       195

     X.--FORTHS AND SHEOGUEY PLACES                                  205

    XI.--BLACKSMITHS                                                 239

   XII.--MONSTERS AND SHEOGUEY BEASTS                                245

  XIII.--FRIARS AND PRIEST CURES                                     281


         NOTES                                                       343


                     HERBS, CHARMS, AND WISE WOMEN


                     HERBS, CHARMS, AND WISE WOMEN

_There is a saying in Irish, "An old woman without learning, it is
she will be doing charms"; and I have told in "Poets and Dreamers"
of old Bridget Ruane who came and gave me my first knowledge of the
healing power of certain plants, some it seemed having a natural and
some a mysterious power. And I said that she had "died last winter,
and we may be sure that among the green herbs that cover her grave
there are some that are good for every bone in the body and that are
very good for a sore heart."_

_As to the book she told me of that had come from the unseen and
was written in Irish, I think of Mrs. Sheridan's answer when I asked
in what language the strange unearthly people she had been among had
talked: "Irish of course--what else would they talk?" And I remember
also that when Blake told Crabb Robinson of the intercourse he had had
with Voltaire and was asked in what tongue Voltaire spoke he said, "To
my sensations it was English. It was like the touch of a musical key.
He touched it probably in French, but to my ear it became English."_

_I was told by her:_

There is a Saint at the Oratory in London, but I don't know his name,
and a girl heard of him in London, and he sent her back to Gort, and
he said, "There's a woman there that will cure you," and she came to
me, and I cured her in two days. And if you could find out the name
of that Saint through the Press, he'd tell me his remedies, and all
the world would be cured. For I can't do all cures though there are
a great many I can do. I cured Pat Carty when the doctor couldn't do
it, and a woman in Gort that was paralysed and her two sons that were
stretched. For I can bring back the dead with the same herbs our Lord
was brought back with--the _slanlus_ and the _garblus_. But there are
some things I can't do. I can't help anyone that has got a stroke
from the Queen or the Fool of the Forth.

I know a woman that saw the Queen one time, and she said she looked
like any Christian. I never heard of any that saw the Fool but one
woman that was walking near Gort, and she called out, "There's the
Fool of the Forth coming after me." So her friends that were with
her called out though they could see nothing, and I suppose he went
away at that for she got no harm. He was like a big strong man, and
half-naked--that's all she said about him.

It was my brother got the knowledge of cures from a book that was
thrown down before him on the road. What language was it written in?
What language would it be but Irish. Maybe it was God gave it to him,
and maybe it was the _other people_. He was a fine strong man, and
he weighed twenty-five stone--and he went to England, and then he
cured all the world, so that the doctors had no way of living. So one
time he got on a ship to go to America, and the doctors had bad men
engaged to shipwreck him out of the ship; he wasn't drowned but he
was broken to pieces on the rocks, and the book was lost along with
him. But he taught me a good deal out of it. So I know all herbs,
and I do a good many cures, and I have brought a great many children
home, home to the world--and never lost one, or one of the women that
bore them. I was never away myself, but I am a cousin of Saggarton,
and his uncle was away for twenty-one years.

       *       *       *       *       *

This is _dwareen_ (knapweed) and what you have to do with this is to
put it down, with other herbs, and with a bit of threepenny sugar, and
to boil it and to drink it for pains in the bones, and don't be afraid
but it will cure you. Sure the Lord put it in the world for curing.

And this is _corn-corn_ (small aromatic tansy); it's very good for
the heart--boiled like the others.

This is _atair-talam_ (wild camomile), the father of all herbs--the
father of the ground. This is very hard to pull, and when you go for
it, you must have a black-handled knife.

And this is _camal-buide_ (loosestrife) that will keep all bad things

This is _cuineul-Muire_ (mullein), the blessed candle of our Lady.

This is _fearaban_ (water buttercup) and it's good for every bone of
your body.

This is _dub-cosac_ (lichen), that's good for the heart, very good
for a sore heart. Here are the _slanlus_ (plantain) and the _garblus_
(dandelion) and these would cure the wide world, and it was these
brought our Lord from the Cross, after the ruffians that was with the
Jews did all the harm to Him. And not one could be got to pierce His
heart till a dark man came and said, "Give me the spear, and I'll
do it," and the blood that sprang out touched his eyes and they got
their sight.

And it was after that, His Mother and Mary and Joseph gathered their
herbs and cured His wounds. These are the best of the herbs, but they
are all good, and there isn't one among them but would cure seven
diseases. I'm all the days of my life gathering them, and I know them
all, but it isn't easy to make them out. Sunday evening is the best
time to get them, and I was never interfered with. Seven "Hail Marys"
I say when I'm gathering them, and I pray to our Lord and to St.
Joseph and St. Colman. And there may be _some_ watching me, but they
never meddled with me at all.

_Mrs. Quaid:_

Monday is a good day for pulling herbs, or Tuesday, not Sunday. A
Sunday cure is no cure. The _cosac_ (lichen) is good for the heart,
there was Mineog in Gort, one time his heart was wore to a silk
thread, and it cured him. The _slanugad_ (rib-grass) is very good,
and it will take away lumps. You must go down when it's growing on
the scraws, and pull it with three pulls, and mind would the wind
change when you are pulling it or your head will be gone. Warm it on
the tongs when you bring it and put it on the lump. The _lus-mor_
(mullein) is the only one that's good to bring back children that are
away. But what's better than that is to save what's in the craw of a
cock you'll kill on St. Martin's Eve and put it by and dry it, and
give it to the child that's away.

There's something in green flax I know, for my mother often told me
about one night she was spinning flax, before she was married and she
was up late. And a man of the faeries came in. She had no right to
be sitting up so late, they don't like that. And he told her to go
to bed, for he wanted to kill her, and he couldn't touch her while
she was handling the flax. And every time he'd tell her to go to bed,
she'd give him some answer, and she'd go on pulling a thread of the
flax, or mending a broken one, for she was wise, and she knew that at
the crowing of the cock he'd have to go. So at last the cock crowed,
and he was gone, and she was safe then, for the cock is blessed.

_Mrs. Ward:_

As to the _lus-mor_, whatever way the wind is blowing when you begin to
cut it, if it changes while you're cutting it, you'll lose your mind.
And if you're paid for cutting it, you can do it when you like, but if
not _they_ mightn't like it. I knew a woman was cutting it one time,
and a voice, an enchanted voice, called out, "Don't cut that if you're
not paid, or you'll be sorry." But if you put a bit of this with every
other herb you drink, you'll live for ever. My grandmother used to put
a bit with everything she took, and she lived to be over a hundred.

_An Old Man on the Beach:_

I wouldn't give into those things, but I'll tell you what happened
to a son of my own. He was as fine and as stout a boy as ever you
saw, and one day he was out with me, and a letter came and told of
the death of some one's child that was in America, and all the island
gathered to hear it read. And all the people were pressing to each
other there. And when we were coming home, he had a bit of a kippeen
in his hand, and getting over a wall he fell, and some way the
kippeen went in at his throat, where it had a sharp point and hurt
the palate of his mouth, and he got paralysed from the waist up.

There was a woman over in Spiddal, and my wife gave me no ease till I
went to her, and she gave me some herb for him. He got better after,
and there's no man in the island stronger and stouter than what he is
but he never got back the use of his left hand, but the strength he
has in the other hand is equal to what another man would have in two.
Did the woman in Spiddal say what gave him the touch? Oh well, she
said all sorts of things. But I wouldn't like to meddle too much with
such as her, for it's by witchcraft I believe it's done. There was a
woman of the same sort over in Roundstone, and I knew a man went to
her about his wife, and first she said the sickness had nothing to
do with _her_ business, but he said he came too far to bring back an
answer like that. So she went into a little room, and he heard her
call on the name of all the devils. So he cried out that that was
enough, and she came out then and made the sign of the Cross, but he
wouldn't stop in it.

But a priest told me that there was a woman in France used to cure
all the dumb that came to her, and that it was a great loss and a
great pity when she died.

_Mrs. Cloonan:_

I knew some could cure with herbs; but it's not right for any one
that doesn't understand them to be meddling with them. There was a
woman I knew one time wanted a certain herb I knew for a cure for her
daughter, and the only place that herb was to be had was down in the
bottom of a spring well. She was always asking me would I go and get
it for her, but I took advice, and I was advised not to do it. So
then she went herself and she got it out, a very green herb it was,
not watercress, but it had a bunch of green leaves. And so soon as
she brought it into the house, she fell as if dead and there she lay
for two hours. And not long after that she died, but she cured the
daughter, and it's well I didn't go to gather the herb, or it's on me
all the harm would have come.

I used to be gathering an herb one time for the Bishop that lived at
Loughmore, dandelion it was. There are two sorts, the white that has
no harm in it, that's what I used to be gathering, and the red that
has a _pishogue_ in it, but I left that alone.

_Old Heffernan:_

The best herb-doctor I ever knew was Conolly up at Ballyturn. He
knew every herb that grew in the earth. It was said that he was away
with the faeries one time, and when I knew him he had the two thumbs
turned in, and it was said that was the sign they left on him. I had
a lump on the thigh one time and my father went to him, and he gave
him an herb for it but he told him not to come into the house by the
door the wind would be blowing in at. They thought it was the evil
I had, that is given by _them_ by a touch, and that is why he said
about the wind, for if it was the evil, there would be a worm in it,
and if it smelled the herb that was brought in at the door, it might
change to another place. I don't know what the herb was, but I would
have been dead if I had it on another hour, it burned so much, and I
had to get the lump lanced after, for it wasn't the evil I had.

Conolly cured many a one. Jack Hall that fell into a pot of water
they were after boiling potatoes in, and had the skin scalded off him
and that Doctor Lynch could do nothing for, he cured.

He boiled down herbs with a bit of lard, and after that was rubbed on
three times, he was well.

And Pat Cahel that was deaf, he cured with the _rib-mas-seala_, that
herb in the potatoes that milk comes out of. His wife was against
him doing the cures, she thought that it would fall on herself. And
anyway, she died before him. But Connor at Oldtown gave up doing
cures, and his stock began to die, and he couldn't keep a pig, and
all he had wasted away till he began to do them again; and his son
does cures now, but I think it's more with charms than with herbs.

_John Phelan:_

The _bainne-bo-bliatain_ (wood anemone) is good for the headache, if
you put the leaves of it on your head. But as for the _lus-mor_ it's
best not to have anything to do with that.

_Mrs. West:_

Dandelion is good for the heart, and when Father Prendergast was curate
here, he had it rooted up in all the fields about, to drink it, and see
what a fine man he is. _Garblus_; how did you hear of that? That is the
herb for things that have to do with the faeries. And when you'd drink
it for anything of that sort, if it doesn't cure you, it will kill you
then and there. There was a fine young man I used to know and he got
his death on the head of a pig that came at himself and another man at
the gate of Ramore, and that never left them, but was at them all the
time till they came to a stream of water. And when he got home, he took
to his bed with a headache, and at last he was brought a drink of the
_garblus_ and no sooner did he drink it than he was dead. I remember
him well. Biddy Early didn't use herbs, but let people say what they
like, she was a sure woman. There is something in flax, for no priest
would anoint you without a bit of tow. And if a woman that was carrying
was to put a basket of green flax on her back, the child would go from
her, and if a mare that was in foal had a load of flax put on her, the
foal would go the same way.

_Mrs. Allen:_

I don't believe in faeries myself, I really don't. But all the people
in Kildare believe in them, and I'll tell you what I saw there one
time myself. There was a man had a splendid big white horse, and he
was leading him along the road, and a woman, a next-door neighbour,
got up on the wall and looked at him. And the horse fell down on his
knees and began to shiver, and you'd think buckets of water were
poured over him. And they led him home, but he was fit for nothing,
and everyone was sorry for the poor man, and him being worth ninety
pounds. And they sent to the Curragh and to every place for vets, but
not one could do anything at all. And at last they sent up in to the
mountains for a faery doctor, and he went into the stable and shut
the door, and whatever he did there no one knows, but when he came
out he said that the horse would get up on the ninth day, and be as
well as ever. And so he did sure enough, but whether he kept well, I
don't know, for the man that owned him sold him the first minute he
could. And they say that while the faery doctor was in the stable,
the woman came to ask what was he doing, and he called from inside,
"Keep her away, keep her away." And a priest had lodgings in the
house at the same time, and when the faery doctor saw him coming,
"Let me out of this," says he, and away with him as fast as he could.
And all this I saw happen, but whether the horse only got a chill or
not I don't know.

_James Mangan:_

My mother learned cures from an Ulster woman, for the Ulster women
are the best for cures; but I don't know the half of them, and what
I know I wouldn't like to be talking about or doing, unless it might
be for my own family. There's a cure she had for the yellow jaundice;
and it's a long way from Ennistymon to Creevagh, but I saw a man come
all that way to her, and he fainted when he sat down in the chair,
he was so far gone. But she gave him a drink of it, and he came in a
second time and she gave it again, and he didn't come a third time
for he didn't want it. But I don't mind if I tell you the cure and it
is this: take a bit of the dirt of a dog that has been eating bones
and meat, and put it on top of an oven till it's as fine as powder
and as white as flour, and then pound it up, and put it in a glass of
whiskey, in a bottle, and if a man is not too far gone with jaundice,
that will cure him.

There was one Carthy at Imlough did great cures with charms and his
son can do them yet. He uses no herbs, but he'll go down on his knees
and he'll say some words into a bit of unsalted butter, and what
words he says, no one knows. There was a big man I know had a sore
on his leg and the doctor couldn't cure him, and Doctor Moran said
a bit of the bone would have to come out. So at last he went to Jim
Carthy and he told him to bring him a bit of unsalted butter the next
Monday, or Thursday, or Saturday, for there's a difference in days.
And he would have to come three times, or if it was a bad case, he'd
have to come nine times.

But I think it was after the third time that he got well, and now he
is one of the head men in Persse's Distillery in Galway.

_A Slieve Echtge Woman:_

The wild parsnip is good for gravel, and for heartbeat there's nothing
so good as dandelion. There was a woman I knew used to boil it down,
and she'd throw out what was left on the grass. And there was a fleet
of turkeys about the house and they used to be picking it up. And at
Christmas they killed one of them, and when it was cut open they found
a new heart growing in it with the dint of the dandelion.

My father went one time to a woman at Ennis, not Biddy Early, but one
of her sort, to ask her about three sheep he had lost.

And she told him the very place they were brought to, a long path
through the stones near Kinvara. And there he found the skins, and he
heard that the man that brought them away had them sold to a butcher in
Loughrea. So he followed him there, and brought the police, and they
found him--a poor looking little man, but he had £60 within in his box.

There was another man up near Ballylee could tell these things too.
When Jack Fahy lost his wool, he went to him, and next morning there
were the fleeces at his door.

Those that are _away_ know these things. There was a brother of my
own took to it for seven years--and we at school. And no one could
beat him at the hurling and the games. But I wouldn't like to be
mixed with that myself.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one Moyra Colum was a great one for doing cures. She was
called one time to see some sick person, and the man that came for
her put her up behind him, on the horse. And some youngsters began
to be humbugging him, and humbugging is always bad. And there was a
young horse in the field where the youngsters were and it began to
gallop, and it fell over a stump and lay on the ground kicking as if
in a fit. And then Moyra Colum said, "Let me get down, for I have
pity for the horse." And she got down and went into the field, and
she picked a blade of a herb and put it to the horse's mouth and in
one minute it got up well.

Another time a woman had a sick cow and she sent her little boy to
Moyra Colum, and she gave him a bottle, and bade him put a drop of
what was in it in the cow's ear. And so he did and in a few minutes
he began to feel a great pain in his foot. So when the mother saw
that, she took the bottle and threw it out into the street and broke
it, and she said, "It's better to lose the cow than to lose my son."
And in the morning the cow was dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

The herbs they cure with, there's some that's natural, and you could
pick them at all times of the day; there's a very good cure for
the yellow jaundice I have myself, and I offered it to a woman in
Ballygrah the other day, but some people are so taken up with pride
and with conceit they won't believe that to cure that sickness you
must take what comes from your own nature. She's dead since of it,
I hear. But I'll tell you the cure, the way you'll know it. If you
are attending a funeral, pick out a few little worms from the earth
that's thrown up out of the grave, few or many, twenty or thirty if
you like. And when you go home, boil them down in a sup of new milk
and let it get cold; and believe me, that will cure the sickness.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's one woman I knew used to take a bit of tape when you'd go to
her, and she'd measure it over her thumb like this; and when she had
it measured she'd know what was the matter with you.

       *       *       *       *       *

For some sicknesses they use herbs that have no natural cure, and
those must be gathered in the morning early. Before twelve o'clock?
No, but before sunrise. And there's a different charm to be said over
each one of them. It is for any sort of pain these are good, such as
a pain in the side. There's the _meena madar_, a nice little planteen
with a nice little blue flowereen above on it, that's used for a
running sore or an evil. And the charm to be said when you're picking
it has in it the name of some old curer or magician, and you can say
that into a bit of tow three times, and put it on the person to be
cured. That is a good charm. You might use that yourself if it was
any one close to you was sick, but for a stranger I'd recommend you
not do it. _They_ know all things and who are using it, and where's
the use of putting yourself in danger?

_James Mangan:_

My mother learned to do a great many cures from a woman from the
North (Note 1) and some I could do myself, but I wouldn't like to be
doing them unless for those that are nearest me; I don't want to be
putting myself in danger.

For a swelling in the throat it's an herb would be used, or for the
evil a poultice you'd make of herbs. But for a pain in the ribs or in
the head, it's a charm you should use, and to whisper it into a bit
of tow, and to put it on the mouth of whoever would have the pain,
and that would take it away. There's a herb called _rif_ in your own
garden is good for cures. And this is a good charm to say in Irish:

          A quiet woman.
          A rough man.
          The Son of God.
          The husk of the flax.

_The Old Man on the Beach:_

In the old times all could do _druith_--like free-masonry--and the
ground was all covered with the likeness of the devil; and with
_druith_ they could do anything, and could put the sea between you
and the road. There's only a few can do it now, but all that live in
the County Down can do it.

_Mrs. Quaid:_

There was a girl in a house near this was pining away, and a travelling
woman came to the house and she told the mother to bring the girl
across to the graveyard that's near the house before sunrise and to
pick some of the grass that's growing over the remains. And so she did,
and the girl got well. But the mother told me that when the woman had
told her that, she vanished away, all in a minute, and was seen no more.

       *       *       *       *       *

I have a charm myself for the headache, I cured many with it. I used to
put on a ribbon from the back of the head over the mouth, and another
from the top of the head under the chin and then to press my hand on
it, and I'd give them great relief and I'd say the charm. But one time
I read in the Scriptures that the use of charms is forbidden, so I had
it on my conscience, and the next time I went to confession I asked
the priest was it any harm for me to use it, and I said it to him in
Irish. And in English it means "Charm of St. Peter, Charm of St. Paul,
an angel brought it from Rome. The similitude of Christ, suffering
death, and all suffering goes with Him and into the flax." And the
priest didn't say if I might use it or not, so I went on with it, for
I didn't like to turn away so many suffering people coming to me.

I know a charm a woman from the North gave to Tom Mangan's mother,
she used to cure ulcers with it and cancers. It was with unsalted
butter it was used, but I don't know what the words were.

_John Phelan:_

If you cut a hazel rod and bring it with you, and turn it round about
now and again, no bad thing can hurt you. And a cure can be made for
bad eyes from the ivy that grows on a white-thorn bush. I know a boy
had an ulcer on his eye and it was cured by that.

_Mrs. Creevy:_

There was Leary's son in Gort had bad eyes and no doctor could cure
him. And one night his mother had a dream that she got up and took
a half-blanket with her, and went away to a blessed well a little
outside Gort, and there she saw a woman dressed all in white, and she
gave her some of the water, and when she brought it to her son he got
well. So the next day she went there and got the water, and after
putting it three times on his eyes, he was as well as ever he was.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman here used to do cures with herbs--a midwife she
was. And if a man went for her in a hurry, and on a horse, and he'd
want her to get up behind him, she'd say, "No," that she was never
on horseback. But no matter how fast he'd go home, there she'd be
close after him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a child was sick and it was known itself wasn't in it. And
a woman told the mother to go to a woman she told her of, and not to
say anything about the child but to say, "The calf is sick" and to
ask for a cure for it. So she did and the woman gave her some herb,
and she gave it to the child and it got well.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man from Cuillean was telling me how two women came from
the County Down in his father's time, mother and daughter, and they
brought two spinning wheels with them, and they used to be in the
house spinning. But the milk went from the cow and they watched and
saw it was through charms. And then all the people brought turf and
made a big fire outside, and stripped the witch and the daughter to
burn them. And when they were brought out to be burned the woman
said, "Bring me out a bit of flax and I'll show you a pishogue." So
they brought out a bit of flax and she made two skeins of it, and
twisted it some way like that (interlacing his fingers) and she put
the two skeins round herself and the daughter, and began to twist it,
and it went up in the air round and round and the two women with it,
and the people all saw them going up, but they couldn't stop them.
The man's own father saw that himself.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman from the County Down was living up on that mountain
beyond one time, and there was a boy in the house next to mine that
had a pain in his heart, and was crying out with the pain of it. And
she came down, and I was in the house myself and I saw her fill the
bowl with oatenmeal, and she tied a cloth over it, and put it on the
hearth. And when she took it off, all the meal was gone out of one
side of the bowl, and she made a cake out of what was left on the
other side, and ate it. And the boy got well.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman in Clifden did many cures and knew everything. And
I knew two boys were sent to her one time, and they had a bottle of
poteen to bring her, but on the road they drank the poteen. But they
got her another bottle before they got to the house, but for all that
she knew well, and told them what they had done.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's some families have a charm in them, and a man of those
families can do cures, just like King's blood used to cure the evil,
but they couldn't teach it to you or to me or another.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a very good charm to stop bleeding; it will stop it in a
minute when nothing else can, and there's one to take bones from the
neck, and one against ulcers.

_Kevin Ralph:_

I went to Macklin near Loughrea myself one time, when I had an ulcer
here in my neck. But when I got to him and asked for the charm, he
answered me in Irish, "The Soggarth said to me, any man that will use
charms to do cures with will be damned." I persuaded him to do it
after, but I never felt that it did me much good. Because he took no
care to do it well after the priest saying that of him. But there's
some will only let it be said in an outhouse if there's a cure to be
done in the house.

_A Woman in County Limerick:_

It is twenty year ago I got a pain in my side, that I could not
stoop; and I tried Siegel's Syrup and a plaster and a black blister
from the doctor, and every sort of thing and they did me no good.
And there came in a man one day, a farmer I knew, and he said, "It's
a fool you are not to go to a woman living within two miles of you
that would cure you--a woman that does charms." So I went to her nine
times, three days I should go and three stop away, and she would
pass her hand over me, and would make me hold on to the branch of
an apple tree up high, that I would hang from it, and she would be
swinging me as you would swing a child. And she laid me on the grass
and passed her hands over me, and what she said over me I don't know.
And at the end of the nine visits I was cured, and the pain left me.
At the time she died I wanted to go lay her out but my husband would
not let me go. He said if I was seen going in, the neighbours would
say she had left me her cures and would be calling me a witch. She
said it was from an old man she got the charm that used to be called
a wizard. My father knew him, and said he could bring away the wheat
and bring it back again, and that he could turn the four winds of
heaven to blow upon your house till they would knock it.

_A Munster Midwife:_

Is it true a part of the pain can be put on the man? It is to be sure,
but it would be the most pity in the world to do it; it is a thing I
never did, for the man would never be the better of it, and it would
not take any of the pain off the woman. And shouldn't we have pity upon
men, that have enough troubles of their own to go through?

_Mrs. Hollaran:_

Did I know the pain could be put on a man? Sure I seen my own mother
that was a midwife do it. He was such a Molly of an old man, and he
had no compassion at all on his wife. He was as if making out she had
no pain at all. So my mother gave her a drink, and with that he was
on the floor and around the floor crying and roaring. "The devil take
you," says he, and the pain upon him; but while he had it, it went
away from his wife. It did him no harm after, and my mother would
not have done it but for him being so covetous. He wanted to make out
that she wasn't sick.

_Mrs. Stephens:_

At childbirth there are some of the old women are able to put a part
of the pain upon the man, or any man. There was a woman in labour
near Oran, and there were two policemen out walking that night, and
one of them went into the house to light his pipe. There were two
or three women in it, and the sick woman stretched beyond them, and
one of them offered him a drink of the tea she had been using, and
he didn't want it but he took a drink of it, and then he took a coal
off the hearth and put it on his pipe to light it and went out to
his comrade. And no sooner was he there than he began to roar and to
catch hold of his belly and he fell down by the roadside roaring. But
the other knew something of what happened, and he took the pipe, and
it having a coal on it, and he put it on top of the wall and fired a
shot of the gun at it and broke it; and with that the man got well of
the pain and stood up again.

       *       *       *       *       *

No woman that is carrying should go to the house where another woman
is in labour; if she does, that woman's pain will come on her along
with her own pain when her time comes.

       *       *       *       *       *

A child to come with the spring tide, it will have luck.


                          ASTRAY, AND TREASURE


                          ASTRAY, AND TREASURE

_Mr. Yeats in his dedication of "The Shadowy Waters" says of some of
our woods:_

          "_Dim Pairc-na-tarav where enchanted eyes
           Have seen immortal mild proud shadows walk;
           Dim Inchy wood that hides badger and fox
           And martin-cat, and borders that old wood
           Wise Biddy Early called the wicked wood._"

_I have heard many stories of people led astray in these by invisible
power, though I myself, although born at midnight, have lived many
hours of many years in their shades and shelters, and as the saying
is have "never seen anything worse than myself."_

_Last May a friend staying with us had gone out early in the
afternoon, and had not come back by eight o'clock dinner-time. As
half-hours passed we grew anxious and sent out messengers riding and
on foot, searching with lanterns here and there in the woods and on
Inchy marsh, towards which he had been seen going. It was not till
long after the fall of darkness that he returned, tired out with so
many hours of wandering, and with no better explanation than "Yeats
talks of the seven woods of Coole, but I say there are seventy times
seven." It was in dim Inchy and the wicked wood it borders he had
gone astray; and many said that was natural, for they have a bad
name, and May is a month of danger. Yet some unbelievers may carry
their credulity so far as to believe that the creator of Father
Keegan's dreams may himself have dreamed the whole adventure._

_I was told by An Army Man who had been through the Indian Mutiny:_

It's only yesterday I was talking to a man about _the others_, and he
told me that the castle of Ballinamantane is a great place for them,
for it's there a great stand was made long ago in one of their last
fights. And one night he was making his way home, and only a field
between him and his house, when he found himself turned around and
brought to another field, and then to another--seven in all. And he
remembered the saying that you should turn your coat and that they'd
have no power over you, and he did so, but it did him no good. For
after that he was taken again, and found himself in the field over
beyond. And he had never a one drop taken, but was quite sober that

What did they do it for? It might be that he had trespassed on one of
their ways; but it's most likely that there was some sort of a rogue
among them that turned and did it for sport.

_Mrs. Cloonan:_

The other evening I was milking the cow over in Inchy, and a
beggar-woman came by, with a sack of potatoes and such things on her
back. She makes her living selling ballads in Gort, and then begging
afterwards. So she sat down beside me, and she said "I don't like to
go on through the wood." So I asked did she ever see anything there.
"I did," says she, "three years ago, one night just where the old
house is the Dooleys used to live in. There came out of the end of it
a woman all in white, and she led me astray all the night, and drove
me that I had no time to turn my clothes--and my feet were black with
the blows she gave me, and though it was three years ago, I feel the
pain in them yet."

_Mrs. Coniffe_ says:

I was in Inchy the other day late, and I met an old beggarman, and
I asked him was he ever led astray there. And he said, "Not in this
wood, but in the wood beyond, Garryland. It was one night I was
passing through it, and met a great lot of them--laughing they were
and running about and drinking wine and wanting me to drink with
them. And they had cars with them, and an old woman sitting on a sort
of an ass-car. And I had a scapular round my neck, and I thought that
would make me independent, but it did not, for it was on the highroad
outside I found myself put at last."

_A Mason:_

My father was led astray one time, when he was coming home from a
neighbour's house, and he was led here and there till he didn't know
what way he was going. And then the moon began to shine out and he
saw his shadow, and another shadow along with it ten feet in length.
So with that he ran, and when he got to the wood of Cloon he fell
down in a faint.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I was led astray one night, going across to a neighbour's
house--just the length of a field away, and where I could find my way
blindfolded. Into the ditch I was led, and to some other field, and I
put my hand to the ground, and it was potato ground, and the drills
made, but the seed not put in. And if it wasn't at last that I saw a
light from Scalp, it's away I'd have been brought altogether.

_John Rivers:_

Once I was led astray in that field and went round and round and
could find no way out--till at last I thought of the old Irish
fashion of turning my waistcoat, and did so. And then I got out the
gate in one minute.

       *       *       *       *       *

And one night I was down at the widow Hayley's--I didn't go much
there--she used to have the place full of loafers, and they playing
cards. But this night I stopped a bit, and then I went out. And the
way I was put I could not say, but I found myself in the field with
an eight-foot wall behind me--and there I had to stop till some of
the men came and found me and brought me out.

_A Girl of the Feeneys:_

One time my brother when he was coming home late one evening was
put asleep in spite of himself, on the grass, at this corner
we're passing. None of the boys like to be coming home late, from
card-playing or the like, unless there's two or three of them
together. And if they go to a wake, they wouldn't for all the world
come home before the cock crows. There were many led astray in that
hollow beyond, where you see the haycocks. Old Tom Stafford was led
astray there by something like a flock of wool that went rolling
before him, and he had no power to turn but should follow it. Michael
Barrett saw the coach one time driving across Kiltartan bog, and it
was seen to many others besides.

As to Michael Barrett, I believe it's mostly in his own head they
are. But I know this that when he pulled down the chimney where he
said that the piper used to be sitting and playing, he lifted out
stones, and he an old man, that I could not have lifted myself when I
was young and healthy.

_A Clare Woman:_

As to treasure, there was a man here dreamt of some buried things--of
a skeleton and a crock of money. So he went to dig, but whether he
dreamed wrong or that he didn't wait for the third dream, I don't
know, but he found the skeleton, skull and all, but when he found
the crock there was nothing in it, but very large snail-shells. So
he threw them out in the grass, and next day when he went to look
at them they were all gone. Surely there's something that's watching
over that treasure under ground.

But it doesn't do to be always looking for money. There was Whaney the
miller, he was always wishing to dream of money like other people. And
so he did one night, that it was hid under the millstone. So before it
was hardly light he went and began to dig and dig, but he never found
the money, but he dug till the mill fell down on himself.

So when any one is covetous the old people say, "Take care would you
be like Whaney the miller."

       *       *       *       *       *

Now I'll tell you a story that's all truth. There was a farmer man
living there beyond over the mountains, and one day a strange man
came in and asked a night's lodging. "Where do you come from?" says
the farmer. "From the county Mayo," says he, and he told how he had a
dream of a bush in this part of the world, and gave a description of
it, and in his dream he saw treasure buried under it. "Then go home,
my poor man," said the farmer, "for there's no such place as that
about here." So the man went back again to Mayo. But the bush was all
the time just at the back of the house, and when the stranger was
gone, the farmer began to dig, and there, sure enough, he found the
pot of gold, and took it for his own use.

But all the children he had turned silly after that; there was one
of them not long ago going about the town with long hair over his

And after that, a poor scholar, such as used to be going about in
those times, came to the house, and when he had sat down, the lid of
the pot the gold was found in was lying by the fire. And he took it
up and rubbed it, and there was writing on it, in Irish, that no one
had ever been able to read. And the poor scholar made it out, "This
side of the bush is no better than the other side." So he went out to
dig, and there he found another pot on the other side just the same
as the first pot and he brought it away with him, and what became of
him after is unknown.

_John Phelan:_

There was a man in Gort, Anthony Hynes, he and two others dreamed of
finding treasure within the church of Kilmacduagh. But when they got
there at night to dig, something kept them back, for there's always
something watching over where treasure is buried. I often heard
that long ago in the nursery at Coole, at the cross, a man that was
digging found a pot of gold. But just as he had the cover took off,
he saw old Richard Gregory coming, and he covered it up, and was
never able again to find the spot where it was.

But there's dreams and dreams. I heard of a man from Mayo went to
Limerick, and walked two or three times across the bridge there. And
a cobbler that was sitting on the bridge took notice of him, and
knew by the look of him and by the clothes he wore that he was from
Mayo, and asked him what was he looking for. And he said he had a
dream that under the bridge of Limerick he'd find treasure. "Well,"
says the cobbler, "I had a dream myself about finding treasure, but
in another sort of a place than this." And he described the place
where he dreamed it was, and where was that, but in the Mayo man's
own garden. So he went home again, and sure enough, there he found a
pot of gold with no end of riches in it. But I never heard that the
cobbler found anything under the bridge at Limerick.

       *       *       *       *       *

I met a woman coming out one day from Cloon, and she told me that
when she was a young girl, she went out one day with another girl to
pick up sticks near a wood. And she chanced to lay hold on a tuft
of grass, and it came up in her hand and the sod with it. And there
was a hole underneath full of half-crowns, and she began to fill her
apron with them, and as soon as she had the full of her apron she
called to the other girl, and the minute she came there wasn't one to
be seen. But what she had in her apron she kept.

_A Travelling Man:_

There was a sister of mine, Bridget her name was, dreamed three
nights of treasure that was buried under the bush up there, by
the chapel, a mile to the east; you can see the bush there, blown
slantwise by the wind from the sea. So she got three men to go along
with her and they brought shovels to dig for it. But it was the woman
should have lifted the first sod and she didn't do it, and they saw,
coming down from the mountains of Burren, horses and horses, bearing
horse-soldiers on them, and they came around the bush, and the
soldiers held up their shovels, and my sister and the men that were
with her made away across the field.

The time I was in America, I went out to the country to see Tom
Scanlon, my cousin, that is a farmer there and had any amount of land
and feeding for the cows, and we went out of the house and sat down
on a patch of grass the same as we're sitting on now. And the first
word he said to me was, "Did Bridget, your sister, ever tell you of
the dream she had, and the way we went digging at the bush, for I was
one of the men that was along with her?" "She did often," says I.
"Well," says he, "all she told you about it was true."

       *       *       *       *       *

There were two boys digging for razor fish near Clarenbridge, and
one of them saw, as he was digging, a great lot of gold. So he said
nothing, the way the other boy would know nothing about it. But when
he came back for it it was gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was another boy found gold under a flagstone he lifted. But
when he went back next day to get it, all the strength he had
wouldn't lift the flag.

_The Army Man:_

There was a forth sometime or other there inside the gate, and one
Kelly told me that he was coming by it one night and saw all the hollow
spread with gold, and he had not the sense to take it up, but ran away.

       *       *       *       *       *

A friend I had near Athenry had more sense. He saw the ground spread
with gold and he took up the full of his pockets and paid his rent next
day and prospered ever after, as everyone does that gets the faery gold.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another man I knew of had a dream of a place where there was three
crocks of gold. And in the morning he went to dig and found the
crocks sure enough, and nothing in them but oyster shells. That was
because he went to dig after the first dream. He had a right to wait
till he had dreamed of it three times.

       *       *       *       *       *

A girl the same way dreamt of gold hid in a rock and did not wait for
the third dream, but went at once, and all she found was the full of an
ass-cart near of sewing needles, and that was a queer thing to find in
a rock. No, they don't always hinder you, they help you now and again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a working man used to be digging potatoes for me, and
whenever he was in want of money, he found it laid on his window-sill
in the night. But one day he had a drop of drink taken, he told
about it, and never a penny more did he find after that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sure, there's an old castle beyond Gort, Fiddane it's called, and
there you'd see the gold out bleaching, but no one would like to go
and take it. And my mother told me one time that a woman went up in
the field beyond where the liss is, to milk the cow, and there she
saw on the grass a crock full of gold. So she left the bit she had
for holding the cow beside it, and she ran back to the house for to
tell them all to come out and see it. But when they came the gold was
nowhere to be seen, but had vanished away. But in every part of the
field there was a bit of rope like the one she left beside the crock,
so that she couldn't know what spot it was in at all.

She had a right to have taken it, and told no one. They don't like to
have such things told.

_Mrs. Coniffe:_

That bush you took notice of, the boy told me that it is St.
Bridget's bush, and there is a great lot of money buried under it;
they know this from an old woman that used to be here a long time
ago. Three men went one time to dig for it and they dug and dug all
the day and found nothing and they went home and to bed. And in the
night whatever it was came to them, they never got the better of
it, but died within a week. And you'd be sorry to see--as the boy
did--the three coffins carried out of the three houses. And since
then no other person has ever gone to look for the money.

That's no wonder for you to know a faery bush. It grows a different
shape from a common one, and looks different someway.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to hidden gold, I knew a man, Patrick Connell, dreamed he found it
beneath a bush. But he wasn't willing to go look for it, and his sons
and his friends were always at him to tell where it was, but he would
tell them nothing. But at last his sons one day persuaded him to go
with them and to dig for it. So they took their car, and they set
out. But when they came to a part of the road where there's a small
little ditch about a foot wide beside it, he was walking and he put
his foot in it and they had to bring him home, for his leg was broke.
So there was no more digging for treasure after that.

_A Neighbour:_

There's crocks of gold in all the forths, but there's cats and things
guarding them. And if any one does find the gold, he doesn't live
long afterwards. But sometimes you might see it and think that it was
only a heap of dung. It's best to leave such things alone.


                         BANSHEES AND WARNINGS


                         BANSHEES AND WARNINGS

"_Then Cuchulain went on his way, and Cathbad that had followed him
went with him. And presently they came to a ford, and there they
saw a young girl, thin and white-skinned and having yellow hair,
washing and ever washing, and wringing out clothing that was stained
crimson red, and she crying and keening all the time. 'Little Hound,'
said Cathbad, 'Do you see what it is that young girl is doing?
It is your red clothes she is washing, and crying as she washes,
because she knows you are going to your death against Maeve's great
army.'_"--"Cuchulain of Muirthemne."

