Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland
Pwyll, Prince of Dyved … let loose the dogs in the wood and sounded the horn and began the chase. And as he followed the dogs he lost his companions; and while he listened to the hounds he heard the cry of other hounds, a cry different from his own, and coming in the opposite direction... And he saw a horseman coming towards him on a large light-grey steed with a hunting horn round his neck, and clad in garments of grey woollen in the fashion of a hunting garb, and the horseman drew near and spoke to him thus:... "A crowned King I am in the land whence I come … There is a man whose dominions are opposite to mine, who is ever warring against me, and by ridding me of this oppression which thou can'st easily do, shalt thou gain my friendship." "Gladly will I do this," said he. "Show me how I may." "I will show thee. Behold, thus it is thou mayest. I will send thee to Annwyvn in my stead, and I will give thee the fairest lady thou didst ever behold to be thy companion, and I will put my form and semblance upon thee, so that not a page of the chamber nor an officer nor any other man that has always followed me shall know that it is not I. And this shall be for the space of a year from tomorrow and then we will meet in this place." ... "Verily," said Pwyll, "what shall I do concerning my kingdom?" Said Arawn: "I will cause that no one in all thy dominions, neither man nor woman, shall know that I am not thou, and I will go there in thy stead."I was told by a Man of Slieve Echtge:
That girl of the Cohens that was away seven year, she was bid tell nothing of what she saw, but she told her mother some things and told of some she met there. There was a woman--a cousin of my own--asked was her son over there, and she had to press her a long time, but at last she said he was. And he was taken too with little provocation, fifty years ago. We were working together, myself and him and a lot of others, making that trench you see beyond, to drain the wood. And it was contract work, and he was doing the work of two men and was near ready to take another piece. And some of them began to say to him, "Its a shame for you to be working like that, and taking the bread out of the hands of another," and I standing there. And he said he didn't care, and he took the spade and sent the scraws out flying, to the right and to the left. And he never put a spade into the ground again, for that night he was taken ill, and died shortly after. Watched he was, and taken by them.
As to the woman brought back again, it was told me by a boy going to school there at the time, so I know there's no lie in it. It was one of the Taylors, a rich family in Scariff. His wife was sick and pining away for seven years, and at the end of that time one day he came in he had a drop of drink taken, and he began to be a bit rough with her. And she said, "Don't be rough with me now, after bearing so well with me all these seven years. But because you were so good and so kind to me all that time," says she, "I'll go away from you now and I'll let your own wife come back to you." And so she did, for it was some old hag she was, and the wife came back again and reared a family. And before she went away, she had a son that was reared a priest, and after she came back, she had another son that was reared a priest, so that shows a blessing came on them .
A Man on the Beach:
I remember when a great many young girls were taken, it is likely by them. And two year ago two fine young women were brought away from Aranmor one in a month and one in a week after the birth. And lately I heard that her own little girl and another little girl that was with her saw one of them appear in a cabin outside when she came to have a look at the child she left, but she didn't want to appear herself.
There was a man I knew, Andy White, had a little chap, a little summach of four years. And one day Andy was away to sell a pig in the market at Mount Bellew, and the mother was away some place with the dinner for the men in the field, and the little chap was in the house with the grandmother, and he sitting by the fire. And he said to the grandmother: "Put down a skillet of potatoes for me, and an egg." And she said: "I will not; what do you want with them, sure you're not long after eating." And he said, "Take care but I'll throw you over the roof of the house." And then he said, "Andy"--that was his father--"is after selling the pig to a jobber, and the jobber has it given back to him again, and he'll be at no loss by that, for he'll get a half-a-crown more at the end." So when the grandmother heard that she wouldn't stop in the house with him but ran out, and he only four years old.
When the mother came back and was told about it she went out and she got some of the leaves of the Lus-Mor, and she brought them in and put them on him; and he went, and her own child came back again. They didn't see him going or the other coming, but they knew it by him. But if her child had died among them, and they can die there as well as in this world, then he wouldn't come back, but that shape in his place would take the appearance of death.
There's a man in Kildare that lost his wife. And every night at twelve o'clock she came back, to look at her child. And it was told the husband that if he had twelve men with him with forks when she came in, they would be able to stop her from going out again.
So the next night he was there, and with him his twelve friends with forks. And when she came in they shut the door, and when she could not get out she sat down and was quiet.
And one night she was sitting by the hearth with them all, she said to her husband, "It's a strange thing that Lenchar would be sitting there so quiet, with the bottom after knocked out of his churn."
So the husband went to Lenchar's house, and he found it was true what she had said, and the bottom was after being knocked out of his chum. But after that he left her, and lived in the village and wouldn't go near her any more.
Myself, I saw when I was but a child a woman come to the door that had been seven years with the good people, but do you think that could be true? And she had two strong girls with her. My brother was ill at the time, where he had his hip hurt with the shaft of a cart he was backing into the shed, and my father asked her could she cure him. And she said, "I will, if you will give me the reward I ask for." "What is that?" said he. And she stooped down and pointed at a little kettle that stood below the dresser, and it was the last thing my mother had bought in this world before she died. So he was vexed be-cause she cast her eye on that, and he bid her go out of the house for she wouldn't get it, and so she went away.
But I remember well her being there and telling us that while the seven years were going by, she was often glad to come outside the houses in the night-time, and pick a bit of what was in the pigs' troughs. And she bid us always to leave a bit somewhere about the house for them that couldn't come in and ask for it. And though my father was a cross man and didn't believe in such things, to the day of his death he never dared to go up to bed without leaving a bit of food outside the door ."
The McGarritys in the house beyond, they have plenty of money. It was money they got out, buried money, and they are after them.
There is one of them--Ned--is rather silly; I meet him often on the farm stretched by the side of the wall. He met with something one night and he is not the same since then.
There is another of them was walking one evening by the brink of the bushes and he met with two fillies--he thought them to be fillies--and one of them called out, "How are you, John?" and he legged it home as fast as he could. It is likely it was the father or the uncle.
Sure leaving town one time he was brought away to the rail-way station, and some of the people brought him hither again and set him towards home and he was brought back to the very same place. They had a right to have got the priest to say a few Masses in that house before they went to live in it at all.
It was the time their uncle was dying there was a whistle heard outside and the man in the bed answered it, and it was that very night he died. To keep money you would get out like, that is not right unless you might give the first of it in a few Masses. It was the man the money was took from gave that whistle.
My mother told me that when she was a young girl, and before the time of side-cars, a man that was living in Duras married a girl from Ardrahan side. And it was the custom in those days for a newly married girl to ride home on a horse, behind her next-of-kin.
And she was sitting behind her uncle on the horse, and when they were passing by Ardrahan churchyard he felt her to shiver and nearly to slip off the horse, and he put his hand behind for to support her, and all he could feel in his hand was for all the world like a piece of tow. So he asked her what ailed her, and she said that she thought of her mother when she was passing by the churchyard. A year after that when her baby was born, then she died. But everyone said the night she was taken was on her wedding-night.
And sure a sister-in-law of my own was taken the same way that poor Mrs. Hehir was. It was a couple of days after her baby was born, and I went to see her, and she Fardy's daughter and niece to Johnson that has the demesne land. And she was sitting up on the bed and so well and so strong that her mother says to me, "Catherine, try could you get a chicken any place; I think she'll be able to eat it tomorrow." Chickens is scarce, ma'am," says I, "but anyway I'll do my best and someway or other I'll find one."
Well, after that we left, and her husband being tired with the nights he'd been sitting up came with us to sleep at the house of his uncle, Johnson. And hardly had he got to the house when bad news followed him. And when he got home his wife was dead before him. Hardly were we out of the house when she said to her mother "Take off my boots." "Sure, you have no boots on," said the mother. "Well," says she, "lay me at the foot of the bed." And presently she says, "Send in to the Mclnerneys and ask them if the coffin they have is a better one than mine." And the mother saw she was going, and sent for the husband, but she was gone before he could come. And she so well and sitting up in the bed. But Hehir's wife was out of bed altogether, and brought her husband his tea in the hayfield before she was-took.
And now I'll tell your ladyship a story that's all truth and no lie. There was an uncle of my own living near Kinvara, and one night his wife was coming home from Kinvara town, and she passed three men that were lying by the roadside. And the first of them said to her in Irish, "Go home, my poor woman." And the second said, "Go home if you can." And when she got home and told the story, she said the voice of the second was like the voice of her brother that was dead.
And from that day she began to waste away, and was wasting for seven year, until she died. And at the last some person said to her husband, "It's time for you to ask her what way she's been spending these seven years."
So he went into the room where she was on the bed, and said, "I believe it's time to ask you now what way have you been spending these seven years." And she said, "I'll tell you presently when you come in again, but leave me now for a while." And he went back into the kitchen and took his pipe for to have a smoke before he'd go back and ask her again. And the servant girl that was in the house was the first to go into the room, and found her cold and dead before her.
They had her took away before she had the time to tell what she had been doing all those seven years.
