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Once Upon a Time there were two king’s daughters who lived in a bower near the bonny mill-dams of Binnorie.

And Sir William came wooing the elder and won her love,

and plighted troth with glove and with ring. But after a time he looked upon the younger sister, with her cherry cheeks and golden hair, and his love went out to her till he cared no longer for the elder one. So she hated her sister for taking away Sir William’s love, and day by day her hate grew and grew and she plotted add she planned how to get rid of her.

So one fine morning, fair and clear, she said to her sister, ‘Let us go and see our father’s boats come in at the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie.’ So they went there hand in hand. And when they came to the river’s bank, the younger one got upon a stone to watch for the beaching of the boats. And her sister, coming behind her, caught her round the waist and dashed her into the rushing mill-stream of Binnorie.

‘O sister, sister, reach me your hand !’ she cried, as she floated away, ‘and you shall have half of all I’ve got or shall get.’

‘No, sister, I’ll reach you no hand of mine, for I am the heir to all your land. Shame on me if I touch her hand that has come ‘twixt me and my own heart’s love.’

‘O sister, O sister, then reach me your glove !’ she cried, as she floated further away, ‘and you shall have your William again.’

‘Sink on,’ cried the cruel princess, ‘no hand or glove of mine you’ll touch. Sweet William will be all mine when you are sunk beneath the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie.’ And she turned and went home to the king’s castle.

And the princess floated down the mill-stream, sometimes swimming and sometimes sinking, till she came near the mill. Now, the miller’s daughter was cooking that day, and needed water for her cooking. And as she went to draw it from the stream, she saw something floating towards the mill-dam, and she called out, ‘Father ! father ! draw your dam. There’s something white — a merrymaid or a milk-white swan–coming down the stream.’ So the miller hastened to the dam and stopped the heavy, cruel mill-wheels. And then they took out the princess and laid her on the bank.

There Binnorie Lay

There Binnorie Lay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fair and beautiful she looked as she lay there. In her golden hair were pearls and precious stones; you could not see her waist for her golden girdle, and the golden fringe of her white dress came down over her lily feet. But she was drowned, drowned !

And as she lay there in her beauty a famous harper passed by the mill-dam of Binnorie, and saw her sweet pale face. And though he travelled on far away, he never forgot that face, and after many days he came back to the bonny mill-stream of Binnorie. But then all he could find of her where they had put her to rest were her bones and her golden hair. So he made a harp out of her breast-bone and her hair, and travelled on up the hill from the mill-dam of Binnorie till he came to the castle of the king her father.

The Harper finds Binnorie and carries her to her father's castle

The Harper finds Binnorie and carries her to her father’s castle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That night they were all gathered in the castle hall to hear the great harper–king and queen, their daughter and son, Sir William, and all their Court. And first the harper sang to his old harp, making them joy and be glad, or sorrow and weep, just as he liked. But while he sang, he put the harp he had made that day on a stone in the hall. And presently it began to sing by itself, low and clear, and the harper stopped and all were hushed.

And this is what the harp sung:

‘O yonder sits my father, the king,
Binnorie, O Binnorie;
And yonder sits my mother, the queen;
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.

‘And yonder stands my brother Hugh,
Binnorie, O Binnone;
And by him my William, false and true;
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.’

Then they all wondered, and the harper told them how he had seen the princess lying drowned on the bank near the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie, and how he had afterwards made his harp out of her hair and breast-bone. Just then the harp began singing again, and this is what it sang out loud and clear:

‘And there sits my sister who drowned me
By the bonny mill-dams o’ Binnorie.’

And the harp snapped and broke, and never sang more.


Originally published in: English Fairy Tales

ISBN:  978-1-907256-04-2

URL: http://abelapublishing.com/english-fairy-tales_p23332613.htm


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Once upon a time, an old blacksmith lived in an old forge at Craig-y-don, and he used to drink a great deal too much beer.

 

One night he was coming home from an alehouse very tipsy, and as he got near a small stream a lot of little men suddenly sprang up from the rocks, and one of them, who seemed to be older than the rest, came up to him, and said,

 

“If you don’t alter your ways of living you’ll die soon; but if you behave better and become a better man you’ll find it will be to your benefit,” and they all disappeared as quickly as they had come.

 

The old blacksmith thought a good deal about what the fairies had told him, and he left off drinking, and became a sober, steady man.

 

One day, a few months after meeting the little people, a strange man brought a horse to be shod. Nobody knew either the horse or the man.

 

The old blacksmith tied the horse to a hole in the lip of a cauldron (used for the purpose of cooling his hot iron) that he had built in some masonry.

 

When he had tied the horse up he went to shoe the off hind-leg, but directly he touched the horse the spirited animal started back with a bound, and dragged the cauldron from the masonry, and then it broke the halter and ran away out of the forge, and was never seen again: neither the horse nor its master.