       *       *       *       *       *

_From Cuchulain's day, or it may be from a yet earlier time, that
keening woman of the Sidhe has been heard giving her lamentable
warning for those who are about to die. Rachel had not yet been heard
mourning for her children when the white-skinned girl whose keening
has never ceased in Ireland washed red clothes at the ford. It was
she or one of her race who told King Brian he was going to meet his
death at Clontarf; though after the defeat of the old gods that
warning had often been sent by a more radiant messenger, as when
Columcille at the dawn of the feast of Pentecost "lifted his eyes and
saw a great brightness and an angel of God waiting there above him."
And Patrick himself had his warning through his angel, Victor, who
met him on the road at midday and bade him go back to the barn where
he had lodged the night before, for it was there he had to die. Such
a messenger may have been at hand at the death of that Irish born
mystic, William Blake, when he "burst out into singing of the things
he saw in Heaven, and made the rafters ring." And a few years ago
the woman of a thatched house at the foot of Echtge told me "There
were great wonders done in the old times; and when my father that
worked in the garden there above was dying, there came of a sudden
three flashes of light into the room, the brightest light that ever
was seen in the world; and there was an old man in the room, one
Ruane, and I leaned back on him for I had like to faint. And people
coming the road saw the light, and up at Mick Inerney's house they
all called out that our house was in flames. And when they came and
heard of the three flashes of light coming into the room and about
the bed they all said it was the angels that were his friends that
had come to meet him." When Raftery died, the blind poet who wandered
through our townlands a hundred years ago, some say there were flames
about the house all through the night, "and those were the angels
waking him." Yet his warning had not been sent through these white
messengers but through a vision that had come to him once in Galway,
when Death himself had appeared "thin, miserable, sad and sorrowful;
the shadow of night upon his face, the tracks of the tears down his
cheeks" and had told him he had but seven years to live. And though
Raftery spoke back to him in scornful verse, there are some who say
he spent those last seven years in praying and in making his songs
of religion. To some it is a shadow that brings the warning, or a
noise of knocking or a dream. At the hour of a violent death nature
itself will show sympathy; I have been told on a gloomy day that it
had darkened because there was a man being hanged; and a woman who
had travelled told me that once at Bundoran she had "seen the waves
roaring and turning" and she knew later it was because at that very
time two young girls had been drowned._

_I was told by Steve Simon:_

I will tell you what I saw the night my wife died. I attended the
neighbours up to the road, for they had come to see her, but she said
there was no fear of her, and she would not let them stop because she
knew that they were up at a wake the night before.

So when I left them I was going back to the house, and I saw the
shadow of my wife on the road before me, and it was as white as
drifted snow. And when I came into the house, there she was dying.

_Mrs. Curran:_

My cousin Mary that lives in the village beyond told me that she was
coming home yesterday week along the road, and she is a girl would
not be afraid to walk the whole world with herself. And it was late,
and suddenly there was a man walking beside her, inside the field, on
the other side of the wall.

And at first she was frightened, but then she felt sure it was her
cousin John that was dying, and then she wasn't afraid, for she knew
her cousin would do her no harm. And after a while he was gone, and
when she got near home and saw the lights she was frightened, and
when she got into the house she was in a sort of a faint. And next
day, this day week, her cousin was dead.

_Old Simon:_

I heard the Banshee crying not long ago, and within three days a boy
of the Murphy's was killed by his own horse and he bringing his cart
to Kinvara. And I heard it again a few nights ago, but I heard of no
death since then. What is the Banshee? It is of the nature of the
Hyneses. Six families it cries for, the Hyneses and the Fahys and I
forget what are the others.

       *       *       *       *       *

I heard her beside the river at Ballylee one time. I would stand
barefooted in the snow listening to the tune she had, so nice and so
calm and so mournful.

       *       *       *       *       *

I would yield to dreams because of some things were dreamed to me
in my lifetime and that turned out true. I dreamed one time that I
saw my daughter that was in America dead, and stretched and a table
laid out with the corpse. She came home after, and at the end of five
months she wasted and died. And there I saw her stretched as in the
dream, and it was on my own table.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was walking the road and I heard a great crying and
keening beside me, a woman that was keening, and she conveyed me
three miles of the road. And when I got to the door of the house I
looked down and saw a little woman, very broad and broad faced--about
the bigness of the seat of that table--and a cloak about her. I
called out to her that was my first wife--the Lord be with her--and
she lighted a candle and I came in weak and lay upon the floor, and I
was till 12 o'clock that night lying in the bed.

A man I was talking to said it was the Banshee, and it cries for
three families, the Fahys and the O'Briens and another I forget
which. My grandmother was a Fahy, and I suppose, father or mother, it
follows the generations. I heard it another time and my daughter from
America coming into the house that night. It was the most mournful
thing ever you heard, keening about the house for the same term as
before, till 12 o'clock of night. And within five months my daughter
from America was dead.

_John Cloran:_

There was a man near us that was ploughing a field, and he found an
iron box, and they say there was in it a very old Irish book with all
the knowledge of the world in it. Anyway, there's no question you
could ask him he couldn't answer. And what he says of the Banshee is,
that it's Rachel mourning still for every innocent of the earth that
is going to die, like as she did for our Lord when the king had like
to kill Him. But it's only for them that's sprung from her own tribe
that she'll raise her voice.

_Mrs. Smith:_

As for the Banshee, where she stops is in the old castle of
Esserkelly on the Roxborough estate. Many a one has seen her there
and heard her wailing, wailing, and she with a red petticoat put
about her head. There was a family of the name of Fox in Moneen, and
never one of that family died but she'd be heard keening them.

_The Spinning Woman:_

The Banshee is all I ever saw myself. It was when I was a slip of a
girl picking potatoes along with the other girls, we heard crying,
crying, in the graveyard beyond at Ryanrush, so we ran like foals to
see who was being buried, and I was the first, and leaped up on the
wall. And there she was and gave me a slap on the jaw, and she just
like a countrywoman with a red petticoat. Often they hear her crying
if any one is going to die in the village.

_A Seaside Woman:_

One time there was a man in the village was dying and I stood at the
door in the evening, and I heard a crying--the grandest cry ever you
heard--and I said "Glynn's after dying and they're crying him." And
they all came to the door and heard it. But my mother went out after
that and found him gasping still.

Sure enough it was the Banshee we heard that evening.

And out there where the turf-boat is lying with its sail down,
outside Aughanish, there the Banshee does always be crying, crying,
for some that went down there some time.

       *       *       *       *       *

At Fiddoon that strip of land between Tyrone and Duras something
appears and cries for a month before any one dies. A great many are
taken away sudden there; and they say that it's because of that thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Banshee cries every time one of the Sionnacs dies. And when the
old Captain died, the crows all left the place within two days, and
never came back for a year.

_A Connemara Woman:_

There was a boy from Kylemore I met in America used to be able to
tell fortunes. He used to be telling them when the work would be
done, and we would be having afternoon tea. He told me one time I
would soon be at a burying, and it would be a baby's burying, and I
laughed at that. But sure enough, my sister's baby, that was not born
at the time, died about a month after, and I went to its burying.

_A Herd:_

Crying for those that are going to die you'd hear of often enough.
And when my own wife was dying, the night she went I was sitting by
the fire, and I heard a noise like the blow of a flail on the door
outside. And I went to see what it was, but there was nothing there.
But I was not in any way frightened, and wouldn't be if she came back
in a vision, but glad to see her I would be.

_A Miller:_

There was a man that was out in the field and a flock of stares
(starlings) came about his head, and it wasn't long after that he died.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's many say they saw the Banshee, and that if she heard you
singing loud she'd be very apt to bring you away with her.

_A Connemara Woman:_

One night the clock in my room struck six and it had not struck for
years, and two nights after--on Christmas night--it struck six again,
and afterwards I heard that my sister in America had died just at
that hour. So now I have taken the weights off the clock, that I
wouldn't hear it again.

_Mrs. Huntley:_

It was always said that when a Lord ---- died, a fox was seen about the
house. When the last Lord ---- lay dying, his daughter heard a noise
outside the house one night, and opened the hall-door, and then she
saw a great number of foxes lying on the steps and barking and running
about. And the next morning there was a meet at some distant covert--it
had been changed there from hard by where it was to have taken place
on account of his illness--and there was not a single fox to be found
there or in any other covert. And that day he died.

_J. Hanlon:_

There was one Costello used to be ringing the bell and pumping water
and such things at Roxborough, and one day he was at the fair of
Loughrea. And as he started home he sent word to my grandfather "Come
to the corner of the old castle and you'll find me dead." So he set
out, and when he got to the corner of the castle, there was Costello
lying dead before him.

       *       *       *       *       *

And once going to a neighbour's house to see a little girl, I saw her
running along the path before me. But when I got to the house she was
in bed sick, and died two days after.

_Pat. Linskey:_

Well, the time my own wife died I had sent her into _Cloon_ to get
some things from the market, and I was alone in the house with the
dog. And what do you think but he started up and went out to the hill
outside the house, and there he stood a while howling, and it was
the very next day my wife died.

Another time I had shut the house door at night and fastened it, and
in the morning it was standing wide open. And as I knew by the dates
afterwards that was the very night my brother died in India.

Sure I told Stephen Green that, when he buried his mother in England,
and his father lying in Kilmacduagh. "You should never separate,"
says I, "in death a couple that were together in life, for sure as
fate, the one'll come to look for the other."

And when there's one of them passing in the air you might get a blast
of holy wind you wouldn't be the better of for a long time.

_Mrs. Curran:_

I was in Galway yesterday, and I was told there that the night before
those four poor boys were drowned, there were four women heard crying
out on the rocks. Those that saw them say that they were young, and
they were out of this world. And one of those boys was out at sea all
day, the day before he was drowned. And when he came in to Galway in
the evening, some boy said to him "I saw you today standing up on the
high bridge." And he was afraid and he told his mother and said "Why
did they see me on the high bridge and I out at sea?" And the next
day he was drowned. And some say there was not much at all to drown
them that day.

_A Man near Athenry:_

There is often crying heard before a death, and in that field beside
us the sound of washing clothes with a beetle is sometimes heard
before a death.

I heard crying in that field near the forth one night, and not long
after the man it belonged to died.

_An Aran Man:_

I remember one morning, St. Bridget's Eve, my son-in-law came into
the house, where he had been up that little road you see above. And
the wife asked him did he see any one, and he said "I saw Shamus
Meagher driving cattle." And the wife said, "You couldn't see him,
for he's out laying spillets since daybreak with two other men." And
he said, "But I did see him, and I could have spoke with him." And
the next day--St. Bridget's Day--there was confessions in the little
chapel below and I was in it, and Shamus Meagher, and it was he that
was kneeling next to me at the Communion. But the next morning he
and two other men that had set the spillets went on in their canoe
to Kilronan for salt, for they had come short of salt and had a good
deal of fish taken. And that day the canoe was upset, and the three
of them were drowned.

_A Piper:_

My father and my mother were in the bed one night and they heard a
great lowing and a noise of the cattle fighting one another, that
they thought they were all killed, and they went out and they were
quiet then. But they went on to the next house where they heard a
lowing, and all the cattle of that house were fighting one another,
and so it was at the next. And in the morning a child, one Gannon,
was dead--or taken he was.

_An Old Man in Aran:_

When I was in the State of Maine, I knew a woman from the County
Cork, and she had a little girl sick. And one day she went out behind
the house and there she saw the fields full of _those_--full of them.
And the little girl died.

And when I was in the same State, I was in the house where there
was a child sick. And one night I heard a noise outside, as if of
hammering. And I went out and I thought it came from another house
that was close by that no one lived in, and I went and tried the door
but it was shut up.

And I went back and said to the woman, "This is the last night you'll
have to watch the child." And at 12 o'clock the next evening it died.

       *       *       *       *       *

They took my hat from me one time. One morning just at sunrise I was
going down to the sea, and a little storm came, and took my hat off
and brought it a good way, and then it brought it back and returned
it to me again.

_An Old Midwife:_

I do be dreaming, dreaming. I dreamt one night I was with my daughter
and that she was dead and put in the coffin. And I heard after, the
time I dreamt about her was the very time she died.

_A Woman near Loughrea:_

There are houses in Cloon, and Geary's is one of them, where if the
people sit up too late the warning comes; it comes as a knocking at
the door. Eleven o'clock, that is the hour. It is likely it is some
that lived in the house are wanting it for themselves at that time.
And there is a house near the Darcys' where as soon as the potatoes
are strained from the pot, they must put a plateful ready and leave
it for the night, and milk and the fire on the hearth, and there is
not a bit left at morning. Some poor souls that come in, looking for
warmth and for food.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a woman seen often before a death sitting by the river and
racking her hair, and she has a beetle with her and she takes it and
beetles clothes in the river. And she cries like any good crier; you
would be sorry to be listening to her.

_Old King:_

I heard the Banshee and saw her. I and six others were card playing in
the kitchen at the big house, that is sunk into the ground, and I saw
her up outside of the window. She had a white dress and it was as if
held over her face. They all looked up and saw it, and they were all
afraid and went back but myself. Then I heard a cry that did not seem
to come from her but from a good way off, and then it seemed to come
from herself. She made no attempt to twist a mournful cry but all she
said was, "Oh-oh, Oh-oh," but it was as mournful as the oldest of the
old women could make it, that was best at crying the dead.

Old Mr. Sionnac was at Lisdoonvarna at that time, and he came home a
few days after and took to the bed and died. It is always the Banshee
has followed the Sionnacs and cried them.

_Mrs. King:_

There was a boy of the Naughtons died not far from this, a fine young
man. And I set out to go to the burying, and Mrs. Burke along with
me. But when we came to the gate we could hear crying for the dead,
and I said "It's as good for us wait where we are, for they have
brought the corp out and are crying him." So we waited a while and
no one came, and so we went on to the house, and we had two hours to
wait before they brought out the corp for the burying, and there had
been no crying at all till he was brought out. We knew then who it
was crying, for if the boy was a Naughton, it is in a house of the
Kearns he died, and the Banshee always cries for the Kearns.

_A Doctor:_

There's a boy I'm attending now, and the first time I went to him,
the mother came out of the house with me and said "It's no use to do
anything for him, I'm going to lose him." And I asked her why did she
say that, and she said "Because the first night he took ill I heard
the sound of a chair drawing over to the fire in the kitchen, and it
empty, and it was the faeries were coming for him." The boy wouldn't
have had much wrong with him, but his brother had died of phthisis,
and when he got a cold he made sure he would die too, and he took to
the bed. And every day his mother would go in and cry for an hour
over him, and then he'd cry and then the father would cry, and he'd
say "Oh, how can I leave my father and my mother! Who will there be
to mind them when I'm gone?" One time he was getting a little better
they sent him over on a message to Scahanagh, and there's a man there
called Shanny that makes coffins for the people. And the boy saw
Shanny looking at him, and he left his message undone and ran home
and cried out "Oh, I'm done for now! Shanny was looking at me to see
what size coffin I'd take!" And he cried and they all cried and all
the village came in to see what was the matter.

_The Old Army man:_

As to the invisible world, I hear enough about it, but I have seen
but little myself. One night when I was at Calcutta I heard that
one Connor was dead--a man that I had been friendly with--so I went
to the house. There was a good many of us there, and when it came to
just before midnight, I heard a great silence fall, and I looked from
one to another to see the silence. And then there came a knock at
the window, just as the clock was striking twelve. And Connor's wife
said, "It was just at this hour last night there came a knock like
that and immediately afterwards he died." And the strange thing is,
it was a barrack-room and on the second story, so that no one could
reach it from the street.

       *       *       *       *       *

In India, before Delhi, there was an officer's servant lodged in the
same house as me, and was thrown out of his cot every night. And as
sure as midnight came, the dogs couldn't stop outside but would come
shrinking and howling into the house. Yes indeed, I believe the faeries
are in all countries, all over the world; but the banshee is only in
Ireland, though sometimes in India I would think of her when I'd hear
the hyenas laughing. Keening, keening, you can hear her, but only for
the old Irish families, but she'll follow them even as far as Dublin.


                               IN THE WAY


                               IN THE WAY

_An old Athenry man who had been as a soldier all through the Indian
Mutiny and had come back to end his days here as a farmer said to me
in speaking of "The Others" and those who may be among them: "There's
some places of their own we should never touch such as the forths; and
if ever we cross their pathways we're like to know it soon enough, for
some ill turn they'll do us, and then we must draw back out of their
way.... And we should above all things leave the house clean at night,
with nothing about that would offend them. For we must all die some
day, but God knows we're not all fit for heaven just on the minute; and
what the intermediate state may be, or what friends we may want there,
I don't know. No one has come back to tell us that."_

_I was told by John Donovan:_

Before I came here I was for two years in a house outside Cloon. And
no one that lived there ever prospered but all they did went to loss.
I sowed seeds and put in the crop each year, and if I'd stopped there
I wouldn't have had enough to keep trousers to my back. _In the way_
the place must be. I had no disturbance in the house, but some nights
I could hear the barrel rolling outside the door, back and forwards,
with a sort of a warning to me.

I knew another house in Clare where the front door is always shut up
and they only use the back door, but when I asked them the reason
they said if they opened the front door a sudden blast would come in,
that would take the roof off the house. And there's another house in
Clare built in a forth, a new one, shut up and the windows closed,
for no one can live in it.

_Andrew Lee:_

"In the way?" Yes that's a thing that often happens. Sure going into
Clough, you might see a house that no man ever yet kept a roof on.
Surely it's in the way of their coming and going. And Doctor Nolan's
father began to build a barn one time, and whatever was built in the
day, in the night it would be pulled down, so at last they gave over.
It was only labour and wages wasted.

_Mrs. Cloran:_

No, I never heard or felt anything since I came here. The old people
used to tell many things, they know more than what the youngsters do.
My mother saw many a thing, but they did her no harm. No, I remember
none of the stories; since my children died and a weight came on my
heart all those things went from me. Yes, it's true Father Boyle
banished the dog; and there was a cousin of my own used to live in
the house at Garryland, and she could get no sleep for what she used
to feel at night. But Father Boyle came and whatever he did, "You'll
feel them no more," says he, and she never did, though he was buried
before her.

That was a bad, bad place we lived in near the sea. The children
never felt anything, but often in the night I could hear music
playing and no one else in the house could hear it. But the children
died one by one, passing away without pain or ache.

All they saw was twice; the two last little girls I had were beside
the door at night talking and laughing and they saw a big dark man
pass by, but he never spoke. Some old thing out of the walls he must
have been. And soon after that they died.

One time when I was there a strange woman came in, and she knew
everything and told me everything. "I'd give you money if I had it,"
said I. "I know well you haven't much of it," says she; "but take my
word and go away out of this house to some other place, for you're
_in the way_." She told me to tell no one she came, and that shows
there was something not right about her; and I never saw her any more.

But if I'd listened to her then, and if I knew then what she meant
by the house being _in the way_ I wouldn't have stopped in it, and
my seven fine children would be with me now. Took away they were by
_them_ and without ache or pain. I never had a sign or a vision from
them since, but often and often they come across me in my sleep.

_Her Husband:_

The woman that came to give my wife the warning, I didn't see her,
and she knew all that was in the house and all about me and what
money I had, and that I would grow very poor. And she said that
before I'd die, I'd go to the strand and come back again. And we
couldn't know what she meant, and we thought it must mean that I'd go
to America. But we knew it at last. For one day I was washing sheep
down at Cahirglissane, and there is said to be the deepest water in
the world in one part of that lake. And as I was standing by it, a
sheep made a run and went between my two legs, and threw me into the
water, and I not able to swim. And I was brought on the top of the
water safe and sound to land again; and I knew well who it was helped
me, and saved my life. She that had come before to give advice that
would save my children, it's she that was my friend over there. To
say a Mass in the house? No use at all that would have been, living
in the place we did.

       *       *       *       *       *

But they're mostly good neighbours. There was a woman they used to
help, one of them used to come and help her to clean the house, but
she never came when the husband was there. And one day she came and
said they were going to move now, to near Clifden. And she bid the
woman follow them, and whenever she'd come to a briar turned down,
with a thorn stuck in the earth, to build a house there.

_A Travelling Man:_

I was sleeping at a house one time and _they_ came in--the fallen
angels. They were pulling the clothes off me, ten times they did
that, and they were laughing like geese--just the very sound of
geese--and their boots were too large for their feet and were
clapping, clapping on the floor. I suppose they didn't like me to be
in it, or that the house was built in one of their passages.

My father was driven out of the little garden house at Castleboy one
time he went to sleep in it. In the way, I suppose it must have been.

And I knew of a herd's house, where five or six herds went one after
another and every one of them died, and their dogs and their cow. And
the gentleman that owned the place came to ask another one to go in
it, and his wife said she wouldn't go, for there was some bad luck
about it. But she went after, and she was a very clean woman, not
like some of them that do have the house dirty. Well, one day a woman
came to the door and asked for a dish of oaten meal, and she took
it from the shelf, and gave it to her. "I'll bring it back to you
tomorrow," says she, "it'll be easy getting it then when it's market
day." "Do not," says the woman of the house, "for if you do I won't
take it." "Well," says the stranger, "you'll have luck after this;
only one thing I tell you, keep that door at the back shut, and if
you want any opening there, let you open the window." Well, so she
did, and by minding that rule, and keeping the house so clean, she
was never troubled but lived there all her life.

_An Island Woman:_

There are some houses that never bring luck. There is one over there,
out of this village, and two or three died in it, and one night it
blazed up and burned down, those that were out in the fishing boats
could see it, but it was never known how it happened.

There was a house over in the other village and a woman living in it
that had two forths of land. And she had clever children, but the
most of them died one after another, boys and girls, and then the
husband died. And after that one of the boys that had died came to
her and said "You'd best leave this house or you'll be as we are,
and we are all now living in the Black Rock at the gable end of the
house. And two of the McDaraghs are with us there."

So after that she left the house--you can cut grass now in the
place where it was, and it's green all through the summer and the
winter--and she went up to the north side and she married a young man
up there, for she was counted a rich woman. She had but two daughters
left, and one of them was married, and there was a match to be made
for the other, but the stepfather wouldn't allow her to give any of
the land to her, so she said she'd go to America, and the priest drew
up a stamped paper for her, that they'd keep a portion of money for
her every year till she'd come back. It wasn't long after that the
stepfather was out in one of the fields one day and two men came and
knocked him down and gave him a beating. And it was his belief it was
the father of the girl and one of the brothers that came to beat him.

And one of the neighbours that went to the house one night saw one
of the brothers standing at the window, plump and plain. And a first
cousin of theirs--a Donovan--was near the Black Rock one night, and
he saw them playing ball there, the whole of them that had gone, and
others with them. And when they saw him they whistled to make fun of
him, and he went away.

The stepfather died after that, and the woman herself died, and was
buried a week yesterday. And she had one son by the second husband and
he was always silly-like, and the night she died he went into the room
where she was, to the other side of the bed, and he called out, and
then he came out walking crooked, and his face drawn up on one side;
and so he is since, and a neighbour taking care of him. And you'd
hardly mind what a poor silly creature like him would say, but what he
says is that it was some of the boys that were gone that were in it.
And now there's no one to take up the land that so many were after; the
girl in America wouldn't for all the world come back to that place.


                      THE FIGHTING OF THE FRIENDS


                      THE FIGHTING OF THE FRIENDS

_"One time on Hy, one Brito of Columcille's brotherhood was dying,
and Columcille gave him his blessing but would not see him die,
and went out into the little court of the house. And he had hardly
gone out when the life went from Brito. And Columcille was out in
the little court, and one of the monks saw him looking upward, and
wonder on him, and he asked what was it he saw. And Columcille said,
'I have seen just at this moment the holy angels fighting in the air
against the power of the enemy, and I gave thanks to Christ, the
Judge, because the winning angels have carried to heaven the soul
of this stranger that is the first to have died among us in this
island. And do not tell his secret to any person in my lifetime,' he
said."_--"Saints and Wonders."

       *       *       *       *       *

_"With that King Arthur entereth into a great forest adventurous, and
rideth the day long until he cometh about evensong into the thick of
the forest. And he espied a little house beside a little chapel, and
it well seemed to him to be a hermitage.... And it seemed to him that
there was a strife in the chapel. The ones were weeping so tenderly
and sweetly as it were angels, and the others spake so harshly as
it were fiends.... The voices ceased as soon as he was within. He
marvelleth how it came that this house and hermitage were solitary,
and what had become of the hermit that dwelt therein. He drew nigh
the altar of the chapel, and beheld in front thereof a coffin all
discovered, and he saw the hermit lying therein all clad in his
vestments, and his hands crossed upon his breast, and he had life in
him yet, but he was nigh his end, being at the point of death.... The
King departed and so returned back into the little house, and sate
him down on a seat whereon the hermit wont to sit. And he heareth
the strife and the noise begin again within the chapel, and the ones
he heareth speaking high and the others low, and he knoweth well by
the voices that the ones are angels and the others devils. And he
heareth that the devils are distraining on the hermit's soul, and
that judgment will presently be given in their favour, whereof make
they great joy. King Arthur is grieved in his heart when he heareth
that the angels' voices are stilled. And while he sitteth thus,
stooping his head toward the ground, full of vexation and discontent,
he heareth in the chapel the voice of a Lady that spake so sweet
and clear that no man in this earthly world, were his grief and
heaviness never so sore, but and he had heard the sweet voice of her
pleading would again have been in joy.... The devils go their way all
discomfit and aggrieved; and the sweet Mother of our Lord God taketh
the soul of the hermit.... And the angels take it and begin to sing
for joy 'Te Deum Laudamus.' And the Holy Lady leadeth them and goeth
her way along with them."_--"The High History of the Holy Grail."
Translated by Sebastian Evans.

       *       *       *       *       *

_Before I had read this old story from "The High History of the Holy
Grail" I had heard on our own roads of the fighting at the hour of
death, and how the friends of the dying among the dead come and use
their strength on his side, and I had been shown here and there a house
where such a fight had taken place. In the old days it was a king or
saint who saw and heard this unearthly battle; but now it is not those
who live in palaces who are aware of it, and it is not around the roof
of a fair chapel the hosts of good and evil gather in combat for the
parting soul, but around the thatched and broken roof of the poor._

_I was told by An Islander:_

There are more of the Sheogue in America than what there are here, and
more of other sort of spirits. There was a man from there told me that
one night in America he had brought his wife's niece that was sick back
from the hospital, and had put her in an upper room. And in the evening
they heard a scream from her and she called out "The room is full of
them, and my father is with them, and my aunt." And he drove them away
and used the devil's name and cursed them. And she was left quiet that
night, but the next day she said "I'll be destroyed altogether tonight
with them." And he said he'd keep them out, and he locked the door of
the house. And towards midnight he heard them coming to the door and
trying to get in, but he kept it locked and he called to them by way
of the keyhole to keep away out of that. And there was talking among
them, and the girl that was upstairs said that she could hear the laugh
of her father and of her aunt. And they heard the greatest fighting
among them that ever was, and after that they went away, and the girl
got well. That's what often happens, crying and fighting for one that's
sick or going to die.

_Mrs. Meagher:_

There was an old woman the other day was telling me of a little girl
that was put to bake a cake, for her mother was sick in the room. And
when she turned away her head for a minute the cake was gone. And
that happened the second day and the third, and the mother was vexed
when she heard it, thinking some of the neighbours had come and taken
it away.

But the next day an old man appeared, and she knew he was the
grandfather, and he said "It's by me the cake was taken, for I was
watching the house these three nights when I knew there was some one
sick in it. And you never heard such a fight as there was for her last
night, and they would have brought her away but for me that had my
shoulder to the door." And the woman began to recover from that time.

_Tom Smith:_

There does often be fighting when a person is dying. John Madden's
wife that lived in this house before I came to it, the night she died
there was a noise heard, that all the village thought that every wall
of every garden round about was falling down. But in the morning
there was no sign of any of them being fallen.

And Hannay that lived at Cahir, the bonesetter, when I went to him
one time told me that one night late he was walking the road near
Ardrahan. And they heard a great noise of fighting in the castle he
was passing by, and no one living in it and it open to the sky. And
he turned in and was going up the stairs, and a lady in a white dress
stopped him and wouldn't let him pass up. But the next day he went to
look and he found the floor all covered with blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

And before John Casey's death, John Leeson asked me one day were we
fighting down at our place, for he heard a great noise of fighting
the night before.

_A Farmer:_

As to fighting for those that are dying, I'd believe in that. There was
a girl died not far from here, and the night of her death there was
heard in the air the sound of an army marching, and the drums beating,
and it stopped over the house where she was lying sick. And they could
see no one, but could hear the drums and the marching plain enough, and
there were like little flames of lightning playing about it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Did they fight for Johnny Casey? No, believe me it's not among the
faeries Johnny Casey is. Too old he is for them to want him among
them, and too cranky.

       *       *       *       *       *

I would hardly believe they'd take the old, but we can't know what they
might want of them. And it's well to have a friend among them, and
it's always said you have no right to fret if your children die, for
it's well to have them there before you. And when a person is dying the
friends and the others will often come about the house and will give a
great challenge for him. They don't want cross people, and they won't
take you if you say so much as one cross word. It's only the good and
the pious they want. Now isn't that very good of them?


There was a young man I knew died, a fine young man, twenty-five
years of age. He was seven or eight days ill, and the night he died
they could hear fighting around the house, and they heard voices but
they couldn't know what they were saying. And in the morning the
ground was all covered with blood.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Connors the young policeman died, sure the mother said she never
heard such fighting as went on within the house. And there was blood
splashed high up on the walls. They never let on how he got the
touch, but I suppose they knew it themselves.

_A Gatekeeper:_

There was a girl near Westport was _away_, and the way it came on her
was, she was on the road one day and two men passed her, and one of
them said, "That's a fine girl," and the other said, "She belongs to
my town," and there and then she got a pain in her knee, and couldn't
walk home but had to be brought in a car. And she used to be away at
night, and thorns in her feet in the morning, but she never said where
she went. But one time the sister brought her to Kilfenora, and when
they were crossing a bog near to there, she pointed out a house in the
bog, and she said "It's there I was last night." And the sister asked
did she know any one she saw in it, and she said "There was one I know,
that is my mother's cousin," and she told her name. And she said "But
for her they'd have me ill-treated, but she fought for me and saved
me." She was thought to be dying one time and given over, and my mother
sent me to see her, and how was she. And she was lying on the bed and
her eyes turned back, and she speechless, and I told my mother when I
came home she hadn't an hour to live. And the next day she was up and
about and not a thing on her. It might be the mother's cousin that
fought for her again there. She went to America after.

_An Aran Woman:_

There's often fighting heard about the house where one is sick, that
is what we call "the fighting of the friends" for we believe it is
the friends and the enemies of the sick person fighting for him.

       *       *       *       *       *

I knew a house where there were a good many sleeping one night, and
in the morning there was blood on the threshold, and the clothes of
those that slept on the floor had blood on them. And it wasn't long
after that the woman of the house took sick and died.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night there was one of the boys very sick within, and in the
morning the grandmother said she heard a great noise of fighting in the
night about the door. And she said: "If it hadn't been for Michael and
John being drowned, you'd have lost Martin last night. For they were
there fighting for him; I heard them, and I saw the shadow of Michael,
but when I turned to take hold of him he was gone."


                            THE UNQUIET DEAD


                            THE UNQUIET DEAD

_A good many years ago when I was but beginning my study of the
folk-lore of belief, I wrote somewhere that if by an impossible miracle
every trace and memory of Christianity could be swept out of the world,
it would not shake or destroy at all the belief of the people of
Ireland in the invisible world, the cloud of witnesses, in immortality
and the life to come. For them the veil between things seen and unseen
has hardly thickened since those early days of the world when the sons
of God mated with the daughters of men; when angels spoke with Abraham
in Hebron or with Columcille in the oakwoods of Derry, or when as an
old man at my own gate told me they came and visited the Fianna, the
old heroes of Ireland, "because they were so nice and so respectable."
Ireland has through the centuries kept continuity of vision, the vision
it is likely all nations possessed in the early days of faith. Here in
Connacht there is no doubt as to the continuance of life after death.
The spirit wanders for a while in that intermediate region to which
mystics and theologians have given various names, and should it return
and become visible those who loved it will not be afraid, but will, as
I have already told, put a light in the window to guide the mother home
to her child, or go out into the barley gardens in the hope of meeting
a son. And if the message brought seems hardly worth the hearing, we
may call to mind what Frederic Myers wrote of more instructed ghosts:_

_"If it was absurd to listen to Kepler because he bade the planets
move in no perfect circles but in undignified ellipses, because he
hastened and slackened from hour to hour what ought to be a heavenly
body's ideal and unwavering speed; is it not absurder still to refuse
to listen to these voices from afar, because they come stammering and
wandering as in a dream confusedly instead of with a trumpet's call?
Because spirits that bending to earth may undergo perhaps an earthly
bewilderment and suffer unknown limitations, and half remember and
half forget?"_

_And should they give the message more clearly who knows if it would
be welcome? For the old Scotch story goes that when S. Columcille's
brother Dobhran rose up from his grave and said, "Hell is not so bad
as people say," the Saint cried out, "Clay, clay on Dobhran!" before
he could tell any more._

_I was told by Mrs. Dennehy:_

Those that mind the teaching of the clergy say the dead go to Limbo
first and then to Purgatory and then to hell or to heaven. Hell is
always burning and if you go there you never get out; but those that
mind the old people don't believe, and I don't believe, that there is
any hell. I don't believe God Almighty would make Christians to put
them into hell afterwards.

It is what the old people say, that after death the shadow goes
wandering, and the soul is weak, and the body is taking a rest. The
shadow wanders for a while and it pays the debts it had to pay, and
when it is free it puts out wings and flies to Heaven.

_An Aran Man:_

There was an old man died, and after three days he appeared in the
cradle as a baby; they knew him by an old look in his face, and his
face being long and other things. An old woman that came into the
house saw him, and she said, "He won't be with you long, he had three
deaths to die, and this is the second," and sure enough he died at
the end of six years.

_Mrs. Martin:_

There was a man beyond when I lived at Ballybron, and it was said of
him that he was taken away--up before God Almighty. But the blessed
Mother asked for grace for him for a year and a day. So he got it. I
seen him myself, and many seen him, and at the end of the year and a
day he died. And that man ought to be happy now anyway. When my own
poor little girl was drowned in the well, I never could sleep but
fretting, fretting, fretting. But one day when one of my little boys
was taking his turn to serve the Mass he stopped on his knees without
getting up. And Father Boyle asked him what did he see and he looking
up. And he told him that he could see his little sister in the
presence of God, and she shining like the sun. Sure enough that was a
vision He had sent to comfort us. So from that day I never cried nor
fretted any more.

_A Herd:_

Do you believe Roland Joyce was seen? Well, he was. A man I know told
me he saw him the night of his death, in Esserkelly where he had a
farm, and a man along with him going through the stock. And all of a
sudden a train came into the field, and brought them both away like a
blast of wind.

       *       *       *       *       *

And as for old Parsons Persse of Castleboy, there's thousands of people
has seen him hunting at night with his horses and his hounds and his
bugle blowing. There's no mistake at all about him being there.

_An Aran Woman:_

There was a girl in the middle island had died, and when she was
being washed, and a priest in the house, there flew by the window the
whitest bird that ever was seen. And the priest said to the father:
"Do not lament, unless what you like, your child's happy for ever!"

_Mrs. Casey:_

Near the strand there were two little girls went out to gather
cow-dung. And they sat down beside a bush to rest themselves, and
there they heard a groan coming from under the ground. So they ran
home as fast as they could. And they were told when they went again
to bring a man with them.

So the next time they went they brought a man with them, and they
hadn't been sitting there long when they heard the saddest groan that
ever you heard. So the man bent down and asked what was it. And a
voice from below said, "Let some one shave me and get me out of this,
for I was never shaved after dying." So the man went away, and the
next day he brought soap and all that was needful and there he found
a body lying laid out on the grass. So he shaved it, and with that
wings came and carried it up to high heaven.

_A Chimney-sweep:_

I don't believe in all I hear, or I'd believe in ghosts and faeries,
with all the old people telling you stories about them and the
priests believing in them too. Surely the priests believe in ghosts,
and tell you that they are souls that died in trouble. But I have
been about the country night and day, and I remember when I used to
have to put my hand out at the top of every chimney in Coole House;
and I seen or felt nothing to frighten me, except one night two rats
caught in a trap at Roxborough; and the old butler came down and beat
me with a belt for the scream I gave at that. But if I believed in
any one coming back, it would be in what you often hear, of a mother
coming back to care for her child.

And there's many would tell you that every time you see a tree
shaking there's a ghost in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Old Lambert of Dangan was a terror for telling stories; he told me
long ago how he was near the Piper's gap on Ballybrit race-course,
and he saw one riding to meet him, and it was old Michael Lynch of
Ballybrista, that was dead long before, and he never would go on the
race-course again. And he had heard the car with headless horses
driving through Loughrea. From every part they are said to drive, and
the place they are all going to is Benmore, near Loughrea, where there
is a ruined dwelling-house and an old forth. And at Mount Mahon a herd
told me the other day he often saw old Andrew Mahon riding about at
night. But if I was a herd and saw that I'd hold my tongue about it.

_Mrs. Casey:_

At the graveyard of Drumacoo often spirits do be seen. Old George
Fitzgerald is seen by many. And when they go up to the stone he's
sitting on, he'll be sitting somewhere else.

There was a man walking in the wood near there, and he met a woman,
a stranger, and he said "Is there anything I can do for you?" For he
thought she was some country-woman gone astray. "There is," says she.
"Then come home with me," says he, "and tell me about it." "I can't
do that," says she, "but what you can do is this, go tell my friends
I'm in great trouble, for twenty times in my life I missed going to
church, and they must say twenty Masses for me now to deliver me,
but they seem to have forgotten me. And another thing is," says she,
"there's some small debts I left and they're not paid, and those are
helping to keep me in trouble." Well, the man went on and he didn't
know what in the world to do, for he couldn't know who she was, for
they are not permitted to tell their name. But going about visiting
at country houses he used to tell the story, and at last it came out
she was one of the Shannons. For at a house he was telling it at they
remembered that an old woman they had, died a year ago, and that she
used to be running up little debts unknown to them. So they made
inquiry at Findlater's and at another shop that's done away with now,
and they found that sure enough she had left some small debts, not
more than ten shillings in each, and when she died no more had been
said about it. So they paid these and said the Masses, and shortly
after she appeared to the man again. "God bless you now," she said,
"for what you did for me, for now I'm at peace."

