Minute Irish Stories Set
4 : 95-122
|95. Civil Irish and Wild Irish
You who follow English ways, who cut short your curling hair, O slender hand of my choice, you are unlike the good son of Donnchadh!
If you were he, you would not give up your long hair (the best adornment in all the land of Ireland) for an affected English fashion, and your head would not be tonsured.
You think a shock of yellow hair unfashionable; he hates both the wearing of love-locks and being shaven-headed in the English manner-how unlike are your ways.
E/oghan B/an the darling of noble women, is a man who never loved English customs; he has not set his heart on English ways, he has chosen the wild life rather.
Your ideas are nothing to E’oghan B’an; he would give breeches away for a trifle, a man who asked no cloak but a rag, who had no desire for doublet and hose.
He would hate to have at his ankle a jeweled spur on a boot, or stockings in the English manner; he will allow no love-locks on him.
A blunt rapier which could not kill a fly, the son of Donchadh does not think it handsome; nor the weight of an awl sticking out behind his rear as he goes to the hill of the assembly.
Little he cares for gold-embroidered cloaks, or for a high well-furnished ruff, or for a gold ring which would only be vexatious, or for a satin scarf down to his heels.
He does not set his heart on a feather bed, he would prefer to lie upon rushes; to the good son of Donnchadh a house of rough wattles is more comfortable than the battlements of a castle.
A troop of horse at the mouth of a pass, a wild fight, a ding -dong fray of foot soldiers, these are some of the delights of Donnchadh’s son- and seeking contest with the foreigners.
You are unlike E/oghan B/an ; men laugh at you as you put your
foot on the mounting-block; it is a pity that you yourself don't see your
errors, O you who follow English ways.
96. Lanty’s New House
Lanty M’Cluskey had married a wife, and, of course, it was necessary
to have a house in which to keep her. Now, Lanty had taken a bit
of a farm, about six acres; but as there was no house on it, he resolved
to build one; and that it might be as comfortable as possible, he selected
for the site of it one of those beautiful green circles that are supposed
to be the playground of the fairies. Lanty was warned against this.
But as he was a headstrong man, and not much given to fear, he said he
would not change such a pleasant situation for his house, to oblige all
the fairies in Europe. He accordingly proceeded with the building,
which he finished off very neatly. And, as it is usual on these
occasions to give one’s neighbors and friends a housewarming, so,
in compliance with this good and pleasant old custom, Lanty, having brought
home the wife in the course of the day, got a fiddler, and a lot
of whiskey, and gave those who had come to see him a dance in the evening.
This was all very well, and the fun and hilarity were proceeding briskly,
when a noise was heard after night had set in, like a crushing and
straining of ribs and rafters on the top of the house. The folks
assembled all listened, and without doubt there was nothing heard but crushing,
and heaving, and pushing, and groaning, and panting, as if
a thousand little men were engaged in pulling down the roof.
“Come” said a voice, which spoke in a tone of command, “work hard:
you know we must have Lanty’s house down before midnight.” This w
as an unwelcome piece of intelligence to Lanty, who finding that his enemies
were such as he could not cope with, walked out, and addressed them as
follows: “Gentlemen I humbly ask your pardon for building on
any place belonging to you, but if you’ll have the civilitude to let me
alone this night, I’ll begin to pull down and remove the house tomorrow
morning.” This was followed by a noise like the slapping of a thousand
tiny little hands, and a shout of “Bravo, Lanty! Build halfway between
the two white thorns above the boreen.” And after another hearty
little shout of exultation, there was a brisk rushing noise, and they were
heard of no more.
97. The Student's Life
The Student’s life is pleasant, carrying on his studies; it is plain to you my friends, his is the most pleasant in Ireland.
No king nor great prince nor landlord, however strong, coerces him; no taxes to the Chapter, no fines, no early-rising.
Early-rising or sheep-herding he never undertakes them, nor yet does he pay heed to the watchmen in the night.
He spends a while at backgammon, and at the tuneful harp, or again another while at wooing, and at courting a fair woman.
He gets good profit from his plough-team when early spring comes
round-the fame of his plough is a handful of pens!
