Daniel O'Rourke's wonderful voyage to the moon (1)

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Daniel O'Rourke's wonderful voyage to the moon (1) (1850s)
3204729Daniel O'Rourke's wonderful voyage to the moon (1)1850s

Daniel O’Rourke’s





or the

Adventures of Billy MacDaniel.



Wonderful Voyage to the Moon.

PEOPLE may have heard of the renowned adventures of Daniel O’Rourke, but how few are there who know that the cause of all his perils above and below, was neither more nor less than his having slept under the walls of the Phooka's tower. I knew the man well; he lived at the bottom of Hungry Hill, just at the right hand side of the road as you go towards Bantry. An old man was he at the time that he told me the story, with grey hair, and a red nose; and it was on the 25th of June, 1813, that I heard it from his own lips, as he sat smoking his pipe under the old poplar tree, on as fine an evening as ever shone from the sky. I was going to visit the caves in Dursey Island, having spent the morning at Glengariff.

'I am often axed to tell it, sir,' said he, 'so that this is not the first time. The master’s son, you see, had come from beyond foreign parts in France and Spain, as young gentlemen used to go, before Buonaparte or any such was heard of; and sure enough there was a dinner given to all the people on the ground, gentle and simple, high and low, rich and poor. The ould gentlemen were the gentlemen, alter all, saving your honour’s presence. They’d swear at a body a little, to be sure, and, may be, give one a cut of a whip now and, then but we were no losers by it in the end;—and they were so easy and civil, and kept such rattling houses, and thousands of welcomes;—and there was no grinding for rent, and few agents; and there was hardly a tenant on the estate that did not taste of his landlord’s bounty often and often in the year;—but now it’s another thing; no matter for that, sir, for I'd better be telling you my story.

Well, we had every think of the best, and plenty of it; and we ate, and we drank, and we danced, and the young master by the same token danced with Peggy Barry, from the Bohereen—a lovely young couple they were, though they are both long enough now. To make a long story short, I got, as a body may say, the same thing as tipsy almost, for I can’t remember ever at all, no ways, how I left the place: only I did leave it that's certain. Well, I thought, for all that, in myself, I’d just step to Molly Cronohan’s, the fairy woman, to speak a word about the bracket heifer that was bewitched; and so as I was crossing the stepping stones at the ford of Ballyashenogh, and was looking up at the stars and blessing myself—for why? it was Lady-day—I missed my foot, and souse, I fell into the water. ‘Death alive !’ thought I, ‘I'll be drowned now!’ However, I began swimming, swimming, swimming away for the dear life, till at last I got ashore somehow or other, but never the one of me can tell how, upon a dissolute island.

I wandered and wandered about there, without knowing where I wandered, until at last I got into a big bog. The moon was shining as bright as day, or your fair lady's eyes, sir, (with your pardon for mentioning her,) and I looked east and west, and north and south, and every way, and nothing did I see but bog, bog, bog;—I could never find out how I got into it; and my heart grew cold with fear, for sure and certain I was that it would be my berrin place. So I sat down upon a stone which, as good luck would have it was close by me, and I began to scratch my head and sing the Ullagon—when all of a sudden the moon grew black, and I looked up, and saw something for all the world as if it was moving down between me and it, and I could not tell what it was. Down it came with a pounce, and looked at me full in the face; and what was it but an eagle? as fine a one as ever flew from the kingdom of Kerry. So he looked at me in the face, and says he to me, 'Daniel O’Rourke,' says he, 'how do you do?' 'Very well, I thank you,' say I: 'I hope you’re well;' wondering out of my senses all the time how an eagle came to speak like a Christian. 'What brings you here, Dan?' says he. 'Nothing at all, sir,' says I: only I wish I was safe home again.' 'Is it out of the island you want to go, Dan?' says he. '’Tis, sir,’ says I: so I up and told him how I had taken a drop too much, and fell into the water; how I swam to the island; and how I got into the bog and did not know my way out of it. 'Dan,' says he, after a minute’s thought, 'though it is very improper for you to get drunk on Lady-day, yet as you are a decent sober man, who ’tends mass well, and never flings stones at me or mine, nor eries out after us in the fields—my life for yours,’ says he 'so get up on my back, and grip me well, for fear you’d fall off, and I’ll fly you out of the bog.’—'I am afraid,' says I, 'your honour’s making game of me; for who ever heard of riding a horseback on an eagle before?' 'Pon the honour of a gentleman,’ says he, putting his right foot on his breast 'I am quite in earnest: and so now either take my offer or starve in the bog—besides, I see that your weight is sinking the stone.