I was in a house one night with a man used to go away with the faeries. He got up in the night and opened the house door and went out. About four hours he was away, and when he came back he seemed to be very angry. I saw him putting off his clothes.
Indeed Moneen has a great name for things that do be going on there beside that big forth. Sure there's many can hear them galloping, galloping all the night. You know Stephen's house at the meadow? Well, his daughter got a touch from them one night when she heard them going past with horses and with carriages, and she the only one in the house that felt them. She got silly like for a bit, but she's getting better now.
An old woman from Loughrea told me that a woman, I believe it was from Shragwalla close to the town, was taken away one time for fourteen years when she went out into the field at night with nothing on but her shift. And she was swept there and then and an old hag put into the bed in her place, and she suckling her young son at the time.
It was a great many years after that, there was a pedlar used to be going about, and in his travels he went to England. And up in the north of England he saw a rich house and went into the kitchen of it, and there he saw that same woman, in a comer working. And he went up to her and said, "I know where you come from." "Where's that?" says she, and he gave her the name of her own village. Well, she laughed and she went out of the kitchen, and I don't know did she buy anything from him. But anyhow not long after that she came back and walked into her own house.
The husband never knew her, but the boy that was then fourteen year come up and touched her, and the father cried out, "Leave off putting your hand on that fine dress," for she had very rich clothes on. But she stood up and said, "I'm no other than your wife come back again, and the first thing you have to do is to bring in all you can carry of turf, and to make a big fire here in the middle of the floor."
Well, the old hag was in the room within, in the bed where she'd been lying a long time, and they thinking she was dying. And when the smoke of the fire went in at the door she jumps up and away with her out of the house, and tale or tidings of her they never had again.
My mother often told me about her sister's child-my cousin--that used to spend the nights in the big forth at Moneen. Every night she went there, and she got thin and tired like. She used to say that she saw grand things there, and the horses galloping and the riding. But then she'd say, "I must tell no more than that, or I'll get a great beating." She wasted away, but one night they were so sure that she was dead they had the pot boiling full of water to wash her. But she recovered again and lived five years after that.
Sure there was a faery in the house out beyond fourteen years. Katie Morgan she was called. She never kept the bed, but she'd sit in the corner of the kitchen on a mat, and from a good stout lump of a girl that she was she wasted to nothing, and her teeth grew as long as your fingers and then they dropped out. And she'd eat nothing at all only crabs and sour things. And she'd never leave the house in the day-time, but in the night she'd go out and pick things out of the fields she could eat. And the hurt she got or whatever it was touched her, it was one day that she was swinging on the comer gate just there by the forth. She died as quiet as another. But you wouldn't like to be looking at her after the teeth fell out.
There's some people it's lucky to meet and others it's unlucky, and if you set off to go to America or around the world, and one of the unlucky ones comes and speaks to you on the boat, you might as well turn back and come home again.
My own sister was taken away, she and her husband within twenty-four hours, and not a thing upon them, and she with a baby a week old. Well, the care of that child fell on me, and sick or sorry it never was but thriving always.
And a friend of mine told me the same thing. His wife was taken away in childbirth-and the five children she left that did be always ailing and sickly-from that day there never was a ha'porth ailed them.
Did the mother come back to care them? Sure and certain she did, and I'm the one can tell that. For I slept in the room with my sister's child after she dying; and as sure as I stand here talking to you, she was back in the room that night.
Walking towards nightfall myself, I've seen the shadows dancing before me, but I wasn't afeared, no more than I am of you. And I've felt them other times crying and groaning about the house.
As to the faeries, up beyond Ballymore there's a woman that was said to be with them for seven years. But she came back after that and had an impediment in her speech ever since.
There's a little forth on this side of dough behind Glyn's house, and there was a boy in Clough was said to have passed a night and a day in it. I often saw him, and he was dull looking, but for cleverness there was no one could touch him. I saw a picture of a train he drew one time, with not a bolt nor a ha'porth left out; and whatever he put his hand to he could do it, and he with no more teaching than any other poor boy in the town. I believe that he went to America afterwards.
And I remember a boy was about my own age over at Annagh at the other side of the water, and it's said that he was away for two years. Anyway for all that time he was sick in bed, and no one ever saw bite or sup cross his lips in all that time, though the food that was left in the room would disappear, whatever happened it. He recovered after and went to America.
There was a girl near taken, in the Prestons' house. I saw her myself in the bed, near gone. But of a sudden she sat up and looked on the floor and began to curse, and then they left her for they can't bear curses. They have the hope of Heaven or they wouldn't leave one on the face of the earth, and they are afraid of God. They'll not do you much harm if you leave them alone; it's best not to speak to them at all if you should meet them. If they bring any one away they'll leave some old good-for-nothing thing in its place, and the same way with a cow or a calf or such things. But a sheep or a lamb it's beyond their power to touch, because of our Lord.
An Old Butcher:
I was born myself by daylight, and my mother often told me that I'd never see anything worse than myself. There's some can see those things and some that can't.
But one time I went up by the parish of Killisheen to look for half-beef, I having at the time a contract for the workhouse. And I went astray on the mountains, and near Killifin I came to a weaver's house and went in. And there was sitting in the corner such a creature as I never saw before, with nothing on him but a shirt, and eyes that would go through you. And I wouldn't stop in the house but went out again. And the weaver followed me and says he, "Is it afraid of him you are?" "It is," says I. "I thought you would be," says he, "and would you believe that he's my own son, and as fine a young chap as ever you seen until seven year ago when I sent him to Clough on a message, and he fell going over a wall, and it's then he got the touch, and it's like this he's been ever since." "Does he ask to eat much?" says I. "He'd eat the whole world," says he. "Then it's not your son that's in it, you may be sure of that," says I, and I turned and went away and never went back there again.
And it's not many year ago that such a lot of fine women were taken from Clough, very sudden, after childbirth--fine women--I knew them all myself. And I'll tell you a thing I heard of in the country. There was a woman died, and left her child. And every night at twelve o'clock she'd come back, and brought it out of the bed to the fire, and she'd comb it and wash it. And at last six men came and watched and stopped her at the door, and she went very near to tear them all asunder. But they got the priest, and he took it off her. Well, the husband had got another wife, and the priest came and asked him would he put her away, and take the first again. And so he did, and he brought her to the chapel to be married to her again, and the whole congregation saw her there. That was rather hard on the second wife? Well, but wasn't it a great thing for the first poor creature to be brought back? Sure there's many of those poor souls wandering about.
Sure enough, some are brought away and kept for years, but sometimes they come back again. There was a woman beyond at Cahirmactin was away for a year, and came back and reared a family after. They knew well what happened then, but they don't speak of it. There was a young fellow got a touch there near Ballytown, and a little chap met him wandering in the field. And he bid him put out food for him every night, for he had none of their food ate yet, and so they hadn't got full power over him. So food was left for him, and after a time he came back as well as another.
A Connemara man:
There are many that die and don't go out of the world at all. The priests know that. There was a boy dying in a house up the road, and the priest came to him and he was lying as if dead, that he could not speak nor hear, and the priest said, "The boys have a hand in this." He meant by that, the faeries. I was outside the house myself at the time, for the boy was a friend of mine, and I didn't like him to die. And you never saw such a storm as arose when the priest was coming to the house, a storm of wind, and a cloud over the moon. But after a while the boy died, and the storm went down and the moon shone out as bright as before.
There was a man was said to go away of nights with them. When he got the call, away he must go if he liked it or not.
And one day he was out in the bay with some others, and all of a sudden he said, "Let me go home, my horse is like to die." And they wouldn't mind him for a time, but at last they turned and rowed home, and they found his horse that was well when he went out, stretched on the field.
Another time he was with a man that had a grand three-yearold filly and was showing it to him. And he said, "You won't have her long"; and it wasn't long after that she died.
There was a man died and his wife died, and an uncle took charge of the children. The man had a shop but the uncle lived a little way from the shop, and he would leave the children alone through the night. There were two men making a journey, and a storm rose up, and they asked could they have a part of the night in the house where the shop was, and the uncle said they could, and he went to his own house.
The men were sitting up by the fire and the children were sleeping at the other side of the room. And one of the men said to the other "God rest the soul of the man that died here. He was a good man." And the other said, "The wife wasn't so good." And just then they heard a noise below, and they saw the wife that had died coming into the room and she went across and lay down on the bed where the baby was. And the baby that was crying before got quiet then and made no sound at all.
But as to the two men, bad as the storm was outside, they thought better to be out in it than to stop in the room where the woman was, so they went away. It was to quiet the baby she used to come back.
There was an old woman I remember, Mrs. Sheridan, and she had to go with them for two or three hours every night for a while, and she'd make great complaints of the hardship she'd meet with, and how she'd have to spend the night going through little boreens or in the churchyard at Kinvara, or they'd bring her down to the seashore. They often meet with hardships like that, those they bring with them, so it's no wonder they're glad to get back. This world's the best.
