COLLEGE

OF THE

CITY OF DETROIT LIBRARY

A fine will be imposed for the careless charging or damaging of books.

Charging No..........................

Accession No.

/V; /;//>.....

Class and Book No. 3.n.±33

Form 1225—S-27—5M—SS—W

y 1 '    I

■ I

i

i

The queen drove the children into the lake, and striking them with a wand, they turned into four white swans,—Page 3.    Irish Fairy Tales.

IRISH FAIRY AND FOLK TALES

EDITED AND SELECTED

By W. B. YEATS

WAYNE UNIVERSITY

INTRODUCTION.

Dr. Corbett, Bishop of Oxford and Norwich, lamented long ago the departure of the English fairies. “ In Queen Mary’s time ” he wrote—

“ When Tom came home from labor,

OrCis to milking rose,

Then merrily, merrily went their tabor,

And merrily went their toes.”

But now, in the times of James, they had all gone, for “ they were of the old profession,” and “ their songs were Aye Maries.” In Ireland they are still extant, giving gifts to the kindly, and plaguing the surly. « Have you ever seen a fairy or such like ? ” I asked an old man in County Sligo. “ Amn’t I annoyed with them,” was the answer. “ Do the fishermen along here know anything of the mermaids ? ” I asked a woman of a village in County Dublin. “ Indeed, they don’t like to see them at all,” she answered, “ for they always bring bad weather.” “ Here is a man who believes in ghosts,” said a foreign sea-captain, pointing to a pilot of my acquaintance. “ In every house over there,” said the pilot, pointing to his native village of Rosses, “ there are several.” Certainly that now old and much respected dogmatist, the Spirit of the Age, has in 110 manner made his voice heard down there. I11 a little while, for he has gotten a consumptive appearance of late, he will be covered over decently in his grave, and another will grow, old and much respected, in his place, and never be heard oi down there, and after him another and another and anou.d'. Indeed, it is a question

iv    INTKODUCTION.

whether any of these personages will ever he heard of outside the newspaper offices and lecture-rooms and drawing-rooms and ee-pie houses of the cities, or if the Spirit of the Age is at any time more than a froth. At any rate, whole troops of their like will not ehange the Celt much. Giraldus Cambrensis found the people of the western islands a trifle paganish. “ How many gods are there ? ” asked a priest, a little while ago, of a man from the Island of Innistor. “ There is one on Innistor; hut this seems a big place,” said the man, and the priest held up his hands in horror, as Giraldus had, just seven centuries before. Remember, I am not blaming the man; it is very much better to believe in a number of gods than in none at all, or to think there is only one, but that he is a little sentimental and impracticable, and not constructed for the nineteenth century. The Celt, and his cromlechs, and his pillar-stones, these will not change much—indeed, it is doubtful if anybody at all changes at any time. In spite of hosts of deniers, and asserters, and wise-men, and professors, the majority still are averse to sitting down to dine thirteen at table, or being helped to salt, or walking under a ladder, or seeing a single magpie flirting his , checkered tail. There are, of course, children of light who have set their faces against all this, though even a newspaper man, if you entice him into a cemetery at midnight, will believe in phantoms, for every one is a visionary if you scratch him deep enough. But the Celt is a visionary without scratching.

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

INTRODUCTION.    V

who were nearly pinched into their graves or numbed with fairy blasts ?

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

In the Parochial Survey of Ireland it is recorded how the story-tellers used to gather together of an evening, and if any had a different version from the others, they | would all recite theirs and vote, and the man who liad( ) varied would have to abide by their verdict. In this way I stoflekhave been handed down with such accuracy, that the long tale of Dierdre was, in the earlier decades of this century, told almost word for word, as in the very ancient MSS. in the Royal Dublin Society. In one case only it varied, and then the MS. was obviously wrong—a passage had been forgotten by the copyist. But this accuracy is /

J rather in the folk and bardic tales than in the fahy ('legends, for these vary widely, being usually adapted to ‘ ;)some neighboring village or local fairy-seeing celebrity.

( Each county has usually some family, or personage, supposed to-have Been favored or plagued, especially by the phantoms, as the Hackets of Castle Hacket, Galway, who had for their ancestor a fairy, or John-o’-Daly of Lisadell, Sligo, who wrote “ Eilleen Aroon,” the song the Scotch , , have'stolen and called “ Robin Adair,” and. which Handel ■ would sooner have written than all his oratorios,* and the “AJ’Donahue of Kerry.” Round these men stories tended to group themselves, sometimes deserting more ancient heroes for the purpose. Round poets have they gathered [(especially, for poetry in Ireland has always been mys-: furiously; connected with magic.

These folk-hale kare full of simplicity and musical occurrences, for they are the literature of a class for whom * He lived some time in Dublin, and heard it then.

yi    INTRODUCTION.

every incident in the old rut of birth, love, pain, and death has cropped up unchanged for centuries-: who have jl steeped everything in tlie . heart: to whom everything is! it iWswnAoI. They have the spade over which man has' leant from the beginning. The people of the - cities have?

! 'the machine, which is prose and a parvenu. They have, few events. They can turn over the incidents .of a long life as they sit by the fire. With us nothing has time to : gather meaning, and too many things are occurring for , even a big heart to hold. It is said the most eloquent!/ people in the world are the Arabs, who have only the|\ bare earth of the desert and a sky swept bare by the sun. )j “Wisdom has alighted upon three things,” goes their' '/proverb; “the hand of the Chinese, the brain of the ! ;Frank, and the tongue of the Arab.” This, I take it, is the tneaning of that simplicity sought for so much in these days by all the poets, and not to be had at any price.

The most notable and typical story-teller of' my acquaintance is one Paddy Flynn, a little, bright-eyed, old man, living in a leaky one-roomed cottage of the village

of B , “ The most gentle—i. e., fairy—place in the

whole of the County Sligo,” he says, though others claim that honor for Drumahair or Drumcliff. A very pious old man, too! You may have some time to inspect his strange figure and ragged hair, if he happen to be in a devout humor, before he comes to the doings of the gentry. A strange devotion! Old tales of Columkill, and what he said to his mother. “ How are you to-day, mother?” “Worse!” “May you be worse to-morrow;” and on the next day, “How are you to-day, mother? ” “Worse ! ” “ May you be worse to-morrow ; ” and on the next, “ How are you to-day, mother ? ”

“ Better4 thank God.” “ May you be better to-morrow.” In which undutiful manner he will tell you Columkill inculcated cheerfulness. Then most likely he will wander off into his favorite theme—how the judge smiles alike in rewarding the good and condemning the lost to unceasing flames. Very consoling does it appear to Paddy

INTRODUCTION.    vii

Flynn, this melancholy and apocalyptic cheerfulness of the Judge. Nor seems his own cheerfulness quite earthly —though a very palpable cheerfulness. The first time I saw him he was cooking mushrooms for himself; the next time he was asleep under a hedge, smiling in his sleep. Assuredly some joy not quite of this steadfast earth lightens in those eyes—swift as the eyes of a rabbit—among so many wiinkles, for Paddy Flynn is very old. A melancholy there is in the midst of their cheerfulness—a melancholy that is almost a portion of their joy, the visionary melancholy of purely instinctive natures and of all animals. In the triple solitude of age and eccentricity and partial deafness he goes about much pestered By children.

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

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

viii    INTRODUCTION.

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

INTRODUCTION.    ix

the twilight, he ponders on the soul and on the dead. Here is the Celt, only it is the Celt dreaming.

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

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

As to my own part in this book, I have tried to make it representative, as far as so few pages would allow, of every kind of Irish folk-faith. The reader will perhaps wonder that in all my notes I have not rationalized a single, hobgoblin. I seek for shelter to the words of Socrates.1

JPJmdrus. I should like to know, Socrates, whether

1

Phcedrus. Jowett’s translation. (Clarendon Press.)

X    INTRODUCTION.

the place is not somewhere here at which Boreas is said to have carried off Orithyia from the banks of the Ilissus ?

Socrates. That is the tradition.

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

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

“PJmdrus. I do not recollect; but I beseech you to tell me, Socrates, do you believe this tale ?

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

INTRODUCTION.

myself. Am I, indeed, a wonder more complicated and swollen with passion than the serpent Typlio, or a creature of gentler and simpler sort, to whom nature has given a diviner and lowlier destiny ? ”

I have to thank Messrs. Macmillan, and the editors of Belgravia, All the Year Round and Monthly Packet for leave to quote from Patrick Kennedy’s Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, and Miss Maclintock’s articles respectively ; Lady Wilde, for leave to give what I would from her Ancient Legends of Ireland (Ward & Downey) ; and Mr. Douglas Hyde, for his three unpublished stories, and for valuable and valued assistance in several ways ; and also Mr. Allingham, and other copyright holders, for their poems. Mr. Allingham’s poems are from Irish Songs and Poems (Reeves and Turner) ; Ferguson’s, from Sealey, Bryers, & Walker’s shilling reprint; my own and Miss O’Leary’s from Ballads and Poems of Young Ireland., 1888, a little anthology published by Gill & Sons, Dublin.

W. B. YEATS.

CONTENTS.

PAGE .

THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF    LIR  ..... 1

THE TROOPING FAIRIES............................... 10

The Fairies............................................. 13

Frank Martin and the Fairies......................  14

The Priest’s Supper  .................   19    ^

The Fairy Well of Lagnanay........................... 23

Teig O’Kane and the Corpse............................ 26

Paddy Corcoran’s Wife................................. 41

Cusheen Loo..........    43

The White Trout; a Legend of Cong................... 45

The Fairy Thorn....................................... 48

The Legend of Knockgrafton........................... 51

A Donegal Fairy.....................  56

The Black Horse........................................ 57

Changelings............................  65

The Brewery of Egg-shells..........    ............  66

The Fairy Nurse.....!..........    69

Jamie Freel and the Young Lady................   70

The Stolen Child...............................  77

Morraha................................................

The Merrow—

The Soul Cages....................................,....    94

Flory Cantillon’s Funeral..........................,....    108

The Greek Princess and the Young Gardener........... 113

THE SOLITARY FAIRIES. .............  125

Nrhe Lepracaun ; or, Fairy Shoemaker................... 127

Master and Man. ......................  •    •    •    129

Far Darrig in Donegal  ......     136

xiii

CONTENTS.

PAGE

THE SOLITARY FAIRIES (continued)—

The Pooka....................   1^0

The Piper and the Puca  .....{.....    141

Daniel O’Rourke..........................   144

The Kildare Pooka. ....................  •    •      152

The Banshee......................... 155

How Thomas Connolly met the Banshee................ 156

A Lamentation for the Death of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald. 153

The Banshee of the MacCarthys.........................161

GHOSTS........................    1^6

A Dream... ....................    177

Grace Connor...................................  178

A Legend of Tyrone....................................180

The Black Lamb........................................182

Song of the Ghost......................  188

The Radiant Boy.........  185.

The Fate of Fi’ank M’Kenna.......................  187

Smallhead and the King’s Sons........   194

WITCHES, FAIRY DOCTORS............................211

Bewitched Butter (Donegal)  .......  216

A Queen’s County Witch............................... 217

The Witch Hare ....................................... 221

Bewitched Butter (Queen’s County)..................  222

The Horned Women..............................  233

The Witches’ Excursion...................  236

v The Confessions of Tom Bourke  ...........  239

The Pudding Bewitched..............    254

TYEER-NA-N-OGE...............................  269

The Legend of O’Donoghue............................. 270

Rent-Day.......................    272

NLoughleagh (Lake of Healing).............  275

Hy-Brasail.—The Isle of the Blest.......................281

The Phantom Isle....................     .........    283

SAINTS, PRIESTS...................    285

The Priest’s Soul........................    286

The Priest of Coloony  ........................... 292

The Story of the Little Bird  ...........   294

Conversion of King Laoghaire’s Daughters..............296

King O’Toole and his Goose............................. 297

The Leeching of Kayn’s Leg...........    301

CONTENTS.

XV

PAGE

THE DEVIL—

vThe Demon Cat......................................... 322

The Long Spoon................................    .•....... 324

The Countess Kathleen O’Shea.........   325

The Three Wishes...................................... 329

GIANTS—

The Giant’s Stairs..........   355

A Legend of Knoolcmany........................,....... 361

KINGS, QUEENS, PRINCESSES, EARLS, ROBBERS—

The Twelve Wild Geese............     376

The Lazy Beauty and her Aunts........................ 382

The Haughty Princess.................   387

The Enchantment of Gearoidh Iarla.................... 390

Munachar and Manachar. ............................ 392

Donald and his Neighbors..........  396

The Jackdaw........................................... 400

The Story of Conn-eda.............................  403

2    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Lir thought well of it, and set out next day with fifty chariots from the Hill of the White Field. And he came to the Lake of the Red Eye near Killaloe. And when Lir saw the three daughters.of Oilell, Dearg the king, said to him : “ Take thy choice of the maidens, Lir.” “ I know not,” said Lir, “ which is the choicest of them all; but the eldest of them is the noblest, it is she I had best take.” “ If so,” said Dearg the king, “Ove is the eldest, and she shall be given to thee, if thou wiliest.” So Lir and Ove were married and went back to the Hill, of the White Field.

And after this there came to them twins, a son and a daughter, and they gave them for names Fingula and Aod. And two more sons came to them, Fiachra and Conn. When they came Ove died, and Lir mourned bitterly for her, and but for his great love for his children he would have died of his grief. And Dearg the king grieved for Lir and sent to him and said: ‘ We grieve for Ove for thy sake; but, that our friendship may not be rent asunder, I will give unto thee her sister, Oifa, for a wife.” So Lir agreed, and they were united, and he took her with him to his own house. And at first Oifa felt affection and honor for the children of Lir and her sister, and indeed every one who saw the four children could not help giving them the love of his soul. Lir doted upon the children, and they always slept in beds in front of their father, who used to rise at early dawn every morning and lie down among his children. But thereupon the dart of jealousy passed into Oifa on account of this and she came to regard the children with hatred and enmity. One day her chariot was yoked for her and she took with her the four children of Lir in it. Fingula was not willing to go with her on the journey, for she had dreamed a dream in tbe night warning her against Oifa : but she was not to avoid her fate. And when tfie chariot came to the Lake of the Oaks, Oifa said to the people : “ Kill the four children of Lir and I will give you your own reward of every kind in the world.” But

THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF LIR.    3

they refused and told her it was ah evil thought she had, Then she would have raised a sword herself to kill and destroy the children, but her own womanhood and her weakness prevented her ; so she drove the children of Lir into the lake to bathe, and they did as Oifa. told them. As soon as they were upon the lake she struck them with a Drnid’s wand of spells and wizardry and put them into the forms of four beautiful, perfectly white swans, and she sang this song over them:

“ Out with you upon the wild waves, children of the king !

Henceforth your cries shall be with the flocks of birds.”

And Fingula answered:

“ Thou witch ! we know thee by thy right name !

Thou mayest drive us from wave to wave, .

But sometimes we shall rest on the headlands ;

We shall receive relief, but thou punishment.

Though our bodies may be upon the lake,

Our minds at least shall fly homewards.”

And again she spoke : “ Assign an end for the ruin and woe which thou hast brought upon us.”

Oifa laughed and said: “Never shall ye be free until the woman from the south be united to the man from the north, until Lairgnen of Connaught wed Deoch of Munster; nor shall any have power to bring you out of these forms. Nine hundred years shall you wander over the lakes and streams of Erin. This only I will grant unto you: that you retain your own speech, and there shall be no music in the world equal to yours, the plaintive music you shall sing.” This she said because repentance seized her for the evil she had done.

And. then she spake this lay :

“ Away from me, ye children of Lir,

Henceforth the sport of the wild winds Until Lairgnen and Deocli come together,

Until ye are on the north-west of Red Erin.

*

J.R1S11 FAIRY TALES.

4

“ A sword of trcachory is through the heart of Lir,

Of Lir the mighty champion,

Yet though I have driven a sword.

My victory cuts mo to the heart.”

Then she turned her steeds and went on to the Hall of Hearg the king. The nobles of the court asked her where were the children of Lir, and Oifa said: “Lir will not trust them to Dearg the king.” .But Dearg thought in his own mind that the woman had played some treachery upon, them, and. he accordingly sent messengers' to the Hall of the White Field.

Lir asked the messengers : “ Wherefore are ye come? ”

“ To fetch thy children, Lir,” said they.

“ Have they not reached you with Oifa?” said Lir.

“They have not,” said the messengers; “and Oifa said it was you would not let the children, go with her;”

Then, was Lir melancholy and sad at heart, hearing these things, for lie knew that Oifa, had done wrong upon his children, and he set out towards the Lake of the Tied Eye. And when the children of Lir saw him coming Fingula sang' the lay:

“ Welcome the cavalcade of steeds Approaching the Lalce of the Rod Eyo,

A company dread and magical Surely seek after us.

“ Lot us move to the shore, O Aod.

Fiachra and comely Conn,

No host under heaven can those horsemen bo But King Lir with his mighty household.”

Now as she said this King Lir had come to the shores of the lake and. heard the swans speaking with human voices. And he spake to the swans and asked them who they were. Fingula, answered and said: “We are thy own children, ruined by thy wife, sister of our own mother, (hough her ill mind and her jealousy.” “For how long is (he spell to he upon you ?” said Lir. “ None can relieve us till the woman from the south and the man from the

THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF LIR.    5

north come together, till Lairgnen of Connaught wed Deoch of Munster.”

Then Lir and his people raised their shouts of grief, crying, and lamentation, and they stayed by the shore of the lake listening to the wild music of the swans until the swans flew away, and King Lir went on to the Hall of Dearg the king. He told Dearg the king what Oifa had done to his children. And Dearg put his power upon Oifa and bade her say what shape on earth she would think the worst of all. She said it would be in the form of an air-demon. “ It is into that form I shall put you,” said Dearg the king, and he struck her with a Druid’s wand of spells and wizardry and put her into the form of an air-demon. And she flew away at once, and she is still an air-demon, and shall be so forever.

But the children of Lir continued to delight the Milesian clans with the very sweet fairy music of their songs, so that no delight was ever heard in Erin to compare with their music until the time came appointed for the leaving the Lake of the Red Eye.

Then Fingula sang this parting lay:

“ Farewell to thee, Dearg the king,

Master of all Druid’s lore I Farewell to thee, our father dear,

Lir of the Hill of the White Field!

“ We go to pass the appointed time Away and apart from the haunts of men In the current of the Moyle,

Our garb shall be bitter and briny,

“ Until Deoch come to Lairgnen.

So come, ye brothers of once ruddy cheeks;

Let us depart from this Lake of the Red Eye,

Let us separate in sorrow from the tribe that has loved us.”

And after they took to flight, flying highly, lightly, aerially till they reached the Moyle, between Erin and Albain. The men of Erin were grieved at their leaving, and it

6    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

was proclaimed throughout Erin that henceforth no swan should be killed. Then they stayed all solitary, all alone, filled with cold and grief and regret, until a thick tempest came upon them and Fingula said : “ Brothers, let us appoint a place to meet again if the power of the winds separate us.” And they said : “ Let us appoint to meet, O sister, at the Rock of the Seals.” Then the waves rose up and the thunder roared, the lightnings flashed, the sweeping tempest passed over the sea, so that the children of Lir were scattered from each other over the great sea. There came, however, a placid calm after the great tempest and Fingula found herself alone, and she said this lay.

“ Woe upon me tliat I am alive I

My wings are frozen to my sides.

0 beloved three, O beloved three,

Who hid under the shelter of my feathers;

Until the dead come back to the living

1 and the three shall never meet again ! ”

And she flew to the Lake of the Seals and soon saw Conn coming towards her with heavy step and drenched feathers, and Fiachra also, cold and wet and faint, and no word could they tell, so cold and faint were they : but she nestled them under her wings and said: “If Aod could come to us now our happiness would he complete.” But soon they saw Aod coming towards them with dry head and preened feathers : Fingula put him under the feathers of her breast, and Fiachra under her right wing, and Conn under her left: and they made this lay :

“ Bad was our stepmother with us,

She played her magic on us,

Sending us north on the sea In the shapes of magical swans.

“ Our bath upon the shore’s ridge Is the foam of the brine-crested tide,

Our share of the ale feast

Is the brine of the blue-crested sea.”

THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF LIR.    1

One clay they saw a splendid cavalcade of pure white steeds coming towards them, and when they came near they were the two sons of Dearg the king who had been seeking for them to give them news of Dearg the king and Lir their father. “ They are well,” they said, “ and live together happy in all except that ye are not with them, and for not knowing where ye have gone since the day ye left the Lake of the Red Eye.” “ Happy are not we,” said Fingula, and she sang this song :

“ Happy this night the household of Lir,

Abundant their meat and their wine.

But the children of Lir—what is their lot ?

For bed-clothes we have our feathers,

And as for our food and our wine—

The white sand and the bitter brine,

Fiachra’s bed and Conn’s place

Under the cover of my wings on the Moyle,

Aod has the shelter of my breast,

And so side by side we rest.”

So the sons of Dearg the king came to the Hall of Lir and told the king the condition of his children.

Then the time came for the children of Lir to fulfil their lot, and they flew in the current of the Moyle to the Bay of Erris, and remained there till the time of their fate, and then they flew to the Hill of the White Field and found all desolate and empty, with nothing hut unroofed green raths and forests of nettles—no house, no fire, no dwelling-place. The four came close together, and they raised three shouts of lamentation aloud, and Fingula sang this lay:

“ Uchone ! it is bitterness to my heart To see my father’s place forlorn—

No hounds, no packs of dogs,

No women, and no valiant kings

“ No drinking-horns, no Cups of wood,

No drinking in its lightsome halls.

Uchone I I see the state of this house That its lord our father lives no more.

8    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ Much have we suffered in our wandering years,

By winds buffeted, by cold frozen ;

Now has come the greatest of our pain—

There lives no man who knoweth us in the house where we were born.”

So the children of Lir flew away to the Glory Isle of Brandan the saint, and they settled upon the Lake of the Birds until the holy Patrick came to Erin and the holy Mac Ilowg came to Glory Isle.

And the first night he came to the island the children of Lir heard the voice of his hell ringing for matins, so that they started and leaped about in terror at hearing it; and her brothers left Fingula alone. “ What is it, beloved brothers?” said she. “We know not what faint, fearful voice it is we have heard.” Then Fingula recited this lay:

“ Listen to the Cleric’s bell,

Poise your wings and raise Thanks to God for his coming,

Be grateful that you hear him,

“ He shall free you from pain,

And bring you from the rocks and stones.

Ye comely children of Lir Listen to the bell of the Cleric.”

And Mac Ilowg came down to the brink of the shore and said to them: “ Are ye the children of Lir? ” “We are indeed,” said they. “Thanks be to God!” said the saint; “ it is for your sakes I have come to this Isle beyond every other island in Erin. Come ye to land now and put your trust in me.” So they came to land, and he made for them chains of bright white silver, and put a chain between Aod and Fingula and a chain between Conn and Fiachra.

It happened at this time that Lairgnen was prince of Connaught and lie was to wed Deoch the daughter of the king of Munster. She had heard the account of the birds and she became filled with love and affection for them,

THE FATE OF THE CHILDREN OF LIR.    9

and she said she would not wed till she had the wondrous birds of Glory Isle. Lairgnen sent for them to the Saint Mac Howg. But the Saint would not give them, and both Lairgnen and Deoch went to Glory Isle. And Lairgnen went to seize the birds from the altar: but as soon as he had laid hands on them their feathery coats fell off, and the three sons of Lir became three withered bony old men, and Fingula, a lean withered old woman without blood or flesh. Lairgnen started at this and left the place hastily, but Fingula chanted this lay:

“ Come and baptise us, O Cleric,

Clear away our stains I This day I see our grave—

Fiachra and Conn on each side,

And in my lap, between my two arms,

Place Aod, my beauteous brother.”

After this lay, the children of Lir were baptised. And they died, and were buried as Fingula had said, Fiachra and Conn on either side, and Aod before her face. A cairn was raised for them, and on it their names were written in runes. And that is the fate of the children of Lir.

THE TROOPING FAIRIES.

The Irish word for fairy is sheehogne [sidheog], a diminutive of “ shee ” in banshee. Fairies are deenev shee [daoine sidhe] (fairy people).

Who are they? “Fallen angels who were not good enough to he saved, nor had enough to he lost,” say the peasantry. “ The gods of the earth,” says the Book of Armagh. “The gods of pagan Ireland,” say the Irish antiquarians, “ the Tuaiha De Danan, who, when no longer worshiped and fed with offerings, dwindled away in the popular imagination, and now are only a few spans high.”

And they will tell you, in proof, that the names of fairy chiefs are the names of old Danan heroes, and the places, where they especially gather together, Danan burying-places, and that the luath De Danan used also to be called the slooa-shee \sheagh sidhe'] (the fairy host), or Marcra shee (the fairy cavalcade).

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

10

THE trooping fairies.    11

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

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

They have three great festivals in the year—May Eve, Midsummer Eve, November Eve. On May Eve, every seventh year, they fight all round, but mostly on the “ Plain-a-Bawn ” (wherever that is), for the harvest, for the best ears of grain belong to them. An old man told me he saw them fight once ;. they tore the thatch off

* Occultists, from Paracelsus to Elephas Levi, divide the nature spirits into gnomes, sylphs, salamanders, undines ; or earth, air, fire, and water spirits. Their emperors, according to Elephas, are named Cob, Paralda, Djin, Hicks respectively. The gnomes are covetous, and of the melancholic temperament. Their usual height is but two spans, though they can elongate themselves into giants. The sylphs are capricious, and of the bilious temperament. They are in size and strength much greater than men, as becomes the people of the winds. The salamanders are wrathful, and in temperament sanguine. In appearance they are long, lean, and dry. The undines are soft, cold, fickle, and phlegmatic. In appearance they are like .man. The salamanders and sylphs have no fixed dwellings.

12    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

a house in the midst of it all. Had any one else been near they would merely have seen a great wind whirling everything into the air as it passed. When the wind makes the straws and leaves whirl as it passes, that is the fairies, and the peasantry take off their hats and say, “ God bless them.”

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

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

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

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

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

THE FAIRIES.    13

THE FAIRIES.

WILLIAM ALLINUIIAM.

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a hunting For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together;

Green jacket, red cap,

And white owl’s feather!

Down along the rocky shore* Some make their home,

They live on crispy pancakes Of yellow tide-foam;

Some in the reeds

Of the black mountain lake, With frogs for their watcli-dogs, All night awake.

High on the hill-top The old King sits;

He is now so old and gray He’s nigh lost his wits.

With a bridge of white mist Columbkill he crosses,

On his stately journeys From Slieveleague to Rosses 5 Or going up with music On cold starry nights,

To sup with the Queen

Of the gay Northern Lights.

They stole little Bridget For seven years long;

14:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

When she came down again Her friends were all gone.

They took her lightly back,

Between the night and morrow, They thought that she was fast asleep, But she was dead with sorrow.

They have kept her ever since Beep within the lake,

On a bed of flag-leaves,

Watching till she wake.

By the craggy hill-side,

Through the mosses bare, -They have planted thorn-trees For pleasure here and there.

Is any man so daring As dig them up in spite,

He shall find their sharpest thorns In his bed at night.

Up the airy mountain,

Down the rushy glen,

We daren’t go a-hunting For fear of little men;

Wee folk, good folk,

Trooping all together;

Green jacket, red cap,

And white owl’s feather!

v

FRANK MARTIN AND THE FAIRIES.

WILLIAM CAELETON.

Maetust was a thin pale man, when I saw him, of a sickly look, and a constitution naturally feeble. His hair was a light auburn, his beard mostly unshaven, and his hands of a singular delicacy and whiteness, owing, I

FRANK MARTIN AND THE FAIRIES.    15

dare say, as much to the soft and easy nature of his employment as to his infirm health. In everything else he was as sensible, sober, and rational as any other man; but on the topic of fairies, the man’s mania was peculiarly strong and immovable. Indeed, I remember that the expression of his eyes was singularly wild and hollow, and his long narrow temples sallow and emaciated.

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

“ Well, Frank, when did you see the fairies ? ”

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

“ Frank, arn’t you afeard o’ them ? ”

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

“ And why haven’t they, Frank?”

“ Because I was baptized against them.”

“ What do you mean by that ? ”

“ Why, the priest that christened me was tould by my father, to put in the proper prayer against the fairies— an’ a priest can’t refuse it when he’s asked—an’ he did so.

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

16    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Begorra, it’s well for me that he did—(let the tallow alone, yon little glutton—see, there’s a weeny thief o’ them aitin’ my tallow)—becaise, you see, it was their intention to make me king o’ the fairies.”

“ Is it possible ? ”

“ Devil a lie in it. Sure you may ax them, an’ they’ll tell you.”

“ What size are they, Frank ? ”

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

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

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

“ Mysterious are thy laws ;

The vision’s finer than the view ;

Her landscape Nature never drew So fair as Fancy draws.”

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

FRANK MARTIN AND THE FAIRIES.    17

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

About this time there was said to have occurred a very remarkable circumstance, which gave poor Frank a vast deal of importance among the neighbors. A man named Frank Thomas, the same in whose house Mickey M’Rorey held the first dance at which I ever saw him, as detailed in a former sketch; this man, I say, had a child sick, but of what complaint I cannot now remember, nor is it of any importance. One of the gables of Thomas’s house was built against, or rather into, a Forth or Rath, called Towny, or properly Tonagh Forth. It was said to be haunted by the fairies, and what gave it a character peculiarly wild in my eyes was, that there were 011 the southern side of it two or three little green mounds, which were said to be the graves of unchristened children, over which it was considered dangerous and unlucky to pass. At all events, the season was mid-summer; and one evening about dusk, during the illness of the child, the noise of a hand-saw was heard upon the Forth. This was considered rather strange ,.nd, after a little time, a few of those who were assembled at Frank Thomas’s went to see who it could be that was sawing in such a place, or what they could be sawing at so late an hour, for every one knew that nobody in the whole country about them would dare to cut down the few white-thorns that grew upon the Forth. On going to examine, however, judge of their surprise, when, after surrounding and searching the whole place, they could discover no trace of either saw or sawyer. I11 fact, with

18    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

the exception of themselves, there was no one, either natural or supernatural, visible. They then returned to the house, and had scarcely sat down, when it was heard again within ten yards of them. Another examination of the premises took place, but with equal success. Now, however, while standing on the Forth, they heard the sawing in a little hollow, about a hundred and fifty yards below them, which was completely exposed to their view, but they could see nobody. A party of them immediately went down to ascertain, if possible, what this singular noise and invisible labor could mean; but on arriving at the spot, they heard the sawing, to which were now added hammering, and the driving of nails upon the Forth above, whilst those who stood on the Forth continued to hear it in the hollow. On comparing notes, they resolved to send down to Billy Nelson’s for Frank Martin, a distance of only about eighty or ninety yards. He was soon on the spot, and without a moment’s hesitation solved the enigma.

a’Tis the fairies,” said he. “I see them, and busy crathurs they are.”

“ But what are they sawing, Frank ? ”

“ They are makin’ a child’s coffin,” he replied; “ the}7 have the body already made, an’ they’re now nailin’ the lid together.”

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

Frank had every appearance of a hypochondriac about him. At the time I saw him, he might be about thirty-four years of age, but I do not think, from the debility of

THE PRIEST’S SUPPER.    19

his frame and infirm health, that he has been alive for several years. He was an object of considerable interest and curiosity, and often have I been present when he was pointed out to strangers as “the man that could see the good people.”

THE PRIEST’S SUPPER.

1

It is said by those who ought to understand such things, that the good people, or the fairies, are some of the angels V^who are turned out of heaven, and who landed on their feet in this world, while the rest of their companions, who a    had more sin to sink them, went down farther to a worse

,    place. Be this as it may, there was a merry troop of the

^    fairies, dancing and playing all manner of wild pranks, on

^    a bright moonlight evening towards the end of September.

^    The scene of their merriment was not far distant from

*    Inchegeela, in the west of the county Cork—a poor village,

|    although it had a barrack for soldiers ; but great moun

tains and barren rocks, like those round about it, are <3    enough to strike poverty into any place : however, as the

fairies can have everything they want for wishing, 1*^    poverty does not trouble them much, and all their care is

Vt)    to seek out unfrequented nooks and places where it is

^    not likely any one will come to spoil their sport.

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

T. CROFTON CROKER.

20    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“Cease, cease, with your drumming,

Here’s an end to our mumming;

By my smell *    I    can    tell

A priest this way is coming 1 ”

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

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

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

“ there can be no harm in stepping down to try; and maybe, as I want the fish for the priest’s supper, that one will be there before me.”

Down to the river-side went Dermod, and he found in the net as fine a salmon as ever jumped in the bright waters of “ the spreading Lee; ” but as he was going to take it out, the net was pulled from him, he could not tell how or by whom, and away got the salmon, and went

THE PRIEST’S SUPPER.    21

swimming along with the current as gaily as if nothing had happened.

Dermod looked sorrowfully at the wake which the fish . had left upon the water, shining like a line of silver in V the moonlight, and then, with an angry motion of his right hand, and a stamp of his foot, gave vent to his feelings by muttering, “ May bitter bad luck attend you night ( and day for a blackguard schemer of a salmon, wherever 1 you go! You ought to be ashamed of yourself, if there’s any shame in you, to give me the slip after this fashion ! And I’m clear in my own mind you’ll come to no good, for some kind of evil thing or other helped you—did I not feel it pull the net against me as strong as the devil himself ? ”

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

Dermod gazed on the tiny speaker with wonder, who continued, “Make yourself noways uneasy about the priest’s supper ; for if you will go back and ask him one question from us, there will be as fine a supper as ever was put on a table spread out before him in less than 110 time.”

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

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

Dermod considered for some time, and he was right in doing so, but he thought that no one could come to harm

22    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

out of asking a civil question. “ I see no objection to do that same, gentlemen,” said Dermod; “ but I will have nothing in life to do with your supper—mind that.”

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

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

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

“ What may that be ? ” said Father Horrigan.

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

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

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

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

Dermod accordingly returned to the fairies, who came swarming rouiid about him to hear what the priest had said in reply ; and Dermod spoke out among them like a bold man as he was ; but when they heard that they must go to the priest, away they fled, some here and more

THE FAIRY WELL OF LAGNANAY.    23

there, and some this way and more that, whisking by poor Dermod so fast and in such numbers that he was quite bewildered.

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

THE FAIRY WELL OF LAGNANAY.

BY SAMUEL FERGUSON-.

Mournfully, sing mournfully—

“ O listen, Ellen, sister dear;

Is there no help at all for me,

But only ceaseless sigh and tear ? Why did not he who left me here, With stolen hope steal memory ?

0 listen, Ellen, sister dear, (Mournfully, sing mournfully)—

I’ll go away to Sleamish hill,

I’ll pluck the fairy hawthorn-tree,

And let the spirits work their will;

1 care not if for good or ill,

So they but lay the memory

Which all my heart is haunting still! (Mournfully, sing mournfully)—

The Fairies are a silent race,

And pale as lily flowers to see;

I care not for a blanched face,

For wandering in a dreaming place,

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

So I but banish memory

I wish I were with Anna Grace!55 Mournfully, sing mournfully!

Hearken to my tale of woe—

“ Twas thus to weeping Ellen Con,

Her sister said in accents low,

Her only sister, Una bawn :

’Twas in their bed before the dawn,

And Ellen answered sad and slow,—

“ Oh Una, Una, be not drawn (Hearken to my tale of woe)—

To this unholy grief I pray,

Which makes me sick at heart to know,

And I will help you if I may:

—The Fairy Well of Lagnanay—

Lie nearer me, I tremble so,—

Una, I’ve heard wise wo men say (Hearken to my tale of woe)—

That if before the dews arise,

True maiden in its icy flow

With pure hand bathe her bosom thrice, Three lady-braekens pluck likewise,

And three times round the fountain go,

She straight forgets her tears and sighs.” Hearken to my tale of woe !

All, alas! and well-away !

“ Oh, sister Ellen, sister sweet,

Come with me to the hill I pray,

And I will prove that blessed freet! ” They rose with soft and silent feet,

They left their mother where she lay,

Their mother and her care discreet,

(All, alas ! and well-away!

And soon they reached the Fairy Well, The mountain’s eye, clear, cold, and gray,

THE FAIRY WELL OF LAGNANAY.

Wide open in the dreary fell:

How long they stood ’twere vain to tell,

At last upon the point of day,

Bawn Una hares her bosom’s swell,

(All, alas! and well-away!)

Thrice o’er her shrinking breasts she laves The gliding glance that will not stay Of subtly-streaming fairy waves :—

And now the charm three brackens craves, She plucks them in their fring’d array :— How round the well her fate she braves, All, alas ! and well-away !

Save us all from Fairy thrall!

Ellen sees her face the rim Twice and thrice, and that is all—

Fount and hill and maiden swim All together melting dim !

“ Una ! Una ! ” thou may’st call,

Sister sad ! but lith or limb (Save us all from Fairy thrall!)

Hever again of Una bawn,

Where now she walks in dreamy hall,

Shall eye of mortal look upon!

Oh ! can it be the guard was gone,

The better guard than shield or wall ?

Who knows 011 earth save Jurlagh Daune? (Save us all from Fairy thrall!)

Behold the banks are green and bare,

Ho pit is here within to fall:

Aye—at the fount you well may stare,

But nought save pebbles smooth is there, And small straws twirling one and all.

Hie thee home, and be thy pray’r,

Save us all from Fairy thrall.

26    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

TEIG- O’KANE (TADHG O CATIIAN) AND THE CORPSE1

LITERALLY TRANSLATED FROM THE IRISH BY DOUGLAS HYDE.

[I found it hard to place Mr. Douglas Hyde’s magnificent story. Among the ghosts or the fairies ? It is among the fairies on the grounds that all these ghosts and bodies were in no manner ghosts and bodies, but pishogues— fairy spells. One often hears of these visions in Ireland. I have met a man who had lived a wild life like the man

in the story, till a vision came to him in County one

dark night—in no way so terrible a vision as this, but sufficient to change his whole character. He will not go out at night. If you speak to him suddenly he trembles. He has grown timid and strange. He went to the bishop and was sprinkled with holy water. “ It may have come as a warning,” said the bishop; yet great theologians are of opinion that no man ever saw an apparition, for no man would survive it.”—Ed.]

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

1

None of Mi*. Hyde’s stories here given have been published before. They will be printed in the original Irish in his forthcoming Ledbhar Sgeulaigheachta (Gill, Dublin).

TEIG O'KANE AND THE CORPSE.    27

spent a night in his father’s house, hut he used to he always out rambling, and like Shawn Bwee long ago, there was

“ grddh gach cailin i mbrollacli a leine,”

“ the love of every girl in the breast of his shirt,” and it’s many’s the kiss he got and he gave, for he was very handsome, and there wasn’t a girl in the country but would fall in love with him, only for him to fasten his two eyes on her, and it was for that some one made this rctnn on on him—

“ Feuch an rogaire ’g ivraidh poige,

Ni h-iongantas more a bheith mar ala

Ag leanamhainfc a gcomhnuidhe d’arnan na graineoige Anuas ’s anois ’a nna chodladh ’sa' la.”

i. c.—“ Look at the rogue, it's for kisses he’s rambling,

It isn’t much wonder, for that was his way ;

He’s like an old hedgehog, at night lie’ll be scrambling From this place to that, but he’ll sleep in the day.”

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

lie used to be always gambling and card-playing and drinking, but his father never minded his bad habits, and never punished him. Hut it happened one day that the old man was told that the son had ruined the character of a girl in the neighborhood, and he was greatly angry, and he called the son to him. and said to him, quietly and sensibly—“ Avic\"says he, “you know I loved you greatly up to this, and T never stopped you from doing your choice thing whatever il was. and I kept plenty of money with you. and I always hoped to leave you the lioi^-c and land, and all I had after myself wouid 1m- gone; hut [

28    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

heard a story of you to-day that has disgusted me with you. I cannot tell you the grief that I felt when I heard such a thing of you, and I tell you now plainly that unless you marry that girl I’ll leave house and land and everything to my brother’s son. I never could leave it to any one who would make so bad a use of it as you do yourself, deceiving women and coaxing girls. Settle with yourself now whether you’ll marry that girl and get my land as a fortune with her, or refuse to marry her and give up all that was coming to you; and tell me in the morning which of the two things you have chosen.”

“ Och! Domnoo Sheery ! father, you wouldn’t say that to me, and I such a good son as I am. Who told you I wouldn’t marry the girl ? ” says he.

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

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

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

His mind was so much excited that he remained between two notions as to what he should do. He walked out into the night at last to cool his heated blood, and went on to the road. He lit a pipe, and as the night was fine he walked and walked on, until the quick pace made him begin to forget his trouble. The night was bright, and the moon half full. There was not a breath of wind

TEIG O’KANE AND THE CORPSE.    29

blowing, and the air was calm and mild. He walked on for nearly three hours, when he suddenly remembered that it was late in the night, and time for him to turn. “ Musha! I think I forgot myself,” says he; “ it must be near twelve o’clock now.”

The word was hardly out of his mouth, when he heard the sound of many voices, and the trampling of feet on the road before him. “ I don’t know who can be out so late at night as this, and 011 such a lonely road,” said he to himself.