It was true enough as he said, for I found the stone every minute going from under me. I had no choice; so thinks I to myself, faint heart never won fair lady, and this is fair persuadance:—I thank your honour, says I, for the loan of your civility; and I'll take your kind offer. I therefore mounted upon the back of the eagle, and held him tight enough by the throat, and up he flew in the air like a lark. Little I knew the trick he was going to serve me. Up—up—up—God knows how far up he flew. Why, then, said I, to him—thinking he did not know the right road home—very eivily, because why?—I was in his power entirely;—sir, says I, please your honour’s glory, and with humble submission to your better judgment, if you’d fly down a bit, you’re now just over my cabin, and I eould be put down there, and many thanks to your worship.

Arrah, Dan, said he, do you think me a fool? Look down in the next field, and don’t you see two men and a gun? By my word it would be no joke to be shot this way, to oblige a drunken blackguard that I picked up off a could stone in a bog. Bother you, said I to myself, but I did not speak out, for where was the use? Well, sir, up he kept, flying, flying, and I asking him every minute to fly down, and all to no use. Where in the world are you going, sir? says I to him.—Hold your tongue, Dan, says he; mind your own business, and don’t be interfering with the business of other people—Faith, this is my business, I think, says I. Be quiet, Dan, says he; so I said no more.

At last where should we come to, but to the moon itself. Now you can’t see it from this, but there is, or there was in my time a reaping-hook sticking out of the side of the moon, this way, (drawing the figure on the ground with the end of his stick.)

Dan, said the eagle, I’m tired with this long fly; I had no notion 'twas so far. And, my lord, sir, said I, who in the world axed you to fly so far?—was it I? did I not beg, and pray, and beseech you to stop half an hour ago? There’s no use talking, Dan, said he; I’m tired bad enough, so you must get off, and sit down on the moon until I rest myself. Is it sit down on the moon? said I; is it upon that little round thing, then? why, then, sure I’d fall off, in a minute, and be kilt and split, and smashed all to bits;—you are a vile deceiver, so you are. Not at all, Dan, said he; you can catch fast hold of the reaping-hook that’s sticking out of the side of the moon, and ’twill keep you up. I won’t, then, said I. May be not, said he, quite quiet. If you don’t, my man, I shall just give you a shake, and one slap of my wing, and send you down to the ground, where every bone in your body will be smashed as small as a drop of dew on a cabbage-leaf in the morning. Why, then, I’m in a fine way, said I to myself ever to have come along with the likes of you, and so giving him a hearty curse in Irish, for fear he’d know what I said, I got off his back with a heavy heart, took a hold of the reaping-hook, and saw down upon the moon, and a mighty cold seat it was, I can tell you that.

When he had me there fairly landed, he turned about on me, and said, Good morning to you Daniel O’Rourke, said he; I think I’ve nicked you fairly now. You robbed my nest last year ('twas true enough for him, but how he found it out is hard to say,) and in return you are freely welcome to cool your heels dangling upon the moon like a cockthrow.

Is that all, and is this the way you leave me, you brute, you? says I. You ugly unnatural baste, and is this the way you serve me at last? Bad luck to yourself, with your hooked nose, and to all your breed, you blackguard. ’Twas all to no manner of use : he spread out his great big wings, burst out a laughing, and flew away like lightning. I bawled after him to stop; but I might have called and bawled for ever, without his minding me. Away he went, and I never saw him from that day to this—sorrow fly away with him! You may be sure I was in a disconsolate condition, and kept roaring out for the bare grief, when all at ance a door opened right in the middle of the moon, creaking on its hinges as if it had not been opened for a month before. I suppose they never thought of greasing ’em, and out there walks—who do you think but the man in the moon himself? I knew him by his bush.

Good morrow to you, Daniel O’Rourke, said he. How do you do? Very well, thank your honour, said I. I hope your honour’s well.—What brought you here, Dan? said he. So I told him how I was a little overtaken in liquor at the master’s, and how I was cast on a dissolute island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and how the thief of an eagle promised to fly me out of it, and how instead of that he had fled me up to the moon.