 

When the old blacksmith came to pull down the masonry to rebuild it, he found three brass kettles full of money.

http://www.abelapublishing.com/welsh-fairy-tales-and-other-stories_p23332700.htm

 

ISBN: 978-1-907256-03-5

Once upon a time a lot of fairies lived in Mona.

 

One day the queen fairy’s daughter, who was now fifteen years of age, told her mother she wished to go out and see the world. The queen consented, allowing her to go for a day, and to change from a fairy to a bird, or from a bird to a fairy, as she wished.

 

When she returned one night she said:

“I’ve been to a gentleman’s house, and as I stood listening, I heard the gentleman was witched: he was very ill, and crying out with pain.”

 

“Oh, I must look into that,” said the queen.

 

So the next day she went through her process and found that he was bewitched by an old witch. So the following day she set out with six other fairies, and when they came to the gentleman’s house she found he was very ill.

 

Going into the room, bearing a small blue pot they had brought with them, the queen asked him:

 

“Would you like to be cured?”

 

“Oh, bless you; yes, indeed.”

 

Whereupon the queen put the little blue pot of perfume on the centre of the table, and lit it, when the room was instantly filled with the most delicious odour.

 

Whilst the perfume was burning, the six fairies formed in line behind her, and she leading, they walked round the table three times, chanting in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

At the end of the third round she touched the burning perfume with her wand, and then touched the gentleman on the head, saying:

 

“Be thou made whole.”

 

No sooner had she said the words than he jumped up hale and hearty, and said:

 

“Oh, dear queen, what shall I do for you? I’ll do anything you wish.”

 

“Money I do not wish for,” said the queen, “but there’s a little plot of ground on the sea-cliff I want you to lend me, for I wish to make a ring there, and the grass will die when I make the ring. Then I want you to build three walls round the ring, but leave the sea-side open, so that we may be able to come and go easily.”

 

“With the greatest of pleasure,” said the gentleman; and he built the three stone walls at once, at the spot indicated.

 

II.

 

Near the gentleman lived the old witch, and she had the power of turning at will into a hare. The gentleman was a great hare hunter, but the hounds could never catch this hare; it always disappeared in a mill, running between the wings and jumping in at an open window, though they stationed two men and a dog at the spot, when it immediately turned into the old witch. And the old miller never suspected, for the old woman used to take him a peck of corn to grind a few days before any hunt, telling him she would call for it on the afternoon of the day of the hunt. So that when she arrived she was expected.

 

One day she had been taunting the gentleman as he returned from a hunt, that he could never catch the hare, and he struck her with his whip, saying “Get away, you witchcraft!”

 

Whereupon she witched him, and he fell ill, and was cured as we have seen.

 

When he got well he watched the old witch, and saw she often visited the house of an old miser who lived nearby with his beautiful niece. Now all the people in the village touched their hats most respectfully to this old miser, for they knew he had dealings with the witch, and they were as much afraid of him as of her; but everyone loved the miser’s kind and beautiful niece.

 

III.

 

When the fairies got home the queen told her daughter:

 

“I have no power over the old witch for twelve months from to-day, and then I have no power over her life. She must lose that by the arm of a man.”

 

So the next day the daughter was sent out again to see whether she could find a person suited to that purpose.

 

In the village lived a small crofter, who was afraid of nothing; he

was the boldest man thereabouts; and one day he passed the miser without saluting him. The old fellow went off at once and told the witch.

 

“Oh, I’ll settle his cows to-night!” said she, and they were taken

sick, and gave no milk that night.

 

The fairy’s daughter arrived at his croft-yard after the cows were

taken ill, and she heard him say to his son, a bright lad:

 

“It must be the old witch!”

 

When she heard this, she sent him to the queen.

 

So next day the fairy queen took six fairies and went to the croft,

taking her blue pot of perfume. When she got there she asked the crofter if he would like his cows cured?

 

“God bless you, yes!” he said.

 

The queen made him bring a round table into the yard, whereon she placed the blue pot of perfume, and having lit it, as before, they formed in line and walked round thrice, chanting the words:

 

“Round and round three times three,

We have come to cure thee.”

 

Then she dipped the end of her wand into the perfume, and touched the cows on the forehead, saying to each one:

 

“Be thou whole.”

 

Whereupon they jumped up cured.

 

The little farmer was overjoyed, and cried:

 

“Oh, what can I do for you? What can I do for you?”

 

“Money I care not for,” said the queen, “all I want is your son to avenge you and me.”

 

The lad jumped up and said:

 

“What I can do I’ll do it for you, my lady fairy.”

 

She told him to be at the walled plot the following day at noon, and left.

 

IV.

