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Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World

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Author Topic: Tales of the Fairies and of the Ghost World  (Read 504 times)
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« Reply #120 on: September 01, 2009, 11:34:24 pm »

    The young fellow was not frightened; he spoke up and asked:

    "Is this where you are, Pat Doyle? Sure I thought you were dead and buried."

    "I am dead in this world," said Pat, "but I'm not dead in the next. I was killed by a mad ghost, and do you go now and tell the priest from me that it was the ghost that killed me. The priest was gone when I came out of the house. He might have saved me as he saved himself and the clerk, but he left me to the ghost."

    The boy went to the priest and told him everything, and the priest believed him.

     

     

    "My husband knew old John Doyle and Pat Doyle before he was killed, and Tim who carried Pat home. They were all blood relations of his."

    "Perhaps Pat Doyle could have saved himself with a steel knife or a sword," said I.

    "Oh, he could," answered the old woman; "my husband's cousin did the like one time. I will tell you how it was."
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« Reply #121 on: September 01, 2009, 11:34:42 pm »

The Ghost of Sneem

     

    SOME time after Pat Doyle was killed by the ghost, my husband, Martin Doyle, was at work on an estate at some distance from Sneem, and one evening the gentleman who employed Martin told him to go that night on an errand to Sneem.

    "Well," said he, "it's too late and the road is very lonesome. There is no one to care for my mother but me, and if anything should happen to me she'd be without support. I'll go in the morning."

    "That will not do," said the gentleman: "I want to send a letter, and it must be delivered to-night."

    "I'll not risk it; I'll not go," said Martin.

    Martin had a cousin James, who heard the conversation and, stepping up, he said, "I'll go. I am not afraid of ghost or spirit, and many a night have I spent on that road."

    The gentleman thanked him and said:

    "Here is a sword for you, if you need it." He gave James the letter with directions for delivering it.
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« Reply #122 on: September 01, 2009, 11:34:53 pm »

    James started off, and took every short cut and by-path, and when he thought he was half-way to Sneem a ghost stood before him in the road, and began to make at him. Whenever the ghost came near, James made a drive at him with the steel sword, for there is great virtue in steel, and above all in steel made by an Irish blacksmith. The ghost was darting at James, and he driving at the ghost with his sword till he came to a cross-road near Sneem. There the ghost disappeared, and James hurried on with great speed to Sneem. There he found that the gentleman who was to receive the letter had moved to a place six miles away, near Blackwater bridge, half-way between Sneem and Kenmare. The place has a very bad name to this day, and old people declare that there is no night without spirits and headless people being around Blackwater bridge. James knew what the place was, but he made up his mind to deliver the letter. When he came to the bridge and was going to cross it a ghost attacked him. This ghost had a venomous look and was stronger than the first one. He ran twice at James, who struck at him with the sword. Just then he saw a big man without a head running across the road at the other side of the bridge and up the cliff, though there was no path there. The ghost stopped attacking and ran after the headless man. James crossed the bridge and walked a little farther, when he met a stranger, and the two saluted each other and the man asked James where he lived, and he said: "I came from Drumfada." "Do you know what time it is?" asked James. "I do not; but when I was passing that house just below there the cocks were beginning to crow. Did you see anything?" "I did," said James, and he told him how the ghost attacked him and then ran away up the cliff after the headless man.

    "Oh," said the stranger, "that headless body is always roaming around the bridge at night; hundreds of people have seen it. It ran up the cliff and disappeared at ****-crow, and the ghost that attacked you followed when the cocks crowed."

    The stranger went on and James delivered the letter. The man who received it was very thankful and paid him well. James came home safe and sound, but he said: "I'd be a dead man this day but for the steel."

     

     

    "Could you tell me a real fairy tale?" asked I of the old woman. "I could," said she, "but to-day I'll tell you only what I saw one night beyond Cahirciveen:
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« Reply #123 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:13 pm »

    Once I spent the night at a house near Waterville, about six miles from Derrynane. The woman of the house was lying in bed at the time and a young child with her. The husband heard an infant crying outside under the window, and running to the bed he said:

    "Yerra, Mary, have you the child with you?"