There was a woman living over there near Aughsulis, and a few years ago she lost a fine young milch cow, with its first calf. And she and the three boys in the house salted it down and they ate the half of it and they couldn't eat the other half, it was too hard or too tough, and they put it under the dung that was in the yard, the way it would melt into it. And when the springtime came, they turned up the dung, and in the place it was buried they found nothing but three planks of the wood that's cut in Connemara--deal they call it. So the cow never died, but was brought away with themselves. For many a young boy and young woman goes like that, and there's no doubt at all that Mary Hynes was taken. There's some living yet can remember her coming to the pattern was there beyond, and she was said to be the handsomest girl in Ireland .
There's a man now living between this place and Kinvara, Fannen his name is, and he goes away with them, and he's got delicate and silly like. One night he was in that bad place that's near the chapel of Kinvara, and he found a great crowd of them about him and a man on a white horse was with them, and tried to keep him, and he cried and struggled and they let him go at last. But now the neighbours all say he does be going with them, and he told me himself he does. I wouldn't be afraid of him when I'd meet him on the road, but many of the neighbours would be afraid.
And two of his sons have got silly. They found a bar of gold one time out playing in the field, and the money they got for it they put it in the bank. But I believe it's getting less now, and what good did it do them when they went like that? One of the boys was to be a priest, but they bad to give that up when he got silly. It was no right money. And they'd best not have touched it.
Dreams, we should not pay too much attention to, and we should judge them well, that is, if a dream is bad or good, we should say "It's a good dream"; and we should never tell a dream to anyone fasting; and it's said if you tell your dream to a tree fasting, it will wither up. And it's better to dream of a person's downfall than of him being up. When the good people take a cow or the like, you'll know if they did it by there being no fat on what's left in its place and no eyes in it. When my own Springer died so sudden this year, I was afraid to use it. But Pat Hevenor said, "It's a fool you are, and it might save you the price of a bag of meal to feed the bonifs with a bit of it." And he brought the cart and brought it home to me. So I put down a bit to boil for the bonifs to try it, for I heard that if it was their work, it would go to water. But there was fat rising to the top, that I have enough in the shed to grease the cart wheels for a year. So then I salted a bit of it down.
If they take any one with them, yourself or myself it might be, they'll put some old spent man in his place, that they had with them a long time, and the father and the mother and the children will think it is the child or the father or the mother that is in it. And so it may be he'd get absolution. But as for the old faeries that were there from the beginning, I don't know about them .
It's said that if we know how to be neighbourly with them, they'd be neighbour]y and friendly with us. It's said it was they brought away the potatoes in the bad time, when all the potatoes turned black. But it wasn't for spite, it was because they wanted them themselves.
There was a woman in Ballinamore died after the baby being born. And the husband took another wife and she very young, that everyone wondered she'd like to go into the house. And every night the first wife came to the loft, and looked down at her baby, and they couldn't see her; but they'd know she was there by the child looking up and smiling at her.
So at last some one said that if they'd go up in the loft after the cock crowing three times they'd see her. And so they did, and there she was, with her own dress on, a plaid shawl she had brought from America, and a cotton skirt with some edging at the bottom.
So they went to the priest, and he said Mass in the house, and they didn't see so much of her after that. But after a year, the new wife had a baby. And one day she bid the first child to rock the cradle. But when she sat down to it, a sort of a sickness came over her, and she could do nothing, and the same thing always happened, for her mother didn't like to see her caring the second wife's baby.
And one day the wife herself fell in the fire and got a great many burns, and they said that it was she did it.
So they went to the blessed well Tubbermacduagh near Kinvara, and they were told to go there every Friday for twelve weeks, and they said seven prayers and gathered seven stones every time. And since then she doesn't come to the house, but the little girl goes out and meets her mother at a faery bush. And sometimes she speaks to her there, and sometimes in her dreams. But no one else but her own little girl has seen her of late.
There was one time a tailor, and he was a wild card, always going to sprees. And one night he was passing by a house, and he heard a voice saying, "Who'll take the child?" And he saw a little baby held out, and the hands that were holding it, but he could see no more than that. So he took it, and he brought it to the next house, and asked the woman there to take it in for the night.
Well, in the morning the woman in the first house found a dead child in the bed beside her. And she was crying and wailing and called all the people. And when the woman from the neighbouring house came, there in her arms was the child she thought was dead. But if it wasn't for the tailor that chanced to be passing by and to take it we know very well what would have happened it.
That's a thing happens to many, to have faery children put upon them.
A Man at Corcomroe:
There was one Delvin, that lies under a slab yonder, and for seven years he was brought away every night, and into this abbey. And he was beat and pinched, and when he'd come home he'd faint; but he used to say that the place that he went to was grander than any city. One night he was with a lot of others at a wake, and they knew the time was coming for him to go, and they all took hold of him. But he was drawn out of the door, and the arms of those that were holding him were near pulled out of their sockets.
Mischievous they are, but they don't do much harm. Some say they are fallen angels, and hope yet to be saved.
A Slieve Echtge Woman:
I knew another was away for seven years--and it was in the next townland to this she lived. Bridget Clonkelly her name was. There was a large family of them, and she was the youngest, and a very fine-looking fair-haired girl she was. I knew her well, she was the one age with myself.
It was in the night she used to go to them, and if the door was shut, she'd come in by the key-hole. The first time they came for her, she was in bed between her two sisters, and she didn't want to go. And they beat her and pinched her, till her brother called out to know what was the matter.
She often told me about them, and how she was badly treated because she wouldn't eat their food. She got no more than about three cold potatoes she could eat all the time she was with them.
All the old people about here put out food every night, the first of the food before they have any of it tasted themselves. And she said there was a red-haired girl among them, that would throw her into the river she got so mad with her. But if she'd had their food ate) she'd never have got away from them at all.
She married a serving-man after, and they went to Sydney and if nothing happened in the last two years they're doing well there now.
Near my own house by the sea there was a girl went out one day to get nuts near the wood, and she heard music inside the wood. And when she went home she told her mother. But the next day she went again, and the next, and she stopped so long that the mother sent the other little girl to look for her) but she could see no one. But she came in after a time, and she went inside into the room, and while she was there the mother heard music from the room; but when the girl came out she said she heard nothing. But the next day after that she died.
The neighbours all came in to the wake, and there was tobacco and snuff there, but not much, for it's the custom not to have so much when a young person dies. But when they looked at the bed, it was no young person they saw in it, but an old woman with long teeth that you'd be frightened, and the face wrinkled, and the hands. So they didn't stop but went away, and she was buried the next day. And in the night the mother would hear music all about the house, and lights of all colours flashing about the windows.
She was never seen again except by a boy that was working about the place. He met her one evening at the end of the house, dressed in her own clothes. But he could not question her where she was, for it's only when you meet them by a bush you can question them there.
A Man of Slieve Echtge:
There was a man, and he a cousin of my own, lost his wife. And one night he heard her come into the room, where he was in bed with the child beside him, and he let on to be asleep, and she took the child and brought her out to the kitchen fire and sat down beside it and suckled it.
And then she put it back into the bed again, and he lay still and said nothing. The second night she came again, and he had more courage and he said, "Why have you got no boots on?" For he saw that her feet were bare. And she said, "Because there's iron nails in them." So he said, "Give them to me," and he got up and drew all the nails out of them, and she brought them away.
The third night she came again, and when she was suckling the child he saw that she was still barefoot, and he asked why didn't she wear the boots. "Because," says she, "you left one sprig in them, between the upper and the lower sole. But if you have courage," says she, "you can do more than that for me. Come tomorrow night to the gap up there beyond the hill, and you'll see the riders going through, and the one you'll see on the last horse will be me. And bring with you some fowl droppings and urine, and throw them at me as I pass, and you'll get me again." Well he got so far as to go to the gap, and to bring what she told him, and when they came riding through the gap, he saw her on the last horse, but his courage failed him, and he let it drop, and he never got the chance to see her again.
Why she wanted the nails out of her boots? Because it's well known they will have nothing to do with iron. And I remember when every child would have an old horse nail hung round its neck with a bit of straw, but I don't see it done now.
There was another man though, one of the family of the Coneys beyond there, and his wife was away from him four years. And after that he put out the old hag was in her place, and got his wife back and reared children after that, and one of them was trained a priest.
There was a drunken man in Scariff, and one night he had drink taken he couldn't get home, and fell asleep by the roadside near the bridge. And in the night he awoke and heard them at work with cars and horses. And one said to another, "This work is too heavy, we'll take the white horse belonging to so and so"--giving the name of a rich man in the town. So as soon as it was light he went to this man, and told him what he had heard them say. But he would only laugh at him and say, "I'll pay no attention to what a drunkard dreams." But when he went out after to the stable, his white horse was gone.
That's easy understood. They are shadows, and how could a shadow move anything? But they have power over mankind that they can bring them away to do their work.
There was a woman used to go out among them at night, and she said to her sister, "I'll be out on a white horse and I'll stop and knock at your door," and so she would do sometimes.