 

The next day at noon, the queen and her daughter and three hundred other fairies came up the cliff to the green grass plot, and they carried a pole, and a tape, and a mirror. When they reached the plot they planted the pole in the ground, and hung the mirror on the pole. The queen took the tape, which measured ten yards and was fastened to the top of the pole, and walked round in a circle, and wherever she set her feet the grass withered and died. Then the fairies followed up behind the queen, and each fairy carried a harebell in her left-hand, and a little blue cup of burning perfume in her right. When they had formed up the queen called the lad to her side, and told him to walk by her throughout. They then started off, all singing in chorus:

 

“Round and round three times three,

Tell me what you see.”

 

When they finished the first round, the queen and lad stopped before the mirror, and she asked the lad what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is the witch that I see,”

said the lad. So they marched round again, singing the same words as before, and when they stopped a second time before the mirror the queen again asked him what he saw?

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is a hare that I see,”

said the lad.

 

A third time the ceremony and question were repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The hares run up the hill to the mill.”

 

“Now”, said the queen, “there is to be a hare-hunting this day week; be at the mill at noon, and I will meet you there.”

 

And then the fairies, pole, mirror, and all, vanished and only the empty ring on the green was left.

 

V.

 

Upon the appointed day the lad went to his tryst, and at noon the Fairy Queen appeared, and gave him a sling, and a smooth pebble from the beach, saying:

 

“I have blessed your arms, and I have blessed the sling and the

stone.

 

“Now as the clock strikes three,

Go up the hill near the mill,

And in the ring stand still

Till you hear the click of the mill.

Then with thy arm, with power and might,

You shall strike and smite

The devil of a witch called Jezabel light,

And you shall see an awful sight.”

 

The lad did as he was bidden, and presently he heard the huntsman’s horn and the hue and cry, and saw the hare running down the opposite hill-side, where the hounds seemed to gain on her, but as she breasted the hill on which he stood she gained on them. As she came towards the mill he threw his stone, and it lodged in her skull, and when he ran up he found he had killed the old witch. As the huntsmen came up they crowded round him, and praised him; and then they fastened the witch’s body to a horse by ropes, and dragged her to the bottom of the valley, where they buried her in a ditch. That night, when the miser heard of her death, he dropped down dead on the spot.

 

As the lad was going home the queen appeared to him, and told him to be at the ring the following day at noon.

 

VI.

 

Next day all the fairies came with the pole and mirror, each

carrying a harebell in her left-hand, and a blue cup of burning

perfume in her right, and they formed up as before, the lad walking beside the queen. They marched round and repeated the old words, when the queen stopped before the mirror, and said:

 

“What do you see?”

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

It is an old plate-cupboard that I see.”

 

A second time they went round, and the question, was repeated.

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

The back is turned to me.”

 

A third time was the ceremony fulfilled, and the lad answered

 

“I see, I see, the mirror tells me,

A spring-door is open to me.”

 

“Buy that plate-cupboard at the miser’s sale,” said the queen, and she and her companions disappeared as before.

 

VII.

 

Upon the day of the sale all the things were brought out in the

road, and the plate-cupboard was put up, the lad recognising it and bidding up for it till it was sold to him. When he had paid for it he took it home in a cart, and when he got in and examined it, he found the secret drawer behind was full of gold. The following week the house and land, thirty acres, was put up for sale, and the lad bought both, and married the miser’s niece, and they lived happily till they died.

 

————————-

From “Welsh Fairy Tales and Other Stories”

ISBN: 978-1-907256-03-5

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_wftos.html

 

 

NOTE: This tale was recorded in the field by Samuel Lover. It has been recorded verbatim, or in the vulgate i.e. Samuel Lover recorded the words exactly as they were said. He did this in order to retain the local manner and flavour of the tale. Now, enough from me. Read on……

 

Beside the River Liffey stands the picturesque ruins of a mill, overshadowed by some noble trees, that grow in great luxuriance at the water’s edge. Here, one day, I was accosted by a silver-haired old man that for some time had been observing me, and who, when I was about to leave the spot, approached me and said: “I suppose it’s after takin’ off the ould mill you’d be, sir?”

 

I answered in the affirmative.

 

“Maybe your honour id let me get a sight iv it,” said he.

 

“With pleasure,” said I, as I untied the strings of my portfolio, and drawing the sketch from amongst its companions, presented it to him. He considered it attentively for some time, and at length exclaimed:

 

“Throth, there it is, to the life–the broken roof and the wather-coorse; ay, even to the very spot where the gudgeon of the wheel was wanst, let alone the big stone at the corner, that was laid the first by himself;” and he gave the last word with mysterious emphasis, and handed the drawing back to me with a “thankee, sir!” of most respectful acknowledgment.

 

“And who was ‘himself,” said I, “that laid that stone?” feigning ignorance, and desiring to “draw him out,” as the phrase is.

 

“Oh, then, maybe it’s what you’d be a stranger here?” said he

 

“Almost,” said I.

