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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 #75 on: September 01, 2009, 11:20:33 pm »

    "It was his luck gave him all; 'twas promised to him, not to me," said the master. He was fonder of Maurice Griffin than ever, and Maurice began to foretell right away and cure people. The report went out through the country that all he foretold came to pass, and all he undertook to cure he cured. The priest, hearing this, didn't want to have the like of him in the parish, and spoke of him from the altar, but Griffin gave no answer. One morning the priest went to where Griffin was, saluted him, and was saluted in turn. "I hear that you are curing and foretelling," said the priest. "Where did you get the knowledge to foretell and to cure?"

    "I foretell and I cure many persons, I serve people," said Griffin; "and my business is as good as yours. Some say that you have power, your reverence, but if you have, you are not foretelling or curing."

    "Well," said the priest, "I'll know can you foretell or not. Answer me a question, and if you can I'll believe you."

    "I'll answer you any question you'll put to me," said Griffin.

    "What time or minute of the day did the last new moon appear?"

    "I will tell you that," said Griffin. "Do you remember that when you were passing Travug your horse stooped to drink and his right leg was first in the river? Under your neck you wear a stone which the Pope gave you; this stone always sweats three drops at the new moon; the stone sweated three drops when the horse's right foot touched the water, and that was the time of the new moon."

    "Oh," said the priest, "what is rumoured of you is true; follow your hand, I'll not meddle with you from this out."
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« Reply #76 on: September 01, 2009, 11:20:46 pm »

    Griffin came home then and told the conversation. The master grew very fond of him after that, and having an only daughter he gave her to Maurice, and Griffin lived with his father-in-law till the old man died and left all he had to his son-in-law.

    The people thought a deal of Maurice Griffin when he got the property, and they came for counsel and cure to him.

    Griffin had two Sons; in course of time he grew old and at last was very weak, and his first son, Dyeermud, managed the property. In those days everything was carried to Cork on horseback. Griffin called Dyeermud one day to him and said, "I am in dread that I am going to die. I don't want you to go to Cork to be absent so long."

    "The company is going, and I'd like to go, too," said Dyeermud. "My brother is here: he will care for you and attend to everything while I am gone."

    "I want you here," said the father, "for it's to you I will do all the good."

    Dyeermud had a great wish to visit Cork.

    "Go," said the father, "but you'll be the loser, and you'll remember my words."

    Dyeermud went to Cork, and during his absence the father became very sick. Once, when the younger son was sitting at his bedside, the old man said, "I am in dread your brother will not be at home."

    "What you were to leave him leave me," said the son.

    "I cannot. I'll give you the gift of curing, but foretelling I could not give if I wished."

    "How can you give the gift of curing?"
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« Reply #77 on: September 01, 2009, 11:21:00 pm »

    "I'll give it to you," said the father. "Go out to-night, kill a sheep and dress it, pick the right shoulder as clean as any bone could be cleaned from flesh, and in the night look over that bone, and the third time you look you'll see every one that you knew who is dead. Keep that bone with you always and sleep with it, and what you want to know to cure any disease will come to you from the bone. When a person is to be cured from a fairy stroke, look over the bone and a messenger will come from the fairies, and you will be able to cure those who come to you."

    "As you will not give me the knowledge of foretelling, I will not take the curing. I will live honestly."

    "I have no power to give you the knowledge," said the father, "but since you will not take the curing I will give it to your mother. The knowledge I can give to no one but your elder brother."

    Griffin gave the curing to the wife. The knowledge he could give to no one but the elder son, and to him only if present.

    Maurice Griffin died and was buried before Dyeermud came from Cork.

    Dyeermud was astonished when he came and didn't find the father.

    "You did badly not to stay," said the younger brother.

    "Didn't I leave you?"

    "You did, but he could leave the knowledge only to you."

    "Why didn't he give you the curing?"

    "He offered it to me, but I thought it too much trouble. I would use it if I had it. I let it go to our mother. She is old; let her have it. As he did not give me the knowledge I didn't want the curing. Maybe in after years when I have children it's on them the diseases I cured would come."

    It was rumoured that the curing was with the mother, and the people were coming to her.

    Once her godson got a fairy stroke in the leg, and she was vexed because his parents did not bring him quickly, for next day she would not be able to cure him at all. At last they came, and she was angry that they were so slow.
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« Reply #78 on: September 01, 2009, 11:21:16 pm »

    "You might have made bacon of him if you waited till morning," cried she. She cured him, and he was a very strong boy after that.

