Visions and Beliefs in the West of Ireland

Butter

I have been told:

   Butter, that's a thing that's very much meddled with. On the first of May before sunrise it's very apt to be all taken away out of the milk. And if ever you lend your churn or your dishes to your neighbour, she'll be able to wish away your butter after that There was a woman used to lend a drop of milk to the woman that lived next door, and one day she was churning, churning, and no butter came. And at last some person came into the house and said, "It's hard for you to have butter here, and if you want to know where it is, look into the next house." So she went in and there was her neighbour letting on to be churning in a quart bottle, and rolls of butter beside her. So she made as if to choke her, and the woman run out into the garden and picked some mullein leaves, and said, "Put these leaves in under your churn, and you'll find your butter come back again." And so she did. And she found it all in the churn after.
   To sprinkle a few drops of holy water about the churn, and to put a coal of fire under it, that you should always do--as was always done in the old time--and the others will never touch it.
   There was a woman in the town was churning, and when the butter came she went out of the house to bring some water for to wash it and to make it up. And there was a tailor sitting sewing on the table. And the woman from next door came in and asked the loan of a coal of fire, and that's a thing that's never refused from one poor person to another in the morning. So he bid her take it. And presently she came in again and said that the coal of fire had gone out, and asked another, and this she did the third time. But the tailor knew well what she was doing, and that every coal of fire she brought away, there was a roll of butter out of the chum went with it. So whatever prayers he said is not known, but he brought the butter all back again, and into a can on the floor, and no hands ever touched it So when the woman of the house came back, "There's your butter in the can," said he. And she wondered how it came out of the churn to be in three rolls in the can. And then he told her all that had happened.
   There was a man was churning, churning, every day and no butter would come only froth. So some wise woman told him to go before sunrise to a running stream and bring a bottle of the water from it. And so he did before sunrise, and had to go near four miles to it And from that day he had rolls and rolls of butter coming every time he churned.
   There was one Burke, he knew how to bring it back out of some old Irish book that has disappeared since he died. There was a woman, a herd's wife, lived beyond, and one time Burke had his own butter taken, and he said he knew a way to find who had done it, and he brought in the coulter of the plough and put it in the fire. And when it began to get red hot, this woman came running, and fell on her knees, for it was she did it. And after that he never lost his butter again. But she took to her bed and was there for years until her death. And she couldn't turn from one side to another without some person to lift her. Her son is now living in Dublin, and is the President of some Association.
   If a woman in Aran is milking a cow and the milk is spilled, she says, "There's some are the better for it," and I think it a very nice thought, that they don't grudge it if there is any one it does good to.
   There was a man, one Finnegan, had the knowledge how to bring it back. And one time Lanigan that lives below at Kilgarvan had all his butter taken and the milk nothing but froth rising to the top of the pail like barm. So he went to Finnegan and he bid him get the coulter of the plough, and a shoe of the wickedest horse that could be found and some other thing, I forget what. So he brought in the coulter of the plough, and his brother-in-law chanced to have a horse that was so wicked it took three men to hold him, and no one could get on his back. So he got a shoe off of him. But just at that time, Lanigan's wife went to confession, and what did she do but to tell the priest what they were doing to get back the butter. So the priest was mad with them, and bid them to leave such things alone. And when Finnegan heard it he said, "What call had she to go and confess that? Let her get back her own butter for herself any more, for I'll do nothing to help her."
   Grass makes a difference? So it may, but believe me that's not all. I've been myself in the County Limerick, where the grass is that rich you could grease your boots in it, and I heard them say there, one quart of cream ought to bring one pound of butter. And it never does. And where does the rest go to?
:

   Butter, that's a thing that's very much meddled with. On the first of May before sunrise it's very apt to be all taken away out of the milk. And if ever you lend your churn or your dishes to your neighbour, she'll be able to wish away your butter after that There was a woman used to lend a drop of milk to the woman that lived next door, and one day she was churning, churning, and no butter came. And at last some person came into the house and said, "It's hard for you to have butter here, and if you want to know where it is, look into the next house." So she went in and there was her neighbour letting on to be churning in a quart bottle, and rolls of butter beside her. So she made as if to choke her, and the woman run out into the garden and picked some mullein leaves, and said, "Put these leaves in under your churn, and you'll find your butter come back again." And so she did. And she found it all in the churn after.
   To sprinkle a few drops of holy water about the churn, and to put a coal of fire under it, that you should always do--as was always done in the old time--and the others will never touch it.
   There was a woman in the town was churning, and when the butter came she went out of the house to bring some water for to wash it and to make it up. And there was a tailor sitting sewing on the table. And the woman from next door came in and asked the loan of a coal of fire, and that's a thing that's never refused from one poor person to another in the morning. So he bid her take it. And presently she came in again and said that the coal of fire had gone out, and asked another, and this she did the third time. But the tailor knew well what she was doing, and that every coal of fire she brought away, there was a roll of butter out of the chum went with it. So whatever prayers he said is not known, but he brought the butter all back again, and into a can on the floor, and no hands ever touched it So when the woman of the house came back, "There's your butter in the can," said he. And she wondered how it came out of the churn to be in three rolls in the can. And then he told her all that had happened.
   There was a man was churning, churning, every day and no butter would come only froth. So some wise woman told him to go before sunrise to a running stream and bring a bottle of the water from it. And so he did before sunrise, and had to go near four miles to it And from that day he had rolls and rolls of butter coming every time he churned.
   There was one Burke, he knew how to bring it back out of some old Irish book that has disappeared since he died. There was a woman, a herd's wife, lived beyond, and one time Burke had his own butter taken, and he said he knew a way to find who had done it, and he brought in the coulter of the plough and put it in the fire. And when it began to get red hot, this woman came running, and fell on her knees, for it was she did it. And after that he never lost his butter again. But she took to her bed and was there for years until her death. And she couldn't turn from one side to another without some person to lift her. Her son is now living in Dublin, and is the President of some Association.
   If a woman in Aran is milking a cow and the milk is spilled, she says, "There's some are the better for it," and I think it a very nice thought, that they don't grudge it if there is any one it does good to.
   There was a man, one Finnegan, had the knowledge how to bring it back. And one time Lanigan that lives below at Kilgarvan had all his butter taken and the milk nothing but froth rising to the top of the pail like barm. So he went to Finnegan and he bid him get the coulter of the plough, and a shoe of the wickedest horse that could be found and some other thing, I forget what. So he brought in the coulter of the plough, and his brother-in-law chanced to have a horse that was so wicked it took three men to hold him, and no one could get on his back. So he got a shoe off of him. But just at that time, Lanigan's wife went to confession, and what did she do but to tell the priest what they were doing to get back the butter. So the priest was mad with them, and bid them to leave such things alone. And when Finnegan heard it he said, "What call had she to go and confess that? Let her get back her own butter for herself any more, for I'll do nothing to help her."
   Grass makes a difference? So it may, but believe me that's not all. I've been myself in the County Limerick, where the grass is that rich you could grease your boots in it, and I heard them say there, one quart of cream ought to bring one pound of butter. And it never does. And where does the rest go to?