FACTION-FIGHT AMONG THE FAIRIES

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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A wonderful treasure in the detection of fairy delusions is the four-leaved shamrock! Once at the fair of Enniscorthy, a master of sleight-of-hand, willing to astonish the simple Wexfordians, and extract some money out of their pockets, threw his gamecock up on the roof of a house, and there every one could see him stalk along with a great log of Norway timber in his bill. Every one wondered, and those near the cock as he paced along, got from under the beam as soon as they could.

"Musha," says a young girl who was taking home an armful of fresh grass to her cow, "what are yous gapin' at?" "Gaping at! Do you see the balk the cock is carrying?" "Balk, inagh! Purshuin' to the balk within a street of him! All I can see is a good wheaten straw that he has in his bake." The showman overheard the discourse, and called out to the girl--"What will you take for that bunch of grass! I'd like to give a mouthful of fresh provender to my horse." The bargain was made, and as soon as the article was handed over to the conjurer, the girl gave a great start and cried, "Oh, the Lord save us! See what the cock is carrying! Some one will be kilt." There was a four-leaved shamrock in the bundle of grass.

We could name the receipt for rendering the "Good People " visible, when a small whirlwind is at work with dust and dry leaves; but much as we wish to diffuse a knowledge of the social economy of Fairy Land, we are not anxious that any of our readers should make personal acquaintance with individuals of that country, or practise any magic rites whatever. You set dangerous machinery in motion, without knowing how to put it at rest again, or whether it may not tear your own person to pieces.

A clannish spirit prevails among the Fairy folk, as well as in that division of the human family amongst whom they delight to dwell. Hurling matches, and even pitched battles, occur between the "Good People" of different provinces. Passing one day along the road that runs near Lough-na-Piastha, in company with an intelligent but visionary neighbour, and talking on the present subject, he pointed out to us a little glen on the side of Mount Leinster, and gave this personal account of a

FACTION-FIGHT AMONG THE FAIRIES

"I was sitting on the brow of that hill, the other day, and it was so calm you could hear the buzzing of a fly's wing. I was half asleep with the heat and with having nothing to do, when I was aroused by a noise coming down from the mountain along the stream. The road crosses it just above the glen; and at the bridge the sound divided itself, and I heard the beat of wings on one side of the stream and on the other, but I could see nothing. I then seemed to hear the blowing of weak-voiced bugles, and faint shouts, and the sound of blows, as if two winged armies were fighting in the air; and even the firing of shots; but it was as if I was hearing all through a skreen or in a dream. It seemed to me even as if light bodies fell in the water. At last there was greater shouting and work on one side, and hurraing, and then all the noise and rout rose in the air, and everything fell into quiet again. Fairies don't cross streams, you say! How then could the Leinster fairies cross over the Suir and Barrow to have a hurling match with the Munster fairies, or the fairies of Ireland have a battle with the Scotch fairies?"

End of this Story

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