Folklore on the Coasts of Connacht, Ireland.
newborn child was wrapped in a cloak by two men and carried away to the Fairy Hall. She touched her eye with the fairies' ointment and saw a crowd of her neighbours' supposed-dead children who told her that they could not return till Doomsday. One also told her that the men were waiting to steal her child till the candle she had lit should go out, and bade her tell his mother that he was alive. He gave her a leaf to crush when in trouble, and she found herself outside of the Hill, returning home, to find her child dying, she crushed the leaf and the infant recovered. The leaf was put into an amulet. (5) A changeling, found playing pipes behind a tub of meal, was put on a shovel over the fire and vanished. (6) The wife of a man named Dermot seemed to die of a fever; her daughter died a year and a day after and eventually her son got ill of a similar fever. A girl went to the well to get water for him and saw a dark shadow resembling the boy's mother. The shade told her to go home and she would see a black cock on the bed. She was to get the blood of a crowing hen (I hope to give some notes on these ominous birds in Section XVIII.) gather ten straws, throw away one and stir the blood and lay it by the boy. This was done and the child recovered. (7) A wilder tale was told where a similar charm was done; the child's mother had killed a kitten to use its blood as a cure. Then two great black cats appeared asking how the woman dared kill their only child to save her own. They attacked and tore the family and some neighbours who came to help in a fierce fray and routed them badly torn. Suddenly the cats stopped and said, "You are punished enough, your baby will live, for death can only take one child, and this we swear by the blood and by the power of the great king of the cats"—they vanished, and the child recovered. I found no similar story in the islands, but, in a Co. Limerick tale, weasels attempt to avenge their young and yet act with strict moderation and justice. Supernatural cats are common in Irish mythology, and I have found belief in "King Cats," one dwelling in the sidh or holy mound of Rathcroaghan in Co. Roscommon and one in the tumulus of Dowth in Co. Meath. The first appears to have been worshipped, like the divine horse, at a mound in
- Ancient Cures, p. 151.