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

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

He became as cold' as the Heath, and there was not a drop of blood running in his veins when an old little gray maneen came up to him and said, “ Isn’t it lucky we met you, Teig O’Kane ? ”

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

30    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ Teig O’Kane,” said the little gray man again, “ isn’t it timely yon met us ? ”

Teig could not answer him.

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

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

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

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

“ Teig O’Kane won’t lift the corpse,” said the little maneen, with a -wicked little laugh, for all the world like the breaking of a loch of dry hippeens, and with a little harsh voice like the striking of a cracked bell. “ Teig O’Kane won’t lift thr corpse—make him lift it; ” and before the word was out of his mouth they had all gathered round poor Teig, and they all talking and laughing through other.

Teig tried to run from them, but they followed him, and a map of them stretched out his foot before him as he ran, so that Teig was thrown in a heap on the road. Then before he could rise up the fairies caught him, some by the hands and some by the feet, and they held him tight, in a way that he could not stir, with his face against the ground. Six or seven of them raised the body then, and pulled it over to him, and left it down on his back. The breast of the corpse was squeezed against Teig’s back and shoulders, and the arms of the corpse were thrown around Teig’s neck. Then they stood back from him a couple of yards, and let him get up. He rose, foaming at

TEIG ,0’KANE AND THE CORPSE.    31

the mouth and cursing, and he shook himself, thinking to throw the corpse off his back. But his fear and his wonder were great when he found that the two arms had a tight hold round his own neck, and that the two legs were squeezing his hips firmly, and that, however strongly he tried, he could not throw it off, any more than a horse can throw off its saddle. He was terribly frightened then, and he thought he was lost. “Ochone! forever,” said he to himself, “ it’s the bad life I’m leading that has given the good people this power over me. I promise to God and Mary, Peter and Paul, Patrick and Bridget, that I’ll mend iny ways for as long as I have to live if I come clear out of this danger—and I’ll marry the girl.”

The little gray man came up to him again, and said he to him, “ Now, Teigem,” said he, “ you didn’t lift the body when I told you to lift it, and see how you were made to lift it; perhaps when I tell you to bury it you won’t bury it until you’re made to bury it! ”

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

The little man laughed a sort of laugh again. “ You’re getting quiet now, Teig,” said he. “ I’ll go bail but you’ll be quiet enough before I’m done with you. Listen to me now, Teig O’Kane, and if you don’t obey me in all I’m telling you to do, you’ll repent it. You must carry with you this corpse that is on your back to Teampoll-Demus, and you must bring it into the church with you, and make a grave for it in the very middle of the church, and you must raise up the flags and put them down again the very same way, and you must carry the clay out of the church and leave the place as it was when you came, so that no one could know that there had been anything changed. But that’s not all. Maybe that the body won’t be allowed to be buried in that church; perhaps some

32    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

other man has the bed, and, if so, it’s likely, he won’t share it with this one. If yon don’t get leave to bury it in Teampoll-Demus, yon must carry it to Carrick-fhad-vic-Orus, and bury it in the churchyard there; and if you don’t get it into that place, take it with you to Teampoll-Ronan; and if that churchyard is closed on you, take it to Imlogue-Fada; and if you’re not able to bury it there, you’ve no more to do than to take it to Kill-Breedya, and you can bury it there without hindrance. I cannot tell’ you what one of those churches is the one where,you will have leave to; bury that corpse under the clay,' but I know that it will be allowed you to bury him at some church or other of them. It you do this work rightly, we will be thankful to you, and you will have no cause to grieve; but if you are slow or lazy, believe me we shall take satisfaction of you.”

When the gray little man had done speaking, his comrades laughed and clapped their hands together.

“ Glic ! Glic! Hwee ! Hwee! ” they all cried; “ go on, go on, you have eight hours before you till daybreak, and if you haven’t this man buried before the sun rises, you’re lost.” They struck a fist and a foot behind on him, and drove him on in the road. He was obliged to walk, and to walk fast, for they gave him no rest.

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

TEIG O'KANE AND THE CORPSE.    33

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

u Do you see those withered trees over there ? ” said the old boy to him again. “ Teampoll Demus is among those trees, and you'must go in there by yourself, for we cannot follow you or go with you. We must remain here. Go on boldly.”

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

Noaa',” said he to himself, “ I have no more to do; the door is shut, and I can’t open it.”

Before the AA'ords Avere rightly shaped in his oaati mind, a A*oice in his car said to him, “ Search for the key on the top of the door, or on the AA'all.”

lie started. “ Who is that speaking to me?” he cried, turning round ; but he ssav no one. The A'oice said in his ear again, u Search for the key on the top of the door, or 011 the AA'all.”

3

u    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ What’s that ? ” said he, and the sweat running from his forehead ; “ who spoke to me ? ”

“ It’s I, the corpse, that spoke to you! ” said the voice.

“ Can you talk ? ” said Teig.

“ How and again,” said the corpse.

Teig searched for the key, and he found it on the top of the wall. He was too much frightened to say any more, but he opened the door wide, and as quickly as he could, and he went in, with the corpse 011 his back. It was as dark as pitch inside, and poor Teig began to shake and tremble.

“ Light the candle,” said the corpse.

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

“I an afraid I’ll never be allowed to bury the two

TEIG O’KANE AND THE CORPSE.

35

bodies m tlie same hole,” said Teig, in his own mind. “You corpse, there on my back,” says he, “will you be satisfied if I bury you down here ? ” But the corpse never answered him a word.

“ That’s a good sign,” said Teig to himself. “ Maybe lie’s getting quiet,” and he thrust the spade down in the earth again. Perhaps he hurt the flesh of the other body, for the dead man that was buried there stood up in the grave, and shouted an awful shout. “ Hoo! boo ! ! hoo 111 Go 1 go 11 go 111 or you’re a dead, dead, dead man I ” And then he fell back in the grave again. Teig said afterwards, that of all the wonderful things he saw that night, that was the most awful to him. IIis hair stood upright on his head like the bristles of a pig, the cold sweat ran olf his face, and then came a tremor over all his bones, until he thought that he must fall.

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

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

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

36    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

He rose up, and looked about him. “ I don’t know the way,” he said.

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

TEIG O’KANE AND THE CORPSE.    37

Many was the cross-road he turned down, and many was the crooked boreen he walked, until he saw from him an old burying-ground at last, beside the road, but there was neither church nor chapel nor any other building in it. The corpse squeezed him tightly, and he stood. “ Bury me, bury me in the burying-ground,5' said tlie voice.

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

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

As tired as he was, he had to walk, and the road was neither short nor even. The night was darker than ever and it was difficult to make his way. Many was the toss he got, and many a bruise they left on his body. At last he saw Teampoll-Ronan from him in the distance, standing in the middle of the burying-ground. He moved over towards it, and thought he was all right and safe, when he

38    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

saw no ghosts nor anything else on the wall, and he thought he would never be hindered now from leaving his load off him at last. He moved over to the gate, but as he was passing in, he tripped on the threshold. Before he could recover himself, something that he could not see seized him by the neck, by the hands and by the feet, and bruised him, and shook him, and choked him, until he was nearly dead; and at last he was lifted up, and carried more than a hundred yards from that place, and then thrown down in an old dyke, with the corpse still clinging to him.

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

“You corpse upon my back,” said he, “shall I go over again to the churchyard ? ”—but the corpse never answered him. “ That’s a sign you don’t wish me to try it again,” said Teig.

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

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

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

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

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

“ Yes,” said the voice.

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

TEIG- O’KANE AND THE CORPSE.    39

The corpse did not answer, but stretched out its long fleshless hand, to show Teig the direction in which he was to go. Teig went 011 accordingly, but he was greatly terrified, for he remembered what had happened to him at the last place. He went on, “with his heart in his mouth,” as he said himself afterwards ; but when he came to within fifteen or twenty yards of the little low square wall, there broke out a flash of lightning, bright yellow and red, with blue streaks in it, and went round about the wall in one course, and it swept by as fast as the swallow in the clouds, and the longer Teig remained looking at it the faster it went, till at last it became like a bright ring of flame round the old graveyard, which no one could pass without being burnt by it. Teig never saw, from the time he was born, and never saw afterwards, so wonderful or so splendid a sight as that was. Round went the flame, white and yellow and blue sparks leaping out from it as it went, and although at first it had been no more than a thin, narrow line, it increased slowly until it was at last a great broad band, and it was continually getting broader and higher, and throwing out more brilliant sparks, till there was never a color on the ridge of the earth that was not to be seen in that fire ; and lightning never shone and flame never flamed that was so shining and so bright as that.

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

As he sat there on the stone, the voice whispered once more in his ear, “ Kill-Breedya; ” and the dead man squeezed him so tightly that he cried out. He rose again, sick, tired, and trembling, and went forwards as he was directed. The wind was cold, and the road was bad, and the load upon his back was heavy, and the night was

40    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

dark, and he himself Avas nearly worn out, and if he had had very much farther to go he must have fallen dead under his burden.

At last the corpse stretched out its hand, and said to him, “ Bury me there.”

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

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

“ Make haste, make haste ! ” said the corpse ; and Teig hurried forward as well as he could to the graveyard, which Avas a little place on a bare hill, Avith only a feAV graves in it. He walked boldly in through the open gate, and nothing touched him, nor did he either hear or see anything. He came to the middle of the ground, and then stood up and looked round him for a spade or shovel to make a grave. As he was turning round and searching, he suddenly perceived what startled him greatly—a neAvly-dug grave right before him. He moved over to it, and looked dovra, and there at the bottom he saw a black coffin. He clambered down into the hole and lifted the lid, and found that (as he thought it would be) the coffin was empty. He had hardly mounted up out of the hole, and Avas standing on the brink, when the corpse, Avliich had clung to him for more than eight hours, suddenly relaxed its hold of his neck, and loosened its shins from round his hips, and sank doAvn with 9 plop into the coffin.

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

The sun was fast rising as he finished his work, and the;

PADDY CORCORAN’S WIFE.    41

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

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

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

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

Glossary.—Rann, a stanza; Icailee (ceilidhe), a visit in the evening; wirra (a ml mire), “Oh, Mary!” an exclamation like the French dame; rib, a single hair (in Irish, ribe); a lock (glac,), a bundle or wisp, or a little share of anything ; kippeen (cijnn), a rod or twig; boreen (boithrin), a lane; bodach, a clown ; soor-airn (suardn), vertigo. Avic (a Mhic) =my son, or rather, Oh, son. Mic is the vocative of Mac.

PADDY CORCORAN’S WIFE.

WILLIAM CARLE TOY.

Paddy Corcoran’s wife was for several years afflicted with a kind of complaint which nobody could properly understand. She was sick, and she was not sick; she was well, and she was not well; she was as ladies wish to

42    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

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

“ Mavrone, ay,” said the other ; “ in throth that’s what

CUSHEEN LOO.    43

I was this minnit thinkin’ ov, and a sorrowful thought it’s to me.”

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

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

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

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

CUSHEEN LOO.

TRANSLATED FROM THE IRISH BY J. J. CALL AN AN.

[This song is supposed to have been sung by a young bride, who was forcibly detained in one of those forts which are so common in Ireland, and to which the good people are very fond of resorting. Under pretence of hushing her child to rest, she retired to the outside margin of the fort,

44    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

and addressed the burthen of her song to a young woman whom she saw at a short distance, and whom she requested to inform her husband of her condition, and to desire him to bring the steel knife to dissolve the enchantment.

Sleep, my child! for the rustling trees,

Stirr’d by the breath of summer breeze,

And fairy songs of sweetest note,

Around us gently float.

Sleep ! for the weeping flowers have shed Their fragrant tears upon thy head,

The voice of love hath sooth’d thy rest,

And thy pillow is a mother’s breast.

Sleep, my child!

Weary hath pass’d the time forlorn,

Since to your mansion I was borne,

Tho’ bright the feast of its airy halls,

And the voice of mirth resounds from its walls.

Sleep, my child!

Full many a maid and blooming bride Within that, splendid dome abide,—

And many a hoar and shrivel’d sage,

And many a matron bow’d with age.

Sleep, my child!

Oh! thou who hearest this song of fear,

To the mourner’s home these tidings bear.

Bid him bring the knife of the magic blade,

At whose lightning-flash the charm will fade.

Sleep, my child!

Haste! for to-morrow’s sun will see The hateful spell renewed for me;

Nor can I from that home depart,

Till life shall leave my withering heart.

Sleep, my child!

THE WHITE TROUT ; A LEGEND OF CONG. . £5

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

THE WHITE TROUT; A LEGEND OF CONG

BY S. LOVER.

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

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

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

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

46    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

for saying it!) swore he’d catch the throut and ate it for his dinner—the blackguard !

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

Well, when he thought that side was done he turns it agin, and lo and behould you, the divil a taste more done that side was nor the other. “ Bad luck to me,” says the sojer, “but that bates the world,” says he; “but I’ll thry you agin, my darlint,” says he, “ as cunning as you think yourself; ” and so with that he turns it over and over, but not a sign of the fire was on the purty throut. “Well,” says the desperate villain—(for sure, sir, only he was a desperate villain entirely, he might know he was doing a wrong thing, seein’ that all his endeavors was no good)— “Well,” says he, “my jolly little throut, maybe you’re fried enough, though you don’t seem over well dress’d ; but you may be better than you look, like a singed cat, and a tit-bit afther all,” says he; and with that he ups with his knife and fork to taste a piece o’ the throut; but, my jew’l, the minit he puts his knife into the fish, there was a murtherin’ screech, that you’d think the life id lave you if you hurd it, and1 away jumps the throut out av the fryin’-pan into the middle o’ the flure; and an the spot where it fell, up riz a lovely lady—the beautiful-lest crathur that eyes ever seen, dressed in white, and a band o’ goold in her hair, and a sthrame o’ blood runnin’ down her arm.

THE WHITE TROUT ; A LEGEND OF CONG. 47

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

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

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

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

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

Renounce your evil coorses,” says she, “ you villain, or you’ll repint it too late; be a good man for the futhur, and go to your duty 1 reg’lar, and now,” says she, “ take me back and put me into the river again, where you found me.”

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

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

1

The Irish peasant calls his attendance at the confessional “ going to his duty.”

48    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

the stain away ; and to this day there’s a little red mark ah the throut’s side, where it was cut.*

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

But anyhow, he was an altered man, as I said before, and in coorse o’ time he left the army, and turned hermity at last; and they say he used to pray evermore for the soid of the Whited hr out.

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

THE FAIRY THORN.

An Ulster Ballad.

SIR SAMUEL FERGUSON.

“ Get up, our Anna dear, from the weary spinning-wheel;

For your father’s on the hill, and your mother is asleep; Come up above the crags, and we’ll dance a highland-reel Around the fairy thorn on the steep.”

At Anna Grace’s door ’twas thus the maidens cried,

Three merry maidens fair in kirtles of the green ;

And Anna laid the rock and the weary wheel aside,

. The fairest of the four, I ween.

They’re glancing through the glimmer of the quiet eve, Away in milky wavings of neck and ankle bare;

* The fish has really a red spot on its side.

THE FAIRY THORN.    49

The heavy-sliding stream in its sleepy song they leave, And the crags in the ghostly air;

And linking hand in hand, and singing as they go,

The maids along the hill-side have ta’en their fearless way,

Till they come to where the rowan trees in lonely beauty grow

Beside the Fairy Hawthorn gray.

The Hawthorn stands between the ashes tall and slim, Like matron with her twin grand-daughters at her knee;

The rowan berries cluster o’er her low head gray and dim In ruddy kisses sweet to see.

The merry maidens four have ranged them in a row, Retween each lovely couple a stately rowan stem,

And away in mazes wavy, like skimming birds they go, Oh, never caroll’d bird like them!

But solemn is the silence of the silvery haze That drinks away their voices in echoless repose,

And dreamily the evening has still’d the haunted braes, And dreamier the gloaming grows.

And sinking one by one, like lark-notes from the sky When the falcon’s shadow saileth across the open shaw,

Are hush’d the maiden’s voices, as cowering down they lie

In the flutter of their sudden awe.

For, from the air above, and the grassy ground beneath, And from the mountain-ashes and the old Whitethorn between,

A Power of faint enchantment doth through their beings breathe,

And they sink down together on the green.

4

50    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

They sink together silent, and stealing side by side,

They fling their lovely arms o’er their drooping necks so fair,

Then vainly strive again their naked arms to hide,

For their shrinking necks again are bare.

Thus clasp’d and prostrate all, with their heads together bow’d,

Soft o’er their bosom’s beating—the only human sound—

They hear the silky footsteps of the silent fairy crowd, Like a river in the air, gliding round.

FTo scream can any raise, no prayer can any say,

But wild, wild, the terror of the speechless three—

For they feel fair Anna Grace drawn silently away,

By whom they dare not look to see.

They feel their tresses twine with her parting locks of gold

And the curls elastic falling as her head withdraws; They feel her sliding arms from their tranced arms unfold,

But they may not look to see the cause:

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

Till out of night the earth has roll’d her dewy side,

With every haunted mountain and streamy vale below; When, as the mist dissolves in the yellow morning tide, The maidens’ trance dissolveth so.

Then fly the ghastly three as swiftly as they may,

And tell their tale of sorrow to anxious friends in vain—

They pined away and died within the year and day,

And ne’er was Anna Grao6 seen again.

THE LEGEND OF KNOCKGRAFTON.    51

THE LEGEND OF KNOCKGRAFTON.

T. CEOETON’ CEOKEE.

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

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

52    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

rest himself, and began looking mournfully enough upon the moon, which—

“ Rising in clouded majesty, at length Apparent Queen, unveil’d her peerless light,

And o’er the dark her silver mantle threw.”

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

Da Luan, Da, Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort;

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

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

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

Glorious to behold was the sight that burst upon him as he came down through the moat, twirling r'ound and

THE LEGEND OF KNOCKGRAFTON.    53    '

round, with the lightness of a straw, to the sweetest music that kept time to his motion. The greatest honor was then paid him, for he was put above all the musicians, and he had servants tending upon him, and everything to his heart’s content, and a hearty welcome to all; and, in short, he was made as much of as if he had been the first man in the land.

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

“ Lusmore ! Lusmore !

Doubt not, nor deplore,

For the hump which you bore On your back is no more ;

Look down on the floor,

And view it, Lusmore ! ”

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

54:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

back, and he looked at himself with great pride, for he had now become a well-shaped dapper little fellow, and more than that, found himself in a full suit of new clothes, which he concluded the fairies had made for him.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The woman thanked him very much, and then went away quite happy and easy in her own mind. When she came back to her gossip’s house, in the county of Waterford, she told her everything that Lusmore had said, and

THE LEGEND OF KNOCKGRAFTON.    55

they put the little hump-backed man, who was a peevish and cunning creature from his birth, upon a car, and took him all the way across the country. It was a long journey, but they did not care for that, so the hump was taken from off- him; and they brought him, just as nightfall, and left him under the old moat of Knockgrafton.

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

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

“ Jack Madden ! Jack Madden !

Your words came so bad in The tune-we felt glad in ;—

This castle you’re had in,

That your life we may sadden ;

Here’s two humps for Jack Madden ! ”

And twenty of the strongest fairies brought Lusmore’s hump, and put it down upon poor Jack’s back, over his own, where it became fixed as firmly as if it was nailed

56    IRISH FAIRY'TALES.

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

A DONEGAL FAIRY.

LETITIA MACLINTOCK.

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

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

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

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

“Na, na, it was myseF scalded my ainsel’, ” quoth the wee fellow.

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

THE BLACK HORSE.

Once -there was a king and he had three sons, and when the king died, they did not give a shade of anything to the youngest son, but an old white limping garron.

“ If I get but this,” quoth he, “ it seems that I had best go with this same.”

He was going with it right before him, sometimes walking, sometimes riding. When he had been riding a good while he thought that the garron would need a while of eating, so he came down to earth, and what should he see coming out of the heart of the western airt towards him but a rider riding high, well, and right well.

“ All hail, my lad,” said he.

“ Hail, king’s son,” said the other.

“ What’s your news ? ” said the king’s son.

“ I have got that,” said the lad who came. “ I am after breaking my heart riding this ass of a horse ; but will you give me the limping white garron for him ? ”

“No,” said the prince ; “it would be a bad business for me.”

“You need not fear,” said the man that came, “there is no saying but that you might make better use of him than I. He has one value, there is no single place that you can think of in the four parts of the wheel of the world that the black horse will not take you there.”

So the king’s son got the black horse, and he gave the limping white garron.

Where should he think of being when he mounted but in the Realm Underwaves. He went, and before sunrise on the morrow he was there. What should he find when he got there but the son of the King Under waves holding a Court, and the people of the realm gathered to see if

57

58    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

there was any one who would undertake to go to seek the daughter of the King of the Greeks to be the prince’s wife. No one came forward, when who should come up but the rider of the black horse.

“You, rider of the black horse,” said the prince, “ I lay you under crosses and under spells to have the daughter of the King of the Greeks here before the sun rises tomorrow.”

He went out and he reached the black horse and leaned his elbow on his mane, and he heaved a sigh.

“ Sigh of a king’s son under spells ! ” said the horse; “ but have no care; we shall do the thing that was set before you.” And so off they went.

“ Now,” said the horse, “ when we get near the great town of the Greeks, you will notice that the four feet of a horse never went to the town before. The king’s daughter will see me from the top of the castle looking out of a window, and she will not be content without a turn of a ride upon me. Say that she may have that, but the horse will suffer no man but you to ride before a woman on him.”

They came near the big town, and he fell to horsemanship ; and the princess was looking out of the windows, and noticed the horse. The horsemanship pleased her, and she came out just as the horse had come.

“ Give me a ride on the horse, said she.

“You shall have that,” said he, “but the horse 'will let no man ride him before a woman but me.”

“ I have a horseman of my own, said she.

“ If so, set him in front,” said he.

Before the horseman mounted at all, when he tried to get up, the horse lifted his legs and kicked him off.

“ Come then yourself and mount before me,” said she ; “ I won’t leave the matter so.”

He mounted the horse and she behind him, and before she glanced from her she was nearer sky than earth. He was in Realm Underwaves with her before sunrise.

“ You are come,” said Prince Underwaves.

THE BLACK HORSE.    59

“ I am come,” said he.

“ There you are, my hero,” said the prince. “ You are the son of a king, but I am a son of success. Anyhow, we shall have no delay or neglect now, but a wedding.”

“ Just gently,” said the princess ; “ your wedding is not so short a way off as you suppose. Till I get the silver

cup that my grandmother had at her wedding, and that my mother had as well, I will not marry, for I need to have it at my own wedding.”

“You, rider of the black horse,” said the Prince Underwaves, “ I set you under spells and under crosses unless the silver cup is here before dawn to-morrow.”

Out he went and reached the horse and leaned his elbow on his mane, and he heaved a sigh.

“ Sigh of a king’s son under spells ! ” said the horse; “ mount and you shall get the silver cup. The people of

60    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

the realm are gathered about the king to-night, for he has missed his daughter, and when you get to the palace go in and leave me without; they will have the cup there going round the company. Go in and sit in their midst. Say nothing, and seem to he as one of the people of the place. But when the cup comes round to you, take it under your oxter, and come out to me with it, and we’ll go.”

Away they went and they got to Greece, and he went in to the palace and did as the black horse bade. He took the cup and came out and mounted, and before sunrise he was in the Realm TJnderwaves.

“You are come,” said Prince Underwaves.

“ I am come,” said he.

“We had better get married now,” said the prince to the Greek princess.

“ Slowly and softly,” said she. “ I will not marry till I get the silver ring that my grandmother and my mother wore when they were wedded.”

“ You, rider of the black horse,” said the Prince Underwaves, “ do that. Let’s have that ring here to-morrow at sunrise.”

The lad went to the black horse and put his elbow on his crest and told him how it was.

“ There never was a matter set before me harder than this matter which has now been set in front of me,” said the horse, “ but there is no help for it at any rate. Mount me. There is a snow mountain and an ice mountain and a mountain of fire between us and the winning of that ring. It is right hard for us to pass them.”

Thus they went as they were, and about a mile from the snow mountain they were in a bad case with cold. As they came near it he struck the horse, and with the bound he gave the black horse was on the top of the snow mountain; at the next bound he was on the top of the ice mountain; at the third bound he went through the mountain of fire When he had passed the mountains he was dragging at the horse’s neck, as though he were

The black horse rose in the middle of the water with one single spike in him, and the ring on its end.—Page 61.    Irish    Fairy    Tales.

THE BLACK HORSE.    61

about to lose himself. He went on before him down to a town below.

“ Go down,” said the black horse, “ to a smithy ; make an iron spike for . every bone end in me.”

Down, he went as the horse desired, and he got the spikes made, and back he came with them.

“ Stick them, into me,” said the horse, u every spike of them in every bone end that I have.”

That he did; he stuck the spikes into the horse.

“ There is a loch here,” said the horse, “ four miles long and four miles wide, and when I go out into it the loch will take fire and blaze. If you see the Loch of Fire going out before the sun rises, expect me, and if not, go your way.”

Out went the black horse into the lake, and the lake became flame. Long was he stretched about the lake, beating his palms and roaring. Day came, and the loch did not go out.

But at the hour when the the sun was rising out of the water the lake went out.

And the black horse rose in the middle of the water with one single spike in him, and the ring upon its end.

He came on shore, and down he fell beside the loch.

-Then down went the rider. He got the ring, and he dragged the horse down to the side of a hill. He fell to sheltering him with his arms about him, and as the sun was rising he got better and better, till about midday, when he rose on his feet.

“ Mount,” said the horse, “ and let us begone.”

He mounted on the black horse, and away they went.

He reached the mountains, and he leaped the horse at the fire mountain and was on the top. From the mountain of fire he leaped to the mountain of ice, and from the mountain of ice to the mountain of snow. He put the mountains past him, and by morning he was in realm under the waves.

“ You are come,” said the prince.

“ I am,” said he.

62    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ That’s true,” said Prince Under waves. “ A king’s son are you, but a son of success am I. We shall have no more mistakes and delays, but a wedding this time.”

“Go easy,” said the princess of the Greeks. “Your wedding is not so near as you think yet. Till you make a castle, I won’t marry you. ISTot to your father’s castle nor to your mother’s will I go to dwell; but make me a castle for which your father’s castle will not make wash- . ing water.”

“You, rider of the black horse, make that,” said Prince Underwaves, “ before the morrow’s sun rises.”

The lad went out to the horse and leaned his elbow on his neck and sighed, thinking that this castle never could be made forever.

“ There never came a turn in my road yet that is easier for me to pass than this,” said the black horse.

Glance that the lad give from him he saw all that there were, and ever so many wrights and stone masons at work, and the castle was ready before the sun rose.

He shouted at the Prince Underwaves, and he saw the castle. He tried to pluck out his eye, thinking that it was a false sight.

“ Son of King Underwaves,” said the rider of the black horse, “ don’t think that you have a false sight; this is a true sight.”

“ That’s true,” said the prince. “ You are a son of success, but I am a son of success too. There will be no more mistakes and delays, but a wedding now.”

“ Ho,” said she. “ The time is come. Should we not go to look at the castle? There’s time enough to get married before the night comes.”

They went to the castle and the castle was without a « but”-

“ I see one,” said the prince. “ One want at least to be made good. A well to be made inside, so that water may not be far to fetch when there is a feast or a wedding in the castle.”

THE BLACK HORSE.    63

“ That won’t he long undone,” said the rider of the black horse.

The well was made, and it was seven fathoms deep and two or three fathoms wide, and they looked at the well on the way to the wedding.

“It is very well made,” said she, “but for one little fault yonder.”

“ Where is it ? ” said Prince Underwaves.

“ There,” said she.

He bent him down to look. She came out, and she put her two hands at his back, and cast him in.

“ Be thou there,” said she. “ If I go to be married, thou art not the man; but the man who did each exploit that has been done, and, if he chooses, him will I have.”

Away she went with the rider of the little black horse to the wedding.

And at the end of three years after that so it was that he first remembered the black horse or where he left him.

He got up and went out, and he was very sorry for his neglect of the black horse. He found him just where he left him.

“Good luck to you, gentleman,” said the horse. “You seem as if you had got something that you like better than me.”

“ I have not got that, and I won’t; but it came over me to forget you,” said he.

“ I don’t mind,” said the horse, “ it will make no difference. Raise your sword and smite off my head.”

“ Fortune will now allow that I should do that,” said he.

“ Do it instantly, or I will do it to you,” said the horse.

So the lad drew his sword and smote off the horse’s head; then he lifted his two palms and uttered a doleful cry.

What should he hear behind him but “ All hail, my brother-in-law.”

He looked behind him, and there was the finest man he ever set eyes upon.

64:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ What set you weeping for the black horse ? ” said he. “ This,” said the lad, “ that there never was born of man or beast a creature in this world that I was fonder of.” “Would you take me for him? ” said the stranger.

“ If I could think you the horse, I would; but if not, I would rather the horse,” said the rider.

“lam the black horse,” said the lad, “and if I were not, how should you have all these things that you went to seek in my father’s house. Since I went under spells, many a man have I ran at before you met me. They had but one word amongst them: they could not keep me, nor manage me, and they never kept me a couple Of days. But when I fell in with you, you kept me till the time ran out that was to come from the spells. And now you shall go home with me, and we will make a wedding in my father’s hotise.”

THE TROOPING FAIRIES.

CHANGELINGS.

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

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

Those who are carried away are happy, according to some accounts, having plenty of good living and music and mirth. Others say, however, that they are continually longing for their earthly friends. Lady Wilde gives a gloomy tradition that there are two kinds of fairies—one kind merry and gentle, the other evil, and sacrificing every year a life to Satan, for which purpose they steal 5    65

66    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

mortals. No other Irish writer gives this tradition—if such fairies there be, they must be among the solitary spirits—Pookas, Fir Darrigs, and the like.

THE BREWERY OF EGG-SHELLS.

T. CROETON CROKER.

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

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

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

“ You’re in grief this morning, Mrs. Sullivan,” were the first words of Ellen Leah to her.

THE BREWERY OF EGG-SHELLS.    67

“You may say that, Ellen,” said Mrs. Sullivan, “and good cause I have to be in grief, for there was my own fine child whipped off from me out of his cradle, without as much as ‘ by your leave ’ or 6 ask your pardon,’ and an ugly dony bit of a shriveled-up fairy put in his place; no wonder, then, that you see me in grief, Ellen.”

“ Small blame to you, Mrs. Sullivan,” said Ellen Leah, “ but are you sure ’tis a fairy ? ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

68    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

asked, with the voice of a very old man, “ What are you doing, mammy ? ”

Mrs. Sullivan’s heart, as she said herself, was up in her mouth ready to choke her, at hearing the child speak, but she contrived to put the poker in the fire, and to answer, without making any wonder at the words, “ I’m brewing, a viclc ” (my son).

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

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

“ Is it what I’m brewing, a vide” said she, “you want to know ? ”

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

“ Egg-shells, a vide,” said Mrs. Sullivan.

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

THE FAIRY. NURSE.

THE FAIRY NURSE.

BY EDWARD WALSH.

Sweet babe! a golden cradle holds thee,

And soft the snow-white fleece enfolds thee;

In airy bower I’ll watch thy sleeping,

Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping. Shuheen, sho, lulo! lo !

When mothers languish broken-hearted,

When young wives are from husbands parted,

Ah! little think the keeners lonely,

They weep some time-worn fairy only.

Shuheen sho, lulo lo!

Within our magic halls of brightness,

Trips many a foot of snowy whiteness ;

Stolen maidens, queens of fairy—

And kings and chiefs a sluagh-shee airy.

Shuheen sho, lulo lo !

Rest thee, babe ! I love thee dearly,

And as thy mortal mother nearly;

Ours is the swiftest steed and proudest,

That moves where the tramp of the host is loudest. Shuheen sho, lulo lo!

Rest thee, babe ! for soon thy slumbers Shall flee at the magic’s koelshie’s 1 numbers;

In airy bovver I’ll watch thy sleeping,

Where branchy trees to the breeze are sweeping. Shuheen sho, lulo, lo!

1

Cebl-sidhe—i. e., fairy music.

JAMIE FREEL AND THE YOUNG LADY.

A Donegal lale.

MISS LETITIA MACLINTOCK.

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

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

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

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

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

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

JAMIE FREEL AND THE YOUNG LADY.    71

“ Never fear, mother; nae harm ’ill happen me, but i maun gae.”

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

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

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

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

Time flew, and Jamie was enjoying himself very much, when his hosts said, “We’re going to ride to Dublin tonight to steal a young lady. Will you come too, Jamie Freel?”

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

A troop of horses stood at the door. Jamie mounted, and his steed rose with him into the air. He was presently flying over his mother’s cottage, surrounded by the elfin troop, and 011 and on they went, overbold mountains, over little hills, over the deep Lough Swilley, over towns and cottages, when people were burning nuts, and eating apples, and keeping merry Halloween. It seemed to Jamie that they flew all round Ireland before they got to Dublin.

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

In like manner was Jamie informed as they passed over each town on the rout, and at length he heard the silvery voices cry, “ Dublin! Dublin 1

72    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

It was no mean dwelling that was to he honored by the fairy visit, but one of the finest houses in Stephen’s Green.

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

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

They were approaching home. Jamie heard “Rath-mullan,” “ Milford,” “ Tamney,” and then he knew they were near his own house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ bTae thing bad, mother; I ha’ the very best of gude

JAMIE FREEL AND THE YOUNG LADY.    73

luck. Here’s a beautiful young lady I ha’ brought you for company.”

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

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

“ But a lady, Jamie ! How can a lady eat we’er poor diet, and live in we’er poor way ? I ax you that, you foolitcli fellow ? ”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ What’ll we do to keep up a lady like thou ? ” cried the old woman,

u    IRISH FAIRY 'tALES,

“I’ll work for yon both, mother,” replied the son.

“ An’ how could a lady live on we’er poor diet ? ” she repeated.

“ I’ll work for her,” was all Jamie’s answer.

He kept his word. The young lady was very sad for a long time, and tears stole down her cheeks many an evening while the old woman spun by the fire, and Jamie made salmon nets, an accomplishment lately acquired by him, m hopes of adding to the comfort of his guest.

But she was always gentle, and tried to smile when she perceived them looking at her; and by degrees she adapted herself to their ways and mode of life. It was not very long before she began to feed the pig, mash potatoes and meal for the fowls, and knit blue worsted socks.

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

“Are you mad, Jamie? ” cried his mother, in terror; “ sure they’ll kill you this time for what you done 011 them last year.”

Jamie made light of her fears and went his way.

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

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

Jamie’s heart beat fast as he entered the hall. Again he was greeted by a chorus of welcomes from the company—“ Here comes Jamie Freel! welcome, welcome, Jamie! ”

As soon as the tumult subsided, the little woman said, “ You be to drink our health, Jamie, out 0’ this glass in my hand.”

JAMIE FREEL AND THE YOUNG LADY. ?5

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

“You’re kilt surely this time, my poor boy,” said his mother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ Do you not know me, Sullivan ? ”

“ No, poor girl, I do not.”

“ Let me see the gentleman. I only ask to see him.” “Well, that’s not much to ax; we’ll see what can be done.”

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

76    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“Dear father,” said, she, “ don’t you know me?”

“ How dare yon call me your father ? ” cried the old gentleman, angrily. “ Yon are an impostor. I have no daughter.”    /

“ Look in my face, father, and surely you’ll remember me.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ Mother,” she began, when the old lady came to the door, “ don’t you know your daughter ? ”

“ I have no daughter; my daughter died and was buried a long, long time ago.

“ Only look in my face, and surely you’ll know me.” . The old lady shook her head.

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

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

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

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

THE STOLEN CHILD.    77

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

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

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

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

THE STOLEN CHILD.1

W. B. YEATS.

Where dips the rocky highland Of Sleuth Wood in the lake,

There lies a leafy island Where flapping herons wake The drowsy water-rats.

There we’ve hid our fairy vats Full of berries,

And of reddest stolen cherries.

Come away, O, human child!

To the woods and waters wild,

1

The places mentioned are round about Sligo. Further Rosses is a very noted fairy locality. There is here a little point of rocks where, if any one falls asleep, there is danger of their waking silly, the fairies having carried off their souls.

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wave of moonlight glosses The dim gray sands witli light,

Far off by furthest Rosses We foot it all the night,

Weaving olden dances,

Mingling hands, and mingling glances, Till the moon has taken flight;

To and fro we leap,

And chase the frothy bubbles,

While the world is full of troubles.

And is anxious in its sleep.

Come away ! O, human child !

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Where the wandering water gushes From the hills above Glen-Car,

In pools among the rushes,

That scarce could bathe a star,

We seek for slumbering trout,

And whispering in their ears ;

We give them evil dreams,

Leaning softly out

From ferns that drop their tears Of dew on the young streams.

Come! O, human child!

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand.

Away with us, he’s going,

The solemn-eyed j

THE STOLEN CHILD.

He’ll hear no more the lowing

Of the calves on the warm hill-side.

Or the kettle on the hob Sing peace into his breast;

Or see the brown mice bob

Round and round the oatmeal chest. For he comes, the human child,

To the woods and waters wild,

With a fairy hand in hand,

For the world’s more full of weeping than he can understand.

MORRAHA.

Mokraha rose in the morning and washed his hands and face, and said, his prayers, and ate his food; and he asked God to prosper the day for him. So, he went down to the brink of the sea, and he saw a currach, short and green, coming towards him ; .and in it there was but one youthful champion, and he'was playing hurly from prow to stern of the currach. He had a hurl of gold and a ball of silver; and he stopped not till the currach was in on the shore ; and he drew her up on the green grass, and put fastenings on her for a year and a day, whether he should be there all that time or should only be on land for an hour by the clock. And Morraha saluted the young man courteously ; and the other saluted him in the same fashion, and asked him would he play a game of cards with him; and Morraha said that he had not the wherewithal; and the other answered that he was never without a candle or the making of it; and he put his hand in his pocket and drew out a table and two chairs and a pack of cards, and they sat down on the chairs and went to card-playing. The first game Morraha won, and the Slender Red Champion bade him make his claim; and he asked that the land about him should be filled with stock of sheep in the morning. It was well; and he played no second game, but home he went.

The next day Morraha went to the brink of the sea, and the young man came in the currach and asked him would he play cards; they played, and Morraha won. The young man bade him make his claim ; and he asked that the land above should be filled with cattle in tire morning. It was well; and he played no other game, but went home.

MORRAHA.    81

On the third morning Morraha went to the brink of the sea, and he saw the young man coming. He drew up his boat on the shore and asked him would he play cards. They played, and Morraha won the game ; and the young , man bade him give his claim. And he said he would have a castle and a wife, the finest and fairest in the world; and they were his. It was well; and the Red Champion went'away.

On the fourth day his wife asked him how he had found her. And he told her. “ And I am going out,” said he, “ to play again to-day.”

“I forbid you to go again to him. If you have won so much, you will lose more; have no more to do with him.” .

But he went against her will, and he saw the currach coming; and,the Red Champion was driving his balls from end to end of the currach; he had balls of silver and a hurl of gold,, and he stopped not till he drew his boat on the shore, and made her fast for a year and a day. Morraha and he saluted each other; and he asked Morraha if he would play a game of cards, and they played, and he won. Morraha said to him, “ Give your claim now.”

Said he, “ You will hear it too soon. I lay on you bonds of the art of the Druid, not to sleep two nights in one house, nor finish a second meal at the one table, till you bring me the sword of light and news of the death of Anshgayliacht.”

He went home to his wife and sat down in a chair, and gave a groan, and the chair broke in pieces.

“ That is the groan of the son of a king under spells,” said his wife; “ and you had better have taken my counsel than that the spells should be on you.”

He told her he had to bring news of the death of Anshgayliacht and the sword of light to the Slender Red Champion.

“Go out,” said she, “ in the, morning of the morrow, and take the bridle in the window, and shake it: and

(j

i

82    IRISH FAIRY TALES,

whatever beast, handsome or ugly, puts its head in it; take that one with you. Do not speak a word to her till she speaks to you; and take with you three pint bottles of ale and three sixpenny loaves, and do the thing she tells you; and when she runs to my father’s land, on a height above the castle, she will shake herself, and the bells will ring, and my father will say,1 Brown Allree is in the land. And if the son of a king or queen is there, bring him to me on your shoulders ; but if it is the son of a poor man, let him come no further.’ ”    '

He rose in the morning, and took the bridle that was in the window, and went out and shook it; and Brown Allree came and put her head in it. He took the three loaves and three bottles of ale, and went riding; and when he was riding she bent her head down to take hold of her feet with her mouth, in hopes he would speak in ignorance; but he spoke not a word during the time, and the mare at last spoke to him, and told him to dismount and give her her dinner. He gave her the sixpenny loaf toasted, and a bottle of ale to drink,

“ Sit up now riding, and take good heed of yourself: there are three miles of fire I have to clear at a leap.”

She cleared the three miles of fire at a leap, and asked if he were still riding, and he said he was. Then they went on, and she told him to dismount and give her a meal; and he did so, and gave her a sixpenny loaf and a bottle; she consumed them and said to him there were before them three miles of hill covered with steel thistles, and that she must clear it. She cleared the hill with a leap, and she asked him if he were still riding, and he said he was. They went on, and she went not far before she told him to give her a meal, and he gave her the bread and the bottleful. She went over three miles of sea with a leap, and she came then to the land of the King of France; she went up on a height above the castle, and she shook herself and neighed, and the bells rang ; and the king said that it was Brown Allree was in the land.