98. Egan O’ Rahilly and the Minister
There was a splendid green-boughed tree of great value growing for many years close by a church which the wicked Cromwell had plundered, above a spring overflowing with bright cold water, in a field of green turf which a thieving minister had extorted from an Irish gentleman; one who had been exiled across the wild seas thorough treachery, and not through the edge of the sword. This stinking l out of a dammed minister wanted to cut a long green bough of the tree to make household gear of it. None of the carpenters or workmen would touch the beautiful bough, for its shade was most lovely, sheltering them as they lamented brokenly and bitterly for the bright champions who were stretched beneath the sod. “I will cut it” said a bandy meagre-shanked gallows bird of a son of this portly minister, “ and get me an axe at once.” The dull-witted oaf went up into the tree like a scared cat fleeing a pack of hounds, until he came upon two branches growing one across the other. He tried to put them apart by the strength of his wrists, but they sprang from his hands in the twinkling of an eye across each other again, and gripped his gullet, hanging him high between air and Hell. It was then the accursed Sasenach was wriggling his legs in the hangman's dance, and he standing on nothing, and his black tongue out the length of a yard, mocking at his father. The minister screamed and bawled like a pig in a sack or a goose caught under a gate, and no wonder, while the workmen were getting a ladder to cut him down.
Egan O’ Rahilly from Sliabh Luchra of the Heroes was there, watching
the gallows-bird of the noose, and he recited this verse:-
What is the poor wild Irish devil saying? “ said the minister , “ He
is lamenting your darling son,” said an idler who was beside him. “Here
is two pence for you to buy tobacco with.” Said the fat badger of a Minster.
“Thankee, minister of the son of courses” (the Devil) said Egan; and he
recited a verse:-
99. Prosperity in the Time of Tadhg O’ Conchobhair
....The nobleman for whom from wide-plained Codhal in the south the fruit and nuts of soft Munster have grown bright; owing to our chieftain every bright branched hazel has become red, and the fruits of the pleasant bending sloe bushes have grown jet black.
In his time the cattle are like part of the Cattle-Tribute; Nuts are the hue of coppery gold for the descendant of gentle Mugh; the fruit-flowers in their fresh white tresses have sweetened the cool streams of the tree-blessed shore; green corn grows from the earth close up to the mighty woods, and the bright hazel branches are filled with sap.
At evening, the flowers of the fair-plaited hazel have cooled the sunny earth, the home of stranger birds; drops of honey and of dew, like dark tears, will keep the fringe of the thin-grassed wood bent down; the saplings around the Boyle are bowed with nuts because the slow soft eye of the descendant of Bron looks down on them.
Nuts dropping into the white-foamed murmuring Boyle will fall down beside the great trees with twisted boles; the flower of every tree of them like dark purple, is purple for the race of great Muircheertach.
A shower of honey upon slim-formed saplings in the fresh bowed forks
of the golden graceful wood- this is but another boon from his holding
of the peace-and the slow cows with their full udders from the lands of
the plain of great Tuam...
100. No man goes Beyond His Day
A fisherman must follow the sea, and how can a man escape the day of
his death? There is such and such a time marked out for a man on
this earth, and , when his day is come, if he went into an ant’s hole,
death would find him there. We have only our time, and , young or
old, a man must go when he is called.
101. A light tokens the Death of Mr. Corrigan
Well, I was coming along the road convenient to Drumbargy Lane.
And I seen this light. And it seemed for the start--I couldn’t just
say whether it started from Francy’s or whether it come past it.
But it was a little below Francy’s when I seen it first. And it was
a powerful light and what struck me was that: wasn’t it a wonder that it
wasn’t blacked out, do you see, for the way it was at that time it was
only the underpart of a bicycle light that you'd see; the upper part of
the glass had to be either blacked or there had to be a black cloth over
it. It was during the war, do you see. But this was a full
light. And it came on very, very,very, very very, quick. And it was
just coming forward to where the turn is on the road when it disappeared.
So I was on this side of Drumbargy Lane at that time. And the thought
that struck me was that they either got a burst or a puncture or something
had happened to the bicycle. So I came on anyway, expecting for to
come across some man in difficulty, or some person, man or woman.