_A Tinker's Daughter:_

I heard of what happened to a family in the town. One night a thing
that looked like a goose came in. And when they said nothing to it,
it went away up the stairs with a noise like lead. Surely if they had
questioned it, they'd have found it to be some soul in trouble.

And there was another soul came back that was in trouble because of a
ha'porth of salt it owed.

And there was a priest was in trouble and appeared after death, and
they had to say Masses for him, because he had done some sort of a
crime on a widow.

_Mrs. Farley:_

One time myself I was at Killinan, at a house of the Clancys' where the
father and mother had died, but it was well known they often come to
look after the children. I was walking with another girl through the
fields there one evening and I looked up and saw a tall woman dressed
all in black, with a mantle of some sort, a wide one, over her head,
and the waves of the wind were blowing it off her, so that I could hear
the noise of it. All her clothes were black, and had the appearance of
being new. And I asked the other girl did she see her, and she said she
did not. For two that are together can never see such things, but only
one of them. So when I heard she saw nothing I ran as if for my life,
and the woman seemed to be coming after me, till I crossed a running
stream and she had no power to cross that. And one time my brother was
stopping in the same house, and one night about twelve o'clock there
came a smell in the house like as if all the dead people were there.
And one of the girls whose father and mother had died got up out of her
bed, and began to put her clothes on, and they had to lock the doors to
stop her from going away out of the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman I knew of that after her death was kept for seven
years in a tree in Kinadyfe, and for seven years after that she was
kept under the arch of the little bridge beyond Kilchriest, with the
water running under her. And whether there was frost or snow she had
no shelter from it, not so much as the size of a leaf.

At the end of the second seven years she came to her husband, and he
passing the bridge on the way home from Loughrea, and when he felt
her near him he was afraid, and he didn't stop to question her, but
hurried on.

So then she came in the evening to the house of her own little girl.
But she was afraid when she saw her, and fell down in a faint. And the
woman's sister's child was in the house, and when the little girl told
her what she saw, she said "You must surely question her when she comes
again." So she came again that night, but the little girl was afraid
again when she saw her and said nothing. But the third night when she
came the sister's child, seeing her own little girl was afraid, said
"God bless you, God bless you." And with that the woman spoke and said
"God bless you for saying that." And then she told her all that had
happened her and where she had been all the fourteen years. And she
took out of her dress a black silk handkerchief and said: "I took that
from my husband's neck the day I met him on the road from Loughrea,
and this very night I would have killed him, because he hurried away
and would not stop to help me, but now that you have helped me I'll
not harm him. But bring with you to Kilmacduagh, to the graveyard,
three cross sticks with wool on them, and three glasses full of salt,
and have three Masses said for me; and I'll appear to you when I am at
rest." And so she did; and it was for no great thing she had done that
trouble had been put upon her.

_John Cloran:_

That house with no roof was made a hospital of in the famine, and
many died there. And one night my father was passing by and he
saw some one standing all in white, and two men beside him, and he
thought he knew one of the men and spoke to him and said "Is that
you, Martin?" but he never spoke nor moved. And as to the thing in
white, he could not say was it man or woman, but my father never went
by that place again at night.

       *       *       *       *       *

The last person buried in a graveyard has the care of all the other
souls until another is to be buried, and then the soul can go and
shift for itself. It may be a week or a month or a year, but watch
the place it must till another soul comes.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man used to be giving short measure, not giving the full
yard, and one time after his death there was a man passing the river
and the horse he had would not go into it. And he heard the voice
of the tailor saying from the river he had a message to send to his
wife, and to tell her not to be giving short measure, or she would be
sent to the same place as himself. There was a hymn made about that.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman lived in Rathkane, alone in the house, and she told
me that one night something came and lay over the bed and gave three
great moans. That was all ever she heard in the house.

       *       *       *       *       *

The shadows of the dead gather round at Samhain time to see is there
any one among their friends saying a few Masses for them.

_An Islander:_

Down there near the point, on the 6th of March, 1883, there was a
curragh upset and five boys were drowned. And a man from County Clare
told me that he was on the coast that day, and that he saw them
walking towards him on the Atlantic.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a house down there near the sea, and one day the woman of it
was sitting by the fire, and a little girl came in at the door, and
a red cloak about her, and she sat down by the fire. And the woman
asked her where did she come from, and she said that she had just
come from Connemara. And then she went out, and when she was going
out the door she made herself known to her sister that was standing
in it, and she called out to the mother. And when the mother knew it
was the child she had lost near a year before, she ran out to call
her, for she wouldn't for all the world to have not known her when
she was there. But she was gone and she never came again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was this boy's father took a second wife, and he was walking
home one evening, and his wife behind him, and there was a great wind
blowing, and he kept his head stooped down because of the seaweed
coming blowing into his eyes. And she was about twenty paces behind,
and she saw his first wife come and walk close beside him, and he
never saw her, having his head down, but she kept with him near all
the way. And when they got home, she told the husband who was with
him, and with the fright she got she was bad in her bed for two or
three days--do you remember that, Martin? She died after, and he has
a third wife taken now.

       *       *       *       *       *

I believe all that die are brought among them, except maybe an odd
old person.

_A Kildare Woman:_

There was a woman I knew sent into the Rotunda Hospital for an
operation. And when she was going she cried when she was saying
good-bye to her cousin that was a friend of mine, for she felt in her
that she would not come back again. And she put her two arms about
her going away and said, "If the dead can do any good thing for the
living, I'll do it for you." And she never recovered, but died in
the hospital. And within a few weeks something came on her cousin,
my friend, and they said it was her side that was paralysed, and she
died. And many said it was no common illness, but that it was the
dead woman that had kept to her word.

_A Connemara Man:_

There was a boy in New York was killed by rowdies, they killed him
standing against a lamppost and he was frozen to it, and stood there
till morning. And it is often since that time he was seen in the room
and the passages of the house where he used to be living.

And in the house beyond a woman died, and some other family came to
live in it; but every night she came back and stripped the clothes
off them, so at last they went away.

       *       *       *       *       *

When some one goes that owes money, the weight of the soul is
more than the weight of the body, and it can't get away and keeps
wandering till some one has courage to question it.

_Mrs. Casey:_

My grandmother told my mother that in her time at Cloughballymore,
there was a woman used to appear in the churchyard of Rathkeale, and
that many boys and girls and children died with the fright they got
when they saw her.

So there was a gentleman living near was very sorry for all the
children dying, and he went to an old woman to ask her was there any
way to do away with the spirit that appeared. So she said if any one
would have courage to go and to question it, he could do away with
it. So the gentleman went at midnight and waited at the churchyard,
and he on his horse, and had a sword with him. So presently the shape
appeared and he called to it and said, "Tell me what you are?" And it
came over to him, and when he saw the face he got such a fright that
he turned the horse's head and galloped away as hard as he could. But
after galloping a long time he looked down and what did he see beside
him but the woman running and her hand on the horse. So he took his
sword and gave a slash at her, and cut through her arm, so that she
gave a groan and vanished, and he went on home.

And when he got to the stable and had the lantern lighted, you may
think what a start he got when he saw the hand still holding on to the
horse, and no power could lift it off. So he went into the house and
said his prayers to Almighty God to take it off. And all night long, he
could hear moaning and crying about the house. And in the morning when
he went out the hand was gone, but all the stable was splashed with
blood. But the woman was never seen in those parts again.

_A Seaside Man:_

And many see the faeries at Knock and there was a carpenter died, and
he could be heard all night in his shed making coffins and carts and
all sorts of things, and the people are afraid to go near it. There
were four boys from Knock drowned five years ago, and often now they
are seen walking on the strand and in the fields and about the village.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man used to go out fowling, and one day his sister said
to him, "Whatever you do don't go out tonight and don't shoot any
wild-duck or any birds you see flying--for tonight they are all poor
souls travelling."

_An Old Man in Galway Workhouse:_

Burke of Carpark's son died, but he used often to be seen going about
afterwards. And one time a herd of his father's met with him and he
said, "Come tonight and help us against the hurlers from the north,
for they have us beat twice, and if they beat us a third time, it
will be a bad year for Ireland."

It was in the daytime they had the hurling match through the streets
of Galway. No one could see them, and no one could go outside the
door while it lasted, for there went such a whirlwind through the
town that you could not look through the window.

And he sent a message to his father that he would find some paper he
was looking for a few days before, behind a certain desk, between
it and the wall, and the father found it there. He would not have
believed it was his son the herd met only for that.

_A Munster Woman:_

I have only seen them myself like dark shadows, but there's many can
see them as they are. Surely they bring away the dead among them.

There was a woman in County Limerick that died after her baby being
born. And all the people were in the house when the funeral was to
be, crying for her. And the cars and the horses were out on the road.
And there was seen among them a carriage full of ladies, and with
them the woman was sitting that they were crying for, and the baby
with her, and it dressed.

And there was another woman I knew of died, and left a family, and
often after, the people saw her in their dreams, and always in rich
clothes, though all the clothes she had were given away after she
died, for the good of her soul, except maybe her shawl. And her
husband married a serving girl after that, and she was hard to the
children, and one night the woman came back to her, and had like
to throw her out of the window in her nightdress, till she gave a
promise to treat the children well, and she was afraid not to treat
them well after that.

There was a farmer died and he had done some man out of a saddle, and
he came back after to a friend, and gave him no rest till he gave a
new saddle to the man he had cheated.

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a woman my brother told me about and she had a daughter
that was red-haired. And the girl got married when she was under
twenty, for the mother had no man to tend the land, so she thought
best to let her go. And after her baby being born, she never got
strong but stopped in the bed, and a great many doctors saw her but
did her no good.

And one day the mother was at Mass at the chapel and she got a start,
for she thought she saw her daughter come in to the chapel with the
same shawl and clothes on her that she had before she took to the bed,
but when they came out from the chapel, she wasn't there. So she went
to the house, and asked was she after going out, and what they told her
was as if she got a blow, for they said the girl hadn't ten minutes to
live, and she was dead before ten minutes were out. And she appears
now sometimes; they see her drawing water from the well at night and
bringing it into the house, but they find nothing there in the morning.

_A Connemara Man:_

There was a man had come back from Boston, and one day he was out in
the bay, going towards Aran with £3 worth of cable he was after getting
from McDonagh's store in Galway. And he was steering the boat, and
there were two turf-boats along with him, and all in a minute they saw
he was gone, swept off the boat with a wave and it a dead calm.

And they saw him come up once, straight up as if he was pushed, and
then he was brought down again and rose no more.

And it was some time after that a friend of his in Boston, and that
was coming home to this place, was in a crowd of people out there.
And he saw him coming to him and he said, "I heard that you were
drowned," and the man said, "I am not dead, but I was brought here,
and when you go home, bring these three guineas to McDonagh in Galway
for it's owed him for the cable I got from him." And he put the
three guineas in his hand and vanished away.

_An Old Army Man:_

I have seen hell myself. I had a sight of it one time in a vision. It
had a very high wall around it, all of metal, and an archway in the
wall, and a straight walk into it, just like what would be leading
into a gentleman's orchard, but the edges were not trimmed with box
but with red-hot metal. And inside the wall there were cross walks,
and I'm not sure what there was to the right, but to the left there
was five great furnaces and they full of souls kept there with great
chains. So I turned short and went away; and in turning I looked
again at the wall and I could see no end to it.

And another time I saw purgatory. It seemed to be in a level place
and no walls around it, but it all one bright blaze, and the souls
standing in it. And they suffer near as much as in hell, only there
are no devils with them there, and they have the hope of heaven.

And I heard a call to me from there "Help me to come out of this!"
And when I looked it was a man I used to know in the army, an
Irishman and from this country, and I believe him to be a descendant
of King O'Connor of Athenry. So I stretched out my hand first but
then I called out "I'd be burned in the flames before I could get
within three yards of you." So then he said, "Well, help me with your
prayers," and so I do.





_When I had begun my search for folk-lore, the first to tell me he
himself had seen the Sidhe was an old, perhaps half-crazed man I will
call Michael Barrett_ (_for I do not give the real names either of
those who are living or who have left living relatives_). _I had one
day asked an old woman who had been spinning wool for me, to be made
into frieze by our weavers, if she had ever seen the faery host. She
said, "I never saw them myself nor I don't think much of them; it is
God that takes us or leaves us as He will. But a neighbouring man was
standing in my door last night, and there's no day of the year he
doesn't hear them or feel them._

"_It's in his head I think it does be, and when he stood in the door
last night I said 'the wind does be always in my ears and the sound of
it never stops,' to make him think it was the same with him. But he
said, 'I hear them singing and making music all the time, and one of
them's after bringing out a little flute, and it's on it he's playing
to them.' Sure he has half his chimney pulled down, where they used to
be sitting and singing to him day and night. But those that are born
in the daytime never have power to see or hear them all their life._"

_Another neighbour talked to me of him and said, "One night he was
walking across the bog, and a lurcher, a bastard hound, with him. And
something ran across the path in the shape of a white cat, and the
lurcher went after him, and Barrett went home and to bed and left the
door open for the lurcher to come in. And in the morning they found it
there, lying under the table, and it paralysed and not able to stir.
But after a few months it got better, and one night they were crossing
the bog again and the same thing ran across their path, and this time
in the form of a deer. But the dog wouldn't follow it again, but shrank
behind Barrett until such time as it had passed by."_

_My spinning woman, coming another time with chickens to sell, said,
"Barrett is after telling me this morning that they were never so bad
as these last two nights. 'Friday fine-day' is what they say now, in
Irish, and he got no sleep till he threatened to throw dirty water
over them. The poor man, they do say they are mostly in his head now,
but sure he was a fine fresh man twenty years ago, the night he saw
them all linked in two lots, like slips of girls walking together.
And it was that very same day that Hession's little girl got a touch
from them. She was as fine a little girl as ever you saw, and her
mother sent her into Gort to do a message. And on the road she met a
red-haired woman, with long wisps of hair as bright as silver, and
she said, 'Where are you going and who are you?' 'I'm going to Gort
on a message,' says she, 'and I'm Mrs. Hession's daughter of such a
place.' Well, she came home, and that very night she got a pain in
her thigh, with respects to you, and she and her mother have half the
world walked since then, trying to get relief for her; but never a
bit better did she ever get. And no doubt at all but that's the very
same day Michael Barrett saw them in the field near Hession's house."_

_I asked Mr. Yeats to come with me to see the old man, and we walked
up the long narrow lane, from which we could see Slieve Echtge and
the Burren hills, to the little cabin with its broken chimney where
Michael Barrett told us of those that had disturbed his rest. This
was the first time we went together to enquire into the Hierarchy of
the Sidhe, of which by degrees we have gathered so much traditional
and original knowledge._

_As to old Barrett, I saw him from time to time, and he told me he was
still "tormented," and that "there is one that sat and sang b-b-b all
the night" til a few evenings before he had got a bit of rag and tied
it to a long stick, and hit at him when he came, and drove him out
with the rest. And in the next spring I heard he was ill, and that "on
Saturday he had been told by three he was to die." When I visited him I
found him better, and he said that since the warning on Saturday they
had left him alone "and the children that used to be playing about with
them have gone to some other place; found the house too cold for them
maybe." That was the last time I saw him; I am glad I had been able to
help him to more warmth and comfort before the end._

_I asked the old man's brother, a labourer, what he thought of
Michael's visions, but he made little of them. "Old he is, and it's
all in the brain the things he does be talking of. If it was a young
man told us of them we might believe him, but as to him, we pay no
attention to what he says at all. Those things are passed away, and
you--I beg your pardon for using that word--a person--hears no more
of them._

"_John Casey saw queer things? So he might. Them that travel by
night, why wouldn't they see queer things? But they'd see nothing if
they went to their bed quiet and regular._

"_Lydon that had the contract for the schoolhouse, we didn't mind much
what he said happened him the night he slept there alone, and in the
morning he couldn't stir across the floor from the place where he was.
But who knows? Maybe he had too much drink taken before he went to bed.
It was no wonder in the old times if there was signs and the like where
murder had been. But that's come to an end, and time for it._

"_There's another man, one Doran, has the same dreams and thoughts
as my brother, and he leaves pieces of silver on the wall; and when
they're took--it's the faeries! But myself I believe it's the boys do
be watching him._

"_No, these things are gone from the world, and there's not the same
dread of death there used to be. When we die we go to judgment, and
the places we'll get there, they won't be the same as what we had
here. The charitable, the kind-hearted, lady or gentleman, who'd
have a chance if they didn't? But the tyrants and schemers, what
chance will there be for the like of them?_"

"_You will have a good place there, Barrett, you and John Farrell.
You have done your work better than most of us through all your life,
and it's likely you'll be above us there._"

"_I did my work all my life, fair and honest every day; and now that
I'm old, I'll keep on the same track to the last. Like a horse that
might be racing at Galway racecourse or another, there might be eight
leaps or ten leaps he might be frightened at; but when he's once over
the last leap there's no fear of him. Why would he fail then, with
the winning post so near at hand?_"

_I was told by A Gatekeeper:_

There was once a family, the O'Hagans living in Dromore Hill, that now
belongs to you, well-to-do people. And one day the son that had been
at college was coming back, and there was a great dinner being made in
the house. And a girl was sent off to a spring by the forth to get some
water, and when she passed by the forth, she heard like the crying of
a child and some one said to it "Nothing given to us today, no milk
spilled for us, nothing laid out for us, but tonight we'll have what we
want and there will be waste and overflow." And that evening the young
man that was coming home got a fall from his horse, and was killed, and
all the grand things for the dinner were thrown about and went to loss.
So never begrudge the drop of milk you'll spill, or the bit you'll let
fall, it might turn all to good in the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night at the house below it was just getting dark, and a man came
in the gate and to the door and came in and fell down on a chair.
And when I saw him shaking and his face so white, I thought it was
the _fear gortha_ (the hungry grass) he had walked on, and I called
to the wife to give him something to eat. But he would take nothing
but a cup of water with salt in it, and when he got better he told us
that when he was passing the big tree a man and a woman came out and
came along with him. They didn't speak but they walked on each side
of him, and then the woman seemed to go away, but the man's step was
with him till he came in at the gate.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl of the Heniffs brought the dinner one day to where
the men were working near where the river rises at Coole. And when she
had left the dinner she began to gather kippeens, and put them in her
shawl, and began to twist a rope of the ends of it to tie them up. And
at that moment she was taken up, and where she found herself was in
Galway, sitting in the Square. And she had no money, and she began to
think of the friends she had there and to say, "If they knew where I
was they'd give me money to bring me back." And in those days there was
a coach that ran from Galway to Kiltartan, and she found herself in it,
and it starting, and it left her safe and sound again at home.

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a girl at Tyrone was bringing back some apples out of the
garden there. And on the road she met a man, and she thought that he
was one of the old St. Georges, and he asked where did she get the
apples, and bid her put them down in the road, and when she opened the
bundle they were all turned to eggs. So she put them up again and
brought them home, and when she and her mother looked at them in the
house they were beginning to crack, and the chickens to put their beaks
through them; so they put them in the corner of the kitchen for the
night, and in the morning when they went to look at them they were all
turned to apples again, but they thought best not to eat them.

_A Munster Woman:_

There was a woman I knew in County Limerick, near Foynes--Mrs.
Doolan, a nurse. She was called out of bed one night by a small man
with a lamp, and he led her to a place she had never seen before,
and into a house, and there was a woman in a bed and the child was
born after she came. And I always heard her say it was a faery she
attended. And the man led her back and gave her a sovereign, and bid
her change it before sunrise.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I know a boy lived on Lord Dunraven's property, one of a family
of large farmers, and he had a settle-bed in the kitchen, and one
night he saw the kitchen full of them, and they making up the fire
and cooking, and they set out the table and ate at it.

       *       *       *       *       *

I often heard they'd fight in November at the time of harvest, and
my father told me that in the year of the famine there was great
fighting heard up in the sky, and they were crying out, "Black
potatoes, black potatoes, we'll have them now." I suppose it was one
tribe of them fighting against another for them. And the oats in that
year were all black as well as the potatoes.

_A Clare Man:_

I saw them myself one night I was going to Ennis with a load of
straw. It was when we came to Bunnahow and the moon was shining, and
I was on the top of the load of straw, and I saw them in a field.
Just like jockeys they were, and riding horses, red clothes and caps
they had like a jockey would have, but they were small. They had a
screen of bushes put up in the field and some of the horses would
jump over it, and more of them would baulk when they'd be put to it.
The men that were with me didn't see them, they were walking in the
road, but they heard the sound of the horses.

_Another Clare Man:_

I heard a churning one time in the hill up by the road beyond. I was
coming back from Kinvara, and I heard it plain, no mistake about it.
I was sorry after I didn't call down and ask for a drink. Johnny Moon
did so, and got it. If you wish for a drink and they put it out for
you, it's no harm to take it, but if you refuse it, some harm might
happen to you. Johnny Henderson often told that he heard churning in
that spot, but I wouldn't believe the sun rising from him, he had so
many lies. But after that, I said, "Well, Johnny Henderson has told
the truth for once anyhow."

_A Miller:_

There was Tom Gantly one evening was going to Coole, and he heard a
step behind him and it followed him every bit of the way, till he got
to the hall door of Coole House; but he could see nothing.

He saw a gig one night on the road there by the wall and it full of
ladies laughing and grandly dressed--the best of hats and feathers
they had. And it turned and passed him a second time. And with the
fright he got, he never would pass that bit of road by himself again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were two men went one night to catch rabbits in that field
you have let now to Father Fahy, and the one next it. And when they
were standing there they heard a churning below. So they went on a
little way, and they heard a tambourine below, music going on and the
beating of a drum. So they moved a little farther on and then they
heard the sound of a fiddle from below. So they came home and caught
no rabbits that night.

_J. Creevy:_

May is a great time with these strangers, and November is a bad
month for them, and this month you're in now. I was trying the
other day in the town to get a marriage made up for a girl that was
seduced--and the family wouldn't have it this month because of that.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night on the Kiltartan road I saw a flock of wool by the road
side, and I gave a kick at it and it didn't move, and then another
kick and it didn't move. So it can have been no natural thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

And Lee told me that one night he saw red men riding through the
country and going over ditches.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was sick in the bed and I heard music, and I sat up and
said: "Is it music I hear, or is it the squealing of pigs?" And they
all said they could hear nothing. But I could hear it for a long time,
and it the grandest I ever heard--and like a melodeon. And as to the
tune, I couldn't tell what it was but I know that I had heard it before.

_A Kerry Piper:_

One time in Kerry there was a coach coming after me and it passed
beside me, and I saw with it Mrs. Mitchell from the big house. And when
it came near the bridge it sank into the earth, and I saw no more of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

And one time I was at Ennistymon I saw the ass-car and the woman and
the man out before me. I had a little ass of my own at that time,
and I followed them thinking to overtake them, but when I was in the
hollow they were on the hill, and when I was on the hill they were
in the hollow. And when they got near to the bridge that is over the
big river, they were not to be seen. For they can never cross over a
mering (boundary) that is a river.

_J. Fagan:_

One time I was at a party and I didn't leave the house till 2 o'clock
so you may think it was late in the night before I got home. And
after a while I looked back and I saw some one coming after me, a
little old woman about so high (3 feet) and she wearing a white cap
with a frilled border, and a red square and a red flannel petticoat.
I set off to run when I saw her, for at that time I had the run of
a hare, but when I got near home I looked back and she was after me
still. When I got inside the door I fell on my two knees. And it was
seven years before I got the better of that fright. And from that
time to this I never got the run again that I used to have.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a respectable woman, Mrs. Gaynor, living in Cloon, told me
that whenever she went out of Cloon in the direction of Fiddane in one
part of the road there was a woman sometimes met her, that she saw at
no other time, and every time she'd meet her she'd spit in her face.

There is a family at Tirneevan and they were having a wedding there.
And when it was going on, the wine ran short, and the spirits ran
out and they didn't know what to do to get more, Gort being two
miles away. And two or three strange people came in that they had
never seen before. And when they found what was wanting they said
that they'd go get it. And in a few minutes they were back with the
spirits and the wine--and no place to get it nearer than Gort.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a herd's house up at Burren that no one could live in. But
one Holland from Tirneevan said he'd take the place, and try how
would he get on there. So he went with his family, and the first
day the daughter made the place clean and swept it, and then she
went out for a can of milk. And when she was coming in the door, it
was knocked out of her hand and spilled over her. And that evening
when they sat down to their supper the door opened and eight or nine
people came in, and a red man among them. And they sat down and ate.
And then they showed Holland one side of the room, and bid him to
keep it always clean, and spring water in it.

_A Herd:_

There was a man woke about three o'clock one morning and he bade the
servant girl go down and make the fire and put on the potatoes, where
he had to be going out early. So she went down and there she saw one
of _them_ sitting by the hearth in the kitchen. So she ran upstairs
with the fright she got to where the man was in bed with his wife. So
then he went down himself, and he saw one of them sure enough sitting
by the fire and he asked "How did you come in?" And he said, "By the
lock-hole of the door." And the man said, "There's the pot full of
potatoes and you might as well have used a few of them." And he said,
"We have them used already; and you think now they are potatoes, but
when you put the pot down on the fire you'll see they are no more
than horse dung."

_Thomas Cloonan:_

One night my father was beyond on the other side of the lake, going
to watch an otter where the water goes away underground. And he heard
voices talking, and he thought one was the voice of Father Nagle
the parish priest of Kilbecanty, and the other the voice of Father
Hynes from Cloon that does be late out fishing for eels. And when he
came to where the voices were, there was no one at all in it. And
he went and sat in the cave, where the water goes under, and there
was a great noise like as if planks were being thrown down overhead.
And you may think how frightened he was when he never took off his
boots to cross the river, but run through it just as he was and never
stopped till he got to the house.

_Mrs. Cloonan:_

Two men I saw one time over in Inchy. I was sitting milking the cow
and she let a snore and I looked up and I saw the two men, small men,
and their hands and their feet the smallest ever I saw, and hats
turned back on their heads, but I did not see their faces. Then the
cow rose her foot, and I thought, "it will be worse for me if she'll
put her foot down on me," and I looked at her, and when I looked up
again they were gone. Mrs. Stafford told me it was not for me they
came, but for the cow, Blackberry, that died soon after.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man in Gort was brought for a while to Tir-na-Og, that is
a part of heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

McGarrity that was coming back one night to the new house beyond
the lake saw two children, two little girls they were, standing
beside the house. Paddy told me that, and he said they came there to
foretell him he was stopping there too late.

_John Phelan:_

I never saw them nor felt them all my life, and I walking the place
night and day, except one time when for twelve nights I slept in the
little house beyond, in the kitchen garden where the apples were being
robbed that time because there was no one living at home. In the
night-time in the loft above my head I used to hear a scratching and
a scraping, and one time a plank that was above in it began to move
about. But I had no fear but stopped there, but I did not put off my
clothes nor stretch myself on the bed for twelve nights. They say that
one man that slept in the same house was found in the morning choked in
his bed and the door locked that they had to burst it in.

And in old Richard Gregory's time there was one Horan slept there,
and one night he ran out of it and out of the Gort gate and got no
leave to put his clothes on. But there's some can see those things
and more that can't, and I'm one of those that can't. Walking Coole
demesne I am these forty years, days and nights, and never met
anything worse than myself.

But one night standing by the vinery and the moon shining, on a
sudden a wind rose and shook the trees and rattled the glass and the
slates, and no wind before, and it stopped as sudden as it came. And
there were two bunches of grapes gone, and them that took them took
them by the chimney and no other way.

_James Hill:_

One night since I lived here I found late at night that a black jennet
I had at that time had strayed away. So I took a lantern and went to
look for him, and found him near Doherty's house at the bay. And when
I took him by the halter, I put the light out and led him home. But
surely as I walked there was a footstep behind me all the way home.

I never rightly believed in them till I met a priest about two years
ago coming out from the town that asked his way to Mrs. Canan's,
the time she was given over, and he told me that one time his horse
stopped and wouldn't pass the road, and the man that was driving
said, "I can't make him pass." And the priest said, "It will be the
worse for you, if I have to come down into the road." For he knew
some bad thing was there. And he told me the air is full of them. But
Father Dolan wouldn't talk of such things, very proud he is, and he
coming of no great stock.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night I was driving outside Coole gate--close to where the
Ballinamantane farm begins. And the mare stopped, and I got off the
car to lead her, but she wouldn't go on. Two or three times I made
her start and she'd stop again. Something she must have seen that I
didn't see.

Beasts will sometimes see more than a man will. There were three
young chaps I knew went up by the river to hunt coneens one evening,
and they threw the dog over the wall. And when he was in the field he
gave a yelp and drew back as if something frightened him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another time my father was going early to some place, and my mother
had a noggin of turnips boiled for him the night before, to give him
something to eat before he'd start. So they got up very early and she
lighted the fire and put the oven hanging over it for to warm the
turnips, and then she went back to bed again. And my father was in a
hurry and he went out and brought in a sheaf of wheaten straw to put
under the oven, the way it would make a quick blaze. And when he came
in, the oven had been taken off the hook, and was put standing in the
hearth, and no mortal had been there. So he was afraid to stop, and
he went back to the bed, and till daybreak they could hear something
that was knocking against the pot. And the servant girl that was in
the house, she awoke and heard quick steps walking to the stable, and
the door of it giving a screech as if it was being opened. But in the
morning there was no sign there or of any harm being done to the pot.

Then the girl remembered that she had washed her feet the night
before, and had never thought to throw out the water. And it's well
known to wash the feet and not to throw the water out, brings some
harm--except you throw fire into the vessel it stands in.

_Simon Niland:_

Late one night I was out walking, and a gun in my hand, and I was
going down a little avenue of stones, and I heard after me the noise
of a horse's steps. So I stopped and sat down on the stile, for I
thought, the man that's with the horse, I'll have his company a bit
of the way. But the noise got louder like as if it was twenty horses
coming, and then I was knocked down, and I put out my foot to save
the gun from being broken. But when I got up there was no hurt on me
or on the gun, and the noise was all gone, and the place quiet. It
was maybe four year after that or six, I was walking the same path
with the priest and a few others, for a whale had come ashore, and
the jaw-bones of it were wanted to make the piers of a gate. And the
priest said to me, "Did you ever hear of the battle of Troy?" "I
didn't hear but I read about it," says I. "Well," says he, "there was
a man at that time called Simon, and they found that whenever he came
out with them to fight there was luck with them, and when he wasn't
with them, there'd be no luck. And that's why we put you in front of
us, to lead us on the path, you having the same name." So that put
it in my head, and I told him about what happened that night, and I
said, "Now would you believe that?" "I would," says he. "And what are
such things done by?" says I. "The fallen angels," he said, "for they
have power to do such things and to raise wind and storm, but yet
they have the hope of salvation at the last."

       *       *       *       *       *

One clear night and the moon shining, I was walking home down this
road, and I had a strong dog at that time. And just here where you
stand he began to bark at something and he made rushes at it, and
made as if he was worrying it, but I could see nothing, though if it
had been even the size of a rat I must have seen it, the night was
so clear. And I had to leave him at last and heard him barking and I
was at the house-door before he came up with me.

       *       *       *       *       *

I know a good many on the island have seen _those_, but they wouldn't
say what they are like to look at, for when they see them their
tongue gets like a stone.

_Mrs. Hynes of Slieve Echtge:_

When you see a blast of wind pass, pick a green rush and throw it
after them, and say, "God speed you." There they all are, and maybe
the _stroke lad_ at the end of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a neighbour of mine in late with me one night, and when he
was going home, just as he passed that little road you see, a big
man came over the wall in front of him, and was growing bigger as he
went, till he nearly fainted with the fright he got.

       *       *       *       *       *

They can do everything. They can raise the wind, and draw the storm.

And to Drogheda they go for wine, for the best wine is in the cellars

_An Islander:_

One night I and another lad were coming along the road, and the dog
began to fight, as if he was fighting another dog, but we could see
nothing and we called him off but he wouldn't come. And when we got
home he answered us, and he seemed as if tired out.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a strange woman came to this island one day and told some
of the women down below what would happen to them. And they didn't
believe her, she being a stranger, but since that time, it's all been
coming true.

_Mrs. Casey:_

I knew a woman that every night after she went to bed used to see
some sort of a shadow that used to appear to her. So she went to some
old woman, and she told her to sprinkle holy water about and to put a
blackthorn stick beside her bed. So she got the stick and put it there
and sprinkled the holy water, and it never appeared since then. Three
sorts of holy water she got, from the priest and from the friars and
from some blessed well. And she has them in three pint bottles in the
window, and she'd kill you if you so much as looked at them.

_A Fisherman:_

I never saw anything myself, but one day I was going over the fields
near Killeen, and it the quietest day of summer you ever saw. And
all of a sudden I heard a great noise like thunder, and a blast of
wind passed by me that laid the thistles low, and then all was quiet
again. It might be that they were changing, for they change from
place to place.

I would not give in to faeries myself but for one thing. There was a
little boy of my own, and there was a wedding going to be here, and
there was no bread in the house, and none to be had in Kilcolgan, and
I bade him to go to Kinvara for bread. I pulled out the ass-car for
him and he set out.

And from that time he was never the same, and now he is in the asylum
at Ballinasloe.

Did he tell what happened? He never told me anything, but he told a
neighbour that he met awful looking people on the road to Kinvara
just about midnight, and that whatever they did to him, he could
never recover it.

_A Carter:_

Often and often I heard things. A great shouting I heard one night
inside Coole demesne,--a hurling it must have been. Another time I
was passing at night-time, near Reed the weaver's, and there were
rocks thrown at me all along the road, but they did not touch me, and
I could not see any one thing there. But I never went that road again
at night-time.

It's said those that die are left in the place where they lived to
do their penance. Often and often when I came to that house below, I
felt knocks under the bed, and like some one walking over it.

Two men I know were going from Gort one night, and there near the
wall of the demesne they saw two men ploughing, and they asked one
another what could they be to be ploughing by night. And then they
saw that as they ploughed, the land was going away from them, and
they were gone themselves, and they saw them no more.

_An Old Woman who was Housekeeper to the Donnellans:_

I'll tell you how the fortune of the family began.

It was Tully O'Donnellan was riding home from Ballinasloe, or some
other place, and it was raining, and he came to a river that was in
flood, and there used to be no bridges in those times. And when he
was going to ride through the river, he saw the _greasa_ leprechaun
on the bank, and he offered him a lift, and he stooped down and
lifted him up behind him on the horse.

And when he got near where the castle was, he saw it in flames before
him. And the leprechaun said, "Don't fret after it but build a new
castle in the place I'll show you, about a stone's throw from the
old one." "I have no money to do that," said Tully Donnellan. "Never
mind that," said the leprechaun, "but do as I bid you, and you'll
have plenty." So he did as he bade him, and the morning after he went
to live in the new castle, when he went into that room that has the
stone with his name on it now, it was full up of gold, and you could
be turning it like you'd turn potatoes into a shovel. And when the
children would go into the room with their father and mother, the
nurses would put bits of wax on their shoes, the way bits of the gold
would stick to them. And they had great riches and smothered the world
with it, and they used to shoe their horses with silver. It was in
racing they ran through it, and keeping hounds and horses and horns.

_Old Pegs Kelly:_

I seen the Sheogue but once, and that was five or six years ago, and
I walking the railway where I was looking after my little hens that
do be straying. And I saw them coming along, and in a minute I was in
the middle of them. Shavings, and shavings, and shavings going along
the road as fast as they could go. And I knew there was no shavings
to be seen this many year, since the stakes were made for the railway
down at Nolan's, and the carpenter that made them dead, and the shop
where he made them picked clean. And I knew well they were the horses
the Sheogue did be riding. But some that saw them said they looked
like bits of paper. And I threw three stones after them and I heard
them cry out as they went. And that night the roof was swept off Tom
Dermot's house in Ryanrush and haystacks blown down. And John Brady's
daughter that was daft those many years was taken, and Tom Horan's
little girl that was picking potatoes, she and her brothers together.
She turned black all of a minute and three days after, she was dead.

That's the only time I seen them, and that I never may again, for
believe me that time I had my enough, thinking as I did that I hadn't
more than three minutes to live.

_A Herd's Wife:_

Martin's new wife is a fine big woman, if she is lucky. But it's not a
lucky house. That's what happened the last wife that lost her baby and
died. William Martin knows well _they_ are in it, but he is a dark man
and would say nothing. I saw them myself about the house one time, and
I met one on the forth going through the fields; he had the appearance
of a man in his clothes. And sometimes when I look over at Martin's
house there is a very dark look like a dark cloud over it and around it.

_The other Army Man:_

The faeries are all fallen angels. Father Folan told us from the
altar that they're as thick as the sands of the sea all about us,
and they tempt poor mortals. But as for carrying away women and the
like, there's many that says so, but they have no proof. But you have
only to bid them begone and they will go. One night myself I was
after walking back from Kinvara, and down by the wood beyond I felt
one coming beside me, and I could feel the horse that he was riding
on and the way that he lifted his legs, but they didn't make a sound
like the hoofs of a horse. So I stopped and turned around and said
very loud "Be off!" And he went and never troubled me after. And I
knew a man that was dying, and one came up on his bed and he cried
out to it, "Get out of that, you unnatural animal!" And it left him.
There's a priest I heard of that was looking along the ground like as
if he was hunting for something, and a voice said to him "If you want
to see them you'll see enough of them," and his eyes were opened and
he saw the ground thick with them. Singing they do be sometimes and
dancing, but all the time they have the cloven foot.

Fallen angels they are, and after they fell God said, "Let there be
Hell, and there it was in a moment"--("God save us! It's a pity He said
that word and there might have been no Hell today" _murmurs the wife_).
And then He asked the devil what would he take for the souls of all the
people. And the devil said nothing would satisfy him but the blood of a
Virgin's Son. So he got that and then the gates of Hell were opened.

_The Wife:_

I never seen anything, although one night I was out after a cow till
2 o'clock in the morning and old Gantly told me he wondered at me to
be out in this place, by the wood near the white gate where he saw a
thing himself one night passing. But it's only them that's living in
mortal sin can see such things, that's so Thomas, whatever you may
say. But your ladyship's own place is middling free from them, but
Ratlin's full of them.

And there's many say they saw the banshee, and that if she heard you
singing loud, she'd be very apt to bring you away with her.