    The parish priest had a sick horse left out to die. The clerk was very sorry, the horse was such a fine beast. "Wouldn't it be better to go to Mrs. Griffin?" asked he.

    "Oh, how could she cure the horse?" asked the priest.

    "I'll go to her," said the clerk.

    "If you go to her," said the priest, "I give you no leave."

    The clerk went, told Mrs. Griffin that he had come in spite of the priest, and to cure the horse if she could.

    "It was the priest himself that injured the horse," said Mrs. Griffin. "He gave him water while hot from driving, and because the priest is fond of the horse he patted him and muttered something without saying God bless you. Go now, spit three times into the horse's ears, and say God bless you."

    The clerk went and did this; the horse rose up as well and sound as ever, and the clerk brought him to the stable. The priest was astonished, and said, "They have a gift in the family: I'll not trouble them any turn again."

    Mrs. Griffin was not able to give her gift to any one; the bone was buried with her.

    When he had finished this story Malone said that there were different kinds of doctors, but that all received their power either through inheritance, "it was in the family," or by a sudden gift.

    Herb doctors are in much esteem among country people, and gain their knowledge from supernatural sources. They don't learn: "it is given to them." The following are two cases cited by the old man.
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« Reply #79 on: September 01, 2009, 11:21:30 pm »

    In former times all the people had great faith in old women who were herb doctors. These women became doctors, not by learning different herbs, and studying, but by a supernatural power, and this power came to them always without their expecting it.

    One woman of great name as a doctor got her power in this way. Three women were going to a village a mile out of Dingle. On the road they came to a small river, and there was no way to cross, but to walk through the water. All at once a fine lady stood before them, spoke very kindly to the first woman, and asked would she carry her over the river.

    "Indeed, then, I will not: I've enough to do to carry myself." The lady asked the second woman and received a like answer, but when the third woman was asked she said: "I will carry you and welcome, and why not?" So she took the fine lady on her back, carried her over the water, and put her down on the dry bank.

    The lady thanked her very kindly, and said, 'When you wake to-morrow morning you will know all plants and herbs, you will know what their names are, and what virtues are in them."

    Next morning when the woman woke she could call all plants and herbs by name, she knew where they grew, and knew the power of each, from that out she was a great doctor.

    Another woman was at the seashore one day. After a time she turned to go home, and while on the way felt afraid, she began to tremble suddenly, and grow sick from dread. She felt that something unnatural was near her, looked behind, and right there saw some great dark form. The moment she looked it vanished, but from that out she knew all plants and herbs and was a very great doctor.

    Sometimes the best doctors will leave off curing, for they say that curing will bring misfortune in the end to the doctors or their children. It is believed firmly that there is a compensation for all this supernatural knowledge, and for everything out of the usual course of things. All the people believe that priests have the power of curing if they would only use it, but they are unwilling to take on themselves the punishment for curing. In former days they took pity on poor people sometimes and risked their health to cure them.
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« Reply #80 on: September 01, 2009, 11:21:57 pm »

The Three Sisters and Their Husbands, Three Brothers


    AFTER an interval of two days we had our fifth and last meeting in the house at the cross-road. As the old man had told all his stories, and the blind quarryman had only one left, my host brought a tinker who had "walked the way" that day and was passing the night at the house. The tinker knew none of the old tales, but as the host said, "He has two stories that will knock a laugh out of the company, and they prove that women can outwit their husbands, as well as other men," we were curious to hear what he had to say, and he told the following:

     

     

    In the county Cork, a mile and a half from Fermoy, there lived three brothers. The three lived in one house for some years and never thought of marrying. On a certain day they went to a fair in the town of Fermoy. There was a platform on the fair ground for dancing and a fiddler on the platform to give music to the dancers. Three sisters from the neighbourhood, handsome girls, lively and full of jokes, made over to the three brothers and asked would they dance. The youngest and middle brother wouldn't think of dancing, but the eldest said, "We mustn't refuse; it wouldn't be good manners." The three brothers danced with the girls, and after the dance took them to a public-house for refreshments.

    After a white the second brother spoke up and said, "Here are three sisters, good wives for three brothers; why shouldn't we marry? Let the eldest brother of us take the eldest sister; I will take the second; the youngest brother can have the youngest sister."