But there was nobody on the road. So I took from that, that it was
some kind of token. John O’Prey was working here with Francy’s father
at the time. And he was coming home one night. And this
light came along, as he thought, meeting him. But it went out before
they met. And there was nobody on the road. I just don’t know
how long it was before I seen it that John O’Prey seen it. But Francy’s
father died about in a week or a fortnight, a short time after.
102. Who Will Buy a Poem
I ask, who will buy a poem? Its meaning is the true learning of sages. Would anyone take, does anyone want, a noble poem which would make him immortal?
Though tis is a poem of close-knit lore, I have walked all Munster with
it, every market-place from cross to cross-
Though a groat would be small payment, no man nor any woman offered it; not a man spoke of the reason, but neither Irish nor English heeded me.
An art like this is no profit to me, though it is hard that it should
die out ;
Corc of Cashel lives no more, nor Cian, who did not hoard up cattle nor the price of them, men who were generous in rewarding-poets--alas, it is good-bye to the race of /Eibhear.
The prize for generosity was never taken from them, until Cobhtach died, and T/al; I spare to mention the many kindreds for whom I might have continued to make poetry.
I am like a trading ship that has lost its freight, after the FitzGeralds
who deserved renown. I hear no offers--how that torments me! It is a vain
quest about which I ask.
103. The Lawyer and the Devil
There was this man in it one time and he had three sons and he wanted
to make something of them but hadn't the money. So he sells himself
to the Divil to rise money to school the three boys, and he did.
He made one a priest, the other a doctor and the third one was a lawyer.
The Divil gave him the money to pay for their education. But anyway,
at the end of seven years the Divil showed up to claim the old man and
his soul and take him and it down to Hell. He had his three sons
there, or one at a time in with him. So when the Divil come the priest
began to pray and beg and appeal for the sparings for his father, and in
the heel of the hunt he got a few years more off the Divil for his father.
When that was up and the Divil came again the doctor was there and he appealed
for sparings for his father and got them. And when the Divil come
a third time to claim the old fellow the lawyer was there. The lawyer
says to the divil:
104.The Wild Man of the Woods
Dismal is this life, to be without a soft bed; a cold frosty dwelling,
harshness of snowy wind.
105. The Blood of Adam
There was a priest in this parish long ago, and the old people used to tell us a lot of stories about him. He was a fine singer, they said, and he could play the fiddle finely and he was very fond of music. He was a noted horseman, too, although it was a horse that killed him in the end--it was how he was out one night on a sick call, and it was late and very dark when he was coming home, and the horse stumbled and threw him, and they found him in the morning and his neck broken. It was behind on the Gort a ‘ Ghleanna road it happened, just at the bridge halfways down the hill. W ell, what I’m telling you happened a good while before that, on another night when he was out riding late, when he was back on the lower road, near the county bounds. It was a bright moonlight night and he was walking the horse along when he heard this sweet music coming from the bank of the river , and he stopped to listen to it. After a while he put the horse at the ditch of the road and cleared it into the field and down to the river. And there was this very big crowd of small people, men and women about as big as a twelve-years-old child, and they all gathered around listening to a lot of them that were playing every kind of musical instrument. And the priest was sitting on his horse, enjoying the music, when some of them saw him. “Tis a priest, “ they said and the music stopped. And they all gathered around the horse. And one of them, the head m an of them, maybe, spoke up. “Such a question, Father, and will you answer it?” “I will, and welcome, if I have the answer,” says the priest. “What we want to know is this, will we go to Heaven?” says the little man. “I do not know,” says the priest, “but I can tell you this much: if you have any drop of Adam ‘s blood in your veins, you have as good a chance of Heaven as any man, but if you have not, then you have no right to Heaven.””Och/on /O!” says the little man. And they all went off along the riverbank, all crying and wailing so that it would break your heart to listen to them.