MORRAHA.    83

“ Go out,” said lie; “ and if it is the son of a king or queen, carry him on your shoulders; if it is not, leave him there.”

. They went out; and the stars of the son of a king were on his breast; they lifted him high on their shoulders and bore him in to the king. They passed the night cheerfully, playing and drinking, with sport and with diversion, till the whiteness of the day came upon the morrow morning.

Then the young king told the cause of his journey, and he asked the queen to give him counsel and good luck, and she told him everything he was to do.

“ Go now,” said she, “ and take with you the best mare in the stable, and go to the door of Rough Mall of the speckled Rock, and knock, and call on him to give you news of the death of Anshgayliacht and the sword of light: and let the horse’s back be to the door, and apply the spurs, and away with you.”

In the morning he did so, and took the best horse from the stable and rode to the door of Mall, and turned the horse’s back to the door, and demanded news of the death of Anshgayliacht and the sword of light; then he applied the spurs, and away with him. Mall followed him hard, and, as he was passing the gate, cut the horse in two. His wife was there with a dish of puddings and flesh, and she threw it in his eyes and blinded him, and said, “ Fool! whatever kind of man it is that’s mocking you, isn’t that a fine condition you have got your father’s horse into ? ” On the morning of the next day Morraha rose, and took another horse from the stable, and went again to the door of Mall, and knocked and demanded news of the death of Anshgayliacht and the sword of light, and applied the spurs to the horse and away with him. Mall followed, and as Morraha was passing, the gate cut the horse in two and took half the saddle with him; but his wife met him and threw flesh in his eyes and blinded him.

On the third day, Morraha went again to the door of Mall; and Mall followed him, and as he was passing

84    IRISH FAIRY TALES,

the gate, cut away the saddle from under him and the clothes from his hack. Then his wife said to Mall:

“ The fool that’s mocking you, is out yonder in the little currach, going homeland take good heed to yourself, and don’t sleep one wink for three days.”

For three days the little currach kept in sight, but then Mall’s wife came to him and said:

“ Sleep as much as you want now. He is gone.”

He went to sleep, and there was heavy sleep on him, and Morraha went in and took hold of the sword that was on the bed at his head. And the sword thought to draw itself out of the hand of Morraha; but it failed. Then it gave a cry, and it wakened Mall, and Mall said it was a rude and rough thing to come into his house like that; and said Morraha to him :

“ Leave your much talking, or X will cut the head off you. Tell me the news of the death of Anshgayliacht.”

“ Oh, you can have my head.”

“ But your head is no good to me; tell me the story.”

“ Oh,” said Mall’s wife, “ you must get the story.”

“ Well,” said Mall, “ let us sit down together till I tell the story. I thought no one would ever get it; but now it will be heard by all.”

THE STORY.

When I was growing up, my mother taught me the language of the birds; and when I got married, I used to be listening to their conversation; and I would be laughing ; and my wife would be asking me what was the reason of my laughing, but I did not like to tell her, as women are always asking questions. We went out walking one fine morning, and the birds were arguing with one another. One of them said to another :

“Why should you be comparing yourself with me, when there is not a king nor knight that does not come to look at my tree ? ”    '

MORRAHA.    85

“ What advantage has your tree over mine, on which there are three rods of magic mastery growing ? ”

When I heard them arguing, and knew that the rods were there, I began to laugh.

“ Oh,” asked my wife, “ why are you always laughing ? I believe it is at myself you are jesting, and I’ll walk with you no more.”

“ Oh, it is not about you I am laughing. It is because I understand the language of the birds.”

Then I had to tell her what the birds were saying to one another; and she was greatly delighted, and she asked me to go home, and she gave orders to the cook to have breakfast ready at six o’clock in the morning. I did not know why she was going out early, and breakfast was ready in the morning at the hour she appointed. She asked me to go out walking. I went with her. She went to the tree, and asked me to cut a rod for her.

“ Oh, I will not cut it. Are we not better without it ? ” “ I will not leave this until I get the rod, to see if there is any good in it.”

I cut the rod and gave it to her. She turned from me and struck a blow on a stone, and changed it; and she struck a second blow on me, and made of me a black raven, and she went home and left me after her. I thought she would come back; she did not come, and I had to go into a tree till morning. In the morning, at six o’clock, there was a bellman out, proclaiming that every one who killed a raven would get a fourpenny-bit. At last you could not find man or boy without a gun, nor, if you were to walk three miles, a raven that was not killed. I had to make a nest in the top of a parlor chimney, and hide myself all day till night came, and go out to pick up a bit to support me, till I spent a month. Here she is herself to say if it is a lie I am telling.

“ It is not,” said she.

Then I saw her out walking. I went up to her, and I thought she would turn me back to my own shape, and she struck me with the rod and made of me an old white

80    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

horse, and she ordered me to be put to a cart with a man, to draw stones from morning till night. I was worse off then. She spread abroad a report that I had died suddenly in my bed, and prepared a coffin, and waked and buried me. Then she had no trouble. But when I got tired I began to kill every one who came near me, and I

used to go into the haggard every night and destroy the stacks of corn; and when a man came near me in the morning I would follow him till I broke his bones. Every one got afraid of me. When she saw I was doing mischief she came to meet me, and I thought she would change me. And she did change me, and made a fox of me. When I saw she was doing me every sort of damage

MORRAHA,    87

I went away from her. I knew there was a badger’s hole in the garden, and I went there till night came, and I made great slaughter among the geese and ducks. There she is herself to say if I am telling a lie.

“ Oh ! you are telling nothing but the truth, only less than the truth.”

When she had enough of my killing the fowl she came out into the garden, for she knew I was in the badger’s hole. She came to me and made me a wolf. I had to be off, and go to an island, where no one at all would see me, and now and then I used to be killing sheep, for there were not many of them, and I was afraid of being seen and hunted ; and so I passed a year, till a shepherd saw me among the sheep and a pursuit was made after me. And when the dogs came near me there was no place for me to escape to from them; hut I recognized the sign of the king among the men, and I made for him, and the king cried out to stop the hounds. I took a leap upon the front of the king’s saddle, and the woman behind cried out, “My king and my lord, kill him, or he will kill you! ”

“ Oh! he will not kill me. He knew me; he must be pardoned.”

The king took me home with him, and gave orders I should he well cared for. I was so wise, when I got food, I would not eat one morsel until I got a knife and fork. The man told the king, and the king came to see if it was true, and I got a knife and fork, and I took the knife in one paw and the fork in the other, and I bowed to the king. The king gave orders to bring him drink, and it came ; and the king filled a glass of wine and gave it to me.

I took hold of it in my paw and drank it, and thanked the king.

“ On my honor,” said he, “ it is some king or other has lost him, when he came on the island; and I will keep him, as he is trained; and perhaps he will serve us yet.”

And this is the sort of king he was,—a king who had

88    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

not a child living. Eight sons were born to him and three daughters, and they were stolen the same night they were bom. No matter what guard was placed over them, the child would be gone in the morning. A twelfth child now came to the queen, and the king took me with him to watch the baby. The women were not satisfied with me.

“Oh,” said the king, “ what was all your watching ever good for? One that was born to me I have not; I will leave this one in the dog’s care, and he will not let it go.”

A coupling was put between me and the cradle, and when every one went to sleep I was watching till the person woke who attended in the daytime; but I was there only two nights ; when' it was near the day, I saw a hand coming down through the chimney, and the hand was so big that it took round the child altogether, and thought to take him away. I caught hold of the hand above the wrist, and as I was fastened to the cradle, I did not let go my hold till I cut the hand from the wrist, and there was a howl from the person without. I laid the hand in the cradle with the child, and as I was tired I fell asleep; and when I awoke, I had neither child nor hand; and I began to howl, and the king heard me, and he cried out that something was wrong with me, and he sent servants to see what was the matter with me, and when the messenger came he saw me covered with blood, and he could not see the child ; and he went to the king and told him the child was not to be got. The king came and saw the cradle colored with the blood, and he cried out “ where was the child gone ? ” and every one said it was the dog had eaten it.

The king said : “ It is not; loose him, and he will get the pursuit himself.”

When I was loosed, I found the scent of the blood till I came to a door of the room in which the child was. I went back to the king and took hold of him, and went back again and began to tear at the door. The king followed me and asked for the key. The servant said it was in the room of

I saw a hand coming down through the chimney, and it took the child, and thought to take him away.—Page 88.    Irish    Fairy    Talcs.

MOORAHA.    89

the stranger woman. The king caused search to be made for her, and she was not to he found. “ I will break the door,” said the king, “ as I can’t get the key.” The king broke the door, and I went in, and went to the trunk, and the king asked for a key to unlock it. He got no key, and he broke the lock. When he opened the trunk, the child and the hand were stretched side by side, and the child was asleep. The king took the hand and ordered a woman to come for the child, and he showed the hand to every one in the house. But the stranger woman was gone, and she did not see the king ;—and here she is herself to say if I am telling lies of her.

“ Oh, it’s nothing but the truth you have! ”

The king did not allow me to be tied any more. He said there was nothing so much to wonder at as that I cut the hand off, as I was tied.

The child was growing till he was a year old. He was beginning to walk, and no one cared for him more than I did. He was growing till he was three, and lie was running out every minute; so the king ordered a silver chain to be put between me and the child, that he might not go away from me. I was out with him in the garden every day, and the king was as proud as the world of the child. He would be watching him everywhere we went, till the child grew so wise that he would loose the chain and get off. But one day that he loosed it I failed to find him; and I ran into the house and searched the house but there was no getting him for me. The king cried to go out and find the child, that had got loose from the dog. They went searching for him, but could not find him. When they failed altogether to find him, there remained no more favor with the king towards me, and every one disliked me, and I grew weak, for I did not get a morsel to eat half the time. When summer came, I said I would try and go home to my own country. I went away one fine morning, and I went swimming, and God helped me till I came home. I went into the garden, for I knew there was a place in the garden where I could hide myself, for fear my wife should

90    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

see me. In the morning I saw her out walking, and the child with her, held by the hand. I pushed out to see the child, and as he was looking about him everywhere, he saw me and called out, “ I see my shaggy papa. Oh ! ” said he; “ oh, my heart’s love, my shaggy papa, come here till I see you! ”

I was afraid the woman would see me, as she was asking the child where he saw me, and he said I was up in a tree; and the more the child called me, the more I hid myself. The woman took the child home with her but I knew he would be up early in the morning.

I went to the parlor-window, and the child was within, and he playing. When he saw me he cried out, “ Oh ! my heart’s love, come here till I see you, shaggy papa.” I broke the window and went in, and he began to kiss me. I saw the rod in front of the chimney, and I jumped up at the rod and knocked it down. “ Oh ! my heart’s love, no one would give me the pretty rod,” said he. I hoped

MOORAHA.    91

he wonld strike me with the rod, but he did not. When I saw the time was short I raised my paw, and I gave him a scratch below the knee. “ Oh ! you naught}^ dirty, shaggy papa, you have hurt me so much, I’ll give you a blow of the rod'” He struck me a light blow, and so I came back to my own shape again. When he saw a man standing before him he gave a cry, and I took him up in my arms. The servants heard the child. A maid came in to see what was the matter with him. When she saw me she gave a cry out of her, and she said, “ Oh, if the master isn’t come to life again ! ”

Another came in, and said it was he really. When the mistress heard of it, she came to see with her own eyes, for she would not believe I was there; and when she saw me she said she’d drown herself. But I said to her, “ If you yourself will keep the secret, no living man will ever get the story from me until I lose my head.” Here she is herself to say if I am telling the truth. “ Oh, it’s nothing but truth you are telling.”

When I saw I was in a man’s shape, I said I would take the child back to his father and mother, as I knew the grief they were in after1 him. I got a ship, and took the child with me; and as I journeyed I came to land on an island, and I saw not a living soul on it, only a castle dark and gloomy. I went in to see was there any one in it. There was no one but an old hag, tall and frightful, and she asked me, “ What sort of person are you ? ” I heard some one groaning in another room, and I said I was a doctor, and I asked her what ailed the person who was groaning.

“ Oh,” said she, “ it is my son, whose hand has been bitten from his wrist by a dog.”

I knew then that it was he who had taken the child from me, and I said I would cure him if I got a good reward.

“ I have nothing; but there are eight young lads and three young women, as handsome as any one ever laid eyes on, and if you cure him I will give you them.”

92    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ Tell me first in what place his hand was cut from him ? ”

“ Oh, it was out in another country, twelve years ago.” “ Show me the way, that I may see him.”

She brought me into a room, so that I saw him, and his arm was swelled up to the shoulder. He asked me if I would cure him; and I said I would cure him if he would give me the reward his mother promised.

“ Oh, I will give it; but cure me.”

“Well, bring them out to me.”

The hag brought them out of the room. I said I should burn the flesh that was on his arm. When I looked on him he was howling with pain. I said that I would not leave him in pain long. The wretch had only one eye in his forehead. I took a bar of iron, and put it in the fire till it was red, and I said to the hag, “ He will be howling at first, hut will fall asleep presently, and do not wake him till he has slept as much as he wants. I will close the door when I am going out.” I took the bar with me, and I stood over him, and I turned it across through his eye as far as I could. He began to bellow, and tried to catch me, but I was out and away, having closed the door. The hag asked me, “Why is he bellowing?”

“ Oh, he will be quiet presently, and will sleep for a good while, and I’ll come again to have a look at him ; but bring me out the young men and the young women.”

I took them with me, and I said to her, “ Tell me where you got them.”

“My son brought them with him, and they are all the children of one king.”

I was well satisfied, and I had no wish for delay to get myself free from the hag, so I took them on board the ship, and the child I had myself. I thought the king might leave me the child I nursed myself ; but when I came to land, and all these young people with me, the king and queen were out walking. The king was very aged, and the queen aged likewise. When I came to converse with them, and the twelve with me, the king

MOORAHA.    93

and queen began to cry. I asked, “ Why are you crying?”

1    “ It is for good cause I am crying. As many children

as these I should have, and now I am withered, gray, at the end of my life, and I have not one at all.”

I told him all I went through, and I gave him the child in his hand, and “ These are your other children who were stolen from you, whom I am giving to you safe. They are gently reared.”

When the king heard who they were he smothered them with kisses and drowned them with tears, and dried them with fine cloths silken_and the hair of his own head, and so also did their mother, and great was his welcome for me, as it was I who found them all. The king said to me, “ I will give you the last child, as it is you who have earned him best; but you must come to my court every year, and the child with you, and I will share with you my possessions.

“ I have enough of my own, and after my death I will leave it to the child.”

I spent a time, till my visit was over, and I told the king . all the troubles I went through, only I said nothing about my wife. And now you have the story.

And now when you go home, and the Slender Red Champion asks you for news of the death of Anshgayliacht and for the sword of light, tell him the way in which his brother was killed, and say you have the sword; and he will ask the sword from you. Say you to him, “ If I promised to bring it to you, I did not promise to bring it for you; ” and then throw the sword into the air and it will come back to me.

He went home, and he told the story of the death of Anshgayliacht to the Slender Red Champion, “ And here,” said he, “ is the sword.” The Slender Red Champion asked for the sword; but he said : “ If I promised to bring it to you, I did not promise to bring it for you; ” and he threw it into the air and it returned to Blue Mall.

THE MERROW.

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

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

THE SOUL CAGES.

T. CROFTOK CHOKER.

Jack Dogherty lived on the coast of the county Clare. Jack was a fisherman, as his father and grandfather before him had been. Like them, too, he lived all alone (but for the wife), and just in the same spot. People used to wonder why the Doglierty family were so fond of that 94

THE MERROW.    95

Wild situation, so far away from all human kind, and in the midst of huge shattered rocks, with nothing but the wide ocean to look upon. But they had their own good reasons for it.

The place was just the only spot on that part of the coast where anybody could well live. There was a neat little creek, where a boat might lie as snug as a puffin in her nest, and out from this creek a ledge of sunken rocks ran into the sea. Now when the Atlantic, according to custom, was raging with ,a storm, and a good westerly wind was blowing strong on the coast, many a riclily-laden ship went to pieces 011 these rocks; and then the fine bales of cotton and tobacco, and such like things, and the pipes of wine, and the puncheons of rum, and the casks of brandy, and the kegs of Hollands that used to come ashore ! Dun-beg Bay was just like a little„ estate to the Doghertys.

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

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

Jack, though such a hermit, was a good-natured, jolly fellow. No other, sure, could ever have coaxed Biddy Mahony to quit her father’s snug and warm house in the middle of the town of Ennis, and to go so many miles off to live among the rocks, with the seals and sea-gulls for next-door neighbors. But Biddy knew that Jack was the man for a woman who wished to be comfortable and happy; for, to say nothing of the fish, Jack had the sup-, plying of half the gentlemen’s houses of the country with the Godsends that came into the bay. And she was right

96    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

in her choice; for no woman ate, drank, slept better, or made a prouder appearance at chapel on Sundays, than Mrs. Dogherty.

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

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

Fortune at length began to think that it was only right that Jack should know as much as his father and grandfather did. Accordingly, one day when he had strolled a little farther than usual along the coast to the northward, just as he turned a point, he saw something, like to nothing he had ever seen before, perched upon a rock at a little distance out to sea. It looked green in the body, as well as he could discern at that distance, and he would have sworn, only the thing was impossible, that it had a cocked hat in its hand. Jack, stood for a good half-hour straining his eyes, and wondering at it, and all the time the thing

THE MERROW.

did not stir hand or foot. At last Jack’s patience was quite worn out, and he gave a loud whistle and a hail, ywhen the Merrow (for such it was) started up, put the cocked hat on its head, and dived down, head-foremost from the rock.

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

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

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

“Your servant, sir,” said Jack.

“Your servant, kindly, Jack Dogherty,” answered, the Merrow.

7    -

98    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ To be sure, then, how well your honor knows my name!” said Jack.

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

“Rever fear, me for that,” said Jack; “if my mother had only reared me on brandy, ’tis myself that would be a sucking infant to this hour! ”

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

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

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

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

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

“ I’m sure,” continued Jack, “ it must be mighty well worth the looking at.”

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

Jack and the Merrow parted the best friends in the

THE MERROW.    90

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ Now, do you see, Jack,” said the Merrow: “ just put this hat on your head, and mind to keep your eyes wide

100    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

open. Take hold of my tail, and follow after me, and you’ll see wliat you’ll see.”

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

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

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

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

“ Well, come along, and let’s see what they’ve got for us to eat ? ”

Jack really was hungry, and it gave him no small pleasure to perceive a fine column of smoke rising from the chimney, announcing what was going on within. Into the house he followed the Merrow, and there he saw a good kitchen, right well provided with everything. There was a noble dresser, and plenty of pots and pans, with two young Merrows cooking. His host then led him into the room, which was furnished shabbily enough. Not

THE MERROW.    101

a table or a chair was there in it; nothing hut planks and logs of wood to sit on, and eat off. There was, however, a good fire blazing upon the hearth—a comfortable sight to Jack.

“Come now, and I’ll show you where I keep—you know what,” said the Merrow, with a sly look; and opening a little door, he led Jack into a fine cellar, well filled with pipes, and kegs, and hogsheads, and barrels.

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

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

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

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

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

“ And a mighty decent name it is,” cried Jack, taking another shellful: “ here’s to your good health, Coomara, and may ye live fifty years to come! ”

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

“ By the laws, sir,” cries Jack, “ youz live to a powerful

102    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

age here under the water I You knew my grandfather, and he’s dead and gone better than these sixty years. I’m sure it must he a healthy place to live in.”

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

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

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

Rum fum boodle boo,

Ripple dipple nitty dob ;

Dumdoo doodle coo,

Raffle taffle chittiboo !

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

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

“Well, Jack, how do you like my curiosities? ” said old Coo.

“Upon my sowhins1 sir,” said Jack, “ they’re mighty well worth the looking at; but might I make so bold as to ask what these things like lobster-pots are ? ”

“ Oh! the Soul Cages, is it ? ”

“ The what ? sir ! ”

“ These things here that I keep the souls in.”

1

Sowkins, diminutive of soul.

THE MERROW.    103

Arrdh/ what souls, sir?” said Jack, in amazement,; “ sure the fish have no souls in them.”

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

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

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

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

“ Just as you like, Jack,” said Coo, “ but take a clucan durrus 1 before you go ; you’ve a cold journey before you.” Jack knew better manners than to refuse the parting glass. “ I wonder,” said he, “ will I be able to make out my way home ? ”

“ What should, ail you,” said Coo, “ when I’ll show you the way ? ”

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

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

He canted Jack off his shoulder, and up he shot like

1

JRecte, deoch an dorrus—door-drink or stirrup-cup.

10 4:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

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

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

“ Good morning, Jack,” said he; “ what do you want with me ? *

THE MERROW.    105

Just nothing at all to speak about, sir,” returned Jack,

“ only to come and take a bit of dinner with me, if I might make so free as to ask you, and sure I’m now after doing so.”

“ It’s quite agreeable, Jack, I assure you; what’s your • hour ? ”

“ Any time that’s most convenient to you, sir—say one o’clock, that you may go home, if you wish, with the daylight.”

“ I’ll be with you,” said Coo, “ never fear me,”

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

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

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

“Well, but try me again,” said Jack, “ and I’ll be bail to drink you drunk and sober, and drunk again.”

“Anything in my power,” said Coo, “to oblige you.”

106    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

- “ No,” says Coo; “what’s that, and where does it come from ? ”

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

“Well, let’s see what sort of thing it is,” said Coomara.

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

All was as still as a churchyard at midnight—not a Merrow, old or young, was there. In he went and turned up the pots, but nothing did he see, only he heard a sort of a little whistle or chirp as he raised each of them. At this he was surprised, till he recollected what the priests had often said, that nobody living could see the soul, no more than they could see the wind or the air. Having now done all that he could do for them, he set the pots as they were before, and sent a blessing after the poor souls to speed them on their journey wherever they were going. Jack now began to think of returning; he put the hat on, as was right, the wrong way; but when he got out he found the water so high over his head that he had no hopes of ever getting up into it, now that he had not old Coomara to give him a lift. He walked about' looking for a ladder, but not one could he find, and not a rock was there in sight. At last he saw a spot where the sea hung rather lower than anywhere else, so he resolved

THE MERROW.    107

to try there. Just as he came to it, a big cod happened to put down his tail. Jack made a jump and caught hold of it, and the cod, all in amazement, gave a bounce and pulled Jack up. The minute the hat touched the water away Jack was whisked, and up he shot like a cork, dragging the poor cod, that he forgot to let go, up with him tail foremost. He got to the . rock in no time, and without a moment’s delay hurried home, rejoicing in the good deed he had done.

But, meanwhile, there was fine work at home; for our friend Jack had hardly left the house on his soul-freeing expedition, when back came Biddy from her soul-saving one to the well. When she entered the house and saw the things lying thrie-na-helah 1 on the table before her— “ Here’s a pretty job ! ” said she; “ that blackguard of mine—what ill-luck I had ever to marry him ! He has picked up some vagabond or other, while I was praying for the good of his soul, and they’ve been drinking all the poteen that my own brother gave him, and all the spirits, to be sure, that he was to have sold to his honor.” Then hearing an outlandish kind of a grunt, she looked down, and saw Coomara lying under the table. “ The blessed Virgin help me,” shouted she, “ if he has not made a real beast of himself ! Well, well, I’ve often heard of a man making a beast of himself with drink! Oh hone, oh hone!—Jack, honey, what will I do with you, or what will I do without you? How can any decent woman ever think of living with a beast ? ”

With such like lamentations Biddy rushed out of the house, and was going she knew not where, when she heard the well-known voice of Jack singing a merry tune. Glad enough was Biddy to find him safe and sound, and not turned into a thing that was like neither fish nor flesh. Jack was obliged to tell her all, and Biddy, though she had half a mind to be angry with him for not telling her before, owned that he had done a great service to the

1

Tri-na-elmle,, literally tlwmgh otheri.e., higgledy-piggledy.

108    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

poor souls. Back they both went most lovingly to the house, and Jack wakened up Coomara; and, perceiving the old fellow to be rather dull, he bid him not to he cast down, fop ’twas many a good man’s case ; said it all came of his not being used to the poteen, and recommended him, by way of cure, to swallow a hair of the dog that hit him. Coo, however, seemed to think he had had quite enough. He got up, quite out of sorts, and without having the manners to say one word in the way of civility, he sneaked off to cool himself by a jaunt through the salt water.

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

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

FLORY CANTILLON’S FUNERAL.

T. CROFTOH CHOKER.

The ancient burial-place of the Cantillon family was on an island in Ballyheigh Bay. This island was situated at no great distance from the shore, and at a remote period was overflowed in one of the encroachments which the Atlantic has made on that part of the coast of Kerry.

FLORY CANTILLON’S FUNERAL.    109

The fishermen declare they have often seen the ruined walls of an old chapel beneath them in the water, as they sailed over the clear green sea of a sunny afternoon. However this may be, it is well-known that the Cantillons were, like most other Irish families, strongly attached to their ancient burial-place; and this attachment led to the custom, when any of the family died, of carrying the corpse to the sea-side, where the coffin was left on the shore within reach of the tide. In the morning it had disappeared, being, as was traditionally believed, conveyed | away by the ancestors of the deceased to their family tomb.

Connor Crowe, a county Clare man, was related to the Cantillons by marriage. “ Connor Mac in Cruagh, of the seven quarters of Breintragh,” as he was commonly called, and a proud man he was of the name. Connor, be it know, would drink a quart of salt water, for its medicinal virtues, before breakfast; and for the same reason, I suppose, double that quantity of raw whisky between breakfast and night, which last he did with as little inconvenience to himself as any man in the barony of Moyferta; and were I to add Clanderalaw and Ibrickan,

I don’t think I should say wrong.

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

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

110    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

was laid upon the shore, with a prayer for the repose of the dead.

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

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

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

FLORY CANTILLON’S FUNERAL.    HI

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

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

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

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

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

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

112    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

“ When mortal eye—our work shall spy,

And mortal ear—our dirge shall hear.”

“ Then,” said a fourth, “ our burial of the Cantillons is at an end forever ! ”

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

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

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

THE GREEK PRINCESS AND THE YOUNG GARDENER.

There was once a king, but I didn’t hear what country he was over, and he had one. very beautiful daughter. Well, he was getting old and sickly, and the doctors found out that the finest medicine in the world for him was the apples of a tree that grew in the orchard just under his window. So you may be sure he had the tree well minded, and used to get the apples counted from the time they were the size of small marbles. One harvest, just as they were beginning to turn ripe, the king was awakened one night by the flapping of wings outside in the orchard; and when he looked out, what did he see but a bird among the branches of his tree. Its feathers were so bright that they made a light all round them, and the minute it saw the king in his night-cap and night-shirt it picked off an apple, and flew away. “ Oh, botheration to that thief of a gardener ! ” says the king, “ this is a nice way he’s watching my precious fruit.” He didn’t sleep a wink the rest of the night; and as soon as any one was stirring in the palace, he sent for the gardener, and abused him for his neglect.

“Please your Majesty!” says he, “not another apple you shall lose. My three sons are the best shots at the bow and arrow in the kingdom, and they and myself will watch in turn every night.”

When the night came, the gardener’s eldest son took his post in the garden, with his bow strung and his arrow between his fingers, and watched, and watched. But at the dead hour, the king, that was wide awake, heard the flapping of wings, and ran to the window. There was the

113

114    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

bright bird in the tree, and the boy fast asleep, sitting with his back to the wall, and his bow on his lap.

“ Rise, you lazy thief! ” says the king, “ there’s the bird again, botheration to her ! ”

Up jumped the poor fellow; but while he was fumbling with the arrow and the string, away was the bird with the nicest apple on the tree. Well-, to oe sure, how the king fumed and fretted, and how he abused the gardener and the boy, and what a twenty-four hours he spent till midnight came again!

He had his eye this time on the second son of the gardener; but though he was up and lively enough when the clock began to strike twelve, it wasn’t done with the last bang when he saw him stretched like one dead on the long grass, and saw the bright bird again, and heard the flap of her wings, and saw her carry away the third apple. The poor fellow woke with the roar the king let at him, and even was in time enough to let fly an arrow after the bird. He did not hit her, you may depend; and though the king was mad enough, he saw the poor fellows were under pishtrogues, and could not help it.

Well, he had some hopes out of the youngest, for he was a brave, active young fellow, that had everybody’s good word. There he was ready, and there was the king watching him, and talking to him at the first stroke of twelve. At the last clang, the brightness coming before the bird lighted up the wall and the trees, and the rushing of the wings was heard as it flew into the branches ; but at the same instant the crack of the arrow on her side might be heard a quarter of a mile off. Down came the arrow and a large bright feather along with it, and away was the bird, with a screech that was enough to break the drum of your ear. She hadn’t time to carry off an apple ; and bedad, when the feather was thrown up into the king’s room it was heavier than lead, and turned out to be the finest beaten gold.

Well, there was great cooramuch made about the youngest boy next day, and he watched night after night

THE GREEK PRINCESS.    115

for a week, but not a mite of a bird or bird’s feather was to be seen, and then the king told him to go home and sleep. Every one admired the beauty of the gold feather beyond anything, but the king was fairly bewitched. He was turning it round and round, and rubbing it against his forehead and his nose the livelong day; and at last he proclaimed that he’d give his daughter and half his kingdom to whoever would bring him the bird with the gold feathers, dead or alive.

The gardener’s eldest son had great conceit of himself, and away he went to look for the bird. In the afternoon he sat down under a tree to rest himself, and eat a bit of bread and cold meat that he had in his wallet, when up comes as fine a looking fox as you’d see in the burrow of Munfin. “ Musha, sir,” says he, “ would you spare a bit of that meat to a poor body that’s hungry ? ”

“ Well,” says the other, “ you must have the divil’s own assurance, you common robber, to ask me such a question. Here’s the answer,” and he let fly at the moddher-een rua.

The arrow scraped from his side up over his back, as if he was made of hammered iron, and stuck in a tree a couple of perches off.

“ Foul play,” says the fox; “ but I respect your young brother, and will give a bit of advice. At nightfall you’ll come into a village. One side of the street you’ll see a large room lighted up, and filled with young men and women, dancing and drinking. The other side you’ll see a house with no light, only from the fire in the front room, and no one near it but a man and his wife, and their child. Take a fool’s advice, and get lodging there.” With that he curled his tail over his crupper, and trotted off.

The boy found things as the fox said, but begonies he chose the dancing and drinking, and there we’ll leave him. In a week’s time, when they got tired at home waiting for him, the second son said he’d try his fortune, and off he set. He was just as ill-natured and foolish as

110    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

his brother, and the same thing happened to him. Well, when a week was oyer, away went the youngest of all, and as sure as the hearth-money, he sat under the same tree, and pulled out his bread and meat, and the same fox came up and saluted him. Well, the young fellow shared his dinner with the moddhereen, and he wasn’t long beating about the bush, but told the other he knew all about his business.

“ I’ll help you,” says he, “ if I find you’re biddable. So just at nightfall you’ll come into a Tillage.....Good

bye till to-morrow.”

It was just as the fox said, but the boy took care not to go near dancer, drinker, fiddler, or piper. He got welcome in the quiet house to supper and bed, and was on his journey next morning before the sun was the height of the trees.

He wasn’t gone a quarter of a mile when he saw the fox coming out of a wood that was by the roadside.

“ Good-morrow, fox,” says one.

“ Good-morrow, sir,” says the other.

“ Have you any notion how far you have to travel till you find the golden bird ? ”

“ Dickens a notion have I;—how could I ? ”

“Well, I have. She’s in the King of Spain’s palace, and that’s a good two hundred miles off.”

“ Oh, dear ! we’ll be a week going.”

“Ho, we won’t. Sit down on my tail, and we’ll soon make the road short.”

“Tail, indeed! that ’ud be the droll saddle, my poor moddhereen.’’'1

“ Do as I tell you, or I’ll leave you to yourself.”

Well, rather than vex him he sat down on the tail that was spread out level like a wing, and away they went like thought. They overtook the wind that was before them, and the wind that came after didn’t overtake them. In the afternoon, they stopped in a wood near the King of Spain’s palace, and there they stayed till nightfall.

“ How,” says the fox, “ I’ll go before you to make the

THE GREEK PRINCESS.    117

minds of the guards easy, and you’ll have nothing to do but go from lighted hall to another lighted hall till you find the golden bird in the last. If you have a head on you, you’ll bring himself and his cage outside the door, and no one then can lay hands on him or you. If you haven’t a head I can’t help you, nor no one else.” So he went over to the gates.

In a quarter of an hour the boy followed, and in the first hall he passed he saw a score of armed guards standing upright, but all dead asleep. In the next he saw a dozen, and in the next half a dozen, and in the next three, and in the room beyond that there was no guard at all, nor lamp, nor candle, but it was as bright as day; for there was the golden bird in a common wood and wire cage, and on the table were the three apples turned into solid gold.

On the same table was the most lovely golden cage eye ever beheld, and it entered the boy’s head that it would be a thousand pities not to put the precious bird into it, the common cage was so unfit for her. Maybe he thought of the money it was worth; anyhow he made the exchange, and he had soon good reason to be sorry for it. The instant the shoulder of the bird’s wing touched the golden wires, he let such a squawk out of him as was enough to break all the panes of glass in the windows, and at the same minute the three men, and the half-dozen, and the dozen, and the score men, woke up and clattered their swords and spears,- and surrounded the poor boy, and jibed, and cursed, and swore at hime, till he didn’t know whether it’s his foot or head he was standing on. They called the king, and told him what happened, and he put on a very grim face. “ It’s on a gibbet you ought to be this moment,” says he, “ but I’ll give you a chance of your life, and of the golden bird, too. I lay you under prohibitions, and restrictions, and death, and destruction, to go and bring me the King of Moroco’s bay filly that' outruns the wind, and leaps over the walls of castle-bawns. When you fetch her into the bawn of this pal--

118    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

ace, you must get the golden bird, and liberty to go where you please.” — / c

Out passed the boy, very down-hearted, but as he went along, who should come out of a brake but the fox again.

“ Ah, my friend,” says he, “ I was right when I sun-pected you hadn’t a head on you; but I won’t rub your hair again’ the grain. Get on my tail again, and when we

come to the King of Moroco’s palace, we’ll see what we can do.”

So away they went like thought. The wind that was before them they would overtake ; the wind that was behind them would not overtake them.

Well, the nightfall came on them in a wood near the palace, and says the fox, “ I’ll go and make things easy for you at the stables, and when you are leading out the filly, don’t let her touch the door, nor doorposts, nor any-

THE GREEK PRINCESS.    119

tiling but the ground, and that with her hoofs; and if you haven’t a head 011 you once you are in the stable, you’ll be worse off than before.”

So the boy delayed for a quarter of an hour, and then he went into the big bawn of the palace. There were two rows of armed men reaching from the gate to the stable, and every man was in the depth of deep sleep, and through them went the boy till he got into the stable. There was the Ally, as handsome a beast as ever stretched leg, and there was one stable-boy with a currycomb in his hand, and another with a bridle, and another with a sieve of oats, and another with an armful of hay, and all as if they were cut out of stone. The filly was the only live thing in the place except himself. She had a common wood and leather saddle on her back, but a golden saddle with the nicest work on it was hung from the post, and he thought it the greatest pity not to put it in place of the other. Well, I believe there was some pishrogues over it for a saddle; anyhow, he took off the other, and put the gold one in its place.

Out came a squeal from the filly’s throat when she felt the strange article, that might be heard from Tom-brick to Bunclody, and all as ready were the armed men and the stable-boys to run and surround the omadhan of a boy, and the King of Moroco was soon there along with the rest, with a face on him as black as the sole of your foot. After he stood enjoying the abuse the poor boy got from everybody for some time, he says to him, “You deserve high hanging for your impudence, but I’ll give you a chance for your life and the filly, too. I lay on you all sorts of prohibitions, and restrictions, and death, and destruction to go bring me Princess Golden Locks, the King of Greek’s daughter. When you deliver her into my hand, you may have the 1 daughter of the wind,’ and welcome. Come in and take your supper and your rest, and be off at the flight of night.”

The poor boy was down in the mouth, you may suppose, as he was walking away next morning, and very

120    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

much ashamed when the fox looked up in his face after coming out of the wood.

“ What a thing it is,” says he, “ not to have a head when a body wants it worst; and here we have a fine long journey before us to the King of Greek’s palace. The worse luck now, the same always. Here, get 011 my tail, and we’ll be making the road shorter.”

So he sat on the fox’s tail, and swift as thought they went. The wind that was before them they would overtake it, the wind that was behind them would not overtake them, and in the evening they were eating their bread and cold meat in the wood near the castle.

“Now,” says the fox, when they were done, “I’ll go before you to make things easy. Follow me in a quarter of an hour. Don’t let Princess Golden Locks touch the jambs of the doors with her hands, or hair, or clothes, and if you’re asked any favor, mind how you answer. Once she’s outside the door, no one can take her from you.” Into the palace walked the boy at the proper time, and there were the score, and the dozen, and the half-dozen, and the three guards all standing up or leaning on their arms, and all dead asleep, and in the farthest room of all was the Princess Golden Locks, as lovely as Venus herself. She was asleep in one chair, and her father, the King of Greek, in another. He stood before her for ever so long with the love sinking deeper into his heart every minute, till at last he went down 011 one knee, and took her darling white hand in his hand, and kissed it.

When she opened her eyes, she was a little frightened, but I believe not very angry, for the boy, as I call him, was a fine handsome young fellow, and all the respect and love that ever you could think of was in his face. She asked him what he wanted, and he stammered, and blushed, and began his story six times, before she understood it.

“ And would you give me up to that ugly black King of Moroco ? ” says she.

“ I am obliged to do so,” says he, “ by prohibitions, and restrictions, and death, and destruction, but I’ll have his

122    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“How is the work going off?” says the king, when they were at supper.

“Faith, your Majesty,” says the poor boy, “it’s not going off, but coming on it is. I suppose you’ll have the trouble of digging me out at sunset to-morrow, and waking me.”

“ I hope not,” says the princess, with a smile on her kind face ; and the boy was as happy as anything the rest of the evening.    -

He was wakened up the next morning with voices, shouting, and bugles blowing, and drums beating, and' such a hullibulloo he never heard in his life before. He ran out to see what was the matter, and there, where the heap of clay was the evening before, were soldiers, and servants, and lords, and ladies, dancing like mad for joy that it was gone.

“ Ah, my poor fox! ” says he to himself, “ this is your work.”

Well there was little delay about his return. The king was going to send a great retinue with the princess and himself, but he wouldn’t let him take the trouble.

“ I have a friend,” says he, “ that will bring us both to

the King of Moroco’s palace in a day, d fly away with

him! ”-

There was great crying when she was parting from her father.

“ Ah ! ” says he, “ what a lonesome life I’ll have now! Your poor brother in the power of that wicked witch, and kept away from us, and now you taken from me in my old age! ”

Well, they both were walking on through the wood, and he telling her how much he loved her; out walked the fox from behind a brake, and in a short time he and she were sitting on the brush, and holding one another fast for fear of slipping off, and away they went like thought. The wind that was before them they would overtake it, and in the evening he and she were in the big bawn of the King of Moroco’s castle.

THE GREEK PRINCESS.    123

“Well,”says he to the boy, “you’ve done your duty well; bring out the bay filly. I’d give the full of the bawn of such fillies, if I had them, for this handsome princess. Get on your steed, and here is a good purse of guineas for the road.”

“ Thank you,” says he. “ I suppose you’ll let me shake hands with the princess before I start.”

“Yes, indeed, and welcome.”

Well, he was some little time about the hand-shaking, and before it was over he had her fixed snug behind him ; and while you could count three, he, and she, and the filly were through all the guards, and a hundred perches away. On they went, and next morning they were in the wood near the King of Spain’s palace, and there was the fox before them.

“ Leave your princess here with me,” says he, “ and go get the golden bird and the three apples. If you don’t bring us back the filly along with the bird, I must carry you both home myself.”

Well, when the King of Spain saw the boy and the filly jft the bawn? he made the golden bird, and the golden cage,

124    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

and the golden apples be brought out and handed to him, and was very thankful and very glad of his prize. But the boy could not part with the nice beast without petting it and rubbing it; and while no one was expecting such a thing, he was on its back, and through the guards, and a hundred perches away, and he wasn’t long till he came to where he left his princess and the fox.

They hurried away till they were safe out of the King of Spain’s land, and then they went on easier; and if I was to tell you all the loving things they said to one another, the story wouldn’t be over till morning.' When they were passing the village of the dance house they found his two brothers begging, and they brought them along. When they came to where the fox appeared first, he begged the young man to cut off his head and his tail, lie would not do it for him; he shivered at the very thought, but the eldest brother was ready enough. The head and tail vanished with the blows, and the body changed into the finest young man'you could see, and who was he but the princess’s brother that was bewitched. Whatever joy they had before, they had twice as much now, and when they arrived at the palace bonfires were set blazing, oxes roasting, and puncheons of wine put out in the lawn. The young Prince of Greece was married to the king’s daughter, and the prince’s sister to the gardener’s son. He and she went a shorter way back to her father’s house, with many attendants, and the king was so glad of the golden bird and the golden apples, that he had sent a wagon full of gold and a wagon full of silver along with them.

THE SOLITARY FAIRIES.*

LEPRACAUN". CLURICAUN". PAR DARRIG.