Dan, said the man in the moon, taking a pinch of snuff when I was done, you must not stay here. Indeed, sir, says I, 'tis much against my will I’m here at all; but how am I to go back? That’s your business, said he, Dan: mine is to tell you that here you must not stay, so be off in less than no time. I’m doing no harm, says I, only holding on hard by the reaping-hook, lest I fall off. That’s what you must not do, Dan, says he. Pray, sir, says I, may I ask how many you are in family, that you would not give a poor traveller lodgings: I’m sure ’tis not so often you’re troubled with strangers coming to see you, for 'tis a long way. I’m by myself, Dan, says he; but you’d better let go the reaping-hook. Faith, and with your leave, says I, I’ll not let go the grip, and the more you bids me, the more I won't let go;—so I will.—You had better, Dan, says he again. Why, then, my little fellow, says I, taking the whole weight of him with my eye from head to foot, there are two words to that bargain; and I'll not budge, but you may if you like. We'll see how that is to be, says he; and back he went, giving the door such a great bang after him, (for it was plain he was huffed,) that I thought the moon and all would fall down with it.

Well, I was preparing myself to try strength with him, when back again he comes, with the kitchen clever in his hand, and without saying a word, he gives two bangs to the handle of the reaping-hook that was keeping me up, and whap!it came in two. Good morning to you Dan, says the spiteful little old blackguard, when he saw me cleanly falling down with a bit of the handle in my hand; I thank you for your visit, and fair weather after you, Daniel. I had no time to make any answer to him, for I was tumbling over and over, and rolling and rolling at the rate of a fox-hunt. Gold help me, says I, but this is a pretty pickle for a decent man to be seen in at this time of night; I am now sold fairly. The word was not out of my mouth when whiz! what should fly by close to my ear but a flock of wild geese; all the way from my own bog of Ballyasheenough, else how should they know me? the ould gander, who was their general, turning about his head, cried out to me, Is that you, Dan? The same, said I, not a bit daunted now at what he said, for I was by this time used to all kinds of bedivelment, and, besides, I knew him of ould. Good morrow to you, says he, Daniel O’Rourke: how are you in health this morning? Very well, sir, says I, I thank you kindly, drawing my breath, for I was mightily in want of some. I hope your honour's the same. I think ’tis falling you are, Daniel, says he. You may say that, sir, says I. And where are you going all the way so fast? said the gander. So I told him how I had taken the drop, and how I came on the island, and how I lost my way in the bog, and bow the thief of an eagle flew me up to the moon, and how the man in the moon turned me out. Dan, said he, I’ll save you : put yor hand out and catch me by the leg, and I’ll fly you home. Sweet is your hand in a pitcher of honey, wy jewel, says I, though all the time I thought in myself, that I don’t much trust you; but there was no help, so I caught the gander by the leg, and away I and the other geese flew after him as fast as hops.

We flew, and we flew, and we flew, until we came right over the wide ocean. I knew it well, for I saw Cape Clear to my right hand, sticking up out of the water. Ah! my lord, said I to the goose, for I thought it best to keep a civil tongue in my head any way, fly to land if you please. It is impossible, you see, Dan, said he, for a while, because you see we are going to Arabia. To Arabia! said I; that’s surely some place in foreign parts, far away. Oh! Mr Goose: why then, to be sure, I’m a man to be pited among you.—Whist, whist, you fool, said he, hold your tongue; I tell you Arabia is a very decent sort of place, as like West Carbery as one egg is like another, only there is a little more sand there.

Just as we were talking, a ship hove in sight, scudding so beautiful before the wind: Ah! then, sir, said I, will you drop me on the ship, if you please? We are not fair over it, said he. We are, said I. We are not, said he: if I dropped you now, you would go splash into the sea. I would not, says I; I know better than that, for it is just clean under us, so let me drop now at once.

If you must, you must, said he. There, take your own way; and he opend his claw, and faith he was right—sure enough I came down plump into the very bottom of the salt sea! Down to the very bottom I went, and I gave myself up then for ever, when a whale walked up to me, scratching himself after his night’s rest, and looked me full in the face, and never the word did he say; but lifting up his tail, he splashed me all over again with the cold salt water, till there wasn’t a dry stitch upon my whole carcase; and I heard somebody saying—’twas a voice I knew too—Get up, you drunken brute, out of that; and with that I woke up, and there was Judy with a tub full of water which she was splashing all over me;—for, rest her soul! though she was a good wife, she never could bear to see me in drink, and had a bitter hand of her own.