 

“And you never hear tell of L–‘s mill,” said he, “and how it was built?”

 

“Never,” was my answer.

 

“Throth, then, I thought young and ould, rich and poor, knew that–far and near.”

 

“I don’t, for one,” said I; “but perhaps,” I added, bringing forth some little preparation for a lunch that I had about me, and producing a small flask of whisky–” perhaps you will be so good as to tell me, and take a slice of ham, and drink my health,” offering him a dram from my flask, and seating myself on the sod beside the river.

 

“Thank you kindly, sir,” says he; and so, after “warming his heart,” as be said himself, he proceeded to give an account of the mill in question.

 

“You see, sir, there was a man wanst, in times back, that owned a power of land about here – but God keep us, they said he didn’t come by it honestly, but did a crooked turn whenever ’twas to sarve himself–and sure he sould the pass, and what luck or grace could he havw afther that?”

 

“How do you mean be sold the pass?” said I.

 

“Oh, sure your honour must have head how the pass was sould, and he bethrayed his king and counthry.”

 

“No, indeed,” said I.

 

“Och, well,” answered my old informant, with a shake of the head, which he meant, like Lord Burleigh in the Critic, to be very significant, “it’s no matther now, and I don’t care talkin’ about it; and laist said is soonest mended–howsomever, he got a power of money for that same, and lands and what not; but the more he got, the more he craved, and there was no ind to his sthrivin’ for goold evermore, and thirstin’ for the lucre of gain.

 

“Well, at last, the story goes, the divil (God bless us!) kem to him, and promised him hapes o’ money, and all his heart could desire, and more too, if he’d sell his soul in exchange.”

 

“Surely he did not consent to such a dreadful bargain as that?” said I.

 

“Oh, no, sir,” said the old man, with a slight play of muscle about the corners of his mouth, which, but that the awfulness of the subject suppressed it, would have amounted to a bitter smile–” oh, no, he was too cunnin’ for that, bad as he was–and he was bad enough, God knows–he had some regard for his poor sinful sowl, and he would not give himself up to the divil, all out; but the villian, he thought he might make a bargain with the ould chap, and get all he wanted, and keep himself out of harm’s way still; for he was mighty cute–and throth, he was able for Ould Nick any day.

 

“Well, the bargain was struck, and it was this-a-way: The divil was to give him all the goold ever he’d ask for, and was to let him alone as long as he could; and the timpter promised him a long day, and said ‘twould be a great while before he’d want him, at all, at all; and whin that time kem, he was to keep his hands aff him, as long as the other could give him some work be couldn’t do.

 

“So when the bargain was made, ‘Now,’ says ‘the Colonel to the divil, ‘give me all the money I want.’

 

“As much as you like,’ says Ouid Nick. ‘How much will you have?’

 

“You must fill me that room,’ says he, pointin’ into a murtherin’ big room, that he emptied out on purpose–‘you must fill me that room,’ says be, ‘up to the very ceilin’ with goolden guineas.’

 

“‘And welkim,’ says the divil.

 

“With that, sir, he began to shovel in the guineas into the room like mad; and the Colonel towld him, that as soon as he was done, to come to him in his own parlour below, and that he would then go up and see if, the divil was as good as his word, and had filled the room with the goolden guineas. So the Colonel went downstairs, and the ould fellow worked away as busy as a nailer,  shovellin’ in the guineas by hundherds and thousands.

 

“Well, he worked away for an hour and more, and at last he began to get tired; and he thought it mighty odd that the room wasn’t fillin’ fasther. Well, afther restin’ for a while, he began agin, and he put his shouIdher to the work in airnest; but still the room was no fuller, at all, at all.

 

“‘Och! bad luck to me,’ says the divil; ‘but the likes of this I never seen,’ says he, ‘far and near, up and down–the dickens a room I ever kem across afore,’ says he, ‘I couldn’t cram while a cook would be crammin’ a turkey, till now; and here I am,’ says he ‘losin’ my whole day, and I with such a power o’ work an my hands yit, and this room no fuller than if I began five minutes ago.’

 

“By gor, while he was spakin’, be seen the hape o’ guineas in the middle of the flure growing littler and littler every minit; and at last they wor disappearing, for all the world, like corn in the hopper of a mill.

 

“Ho! ho!’ says Ould Nick, ‘is that the way wid you,’ says he; and with that he run over to the hape of goold–and what would you think, but it was runnin’ down through a great big hole in the flure that the Colonel made through the ceilin’ in the room below; and that was the work he was at afther he left the divil, though he purtended he was only waitin’ for him in his parlour; and there the divil, when he looked down through the hole in the flure, seen the Colonel, not content with the two rooms full of guineas, but with a big shovel throwin’ them into a closet a one side of him as fast as they fell down. So putting his head through the hole, he called down to the Colonel:

 

“‘Hillo! neighbour,’ says he.