    "Indeed, then, I have, John."

    "Well, I heard a child crying under the window. I'll go this minute and see whose it is."

    "In the name of God," screamed the wife, "stop inside! Get the holy water and sprinkle it over the children and over me and yourself."

    He did this, and then sprinkled some in the kitchen. He heard the crying go off farther and farther till it seemed half a mile away: it was very pitiful and sad. If he had gone to the door the man of the house would have got a fairy stroke and the mother would have been taken as a nurse to the fort.

     

     

    This is all the old woman told. When going she promised to come on the following day, but I have not seen her since. The blind man informed me some evenings later that she was sick and in the "ashpitl" (hospital). Her sickness was caused, as she said, by telling me tales in the daytime. Many of the old people will tell tales only in the evening; it is not right, not lucky, to do so during daylight.
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« Reply #124 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:30 pm »

The Dead Mother

     

    THE next two tales were told by the blind man whom I have mentioned in connection with fairy tales told at Ventry Strand.

    It is not out of place to refer here to a certain popular error. It is supposed by many persons that women are the chief depositories of tales touching fairies and other extra-human characters, but they are not. It is a rare thing to find a woman in possession of wonderful tales of the best quality. During researches extending over a number of years, I have found among Indians in the United States only one woman who could be classed with the very best tale-tellers. In Ireland I have found few women who can tell tales at all, and none who can compare with the best men. I believe this is so in all countries.

    The two following stories testify to a perfect communication at times between this world and another.
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« Reply #125 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:41 pm »

    There was a girl in Cloghane whose name was Mary Shea. She married and had three children, one son and two daughters. Her husband died; then his people turned against her and began to quarrel with the widow. Mary was a quiet, good woman, and didn't like trouble. So she told her brother-in-law that if he would give her money to go to America with her two girls she would give up the bit of land that she had and leave the little boy with himself till she would send for him.

    The brother-in-law and the other friends made up the money, and she went away and was doing well in America for about twelve months, and then she took a fever and died.

    The very same week that the mother died the girls sent money home for their brother. They wanted to send it while the mother was sick, but they waited to know would she get better. But she died and was buried.

    About two weeks after the woman's death a girl in Cloghane was going one evening to Castlegregory for sea-moss. Walking along, she saw a woman ahead, and hurried on to have company and shorten the road for herself. The woman ahead seemed in no hurry and waited.

    The girl spoke, and as they walked along the woman asked where was she going, and she told her. "Do you know me?" asked the woman.

    "I do not," said the girl, "but I think I have seen you."

    "Didn't you know Mary Fitzgerald?"

    "Oh, I did; and when did you come home?"

    "About two weeks ago."
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« Reply #126 on: September 01, 2009, 11:35:50 pm »

    "Isn't it the wonder that your mother in Cloghane doesn't know you are here?"

    "I was in Cloghane," said she, "and saw them all, and 'tis badly they are treating my little boy, but 'twill not be long that way; he will go to his sisters in America. I died two weeks ago, but don't be in dread of me, for I'll do you no harm. I wanted you to speak to me, so I could tell you what to do. When you go home tomorrow go to my mother and tell her that I died in America, and that you saw me on this strand, that I am walking back and forth perishing with the cold. Tell her to buy a pair of shoes and stockings and give them to some poor person in my name, for God's sake."

    Mary was talking a long time to the girl, and the girl promised to go to the mother.

    It seems that whatever Mary's son did his uncle whipped him, and the boy was crying in the daytime and crying at night in bed, the night that Mary came first to Cloghane. Everybody in the house was silent except the boy, and he was crying. The mother walked in, bent over him, laid her hand on his shoulder and said, "Don't be crying, my poor little boy, you'll be with your sisters very soon. You'll not see your mother any more, but you'll be happy without her."

    He sat up in the bed, knew her, and grasping at her let such a screech out of him that it roused the uncle and grandmother, and he told them what he'd seen.

    Next day a letter came from America with news of the mother's death. Just after the girl came to the house and was telling about the shoes, the letter was brought in.