    It was settled then and there that the three couples were satisfied if the girls' parents were. Next day the brothers went to the girls' parents and got their consent. In a week's time they were married.

    Each of the three brothers had a good farm, and each went now to live on his own place. They lived well and happily for about ten years, when one market-day the eldest sister came to the second and asked her to go to Fermoy with her.

    In those days women used to carry baskets made of willow twigs, in which they took eggs and butter to market. The second sister said she hadn't thought of going, but she would go, and they would ask the youngest sister for her company.

    All three started off, each with a basket of eggs. After they had their eggs sold in the market they lingered about for some time looking at people, as is usual with farmers' wives. In the evening, when thinking of home, they dropped into a public-house to have a drop of drink before going. The public-house was full of people, chatting, talking, and drinking. The three sisters did not like to be seen at the bar, so they went to a room up stairs, and the eldest called for three pints of porter, which was brought without delay.

    It is common for a farmer or his wife who has a ten-shilling piece or a pound, and does not wish to break it, to say, "I will pay the next time I come to town"; so the eldest sister said now. The second sister called for three pints, and then the third followed her example.
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« Reply #81 on: September 01, 2009, 11:22:14 pm »

    'Tis said that women are very noisy when they've taken a glass or two, but whether that is true or not, these three were noisy, and their talk was so loud that Lord Fermoy, who was above in a room finishing some business with the keeper of the public-house, could not hear a thing for their chat, so he sent the landlord to tell the women to leave the room. The landlord went, and finding that they had not paid their reckoning yet, told them it was time they were paying their reckoning and moving towards home.

    One of the sisters looked up and said, "The man above* will pay all. He is good for the reckoning."

    The man of the house, thinking that it was Lord Fermoy she was speaking of, was satisfied, and went up stairs.

    "Have they gone?" asked Lord Fermoy.

    "They have not, and they say that you will pay the reckoning."

    "Why should I pay when I don't know them? We'll go down and see who they are and what they mean."

    The two went down, and Lord Fermoy saw that they were tenants of his; he knew them quite well, for they lived near his own castle. He liked the sisters, they were so sharp-witted.

    "I'll pay the reckoning, and do you bring each of these women a glass of punch," said he to the man of the house.

    The punch was brought without delay.
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« Reply #82 on: September 01, 2009, 11:23:04 pm »

    "Here is a half sovereign for each of you," said Lord Fermoy. "Now go home, and meet me in this place a week from to-day. Whichever one of you during that time makes the biggest fool of her husband will get ten pounds in gold and ten years rent free."

    "We'll do our best," said the sisters.

    Each woman of them was anxious, of course, to do the best she could. They parted at the door of the public-house, each going her own way, and each thinking of what could be done to win the ten pounds and ten years' rent.

    It had happened that the eldest sister's husband became very phthisicky and sickly a couple of years after his marriage and fell into a decline. On the way home the wife made up her mind what to do. She bought pipes, tobacco, candles, and other articles needed at a wake. She was in no hurry home, so 'twas late enough when she came to the house. When she looked in at the window she saw her husband sitting by the fire with his hand on his chin and the children asleep around him. A pot of potatoes, boiled and strained, was waiting for her.

    She opened the door. The husband looked at her and asked, "Why are you so late?"
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« Reply #83 on: September 01, 2009, 11:23:25 pm »

    "Why are you off the table, and where are the sheets that were over you?" asked she as if in a fright; "or the shirt that I put on you? I left you laid out on the table."

    "Sure I am not dead at all. I know very well when you started to go to the market, I wasn't dead then, and I didn't die since you left the house."

    Then she began to abuse him, and said that all his friends were coming to the wake, and he had no right to be off the table tormenting and abusing herself and the children, and went on in such a way that at last he believed himself dead and asked her in God's name to give him a smoke and he would go up again on the table and never come down till he was carried from it.

    She gave him the pipe, but didn't let him smoke long. Then she made him ready, put him on the table, and spread a sheet over him. Now two poles were stretched overhead above the body and sheets hung over and down on the sides, as is customary. She put beads between his two thumbs and a Prayer-book in his hands. "You are not to open your eyes," said she, "no matter what comes or happens." She unlocked the door then and raised a terrible wailing over the corpse. A woman living opposite heard the wailing, and said to her husband:

    "Oh, it is Jack that is dead, and it is a shame for you not to go to him."

