Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/220

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


2o6 Collectanea.

one to make the cure.' (Puff.) But he wouldn't." (Two or three puffs — as diplomatic as a newspaper controversialist who replies to his opponent of a Saturday — to give me time to appreciate his foolishness.) " Over he trots himself in the evening, and he fasted her and he hurricaned her with this and with that. (Puff.) That was Monday. And on Wednesday he skinned her, so he did, with his nose in the air and his knowledgeableness and all. But next time a baste is sthruck, never fear, he'll not spare shoe-leather. People may be talkin' and talkin', but when it comes to the bit " The sen- tence as a sentence hung fire ; but the meaning was rendered unmistakeable by energetic head-shakings.

I did not annoy my old friend by telling him that Mr. M. was still as unregenerate as ever, and like very many others had no faith in "cures." What one does not know never bothers one.

As soon as the diagnosis is declared, the proximate prepara- tions for the cure are taken in hand. If you fancy anything of worth can be effected without much trouble, you are but young in the world.

First a runner tears off for the "three-mearne-water," if the Cattle-Doctor has not come provided with a bottleful — a thing a self-respecting professional would rarely do. He is strictly charged to scoop up the water against the stream, and on no account to speak to any one going or coming. Else he would have to make the journey over again. ^

The messenger so commissioned is usually a "cub" {i.e. a young lad) — who is much better away from the intervening little festivities. And it is a curious fact that the " gorsoon " about the place that is "souplest" is never the one whose services are commandeered for this duty.

^ On this condition they do not insist so much in Leitrim as in parts of Cavan, about Bailieborough, for instance. One too astute old gentleman I know of, who further thinks it right to draw the water up "in the name of the King of the Fairies." His "cure" indeed has no essential resem- blance to the one above described, and my own opinion is strong that amongst Elf-Doctors he is a genuine and conscious humbug, and all his passes and mummeries mere devices " to make a fat bit for himself."