Minute Irish Stories Set
1 : 1-30
|1.The Wayside Fountain
Cenn Escrach of the orchards, a dwelling for the meadow bees, there
is a shining thicket in its midst, with a drinking cup of wooden lathes.
2. Daniel O’ Connell and the Trickster
There was a man living at Carhan, near Caherciveen, in the time of Daniel
O’ Connell. He was poor and he had a large family. One day
he was selling two pigs- a white one and a black one- at Tralee fair.
A buyer asked him how much he wanted for the white one, along with the
black one. The poor man thought, and no wonder, that the buyer wanted
only the white pig; so he named the price. The buyer immediately
marked both pigs and took from his pocket only that which had been
asked for the white one. “ What do you mean?” asked the poor man. “You
only inquired about the white pig” “That’s a lie!” said the buyer.
“Didn ‘t I ask you how much you wanted for the white one along with the
black one?” The poor man could do nothing but give him the two pigs for
the price of one. He returned home and told his story to his wife
and to all the neighbors. It wasn’t long till it spread all over
the district, and everybody was sorry for the poor man. He told his
story to Daniel O’Connell, who had great sympathy for him. “We’ll
get our own back on that buyer later on,” said O’Connell. “Are you willing
to cut off the lobe of your right ear?” “I am ,” said he.
3. St. Mael Anfaidh and the Bird’s Lament for St. Mo Lua
This was the Mael Anfaidh who saw a certain little bird wailing and
sorrowing. “O God” said he, “what has happened there ? I will
not eat food until it is explained to me.” While he was there he saw an
angel coming towards him. “Well now, priest,” said the angel,” let it not
trouble you any more. Mo Lua son of Ocha has died, and that is why
the living things bewail him, for he never killed a living thing, great
nor small; not more do men bewail him than the other living things
do, and among them the little bird that you see”
4. How celtchar Killed the “Brown Mouse”
....And this is the second plague next, namely the Brown Mouse; that
is , a puppy which a widow’s son found in the hollow of a tree-trunk, and
the widow reared it until it was big, At last however it turned against
the widow’s sheep, and killed her cows and her son, and killed her herself;
and went after that to the Great Pig’s Glen. It would devastate a farmstead
in Ulster every night, and lie asleep every day. “Rid us of it, Celtchar!”!
said Conchobar. Celtchar went to the woods and brought away an alder log,
and a whole was bored through it as long as his arm, and he boiled it in
fragrant herbs and honey and grease, until it was supple and tough.
Celtchar went to the cave where the Brown Mouse used to sleep, and entered
the cave early before the Brown Mouse should come after its ravages.
It came with its snout lifted up to the scent of the trunk, and Celtchar
pushed the trunk out through the cave towards it. The hound took
it in its jaws and set its teeth in it, and the teeth stuck
in the tough wood. Celtchar dragged the trunk towards him and
the hound dragged in the other direction; and Celtchar thrust his arm along
inside the log, until he brought its heart up through its mouth,
so that he had it in his hand. And he took its head with him....
5. The Blackbird’s Song
The little bird has given a whistle from the tip of its bright yellow
beak; the blackbird from the yellow-turfed bough sends forth its call over
6. The Fox and the Eagle
There came a very bad year one-time. One day the fox was near the shore
of the Lakes of Killarney, and he couldn’t find a bird or anything else
to eat. Then he spied three ducks a bit out from the shore and thought
to himself that if he could catch hold of them, he would have a fine meal.
There was some water parsnip with very large leaves growing by the shore,
and he swam out to it and cut off two big leaves of it with his teeth.
He held one of them at each side of his mouth and swam toward the ducks.
The never felt anything until he had taken one of them off with him.
7. How Cobhthach Contrived his Brother’s Death
Cobhtach the Lean of Bregia, son of Ughaine M/or, was king of Br/egia;
but Loeghaire Lorc, son of Ughaine, was king of Ireland. He
too was the son of Ughaine M/or. Cobhtach was jealous of Loeghaire for
the kingship of Ireland, so that a wasting sickness seized him, and his
blood and his flesh withered from him, whence he was called “the Lean of
Bregia”; but he had not succeeded in killing Loeghaire. Loeghaire
was summoned to him after that, to give him his blessing before he
died...”Come tomorrow,” said Cobhthach, “to build my tomb and set up my
gravestone and conduct the wake for me, and perform my funeral lament,
for I shall shortly die” “Good”, said Loeghaire, “it shall be done” “Well
now, “ said Cobhtach to his queen and his steward, “say that I am dead,
without anyone else knowing, and let me be put in my chariot with a razor-knife
in my hand. My brother will come hastily to bewail me, and will throw
himself on to me; perhaps he will get something form me. “ That came true.
