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Authors: Joseph Jacobs

Celtic Fairy Tales (10 page)

BOOK: Celtic Fairy Tales
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"You will not get me," said the hound, "until you get a bit of
butter to put in my claw." He came to the butter. "What news to-
day?" says the butter. "It's my own news I'm seeking. Going looking
for butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer
to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a
rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the butter, "until you get a cat who
shall scrape me." He came to the cat. "What news to-day?" said the
cat. "It's my own news I'm seeking. Going looking for a cat, cat to
scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer,
deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut
a rod, a rod to make a gad, gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get me," said the cat, "until you will get milk which
you will give me." He came to the cow. "What news to-day?" said the
cow. "It's my own news I'm seeking. Going looking for a cow, cow to
give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter,
butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim
water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod
to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every
one."

"You will not get any milk from me," said the cow, "until you bring
me a whisp of straw from those threshers yonder." He came to the
threshers. "What news to-day?" said the threshers. "It's my own news
I'm seeking. Going looking for a whisp of straw from ye to give to
the cow, the cow to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat
to scrape butter, butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer,
deer to swim water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut
a rod, a rod to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my
raspberries every one."

"You will not get any whisp of straw from us," said the threshers,
"until you bring us the makings of a cake from the miller over
yonder." He came to the miller. "What news to-day?" said the miller.
"It's my own news I'm seeking. Going looking for the makings of a
cake which I will give to the threshers, the threshers to give me a
whisp of straw, the whisp of straw I will give to the cow, the cow
to give me milk, milk I will give to the cat, cat to scrape butter,
butter to go in claw of hound, hound to hunt deer, deer to swim
water, water to wet flag, flag to edge axe, axe to cut a rod, a rod
to make a gad, a gad to hang Manachar, who ate my raspberries every
one."

"You will not get any makings of a cake from me," said the miller,
"till you bring me the full of that sieve of water from the river
over there."

He took the sieve in his hand and went over to the river, but as
often as ever he would stoop and fill it with water, the moment he
raised it the water would run out of it again, and sure, if he had
been there from that day till this, he never could have filled it. A
crow went flying by him, over his head. "Daub! daub!" said the crow.

"My blessings on ye, then," said Munachar, "but it's the good advice
you have," and he took the red clay and the daub that was by the
brink, and he rubbed it to the bottom of the sieve, until all the
holes were filled, and then the sieve held the water, and he brought
the water to the miller, and the miller gave him the makings of a
cake, and he gave the makings of the cake to the threshers, and the
threshers gave him a whisp of straw, and he gave the whisp of straw
to the cow, and the cow gave him milk, the milk he gave to the cat,
the cat scraped the butter, the butter went into the claw of the
hound, the hound hunted the deer, the deer swam the water, the water
wet the flag, the flag sharpened the axe, the axe cut the rod, and
the rod made a gad, and when he had it ready to hang Manachar he
found that Manachar had BURST.

Gold-Tree and Silver-Tree
*

Once upon a time there was a king who had a wife, whose name was
Silver-tree, and a daughter, whose name was Gold-tree. On a certain
day of the days, Gold-tree and Silver-tree went to a glen, where
there was a well, and in it there was a trout.

Said Silver-tree, "Troutie, bonny little fellow, am not I the most
beautiful queen in the world?"

"Oh! indeed you are not."

"Who then?"

"Why, Gold-tree, your daughter."

Silver-tree went home, blind with rage. She lay down on the bed, and
vowed she would never be well until she could get the heart and the
liver of Gold-tree, her daughter, to eat.

At nightfall the king came home, and it was told him that Silver-
tree, his wife, was very ill. He went where she was, and asked her
what was wrong with her.

"Oh! only a thing—which you may heal if you like."

"Oh! indeed there is nothing at all which I could do for you that I
would not do."

"If I get the heart and the liver of Gold-tree, my daughter, to eat,
I shall be well."