“ The name Lepracaun,” Mr. Douglas Hyde writes to me, “is from the Irish leith brogi:e., the One-shoemaker, since he is generally seen working at a single shoe. It is spelt in Irish leith bhrogan, or leith phvogan, and is in some places pronounced Luchryman, as O’Kearney writes it in that very rare hook, the Feis Tigh Chonain.”

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

The Lepracaun makes shoes continually, and has grown very rich. Many treasure-crocks, buried of, old in wartime, has he now for his own. In the early part of this century, according to Croker, in a newspaper office in

* The trooping fairies wear green jackets, the solitary ones red. On the red jacket of the Lepracaun, according to Me-Anally, are seven rows of buttons—seven buttons in each row. On the western coast, he says, the red jacket is covered by a frieze one, and in Ulster the creature wears a cocked hat, and when he is up to anything unusually mischievous, leaps on to a wall and spins, balancing himself on the point of the bat with his heels in-the air. Me Anally tells how once a peasant saw a battle between the green jacket fairies.and the red. When the green jackets began to win, so delighted was he to see the green above the red, he gave a great shout. In a moment all vanished and he was flung into the ditch.

125

126    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Tipperary, they used to show a little shoe forgotten by a Lepracaun.

The Cluricaun, (Clobhair-ceann, in O’Kearney) makes himself drunk in gentlemen’s cellars. Some suppose he is merely the Lepracaun on a spree. He is almost unknown in Connaught and the north.

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

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

There are other solitary fairies, such as the House-spirit and the Water-sheerie, own brother to the English Jack-o’-Lantern; the Pooka and the Banshee—concerning these presently ; the Ballahan, or headless phantom—one used to stand in a Sligo street on dark nights till lately ; the Black Dog, a form, perhaps, of the Pooka. The ships at the Sligo quays are haunted sometimes by this spirit, who announces his presence by a sound like the flinging of all “ the tin porringers in the world ” down into the hold. He even follows them to see.

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

Besides these are divers monsters—the Augh-iska, the Water-horse, the Payshtha (piast=bestia), the Lake-dragon, and such like; but whether these be animals, fairies, or spirits, I know not.

THE LEPRACAUN.    127

THE LEPRACAUN; OR, FAIRY SHOEMAKER.

WILLIAM ALLINGHAM.

Little Cowboy, what have yon heard,

Up on the lonely rath’s green mound ? Only the plaintive yellow bird 1

Sighing in sultry fields around,

Chary, chary, chary, chee-ee !—

. Only the grasshopper and the bee ?—

“ Tip tap, rip-rap,

Tick-a-tack-too!

Scarlet leather, sewn together,

This will make a shoe.

Left, right, pull it tight;

Summer days are warm; Underground in winter,

Laughing at the storm! ”

Lay your ear close to the hill.

Do you not catch the tiny clamor,

Busy click of an elfin hammer,

Voice of the Lepracaun singing shrill As he merrily plies his trade ?

He’s a span

And a quarter in height.

Get him in sight, hold him tight,

And you’re a made Man!

ii.

You watch your cattle the summer day, Sup on potatoes, sleep in the hay;

1

“ Yellow bird,” the yellow-bunting, or yorlin.

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

How would you like to roll in your carriage, Look for a duchess’s daughter in marriage ? Seize the Shoemaker—then you may!

“ Big boots a-hunting,

Sandals in the hall,

White for a wedding-feast,

Pink for a ball.

This way, that way,

So we make a shoe;

Getting rich every stitch,

Tick-tack-too! ”

Nine-and-ninety treasure-crocks This keen miser-fairy hath,

Hid in mountains, woods, and rocks,

Ruin and round-tow’r, cave and rath,

And where the cormorants build;

From times of old Guarded by him;

Each of them fill’d Full to the brim With gold!

hi.

I caught him at work one day, myself,

In the castle-ditch, where foxglove grows,—

A wrinkled, wizen d, and bearded Elf,

Spectacles stuck on his pointed nose,

Silver buckles to his hose,

Leather apron—shoe in his lap—

“ Rip-rap, tip-tap,

Tick-tack-too!

(A grasshopper on my cap !

Away the moth flew!)

Buskins for a fairy prince,

Brogues for his son,—

Pay me well, pay me well,

When the job is done ! ”    t    .

MASTER AND MAN.    129

The rogue was mine, beyond a doubt.

I stared at him ; he stared at me ;

“ Servant, Sir! ”    “    Humph ! ” says he,

And pull’d a snuff-box out.

He took a long pinch, look’d better pleased, The queer little JLepracaun;

Offer’d the box with a whimsical grace,—1 Pouf! he flung the dust in my face,

And, while I sneezed,

Was gone!

MASTER AND MAN.

T. CROFTON CHOKER.

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

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

“ Never wish it twice, Billy,” said a little man in a three-

9

1

A festival held in honor of some patron saint.

Z30    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

cornered hat, hound all about with gold lace, and with great silver buckles in his shoes, so big that it was a wonder how he could carry them, and he held out a glass as big as himself, filled with as good liquor as ever eye looked on or lip tasted.

“ Success, my little fellow,” said Billy Mac Daniel, nothing daunted, though well he knew the little man to belong to the good people; “here’s your health, any way, and thank you kindly ; 110 matter who pays for the drink; ” and he took the glass and drained it to the very bottom without ever taking a second hreatli to it.

“ Success,” said the little man ; and you’re heartily welcome, Billy ; hut don’t think to cheat me as you have done others,—out with your purse and pay me like a gentleman.”

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

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

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

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

Home went Billy Mac Daniel; and though he was tired and weary, enough, never a wink of sleep could he get for thinking of the little man; but he was afraid not to do his bidding, so up he got in the evening, and away he went to

MASTER AND MAN.    131

the Fort-field. He was not long there before the little man came towards him and said, “ Billy, I want to go a long journey to-night; so saddle one of my horses, and you may saddle another for yourself, as you are to go along with me, and may be tired after your walk last night.” Billy thought this very considerate of his master, and thanked him accordingly : “ But,” said he, “ if I may be so bold, sir, I would ask which is the way to your stable, for never a thing do I see hut the fort here, and the old thorn tree in the corner of the field, and the stream running at the bottom of the hill, with the bit of bog over against us.”

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

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

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

“ Where shall I get up, please your honor ? ” said Billy. “ Why, upon horseback, like me, to be sure,” said the little man.

“ Is it after making a fool of me you’d be,” said Billy, “bidding me get a horseback upon that bit of a rush? May be you want to persuade me that the rush I pulled but a while ago out of the hog over there is a horse? ” “Up! up ! and no words,” said the little man, looking very angry; “ the best horse you ever rode was hut a fool to it.” So Billy, thinking all this was in joke, and fearing to vex his master, straddled across the rush. “ Bor-ram ! Borram! Borram ! ” cried the little man three times (which, in English, means to become great), and Billy did the same after him; presently the rushes swelled up into fine horses, and away they went full speed ; but Billy, who had put the rush between his legs, without much minding how he did it, found himself

102    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

sitting on horseback the wrong way, which was rather awkward, with his face to the horse’s tail; and so quickly had his steed started off with him that he had no power to turn round, and there was therefore nothing for it but to hold on by the tail.

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

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

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

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

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

MASTER AND MAN.    138

flavor of every wine in it as well, ay, better than the butler himself.

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

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

“ God bless us, sir,” said Billy ; “ will you ? ”

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

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

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

“And what, will Darbv Riley say to that?” said Billy. “ Silence ! ” said the little man, putting on a mighty

134    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

severe look ; “ I did not bring you here with me to ask questions; ” and without holding further argument, he began saying the queer words which had the power of passing him through the key-liole as free as air, and which Billy thought himself mighty clever to be able to say after him.

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

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

Row it happened, just as Mrs. Rooney had helped his reverence to the first cut of the pig’s head which was placed before her, beautifully bolstered up with white savoys, that the bride gave a sneeze, which made every one at table start, but not a soul said “ Rod bless us.” All thinking that the priest would have done so, as lie ought if he had done his duty, no one wished to take the word out of his mouth, which, unfortunately, was preoccupied

MASTER AND MAN.    135

with pig’s head and greens. And after a moment’s pause the fun and merriment of the bridal feast went on without the pious benediction.

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

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

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

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

If Billy was astonished, how much more so was every one of the company into which he was thrown with so

136    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

FAR DARRIG IN DONEGAL.

MISS LETITIA MACLINTOCK.

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

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

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

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

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

“ Will you be pleased to give me a night’s lodging, sir ? ” asked Pat respectfully.

“ Can you tell a story ? ” returned the old man.

FAR DARRIG IN DONEGAL.    137

« No, then, sir, I canna say I’m good at story-telling,” replied the puzzled tinker.

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

This reply was made hi so decided a tone that Pat did not attempt to repeat his appeal, hut turned away reluctantly to resume his weary journey.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

138    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAR DARRIG IN DONEGAL.    139

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

“We must go,” said they, “ and well is it for you, Pat Diver, that the cocks crowed, for if they had not, you’d just ha’ been bundled into that grave with the corpse.” Two months passed, and Pat had wandered far and wide over the county Donegal, when he chanced to arrive at Raphoe during a fair.

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

“ How are you, Pat Diver ? ” said he, bending clown to look into the tinker’s face.

“You’ve the advantage of me, sir, for I liavna’ the pleasure of knowing you,” faltered Pat,

“ Do you not know me, Pat ? ” Whisper—“ When you go back to tnnishowen, you’ll have a story to tell! ”

THE POOKA.

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

He has many shapes—is now a horse, now an ass, now 140

THE PIPER AND THE PUCA.    141

a bull, now a goat, now an eagle. --Like all spirits, he is only half in the world of form.

THE PIPER AND THE PUCA.

DOTJGLAS HYDE.

Translated literally from the Irish of the Leabbar Sgeulaighe-achta.

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

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

“ Never mind your mother,” said the Puca, “ but keep your hold. If you fall, you will break your neck and your pipes.” Then the Puca said to him, “ Play up for me the ‘Shan Van Voclit’ (an t-seann-bhean bhocht).”

“ I don’t know it,” said the piper.

“ Never mind whether you do or you don’t,” said the Puca. “ Play up, and I’ll make you know.”

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

“ Upon my word, you’re a fine music-master,” says the piper then ; “but tell me where you’re for bringing me.” “ There’s a great feast hi the house of the Banshee, on

142    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

the top of Croagh Patric to-night,” says the Puca, “ and I’m for bringing yon there to play music, and, take my word, you’ll get the price of your trouble.” a “ By my word, you’ll save me a journey, then,” says the - piper, “ for Father William put a journey to Croagh Pat-• ric on me, because I stole the white gander from him last Martinmas.”

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

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

“ The best piper in Ireland,” says the Puca.

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

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

The gander cleaned the table, and carried it away, and the Puca said, “ Play up music for these ladies.”

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

“ By the tooth of Patric,” said he, “ I’m as rich as the son of a lord.”

“ Come with me,” says the Puca, “ and I’ll bring you home.”

They went out then, and just as he was going to ride on the Puca, the gander came up to him, and gave him a

THE PIPER AND THE PUCA.    143

new set of pipes. The Puca was not long until he brought him to Dunmore, and he threw the piper off at the little bridge, and then he told him to go home, and says to him, “You have two things now that you never had before-— you have sense and music (ciall agus ceol).

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

“You’re drunk,” said the mother.

“No, indeed,” says the piper, “I haven’t drunk a drop.”

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

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

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

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

“ Leave my sight, you thief,” says the priest.

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

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

1M    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

DANIEL O’ROURKE.

T. CROFTON CROKER.

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

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

DANIEL O’ROURKE.    145

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

“ I wandered and wandered about there, without knowing where I wandered, until at last I got into a big bog. The moon was shining as bright as day, or your fair lady’s eyes, sir (with your pardon for mentioning her), and I looked east and west, and north and south, and every way, and nothing did I see but bog, bog, bog—I could never find out how I got into it; and my heart grew cold with fear, for sure and certain I was that it would be my berrin place. So I sat down upon a stone which, as good luck would have it, was close by me, and I began to scratch my head, and sing the Vllagone—when all of a sudden the moon grew black, and I looked up, and saw something for all the world as if it was moving down between me and it, and I could not tell what it was. Down it came with a pounce, and looked at me full in the face; and what was it but an eagle ? as fine a one as ever flew from the kingdom of Kerry. So he looked at me in the face, and says he to me, £ Daniel O’Rourke,’ says he, ‘ how do you do ? ’ ‘ Very well, I thank you, sir,’ says I;

146    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

‘ I hope you’re well; ’ wondering out of my senses all the time how an eagle came to speak like a Christian. ‘ What brings you here, Dan,’says he. ‘Nothing at all, sir,’ says I; ‘only I wish I was safe home again.’ ‘Is it out of the island you want to go, Dan ? ’ says he. ‘ ’Tis, sir,’ says I: so I up and told him how I had taken a drop too much, and fell into the water; how I swam to the island ; and how I got into the bog and did not know my way out of it. ‘ Dan,’ says he, after a minute’s thought, ‘ though it is very improper for you to get drunk on Lady-day, yet as you are a decent sober man, who ’tends mass' well, and never fling stones at me or mine, nor cries out after us in the fields—my life for yours,’ says he; ‘ so get up on my back, and grip me well for fear you’d fall off, and I’ll fly you out of the bog.’ ‘ I am afraid,’ says I, ‘ your honor’s making game of me ; for who ever heard of riding a horseback on an eagle before ? ’    ‘ ’Pon the honor

of a gentleman,’ says he, putting his right foot on his breast, ‘ I am quite in earnest: and so now either take my offer or starve in the bog—besides, I see that your weight is sinking the stone.’

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

“ ‘ Arra-h, Dan,’ said he, ‘ do you think me a fool ?

DANIEL O’ROURKE.    147

Look down in the next field, and don’t you see two men and a gun ? By my word it would be no joke to be shot this way, to oblige a drunken blackguard that I picked up off a could stone in a bog.’ 4 Bother you,’ said I to myself, but I did not speak out, for where was the use ? Well, sir, up he kept, flying, flying, and I asking him every minute to fly down, and all to no use. 4Where in the world are you going, sir ? ’ says I to him. c Hold your tongue, Dan,’ says he: 4 Mind your own business, and don’t be interfering Avith the business of other people.’ 4 Faith, this is my business, I think,’ says I. ‘ Be quiet, Dan,’ says he: so I said no more.

“ At last where should Ave come to, but to the moon itself. Noav you can’t see it from this, but there is, or there was in my time, a reaping-hook sticking out of the side of the moon, this way (drawing the figure on the ground with the end of his stick).

4 Dan,’ said the eagle, 4 I’m tired with this long fly ; I had no notion ’twas so far.’ 4 And my lord, sir,’ said I, 4 who in the world axed you to fly so far—was it I ? did not I beg and pray and beseech you to stop half an hour ago ? ’    4 There’s no use talking, Dan,’ said he: 4 I’m tired

bad enough, so you must get off, and sit down on the moon until I rest myself.’ 4 Is it sit down on the moon ? ’ said I; 4 is it upon that little round thing, then ? why, then, sure I’d fall off in a minute, and be hilt and spilt, and smashed all to bits ; you are a vile deceiver—so you are.’ 4 Hot at all, Dan,’ said he ; 4 you can catch fast hold of the reaping-hook that’s sticking out of the side of the moon, and ’twill keep you up.’ 41 won’t then,’ said I. 4 May be not,’ said he, quite quiet. 4 If you don’t, my man, I shall just give you a shake, and one slap of my wing, and send you down to the ground, where every bone in your body shall be smashed as small as a drop of dew on a cabbage-leaf in the morning.’ 4 Why, then, I’m in a fine Avay,’ said I to myself, 4 ever to have come along with the likes of you; ’ and so giving him a hearty curse in Irish, for fear he’d know what I said, I got off his back

148    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

with a heavy heart, took hold of the reaping-hook, and sat down upon the moon, and a mighty cold seat it was, I can tell you that.

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

“ ‘ Is that all, and is this the way you leave me, you brute, you,’ says I. ‘You ugly unnatural baste, and is this the way you serve me at last ? Bad luck to yourself, Avith your hook’d nose, and to all your breed, you blackguard.’ ’Twas all to no manner of use ; he spread .out his great big wings, hurst out a laughing, and flew away like lightning. I bawled after him to stop ; but I might have called and baAvled forever, without his minding me. AAvay he went, and I never saAV him from that day to this—sorrow fly aAvay with him ! You may be sure I Avas in a disconsolate condition, and kept roaring out for the bare grief, Avhen all at once a door opened right in the middle of the moon, creaking on its hinges as if it had not been opened for a month before, I suppose they never thought of greasing ’em, and out there Avalks,—Avho do you think, hut the man in the moon himself ? I kneAV him by his bush.

“ ‘ Good morroAV to you, Daniel O’Rourke,’ said he; ‘Iioav do you do?’ ‘Very Avell, thank your honor,’ said I. ‘ I hope your honor’s Avell.’ ‘ What brought you here, Dan ? ’ said he. So I told him Iioav I Avas a little overtaken in liquor at the master’s, and Iioav I Avas cast on a dissolute island, and Iioav I lost my AAray in the bog, and Iioav the thief of an eagle promised to fly me out of it, and Iioav, instead of that, he had fled me up to the moon.

“ ‘ Dan,’ said the man in the moon, taking a pinch of snuff Avhen I was done, ‘ you must not stay here.’ ‘ In-

DANIEL O’ROURKE.    149

deed, sir,’ says I, ‘ ’tis much against my will I’m here at all; hut how am I to go back ? ’    ‘ That’s your business,’

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

“Well, I was preparing myself to try strength with him, when back again he comes, with the kitchen cleaver in his hand, and, without saying a word, he gives two bangs to the handle of the reaping-hook that was keeping me up, and whap ! it came in two. ‘ Good morning to you, Dan,’ says the spiteful little old blackguard, when he saw me cleanly falling down with a bit of the handle in my hand; ‘ I thank you for your visit, and fair weather after you, Daniel.’ I had not time to make any answer to him, for I was tumbling over and over, and rolling and rolling, at the rate of a fox-hunt. ‘ God help me ! ’ says I, ‘ but this is a pretty pickle for a decent man to be seen in at this time of night: I am now sold fairly.’ The word was not out of my mouth when, whiz ! what should fly by close to my ear but a flock of wild geese, all the way from my own bog of Ballyasheenogh, else how should they know me f The ould gander, who was their general, turning

150    IRISH HAIRY TALES.

about Ms head, cried out to me, ‘Is that you, Dan?r ‘ The same,’ said I, not a bit daunted now at what he said, for I was by this time used to all kinds of bedevilment, and, besides, I knew him of ould. ‘Good morrow to you,’ says he, ‘ Daniel O’Rourke; how are you in health this morning ? ’ ‘ Very well, sir,’ says I, ‘I thank you kindly,’ drawing my breath, for I was mightily in want of some. ‘ I hope your honor’s the same.’ ‘ I think ’tis falling you are, Daniel,’ says he. ‘You may say that, sir,’ says I. ‘And where are you going all the way so fast ? ’ said the gander. So I told him how I had taken the drop, and how I came on the island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the thief of an eagle flew me up to the moon, and how the man in the moon turned me out. ‘ Dan,’ said he, ‘ I’ll save you: put out your hand and catch me by the leg, and I’ll fly you home.’ ‘ Sweet is your hand in a pitcher of honey, my jewel,’ says I, though all the time I thought within myself that I don’t much trust you; but there was no help, so I caught the gander by the leg, and away I and the other geese flew after him as fast as hops.

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

“ Just as we were talking, a ship hove in sight, scudding so beautiful before the wind. ‘ Ah ! then, sir,’ said I, ‘ will you drop me on the ship, if you please ? ’    ‘    We are not

fair over it,’ said he ; ‘ if I dropped you now you would go splash into the sea.’ ‘I would not,’ says I; ‘I know

. DANIEL O’ROURKE.    151

better than that, for it is just as clean under us, so let me drop now at once.”

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

“ ‘ Get up,’ said she again: 1 and of all places in the parish would no place sarve your turn to lie down upon but under the ould walls of Carrigapooka ? an uneasy resting I am sure you had of it.’ And sure enough I had : for I was fairly bothered out of my senses with eagles, and men of the moons, and flying ganders, and whales, driving me through bogs, and up to the moon, and down to the bottom of the green ocean. If I was in drink ten times over, long would it be before I’d lie down in the •same spot again, I know that.”

152    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

THE KILDARE POOKA*

PATRICK KENNEDY.

Mr. H R , when he was alive, used to live a

good deal in Dublin, and he was once a great while out of the country on account of the “ ninety-eight ” business.

But the servants kept on in the big house at Rath all

the same as if. the family was at home. Well, they used to he frightened out of their lives after going to their beds with the hanging of the kitchen-door, and the clattering of fire-irons, and the pots and plates and dishes. One evening they sat up ever so long, keeping one another in heart with telling stories about ghosts and fetches, and that when—what would you have of it ?—the little scullery hoy that used to he sleeping over the horses, and could not get room at the fire, crept into the hot hearth, and when he got tired listening to the stories, sorra fear him, hut he fell dead asleep.

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

THE KILDARE POOKA.    153

him, and thrust out his lower lip to show how little he valued him, and then he pitched him into his pew again.

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

Well, to be sure if there wasn’t a hullabullo next morning when the poor fellow told his story! They could talk of nothing else the whole day. One said one thing, another said another, but a fat, lazy scullery girl said the wittiest thing of all. “ Musha ! ” says she, “ if the pooka does be cleaning up everything that way when we are asleep, what should we be slaving ourselves for doing his work ? ”    “ Shu gu dheinesays another; “ them’s the

wisest words you ever said, Kauth; it’s meeself won’t contradict you.”

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

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

* Meant for seadh go deimhini. e., yes, indeed.

154:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ An then, sir,” says he, at last, picking up courage, “ if it isn’t taking a liberty, might I ax who you are, and why you are so kind as to do half of the day’s work for the girls every night?” “No liberty at all,” says the pooka, says he: “ I’ll tell you, and welcome. I was a servant in the time of Squire R.’s father, and was the laziest rogue that ever was clothed and fed, and done nothing for it. When my time came for the other world, this is the. punishment was laid on me—to come here and do all this labor every night, and then go out in the cold. It isn’t • so bad in the fine weather; but if you only knew what it is to stand with your head between your legs, facing the storm from midnight to sunrise, 011 a bleak winter night.” “ And could we do anything for your comfort, my poor fellow ? ” says the boy, “ Musha, I don’t know,” says the pooka; “ but I think a good quilted frieze coat would held to keep the life in me them long nights.” Why then, hi troth, we’d be the ungratefullest of people if we didn’t feel for you.”

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

So he was walking out, but the other cried, “ Och! sure your going too soon. What about the washing and sweeping ? ’    “ Ah, you may tell the girls that they must

now get their turn. My punishment was to last till I was thought worthy of a reward for the way I done my duty. You’ll see me no more.” And no more they did, and right sorry they were for having been in such a hurry to reward the ungrateful pooka.

THE BANSHEE.

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

* We have other omens beside the Banshee and the Dullahan and the Coach-a-Bower. I know one family where death is announced by the cracking of a whip. Some families are attended by phantoms of ravens or other birds. When McManus, of ’48 celebrity, was sitting by his dying brother, a bird of vulture-like appearance came through the window and lighted on the breast of the dying man. The two watched in terror, not daring to drive it off. It crouched there, bright-eyed, till the soul left the body. It was considered a most evil omen. Lefanu worked this into a tale. I have good authority for tracing its origin to McManus pud his brother,

155

156    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

perhaps; unless, indeed, they are descended from that Irish giant who swam across the Channel with his head, in his teeth.—Ed.]

HOW THOMAS CONNOLLY MET THE BANSHEE.

J. TODHUNTER.

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

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

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

THE BANSHEE.

157

an’ her head bowed down, seemin’ly in the greatest affliction.

Well, sir, I pitied the onld craythur, an’ though I wasn’t worth a thraneen, for the mortial fright I was in, I up an’ sez to her, “ That’s a cowld lodgin’ for ye, ma’am.” Well,' the sorra ha’porth she sez to that, nor tuk no more notice o’ me than, if I hadn’t , let a word out o’ me, but kep’ rockin’ herself to an’ fro, as if her heart was breakin’; so I sez to her again, “ Eh, ma’am, is there anythin’ the matter wid ye ? ” An’ I made for to touch her on the shoulder, on’y somethin’ stopt me, for as I looked closer at her I saw she was no more an ouLd woman nor she was an ould cat. The first thing I tuk notice to, Misther Harry, was her hair, that was sthreelin’ down over her showldhers. an’ a good yard on the ground on aich side of her. O, be the hoky farmer, but that was the hair! The likes of it I never seen on mortial woman, young or ould, before nor sense. , It grew as sthrong out of her as out of e’er a young slip of a girl ye could see ; but the color of it was a mis-thery to describe. The first squint I got of it I thought it was silvery gray, like an ould crone’s; but when I got up beside her I saw, be the glance o’ the sky, it was a soart iv an Iscariot color, an’ a shine out of it like floss silk. It ran over her showldhers and the two shapely arms she was lanin’ her head on, for all the world like-Mary Magdalen’s in a picther; and then I persaved that the gray cloak and the green gownd unclhernaith it was made of no earthly matarial I ever laid eyes on. Now, I needn’t tell ye, sir, that I seen all this in the twinkle of a bed-post—long as I take to make the narration of it. So I made a step back from her, an’ “ The Lord be betune us an’ harm ! ” sez I, out loud, an’ wid that I blessed me-self. Well, Misther Harry, the word wasn’t o’ me mouth afore she turned her face on me. Aw, Misther Harry, but ’twas that was the awfullest apparation ever I seen, the face of her as she looked up at me ! God forgive me for sayin’ it but ’twas more like the face of the “ Axy Homo ” beyand in Marlboro’ Sthreet Chapel nor like any face I

158    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

could mintion―as pale as a corpse, an’ a most o’ freckles on it, like the freckles on a turkey’s egg; an’ the two eyes sewn in wid red thread, from the terrible power o’ crying the’ had to do ; an’ such a pair iv eyes as the’ wor, Mis-ther Harry, as blue as two forget-me-nots, an’as cowld as the moon in a bog-hole of a frosty night, an’ a dead-an’-live look in them that sent a cowld shiver through the marra o’ me bones. Be the mortial! ye could ha’ rung a tay cupful o’ cowld paspiration out o’ the hair o’ me head that minute, so ye could. Well, I thought the life ud’ lave me intirely when she riz up from her hunkers, till, bedad 1 she looked mostly as tall as Nelson’s Pillar; an’ wid the two eyes gazing’ back at me, an’ her two arms stretched out before her, an’ a keine out of her that riz the hair o’ me scalp till it was as stiff as the hog’s bristles in a new hearth broom, away she glides―glides round the angle o’ the brudge, an’ down with her into the sthrame that ran undhernaith it. ’Twas then I began to suspect what she was. “ Wisha, Thomas! ” says I to meself, sez I; an’ I made a great struggle to get me two legs into a throt, in spite o’ the spavin o’ fright the pair o’ them wor in; an’ how I brought meself home that same night the Lord in heaven only knows, for I never could tell; but I must ha’ tumbled agin the door, and shot in head foremost into the middle o’ the flure, where I lay in a dead swoon for mostly an hour; and the first I knew was Mrs. Maguire stannin’ over me with a jorum o’ punch she was pourin’ down me ' throath (throat), to bring back the life into me, an’ me head in a pool of cowld wather she dashed over me in her first fright. “ Arrah, Mister Connolly,!’ shashee, “ what ■ ails ye ? ” shashee, “ to put the scare on a lone woman like that ? ” shashee. “ Am I in this world or the next ? ” sez I. “ Musha! where else would ye be on’y here in my kitchen ?” shashee. “O, glory be to God!” sez I, “but I thought I was in Purgathory at the laste, not to mintion an uglier place,” sez I, “ only it’s too cowld I find myself, an’ not too hot,” sez I. “ Faix, an’ maybe ye wor more nor half-ways there, on’y for me,” shashee; “ but what’s comb

A LAMENTATION.    159

to you at all, at all ? Is it your fetch ye seen, Mister Connolly ? ”    “ Aw, naboclish ! ” * sez I. “ Never mind what

I seen,” sez I. So be degrees I began to come to a little ; an1 that’s the way I met the banshee, Misther Harry!

“ But bow did you know it really was the banshee after all, Thomas ? ”

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

A LAMENTATION.

For the Death of Sir Maurice Fitzgerald,, Knight, of Kerry, who was hilled in Flanders, 1642.

FROM THE IRISH, BY CLARENCE MANGAN.

There was lifted up one voice of woe,

One lament of more than mortal grief,

Through the wide South to and fro,

For a fallen Chief.

In the dead of night that cry thrilled through me,

I looked out upon the midnight air !

My own soul was all as gloomy,

As I knelt in prayer.

O’er Loch Gur, that night, once—twice—yea, thrice— Passed a wail of anguish for the Brave

*No bae leisi, e., don’t mind it.

160    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

That half curled into ice Its moon-mirroring wave.

Then uprose a many-toned wild hymn in Choral swell from Ogra’s dark ravine,

And Mogeely’s Phantom Women Mourned the Geraldine!

Far on Carah Mona’s emerald plains

Shrieks and sighs were blended many hours, And Fermoy in fitful strains Answered from her towers.

Youghal, Keenalmeaky, Eemokilly,

Mourned in concert, and their piercing keen Woke to wondering life the stilly Glens of Inchiqueen.

From Loughmoe to yellow Dunanore There was fear ; the traders of Tralee Gathered up their golden store,

And prepared to flee;

For, in ship and hall from night till morning, Showed the first faint beamings of the sun, All the foreigners heard the warning Of the Dreaded One!

“ This,” they spake, “ portendeth death to us,

If we fly not swiftly from our fate! ” Self-conceited idiots! thus Ravingly to prate!

Not for base-born higgling Saxon trucksters Ring laments like those by shore and sea! Rot for churls with souls like hucksters Waileth our Banshee!

For the high Milesian race alone Ever flows the music of her woe I For slain heir to bygone throne,

And for Chief laid low!

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS. 161

Hark! . . . Again, me thinks, I hear her weeping Yonder! Is she near me now, as then Or was hnt the night-wind sweeping Down the hollow glen ?

THE BAHSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.

T. CROFT OK CROKER.

Charles Mac Carthy was, hi the year 1749, the only surviving son of a very numerous family. His father died when he was little more than twenty, leaving him the Mac Carthy estate, not much encumbered, considering that it was an Irish one. Charles was gay, handsome, unfettered either by poverty, a father, or guardians, and therefore was not, at the age of one-and-twenty, a pattern of regularity and virtue. In plain terms, he was an exceedingly dissipated—I fear I may say debauched, young man. His companions were, as may be supposed, of the higher classes of the youth in his neighborhood, and, in general, of those whose fortunes were larger than his own, whose dispositions to pleasure were, therefore, under still less restrictions, and in whose example he found at once an incentive and an apology for his irregularities. Besides, Ireland, a place to this day not very remarkable for the coolness and the steadiness of its youth, was then one of the cheapest countries in the world in most of those articles which money supplies for the indulgence of the passions. The odious exciseman,—with his portentous book in one hand, unrelenting pen held in the other, or stuck beneath his hat-band, and the ink-bottle (‘ black emblem of the informer ’) dangling from his waistcoat-button—went not then from ale-house to ale-house denouncing all those patriotic dealers in spirits, who preferred selling whisky, which had nothing to do with English laws (but to elude them), to retailing that poisonous liquor, which derived its name from the British n

162    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ Parliament ” that compelled its circulation among a reluctant people. Or if the gauger—recording angel of the law—wrote down the peccadillo of a publican, he dropped a tear upon the word, and blotted it out forever !• For, welcome to the tables of their hospitable neighbors, the guardians of the excise, where they existed at all, scrupled to abridge those luxuries which they freely shared; and thus the competition in the market between the smuggler, who incurred little hazard, and the personage ycleped fair trader, who enjoyed little protection, made Ireland a land flowing, not merely with milk and honey, but with whisky and wine. In the enjoyments supplied by these, and in the may kindred pleasures to which frail youth is but too prone, Charles Mac Carthy indulged in such a degree, that just about the time when he had completed his four-and-twentieth year, after a week of great excesses he was seized with a violent fever, which, from its malignity, and the weakness of his frame, left scarcely a hope of his recovery. His mother, who had at first made many efforts to check his vices, and at last had been obliged to look 011 at his rapid progress to ruin in silent despair, watched day and night at his pillow. The anguish of parental feeling was blended with that still deeper misery which those only know who have striven hard to rear in virtue and piety a beloved and favorite child; have found him grow up all that their hearts could desire, until he reached manhood ; and then, when their pride was highest, and their hopes almost ended in the fulfilment of their fondest expectations, have, seen this idol of their affections plunge headlong into a course of reckless profligacy, and, after a rapid career of vice, hang upon the verge of eternity, without the leisure or the power of repentance. Fervently she prayed that, if his life could not be spared, at least the delirium, which continued with increasing violence from the first few hours of his disorder, might vanish before death, and leave enough of light and of calm for making his peace with offended Heaven. After several days, however, nature seemed quite ex- ■

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS. 163

hausted, and he sunk into a state too like death to be mistaken for the repose of sleep. His face had that pale, glossy, marble look, which is in general so sure a symptom that life has left its tenement of clay. His eyes were closed and sunk; the lids having that compressed and stiffened appearance which seem to indicate that some friendly hand had done its last office. The lips, half closed and perfectly ashy, discovered just so much of the teeth as to give to the features of death their most ghastly, but most impressive look. He lay upon his back, with his hands stretched beside him, quite motionless; and his distracted mother, after repeated trials, could discover not the least sympton of animation. The medical man who attended, having tried the usual modes for ascertaining the presence of life, declared at last his opinion that it was flown, and prepared to depart from the house of mourning. His horse was seen to come to the door. A crowd of people who were collected before the windows, or scattered in groups on the lawn in front, gathered around when the door opened. These were tenants, fosters, and poor relations of the family, with others attracted by affection, or by that interest which partakes of curiosity, but is something more, and which collects the lower ranks round a house where a human being is in his passage to another world. They saw the professional man come out from the hall door and approach his horse ; and while slowly, and with a melancholy air, he prepared to mount, they clustered round him with inquiring and wistful looks. Hot a word was spoken, but their meaning could not be misunderstood; and the physician, when he had got into his saddle, and while the servant was stiff holding the bridle as if to delay him, and was looking anxiously at his face as if expecting that he would relieve the general suspense, shook his head and said in a low voice, “It’s all over, James; ” and moved slowly away. The moment he had spoken the women present, who were very numerous, uttered a shrill cry, which, having been suftained for about half a minute,

■164    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

fell suddenly into a full, loud, continued, and discordant but plaintive wailing, above which occasionally were heard the deep sounds of a man’s voice, sometimes in deep sobs, sometimes in more distinct exclamations of sorrow. This was Charles’s foster-brother, who moved about the crowd, now clapping his hands, now rubbing them together in an agony of grief. The poor fellow had been Charles’s playmate and companion when a boy, and afterwards his servant; had always been distinguished by his peculiar regard, and loved his young master as ijiuch, at least, as he did his own life.

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

The night was pretty far advanced; the boisterous lamentations which had prevailed during part of the day

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS. 165

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

He turned to her slowly, and said, speaking still with apparent difficulty, “Yes, my mother, alive, and—but sit down and collect yourself; I have that to tell which will astonish you still more than what you have seen.” He leaned back upon his pillow, and while his mother remained kneeling by the bedside, holding one of his hands clasped in hers, and gazing on him with the look of one who distrusted all her senses, he proceeded : “ Do not interrupt me until I have done. I wish to speak while the f/xcitement of returning life is upon me, as I know I shall

166    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

soon need much repose. Of the commencement of my illness I have only a confused recollection; but within the last twelve hours I have been before the judgment-seat of God. Do not stare incredulously on me—’tis as true as have been my crimes, and as, I trust, shall be repentance. I saw the awful Judge arrayed in all the terrors which invest him when mercy gives place to justice. The dreadful pomp of offended omnipotence, I saw—I remember. It is fixed here; printed on my brain in characters indelible; but it passetli human language. What I can describe I will—I may speak it briefly. It is enough to say, I was weighed in the balance, and found wanting. The irrevocable sentence was upon the point of being pronounced; the eye of my Almighty Judge, Avhich had already glanced upon me, half spoke my doom ; when I observed the guardian saint, to whom you so often directed my prayers when I was a child, looking at me with an expression of benevolence and compassion. I stretched forth my hands to him, and besought his intercession. I implored that one year, one month, might be given to be on earth to do penance and atonement for my transgressions. He threw himself at the feet of my Judge, and supplicated for mercy. Oh! never—not if I should pass through ten thousand successive states of being— never, for eternity, shall I forget the horrors of that moment, when my fate hung suspended—when an instant was to decide whether torments unutterable were to be my portion for endless ages ! But Justice suspended its decree, and Mercy spoke in accents of firmness, but mildness, £ Return to that world in which thou hast lived but to outrage the laws of Him who made that world and thee. Three years are given thee for repentance; when these are ended, thou shalt again stand here, to be saved or lost forever.’ I heard no more ; I saw no more, until I awoke to life, the moment before you entered.”

Charles’s strength continued just long enough to finish these last words, and on uttering them he closed his eyes, and lay quite exhausted. His mother, though, as was b§>-

HE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.    167

fore said, somewhat disposed to give credit to supernatural visitations, yet hesitated whether or not she should believe that, although awakened from a swoon which might have been the crisis of his disease, he was still under the influence of delirium. Repose, however, was at all events necessary, and she took immediate measures that he should enjoy it undisturbed. After some hours’ sleep, he awoke refreshed, and thenceforward gradually but steadily recovered.

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

Time rolled on, and long before the three years were ended the story of his vision was forgotten, or, when spoken of, was usually mentioned as an instance proving the folly of believing in such things. Charles’s health, from the temperance and regularity of his habits, became more robust than ever. His friends, indeed, had often occasion to rally him upon a seriousness and abstractedness of demeanor, which grew upon him as he approached the completion of his seven-and-twentieth year, but for the most part his manner exhibited the same animation and cheerfulness for which he had always been remarkable. In company he evaded every endeavor to draw from him a distinct opinion on the subject of the supposed prediction ; but among his own family it was well known that he still firmly believed it. However, when the day had nearly arrived on which the prophecy was, if at all to be fulfilled, his whole appearance gave such promise of

168    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

a long and healthy life, that he was persuaded by his friends to ask a large party to an entertainment at Spring House, to celebrate his birthday. But the occasion of .this party, and the circumstances which attended it, will 6e best learned from a perusal of the following letters, which have been carefully preserved by some relations of his family. The first is from Mrs. Mac Carthy to a lady, a very near connection and valued friend of hers who lived in the country of Cork, at about fifty miles’ distance from Spring House.

“tomes, baeey, castle baeey.

Spring House, Tuesday morning, October 15 th, 1752.

“ My deaeest Maey,

“ I am afraid I am going to put your affection for your old friend and kinswoman to a severe trial. A two days’ journey at this season, over bad roads and through a troubled country, it will indeed require friendship such as yours to persuade a sober woman to encounter. But the truth is, I have, or fancy I have, more then usual cause for wishing you near me. You know my son’s story. I can’t tell you how it is, but as next Sunday approaches, when the prediction of his dream, or vision, will be proved false or true, I feel a sickening of the heart, which I cannot suppress, but which your presence, my dear Mary, will soften, as it has done so many of my sorrows. My nephew, James Ryan, is to be married to Jane Osborne (who, 3mu know, is my son’s ward), and the bridal entertainment will take place here on Sunday next, though Charles pleaded hard to have it postponed for a day or two longer. Would to Cod—but no more of this till we meet. Do prevail upon yourself to leave your good man for one week, if his farming concerns will not admit of his accompanying you ; and come to us, with the girls, as soon before Sunday as vou can.

“ Ever my dear Mary’s attached cousin and friend,

“ Ann Mac Caethy.”

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.    109

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

Spring House, Sunday evening,

2Qth October, 1752.