And one day there was a man asked her for a debt she owed, and she said, "I have no money now." But then she put her hand behind her and brought it back filled with gold. And then she rubbed it in her hand, and when she opened the hand there was nothing in it but dried cow-dung. And she said, "I could give you that but it would be no use to you.
An Old Woman Talking of Cruachmaa:
I remember my father being there, and telling me of a girl that was away for seven years, and all thought she was dead. And at the end of the seven years she walked back one day into her father's house, and she all black-looking. And she said she was married there and had two children, but they died and then she was driven away. And she stopped on at her father's house, but the neighbours used to say there was never a day but she'd go up the hill and be there crying for one or two hours.
An Old Woman who only Speaks Irish:
I remember a young man coming to the island fourteen years ago that had never been in it before and that knew everything that was in it, and could tell you as much as to the stones of the chimney in every house. And after a few days he was gone and never came again, for they brought him about to every part. But I saw him and spoke to him myself.
There was a man had buried his wife, and she left three children. And then he took a second wife, and she did away with the children, hurried them off to America, and the like. But the first wife used to be seen up in the loft, and she making a plan of revenge against the other wife.
The second one had one son and three daughters; and one day the son was out digging the field, and presently he went into what is called a faery hole. And there was a woman came before him, and, says she, "what are you doing here trespassing on my ground?" And with that she took a stone and hit him in the head, and he died with the blow of the stone she gave him. And all the people said it was by the faeries he was taken.
There was a first cousin of mine used sometimes to go out the house, that none would see him going. And one night his brother followed him, and he went down a path to the sea, and then he went into a hole in the rocks, that the smallest dog wouldn't go into. And the brother took hold of his feet and drew him out again. He went to America after that, and is living there now; and sometimes in his room they'll see him kicking and laughing as if some were with him.
One night when some of the neighbours from these islands were with him, he told them he'd been back to Inishmaan, and told all that was going on. And some would not believe him. And he said, "You'll believe me next time." So the next night he told them again he had been there, and he brought out of his pocket a couple of boiled potatoes and a bit of fish and showed them, so then they all believed it.
An Old Man from the State of Maine says, hearing this:
I knew him in America, and he used often to visit this island, and would know about all of them were living, and would bring us word of them, and all he'd tell us would turn out right. He's living yet in America.
An Aran Woman:
There was a woman in Killinny was dying, and it was she used to be minding the Lodge over there, and when she was near death her own little girl went out, and she saw her standing, and a black-haired woman with her. And she came back and said to her father "Don't be fretting, my mother's not there in the bed, I saw her up by the Lodge and a black woman with her, that took her in with her." And there was a man from Arklow there, and he said, "That's not your wife at all that's in the bed--that's not Maggie Mulkair. That is a black woman and Maggie Mulkair is red-haired." And the husband looked in the bed, and so it wasn't Maggie Mulkair that was in it, but at that minute she died. It's well known they bring back the old to put in the place of the young.
There was a girl in the County Clare, and she went to get married, and she and the husband were riding back on the one horse and it slipped and fell. And when she got to the house, she sat quiet and not a word out of her. And everybody said she used to be a pleasant, jolly girl, but this was like an old woman.
And she sat there by the hob for three days and she didn't turn her face to the people. But the husband said, "Let her alone, maybe she's shy yet." But his mother got angry at last and she said, "I'd sooner be rubbing stones on the clothes than watching an idle woman." And she went out to the flax and she said to the girl, "You'd best get the dinner ready before the men come in." But when she came in there was nothing done; and she gave her a blow with some pieces of the flax that were in her hand, and said, "Get out of this for a good-for-nothing woman!" And with that she went up the chimney and was gone. And the mother got the dinner ready, and then she went out, not knowing in the world how to tell the husband what she had done. But when she got to the field where they were working, there was the girl walking down the hill, and she took the two hands of the mother and said, "It's well for me you hadn't patience to last two days more or I'd never have got back, but I never touched any of the food while I was with them."
There was a girl one time, and a boy wanted to marry her, but the father and mother wouldn't let her have him, for he had no money. And he died, and they made a match for her with another. And one day she was out going to her cousins' house, and he came before her and put out his hand and said, "You promised yourself to me, and come with me now." And she ran, and when she got to the house she fell on the floor. And the cousins thought she had taken a drop of drink, and they began to scold her.
Another day after that she was walking with her husband and her brother, and a little white dog with them, and they came to a little lake. And he appeared to her again, and the husband and the brother didn't see him, but the dog flew at him, and began barking at him and he was hitting at the dog with a stick, and all the time trying to get hold of the girl's hand. And the husband and the brother wondered what the dog was barking at and why it drew down to the lake in the end, and out into the water. For it was into it that he was wanting to draw the girl.
It's a strange thing that you'll see a man in his coffin and buried; and maybe a fortnight after, the neighbours will tell you they saw him walking about. There was one Flaherty lived up at Johnny Reed's and he died. And a few days later Johnny Reed's sister and another woman went out with baskets of turnips to the field where the sheep were, to throw them out for them. And when they got to the field they could see Flaherty walking, just in the same clothes he had before he died, long skirts and a jacket, and frieze trousers. So they left the turnips and came away.
There was a man up there near Loughrea, one of the Mahers, was away for seven years. In the night he'd be taken, and some-times in the daytime when he was in the bed sick, that's the time he'd be along with them; riding out and going out across the bay, going as fast as the wind in the sky. Did he like to be with them? Not at all, he'd sooner be at home; and it is bad for the health too to be going out these rough nights. There were three men near him that had horses, Daniel O'Dea and Farragher and Flynn, and he told them they should sell their horses. And Daniel O'Dea and Farragher sold theirs, but the other man wouldn't mind him. And after a few days his horse died. Of course they had been with him at night riding their own horses, and that's how he knew what would happen and gave the warning.
The Spinning Woman:
There was a man got married, and he began to pine away, and after a few weeks the mother asked him what ailed him. And he opened his coat and showed her his breast inside, that it was all torn and bloody. And he said: "That's the way I am; and that's what she does to me in the nights." So the mother brought her out and bid her to pick the green flax, and she was against touching it, but the mother made her. And no sooner had she touched three blades of it but she said, "I'm gone now," and away with her. And when they went back to the room they found the daughter lying in a deep sleep, where she had just been put back.
An Old Woman at Kinvara:
There was a woman put in her coffin for dead, but a man that was passing by knew that she wasn't dead, and he brought her away and married her and lived with her for seven years, and had seven children by her. And one day he brought her to a fair near the place she came from, and the people that saw her said: "If that woman that died ever had a sister, that would be her sister." So he let it out to them then about her. But his mother always minded her, that she wouldn't wet her hands. But one day the mother was hurried, and the woman made a cake. And after making it she washed her hands, and with that they had her again and she went from the husband and from her children.
One time I was tending this farm for Flaherty, and I came in late one evening after being out with cattle, and I sent my wife for an ounce of tobacco, and I stopped in the house with the child. And after a time I heard the rattle of the door, and the wife came in half out of her mind. She said she was walking the road and she met four men, and she knew that they were not of this world, and she fell on the road with the fright she got, but she thought one of them was her brother, and he put his hand under her head when she fell, so that she got no hurt. And for a long time after she wasn't in her right mind, and she'd bring the child out in the field, to see her brother. And at last I brought her to the priest, and when we were on the way there she called out that those fields of stones were full of them, and they all dressed in tall hats and black coats. But the priest read something over her and she's been free from them since then.
There were three women died within a year, one here, John Harragher's wife, and two at Inishmaan. And the year after they were all seen together, riding on white horses at the other side of the island.
There were two young women lived over in that village you see there, and they were not good friends, for they were in two public houses. And one of them died in January, after her baby being born. Some said it was because of her mother or the nurse giving her strong tea, but it wasn't that, it was because her time had come. And when the other woman heard it she said to her husband, "Give me the concertina, and I'll play till you dance for joy that Mrs. Considine is gone." But in April her own child was born, and though the doctor tried to save her he couldn't and she died.
And since then they're often seen to appear walking together. People wonder to see them together, and they not friends while they lived. But it's bad to give way to temper, and who is nearer to us than a neighbour?
A Young Woman:
I know a girl that lost her mother soon after she was born. And surely the mother came back to her every night and suckled her, for she'd lie as quiet as could be, without a bottle or a hap'orth and they'd hear her sucking. And one night the grandmother felt her daughter that was gone lying in the clothes, and made a grab at her, but she was gone. Maybe she'd have kept her if she'd taken her time, for there's charms to bring such back. But the little girl grew, that she was never the same in the morning that she was the night before, and there's no finer girl in the island now. I call to my own mother sometimes when things go wrong with me, and I think I'm always the better of it. And I often say those that are gone are troubled with those they leave behind. But God have mercy on all the mothers of the world!