106. Thomas Moore and the Tramp
Thomas Moore was lying looking, him and this other, his companion, looking at the Meeting of the Waters and bragging: it was such beautiful scenery, gorgeous, never saw anything like it. An this poor tramp came up, And badly dressed, in rags, and bad boots on him with his toes sticking out through his shoes. And he asked help of Thomas Moore. And Thomas didn’t recognize him at all; he ignored him asking for help. And he stood for a few minutes and he started his wee poem as follows:
“ If Moore was a man without place of abode,
This Moore told him, “Repeat that,” he says “again.” So the tramp repeated
it again. And he put his hand in his pocket, and he gave him half
a sovereign. He says , “That's as good as I ever heard,” he says,
“I couldn't do it better meself .” That was that. It was a
great piece of composition. It was me father told me that one; it
was him that I heard at it. Surely
107. Hare and Hound
John McLoughlin that lived out the Point Road had this hound.
There never was the beating of her. She pupped in a teapot. One time she
was carrying the pups, and a hare rised up and she made after it and ripped
the belly out of herself on this ditch, on wire or something;and the pups,
the greyhound pups, spilled out of her. And one of them up
like hell and after the hare and stuck till her till he caught and killed
her, And when the greyhound died., John McLouchlin had her skinned
and he put a back into a waistcoat with her skin. And
one day he was out over the water hunting and this hare started up; and
begod, he said, the back of the waistcoat on him barked!
108. The Banshee Cries for the O’Briens
The Banshee always cries for the O’Briens. And Anthony O’ Brien
was a fine man when I married him, and handsome, and I could have had great
marriages if I didn't choose him, and many wondered at me. And when
he was took ill and in the bed, Johnny Rafferty came in one day,
and says he, “Is Anthony living?” and I said he was. “For,” says he, “as
I was passing, I heard crying, crying from the hill where the forths are,
and I thought it must be for Anthony, and that he was gone.” And then Ellen,
the little girl, came running in, and she says, “I heard the mournfullest
crying that ever you heard just behind the house.” And
I said, “It must be the Banshee.” And Anthony heard me say that where he
was lying in the bed, and he called out. “If it’s the Banshee it’s
for me, and I must die today or tomorrow.” And in the middle of the next
day, he died.
109. The Wild Man Comes to the Monastery
.....There was a time when I thought sweeter than the quiet converse of monks, the cooing of the ringdove flitting about the pool.
There was a time when I thought sweeter than the sound of a little bell beside me, the warbling of the blackbird from the gable and the belling of the stag in the storm.
There was a time when I thought sweeter than the voice of a lovely woman beside me, to hear at maitns the cry of the heath-hen of the moor.
There was a time when I thought sweeter the howling of wolves, than the voice of a priest indoors, baa-ing and bleating.
Though you like your ale with ceremony in the drinking-halls. I like better to snatch a drink of water in my palm from a spring.
Though you think sweet, yonder in your church, the gentle talk of your students, sweeter I think the splendid talking the wolves make in Glenn mBolC/ain.
Though you like the fat and meat which are eaten in the drinking halls,
I like better to eat a head of clean water-cress in a place without sorrow...
110. Iniskeen’s on Fire
There was a woman and she had a wee baby boy in a cradle. Them
days there was no such thing as a pram. So this boy come in, and
the child was taken out of the cradle, and this funny boy got into it.
The child was never seen, and the funny boy was in the cradle all he time.
And a man come in , a neighbor man come in, and the boy in the cradle says,
“Gimmie a Light for me Pipe”.Gimmie a coal there outtta the fire.” So the
boyo got the coal and he smoked. And then there was another man going to
a blacksmith. He was going to get a loy fixed. It wasn't
a spade now; it was a loy. So the man was going away to get the loy
fixed with the blacksmith. He looked into the cradle. And he
knew it was no child. He knew it was no baby. And the boy in
the cradle put up his head. “Would you give me a light for me pipe,”
he says. So the man that went in, he went out to the street, and
he let a big curse out of him: “Inishkeen’s on fire” “Iniskeen’s on fire.”
The boyo got up and hopped out of the cradle and away and he never was
111. The Horse’s Last Drunk
Do you know that the jennet is the most willing animal in the world?
Man alive a jennet never knows when he is done. Years ago, I saw
a jennet drawing a load up Patrick's Hill in Cork, and that's like the
side of a mountain. The load was too much for it and for all its
trying the jennet could go no farther. But do you know what happened?