_A Piper:_

There was an old priest I knew--Father McManus--and when he would go
walking in the green lawn before the house, his man, Keary, would go
with him, and he carrying three sticks. And after a while the priest
would say, "_Cur do maide_"--Fire your stick--as far as you can, and
he would throw it. And he would say the same thing a second and a
third time, and after that he would say, "We have no more to protect
us now," and he would go in. And another priest I was talking to the
other day was telling me they are between earth and air and the grass
is full of them.

_Mrs. Casey:_

There was a boy I knew at Tyrone was a great card player. And one
night about 10 o'clock he was coming home from a party, and he had
the cards in his hands and he shuffling them as he went along. And
presently he saw a man before him on the road, and the man stopped
till he came up, and when he saw the cards, he says "Stop here and
I'll have a game with you," for the moon was shining bright. So the
boy sat down, and the stranger asked him had he any money, and he
said he had five shillings after the night's play. "Well," says the
man, "we'll play the first game for half-a-crown." So they sat down
and put out the money on a flagstone that was much like a table, and
they began to play, and the first game was won by the stranger. "Well
now," says he, "we'll have another." So the boy began to shuffle the
cards, but as he did, one card dropped on the ground, and he stooped
down for it, and when he did, he saw the man's feet that were partly
under the flagstone, and they were like the feet of a cow. So with
the fright he got, he jumped up and began to run and never stopped
till he got inside his house and had the door shut. And when he had
been sitting there a few minutes, a knock came to the door, and he
heard the voice of the stranger say, "It's well for you you ran away
when you did, or you'd be where I am now." And he heard no more; it
was the boy himself told me this.

I hear them in this house ever since the first night I came, in the
kitchen, when all are in bed. Footsteps, I wouldn't think so much of,
but scraping the potatoes, that's another thing.

       *       *       *       *       *

A daughter I had that went to America died there, and the brother
that came back told me that he was with her, and she going, and
surely they all heard the jennet coming to the door, and when they
opened it, there was nothing there, and many people standing and
waiting about it. I knew a woman died beyond in Boher and left a
house full of children and the night she died there was a light seen
in the sick house.

       *       *       *       *       *

To leave a few cold potatoes, the first of them, outside, you should
surely do it, and not to leave the house without spring water. I knew
a boy that was sleeping up in the loft of a house and one night they
had forgotten to leave water within in the kitchen. And about midnight
he awoke and he saw through a hole in the loft two women, and one of
them just after having a baby. And they said, "What way will we wash
the child, and no water here; we must take the pan of milk down from
the shelf." So the boy said out loud the way they'd hear him, "I must
go for spring water. I forgot to leave it below." So he went and got
it and left it there, and let on not to see them. And--for I forget
what time after that--there was no morning he put his clothes on but
he'd find a half-crown in his boot. To do you harm? No, but the best of
neighbours they are, if you don't chance to offend them.

_A Schoolmaster:_

In Donegal one night some of the people were at a still in the
mountains, and on a sudden they heard a shot fired, and they thought
it was a signal given to the police, and they made home to the
village. And all the night they could hear like the tramp of horses
and of police and the noise of cars passing by, but nothing could be
seen. And next day the police came in earnest, and searched about
the place where they had been at work at the still, but no one was
there and they found nothing. So they knew it was a warning they were
after being given.

_John Madden:_

One day old Fogarty of Clough was cutting rods in Coole with a
black-handled knife, and he put it in his pocket, and presently he
felt for it and it was gone. But when he went home and went into the
house, there was the knife lying on the table.

       *       *       *       *       *

My wife's brother was on a cock of hay in that field beyond one time,
and he sat down to rest and he saw them hurling in red caps and blue,
and a crowd looking in at them. But he said nothing to the men that
were with him. They are mostly in forths and lonesome places.

_An old man, Kelleher, living in the Wicklow Mountains, told me and
W. B. Yeats and Miss Pollexfen:_

I often saw them when I had my eyesight; one time they came about me,
shouting and laughing and there were spouts of water all around me.
And I thought that I was coming home, but I was not on the right path
and couldn't find it and went wandering about, but at last one of
them said, "Good-evening, Kelleher," and they went away, and then in
a moment I saw where I was by the stile. They were very small, like
little boys and girls, and had red caps.

I always saw them like that, but they were bigger at the butt of the
river; they go along the course of the rivers. Another time they came
about me playing music and I didn't know where I was going, and at
last one of them said the same way, "Good evening, Kelleher," and I
knew that I was at the gate of the College; it is the sweetest music
and the best that can be heard, like melodeons and fifes and whistles
and every sort.

_Mrs. Kelleher says_: I often hear that music too, I hear them
playing drums.

_K._: We had one of them in the house for a while, it was when I
was living up at Ticnock, and it was just after I married that
woman there that was a nice slip of a girl at that time. It was in
the winter and there was snow on the ground, and I saw one of them
outside, and I brought him in and put him on the dresser, and he
stopped in the house for a while, for about a week.

_Mrs. K._: It was more than that, it was two or three weeks.

_K._: Ah! maybe it was--I'm not sure. He was about fifteen inches high.
He was very friendly. It is likely he slept on the dresser at night.
When the boys at the public-house were full of porter, they used to
come to the house to look at him, and they would laugh to see him but
I never let them hurt him. They said I would be made up, that he would
bring me some riches, but I never got them. We had a cage here, I wish
I had put him in it, I might have kept him till I was made up.

_Mrs. K._: It was a cage we had for a thrush. We thought of putting
him into it, but he would not have been able to stand in it.

_K._: I'm sorry I didn't keep him--I thought sometimes to bring him
into Dublin to sell him.

_Mrs. K._: You wouldn't have got him there.

_K._: One day I saw another of the kind not far from the house, but
more like a girl and the clothes greyer than his clothes, that were
red. And that evening when I was sitting beside the fire with the
Missus I told her about it, and the little lad that was sitting on
the dresser called out, "That's Geoffrey-a-wee that's coming for
me," and he jumped down and went out of the door and I never saw him
again. I thought it was a girl I saw, but Geoffrey wouldn't be the
name of a girl, would it?

He had never spoken before that time. Somehow I think that he liked
me better than the Missus. I used to feed him with bread and milk.

_Mrs. K._: I was afraid of him--I was afraid to go near him, I
thought he might scratch my eyes out--I used to leave bread and milk
for him but I would go away while he was eating it.

_K._: I used to feed him with a spoon, I would put the spoon to his

_Mrs. K._: He was fresh-looking at the first, but after a while he
got an old look, a sort of wrinkled look.

_K._: He was fresh-looking enough, he had a hardy look.

_Mrs. K._: He was wearing a red cap and a little red cloth skirt.

_K._: Just for the world like a Highlander.

_Mrs. K._: He had a little short coat above that; it was checked and
trousers under the skirt and long stockings all red. And as to his
shoes, they were tanned, and you could hardly see the soles of them,
the sole of his foot was like a baby's.

_K._: The time I lost my sight, it was a Thursday evening, and I was
walking through the fields. I went to bed that night, and when I rose
up in the morning, the sight was gone. The boys said it was likely I
had walked on one of their paths. Those small little paths you see
through the fields are made by _them_.

They are very often in the quarries; they have great fun up there,
and about Peacock Well. The Peacock Well was blessed by a saint, and
another well near, that cures the headache.

I saw one time a big grey bird about the cow-house, and I went to a
comrade-boy and asked him to come and to help me to catch it, but
when we came back it was gone. It was very strange-looking and I
thought that it had a head like a man.

_Old Manning:_

I never saw them except what I told you, the dog fighting, and I
heard the horses, and at that same time I saw smoke coming out of
the ground near Foley's house at Corker, by the gate.

My mother lived for twenty years in Coole, and she often told me that
when she'd pass Shanwalla hill there would people come out and meet
her and--with respects to you--they'd spit in her face.

Faeries of course there are and there's many poor souls doing their
penance, and how do we know where they may be doing it?

_A Farmer:_

I might not believe myself there are such things but for what
happened not long after I was married when my first little girl
was but a week old. I had gone up to Ballybrit to tie some sheep
and put fetters on them, and I was waiting for Haverty to come and
help me tie them. The baby was a little unwell that day but I was
not uneasy about her. But while I was waiting for Haverty, a blast
of wind came through the field and I heard a voice say quite clear
out of it "Katie is gone." That was the little one, we had called
her Catherine, but though she wasn't a week in the world, we had it
shortened already to Kate. And sure enough, the child got worse, and
we attended her through the night, and before daybreak she was gone.

_An Army Man:_

Two nights ago a travelling man came and knocked at John Hanlon's
house at 11 o'clock, where he saw a light in the window and he asked
would there be any one out hurling so late as that. For in coming by
the field beyond the chapel he saw it full of people, some on horses,
and hurling going on, and they were all dressed like soldiers, and
you would hear their swords clinking as they ran. And he was not sure
were they faeries till he asked John Hanlon was it the custom of
people in this country to go hurling so late as that. But that was
always a great field for them. From eleven to two, that is the time
they have for play, but they must go away before the cock crows. And
the cock will crow sometimes as early as 1 o'clock, a right one.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the night that Christ our Saviour rose there were some Jews
sitting around the fire, and a cock boiling in the pot. And one of
them said, "He'll never rise again until that cock crows." And the
cock rose out of the pot and crowed, and he that was speaking got
scalded with the water that was splashed about.

_A Connemara Man:_

One night I was sleeping over there by the dresser and I heard them
("Would you say the day of the week," _says the old woman_. "It's
Thursday," said I. "Thank you," _says the old man, and goes on_)--I
heard them thick all about the house--but what they were saying I
couldn't know.

_The Old Woman:_

It was my uncle that was away at nights and knew the time his horse
fell in the ditch, and he out at sea. And another day he was working
at the bridge and he said, "Before this day is over, a man will be
killed here." And so it happened, and a man was killed there before
12 o'clock. He was in here one day with me, and I said, "I don't give
in to you being away and such things." And he says: "Um, Um, Um,"
three times, and then he says, "May your own living be long." We had
a horse, the grandest from this to Galway, had a foal when in this
place--and before long, both horse and foal died. And I often can
hear them galloping round the house, both horse and foal. And I not
the only one, but many in the village even hear them too.

_Young Mrs. Phelan:_

Often I saw a light in the wood at Derreen, above Ballyturn. It would
rise high over the trees going round and round. I'd see it maybe for
fifteen minutes at a time, and then it would fall like a lamp.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of May is their chief time for changing, and it's then
there's blowing away of hay and such things and great disturbance.

_A Mayo Man:_

One time I was led astray in a town, in Golden Hill in Staffordshire. I
was in the streets and I didn't know what way to turn all of a sudden,
and every street looked like a wood before me, and so I went on until
I met some man I knew, and I asked him where I was, and I went in, and
stayed drinking with the others till 10 o'clock and I went home sober.

I saw the white rabbit too at Golden Hill. (_One of the other men
puts in_, "There is always a white rabbit seen there, that turns into
a woman before any misfortune happens, such as an accident.") I was
walking along the road, and it ran beside me, and then I saw a woman in
white before me on the road, and when I got to her, she was gone. And
that evening a woman in a house near by fell dead on her own doorstep.

Another time near this, I was passing the barn where Johnny Rafferty
the carpenter and his son used to be working, but it was shut and
locked and no one in it. But when I came near it, I felt as if I was
walking on wood, and my hair stood up on my head, and I heard the
noise of tools, and hammering and sawing in it.

_Pete Heffernan:_

Old Doran told me that he was near Castle Hacket one time and saw
them having a fair, buying and selling for all the world like
ourselves, common people. But you or I or fifty others might have
been there like him and not seen them. It's only them that are born
at midnight that has the second sight.

Fallen angels, they say they are. And they'd do more harm than what
they do but for the hope they have that some day they may get to
heaven. Very small they are, and go into one another so that what you
see might only be a sort of a little bundle. But to leave a couple of
cold potatoes about at night one should always do it, and to sweep
the hearth clean. Who knows when they might want to come in and warm

Not to keep the water you wash your feet in in the house at night,
not to throw it out of the door where it might go over them, but to
take it a bit away from the house, and if by any means you can, to
keep a bit of light burning at night, if you mind these three things
you'll never be troubled with them.

That woman of mine was going to Mass one day early and she met a small
little man, and him with a book in his hand. "Where are you going?"
says he. "To the chapel beyond," says she. "Well," says he, "you'd
better take care not to be coming out at this hour and disturbing
people," says he. And when she got into the chapel she saw him no more.

_An Old Woman with Oysters from Tyrone:_

Oh, I wouldn't believe in the faeries, but it's no harm to believe in
fallen angels!

_Mrs. Day:_

My own sons are all for education and read all books and they
wouldn't believe now in the stories the old people used to tell. But
I know one Finnegan and his wife that went to Esserkelly churchyard
to cry over her brother that was dead. And all of a sudden there
came a pelt of a stone against the wall of the old church and no one
there. And they never went again, and they had no business to be
crying him and it not a funeral.

Francis, my son that's away now, he was out one morning before the
daybreak to look at a white heifer in the field. And there he saw a
little old woman, and she in a red cloak--crying, crying, crying. But
he wouldn't have seen that if he had kept to natural hours.

There were three girls near your place, and they went out one time
to gather cow-dung for firing. And they were sitting beside a small
little hill, and while they were there, they heard a noise of churning,
churning, in the ground beneath them. And as they listened, all of a
minute, there was a naggin of milk standing beside them. And the girl
that saw it first said, "I'll not drink of it lest they might get power
over me." But the other girl said, "I'll bring it home and drink it."
And she began to ridicule them. And because of she ridiculing them and
not believing in them, that night in bed she was severely beaten so
that she wasn't the better of it for a long time.

       *       *       *       *       *

Often they'll upset a cart in the middle of the road, when there's no
stone nor anything to upset it. And my father told me that sometimes
after he had made the hay up into cocks, and on a day without a
breath of wind, they'd find it all in the next field lying in wisps.
One time too the cart he was driving went over a leprechaun--and the
old woman in the cart had like to faint.

_Mr. Hosty of Slieve Echtge:_

I never would have believed the shadow of a soul could have power,
till that hurling match I saw that I told you about.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was in the old time it happened, that there was war in heaven. He
that was called the brightest of the angels raised himself up against
God. And when they were all to be thrown out, St. Michael spoke up
for them for he saw that when the heavens were weeded out they'd be
left without company. So they were stopped in the falling, in the air
and in the earth and in the sea. And they are about us sure enough,
and whenever they'll be saved I don't know, but it is not for us to
say what God will do in the end.

I often heard that our winter is their summer--sure they must have
some time for setting their potatoes and their oats. But I remember a
very old man used to say when he saw the potatoes black, that it was
to them they were gone. "Sure" he used to say, "the other world must
have its way of living as well as ourselves."

_Mrs. Casey:_

Dolan I was talking to the other day, and I asked him if faeries used
not to be there. And he said, "They're in it yet. There where you're
standing, they were singing and dancing a few nights ago. And the
same evening I saw two women down by the lake, and I thought it was
the ladies from the house gone out for a walk, but when I came near,
it was two strange women I saw, sitting there by the lake, and their
wings came, and they vanished into the air."

_John Phelan:_

I was cutting trees in Inchy one time. And at 8 o'clock one morning
when I got there, I saw a girl picking nuts with her hair hanging
down over her shoulders, brown hair, and she had a good clean face
and was tall and nothing on her head, and her dress was no way gaudy,
but simple. And when she felt me coming, she gathered herself up and
was gone as if the earth had swallowed her up. And I followed her
and looked for her, but I never could see her again from that day to
this, never again.

_Mary Shannon:_

There was a herd's house near Loughrea that had a bad name; and a
strange woman came in one time and told the woman of the house that
she must never throw dirty water out of the back-door. "For," said
she, "if you had clean linen hanging there on a line before the fire,
how would you like any one to come in and to throw dirty water over
it?" And she bid her leave food always on the dresser. "For," said
she, "wherever you leave it we'll be able to find it." And she told
how they often went into Loughrea to buy things, and provisions,
and would look like any other person, and never be known, for they
can make themselves visible or invisible as they like. You might
be talking to one of them and never know she was different from
another. At our place there used to be a good many of these people
about, these Ingentry women or women from the North we sometimes call
them. There was one came into the house one day and told my mother
she didn't get all her butter in the milk. And she told her the
servant-girl was stealing and hiding some of it, for in these days
servants were cheap and we kept a couple; you'd get them for about
five shillings a quarter. And my mother went to look, and then she
went out of the house, and went off in a minute in a blast. And the
husband that was coming into the house, he never saw her at all, and
she going out of the door.

Sunset is a bad hour, and just before sunrise in the morning, and
about 12 o'clock in the day, it's best not to be too busy or going
about too much.

_An Aran Man:_

Sometimes they travel like a cloud, or like a storm. One day I was
setting out the manure in my own garden and they came and rolled it
in a heap and tossed it over the wall, and carried it out to sea
beyond the lighthouse.

_Mr. Finnerty:_

People say two days of the week, they name two days. Some say Thursday,
and some say whatever day it is, and the day before it, and then they
can't be heard. In the village beyond, there were a good many people in
a house one night, and lights in it, and talking, and of a sudden some
one opened the door--and there outside and round the house _they_ were
listening to them--and when the door was open they were all seen, and
made off as thick as crows to the forth near the Burren hills.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one Ward was walking one night near Castle Taylor, and in
that big field that's near the corner where Burke was murdered he saw
a big fire, and a lot of people round about it, and among them was a
girl he used to know that had died.

       *       *       *       *       *

Last week in that field beyond there, the hay was all taken up, and
turned into the next field in wisps.

       *       *       *       *       *

You must put the potatoes out for them before they are put on the
table, for they would not touch them if they had been touched by
common persons.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I saw Horan that had the orchard here bought run to our house in
the middle of the night naked with nothing on but his trousers, where
he was after being beat out of the house in the kitchen garden.
Every night when he was going to bed there did a knocking come in the
loft over his head, but he gave no attention to it. But a great storm
came and a great lot of the apples was blown down and he gathered
them up and filled the loft with them, thinking when he showed them
to get compensation. And that is the night he was beat out of bed.
And John Phelan knows well what things used to be in that house.

_John Creevy:_

My father? Yes indeed he saw many things, and I tell you a thing he
told me, and there's no doubt in the earthly world about it. It was
when they lived at Inchy they came over here one time for to settle
a marriage for Murty Delvin's aunt. And when they had the business
settled, they were going home again at dead of night. And a man was
after getting married that day, one Delane from beyond Kilmacduagh,
and the drag was after passing the road with him and his party going
home. And all of a minute the road was filled with men on horses
riding along, so that my father had to take shelter in Delane's
big haggard by the roadside. And he heard the horsemen calling on
Delane's name. And twenty-one days after, Delane lay dead.

There's no doubt at all about the truth of that, and they were no
riders belonging to this world that were on those horses.

_Thomas Brown:_

There was a woman walking in the road that had a young child at home,
and she met a very old man, having a baby in his arms. And he asked
would she give it a drop of breast-milk. So she did, and gave it a
drink. And the old man said: "It's well for you that you did that, for
you saved your cow by it. But tomorrow look over the wall into the
fields of the rich man that lives beyond the boundary, and you'll see
that one of his was taken in the place of yours." And so it happened.

In the old times there used to be many stories of such things, half
the world seemed to be on the _other side_.

I used not to believe in them myself, until one night I heard them
hurling. I was coming home from town with Jamsie Flann; we were not
drunk but we were hearty. Coming along the road beyond we heard them
hurling in the field beside us. We could see nothing but we'd hear
them hit the ball, and it fly past us like the lightning, so quick,
and when they hit the goal, we heard a moan--"Oh! ah!"--that was
all. But after we went a little way we sat down by a little hill to
rest, and there we heard a thousand voices talking. What they said,
we couldn't understand, or the language, but we knew that it was one
side triumphing over the other.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the nights are queer--surely they are queer by sea or by land.
There was a friend of mine told me he was out visiting one night,
and coming home across the fields he came into a great crowd of them.
They did him no harm, and among them he saw a great many he knew,
that were dead, five or six out of our own village. And he was in his
bed for two months after that, and he told the priest of it. He said
he couldn't understand the talk, it was like the hissing of geese,
and there was one very big man, that seemed the master of them, and
his talk was like you'll hear in a barrel when it's being rolled.

There's a hill, Cruach-na-Sheogue down by the sea, and many have seen
them there dancing in the moonlight.

There was a man told me he was passing near it one night, and the
walls on each side of the road were all covered with people sitting
on them, and he walked between, and they said nothing to him. And he
knew many among them that were dead before that. Is it only the young
go there? Ah, how do we know what use they may have for the old as
well as for the young?

There are but few in these days that die right. The priests know
about this more than we do, but they don't like to be talking of
_them_ because they might be too big in our minds.

       *       *       *       *       *

They are just the same in America as they are here, and my sister
that came home told me they were, and the women that do cures, just
like the woman at Clifden, or that woman you know of.

There was one she went to out there, and when you'd come in to ask a
cure she'd be lulled into a sleep, and when she woke she'd give the
cure. _Away_ she was while the sleep lasted.

_The Spinning Woman:_

No, I never seen them myself, and I born and bred in the same village
as Michael Barrett. But the old woman that lives with me, she does
be telling me that before she came to this part she was going home
one night, where she was tending a girl that was sick, and she had to
cross a hill forth. And when she came to it, she saw a man on a white
horse, and he got to the house before her, and the horse stopped at
the back-door. And when she got there and went in, sure enough the
girl was gone.

I never saw anything myself, but one night I was passing the boreen
near Kinvara, and a tall man with a tall hat and a long coat came out
of it. He didn't follow me, but he looked at me for a while, and then
he went away.

       *       *       *       *       *

And one time I saw the leprechaun. It's when I was a young woman,
and there was black frieze wanting at Ballylee, and in those days
they all thought there could no black frieze be spun without sending
for me. So I was coming home late in the evening, and there I saw
him sitting by the side of the road, in a hollow between two ridges.
He was very small, about the height of my knee, and wearing a red
jacket, and he went out of that so soon as he saw me. I knew nothing
about him at that time. The boys say if I'd got a hold of his purse
I'd be rich for ever. And they say he should have been making boots;
but he was more in dread of me than I of him, and had his instruments
gathered up and away with him in one second.

       *       *       *       *       *

There used to be a lot of things seen, but someway the young people
go abroad less at night, and I'm thinking the souls of some of
_those_ may be delivered by this time.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy looked out of the door, and he saw a woman milking
the cow. But after, when he went to milk her, he found as much milk
as ever there was.

_Mrs. Phelan:_

There was a woman at Kilbecanty was out one evening and she saw a
woman dressed in white come after her, and when she looked again she
had disappeared into a hole in the wall. Small she must have grown
to get into that. And for eleven days after that, she saw the same
appearance, and after eleven days she died.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was another woman lived at Kilbecanty, just beside the
churchyard, you can see the house yet. And one day she found a plate
of food put in at the door, the best of food, meat and other things.
So she eat it and the next day the same thing happened. And she told
a neighbouring woman about it, and she left her door open, and a
plate of food was left in to her that night. But when she saw it she
was afraid to eat it, but took it and threw it out. And the next day
she died. But the woman that eat the food, nothing happened to her.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one Halloran took that farm on the road beyond one time,
but he locked the house up, not meaning to go and live in it yet a
while, and he kept the key in his pocket. But one night late he was
coming by and he saw a light in the window and looked in, and he saw
a woman sitting by a fire she was after lighting. So he ran away and
never went to live in the house after.

One night myself coming back from Kelly's I saw a man by the side of
the road, and I knew him to be one Cuniff that had died a year before.

There were two men stealing apples in a garden, and when they tried
to get out there was a soldier at the door with a sword in his hand.
And at the door there he was still before them; so they had to leave
the two bags of apples behind.

_W. Sullivan:_

One night myself I was driving the jennet I had at that time to
Cappagh and I went past a place one Halvey had bought and I saw a man
having a white front to his shirt standing by the wall, and I said
to myself, "Halvey is minding this place well," and I went on, and I
saw the man following me, and the jennet let a roar and kicked at me,
and at that time we passed a stile, and I saw him no more.

_Mrs. Barrett:_

I don't know did old Michael see anything or was it in his head. But
James, the brother that died, told me one time that he was crossing
the way beyond from Brennan's, where the stones are. And there he saw
a hurling going on. He never saw a field so full before. And he stood
and watched them and wasn't a bit frightened, but the dog that was
with him shrank between his legs and stopped there.

       *       *       *       *       *

And my father told me that one time he was stopping with my uncle, up
there near Mrs. Quaid's, in a house that's pulled down since. And he
woke up and saw the night so bright that he went out. And there he
saw a hurling going on, and they had boots like soldiers and were all
shining with the brightness of the night.

And Micky Smith, God rest his soul, saw them at midday passing in the
air above Cahir, as thick as birds.

_A Gate-keeper:_

Niland that met the coach that time and saw them other times, he told
me that there were two sets among them. The one handsome and tall
and like the gentry; the others more like ourselves, he said, and
short and wide, and the body starting out in front, and wide belts
about their waists. Only the women he saw, and they were wearing
white caps with borders, and their hair in curls over the forehead
and check aprons and plaid shawls. They are the spiteful ones that
would do you a mischief, and others that are like the gentry would do
nothing but to laugh and criticize you.

One night myself I was outside Loughrea on the road, about 1 o'clock
in the morning and the moon was shining. And I saw a lady, a true lady
she was, dressed in a sort of a ball dress, white and short in the
skirt, and off the shoulders. And she had long stockings and dancing
shoes with short uppers. And she had a long thin face, and a cap on her
head with frills, and every one of the frills was the breadth of my six
fingers. As to flowers or such things, I didn't notice, for I was more
fixed in looking at the cap. I suppose they wore them at balls in some
ancient times. I followed her a bit, and then she crossed the road to
Johnny Flanigan the joiner's house, that had a gate with piers. And I
went across after her, to have a better view, and when she got to the
pier she shrank into it and there was nothing left.

       *       *       *       *       *

Johnny Kelly that lives in Loughrea was over here one evening, where
he had some cattle on the land at Coole. And where the river goes
away, he saw two ladies sitting, ladies he thought them to be, and
they had long dresses. And they rose up and went on to that hole
where the water is and the trees. And there all of a sudden they rose
a storm and went up in it, with a sort of a roar or a cry and passed
away through the air.

And I was in the house with my wife and I heard the cry, and I thought
it might be some drunken man going home, and it about 10 o'clock in the
evening. And I went to the door, and presently Kelly came in and you'd
have thought him a drunken man, walking and shaking as he did with the
fright he got seeing them going off away in the storm.

_Mrs. Casey:_

I went over to see Kate Cloran the other day, knowing that she had
seen some of these things. And she told me that she was led astray
by them one time--a great lot of them, they were dressed in white
blouses and black skirts and some of them had crimson mantles, but
none of them had any covering on their head, and they had all golden
hair and were more beautiful than any one she had ever seen.

And one night she met the coach and four, and it was full of ladies,
letting the window up and down and laughing out at her. They had
golden hair, or it looked so with the lights. They were dressed in
white, and there were bunches of flowers about the horses' heads.
Roses, chiefly, some pink and some blue. The coachmen were strange
looking, you could not say if they were men or women--and their
clothes were more like country clothes. They kept their heads down
that she could not see their faces, but those in the carriage had
long faces, and thin, and long noses.

_Mike Martin:_

They are of the same size as we are. People only call them diminutive
because they are made so when they're sent on certain errands.

There was a man of Ardrahan used to see many things. But he lost his
eyesight after. It often happens that those that see these things
lose their earthly sight.

The coach and four is seen by many. It appears in different forms, but
there is always the same woman in it. Handsome I believe she is, and
white; and there she will always be seen till the end of the world.

It's best to be neighbourly with them anyway--best to be neighbourly.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman woke one night and she saw two women by the fire, and
they came over and tried to take away her baby. But she held him and
she nudged her husband with her arm, but he was fast asleep. And they
tried him again, and all she could do wouldn't waken the husband, but
still she had the baby tight, and she called out a curse in the devil's
name. So then they went away, for they don't like cursing.

One night coming home from Madden's where I was making frames with him,
I began to tremble and to shake, but I could see nothing. And at night
there came a knocking at the window, and the dog I had that would fight
any dog in Ireland began to shrink to the wall and wouldn't come out.
And I looked out the door and saw him. Little clothes he had on, but on
his head a quarter cap, and a sort of a bawneen about him. And I would
have followed him, but the rest wouldn't let me.

       *       *       *       *       *

Another time I was crossing over the stile behind Kiltartan chapel into
Coole, and others along with me. And a great blast of wind came, and
two trees were bent and broken and fell into the river, and the splash
of water out of it went up to the skies. And those that were with me
saw many figures, but myself I only saw one, sitting there by the bank
where the trees fell, dark clothes he had, and he was headless.

       *       *       *       *       *

They can take all shapes and it's said a pig is the worst, but I
believe if you take no notice of them and bless yourself as they
pass, they'll do you no harm at all.

There were two men walking by a forth that's beyond Cloon, and one of
them must have been in it at some time, for he told the other to look
through his arm, and when he looked he could see thousands of people
about walking and driving, and ladies and gentry among them.

There was a man in Cloon and he was very religious and very devout
and he didn't believe in anything. But one day he was at the
Punch-bowl out on the Ennis road, and there he saw two coaches coming
through the thick wood and they full of people and of ladies, and
they went in to the bushes on the other side. And since he saw that
he'd swear to _them_ being there.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman living over near Tirneevan, and one morning three
men came galloping up on three horses, and they stopped at the door
and tied up the horses and walked in, and they strangers. And the
woman put the tongs over the cradle where the baby was sleeping, for
that is a _pishogue_. And when they saw the tongs, they looked at one
another and laughed, but they did him no harm, but pulled out the
table and sat down and played cards for a while, and went away again.

       *       *       *       *       *

But if they're well treated, and if you know how to humour them,
they're the best of neighbours.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman seen not long ago, all in white, and she standing
in a stream washing her feet. But you need never be afraid of
anything that's white.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman I know was away sometimes and used to go into a
forth among them. She told me about it, and she said there were
big and small among them as there are here. And they wore caps like
hurling caps, all striped with blue and different colours, and their
dress striped the same way.

_A Seaside Man:_

There was a girl below in Spiddal was coming home from Galway with
her father, and just at the bridge below she saw the coach and four.
Like a van it was, with horses, and full of gentlemen. And she tried
to make her father see it, and he couldn't. And it passed along the
road, and then turned down into a field, over the stones, and it
got to the strand and ran along it for a while, and what became of
it then I don't know. My father told me that one night he came from
a wake, and in the field beyond, that was all a flag then, but the
man that owns it has it covered with earth now, he saw about twelve
ladies all in white, and they dancing round and round and a fiddler
or a flute-player or whatever he was, in the middle. And he thought
they were some ladies from Spiddal, and called out to them that it
was late to be out dancing. And he turned to open the door of the
house, and while he was turning they were gone.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man walking one night and he felt a woman come and walk
behind him, and she all in white. And the two of them walked on till
sunrise, and then a cock crowed, and the man said, "There's the cock
crowing." And she said, "That's only a weak cock of the summer." And
soon after another cock crowed, and he asked did she hear it, and she
said, "That's but a poor cock of the harvest." And the third time a
cock crowed and when the man asked her she said, "That's a cock of
March. And you're as wise as the man that doesn't tell Friday's dream
on Saturday." For if you dream on a Friday, you must never tell the
dream of a Saturday.

_Mrs. Swift:_

My mother told me, and she wouldn't tell a lie, that one time she
went to a wake at Ardrahan. And about 12 o'clock, the night being
hot, she and her sister went out to the back of the house. And there
they saw a lot of people running as hard as they could to the house,
and knocking down the walls as they came to them, for there were a
lot of small stones. And she said to her sister, "These must be all
the first cousins coming, and there won't be room to sit in the house
when they come in." So they hurried back. But no one ever came in or
came to the door at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

They are said to be outside the door there often. And some see them
hurling, small they are then, and with grey coats and blue caps. And
the car-driver told me--he wouldn't tell a lie--that he often passed
them walking like soldiers through the hollow beyond.

_An Old Man on Slieve Echtge:_

One night I was walking on that mountain beyond, and a little
lad with me, Martin Lehane, and we came in sight of the lake of
Dairecaol. And in the middle of the lake I saw what was like the
shadow of a tall fir tree, and while I was looking it grew to be like
the mast of a boat. And then ropes and rigging came at the sides and
I saw that it was a ship; and the boy that was with me, he began to
laugh. Then I could see another boat, and then more and more till the
lake was covered with them, and they moving from one side to another.
So we watched for a while, and then we went away and left them there.

_Mrs. Guinan:_

It's only a few days ago, I was coming through the field between this
and the boreen, and I saw a man standing, a countryman you'd say he
was. And when I got near him, all at once he was gone, and when I
told Mrs. Raftery in the next house, she said she didn't wonder at
that, for it's not very long ago she saw what seemed to be the same
man, and he vanished in the same way.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a woman living up that road beyond, is married to a man of
the Matthews, and last year she told me that a strange woman came
into her house, and asked had she good potatoes. And she said she
had. And the woman said: "You have them this year, but we'll have
them next year." And she said: "When you go out of the house, it's
your enemy you'll see standing outside," that was her near neighbour
and was her worst enemy.

       *       *       *       *       *

They'll often come in the night, and bring away the food. I wouldn't
touch any food that had been lying about in the night, you wouldn't
know what might have happened it. And my mother often told me, best
not eat it, for the food that's cooked at night and left till the
morning, they will have left none of the strength in it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a hurling seen in a field near our house, little men they
were in green with red caps, and a sergeant of police and his men
that were going by stopped to look at them, but Johnny Roland a boy I
know, was standing in the middle of them all the time in the field,
and never saw anything at all.

_A North Galway Woman:_

There was a man living over at Caramina, beyond Moyne, Dick Regan
was his name, and one night he was walking over a little hill near
that place. And when he got to the top of it, he found it like a
fair green with all the people that were in it, and they buying and
selling just like ourselves. And they did him no harm, but they put
a basket of cakes into his hand and kept him selling them all the
night. And when he got home, he told the story. And the neighbours
when they heard it gave him the name of the cakes and to the day of
his death he was called nothing but Richard Crackers.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a smith, and a man called on him late one evening, and asked
him to shoe a horse for him and so he did. And then he offered him pay
but he would take none. And the man took him out behind the house, and
there were three hundred horses with riders on them, and a hundred
without, and he said, "We want riders for those," and they went on.

_An Aran Man:_

A man that came over here from Connemara named Costello told me that
one night he was making poteen, and a man on a white horse came up,
and the horse put his head into the place they were making it, and
then they rode away again. So he put a bottle of the whiskey outside
the place, and in a little time he went and looked and it was empty.
And then he put another bottle out, and in a little time he looked
again, and it was empty. And then he put a third, but when he looked
the whiskey in it had not been stirred. And he told me he never did
so much with it or made so much profit as he did in that year.

       *       *       *       *       *

They are everywhere. Tom Deruane saw them down under the rocks
hurling and they were all wearing black caps. And sometimes you'd
see them coming on the sea, just like a barrel on the top of the
water, and when they'd get near you, no matter how calm the day,
you'd have a hurricane about you. That is when they are taking their
diversions. And one evening late I was down with the wife burning
kelp on the rocks, where we had a little kiln made. And we heard a
talking and a whispering about us on the rocks, and my wife thought
it was the child that the sister was bringing down to her, and she
said, "God bless the son!" but no one came, and the talking went on
again, and she got uneasy, and at last we left the kelp and came
home; and we weren't the first that had to leave it for what they
heard in that place.

Fallen angels they are said to be. God threw a third part of them
into Hell with Lucifer, and it was Michael that interceded for the
rest, and then a third part was cast into the air and a third on the
land and the sea. And here they are all about us as thick as grass.

_A Needlewoman from North Galway Working at Coole:_

Myself and Anne (one of the maids) went up the middle avenue after
dark last night and we got a fright, seeing what we thought to be
faeries. They were men dressed in black clothes like evening clothes,
wearing white ruffles round their necks and high black hats without
brims. Two walked in front and one behind, and they seemed to walk
or march stiff like as if there was no bend in the leg. They held
something in each hand and they stopped before the gate pier where
there is a sort of cross in white like paint, then they disappeared
and we turned and ran.

(_When they were going up to bed, I am told, "Anne suddenly stopped
under the picture of Mary Queen of Scots and called out, 'That is like
the frill they wore' and sank down on the stairs in a kind of faint."_)

       *       *       *       *       *

One time at home I was out about dusk, and presently I heard a
creaking, and a priest walked by reading his prayers. But when he
came close I saw it was Father Ryan that was dead some time before.
And I ran in and told a woman, who used to help in milking, what I
had seen, and she said, "If it's Father Ryan you saw I don't wonder,
for I saw him myself at the back of the door there only a week ago."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a boy was making a wall near Cruachmaa and a lot of _them_
came and helped him, and he saw many neighbours that were dead among
them. And when they had the wall near built another troop of them
came running and knocked it down. And the boy died not long after.

_A Young Man:_

My father told me that he was down one time at the north shore
gathering wrack, and he saw a man before him that was gathering
wrack too and stooping down. He had a black waistcoat on him and the
rest of his clothes were flannel just like the people of this island.
And when my father drew near him, he stooped himself down behind a
stone; and when he looked there, there was no sight or mind of him.

One time myself when I was a little chap, about the size of Michael
there, I was out in the fields, and I saw a woman standing on the top
of a wall, and she having a child in her hand. She had a long black
coat about her. And then she got down and crossed over the field, and
it seemed to me all the time that she was only about so high (three
feet) and that there was only about two feet between her and the
ground as she walked, and the child always along with her. And then
she passed over another wall and was gone.

_The Spinning Woman:_

There was a new-married woman, and the husband was going out and he
gave her wool to spin and to have ready for him. And she couldn't
know what in the world to do, for she never learned to spin. And she
was there sitting at it and a little man came in, and when she told
him about it he said he'd bring it away and spin it for her and bring
it back again. And she asked for his name, but he wouldn't tell that.
And soon after there was a ragman going the road and he saw a hole
and he looked down and there he saw the little man, and he stirring
a pot of stirabout with one hand and spinning with the other hand,
and he was singing while he stirred: "---- is my name (that's his
name in Irish but I won't tell you the meaning of it) and she doesn't
know it, and so I'll bring her along with me." So the ragman went in
and came to the young woman's house, and told her what the man was
singing. So when he came with the wool she called him by his name,
and he threw the wool down and went away; for he had no power over
her when she knew his name.