There was a woman with her husband passing by Esserkelly, and she had left her child at home. And a man came and called her in, and promised to leave her on the road where she was before. So she went, and there was a baby in the place she was brought to, and they asked her to suckle it. And when she had come out again she said, "One question I'll ask. What were those two old women sitting by the fire?" And the man said, "We took the child today, and we'll have the mother tonight and one of them will be put in her place, and the other in the place of some other person." And then he left her where she was before.
But there's no harm in them, no harm at all.
Scully told me he was by the hedge up there by Ballinamantane one evening and a blast came, and as it passed he heard something crying, crying, and he knew by the sound that it was a child that they were carrying away.
And a woman brought in at Esserkelly heard a baby crying and a woman singing to it not to fret, for such a woman would die that night or the next and would come to mind her. And the very next night the woman she heard the name of died in child-birth.
At Aughanish there were two couples came to the shore to be married, and one of the new-married women was in the boat with the priest, and they going back to the island. And a sudden blast of wind came, and the priest said some blessed Aves that were able to save himself, but the girl was swept.
No, I never went to Biddy Early. What would they want with the like of me? It's the good and the pious they come for.
I remember fourteen years ago how eleven women were taken in childbirth from this parish. But as to the old, what business would they have with them? They'd be nothing but a bother to them. There was a woman living by the road that goes to Scahanagh, and one day a carriage stopped at her door, and a grand lady came out of it, and asked would she come and give the breast to her child, and she said she couldn't leave her own children. But the lady said no harm would happen her, and brought her away to a big house, but when she got there she wouldn't stop, but went home again. And in the morning the woman's cow was dead. And the husband that had a card for carding flax looked through it; and in the place of the cow, there was nothing but an old man.
And there was a man and a girl that gave one another a hard promise he never to marry any other woman, and she never to marry any other man. But he broke his promise and married another. And the girl died, and one night he saw a sort of a shadow coming across the grass, and she spoke to him, and it was the girl he had promised to marry, and she kept him in talk till midnight. And she came every night after that, and would stop till midnight, and he began to waste away and to get thin, and his wife asked him what was on him, and she picked out of him what it was. And after that the girl asked him to come and save her, and she would be on the second horse going through a gap. And he went, and when he got there his courage failed, and he did nothing to save her, but after that he never saw her again.
There was a woman used to go away with them, and they'd leave her at the doorstep in the morning, and she wouldn't be the better for a long time of all she'd gone through. She got out of it after, and was a fine woman when I knew her.
My mother told me of a woman that used to go with them, and one night they were passing by a house, and there was no clean water in it, and it was readied up. And they said, "We'll have the blood of the man of the house." And there was a big pot of broth on the fire for the morning, for the poor people had no tea in those days; and the woman said, "Won't broth do you?" And they took the broth. And in the morning early, the woman after she was left back went to the house, and there was the woman of the house getting ready the broth, for it looked just like it did before. And she said, "Throw it out before you lose your husband." For she knew that the first that would taste it would die, and that it's to the man of the house that the first share is always given.
My mother was always wanting to call one of her children Pat, the name of her own father, but my father always made her give them some different name. But when one of the youngest was born he said, "Give him what name you like." So they gave him the name of her father; and he was like the apple of her eye, she was so fond of him. But a sickness came on him and he wasted away, and she went to a strange forge and brought forge water away, for she wouldn't take it from our own forge, and gave him a drink of it. And I saw her and I said to her, "I'll tell my father you're giving forge water to Paddy." And she said, "If you do I'll kill you," so I said nothing. And she gave him a second drink of it and not a third, for he was gone before he could get it. If it had been her own child, it would have saved him, but she told me after she knew it was another, his kneecaps were so big and other parts of his body.
There was another little one she lost. She was sitting one time nursing it outside the door, and a lady and a gentleman came up the road, and the lady said, "Who are you nursing the child for?" And she said, "For no one in the world but God and myself." And then the lady and the gentleman were gone and no sign of them, though it was a straight road, you know that long straight road in Galway that goes by Prospect, and it wasn't many days after that when the child got ill, and in a few days it was dead. And when it was lying there stretched out on two chairs, the lady came in again and looked at it and said, "What a pity!" And then she said, "It's gone to a better place." "I hope it may be so," said my mother, stiff like that; and she went away.
I was delicate one time myself, and I lost my walk, and one of the neighbours told my mother it wasn't myself that was there. But my mother said she'd soon find that out, for she'd tell me that she was going to get a herb that would cure me, and if it was myself I'd want it, but if I was another I'd be against it. So she came in and she said to me, "I'm going to Dangan to look for the lus-mor that will soon cure you." And from that day I gave her no peace till she'd go to Dangan and get it; so she knew that I was all right. She told me all this afterwards.
It is about the forths they are, not about the churchyards. The Amadan is the worst of them all.
They say people are brought away by them. I knew a girl one time near Ballyvaughan was said to be with them for nine months. She never eat anything all that time, but the food used to go all the same.
There was a man called Hession died at that time and after the funeral she began to laugh, and they asked her what was she laughing at, and she said, "You would all be laughing yourselves- if you could open the coffin and see what it is you were carrying in it." The priest heard of her saying that and he was vexed.
Did they open the coffin? They did not, where would be the use, for whatever was in it would be in the shape of some person, young or old. They would see nothing by looking at that.
There was a woman near Feakle, Mrs. Colman, brought away for seven years; she was the priest's sister. But she came back to her husband after, and she cured till the day of her death came every kind of sores, just putting her hand on them and saying, "In the Name of the Father, of the Son, and the Holy Ghost"
There was a man in Gort was brought for a time to Tir-nan-og, that is a part of heaven.
A North Galway Woman:
There was a woman died near this after her baby being born, and there was only the father to mind it. And a girl of the neighbours that came in to watch it one night said that surely she saw the mother come back to it, and stoop down to the cradle and give it the breast. And anyway she grew and throve better than any other child around. And there was a woman died near Monivea, and sometimes in the daytime they'd see her in the garden combing the children's hair.
There was a Connemara man digging potatoes in that field beyond, and he told us that back in Connemara there was a woman died, and a few nights after she came back and the husband saw her. And she said, "Let you not put a hand on me yourself but I'll come back tomorrow night and others with me, and let me not cross the threshold when we are going out, but let your brother be there that has the strength of six men in him, and let him hold me." And so they did, and she reared four children after.
There was a woman died two houses from this, and it wasn't many days after she being buried the woman in the next house, Sibby her name is, came in here in the morning, and she told me she saw her coming in here the night before. And the sweat was on Sibby's face and she said, "God knows I am speaking the truth. why would I put a lie on that poor woman?" And why would she indeed?
And she said that in the night when she was in her bed, and two or three children along with her, the woman that had died came beside the bed and called her, and then she went out and said, "I'll come again and I'll bring my company with me."
And so she did--for she came back and her company with her, and they with umbrellas and hats in their hands, dressed grand, just now like the servants at Newtown. And she stooped over the bed again, and she said, "It was through Thomas I was lost." For there was one of her sons was called Thomas, and coming home one day he got a little turn of his foot, that the mother was doing what she could for with herbs and the like for a long time, so that he got well all but a little limp. So that's why she said that it was through Thomas she was lost. And she said, "There'll be a station at Athenry on such a dav, and send three of the children"-and she named the three--"to do it for me." And so they did and she was seen no more. And I'm sure it was no lie Sibby was telling. And she told the priest about what she saw and all he said was, "Well, if you saw that you're happy."
There was a woman died, and every night she'd come back and bring the baby to the fire, and dress it and suckle it. And the brother got to speak with her one night, and she said, "Oh why wasn't I put in the coffin with my own dress on that I was wearing? It's ashamed I was to go into such a crowd and such a congregation with nothing about me but a white sheet. And if it wasn't that I saw a boy of the neighbours among them that I knew before, I would have been very lonely."
There were two boys that were comrades, and if you'd see Dermot you'd say, "Where is Pat?" And if you'd see Pat you'd say, "Where is Dermot?" And one of them died, and everybody wondered at the comrade not being all the day to the corpse-house. And when he came in the evening he took a pinch of snuff, and he held it to the nose of the boy that was laid out on the table and he saw it sniff a little. So he made up the fire and he called another boy, and they laid the body down behind the fire; and if they did away with it, the boy himself came walking in at the door.
There was a girl I heard of brought away among them-and there was the finest of eating to be had. But there's always a friend in such places, and she got warning not to eat a bit of the food without she'd get salt with it. So when they put her down to eat, she asked a grain of salt, but not a grain was to be had. So she would eat nothing. But I believe they did away with her after.
Mike Folan was here the other day telling us newses, and he told the strangest thing ever I heard-that happened to his own first cousin. She died and was buried, and a year after, her husband was sitting by the fire, and she came back and walked in. He gave a start, but she said, "Have no fear of me, I was never in the coffin and never buried, but I was kept away for the year." So he took her again and they reared four children after that. She was Mike Folan's own first cousin and he saw the four children himself.