Get up, said site again; and of all places in the parish, would no place sarve your turn to lie down upon but under the ould walls of Corrigaphooka? an uneasy resting I am sure you had of it. And sure enough I had; for I was fairly bothered out of my senses with eagles, and men of the moons, and flying ganders, and whales driving me through bogs, and up to the moon, and down to the bottom of the great ocean. If I was in drink ten times over, long would it be before I’d lie down in the same spot again, I know that.



The Adventures of Billy MacDaniel.

BILLY MACDANIEL was once as likely a young man as ever shook his brogue at a patron, emptied a quart, or handled a shillelagh; fearing for nothing but the want of drink; caring for nothing but who should pay for it; and thinking of nothing but how to make fun over it; drunk or sober, a word and a blow was ever the way with Billy MacDaniel; and a mighty easy way it is of either getting into or of ending a dispute. More is the pity that, through the means of his thinking, and fearing, and caring for nothing, this same Billy MacDaniel fell into bad company; for surely the good people are the worst of all company any one could come across.

It so happened that Billy was going home one clear frosty night not long after Christmas; the moon was round and bright; but although it was as fine a night as heart could wish for, he felt pinched with the cold. By my word, chattered Billy, a drop of good liquor would be no bad thing to keep a man’s soul from freezing in him; and I wish I had a full measure of the best.

Never wish it twice, Billy, said a little man in a three-eornered hat, bound all about with gold lace, and with great silver buckles in his shoes, so big that it was a wonder how he could carry them, and he held out a glass as big as himself, filled with as good liquor, as ever eye looked on or lip tasted.

Success, my little fellow, said Billy MacDaniel, nothing daunted, though well he knew the little man to belong to the good people; here’s your health, any way, and thank you kindly; no matter who pays for the drink; and he took the glass and drained it to the very bottom, without ever taking a seeond breath to it.

Success, said the little man; and you're heartily welcome, Billy: but don't think to cheat me as you have done others,—out with your purse and pay me like a gentleman.

Is it I pay you? said Billy; could I not just take you up and put you in my pocket as easily as a blackberry?

Billy MaeDaniel, said the little man, getting very angry, you shall be my servant for seven years and a day, and that is the way I will be paid; so make ready to follow me.

When Billy heard this, he began to be very sorry for having used such bold words towards the little man; and he felt himself, yet could not tell how, obliged to follow the little man the live-long night about the country, up and down, and over hedge and ditch, and through bog and brake without any rest.

When morning began to dawn, the little man turned round to him and said, You may now go home, Billy, but on your peril dont fail to meet me in the Fort-field to-night; or if you do, it may be the worse for you in the long run. If I find you a good servant, you will find me an indulgent master.

Home went Billy MacDaniel; and though he was tired and weary enough never a wink of sleep could he get for thinking of the little man; but he was afraid not to do his bidding, so up he got in the evening, and away he went to the Fort-field. He was not long there before the little man came towards him and said, Billy, I want to go a long journey to-night; so saddle one of my horses and you may saddle another for yourself, as you are to go along with me, and may be tired after your walk last night.

Billy thought this very considerate of his master, and thanked him accordingly. But, said he If I may be so hold, sir, I would ask which is the way to your stable, for never a thing do I see but the fort here, and the old thorn-tree in the corner of the field, and the stream running at the bottom of the hill, with the bit of bog over against us.

Ask no questions, Billy, said the little man, but go over to that bit of bog, and bring me two of the strongest rushes you can find.

Billy did accordingly, wondering what the little man would be at; and he picked out two of the stoutest rushes he could find, with a little bunch of brown blossom stuck at each side of each, and brought them back to his master.

Get up, Billy, said the little man, taking one of the rushes from him and striding across it.

Where shall I get up, please your honour? said Billy.

Why, upon horsebaek, like me, to be sure, said the little man.

Is it after making a fool of me you’d be, said Billy, bidding me get a horeback upon that bit of a rush? May be you want to persuade me that the rush I pulled but a while ago out of the bog over there is a horse?

Up! up! and no words, said the little man, looking very angry; the best horse you ever rode was but a fool to it. So Billy, thinking all this was in joke and fearing to vex his master, straddled across the rush: Borram! Borram! Borram! cried the little man three times, (which, in Engglish, means to become great,) and Billy did the same after him: presently the rushes, swelled up into fine horses, and away they went full speed; but Billy, who had put the rush between his legs without minding much how he did it, found himself sitting on horseback the wrong way, which was rather awkward, with his face to the horse’s tail; and so quickly had his steed started off with him, that he had no power to turn round, and there was therefore nothing for it but to hold on by the tail.