_Mary Glynn of Slieve Echtge:_

That's it, that's it, _the other class_ of people don't like us to be
going out late, we might be in their way, unless it's for a case, or
a thing that can't be helped. And this is Monday, no, Mrs. Deruane,
not Tuesday--we'll say it's Monday. It's at night they're seen, God
bless them, and their music is heard, God bless them, the finest
music you ever heard, like all the fifers of the world and all the
instruments, and all the tunes of the world. There was one of those
boys that go about from house to house on the morning of the new
year, to get a bit of bread or a cup of tea or anything you'll have
ready for him, and he told us that he was coming down the hill near
us, and he had the full of his arm of bits of bread, and he heard the
music, for it was but dawn, and he was frightened and ran and lost
the bread. I heard it sometimes myself and there's no music in the
world like it, but it's not all can hear it. Round the hill it comes,
and you going in at the door. And they are quiet neighbours if you
treat them well. God bless them and bring them all to heaven!

For they were in heaven once, and heaven was the first place there
was war, and they were all to be done away with, and it was St. Peter
asked the Saviour to help them. So he turned His hand like this, and
the sky and the earth were full of them, and they are in every place,
and you know that better than I do because you read books.

_Mary Glynn and Mary Irwin:_

One night there were bonavs in the house,--God bless the hearers
and the place it's told in--God bless all we see and those we don't
see!--And there was a man coming to rise dung in the potato field in
the morning, and so, late at night, Mary Glynn was making stirabout
and a cake to have ready for breakfast.

Mary Irwin's brother was asleep within on the bed. And there came the
sound of the grandest music you ever heard from beyond the stream,
and it stopped here. And Micky awoke in the bed, and was afraid and
said, "Shut up the door and quench the light," and so we did. It's
likely they wanted to come into the house, and they wouldn't when
they saw us up and the lights about. But one time when there were
potatoes in the loft, Mary Irwin and her brothers were well pelted
with them when they sat down to their supper. And Mary Glynn got a
blow on the side of her face from them one night in the bed. And they
have the hope of Heaven, and God grant it to them. And one day there
was a priest and his servant riding along the road, and there was a
hurling of _them_ going on in the field. And a man of them came and
stood on the road and said to the priest, "Tell me this, for you know
it, have we a chance of Heaven?" "You have not," said the priest
(_"God forgive him," says Mary Glynn--"a priest to say that"_); and
the man that was of them said, "Put your fingers in your ears till
you have travelled two miles of the road; for when I go back and tell
what you are after telling me to the rest, the crying and the bawling
and the roaring will be so great that if you hear it you'll never
hear a noise again in this world." So they put their fingers then in
their ears, but after a while the servant said to the priest, "Let me
take out my fingers now." And the priest said, "Do not." And then the
servant said again, "I think I might take one finger out." And the
priest said, "As you are so persevering you may take it out." So he
did, and the noise of the crying and the roaring and the bawling was
so great that he never had the use of that ear again.

_Callan of Slieve Echtge:_

We know they are in it, for Father Hobbs that was our parish priest
saw them himself one time there was a station here, and when some
said they were not in it, he said, "I saw them in a field myself, more
people than ever I saw at twenty fairs." It was St. Peter spoke for
them, at the time of the war, when the Saviour was casting them out;
he said to Him not to empty the heavens. And every Monday morning they
think the Day of Judgment may be coming, and that they will see Heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's never a funeral they are not at, walking after the other
people. And you can see them if you know the way, that is to take a
green rush and to twist it into a ring, and to look through it. But
if you do, you'll never have a stim of sight in the eye again, and
that's why we don't like to do it.

Resting they do be in the daytime, and going about in the night.

_Old Hayden:_

One time I was coming home from a fair and it was late in the night
and it was dark and I didn't know was I on the right road. And I saw
a cabin in a field with a light in it, and I went and knocked at the
door and a man opened the door and let me in, and he said, "Have you
any strange news?" and I said, "I have not," and he said, "There is
no place for you here," and he put me out again. For that was a faery
hill, and when they'll ask have you strange news, and you'll say you
have not, they'll do nothing for you. So I went back in the field,
and there were men carrying a coffin, and they said, "Give us a hand
with this." And I put my hand to it to help them to lift it. And as we
walked on we came to a house, and we went in and there was a fire on
the hearth, and they took the body out of the coffin and put it before
the fire, and they said, "Now let you keep turning it." So I sat there
and turned it, and then they took it up and we went on till we came
to another house and the same thing happened there, and they put me
to turn the body. And when we went out from there they all vanished,
and there was the cabin before me again with the light in it. And when
the man came to the door and asked me, "Is there any strange news?" I
said, "There is indeed," and told him all that had happened. And then I
looked round, and I was within a few yards of my own house.

_Mrs. Keely:_

When you see a blast of wind, and it comes sudden and carries the
dust with it, you should say, "God bless them," and throw something
after them. How do we know but one of our own may be in it? Half of
the world is with them.

We see them often going about up and down the hill, Jack O'Lanthorn
we call them. They are not the size of your two hands. They would not
do you much harm, but to lead you astray.

_The Spinning Woman:_

I remember one day a strange woman coming in and sitting down
there--very clever looking she was, and she had a good suit of
clothes. And I bid her rest herself and I'd give her a cup of tea,
and she said, "I travelled far today and you're the first that
offered me that." And when she had it taken she said, "If I had a
bit of tobacco, and a bit of bacon for my dinner, I'd be all right."
And I made a sign to the woman I have, under the table, to give her
a bit of tobacco. So she got it for her and she said, "I shouldn't
take it, and this the second time today you divided it." And that was
true, for a neighbouring boy had come in in the morning and asked
for a loan of a bit, and she had cut it for him. And I said, "Go to
that house beyond and the woman will give you a bit of bacon"; and
she said, "I won't go to that woman, for it was she told you that one
of the neighbours was bringing away her butter from her," and so she
had, sure enough. And then she said, she must be in Cruachmaa that
night, and she went away and I never saw her again.

_A Mayo Man:_

One time I was working in England near Warrington, and I was walking
the road alone at night, and I saw a woman under an umbrella in the
mist and I said, "Is it a living thing you are or dead?" And she
vanished on the minute. And I sat down by the hedge for a while, and
I heard feet walking, walking, up and down inside the hedge, and I
am sure they were the same thing. And then two strange men passed
me, dressed in working clothes, but talking gibberish that I could
not understand, and I know that they were no right men. So I went in
towards the town and I met a policeman, and he took up his lamp and
made it shine in my face, for they carry a lamp in their belt and
they will take the measurement of your face with it, the same as by
daylight. And he said, "There never was a worse road for an Irishman
to walk than this one." It was maybe because of the land and the
rough people of it he said that.

_A Gate-keeper:_

My sister and her husband were driving on the Kinvara road one day,
and they saw a carriage coming behind them, and it with bright lamps
about it. And they drew the car to one side to let it pass. And when
it passed they saw it had no horses, and the men that were sitting up
where the drivers should be were headless.

There's many has seen the coach, in different shapes, and some have
seen the riders going over the country. Drumconnor is a great place
for these things. The Sheehans that lived in the castle had no peace
or rest. Mrs. Sheehan looked up one day she was outside, and there
was some person standing at the window, and in a moment it was
headless. And they'd see them coming in at the gate, sometimes in
the shape of a woman, and a sort of a cape in the old fashion and a
handkerchief over the head, and sometimes in the shape of a cow or
such things. And noises they'd hear, and things being thrown about
in the house and packs of wool thrown down the stairs.

And they had a good many children, and all the best and the
best-looking were taken. And at last they got the owner to build them
a house outside, and since that they have no trouble and have lost no
more children.

_Mrs. Madden:_

Rivers of Cloonmore one time when he was going to Loughrea, at the
fish-pond corner saw the coach. I didn't see it, but I saw him draw
aside and say to Leary not to let on they saw it.

Meagher another time saw it, and it full of children all in white.

But Egan beyond, he'd never let on to believe in such things and
would make them out to be nothing--he has such a gift of talking.

And one time in the night I and my husband woke and heard the car
rattling by, and we thought it was St. George going to Ballylee
Castle, till we asked in the morning. Four horses it has and they
headless, and sure and certain we heard it pass that night.

_Mrs. Casey:_

And I knew a boy met the coach and four one time. Drawn by four
horses it was, and lights about it and music, and the horses dressed
with flowers. And in it were sitting ladies, very clever-looking and
wild, and their hair twisted up on their heads, and when they went
on a little way they called to some man on the road to come with
them, and he refused, and they laughed at that and ridiculed him.

I never saw the coach and four with these two eyes; but one time I
heard it pass by, about 11 o'clock at night, when I was sitting up
mending the sole of a boot. Surely it passed by, but I would not look
out to see what it was like.

For there was a woman I knew was walking with a man one night from
Kilcolgan to Oranmore. And as they were sitting by the roadside they
heard the coach and four coming. And the man stood up and looked at
it, but he had no right to do that, he should have turned his head
away. And there were grand people in it, ladies, and flowers about
them. But no sooner did he look at it than he was struck blind and
never had his eyesight since.

It's best not to look at them if they pass. And when you go along the
road and a storm comes in the calm and raises all the dust of the road
up in the air, turn your head another way, for it's they that are
passing. In the month of May is the most time they do be travelling.
And it's best not to go near water then, near a river or a lake.

When my father was dying my mother was sitting with him, and she
heard a car pass the door, going light and quick, but when it passed
down the road again it went heavy, and that was the coach and four.

There was Sully had the forge one time, and passing one night down
the road towards Nolan's gate, he saw a brake pass full of ladies
and gentlemen, as he thought, and he believed it to be St. George's
carriage. But at Nolan's gate, it turned and came up again, and
whatever he saw, when he got home he took to his bed for some days
with the fright he got.

Kelly told me one time he saw the coach and four driving through the
field above Dillon's, with four horses. And wasn't that a strange
place for it to be driving through all the rocks?

       *       *       *       *       *

There was boys used to be stealing apples from the orchard at Tyrone,
and something in white with a candle used to come after them, and then
change to something in red. So they went to a forth, and they went to
the side of it where the sun rises and there they made the mark of the
cross, but after all they had to leave going after the apples.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman down at Silver's the other night, and when I was
standing to go home she said, "I wonder you not to be afraid to go
through these fields." So I asked her did ever she see anything,
and she said, "I was with another girl one day near Inchy gate,
and we heard a voice, and we saw the coach and four coming and we
were afraid, and we went in under the bushes to hide ourselves. It
passed by us then, it was big and long, longer than a carriage you
could see now, and there were people in it, men and women dressed in
all colours, blue and red and pink and black, but I could not say
what had they on their heads. And there was a man on the box, not a
coachman but just a Christian, and he driving the four horses.

"As to the horses, the two that were in front were grey, but the two
that were near the carriage were brown; it gave me a great fright at
the time."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no light about it in the daytime, but at night it is all

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl saw it one time in the same way, drawn by horses
that were without heads. She got a great fright and she ran home. And
in the morning when she got up, she that had been a dark-haired girl
was as white as snow, and her hair grey. She is living yet and is up
to nearly a hundred years.

_Mrs. Roche:_

My father would never believe in anything till one time he was walking
near Seanmor with another smith, and he stopped and said "I can't go on
with all the people that's in that field." And my father said "I don't
see any people." And the other said "Put your right foot on my right
foot, and your hand on my right shoulder." And he did, and he saw a
great many in the field, but not so many as the other saw; fine men
and all dressed in white shirts, shining they were so white. He told us
about it when he came home, and he said he wished he didn't see them.
He was dead within the twelvemonth, and the man that was with him was
dead before that, not much time between them.





_I have been told:_

Butter, that's a thing that's very much meddled with. On the first
of May before sunrise it's very apt to be all taken away out of
the milk. And if ever you lend your churn or your dishes to your
neighbour, she'll be able to wish away your butter after that. There
was a woman used to lend a drop of milk to the woman that lived next
door, and one day she was churning, churning, and no butter came. And
at last some person came into the house and said, "It's hard for you
to have butter here, and if you want to know where it is, look into
the next house." So she went in and there was her neighbour letting
on to be churning in a quart bottle, and rolls of butter beside her.
So she made as if to choke her, and the woman run out into the garden
and picked some mullein leaves, and said, "Put these leaves in under
your churn, and you'll find your butter come back again." And so she
did. And she found it all in the churn after.

To sprinkle a few drops of holy water about the churn, and to put a
coal of fire under it, that you should always do--as was always done
in the old time--and the _others_ will never touch it.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman in the town was churning, and when the butter came
she went out of the house to bring some water for to wash it and to
make it up. And there was a tailor sitting sewing on the table. And
the woman from next door came in and asked the loan of a coal of
fire, and that's a thing that's never refused from one poor person
to another in the morning. So he bid her take it. And presently she
came in again and said that the coal of fire had gone out, and asked
another, and this she did the third time. But the tailor knew well
what she was doing, and that every coal of fire she brought away,
there was a roll of butter out of the churn went with it. So whatever
prayers he said is not known, but he brought the butter all back
again, and into a can on the floor, and no hands ever touched it. So
when the woman of the house came back, "There's your butter in the
can," said he. And she wondered how it came out of the churn to be in
three rolls in the can. And then he told her all that had happened.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man was churning, churning, every day and no butter would
come only froth. So some wise woman told him to go before sunrise to a
running stream and bring a bottle of the water from it. And so he did
before sunrise, and had to go near four miles to it. And from that day
he had rolls and rolls of butter coming every time he churned.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was one Burke, he knew how to bring it back out of some old
Irish book that has disappeared since he died. There was a woman
a herd's wife lived beyond, and one time Burke had his own butter
taken, and he said he knew a way to find who had done it, and he
brought in the coulter of the plough and put it in the fire. And
when it began to get red hot, this woman came running, and fell on
her knees, for it was she did it. And after that he never lost his
butter again. But she took to her bed and was there for years until
her death. And she couldn't turn from one side to another without
some person to lift her. Her son is now living in Dublin, and is the
President of some Association.

       *       *       *       *       *

If a woman in Aran is milking a cow and the milk is spilled, she says,
"There's some are the better for it," and I think it a very nice
thought, that they don't grudge it if there is any one it does good to.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man, one Finnegan, had the knowledge how to bring it back.
And one time Lanigan that lives below at Kilgarvan had all his butter
taken and the milk nothing but froth rising to the top of the pail like
barm. So he went to Finnegan and he bid him get the coulter of the
plough, and a shoe of the wickedest horse that could be found and some
other thing, I forget what. So he brought in the coulter of the plough,
and his brother-in-law chanced to have a horse that was so wicked it
took three men to hold him, and no one could get on his back. So he
got a shoe off of him. But just at that time, Lanigan's wife went to
confession, and what did she do but to tell the priest what they were
doing to get back the butter. So the priest was mad with them, and bid
them to leave such things alone. And when Finnegan heard it he said,
"What call had she to go and confess that? Let her get back her own
butter for herself any more, for I'll do nothing to help her."

       *       *       *       *       *

Grass makes a difference? So it may, but believe me that's not all.
I've been myself in the County Limerick, where the grass is that rich
you could grease your boots in it, and I heard them say there, one
quart of cream ought to bring one pound of butter. And it never does.
_And where does the rest go to?_


                         THE FOOL OF THE FORTH


                         THE FOOL OF THE FORTH

_We had, before our quest began, heard of faeries and banshees and
the walking dead; but neither Mr. Yeats in Sligo nor I in Galway had
ever heard of "the worst of them all," the Fool of the Forth, the
Amadán-na-Briona, he whose stroke is, as death, incurable. As to the
fool in this world, the pity for him is mingled with some awe, for who
knows what windows may have been opened to those who are under the
moon's spell, who do not give in to our limitations, are not "bound by
reason to the wheel." It is so in the East also, and I remember the
surprise of the European doctor who had charge of an hospital in one of
the Native States of India, because when the ruler of the State came
one day to visit it, he and his high officials, while generous and
pitiful to the bodily sick, bowed down and saluted a young lad who had
lost his wits, as if recognizing an emissary from a greater kingdom._

_In one of my little comedies "The Full Moon," the cracked woman
comforts her half-witted brother, saying of his commonsense critics,
"It is as dull as themselves you would be maybe, and the world to be
different and the moon to change its courses with the sun." Those
commonsense people of Cloon describe a fool as "one that is laughing
and mocking, and that would not have the same habits as yourself, or
to have no fear of things you would be in dread of, or to be using a
different class of food." May it not be the old story of the deaf man
thinking all his fellow guests had suddenly lost their reason when they
began to dance, and he alone could not hear the call of the pipes?_

_There is perhaps sometimes a confusion in the mind between things
seen and unseen, for an old woman telling me she had often heard of
the Amadán-na-Briona went on "And I knew one too, and he's not dead
a twelvemonth. It's at night he used to be away with them, and they
used to try to bring people away into the forth where he was._

"_Was he a fool in this world too? Well, he was mostly, and I think I
know another that's living now_."

I was told by:

_A Woman Bringing Oysters from the Strand:_

There was a boy, one Rivers, got the touch last June, from the
Amadán-na-Briona, the Fool of the Forth, and for that touch there is no
cure. It came to the house in the night-time and knocked at the door,
and he was in bed and he did not rise to let it in. And it knocked
the second time, and even then, if he had answered it, he might have
escaped. But when it knocked the third time he fell back on the bed,
and one side of him as if dead, and his jaw fell on the pillow.

He knew it was the Amadán-na-Briona did it, but he did not see
him--he only felt him. And he used to be running in every place after
that and trying to drown himself, and he was in great dread his
father would say he was mad, and bring him away to Ballinasloe. He
used to be asking me could his father do that to him. He was brought
to Ballinasloe after and he died there, and his body was brought back
and buried at Drumacoo.

_Mrs. Murphy:_

Cnoc-na-Briona is full of them, near Cappard. The Amadán-na-Briona is
the master of them all, I heard the priest say that.

There was a man of the MacNeills passing by it one night coming back
from the bog, and they brought him in, and when he came out next
day--God save the mark--his face was turned to his poll. They sent
then to Father Jordan, and he turned it right again. The man said
they beat him while he was with them, and he saw there a great many
of his friends that were dead.

_The Spinning Woman:_

There are fools among them, and the fools we see like that Amadán at
Ballymore go away with them at night. And so do the women fools, that
we call _lenshees_, that means, an ape.

It's true enough there is no cure for the stroke of the
Amadán-na-Briona. There was an old man I knew long ago, he had a
tape, and he could tell what disease you had with measuring you, and
he knew many things. And he said to me one time "What month of the
year is the worst?" And I said, "The month of May, of course." "It
is not," he said, "but the month of June, for that's the month that
the Amadán gives his stroke." They say he looks like any other man,
but he's _leathan_--wide--and not smart. I know a boy one time got a
great fright, for a lamb looked over the wall at him, and it with a
big beard on it, and he knew it was the Amadán, for it was the month
of June. And they brought him to that man I was telling you about,
that had the tape. And when he saw him he said "Send for the priest
and get a Mass said over him." And so they did, and what would you
say but he's living yet, and has a family.

_A Seaside Man:_

The stroke of the Fool is what there is no cure for; any one that
gets that is gone. The Amadán-na-Briona we call him. It's said they
are mostly good neighbours. I suppose the reason of the Amadán being
wicked is he not having his wits, he strikes out at all he meets.

_A Clare Man:_

They, the other sort of people, might be passing you close and
they might touch you; but any one that gets the touch of the
Amadán-na-Briona is done for. And it's true enough that it's in the
month of June he's most likely to give the touch. I knew one that got
it, and told me about it himself.

He was a boy I knew well, and he told me that one night a gentleman
came to him, that had been his landlord, and that was dead. And he told
him to come along with him, for he wanted to fight another man. And
when he went he found two great troops of them, and the other troop had
a living man with them too, and he was put to fight him. And they had
a great fight and at last he got the better of the other man, and then
the troop on his side gave a great shout, and he was left home again.

But about three years after that he was cutting bushes in a wood, and
he saw the Amadán coming at him. He had a big vessel in his arms, and
it shining, so that the boy could see nothing else, but he put it
behind his back then, and came running; and he said he looked wide
and wild, like the side of a hill.

And the boy ran, and the Amadán threw the vessel after him, and it
broke with a great noise, and whatever came out of it, his head
was gone then and there. He lived for a while after and used to be
telling us many things, but his wits were gone. He thought they
mightn't have liked him to beat the other man, and he used to be
afraid something would come on him.

_Mrs. Staunton:_

A friend of mine saw the Amadán one time in Poul-na-shionac, low-sized
and very wide, and with a big hat on him, very high, and he'd make
shoes for you if you could get a hold of him. But there are some say
"No, that is not the Amadán-na-Briona, that is the leprechaun."

_An Old Woman:_

The Amadán-na-Briona is a bad one to meet. If you don't say, "The
Lord be between us and harm," when you meet him, you are gone for
ever and always. What does he look like? I suppose like any fool in a
house--a sort of a clown.

_A Man near Athenry:_

Biddy Early could cure nearly all things, but she said that the only
thing that she could do no cure for was the touch of the Amadán.


Biddy Early couldn't do nothing for the touch of the Amadán, because
its power was greater than hers.

_In the Workhouse:_

The Amadán-na-Briona, he changes his shape every two days. Sometimes he
comes like a youngster, and then he'll come like the worst of beasts.
Trying to give the touch he used to be. I heard it said of late that he
was shot, but I think myself it would be hard to shoot him.

_Ned Meehan of Killinane:_

The Amadán is the worst; I saw him myself one time, and I'd be swept
if I didn't make away on the moment. It was on a race-course at
Ballybrit, and no one there but myself, and I sitting with my back
to the wall and smoking my pipe. And all at once the Amadán was all
around me, in every place, and I ran and got out of the field or I'd
be swept. And I saw others of them in the field; it was full of them,
red scarfs they had on them.

I came home as quick as I could, and I didn't get over the fright for
a long time, but there he was all about me.

_Meehan's wife says_: I remember you well coming in that night, and
you trembling with the fright you got. And you told me the appearance
he had, like a jockey he was, on a grey horse.

"That is true indeed," _says Ned, and he goes on_:

And one night I was up in that field beyond, watching sheep that were
near their time to drop, and I saw a light moving through the fields
beside me, and down the road and no one with it. It stopped for a
while where the water is and went on again.

And there was a woman in Ballygra the same night heard the coach-a-baur
passing, and she not hearing at all about the lights I saw.

_A Man at Kilcolgan:_

Father Callaghan that used to be in Esker was able to do great cures;
he could cure even a man that had met the Amadán-na-Briona. But to
meet the Amadán is to be in prison for ever.


                       FORTHS AND SHEOGUEY PLACES


                       FORTHS AND SHEOGUEY PLACES

_When as children we ran up and down the green entrenchments of the big
round raths, the lisses or forths, of Esserkelly or Moneen, we knew
they had been made at one time for defence, and that is perhaps as much
as is certainly known. Those at my old home have never been opened,
but in some of their like I have gone down steps to small stone-built
chambers that look too low for the habitation of any living race._

_Had we asked questions of the boys who led our donkeys they would
in all likelihood have given us, from tradition or vision, news of
the shadowy inhabitants, the Sidhe, whose name in the Irish is all
one with a blast of wind, and of the treasures they guard. And the
old writings tell us that when blessed Patrick of the Bells walked
Ireland, he did not refuse the promise of heaven to some among those
spirits in prison, the old divine race for whom Mannanan himself had
chosen these hidden dwellings, after the great defeat in battle by
the human invaders, the Gaels, or to some they had brought among them
from the face of the green earth. It was one of their musicians who
played to the holy Clerks till Patrick himself said, "But for some
tang of the music of the Sidhe that is in it, I never heard anything
nearer to the music of heaven." That music is heard yet from time to
time; and it was into one of those hill dwellings that the father of
McDonough the Galway piper, my friend, was taken till the Sidhe had
taught him all their wild tunes and so bewitched his pipes that they
would play of themselves if he threw them up among the rafters. There
were great treasures there also in Saint Patrick's time, golden vats
and horns, and crystal cups, and silks of the colour of the foxglove.
It may be of these treasures that so many dreams are told._

_As to the women of the Sidhe, some who have seen them, as old Mrs.
Sheridan, tell of their white skin and yellow hair, for age has not
come on them through the centuries. When one of them came claiming
the fulfilment of an old promise from Caoilte of the Fianna, Patrick
wondered at her young beauty, while the man who had been her lover
was withered and bent and grey. But Caoilte said that was no wonder
"for she is of the Tuatha de Danaan who are unfading and whose life
is lasting, while I am of the sons of Milesius who are perishable
and fade away." Yet then as now, notwithstanding their beauty and
grandeur, those swept away into the hill dwellings would rather have
the world they know. One of Finn's men meeting a comely young man who
had been his comrade but was now an inhabitant of one of those hidden
houses, asked how he fared. And for all his fine clothing and his
blue weapons and the hound he held in a silver chain, the young man
gave the names of three drudges "who had the worst life of any who
were with the Fianna," and then he said, "I would rather be living
their life than the life I am leading now."_

_The name of these tribes of the goddess Dana is often confused
with that of the northern invaders who were afterwards a terror to
Ireland. And so it was of those unearthly tribes an old basket-maker
was thinking when he said, in telling of the defeat of the Irish
under James, "The Danes were dancing in the raths around Aughrim the
night after the battle. Their ancestors were driven out of Ireland
before, and they were glad when they saw those that had put them out
put out themselves, and everyone of them skivered."_

_Many of the stories I have gathered tell how those tribes still
protect their own; and even today, March 21, 1916, I have read in the
"Irish Times" that "a farmer who was summoned by a road contractor
for having failed to cut a portion of a hedge on the roadside, told
the magistrates at Granard Petty Sessions that he objected to cutting
the hedge as it grew in a fort or rath. He however had no objection
to the contractor's men cutting the hedge. The magistrates allowed
the case to stand till the next Court."_

_As to Knockmaa, or Cruachmaa, or, as it is called today, Castle Hacket
Hill, that overlooks Lough Corrib and the plain of Moytura, and that we
see as a blue cloud from our roads, it was in Saint Patrick's time the
habitation of Finnbarr a king among the Sidhe and his seventeen sons,
and it is to this day spoken of as "a very Sheoguey place."_

_It was in these enchanted hills that the ale of Goibniu the Smith
kept whoever tasted it from sickness and from death, and there is
some memory of this in a story told me by an old farmer. "There was
a man one time set out from Ireland to go to America or some place;
a common man looking for work he was. And something happened to the
ship on the way, and they had to put to land to mend it. And in the
country where they landed he saw a forth, and he went into it, and
there he saw the smallest people he ever saw, and they were the Danes
that went out of Ireland; and it was foxes they had for dogs, and
weasels were their cats._

_"Then he went back to get into the ship, but it was gone away, and he
left behind. So he went back into the forth, and a young man came to
meet him, and he told him what had happened. And the young man said
'Come into the room within where my father is in the bed, for he is
out of his health and you might be able to serve him.' So they went in
and the father was lying in the bed, and when he heard it was a man
from Ireland was in it he said, 'I will give you a great reward if you
will go back and bring me a thing I want out of Castle Hacket Hill.
For if I had what is there,' he said, 'I would be as young as my son.'
So the man consented to go, and they got a sailing ship ready, and it
is what the old man told him, to go back to Ireland. 'And buy a little
pig in Galway,' he said, 'and bring it to the mouth of the forth of
Castle Hacket and roast it there. And inside the forth is an enchanted
cat that is keeping guard there, and it will come out; and here is a
shot-gun and some cross-money that will kill any faery or any enchanted
thing. And within in the forth,' he said, 'you will find a bottle and a
rack-comb, and bring them back here to me.'_

_"So the man did as he was told and he bought the pig and roasted it
at the mouth of the forth, and out came the enchanted cat, and it
having hair seven inches long. And he fired the cross-money out of
the shot-gun, and the cat went away and he saw it no more. And he
got the bottle and the rack-comb and brought them back to the old
man. And he drank what was in the bottle and racked his hair with the
rack, and he got young again, as young as his own son."_

_It may be some of those faery treasures are still given out; for of
the family who have been for a good while owners of the hill, one at
least had the gift of genius. And I remember being told in childhood,
and I have never known if it were fact or folk-tale, that her mother
having as a bride gone to listen to some debate or royal speech in
the House of Lords at Westminster, the whole assembly had stood up in
homage to her beauty._

_I was told by a Miller:_

It was the Danes built these forths. They were a fair-haired race,
and they married with the Irish that were dark-haired, just like
those linen weavers your own great-grandfather brought up from the
North, the Hevenors and the Glosters and others, married with the
Roman Catholics. There was a king of the Danes called Trevenher that
had a daughter that was a great beauty. And she gave a feast, and the
young men of the other race dressed like girls and came to it, and
sat at it till midnight, and then they threw off the women's clothes
and killed all the generals and the king himself. So the Danes were
driven out, that's why we have the fires and the wisps on St. John's
Eve. And as for Herself there, she wouldn't for all the world let St.
Martin's Day pass without killing of cocks--one for the woman and
another for the man.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the three lisses at Ryanrush, there must have been a great deal
of fighting there in the old time. There are some bushes growing on
them and no one, man or woman, will ever put a hand to cut them, no
more than they would touch the little bush by the well beyond, that
used to have lights shining out of it.

And if any one was to fall asleep within the liss himself, he would
be taken away and the spirit of some old warrior would be put in his
place, and it's he would know everything in the whole world. There's
no doubt at all but that there's the same sort of things in other
countries. Sure _these_ can go through and appear in Australia in
one minute. But you hear more about them in these parts, because the
Irish do be more familiar in talking of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

Enchanters and magicians they were in the old times, and could make
the birds sing and the stones and the fishes speak.

       *       *       *       *       *

It's in the forths they mostly live. The last priest that was here
told us a lot about them, but he said not to be anyway afraid of
them, for they are but poor souls doing their penance.

_Mary Nagle:_

That's a fine big liss at Ryanrush, and people say they hear things
there, and sometimes a great light is seen--no wonder these things
should be seen there, for it was a great place for fighting in the
old centuries, and a great deal of bones have been turned up in the
fields. There was an open passage I remember into the liss, and two
girls got a candle one time and went in, but they saw nothing but the
ashes of the fires the Danes used to make. The passage is closed up
now I believe, with big stones no man could lift.

One time a woman from the North came to our house, and she said a
great deal of people is kept below there in the lisses; she had been
there herself, and in the night-time in one moment they'd all be away
at Cruachmaa, wherever that may be, down in the North I believe.
And she knew everything that was in the house, and told us about my
sister being sick, and that there was a hurling going on, as there
was that day at the Isabella wood in Coole. And all about Coole House
she knew as if she spent her life in it. I'd have picked a lot of
stories out of her but my mother got nervous when she heard the truth
coming out, and bid me be quiet. She had a red petticoat on her, the
same as any country woman, and she offered to cure me, for it was
that time I was delicate and your ladyship sent me to the salt water,
but she asked a shilling and my mother said she hadn't got it. "You
have," says she, "and heavier metal than that you have in the house."
So then my mother gave her the shilling, and she put it in the fire
and melted it, and says she, "After two days you'll see your shilling
again." But we never did. And the cure she left, I never took it;
it's not safe, and the priests forbid us to take their cures--for it
must surely be from the devil their knowledge comes. But no doubt at
all she was one of the Ingentry, that can take the form of a woman by
day and another form at night. After that she went to Mrs. Quaid's
house and asked her for a bit of tobacco. "You'll get it again" she
said, "and more with it." And sure enough, that very day a bit of
meat came into Mrs. Quaid's house. (_Note_ 1.)

_Maurteen Joyce:_

There's a forth near Clough that wanders underneath, but a man
couldn't get into it without he'd crawl on his hands and knees. Well,
Kennedy's filly was brought in there, and lived there for five days
without food but what she got from _them_, and no one knew where she
was till a man passing by heard her neighing and then she was dug out.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a forth near our house, but it's not the good people that are
in it, only the old inhabitants of Ireland shut up there below.

       *       *       *       *       *

There are a few old forths about, some of them you mightn't notice
unless you understood such things; but sometimes passing by you'd
feel a cold wind blowing from them, would nearly rend you in two.

       *       *       *       *       *

When I was a young chap myself I used to see a white woman walking
about sometimes at midday--that's the worst hour there is--and she'd
always go back into a forth, the forth of Cahir near Cloonmore, and
disappear into it.

She was known to be a woman that had died nine years before; and she
would sometimes come into the sister's house, and bid her keep it
clean. But one time the sister's husband went to burn the inside of
the forth, and the next morning his barn where he had all the wheat of
the harvest and near a ton of hay and two or three packs of wool, was
found to be on fire. And his own little girl, about eight years of age,
was in the barn, and a labouring man broke through and brought a wet
cloth with him and threw it over her and carried her out. But she was
as black as cinders and dead. Vexed they were at him burning the forth.

_An Old Miller:_

Did _they_ get help to make those forths? You may know well that they
did. There was an engineer here when that road was being made--a
sort of an idolater or a foreigner he was--anyway he made it through
the forth, and he didn't last long after. Those other engineers,
Edgeworth and Hemans beyond at Ardrahan when the railway was made,
I'm told they avoided such things.

_A Slieve Echtge Man:_

There were two brothers taken away sudden, two O'Briens. They were
cutting heath one day and filling the cart with it, and a voice told
them to leave off cutting the heath, but they went on, and a blow
struck the cart on the axle. And soon after that one of the brothers
sat down in his chair and died sudden. And the other was one day
going to market, I was going to it that day myself, and he wasn't far
beyond the white gate when the axle of the cart broke in that same
place where it had got the blow, and so he had to go home again, and
near the river where they're cutting the larch he turned in to talk
to a poor man that was cutting a tree, and the tree fell, and the top
of it struck him and killed him. And it was last March that happened.

There was one Leary in Clough had the land taken that's near Newtown
racecourse. And he was out there one day building a wall, and it was
time for his dinner, but he had none brought with him. And a man came
to him and said "Is it home you'll be going for your dinner?" And
he said "It's not worth my while to go back to Clough, I'd have the
day lost." And the man said, "Well, come in and eat a bit with me."
And he brought him into a forth, and there was everything that was
grand, and the dinner they gave him of the best, so that he eat near
two plates of it. And then he went out again to build the wall. And
whether it was with lifting the heavy stones I don't know, but (with
respects to you) when he was walking the road home he began to vomit,
and what he vomited up was all green grass.

_A Man on the Connemara Coast:_

This is a faery stream we're passing; there were some used to see
them by the side of it, and washing themselves in it. And there used
to be heard a faery forge here every night, and the hammering of the
iron could be heard, and the blast of the furnace.

There is a faery hill beyond there in the mountain, and some have
seen fires in it all through the night. And one time the police were
out there still-hunting, and the head of them, one Rogers, was in the
middle of that place, and there he died, no one could say how, though
some of his men were round about him.

That's a nice flat clean place that rock we're passing--that's the
sort of place they'd be seen dancing or having their play.

_A Piper:_

I knew twin sons, Considines, and one was struck with madness in
England, and one at home--Pat in England, Mike in Connacht--at the
one time. Both were sent to Ballinasloe Asylum, and got well in eight
months, and that was ten year ago, and one of them is married and
rearing a family. The mother used to be doing cures with herbs; it is
likely that is the reason but she gave it up after they were struck.

There were three of another family went in to the Asylum, one this
year, one next year, and one the year after, and no reason but that
their house was close to the side of a forth.

_Maurteen Joyce:_

When I was in Clare there was a forth, and two or three men went
down it one time, and brought rushes and lights with them. And they
came to where there was a woman washing at a river and they heard
the crying of young lambs, and it November, for when we have winter,
there is summer there. So they got afraid, and two of the men came
back, but one of them stopped there and was never heard of after. The
best of things they have, and no trouble at all but to be eating; but
they have no chance of being saved till the Day of Judgment.

I knew another forth that two men watched, and at night there came
out of it two troops of horses, and they began to graze. But when the
men came near them they made for the forths, and all they got was a
foal. And they kept it, and it was a mare-horse, and it had foals,
and the breed was the best that was ever seen in the country.

_Mrs. Leary:_

There did strange things happen in that wood, noises would be heard,
and those that went in to steal rods could never get them up on their
back to bring them away. But there was one man said whatever happened
he'd bring them, and he got them on to his back, and then they were
lifted off it over the wood. But they fell again and he got them and
carried them away; I suppose they thought well of him having so much

Cruachmaa is the great place for them.

A man who had lost a blood mare met an old man from a forth who said
"Put your right foot on my right foot." And he did so, and at once he
saw the blood mare and his foal close by.

_The Old Man Who Is Making a Well:_

There was a man and his wife was brought away at Cruachmaa and he was
told to go dig, and he'd get her out. And he began to dig, and when
he had a hole made at the side of the hill he saw her coming out, but
he couldn't stop the pick that he had lifted for the stroke, and it
went through her head.

_J. Doran:_

Whether they are in it or not, there are many tell stories of them.
And I often saw the half of Cruachmaa covered--like as if there was a
mist on it.

But one side of a wall is luckier than another, all the old people will
tell you that. There was a big stone in the yard behind our house and
my husband thought to blast it, for it was in the way, and my mother
said "I'm in the house longer than you, and take my advice and never
touch that stone," and he never did. But there was a man built a house
close by and he wanted to close a passage, and one morning he came
early and was laying hands on that stone to take it. But I was out when
I heard him and drove him away. And the house never throve with him, he
lost two or three children, and then he died himself.

_A Gate-keeper:_

At St. Patrick's well at Burren there used to be a great pattern
every year. And every year there was something lost and killed at it,
a horse or a man or a woman.

So at last the priest put a stop to it. And there was an old woman
with me in the barracks at Burren, and she told me she remembered
well when she was a young girl and the time came when the pattern
used to be, the first year it was stopped her father put her up on a
big high wall near the well, and bid her look down. And there she saw
the whole place full of the _gentry_, and they playing and dancing
and having their own games, they were in such joy to have done away
with the pattern. I suppose the well belonged to them before it got
the name of St. Patrick.

There's a small little house not far down the road where they used to
be very fond of going. And a woman in the town asked the old woman
that lived in it what did they look like. And she said "For all the
world like people coming in to Chapel."