 

“The Colonel look up, and grew as white as a sheet when he seen he was found out, and the red eyes starin’ down at him through the hole.

 

“‘Musha, bad luck to your impudence!’ says Ould Nick; ‘is It sthrivin’ to chate me you are,’ says he, ‘you villain?’

 

“Oh! forgive me this wanst,’ says the Colonel, ‘and upon the honour of a gintleman,’ says he, ‘I’ll never–‘

 

“‘Whisht! whisht! you thievin’ rogue,’ says the divil, ‘I’m not angry with you, at all, at all; but only like you the betther, bekase you’re so cute. Lave off slaving yourself there,’ says he, ‘you have got goold enough for this time; and whenever you want more, you have only to say the word, and it shall be yours at command.’

 

“So, with that the divil and he parted for that time; and myself doesn’t know whether they used to meet often afther or not; but the Colonel never wanted money, anyhow, but went on prosperous in the world–and as the saying is, if he took the dirt out o’ the road, it id turn to money wid him; and so, in coorse of time, he bought great estates, and was a great man entirely–not a greater in Ireland, throth.”

 

Fearing here a digression on landed interest, I interrupted him to ask how he and the fiend settled their accounts at last?

 

“Oh, sir, you’ll hear that all in good time. Sure enough it’s terrible, and wondherful it is at the ind, and mighty improvin’ – glory be to God!”

 

“Is that what you say,” said I, in surprise, ” because a wicked and deluded man lost his soul to the tempter?”

 

“Oh, the Lord forbid, your honour! but don’t be impatient, and you’ll hear all. They say, at last, after many years of prosperity, that the old Colonel got stricken in years, and he began to have misgivin’s in his conscience for his wicked doin’s, and his heart was heavy as the fear of death came upon him; and sure enough, while he had such mournful thoughts, the dlvii kern to him, and tould him he should go meld hiss.

 

“Well to be sure the ould man was frekened, but he plucked up his courage and his cuteness, and towld the divil, in a bantherin’ way, jokin’ like, that he had partic’lar business thin, that he was goin’ to a party, and hoped an ould friend wouldn’t inconvaynience him, that a-way–”

 

“Well,” said I, laughing at the “put off” of going to a party, “the devil, of course would take no excuse, and carried him off in a flash of fire?”

 

“Oh, no, sir,” answered the old man, in something of a reproving, or, at least, offended tone – ” that’s the finish, I know very well, of many a story such as we’re talkin’ of, but that’s not the way of this, which is thruth every word, what I tell you.”

 

“I beg your pardon for the interruption,” said I.

 

“No offince in life, sir,” said the venerable chronicler, who was now deep in his story, and would not be stopped.

 

“Well, sir,” continued he, “the divil said he’d call the next day, and that he must be ready; and sure enough, in the evenin’ he kem to him; and when the Colonel seen him, he reminded him of his bargain that as long as he could give him some work he couldn’t do, he wasn’t obleeged to go.

 

“‘That’s thrue,’ says the divil.

 

“‘I’m glad you’re as good as your word, anyhow,’ says the Colonel.

 

“‘I never bruk my word yit,’ says the ould chap, cocking up his horns consaitedly–‘ honour bright,’ says he.

 

“‘Well, then,’ says the Colonel, ‘build me a mill, down there by the river,’ says he, ‘and let me have it finished by to-morrow mornin’.’

 

“‘Your will is my pleasure,’ says the ould chap, and away he wint; and the Colonel thought he had nick’d Ould Nick at last, and wint to bed quite aisy in his mind.

 

“But, jewel machree, sure the first thing he heerd the next mornin’ was, that the whole counthry round was runnin’ to see a fine bran-new mill, that was an the riverside, where, the evenin’ before, not a thing at all, at all but rushes was standin’, and all, of coorse, woudherin’ what brought it there; and some sayin ’twas not lucky, and many more throubled in their mind, but one and all agreein’ it was no good; and that’s the very mill forniust you, that you were takin’ aff and the stone that I noticed is a remarkable one–a big coign-stone–that they say the divil himself laid first, and has the mark of four fingers and a thumb an it, to this day.

 

“But when the Colonel heerd it, he was more throubled than any, of coorse, and began to conthrive what else he could think iv, to keep himself out iv the claws of the ould one. Well he often heerd tell that there was one thing the divil never could do, and I dar say you beard it too, sir–that is, that he couldn’t make a rope out of the sands of the sae; and so when the ould one kem to him the next day and said his job was done, and that now the mill was built, he must either tell him somethin’ else he wanted done, or come away wid him.

 

“So the Colonel said he saw it was all over wid him; ‘but,’ says he,’ I wouldn’t like to go wid you alive, and sure, it’s all the same to you, alive or dead?’

