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from Irish Fairy Tales - LAND AND WATER FAIRIES





BY WILLIAM CARLETON


Lanty M'Clusky had married a wife, and, of course, it was necessary to
have a house in which to keep her. Now, Lanty had taken a bit of a
farm, about six acres; but as there was no house on it, he resolved to
build one; and that it might be as comfortable as possible, he
selected for the site of it one of those beautiful green circles that
are supposed to be the play-ground of the fairies. Lanty was warned
against this; but as he was a headstrong man, and not much given to
fear, he said he would not change such a pleasant situation for his
house to oblige all the fairies in Europe. He accordingly proceeded
with the building, which he finished off very neatly; and, as it is
usual on these occasions to give one's neighbours and friends a
house-warming, so, in compliance with this good and pleasant old
custom, Lanty having brought home the wife in the course of the day,
got a fiddler and a lot of whisky, and gave those who had come to see
him a dance in the evening. This was all very well, and the fun and
hilarity were proceeding briskly, when a noise was heard after night
had set in, like a crushing and straining of ribs and rafters on the
top of the house. The folks assembled all listened, and, without
doubt, there was nothing heard but crushing, and heaving, and pushing,
and groaning, and panting, as if a thousand little men were engaged
in pulling down the roof.

'Come,' said a voice which spoke in a tone of command, 'work hard: you
know we must have Lanty's house down before midnight.'

This was an unwelcome piece of intelligence to Lanty, who, finding
that his enemies were such as he could not cope with, walked out, and
addressed them as follows:

'Gintlemen, I humbly ax yer pardon for buildin' on any place belongin'
to you; but if you'll have the civilitude to let me alone this night,
I'll begin to pull down and remove the house to-morrow morning.'

This was followed by a noise like the clapping of a thousand tiny
little hands, and a shout of 'Bravo, Lanty! build half-way between the
two White-thorns above the boreen'; and after another hearty little
shout of exultation, there was a brisk rushing noise, and they were
heard no more.

The story, however, does not end here; for Lanty, when digging the
foundation of his new house, found the full of a kam[1] of gold: so
that in leaving to the fairies their play-ground, he became a richer
man than ever he otherwise would have been, had he never come in
contact with them at all.

[Footnote 1: Kam--a metal vessel in which the peasantry dip
rushlights.]





Next: The Rival Kempers

Previous: The Mandarin And The Butterfly



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