    The mother bought a pair of shoes and gave them to a poor woman, for God's sake and the good of Mary's soul, and Mary was seen on the strand no more after that.
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« Reply #127 on: September 01, 2009, 11:36:07 pm »

Tim Sheehy Sent Back to This World to Prove His Innocence

(told by William Keating)

     

    THERE was a farmer, fourteen miles from Tralee, named Fitzgerald, who, by sly management and being a spy on his neighbours, became a great friend of the landlord. He carried matters that far that at last he got enough small tenants ejected to give him the grass of forty cows. Within his bounds was a subtenant of the name of Tim Sheehy, and Fitzgerald was very anxious to have this man ejected. He made complaints to the landlord. He said Sheehy was poaching and destroying game, and said this and that of him.

    The landlord didn't believe these complaints, for Sheehy and his father before him were honest men, who paid their rent always. At last, by some chance, Fitzgerald's cow-house was burned down one night and ten cows were destroyed in the fire. A great many suspected Tim Sheehy. What they said was that Tim owed Fitzgerald a spite, and sure who else would be burning the cow-house? Fitzgerald was only too willing to take up the story and spread it.

    There was a woman in the village by the name of Kate Pendy, who had her own opinion, and she gave it:

    "Wisha, then, a ghraghil,"* said she to a friend. "Tim Sheehy is as clear of that as God Himself. There is no fear that that poor, honest man burned the cow-house."

    This was Saturday, and Tim Sheehy was in Tralee on some business that he had, and he didn't come home till the following morning. When he was nearing the chapel and mass just over, crowds were around, and he heard a man say: "There goes Tim Sheehy, who burned Fitzgerald's cow-house and ran away: I wonder what's bringing him back?"

    "Sure, 'tis the finger of God," said a second man. "The Lord wouldn't let another be punished in place of him."
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« Reply #128 on: September 01, 2009, 11:36:25 pm »

    Sheehy hung his head and was cut to the heart at these words. He went home, and whether it was from grief or sickness that he died, 'twas unknown, but he died that very day. When he was washed and ready to be laid on the table the wife sent to a neighbouring woman, a cousin of Fitzgerald, for the loan of sheets to hang over the table and the 'corpse. The woman refused to lend the sheets. "I'll not give them," said she; "the divil mend Sheehy, he ruined my poor cousin."

    The boy went home without the sheets, and Mrs. Sheehy found them at another house. A deal of people met at the wake house; they sat down and began to smoke and tell stories, as people do always at wakes. What was their surprise at midnight when Tim Sheehy sat up on the table and began to speak to them.

    "Friends and neighbours," said he, "ye needn't be in dread of me; I'll not harm any person here present. It wasn't I that burned the cow-house. The man who did that is beyond the mountain at this time. People broke my heart, killed me with false accusations, but I got leave to return and tell you of my innocence and take the stain from my children." Sheehy was talking on, and would have said a deal more but for an old woman, Nancy Brady, who was sitting in the corner, and a wide ruffled white cap on her. She rose up. "Tim, my darling," said she, "did you see my mother?"

    Sheehy looked at her fiercely. "Bad luck to you, you hag," said he, "I did, and she is now what she was in life, a tale-bearing disturber, and dishonest. She goes about milking the neighbours' cows when she thinks nobody is looking at her, just as she used to do in this world." Tim Sheehy turned then to the people: "I can say no more, as I was interrupted by this woman." With that he dropped back dead and speechless.

    All the people in it were cursing Nancy Brady because she wouldn't stop quiet fill they could hear what Tim Sheehy had to tell about the other world.

     

     

    *Gradhghil, voc. of gradhgeal, white love, darling.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/celt/tfgw/tfgw26.htm
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« Reply #129 on: September 03, 2009, 06:45:30 pm »

Tom Moore and the Seal Woman

     

    A PROPOS of the following tale, I may say: The intermarriage with and descent of men from beings not human touches upon one of the most interesting and important points in primitive belief. Totemism among savage races in our day, and descent from the gods in antiquity are the best examples of this belief; derived from it, in all probability but remotely, are family escutcheons with their animals and birds and the emblematic beasts and birds of nations, such as the Roman eagle, the British lion, the American eagle, the Russian bear. The Roman eagle and the wolf which suckled Romulus may have been totems, if not for the Romans, at least for some earlier people. The lion, eagle, and bear of England, America, and Russia are of course not totemic, though adopted in imitation of people who, if they had not totems, had as national emblems birds or beasts that at some previous period were real totems for some social body.