“ Dear Ellex,

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

“The Bourkes kept us up so late on Friday night that yesterday was pretty far advanced before we could begin

170    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

our journey, and the day closed when we were nearly fifteen miles distant from this place. The roads were excessively deep, from the heavy rains of the last week, and we proceeded so slowly that, at last, my mother resolved on passing the night at the house of Mr. Bourke’s brother (who lives about a quarter-of-a-mile off the road), and coming here to breakfast in the morning. The day had been windy and showery, and the sky looked fitful, gloomy, and uncertain. The moon was full, and at times shone clear and bright; at others it was wholly concealed behind the thick, black, and rugged masses of clouds that rolled rapidly along, and were every moment becoming larger, and collecting together as if gathering strength for a coming storm. The wind, which blew in our faces, whistled bleakly along the low hedges of the narrow road, on which we proceeded with difficulty from the number of deep sloughs, and which afforded not the least shelter, no plantation being -within some miles of us. My mother, therefore, asked Leary, who drove the jaunting-car, how far we were from Mr. Bourke’s ? ‘ ’Tis about ten spades from this to the cross, and we have then only to turn to the left into the avenue, ma’am.’ ‘ Yery well, Leary ; turn up to Mr. Bourke’s as soon as you reach the cross roads.’ My mother had scarcely spoken these words, when a shriek, that made us thrill as if our very hearts were pierced by it, burst from the hedge to the right of our way. If it resembled anything earthly it seemed the cry of a female, struck by a sudden and mortal blow, and giving out her life in one long deep pang of expiring agony. ‘ Heaven defend us ! ’ exclaimed my mother. ‘ Go you over the hedge, Leary, and save that woman, if she is not yet dead, while we run back to the hut we have just passed, and alarm the village near it.’ ‘Woman ! ’ said Leary, beating the horse violently, while his voice trembled, ‘ that’s no woman; the sooner we get on, ma’am, the better ; ’ and he continued his efforts to quicken the horse’s pace. We saw nothing. The moon was hid. It was quite dark, and we had been for some time expecting a

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.    m

heavy fall of rain. But just as Leary had spoken, and had succeeded in making the horse trot briskly forward, we distinctly heard a loud clapping of hands, followed by a succession of screams, that seemed to denote the last excess of despair and anguish, and to issue from a person running forward inside the hedge, to keep pace with our progress. Still we saw nothing; until, when we were within about ten yards of the place where an avenue branched off to Mr. Bourke’s to the left, and the road turned to Spring House on the right, the moon started suddenly from behind a cloud, and enabled us to see, as plainly as I now see this paper, the figure of a tall, thin woman, with uncovered head, and long hair that floated round her shoulders, attired in something which seemed either a loose white cloak or a sheet thrown hastily about her. She stood on the corner hedge, where the road on which we were met that which leads to Spring House, with her face towards us, her left hand pointing to this place, and her right arm waving rapidly and violently as if to draw us on in that direction. The horse had stopped, apparently frightened at the sudden presence of the figure, which stood in the manner I have described, still uttering the same piercing cries, for about half a minute. It then leaped upon the road, disappeared from our view for one instant, and the next was seen standing upon a high wall a little way up the avenue on which we purposed going, still pointing towards the road to Spring House, but in an attitude of defiance and command, as if prepared to oppose our passage up the avenue. The figure was now quite silent, and its garments, which had before flown loosely in the wind, were closely wrapped around it. ‘ Go on, Leary, to Spring House, in God’s name! ’ said my mother; ‘ whatever world it belongs to, we will provoke it no longer.’ ‘ ’Tis the Banshee, ma’am,’ said Leary ; ‘and I would not, for what my life is worth, go anywhere this blessed night but to Spring House. But I’m afraid there’s something bad going forward, or she would not send us there.’ So saying, he drove forward ; and as

172    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

we turned on the road to the right, the moon suddenly withdrew its.light, and we saw the apparition no more; but we heard plainly a prolonged clapping of hands, gradually dying away, as if it issued from a person rapidly retreating. We proceeded as quickly-as. the badness.-of the roads and the fatigue of the poor animal that drew us would allow, and arrived here about eleven o’clock last night. The scene which awaited us you have learned from my mother’s letter. To explain it fully, I must recount to you some of the transactions which .took place here during the last week.

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

“ Charles Mac Carthy, at the time I mentioned, was walking between James Ryan and another, at a little distance from the rest, on a gravel path, skirting a shrub-, bery. The whole party was thrown into the utmost consternation by the report of a pistol, fired from a thickly-planted part of the shrubbery which Charles and his companions had just passed, He ML instantly, and it. was,

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.    .173

found that he had been wounded in the leg. One of the party was a medical man. His assistance was immediately given, and, on examining, he declared that the injury was very slight, that no bone was broken, it was merely a flesh would, and that it would certainly be well in a few days. ‘We shall know more by Sunday,” said Charles as he was carried to his chamber. His wound was immediately dressed, and so slight was the inconvenience which it gave that several of his friends spent a portion of the evening in his apartment.

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

“Charles’s wound was thought of such little consequence that the preparations went forward, as usual, for the wedding entertainment on Sunday. But on Friday night he grew restless and feverish, and on Saturday (yesterday) morning felt so ill that it was deemed necessary to obtain additional medical advice. Two physicans and a surgeon met in consultation about twelve o’clock in the day, and the dreadful intelligence was announced, that unless a change, hardly hoped for, took place before night, death must happen within twenty-four hours after. The wound, it seems, had been too tightly bandaged, and otherwise injudiciously treated. The physicians were right in their anticipations. Ho favorable symptom appeared, and long before we reached Spring House every ray of hope

1U    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

had vanished. The scene we witnessed on our arrival would have wrung the heart of a demon. We heard briefly at the gate that Mr. Charles was upon his deathbed. When we reached the house, the information was confirmed by the servant who opened the door. But just as we entered we were horrified by the most appalling screams issuing from the staircase. My mother thought she heard the voice of poor Mrs. Mac Carthy, and sprung forward. We followed, and on ascending a few steps of the stairs, we found a young woman, in a state/ of frantic passion, struggling furiously with two men-servants, whose united strength was hardly sufficient to prevent her rushing upstairs over the body of Mrs; Mac Carthy, who was lying in strong hysterics upon the steps. This, I afterwards discovered, was the unhappy girl I before described, who was attempting to gain access to Charles’s room, to ‘ get his forgiveness,’ as she said, ‘ before he went away to accuse her for having killed him.’ This wild idea was mingled with another, which seemed to dispute with the former possession of her mind. In one sentence she called on Charles to forgive her, in the next she would denounce James Ryan as the murderer, both of Charles and her. At length she was torn away; and the last words I heard her scream were, 4 James Ryan, ’twas you killed him, and not I—’twas you killed him, and not I.’

“ Mrs. Mac Carthy, on recovering, fell into lhe arms of my mother, whose presence seemed a great relief to her. She wept—the first tears, I was told, that she had shed since the fatal accident. She conducted us to Charles’s room, who, she said, had desired to see us the moment of our arrival, as he found his end approaching, and wished to devote the last hours of his existence to uninterrupted prayer and meditation. We found him perfectly calm, resigned, and even cheerful. He spoke of the awful event which was at hand with courage and confidence, and treated it as a doom for which he had been preparing ever since his former remarkable illness, and which, he never once doubted was truly foretold to him. He bade us fare-

THE BANSHEE OF THE MAC CARTHYS.    175

well with the air of one who was about to travel a short and easy journey; and we left him with impressions which, notwithstanding all their anguish, will, I trust, never entirely forsake us.

“ Poor Mrs. Mac Carthy hut I am just called away.

There seems a slight stir in the family; perhaps ”

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

GHOSTS.

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

When the soul has left the body, it is drawn away, sometimes, by the fairies. I have a story of a peasant who once saw, sitting in a fairy rath, all who had died for years in his village. Such souls are considered lost. If a soul eludes the fairies, it may be snapped up by the evil spirits. The weak souls of young children are in especial danger. When a very young child dies, the western peasantry sprinkle the threshold with the blood of a chicken, that the spirits may be drawn away to the blood. A Ghost is compelled to obey the commands of the living.

“ The stable-boy up at Mrs. G ’s there,” said an old

countryman, “ met the master going found the yards after he had been two days dead, and told him to be away with him to the lighthouse, and haunt that; and there he is far out to sea still, sir. Mrs. G—:— was quite wild about it, and dismissed the boy.” A very desolate light-176

A DREAM.    177

house poor devil of a Ghost! Lady Wilde considers it is only the spirits who are too bad for heaven, and too good for hell, who are thus plagued. They are compelled to obey some one they have wronged.

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

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

A DREAM.

WILLIAM ALLINGIIAM.

I heard the dogs howl in the moonlight night 5 I went to the window to see the sight;

All the Dead that ever I knew Going one by one and two by two.

On they pass’d, and on they pass’d; Townsfellows all, from first to last;

Born in the moonlight of the lane,

Quench’d in the heavy shadow again.

Schoolmates, marching as when we play’d At soldiers once—but now more staid ;

Those were the strangest sight to me Who were drown’d, I knew, in the awful sea.

12

ITS    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Straight and handsome folk; bent and weak, too; Some that I loved, and gasp’d to speak to ;

Some hut a day in their churchyard bed;

Some that I had not known were dead.

A long, long crowd—where each seem’d lonely, Yet of them all there was one, one only,

Raised a head or look’d my way.

She linger’d a moment,—she might not stay.

How long since I saw that fair pale face ! '

Ah ! Mother dear! might I only place My head on thy breast, a moment to rest,

While thy hand on my tearful cheek were prest I

On, on, a moving bridge they made Across the moon-stream, from shade to shade, Young and old, women and men;

Many long-forgot, hut remember’d then.

And first there came a bitter laughter;

A sound of tears the moment after;

And then a music'so lofty and gay,

That every morning, day by day,

I strive to recall it if I may.

GRACE COHNOR.

MISS LETITIA MACLEUTOCK.

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

G-RA.CE CONNOR.    179

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

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

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

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

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

“ I want naething fae you, Thady, but to put thon wean back in her cradle,” replied the specter, in a tone of scorn. “You’re too feared for me, but my sister Rose

*'When a large, round, flat griddle cake is divided into triangu-, lar cuts, each of these cuts is called a farrel, farli, or parli,

180    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

willna be feared for me—tell her to meet me to-morrow evening, in the old wallsteads.”

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

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

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

A LEGEND OF TYRONE.

ELLEN O’LEARY.

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

“ My mammie I want; oh ! my mammie I want! ”

The big tears stream down with the low wailing chant. Sweet Eily’s slight arms enfold the gold head:

“ Poor weeny Willie, sure mammie is dead—

And daddie is crazy from drinking all day—

Come down, holy angels, and take us away! ”

Eily and Eddie keep kissing and crying—

Outside, tire weird winds are sobbing and sighing.

A LEGEND OF TYRONE.    181

All in a moment tlie children are still,

Only a quick coo of gladness from Will.

The sheeling no longer seems empty or hare,

For, clothed in soft raiment, the mother stands there.

They gather around her, they cling to her dress;

She rains down soft kisses for each shy caress.

Her light, loving touches smooth out tangled locks, And, pressed to her bosom, the baby she rocks.

He lies in his cot, there’s a fire on the hearth;

To Eily and Eddy ’tis heaven On earth,

For mother’s deft fingers have been everywhere;

She lulls them to rest in the low suggaun 1' chair.

They gaze open-eyed, then the eyes gently close,

As petals fold into the heart of a rose,

But ope soon again in awe, love, hut no fear,

And fondly they murmur, “ Our mammie is here.”

She lays them down softly, she wraps them around ; They lie in sweet slumbers, she starts at a sound, The cock loudly crows, and the spirit’s away—

The drunkard steals in at the dawning of day.

Again and again, ’tween the dark and the dawn, Glides in the dead mother to nurse Willie Bawn :

Or is it an angel who sits by the hearth ?

An angel in heaven, a mother on earth.

1

Chair made of twisted straw ropes.

182    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

THE BLACK LAMB.1

LADY WILDE.

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

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

1

Ancient Legends of Ireland,

SONG OF THE GHOST.    183

SONG OF THE GHOST.

ALFRED PERCIVAL GRAVES.

When- all were dreaming But Pastheen Power,

A light came streaming Beneath her bower:

A heavy foot

At her door delayed,

A heavy hand

On the latch was laid.

“ Now who dare venture, At this dark hour, Unhid to enter

My maiden bower ? ”

“ Hear Pastheen, open The door to me,

And your true lover You’ll surely see.”

“ My own true lover,

So tall and brave,

Lives exiled over The angry wave.”

“ Your true love’s body Lies on the bier,

His faithful spirit Is with you here.”

“His look was cheerful. His voice was gay ; Your speech is fearful, Your face is gray;

184:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

And sacl and sunken Your eye of blue,

But Patrick, Patrick,

Alas ! ’tis you! ”

Ere dawn was breaking She heard below The two cocks shaking Then' wings to crow.

“ Oh, hush you, hush you, Both red and gray,

Or you will hurry My love away.

“ Oh, hush your crowing, Both gray and red,

Or he’ll be going To join the dead ;

Or, cease from calling His ghost to the mould, And I’ll come crowning Your combs with gold.”

When all were dreaming But Pastheen Power,

A light went streaming From out her bower ; And on the morrow, When they awoke,

They knew that sorrow Her heart had broke.

THE KADIANT BOY.    185

THE RADIANT BOY.

MBS. CKOW.

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

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

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

Nevertheless, to the tired limbs of Captain Stewart, who had had a hard day’s shooting, it looked very invit-

186    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

ing; but before he lay down, he thought it advisable tc take off some of the fire, which was blazing up the chimney in what he thought an alarming manner. Having done this, he stretched himself on his couch and soon fell asleep.

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

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

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

“ Well, sir,” replied the man; “you know every place was full—the gentlemen were lying on the floor, three

THE FATE OF FRANK M’KENNA.    187

or four in a room—so I gave him the Roy's Room; but I lit a blazing fire to keep him from coining out.”

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

THE FATE OF FRANK M’KENNA.

WILLIAM CARLETON'.

There lived a man named M’Kenna at the hip of one of the mountainous hills which divide the county of Tyrone from that of Monaghan. This M’Kenna ' had two sons, one of whom was in the habit of tracing hares of a Sunday whenever there happened to be a fall of snow. His father, it seems, had frequently remonstrated with him upon what he considered to be a violation of the Lord’s day, as well as for his general neglect of mass. The young man, however, though otherwise harmless and inoffensive, was in this matter quite insensible to paternal reproof, and continued to trace whenever the avocations of labor would allow him. It so happened that upon a Christmas morning, I think in the year of 1814, there was a deep fall of snow, and young M’Kenna, instead of going to mass, got down his cock-stick—which is a staff much thicker and heavier at one end than at the other—and prepared to set out on his favorite amuse-

188    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

ment. His father, seeing this, reproved him seriously, and insisted that he should attend prayers. His enthusiasm for the sport, however, was stronger than his love of religion, and he refused to he guided by his father’s advice. The old man during the altercation got warm; and on finding that the son obstinately scorned his authority, he knelt down and prayed that if the boy persisted in following his own will, he might never return from the mountains unless as a corpse. The imprecation, which was certainly as harsh as it was impious and senseless, might have startled many a mind from a purpose that was, to say the least of it, at variance with religion and the respect due to a father. It had no effect, however, upon the son, who is said to have replied, that whether he ever returned or not, he was determined on going; and go accordingly he did. He was not, however, alone, for it appears that three or four of the neighboring young men accompanied him. Whether their sport was good or otherwise, is not to the purpose, neither am I able to say; but the story goes that towards the latter part of the day they started a larger and darker hare than any they had ever seen, and that she kept dodging 011 before them bit by bit, leading them to suppose that every succeeding cast of the cock-stick would bring her down. It was observed afterwards that she also led them into the recesses of the mountains, and that although they tried to turn her course homewards, they could not succeed in doing so. As evening advanced, the companions, of M’Kenna began to feel the folly of pursuing her farther, and to perceive the danger of losing their way in the mountains should night or a snow-storm come upon them. They therefore proposed to give over the chase and return home ; but M’Kenna would not hear of it. “ If you wish to go home, you may,” said he; “ as for me, I’ll never leave the hills till I have her with me.” They begged and entreated of him to desist and return, but all to no purpose; he appeared to be what the Scotch call fey—that is, to act as if he were moved by some impulse

THE FATE OF FRANK M’KENNA.    189

that leads to death, and from the influence of which a man cannot withdraw himself. At length, on finding him invincibly obstinate, they left him pursuing the hare directly into the heart of the mountains, and returned to their respective homes.

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

190    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Now, it so happened that the house nearest the spot where he lay was inhabited by a man named Daly, I think —but of the name I am not certain—who was a herd or care-taker to Dr. Porter, then Bishop of Clogher. The situation of this house was the most lonely and desolate-looking that could he imagined. It was at least two miles 1 distant from any human habitation, being surrounded by one wide and dreary waste of dark moor. By this house lay the route of those who had found the corpse, and I believe the door of it was borrowed for the purpose of conveying it home. Be this as it may, the family witnessed the melancholy procession as it passed slowly through the mountains, and when the place and circumstances are all considered, we may admit that to ignorant and superstitious people, whose minds, even upon ordinary occasions, were strongly affected by such matters, it was a sight calculated to leave behind it a deep, if not a terrible impression. Time soon proved that it did so.

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

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

One night, about a fortnight after his funeral, the daughter of Daly, the herd, a girl about fourteen, while

THE FATE OF FRANK M’KENNA.    191

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

“ In the name of God !55 she asked, “ what is troubling you, or why do you appear to me instead of to some of your own family or relations ? ”

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

“ I’m not allowed,” said he, “ to spake to any of my friends, for I parted wid them in anger; but I’m come to tell you that they are quarrelin’ about my breeches—a new pair that I got made for Christmas day; an’ as I was cornin’ up to thrace in the mountains, I thought the ould one ’ud do betther, an’ of coorse I didn’t put the new pair an me. My raison for appearin’,” he added, «is, that you

192    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

may tell my friends that none of them is to wear them— they must be given in charity.”

This serious and solemn intimation from the ghost was duly communicated to the family, and it was found that the circumstances were exactly as it had represented them. This, of course, was considered as sufficient proof of the truth of its mission. Their conversations now became not only frequent, hut quite friendly and familiar. The girl became a favorite with the specter, and the specter, on the other hand, soon lost all his terrors in her eyes. He told her that whilst his friends were bearing home his body, the handspikes or poles on which they carried him had cut his back, and occasioned Mm great pain ! The cutting of the back also was known to be true, and strengthened, of course, the truth and authenticity of their dialogues. The whole neighborhood was now in a commotion with this story of the apparition, and persons incited by curiosity began to visit the girl in order to satisfy themselves of the truth of what they had heard. Everything, however, was corroborated, and the child herself, without any symptoms of anxiety or terror, artlessly related her conversations with the spirit. Hitherto their interviews had been all nocturnal, but now that the ghost found his footing made good, he put a hardy face on, and ventured to appear by daylight. The girl also fell into states of syncope, and while the fits lasted, long conversations with him upon the subject of God, the blessed Virgin, and Heaven, took place between them. He was certainly an excellent moralist, and gave the best advice. Swearing, drunkenness, theft, and every evil propensity of our nature, were declaimed against with a degree of spectral eloquence quite surprising. Common fame had now a topic dear to her heart, and never was a ghost made more of by his best friends than she made of him. The whole country was in a tumult, and I well remember the crowds which flocked to the lonely little cabin in the mountains, now the scene of matters so interesting and important. Not a single day passed in which I should

THE FATE OF FRANK M’KENNA.    193

think from ten to twenty, thirty, or fifty persons, were not present at these singular interviews. Nothing else was talked of, thought of, and, as I can well testify, dreamt of. I would myself have gone to Daly’s were it not for a confounded misgiving I had, that perhaps the ghost might take such a fancy of appearing to me, as he had taken to cultivate an intimacy with the girl; and it so happens, that when I see the face of an individual nailed down in the coffin—chilling and gloomy operation !—I experience no particular wish to look upon it again.

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

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

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS.

Long ago there lived in Erin a woman who married a man of high degree and had one daughter. Soon after the birth of the daughter the husband died.

The womjyi was not long a widow when she married a second time, and had two daughters. These two daughters hated their half-sister, thought she was not so wise as another, and nicknamed her Smallhead. When the elder of the two sisters was fourteen years old their father died. The mother was in great grief then, and began to pine away. She used to sit at home in the corner and never left the house. Smallhead was kind to her mother, and the mother was fonder of her eldest daughter than of the other two, who were ashamed of her.

At last the two sisters made up in their minds to kill their mother. One day, while their half-sister was gone, they put the mother in a pot, boiled her, and threw the bones outside. When Smallhead came home there was no sign of the mother.

“ Where is my mother ? ” asked she of the other two.

“She went out somewhere. How should we know where she is ? ”

194

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS.    195

“ Oh, wicked girls! yon have killed my mother,” said Smallliead.

Smallhead wouldn’t leave the house now at all, and the sisters were very angry.

“No man will marry either one of us,” said they, “if he sees our fool of a sister.”

£frnce they could not drive Smallhead from the house they made up their minds to go away themselves. One fine morning they left home unknown to their half-sister and traveled 011 many miles. . When Smallhead discovered that her sisters were gone she hurried after them and never stopped till she came up with the two. They had to go home with her that day, hut they scolded her bitterly.

The two settled then to kill Smallhead, so one day they took twenty needles and scattered them outside in a pile of straw. “We are going to that hill beyond,” said they, “ to stay till'evening, and if you have not all the needles that are in' that straw outside gathered and on the tables before us, we’ll have your life.”

Away they went to the hill. Smallhead sat down, and was crying bitterly when a short gray cat walked in and spoke to her.

“ Why do you cry and lament so ? ” asked the cat.

“ My sisters abuse me and beat me,” answered Smallhead. “ This morning they said they would kill me in the evening unless I had all the needles in the straw outside gathered before them.”

“ Sit down here,” said the cat, “ and dry your tears.” The cat soon found the twenty needles and brought them to Smallhead. “ Stop there now,” said the cat, “ and listen to what I tell you. I am your mother; your sisters killed me and destroyed my body, but don’t harm them ; do them good, do the best you can for them, save them: obey my words and it will be better for you in the end.” The cat went away for herself, and the sisters came home in the evening. The needles were on the table before them. Oh, but they were vexed and angry when

196    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

they saw the twenty needles, and they said some one was helping their sister!

One night when Smallhead was in bed and asleep they started away again, resolved this time never to return. Smallhead slept till morning. When she saw that the sisters were gone she followed, traced them from place to place, inquired here and there day after day, till one evening some person told her that they were in the house of an old hag, a terrible enchantress, who had one son and three daughters: that the house was a bad place to be in, for the old hag. had more power of witchcraft than any one and was very wicked.

Smallhead hurried away to save her sisters, and facing the house knocked at the door, and asked lodgings for God’s sake.

“ Oh, then,” said the hag, “ it is hard to refuse any one lodgings, and besides on such a wild, stormy night. I wonder if you are anything to the young ladies who came the way this evening ? ”

The two sisters heard this and were angry enough that Smallhead was in it, but they said nothing, not wishing the old hag to know their relationship. After supper the hag told the three strangers to sleep in a room on the right side of the house. When her own daughters were going to bed Smallhead saw her tie a ribbon around the meek of each one of them, and heard her say: “ Do you sleep in the left-hand bed.” Smallhead hurried and said to her sisters: “ Come quickly, or I’ll tell the woman who you are.”

They took the bed in the left-hand room and were in it before the hag’s daughters came.

“ Oh,” said the daughters, “ the other bed is as good.” So they took the bed in the right-hand room. When Smallhead knew that the hag’s daughters were asleep she ' rose, took the ribbons off their necks, and put them on her sisters’ necks and on her own. She lay awake and watched them. After a while she heard the hag say to her son:

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS. 197

“ Go, now, and kill the three girls; they have the clothes and money.”

“ You have killed enough in your life and so let these go,” said the son.

But the old woman would not listen.. The hoy rose up, fearing his mother, and taking a long knife, went to the right-hand room and cut the throats of the three girls without ribbons. He went to bed then for himself, and when Smallhead found that the old hag was asleep she roused her sisters, told what had. happened, made them dress quickly and follow her. Believe me, they were willing and glad to follow her this time.

The three traveled briskly and came soon to a bridge, called at that time “ The Bridge of Blood.” Whoever had killed a person could not cross the bridge. When the three girls came to the bridge the two sisters stopped: they could not go a step further. Smallhead ran across and went back again.

“ If I did not know that you killed our mother,” said she, “I might know it now, for this is the Bridge of Blood.”

She carried one sister over the bridge on her back and then the other. Hardly was this done when the hag was at the bridge.

“ Bad luck to you, Smallhead! ” said she, “ I did not know that it was you that was in it last evening. You have killed my three daughters.”

“ It wasn’t I that killed them, but yourself,” said Smallhead.

The old hag could not cross the bridge, so she began to curse, and she put every curse on Smallhead that she could remember. The sisters traveled on till they came to a king’s castle. .They heard that two servants were needed in the castle.

“ Go now,” said Smallhead to the two sisters, “ and ask for service. Be faithful and do well. You can never go back by the road you came.”

The two found employment at the King’s castle.

198    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Smallhead took lodgings in the house of a blacksmith near by.

“I should he glad to find a place as kitchen-maid in the castle,” said Smallhead to the blacksmith’s wife.

“ I will go to the castle and find a place for yon if I can,” said the woman.

The blacksmith’s wife found a place for Smallhead as kitchen-maid in the castle, and she went there next day.

“ I must be careful,” thought Smallhead, “ and do my best. I am in a strange place. My two sisters are here in the King’s castle. Who knows, we may have great fortune yet.”

She dressed neatly and was cheerful. Every one liked her, liked her better than her sisters, though they were beautiful. The King had two sons, one at home and the other abroad. Smallhead thought to herself one day: “It is time for-the son who is here in the castle to marry. I Avill speak to him the first time I can.” One day she saw him alone in the garden, went up to him, and said :

“Why are you not getting married, it is high time for yon ? ”

He only laughed and thought she was too bold, but then thinking that she was a simple-minded girl who wished to be pleasant, he said :

“ I will tell you the reason : My grandfather bound my father by an oath never to let his oldest son marry until he could get the Sword of Light, and I am afraid that I shall be long without marrying.”

“Do you know where the Sword of Light is, or who has it ? ” asked Smallhead.

“ I do,” said the King’s son, “ an old hag who has great power and enchantment, and she lives a long distance from this, beyond the Bridge of Blood. I cannot go there myself, I cannot cross the bridge, for I have killed men in battle. Even if I could cross the bridge I would not go, for many is the King’s son that hag has destroyed or enchanted.”

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS.    199

“ Suppose some person were to bring the Sword of Light, and that person a woman, would you marry her ? ” “ I would, indeed,” said the King’s son.

. “ If you promise to marry my elder sister I will strive to bring the Sword of Light.”

“ I will promise most willingly,” said the King’s son. Next morning early, Smallhead set out on her journey. Calling at the first shop she bought a stone weight of salt, and went on her way, never stopping or resting till she reached the hag’s house at nightfall. She climbed to the gable, looked down, and saw the son making a great pot of stirabout for his mother, and she hurrying him. “ I am as hungry as a hawk! ” cried she.

Whenever the boy looked away, Smallhead dropped salt down, dropped it when he was not looking, dropped it till she had the whole stone of salt in the stirabout. The old hag waited and waited till at last she cried out: '“ Bring the stirabout. I am starving! Bring the pot. * I will eat from the pot. Give the milk here as well.”

The boy brought the stirabout and the milk, the old woman began to eat, but the first taste she got she spat out and screamed:    “You put salt in the pot in place

of meal! ”

“ I did not, mother.”

“You did, and it’s a mean trick that you played on me. Throw this stirabout to the pig outside and go for water to the well in the field.”

“ I cannot go,” said the boy, “ the night is. too dark ; I might fall into the well.”

« You must go and bring the water; I cannot live till morning without eating.”

“ I am as hungry as yourself,” said the boy, “ but how can I go to the well without a light ? I will not go unless you give me a light.”

“ If I give you the Sword of Light there is no knowing who may follow you; maybe that devil of a Smallhead is outside.”

But sooner than fast till morning the old hag gave the

200    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

Sword of Light to her son, warning him to take good care of it. He took the Sword of Light and went out. As he saw no one when he came to the well he left the sword on the top of the steps going down to the water, so as to have good light. He had not gone down many steps when Smallhead had the sword, and away she ran over hills, dales, and valleys towards the Bridge of Blood.

The boy shouted and screamed with all his might. Out ran the hag. “ Where is the sword ? ” cried she.

“ Some one took it from the step.”

Off rushed the hag, following the light, hut she didn’t come near Smallhead till she was over the bridge.

“ Give me the Sword of Light, or bad luck to you,” cried the hag.

“ Indeed, then, I will not; I will keep it, and had luck to yourself,” answered Smallhead.

On the following morning she walked up to the King’s son and said :

“ I have the Sword of Light; now will you marry my sister ? ”

“ I will,” said he.

The King’s son married Smallhead’s sister and got the Sword of Light. Smallhead stayed no longer in the kitchen—the sister didn’t care to have her in kitchen or parlor.

The King’s second son came home. He was not long in the castle when Smallhead said to herself, “ Maybe he will marry my second sister.”

She saw him one day in the garden, went toward him; he said something, she answered, then asked : “ Is it not time for you to he getting married like your brother ? ”

“When my grandfather was dying,” said the young man, “he bound my father not to let his second son marry till he had the Black Book. This book used to shine and give brighter light than ever the Sword of Light did, and I suppose it does yet. The old hag beyond the Bridge of Blood has the book, and no one dares to go

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING'S SONS.    201

near her, for many is the King’s son killed or enchanted by that woman.”

“ Would you marry my second sister if you were to get the Black Book?”

“ I would, indeed; I would marry any woman if I got the Black Book with her. The Sword of Light and the Black Book were in our family till my grandfather’s time, then they were stolen by that cursed old hag.”

“ I will have the book,” said Smallhead, “ or die in the trial to get it.”

Knowing that stirabout was the main food of the hag, Smallhead settled in her mind to play another trick. Taking a bag she scraped the chimney, gathered about a stone of soot, and took it with her. The night was dark and rainy. When she reached the hag’s house, she climbed up the gable to the chimney and found that the son was making stirabout for his mother. She dropped the soot down by degrees till at last the whole stone of soot was in the pot; then she scraped around the top of the chimney till a lump of soot fell on the boy’s hand.

“ Oh, mother,” said he, “ the night is wet and soft, the soot is falling.”

“ Cover the pot,” said the hag. “ Be quick with that stirabout, I am starving.”

The boy took the pot to his mother.

“ Bad luck to you,” cried the hag the moment she tasted the stirabout, “ this is full of soot; throw it out to the pig.”

“ If I throw it out there is no water inside to make more, and I'll not go in the dark and rain to the well.”

“ You must go ! ” screamed she.

“ I'll not stir a foot out of this unless I get a light,” said the boy.

14 Is it. the. book yon are thinking of, you fool, to take it and lose it as you did the sword ? Smallhead is wairhing you.”

"IIow could Smallhead, the creature, be outside ail the

202    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

time ? If you have no use for the water you can clo without it.”

Sooner than stop fasting till morning, the hag gave her son the book, saying: “ Do not put this down or let it from your hand till you come in, or I’ll have your life.” The hoy took the book and went to the well. Small-head followed him carefully. He took the book down into the well with him, and when he was stooping to dip water she snatched the book and pushed him into the well, where he came very near drowning.

Smallhead was far away when the boy recovered, and began to scream and shout to his mother. She came in a hurry, and finding that the book was gone, fell into such a rage that she thrust a knife into her son’s heart and ran after Smallhead, who had crossed the bridge before the hag could come up with her.

When the old woman saw Smallhead on the other side of the bridge facing her and dancing with delight, she screamed:

“You took the Sword of Light and the Black Book, and your two sisters are married. Oh, then, bad luck to you. I will put my curse on you wherever you go. You have all my children killed, and I a poor, feeble, old woman.”

“ Bad luck to yourself,” said Smallhead. “ I am not afraid of a curse from the like of you. If you had lived an honest life you wouldn’t be as you are to-day.”

“Now, Smallhead,” said the old hag, “ you have me robbed of everything, and my children destroyed. Your two sisters are well married. Your fortune began with my ruin. Come, now, and take care of me in my old age. I’ll take my curse from you, and you will have good luck. I bind myself never to harm a hair of your head.”

Smallhead thought awhile, promised to do this, and said: “ If you harm me, or try to harm me, it will be the worse for yourself.”

The old hag was satisfied and went home. Smallhead went to the castle and was received with great joy. Next

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING'S SONS.    203

morning she found the King’s son in the garden, and said : “ If you marry my sister to-morrow, you will have the Black Book.”

“ I will marry her gladly,” said the King’s son.

Next day the marriage was celebrated and the King’s son got the hook. Smallkead remained in the castle about a week, then she left good health with her sisters and went to the hag’s house. The old woman was glad to see her and showed the girl her work. All Smallhead had to do was to wait on the hag and feed a large pig that she had.

“ I am fatting that pig,” said the hag; “ he is seven years old now, and the longer you keep a pig the harder his meat is : we’ll keep this pig a while longer, and then we’ll kill and eat him.”

Smallhead did her work ; the old hag taught her some things, and Smallhead learned herself far more than the hag dreamt of. The girl fed the pig three times a day, never thinking that he could be anything but a pig. The hag had sent word to a sister that she had in the Eastern World, bidding her come and they would kill the pig and have a great feast. The sister came, and one day when the hag was going to walk with her sister she said to Smallhead:

“ Give the pig plenty of meal to-day; this is the last food he’ll have ; give him his fill.”

The pig had his own mind and knew what was coming. He put his nose under the pot and threw it on Small-head’s toes, and she barefoot. With that she ran into the house for a stick, and seeing a rod on the edge of the loft, snatched it and hit the pig.

That moment the pig was a splendid young man. Smallhead was amazed.

“ Never fear,” said the young man, “ I am the son of a King that the old hag hated, the King of Munster. She stole me from my father seven years ago and enchanted me—made a pig of me.”

Smallhead told the King s son, then, how the hag had

20 4c    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

treated her. “ I must make a pig of you again,” said she “ for the hag is coming. Be patient and I’ll save you, if you promise to marry me.”

“ I promise you,” said the King’s son.

With that she struck him, and he was a pig again. She put the switch in its place and was at her work when the two sisters came. The pig ate his meal now with a good heart, for he felt sure of rescue.

“ Who is that girl you have in the house, and where did you find her ? ” asked the sister.

“ All my children died of the plague, and I took this girl to help me. She is a very good servant.”

At night the hag slept in one room, her sister in another, and Smallhead in a third. When the two sisters were sleeping soundly Smallhead rose, stole the hag’s magic hook, and then took the rod. She went next to where the pig was, and with one blow of the rod made a man of him

With the help of the magic book Smallhead made two doves of herself and the King’s son, and they took flight through the air and flew on without stopping. Next morning the hag called Smallhead, but she did not come. She hurried out to see the pig. The pig was gone. She ran to her book. Not a sign of it.

“ Oh! ” cried she, “ that villain of a Smallhead has robbed me. She has stolen my book, made a man of the pig, and taken him away with her.”

What could she do but tell her whole story to the sister. “Go you,” said she, “and follow them. You have more enchantment than Smallhead has.”

“ How am I to know them ? ” asked the sister.

“ Bring the first two strange things that you find; they will turn themselves into something wonderful.”

The sister then made a hawk of herself and flew away as swiftly as any March wind.

“ Look behind,” said Smallhead to the King’s son some hours later ; “ see what is coming.”

“I see nothing,” said he, “but a hawk coming swiftly.”

SMALLIIEAD AND THE ICING’S SONS.    205

“ That is the hag’s sister. She has three times more enchantment than the liag herself. But fly down on the ditch and he picking yourself as doves do in rainy weather, and maybe she’ll pass without seeing us.”

The hawk saw the doves, hut thinking them nothing wonderful, flew on till evening, and then went back to her sister.

“ Did you see anything wonderful ? ”

“ I did not; I saw only two doves, and they picking themselves.”

“You fool, those doves were Smallliead and the King’s son. Off with you in the morning and don’t let me see you again without the two with you.”

Away went the hawk a second time, and swiftly as Smallliead and the King’s son flew, the hawk was gaining on them. Seeing this Smallliead and the King’s son dropped down into a large village, and, it being market-day, they made two heather brooms of themselves. The two brooms began to sweep the road without any one holding them, and swept toward each other. This was a, great wonder. Crowds gathered at once around the two brooms.

The old hag flying over in the form of a hawk saw this and thinking that it must be Smallliead and the King’s son were in it, came down, turned into a woman, and said to herself:

“ I’ll have those two brooms.”

She pushed forward so quickly through the crowd that she came near knocking down a man standing before her. The man was vexed.

“You cursed old hag!” cried he, “do 3mu want to knock us down ? ” With that he gave her a blow and drove her against another man, that man gave her a push that sent her spinning against a third man, and so on till between them all they came near putting the life out of her, and pushed her away from the brooms. A woman in the crowd called out then :

“ It would be nothing but right to knock the head off

206    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

that old hag, and she trying to push us away from the mercy of God, for it was God who sent the brooms to sweep the road for us.”

“ True for you,” said another woman. With that the people were as angry as angry could be, and were ready to kill the hag. They were going to take the head off the hag when she made a hawk of herself and .flew away, Yowing never to do another stroke of work for her sister. She might do her own work or let it alone.

When the hawk disappeared the two heather brooms rose and turned into doves. v The people felt sure when they saw the doves that the brooms were a blessing from heaven, and it was the old hag that drove them away.

On the following day Smallhead and the King’s son saw his father’s castle, and the two came down not too far from it in their own forms. Smallhead was a very’ beautiful woman now, and why not ? She had the magic and didn’t spare it. She made herself as beautiful as ever she could: the like of her was not to be seen in that kingdom or the next one.

The King’s son was in love with her that minute, and .. did not wish to part with her, but she would not go with him.

“ When you are at your father’s castle,” said Smallhead, “all will be overjoyed to see you, and the king will give a great feast in your honor. If you kiss any one or let any living thing kiss you, you’ll forget me for ever.”

“ I will not let even my own mother kiss me,” said he.

The King’s son went to the castle. All were overjoyed; they had thought him dead, had not seen him for seven years. He would let no one come near to kiss him. “ I am bound by oath to kiss no one,” said he to his mother. At that moment an old greyhound came in, and with one spring was on his shoulder licking his face : all that the King’s son had gone through in seven years was forgotten in one moment.

Smallhead went toward a forge near the castle. The smith had a wife far younger than himself, and a step-

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS.

daughter. They were no beauties. In the rear of the forge was a well and a tree growing over it. “ I will go up in that tree,” thought Smallhead, “and spend the night in it.” She went up and sat just over the well. She was not long in the tree when the moon came out high above the hill tops and shone on the well. The blacksmith’s stepdaughter, coming for water, looked down in the well, saw the face of the woman above in the tree, thought it her own face, and cried:

- “Oh, then, to have me bringing water to a smith, and I such a beauty. I’ll never bring another drop to him.” With that she cast the pail in the ditch and ran off to find a king’s son to marry.

When she was not coming with the water, and the blacksmith waiting to wash after his day’s work in the forge, he sent the mother. The mother had nothing but a pot to get the water in, so off she went with that, and coming to the well saw the beautiful face in the water.

“ Oh, you black, swarthy villain of a smith,” cried she, “ bad luck to the hour that I met you, and I such a beauty. I’ll never draw another drop of water for the life of you! ”

She threw the pot down, broke it, and hurried away to. find some king’s son.

When neither mother nor daughter came back with water the smith himself went to see what was keeping them. He saw the pail in the ditch, and, catching it, went to the well; looking down, he saw the beautiful face of a woman in the water. Being a man, he knew that it was not his own face that was in it, so he looked up, and there in the tree saw a woman. He spoke to her and said:

“ I know now why my wife and her daughter did not bring water. They saw your face in the well, and, thinking themselves too good for me, ran away. You must come now and keep the house till I find them.”

“I will help you,” said Smallhead. She came down, went to the smith’s house, and showed the road that the

208    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

women took. The smith hurried after them, and found the two in the village ten miles away. He explained their own folly to them, and they came home.

The mother and daughter washed fine linen for the castle. Smallhead saw them ironing one day, and said:

“ Sit down: I will iron for you.”

She caught the iron, and in an hour had the work of the day done.

The women were delighted. In the evening the daughter took the linen to the housekeeper at the castle.

“ Who ironed this linen ? ”, asked the housekeeper.

“ My mother and I.”

“Indeed, then, you did not. You can’t do the like of that work, and tell me who did it.”

The girl was in dread now and answered :

“It is a woman who is stopping with us who did the ironing/’

The housekeeper went to the Queen and showed her the linen.

Send that woman to the castle,” said the Queen.

Smallhead went: the Queen welcomed her, wondered at her beauty; put her over all the maids in the castle, Smallhead could do anything; everybody was fond of her. The King’s son never knew that he had seen her before, and she lived in the castle a year; what the Queen told her she did.

The King had made a match for his son with the daughter of the King of Ulster. There was a great feast in the castle in honor of the young couple, the marriage was to be a week later. The bride’s father brought many of his people who were versed in all kinds of tricks and enchantment.

The King knew; that Smallhead could do many things, for neither the Queen nor himself had asked her to do a thing that she did not do in a twinkle.

“ Now,” said the King to the Queen, “ I think she can do something that his people cannot do.” He summoned Smallhead and asked:

SMALLHEAD AND THE KING’S SONS.    209

“ Can you amuse the strangers ? ”

“ I can if you wish me to do so.”

When the time came and the Ulster men had shown their best tricks, Smallhead came forward and raised the window, which was forty feet from the ground. She had a small ball of thread in her hand; she tied one end of the thread to the window, threw the ball out and over a wall near the castle; then she passed out the window, walked on the thread and kept time to music from players that no man could see. She came in; all cheered her and were greatly delighted.

“ I can do that,” said the King of Ulster’s daughter, and sprang out on the string; but if she did she fell and broke her neck on the stones below. There were cries, there was lamentation, and, in place of a marriage, a funeral.

The King’s son was angry and grieved and wanted to drive Smallhead from the castle in some way.

“ She is not to blame,” said the King of Munster, who did nothing but praise her.

Another year passed : the King got the daughter of the King of Connacht for his son. There was a great feast before the wedding day, and as the Connacht people are full of enchantment and witchcraft, the King of Munster called Smallhead and said :

“ 3STow show the best trick of any.”