An Old Army Man:
My family were of the Glynris of Athenry. I had an aunt that married a man of the name of Roche, and their child was taken. So they brought it to the Lady We]] near Athenry, where there's patterns every fifteenth of August, to duck it. And such a ducking they gave it that it walked away on crutches, and it swearing. And their own child they got back again, but he didn't live long after that
There was a man I know, that was my comrade often, used to be taken away for nights, and he'd speak of the journeys he had with them. And he got severe treatment and didn't want to go, but they'd bring him by force. He recovered after, and joined the army, and I was never so surprised as I was the day he walked in when I was in India.
There was a woman in Tuam, Mrs. Shannon knew her well, was said to be away for seven years. And she was always sitting in the corner by the fire, not speaking, but a kind of a sound like moaning she'd make to herself; and they'd always bring her her dinner over in the corner, and if any one came in to see her--and many came hearing she was away--she'd draw the shawl over her face. And at the end of the seventh year she began to get a little life and strength coming in to her, and within a week she was strong and well, and lived a good many years after. And it's not long since some one that had a falling out with her daughters said to them, "It's well known your mother was away in Cruachmaa." And the poor girls when they heard that said cried a great deal.
Some people from Lismara I was talking to told me there was a girl the mother thought to be away, and she'd go out in the evening. And the mother followed her one time, and after she went a bit into the fields she saw her with an old woman very strangely dressed, with a white cap with an edging, and a green shawl and a black apron and a red petticoat. And the woman was smoking, and she gave the girl a smoke of the pipe. And the mother went home, and by and by the girl came in, and she smelling of tobacco. And the mother asked where was she? And she said, in some neighbour's house; and the mother knew she wasn't there, but that she was going with the faeries. And two or three days after that, they had her taken altogether; and the clergy that attended her said it was some old hag that was put in her place.
There was Fardy Folan's wife going, going, and all the night they thought that she was at the last puff. But the minute the cock crew, she sat up straight and strong. "I had a hard fight for it," she said, "but care me well now ye have me back again." And she lived a bit, but not long, after that.
That child of the Latteys that is silly, she was walking about today shaking hands with everyone that would come into the house. And the reason she's like that is, when she was born the breath had left her and the mother began to cry and to scream and to roar, and then the breath came back. She had a right to have let her go and not to have brought her back.
There's a girl of Fardy Folan's is said to be away. Anyway she's a fool, and a blow from her would kill you, it is always like that with a fool. And it was her mother I told you of that was as they thought gone, and that sat up again and said, "Take care of me now, I had a hard fight for it." But indeed she didn't live long after that.
When one is taken, the body is taken as well as the spirit, and some good-for-nothing thing left in its place. What they take them for is to work for them, and to do things they can't do themselves. You might notice it's always the good they take. That's why when we see a child good for nothing we say, "Ah, you little faery."
There was a man lost his wife and a hag was put in her place, and she came back and told him to come out at night where she'd be riding with the rest, and to throw something belonging to her after her-he'd know her by her being on a white horse. And so he did and got her back again. And when they were going home he said, "I'll have the life of that old hag that was put in your place." But when they got to the house, she was out of it before him, and was never heard of again.
There was a man telling me it was in a house where the woman was after a youngster, and she died, that is, we'll call it died, but she was taken, that the husband saw her coming back to give the breast to the child and to wash it. And the second night he got hold of her and held her until morning, and when the cock crowed she sat down again and stayed; they had no more Power over her.
Surely some go among them for seven years. There was Kitty Hayes lived at Kilcloud, for seven years she had everything she could want, and music and dancing could be heard around her house every night, and all she did prospered; but she ate no food all that time, only she took a drink of the milk after the butter being churned. But at the end of the seven years all left her, and she was glad at the last to get Indian meal.
There was a man driving cattle from Craughwell to Athenry for a fair. And it was before sunrise and dark, and presently he saw a light by the side of the road, and he was glad of it, for he had no matches and he wanted to light his pipe to smoke it. So he turned aside, and there were some people sitting there, and they brought him m, through a sort of a door and asked him to sit down. And so he did, and he saw that they were all strangers, not one he knew among them. Arid there was a fire and they put food and drink on the table, and asked him what would he have. And there opposite him he saw his own cows that were brought in too, and he knew that he was in a faery place. But in all these places there's always one well-wisher, so while he was sitting there, an old woman came to him and whispered in his ear, "Don't for your life eat a bit or drink a drop of what they give you, or you'll never go away again." So he would take nothing. If it hadn't been for the old woman, he might have taken something, just not to vex them. And at sunrise they let him out, and he was on the road again and his cattle before him.
Well, when he was coming back from the fair, there were two men with him, and he pointed them out the place where all this happened, for when three persons are together, there's no fear of anything and they can say what they like. And the others told him it was a faery place and many strange things had happened there. And they told him how there was a woman had a baby lived close by there, and before it was a week old her husband had to leave her because of his brother having died. And no sooner was she left alone than she was taken, and they sent for the priest to say Mass in the house, but she was calling out every sort of thing they couldn't understand, and within a few days she was dead.
And after death the corpse began to change, and first it looked like an old woman, and then like an old man, and they had to bury it the next day. And before a week was over she began to appear. They always appear when they leave a child like that. And surely she was taken to nurse the faery children, just like poor Mrs. Raynor was last year.
There's a well near Kinvara, Tubbermacduagh it's called, and it's all hung with rags, and piles of seven stones about it, for it's a great place to bring children to, to get them back when they've been changed by the faeries. Nine days they should be going to it, and saying prayers each day. And you'll see the child that's coming back will be like itself one day and like an old person another day and sometimes it will feel a picking, picking at it and it in its mother's arms. McCullagh's daughter that was taken is often to be seen there.
When any one is taken something is put in their place--even when a cow or the like goes. There was one of the Simons used to be going about the country skinning cattle and killing them, even for the country people if they were sick. One day he was skinning a cow that was after dying by the roadside, and another man with him. And Simon said, "It's a pity he can't sell this meat to some butcher, he might get something for it." But the other man made a ring of his fingers like this, and looked through it and then bade Simon to look, and what he saw was an old piper; and when he thought he was skinning the cow, what he was doing was cutting off his leather breeches. So it's very dangerous to eat beef you buy from any of those sort of common butchers. You don't know what might have been put in its place.
A Man at Corcomroe:
There was Shane Rua that was away every night for seven years. He told his brother-in-law that told me that in that hill behind the abbey there is the most splendid town that was ever seen. Often he was in it, and ought not to have been talking about it, but he said he wouldn't give them the satisfaction of it, he didn't care what they did to him. But he fainted that night they took him from the wake, and you know what a strong man Peter Nestor was, and he couldn't hold him.
Buried he is now beside that wall.
Cloran the plumber's mother was taken away, it's always said. The way it's known is, it was not long after her baby was born but she was doing well. And one morning very early a man and his wife were going in a cart to Loughrea one Thursday for the market, and they met some of those people and they asked the woman that had her own child with her, would she give a drink to their child that was with them, and while she was doing it they said, "We won't be in want of a nurse tonight, we'll have Mrs. Cloran of Cloon." And when they got back in the evening, Mrs. Cloran was dead before them.
They said it of Glynn's wife last year. And anyway, her mother was taken in the same way before her.
There was a boy I know lived between our house and Clough, and his hand was lame all his life from a burn he got when he was a child. And one evening in winter he walked out of the house and was never heard of or seen again, or any account of him. And it was not the time of year to go look for work, and anyway, he could never make a living with his lame hand.
My sister told me that near Tyrone or Cloughballymore there was a man walking home one night late, and he had to pass by a smith's forge where one Kinealy used to work. And when he came near, he heard the noise of the anvil, and he wondered Kinealy would be working so late in the night. But when he went in he saw that they were strange men that were in it. So he asked them the time, and they told him, and he said, "I won't be home this long time yet." And one of the men said, "You'll be home sooner than what you think." And another said, "There's a man on a grey horse gone the road, you'll get a lift from him." And he wondered that they'd know the road he was going to his home. But sure enough as he was walking he came up with a man on a grey horse, and he gave him a lift. But when he got home his wife saw that he looked strange-like, and she asked what ailed him, and he told her all that happened. And when she looked at him she saw that he was taken. So he went into the bed, and the next evening he was dead. And all the people that came in knew by the appearance of the corpse that it was an old man had been put in his place, and that he was taken when he got on the grey horse. For there's some-thing not right about a grey horse or a white horse, or about a red-haired woman.
There was a girl buried in Kilisheen, one of the Shaws, and when she was laid out on the bed a woman that went in to look at her saw that she opened her eyes, and made a sort of a face at her. But she said nothing, but sat down by the hearth. But another woman came in after that and the same thing happened, and she told the mother, and she began to cry and to roar that they'd say such a thing of her poor little girl. But it wasn't the little girl that was in it all but some old person. And the man that nailed down the coffin left the nails loose, and when they came to Kilisheen churchyard he looked in, and not one thing was inside it but the sheet and a bundle of shavings.
There was a man lived beyond on the Kinvara road, and his child died and he buried it. But he was passing the place after, and he asked a light for his pipe in some house, and after lighting it he threw the sod, and it glowing, just where he buried the child, and what do you think but it came back then in a trance. She went to America after, but didn't live long.