    There is a tale in Scotland concerning people of the clan MacCodrum, who were seals in the daytime, but men and women at night. No man of the MacCodrums, it is said, would kill a seal. The MacCodrums are mentioned in Gaelic as "Clann Mhic Codruim nan rón" (Clan MacCodrum of the seals).

     


    In the village of Kilshanig, two miles north-east of Castlegregory, there lived at one time a fine, brave young man named Tom Moore, a good dancer and singer. 'Tis often he was heard singing among the cliffs and in the fields of a night.

    Tom's father and mother died and he was alone in the house and in need of a wife. One morning early, when he was at work near the strand, he saw the finest woman ever seen in that part of the kingdom, sitting on a rock, fast asleep. The tide was gone from the rocks then, and Tom was curious to know who was she or what brought her, so he walked toward the rock.

    "Wake up!" cried Tom to the woman; "if the tide comes 'twill drown you."

    She raised her head and only laughed. Tom left her there, but as he was going he turned every minute to look at the woman. When he came back be caught the spade, but couldn't work; he had to look at the beautiful woman on the rock. At last the tide swept over the rock. He threw the spade down and away to the strand with him, but she slipped into the sea and he saw no more of her that time.

    Tom spent the day cursing himself for not taking the woman from the rock when it was God that sent her to him. He couldn't work out the day. He went home.

    Tom could not sleep a wink all that night. He was up early next morning and went to the rock. The woman was there. He called to her.

    No answer. He went up to the rock. "You may as well come home with me now," said Tom. Not a word from the woman. Tom took the hood from her head and said, "I'll have this!"

    The moment be did that she cried: "Give back my hood, Tom Moore!"

    "Indeed I will not, for 'twas God sent you to me, and now that you have speech I'm well satisfied! And taking her by the arm he led her to the house. The woman cooked breakfast, and they sat down together to eat it.

    "Now," said Tom, "in the name of God you and I'll go to the priest and get married, for the neighbours around here are very watchful; they'd be talking." So after breakfast they went to the priest, and Tom asked him to marry them.

    "Where did you get the wife?" asked the priest.

    Tom told the whole story. When the priest saw Tom was so anxious to marry be charged £5, and Tom paid the money. He took the wife home with him, and she was as good a woman as ever went into a man's house. She lived with Tom seven years, and had three sons and two daughters.

    One day Tom was ploughing, and some part of the plough rigging broke. He thought there were bolts on the loft at home, so he climbed up to get them. He threw down bags and ropes while he was looking for the bolts, and what should he throw down but the hood which he took from the wife seven years before. She saw it the moment it fell, picked it up, and hid it. At that time people heard a great seal roaring out in the sea.

    "Ah," said Tom's wife, "that's my brother looking for me."

    Some men who were hunting killed three seals that day. All the women of the village ran down to the strand to look at the seals, and Tom's wife with the others. She began to moan, and going up to the dead seals she spoke some words to each and then cried out, "Oh, the murder!"

    When they saw her crying the men said: "We'll have nothing more to do with these seals." So they dug a great hole, and the three seals were put into it and covered. But some thought in the night: "Tis a great shame to bury those seals, after all the trouble in taking them." Those men went with shovels and dug up the earth, but found no trace of the seals.

    All this time the big seal in the sea was roaring. Next day when Tom was at work his wife swept the house, put everything in order, washed the children and combed their hair; then, taking them one by one, she kissed each. She went next to the rock, and, putting the hood on her head, gave a plunge. That moment the big seal rose and roared so that people ten miles away could hear him.

    Tom's wife went away with the seal swimming in the sea. All the five children that she left had webs between their fingers and toes, half-way to the tips.

    The descendants of Tom Moore and the seal woman are living near Castlegregory to this day, and the webs are not gone yet from between their fingers and toes, though decreasing with each generation.