“ I mil,” said Smallhead.

When the feast was over and the Connacht men had shown their tricks the King of Munster called Smallhead.

She stood before the company, threw two grains of wheat on the floor, and spoke some magic words. There was a hen and a cock there before her of beautiful plumage ; she threw a grain of wheat between them; the hen sprang to eat the wheat, the cock gave her a blow of his bill, the hen drew back, looked at him, and said:

“ Had luck to you, you wouldn’t do the like of that when I was serving the old hag and you her pig, and I made a man of you and gave you back your own form.

14

210    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

The King’s son looked at her and thought, “ There must he something in this.”

Smallhead threw a second grain. The cock pecked the hen again. “ Oh,” said the hen, “ you would not do that the day the hag’s sister was hunting us, and we two doves.”

The King’s son was still more astonished.

She threw a third grain. The cock struck the hen, and she said, “You would not do that to me the day I made two heather brooms out of you and mysdlf.” She threw a fourth grain. The cock pecked the hen a fourth time. “ You would not do that the day you promised not to let any living thing kiss you or kiss any one yourself but me—you let the hound kiss you and you forgot me.”

The King’s son made one bound forward, embraced and kissed Smallhead, and told the King his whole story from beginning to end.

“ This is my wife,” said he; “ I’ll marry no other woman.”

“ Whose wife will my daughter be ? ” asked the King of Connacht.

“ Oh, she will be the wife of the man who will marry her,” said the King of Munster, “ my • son gave his word to this woman before he saw your daughter, and he must keep it.”

So Smallhead married the King of Munster’s son.

"Thi* ia my wife," said the king's son. “TO marry no other "—Page 210.

TrtaA Fairy Tat**


WITCHES,* FAIRY DOCTORS.

Witches and fairy doctors receive tlieir power from opposite dynasties; the witch from evil spirits and her own malignant will; the fairy doctor from the fairies, and a something—a temperament—that is horn with him or

* The last trial for witchcraft in Ireland—there were never very-many—is thus given in MacSkiinin’s History of Carrichfergus “ 1711, March 31st, Janet Mean, of Braid-island ; Janet Latimer, Irish-quarter, Carrickfergus ; Janet Millar, Scotch-quarter, Carrickfergus ; Margaret Mitchel, Kilroot; Catharine M’Calmond, Janet Liston, alias Seller, Elizabeth Seller, and Janet Carson, the four last from Island Magee, were tried here, in the County of Antrim Court, for witchcraft.”

Their alleged crime was tormenting a young woman, called Mary Dunbar, about eighteen years of age, at the'house of James Hattridge, Island Magee, and at other places to which she was removed. The circumstances sworn on the trial were as follows :—

“The afflicted person being, in the month of February, 1711, in the house of James Hattridge, Island Magee (which had been for some time believed to be haunted by evil spirits), found an apron on the parlor floor, that had been missing some time, tied with five strange Tcnots, which she loosened.

“ On the following day she was suddenly seized with a violent pain in her thigh, and afterwards fell into fits and ravings ; and, on recovering, said she was tormented by several women, whose dress and personal appearance she minutely described. Shortly after, she was again seized with the like fits, and on recovering she accused five other women of tormenting her, describing them a±so. The accused persons being brought from different parts of the country, she appeared to suffer extreme fear and additional torture as they approached the house.

“ It was also deposed that strange noises, as of whistling, scratching, etc., were heard in the house, and that a sulphureous smell was observed in the rooms ; that stones, turf, and the like were thrown about the house, and the coverlets, etc., frequently taken off the beds and made up in the shape of a corpse ; and

m

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

m

her. The first is always feared and hated. The second is gone to for advice, and is never worse than mischievous. The most celebrated fairy doctors are sometimes people the fairies loved and carried away, and kept with them for seven years ; not that those the fairies’ love are always carried off—they may merely grow silent and strange, and taken to lonely wanderings in the “ gentle ” places. Such will, in after-times, be great poets or musicians, or fairy doctors ; they must not be confused with those who have a Lianhaun shee \leannan-sidhe\ for the Lianhaun. shee lives upon the vitals of its chosen, and they waste and die.

that a bolster once walked out of a room into the kitchen with a night-gown about it! It likewise appeared in evidence that in some of her fits three strong men were scarcely able to hold her in the bed ; that at times she vomited feathers, cotton yarn, pins, and buttons; and that on one occasion she slid off the bed and was laid on the floor, as if supported and drawn by an invincible power. The afflicted person was unable to give any evidence on the trial, being during that time dumb, but had no violent fit during its continuance.”

In defence of the accused, it appeared that they were mostly sober, industrious people, who attended public worship, could repeat the Lord’s Prayer, and had been known to pray both in public and private ; and that some of them had lately received communion.

Judge Upton charged the jury, and observed on the regular attendance of accused at public worship ; remarking that he thought it improbable that real witches could so far retain the form of religion as to frequent the religious worship of God, both publicly and privately, which had been proved in favor of the accused. He concluded by giving his opinion “ that the jury could not bring them in guilty upon the sole testimony of the afflicted person’s visionary images.” He was followed by Judge Macarthy, who differed from him in opinion, “ and thought the jury might, from the evidence, bring them in guilty,” which they accordingly did.

This trial lasted from six o’clock in the morning till two in the afternoon ; and the prisoners were sentenced to be imprisoned twelve months, and to stand four times in the pillory of Carrick-fergus.

Tradition says that the people were much exasperated against these unfortunate persons, who were severely pelted in the pillory with boiled cabbage stalks and the like, by which one of them had an eye beaten out.

WITCHES, FAIRY DOCTORS.    213

She is of the dreadful solitary fairies. To her have belonged the greatest of the Irish poets, from Oisin down to the last century.

Those we speak of have for their friends the trooping fairies—the gay and sociable populace of raths and caves. Great is their knowledge of herbs and spells. These doctors; when the butter will not come on the milk, or the milk will not come from the cow, will be sent for to find out if the cause be in the course of common nature or if there has been witchcraft. • Perhaps some old hag in the shape of a hare has been milking the cattle. Perhaps some user of “ the dead hand ” has drawn away the butter to her own churn. Whatever it be, there is the countercharm. They will give advice, too, in cases of suspected changelings, and prescribe for the “ fairy blast (when the fairy strikes any one a tumor rises, or they become paralyzed. This is called a “ fairy blast ” or a “ fairy stroke ”) The fairies are, or course, visible to them, and many a new-built house have they bid the owner pull down because it lay on the fairies’ road. Lady Wilde thus describes one who lived in Innis Sark:—“ He never touched beer, spirits, or meat in all his life, but has lived entirely 011 bread, fruit, and vegetables. A man who knew him thus describes him—‘ Winter and summer his dress is the same—merely a flannel shirt and coat, He will pay his share at a feast, but neither eats nor drinks of the food and drink set before him. He speaks no English, and never could be made to learn the English tongue, though he says it might be used with great effect to curse one’s enemy. He holds a burial-ground sacred, and would not carry away so much as a leaf of ivy from a grave. And he maintains that the people are right to keep to their ancient usages, such as never to dig a grave on a Monday, and to carry the coffin three times round the grave, following the course of the sun, for then the dead rest in peace. Like the people, also, he holds suicides as accursed; for they believe that all its dead turn over on their faces if a suicide is laid amongst them,

214:    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

A candle held between the fingers of the dead hand can never be blown out. This is useful to robbers, but they appeal for the suffrage of the lovers likewise, for they can make love-potions by drying and grinding into powder the liver of a black cat. Mixed with tea, and poured irom a black teapot, it is infallible. There are many stories of its success in quite recent years, but, unhappily, the spell must be continually renewed, or all the love may turn into hate. But the central notion of witchcraft everywhere is the power to change into some fictitious

WITCHES, FAIRY DOCTORS.    215

form, usually in Ireland a hare or a cat. Long ago a wolf was the favorite. Before Giraldus Cambrensis came to Ireland, a monk wandering in a forest at night came upon two wolves, one of whom was dying. The other entreated him to give the dying wolf the last sacrament. He said the mass, and paused when he came to the viaticum. The other, on seeing this, tore the skin from the breast of the dying wolf, laying bare the form of an old woman. Thereon the monk gave the sacrament. Years afterwards he confessed the matter, and when Giraldus visited the country, was being tried by the synod of the bishops. To give the sacrament to an animal was a great sin. Was it a human being or an animal ? On the advice of Giraldus they sent the monk, with papers describing the matter, to the Pope for his decision. The result is not stated.

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

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

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

216    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

BEWITCHED BUTTER (DONEGAL).

MISS LETITIA MACLINTOCK.

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

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

“ Will you let me milk your Moiley cow ? ”

“ An’ why wad you wish to milk wee Moiley, Grace, dear ? ” inquired Mrs. Hanlon.

“ Oh, just becase you’re sae throng at the present time.” “ Thank you kindly, Grace, but I’m no too throng to do my ain work. I’ll no trouble you to milk.”

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

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

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

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

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

A QUEEN’S COUNTY WITCH.    sir

“ Oh, ay, Mark, dear ; I’ll get that much milk frae her, any way.”

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

The nine phis soon began to simmer in Moiley’s 1 milk.

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

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

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

A QUEEN’S COUNTY WITCH t

It was about eighty years ago, in the month of May, that a Roman Catholic clergyman, near Rathdowney, in the Queen’s County, was awakened at midnight to attend a dying man in a distant part of the parish. The priest obeyed without a murmur, and having performed his duty

1

In Connaught called a “ mweea” cow—i. e., a cow without horns. Irish maol, literally, blunt. When the new iiammerless breechloaders came into use two or three years ago, Mr. Douglas Hyde heard a Connaught gentleman speak of them as the “ mweea! ” guns, because they had no cocks.

j Dublin University Review, 1839.

218    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

to the expiring sinner, saw him depart this world before he left the cabin. As it was yet dark, the man who had called on the priest offered to accompany him home, but he refused, and set forward on his journey alone. The gray dawn began to appear over the hills. The good priest was highly enraptured with the beauty of the scene, and rode on, now gazing intently at every surrounding object, and again cutting with his whip at the bats and big beautiful night-flies which flitted ever and anon from hedge to hedge across his lonely way. Thus engaged, he journeyed on slowly, until the nearer approach of sunrise began to render objects completely discernible, when he dismounted from his horse, and slipping his arm out of the rein, and drawing forth his “ Breviary ” from his pocket, he commenced reading his “ morning office ” as he walked leisurely along.

He had not proceeded very far, when he observed his horse, a very spirited animal, endeavoring to stop on the road, and gazing intently into a field on one side of the way where there were three or four cows grazing. However, he did not pay any particular attention to this circumstance, but went on a little farther, when the horse suddenly plunged with great violence, and endeavored to break away by force. The priest with great difficulty succeeded in restraining him, and, looking at him more closely, observed him shaking from head to foot, and sweating profusely. He now stood calmly, and refused to move from where he was, nor could threats or entreaty induce him to proceed. The father was greatly astonished, but recollecting to have often heard of horses laboring under affright being induced to go by blindfolding them, he took out his handkerchief and tied it across his eyes. He then mounted, and, striking him gently, he went forward without reluctance, but still sweating and trembling violently. They had not gone far, when they arrived opposite a narrow path or bridle-way, flanked at either side by a tall, thick hedge, which led from the high-road to the field where the cows were grazing. The priest

A QUEEN'S COUNTY WITCH.    219

happened by chance to look into the lane, and saw a spectacle Avhich made the blood curdle in his veins. It Avas the legs of a man from the hips doAvnAvards, Avithout head or body, trotting up the aArenue at a smart pace. The good father Avas very much alarmed, hut, being a man of strong neiwe, he resolved, come AAdmt might, to stand, and be further acquainted Avith this singular specter, lie accordingly stood, and so did the headless apparition, as if afraid to approach him. The priest, observing this, pulled back a little from the entrance of the avenue, and the phantom again resumed its progress. It soon arrived on the road, and the priest noAvliad sufficient opportunity to view" it minutely. It AArore yelloAV buckskin breeches, tightly fastened at the knees Avith green ribbon ; it had neither shoes nor stockings on, and its legs Avere covered with long, red hairs, and all full of Avet, blood, and clay, apparently contracted in its progress through the thorny hedges. The priest, although Arery much alarmed, felt eager to examine the phantom, and for this purpose summoned all his philosophy to enable him to speak to it. The ghost was uoav a little ahead, pursuing its march at its usual brisk trot, and the priest urged on his horse speedily until he came up Avith it, and thus addressed it— “ Ililloa, friend! Avho art thou, or Avhither art thou going so early ? ”

The hideous specter made no reply, but uttered a fierce and superhuman growl, or “ Umph.”

“ A fine morning for ghosts to Avander abroad,” again said the priest.

Another “ Umph ” Avas the reply.

“ Why don’t you speak ? ”

“ Umph.”

“ You don’t seem disposed to be Arery loquacious this morning.”

“ Umph,” again.

The good man began to feel irritated at the obstinate silence of his unearthly visitor, and said, Avith some Avarmth—

m    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ In the name of all that’s sacred, I command yon to answer me, Who art thou, or where art thou traveling ? ” Another “ Umph,” more loud and more angry than before, was the only reply.

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

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

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

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

The priest had not power to reply; the old wretch’s pains increased; her body swelled to an immense size; her eyes flashed as if on fire, her face was black as night, her entire form writhed in a thousand different contor-

THE WITCH HARE.    221

tion#; her outcries were appalling, her face sunk, her eyes closed, and in a few minutes she expired in the most exquisite tortures.

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

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

THE WITCH HARE.

ME. AND MES. S. C. HALL.

I was out thracking hares meeself, and I seen a fine puss of a thing hopping hopping in the moonlight, and whacking her ears about, now up, now down, and winking her great eyes, and—“ Here goes,” says I, and the thing was so close to me that she turned round and looked at me, and then bounced back, as well as to say, do your worst! So I had the least grain in life of blessed powder left, and I put it in the gun—and bang at her ! My jewel, the scritch she gave would frighten a rigment, and a mist, like, came be-

222    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

twixt me and her, and I seen her no more; hut when the mist wint off I saw blood on the spot where she had been, and I followed its track, and at last it led me—whist, whisper—right up to Katey MacShane’s door; and when I was at the thrasliold, I heerd a murnin’ "within, a great murnin’, and a groanin’, and I opened the door, and there she was herself, sittin’ quite content in the shape of a woman, and the black cat that was sittin’ by her rose up its back and spit at me; but I went on never heedin’, and asked the ould how she was and what ailed her.

“Nothing,” sis she.

“ What’s that on the floor ? ” sis I.

“ Oh,” she say, “ I was cuttin’ a billet of wood,” she says, “ wid the reaping hook,” she says, “ an’ I’ve wounded me-self in the leg,” she says, “ and that’s drops of my precious blood,” she says.

BEWITCHED BUTTER (QUEEN’S COUNTY).*

About the commencement of the last century there lived in the vicinity of the once famous village of Agha-voe t a wealthy famer, named Bryan Costigan. This man kept an extensive dairy and a great many milch cows, and every year made considerable sums by the sale of milk and butter. The luxuriance of the pasture lands in this neighborhood has always been proverbial; and consequently, Bryan’s cows were the finest and most productive in the country, and his milk and butter the richest and sweetest, and brought the highest price at every market at which he offered these articles for sale.

*Dublin University Magazine, 1839.

f Aghavoe—“ the field of kine,”—a beautiful and romantic village near Borris-in-Ossory, in the Queen’s County. It was once a place of considerable importance, and for centuries the episcopal seat of the diocese of Ossory, but for ages back it has gone to decay, and is now remarkable for nothing but the magnificent runs of a priory of the Dominicans, erected here at an early period bv St. Canice, the patron saint of Ossory.

BEWITCHED BUTTER.    223

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

The unfortunate man was thus completely bewildered, lie knew not what to do ; he became moody and stupid; his sleep forsook him by night, and all day he wandered about the fields, amongst his “fairy-stricken” cattle like a maniac1.

Affairs continued in this plight, when one very sultry evening in the latter days of July, Bryan Costigairs wife was silting at her own door, spinning at her wheel, in a

22d    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

very gloomy and agitated state of mind. Happening to look down the narrow green lane which led from the high road to her cabin, she espied a little old woman barefoot, and enveloped hi an old scarlet cloak, approaching slowly, with the aid of a cratch which she carried in one hand, and a cane or walking-stick in the other. The farmer’s wife felt glad at seeing the odd-looking stranger; she smiled, and yet she knew not why, as she neared the house. A vague and indefinable feeling of pleasure crowded on her imagination; and, as the old woman gained tliQ threshold, she bade her “ welcome ” with a warmth which plainly told that her lips gave utterance but to the genuine feelings of her heart.

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

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

“ Hem, I thought so, said the old woman with a significant grin. “ I thought so, or I wouldn’t trouble you.”

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

BEWITCHED BUTTER.    225

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

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

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

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

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

“ Have you any of the milk in the house ? ”

“ I have,” replied the other.

“ Show me some of it.”

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

“ Where is your husband ? ” she asked.

“ Out in the fields,” was the reply.

“I must see him.”

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

“Neighbor,” said the stranger, “your wife informs me that your cattle are going against you this season.”

“ She informs you right,” said Bryan.

“ And why have you not sought a cure ? ”

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

“ What will you give me if I cure them for you ? ”

“ Anything in our power,” replied Bryan and his wife, both speaking joyfully, and with a breath, x5

226    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

She went, and soon returned with a large pail filled with a frightful-looking mixture of milk, blood, and corrupt matter. The old woman got it into the churn, and made preparations for churning.

“How,” she said, “you both must churn, make fast the door and windows, and let there be no light but from the fire; do not open your lips until I desire you, and by ob-

BEWITCHED BUTTER.    227

serving my directions, I make no doubt but, ere the sun goes down, we will find out the infernal villain who is robbing you.”

Bryan secured the doors and windows, and commenced churning. The old sorceress sat down by a blazing fire which had been specially lighted for the occasion, and commenced singing the same wild song which she had sung at the pulling of the cow-hairs, and after a little time she cast one of the nine hairs into the fire, still singing her mysterious strain, and watching, with intense interest, the witching process.

A loud cry, as if from a female in distress, was now heard approaching the house; the old witch discontinued her incantations, and listened attentively. The crying voice approached the door.

“Open the door quickly,”shouted the charmer.

Bryan unbarred the door, and all three rushed out in the yard, when they heard the same cry down the boreheen, but could see nothing.

“ It is all over,” shouted the old witch ; “ something has gone amiss, and our charm for the present is ineffectual.”

They now turned back quite crestfallen, when, as they were entering the door, the sybil cast her eyes downwards, and perceiving a piece of horse-shoe nailed on the threshold,1 she vociferated—

“ Here I have it; no wonder our charm was abortive. The person that was crying abroad is the villain who has your cattle bewitched; I brought her to the house, but she was not able to come to the door on account of that horseshoe, Eemove it instantly, and we will try our luck again.”

1

It was once a common practice in Ireland to nail a piece of horse-shoe on the threshold of the door, as a preservative against the influence of the fairies, who, it is thought, dare not enter any house thus guarded. This custom, however, is much on the wane, but still it is prevalent in some of the more uncivilized districts of the country.

228    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

rr


Bryan removed the horse-shoe from the doorway, and by the hag’s directions placed it on the floor under the churn, having previously reddened it in the fire.

They again resumed their manual operations. Bryan and his wife began to churn, and the witch again to sing her strange verses, and casting her cow-hairs into the fire until she had them all nearly exhausted. Her countenance now began to exhibit evident traces of vexation and disappointment. She got quite pale, her teeth gnashed, her hand trembled, and as she cast the ninth arid last hair into the fire, her person exhibited more the appearance of a female demon than of a human being.

Once more the cry was heard, and an aged red-haired woman 1 was seen approaching the house quickly.

“ Ho, ho ! ” roared the sorceress, “ I knew it would be so; my charm has succeeded; my expectations are realized, and here she comes, the villain who has destroyed you.”

“ What are we to do now ? ” asked Bryan.

“ Say nothing to her,” said the hag ; “ give her whatever she demands, and leave the rest to me.”

The woman advanced screeching vehemently, and Bryan went out to meet her. She was a neighbor, and she said that one of her best cows was drowning in a pool of water—that there was no one at home but herself, and she implored Bryan to go rescue the cow from destruction.

Bryan accompanied her without hesitation ; and having rescued the cow from her perilous situation, was back again in a quarter of an hour.

It was now sunset, and Mrs. Costigan set about preparing supper.

During supper they reverted to the singular transactions of the day. The old witch uttered many a fiendish laugh at the success of her incantations, and inquired who was the woman whom they had so curiously discovered.

. Bryan satisfied her in every particular. She was the

1

Red-haired people are thought to possess magic power.

BEWITCHED BUTTER.    229

wife of a neighboring farmer; her name was Rachel Higgins; and she had been long suspected to be on familiar terms with the spirit of darkness. She had five or six cows; but it was observed by her sapient neighbors that she sold more butter every year than other farmers’ wives who had twenty. Bryan had, from the commencement of the decline in his cattle, suspected her for being the aggressor, but as he had 110 proof, he held his peace.

“Well,” said the old beldame, with a grim smile, “it is not enough that we have merely discovered the robber ; all is in vain, if we do not take steps to punish her for the past, as well as to prevent her inroads for the future.”

“ And how will that be done ? ” said Bryan.

“ I will tell you; as soon as the hour of twelve o’clock arrives to-night, do you go to the pasture, and take a couple of swift-running dogs with you; conceal yourself in some place convenient to the cattle ; watch them carefully ; and if you see anything, whether man or beast, approach the cows, set on the dogs, and if possible make them draw the blood of the intruder; then all mil be accomplished. If nothing approaches before sunrise, you may return, and we will try something else.”

Convenient there lived the cow-herd of a neighboring squire. He was a hardy, courageous young man, and always kept a pair of very ferocious bull-dogs. To him Bryan applied for assistance, and he cheerfully agreed to accompany him, and, moreover, proposed to fetch a couple of his master’s best greyhounds, as his own dogs, although extremely fierce and bloodthirsty, could not be relied on for swiftness. He promised Bryan to be with him before twelve o’clock and they parted.

Bryan did not seek sleep that night; he sat up anxiously awaiting the midnight hour. It arrived at last, and his friend, the herdsman, true to his promise, came at the time appointed. After some further admonitions from the Collough, they departed. Having arrived.at the field, they consulted as to the best position they could choose for concealment. At last they pitched on a small

230    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

brake of fern, situated at the extremity of the field, adjacent to the boundary ditch, which was thickly studded with large, old white-thorn bushes. Here they crouched themselves, and made the dogs, four in number, lie .down beside them, eagerly expecting the appearance of their as yet unknown and mysterious visitor.

Here Bryan and his comrade continued a considerable time in nervous anxiety, still nothing approached, and it became manifest that morning was at hand; they were beginning to grow impatient, and were talking'of returning home, when on a sudden they heard a rushing sound behind them, as if proceeding from something endeavoring to force a passage through the thick hedge in their rear. They looked in that direction, and judge of their astonishment, when they perceived a large hare in the act of springing from the ditch, and leaping on the ground quite near them. They were now convinced that this was the object which they had so impatiently expected, and they were resolved to watch her motions narrowly.

After arriving to the ground, she remained motionless for a few moments, looking around her sharply. She then began to skip and jump in a playful manner ; now advancing at a smart pace towards the cows, and again retreating precipitately, but still dawing nearer and nearer at • each sally. At length she advanced up to the next cow, and sucked her for a moment; then on to the next, and so respectively to every cow on the field—the cows all the time lowing loudly, and appearing extremely frightened and agitated. Bryan, from the moment the hare commenced sucking the first, was with difficulty restrained from attacking her; but his more sagacious companion suggested to him, that it was better to wait until she would have done, as she would then be much heavier, and ' more unable to effect her escape than at present. And so the issue proved; for being now done sucking them all, her belly appeared enormously distended, and she made her exit slowly and apparently with difficulty. She advanced towards the hedge where she had entered, and as

BEWITCHED BUTTER.    231

she arrived just at the clump of ferns where her foes were couched, they started up with a fierce yell, and hallooed the dogs upon her path.

The hare started off at a brisk pace, squirting up the milk she had sucked from her mouth and nostrils, and the dogs making after her rapidly. Rachel Higgins’s cabin appeared, through the gray of the morning twilight, at a little distance; and it was evident that puss seemed bent on gaining it, although she made a considerable circuit through the fields in the rear. Bryan and his comrade, 4 however, had their thoughts, and made towards the cabin by the shortest route, and had just arrived as the hare came up, panting and almost exhausted, and the dogs at her very scut. She ran round the house, evidently confused and disappointed at the presence of the men, but at length made for the door. In the bottom of the door was a small, semicircular aperture, resembling those cut in fowl-house doors for the ingress and egress of poultry.

To gain this hole, puss now made a last and desperate effort, and had succeeded in forcing her head and shoulders through it, when the foremost of the dogs made a spring and seized her violently by the haunch. She uttered a loud and piercing scream, and struggled desperately to free herself from his gripe, and at last succeeded, but not • until she left a piece of her rump in his teeth. The men now burst open the door ; a bright turf fire blazed on the hearth, and the whole floor was streaming with blood.

Ho hare, however, could be found, and the men were more than ever convinced that it was old Rachel, who had, by the assistance of some demon, assumed the form of the hare, and they now determined to have her if she were over the earth. They entered the bedroom, and heard some smothered groaning, as if proceeding from some one in extreme agony. They went to the corner of the room from whence the moans proceeded, and there, beneath a bundle of freshly-cut rushes, found the form of Rachel Higgins, writhing in the most excruciating agony, and almost smothered in a pool of blood. The men were astounded;

232    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

they addressed the wretched old woman, but she either could not, or would not answer them. Her wound still bled copiously ; her tortures appeared to increase, it was evident that she was dying. The aroused family thronged around her with cries and lamentations ; she did not seem to heed them, she got worse and worse, and her piercing yells fell awfully on the ears of the bystanders. At length she expired, and her corpse exhibited a most appalling spectacle, even before the spirit had well departed.

Bryan and his friend returned home. The old hag had been previously aware of the fate of Rachel Higgins, but it was not known by what means she aquired her supernatural knowledge. She was delighted at the issue of her mysterious operations. Bryan pressed her much to accept of some remuneration for her services, but she utterly rejected such proposals. She remained a few days at his house, and at length took her leave and departed, no one knew whither.

Old Rachel’s remains were interred that night in the neighboring churchyard. Her fate soon became generally known, and her family, ashamed to remain in their native village, disposed, of their property, and quitted the country forever. The story, however, is still fresh in the memory of the surrounding villagers; and often, it is said, amid the gray haze of a summer twilight, may the ghost of Rachel Higgins, in the form of a hare, be seen scudding over her favorite and well-remembered haunts.

THE" HORNED WOMEN.    233

THE HORNED WOMEN *

LADY WILDE.

A rich woman sat np late one night carding and preparing wool, while all the family and servants were asleep. Suddenly a knock was given at the door, and a voice called—“ Open !. open ! ”

“ Who is there ? ” said the woman of the house.

“ I am the Witch of the one Horn,” was answered.

The mistress, supposing that one of her neighbors had called and required assistance, opened the door, and a woman entered, having in her hand a pair of wool carders, and hearing a horn on her forehead, as if growing there. She sat down by the fire in silence, and began to card the wool with violent haste. Suddenly she paused, and said aloud: “ Where are the women ? they delay too long.”

Then a second knock came to the door, and a voice called as before, “ Open ! open ! ”

The mistress felt herself constrained to rise and open to the call, and immediately a second witch entered, having two horns on her forehead, and in her hand a wheel for spinning wool.

“ Give me place,” she said, “ I am the Witch of the two Horns,” and she began to spin as quick as lightning.

And so the knocks went on, and the call was heard, and the witches entered, until at last twelve women sat round the fire—the first with one horn, the last with twelve horns.

And they carded the thread, and turned their spinning-wheels, and wound and wove.

All singing together an ancient rhyme, but no word did they speak to the mistress of the house. Strange to hear, and frightful to look upon, were these twelve women, with * Ancient Legends of Ireland.

234    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

their horns and their wheels ; and the mistress felt near to death, and she tried to rise that she might call for help, but she could not move, nor could she utter a word or a cry, for the spell of the witches was upon her.

Then one of them called to her in Irish, and said—

“ Rise, woman, and make us a cake.” Then the mistress searched for a vessel to bring water from the well that she . might mix the meal and make the cake, hut she could find none.

And they said to her, “ Take a sieve and bring water in it.”

And she took the sieve and went to the well; but the water poured from it, and she could fetch none for the cake, and she sat down by the well and wept.

Then a voice came by her and said, “ Take yellow clay and moss, and bind them together, and plaster the sieve so that it will hold.”

This she did, and the sieve held the water for the cake; and the voice said again—

“Return, and when thou comest to the north angle of the house, cry aloud three times and say, ‘ The mountain of the Fenian women and the sky over it is all on fire.’ ” And she did so.

When the witches inside heard the call, a great and terrible cry broke from their lips, and they rushed forth with wild lamentations and shrieks, and fled away to Slievenamon,1 where was their chief abode. But the Spirit of the Well bade the mistress of the house to enter and prepare her home against the enchantments of the witches if they returned again.

And first, to break their spells, she sprinkled the water in which she had washed her child’s feet (the feet-water) outside the door on the threshold; secondly, she took the cake which the witches had made in her absence of meal mixed with the blood drawn from the sleeping family, and she broke the cake in bits, and placed a bit in the

1

Sliabh-na-rribani.e., mountains of the women.

THE HORNED WOMEN.    235

month of each sleeper, and they were restored; and she took the cloth they had woven and placed it half in and half out of the chest with the padlock; and lastly, she secured the door with a great crossbeam fastened in the jambs, so that they could not enter, and having done these things she waited.

Not long were the witches in coming back, and they raged and called for vengeance.

“ Open! open! ” they screamed, “ open, feet-water ! ” “I cannot,” said the feet-water, “I am scattered on the ground, and my path is down to the Lough.”

“ Open, open, wood and trees and beam! ” they cried to the door.

I cannot,” said the door, “ for the beam is fixed in the jambs and I have no power to move.”

“ Open, open, cake that we have made and mingled with the blood ! ” they cried again.

“I cannot,” said the cake, “for I am broken and bruised, and my blood is on the lips of the sleeping children.”

Then the witches rushed through the air with great cries, and fled back to Slivenamon, uttering strange curses on the Spirit of the Well, who had wished their ruin; but the woman and the house were left in peace, and a mantle dropped by one of the witches in her flight was kept hung up by the mistress as a sign of the night’s awful contest; and this mantle was in possession of the same family from generation to generation for five hundred years after.

236    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

THE WITCHES’ EXCURSION.*

PATRICK KEKKEDY.

Shemtts Rua f (Red James) awakened from Ms sleep one night by noises in his kitchen. Stealing to the door, he saw half-a-dozen old women sitting round the fire, jesting and laughing, his old housekeeper, Madge, quite frisky and gay, helping her sister cronies to cheering glasses of punch. He began to admire the impudence and imprudence of Madge, displayed in the invitation and the riot, but recollected on the instant her oificiousness in urging him to take a comfortable posset, which she had brought to his bedside just before he fell asleep. Had he drunk it, he would have been just now deaf to the witches’glee. He heard and saw them drink his health in such a mocking style as nearly to tempt him to charge them, besom in hand, but he restrained himself.

The jug being emptied, one of them cried out, “ Is it time to be gone ? ” and at the same moment, putting on a red cap, she added—

“ By yarrow and rue,

And my red cap too,

Hie over to England.”

Making use of a twig which she held in her hand as a steed, she gracefully soared up the chimney, and was rapidly followed by the rest. But when it came to the housekeeper, Shemus interposed. “ By your leave, ma’am,” said he, snatching twig and cap. “Ah, you desateful ould crocodile ! If I find you here on my return, there’ll be wigs on the green—

* Fictions of the Irish Celts.

f Irish, Seumus Buadh. The Celtic vocal organs are unable to pronounce the letter j, hence they make Shon or Shawn of John, or Shamus of James, etc.

THE WITCHES’ EXCURSION.    237

£ By yarrow and rue,

And my red cap too,

Hie over to England.’ ”

The words were not out of his mouth when he was soaring above the ridge pole, and swiftly plowing the air. He was careful to speak 110 word (being some what conversant with witch-lore), as the result would be a tumble, and the immediate return of the expedition.

In a very short time they had crossed the Wicklow hills, the Irish Sea, and the Welsh mountains, and were charging, at whirlwind speed, the hall door of a castle. Shemus, only for the company in which he found himself, would have cried out for pardon, expecting to be a mummy against the hard oak door in a moment; but, all bewildered, he found himself passing through the keyhole, along a passage, down a flight of steps, and through a cellar-door key-liole before he could form any clear idea of his situation.

Waking to the full consciousness of his position, he found himself sitting on a stillion, plenty of lights glimmering round, and he and his companions, with full tumblers of frothing wine in hand, hobnobbing and drinking healths as jovially and recklessly as if the liquor was honestly come by, and they were sitting in Shemus’s own kitchen. The red birredli1 had assimilated Shemus’s nature for the time being to that of his unholy companions. The heady liquors soon got into their brains, and a period of unconsciousness succeeded the ecstasy, the headache, the turning round of the barrels, and the “ scattered sight ” of Poor Shemus. He woke up under the impression of being roughly seized and shaken, and dragged upstairs, and subjected to a disagreeable examination by the lord of the castle, in his state parlor. There was much derision among the whole company, gentle and simple, on hearing Shemus’s explanation, and, as the thing occurred in the dark ages, the unlucky Leinster

1

Ir., Birr endi. e. a cap.

238    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

man was sentenced to be hung as soon as the gallows could be prepared for the occasion.

The poor Hibernian was in the cart proceeding on his last journey, with a label on his back, and another on his breast, announcing him as the remorseless villain who for the last month had been draining the casks in my lord’s vault every night. He was surprised to hear himself addressed by his name, and in his native tongue, by an old woman in the crowd. “ Ach, Shemus, alanna! is it going to die you are in a strange place without your cappeen dy array f1 These words infused hope and courage into the poor victim’s heart. He turned to the lord and humbly asked leave to die in his red cap, which he supposed had dropped from his head in the vault. A servant was sent for the headpiece, and Shemus felt lively hope warming his heart while placing it on his head. On the platform he was graciously allowed to address the spectators, which he proceeded to do in the usual fohnula composed for the benefit of flying stationers —“ Good people all, a warning take by me; ” but when he had finished the line, “My parents reared me tenderly,” he unexpectedly added—“By yarrow and rue,” etc., and the disappointed spectators saw him shoot up obliquely through the air in the style of a sky-rocket that had missed its aim. It is said that the lord took the circumstance much to heart, and never afterwards hung a man for twenty-four hours after his offense.

1

Irish, caipin deargi. e., red cap.

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE. 239

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE.

T. CEOPTON CEOKEE.

Tom Roiteke lives in a low, long farm-house, resembling in outward appearance a large barn, placed at the bottom of the bill, just where the new road strikes off from the old one, leading from the town of Kilworth to that of Lismore. He is of a class of persons who are a sort of black swans in Ireland: he is a wealthy farmer. Tom’s father had, in the good old times, when a hundred pounds were no inconsiderable treasure, either to lend or spend, accommodated his landlord with that sum, at interest; and obtained as a return for his civility a long lease, about half-a-dozen times more valuable than the loan which procured it. The old man died worth several hundred pounds, the greater part of which with his farm, he bequeathed to his son Tom. But besides all this, Tom received from his father, upon his death-bed, another gift, far more valuable than worldly riches, greatly as he prized and is still known to prize them. He was invested with the privilege, enjoyed by few of the sons of men, of communicating with those mysterious beings called “ the good people.”

Tom Bourke is a little, stout, healthy, active man, about fifty-five years of age. His hair is perfectly white, short and bushy behind, but rising in front erect and thick above his forehead, like a new clothes-brush. His eyes are of that kind which I have often observed with persons of a quick, but limited intellect—they are small, gray, and lively. The large and projecting eyebrows under, or rather within, which they twinkle, give them an expression of shrewdness and intelligence, if not of cunning. And this is very much the character of the man. If you want to make a bargain with Tom Bourke you must act

240    -    IRISH    FAIRY TALES.

as if you were a general besieging a town, and make youi advances a long time before you can hope to obtain possession ; if you march up boldly, and tell him at once your object, you are for the most part sure to have the gates closed in your teeth. Tom does not wish to part with .what you wish to obtain; or another person has been speaking to him for the whole of the last week. Or, it may be, your proposal seems to meet the most favorable reception. “Very well, sir;” “That’s true, sir ; ” “ I’m very thankful to your honor,” and' other expressions of kindness and confidence greet you in reply to every sentence; and you part from him wondering how he can have obtained the character which he universally bears, of being a man whom no one can make anything of in a bargain. But when you next meet him the flattering illusion is dissolved : you find you are a great deal further from your object than you were when you thought you had almost succeeded ; his eye and his tongue express a total forgetfulness of what the mind within never lost sight of for an instant; and you have to begin operations afresh, with the disadvantage of having put your adversary completely upon his guard.

Yet, although Tom Bourke is, whether from supernatural revealings, or (as many will think more probable) from the tell-truth experience, so distrustful of mankind, and so close in his dealings with them, he is no misanthrope. No man loves better the pleasures of the genial board. The love of money, indeed, which is with him (and who will blame him?) a very ruling propensity, and the gratification which it has received from habits of industry, sustained throughout a pretty long and successful life, have taught him the value of sobriety, during those seasons, at least, when a man’s business requires him to keep possession of his senses. He has, therefore, a general rule, never to get drunk but on Sundays. But in order that it should be a general one to all intents and purposes, he takes a method which, according to better logicians than he is, always proves the rule. He has many

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOUKKE. _ 241

exceptions ; among these, of course, are the evenings of all the fair and market-days that happen in his neighborhood; so also all the days in which funerals, marriages, and christenings take place among his friends within many miles of him. As to this last class of exceptions, it may appear at first very singular, that he is much more punctual in his attendance at the funerals than at the baptisms or weddings of his friends. This may be construed as an instance of disinterested affection for departed worth, very uncommon is this selfish world. But I am afraid that the motives which lead Tom Bourke to pay more court to the dead than the living are precisely those which lead to the opposite conduct in the generality of mankind —a hope of future benefit and a fear of future evil. For the good people, who are a race as powerful as they are capricious, have their favorites among those who inhabit this world; often show their affection by easing the objects of it from the load of this burdensome life; and frequently reward or punish the living according to the degree of reverence paid to the obsequies and the memory of the elected dead.

Some may attribute to the same cause the apparently humane and charitable actions which Tom, and indeed the other members of his family, are known frequently to perform. A beggar has seldom left their farm-yard with an empty wallet, or without obtaining a night’s lodging, if required, with a sufficiency of potatoes and milk to satisfy even an Irish beggar’s appetite; in appeasing which, account must usually be taken of the auxiliary jaws of a hungry dog, and of two or three still more hungry children, who line themselves, well within, to atone for their nakedness without. If one of the neighboring poor be seized with a fever, Tom will often supply the sick wretch with some untenanted hut upon one of his two large farms (for he has added one to his patrimony), or will send his laborers to construct a shed at a hedge-side, and supply straw for a bed while the disorder continues. His wife, remarkable for the largeness of her dairy, and the goodness 16

242    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

of everything it contains, will furnish milk for whey ; and their good offices are frequently extended to the family of the patient, who are, perhaps, reduced to the extremity of wretchedness, by even the temporary suspension of a father’s or a husband’s labor.

If much of this arises from the hopes and fears to which I above alluded, I believe much of it flows from a mingled sense of compassion and of duty, which is sometimes seen to break from an Irish peasant’s heart, even where it happens to be enveloped in a habitual covering of avarice and fraud; and which I once heard speak in terms not to be misunderstood: “ When we get a deal, ’ tis only fair we should give back a little of it.”

It is not easy to prevail on Tom to speak of those good people, with whom he is said to hold frequent and intimate communications. To the faithful, who believe in their power, and their occasional delegation of it to him, he seldom refuses, if properly asked, to exercise his high jn’e-rogative when any unfortunate being is struck in his neighborhood. Still he will not be won unsued; he is at first difficult of persuasion, and must be overcome by a little gentle violence. On these occasions he is unusually solemn and mysterious, and if one word of reward be mentioned he at once abandons the unhappy patient, such a proposition being a direct insult to his supernatural superiors. It is true that, as the laborer is worthy of his hire, most persons gifted as he is do not scruple to receive a token of gratitude from the patients or their friends after their recovery. It is recorded that a very handsome gratuity was once given to a female practitioner in this occult science, who deserves to be mentioned, not only because she was a neighbor and a rival of Tom’s, but from the singularity of a mother deriving her name from her' son. Her son’s name was Owen, and she was always called Owen sa vauher (Owen’s mother). This person was, on the occasion to which I have alluded, persuaded to give her assistance to a young girl who had lost the use of her right leg; Owen sa vauher found the cure a difficult one. A

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE. 243

journey of about eighteen miles was essential for the purpose, probably to visit one of the good people who resided at that distance ; and this journey could only be performed by Owen sa vauher traveling upon the back of a white hen. The visit, however, was accomplished ; and at a particular hour,, according to the prediction of this extraordinary woman, when the hen and her rider were to reach their journey’s end, the patient was seized with an irresistible desire to dance, which she gratified with the most perfect freedom of the diseased leg, much .to the joy of her anxious family. The gratuity in this case was, as it surely ought to have been, unusually large, from the difficulty of procuring a hen willing to go so long a journey with such a rider.