The chariot was brought out; his brother came to bewail him, and threw
himself down on him. He planted the knife in him at his midriff so
that the point came out of him at the tip of his heart, and he killed Loeghaire
8. Two Women or twelve Men
There was a fox that had three young ones, and when the time came
to teach them how to fend for themselves, the old fox took them to a house.
There was great talk going on inside the house. He asked the first
two young ones if they could tell him who was in the house. The couldn’t.
Then he tried the third.
9. The Cat and the Dog
Long ago the dog used to be out in the wet and the cold, while the cat
remained inside near the fire.
10.St. Columba’s nettle Broth
Once when he was going round the graveyard in Iona, he saw an old woman
cutting nettles for broth for herself. What is the cause of this, poor
woman?” Said Colum Cille. “Dear Father” said she, “I have one cow,
and it has not yet borne a calf; I am waiting for it, and this is what
has served me for a long time.” Colum Cille made up his
mind then that nettle broth should be what should serve him mostly from
then on for ever; saying,”Since they suffer this great hunger in expectation
of the one uncertain cow, it would be right for us that the hunger which
we suffer should be great, waiting for God; because what we are expecting,
the everlasting Kingdom, is better, and is certain.” And he said to his
servant “Give me nettle broth every night,” said he, “without butter or
milk with it.” “It shall be done”, said the cook. He hollowed the
stick for stirring the broth and made it into a tube, so that he used
to pour the milk into that tube and stir it into the broth. Then
the people of the church noticed that the priest looked well, and talked
of it among themselves. This was told to Colum Cille, and then he
said,”May your successors grumble for ever! Now!” said he to the servant,
“what do you give me in the broth every day?” “You yourself are witness,”
said the menial, “unless it comes out of the stick with which the broth
is mixed, I know of nothing in it except broth alone.” Then, the explanation
was revealed to the priest, and he said. “Prosperity and good deeds to
your successor for ever!” And this has come true.
11. The Man who Swallowed the Mouse
There was a man in Rinnard one time. He felt very thirsty
one evening after a day’s mowing; so he took a bowl of thick milk
to drink. The kitchen was half dark, as lamps and lights were scarce
at that time. He swallowed the m ilk, and what was in it but a mouse!
He never felt anything until he had swallowed the milk, mouse and all.
One woman came to see how he was, and she said that the best thing to
do was to put a piece of roasted bacon and a piece of mutton on a plate
on both sides of his mouth when he lay down in bed. The cat should
be kept in the room too. When the mouse would smell the roasted meat,
she would come out taste it.
12. The Hermit Blackbird
Ah, Blackbird, it is well for you where your nest is in the bushes;
a hermit that clangs no bell, sweet, soft, and peaceful is your call.
13. The Recognition of Ulysses
...”good people said the queen “who are you at all?” “I am Ulysses son
of Laertes,” said he. “You are not the Ulysses whom I know” said
she. “I am indeed,” he said, “and I will describe my credentials”; and
then he told of their secrets and their talks together and their hidden
thoughts. “What has happened to your looks or your men,” said she,
“if you are Ulysses?” “ They are lost,” he said “What was the last of your
keepsakes that you left with me?” she said. “A golden brooch,”said he,
“with a silver head; and I took your brooch with me when I went into
the ship and it was then you turned back from me,” said Ulysses. “That
is true,” she said “and if you were Ulysses you would ask after your dog.”
“I had not thought it would be alive at all,” he said. “I made a
broth of long life” said she, “because I saw that Ulysses loved it greatly.
