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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 271 pages of information about The Ned M'Keown Stories.

     “It’s known, Every night at a certain hour one of the
     witnesses—­an’ they’re all sogers, by the way—­must come out
     to look for the sign that’s to come.”

     “An’ what is that, Barney?”

“It’s the fiery cross; an’ when he sees one on aich of the four mountains of the north, he’s to know that the same sign’s abroad in all the other parts of the kingdom.  Beal Derg an’ his men are then to waken up, an’ by their aid the Valley of the Black Pig is to be set free forever.”

     “An’ what is the Black Pig, Barney?”

     “The Prospitarian church, that stretches from Enniskillen to
     Darry, an’ back again from Darry to Enniskillen.”

     “Well, well, Barney, but prophecy is a strange thing, to be
     sure!  Only think of men livin’ a thousand years!”

“Every night one of Beal Derg’s men must go to the mouth of the cave, which opens of itself, an’ then look out for the sign that’s expected.  He walks up to the top of the mountain, an’ turns to the four corners of the heavens, to thry if he can see it; an’ when he finds that he cannot, he goes back to Beal Derg. who, afther the other touches him, starts up and axis him, ‘Is the time come?’ He replies, ’No; the man is, but the hour is not!’ an’ that instant they’re both asleep again.  Now, you see, while the soger is on the mountain top, the mouth of the cave is open, an’ any one may go in that might happen to see it.  One man it appears did, an’ wishin’ to know from curiosity whether the sogers were dead or livin’, he touched one of them wid his hand, who started up an’ axed him the same question, ’Is the time come?’ Very fortunately he said, ‘No;’ an’ that minute the soger was as sound in his trance as before.”

     “An’, Barney, what did the soger mane when he said.  ’The man
     is, but the hour is not?’”

“What did he mane?  I’ll tell you that.  The man is Bonyparty, which manes, when put into proper explanation, the right side; that is, the true cause.  Larned men have found that out.”

That part of it where Ned M’Keown resided was peculiarly beautiful and romantic.  From the eminence on which the house stood, a sweep of the most fertile meadowland stretched away to the foot of a series of intermingled hills and vales, which bounded this extensive carpet towards the north.  Through these meadows ran a smooth river, called the Mullin-burn, which wound its way through them with such tortuosity, that it was proverbial in the neighborhood to say of any man remarkable for dishonesty, “He’s as crooked as the Mullin-burn,” an epithet which was sometimes, although unjustly, jocularly applied to Ned himself.  This deep but narrow river had its origin in the glens and ravines of a mountain which bounded the vale in a south-eastern direction; and after sudden and heavy rains it tumbled down with such violence and impetuosity over the crags and rock-ranges in its way, and accumulated so amazingly, that on reaching the meadows it inundated their surface, carrying away sheep, cows, and cocks of hay upon its yellow flood.  It also boiled and eddied, and roared with a hoarse sugh, that was heard at a considerable distance.

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