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a girl coming back here one time from Clough, and instead
of coming here she went the Esserkelly road and was led astray and a
man met her and says he, "Why do you say you're going to Labane and
it's to Roxborough you're facing?" and he turned her around. And when
she got home she took off the bundle she had on her back, and what
jumped out of it but a young hare.

_Mrs. Casey:_

I have a great little story about a woman--a jobber's wife that lived
a mile beyond Ardrahan. She had business one time in Ballyvaughan,
and when she was on the road beyond Kinvara a man came to her out
of a forth and he asked her to go in and to please a child that was
crying. So she went in and she pleased the child, and she saw in a
corner an old man that never stopped from crying. And when she went
out again she asked the man that brought her in, why was the old man
roaring and crying. The man pointed to a milch cow in the meadow and
he said, "Before the day is over he will be in the place of that cow,
and it will be brought into the forth to give milk to the child."
And she can tell herself that was true, for in the evening when she
was coming back from Ballyvaughan, she saw in that field a cow dead,
and being cut in pieces, and all the poor people bringing away bits
of it, that was the old man that had been put in its place. There is
poison in that meat, but no poison ever comes off the fire, but you
must mind to throw away the top of the pot.

       *       *       *       *       *

That forth where I heard the talking long ago, and left my can, it's
only the other day I was telling Pat Stephens of it that has the
land. And he told me he put a trough in it to catch the water about a
month ago. And the next day one of his best bullocks died.

_Mrs. O'Brien:_

It's a bad piece of the road that poor boy fell off his cart at and
was killed. There's a forth near it, and it's in that forth my five
children are that were swept from me. I went and I told Father Carey
I knew they were there, and he said "Say your prayers, my poor woman,
that's all you can do." When they were young they were small and thin
enough, they grew up like a bunch of rushes, but they got strong
and stout and good-looking. Too good they were, so that everyone
would remark them and would say, "Oh, look at Ellen O'Brien--look
at Catherine--look at Martin! So good to work and so handsome, so
loyal to their mother." And they were all taken from me, all gone
now but one. Consumption they were said to get, but it never was in
my family or in the father's, and how would they get it without some
provocation? Four of them died with that, and Martin was drowned. One
of the little girls was in America and the other at home, and they
both got sick and at the end of nine months both of them died.

Only twice they got a warning. Michael that was the first to go was out
one morning very early to bring a letter to Mr. Crowe. And he met on
the road a small little woman, and she came across him and across him
again, and then again, as if to be humbugging him. And he got afraid,
and told me about her when he got home. And not long after that he died.

And Ellen used to be going to milk the cow for the nuns morning and
evening, and there's a place she had to pass, a sort of enchanted
place, I forget the name of it. And when she came home one evening
she said she'd go there no more, for when she was passing that place
she saw a small little woman, with a little cloak about her, and her
face not the size of a doll's face. And with the one look of her she
got a fright and ran as fast as she could, and sat down to milk the
cow. And when she was milking she looked up, and there was the small
little woman coming along by the wall. And she said she'd never like
to go up there again. So to move the thought out of her mind I said
"Sure that's the little woman is stopping up at Shamus Mor's house."
"Oh, it's not, Mother," said she; "I know well by her look she was no
right person." "Then my poor girl you're lost," says I, "for I know
it was the same woman that my husband saw." And sure enough, it was
but a few weeks after that she died. There wasn't much change in them
before their death, but there was a great change after.

And Martin, the last that went, was stout and strong and nothing
ailed him, but he was drowned. He'd go down sometimes to bathe in the
sea and one day he said he was going, and I said, "Do not, for you
have no swim."

But a boy of the neighbours came after that and called to him, and I
was making the little dinner for him, and I didn't see him from the
door. And I never knew he was gone till when I went out of the house
the girl from next door looked at me someway strange, and then she
told me two boys were drowned, and then she told me one of them was
my own. Held down he was, they said, by something under water. _They_
had him followed there.

It wasn't long after he died I woke one night and I felt some one
near, and I struck the light and then I saw his shadow. He was
wearing his little cap, but under it I knew his face and the colour
of his hair. And he never spoke and he was going out the door and I
called to him and said "Oh, Martin, come back to me and I'll always
be watching for you." And every night after that I'd hear things
thrown about the house outside, and noises. So I got afraid to stop
in it, and went to live in another house, and I told the priest I
knew Martin was not dead but that he was living. And about eight
weeks after Catherine dying, I had what I thought was a dream. I
thought I dreamt that I saw her sweeping out the floor of the room,
and I said, "Catherine, why are you sweeping? Sure you know I sweep
the floor down and the hearth every night." And I said "Tell me where
you are now?" And she said, "I'm in the forth beyond." And she said
"I have a great deal of things to tell you, but I must look out and
see are they watching me"; now wasn't that very sharp for a dream?
And she went to look out the door, but she never came back again.

And in the morning when I told it to a few respectable people they
said "Take care but it might have been no dream, but herself that
came back and talked to you." And I think it was, and that she came
back to see me, and to keep the place well swept.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sure we know there were some in the forths in the old times, for my
aunt's husband was brought away into one, and why wouldn't they be
there now? He was sent back out of it again; a girl led him home, and
she told him he was brought away because he answered to the first call
and that he had a right only to answer to the third. But he didn't want
to come home. He said he saw more people in it than he ever saw at a
hurling, and that he'd ask no better place than it in high heaven.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Banshee always cries for the O'Briens. And Anthony O'Brien was a
fine man when I married him, and handsome, and I could have had great
marriages if I didn't choose him, and many wondered at me. And when
he was took ill and in the bed, Johnny Rafferty came in one day, and
says he "Is Anthony living?" and I said he was. "For," says he, "as I
was passing, I heard crying, crying, from the hill where the forths
are, and I thought it must be for Anthony, and that he was gone."
And then Ellen, the little girl, came running in, and she says, "I
heard the mournfullest crying that ever you heard just behind the
house." And I said "It must be the Banshee." And Anthony heard me say
that where he was lying in the bed, and he called out, "If it's the
Banshee it's for me, and I must die today or tomorrow." And in the
middle of the next day, he died.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was passing by a forth down there, and I saw a thick smoke
coming out of it, straight up it went and then it spread at the top.
And when it was clearing away I saw two rows of birds, one on the one
side and one on the other, and I stopped to look at them. They were
white, and had shoulders and heads like dogs, and there was a great
noise like a rattling, and a man that was passing by looked up and
said "God speed you," and they flew away.

_A Seaside Man:_

There were five boys of the Callinans, and they rich and well-to-do,
were out in a boat, and a ship came out from the shore and touched it
and it sank, and the ship was seen no more. And one of the boys held
on to the boat, and some men came out and brought him to land. But
the second time after that he went out, he was swept.

_An Old Man in Gort Workhouse:_

I knew an old man was in here was greatly given to card-playing. And
one night he was up on the hill beyond, towards Slieve Echtge, where
there is a big forth, and he went into it, and there he found a lot
of _them_ playing cards. Like any other card-players they looked, and
he sat down and played with them, and they played fair. And when he
woke in the morning, he was lying outside on the hill, and nothing
under his head but a tuft of rushes.

_John Mangan:_

Old Hanrahan one time went out to the forth that's in front of his
house and cut a bush, and he a fresh man enough. And next morning he
hadn't a blade of hair on his head--not a blade. And he had to buy a
wig and to wear it for the rest of his life. I remember him and the
wig well.

And it was some years after that that Delane, the father of the great
cricketer, was passing by that way, and the water had risen and he
strayed off the road into it. And as he got farther and farther in,
till he was covered to better than his waist, he heard like the voice
of his wife crying, "Go on, John, go on farther." And he called out,
"These are John Hanrahan's faeries that took the hair off him." "And
what did you do then?" they asked him when he got safe to the house,
and was telling this. And he said, "I turned my coat inside out, and
after that they troubled me no more, and so I got safe to the road
again." But no one ever had luck that meddled with a forth, so it's
always said.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's Mrs. Lynch's daughter was coming through the trees about
eight months ago and when she came to a thicket of bushes, a short
little man came, out, about three feet high, dressed all in white,
and he white himself or grey, and asked her to come with him, and she
ran away as fast as she could. And with the fright she got, she fell
into a sickness--what they call the sickness of Peter and Paul--and
you'd think she'd tear the house down when it comes on her.

       *       *       *       *       *

I met a woman some time ago told me more about the forths in this
place than ever I knew before, and well she might for she had passed
seven years in them, working, working, minding children and the like
all the time; no singing or dancing for her.

_M. Haverty:_

There was one Rock, was brought into a forth. A three-legged horse
came for him one night and brought him away; and when he got there
they all called him by his name.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man up there cut a tree in one of them, and he was took
ill immediately after, and didn't live long.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a bad bit of road near Kinvara Chapel, just when you get
within sight of the sea. I know a man has to pass there, and he
wouldn't go on the driver's side of the car, for it's to the right
side those things are to be seen. Sure there was a boy lost his life
falling off a car there last Friday week.

One night passing the big tree at Raheen I heard the sound of a
handsaw in the air, and I looked up and there in the top of a larch
tree that's near to a beech I saw a man sitting and cutting it with
the handsaw. So I hurried away home. But the next time I passed that
way I took a view of it to see might it have been one of the Dillons
that might be stealing timber; and there was no sign of a cut or a
touch in it at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man on the road between Chevy and Marble Hill, where
there is a faery plumb-stone, that stands straight up and it about
five feet in height, and the man was building a house and carried it
away to put above his door. And from the time he brought it away, all
his stock began to die, and whenever he went in or out, night or day,
he was severely beaten. So at last he took the stone down and put it
back where it was before, and from that time nothing has troubled him.

_John Mangan:_

Myself and two of my brothers were over at Inchy Weir to catch a
horse, and growing close by the water there was a bush the form of
an umbrella, very close and thick at the top. So we began fooling as
boys do, and I said, "I'll bet a button none of you will make a stone
go through the bush." So I took up a pebble of cow-dung and threw it,
and they all threw, and no sooner did the pebble hit the bush than
there came from it music, like a band playing. So we all ran for our
lives, and when we had got about two hundred yards we looked back and
we saw something moving round the bush, first it had the clothes of a
woman and then of a man. So we stopped to see no more.

Well, it was some years after that when Sir William ordered all the
bushes in that part to be cut down. And one Prendergast a boy that used
to be a beater here and that went to America after, went to cut them
just in the same place where I had seen that sight, and a thorn ran
into his eye and blinded him, and he never got the sight of it again.

_An Old Woman near Ballinsloe:_

There are many forths around, and in that one beyond, there is often
music heard. The smith's father heard the music one time he was
passing and he could not stop from dancing till he was tired. I heard
him tell that myself.

And over there to the left there is a forth had an opening in it, and
the steward wanted to get it closed up, and he could get no men to do
it. And at last a young man said he would, and he went to work and at
the end of the week he was dead.

And there was a girl milking a cow not long after that, and she saw
him coming to her, and she ran away, and he called to her to stop and
she did not, and he said "That you may never milk another cow!" And
within a week, she herself was dead.

There was a woman over there in that house you can see, and she wanted
to root up a forth; covetousness it was, she had plenty and she wanted
more. And she tried to get a man to do it and she could not, but at
last a man that had been turned out of his holding, and that was in
want, said he would do it. And before he went to work he went on his
two knees, and he wished that whatever harm might come from it might
come on her, and not on himself. And so it did, and her hands got
crippled and crappled. And they travelled the world and could get no
relief for her, and her cattle began to die, and she died herself in
the end. And the daughter and the son-in-law had to leave that house
and to build another, for they were losing all the cattle, and they are
left alone now, but the daughter lost a finger by it.

_A Man near Corcomroe:_

I saw a light myself one night in the big forth over there near the
sea. Like a bonfire it was, and going up about thirty feet into the air.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ghosts are to be heard about the forths. They make a heavy noise, and
there are creaks in their shoes. Doing a penance I suppose they are.
And there's many see the lights in the forths at Newtown.

_J. Doheny:_

One time I was cutting bushes up there near the river, and I cut a
big thorn bush, I thought it no harm to do it when it wasn't standing
by itself, but in a thicket, and it old and half-rotten. And when I
had it cut, I heard some one talking very loud to my wife, that was
gathering kippeens down in the field the other side of the wall. And
I went down to know who it was talking to her. And when I asked her
she said "No, it's to yourself some one was talking, for I heard his
voice where you were, and I saw no one." So I said, "Surely it's one
of them mourning for the bush I cut," for the sound of his voice was
as if he was mad vexed.

       *       *       *       *       *

I think it's not in the tree at the corner there's anything, it's
something in the place. Not long ago there was one Greeley going
to Galway with a load of barley, and when he came to that corner
he heard the sound of a train crossing from inside the wall, and
the horse stopped. And then he heard it a second time and the horse
refused to go on, and at the end he had to turn back home again, for
he had no use trying to make the horse go on.

       *       *       *       *       *

There were ash trees growing around the blessed well at Corker, and
one night Deeley, the uncle of Pat Deeley that lives beyond, and two
other men went to cut them down, to get the makings of a car-body.
And the next day Deeley's lip was drawn down--like this--and water
running from it for the rest of his life. I often see him; and as to
the two other men, they died soon after.

And big Joyce that was a servant to John O'Hara, he went to cut trees
one night near that hole at Raheen, near the corner of the road, and
he was prevented, and never could get the handsaw near a tree, nor
the other men that were with him.

And there was another man went and cut a bush not far from the
Kinvara road, and with the first stroke he heard a sort of a cough
or a groan come from beneath it, that was a token to him to leave it
alone. But he wouldn't leave off, and his mouth was drawn to one side
all of a sudden and in two days after he was dead. Surely, one should
leave such things alone.

_A Piper:_

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."

_A Man Asking Alms:_

It's not safe sometimes to meddle with walls. There was a man beyond
Gort knocked some old walls not long ago, and he's dead since.

But it's by the big tree outside Raheen where you take the turn to
Kinvara that the most things are seen. There was a boy living with
Conor in Gort that was out before daylight with a load of hay in a
cart, and he sitting on top of it, and he was found lying dead just
beside the tree, where he fell from the top of the cart, and the
horse was standing there stock-still. There was a shower of rain fell
while he was lying there, and I passed the road two hours later, and
saw where the dust was dry where his body had been lying. And it was
only yesterday I was hearing a story of that very same place. There
was a man coming from Galway with a ton weight of a load on his cart,
and when he came to that tree the linching of his wheel came out,
and the cart fell down. And presently a little man, about two and a
half feet in height, came out from the wall and lifted up the cart,
and held it up till he had the linching put up again. And he never
said a word but went away as he came, and the man came in to Gort.
And I remember myself, the black and white dog used to be on the
road between Hanlon's gate and Gort. It was there for ten years and
no one ever saw it, but one evening Father Boyle's man was going out
to look at a few little sheep and lambs belonging to the priest, and
when he came to the stile the dog put up its paws on it and looked at
him, and he was afraid to go on. So next morning he told Father Boyle
about it and he said "I think that you won't see it any more." And
sure enough from that day it never was seen again.

_Steve Simon:_

I don't know did I draw down to you before, your ladyship, the
greatest wonder ever I saw in my life?

I was passing by the forth at Corcomroe, coming back from some shopping
I had done in Belharbour, and I saw twelve of the finest horses ever
I saw, and riders on them racing round the forth. Many a race I saw
since I lived in this world, but never a race like that, for tipping
and tugging and welting the horses; the jockeys in coloured clothes,
striped and blue, and little blue caps on them, and a lady in the front
of them on a bayish horse and wearing a scarlet jacket.

I told what I saw the same evening to an old woman living near and
she said, "Whatever you saw keep it secret, or some harm will come
upon you." There was another thing I saw besides the riders. There
were crowds and crowds of people, standing as we would against walls
or on a stage, and taking a view. They were shouting, but the men
racing on the horses said nothing at all. Never a race like that one,
with the swiftness and the welting and fine horses that were in it.

What clothing had these people? They had coats on them, and on their
back there were pictures, pictures in the form of people. Shields
I think they were. Anyway there were pictures on them. Striped the
coats were, and a sort of scollop on them the same as that screen in
the window (a blind with Celtic design). They had little blue caps,
such as wore them, but some had nothing on the head at all; and they
had blue slippers--those I saw of them--but I was afeared to take
more than a side view except of the racers.

_An Old Army Man:_

You know the forth where the old man lost his hair? Well there's
another man, Waters, that married Brian's sister, has the second
sight, and there's a big bush left in that forth, and when he goes
there he sees a woman sitting under it, and she lighting a fire.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cloran's father was living over at Knockmaa one time and his wife
died, and he believed it was taken into the hill she was. So he went
one morning and dug a hole in the side of the hill. But the next
morning when he went back to dig again, the hole was filled up and
the grass growing over it as before. And this he did two or three
times. And then some one told him to put his pick and his spade
across the hole. And so he did, and it wasn't filled up again. But
what happened after I don't know.

_An Old Army Man:_

That's a bad bit of road near Kinvara where the boy lost his life last
week; I know it well. And I knew him, a quiet boy, and married to a
widow woman; she wanted the help of a man, and he was young. What would
ail him to fall off the side of an ass-car and to be killed?





_I have been told:_

Yes, they say blacksmiths have something about them, and if there's a
seventh blacksmith in succession, from generation to generation, he
can do many things, and if he gave you his curse you wouldn't be the
better of it. There was one near the cliffs, Pat Doherty, but he did
no harm to any one, but was as quiet as another. He is dead now and
his son is a blacksmith too. (_Note_ 2.)

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man one time that was a blacksmith, and he used to go
every night playing cards, and for all his wife could say he wouldn't
leave off doing it. So one night she got a boy to go stand in the old
churchyard he'd have to pass, and to frighten him. So the boy did
so, and began to groan and to try to frighten him when he came near.
But it's well known that nothing of that kind can do any harm to a
blacksmith. So he went in and got hold of the boy, and told him he
had a mind to choke him, and went his way.

But no sooner was the boy left alone than there came about him
something in the shape of a dog, and then a great troop of cats. And
they surrounded him and he tried to get away home, but he had no power
to go the way he wanted but had to go with them. And at last they came
to an old forth and a faery bush, and he knelt down and made the sign
of the cross and said a great many "Our Fathers," and after a time they
went into the faery bush and left him. And he was going away and a
woman came out of the bush, and called to him three times, to make him
look back. And he saw that it was a woman that he knew before, that was
dead, and so he knew that she was amongst the faeries.

And she said to him, "It's well for you that I was here, and worked
hard for you, or you would have been brought in among them, and be
like me." So he got home. And the blacksmith got home too and his
wife was surprised to see he was no way frightened. But he said, "You
might know that there's nothing of that sort could harm me."

For a blacksmith is safe from all, and when he goes out in the night
he keeps always in his pocket a small bit of wire, and they know him
by that. So he went on playing, and they grew very poor after.

       *       *       *       *       *

And I knew a woman from the County Limerick had been _away_, and she
could tell you all about the forths in this place and how she was
recovered. She met a man she knew on the road, and she out riding with
them all on horseback, and told him to bring a bottle of forge-water
and to throw it on her, and so he did, and she came back again.

       *       *       *       *       *

Blacksmiths surely are safe from these things. And if a blacksmith
was to turn his anvil upside down and to say malicious words, he
could do you great injury.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a child that was changed, and my mother brought it a nice
bit of potato cake one time, for tradesmen often have nice things on
the table. But the child wouldn't touch it, for they don't like the
leavings of a smith.

       *       *       *       *       *

Blacksmiths have power, and if you could steal the water from the
trough in the forge, it would cure all things.

       *       *       *       *       *

And as to forges, there's some can hear working and hammering in them
through the night.


                      MONSTERS AND SHEOGUEY BEASTS


                      MONSTERS AND SHEOGUEY BEASTS

_The Dragon that was the monster of the early world now appears
only in the traditional folk-tales, where the hero, a new Perseus,
fights for the life of the Princess who looks on crying at the brink
of the sea, bound to a silver chair, while the Dragon is "put in a
way he will eat no more kings' daughters." In the stories of today
he has shrunk to eel or worm, for the persons and properties of
the folk-lore of all countries keep being transformed or remade in
the imagination, so that once in New England on the eve of George
Washington's birthday, the decorated shop windows set me wondering
whether the cherry tree itself might not be a remaking of the
red-berried dragon-guarded rowan of the Celtic tales, or it may be of
a yet more ancient apple. I ventured to hint at this in a lecture at
Philadelphia, and next day one of the audience wrote me that he had
looked through all the early biographies of Washington, and either
the first three or the first three editions of the earliest--I have
mislaid the letter--never mention the cherry tree at all._

_The monstrous beasts told of today recall the visions of Maeldune on
his strange dream-voyage, where he saw the beast that was like a horse
and that had "legs of a hound with rough sharp nails," and the fiery
pigs that fed on golden fruit, and the cat that with one flaming leap
turned a thief to a heap of ashes; for the folk-tales of the world have
long roots, and there is nothing new save their reblossoming._

_I have been told by a Car-driver:_

I went to serve one Patterson at a place called Grace Dieu between
Waterford and Tramore, and there were queer things in it. There was a
woman lived at the lodge the other side from the gate, and one day she
was looking out and she saw a woolpack coming riding down the road of

There was a room over the stable I was put to sleep in, and no one
near me. One night I felt a great weight on my feet, and there was
something very weighty coming up upon my body and I heard heavy
breathing. Every night after that I used to light the fire and bring
up coal and make up the fire with it that it would be near as good
in the morning as it was at night. And I brought a good terrier up
every night to sleep with me on the bed. Well, one night the fire was
lighting and the moon was shining in at the window, and the terrier
leaped off the bed and he was barking and rushing and fighting and
leaping, near to the ceiling and in under the bed. And I could see
the shadow of him on the walls and on the ceiling, and I could see
the shadow of another thing that was about two foot long and that had
a head like a pike, and that was fighting and leaping. They stopped
after a while and all was quiet. But from that night the terrier
never would come to sleep in the room again.

_By Others:_

The worst form a monster can take is a cow or a pig. But as to a
lamb, you may always be sure a lamb is honest.

       *       *       *       *       *

A pig is the worst shape they can take. I wouldn't like to meet
anything in the shape of a pig in the night.

       *       *       *       *       *

No, I saw nothing myself, I'm not one of those that can see such
things; but I heard of a man that went with the others on rent day, and
because he could pay no rent but only made excuses, the landlord didn't
ask him in to get a drink with the others. So as he was coming home by
himself in the dark, there was something on the road before him, and he
gave it a hit with the toe of his boot, and it let a squeal. So then he
said to it, "Come in here to my house, for I'm not asked to drink with
them; I'll give drink and food to you." So it came in, and the next
morning he found by the door a barrel full of wine and another full of
gold, and he never knew a day's want after that.

       *       *       *       *       *

Walking home one night with Jack Costello, there was something before
us that gave a roar, and then it rose in the air like a goose, and
then it fell again. And Jackeen told me after that it had laid hold
on his trousers, and he didn't sleep all night with the fright he got.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's a monster in Lough Graney, but it's only seen once in seven

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a monster of some sort down by Duras, it's called the ghost
of Fiddeen. Some say it's only heard every seven years. Some say it
was a flannel seller used to live there that had a short fardel. We
heard it here one night, like a calf roaring.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night my grandfather was beyond at Inchy where the lads from Gort
used to be stealing rods, and he was sitting by the wall, and the dog
beside him. And he heard something come running from Inchy Weir and
he could see nothing, but the sound of its feet on the ground was
like the sound of the feet of a deer. And when it passed by him the
dog got in between him and the wall and scratched at him, but still
he could see nothing but only could hear the sound of hoofs. So when
it was passed he turned away home.

Another time, my grandfather told me, he was in a boat out on the lake
here at Coole with two or three men from Gort. And one of them had an
eel-spear and he thrust it into the water and it hit something, and
the man fainted, and they had to carry him in out of the boat to land.
And when he came to himself he said that what he struck was like a
horse or like a calf, but whatever it was, it was no fish.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a boy I knew, one Curtin near Ballinderreen, told me that
he was going along the road one night and he saw a dog. It had claws
like a cur, and a body like a person, and he couldn't see what its
head was like. But it was moaning like a soul in pain, and presently
it vanished, and there came most beautiful music, and a woman came
out and he thought at first it was the Banshee, and she wearing a red
petticoat. And a striped jacket she had on, and a white band about
her waist. And to hear more beautiful singing and music he never did,
but to know or to understand what she was expressing, he couldn't do
it. And at last they came to a place by the roadside where there were
some bushes. And she went in there and disappeared under them, and
the most beautiful lights came shining where she went in. And when he
got home, he himself fainted, and his mother put her beads over him,
and blessed him and said prayers. So he got quiet at last.

       *       *       *       *       *

I would easily believe about the dog having a fight with something
his owner couldn't see. That often happens in this island, and that's
why every man likes to have a black dog with him at night--a black
one is the best for fighting such things.

And a black cock everyone likes to have in their house--a March cock
it should be.

       *       *       *       *       *

I knew the captain of a ship used to go whale fishing, and he said he
saw them by scores. But by his account they were no way like the ones
McDaragh saw; it was I described them to him.

       *       *       *       *       *

We don't give in to such things here as they do in the middle island;
but I wouldn't doubt that about the dog. For they can see what we
can't see. And there was a man here was out one night and the dog
ran on and attacked something that was in front of him--a faery it
was--but he could see nothing. And every now and again it would do
the same thing, and seemed to be fighting something before him,
and when they got home the man got safe into the house, but at the
threshold the dog was killed.

And a horse can see many things, and if ever you're out late, and the
horse to stop as if there was something he wouldn't pass, make the
sign of the cross between his ears, and he'll go on then. And it's
well to have a cock always in the house, if you can have it from a
March clutch, and the next year if you can have another cock from a
March clutch from that one, it's the best. And if you go late out of
the house, and that there is something outside it would be bad to
meet, that cock will crow before you'll go out.

       *       *       *       *       *

I'm sorry I wasn't in to meet you surely, knowing as much as I do
about the faeries. One night I went with four or five others down by
the mill to hunt rabbits. And when we got to the field by the river
there was the sound of hundreds, some crying and the other part
laughing, that we all heard them. And something came down to the
river, first I thought he was a dog and then I saw he was too big and
strange looking. And you'd think there wouldn't be a drop of water
left in the river with all he drank. And I bid the others say nothing
about it, for Patrick Green was lying sick at the mill, and it might
be taken for a bad sign. And it wasn't many days after that he died.

       *       *       *       *       *

My father told me that one night he was crossing this road, and
he turned to the wall to close his shoe. And when he turned again
there was something running through the field that was the size of a
yearling calf, and black, and it ran across the road, and there was
like the sound of chains in it. And when it came to that rock with
the bush on it, it stopped and he could see a red light in its mouth.
And then it disappeared. He used often to see a black dog in this
road, and it used to be following him, and others saw it too. But one
night the brother of the priest, Father Mitchel, saw it and he told
the priest and he banished it.

The lake down there (Lough Graney) is an enchanted place, and old
people told me that one time they were swimming there, and a man had
gone out into the middle and they saw something like a great big eel
making for him, and they called out, "If ever you were a great swimmer
show us now how you can swim to the shore," for they wouldn't frighten
him by saying what was behind him. So he swam to the shore, and he only
got there when the thing behind him was in the place where he was. For
there are queer things in lakes. I never saw anything myself, but one
time I was coming home late from Scariff, and I felt my hair standing
up on my head, and I began to feel a sort of shy and fearful, and I
could feel that there was something walking beside me. But after a
while there was a little stream across the road, and after I passed
that I was all right again and could feel nothing near.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never saw anything myself but once, early in the morning and I going
to the May fair of Loughrea. It was a little way outside of the town
I saw something that had the appearance of a black pig, and it was
running in under the cart and under the ass's feet. And the ass would
keep backing away from it, that it was hardly I could bring her along,
till we got to the bridge of Cloon, and once we were over that we saw
it no more, for it couldn't pass the running water. And all the time it
was with us I was hitting at it with my stick, and it would run from
me then, for it was a hazel stick, and the hazel is blessed, and no
wicked thing can stay when it is touched with it. It is likely the nuts
are blessed too. Aren't they growing on the same tree?

       *       *       *       *       *

I was over at Phayre's mill one time to get some boards sawed and
they said I must wait an hour or so, where the mill wasn't free. And
I had a load of turf to get, and I went along the road. And I heard
something coming after me in the gutter, and it stood up over me like
an elephant, and I put my hands behind me and I said, "Madad Fior,"
and he went away. It was just at the bridge he was, near Kilchriest,
and when I was coming back after a while, just when I got to the
bridge there, he was after me again. But I never saw him since then.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was at the fair at Ballinasloe, and I but a young lad at the
time, and a comrade with me that was but a young lad too. We brought in
the sheep the Monday evening, and they were sold the Tuesday morning,
and the master bid us to go home on the train. "Bad cess," said my
comrade, "are we to get no good at all out of the fair? Let us stop,"
says he, "and get the good of it and go back by the mail train." So
we went through the fair together and went to a dance, and the master
never knew, and we went home on the mail train together. We got out at
Woodlawn and we were going home, and we heard a sort of a groaning and
we could see nothing, and the boy that was with me was frightened, for
though he was a strong boy, he was a timorous man. We found then the
groaning coming from beyond the wall, and I went and put my two fists
on the wall and looked over it. There were two trees on the other side
of the wall, and I saw walking off and down from one tree to the other,
something that was like a soldier or a sentry. The body was a man's
body, and there was a black suit on it, but it had the head of a bear,
the very head and _puss_ of a bear. I asked what was on him. "Don't
speak to me, don't speak to me," he said, and he stopped by the tree
and was groaning and went away.

That is all that ever I saw, and I herding sheep in the lambing
season, and falling asleep as I did sometimes, and walking up and
down the field in my sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

My father told me that in the bad times, about the year '48, he used
to be watching about in the fields, where the people did be stealing
the crops. And there was no field in Coole he was afraid to go into
by night except one, that is number three in the Lake Farm. For the
dog that was about in those times stopped the night in the clump
there. And Johnny Callan told me one night passing that field he
heard the noise of a cart of stones thrown against the wall. But when
he went back there in the morning there was no sign of anything at
all. My father never saw the dog himself but he was known to be there
and he felt him.

And as for the monster, I never saw it in Coole Lake, but one day I
was coming home with my two brothers from Tirneevan school, and there
as we passed Dhulough we heard a great splashing, and we saw some
creature put up its head, with a head and a mane like a horse. And we
didn't stop but ran.

But I think it was not so big as the monster over here in Coole Lake,
for Johnny Callan saw it, and he said it was the size of a stack of
turf. But there's many could tell about that for there's many saw it,
Dougherty from Gort and others.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to the dog that used to be in the road, a friend of his own
was driving Father Boyle from Kinvara late one night and there it
was--first on the right side and then on the left of the car. And at
last he told Father Boyle, and he said, "Look out now for it, and
you'll see it no more," and no more he did, and that was the last of it.

But the driver of the mail-car often seen a figure of a woman
following the car till it came to the churchyard beyond Ardrahan, and
there it disappeared.

Father Boyle was a good man indeed--a child might speak to him. They
said he had the dog or whatever it may be banished from the road, but
of late I heard the driver of the mail-car saying he sees it on one
spot on the road every night. And there's a very lonely hollow beyond
Doran's house, and I know a man that never passed by that hollow
but what he'd fall asleep. But one night he saw a sort of a muffled
figure and he cried out three times some good wish--such as "God have
mercy on you"--and then it gave a great laugh and vanished and he saw
it no more. As to the forths or other old places, how do we know what
poor soul may be shut up there, confined in pain?

       *       *       *       *       *

Sure a man the other day coming back from your own place, Inchy, when
he came to the big tree, heard a squealing, and there he saw a sort
of a dog, and it white, and it followed as if holding on to him all
the way home. And when he got to the house he near fainted, and asked
for a glass of water.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's some sort of a monster at Tyrone, rising and slipping up and
down in the sun, and when it cries, some one will be sure to die.

       *       *       *       *       *

I didn't believe in them myself till one night I was coming home from
a wedding, and standing on the road beside me I saw John Kelly's
donkey that he always used to call Neddy. So he was standing in my
way and I gave a blow at him and said, "Get out of that, Neddy." And
he moved off only to come across me again, and to stop me from going
in. And so he did all the way, till as I was going by a bit of wood I
heard come out of it two of the clearest laughs that ever you heard,
and then two sorts of shouts. So I knew that it was having fun with
me they were, and that it was not Neddy was there, but his likeness.

I knew a priest was stopped on the road one night by something in the
shape of a big dog, and he couldn't make the horse pass it.

       *       *       *       *       *

One night I saw the dog myself, in the boreen near my house. And that
was a bad bit of road, two or three were killed there.

And one night I was between Kiltartan Chapel and Nolan's gate where I
had some sheep to look after for the priest. And the dog I had with
me ran out into the middle of the road, and there he began to yelp
and to fight. I stood and watched him for a while, and surely he was
fighting with another dog, but there was nothing to be seen.

And in the same part of the road one night I heard horses galloping,
galloping past me. I could hear their hoofs, and they shod, on the
stones of the road. But though I stood aside and looked--and it was
bright moonlight--there were no horses to be seen. But they were
there, and believe me they were not without riders.

       *       *       *       *       *

Well, myself I once slept in a house with some strange thing. I had my
aunt then, Mrs. Leary, living near, and I but a small little girl at
the time. And one day she came to our house and asked would I go sleep
with her, and I said I would if she'd give me a ride on her back, and
so she did. And for many a night after that she brought me to sleep
with her, and my mother used to be asking why, and she'd give no reason.

Well, the cause of her wanting me was this. Every night so sure as
she put the candle out, _it_ would come and lie upon her feet and
across her body and near smother her, and she could feel it breathing
but could see nothing. I never felt anything at all myself, I being
sound asleep before she quenched the light. At last she went to Father
Smith--God rest his soul!--and he gave her a prayer to say at the
moment of the Elevation of the Mass. So the next time she attended Mass
she used it, and that night it was wickeder than ever it had been.

So after that she wrote to her son in America to buy a ticket for
her, and she went out to him and remained some years. And it was only
after she came back she told me and my mother what used to happen on
those nights, and the reason she wanted me to be beside her.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was never any one saw so many of those things as Johnny
Hardiman's father on this estate, and now he's old and got silly, and
can't tell about them any more. One time he was walking into Gort
along the Kiltartan road, and he saw one of them before him in the
form of a tub, and it rolling along.

Another time he was coming home from Kinvara, and a black and white
dog came out against him from the wall, but he took no notice of it.
But when he got near his own house it came out against him again and
bit him in the leg, and he got hold of it and lifted it up and took
it by the throat and choked it; and when he was sure it was dead he
threw it by the roadside. But in the morning he went out first thing
early to look at the body, and there was no sign at all of it there.

       *       *       *       *       *

So I believe indeed that old Michael Barrett hears them and sees
them. But they do him no mischief nor harm at all. They wouldn't, and
he such an old resident. But there's many wouldn't believe he sees
anything because they never seen them themselves.

I never did but once, when I was a slip of a girl beyond at
Lissatiraheely, and one time I went across to the big forth to get a
can of water. And when I got near to it I heard voices, and when I
came to where the water runs out they were getting louder and louder.
And I stopped and looked down, and there in the passage where the
water comes I seen a dog within, and there was a great noise--working
I suppose they were. And I threw down the can and turned and ran, and
never went back for it again. But here since I lived in Coole I never
seen anything and never was afeared of anything except one time only
in the evening, when I was walking down the little by-lane that leads
to Ballinamantane. And there standing in the path before me I seen the
very same dog that was in the old forth before. And I believe I leaped
the wall to get away into the high-road. And what day was that but
the very same day that Sir William--the Lord be with his soul!--was
returned a Member of Parliament, and a great night it was in Kiltartan.

But I'm noways afeared of anything and I give you my word I'd walk
in the dead of night in the nut-wood or any other place--except only
the cross beyond Inchy, I'd sooner not go by there. There's two or
three has their life lost there--Heffernan of Kildesert, one of your
ladyship's own tenants, he was one. He was at a fair, and there was
a horse another man wanted, but he got inside him and got the horse.
And when he was riding home, when he came to that spot it reared
back and threw him, and he was taken up dead. And another man--one
Gallagher--fell off the top of a creel of turf in the same place and
lost his life. And there was a woman hurted some way another time.
What's that you're saying, John--that Gallagher had a drop too much
taken? That might be so indeed; and what call has a man that has
drink taken to go travel upon top of a creel of turf?

That dog I met in the boreen at Ballinamantane, he was the size of a
calf, and black, and his paws the size of I don't know what. I was
sitting in the house one day, and he came in and sat down by the
dresser and looked at me. And I didn't like the look of him when I
saw the big eyes of him, and the size of his legs. And just then a
man came in that used to make his living by making mats, and he used
to lodge with me for a night now and again. And he went out to bring
his cart away where he was afraid it'd be knocked about by the people
going to the big bonefire at Kiltartan cross-roads. And when he went
out I looked out the door, and there was the dog sitting under the
cart. So he made a hit at it with a stick, and it was in the stones
the stick stuck, and there was the dog sitting at the other side of
him. So he came in and gave me abuse and said I must be a strange
woman to have such things about me. And he never would come to lodge
with me again. But didn't the dog behave well not to do him an injury
after he hitting it? It was surely some man that was in that dog,
some soul in trouble.

       *       *       *       *       *

Beasts will sometimes see more than a man will. There were three
young chaps I know went up near Ballyturn to hunt coneens (young
rabbits) and they threw the dog over the wall. And when he was in the
field he gave a yelp and drew back as if something had struck him
on the head. And with all they could do, and the rabbits and the
coneens running about the field, they couldn't get him to stir from
that and they had to come home with no rabbits.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time I was helping Sully, the butcher in Loughrea, and I had to go
to a country house to bring in a measly pig the people had, and that he
was to allow them something for. So I got there late and had to stop
the night. And in the morning at daylight I looked from the window and
saw a cow eating the potatoes, so I went down to drive him off. And in
the kitchen there was lying by the hearth a dog, a speckled one, with
spots of black and white and yellow. And when he saw me he got up and
went over to the door and went out through it. And then I saw that the
door was shut and locked. So I went back again and told the people of
the house what I saw and they were frightened and made me stop the next
night. And in the night the clothes were taken off me and a heavy blow
struck me in the chest, and the feel of it was like the feel of ice. So
I covered myself up again and put my hand under the bedclothes, and I
never came to that house again.