At last they came to their journey’s end, and stopped at the gate of a fine house: Now, Billy, said the little man, do as you see me do, and follow me close; but as you do not know your horse’s head from his tail, mind that your own head does not spin round until you can’t tell whether you are standing on it or on your heels; for remember that old liquor, though able to make a cat speak, can make a man dumb.

The little man then said some queer kind of words, out of which Billy could make no meaning, but he contrived to say them after him for all that; and in they both went through the key-hole of the door, and through one key-hole after another, until they got into the wine-cellar which was well stored with all kinds of wine.

The little man fell to drinking as hard as he could, and Billy, noway disliking the example, did the same. The best of masters are you, surely, said Billy to him; no matter who is the next; and well pleased will I be with your service if you continue to give me plenty to drink.

I have made no bargain with you, said the little man, and will make none; but up and follow me. Away they went, through key-hole after key-hole; and each mounting upon the rush which he left at the hall door, scampered off, kicking the clouds before them like snow-balls, as soon as the words Borram, Borram, Borram, had passed their lips.

When they came back to the Fort-field, the little man dismissed Billy, bidding him to be there the next night at the same hour. Thus did they go on, night after night, shaping their course one night here, and another night there—sometimes north and sometimes east, and sometimes south, until there was not a gentleman's wine-cellar in all Ireland they had not visited, and could tell the flavour of every wine in it as well—ay, better than the butler himself.

One night when Billy MacDaniel met the little man as usual in the Fort-field, and was going to the bog to fetch the horses for their journey, his master said to him, Billy, I shall want another horse to-night, for may be we may bring back more company with us than we take. So Billy, who knew better than to question any order given to him by his master, brought a third rush, much wondered who it might be that would travel back in the company, and whether he was about to have a fellow servant. I have, thought Billy, he shall go and fetch the horses from the bog every night; for I don’t see why I am not, every inch of me, as good a gentleman as my master.

Well, away they went, Billy leading the third horse, and never stopped till they came to a snug farmer’s house in the county Limerick, close under the old castle of Carrigoggunniel, that was built, they say by the great Brian Boru. Within the house there was great carousing going forward, and the little man stopped outside for some time to listen; then turning round all of a sudden, said, Billy, I will be a thousand years old to-morrow!

God bless us, sir, said Billy, will you?

Don’t say these words again, Billy, said the little man, or you will be my ruin for ever.—Now, Billy, as I will be a thousand years in the world to-morrow, I think it is full time for me to get married.

I think so too, without any kind of doubt at all, said Billy, if ever you mean to marry.

And to that purpose, said the little man, have I come all the way to Carrigoggunniel: for in this house, this very night, is young Darby Riley going to be married to Bridget Rooney; and as she is a tall and comely girl, and has come of decent people, I think of marrying her myself, and taking her off with me.

And what will Darby Riley say to that? said Billy.

Silence! said the little man, putting on a mighty severe look; I did not bring you here with me to ask questions; and without holding farther argument, he began saying the queer words, which had the power of passing him through the key-hole as free as air, and which Billy thought himself mighty clever to be aide to say after him.

In they both went; and for the better viewing the company, the little man perched himself up as nimbly as a cock-sparrow upon one of the big beams which went across the house over all their heads, and Billy did the same upon another facing him; but not being much accustomed to roosting in such a place, his legs hung down as untidy as may be, and it was quite clear he had not taken pattern after the way in which the little man had bundled himself up together. If the little man had been a tailor all his life, he could not have sat more contentedly upon his haunches

There they were both, master and man, looking down upon the fun that was going forward—and under them were the priest and piper—and the father of Darby Riley, with Darby’s two brothers and his uncle’s son—and there were both father and the mother of Bridget Rooney, and proud enough the old couple were that night of their daughter, as good right they had—and her four sisters with brawn new ribbons in their caps, and her three brothers all looking as clean and clever as any three boys in Munster—and there were uncles and aunts, and gossips and cousins enough besides to make a full house of it—and plenty was there to eat and drink on the table for every one of them, if they had been double the number.

