The sheep brings forth a lamb with a white forehead,
This is paid to the lord for a righteousness sheep.
The sow farrows pigs,
They go to the spit of the lord.
The hen lays eggs,
They go into the lord’s frying-pan.
The cow drops a male calf,
That goes into the lord’s herd as a bull.
The mare foals a horse foal,
That must be for my lord’s nag.
The boor’s wife has sons,
They must go to look after my lord’s poultry.
—Thady’s language in this instance is a specimen of a mode of rhetoric common in Ireland. An astonishing assertion is made in the beginning of a sentence, which ceases to be in the least surprising, when you hear the qualifying explanation that follows. Thus a man who is in the last stage of staggering drunkenness will, if he can articulate, swear to you—’Upon his conscience now, and may he never stir from the spot alive if he is telling a lie, upon his conscience he has not tasted a drop of anything, good or bad, since morning at-all-at-all, but half a pint of whisky, please your honour.’
GLOSSARY 11. FAIRY MOUNTS
—Barrows. It is said that these high mounts were of great service to the natives of Ireland when Ireland was invaded by the Danes. Watch was always kept on them, and upon the approach of an enemy a fire was lighted to give notice to the next watch, and thus the intelligence was quickly communicated through the country. Some years ago, the common people believed that these barrows were inhabited by fairies, or, as they called them, by the good people. ’Oh, troth, to the best of my belief, and to the best of my judgment and opinion,’ said an elderly man to the Editor, ’it was only the old people that had nothing to do, and got together, and were telling stories about them fairies, but to the best of my judgment there’s nothing in it. Only this I heard myself not very many years back from a decent kind of a man, a grazier, that, as he was coming just fair and easy (quietly) from the fair, with some cattle and sheep, that he had not sold, just at the church of —–at an angle of the road like, he was met by a good-looking man, who asked him where he was going? And he answered, “Oh, far enough, I must be going all night.” “No, that you mustn’t nor won’t (says the man), you’ll sleep with me the night, and you’ll want for nothing, nor your cattle nor sheep neither, nor your beast (horse); so come along with me.” With that the grazier lit (alighted) from his horse, and it was dark night; but presently he finds himself, he does not know in the wide world how, in a fine house, and