     
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« Reply #130 on: September 03, 2009, 06:45:50 pm »

The Four-Leafed Shamrock

     

    THIS tale gives a good instance of the virtue of the four-leafed shamrock against the power which takes people's eyes--i.e., true vision--from them:

    A good many years ago a showman came to the town of Dingle and performed many tricks there. At one time he'd eat a dozen straws and then pull yards of ribbon from his throat. The strangest thing he showed was a game-**** that he used to harness to a great log of wood.

    Men, women, and children were breaking their bones, running to see the ****, and he a small bird, drawing such a great weight of timber. One day, when the showman was driving the **** on the road toward Brandon Mountain, he met a man with a bundle of fresh grass on his back. The man was astonished to see crowds running after a **** dragging one straw behind him.

    "You fool," said the people, "don't you see the **** drawing a log of timber, and it would fail any horse to draw the like of it?"

    "Indeed, then, I do not. I see the **** dragging a straw behind him, and sure I've seen the like many a time in my own place."

    Hearing this, the showman knew that there was something in the grass, and going over to the man he asked what price was he asking for the bundle. The man didn't wish to sell the grass, but at last he parted with it for eighteen pence. The showman gave the grass to his boy and told him to go aside and drop it into the river. The boy did that, and when the bundle went down with the stream the man was as big a fool as another; he ran after the **** with the crowd.

    That evening the same man was telling a friend how at first he saw the **** with a straw behind him, and then saw him drawing a great log of wood. "Oh, you fool!" said the friend, "there was a four-leafed shamrock in your bundle of grass; while you had the shamrock it kept every enchantment and devilment from you, and when you parted with it, you became as big a fool as the others."
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« Reply #131 on: September 03, 2009, 06:46:24 pm »

    The burial customs of Ireland are very interesting because they throw light on beliefs concerning another life--beliefs that were once universal on the island and are held yet in a certain way by a good many people. There is much variety in the burial customs of the whole country, but I can refer only to one or two details which are observed carefully in the peninsula west of Killarney.

    When the coffin is ready to be taken to the grave the lid is nailed down, but when it is at the edge of the grave the nails are drawn and placed one across another on the lid, which is left unfastened.

    In arranging the corpse in the coffin the feet are generally fastened together to keep them in position. This is done frequently by pinning the stockings to each other; but however done, the fastening is removed before burial and the feet are left perfectly free. The corpse is not bound in any way or confined in the coffin. That it is held necessary to free the feet of the corpse is shown by what happened once in Cahirciveen. A man died and his widow forgot to remove the pins fastening his stockings to each other. The voice of the dead man came to the woman on the night after the funeral, telling her that his feet were bound, and to free them. Next day she had the grave opened, took the pins from the stockings, and left the feet untrammelled.

    It is believed as firmly by some people that the dead rise from their graves time after time, each by himself independently, as it is by others that all men will rise ages hence at one call and be judged for their deeds simultaneously. Besides the separate movements of each dead person we have the great social apparition on the night of All Saints, when the dead come to the houses of their friends and sit by the fire, unseen of all save those who are to die within the coming year. In view of this visit a good fire is made, the room is swept carefully, and prayers are repeated.

    When I inquired why the nails were drawn from the coffin and bonds removed from the corpse with such care, some persons said that it was an old superstition, others that it was an old custom, and others still that it was done to give the dead man his freedom.

    In the following tale, that relating to John Cokeley, we have a good instance of punishment by fairies. The head and front of John's offending was that he stopped the passage against the fairies. The first result of that act was a slight attack of illness, the second his removal to another world, which, though invisible to all between sunrise and sunset, and visible between sunset and sunrise to few only, is right here on earth. Cokeley's place in the house is held by a fairy substitute with a ravenous appetite, a sour temper, and a sharp tongue, the usual qualities of such an agent.

    I know one old man who has an afflicted daughter, and who believes firmly that she has been put in his house by the fairies; he thinks that his own daughter was taken away and this creature given to him. This one has the "tongue of an attorney," while his daughter was a "quiet, honest girl."

    The crowning proofs that Cokeley was taken by the fairies are that he was seen repeatedly after sunset, and the sick man refused before his death to see the priest.