To do Tom. Bourke justice, he is on these occasions, as I have heard from many competent authorities, perfectly disinterested. Not many months since he recovered a young woman (the sister of a tradesman living near him), who had been struck speechless after returning from a funeral, and had continued so for several days. He steadfastly refused receiving any compensation, saying that even if he had not as much as would buy him his supper, he could take nothing hi this case, because the girl had offended at the funeral of one of the good people belonging to his own family, and though he would do her a kindness, he could take none from her.

About the time this last remarkable affair took place, my friend Mr. Martin, who is a neighbor of Tom’s, had some business to transact 'with him, which it was exceedingly difficult to bring to a conclusion. At last Mr. Martin, having tried all quiet means, had recourse to a legal process, which brought Tom to reason, and the matter was arranged to their mutual satisfaction, and with perfect good-humor between the parties. The accommodation took place after dinner at Mr. Martin’s house, and he invited Tom to walk into the parlor and take a glass of punch, made of some excellent poteen, which was on the table: he had long wished to draw out his highly-endowed

244    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

neighbor on' the subject of his supernatural powers, and Mrs. Martin, who was in the room, was rather a favorite of Tom’s, this seemed a good opportunity.

“Well, Tom,” said Mr. Martin, “that was a curious business of Molly Dwyer’s, who recovered her speech so suddenly the other day.”

“You may say that, sir,” replied Tom Bourke; “but I had to travel far for it; no matter for that now. Your health, ma’am,” said he, turning to Mrs. Martin.

“Thank you, Tom. But I am told you .had some trouble once in that way in your own family,” said Mrs. Martin.

“ So I had, ma’am; trouble enough: but you were only a child at that time.”

“ Come, Tom,” said the hospitable Mr. Martin, interrupting him, “ take another tumbler; ” and he then added, “I wish you would tell us something of the manner in which so many of your children died. I am told they dropped off, one after another, by the same disorder, and that your eldest son was cured in a most extraordinary way, when the physicians had given him over.”

“ ’Tis true for you, sir,” returned Tom; “ your father, the doctor (God be good to him, I won’t belie him in his grave), told me, when my fourth boy was a week sick, that himself and Dr. Barry did all that man could do for him; but they could not keep him from going after the rest. No more they could, if the people that took away the rest wished to take him too. But they left him; and sorry to the heart I am I did not know before why they were taking my boys from me; if I did, I would not be left trusting to two of ’em now.”

“And how did you find it out, Tom?” inquired Mr. Martin.

“ Why, then, I’ll tell you, sir,” said Bourke. “ When your father said what I told you, I did not know very well what to do. I walked down the little bohereen1

1

Bohereen, or boghreen, i. e.t a green lane.

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE. 245

you know, sir, that goes to , the river-side near Dick Heafy’s ground; for ’twas a lonesome place, and I wanted to think of myself. I was heavy, sir, and my heart got weak in me, when I thought I was to lose my little boy; and I did not well know how to face his mother with the news, for she doated down upon him. Besides, she never got the better of all she cried at his brother’s berrin * the week before. As I was going down the bohereen I met an old bocough, that used to come about the place once or twice a year, and used always to sleep in our barn while he staid in the neighborhood. So he asked me how I was. ‘ Bad enough, Shamous,’ t says I. ‘ I’m sorry for your trouble,’ says he; ‘ but you’re a foolish man, Mr. Bourke. Your son would be well enough if you would only do what you ought with him.’ ‘ What more can I do with him, Shamous ? ’ says I; ‘ the doctors give him over.’ ‘ The doctors know no more what ails him than they do what ails a cow when she stops her milk,’ says Shamous; £ but go to such a one,’ telling me his name, ‘ and try what he’ll say to you. ’ ”

“ And who was that, Tom ? ” asked Mr. Martin.

“I could not tell you that, sir,” said Bourke, with a mysterious look; “ howsomever, you often saw him, and he does not live far from this. But I had a trial of him before ; and if I went to him at first, maybe I’d have now some of them that’s gone, and so Shamous often told me. Well, sir, I went to this man, and he came with me to the house. By course, I did everything as he bid me. According to his order, I took the little boy out of the dwelling-house immediately, sick as he was, and made a bed for him and myself in the cow-house. Well, sir, I lay down by his' side in the bed, between two of the cows, and he fell asleep. He got into a perspiration, saving your presence, as if he was drawn through the river, and breathed hard, with a great impression on his chest, and was very bad—very bad entirely through the night. I thought about twelve o’clock he was going at last, and I was just getting up to go call the man I told you of .; but * Berrin, burying.    f    Shamous,    James.

24-6    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

there was no occasion. My friends were getting the better of them that wanted to take him away from me. There was nobody in the cow-house but the child and myself. There was only one halfpenny candle lighting it, and that was stuck in the wall at the far end of the house. I had just enough of light where we were lying to see a person walking or standing near us : and there was no more noise than if it was a churchyard, except the , cows chewing the fodder in the stalls.

Just as I was thinking of getting up, as I told you—I won’t belie my father, sir, he, was a good father to me—I saw him standing at the bedside, holding out his right nand to me, and leaning his other on the stick he used to carry when he was alive, and looking pleasant and smiling at me, all as if he was telling me not to be afeard, for I would not lose the child. c Is that you, father ? ’ says I. He said nothing. 4 If that’s you,’ says I again, 4 for the love of them that are gone, let me catch your hand.’ And so he did, sir; and his hand was as soft as a child’s. He stayed about as long as you’d be going from this to the gate below at the end of the avenue, and then went away. In less than a week the child was as well as if nothing ever ailed him; and there isn’t to-night a healthier boy of nineteen, from this blessed house to the town of Ballyporeen, across the Kilworth mountains.”

“ But I think, Tom,” said Mr. Martin, “ it appears as if you are more indebted to your father than to the man recommended to you by Shamous; or do you suppose it was he who made favor with your enemies among the

good people, and that then your father ”

“ I beg you pardon, sir,” said Bourke, interrupting him ;

“ but don’t call them my enemies. ’Twould not be wishing to me for a good deal to sit by when they are called so. No offense to you, sir. Here’s wishing you a good health and long life.”

“ I assure you,” returned Mr. Martin, “ I meant no offense, Tom; but was it not as I say ? ”

441 can’t tell you that, sir,” said Bourke; 44 I’m bound

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE.    247

down, sir. Howsoever, yon may be sure the man I spoke of and my father, and those they know, settled it between them.”

There was a pause, of which Mrs. Martin took advantage to inquire of Tom whether something remarkable had not happened about a goat and a pair of pigeons, at the time of his son’s illness—circumstances often mysteriously hinted at by Tom.

“ See that, now,” said he, turning to Mr. Martin, “ how well she remembers it! True for you, ma’am. The goat I gave the mistress, your mother, when the doctors ordered her goats’ whey ? ”

Mrs. Martin nodded assent, and Tom Bourke continued, “ Why, then, I’ll tell you how that was. The goat was as well as e’er goat ever was, for a month after she was sent to Killaan, to your father’s. The morning after the night I just told you of, before the child woke, his mother was standing at the gap leading out of the barn-yard into the road, and she saw two pigeons flying from the town of Kilworth off the church down towards her. Well, they never stopped, you see, till they came to the house on the hill at the other side of the river, facing our farm. They pitched upon the chimney of that house, and after looking about them for a minute or two, they flew straight across the river, and stopped on the ridge of the cow-house where the child and I were lying. Do you think they came there for nothing, sir ? ”

“ Certainly not, Tom,” returned Mr. Martin.

“ Well, the woman came in to me, frightened, and told me. She began to cry. “ Whisht, you fool ? ’ says I; ‘ ’tis all for the better.’ ’Twas true for me. What do you think, ma’am ; the goat that I gave your mother, that was seen feeding at sunrise that morning by Jack Cronin, as merry as a bee, dropped down dead without anybody knowing why, before Jack’s face ; and at that very moment he saw two pigeons fly from the top of the house out of the town, toward Lismore road. ’Twas at the same time my woman saw them, as I just told you.”

248    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ ’Twas very strange, indeed, Tom,” said Mr. Martin; -“ I wish, you could give us some explanation of it.”

“ I wish I could, sir,” was Tom Bourke’s answer;

“ hut I’m hound down. I can’t tell but what I’m allowed to tell, any more than a sentry is let walk more than his rounds.”

“ I think you said something of having had some former knowledge of the man that assisted in the cure, of your son,” said Mr. Martin.

“ So I had, sir,” returned Bourke. “ I had a trial of that man. But that’s neither here nor there. I can’t tell you anything about that, sir. But would you like to know how he got his skill ? ”

“ Oh ! very much, indeed,” said Mr. Martin.

“ But you can tell us his Christian name, that we may know him better through the story,” added Mrs. ^lartin.

Tom Bourke paused for a minute to consider this proposition.

“ Well, I believe that I may tell you that, anyhow; his name is Patrick. He was always a smart, ’cute * boy, and would be a great clerk if he stuck to it- The first time I knew him, sir, was at my mother’s wake. I was in great trouble, for I did not know where to bury her. Her people and my father’s people—I mean their friends, sir, among the good people—had the greatest battle that was known for many a year, at Dunmanwaycross, to see to whose churchyard she’d be taken. They fought for three nights, one after another, without being able to settle it. The neighbors wondered how long I was before I buried my mother; but I had my reasons, though I could not tell them at that time. Well, sir, to make my story short, Patrick came on the fourth morning and told me he settled the business, and that day we buried her in Kilcrum- • per churchyard, with my father’s people.”

“ He was a valuable friend, Tom,” said Mrs. Martin, with difficulty suppressing a smile. “ But you were about to tell how. he became so skilful.”

* Cute, acute.

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURNE.    249

“So I will and welcome,” replied Bourke. “Your health, ma’am. I’m drinking too much of this punch, sir; hut to tell the truth, I never tasted the like of it; it goes down one’s throat like sweet oil. But what was I going to say ? Yes—well—Patrick, many a long year ago, was coming home from a berrin late in the evening, and walking by the side of a river, opposite the big inch,* near Ballyhefaan ford. He had taken a drop, to be sure ; but he was only a little merry, as you may say, and knew very "well what he was doing. The moon was shining, for it was in the month of August, and the river was as smooth and as bright as a looking-glass. He heard nothing for a long time but the fall of the water at the mill weir about a mile down the river, and now and then the crying of the lambs on the other side of the river. All at once there was a noise of a great number of people laughing as if they’d break their hearts, and of a piper playing among them. It came from the inch at the other side of the ford, and he saw, through the mist that hung over the river, a whole crowd of people dancing on the inch. Patrick was as fond of a dance, as he was of a glass, and that’s saying enough for him; so he whipped off his shoes and stockings, and away with him across the ford. After putting on his shoes and stockings at the other side of the river he walked over to the crowd, and mixed with them for some time without being minded. He thought, sir, that he’d show them better dancing than any of themselves, for he was proud of his feet, sir, and a good right he had, for there was not a boy in the same parish could foot a double or treble with him. But pwah! his dancing was no more to theirs than mine would be to the mistress’ there. They did not seem as if they had a bone in their bodies, and they kept it up as if nothing could tire them. Patrick was ’shamed within himself, for he thought he had not his fellow in all the country round; and was going away, when a little old man, that was looking at the company bitterly, as if he * Inch, low meadow ground near a river.

250    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

did not like what was going on, came up to him. ‘ Patrick,’ says he. Patrick started, for he did not think anybody there knew him. ‘Patrick,’ says he, ‘you’re discouraged, and no wonder for you. But you have a friend near you. I’m your friend, and your father’s friend, and and I think worse 1 of your little finger than I do of all that are here, though they think no one is as good as themselves. Go into the ring and call for a lilt. Don’t he afeard. I tell you the best of them did not do it as well as you shall, if you will do as I bid 'you.’ Patrick felt something within him as if he ought not to gainsay the old man. He went into the ring, and called the piper to play up the best double he had. And sure enough, all that the others were able for was nothing to to him! He bounded like an eel, now here and now there, as light as a feather, although the people could hear the music answered by his steps, that beat time to every turn of it, like the left foot of the piper. He first danced a hornpipe on the ground. Then they got a table, and he danced a treble on it that drew down shouts from the whole company. At last he called for a trencher; and when they saw him, all as if he was spinning on it like a top, they did not know what to make of him. Some praised him for the best dancer that ever entered a ring; others hated him because he was better than themselves; although they had good right to think themselves better than him or any other man that ever went the long journey.”

“ And what was the cause of his great success ? ” inquired Mr. Martin.

“He could not help it, sir,” replied Tom Bourke. “ They that could make him do more than that made him do it. Howsomever, when he had done, they wanted him to dance again, but he was tired, and they could not persuade him. At last he got angry, and swore a big oath, saving your presence, that he would not dance a step

1

Worse\ more.

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE.    251

more ; and the word was hardly out of his mouth Avhen he found himself all alone, with nothing but a white cow grazing by his side.”

“ Did he ever discover why he was gifted with these extraordinary powers in the dance, Tom ? ” said Mr. Martin.

“ I’ll tell you that too, sir,” answered Bourke, “ when I come to it. When he went home, sir, he was taken with a shivering, and went to bed ; and the next day they found he had got the fever, or something like it, for he raved like as if he was mad. But they couldn’t make out what it was he was saying, though he talked constant. The doctors gave him over. But it’s little they knew what ailed him. When he was, as you may say, about ten days sick, and everybody thought he was going, one of the neighbors came in to him with a man, a friend of his, from Ballinlacken, that was keeping with him some time before. I can’t tell you his name either, only it was Darby. The minute Darby saw Patrick he took a little bottle, with the juice of herbs in it, out of his pocket, and gave Patrick a drink of it. He did the same every day for three weeks, and then Patrick was able to walk about, as stout and as hearty as ever he was in his life. But he was a long time before he came to himself; and he used to walk the whole day sometimes by the ditchside, talking to himself, like as if there was some one along with him. And so there was, surely, or he wouldn’t be the man he is to-day.”

“ I suppose it was from some such companion he learned his skill,” said Mr. Martin.

“ You have it all now, sir,” replied Bourke. “ Darby told him his friends were satisfied with what he did the night of the dance ; and though thejr couldn’t hinder the fever, they’d bring him over it, and teach him. And so they did. For you see, all the people he met on the inch that night were friends of a different faction ; only the old man that spoke to him, he was a friend of Patrick’s family, and it went again his heart, you see, that the

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

others were so light and active, and he was bitter in himself to hear ’em boasting how they’d danee with any set in the whole country round. So he gave Patrick the gift that night, and afterwards gave him the skill that makes him the wonder of all that know him. And to he sure it was only learning he was at that time when he was wandering in his mind after the fever.”

I have heard many strange stories about that inch near Ballyhefaan ford,” said Mr. Martin. “ ’Tis a great place for the good people, isn’t it, Tom ? ”

“You may say that, sir,” returned Bourke. “I could tell you a great deal about it. Many a, time I sat for as good as two hours by moonlight, at th’ other side of the river, looking at ’em playing goal as if they’d break their hearts over it; with their coats and waistcoats off, and white handkerchiefs on the heads of one party, and red ones on th’ other, just as you’d see on a Sunday in Mr. Simming’s big field. I saw ’em one night play till the moon set, without one party being able to take the ball from th’ other. I’m sure they were going to fight, only 5twas near mornhig. I’m told your grandfather, ma’am, used to see ’em there too,” said Bourke, turning to Mrs. Martin.

“ So I have been told, Tom,” replied Mrs. Martin. “ But don’t they say that the churchyard of Kilcrumper is just as favorite a place with the good people as Ballyhefaan inch ? ”

“ Why, then, maybe you never heard, ma’am, what happened to Davy Roche in that same churchyard,” said Bourke; and turning to Mr. Martin, added, “ ’Twas a long time before he went into your service, sir. He was walking home, of an evening, from the fair of Kilcumber, a little merry, to be sure, after the day, and he came up with a berrin. So he walked along with it, and thought it very queer that he did not know a mother’s soul in the crowd hut one man, and he was sure that man was dead many years afore. Howsomever, he went on with the herrin till they came to Kilcrumper churchyard; and, faith, he went

THE CONFESSIONS OF TOM BOURKE.    253

in and stayed with the rest, to see the corpse buried. As soon as the grave was covered, what should they do but gather about a piper that come along with ’em, and fall to dancing as if it was a wedding. Davy longed to he among ’em (for he hadn’t a had foot of his own, that time, whatever he may now) ; hut he was loth to begin, because they all seemed strange to him, only the man I told you that lie thought was dead. Well, at last this man saw what Davy wanted, and came up to him. ‘Davy,’ says he, ‘ take out a partner, and show what you can do, hut take care and don’t offer to kiss her.’ ‘ That I won’t,’ says Davy, ‘although her lips were made of honey.’ And with that he made his how to the purtiest girl in the ring, and he and she began to dance. ’Twas a jig they danced, and they did it to th’ admiration, do you see, of all that were there. ’Twas all very well till the jig was over; but just as they had done, Davy, for he had a drop in, and was warm with the dancing, forgot himself, and kissed his partner, according to custom. The smack was no sooner off of his lips, you see, than he was left alone in the churchyard, without a creature near him, and all he could see was the tall tombstones. Davy said they seemed as if they were dancing too, but I suppose that was only the wonder that happened him, and he being a little in drink. IIow-somever, he found it was a great many hours later than he thought it; ’twas near morning when he came home; but they couldn’t get a word out of him till the next day, when he woke out of a dead sleep about twelve o’clock.” When Tom had finished the account of Davy Roche and the berrin, it became quite evident that spirits, of some sort, were working too strong within him to admit of his telling many more tales of the good people. Tom seemed conscious of this. He muttered for a few minutes broken sentences concerning churchyards, river-sides, leprechauns, and dina rnagh1 which were quite unintelligible, perhaps, to himseif, certainly to Mr. Martin and his lady.

1

Daoine maithe, i. e., the good people.

m    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

At length he made a slight motion of the head upwards, as if he would say, “ I can talk no more; ” stretched his arm on the table, upon which he placed the empty tumbler slowly, and with the most knowing and cautious air j and rising from his chair, walked, or rather rolled, to the parlor door. Here he turned round to face his host and hostess^ but after various ineffectual attempts to bid them good-night, the words, as they rose, being always choked by a violent hiccup, while the door, which he held by the handle, swung to and fro, carrying his unyielding body along with it, he was obliged to depart in silence. The cow-boy, sent by Tom’s wife, who knew well what sort of allurement detained him when he remained out after a certain hour, was in attendance to conduct his master home. I have no doubt that he returned without meeting any material injury, as I know that within the last month he was to use his own words, “ as stout and hearty a man as any of his age in the county Cork.”

THE PUDDIHG BEWITCHED.

WILLIAM CAKLETOJT.

“ Moll Roe Raffeety was the son—daughter I mane—of ould Jack Rafferty, who was remarkable for a habit he had of always wearing his head undher his hat; but indeed the same family was a quare one, as everybody knew that was acquainted wid them. It was said of them—but whether it was thrue or not I won’t undhertake to say, Jor ’fraid I’d tell a lie—that whenever they didn’t wear .shoes or boots they always went barefooted; but I heard aftherwards that this was disputed, so rather than say anything to injure their character, I’ll let that pass. Kow, ould Jack Rafferty had two sons, Paddy and Moll}'-—but! what are you all laughing at?—I mane a son and daughter, and it was generally believed among the neighbors that they were brother and sisther, which you know

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    255

might be thrue or it might not: hut that’s a thing that, wid the help o’ goodness, we have nothing to say to. Troth there was many ugly things put out on them that I don’t wish to repate, such as that neither Jack nor his son Paddy ever walked a perch widout puttin’ one foot afore the other like a salmon; an’ I know it was whispered about, that whinever Moll Roe slep’, she had an out-of-the-way custom of keepin’ her eyes shut. If she did, however, for that matther the loss was her own; for sure we all know that when one comes to shut their eyes they can’t see as far before them as another.

“ Moll Roe was a fine young bouncin’ girl, large and lavish, wid a purty head o’ hair on her like scarlet, that bein’ one of the raisons why she was called Hoe, or red; her arms an’ cheeks were much the color of the hair, an’ her saddle nose was the purtiest thing of its kind that ever was on a face. Her fists—for, thank goodness, she was well sarved wid them too—had a strong simularity to two thumpin’ turnips, reddened by the sun; an’ to keep all right and tight, she had a temper as fiery as her head— for, indeed, it was well known that all the Rafferties were warm-hearted. Howandiver, it appears that God gives nothing in vain, and of coorse the same fists, big and red as they were, if all that is said about them is thrue, were not so much given to her for ornament as use. At laist, takin’ them in connection wid her lively temper, we have it upon good authority, that there was no danger of their getting blue-moulded for want of practice. She had a twist, too in one of her eyes that was very becomin’ in its way, and made her poor husband, when she got him, take it into his head that she could see round a corner. She found him out in many quare things, widout doubt; but whether it was owin’ to that or not, I wouldn’t undertake to say for Afraid I'd tell a lie.

“Well, begad, anyhow it was Moll Roe that was the dilsy1 It happened that there was a nate vagabone in

1

Perhaps from Irish dilsei. e., love.

256    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

the neighborhood, jnst as much overburdened wid beauty as herself, and he was named Gusty Gillespie. Gusty, the Lord guard us, was what they call a black-mouth Prosby-tarian, and wouldn’t keep Christmas-day, the blagard, except what they call ‘ ould style.’ Gusty was rather good-lookin’ when seen in the dark, as well as Moll herself; and, indeed, it was purty well known that—accordin’ as talk went—it was in nightly meetings that they had an opportunity of becomin’ detached to one another. The quensequence was, that in due time both families began to talk very seriously as to what was to be done. Moll’s brother Pawdien O’Rafferty gave Gusty the best of two choices. What they were it’s not worth spakin’ about; but at any rate one of them was a poser, an’ as Gusty knew his man, he soon came to his senses. Accordianly everything was deranged for their marriage, and it was appointed that they should be spliced by the Rev; Samuel M‘Shuttle, the Prosbytarian parson, on the following Sunday.

“ Row this was the first marriage that had happened for a long time in the neighborhood betunea black-mouth an’ a Catholic, an’ of coorse there was strong objections on both sides against it; an’ begad, only for one thing, it would never ’a tuck place at all. At any rate, faix, there was one of the bride’s uncles, ould Harry Connolly, a fairy-nian, who could cure all complaints wid a secret he had, and as he didn’t wish to see his niece married upon sich a fellow, he fought bittherly against the match. All Moll’s friends, however, stood up for the marriage barrin’ him, an’ of coorse the Sunday was appointed, as I said, that they were to be dove-tailed together.

“Well, the day arrived, and Moll, as became her, went to mass, and Gusty to meeting, afther which they were to join one another in Jack Rafferty’s, where the priest, Father M‘Sorley, was to slip up afther mass to take his dinner wid them, and to keep MistherM‘Shuttle, who was to marry them, company. Nobody remained at home but ould Jack Rafferty an’ his wife, who stopped to dress

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    257

the dinner, for, to tell the truth, it was to be a great let-out entirely. Maybe, if all was known, too, that Father M‘Sorley was to give them a cast of his office over an’ above the ministher, in regard that Moll’s friends were not altogether satisfied at the kind of marriage which M‘Shuttle could give them. The sorrow may care about that—splice here—splice there—all I can say is, that when Mrs. Rafferty was goin’ to tie up a big bag pudden, in walks Harry Connolly, the fairy-man, in a rage, and shouts out,—‘Blood and blunderbushes, what are yez here for ? ’

“ ‘ Arrah why, Harry ? Why, avick ? ’

“ ‘ Why the sun’s in the suds and the moon in the high Horicks ; there’s a dipstick cornin’ an, an’ there you’re both as unconsarned as if it was about to rain mether. Go out and cross yourselves three times in the name u’ the four Mandromarvins, for as prophecy says :—Fill the pot,. Eddy, supernaculum—a blazing star’s a rare spectaculum. Go out both of you and look at the sun, I say, an’ ye’ll see the condition he’s in—off ! ’

“ Begad, sure enough, Jack gave a bounce to the door, and his wife leaped like a two-year-ould, till they were both got on a stile beside the house to see what was wrong in the sky.

“‘Arrah, what is it, Jack,’ said she; ‘can you see anything ? ’

“ ‘ Ho,’ says he, ‘ sorra the full o’ my eye of anything I can spy, barrin’ the sun himself, that’s not visible in regard of the clouds. God guard us! I doubt there’s something to happen.’

“ ‘ If there wasn’t, Jack, what ’ud put Harry, that knows so much, in the state he’s in ? ’

“ ‘ I doubt it’s this marriage,’ said Jack : ‘ betune ourselves, it’s not over an’ above religious for Moll to marry

a black-mouth, an’ only for ; but it can’t be helped

now, though you see not a taste o’ the sun is willin’ to show his face upon it.’

“ ‘ As to that,’ says the wife, winkin’ wid both her eyes, *7

258    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

•if Gusty’s satisfied wid Moll,it’s enough. I know who’ll carry the whip hand, anyhow; hut in the manetime let us ax Harry ’ithin what ails the sun.’

“ Well, they accordianly went in an’ put the question to him:

“ ‘ Harry, what’s wrong, ahagur ? What is it now, for if anybody alive knows, ’tis yourself ? ”

4 Ah! ’ said Harry, screwin’ his mouth wid a kind of a dhry smile, 4 the sun has a hard twist o’ the cholic; but never mind that, I tell you you’ll have a merrier weddin’ than you think, that’s all; ’ and havin’ said this, he put on his hat and left the house.

44 How, Harry’s answer relieved them very much, and. so, afther calling to him to be back for the dinner, Jack sat down to take a shough o’ the pipe, and the wife lost no time in tying up the pudden and puttin’ it in the pot to be boiled.

44 In this way things went on well enough for a while, Jack smokin’ away, an’ the wife cookin’ and dhressin’ at the rate of a hunt. At last, Jack, while sittin’, as I said, contentedly at the fire, thought he could persave an odd dancin’ kind of motion in the pot that puzzled him a good deal.

44 4 Katty,’ said he, 4 what the dickens is in this pot on . the fire ? ”

44 4 Herra thing but the big pudden. Why do you ax ? ’ says she.

44 4 Why,’ said he, 4 if ever a pot tuck it into its head to dance a jig, and this did. Thundher and sparbles, look at it! ’

44 Begad, it was thrue enough; there was the pot bobbin’ up an’ down and from side to side, jiggin’ it away as merry as a grig; an’ it was quite aisy to see that it wasn’t the pot itself, but what was inside of it, that brought about the hornpipe.

44 4 Be the hole o’ my coat,’ shouted Jack, 4 there’s some-' thing alive in it, or it would never cut sich capers ! ’

44 4 Be gorra, there is, Jack ; something sthrange en-

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    259

tirely has got into it. Wirra, man alive, what’s to be done?’

“Jist as she spoke, the pot seemed to cut the buckle in prime style, and afther a spring that ’ud shame a dan-cin’-masther, off flew the lid, and out bounced the pud-den itself, hoppin’, as nimble as a pea on a drum-head, about the floor. Jack blessed himself, and Katty crossed herself. Jack shouted, and Katty screamed. ‘In the name of goodness, keep your distance; no one here injured you! ’

“ The pudden, however, made a set at him, and Jack lepped first on a chair and then on the kitchen table to avoid it. It then danced-to wards Kitty, who was now repating’her prayers at the top of her voice, while the cunnin’ thief of a pudden was hoppin’ and jiggin’ it round her, as if it was amused at her distress.

“‘If I could get the pitchfork,’‘said Jack, ‘I’d dale wid it—by goxty I’d thry its mettle.’

“ ‘ No, no,’ shouted Katty, thinkin’ there was a fairy in it; ‘ let us spake it fair. Who knows what harm it might do ? Aisy now,’ said she to the pudden, ‘ aisy, dear; don’t harm honest people that never meant to offend you. It wasn’t us —no, in troth, it was ould Harry Connolly that bewitched you; pursue Mm if you wish, but spare a woman like me ; for, whisper, dear, I’m not in a condition to be frightened— troth I’m not.

“ The pudden, bedad, seemed to take her at her wor(d, and danced away from her towards Jack, who, like the wife, believin’ there was a fairy in it, an’ that spakin’ it fair was the best plan, thought he would give it a soft word as well as her.

“* Plase your honor,’ said Jack, ‘she only spaiks the truth; an,’ upon my voracity, we both feels much obliged to your honor for your quietness. Faith, it’s quite clear / that if you weren’t a gentlemanly pudden all out, you’d ' act otherwise. . Ould Harry, the rogue, is your mark : he’s jist gone down the road there, and if you go fast you’ll overtake him. Be me song, your dancin’ masther did his

260    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

duty, anyhow. Thank your honor! God speed yon, an’ may yon never meet wid a parson or alderman in your thravels! ’

“ Jist as Jack spoke the pndden appeared to take the hint, for it quietly hopped out, and as the house was directly on the road-side, turned down towards the bridge, the very way that ould Harry went. It was very natural of course, that Jack and Katty should go out to see how it intended to thravel; and, as the day was Sunday, it was but natural, too, that a greater number of people than usual were passin’ the road. This was a fact; and when Jack and his wife were seen followin’ the pudden, the whole neighborhood was soon up and after it.

‘“Jack Rafferty, what is it? Katt^, ahagur, will you tell us what it manes ? ’

“ ‘ Why,’ replied Katty, ‘ it’s my big pudden that’s bewitched, an’ it’s now hot foot pursuin’ ; ’ here she

stopped, not wishin’ to mention her brother’s name— ‘ some one or other that surely put pishrogues an it.’ 1

“ This was enough; Jack, now seein’ that he had assistance, found his courage cornin’ back to him; so says he to Katty, ‘ Go home,’ says he, ‘ an’ lose no time in makin’ another pudden as good, an’ here’s Paddy Scanlan’s wife, Bridget, says she’ll let you boil it on her Are, as you’ll want our own to dress the rest o’ the dinner: and Paddy himself will lend me a pitchfork, for purshuin to the morsel of that same pudden will escape till I let the wind out of it, now that I’ve the neighbors to back an’ support me,’ says Jack.

“ This was agreed to, and Katty went back to prepare a fresh pudden, while Jack an’ half the townland pursued the other wid spades, graips, pitchforks, scythes, flails, and all. possible description of instruments. On the pudden went however, at the rate of about six Irish miles an hour, an’ such a chase never was seen. Catholics, Prodestants, an’ Prosbytarians, were all afther it, armed, as I said, an’ bad

1

Put it under fairy influence.

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    261

end to the thing but its own activity could save it. Here it made a hop, and there a prod was made at it; but off it went, an’ some one, as eager to get a slice at it on the other side, got the prod instead of the pudden. Big Frank Farrell, the miller of Ballyboulteen, got a prod backwards that brought a hullabaloo out of him you might hear at the other end of the parish. One got a slice of a scythe, another a whack of a flail, a third a rap of a spade that made him look nine ways at wanst.

«‘Where is it goin’ ?’ asked one. ‘My life for you, it’s on it’s way to Meeting. Three cheers for it if it turns to Carntaul.’ ‘ Prod the sowl out of it, if it’s a Prodestan’,’ shouted the others; ‘if it turns to the left, slice it into pancakes. We’ll have no Prodestan’ puddens here.’

“ Begad, by this time the people were on the point, of beginnin’ to have a regular fight about it, when, very fortunately, it took a short turn down a little by-lane, that led towards the Methodist praichin-house, an’ in an instant all parties were in an uproar against it as a Methodist pudden. ‘It’s a Wesleyan^’ shouted several voices; ‘an’ by this an’ by that, into a Methodist chapel it won’t put a foot to-day, or we’ll lose a fall. Let the wind out of it. Come, boys, where’s your pitchforks ? ’

“ The divle purshuin to the one of them, however, ever could touch the pudden, an’ jist when they thought they had it up against the gavel of the Methodist chapel, begad it gave them the slip, and hops over to the left, clane into the river, and sails away before all their eyes as light as an egg-shell.

“ Now, it so happened that a little below this place, the demesne-wall of Colonel Bragshaw was built*up to the. very edge of the river on each side of its banks ; and so findin’ there was a stop put to their pursuit of it, they went home again, every man, woman, and child of them, puzzled to think what the pudden was at all, what it meant, or where it was goin’! Had Jack Rafferty, an’ his wife been willin’ to let out the opinion they held about Harry Connolly bewitchin’ it, there is no doubt of it but

262    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

poor Harry might be badly trated by the crowd, when their blood was np. They had sense enough, howandiver, to keep that to themselves, for Harry bein’ an’ ould bachelor, was a kind friend. to the Raffertys. So, of coorse, there was all kinds of talk about it—some guessin’ this, and some guessin’ that—one party sayin’ the pudden was of their side, another party denyiiY it, an’ insistin’ it belonged to them, an’ so on.

“ In the manetime, Katty Rafferty, for ’fraid the dinner might come short, went home and made another pudden much about the same size as the one that had escaped, and bringin’ it over to their next neighbor, Paddy Scanlan’s, it was put into a pot and placed on the fire to boil, hopin’ that it might be done in time, espishilly as they were to have the ministher, who loved a warm slice of good pudden as well as e’er a gintleman in Europe.

“ Anyhow, the day passed; Moll and Gusty were made man an’ wife, an’ no two could be more lovin’. Their friends that had been asked to the weddin’ were saunterin’ about in pleasant little groups till dinner-time, chattin’ an’ laughin’; but, above all things, sthrivin’ to account for the figaries of the pudden ; for, to tell the truth, its adventures had now gone through the whole parish.

“Well, at any rate, dinner-time was clhra win’near, and Paddy Scanlan was sittin’ comfortably wid his wife at the fire, the pudden boilen before their eyes, when in walks Harry Connolly, in a flutter, shoutin’—‘ Blood an’ blunder-bushes, what are yez here for ? ’

c Arra, why, Harry—why, avick ? ’ said Mrs. Scanlan. “ Why,’ said Harry, ‘ the sun’s in the suds an’ the moon in the high Horicks ! Here’s a dipstick cornin’ an, an’ there you sit as unconsarned as if it was about to rain metlier ! Go out both of you, an’ look at the sun, I say, and ye’ll see the condition he’s in—off ! ’

“ ‘ Ay, but, Harry, what’s that rowled up in the tail of your cothamore1 (big coat) ? ’

1

Irish, cota mor.

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    263

‘“Out wid yez,’ said Harry, ‘an’ pray aginst the dipstick—the sky’s failin’! ’

“Begad, it was hard to say whether Paddy or the wife got out first, they were so much alarmed by Harry’s wild thin face an’ piercin’ eyes; so out they went to see what Avas wondherful in the sky, an’ kep’ lookin’ an’ lookin’ in every direction, but not a thing was to be seen, barrin’ the sun shinin’ down Avid great good-humor, an’ not a single cloud in the sky.

“ Paddy an’ the wife now came in laughin’, to scould Harry, Avho, no doubt, Avas a great Avag in his Avay Avhen

he Avished. ‘Musha, bad scran to you, Harry .’

They had time to say no more, hoAvandiver, for, as they Avere goin’ into the door, they met him cornin’ out of it Avid a reek of smoke out of his tail like a lime-kiln.

“ ‘ Harry,’ shouted Bridget, ‘ my soavI to glory, but the tail of your cothamore’s a fire—you’ll be burned.' Don’t you see the smoke that’s out of it ? ’

“ ‘ Cross yourselves three times,’ said Harry, widout stoppin’, or even lookin’ behind him, 4 for, as the prophecy

says—Fill the pot, Eddy ’ They could hear no more,

for Harry appeared to feel like a man that carried something a great deal hotter than he Avished, as anyone might see by the liveliness of his motions, and the quare faces he Avas forced to make as he went along.

44 4 What the dickens is he carryin’ in the skirts of his big coat ? ” asked Paddy.

44 4 My soAAd to happiness, but maybe he has stole the pudden’, said Bridget, 4 for it’s known that many a sthrange thing he does.’

44 They immediately examined the pot, but found that the pudden AAras there as safe as tuppence, an’ this puzzled them the more, to think Avliat it was he could be carryin’ about Avid him in    the    manner he did.    But little    they

kneAv Avhat he had    done    AA'hile they Avere    sky-gazin !

44 Well, anyhoAA',    the    day passed and    the dinner    Avas

ready, an’ no doubt-    but    a fine gatherin’ there Avas to    par

take of it. The Prosbytarian ministher met the Metlio-

264:    IRSIH FAIRY TALES.

dist praiclier—-a divilish stretcher of an appetite he had, in throth—on their way to Jack Rafferty’s, an’ as he knew he could take the liberty, why he insisted on his dinin’ wid him; for, afther all, begad, in thim times the clargy of all descriptions lived upon the best footin’ among one another, not all as one as iioav—but no mat-ther. Well, they had nearly finished their dinner, when Jack Rafferty himself axed Katty for the pudden ; but, jist as he spoke, in it came as big as a mess-pot.

“ ‘ Gintlemen,’ said he, ‘I hope none of you will refuse tastin’ a bit of Katty’s pudden; I don’t mane the dancin’ one that tuck to its thravels to-day, but a good solid fellow that she med since.’

“‘ To be sure we won’t,’ replied the priest; ‘ so, Jack, put a thrifle on them three plates at your right hand, and send them over here to the clargy, an’ maybe,’ he said, laughin’—for he was a droll good-humored man—‘ may* be, Jack, we won’t set you a proper example.’

“ ‘ Wid a heart an’ a half, yer reverence an’ gintlemen ; in throth, it’s not a bad example ever any of you set us at the likes, or ever will set us, I’ll go bail. An’ sure I only wish it was betther fare I had for you; but we’re humble people, gintlemen, and so you can’t expect to meet here what you would in higher places.’

“ ‘ Betther a male of herbs,’ said the Methodist praicher,

‘where pace is .’ He had time to go no farther,

however; for much to his amazement, the priest and the ministher started up from the table jist as he was goin’ to swallow the first spoonful of the pudden, and before you could say Jack Robinson, started away at a lively jig down the floor.

“ At this moment a neighbor’s son came runnin’ in, an’ tould them that the parson was cornin’ to see the new- • married couple, an’ wish them all happiness; an’ the words were scarcely out of his mouth when he made his appearance. What to think he knew not, when he saw the ministher footing it away at the rate of a weddin’. He had very little time, however, to think; for, before he

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    265

could sit down, up starts the Methodist praicher, and clappin’ his two fists in his sides chimes in in great style along wid him.

c Jack Rafferty,’ says he—and, by the way, Jack was his tenant— ‘ what the dickens does all this mane ? ’ says he; ‘ I’m amazed! ”

£ The not a particle o’ me can tell you,’ says Jack; ‘ hut will your reverence jist taste a morsel o’ pudden, merely that the young couple may boast that you ait at their weddin’; for sure if you wouldn’t, who would ? ’

“‘ Well,’ says he, ‘to gratify them I will; so just a morsel. But, Jack, this bates Bannagher,’ says he again, puttin’ the spoonful o’ pudden into his mouth; ‘ has there been dhrink here ? ’

“‘Oh, the divle a spudh,’ says Jack, ‘for although there’s plinty in the house, faith, it appears the gintlemen wouldn’t wait for it. Unless they tuck it elsewhere, I can make nothin’ of this.’

“ He had scarcely spoken, when the parson, who was an active man, cut a caper a yard high, an’ before you could bless yourself, the three clargy were hard at work dancin’, as if for a wager. Begad, it would be unpossible for me to tell you the state the whole meetin’ was in when they seen this. Some were hoarse wid laughin’; some turned up their eyes wid wondlier; many thought them mad, an’ others thought they had turned up their little fingers a thrifle too often.

“ ‘ Be goxty, it’s a burnin’ shame,’ said one, ‘ to see three black-mouth clargy in sich a state at this early hour ! ’    ‘ Thundher an’ ounze, what’s over them at all ? ’

says others; ‘why, one would think they’re bewitched. Holy Moses, look at the caper the Methodis cuts! An’ as for the Rectlier, who would think he could handle his feet at such a rate ! Be this an’ be that, he cuts the buckle;, and does the threblin’ step aiquil to Paddy Hora-ghan, the dancin’-masther himself ? An’ see ! Bad cess to the morsel of the parson that’s not hard at Peace upon a trancher, an’ it of a Sunday too ! Whirroo, gin-

266    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

tlemen, the fun’s in yez afther all—whish! more power to yez!’

“ The sorra’s own fun they had, an’ no wondher; but judge of what they felt, when all at once they saw ould Jack Rafferty himself bouncin’ in among them, and footing it away like the best o’ them. Bedad, no play could come up to it, an’ nothin’ could be heard but laughin’, shouts of encouragement, and clappin’ of hands like mad. Row-the minute Jack Rafferty left the chair where he had been carvin’ the pudden, ould Harry Connolly comes over and claps himself down in his place, in ordlier to send it round, of coorse; an’ he was scarcely sated, when who should make his appearance but Barney Ilartigan, the piper. Barney, by the way, had been sent for early in the day, but bein’ from home when the message for him went, he couldn’t come any sooner.