With the height of willingness and the power of pulling, its eyes came
out of its head before it, for they were the only part of it free and not
tackled to the cart. That was willingness for you! The man
who owned that jennet was carrying from Cork to Kenmare. It was in
the days before there were any motorcars and before their like had been
thought about at all. He was coming one day with the divil of a load
of wheat, maybe it could be about a ton weight and he saw that his
horse was failing. He wondered if he had overfed her or what could
ail her. He wanted to get into the town of Macroom that night at
least . Well, he had a bottle of poteen with him, and he put It back
into the horse, and she was as lively as could be for another piece of
the road. But just when he was to the east of Macroom, didn't the
horse lie down on the road, under the load and the divil a stir from her.
They thought that she was dead. There wasn't a move out of her, no
matter what they did. One of the men with him said that they had as well
make the best of it, and if they skinned her they would be able to sell
the s kin in Macroom. So they set to, and they skinned her, and when
they had that done she moved. She wasn't dead at all, but only
dead drunk with the poteen she had taken, and the cold had put a stir into
her when the skin was off. They were in the devil of a fix, for the
skin was after stiffening. One hopped over the wall, and killed four
of the sheep and skinned them, and they sewed the warm skins on to the
horse, and she got up after the debauch, and pulled away as
good as ever.
112. Terry the Grunter
There was at one time, an old tramp called Tery the Grunter who used to wander round these parts often times. The lived principally on his wits and he composed satires about people who did not please him. He happened to be in Sligo when a certain solicitor died and he asked some of this’man’s brother solicitors for help. They refused him. When the funeral was starting four solicitors carried the coffin part of the way to the cemetery. Terry the Grunter gave the following descriptions of the affair:
There’s a knave overhead and four underneath,
When the Protestant church at Riverstown was being built, the bishop of Elphin came to consecrate it. He met our hero who, as usual, was on the lookout for money. The bishop refused him and the tramp wrote the following:
An English bishop came from Elphin,
113. Elegy on Druim nDen
How bare is your stronghold, Druim nDen! Very bare is your rampart and your site. I see, of the flowers once lavish on you from now for ever you shall be bare.
Lovely were your borders and your verge, sweet the call of cuckoos that dwelt around you; shining was your wall, spacious and splendid, and your fortress encircled with green-leaved oaks.
You were a protection against need and sorrow, you were a fence and a forest clearing; it is my longing to set my back to your wall and my face towards your wide demesne.
But I am in the west of Ireland and you in the east are all on fire;
the grazing herd crops the meadow
Rarely comes any that would be better; every frame shall be brought
low; you shall be a hall for tearful austere nuns, though now you
are grass grown and bare.
114. A clock Token
One night the clock in my room struck six and it had not struck for
years, and two nights after--on Christmas night--it struck six again, and
afterwards I heard that my sister in America had died just at that
hour. So now I have taken the weights off the clock, that I wouldn’t
hear it again.
115. John Brodison and the Policeman
There was a famous character in our country. He lived at Bellanaleck,
he was the name of John Brodson.
116. The Little Boys who Went to Heaven
....Don/an son of Liath, one of Sen/an’s disciples, went to gather dulse
on the shore, with two little boys who were studying along with him. The
sea carried off his boat from him, so that he had no boat to fetch the
boys, and there was no other boat on the island to rescue the boys.
So the boys were drowned on a rock; but on the next day their bodies were
carried so that they lay on the beach of the island. Their parents
came then and stood on the beach, and asked that their sons should be given
them alive. Sen/an said to Donn/an, “Tell the boys to arise and speak
with me.” Donn/an said to the boys, “You may arise to talk with your
parents, for Sen/an tells you to do so.” They arose at once at Sen/an’s
command, and said to their parents, “ You have done wrong to
us, bringing us away from the land to which we came”. “How could you prefer,”
said their mother to them “to stay in that land rather than to come
to us?” “Mother,” they said, “though you should give us power over the
whole world and all its enjoyment and delight, we should think it no different
from being in prison, compared with being in the life and in the world
to which we came. Do not delay us, for it is time for us to go back
again to the land from which we have come; and God shall bring it their
parents gave them their consent, and they went together with Sen/an to
his oratory; and the sacrament was given them, and they went to Heaven,
and their bodies were buried in front of the oratory where Sen/an lived.