Now it happened about this time that the son of a great king had
come from abroad to ask Gold-tree for marrying. The king now agreed
to this, and they went abroad.

The king then went and sent his lads to the hunting-hill for a he-
goat, and he gave its heart and its liver to his wife to eat; and
she rose well and healthy.

A year after this Silver-tree went to the glen, where there was the
well in which there was the trout.

"Troutie, bonny little fellow," said she, "am not I the most
beautiful queen in the world?"

"Oh! indeed you are not."

"Who then?"

"Why, Gold-tree, your daughter."

"Oh! well, it is long since she was living. It is a year since I ate
her heart and liver."

"Oh! indeed she is not dead. She is married to a great prince
abroad."

Silver-tree went home, and begged the king to put the long-ship in
order, and said, "I am going to see my dear Gold-tree, for it is so
long since I saw her." The long-ship was put in order, and they went
away.

It was Silver-tree herself that was at the helm, and she steered the
ship so well that they were not long at all before they arrived.

The prince was out hunting on the hills. Gold-tree knew the long-
ship of her father coming.

"Oh!" said she to the servants, "my mother is coming, and she will
kill me."

"She shall not kill you at all; we will lock you in a room where she
cannot get near you."

This is how it was done; and when Silver-tree came ashore, she began
to cry out:

"Come to meet your own mother, when she comes to see you," Gold-tree
said that she could not, that she was locked in the room, and that
she could not get out of it.

"Will you not put out," said Silver-tree, "your little finger
through the key-hole, so that your own mother may give a kiss to
it?"

She put out her little finger, and Silver-tree went and put a
poisoned stab in it, and Gold-tree fell dead.

When the prince came home, and found Gold-tree dead, he was in great
sorrow, and when he saw how beautiful she was, he did not bury her
at all, but he locked her in a room where nobody would get near her.

In the course of time he married again, and the whole house was
under the hand of this wife but one room, and he himself always kept
the key of that room. On a certain day of the days he forgot to take
the key with him, and the second wife got into the room. What did
she see there but the most beautiful woman that she ever saw.

She began to turn and try to wake her, and she noticed the poisoned
stab in her finger. She took the stab out, and Gold-tree rose alive,
as beautiful as she was ever.

At the fall of night the prince came home from the hunting-hill,
looking very downcast.

"What gift," said his wife, "would you give me that I could make you
laugh?"

"Oh! indeed, nothing could make me laugh, except Gold-tree were to
come alive again."

"Well, you'll find her alive down there in the room."

When the prince saw Gold-tree alive he made great rejoicings, and he
began to kiss her, and kiss her, and kiss her. Said the second wife,
"Since she is the first one you had it is better for you to stick to
her, and I will go away."

"Oh! indeed you shall not go away, but I shall have both of you."

At the end of the year, Silver-tree went to the glen, where there
was the well, in which there was the trout.

"Troutie, bonny little fellow," said she, "am not I the most
beautiful queen in the world?"

"Oh! indeed you are not."

"Who then?"

"Why, Gold-tree, your daughter."

"Oh! well, she is not alive. It is a year since I put the poisoned
stab into her finger."

"Oh! indeed she is not dead at all, at all."

Silver-tree, went home, and begged the king to put the long-ship in
order, for that she was going to see her dear Gold-tree, as it was
so long since she saw her. The long-ship was put in order, and they
went away. It was Silver-tree herself that was at the helm, and she
steered the ship so well that they were not long at all before they
arrived.

The prince was out hunting on the hills. Gold-tree knew her father's
ship coming.

"Oh!" said she, "my mother is coming, and she will kill me."

"Not at all," said the second wife; "we will go down to meet her."

Silver-tree came ashore. "Come down, Gold-tree, love," said she,
"for your own mother has come to you with a precious drink."

"It is a custom in this country," said the second wife, "that the
person who offers a drink takes a draught out of it first."