    In the tale of Tom Foley there is no real ghost, but there is strong evidence of a general and firm belief that ghosts go among men and are active on earth.
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« Reply #132 on: September 03, 2009, 06:46:45 pm »

John Cokeley and the Fairy

     

    THERE was a farmer in the parish of Firez whose name was John Cokeley. John was a great man for every kind of new information, and would go a long way of an evening to hear people read newspapers, but he didn't give in to stories or to what old people used to say.

    Cokeley thought the house he had too small and wanted to put an addition to it. There was an old passage at one end of the house, and it's there he was going to build the addition. John had a gossip who used to go with the fairies, and this man passed the way when he was beginning the work.

    "What's that you are doing?" asked the gossip.

    "Don't you see what I am doing?" said Cokeley.

    "Couldn't you put the addition to the other end of the house and leave this one alone?"

    "That wouldn't suit me," answered John.

    "You should leave the passage open so that every one could travel through it by day, and especially by night."

    "That's foolish talk," said Cokeley.

    "Very well," said the gossip, "you think so I suppose, but my word for it, you may be sorry in the end."

    Cokeley finished the addition, and left a little hole in the wall near the fireplace, and it was there he kept his pipe and tobacco. One night on going to bed he put an ounce of tobacco in the hole (there was no one smoking in the house but himself). In the morning there was no bit of the tobacco left, but in place of it the price, three-pence-ha'penny. He took great notice of that. A few weeks later he rose from his bed in the night and heard a great noise of horsemen outside. He opened the door and looked out, but if he did he saw nothing. He went to bed again, and wasn't long there when he began to be sore and feel very sick in himself. The gossip came to see him next day: "Well, John," said he, "you feel sick to-day."
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« Reply #133 on: September 03, 2009, 06:46:59 pm »

    "I do," said Cokeley.

    "You had a right to stop in bed."

    "How well you know of that," said Cokeley.

    "I do; that much could not be done unknown to me. When you turned back from the door last night there was a crowd between you and the bed as big as at any fair. They gave you only a warning this time, and you'll recover."

    In a few weeks' time Cokeley was looking well again, but he got downhearted, took to drinking, and spent his means, so that at last he hadn't any cows on his land but what belonged to others. One May-day in the evening he was going to a neighbour's to collect grazing money that was due to him. When about three-quarters of the way--and the time was after sunset--a woman appeared opposite and took a great fall out of him. He was thrown on his face in the middle of the road and struck senseless. In half an hour he recovered, rose, and walked on; after going a short distance he was knocked a second time, and soon after he got the third fall. Cokeley didn't know for a full hour where he was; he hadn't his senses. When he came to himself he was in the middle of the road; he crawled to the side of it, then rose and went for his money. He didn't tell the man what had happened, made no delay, but hurried home and went to bed. He felt the strength parting from his body in the night, and was without any power to move next morning. His wife ran to doctors for cures, but no use for her. In a month's time all the neighbours said that Cokeley was fairy struck, and there was no cure. The wife went one day to Killarney, where she met the gossip.

    "John is very bad again," said the gossip.
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« Reply #134 on: September 03, 2009, 06:47:18 pm »

    "He is," said she. "There is no one to do good for him if you don't."

    "Oh, well," said the gossip, "I have a son of my own to assist, and he is nearer to me than what John is; I must look out for myself. John was struck very severely, and he may thank himself for it. He was not said by me, or he wouldn't have built in the passage, and wouldn't be where he is to-day. This is all the cure I can give you: Go home, get a tub of water, and bathe John nine nights with the one water, one night after another. When you have that done you'll not throw out the water till after midnight, when all are in bed. Take care that no one of your family is out of the house that night."

    When John's wife was in the road coming home a man of the neighbours overtook her and they walked on together. There was a height within one mile of the house; from this they had a fine view of Cokeley's house and land--the time was after sunset--and to their surprise they saw John himself walking around in the garden as well and strong as ever, but when the wife came home she found him in bed, sick and miserable.

    "Were you out since morning, John?" asked she.

    He only began to scold and look bitter at her. "How could a dead man leave the bed?" said he.
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