 

“‘Oh, that won’t do,’ says his frind; ‘I can’t wait no more,’ says he.

 

“‘I don’t want you to wait, my dear frind,’ says the Colonel; “all I want is, that you’ll be plazed to kill me before you take me away.’

 

“‘With pleasure,” says Ould Nick.

 

“‘But will you promise me my choice of dyin’ one partic’lar way?’ says the Colonel.

 

“‘Half a dozen ways, if it plazes you,’ says he.

 

“‘You’re mighty obleegin’, says the Colonel; ‘and so,’ says he, ‘I’d rather die by bein’ hanged with a rope made out of the sands of the sae,’ says he, lookin’ mighty knowin’ at the ould fellow.

 

‘I’ve always one about me,’ says the divil, ‘to obleege my frinds,’ says he; and with that he pull out a rope made of sand, sure enough.

 

“‘Oh, it’s game you’re makin’,’ says the Colonel, growin’ as white as a sheet.

 

“‘The game is mine, sure enough,’ says the ould fellow, grinnn’, with a terrible laugh.

 

“‘That’s not a sand-rope at all,’ says the Colonel.

 

“‘Isn’t it?’ says the divil, hittin’ him acrass the face with the ind iv the rope, and the sand (for it was made of sand, sure enough) went into one of his eyes, and made the tears come with the pain.

 

“‘That bates all I ever seen or heerd,’ says the Colonel, sthrivin’ to rally, and make another offer–‘ is there anything you can’t do?’

 

“‘Nothin’ you can tell me,’ says the divil,’ ‘so you may as well lay, off your palaverin’, and come along at wanst.’

 

“‘Will you give me one more offer?’ says the Colonel.

 

“‘You don’t deserve it,’ says the divil, ‘but I don’t care if I do;’ for you see, sir, be was only playin’ wid him, and tantalising the ould sinner.

 

“‘All fair,’ says the Colonel, and with that he ax’d him could he stop a woman’s tongue.

 

“‘Thry me,’ says Ould Nick.

 

“‘Well, then,’ says the Colonel, ‘make my lady’s tongue be quiet for the next month, and I’ll thank you.’

 

“‘She’ll never throuble you agin,’ says Ould Nick; and with that the Colonel heerd roarin’ and cryin’, and the door of his room was throwin’ open, and in ran his daughter, and fell down at his feet, telling him her mother had just dhropped dead.

 

“The minit the door opened, the divil runs and hides himself behind a big elbow-chair; and the Colonel was frekened almost out of his siven sinses, by raison of the sudden death of his poor lady, let alone the jeopardy he was in himself, seein’ how the divil had forestall’d him every way; and after ringin’ his bell, and callin’ to his servants, and recoverin’ his daughter out of her faint, he was goin’ away wid her out o’ the room, whin the divil caught hould of him by the skirt of the coat, and the Colonel was obleeged to let his daughter be carried out by the servants, and shut the door afther them.

 

“‘Well,’ says the divil, and he grinn’d and wagg’d his tail, and all as one as a dog when he’s plaz’d–‘ what do you say now?’ says he.

 

“‘Oh,’ says the Colonel, ‘only lave me alone antil I bury my poor wife,’ says he, ‘and I’ll go with you then, you villian,’ says he.

 

“‘Don’t call names,’ says the divil; ‘you had better keep a civil tongue in your head,’ says he; ‘and it doesn’t become a gintleman to forget good manners.’

 

“Well, sir, to make a long story short, the divil purtended to let him off, out of kindness, for three days, antil his wife was buried; but the raison of it was this, that when the lady, his daughter, fainted, be loosened the clothes about her throat, and in pulling some of her dhrees away, he tuk off a gould chain that was an her neck, and put it in his pocket, and the chain had a diamond crass on it, the Lord be praised! and the divil darn’t touch him while he had the sign of the crass about him.

 

“Well, the poor Colonel, God forgive him! was grieved for the loss of his lady, and she had an iligant berrin, and they say that when the prayers was readin’ over the dead, the ould Colonel took it to heart like anything, and the word o’ God kem home to his poor sinful sowl at last.

 

“Well,’ sir, to make a long story short, the ind if it was that for the three days o’ grace that was given to him the poor deluded ould sinner did nothin’ at all but read the Bible from mornin’ till night, and bit or sup didn’t pass his lips all the time, he was so intint upon the holy Book, but sat up in an ould room in the far ind of the house, and bid no one disturb him an no account, and struv to make his heart bould with the words iv life; and sure it was somethin’ strinthened him at last, though as the time drew nigh that the inimy was to come, he didn’t feel aisy. And no wondher! And, by dad! the three days was past and gone in no time, and the story goes that at the dead hour o’ the night, when the poor sinner was readin’ away as fast as he could, my jew’l! his heart jumped up to his mouth at gettin’ a tap on the shoulder.

