Yeats' FAIRY AND FOLK
TALES OF THE IRISH PEASANTRY
KING O'TOOLE AND HIS GOOSE
"By Gor, I thought all the world,
far and near, heerd o' King O'Toole-well,
well, but the darkness of mankind is ontellible! Well, sir, you must know, as
you didn't hear it afore, that there was a king called King O'Toole, who
was a fine ould king in the ould ancient times, long ago; and it was him that
owned the churches in the early days. The king, you see, was the right sort; he
was the rale boy, and loved sport as he loved his life, and huntin' in
partic'lar; and from the risin' o' the sun, up he got, and away he wint over the
mountains beyant afther the deer; and the fine times them wor.
"Well, it was all mighty good, as long as the king had his health; but, you
see, in coorse of time the king grew ould, by raison he was stiff in his limbs,
and when he got sthriken in years, his heart failed him, and he was lost
intirely for want o' divarshin, bekase he couldn't go a huntin' no longer; and,
by dad, the poor king was obleeged at last for to get a goose to divart him. Oh,
you may laugh, if you like, but it's truth I'm tellin' you; and the way the
goose divarted him was this-a-way: You see, the goose used for to swim acrass
the lake, and go divin' for throut, and cotch fish on a Friday for the king, and
flew every other day round about the lake, divartin' the poor king. All went on
mighty well, antil, by dad, the goose got sthriken in years like her master, and
couldn't divart him no longer, and then it was that the poor king was lost
complate. The king was walkin' one mornin' by the edge of the lake lamentin' his
cruel fate, and thinkin' o' drownin' himself, that could get no divarshun in
life, when all of a suddint, turnin' round the corner beyant, who should he meet
but a mighty dacent young man comin' up to him.
"'God save you,' says the king to the young man.
"'God save you kindly, King O'Toole,' says the young man. Thrue for you,'
says the king. 'I am King O'Toole,' says he, prince and plennypennytinchery o'
these parts,' says he; 'but how kem ye to know that? says he, 'Oh, never mind,'
says Saint Kavin.
"You see it was Saint Kavin, sure enough--the saint himself in disguise, and
nobody else. 'Oh, never mind,' says he, 'I know more than that. May I make bowld
to ax how is your goose, King O'Toole?' says he. 'Blur-an-agers, how kem ye to
know about my goose?' says the king. 'Oh, no matther; I was given to understand it,' says Saint Kavin.
After some more talk the king says, 'What are you?' 'I'm an honest man,' says
Saint Kavin. 'Well, honest man,' says the king, 'and how is it you make your
money so aisy?' 'By makin' ould things as good as new,' says Saint Kavin. 'Is it
a tinker you are?' says the king. 'No,' says the saint; 'I'm no tinker by
thrade, King O'Toole; I've a betther thrade than a tinker,' says he--'what would
you say,' says he, 'if I made your ould goose as good as new?'
"My dear, at the word o' making his goose as good as new, you'd think the
poor ould king's eyes was ready to jump out iv his head. With that the king
whistled, and down kem the poor goose, all as one as a hound, waddlin' up to the
poor cripple, her masther, and as like him as two pays. The minute the saint
clapt his eyes on the goose, 'I'll do the job for you,' says he, 'King O'Toole.'
'By Jaminee!' says King O'Toole, 'if you do, bud I'll say you're the
cleverest fellow in the sivin parishes.' 'Oh, by dad,' says Saint Kavin, 'you
must say more nor that--my horn's not so soft all out,' says he, 'as to repair
your ould goose for nothin'; what'll you gi' me if I do the job for you?--that's
the chat,' says Saint Kavin. 'I'll give you whatever you ax,' says the king;
'isn't that fair?' 'Divil a fairer,' says the saint; 'that's the way to do
business. Now,' says he, 'this is the bargain I'll make with you, King O'Toole:
will you gi' me all the ground the goose flies over, the first offer, afther I
make her as good as new?' 'I will,' says the king. 'You won't go back o' your
word?' says Saint Kavin. 'Honour bright!' says King O'Toole, howldin' out his
fist. 'Honour bright! says Saint Kavin, back agin, "it's a bargain. Come here!'
says he to the poor ould goose--'come here, you unfort'nate ould cripple, and
it's I that'll make you the sportin' bird.' With that, my dear, he took up the
goose by the two wings--'Criss o' my crass an you,' says he, markin' her to
grace with the blessed sign at the same minute--and throwin' her up in the air,
'whew,' says he, jist givin' her a blast to help her; and with that, my jewel,
she tuk to her heels, flyin' like one o' the aigles themselves, and cuttin' as many capers
as a swallow before a shower of rain.
"Well, my dear, it was a beautiful sight to see the king standin' with his
mouth open, lookin' at his poor ould goose flyin' as light as a lark, and
betther nor ever she was: and when she lit at his fut, patted her an the head,
and, 'Ma vourneen,' says he, 'but you are the darlint o' the
world.' 'And what do you say to me,' says Saint Kavin, 'for makin' her the
like?' 'By gor,' says the king, 'I say nothin' bates the art o' man, barrin' the
bees.' 'And do you say no more nor that?' says Saint Kavin. 'And that I'm
behoulden to you,' says the king. 'But will you gi'e me all the ground the goose
flew over?' says Saint Kavin. 'I will,' says King O'Toole, 'and you're welkim to
it,' says he, 'though it's the last acre I have to give.' 'But you'll keep your
word thrue?' says the saint. 'As thrue as the sun,' says the king. 'It's well
for you, King O'Toole, that you said that word,' says he; 'for if you didn't say
that word, the devil receave the bit o' your goose id ever fly agin.'
Whin the king was as good as his word, Saint Kavin was plazed with him,
and thin it was that he made himself known to the king. 'And,' says he, 'King
O'Toole, you're a decent man, for I only kem here to thry you. You don't
know me,' says he, 'bekase I'm disguised.' 'Musha! thin,' says the king, 'who
are you? 'I'm Saint Kavin,' said the saint, blessin' himself. 'Oh, queen iv
heaven!' says the king, makin' the sign o' the crass betune his eyes, and
fallin' down on his knees before the saint; 'is it the great Saint Kavin,' says
he, 'that I've been discoorsin' an this time without knowin' it,' says he, 'all
as one as if he was a lump iv a gossoon?--and so you're a saint?' says
the king. 'I am,' says Saint Kavin. 'By gor, I thought I was only talking to a
dacent boy,' says the king. 'Well, you know the differ now,' says the saint.
'I'm Saint Kavin,' says he, 'the greatest of all the saints.' And so the king
had his goose as good as new, to divart him as long as he lived: and the saint
supported him afther he kem into his property, as I tould you, until the
day iv his death--and that was soon afther; for the poor goose
thought he was ketchin' a throut one Friday; but, my jewel, it was a mistake he
made--and instead of a throut, it was a thievin' horse-eel; and by gor, instead
iv the goose killin' a throut for the king's supper,--by dad, the eel killed the
king's goose-and small blame to him; but he didn't ate her, bekase he darn't ate
what Saint Kavin laid his blessed hands on."