Mrs. Hayden of Slieve Echtge:
There was a woman one time travelling here with my sister from Loughrea, and she had her child in the cart with her. And as they went along the road, a man came out of a sort of a hollow with bushes beside the road, and he asked the woman to come along with him for a minute. And she reddened, but my sister bid her go, and so she went. And the man brought her into a house, and there lying on a bed was a baby, and she understood she was to give suck to it and so she did, and came away; and when she was away out, she saw that the man that brought her was her brother that was dead, and that is the reason she was chosen.
There was another woman. my husband knew here, was taken and an old hag put in her place, that keeps to her bed all the time. And when the seven years were at an end, she got restless like. for they must change every seven years.
So she told the husband the way he should redeem his wife, and where he'd see her with the riders if he'd go out to some place at night. And so he did, and threw what he had at her and she sitting on a horse behind a young man. And when they came home, the old hag was gone. She said the young man was very kind to her and had never done anything to offend her. And she had two or three children and left them behind. But for all that she was glad to come back to her own house. When children are left like that, the mother being brought back again, it's then they want a nurse for them, to give them milk and to attend them.
I know a man was away among them. Every night he would be taken and his wife got used to it after some time; at first she didn't like him to be taken out of the bed beside her. And in harvest, to see that man reap--he'd reap three times as much as any other help he had--of course that's well known.
There was a girl at Inniskill in the east of the country, of the same name as my own, was lying on a mat for eight years. When she first got the touch the mother was sick, and there was no room in the bed, so they laid a mat on the floor for her, and she never left it for the eight years; but the mother died soon after.
She never got off the mat for any one to see. But one night there was a working-man came to the house, and they gave him lodging for the night, and he watched from the other room, and in the night he saw the outer door open and three or four boys come in, and a piper with them or a fiddler--I'm not sure which--and he played to them and they danced, and the girl got up off the mat and joined them. And in the morning when he was sitting at breakfast he looked over to her where she was lying and said, "You were the best dancer among them last night."
There was a priest came when she had been about two years lying there and said something should be done for her, and he came to the house and read Masses, and then he took her by the hand and bid her stand up. But she snatched the hand away and said. "Get away you devil." At last Father Lahiff came to Inniskill, and he came and whatever he did, he drove away what was there, and brought the girl back again, and since then she walks and does the work of the house as well as another. And Father Lahiff said in the Chapel it was a shame for no priest to have done that for her before.
Sibby Dempsey of my own name that lives in the next house to me is away still. Every time I go back she can tell me if any-thing happened me, and where I was or what I did. And more than that, she can tell the future and what will happen you. But there's not many like to go to her, for the priest is against her, and if he'd hear you went to her house he'd be speaking against you at the altar on Sundays. But she has a good many cured. Some she cured that were going to be brought to the asylum in Ballinasbe. By charms she does it, wherever she gathers herbs, she that never left the bed these ten years. Twenty years she was when she got the touch, and it's on her ten years now.
There was a woman had a little girl, and her side got paralysed that she couldn't stir and she went to the priest, Father Dwyer-he's dead since. For the priests can do all cures, but they wouldn't like to be doing them, to bring themselves into danger. And she asked him to do a cure on the little girl, but what he said was, "Do you ask me to take God's own mercy from Himself?" So when she heard that, she went away, and she went to Sibby Dempsey. And she is the best writer that ever you saw, and she got a pen and wrote some words on a bit of paper, and gave them to the old woman to put on the little girl 5 arm, and so she did, and on the moment she was cured.
We don't talk much to her now, we don't care to meddle much with those that have been brought back, so we keep out of her way. She'll most likely go to America.
To bring any one back from being in the faeries you should get the leaves of the lus-mor and give them to him to drink. And if he only got a little touch from them and had some corn-plaint in him at the same time, that makes him sick-like, that will bring him back. But if he is altogether in the faeries, then it won't bring him back, for he'll know what it is and he'll refuse to drink it.
In a trance the soul goes from the body, but to be among the Sheogue the body is taken and something left in its place.
That girl I was telling you about in my own village, Sibby Dempsey, I had a letter about her the other day when I was in Cashel, and she that had been in her bed seventeen years is walking out and going to Mass, a nice respectable woman. They told me no more than that in the letter, but Tom Garden the policeman that had been there for his holiday told that there had come a wandering woman- one of her own sort, it's likely--to the house one night, and asked a lodging in the name of God. Sibby called out, and asked Maggie, the girl, who was that? And the woman stopped the night, and whatever they did was between themselves, and in the morning the wandering woman went away, and Sibby got up out of the bed, that she never had left for seventeen years Now she never was there all that time in my belief, for if it was an oak stick was lying there through all those years wouldn't it be rotten? It is in the faeries  she was, and it not herself used to be in it in the night-time."
Sibby Dempsey is getting ready now for her wedding. She is all right now; she has gone through her years.
But what do you say to what happened her father shortly after she being brought back? His horse fell with him coming home one evening and both his legs were broke, and the horse was killed. That is the revenge they took for the girl being taken away from them.
My own mother was away for twenty one years, and at the end of every seven years she thought it would be off her, but she never could leave the bed. She could not sit up and make a little shirt or such a thing for us. It was of the fever she died at last.
The way she got the touch was one day after we left the place we used to be in. And we got our choice place in the estate, and my father chose Cahirbohil, but a great number of the neighbours went to Moneen. And one day a woman that had been our neighbour came over from Moneen, and my mother showed her everything and told her of her way of living. And she walked a bit of the way with her, and when they were parting the woman said, "You'll soon be the same as such a one," and as she turned away she felt a pain in her hand. And from that day she lost her health. My father went to Biddy Early, but she said it was too late, she could do nothing, but she would take nothing from him.
There was a man out at Roxborough, Colevin was his name, was known to be away with them. And one day there were a lot of the people footing turf, and a blast of wind came and passed by. And after it passed a joking fellow that was among them called out, "Is Colevin with you?" And the blast turned and knocked an eye out of him, that he never had the sight of it agam.
There was a little chap I used to go to school with was away. He was in bed for three or four years, and then he could only walk on two sticks, till one day his father was going into Clough and he wanted to go, and the father said, "They'll be laughing at you going on your two sticks." So then he said, "Well, I'll go on one," and threw one away and after that he got rid of the other as well-and got all right. He never would tell anything about where he was, but if any one asked him he'd begin to cry. He was very smart at his books, and very handy, so that when he got well he got a good offer of work and went to America.
There was a girl on the middle island used to be away every night, and they never missed her, for there was something left in her place, but she got thin in the face and wasted away. She told the priest at last, and he bid her go and live in some other place, and she went to America, and there she is still. And she told them after, it was a comrade she had among them used to call her and to bring her about to every place) and that if she took a bit of potato off the skib in the house, it might be on Black Head she'd be eating it. And to parties the other girl would bring her, and she'd be sitting on her lap at them.
But those that are brought away would be glad to be back. It's a poor thing to go there after this life. Heaven is the best place) Heaven and this world we're in now.
A Man whose Son is Said to be Away:
I don't know what's wrong with my son unless that he's a real regular Pagan. He lies in the bed the most of the day and he won't go out till evening and he won't go to Mass. And he has a memory for everything he ever heard or read. I never knew the like. Most people forget what they read in a book within one year after.
A Travelling Man:
A man I met in America told me that one time before they left this country they were working in a field. And in the next field but one they saw a little funeral, a very little one, and it passed into a forth. And there was a child sick in the house near by; and that evening she died. But they had her taken away in the daytime.
It's a saying that the Sheogue take away the blackberries in the month of November; anyway we know that when the potatoes are taken it's by the gentry, and surely this year they have put their fancy on them.
I know the brothers of a man that was away for seven years, and he was none the better for it and had no riches after. It was m that place beyond--where you'd see nothing but hills and hollows-but when he was brought in, he saw what was like a gentleman's avenue, and it leading to a grand house. He didn't mind being among them, when once he got used to it and was one of the force. Of course they wouldn't like you to touch a bush that would belong to them. They might want it for shelter; or it might only be because it belongs to them that they wouldn't like it touched.
There was one of the Readys, John, was away for seven years lying in the bed, but brought away at nights. And he knew everything. And one Kearney up in the mountains, a cousin of his own, lost two hoggets and came and told him. And he saw the very spot where they were and bid him to bring them back again. But they were vexed at that and took away the power, so that he never knew anything again, no more than another.
Surely I believe that any woman taken in childbirth is taken among them. For I knew of a woman that died some years ago and left her young child. And the woman that was put to look after it neglected it. And one night the two doors were blown open, and a blast of wind came in and struck her, and she never was the better of it after.
There was a house I stopped in one night near Tallaght where I was going for a fair, and there was a sick girl in the house, and she lying in a corner near the fire.
And some time after, I was told that no one could do anything for her, but that one evening a labouring man that was passing came in and asked a night's lodging. And he was sitting by the fire on a stool and the girl behind him.