Silver-tree put her mouth to it, and the second wife went and struck
it so that some of it went down her throat, and she fell dead. They
had only to carry her home a dead corpse and bury her.

The prince and his two wives were long alive after this, pleased and
peaceful.

I left them there.

King O'Toole and His Goose
*

Och, I thought all the world, far and near, had heerd o' King
O'Toole—well, well, but the darkness of mankind is untellible!
Well, sir, you must know, as you didn't hear it afore, that there
was a king, called King O'Toole, who was a fine old king in the old
ancient times, long ago; and it was he that owned the churches in
the early days. The king, you see, was the right sort; he was the
real boy, and loved sport as he loved his life, and hunting in
particular; and from the rising o' the sun, up he got, and away he
went over the mountains after the deer; and fine times they were.

Well, it was all mighty good, as long as the king had his health;
but, you see, in course of time the king grew old, by raison he was
stiff in his limbs, and when he got stricken in years, his heart
failed him, and he was lost entirely for want o' diversion, because
he couldn't go a-hunting no longer; and, by dad, the poor king was
obliged at last to get a goose to divert him. Oh, you may laugh, if
you like, but it's truth I'm telling you; and the way the goose
diverted him was this-a-way: You see, the goose used to swim across
the lake, and go diving for trout, and catch fish on a Friday for
the king, and flew every other day round about the lake, diverting
the poor king. All went on mighty well until, by dad, the goose got
stricken in years like her master, and couldn't divert him no
longer, and then it was that the poor king was lost entirely. The
king was walkin' one mornin' by the edge of the lake, lamentin' his
cruel fate, and thinking of drowning himself, that could get no
diversion in life, when all of a sudden, turning round the corner,
who should he meet but a mighty decent young man coming up to him.

"God save you," says the king to the young man.

"God save you kindly, King O'Toole," says the young man.

"True for you," says the king. "I am King O'Toole," says he, "prince
and plennypennytinchery of these parts," says he; "but how came ye
to know that?" says he.

"Oh, never mind," says St. Kavin.

You see it was Saint Kavin, sure enough—the saint himself in
disguise, and nobody else. "Oh, never mind," says he, "I know more
than that. May I make bold to ask how is your goose, King O'Toole?"
says he.

"Blur-an-agers, how came ye to know about my goose?" says the king.

"Oh, no matter; I was given to understand it," says Saint Kavin.

After some more talk the king says, "What are you?"

"I'm an honest man," says Saint Kavin.

"Well, honest man," says the king, "and how is it you make your
money so aisy?"

"By makin' old things as good as new," says Saint Kavin.

"Is it a tinker you are?" says the king.

"No," says the saint; "I'm no tinker by trade, King O'Toole; I've a
better trade than a tinker," says he—"what would you say," says he,
"if I made your old goose as good as new?"

My dear, at the word of making his goose as good as new, you'd think
the poor old king's eyes were ready to jump out of his head. With
that the king whistled, and down came the poor goose, just like a
hound, waddling up to the poor cripple, her master, and as like him
as two peas. The minute the saint clapt his eyes on the goose, "I'll
do the job for you," says he, "King O'Toole."

"By
Jaminee
!" says King O'Toole, "if you do, I'll say you're
the cleverest fellow in the seven parishes."

"Oh, by dad," says St. Kavin, "you must say more nor that—my horn's
not so soft all out," says he, "as to repair your old goose for
nothing; what'll you gi' me if I do the job for you?—that's the
chat," says St. Kavin.

"I'll give you whatever you ask," says the king; "isn't that fair?"

"Divil a fairer," says the saint; "that's the way to do business.
Now," says he, "this is the bargain I'll make with you, King
O'Toole: will you gi' me all the ground the goose flies over, the
first offer, after I make her as good as new?"

"I will," says the king.

"You won't go back o' your word?" says St. Kavin.

BOOK: Celtic Fairy Tales
12.6Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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