 

“‘Oh, murther!’ says he. ‘Who’s there?’ for he was afeard to look up.

 

“‘It’s me,’ says the ould one, and he stood right forninst him, and his eyes like coals o’ fire lookin’ him through, and he said, with a voice that a’most split his ould heart: ‘Come!’ says he.

 

“‘Another day!’ cried out the poor Colonel.

 

“‘Not another hour,’ says Sat’n.

 

“‘Half an hour?’

 

“‘Not a quarther,’ says the divil, grinnin’, ‘with a bitther laugh. ‘Give over your readin’, I bid you,’ says he, ‘and come away wid me.’

 

“‘Only gi’ me a few minits,’ says he.

 

“‘Lave aff your palavering, you snakin’ ould sinner,’ says Sat’n. ‘You know you’re bought and sould to me, and a purty bargain I have o’ you, you ould baste,’ says he, ‘so come along at wanst,’ and he put out his claw to ketch him; but the Colonel tuk a fast hould o’ the Bible,’ and begg’d hard that he’d let him alone, and wouldn’t harm him antil the bit o’ candle that was just blinkin’ in the socket before him was burned out.

 

“‘Well, have it so, you dirty coward!’ says Ould Nick, and with that he spit an him.

 

“But the poor ould Colonel didn’t lose a minit–for he was cunnin’ to the ind–but snatched the little taste o’ candle that was forninst him out o’ the candlestick, and puttin’ it an the holy Book before him, he shut down the cover of it and quinched the light. With that the divil gave a roar like, a bull, and vanished in a flash o’ fire, and the poor Colonel fainted away in his chair; but the sarvants heerd the noise–for the divil tore aff the roof o’ the house when he left it–and run into the room, and brought their master to himself agin. And from that day out he was an althered man, and used to have the Bible read to him every day, for be couldn’t read himself any more, by raison of losin’ his eyesight when the divil hit him with the rope of sand in the face, and afther spit an him–for the sand wint into one eye, and he lost the other that-away, savin’ your presence.

 

“So you see, sir, afther all, the Colonel, undher heaven, was “too able for the divil, and by readin’ the good Book his sowl was saved, and, glory be to God! isn’t that mighty improvin’?

———————-

From Legends and Stories of Ireland – compiled and edited by Samuel Lover

ISBN: 978-1-907256-01-1

URL: http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_lsi.html

 

 

Once upon a time, long, long ago, there were two brothers, the one rich and the other poor. When Christmas Eve came, the poor one had not a bite in the house, either of meat or bread; so he went to his brother, and begged him, in God’s name, to give him something for Christmas Day. It was by no means the first time that the brother had been forced to give something to him, and he was not better pleased at being asked now than he generally was.

“If you will do what I ask you, you shall have a whole ham,” said he. The poor one immediately thanked him, and promised this.

“Well, here is the ham, and now you must go straight to Dead Man’s Hall,” said the rich brother, throwing the ham to him.

“Well, I will do what I have promised,” said the other, and he took the ham and set off. He went on and on for the livelong day, and at nightfall he came to a place where there was a bright light.

“I have no doubt this is the place,” thought the man with the ham.

An old man with a long white beard was standing in the outhouse, chopping Yule logs.

“Good-evening,” said the man with the ham.

“Good-evening to you. Where are you going at this late hour?” said the man.

“I am going to Dead Man’s Hall, if only I am on the right track,” answered the poor man.

“Oh! yes, you are right enough, for it is here,” said the old man. “When you get inside they will all want to buy your ham, for they don’t get much meat to eat there; but you must not sell it unless you can get the hand-mill which stands behind the door for it. When you come out again I will teach you how to stop the hand-mill, which is useful for almost everything.”

So the man with the ham thanked the other for his good advice, and rapped at the door.

When he got in, everything happened just as the old man had said it would: all the people, great and small, came round him like ants on an ant-hill, and each tried to outbid the other for the ham.

“By rights my old woman and I ought to have it for our Christmas dinner, but, since you have set your hearts upon it, I must just give it up to you,” said the man. “But, if I sell it, I will have the hand-mill which is standing there behind the door.”

At first they would not hear to this, and haggled and bargained with the man, but he stuck to what he had said, and the people were forced to give him the hand-mill. When the man came out again into the yard, he asked the old wood-cutter how he was to stop the hand-mill, and when he had learned that, he thanked him and set off home with all the speed he could, but did not get there until after the clock had struck twelve on Christmas Eve.

“Where in the world have you been?” said the old woman. “Here I have sat waiting hour after hour, and have not even two sticks to lay across each other under the Christmas porridge-pot.”