    "I was with him this evening," said the husband, "and what could kill him since?"

    The wife hurried over to Jack's house, found the corpse in it, and began to cry. Soon there was a crowd gathered, and all crying.
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« Reply #84 on: September 01, 2009, 11:23:52 pm »

    The second sister going past to her own home by a short cut, heard the keening and lamenting. "This is my sister's trick to get the £10 and ten years' rent," thought she, and began to wail also. When inside she pinched the dead man, and pulled at him to know would he stir; but it was no use, he never stirred.

    The second sister went home then, and she was very late. Her husband was a strong, able-bodied man, and when she wasn't there to milk the cows he walked up and down the path watching for her, and he very angry. At last he milked the cows himself, drove them out, and then sat down in the house. When the wife came he jumped up and asked, "What kept you out till this hour? 'Twas fitter for you to be at home long ago than to be strolling about, and the Lord knows where you were."

    "How could I be here, when I stopped at the wake where you ought to be?"

    "What wake?"

    "Your brother's wake. Jack is dead, poor man."

    "What the devil was to kill Jack? Sure I saw him this evening, and he's not dead."

    He wouldn't believe, and to convince him she said, "Come to the field and you'll see the lights, and maybe you'll hear the keening."

    She took him over the ditch into the field, and seeing the lights he said, "Sure my poor brother is dead!" and began to cry.
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« Reply #85 on: September 01, 2009, 11:24:32 pm »

    "Didn't I tell you, you stump of a fool, that your brother was dead, and why don't you go to his wake and go in morning? A respectable person goes in mourning for a relative and gets credit for it ever after."

    "What is mourning?" asked the husband.

    "Tis well I know," said she, "what mourning is, for didn't my mother teach me, and I will show you."

    She brought him to the house and told him to throw off all his clothes and put on a pair of tight-fitting black knee breeches. He did so; she took a wet brush then, and reaching it up in the chimney, got plenty of soot and blacked him all over from head to foot, and he naked except the black breeches. When she had him well blackened she put a black stick in his hand. "Now," said she, "go to the wake, and what you are doing will be a credit to the family for seven generations."

    He started off wailing and crying. Whenever a wake house is full, benches and seats are put outside, men and women sit on these benches till some of those inside go home, then those outside go in. It is common also for boys to go to wakes and get pipes and tobacco, for every one gets a pipe, from a child of three to old men and women. Some of the boys at Jack's wake, after getting their pipes and tobacco, ran off to the field to smoke, where their parents couldn't see them. Seeing the black man coming, the boys dropped their pipes and ran back to the wake house, screaming to the people who were sitting outside that the devil was coming to carry the corpse with him. One of the men who stood near was sharper-sighted than others, and looking in the direction pointed out, said:

    "Sure the devil is coming! And people thought that Jack was a fine, decent man, but now it turns out that he was different. I'll not be waiting here!" He took himself off as fast as his legs could carry him, and others after him.
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« Reply #86 on: September 01, 2009, 11:24:42 pm »

    Soon the report went into the wake house, and the corpse heard that the devil was coming to take him, but for all that he hadn't courage to stir. A man put his head out of the house, and, seeing the black man, screamed, "I declare to God that the devil is coming!" With that he ran off, and his wife hurried after him.

    That moment everybody crowded so much to get out of the house that they fell one over another, screeching and screaming. The woman of the house ran away with the others. The dead man was left alone. He opened one eye right away, and seeing the last woman hurrying off he said:

    "I declare to the Lord I'll not stay here and wait for the devil to take me!" With that he sprang from the table, and wrapped the sheet round his body, and away with him then as fast as ever his legs could carry him.

    His brother, the black man, saw him springing through the door, and, thinking it was Death that had lifted his brother and was running away with him to deprive the corpse of wake and Christian burial, he ran after him to save him. When the corpse screamed the black man screamed, and so they ran, and the people in terror fell into holes and ditches, trying to escape from Death and the devil.