Now it happened, just as Mrs Rooney had helped his reverence to the first cut of the pig’s head which was placed before her, beautifully bolstered up with white saveys, that the bride gave a sneeze which made every one at the table start, but not a soul said ‘God bless us.’ All thinking that the priest would have done so, as he ought if he had done his duty, no one wished to take the word out of his mouth, which unfortunately was preoccupied with pig’s head and greens. And after a moment’s pause, the fun and merriment of the bridal feast went on without the pious benediction.

Of this circumstance both Billy and his master were no inattentive spectators from their exalted stations. Ha! exclaimed the little man, throwing one leg from under him with a joyous flourish, and his eye twinkled with a strange light, whilst his eyebrows became elevated into the curvature of Gothic arches—Ha! said he, leering down at the bride, and then up at Billy, I have half of her now, surely. Let her sneeze but twice more, and she is mine, in spite of priest, mass-book, and Darby Riley.

Again the fair Bridget sneezed, but it was so gently, and she blushed so much, that few except the little man took, or seemed to take, any notice; and no one thought of saying ‘God bless us.’

Billy all this time regarded the poor girl with a most rueful expression of countenance; for he could not help thinking what a terrible thing it was for a nice young girl of nineteen, with large blue eyes, transparent, skin, and dimpled cheeks suffused with health and joy, to be obliged to marry an ugly little bit of a man, who was a thousand years old, barring a day.

At this critical moment the bride gave a third sneeze, and Billy roared out with all his might, ‘God save us !’ whether this exclamation resulted from his soliloquy, or from the mere force of habit, he could never tell exactly himself; but no sooner was it uttered, than the little man, his face glowing with rage and disappointment, sprang from the beam on which he had perched himself, and shrieking out in the shrill voice of a cracked bagpipe, I discharge you my service, Billy MacDaniel—take that for your wages, gave poor Billy a most furious kick on the back, which sent his unfortunate servant sprawling upon his face and hands right in the middle of the supper table.

If Billy was astonished, how much more so was every one of the company into which he was thrown with so little ceremony; but when they heard his story, Father Cooney laid down his knife and fork, and married the young couple out of hand with all speed; and Billy MacDaniel danced the Rinka at their wedding, and plenty did he drink at it too, which was what he thought more of than dancing.

This mode of travelling through the air upon rushes is of common occurrence in fairy history;—a straw, a blade of grass, a fern, or cabbage stalk, are equally well adapted for steeds. The writer has been told of many men who were obliged, like Billy MacDaniel, to give way and keep company with the good people; to use the words of the narrator, going far and near with them, day and night—to London one night, and to America the next; and the only horses they made use of for these great journeys were cabbage stumps in the form of natural horses.

At Dundaniel, a village two miles from Cork, in a pleasant outlet, called Blackrock, there is now (Dec. 1818) living a gardener, named Crowley, who is considered by his neighbours as under fairy control, and is suffering from what they term ‘the falling sickness,’ resulting from the fatigue attendant on the journeys which he is compelled to take, being forced to travel night after night with the good people on one of his own cabbage stumps.

The Witch of Fife furnishes an apt illustration,

The first leet night, quhan the new moon set,
Quhan all was douff and mirk,
We saddled our naigies wi’ the moon-fern leif,
And rode fra Kilmerrin kirk.
Some horses ware of the brume-cow framit,
And some of the greine bay tree ;
But mine was made of an humieke schaw,
And a stout stallion was he.

This ballad of Mr Hogg’s appears to be founded on the traditional anecdote recorded of one of the Duffus family, who by means of the phrase, ‘Horse and Hattock,’ equivalent in effect to the words ‘Borram, Borram, Borram,’ joined company with the fairies on a trip to examine the king of France’s winee-cellar, where, having drunk too freely, he fell asleep and was so found the next day, with a silver cup in his hand. The sequal informs us, that on being brought before the, king, his majesty not only most graciously pardoned the offender, but dismissed him with the wine-cup as a present, which is said to be still preserved in the family.

A similar tradition is very common in Ireland, particularly in the county Galway, and is evidently the basis on which Billy MacDaniel's adventure has been constructed.

In every tiny dingle there was a hundred of wry-mouthed goblins.—So says D. ab Gwilym, in his address to the Mist, 1340.