“Oh! I could not come before; I had something of importance to see about, and a long way to go, too; but now you shall just see!” said the man, and then he set the hand-mill on the table, and bade it first grind light, then a table-cloth, and then meat, and beer, and everything else that was good for a Christmas Eve’s supper; and the mill ground all that he ordered. “Bless me!” said the old woman as one thing after another appeared; and she wanted to know where her husband had got the mill from, but he would not tell her that.

“Never mind where I got it; you can see that it is a good one, and the water that turns it will never freeze,” said the man. So he ground meat and drink, and all kinds of good things, to last all Christmas-tide, and on the third day he invited all his friends to come to a feast.

Now when the rich brother saw all that there was at the banquet and in the house, he was both vexed and angry, for he grudged everything his brother had. “On Christmas Eve he was so poor that he came to me and begged for a trifle, for God’s sake, and now he gives a feast as if he were both a count and a king!” thought he. “But, for heaven’s sake, tell me where you got your riches from,” said he to his brother.

“From behind the door,” said he who owned the mill, for he did not choose to satisfy his brother on that point; but later in the evening, when he had taken a drop too much, he could not refrain from telling how he had come by the hand-mill. “There you see what has brought me all my wealth!” said he, and brought out the mill, and made it grind first one thing and then another. When the brother saw that, he insisted on having the mill, and after a great deal of persuasion got it; but he had to give three hundred dollars for it, and the poor brother was to keep it till the haymaking was over, for he thought: “If I keep it as long as that, I can make it grind meat and drink that will last many a long year.” During that time you may imagine that the mill did not grow rusty, and when hay-harvest came the rich brother got it, but the other had taken good care not to teach him how to stop it. It was evening when the rich man got the mill home, and in the morning he bade the old woman go out and spread the hay after the mowers, and he would attend to the house himself that day, he said.

So, when dinner-time drew near, he set the mill on the kitchen-table, and said: “Grind herrings and milk pottage, and do it both quickly and well.”

So the mill began to grind herrings and milk pottage, and first all the dishes and tubs were filled, and then it came out all over the kitchen-floor. The man twisted and turned it, and did all he could to make the mill stop, but, howsoever he turned it and screwed it, the mill went on grinding, and in a short time the pottage rose so high that the man was like to be drowned. So he threw open the parlour door, but it was not long before the mill had ground the parlour full too, and it was with difficulty and danger that the man could go through the stream of pottage and get hold of the door-latch. When he got the door open, he did not stay long in the room, but ran out, and the herrings and pottage came after him, and it streamed out over both farm and field. Now the old woman, who was out spreading the hay, began to think dinner was long in coming, and said to the women and the mowers: “Though the master does not call us home, we may as well go. It may be that he finds he is not good at making pottage and I should do well to help him.” So they began to straggle homeward, but when they had got a little way up the hill they met the herrings and pottage and bread, all pouring forth and winding about one over the other, and the man himself in front of the flood. “Would to heaven that each of you had a hundred stomachs! Take care that you are not drowned in the pottage!” he cried as he went by them as if Mischief were at his heels, down to where his brother dwelt. Then he begged him, for God’s sake, to take the mill back again, and that in an instant, for, said he: “If it grind one hour more the whole district will be destroyed by herrings and pottage.” But the brother would not take it until the other paid him three hundred dollars, and that he was obliged to do. Now the poor brother had both the money and the mill again. So it was not long before he had a farmhouse much finer than that in which his brother lived, but the mill ground him so much money that he covered it with plates of gold; and the farmhouse lay close by the sea-shore, so it shone and glittered far out to sea. Everyone who sailed by there now had to be put in to visit the rich man in the gold farmhouse, and everyone wanted to see the wonderful mill, for the report of it spread far and wide, and there was no one who had not heard tell of it.

After a long, long time came also a skipper who wished to see the mill. He asked if it could make salt. “Yes, it could make salt,” said he who owned it, and when the skipper heard that, he wished with all his might and main to have the mill, let it cost what it might, for, he thought, if he had it, he would get off having to sail far away over the perilous sea for freights of salt. At first the man would not hear of parting with it, but the skipper begged and prayed, and at last the man sold it to him, and got many, many thousand dollars for it. When the skipper had got the mill on his back he did not stay there long, for he was so afraid that the man would change his mind, and he had no time to ask how he was to stop it grinding, but got on board his ship as fast as he could.

When he had gone a little way out to sea he took the mill on deck. “Grind salt, and grind both quickly and well,” said the skipper. So the mill began to grind salt, till it spouted out like water, and when the skipper had got the ship filled he wanted to stop the mill, but whichsoever way he turned it, and how muchsoever he tried, it went on grinding, and the heap of salt grew higher and higher, until at last the ship sank. There lies the mill at the bottom of the sea, and still, day by day, it grinds on; and that is why the sea is salt.

 

From The Blue Fairy Book

ISBN: 9781907256905

 

http://www.abelapublishing.com/cg_bfb.html

 

 

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