       *       *       *       *       *

I never seen anything myself, but I remember well that when I was a
young chap there was a black dog between Coole gatehouse and Gort for
many a year, and many met him there. Tom Miller came running into
our house one time when he was after seeing him, and at first sight
he thought he was a man, where he was standing with his paws up upon
the wall, and then he vanished out of sight. But there never was any
common dog the size of him, and it's many a one saw him, and it was
Father Boyle that banished him out of it at last.

       *       *       *       *       *

Except that thing at Inchy Weir, I never saw anything myself. But one
evening I parted from Larry Cuniffe in the yard, and he went away
through the path in Shanwalla and bid me goodnight. But two hours
after, there he was back again in the yard, and bid me light a candle
was in the stable. And he told me that when he got into Shanwalla a
little chap about as high as his knee, but having a head as big as
a man's body, came beside him and led him out of the path and round
about, and at last it brought him to the limekiln, and there left him.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a dog now at Lismara, black and bigger than a natural dog,
is about the roads at night. He wouldn't be there so long if any one
had the courage to question him.

       *       *       *       *       *

Stephen O'Donnell in Connemara told me that one time he shot a hare,
and it turned into a woman, a neighbour of his own. And she had his
butter taken for the last two years, but she begged and prayed for
life on her knees, so he spared her, and she gave him back his butter
after that, a double yield.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman at Glenlough when I was young could change herself
into an eel. It was in Galway Workhouse Hospital she got the
knowledge. A woman that had the knowledge of doing it by witchcraft
asked her would she like to learn, and she said that she would, for
she didn't know what it would bring on her. For every time she did
it, she'd be in bed a fortnight after with all she'd go through.
Sir Martin O'Neill when he was a young lad heard of it, and he got
her into a room, and made her do it for him, and when he saw her
change to an eel he got frightened and tried to get away, but she got
between him and the door, and showed her teeth at him and growled.
She wasn't the better of that for a fortnight after.

       *       *       *       *       *

Indeed the porter did me great good, a good that I'd hardly like to
tell you, not to make a scandal. Did I drink too much of it? Not at
all, I have no fancy for it, but the nights seemed to be long. But
this long time I am feeling a worm in my side that is as big as an
eel, and there's more of them in it than that, and I was told to put
sea-grass to it, and I put it to the side the other day, and whether
it was that or the porter I don't know, but there's some of them gone
out of it, and I think it's the porter.

       *       *       *       *       *

I knew a woman near Clough was out milking her cow, and when she
got up to go away she saw one of those worms coming after her, and
it eight feet long, and it made a jump about eight yards after her.
And I heard of a man went asleep by a wall one time, and one of them
went down his throat and he never could get rid of it till a woman
from the North came. And what she bade him do was to get a bit of old
crock butter and to make a big fire on the hearth, and to put the
butter in a half round on the hearth, and to get two men to hold him
over it. And when the worms got the smell of the butter they jumped
out of his mouth, seven or eight one after another, and it was in the
fire they fell and they were burned, and that was an end of them.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to hares, there's something queer about them, and there's some
that it's dangerous to meddle with, and that can go into any form
where they like. Sure, Mrs. Madden is after having a young son, and
it has a harelip. But she says that she doesn't remember that ever
she met a hare or looked at one. But if she did, she had a right to
rip a small bit of the seam of her dress or her petticoat, and then
it would have no power to hurt her at all.

       *       *       *       *       *

Doran the herd says, he wouldn't himself eat the flesh of a hare.
There's something unnatural about it. But as to them being unlucky,
that may be all talk. But there's no doubt at all that a cow is found
sometimes to be run dry, and the hare to be seen coming away from her.

       *       *       *       *       *

One time when we lived just behind Gort my father was going to a fair.
And it was the custom in those days to set out a great deal earlier
than what it is now. So it was not much past midnight when he got up
and went out the door, and the moon shining bright. And then he saw a
hare walk in from the street and turn down by the garden, and another
after it, and another and another till he counted twelve. And they all
went straight one after another and vanished. And my father came in and
shut the door, and never went out again till it was broad daylight.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man watching the fire where two hares were cooking and
he heard them whistling in the pot. And when the people of the house
came home they were afraid to touch them, but the man that heard the
whistling ate a good meal of them and was none the worse.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was an uncle of my own lived over near Garryland. And one day
himself and another man were going through the field, and they saw a
hare, and the hound that was with them gave chase, and they followed.

And the hound was gaining on the hare and it made for a house, where
the half-door was open. And the hound made a snap at it and touched
it as it leaped the half-door. And when my uncle and the others came
up, they could find no hare, but only an old woman in the house--and
she bleeding. So there's no doubt at all but it was she took the form
of a hare. My uncle spent too much money after, and gave up his land
and went to America.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to hares, there was a man out with his greyhound and it gave chase
to a hare. And it made for a house, and went in at the window, and
the hound just touched the leg. And when the man came up, he found an
old woman in the house, and he asked leave to search the house and so
he did in every place, but there was no hare to be seen. But when he
came in she was putting a pot on the fire, so he said that he must
look in the pot, and he took the cover off, and it was full of blood.
And before the hound gave chase, he had seen the hare sucking the
milk from a cow.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to hares, there's no doubt at all there's some that's not natural.
One night I was making pot-whiskey up in that hill beyond. Yes
indeed, for three year, I did little but run to and fro to the still,
and one December, I was making it for the Christmas and I was taken
and got nine weeks in gaol for it--and £16 worth of whiskey spilled
that night. But there's mean people in the world; and he did it
for half a sovereign, and had to leave the country after and go to
England. Well, one night, I was watching by the fire where it was too
fierce, and it would have burned the oats. And over the hill and down
the path came two hares and walked on and into the wood. And two more
after that, and then by fours they came, and by sixes, and I'd want
a slate and a pencil to count all I saw, and it just at sunrise. And
some of them were as thin as thin. And there's no doubt at all that
those were not _hares_ I saw that night.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to hares, they're the biggest fairies of all. Last year the boys
had one caught, and I put it in the pot to wash it and it after being
skinned, and I heard a noise come from the pot--grr-grr--and nothing
but cold water in it. And I ran to save my life, and I told the boys to
have nothing to do with it, but they wouldn't mind me. And when they
tried to eat it, and it boiled, they couldn't get their teeth into the
flesh of it, and as for the soup, it was no different from potato-water.

       *       *       *       *       *

The village of Lissavohalane has a great name for such things.
And it's certain that once one night every year, in the month of
November, all the cats of the whole country round gather together
there and fight. My own two cats were nearly dead for days after it
last year, and the neighbours told me the same of theirs.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a woman had a cat and she would feed it at the table before
any other one; and if it did not get the first meat that was cooked,
the hair would rise up as high as that. Well, there were priests came
to dinner one day, and when they were helped the first, the hair
rose up on the cat's back. And one of them said to the woman it was
a queer thing to give in to a cat the way she did, and that it was a
foolish thing to be giving it the first of the food. So when it heard
that, it walked out of the house, and never came into it again.

       *       *       *       *       *

There's something not right about cats. Steve Smith says he knew a
keeper that shot one, and it went into a sort of a heap, and when he
came near, it spoke, and he found it was some person, and it said
it had to walk its seven acres. And there's some have heard them
together at night talking Irish.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a hole over the door of the house that I used to live in,
where Murphy's house is now, to let the smoke out, for there was no
chimney. And one day a black cat jumped in at the hole, and stopped in
the house and never left us for a year. But on the day year he came he
jumped out again at the same hole and didn't go out of the door that
was standing open. There was no mistake about it, it was the day year.

       *       *       *       *       *

As to cats, they're a class in themselves. They're good to catch
mice and rats, but just let them come in and out of the house for
that; they're about their own business all the time. And in the old
times they could talk. And it's said that the cats gave a shilling
for what they have; fourpence that the housekeeper might be careless
and leave the milk about that they'd get at it; and fourpence that
they'd tread so light that no one would hear them, and fourpence that
they'd be able to see in the dark. And I might as well throw out
that drop of tea I left on the dresser to cool, for the cat is after
tasting it and I wouldn't touch it after that. There might be a hair
in it, and the hair of a cat is poison.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man had a house full of children, and one day he was
taking their measure for boots. And the cat that was sitting on the
hearth said, "Take my measure for a pair of boots along with the
rest." So the man did, and when he went to the shoemaker he told him
of what the cat had said. And there was a man in the shop at the
time, and he having two greyhounds with him, and one of them all
black without a single white hair. And he said, "Bring the cat here
tomorrow. You can tell it that the boots can't be made without it
coming for its measure." So the next day he brought the cat in a bag,
and when he got to his shop the man was there with his greyhounds,
and he let the cat out, and it praying him not to loosen the bag.
And it made away through the fields and the hounds after it, and
whether it killed one of them I don't know, but anyhow the black
hound killed it, the one that had not a white hair on its body.

       *       *       *       *       *

You should never be too attentive to a cat, but just to be civil and
to give it its share.

       *       *       *       *       *

Cats were serpents, and they were made into cats at the time, I
suppose, of some change in the world. That's why they're hard to kill
and why it's dangerous to meddle with them. If you annoy a cat it
might claw you or bite you in a way that would put poison in you, and
that would be the serpent's tooth.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was an uncle of mine near Galway, and one night his wife was
very sick, and he had to go to the village to get something for her.
And it's a very lonely road, and as he was going what should he see
but a great number of cats, walking along the road, and they were
carrying a young cat, and crying it.

And when he was on his way home again from the village he met them
again, and one of the cats turned and spoke to him like a person
would, and said, "Bid Lady Betty to come to the funeral or she'll be
late." So he ran on home in a great fright, and he couldn't speak for
some time after getting back to the house, but sat there by the fire
in a chair. And at last he began to tell his wife what had happened.
And when he said that he had met a cat's funeral, his own cat that
was sleeping by the hearth began to stir her tail, and looked up at
him, affectionate like. But when he got to where he was bid send Lady
Betty to the funeral, she made one dash at his face and scraped it,
she was so mad that she wasn't told at once. And then she began to
tear at the door, that they had to let her out.

For cats is faeries, and every night they're obliged to travel over
seven acres; that's why you hear them crying about the country. It
was an old woman at the strand told me that, and she should know, for
she lived to a hundred years of age.

       *       *       *       *       *

I saw three young weasels out in the sea, squealing, squealing, for
they couldn't get to land, and I put out a bunch of seaweed and
brought them to the land, and they went away after. I did that for
them. Weasels are not _right_, no more than cats; and I'm not sure
about foxes.

       *       *       *       *       *

Rats are very bad, because a rat if one got the chance would do his
best to bite you, and I wouldn't like at all to get the bite of a
rat. But weasels are serpents, and if they would spit at any part of
your body it would fester, and you would get blood poisoning within
two hours.

I knew an old doctor--Antony Coppinger at Clifden--and he told
me that if the weasels had the power of other beasts they would
not leave a human living in the world. And he said the wild wide
wilderness of the sea was full of beasts mostly the same as on earth,
like bonavs and like cattle, and they lying at the bottom of the sea
as quiet as cows in a field.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is wrong to insult a weasel, and if you pelt them or shoot them
they will watch for you forever to ruin you. For they are enchanted
and understand all things.

There is Mrs. Coneely that lives up the road, she had a clutch of
young geese on the floor, and a weasel walked in and brought away one
of them, but she said nothing to that.

But it came in again, and took a hold of another of the geese and
Mrs. Coneely said, "Oh, I'm not begrudging you what you have taken,
but leave these to me for it is hard I earned them, and it is great
trouble I had rearing them. But go," she said, "to the shoemaker's
home beyond, where they have a clutch, and let you spare mine. And
that I may never sin," she said, "but it walked out, for they can
understand everything, and it did not leave one of the clutch that
was at the shoemaker's."

It is why I called to you now when I saw you sitting there so near
to the sea; I thought the tide might steal up on you, or a weasel
might chance to come up with a fish in its mouth, and to give you a
start. It's best if you see one to speak nice to it, and to say,
"I wouldn't be begrudging you a pair of boots or of shoes if I had
them." If you treat them well they will treat you well.

       *       *       *       *       *

And to see a weasel passing the road before you, there's nothing in
the world like that to bring you all sorts of good luck.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was out in the field one time tilling potatoes, and two or three
more along with me, and a weasel put its head out of the wall--a
double stone wall it was--and one of the lads fired a stone at it.
Well, within a minute there wasn't a hole of the wall but a weasel
had put its head out of it, about a thousand of them, I saw that
myself. Very spiteful they are. I wouldn't like them.

       *       *       *       *       *

The weasels, the poor creatures, they will do nothing at all on you
if you behave well to them and let them alone, but if you do not,
they will not leave a chicken in the yard. And magpies, let you do
nothing on them, or they will suck every egg and leave nothing in the
garden; but if you leave them to themselves they will do nothing but
to come into the street to pick a bit with the birds.

       *       *       *       *       *

The granyóg (hedgehog) will do no harm to chickens or the like;
but if he will get into an orchard he will stick an apple on every
thorn, and away with him to a scalp with them to be eating through
the winter.

I met with a granyóg one day on the mountain, and that I may never
sin, he was running up the side of it as fast as a race-horse.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is not much luck in killing a seal. There was a man in these
parts was very fond of shooting and killing them. And seals have
claws the same as cats, and he had two daughters, and when they were
born, they had claws the same as seals. I believe there is one of
them living yet.

       *       *       *       *       *

But the thing it is not right to touch is the _ron_ (seal) for they
are in the Sheogue. It is often I see them on the strand, sitting
there and wiping themselves on the rocks. And they have a hand with
five fingers, like any Christian. I seen six of them, coming in a
boat one time with a man from Connemara, that is the time I saw they
had the five fingers.

There was a man killed one of them over there near the point. And he
came to the shore and it was night, and he was near dead with the want
of a blast of a pipe, and he saw a light from a house on the side of a
mountain, and he went in to ask a coal of fire to kindle the pipe. And
when he went in, there was a woman, and she called out to a man that
was lying stretched on the bed in the room, and she said, "Look till
you see who this man is." And the man that was on the bed says, "I
know you, for I have the sign of your hand on me. And let you get out
of this now," he said, "as fast as you can, and it will be best for
you." And the daughter said to him, "I wonder you to let him go as easy
as that." And you may be sure the man made off and made no delay. It
was a Sheogue house that was; and the man on the bed was the _ron_ he
had killed, but he was not dead, being of the Sheogues.


                        FRIARS AND PRIEST CURES


                        FRIARS AND PRIEST CURES

_An old woman begging at the door one day spoke of the cures done in
her early days by the Friars at Esker to the north of our county. I
asked if she had ever been there, and she burst into this praise of it:_

_"Esker is a grand place; this house and the house of Lough Cutra and
your own house at Roxborough, to put the three together it wouldn't
be as big as it; it is as big as the whole town of Gort, in its own
way; you wouldn't have it walked in a month._

_"To go there you would get cured of anything unless it might be the
stroke of the Fool that does be going with_ them; _it's best not be
talking of it. The clout he would give you, there is no cure for it._

_"Three barrels there are with water, and to see the first barrel
boiling it is certain you will get a cure. A big friar will come out
to meet us that is as big as three. Fat they do be that they can't
hardly get through the door. Water there does be rushing down; you to
stoop you would hear it talking; you would be afraid of the water._

_"One well for the rich and one well for the common; blue blinds to
the windows like little bars of timber without. You can see where the
friars are buried down dead to the end of the world._

"_They give out clothes to the poor, bedclothes and day clothes; it
is the beautifullest place from heaven out; summer houses and pears;
glass in the walls around._"

_I have been told:_

The Esker friars used to do great cures--Father Callaghan was the
best of them. They used to do it by reading, but what it was they
read no one knew, some secret thing.

There was a girl brought from Clare one time, that had lost her wits,
and she tied on a cart with ropes. And she was brought to Father
Callaghan and he began reading over her, and then he made a second
reading, and at the end of that, he bid them unloose the ropes,
and when they did she got up quite quiet, but very shy looking and
ashamed, and would not wait for the cart but walked away.

       *       *       *       *       *

Father Callaghan was with a man near this one time, one Tully, and
they were talking about the faeries and the man said he didn't
believe in them at all. And Father Callaghan called him to the door
and put up his fingers and bade him look out through them, and there
he saw hundreds and hundreds of the smallest little men he ever saw
and they hurling and killing one another.

       *       *       *       *       *

The friars are gone and there are missioners come in their place and
all they would do for you is to bless holy water, and as long as you
would keep it, it would never get bad.

       *       *       *       *       *

My daughter, Mrs. Meehan, that lives there below, was very bad after
her first baby being born, and she wasted away and the doctors could
do nothing for her. My husband went to Biddy Early for her, but she
said, "Mother for daughter, father for son" and she could do nothing
for her because I didn't go. But I had promised God and the priest I
would never go to her, and so I kept to my word. But Mrs. Meehan was so
bad she kept to the bed, and one day one of the neighbours said I had a
right to bring her to the friars at Esker. And he said, "It's today you
should be in it, Monday, for a Monday gospel is the best, the gospel
of the Holy Ghost." So I got the cart after and put her in it, and she
lying down, and we had to rest and to take out the horse at Lenane, and
we got to Craughwell for the night. And the man of the house where we
got lodging for the night said the priest that was doing cures now was
Father Blake and he showed us the way to Esker. And when we got there
he was in the chapel, and my daughter was brought in and laid on a
form, and I went out and waited with the cart, and within half an hour
the chapel door opened, and my daughter walked out that was carried
in. And she got up on the cart herself. It was a gospel had been read
over her. And I said, "I wish you had asked a gospel to bring with you
home." And after that we saw a priest on the other side of a dry stone
wall, and he learning three children. And she asked a gospel of him,
and he said, "What you had today will do you, and I haven't one made up
at this time." So she came home well. She went another time there, when
she had something and asked for a gospel, and Father Blake said, "We're
out of doing it now, but as you were with us before, I'll do it for
you." And she wanted to give him £1 but he said, "If I took it I would
do nothing for you." So she said, "I'll give it to the other man," and
so she did.

       *       *       *       *       *

I often saw Father Callaghan in Esker and the people brought to him
in carts. Many cures he did, but he was prevented often. And I knew
another priest did many cures, but he was carried away himself after,
to a lunatic asylum. And when he came back, he would do no more.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a little chap had but seven years, and he was doing no
good, but whistling and twirling, and the father went to Father
Callaghan, that was just after coming out of the gaol when he got
there, for doing cures; it is a gaol of their own they had. The man
asked him to do a cure on his son, and Father Callaghan said, "I
wouldn't like him to be brought here, but I will go some day to your
house; I will go with my dog and my hound as if fowling, and I will
bring no sign of a car or a carriage at all." So he came one day to
the house and knocked at the door. And when he came in he said to the
father, "Go out and bring me in a bundle of sally rods that will be
as thin as rushes, and divide them into six small parts," he said,
"and twist every one of the six parts together." And when that was
done, he took the little bundle of rods, and he beat the child on the
head with them one after another till they were in flitters and the
child roaring. Then he laid the child in the father's arms, and no
sooner there than it fell asleep, and Father Callaghan said to the
father, "What you have now is your own, but it wasn't your own that
was in it before."

       *       *       *       *       *

There used to be swarms of people going to Esker, and Father Callaghan
would say in Irish, "Let the people in the Sheogue stand at one side,"
and he would go over and read over them what he had to read.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was an uncle of my own was working at Ballycluan the time the
Quakers were making a place there, and it was the habit when the
summer was hot to put the beds out into the barn. And one night he
was sleeping in the barn, and something came and lay on him in the
bed; he could not see what it was, but it was about the size of the
foal of a horse. And the next night it came again and the next, and
lay on him, and he put out his left hand to push it from him, and
it went from him quite quiet, but if it did, when he rose in the
morning, he was not able to stretch out his hand, and he was a long
time like that and then his father brought him to the friars at
Esker, and within twelve minutes one of them had him cured, reading
over him, but I'm not sure was it Father Blake or Father Callaghan.

But it was not long after that till he fell off his cart as if he was
knocked off it, and broke his leg. The coppinger had his leg cured,
but he did not live long, for the third thing happened was, he threw
up his heart's blood and died.

For if you are cured of one thing that comes on you like that,
another thing will come on you in its place, or if not on you, on
some other person, maybe some one in your own family. It is very
often I noticed that to happen.

       *       *       *       *       *

The priests in old times used to have the power to cure strokes and
madness and the like, but the Pope and the Bishops have that stopped;
they said that the people will get out of witchcraft little by little.

       *       *       *       *       *

Priests can do cures if they will, and it's not out of the Gospel
they do them, but out of a book specially for the purpose, so I
believe. But something falls on them or on the things belonging to
them, if they do it too often.

But Father Keeley for certain did cures. It was he cured Mike
Madden's neck, when everyone else had failed--so they had--though
Mike has never confessed to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The priests can do cures surely, and surely they can put harm on you.
But they wouldn't do that unless they'd be sure a man would deserve it.
One time at that house you see up there beyond, Roche's, there was a
wedding and there was some fighting came out of it, and bad blood. And
Father Boyle was priest at that time, and he was vexed and he said he'd
come and have stations at the house, and they should all be reconciled.

So he came on the day he appointed and the house was settled like
a chapel, and some of the people there was bad blood between came,
but not all of them, and Roche himself was not there. And when
the stations were over Father Boyle got his book, and he read the
names of those he had told to be there, and they answered, like a
schoolmaster would call out the names of his scholars. And when
Roche's name was read and he not there to answer, with the dint of
madness Father Boyle quenched the candles on the altar, and he said
this house and all that belong to it will go away to nothing, like
the froth that's going down the river.

And if you look at the house now you'll see the way it is, not a stable
or an outhouse left standing, and not one of the whole family left in
it but Roche, and he paralysed. So they can do both harm and good.

       *       *       *       *       *

There was a man out in the mountains used to do cures, and one day on
a little road the priest met him, and stopped his car and began to
abuse him for the cures he was doing.

And then the priest went on, and when he had gone a bit of the road
his horse fell down. And he came back and called to the man and said,
"Come help me now, for this is your doing, to make the horse fall."
And the man said, "It's none of my doing, but it's the doing of my
master, for he was vexed with the way you spoke. But go back now and
you'll find the horse as he was before." So he went back and the
horse had got up and was standing, and nothing wrong with him at all.
And the priest said no more against him from that day.

       *       *       *       *       *

My son is lame this long time; a fine young man he was, about
seventeen years--and a pain came in his knee all of a moment. I tried
doctors with him and I brought him to the friars in Loughrea, and one
of them read a gospel over him, and the pain went after that, but the
knee grew out to be twisted like. The friar said it was surely he had
been overheated. A little old maneen he was, very ancient. I knew
well it was the _drochuil_ that did it; there by the side of the road
he was sitting when he got the frost.

There was a needlewoman used to be sewing late on a Saturday night,
and sometimes if there was a button or a thread wanting she would put
it in, even if it was Sunday morning; and she lived in Loughrea that
is near your own home. And one day she went to the loch to get a can
of water, and it was in her hand. And in a minute a blast of wind
came that rose all the dust and the straws and knocked herself. And
more than that, her mouth was twisted around to her poll.

There were some people saw her, and they brought her home, and within
a week her mother brought her to the priest. And when he saw her he
said, "You are the best mother ever there was, for if you had left
her nine days without bringing her to me, all I could do would not
have taken off her what is on her." He asked then up to what time
did she work on the Saturday night, and she said up to one or two
o'clock, and sometimes on a Sunday morning. So he took off what was
on her, and bade her do that no more, and she got well, but to the
last there was a sort of a twisted turn in her mouth.

That woman now I am telling you of was an aunt of my own.

       *       *       *       *       *

Father Nolan has a kind heart, and he'd do cures. But it's hard to
get them, unless it would be for some they had a great interest in.
But Father McConaghy is so high in himself, he wouldn't do anything
of that sort. When Johnny Dunne was bad, two years ago, and all but
given over, he begged and prayed Father McConaghy to do it for him.
And he refused and said, "You must commit yourself to the mercy of
Almighty God," and Johnny Dunne, the poor man, said, "It's a hard
thing for a man that has a house full of children to be left to the
mercy of Almighty God."

       *       *       *       *       *

But there's _some_ that can help. My father told me long ago that my
sister was lying sick for a long time, and one night a beggarman came
to the door and asked for shelter. And he said, "I can't give you
shelter, with my daughter lying sick in the room." "Let me in, it's
best for you," says he. And in the morning he went away, and the sick
girl rose up, as well as ever she was before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Father Flaherty, when he was a curate, could open the eyes that were
all but closed in death, but he wouldn't have such things spoken of
now. Losses they may have, but that's not all. Whatever evil thing
they raise, they may not have strength after to put it down again,
and so they may be lost themselves in the end.

       *       *       *       *       *

Surely they can do cures, and they can tell sometimes the hour you'd
go. There was a girl I knew was sick, and when the priest came and
saw her, he said, "Between the two Masses tomorrow she'll be gone,"
and so she was. And those that saw her after, said that it was the
face of her mother that died before that was on the bed, and that it
was her mother had taken her to where she was.

       *       *       *       *       *

And Mike Barrett surely saw a man brought in a cart to Father
Curley's house when he lived in Cloon, and carried upstairs to him,
and he walked down out of the house again, sound and well. But they
must lose something when they do cures--either their health or
something else, though many say no one did so many cures as Father
Fitzgerald when he was a curate. Father Airlie one time was called
in to Glover's house where he was lying sick, and did a cure on him.
And he had a cow at the time that was in calf. And soon after some
man said to him "The cow will be apt soon to calve," though it wasn't
very near the time. And Father Airlie said "She'll never live to do
that." And sure enough in a couple of days after she was dead.

                      SWEDENBORG, MEDIUMS, AND THE
                            DESOLATE PLACES

                      SWEDENBORG, MEDIUMS, AND THE
                            DESOLATE PLACES


Some fifteen years ago I was in bad health and could not work, and
Lady Gregory brought me from cottage to cottage while she began to
collect the stories in this book, and presently when I was at work
again she went on with her collection alone till it grew to be, so
far as I know, the most considerable book of its kind. Except that I
had heard some story of "The Battle of the Friends" at Aran and had
divined that it might be the legendary common accompaniment of death,
she was not guided by any theory of mine, but recorded what came,
writing it out at each day's end and in the country dialect. It was at
this time mainly she got the knowledge of words that makes her little
comedies of country life so beautiful and so amusing. As that ancient
system of belief unfolded before us, with unforeseen probabilities and
plausibilities, it was as though we had begun to live in a dream, and
one day Lady Gregory said to me when we had passed an old man in the
wood: "That old man may know the secret of the ages."

I had noticed many analogies in modern spiritism and began a more
careful comparison, going a good deal to séances for the first time
and reading all writers of any reputation I could find in English
or French. I found much that was moving, when I had climbed to the
top story of some house in Soho or Holloway, and, having paid my
shilling, awaited, among servant girls, the wisdom of some fat old
medium. That is an absorbing drama, though if my readers begin to
seek it they will spoil it, for its gravity and simplicity depends on
all, or all but all, believing that their dead are near.

I did not go there for evidence of the kind the Society for Psychical
Research would value, any more than I would seek it in Galway or
in Aran. I was comparing one form of belief with another, and like
Paracelsus, who claimed to have collected his knowledge from midwife
and hangman, I was discovering a philosophy. Certain things had
happened to me when alone in my own room which had convinced me that
there are spiritual intelligences which can warn us and advise us,
and, as Anatole France has said, if one believes that the Devil can
walk the streets of Lisbon, it is not difficult to believe that he
can reach his arm over the river and light Don Juan's cigarette. And
yet I do not think I have been easily convinced, for I know we make a
false beauty by a denial of ugliness and that if we deny the causes
of doubt we make a false faith, and that we must excite the whole
being into activity if we would offer to God what is, it may be, the
one thing germane to the matter, a consenting of all our faculties.
Not but that I doubt at times, with the animal doubt of the Middle
Ages that I have found even in pious countrywomen when they have
seen some life come to an end like the stopping of a clock, or that
all the perceptions of the soul, or the weightiest intellectual
deductions, are not at whiles but a feather in the daily show.

I pieced together stray thoughts written out after questioning the
familiar of a trance medium or automatic writer, by Allen Cardec,
or by some American, or by myself, or arranged the fragments into
some pattern, till I believed myself the discoverer of a vast
generalization. I lived in excitement, amused to make Holloway
interpret Aran, and constantly comparing my discoveries with what I
have learned of mediæval tradition among fellow students, with the
reveries of a Neo-platonist, of a seventeenth-century Platonist, of
Paracelsus or a Japanese poet. Then one day I opened _The Spiritual
Diary_ of Swedenborg, which I had not taken down for twenty years,
and found all there, even certain thoughts I had not set on paper
because they had seemed fantastic from the lack of some traditional
foundation. It was strange I should have forgotten so completely a
writer I had read with some care before the fascination of Blake and
Boehme had led me away.


It was indeed Swedenborg who affirmed for the modern world, as
against the abstract reasoning of the learned, the doctrine and
practice of the desolate places, of shepherds and of midwives, and
discovered a world of spirits where there was a scenery like that of
earth, human forms, grotesque or beautiful, senses that knew pleasure
and pain, marriage and war, all that could be painted upon canvas,
or put into stories to make one's hair stand up. He had mastered the
science of his time, he had written innumerable scientific works in
Latin, had been the first to formulate the nebular hypothesis and
wrote a cold abstract style, the result it may be of preoccupation
with stones and metals, for he had been assessor of mines to the
Swedish Government, and of continual composition in a dead language.

In his fifty-eighth year he was sitting in an inn in London, where
he had gone about the publication of a book, when a spirit appeared
before him who was, he believed, Christ himself, and told him that
henceforth he could commune with spirits and angels. From that moment
he was a mysterious man describing distant events as if they were
before his eyes, and knowing dead men's secrets, if we are to accept
testimony that seemed convincing to Emmanuel Kant. The sailors who
carried him upon his many voyages spoke of the charming of the waves
and of favouring winds that brought them sooner than ever before
to their journey's end, and an ambassador described how a queen, he
himself looking on, fainted when Swedenborg whispered in her ear
some secret known only to her and to her dead brother. And all this
happened to a man without egotism, without drama, without a sense
of the picturesque, and who wrote a dry language, lacking fire and
emotion, and who to William Blake seemed but an arranger and putter
away of the old Church, a Samson shorn by the churches, an author not
of a book, but of an index. He considered heaven and hell and God,
the angels, the whole destiny of man, as if he were sitting before a
large table in a Government office putting little pieces of mineral
ore into small square boxes for an assistant to pack away in drawers.

All angels were once men, he says, and it is therefore men who have
entered into what he calls the Celestial State and become angels,
who attend us immediately after death, and communicate to us their
thoughts, not by speaking, but by looking us in the face as they
sit beside the head of our body. When they find their thoughts are
communicated they know the time has come to separate the spiritual
from the physical body. If a man begins to feel that he can endure
them no longer, as he doubtless will, for in their presence he can
think and feel but sees nothing, lesser angels who belong to truth
more than to love take their place and he is in the light again, but
in all likelihood these angels also will be too high and he will
slip from state to state until he finds himself after a few days
"with those who are in accord with his life in the world; with them
he finds his life, and, wonderful to relate, he then leads a life
similar to that he led in the world." This first state of shifting and
readjustment seems to correspond with a state of sleep more modern
seers discover to follow upon death. It is characteristic of his whole
religious system, the slow drifting of like to like. Then follows a
period which may last but a short time or many years, while the soul
lives a life so like that of the world that it may not even believe
that it has died, for "when what is spiritual touches and sees what
is spiritual the effect is the same as when what is natural touches
what is natural." It is the other world of the early races, of those
whose dead are in the rath or the faery hill, of all who see no place
of reward and punishment but a continuance of this life, with cattle
and sheep, markets and war. He describes what he has seen, and only
partly explains it, for, unlike science which is founded upon past
experience, his work, by the very nature of his gift, looks for the
clearing away of obscurities to unrecorded experience. He is revealing
something and that which is revealed, so long as it remains modest
and simple, has the same right with the child in the cradle to put
off to the future the testimony of its worth. This earth-resembling
life is the creation of the image-making power of the mind, plucked
naked from the body, and mainly of the images in the memory. All our
work has gone with us, the books we have written can be opened and
read or put away for later use, even though their print and paper have
been sold to the buttermen; and reading his description one notices,
a discovery one had thought peculiar to the last generation, that the
"most minute particulars which enter the memory remain there and are
never obliterated," and there as here we do not always know all that
is in our memory, but at need angelic spirits who act upon us there as
here, widening and deepening the consciousness at will, can draw forth
all the past, and make us live again all our transgressions and see our
victims "as if they were present, together with the place, words, and
motives"; and that suddenly, "as when a scene bursts upon the sight"
and yet continues "for hours together," and like the transgressions,
all the pleasure and pain of sensible life awaken again and again, all
our passionate events rush up about us and not as seeming imagination,
for imagination is now the world. And yet another impulse comes and
goes, flitting through all, a preparation for the spiritual abyss,
for out of the celestial world, immediately beyond the world of form,
fall certain seeds as it were that exfoliate through us into forms,
elaborate scenes, buildings, alterations of form that are related
by "correspondence" or "signature" to celestial incomprehensible
realities. Meanwhile those who have loved or fought see one another
in the unfolding of a dream, believing it may be that they wound one
another or kill one another, severing arms or hands, or that their lips
are joined in a kiss, and the countryman has need but of Swedenborg's
keen ears and eagle sight to hear a noise of swords in the empty
valley, or to meet the old master hunting with all his hounds upon the
stroke of midnight among the moonlit fields. But gradually we begin to
change and possess only those memories we have related to our emotion
or our thought; all that was accidental or habitual dies away and we
begin an active present life, for apart from that calling up of the
past we are not punished or rewarded for our actions when in the world
but only for what we do when out of it. Up till now we have disguised
our real selves and those who have lived well for fear or favour have
walked with holy men and women, and the wise man and the dunce have
been associated in common learning, but now the ruling love has begun
to remake circumstance and our body.

Swedenborg had spoken with shades that had been learned Latinists, or
notable Hebrew scholars, and found, because they had done everything
from the memory and nothing from thought and emotion, they had become
but simple men. We have already met our friends, but if we were to meet
them now for the first time we should not recognize them, for all has
been kneaded up anew, arrayed in order and made one piece. "Every man
has many loves, but still they all have reference to his ruling love
and make one with it or together compose it," and our surrender to that
love, as to supreme good, is no new thought, for Villiers de l'Isle
Adam quotes Thomas Aquinas as having said, "Eternity is the possession
of one's self, as in a single moment." During the fusing and rending
man flits, as it were, from one flock of the dead to another, seeking
always those who are like himself, for as he puts off disguise he
becomes unable to endure what is unrelated to his love, even becoming
insane among things that are too fine for him.

So heaven and hell are built always anew and in hell or heaven all do
what they please and all are surrounded by scenes and circumstance
which are the expression of their natures and the creation of their
thought. Swedenborg because he belongs to an eighteenth century not yet
touched by the romantic revival feels horror amid rocky uninhabited
places, and so believes that the evil are in such places while the good
are amid smooth grass and garden walks and the clear sunlight of Claude
Lorraine. He describes all in matter-of-fact words, his meeting with
this or that dead man, and the place where he found him, and yet we
are not to understand him literally, for space as we know it has come
to an end and a difference of state has begun to take its place, and
wherever a spirit's thought is, the spirit cannot help but be. Nor
should we think of spirit as divided from spirit, as men are from each
other, for they share each other's thoughts and life, and those whom he
has called celestial angels, while themselves mediums to those above,
commune with men and lower spirits, through orders of mediatorial
spirits, not by a conveyance of messages, but as though a hand were
thrust within a hundred gloves,[1] one glove outside another, and so
there is a continual influx from God to man. It flows to us through the
evil angels as through the good, for the dark fire is the perversion
of God's life and the evil angels have their office in the equilibrium
that is our freedom, in the building of that fabulous bridge made out
of the edge of a sword.

To the eyes of those that are in the high heaven "all things laugh,
sport, and live," and not merely because they are beautiful things but
because they arouse by a minute correspondence of form and emotion
the heart's activity, and being founded, as it were, in this changing
heart, all things continually change and shimmer. The garments of all
befit minutely their affections, those that have most wisdom and most
love being the most nobly garmented, in ascending order from shimmering
white, through garments of many colours and garments that are like
flame, to the angels of the highest heaven that are naked.

In the west of Ireland the country people say that after death every
man grows upward or downward to the likeness of thirty years, perhaps
because at that age Christ began his ministry, and stays always in
that likeness; and these angels move always towards "the springtime
of their life" and grow more and more beautiful, "the more thousand
years they live," and women who have died infirm with age, and yet
lived in faith and charity, and true love towards husband or lover,
come "after a succession of years" to an adolescence that was not in
Helen's Mirror, "for to grow old in heaven is to grow young."

There went on about Swedenborg an intermittent "Battle of the
Friends" and on certain occasions had not the good fought upon his
side, the evil troop, by some carriage accident or the like, would
have caused his death, for all associations of good spirits have an
answering mob, whose members grow more hateful to look on through the
centuries. "Their faces in general are horrible, and empty of life
like corpses, those of some are black, of some fiery like torches,
of some hideous with pimples, boils, and ulcers; with many no face
appears, but in its place a something hairy or bony, and in some one
can but see the teeth." And yet among themselves they are seeming men
and but show their right appearance when the light of heaven, which
of all things they most dread, beats upon them; and seem to live in a
malignant gaiety, and they burn always in a fire that is God's love
and wisdom, changed into their own hunger and misbelief.