    The third sister was later than the other two in coming home from Fermoy. She knew her husband was a great sleeper, and she could do anything with him when he was drowsy. She looked into the house through a window that opened on hinges. She saw him sitting by the fire asleep; the children were sleeping near him. A pot of potatoes was standing by the fire. She knew that she could get in at the window if she took off some of her clothes. She did so and crawled in. The husband had long hair. She cut the hair off close to his head, threw it in the fire and burned it; then she went out through the window, and, taking a large stone, pounded on the door and roused her husband at last. He opened the door, began to scold her for being out so late, and blamed her greatly.
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« Reply #87 on: September 01, 2009, 11:24:53 pm »

    "Tis a shame for you," said he. "The children are sleeping on the floor, and the potatoes boiled for the last five hours."

    "Bad luck to you, you fool!" said the woman. "Who are you to be ordering me? Isn't it enough for my own husband to be doing that?"

    "Are you out of your mind or drunk that you don't know me?" said the man. "Sure, I am your husband."

    "Indeed you are not," said she.

    "And why not?"

    "Because you are not; you don't look like him. My husband has fine long, curly hair. Not so with you; you look like a shorn wether."

    He put his hands to his head, and, finding no hair on it, cried out, "I declare to the Lord that I am your husband, but I must have lost my hair while shearing the sheep this evening. I'm your husband."

    "Be off out of this!" screamed the woman. "When my husband comes he'll not leave you long in the house, if you are here before him."

    In those days the people used bog pine for torches and lighting fires. The man, having a bundle of bog pine cut in pieces, took some fire and went towards the field, where he'd been shearing sheep. He went out to know could he find his hair and convince the wife. When he reached the right place he set fire to a couple of pine sticks, and they made a fine blaze. He went on his knees and was searching for the hair. He searched the four corners of the field, crawling hither and over, but if he did not a lock of hair could he find. He went next to the middle of the field, dropped on his knees, and began to crawl around to know could he find his hair. While doing this he heard a terrible noise of men, and they running towards him, puffing and panting. Who were they but the dead man and the devil? The dead man was losing his breath and was making for the first light before him. He was in such terror that he didn't see how near he was to the light, and tumbled over the man who was searching for his hair.

    "Oh, God help me!" cried the corpse. "I'm done for now!"
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« Reply #88 on: September 01, 2009, 11:25:07 pm »

    Hearing his brother's voice, the black man, who was there, recognised him. The man looking for the hair rose up, and seeing his brothers, knew them; then each told the others everything, and they saw right away that the whole affair was planned by their wives.

    The husbands went home well fooled, shame-faced, and angry. On the following day the women went to get the prize. When the whole story was told it was a great question who was to have the money. Lord Fermoy could not settle it himself, and called a council of the gentry to decide, but they could not decide who was the cleverest woman. What the council agreed on was this: To make up a purse of sixty pounds, and give twenty pounds and twenty years' rent to each of the three, if they all solved the problem that would be put to them. If two solved it they would get thirty pounds apiece and thirty years' rent; if only one, she would get the whole purse of sixty pounds and rent free for sixty years.

    "This is the riddle," said the council to the sisters: "There are four rooms in a row here; this is the first one. We will put a pile of apples in the fourth room; there will be a man of us in the third, second, and first room. You are to go to the fourth room, take as many apples as you like, and when you come to the third room you are to give the man in it half of what apples you'll bring, and half an apple without cuffing it. When you come to the second room you are to do the same with what apples you will have left. In the first room you will do the same as in the third and second. Now we will go to put the apples in the fourth room, and we'll give each of you one hour to work out the problem."

    "It's the devil to give half an apple without cutting it," said the elder sister.
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« Reply #89 on: September 01, 2009, 11:25:20 pm »

    When the men had gone the youngest sister said, "I can do it and I can get the sixty pounds, but as we are three sisters I'll be liberal and divide with you. I'll go first, and let each come an hour after the other. Each will take fifteen apples, and when she comes to the man in the third room she will ask him how much is one-half of fifteen; he will say seven and a half. She will give him eight apples then and say: "This is half of what I have and half an apple uncut for you." With the seven apples she will go to the second room and ask the man there what is one-half of seven; he wilt say three and a half. She will give him four apples and say, "Here are three apples and a half and the half of an uncut apple for you." With three apples left she will go to the man in the first room and ask what is the half of three. He will answer, "One and a half." "Here are two apples for you," she will say then; "one apple and a half and the half of an uncut apple."

    The eldest and second sister did as the youngest told them. Each received twenty pounds and twenty years' rent.

     

    * "The man above" is God.
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