THE CAT OF THE CARMAN'S STAGE

From Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts by Patrick Kennedy

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The peculiar style of conversation adopted by cats in their nightly reunions, and other odd fashions of theirs, have invested them in the eyes of our people with an eerie character.

In the Norse tales, a young hillman was banished from his tribe by the influence of an old chief, whose lady was suspected to be rather partial to him. He took refuge with a farmer, and did service in the form of a house cat. After some time, the farmer's servant coming by the enchanted mound, heard a shrill voice repeating--

"Go bid Tom Platt,
To tell his cat
That Knurre Murre's dead."

When the servant entered the kitchen, he repeated the verse; and the moment the exile heard it from his seat by the fire, he gave a wild mew of delight, spouted out in feline language, "Knurre Murre's dead," cleared the yard-fence at a leap, and was off to his hill to bring comfort to the widow. Now hear the impotent conclusion to which this tale has come in Leinster:--

THE CAT OF THE CARMAN'S STAGE

A carman was leaving Bunclody one morning for Dublin, when what should he see but a neighbour's cat galloping along the side of the road, and crying out every moment, "Tell Moll Browne, Tom Dunne is dead; tell Moll Browne, Tom Dunne is dead." At last he got tired of this ditty, and took up a stone and flung it at the cat, bidding himself, and Tom Browne, and Moll Dunne, to go to Halifax, and not to be botherin' him. When he got to Luke Byrne's in Francis Street, where all the Wicklow and Wexford carmen used to stop, he was taking a pot of beer in the tap-room, and began to tell the quare thing that happened on the road. There was a comfortable-looking gray cat sitting by the fire, and the moment he mentioned what the Bunclody cat was saying, she cried out, "That's my husband! that's my husband!" She made only one leap out through the door, and no one ever saw her at Luke Byrne's again.

End of this Story

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