Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 16, 1905.djvu/399

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Collectanea. 349

circle takes a short stick in her hand, representing the handle of a quern, with which she slowly imitates the motions of grinding, repeating time after time " Bleth O Chailleach " (Grind O old woman). Gradually she increases the rapidity of her movement, shortening what she says to " Bleth e " till hand and tongue are going as fast as she can make them. Another of the company now joins in saying, " Bail, bail, bail. Tha fear an tighe ag radh, ho, ha, ho, a' Chailleach aig am brath. Bail, bail, bail. Tha fear a' tighinn ga iarruidh." (Multure, multure, multure. The man of the house says ho, ha, ho, old woman at the mill. Multure, multure, multure. A man is coming to seek it.)

The Cailleach at the mill still keeping her hand going, asks " De 'n t-aodach bha air" (What clothes were on him), to which the other replies, " Lurach, larach, sean chroicinn. Bail, bail, bail. Tha fear ga iarruidh." (Lurach, larach, an old skin. Multure, multure, multure. A man is coming to seek it.) The player who took the back seat now comes forward in the character of a beggar suitably attired as described. He asks his share of the meal, he and the Cailleach having to settle the amount in an extemporized conversation. When this is finished, others take their turn, continuing the game.

We have translated bail 'multure,' which properly represents the miller's claim in recompense for his trouble, but bail is an old word used for the portion to be set apart for charitable distribu- tion, so it was translated in Barra and O'Donovan O'Reilly's Irish Dictionary interprets it the same way. It seems to be connected with the word mal^ fnail, ' rent ' ' tribute.' The ' old skin litrach ' seems to go back to the time when leather coats were worn for defensive purposes, luireach, lorica, ' battle harness.'

R. C. Maclagan.

( To be co/itifiued. )