In Lady Gregory's stories there is a man who heard the newly dropped
lambs of faery crying in November, and much evidence to show a
topsy-turvydom of seasons, our spring being their autumn, our winter
their summer, and Mary Battle, my Uncle George Pollexfen's old
servant, was accustomed to say that no dream had a true meaning after
the rise of the sap; and Lady Gregory learned somewhere on Sleive
Ochta that if one told one's dreams to the trees fasting the trees
would wither. Swedenborg saw some like opposition of the worlds, for
what hides the spirits from our sight and touch, as he explains,
is that their light and heat are darkness and cold to us and our
light and heat darkness and cold to them, but they can see the
world through our eyes and so make our light their light. He seems
however to warn us against a movement whose philosophy he announced
or created, when he tells us to seek no conscious intercourse with
any that fall short of the celestial rank. At ordinary times they do
not see us or know that we are near, but when we speak to them we
are in danger of their deceits. "They have a passion for inventing,"
and do not always know that they invent. "It has been shown me many
times that the spirits speaking with me did not know but that they
were the men and women I was thinking of; neither did other spirits
know the contrary. Thus yesterday and today one known of me in life
was personated. The personation was so like him in all respects, so
far as known to me, that nothing could be more like. For there are
genera and species of spirits of similar faculty (? as the dead whom
we seek), and when like things are called up in the memory of men and
so are represented to them they think they are the same persons. At
other times they enter into the fantasy of other spirits and think
that they are them, and sometimes they will even believe themselves
to be the Holy Spirit," and as they identify themselves with a man's
affection or enthusiasm they may drive him to ruin, and even an angel
will join himself so completely to a man that he scarcely knows "that
he does not know of himself what the man knows," and when they speak
with a man they can but speak in that man's mother tongue, and this
they can do without taking thought, for "it is almost as when a man
is speaking and thinks nothing about his words." Yet when they leave
the man "they are in their own angelical or spiritual language and
know nothing of the language of the man." They are not even permitted
to talk to a man from their own memory for did they do so the man
would not know "but that the things he would then think were his when
yet they would belong to the spirit," and it is these sudden memories
occurring sometimes by accident, and without God's permission that
gave the Greeks the idea they had lived before. They have bodies
as plastic as their minds that flow so readily into the mould of
ours and he remembers having seen the face of a spirit change
continuously and yet keep always a certain generic likeness. It had
but run through the features of the individual ghosts of the fleet it
belonged to, of those bound into the one mediatorial communion.

He speaks too, again and again, of seeing palaces and mountain ranges
and all manner of scenery built up in a moment, and even believes
in imponderable troops of magicians that build the like out of some
deceit or in malicious sport.


There is in Swedenborg's manner of expression a seeming
superficiality. We follow an easy narrative, sometimes incredulous,
but always, as we think, understanding, for his moral conceptions are
simple, his technical terms continually repeated, and for the most
part we need but turn for his "correspondence," his symbolism as we
would say, to the index of his _Arcana Celestia_. Presently, however,
we discover that he treads upon this surface by an achievement of
power almost as full of astonishment as if he should walk upon
water charmed to stillness by some halcyon; while his disciple and
antagonist Blake is like a man swimming in a tumbling sea, surface
giving way to surface and deep showing under broken deep. A later
mystic has said of Swedenborg that he but half felt, half saw, half
tasted the kingdom of heaven, and his abstraction, his dryness, his
habit of seeing but one element in everything, his lack of moral
speculation have made him the founder of a church, while William
Blake, who grows always more exciting with every year of life, grows
also more obscure. An impulse towards what is definite and sensuous,
and an indifference towards the abstract and the general, are the
lineaments, as I understand the world, of all that comes not from the
learned, but out of common antiquity, out of the "folk" as we say,
and in certain languages, Irish for instance--and these languages are
all poetry--it is not possible to speak an abstract thought. This
impulse went out of Swedenborg when he turned from vision. It was
inseparable from this primitive faculty, but was not a part of his
daily bread, whereas Blake carried it to a passion and made it the
foundation of his thought. Blake was put into a rage by all painting
where detail is generalized away, and complained that Englishmen
after the French Revolution became as like one another as the dots
and lozenges in the mechanical engraving of his time, and he hated
histories that gave us reasoning and deduction in place of the
events, and St. Paul's Cathedral because it came from a mathematical
mind, and told Crabb Robinson that he preferred to any others a
happy, thoughtless person. Unlike Swedenborg he believed that the
antiquities of all peoples were as sacred as those of the Jews, and
so rejecting authority and claiming that the same law for the lion
and the ox was oppression, he could believe "all that lives is holy,"
and say that a man if he but cultivated the power of vision would
see the truth in a way suited "to his imaginative energy," and with
only so much resemblance to the way it showed in for other men, as
there is between different human forms. Born when Swedenborg was a
new excitement, growing up with a Swedenborgian brother, who annoyed
him "with bread and cheese advice," and having, it may be, for
nearest friend the Swedenborgian Flaxman with whom he would presently
quarrel, he answered the just translated _Heaven and Hell_ with the
paradoxical violence of _The Marriage of Heaven and Hell_. Swedenborg
was but "the linen clothes folded up" or the angel sitting by the
tomb, after Christ, the human imagination, had arisen. His own memory
being full of images from painting and from poetry he discovered more
profound "correspondences," yet always in his boys and girls walking
or dancing on smooth grass and in golden light, as in pastoral scenes
cut upon wood or copper by his disciples Palmer and Calvert one
notices the peaceful Swedenborgian heaven. We come there, however, by
no obedience but by the energy that "is eternal delight," for "the
treasures of heaven are not negations of passion but realities of
intellect from which the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal
glory." He would have us talk no more "of the good man and the bad,"
but only of "the wise man and the foolish," and he cries, "Go put off
holiness and put on intellect."

Higher than all souls that seem to theology to have found a final
state, above good and evil, neither accused, nor yet accusing, live
those, who have come to freedom, their senses sharpened by eternity,
piping or dancing or "like the gay fishes on the wave when the moon
sucks up the dew." Merlin, who in the verses of Chrétien de Troyes
was laid in the one tomb with dead lovers, is very near and the
saints are far away. Believing too that crucifixion and resurrection
were the soul's diary and no mere historical events, which had been
transacted in vain should a man come again from the womb and forget
his salvation, he could cleave to the heroic doctrine the angel in
the crystal made Sir Thomas Kelly renounce and have a "vague memory"
of having been "with Christ and Socrates"; and stirred as deeply
by hill and tree as by human beauty, he saw all Merlin's people,
spirits "of vegetable nature" and fairies whom we "call accident and
chance." He made possible a religious life to those who had seen the
painters and poets of the romantic movement succeed to theology, but
the shepherd and the midwife had they known him would have celebrated
him in stories, and turned away from his thought, understanding that
he was upon an errand to their masters. Like Swedenborg he believed
that heaven came from "an improvement of sensual enjoyment," for
sight and hearing, taste and touch grow with the angelic years, but
unlike him he could convey to others "enlarged and numerous senses,"
and the mass of men know instinctively they are safer with an
abstract and an index.


It was, I believe, the Frenchman Allen Cardec and an American
shoemaker's clerk called Jackson Davis, who first adapted to the séance
room the philosophy of Swedenborg. I find Davis whose style is vague,
voluble, and pretentious, almost unreadable, and yet his books have
gone to many editions and are full of stories that had been charming or
exciting had he lived in Connaught or any place else, where the general
mass of the people has an imaginative tongue. His mother was learned
in country superstition, and had called in a knowledgeable man when
she believed a neighbour had bewitched a cow, but it was not till his
fifteenth year that he discovered his faculty, when his native village,
Poughkeepsie, was visited by a travelling mesmerist. He was fascinated
by the new marvel, and mesmerized by a neighbour he became clairvoyant,
describing the diseases of those present and reading watches he could
not see with his eyes. One night the neighbour failed to awake him
completely from the trance and he stumbled out into the street and
went to his bed ill and stupefied. In the middle of the night he heard
a voice telling him to get up and dress himself and follow. He wandered
for miles, now wondering at what seemed the unusual brightness of the
stars and once passing a visionary shepherd and his flock of sheep, and
then again stumbling in cold and darkness. He crossed the frozen Hudson
and became unconscious. He awoke in a mountain valley to see once more
the visionary shepherd and his flock, and a very little, handsome, old
man who showed him a scroll and told him to write his name upon it.

A little later he passed, as he believed, from this mesmeric condition
and found that he was among the Catskill Mountains and more than forty
miles from home. Having crossed the Hudson again he felt the trance
coming upon him and began to run. He ran, as he thought, many miles
and as he ran became unconscious. When he awoke he was sitting upon a
gravestone in a graveyard surrounded by a wood and a high wall. Many
of the gravestones were old and broken. After much conversation with
two stately phantoms, he went stumbling on his way. Presently he found
himself at home again. It was evening and the mesmerist was questioning
him as to where he had been since they lost him the night before.
He was very hungry and had a vague memory of his return, of country
roads passing before his eyes in brief moments of wakefulness. He now
seemed to know that one of the phantoms with whom he had spoken in the
graveyard was the physician Galen, and the other, Swedenborg.

From that hour the two phantoms came to him again and again, the
one advising him in the diagnosis of disease, and the other in
philosophy. He quoted a passage from Swedenborg, and it seemed
impossible that any copy of the newly translated book that contained
it could have come into his hands, for a Swedenborgian minister in
New York traced every copy which had reached America.

Swedenborg himself had gone upon more than one somnambulistic
journey, and they occur a number of times in Lady Gregory's stories,
one woman saying that when she was among the faeries she was often
glad to eat the food from the pigs' troughs.

Once in childhood, Davis, while hurrying home through a wood, heard
footsteps behind him and began to run, but the footsteps, though they
did not seem to come more quickly and were still the regular pace of
a man walking, came nearer. Presently he saw an old, white-haired
man beside him who said: "You cannot run away from life," and asked
him where he was going. "I am going home," he said, and the phantom
answered, "I also am going home," and then vanished. Twice in later
childhood, and a third time when he had grown to be a young man, he
was overtaken by the same phantom and the same words were spoken,
but the last time he asked why it had vanished so suddenly. It said
that it had not, but that he had supposed that "changes of state"
in himself were "appearance and disappearance." It then touched him
with one finger upon the side of his head, and the place where he was
touched remained ever after without feeling, like those places always
searched for at the witches' trials. One remembers "the touch" and
"the stroke" in the Irish stories.


Allen Cardec, whose books are much more readable than those of Davis,
had himself no mediumistic gifts. He gathered the opinions, as he
believed, of spirits speaking through a great number of automatists
and trance speakers, and all the essential thought of Swedenborg
remains, but like Davis, these spirits do not believe in an eternal
Hell, and like Blake they describe unhuman races, powers of the
elements, and declare that the soul is no creature of the womb,
having lived many lives upon the earth. The sorrow of death, they
tell us again and again, is not so bitter as the sorrow of birth,
and had our ears the subtlety we could listen amid the joy of lovers
and the pleasure that comes with sleep to the wailing of the spirit
betrayed into a cradle. Who was it that wrote: "O Pythagoras, so
good, so wise, so eloquent, upon my last voyage, I taught thee, a
soft lad, to splice a rope"?

This belief, common among continental spiritists, is denied by those
of England and America, and if one question the voices at a séance
they take sides according to the medium's nationality. I have even
heard what professed to be the shade of an old English naval officer
denying it with a fine phrase: "I did not leave my oars crossed; I
left them side by side."


Much as a hashish eater will discover in the folds of a curtain a
figure beautifully drawn and full of delicate detail all built up out
of shadows that show to other eyes, or later to his own, a different
form or none, Swedenborg discovered in the Bible the personal symbolism
of his vision. If the Bible was upon his side, as it seemed, he had
no need of other evidence, but had he lived when modern criticism
had lessened its authority, even had he been compelled to say that
the primitive beliefs of all peoples were as sacred, he could but
have run to his own gift for evidence. He might even have held of
some importance his powers of discovering the personal secrets of the
dead and set up as medium. Yet it is more likely he had refused, for
the medium has his gift from no heightening of all the emotions and
intellectual faculties till they seem as it were to take fire, but
commonly because they are altogether or in part extinguished while
another mind controls his body. He is greatly subject to trance and
awakes to remember nothing, whereas the mystic and the saint plead
unbroken consciousness. Indeed the author of _Sidonia the Sorceress_,
a really learned authority, considered this lack of memory a certain
sign of possession by the devil, though this is too absolute. Only
yesterday, while walking in a field, I made up a good sentence with an
emotion of triumph, and half a minute after could not even remember
what it was about, and several minutes had gone by before I as suddenly
found it. For the most part, though not always, it is this unconscious
condition of mediumship, a dangerous condition it may be, that seems
to make possible "physical phenomena" and that overshadowing of the
memory by some spirit memory, which Swedenborg thought an accident and

In describing and explaining this mediumship and so making
intelligible the stories of Aran and Galway I shall say very seldom,
"it is said," or "Mr. So-and-So reports," or "it is claimed by the
best authors." I shall write as if what I describe were everywhere
established, everywhere accepted, and I had only to remind my reader
of what he already knows. Even if incredulous he will give me his
fancy for certain minutes, for at the worst I can show him a gorgon
or chimera that has never lacked gazers, alleging nothing (and I do
not write out of a little knowledge) that is not among the sober
beliefs of many men, or obvious inference from those beliefs, and if
he wants more--well, he will find it in the best authors.[2]


All spirits for some time after death, and the "earth-bound," as
they are called, the larvæ, as Beaumont, the seventeenth-century
Platonist, preferred to call them, those who cannot become
disentangled from old habits and desires, for many years, it may be
for centuries, keep the shape of their earthly bodies and carry on
their old activities, wooing or quarrelling, or totting figures on a
table, in a round of dull duties or passionate events. Today while
the great battle in Northern France is still undecided, should I
climb to the top of that old house in Soho where a medium is sitting
among servant girls, some one would, it may be, ask for news of
Gordon Highlander or Munster Fusilier, and the fat old woman would
tell in Cockney language how the dead do not yet know they are dead,
but stumble on amid visionary smoke and noise, and how angelic
spirits seek to awaken them but still in vain.

Those who have attained to nobler form, when they appear in the
séance room, create temporary bodies, commonly like to those they
wore when living, through some unconscious constraint of memory, or
deliberately, that they may be recognized. Davis, in his literal
way, said the first sixty feet of the atmosphere was a reflector and
that in almost every case it was mere images we spoke with in the
séance room, the spirit itself being far away. The images are made
of a substance drawn from the medium who loses weight, and in a less
degree from all present, and for this light must be extinguished or
dimmed or shaded with red as in a photographer's room. The image will
begin outside the medium's body as a luminous cloud, or in a sort of
luminous mud forced from the body, out of the mouth it may be, from
the side or from the lower parts of the body.[3] One may see a vague
cloud condense and diminish into a head or arm or a whole figure of a
man, or to some animal shape.

I remember a story told me by a friend's steward in Galway of the
faeries playing at hurley in a field and going in and out of the
bodies of two men who stood at either goal. Out of the medium will
come perhaps a cripple or a man bent with years and sometimes the
apparition will explain that, but for some family portrait, or for
what it lit on while rumaging in our memories, it had not remembered
its customary clothes or features, or cough or limp or crutch.
Sometimes, indeed, there is a strange regularity of feature and
we suspect the presence of an image that may never have lived, an
artificial beauty that may have shown itself in the Greek mysteries.
Has some cast in the Vatican, or at Bloomsbury been the model? Or
there may float before our eyes a mask as strange and powerful as the
lineaments of the Servian's _Frowning Man_ or of Rodin's _Man with
the Broken Nose_. And once a rumour ran among the séance rooms to
the bewilderment of simple believers, that a heavy middle-aged man
who took snuff, and wore the costume of a past time, had appeared
while a French medium was in his trance, and somebody had recognized
the Tartuffe of the Comédie Française. There will be few complete
forms, for the dead are economical, and a head, or just enough of
the body for recognition, may show itself above hanging folds of
drapery that do not seem to cover solid limbs, or a hand or foot is
lacking, or it may be that some _Revenant_ has seized the half-made
image of another, and a young girl's arm will be thrust from the
withered body of an old man. Nor is every form a breathing and
pulsing thing, for some may have a distribution of light and shade
not that of the séance room, flat pictures whose eyes gleam and move;
and sometimes material objects are thrown together (drifted in from
some neighbour's wardrobe, it may be, and drifted thither again)
and an appearance kneaded up out of these and that luminous mud or
vapour almost as vivid as are those pictures of Antonio Mancini which
have fragments of his paint tubes embedded for the high lights into
the heavy masses of the paint. Sometimes there are animals, bears
frequently for some unknown reason, but most often birds and dogs. If
an image speak it will seldom seem very able or alert, for they come
for recognition only, and their minds are strained and fragmentary;
and should the dogs bark, a man who knows the language of our dogs
may not be able to say if they are hungry or afraid or glad to meet
their master again. All may seem histrionic or a hollow show. We are
the spectators of a phantasmagoria that affects the photographic
plate or leaves its moulded image in a preparation of paraffin. We
have come to understand why the Platonists of the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, and visionaries like Boehme and Paracelsus
confused imagination with magic, and why Boehme will have it that it
"creates and substantiates as it goes."

Most commonly, however, especially of recent years, no form will show
itself, or but vaguely and faintly and in no way ponderable, and
instead there will be voices flitting here and there in darkness,
or in the half-light, or it will be the medium himself fallen into
trance who will speak, or without a trance write from a knowledge and
intelligence not his own. Glanvil, the seventeenth-century Platonist,
said that the higher spirits were those least capable of showing
material effects, and it seems plain from certain Polish experiments
that the intelligence of the communicators increases with their
economy of substance and energy. Often now among these faint effects
one will seem to speak with the very dead. They will speak or write
some tongue that the medium does not know and give correctly their
forgotten names, or describe events one only verifies after weeks
of labour. Here and there amongst them one discovers a wise and
benevolent mind that knows a little of the future and can give good
advice. They have made, one imagines, from some finer substance than
a phosphorescent mud, or cobweb vapour that we can see or handle,
images not wholly different from themselves, figures in a galanty
show not too strained or too extravagant to speak their very thought.

Yet we never long escape the phantasmagoria nor can long forget
that we are among the shape-changers. Sometimes our own minds shape
that mysterious substance, which may be life itself, according to
desire or constrained by memory, and the dead no longer remembering
their own names become the characters in the drama we ourselves
have invented. John King, who has delighted melodramatic minds for
hundreds of séances with his career on earth as Henry Morgan the
buccaneer, will tell more scientific visitors that he is merely
a force, while some phantom long accustomed to a decent name,
questioned by some pious Catholic, will admit very cheerfully that he
is the devil. Nor is it only present minds that perplex the shades
with phantasy, for friends of Count Albert de Rochas once wrote out
names and incidents but to discover that though the surname of the
shade that spoke had been historical, Christian name and incidents
were from a romance running at the time in some clerical newspaper no
one there had ever opened.

All these shadows have drunk from the pool of blood and become
delirious. Sometimes they will use the very word and say that we
force delirium upon them because we do not still our minds, or that
minds not stupefied with the body force them more subtly, for now
and again one will withdraw what he has said, saying that he was
constrained by the neighbourhood of some more powerful shade.

When I was a boy at Sligo, a stable boy met his late master going
round the yard, and having told him to go and haunt the lighthouse,
was dismissed by his mistress for sending her husband to haunt
so inclement a spot. Ghosts, I was told, must go where they are
bid, and all those threatenings by the old _grimoires_ to drown
some disobedient spirit at the bottom of the Red Sea, and indeed
all exorcism and conjuration affirm that our imagination is king.
_Revenants_ are, to use the modern term, "suggestable," and may be
studied in the "trance personalities" of hypnoses and in our dreams
which are but hypnosis turned inside out, a modeller's clay for our
suggestions, or, if we follow _The Spiritual Diary_, for those of
invisible beings. Swedenborg has written that we are each in the
midst of a group of associated spirits who sleep when we sleep and
become the _dramatis personæ_ of our dreams, and are always the other
will that wrestles with our thought, shaping it to our despite.


We speak, it may be, of the Proteus of antiquity which has to be
held or it will refuse its prophecy, and there are many warnings in
our ears. "Stoop not down," says the Chaldæan Oracle, "to the darkly
splendid world wherein continually lieth a faithless depth and Hades
wrapped in cloud, delighting in unintelligible images," and amid that
caprice, among those clouds, there is always legerdemain; we juggle,
or lose our money with the same pack of cards that may reveal the
future. The magicians who astonished the Middle Ages with power as
incalculable as the fall of a meteor were not so numerous as the more
amusing jugglers who could do their marvels at will; and in our own
day the juggler Houdin, sent to Morocco by the French Government, was
able to break the prestige of the dervishes whose fragile wonders
were but worked by fasting and prayer.

Sometimes, indeed, a man would be magician, jester, and juggler. In
an Irish story a stranger lays three rushes upon the flat of his hand
and promises to blow away the inner and leave the others unmoved, and
thereupon puts two fingers of his other hand upon the outer ones and
blows. However, he will do a more wonderful trick. There are many
who can wag both ears, but he can wag one and not the other, and
thereafter, when he has everybody's attention, he takes one ear between
finger and thumb. But now that the audience are friendly and laughing
the moment of miracle has come. He takes out of a bag a skein of silk
thread and throws it into the air, until it seems as though one end
were made fast to a cloud. Then he takes out of his bag first a hare
and then a dog and then a young man and then "a beautiful, well-dressed
young woman" and sends them all running up the thread. Nor, the
old writers tell us, does the association of juggler and magician
cease after death, which only gives to legerdemain greater power and
subtlety. Those who would live again in us, becoming a part of our
thoughts and passion have, it seems, their sport to keep us in good
humour, and a young girl who has astonished herself and her friends in
some dark séance may, when we have persuaded her to become entranced
in a lighted room, tell us that some shade is touching her face, while
we can see her touching it with her own hand, or we may discover her,
while her eyes are still closed, in some jugglery that implies an
incredible mastery of muscular movement. Perhaps too in the fragmentary
middle world there are souls that remain always upon the brink, always
children. Dr. Ochorowicz finds his experiments upset by a naked girl,
one foot one inch high, who is constantly visible to his medium and
who claims never to have lived upon the earth. He has photographed her
by leaving a camera in an empty room where she had promised to show
herself, but is so doubtful of her honesty that he is not sure she did
not hold up a print from an illustrated paper in front of the camera.
In one of Lady Gregory's stories a countryman is given by a stranger
he meets upon the road what seems wholesome and pleasant food, but a
little later his stomach turns and he finds that he has eaten chopped
grass, and one remembers Robin Goodfellow and his joint stool, and
witches' gold that is but dried cow dung. It is only, one does not
doubt, because of our preoccupation with a single problem, our survival
of the body, and with the affection that binds us to the dead, that all
the gnomes and nymphs of antiquity have not begun their tricks again.


Plutarch, in his essay on the dæmon, describes how the souls of
enlightened men return to be the schoolmasters of the living, whom
they influence unseen; and the mediums, should we ask how they escape
the illusions of that world, claim the protection of their guides. One
will tell you that when she was a little girl she was minding geese
upon some American farm and an old man came towards her with a queer
coat upon him, and how at first she took him for a living man. He
said perhaps a few words of pious commonplace or practical advice and
vanished. He had come again and again, and now that she has to earn her
living by her gift, he warns her against deceiving spirits, or if she
is working too hard, but sometimes she will not listen and gets into
trouble. The old witch doctor of Lady Gregory's story learned his cures
from his dead sister whom he met from time to time, but especially at
Hallowe'en, at the end of the garden, but he had other helpers harsher
than she, and once he was beaten for disobedience.

Reginald Scott gives a fine plan for picking a guide. You promise some
dying man to pray for the repose of his soul if he will but come to
you after death and give what help you need, while stories of mothers
who come at night to be among their orphan children are as common
among spiritists as in Galway or in Mayo. A French servant girl once
said to a friend of mine who helped her in some love affair: "You
have your studies, we have only our affections"; and this I think is
why the walls are broken less often among us than among the poor. Yet
according to the doctrine of Soho and Holloway and in Plutarch, those
studies that have lessened in us the sap of the world may bring to us
good, learned, masterful men who return to see their own or some like
work carried to a finish. "I do think," wrote Sir Thomas Browne, "that
many mysteries ascribed to our own invention have been the courteous
revelations of spirits; for those noble essences in heaven bear a
friendly regard unto their fellow creatures on earth."


Much that Lady Gregory has gathered seems but the broken bread
of old philosophers, or else of the one sort with the dough they
made into their loaves. Were I not ignorant, my Greek gone and my
meagre Latin all but gone, I do not doubt that I could find much
to the point in Greek, perhaps in old writers on medicine, much in
Renaissance or Medieval Latin. As it is, I must be content with what
has been translated or with the seventeenth-century Platonists who
are the handier for my purpose because they found in the affidavits
and confessions of the witch trials, descriptions like those in our
Connaught stories. I have Henry More in his verse and in his prose
and I have Henry More's two friends, Joseph Glanvil, and Cudworth in
his _Intellectual System of the Universe_, three volumes violently
annotated by an opposed theologian; and two essays by Mr. G. R. S.
Meade clipped out of his magazine, _The Quest_. These writers quote
much from Plotinus and Porphyry and Plato and from later writers,
especially Synesius and John Philoponus in whom the School of Plato
came to an end in the seventh century.

We should not suppose that our souls began at birth, for as Henry
More has said, a man might as well think "from souls new souls" to
bring as "to press the sunbeams in his fist" or "wring the rainbow
till it dye his hands." We have within us an "airy body" or "spirit
body" which was our only body before our birth as it will be again
when we are dead and its "plastic power" has shaped our terrestrial
body as some day it may shape apparition and ghost. Porphyry is
quoted by Mr. Meade as saying that "Souls who love the body attach
a moist spirit to them and condense it like a cloud," and so become
visible, and so are all apparitions of the dead made visible; though
necromancers, according to Henry More, can ease and quicken this
condensation "with reek of oil, meal, milk, and such like gear,
wine, water, honey." One remembers that Dr. Ochorowicz's naked
imp once described how she filled out an appearance of herself by
putting a piece of blotting paper where her stomach should have been
and that the blotting paper became damp because, as she said, a
materialization, until it is completed, is a damp vapour. This airy
body which so compresses vapour, Philoponus says, "takes the shape
of the physical body as water takes the shape of the vessel that it
has been frozen in," but it is capable of endless transformations,
for "in itself it has no especial form," but Henry More believes that
it has an especial form, for "its plastic power" cannot but find
the human form most "natural," though "vehemency of desire to alter
the figure into another representation may make the appearance to
resemble some other creature; but no forced thing can last long."
"The better genii" therefore prefer to show "in a human shape yet
not it may be with all the lineaments" but with such as are "fit
for this separate state" (separate from the body that is) or are
"requisite to perfect the visible features of a person," desire and
imagination adding clothes and ornament. The materialization, as we
would say, has but enough likeness for recognition. It may be that
More but copies Philoponus who thought the shade's habitual form, the
image that it was as it were frozen in for a time, could be again
"coloured and shaped by fantasy," and that "it is probable that
when the soul desires to manifest it shapes itself, setting its own
imagination in movement, or even that it is probable with the help
of dæmonic co-operation that it appears and again becomes invisible,
becoming condensed and rarefied." Porphyry, Philoponus adds, gives
Homer as his authority for the belief that souls after death live
among images of their experience upon earth, phantasms impressed
upon the spirit body. While Synesius, who lived at the end of the
fourth century and had Hypatia among his friends, also describes the
spirit body as capable of taking any form and so of enabling us after
death to work out our purgation; and says that for this reason the
oracles have likened the state after death to the images of a dream.
The seventeenth century English translation of Cornelius Agrippa's
_De Occulta Philosophia_ was once so famous that it found its way
into the hands of Irish farmers and wandering Irish tinkers, and
it may be that Agrippa influenced the common thought when he wrote
that the evil dead see represented "in the fantastic reason" those
shapes of life that are "the more turbulent and furious ... sometimes
of the heavens falling upon their heads, sometimes of their being
consumed with the violence of flames, sometimes of being drowned
in a gulf, sometimes of being swallowed up in the earth, sometimes
of being changed into divers kinds of beasts ... and sometimes of
being taken and tormented by demons ... as if they were in a dream."
The ancients, he writes, have called these souls "hobgoblins," and
Orpheus has called them "the people of dreams" saying "the gates of
Pluto cannot be unlocked; within is a people of dreams." They are
a dream indeed that has place and weight and measure, and seeing
that their bodies are of an actual air, they cannot, it was held,
but travel in wind and set the straws and the dust twirling; though
being of the wind's weight they need not, Dr. Henry More considers,
so much as feel its ruffling, or if they should do so, they can
shelter in a house or behind a wall, or gather into themselves as it
were, out of the gross wind and vapour. But there are good dreams
among the airy people, though we cannot properly name that a dream
which is but analogical of the deep unimaginable virtues and has,
therefore, stability and a common measure. Henry More stays himself
in the midst of the dry learned and abstract writing of his treatise
_The Immortality of the Soul_ to praise "their comely carriage ...
their graceful dancing, their melodious singing and playing with
an accent so sweet and soft as if we should imagine air itself to
compose lessons and send forth musical sounds without the help of
any terrestrial instrument" and imagines them at their revels in
the thin upper air where the earth can but seem "a fleecy and milky
light" as the moon to us, and he cries out that they "sing and play
and dance together, reaping the lawful pleasures of the very animal
life, in a far higher degree than we are capable of in this world,
for everything here does, as it were, taste of the cask and has some
measure of foulness in it."

There is, however, another birth or death when we pass from the
airy to the shining or ethereal body, and "in the airy the soul may
inhabit for many ages and in the ethereal for ever," and indeed it
is the ethereal body which is the root "of all that natural warmth in
all generations" though in us it can no longer shine. It lives while
in its true condition an unimaginable life and is sometimes described
as of "a round or oval figure" and as always circling among gods and
among the stars, and sometimes as having more dimensions than our
penury can comprehend.

Last winter Mr. Ezra Pound was editing the late Professor Fenollosa's
translations of the Noh Drama of Japan, and read me a great deal of
what he was doing. Nearly all that my fat old woman in Soho learns
from her familiars is there in an unsurpassed lyric poetry and in
strange and poignant fables once danced or sung in the houses of
nobles. In one a priest asks his way of some girls who are gathering
herbs. He asks if it is a long road to town; and the girls begin to
lament over their hard lot gathering cress in a cold wet bog where
they sink up to their knees and to compare themselves with ladies
in the big town who only pull the cress in sport, and need not when
the cold wind is flapping their sleeves. He asks what village he
has come to and if a road near by leads to the village of Ono. A
girl replies that nobody can know that name without knowing the
road, and another says: "Who would not know that name, written on
so many pictures, and know the pine trees they are always drawing."
Presently the cold drives away all the girls but one and she tells
the priest she is a spirit and has taken solid form that she may
speak with him and ask his help. It is her tomb that has made Ono so
famous. Conscience-struck at having allowed two young men to fall
in love with her she refused to choose between them. Her father
said he would give her to the best archer. At the match to settle
it both sent their arrows through the same wing of a mallard and
were declared equal. She being ashamed and miserable because she had
caused so much trouble and for the death of the mallard, took her
own life. That, she thought, would end the trouble, but her lovers
killed themselves beside her tomb, and now she suffered all manner
of horrible punishments. She had but to lay her hand upon a pillar
to make it burst into flame; she was perpetually burning. The priest
tells her that if she can but cease to believe in her punishments
they will cease to exist. She listens in gratitude but she cannot
cease to believe, and while she is speaking they come upon her and
she rushes away enfolded in flames. Her imagination has created all
those terrors out of a scruple, and one remembers how Lake Harris,
who led Laurence Oliphant such a dance, once said to a shade, "How
did you know you were damned?" and that it answered, "I saw my own
thoughts going past me like blazing ships."

In a play still more rich in lyric poetry a priest is wandering in
a certain ancient village. He describes the journey and the scene,
and from time to time the chorus sitting at the side of the stage
sings its comment. He meets with two ghosts, the one holding a red
stick, the other a piece of coarse cloth and both dressed in the
fashion of a past age, but as he is a stranger he supposes them
villagers wearing the village fashion. They sing as if muttering,
"We are entangled up--whose fault was it, dear? Tangled up as the
grass patterns are tangled up in this coarse cloth, or that insect
which lives and chirrups in dried seaweed. We do not know where are
today our tears in the undergrowth of this eternal wilderness. We
neither wake nor sleep and passing our nights in sorrow, which is
in the end a vision, what are these scenes of spring to us? This
thinking in sleep for some one who has no thought for you, is it more
than a dream? And yet surely it is the natural way of love. In our
hearts there is much, and in our bodies nothing, and we do nothing
at all, and only the waters of the river of tears flow quickly." To
the priest they seem two married people, but he cannot understand
why they carry the red stick and the coarse cloth. They ask him to
listen to a story. Two young people had lived in that village long
ago and night after night for three years the young man had offered a
charmed red stick, the token of love, at the young girl's window, but
she pretended not to see and went on weaving. So the young man died
and was buried in a cave with his charmed red sticks, and presently
the girl died too, and now because they were never married in life
they were unmarried in their death. The priest, who does not yet
understand that it is their own tale, asks to be shown the cave, and
says it will be a fine tale to tell when he goes home. The chorus
describes the journey to the cave. The lovers go in front, the priest
follows. They are all day pushing through long grasses that hide the
narrow paths. They ask the way of a farmer who is mowing. Then night
falls and it is cold and frosty. It is stormy and the leaves are
falling and their feet sink into the muddy places made by the autumn
showers; there is a long shadow on the slope of the mountain, and an
owl in the ivy of the pine tree. They have found the cave and it is
dyed with the red sticks of love to the colour of "the orchids and
chrysanthemums which hide the mouth of a fox's hole"; and now the two
lovers have "slipped into the shadow of the cave." Left alone and
too cold to sleep the priest decides to spend the night in prayer.
He prays that the lovers may at last be one. Presently he sees to
his wonder that the cave is lighted up "where people are talking and
setting up looms for spinning and painted red sticks." The ghosts
creep out and thank him for his prayer and say that through his pity
"the love promises of long past incarnations" find fulfilment in
a dream. Then he sees the love story unfolded in a vision and the
chorus compares the sound of weaving to the clicking of crickets.
A little later he is shown the bridal room and the lovers drinking
from the bridal cup. The dawn is coming. It is reflected in the
bridal cup and now singers, cloth, and stick break and dissolve like
a dream, and there is nothing but "a deserted grave on a hill where
morning winds are blowing through the pine."

I remember that Aran story of the lovers who came after death to the
priest for marriage. It is not uncommon for a ghost, "a control" as
we say, to come to a medium to discover some old earthly link to fit
into a new chain. It wishes to meet a ghostly enemy to win pardon or
to renew an old friendship. Our service to the dead is not narrowed
to our prayers, but may be as wide as our imagination. I have known
a control to warn a medium to unsay her promise to an old man, to
whom, that she might be rid of him, she had promised herself after
death. What is promised here in our loves or in a witch's bond may be
fulfilled in a life which is a dream. If our terrestrial condition
is, as it seems the territory of choice and of cause, the one ground
for all seed sowing, it is plain why our imagination has command
over the dead and why they must keep from sight and earshot. At the
British Museum at the end of the Egyptian Room and near the stairs
are two statues, one an august decoration, one a most accurate
looking naturalistic portrait. The august decoration was for a public
site, the other, like all the naturalistic art of the epoch, for
burial beside a mummy. So buried it was believed, the Egyptologists
tell us, to be of service to the dead. I have no doubt it helped a
dead man to build out of his spirit-body a recognizable apparition,
and that all boats or horses or weapons or their models buried in
ancient tombs were helps for a flagging memory or a too weak fancy
to imagine and so substantiate the old surroundings. A shepherd at
Doneraile told me some years ago of an aunt of his who showed herself
after death stark naked and bid her relatives to make clothes and to
give them to a beggar, the while remembering her.[4] Presently she
appeared again wearing the clothes and thanked them.


Certainly in most writings before our time the body of an apparition
was held for a brief, artificial, dreamy, half-living thing. One
is always meeting such phrases as Sir Thomas Browne's "they steal
or contrive a body." A passage in the _Paradiso_ comes to mind
describing Dante in conversation with the blessed among their
spheres, although they are but in appearance there, being in truth
in the petals of the yellow rose; and another in the Odyssey where
Odysseus speaks not with "the mighty Heracles," but with his phantom,
for he himself "hath joy at the banquet among the deathless gods and
hath to wife Hebe of the fair ankles, child of Zeus, and Hero of the
golden sandals," while all about the phantom "there was a clamour of
the dead, as it were fowls flying everywhere in fear and he, like
black night with bow uncased, and shaft upon the string, fiercely
glancing around like one in the act to shoot."


  _14th October, 1914._


[1] The Japanese _Noh_ play _Awoi no Uye_ has for its theme the
exorcism of a ghost which is itself obsessed by an evil spirit. This
evil spirit, drawn forth by the exorcism, is represented by a dancer
wearing a "terrible mask with golden eyes."

[2] Besides the well-known books of Atsikof, Myers, Lodge, Flammarion,
Flournoy, Maxwell, Albert De Rochas, Lombroso, Madame Bisson, Delanne,
etc., I have made considerable use of the researches of D'Ochorowicz
published during the last ten or twelve years in _Annales des Science
Psychiques_ and in the English _Annals of Psychical Science_, and of
those of Professor Hyslop published during the last four years in the
_Journal_ and _Transactions of the American Society for Psychical
Research_. I have myself been a somewhat active investigator.

[3] Henry More considered that "the animal spirits" were "the
immediate instruments of the soul in all vital and animal functions"
and quotes Harpocrates, who was contemporary with Plato, as saying,
"that the mind of man is ... not nourished from meats and drinks
from the belly but by a clear and luminous substance that redounds
by separation from the blood." Ochorowicz thought that certain small
oval lights were perhaps the root of personality itself.

[4] Herodotus has an equivalent tale. Periander, because the ghost
of his wife complained that it was "cold and naked," got the women
of Corinth together in their best clothes and had them stripped and
their clothes burned.



NOTE 1. A woman from the North would probably be a faery woman or
at any rate a "knowledgeable" woman, one who was "in the faeries"
and certainly not necessarily at all a woman from Ulster. The North
where the old Celtic other world was thought to lie is the quarter of
spells and faeries. A visionary student, who was at the Dublin Art
School when I was there, described to me a waking dream of the North
Pole. There were luxuriant vegetation and overflowing life though
still but ice to the physical eye. He added thereto his conviction
that wherever physical life was abundant, the spiritual life was
vague and thin, and of the converse truth.

NOTE 2. St. Patrick prayed, in _The Breastplate of St. Patrick_, to
be delivered from the spells of smiths and women.

Transcriber's Notes:

Obvious punctuation and spelling errors have been fixed throughout.

Inconsistent hyphenation is as in the original.

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