And what sort of dog at all is that dog?” she said. “It has white sides
and a light crimson back and a jet black belly and a green tail,” said
Ulysses. “That is the description of the dog.” She said, “and no one in
the place dares give it its food except myself and you and the steward”
“Bring the dog in” said he. And four men went to fetch it and brought
it in with them. And when it heard the sound of Ulysses’ voice, it
gave a tug at its chain so that it laid the four men flat all over the
house behind it, and, jumped at Ulysses ‘ breast and licked his face.
When Ulysses’ people saw that, they leaped towards him. Whoever could no
get at his skin to kiss him covered his clothes with kisses...
14. The coming of Winter
I have news for you; the stag bells, winder snows, summer has gone.
15. The Smell of Money for the Smell of Food
There were six young fellows visiting a town one day. One of them
suggested that they go and eat some food. They had some drinks before
that. The went into an hotel, and one of them ordered a meal for
them all. Each was to pay his own share. A pound of meat was
placed in front of each of them. One of the fellows told the
woman to take away his own meat, as he wasn’t going to eat it at all.
“I won’t,” she said. “It was ordered and you can eat it or leave
16. Mo Chua’s Riches
...Mo Chua and Colum Cille were contemporaries. And when Mo Chua
(that is Mac Duach) was in a hermitage of the wilderness, he had no worldly
wealth but a cock and a mouse and a fly.. The work the cock used to do
for him was to keep matins at midnight. Now the mouse, it would not
allow him to sleep more than five hours in a day and a night; and when
he wished to sleep longer, being tired from much cross vigil and prostration,
the mouse would begin nibbling his ear and so awoke him. Then
the fly, the work it did was to walk along every line he read in his Psalter,
and when he rested from singing his psalms the fly would stay on the line
he had left until he returned again to read his psalms. It happened soon
after this that these three treasures died; and Mo Chua wrote a letter
afterwards to Colum Cille when he was in Iona in Scotland, and complained
of the death of this flock. Colum Cile wrote to him, and this is
what he said; “Brother, said he, “you must not wonder at the death of the
flock that has gone from you for misfortune never comes but where there
17. The Sow and Her Banbh
An old sow and her young banbh were thieving one day, and a dog was
set to chase them. They ran at their best with the dog at their
Cold,cold, chill tonight is wide Moylurg; the snow is higher than a mountain, the deer cannot get at its food.
Eternal cold! The storm has spread on every side; each sloping furrow is a river and every ford is a full mere.
Each full lake is a great sea and each mere is a full lake; horses cannot get across the ford of Ross, no more can two feet get there.
The fishes of Ireland are roving, there is not a strand where the wave does not dash, there is not a town left in the land, not a bell is herd, no crane calls.
The wolves of Cuan Wood do not get repose or sleep in the lair of wolves; the little wren does not find shelter for her nest on the slopes of Lon.
Woe to the company of little birds for the keen wind and the cold ice! The blackbird with its dusky black does not find a bank it would like, shelter for its side in the Woods of Cuan.
Snug is our cauldron on its hook, restless the blackbird on Letir Cr/o; snow has crushed the wood here, it is difficult to climb up Benn B/o.
The Eagle of brown Glen Rye gets affliction from the bitter wind; great is its misery and its suffering, the ice will get into its beak.
It is foolish for you- take heed of it--to rise from quilt and feather
bed; there is much ice on every ford; that is why I say “Cold!”
19.The Old Crow Teaches the Young Crow
There was an old crow long ago, and he made a nest. After a time,
only one of his brood remained with him.
20. The Best and Worst Nail in the Ark
The shipwright who made the Ark left empty a place for a nail in it,
because he was sure that he himself would not be taken into it. When
Noah went into the Ark with his children, as the angel had told him,
Noah shut the windows of the Ark and raised his hand to bless it.
Now the Devil had come into the Ark along with him as he went into it and
when Noah Blessed the Ark the Devil found no other way but the empty hole
which the shipwright had left unclosed, and he went into it in the form
of a snake; and because of the tightness of the hole he could
not go out nor come back and he was like this until the Flood ebbed and
that is the best and the worst nail that was in the Ark.
There was a tailor in Ballyvourney a long time ago. He had very
big ankles, and the nickname the people had on him was “Tadhg of the Ankles”
. At that time, tradesmen traveled from house to house, and
the people used to gather in for sport and fun with them.