And these were the first dead who were buried in Scatterly Island...
117. How St. Scoithin Got His Name
Once upon a time he met Barra of Cork, he walking on the sea and Barra
in a ship. “How is it that you are walking on the sea? Said Barra.
“It is not the sea at all but a flowery blossomy field,” said Scoithin
and he took up in his hand a crimson flower and threw it from him to Barra
in the ship. And Scoithin said “How is it that a ship is floating
on the field?” At those words, Barra stretched his hand down into the sea
and took a salmon out of it, and threw it to Scoithin. And it is
from tat flower (scoth) that he is called Scoithin.
118. The Farmer’s Answers
There was a poor man one time-Jack Murphy his name was; and rent day
came, and he hadn’t enough to pay his rent. And he went to the landlord,
and asked would he give him time. And the landlord asked when would
he pay him; and he said he didn’t know that. And the landlord said:”Well,
if you can answer three questions I’ll put to you, I’ll let you off the
rent altogether. But if you don’t answer them, you will have to pay
it oat once, or to leave your farm. And the three questions are these:
How much does the moon weigh? How many stars are there in the sky? What
is it I am thinking?” And he said he would give him till the next day to
think of the answers. And Jack was walking along, very downhearted;
and he met with a friend of his, one Tim Daly; and he asked what
was on him. And he told him how he must answer the landlord’s three
questions on tomorrow, or to lose his farm. “And I see no use in going
to him tomorrow,” says he, “for I’m sure I will not be able to answer his
questions right.” Let me go in your place,” says Tim Daly, “for the landlord
will not know one of us from the other, and I’m a good hand at answering
questions, and I’’ engage I’ll get you through.” So he agreed
to that. And the next day Tim Daly went in to the landlord, and says
he:” I’m come now to answer your three questions.” Well, the first question
the landlord put was: “What does the moon weigh?” And Tim Daly says: “It
weighs four quarters.” Then the landlord asked: “How many stars are in
the sky?” “Nine thousand nine hundred and ninety-nine.” Says Tim.
“How do you know that?” says the landlord. “Well, “ says Tim, “if you don’t
believe me, go out yourself tonight and count them.” Then the landlord
asked him the third question: “What am I thinking now?” “You are
thinking it’s to Jack Murphy you’re talking, and it is not, but to Tim
Daly.” So the landlord gave in then. And Jack had the farm
free from that out.
119. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral
Dean Swift was a great man; very sharp-tongued he was, and fond of women
terribly. Himself and his man Jack went riding to some place and
they went for shelter into a public-house. There was a fire on the
hearth and there were two men sitting beside it and they made no offer
to move aside where the Dean and Jack wore very simple clothes, knee breeches
as the gentlemen used to do. So the Dean says to Jack, “Did you put
up the horses?” “I did”, says Jack. “What did you give them for a
feed?” says the Dean. “I gave them a feed of oysters,” says Jack.
So when the two men heard that they went out for to look at the great wonder,
the horses to be eating oysters. And when they came in, the Dean
and Jack had their two places taken by the fire. The dean was eating
his dinner one time and he gave Jack but the bone with very little
left on it. “ It is the sweetest bit that is next the bone.” Says he.
Well, a while after they were on the road, and he bade Jack to tie up his
horse where he’d have a feed of grass. So Jack brought him to a big stone
and tied his head to it. “Sure you told me yourself,” says Jack, “the sweetest
of the grass is next the stone!” Some eggs Jack brought him one time,
in his hand, just as you might be bringing
them to a man out on a bog. “Let you put a plate under everything you will
bring from this out,” says the Dean. So the next morning when Jack
brought up his boots, he had put a plate under them. The Dean sent
Jack for a woman one night, and it was a black woman Jack brought
up to the hotel, and the Dean never saw her till morning, and when he did
he thought it was the devil. He sacked Jack that time. “What
were you sacked for?” says Jack’s mother. “It is that he sent me for a
pullet and I brought back a hen,” says Jack “That’s no great fault,” says
the mother and she went to the Dean and said he had a right to take
Jack back again, and so he did.