“‘Begorra,’ said Barney, ‘you’re airly at the work, gintlemen! but what does this mane ? But, divle may care, yez shan’t want the music while there’s a blast in the pipes, anyhow! ’ So sayin’ he gave them Jig Pol-thogue, an’ after that Kiss my Lady, in his best style.

“ In the manetime the fun went 011 thick an’ threefold, for it must be remimbered that Harry, the ould knave, was at the pudden; an’ maybe he didn’t sarve it about in double quick time too. The first he helped was the bride, and, before you could say chopstick, she was at it hard an’ fast before the Methodist praicher, who gave a jolly spring before her that threw them into convulsions. Harry liked this, and made up his mind soon to find partners for the rest; so he accordianly sent the pudden about like liglitnin’; an’ to made a long story short, barrin’ the piper an’ himself, there wasn’t a pair 0’ heels in the house but was as busy at the dancin’ as if their lives depinded on it.

“ ‘ Barney,’ says Harry, ‘ just taste a morsel o’ this pudden ; divle the such a bully of a pudden ever you ett; here, your sowl! thry a snig of it—it’s beautiful.’

“ ‘ To be sure I will,’ says Barney. ‘ I’m not the boy

\

THE PUDDING BEWITCHED.    267

\


to refuse a good thing; but, Harry, be quick, for you know my hands is engaged, an’ it would be a thousand pities not to keep them in music, an’ they so well inclined. Thank you, Harry; begad that is a famous pud den; but blood an’ turnips, what’s this for ? ’

“ The word was scarcely out of his mouth when he bounced up, pfpes an’ all, an’ dashed into the middle of the party. ‘ Hurroo, your sowls, let us make a night of it! The Ballyboulteen boys forever ! Go it, your reverence—turn your partner—heel an’ toe, ministher. Good ! Well done again—Whish ! Hurroo ! Here’s for Bally-boulteen, an’ the sky over it! ”

“Badluck to the sich a set ever was seen together in this world, or will again, I suppose. The worst, however, wasn’t come yet, for jist as they were in the very heat an’ fury of the dance, what do you think comes hoppin’ in among them but another pudden, as nimble an’ merry as the first! That was enough ; they all had heard of— the ministhers among the rest—an’ most o’ them had seen the other pudden, and knew that there must be a fairy in it, sure enough. Well, as I said, in it comes to the thick o’ them; but the very appearance of it was enough. Off the three clargy danced, and off the whole weddiners danced afther them, every one makin’ the best of their way home ; but not a sowl of them able to break out of the step, if they were to he hanged for it. Throth it wouldn’t lave a laugh in you to see the parson dancin’ down the road on his way home, and the ministher and Methodist praicher cuttin’ the buckle as they went along in the opposite direction. To make short work of it, they all danced home at last, wid scarce a puff of wind in them; the bride and bridegroom danced away to bed; an’ now, boys, come an’ let us dance the TIoro Lheig in the barn ’idout. But you see, hoys, before we go, an’ in ordher that I may make everything plain, I had as good tell you that Harry, in crossing the bridge of Bally boulteen, a couple of miles below Squire Bragshaw’s demesne-wall, saw the pucldeu floatin’ down the river—the truth

268    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

is he was waitin’ for it; but be this as it may, he took1 it out, for the wather bad made it as clane as a new pin, and tuckin’ it up in the tail of bis big coat, contrived, as you all guess, I suppose, to change it while Paddy Scan-lan an’ the wife were examinin’ the sky; an’ for the other, he contrived to bewitch it in the same manner, by gettin’ a fairy to go into it, for, indeed, it was purty well known that the same Harry was hand an’ glove wid the good people. Others will tell you that it was half a pound of quicksilver he put into it; but that doesn’t stand to raison. At any rate, boys, I have tould you the adventures of the Mad Pudden of Ballyboulteen; but I don’t wish to tell you many other things about it that happened —for,fraid Td tell a lie.” *

* Some will insist that a fairy-man or fairy-woman has the power to bewitch a pudding by putting a fairy into .it; whilst others maintain that a competent portion of quicksilver will make it dance over half the parish.

T’YEER-NA-N-OGrE.

[There is a country called Tir-na-n-Og, which means the Country of the Young, for age and death have not found it; neither tears nor loud laughter have gone near it. The shadiest boskage covers it perpetually. One man has gone there and returned. The bard, Oisen, who wandered away on a white horse, moving on the surface of the foam with his fairy Hiarnh, lived there three hundred years, and then returned looking for his comrades. The moment his foot touched the earth his three hundred years fell on him, and he was bowed double, and his beard swept the ground. He described his sojourn in the Land of Youth to Patrick before he died. Since then many have seen it in many places ; some in the depths of lakes, and have heard rising therefrom a vague sound of bells; more have seen it far off on the horizon, as they peered out from the western cliffs. Hot three years ago a fisherman imagined that he saw it. It never appears unless to announce some national trouble.

There are many kindred beliefs. A Dutch pilot, settled in.Dublin, told M. De La Boullage Le Cong, who traveled in Ireland in 1614, that round the poles were many islands; some hard to be approached because of the witches who inhabit them and destroy by storms those who seek to land. He had once, off the coast of Greenland, in sixty-one. degrees of latitude, seen and approached such an island only to see it vanish. Sailing in an opposite direction, they met with the same island, and sailing, near, were almost destroyed by a furious tempest.

According to many stories, Tir-na-n-Og is the favorite

269

270    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

dwelling of the fairies. Some say it is triple.—the island of the living, the island of victories, and an underwater land.] '

THE LEGEND OF O’DONOGHUE. 1

T. CROETON CROKER.

In an age so distant that the precise period is unknown, a chieftain named O’Donoghue ruled over the country which surrounds the romantic Lough Lean, now called the Lake of Killarney. Wisdom, beneficence, and justice distinguished his reign, and the prosperity and happiness of his subjects were their natural results. ILe is said to have been as renowned for his warlike exploits as for his pacific virtues; and as a proof that his domestic administration was not the less rigorous because it was mild, a rocky island is pointed out to strangers, called, “ O’Don-oghue’s Prison,” in which this prince once confined his own son for some act of disorder and disobedience.

His end—for it cannot correctly be called his death— was singular and mysterious. At one of those splendid feasts for which his court was celebrated, surrounded by the most distinguished of his subjects, he was engaged in a prophetic relation of the events which were to happen in ages yet to come. His auditors listened, now wrapt in wonder, now fired with indignation, burning with shame, ov melted into sorrow, as he faithfully detailed the heroism, the injuries, the crimes, and the miseries of their descendants. In the midst of his predictions he rose slowly from his seat, advanced with a solemn, measured, and majestic tread to the shore of the lake, and walked forward composedly upon its unyielding surface. When he had nearly reached the center he paused for a moment, then, turning slowly round, looked toward his friends, and

1

Fairy Legends of the South of Ireland.

THE LEGEND OF O’DONOGHUE.    271

waving his arms to them with the cheerful air of one taking a short farewell, disappeared from their view.

The memory of the good O’Donoghue has been cherished by successive generations with affectionate reverence; and it is believed that at sunrise, on every May-day morning, the anniversary of his departure, he revisits his ancient domains : a favored few only are in general permitted to see him, and this distinction is always an omen of good fortune to the beholders ; when it is granted to many it is a sure token of an abundant harvest,—a blessing, the want of which during this prince’s reign was never felt by his people.

Some years have elapsed since the last appearance of O’Donoghue. The April of that year had been remarkably wild and stormy; but on May-morning the fury of the elements had altogether subsided. The air was hushed and still; and the sky, which was reflected in the serene lake,,resembled a beautiful but deceitful countenance, whose smiles, after the most tempestuous emotions, tempt the stranger to believe that it belongs to a soul which no passion has ever ruffled.

The first beams of the rising sun were just gilding the lofty summit of Glenaa, when the waters near the eastern shore of the lake became suddenly and violently agitated, though all the rest of its surface lay smooth and still as a tomb of polished marble, the next morning a foaming wave darted forward, and, like a proud high-crested war-horse, exulting in his strength,,rushed across the lake toward Toomies mountain. Behind this wave appeared a stately warrior fully armed, mounted upon a milk-white steed; his snowy plume waved gracefully from a helmet of polished steel, and at his back fluttered a light blue scarf. The horse, apparently exulting in his noble burden, sprung after the wave along the water, which bore him up like firm earth, while showers of spray that glittered brightly in the morning sun were dashed up at every bound.

The warrior was O’Donoghue ; he was followed by numberless youths and maidens, who moved lightly and un-

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

constrained over the-.watery plain,-as the moonlight fairies glide through the fields of air; they were linked together by garlands of delicious spring flowers, and they timed their movements to strains of enchanting melody. When O’Donoghue had nearly reached the western side of the lake, he suddenly turned his steed, and directed his course along the wood-fringed shore of G-lenaa, preceded by the huge wave that curled and foamed up as high as the horse’s neck, whose fiery nostrils snorted above it. The long1 train of attendants followed with playful deviations the track of their leader, and moved on with unabated fleetness to their celestial music, till gradually, as they entered the narrow strait between G-lenaa and Dinis, they    j

became involved in the mists which still partially floated    j

over the lakes, and faded from the view of the wondering beholders: but the sound of their music still fell upon    !

the ear, and echo, catching up the harmonious strains,    |

fondly repeated and prolonged them in soft and softer    j

tones, till the last faint repetition died away, and the hearers awoke as from a dream of bliss.

RENT-DAY.

“ Oh, ullagone! ullagone! this is a wide world, but what willwe do in it, or where will we go?” muttered Bill Doody, as he sat on a rock by the Lake of Killarney. “ What will we. do ? To-morrow’s rent-day, and Tim the Driver swears if we don’t pay our rent, he’ll cant ever ha'perth we have; and then, sure enough, there’s Judy and myself, and the poor grawls * will be turned out to starve on the high-road, for the never a halfpenny of rent have I !—Oh hone, that ever I should live to see this day!”

Thus did Bill Doody bemoan his hard fate, pouring his

Children.

RENT-PAY.    273

sorrows to the reckless waves. of . the most beautiful of lakes, which seemed to mock his misery as they rejoiced beneath .the cloudless sky of a, May morning. That lake, glittering in sunshine, sprinkled with fairy isles of rock and verdure, and hounded by giant hills of ever-varying hues, might, with its magic beauty, charm all sadness but despair; for alas,

“ How ill the scene that offers rest And heart that cannot rest agree ! ”

Yet Bill Doody was not so desolate as he supposed; there was one listening to him he little thought of, and help was at hand from a quarter he could not have expected.

“ What’s the matter with you, my poor man ? ” said a tall, portly-looking gentlman, at the same time stepping out of a furze-brake. Now Bill was seated on a rock that commanded the view of a large field. Nothing in the field could be concealed from him, except this furze-brake, which grew in a hollow near the margin of the lake. He was, therefore, not a little surprised at the gentleman’s sudden appearance, and began to question whether the; personage before him belonged to this world or not. He, however, soon mustered courage sufficient to tell him how his crops had failed, how some bad member had charmed away his butter, and how Tim the Driver threatened to turn him out of the farm if he didn’t pay up every penny of the rent by twelve o’clock next day.

“ A sad story, indeed,” said the stranger; “ but surely, if you represented the case to your landlord’s agent, he won’t have the heart to turn you out.”

“Heart, your honor; where would an agent get a heart! ” exclaimed Bill. “ I see your honor does not know him ; besides, he has an eye on the farm this long time for a fosterer of his own; so I expect no mercy at all at all, only to be turned out.”

“ Take this, my poor fellow, take this,” said the stranger, pouring a purse full of gold into Bill’s old hat, which in his grief he had flung on the ground. “ Pay the

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

fellow your rent, but I.’ll take care it shall do him no good. I remember the time when things went otherwise in this country, when I would have hung up such a fellow in the twinkling of an. eye !•”

These words, were lost upon Bill, who was insensible to everything, but the sight of the gold, and before he could unfix his gaze, and lift up his head to pour out his hundred thousand blessings, the stranger was gone. The bewildered peasant looked around in search of his benefactor, and at last he thought he saw him riding on a white horse a long way oh! on the lake.

O’Donoghue, O’Donoghue! ” shouted Bill; “the good, the blessed O’Donoghue!” and he ran capering like a madman to show Judy the gold, and to rejoice her heart with the prospect of wealth and happiness.

The next day Bill proceeded to the agent’s ; not sneak-ingly, with his hat in his hand, his eyes fixed on the ground, and his knees bending under him ; but bold and upright, like a man conscious of his independence.

“ Why don’t you take off you].- hat, fellow ? don’t you know you are speaking to a magistrate ? ” said the agent.

“ I know I’m not speaking to the king, sir,” said Bill ; “and I never takes off my hat but to them I can respect and love. The Eye that sees all knows I’ve no right either to respect or love an agent! ”

“You scoundrel! ” retorted the man in office, biting his lips with rage at such an unusual and unexpected opposition, “ I’ll teach you how to be insolent again ; I have the power, remember.”

“ To the cost of the country, I know you have,” said Bill, who still remained with his head as firmly covered as if he was the Lord Kingsale himself.

“But, come,” said the magistrate; “have you got the money for me ? this is rent-day. If there’s one penny of it wanting, or the running gale that’s due, prepare to turn out before night, for you shall not remain another hour in possession.”

“ There is your rent,” said Bill, with an unmoved ex-

LOTJGHLEAGH.    275

pression of tone and countenance; “ you’d better count it, and give me a receipt in full for the running gale and all.”

The agent gave a look of amazement at the gold; for it was gold—real guineas! and not bits of dirty ragged small notes, that are only fit to light one’s pipe with. However willing the agent may have been to ruin, as he thought, the unfortunate tenant, he took up the gold, and handed the receipt to Bill, who strutted off with it as proud as a cat of her whiskers.

The agent going to his desk shortly after, was confounded at beholding a heap of gingerbread cakes instead of the money he had deposited there. He raved and swore, but all to no purpose ; the gold had become gingerbread cakes, just marked like the guineas, with the king’s head; and Bill had the receipt in his pocket; so he saw there was no use in saying anything about the affair, as he would only get laughed at for his pains.

From that hour Bill Doody grew rich; all his undertakings prospered; and he often blesses the day that he met with O’Donoghue, the great prince that lives down under the Lake of Killarney.

. LOITGHLEAGH (LAKE OF HEALING) 1

“Do you see that bit of a lake,” said my companion, turning his eyes towards the acclivity that overhung Loughleagh. “ Troth, and as little as you think of it, and as ugly , as it looks with its weeds and its flags, it is the most famous one in all Ireland. Young and ould, rich and poor, far and near, have come to that lake to get cured of all kinds of scurvy and sores. The Lord keep us our limbs whole and sound, for it’s a sorrowful thing not to have the use o’ them. ’Twas but last week we had a great grand Frenchman here; and, though he came upon

1

Dublin and London Magazine, 1825.

276    ,    IRISH    FAIRY    TALES.

crutches, faith he went home sound as a bell; and well he paid Billy Reily for curing him.”

“ And, pray, how did Billy Reily cure him ? ”

“Oh, well enough. He took his long pole, dipped it down to the bottom of the lake, and brought up on the top of it as much plaster as would do for a thousand sores! ”

“ What kind of plaster ? ”

“ What kind of plaster ? why, black plaster to be sure; for isn’t the bottom of the lake filled with a kind of black mud which cures all the world ? ”

“ Then it ought to be a famous lake indeed.”

“ Famous, and so it is,” replied my companion, “ but it isn’t for its cures neather that it is famous; for, sure, doesn’t all the world know there is a fine beautiful city at the bottom of it, where the good people live just like Christians. Troth, it is the truth I tell you ; for Shemus-a-sneidh saw it all when he followed his dun cow that was stolen.”

“ Who stole her ? ”

“ I’ll tell you all about it:—Shemus was a poor gossoon, who lived on the brow of the hill, in a cabin with his ould mother. They lived by hook and by crook, one way and another, in the best way they could. They had a bit of ground tliat gave ’em the preaty, and a little dun cow that gave ’em the drop o’ milk; and, considering how times go, they weren’t badly off, for Shemus was a handy gossoon to boot; and, while minden the cow, cut heath and made brooms, which his mother sould on a market-day, and brought home the bit o’ tobaccy, the grain of salt, and other nic-nackenes, which a poor body can’t well do widout. Once upon a time, however, Shemus went farther than usual up the mountain, looken for long . heath, for town’s-people don’t like to stoop, and so like long handles to their brooms. The little dun cow was a’most as cunning as a Christian sinner, and followed Shemus like a lap-dog everywhere he’d go, so that she required little or no herden. On this day she found nice

LOUGHLEAGH.    277

picken on a round spot as green as a leek; and, as poor Shemus was weary, as a body would be on a fine summer’s day, he lay down on the grass to rest himself, just as we’re resten ourselves on the cairn here. Begad, he hadn’t long lain there, sure enough, when, what should he see but whole loads of ganconers 1 dancing about the place. Some o’ them were hurlen, some kicking a football, and others leaping a kick-step-and-a-lep. They were so soople and so active that Shemus was highly delighted with the sport, and a little tanned-skinned chap in a red cap pleased him better than any o’ them, bekase he used to tumble the other fellows like mushrooms. At one time he kept the ball up for as good as half-an-hour, when Shemus cried out, £ Well done, my hurler! ’ The word wasn’t well out of his mouth when whap went the ball on his eye, and flash went the fire. Poor Shemus thought he was blind, and roared out, 4 Mille murdher ! ’ f but the only thing he heard was a loud laugh. 4 Cross o’ Christ about us,’ says he. to himself, 4 what is this for ? ” and after rubbing his eyes they came to a little, and he could see the sun and the sky, and, by-and-by, he could see everything but his cow and the mischievous ganconers. They were gone to their rath or mote; but where was the

1

Ir. gean-canachi.e., love-tallcer, a kind of fairy appearing in lonesome valleys, a dudeen (tobacco-pipe) in his mouth, making love to milk-maids, etc, O’Kearney, a Louthman, deeply versed in Irish lore, writes of the gean-canach (love-talker) that he is “ another diminutive being of the same tribe as the Lep-racaun, but, unlike him, he personated love and idleness, arid always appeared with a dudeen in his jaw in lonesome valleys-and it was his custom to make love to shepherdesses and milkmaids. It was considered, very unlucky to meet him, and whoever was known to have ruined his fortune by devotion to the fair sex was said to have met a gean-canach. The dudeen, or ancient Irish tobacco pipe, found in our raths, etc., is still popularly called a gean-eanach’s pipe.”

The word is not to be found in dictionaries, nor does this spirit appear to be well known, if known at all, in Connacht. The word is pronounced ganconagh,

f A thousand murders.

•378    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

little dun cow ? He looked, and lie looked, and he might have looked from that day to this, bekase she wasn’t to be found, and good reason why—the ganconers took her away with ’em.

“ Shemus-a-sneidh, however, didn’t think so, but ran home to his mother.

“ ‘ Where is the cow, Shemus ? ’ axed the ould woman. “ ‘ Och, musha, bad luck to her,’ said Shemus, c I donna where she is! ’

“ ‘ Is that an answer, you big blaggard, for the likes. o’ you to give your poor ould mother ? ’ said she.

c Och, musha,” said Shemus, ‘ don’t kick up saich a bollhous about nothing. The ould cow is safe enough, I’ll be bail, some place or other, though I could find her if I put my eyes upon lripp>eens1 and, speaking of eyes, faith, I had very good luck o’ my side, or I had never a one to look after her.’

“ ‘ Why, what happened your eyes, agrah ? ’ axed the ould woman.

“ ‘ Oh ! didn’t the ganconers—the Lord save us from all hurt and harm !—drive their hurlen ball into them both.! and sure I was stone blind for an hour.’

“ ‘ And may be,’ said the mother, ‘ the good people took our cow ? ’

c jSTo, nor the devil a one of them,’ said Shemus, ‘ for, by the powers, that same cow is as knowen as a lawyer, and wouldn’t be such a fool as to go with the ganconers while she could get such grass as I found for her to-day.’ In this way, continued my informant, they talked about the cow all that night, and next mornen both o’ them set off to look for her. After searching every place, high and low, what should Shemus see sticking out of a bog-hole but something very like the horns of his little beast!

“Oh, mother, mother,” said he, “I’ve found herl ” “Where, alarnia?” axed the ould woman.

“ In the bog-hole, mother,” answered Shemus.

1

Ir. Qipini.e., a stick, a twig.

LOUGHLEAGH.    279

At this the poor ould creathure set up such a pullallm that she brought the seven parishes about her ; and the neighbors soon pulled the cow out of the bog-hole. You’d swear it was the same, and yet it wasn’t as you shall hear by-and-by.

Shemus and his mother brought the dead beast home with them; and, after skinnen her, hung the meat up in the chimney. The loss of the drop o’ milk was a sorrowful thing, and though they had a good deal of meat, that couldn’t last always; besides, the whole parish faughed upon them.for eating the flesh of a beast that died without bleeden. But the pretty thing was, they couldn’t eat the meat after all, for when it was boiled it was as tough as carrion, and as black as a turf. You might as well think of sinking your teeth in an oak plank as into a piece of it, and then you’d want to sit a great piece from the wall for fear of knocking your head against it when pulling it through your teeth. At last and at long run they were forced to throw it to the dogs, but the dogs wouldn’t smell to it, and so it was thrown into the ditch, where it rotted. This misfortune cost poor Shemus many a salt tear, for he was now obliged to work twice as hard as before, and be out cutten heath on the mountain late and early. One day he was passing by this cairn with a load of brooms on his back, when what should he . see but the little dun cow and two red-headed fellows herding her.

“ That’s my mother’s cow,” said Shemus-a-sneidh.

“ No, it is not,” said one of the chaps.

“ But I say it is,” said Shemus, throwing the brooms on the ground, and seizing the cow by the horns. At that the red fellows drove her as fast as they could to this steep place, and with one leap she bounced over, with Shemus stuck fast to her horns. They made only one splash in the lough, when the waters closed over ’em, and they sunk to the bottom. Just as Shemus-a-sneidh■ thought that all was over with him, he found himself before a most elegant palace built with jewels, and all manner of

280    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

fine stones. Though his eyes were dazzled with the splendor of the place, faith he had gomsh 1 enough not to let go his holt, but in spite of all they could do, he held his little cow by the horns. He was axed into the place, but wouldn’t go.

The hubbub at last grew so great that the door flew open, and out walked a hundred ladies and gentlemen, as fine as any in the land.

^ What does this boy want ? ” axed one o’ them, who seemed to be the masther.

“ I want my mother’s cow,” said Shemus.

“ That’s not your mother’s cow,” said the gentleman.

“ Bethershin ! ” f cried Shemus-a-sneid; “ don’t I know her as well as I know my right hand ? ”

“ Where did you lose her ? ” axed the gentleman. And so Shemus up and tould him all about it: how he was on the mountain—how he saw the good people hurlen—how the ball was knocked in his eye, and his cow was lost.

“ I believe you are right,” said the gentleman, pulling out his purse, “ and here is the price of twenty cows for you.”

“Ho, no,” said Shemus, “you’ll not catch ould birds wid chaff. I’ll have my cow and nothen else.”

“You’re a funny fellow,” said the gentleman; “stop here and live in a palace.”

“ I’d rather live with my mother.”

“ Foolish boy! ” said the gentleman; “ stop here and live in a palace.”

“ I’d rather live in my mother’s cabin.”

“ Here you can walk through gardens loaded with fruit and flowers.”

“ I’d rather,” said Shemus, “ be cutting heath on the • mountain.”

Here you can eat and drink of the best.”

1

Otherwise “gumshun”—i. e., sense, cuteness,

| i[r. B'Hdir sini. e., “ that is possible,”

LOUGHLEAGH.    231

“ Since I’ve got my cow, I can have milk once more with the praties.”

“ Oh! ” cried the ladies, gathering round him, “ sure you wouldn’t take away the cow that gives us milk for our tea ? ”

“ Oh ! ” said Sliemus, “ my mother wants milk as had as any one, and she must have it; so there is no use in your palaver—I must have my cow.”

At this they all gathered about him and offered him bushels of gould, but he wouldn’t have anything but his cow. Seeing him’as obstinate as a mule, they began to thump and beat him; but still he held fast by the horns, till at length a great blast of wind blew him out of the place, and in a moment he found himself and the cow standing on the side of the lake, the water of which looked as if it hadn’t been disturbed since Adam was a boy—and that’s a long time since.

Well, Shemus-a-sneidli drove home his cow, and right glad his mother was to see her; but the moment she said “ God bless the beast,” she sunk down like the breesha 1 of a turf rick. That was the end of Shemus-a-sneid’s dun cow.

“ And, sure,” continued my companion, standing up “ it is now time for me to look after my brown cow, and God send the ganconers haven’t taken her! ”

Of this I assured him there could be 110 fear; and so we parted.

1

Ir. briscadhi. c., breaking.

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

282

HY-BRASAIL—THE ISLE OF THE BLEST.

BY GERALD GRIFFIN.

On the ocean that hollows the rocks where ye dwell, A shadowy land has appeared, as they tell;

Men thought it a region of sunshine and rest,

And they called it Jly-Brasail, the isle of the blest. From year unto year on the ocean’s blue rim,

The beautiful specter showed lovely and dim;

The golden clouds curtained the deep where it lay, And it looked like an Eden, away, far away!

A peasant who heard of the wonderful tale,

In the breeze of the Orient loosened his sail;

From Ara the holy, he turned to the west,

For though Ara was holy, Hy-Brasctil was blest.

He heard not the voices that called from the shore— He heard not the rising wind’s menacing roar; Home, kindred, and safety, he left on that day,

And he sped to Uy-Brasail, away, far away!

Morn rose on the deep, and that shadowy isle,

O’er the faint rim of distance, reflected its smile; Noon burned on the wave, and that shadowy shore Seemed lovelily distant, and faint as before;

Lone evening came down on the wanderer’s track, And to Ara again he looked timidly back;

“ Oh! far on the verge of the ocean it lay,

Yet the isle of the blest was away, far away!

Rash dreamer, return! O, ye winds of the main, Bear him back to his own peaceful Ara again.

Rash fool! for a vision of fanciful bliss,

To barter thy calm life of labor and peace.

THE PHANTOM ISLE.    283

The warning of reason was spoken in vain; lie never revisited Ara again !

Night fell on the deep, amidst tempest and spray, And he died on the waters, away, far away I

THE PHANTOM ISLE.

GIRALDUS CAMBKENSIS.1

Among the other islands is one newly formed, which they call the Phantom Isle, which had its origin in this manner. One calm day a large mass of earth rose to the surface of the sea, where 110 land had ever been seen before, to the great amazement of islanders who observed it. Some of them said that it was^a whale, or other immense sea-monster ; others, remarking that it continued motionless, said, “ No; it is land.” In order, therefore, to induce their doubts to certainty, some picked young men of the island determined to approach nearer the spot in a boat. When, however, they came so near to it that they thought they should go on shore, the island sank in the water and entirely vanished from sight. The next day it re-appeared, and again mocked the same youths with the like delusion. At length, on their rowing towards it on the third day, they followed the advice of an older man, and let lly an arrow, barbed with red-hot steel, against the island; and then landing, found it stationary and habitable.

This adds one to the many proofs that lire is the greatest of enemies to every sort of phantom; in so much that those who have seen apparitions, fall into a swoon as soon as they are sensible of the brightness of fire. For fire,

1

“ Giraldus CamDrensis ” was born in 1140, and wrote a celebrated account of Ireland.

2S4    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

both from its position and nature, is the noblest of the elements, being a witness of the secrets of the heavens.

The sky is hery ; the planets are fiery; the bush burnt with fire, but was not consumed ; the Holy Gliost sat upon the apostles in tongues of fire.

SAINTS, PRIESTS.

Everywhere in Ireland are the holy wells. People as they pray by them make little piles of stones, that will be counted at the last day and the prayers reckoned up. Sometimes they tell stories. These following are their stories. They deal with the old times, whereof King Alfred of Northumberland wrote—

“ I found in Innisfail the fair,

In Ireland, while in exile there,

Women of worth, both grave and gay men,

Many clericks and many laymen.

Gold and silver I found, and money,

Plenty of wheat, and plenty of honey;

I found God’s people rich in pity,

Found many a feast, and many a city.”

There are no martyrs in the stories. That ancient chronicler Giraldus taunted the Archbishop of Cashel because no one in Ireland had received the crown of martyrdom. “Our people may be barbarous,” the prelate answered, “ but they have never lifted their hands against God’s saints; but now that a people have come amongst us who know how to make them (it was just after the English invasion), we shall have martyrs plentifully.” The bodies of saints are fastidious things. At a place called Four-mile-Water, in Wexford, there is an old graveyard full of saints. Once it was on the other side of the river, but they buried a rogue there, and the whole graveyard moved across in the night, leaving the rogue-corpse in solitude. It would have been easier to move merely the rogue-corpse, but they were saints, and had to do things in style.

2SG    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

THE PRIEST’S SOUL.1    \*

LADT WILDE.    \

In former days there were great schools in Ireland, where every sort of learning was taught to the peopli, and even the poorest had more knowledge at that tinJe than many a gentleman has now. But as to the priests, their learning was above all,"so that the fame of Ireland went over the whole world, and many kings from foreign lands used to send their sons all the way to Ireland to he brought up in the Irish schools.

-—‘•Now, at this time there was a little boy learning at one of them, who was a wonder to every one for his cleverness. His parents were only laboring people, and of course poor ; but young as he was, and as poor as he was, no king’s or lord’s son could come up to him in learning. Even the masters were put to shame; for when, they were trying to teach him he would tell them something they never heard of before, and show them their ignorance. One of his great triumphs was in argument; and he would go on till he proved to you that black was white, and then when you gave in, for no one could beat him in talk, he would turn around and show you that white was black, or maybe that there was no color at all in the world. When he grew up his poor father and mother were so proud of him that they resolved to make him a priest, which they did at last, though they nearly starved themselves to get the money. Well, such another learned man was not in Ireland, and he was as great in argument as ever, so that no one could stand before him. Even the bishops tried to talk to him, but he showed them at once they knew nothing at all.

Now, there were no schoolmasters in those times, but

1

Ancient Legends of Ireland.

THE PRIEST’S SOUL.    m

it was the priests taught the people; and as this man was the cleverest in Ireland, all the foreign kings sent their sons to him as long as he had house-room to give them. So he grew very proud, and began to forget how low he had been, and worst of all, even to forget God, who had made him what he was. And the pride of arguing got hold of him, so that from one thing to another" he went 011 to prove that there was no Purgatory, and then no Hell, and then no Heaven, and then no God ; and at last that men had no souls, but were no more than a dog or a cow, and when they died there was an end of them. “ Whoever saw a soul ? ” he would say. “ If you can show? me one, I will believe.” Ho one could make any answer to this ; and at last they all come to believe that as there was no other world, every one might do what they liked in this ; the priest setting the example, for he took a beautiful young girl to wife. But as no priest or bishop in the whole land could he got to marry them, he was obliged to read the service over for himself. It was a great scandal, yet no one dared to say a word, for all the king’s sons were on his side, and would have slaughtered any one who tried to prevent his wicked goings-on. Poor boys ; they all believed in him, and thought every word he said was the truth. -In this way his notions began to spread about, and the whole world was going to the bad, when one night an angel came down from Heaven, and told the priest he had but twenty-four hours to live. He began to tremble, and asked for a little more time.

But the angel was stiff, and told him that could not be.

“ What do you want time for, you sinner ? ” he asked.

“ Oh, sir, have pity on my poor soul 1 ” urged the priest.

“ Oh, no! You have a soul, then,” said the angel.

“ Pray, how did you find that out ? ”

“ It has been fluttering in me ever since you appeared,” answered the priest. “ What a fool I was not to think of it before.”

288    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ A fool, indeed,” said the angel. “ What good was all your learning, when it could not tell you that you had a soul? ”

“ Ah, my lord,” said the priest, “ if I am to die, tell me how soon I may be in Heaven ? ”

“Never,” replied the angel. “You denied there was a Heaven.”

“ Then, my lord, may I go to Purgatory ? ”

“You denied Purgatory also; you must go straight to Hell,” said the angel.    ■    ,    .    .

“ But, my lord, I denied Hell also,” answered the priest, “ so you can’t send me there either.”

The angel was a little puzzled.

“ Well,” said he, “Til tell you what I can do for you. You may either live now on earth for a hundred years, enjoying every pleasure, and then be cast into Hell for ever; or you may die in twenty-four hours in the most horrible torments, and pass through Purgatory, there to remain till the Day of Judgment, if only you can find some one person that believes, and through his belief mercy will be vouchsafed to you, and your soul will be saved.”

The priest did not take five minutes to make up his mind.

“ I will have death in the twenty-four hours,” he said, “ so that my soul may be saved at last.”

On this the angel gave him directions as to what he was to do, and left him.

Then immediately the priest entered the large room where all the scholars and the kings’ sons were seated, and called out to them—

“Now, tell me the truth, and let none fear to contradict me; tell me what is your belief—have men souls ? ”

“ Master,” they answered, “ once we believed that men had souls; but thanks to your teaching, we believe so no longer. There is no Hell, and no Heaven, and no God. This is our belief, for it is thus you taught us.”

Then the priest grew pale with fear, and cried out—

THE PKIEST’S SOUL.    289

“ Listen! I taught you a lie. There is a God, and man has an immortal soul. I believe now all I denied before.”

But the shouts of laughter that rose up drowned the priest’s voice, for they thought he was only trying them for argument.

“ Prove it, master,” they cried. “ Prove it. Who has ever seen God ? Who has ever seen the soul ? ”

And the room was stirred with their laughter.

The priest stood up to answer them, but no word could he utter. All his eloquence, all his powers of argument had gone from him ; and he could do nothing hut wring his hands and cry out, “ There is a God ! there is a God! Lord have mercy on my soul! ”

And they all began to mock him ! and repeat-his own words that he had taught them—

“ Show him to us ; show us your God.” And he fled from them, groaning with agony, for he saw that none believed; and how, then, could his soul he saved ?

But he thought next of his wife. “ She will believe,” he said to himself: “ women never give up God.”

And he went to her; hut she told him that she believed only what he taught her, and that a good wife should believe in her husband first and before and above all things in Heaven or earth.

Then despair came on him, and he rushed from the house, and began to ask every one he met if they believed. But the same answer came from one and all—“ We believe only what you have taught us,” for his doctrine had spread far and wide through the country.

Then he grew half mad with fear, for the hours were passing, and he flung himself down on the ground in a lonesome spot, and wept and groaned in terror, for the time was coming fast when he must die.

Just then a little child came by. “ God save you kindly,” said the child to him.

The priest started up.

“Do you believe in God ? ” he asked. i9

290    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

“ I have come from a far country to learn about him,’' said the child. “ Will your, honor direct me to the best school they have in these parts ? ”

“ The best school and the best teacher is close by,” said the priest, and he named himself.

“ Oh, not to that man,” answered the child, “ for I am told he denies God, and Heaven, and Hell, and even that man has a soul, because he cannot see it; but I would soon put him down.”

The priest looked at him earnestly. “How?” he inquired.

“ Why,” said the child, “ I would, ask him if he believed he had life to show me his life.”

“ But he could not do that, my child,” said the priest. “ Life cannot be seen; we have it, but it is invisible.”

“ Then if we have life, though we cannot see it, we may also have a soul, though it is invisible,” answered the child.

When the priest heard him speak these words, he fell down on his knees before him, weeping for joy, for now he knew his soul was safe; he had met one at last that believed. And he told the child his whole story—all his wickedness, and pride, and blasphemy against the great God; and how the angel had come to him, and told him of the only way in which he could be saved, through the faith and prayers of some one that believed.

' “Now, then,” he said to the child, “take this penknife and strike it into my breast, and go on stabbing the flesh until you see the paleness of death on my face. Then watch—for a living thing will soar up from my body as I die, and you will then know that my soul has ascended to the presence of God. And when you see this thing, make haste and run to my school, and call on all my scholars ’ to come and see that the soul of their master has left the body, and that all he taught them was a lie, for that there is a God who punishes sin, and a Heaven, and a Hell, and that man has an immortal soul destined for eternal hap-piness or misery.”

THE PRIEST’S SOUL.    291

“ I will pray,” said the child, “ to have courage to do this work.”

And he kneeled down and prayed. Then when he rose up he took the penknife and struck it into the priest’s heart, and struck and struck again till all the flesh was lacerated; but still the priest lived, though the agony was horrible, for he could not die until the twenty-four hours had expired.

At last the agony seemed to cease, and the stillness of death settled on his face. Then the child, who was watching, saw a beautiful living creature, with four snow-white wings, mount from the dead man’s body into the air and go fluttering round his head.

So he ran to bring the scholars ; and when they saw it, they all knew it was the soul of their master; and they watched with wonder and awe until it passed from sight into the clouds.

And this was the first butterfly that was ever seen in Ireland; and now all men know that the butterflies are the souls of the dead, waiting for the moment when they may enter Purgatory, and so pass through torture to purification and peace.

But the schools of Ireland were quite deserted after that time, for people said, What is the use of going so far to learn, when the wisest man in all Ireland did not know if he had a soul till he was near losing it, and was only saved at last through the simple belief of a little child.

IRISH FAIRY TALES.

292

THE PRIEST OF COLOONY.

W. B. YEATS.

Good Father John O’Hart 1 In penal days rode out

To a shoneen in his freelands,

With his snipe marsh and his trout.

In trust took he John’s lands,

—Sleiveens were all his race—

And he gave them as dowers to his daughters,

And they married beyond their place.

But Father John went up,

And Father John went down;

And he wore small holes in his shoes,

, And he wore large holes in his gown.

All loved him, only the shoneen.,

Whom the devils have by the hair,

From their wives and their cats and their children, To the birds in the white of the air.

1

Father O’Rourke is the priest of the parishes of Ballysadare and Kilvarnet, and it is from his learnedly and faithfully and sympathetically written history of these parishes that I have taken the story of Father John, who had been priest of these parishes, dying in the year 1739. Coloony is a village in Kilvarnet.

Some sayings of Father John’s have come down. Once when he was sorrowing greatly for the death of his brother, the people said to him, “ Why do you sorrow so for your brother when you foibid us to keen ? ” “ Nature,” he answered, “ forces me, but ye force nature.” His memory and influence survives, in the fact that to the present day there has been no keening in Coloony.

He was a friend of the celebrated poet and musician, Carolan. f Shoneeni.e., upstart.    \ Sleiveeni.e., mean fellow.

THE PRIEST OF COLOONY.    293

The birds, for he opened their cages,

As he went up and down •

And he said with a smile, “ Have peace, now,”

And went his way with a frown.

But if when any one died,

Came keeners hoarser than rooks,

He hade them give over their keening,

For he was a man of hooks.

And these were the works of John,

When weeping score by score,

People came into Coloony,

For he’d died at ninety-four.

There was no human keening;

The birds from Knocknarea,

And the world round Knoeknashee,

Came keening in that day,—

Keening from Innismurry,

Nor stayed for bit or sup;

This way were all reproved Who dig old customs up.

[Coloony is a few miles south of the town of Sligo. Father O’Hart lived there in the last century, and was greatly beloved. These lines accurately record the tradition. No one who has held the stolen land has prospered. It has changed owners many times.]

294    IRISH FAIRY TALES.

THE STORY OF THE LITTLE BIRD*    J

T. CROFTON CROKER.    |

Many years ago there was a very religious and holy man, one of the monks of a convent, and he was one day kneeling at his prayers in the garden of his monastery, when he heard a little bird singing in one of the rose-trees of the garden, and there never was anything that he had    I

heard in the world so sweet as the song of that little bird.    I

And the holy man rose up from his knees where he was    j

kneeling at his prayers to listen to its song ; for he thought    j

he never in all his life heard anything so heavenly.

And the little bird, after singing for some time longer on the rose-tree, flew away to a grove at some distance from the monastery, and the holy man followed it to listen to its singing, for he felt as if he would never be tired of listening to the sweet song it was singing out of its throat.

And the little bird after that went away to another distant tree, and sung there for a while, and then to another tree, and so on in the same manner, hut ever further and further away from the monastery, and the holy man still following it farther, and farther, and farther, still listening , delighted to its enchanting song.

But at last he was obliged to give up, as it was growing late in the day, and he returned to the convent; and as he approached it in the evening, the sun was setting in the west with all the most heavenly colors that were ever seen in the world, and when he came into the convent, it was nightfall.

And he was quite surprised at everything he saw, for they were all strange faces about him in the monastery that he had never seen before, and the very place itself, and everything about it, seemed to be strangely altered; and,

* Amulet, 1827. T. C. Croker wrote this, he says, word for word as he heard it from an old woman at a holy well.

THE STORY OF THE LITTLE BIRD.    2 a r>

altogether, it seemed entirely different from what it was when lie had left in the morning ; and the garden was not like the garden where he had been kneeling at his devotion when he first heard the singing of the little bird.

And while he was wondering at all he saw, one of the monks of the convent came up to him, and the holy man questioned him, “Brother, what is the cause of all these strange changes that have taken place here since the morning?”

And the monk that he spoke to seemed to wonder greatly at his question, and asked him what he meant by the change since morning? for, sure, there was no change; that all was just as before. And then he said, “ Brother, why do you ask these strange questions, and what is your name? for you wear the habit of our order, though we have never seen you before.”

So upon this the holy man told his name, and said that he had been at mass in the chapel in the morning before he had wandered away from the garden listening to the song of a little bird that was singing among the rose-trees, near where he was kneeling at his prayers.