The Turf Cutters - Fairy Legends of Ireland

URELY," said Bill Welsh, "there is none of them things called Cluricaunes now; 'tis my belief they are gone, clear and clean, out of the country this many a long year." "Don't be so sure of that," replied Pat Murphy, with a knowing nod of his head; "for people have seen them, without any kind of doubt"

"Ah," said Welsh, "the old people—them that's dead and gone, and can no more come back than the Cluricaunes themselves to tell us what sort of things they were."

"What sort of a thing the Cluricaune is!" said Murphy, in a tone of surprise; "there's myself, that is no dead man, but, God be praised for the same! stout and hearty this blessed summer's morning, I see one once, and another man along with me see it as well as myself. It is as good as fifteen years ago, I was walking in Coolnahullig bog, in the parish of Magourney, with John Lynch, going for turf. Well, what should we see there before us, but a boy like of ten or twelve years old, only more broad and bulky, dressed in a grey little coat, and stockings of the same colour, with an old little black woollen hat. 'By the laws,' says Jack, 'that's a Cluricaune!' 'It might be,' said I, 'for I never saw one.' 'I am sure of it,' says he, 'for no boy could be so bulky. We'll hunt him,' says he, 'and try if we can catch him, and get the purse, and then we'll always find a shilling when we put our hand in it.'

"So we threw down the basket we had on our shoulders, and away with us after him; he was not more than twelve or fifteen yards from us at first, and he kept walking—walking on before us, until he came to a drain, when over pop went the little fellow with the spring of a grasshopper. On he kept walking then, and we run, and run our best too, but never the bit closer could we get to him. We followed him better than a quarter of a mile, and he taking it fair and easy before our faces, when all of a sudden he turns short round a rick of turf from us.

"'Jack,' says I to Lynch, 'we'll have him fast now, at the other side of the rick.' 'He's ours for certain,' says Jack. So one of us, you see, turned one side, and the other the other side of the rick, thinking to pin the Cluricaune. We met sure enough on the other side, but never the bit of him could we find—he was gone, as if the ground had opened and swallowed him up!

"Lynch said he must be the Cluricaune beyond all doubt, for there was no hole in the rick half big enough for him to go hiding in from us!"