These fairies are often’ inclined to play tricks with the less pure inhabitants of the mountains, who hazard to ramble in misty weather; they will seize hold of any forlorn traveller they meet with, and propose to give him a lift through the air, and they offer the choice of one out of three courses; that is he may be carried below wind, above wind, or mid wind. Those who are need to these journeys take care to choose the middle eourse; for, should any one unused to such things choose to go above wind, he will be borne so high as to despair of ever alighting again on the earth; and any ignorant wight who prefers to be carried below wind is dragged through all the brambles and briers that they ean find. A lawyer with a broken nose, and otherwise disfigured, continues the learned doetor, used to relate in my hearing, when a boy, of such having been his lot, and which he bore the marks, and was consequently called Y Trwyn or ‘the Nosy.’ This I remember had such an effeet upon me, that if I walked in a mist, I took good eare to walk on the grass, in ease there should be need to catch hold of a blade of it, which the fairies had not the power to break.

Such being the pranks of Welsh fairies, it is not to be wondered at that the valiant Sir John Falstaff should feel so partieularly dismayed at discovering one in eompany with the wiekedly disposed elves of Herne’s Oak. (Merry Wives of Windsor, Aet V. seene 5) ‘Heavens defend me,’ exclaims the knight, ‘from that Welsh fairy, lest she transform me into a pieee of eheese!'

The young eouple, whose happiness would doubtless have been destroyed by the little man but for Billy MacDaniel's pious exclamation, are probably the identieal pair whose eourtship is as particularly detailed in a popular song, of which the annexed verse may serve as a specimen.

'Young Darby Riley,
He approached my slyly,
And with a smile he
Unto me cried,
Sweet Bridget Rooney,
Here’s Father Goeney,
And very soon he
’ll make you my bride.

The Rinka (correctly written Rinceadh) which Billy, to whom they were so much indebted, danced at their wedding, is the national dance of Ireland; for a particular account of which the reader is referred to the conclusion of Mr Walker’s Historical Essay on the Irish Bards.

Carrigoguniel Castle is an extensive ruin, five or six miles west of the city of Limerick: it may be discribed by the words of the old poet, Thomas Churchyard—

A fort of strength, a strong and stately hold
It was at first, though now it is full old.
On rock alone full farre from other mount.
It stands, which shows it was of great account.

During the last siege of Limerick, this castle was garrisoned by the adherents of James II but was surrendered by them without defence, although it was so tenable a position that the beseigers deemed it expedient to blow it up. The violent effect of the explosion is still evident in the delapidated remains of Carrigoguniel. Massive fragments of the walls and towers lie scattered around in a confusion not unpicturesque; and it is matter of some difficulty to trace the original plan. A view of Carrigoguniel is given in the second volume of Grose’s Antiquities of Ireland.


"She is not dead—she has no grave—
She lives beneath Lough Corrib’s water;
And in the murmur of each wave
Methinks I catch the songs I taught her."

Thus many an evening on the shore
Sat Cormac raving wild and lowly;
Still idly muttering o'er and o’er,
"She lives, detain’d by spells unholy.

"Death claims her not, too fair for earth,
Her spirit lives—alien of heaven;
Nor will it know a second birth
When sinful mortals are forgiven!

"Cold is the rock—the wind comes chill,
And mists the gloomy water cover;
But oh! her soul is colder still—
To lose her God—to leave her lover!"

The lake was in profound repose,
Yet one white wave came gently curling,
And as it reach’d the shore, arose
Dim figures—banners gay unfurling.

Onward they move an airy crowd;
Through each thin form a moonlight ray shone;
While spear and helm, in pageant proud,
Appear in liquid undulation.

Bright barbed steels curvetting tread
Their trackless way with antic capers:
And curtain clouds hang overhead,
Festoon’d by rainbow-colour’d vapours.

And when a breath of air would stir
That drapery of Heaven’s own wreathing,
Light wings of primsy gossamer
Just moved and sparkled to the breathing.

Nor wanting was the choral song,
Swelling in silv’ry chimes of sweetness;
To sound of which this subtile throng
Advanced in playful grace and fleetness.

With music’s strain all came and went
Upon poor Cormac’s doubting vision;
Now rising in wild merriment,
Now softly fading in derision.

"Christ, save her soul!" he boldly cried;
And when that blessed name was spoken;
Fierce yells and fiendish shrieks replied,
And vanished all,—the spell was broken.

And now on Corib’s lonely shore,
Freed from his word from power of faery,
To life, to love, restored once more,
Young Cormac welcomes back his Mary.


This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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