And every now and again when no one was looking he'd take a coal of fire and throw it under the stool on to where she was lying till he had her tormented. And in the morning there was the girl lying, and her face all torn and scarred. And he said, "It's not you that was in it these last few months." And she said, "No, but I wouldn't be in it now but for you. And see how the old hag that was in it treated me, she was so mad with the treatment that you gave her last night."
There was one Cronan on the road to Galway, I knew him well, was away with them seven years. It was at night he used to be brought away, and when they called him, go he should. They'd leave some sort of a likeness of him in his place. He had a wart on his back, and his wife would rub her hand down to feel was the wart there, before she'd know was it himself was in it or not. He told some of the way he used to be brought riding about at night, and that he was often in that castle below at Ballinamantane. And he saw then a great many of his friends that were dead.
And Mrs. Kelly asked him did ever he see her son Jimmy that died amongst them. And he told her he did, and that mostly all the people that he knew, that had died out of the village, were amongst them now.
Himself and his pony would go up to the sky.
And if his wife had a clutch of geese, they'd be ten times better than any other one, and the wheat and the stock and all they had was better and more plentiful than what any one else had. Help he got from them of course. And at last the wife got the priest in to read a Mass and to take it off him. But after that all that they had went to flitters.
A Hillside Woman:
Surely there are many taken; my own sister that lived in the house beyond, and her husband and her three children, all in one year. Strong they were and handsome and good--the best--and that's the sort that are taken. They got in the priest when first it came on the husband, and soon after a fine cow died and a calf. But he didn't begrudge that if he'd get his health, but it didn't save him after. Sure Father Andrews in Kilbrennan said not long ago in the chapel that no one had gone to heaven for the last ten years.
But whatever life God has granted them, when it's at an end go they must, whether they're among them or not. And they'd sooner be among them than to go to Purgatory.
There was a little one of my own taken. Till he was a year old he was the stoutest and the best and the finest of all my children, and then he began to pine till he wasn't thicker than that straw; but he lived for about four years.
How did it come on him? I know that well. He was the grandest ever you saw, and I proud of him, and I brought him to a ball in his house and he was able to drink punch. And I was stopped one day at a house beyond, and a neighbouring woman came in with her child and she says, "If he's not the stoutest he's the longest," and she took off her apron and the string to measure them both. I had no right to let her do that but I thought no harm at the time. But it was from that night he began to screech and from that time he did no good. He'd get stronger through the winter and about the Pentecost, in the month of May, he'd always fall back again, for that's the time they're at the worst.
I didn't have the priest in. It does them no good, but harm, to have a priest take notice of them when they're like that.
It was in the month of May at the Pentecost he went at last. He was always pining, but I didn't think he'd go so soon. At the end of the bed he was lying with the others, and he called to me and put up his arms. But I didn't want to take too much notice of him or to have him always after me, so I only put down my foot to where he was. And he began to pick straws out of the bed and to throw them over the little sister beside him, till he had thrown as much as would thatch a goose. And when I got up, there he was dead, and the little sister asleep beside him all covered with straws.
There were three women living at Ballinakill--Mary Grady, the mother and Mary Flanagan the daughter, and Ellen Lvdon that was a bychild of her's; and they had a little dog called Floss that was like a child to them. And the grandmother went first and then the little dog, and then Mary Flanagan within a half year. And there was a boy wanted to marry Ellen Lydon that was left alone. But his father and mother wouldn't have her, because of her being a by-child. And the priest wouldn't marry them not to give offence. So it wasn't long before she was taken too, and those that saw her after death knew that it was the mother that was there in place of her. And when the priest was called the day before she died he said, "She's gone since twelve o'clock this morning, and she'll die between the two Masses tomorrow," for it was Father Hubert, that had understanding of these things. And so she did.
There was a man had a son, and he was lying in the bed a long time. And one day, the day of the races, he asked the father and mother were they going to them, and they said they were not. "Well," says he, "I'll show you as good sport as if you went."
And he had a dog, and he called to it and said something to it, and it began to make a run and to gallop and to jump back-wards and forwards over the half-door, for there was a very high half-door to the house. "So now," says he, "didn't you see a good sport as if you were in the Newtown racecourse?"
There was my own uncle that lived where the shoemaker's shop is now, and two of his children were brought away from him. And the third he was determined he'd keep, and he put it to sleep between the wife and himself in the bed. And one night a hand came at the window and tried to take the child, and he knew who the hand belonged to, and he saw it was a woman of the village that was dead. So he drove her away and held the child, and he was never troubled again after that.
There was an old man on the road one night near Burren and he heard a cry in the air over his head, the cry of a child that was being carried away. And he called out some words and the child was let down into his arms and he brought it home. And when he got there he was told that it was dead. So he brought in the live child, and you may be sure that it was some sort of a thing that was good for nothing that was put in its place.
It's the good and the handsome they take, and those that are of use, or whose name is up for some good action. Idlers they don't like, but who would like idlers?
There is a forth away in County Clare, and they say it's so long that it has no end. And there was a pensioner, one Gavornan, came back from the army, and a soldier has more courage than another, and he said he'd go try what was in it, and he got two other men to go with him, and they went a long, long way, and saw nothing. And then they came to where there was the sound of a woman beetling. And then they began to meet people they knew before, that had died out of the village, and they all told them to go back, but still they went on.
And then they met the parish priest of Ballyvaughan, Father Cregan that was dead. And he told them to go back and so they turned and went. They were just beginning to come to the grandeur when they were turned away. Those that are brought away among them never come back, or if they do they're not the same as they were before.
There was a woman beyond at Ardrahan died, and she came back one night and her husband saw her at the dresser, looking for something to eat. And she slipped away from him that time, but the next time she came he got hold of her, and she bid him come for her to the fair at some place and watch for her at the Customs' gap and she'd be on the last horse that would pass through. And then she said, "It's best for you not come yourself but send your brother." So the brother came and she dropped down to him and he brought her to his house. But in a week after he was dead and buried. And she lived a long time, and never would speak three words to any one that would come into the house, but working, working all the day. I wouldn't have liked to live in the house with her after her being away like that. I don't think the old go among them when they die, but believe me, it's not many of the young they spare, but bring them away till such time as God sends for them. It's about fourteen years since so many young women were brought away after their child being born--Peter Roche's wife, and James Shannan's wife, and Clancy's wife of Lisdaragh-hundreds were carried off in that year--they didn't bring so many since then. I suppose they brought enough then to last them a good time.
All go among them when they die except the old people. And it's better to be there than in the pains of Purgatory. As to Purgatory I don't think it is after being with them we have to go there. But I know we' re told to give some clothing to the poor, and it will be thrown down afterwards to quench the flames for us.
A Policeman's Wife:
There was a girl in County Clare was away, and the mother used to hear horses coming about the door every night. And one day the mother was picking flax in the house, and of a sudden there came in her hand an herb with the best smell and the sweetest that ever was smelt. And she closed it with her hand, and called to the son that was making up a stack of hay outside "Come in, Denis, for I have the best smelling herb that ever you saw." And when he came in she opened her hand, and the herb was gone clear and clean. She got annoyed at last with the horses coming about the door, and some told her to gather all the fire into the middle of the floor and to lay the little girl upon it, and to see could she come back again. So she did as she was told, and brought the little girl out of the bed and laid her on the coals. And she began to scream and to call out, and the neighbours came running in, and the police heard of it, and they came and arrested the mother and brought her to the Court-house before the magistrate, Mr. MacWalter, and my own husband was one of the police that arrested her. And when the magistrate heard all, he said she was an ignorant woman, and that she did what she thought right, and he would give her no punishment. And the girl got well and was married. It was after she was married I knew her.
An Old Woman at Chiswick:
There was a woman went to live in a house where the faeries were known to be very much about. And the first day she was there one of them came in and asked her for the loan of a pot, and she gave it. And the next day she came in again and asked for the loan of some meal, and when she got it the woman said, "I hope you'll find it to be fine enough." "It is," she said, "and to show you I think it fine and good, I'll mix it here and boil the stirahout and we'll eat it together." And so they did. And she said "We'll always be your friends; and what you may miss in the morning, never grudge it, for you'll have more than what you lost before night." And her tribe was going away, and when she was going out the door, she made a hole with her heel in the stone, and she filled it up with mud and earth, and she said "If we die or if anything happens to us, blood will come in this hole and fill it."
There was a girl used to be away with them, you'd never know when it was she herself that was in it or not till she'd come back, and then she'd tell she had been away. She didn't like to go, but she had to go when they called to her. And she told her mother always to treat kindly whoever was put in her place, sometimes one would be put, and sometimes another, for she'd say If you are unkind to whoever's there, they'll be unkind to me."
Three of my uncles were taken by them, young men; some sort of a little cold they got between them, and there wasn't more than two months before the first of them going and the last. They were seen after by a man that lived in the house between there and the school, and that used often to see them, and to bring them in to dinner with him.