Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/215

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Collectanea. 201

cure entrusted to them, and jealously guarded; nor could they be reasoned, or coaxed, or threatened into promising its abandonment. If they do no good, they do no harm. Better perhaps to let them die out in peace, poor fellows, not brow- beat and worry them with our assumed superior sense and knowledge.

There is too, let me say, living a few townlands off, another "Doctor" minus the diploma, Lackey Gallagher. He is like- wise a speciahst, his special line being the cure of the ring- worm. Lackey's birth endowed him with his powers : he is a seventh son. Further, he is the seventh son of a seventh son, i.e. his father before him was too a seventh son, and this rare natal peculiarity is supposed to leave a man outside the confines of the merely human, if anything does. He is an old, a very old, man now, just dying in fact of mere old age, and under my special care; I see him every week. As a Doctor, he has cured and kept himself, for one, in good health for nigh on a century, an achievement Sir Christopher Nixon himself might well envy. In all his 95 years he never once was laid up, or knew what sickness was ! Some days ago I was shown by his grandson an " alt " ^ beside his house down which ten years ago he chanced to tumble, wild-cat fashion, and he carrying a load of hay on his back. " It was every other fall between the load of hay and himself," said the grandson, " till he soused into the river. Then he got up and climbed up the alt again load and all on his back, and it never took a feather out of him. In fact he put no wonder at all in it."

In February or April of this year I buried a younger brother of his, Peter Gallagher. There were three or four brothers between him and Lackey and he was only 86, but a most robust youngster, the best framed man, for a small man, ever I saw in my life, and the picture of an old veteran of perfect health of merely about 60, hardly a grey hair in his head. Last harvest, I saw him mowing away every day in late summer — the severest labour on a farm — and wet or dry it was all the same to him. A young fellow of about 20 came to me in the

^ Leitrim term for ravine with a river at the bottom of it.