22. The Wind
It has broken us, it has crushed us, it has drowned us, O King of the
star-bright Kingdom; the wind has consumed us as twigs are consumed by
crimson fire from Heaven
23. The Blacksmith and the Horseman
There was a man one time, and he was very strong. He was full
of money, and one day he put about twenty pounds of it into a purse.
Once upon a time Athairne came on a journey in the autumn to the house
of his foster son Amhairghen ,and stayed the night there; and was about
to leave the next day. But Amhairghen said to detain him:
Again he made to leave in the winder, but then Amhairghen said:
Again he made to leave in the spring, but the Amhairghen said:
Again he made to leave in the summer, and Amhairghen said, letting him
25.Winter has Come
Winter has come with scarcity, lakes have flooded their sides, frost
crumbles the leaves, the merry wave begins to mutter.
26. Se/an na Scuab
Long ago there was a poor man living in Buffickle, west in B/era.
He was married. He made his living by making brushes and selling them in
Cork a few times a year. After some years, the mayor of Cork died,
and three men were in for the position. When the day of the election
came, the three had the same votes. They went to a magistrate to
decide between them, but he shook his head and said that he couldn’t settle
the mater. He told them to go out next morning to a certain place
at the edge of the city and to tell their troubles to the first man who
came along. Whoever that man named would become mayor. They
did so. The first man to come along was Se/an of the Brushes with
a load of brushes on his shoulder. The three of them stopped
him and told him their story. He listened to them and said that it
would be hard to bass over two of them and elect the other. So he
told them that the best plan was to elect himself as mayor. They
did so That was that. Se/an ‘s old wife was home when she heard that
her husband was mayor of Cork with a gold chain across his chest and two
gray horses drawing him from place to place. She set out and never stopped
until she reached Cork. She looked about, and next day she saw Se/an
being drawn by two gray horses, a Caroline hat on his head and a big gold
chain hanging down from his neck. She went over to him.
Arran of the many stags, the sea reaches to its shoulder; island where companies were fed, ridge where blue spears are reddened.
Wanton deer upon its peaks, mellow blaeberries on its heaths, cold water in its streams nuts upon its brown oaks.
Hunting-dogs there, and hounds, blackberries and sloes of the dark blackthorn, dense thorn bushes in its woods, stags astray among its oak-groves
Gleaning of purple lichen on its rocks, grass without blemish on its slopes, a sheltering cloak over its crags;gambolling of fawns, trout leaping.
Smooth is its lowland, fat its swine, pleasant its fields, a tale you may believe; its nuts on the tips of his hazel-wood sailing of long galleys past it.
It is delightful for them when fine weather comes, trout under the banks
of its rivers, seagulls answer each other round its white cliff; delightful
at all times is Arran.
28.The Hill of Howth
Delightful to be on the Hill of Howth, very sweet to be above its white sea; the perfect fertile hill, home of ships, the vine grown pleasant warlike peak.
The peak where Finn and the Fianna used to be, the peak where were drinking-horns and cups, the peak where bold O Duinn brought Gr/ainne one day in stress of pursuit.
The peak bright-knolled beyond all hills, with its hill-top round and green and rugged; the hill full of swordsmen, full of wild garlic and trees, the many coloured peak, full of beasts, wooded.
The peak that is loveliest throughout the land of Ireland, the bright
peak above the sea of gulls, it is a hard step for me to leave it lovely
Hill of delightful Howth.
29.The Boorish Patron
30. C/u Chulainnn and the Charioteer
...They came thence on the next day across Ard, and C/uChulainn
let them go on before him. At Tamhlachtae /Orl/aimh a little to the
north of Disert L/ochaid he came upon the charioteer or /Orl/amh, son of
Ailill and Medhbh, cutting wood there (or according to another source it
was C/uChulainn’s chariot shaft that had broken, and he had gone to cut
a shaft when he met /Orl/amh’s charioteer). “The Ulstermen are behaving
disgracefully, if it is they who are over there,” said C/uChulainn, “While
the army is at their heels,”. He went to the charioteer to stop him, for
he thought he was one of the Ulstermen. He saw the man cutting wood
for a chariot shaft. “What are you doing here? Said C/u Chulainn.
“Cutting a chariot shaft,” said the charioteer; “we have broken our
chariots in hunting that