120. A big Potato
John Brodison tells this story that one season, some years ago, he had
a field of potatoes convenient to the Sligo and Leitrim Railway Line. And
it was a very steep hill that he had the potatoes planted in.
And they had done remarkably well, and when it came to the time for to
dig them, they turned out a powerful fine crop of potatoes. And he
was digging, he tells us, one day, and he came to a spot on the ridge and
he found out that there was a potato from one brow to the other.
So, he got behind, as he thought, this potato for to roll it out.
But he found out that it had grew across the furrow in through a ridge
on both sides of the ridge that it was planted on. So he had to go
to both these ridges and dig all the mold that was around the potato.
So then when he had it properly uncovered, he found out that it was a very
deep distance in the ground. And he had to start for to rise it with
a spade out of the ground. And he was a very long time a-digging
the mold from round it, for to get it, to get the spade in under it.
But finally the mold all cleared and he started with the spade, rising
it up, and rising it up, and rising it up, till finally he got it
to the top of the round. And it joined to roll. So he was that
much fatigued and tired after the job that he had it; he never bothered
looking where it went to. And he started again, and he heard a cart
coming along the road from the direction of Enniskillen. And
the next thing he heard was a terrible bang. So he looked
round, and he seen where this cart had tumbled. So he stuck
the spade. He run down to it. He found that the pratie had
rolled onto the road, and in trying to get by it, the man hadn’t enough
room between the pratie and the other hedge for to get by clear, and the
wheel of the cart went up onto the potato, and it tumbled. So there
it was; there was nothing only sacks of meal and sacks of flour lying here
and in all directions. And the horse was lying on its side in the
road. But then, in them days there was a lot of people traveling
on horses’ carts and donkey ‘s carts, and it wasn’t very long till there
came a go of men making for home. So, them all got down and they
got the horse released from the cart. And they got the horse up on
his feet again. So, they had to take and they had to move every sack
that was lying along the hedge away from about the cart still they
got the cart back on its wheels again and got it pulled alongside the potato.
So then they had to help this man again put on his load again. So,
it was getting very near night, and he tells us that he didn’t like for
to leave it on the road all night for fear of more capsizers or more
accidents. So he went home. And he had a talk with the wife.
So they came to the conclusion that they’d put the donkey in the cart,
and that they’d start away with the crosscut, and that they’d cut it into
shares and draw it to the house. So they started anyway, and
at a very late hour they had it all cut at the house. So, that was
a terrible hard night, he said, one of the hardest nights of
his life between the way he had to labor for to get the potato
up out of the earth and then the hardship that he had that night, him and
the wife after.
121. The Old Times in Ireland
The first man ever lived in Ireland was Partholan, and he is buried and his greyhound along with him at some place in Kerry. The Nemidians came after that and stopped for a while and then they all died of some disease. And then the Firbolgs came, the best men that ever were in Ireland, and they had no law but love, and there was never such peace and plenty in Ireland. What religion had they? None at all. And there was a low sized race came that worked the land of Ireland a long time. They had their time like the others. Tommy Niland was sitting beside me one time the same as yourself, and the day warm as this day, and he said, “In the old times you could buy a cow for one and sixpence, and a horse for two shillings. A and if you had lived in those days, Padriac, you’d have your cow and your horse.” For there was a man in those times bought a cow for one and sixpence, and when he was driving her home he sat down by the roadside crying, for fear he had given too little. And the man that sold him as he was going home he sat down by the roadside crying, for fear that he had taken too much. For the people were very innocent at that time and very kind. But Columcille laid it down in his prophecy that every generation would be getting smaller and more liary; and that was true enough. And in the old days if there was a pig killed, it would never be sent to the saltery but everyone that came would get a bit of it. But now, a pig to be killed, the door of the house would be closed, and no one to get a bit of it at all. In the old times the people had no envy, and they would be writing down the stories and the songs for one another. But they are too enormous now to do that. And as to the people in the towns, they don’t care for such things now, they are too corrupted with drink.
122.Nera and the Dead Man