The Fairy Greyhound

Paddy M'Dermid was one of the most rollicking boys in the whole county

of Kildare. Fair or pattern[3] wouldn't be held barring he was in the

midst of it. He was in every place, like bad luck, and his poor little

farm was seldom sowed in season; and where he expected barley, there

grew nothing but weeds. Money became scarce in poor Paddy's pocket;

and the cow went after the pig, until nearly all he had was gone.

Lucky however for him, if he had gomch (sense) enough to mind it, he

had a most beautiful dream one night as he lay tossicated (drunk) in

the Rath[4] of Monogue, because he wasn't able to come home. He dreamt

that, under the place where he lay, a pot of money was buried since

long before the memory of man. Paddy kept the dream to himself until

the next night, when, taking a spade and pickaxe, with a bottle of

holy water, he went to the Rath, and, having made a circle round the

place, commenced diggin' sure enough, for the bare life and sowl of

him thinkin' that he was made up for ever and ever. He had sunk about

twice the depth of his knees, when whack the pickaxe struck against

a flag, and at the same time Paddy heard something breathe quite near

him. He looked up, and just fornent him there sat on his haunches a

comely-looking greyhound.

[Footnote 3: A merry-making in the honour of some patron saint.]

[Footnote 4: Raths are little fields enclosed by circular ditches.

They are thought to be the sheep-folds and dwellings of an ancient


GREYHOUND." (Page 71.)]

'God save you,' said Paddy, every hair in his head standing up as

straight as a sally twig.

'Save you kindly,' answered the greyhound--leaving out God, the beast,

bekase he was the divil. Christ defend us from ever seeing the likes

o' him.

'Musha, Paddy M'Dermid,' said he, 'what would you be looking after in

that grave of a hole you're diggin' there?'

'Faith, nothing at all, at all,' answered Paddy; bekase you see he

didn't like the stranger.

'Arrah, be easy now, Paddy M'Dermid,' said the greyhound; 'don't I

know very well what you are looking for?'

'Why then in truth, if you do, I may as well tell you at wonst,

particularly as you seem a civil-looking gentleman, that's not above

speaking to a poor gossoon like myself.' (Paddy wanted to butter him

up a bit.)

'Well then,' said the greyhound, 'come out here and sit down on this

bank,' and Paddy, like a gomulagh (fool), did as he was desired, but

had hardly put his brogue outside of the circle made by the holy

water, when the beast of a hound set upon him, and drove him out of

the Rath; for Paddy was frightened, as well he might, at the fire that

flamed from his mouth. But next night he returned, full sure the money

was there. As before, he made a circle, and touched the flag, when my

gentleman, the greyhound, appeared in the ould place.

'Oh ho,' said Paddy, 'you are there, are you? but it will be a long

day, I promise you, before you trick me again'; and he made another

stroke at the flag.

'Well, Paddy M'Dermid,' said the hound, 'since you will have money,

you must; but say, how much will satisfy you?'

Paddy scratched his conlaan, and after a while said--

'How much will your honour give me?' for he thought it better to be


'Just as much as you consider reasonable, Paddy M'Dermid.'

'Egad,' says Paddy to himself, 'there's nothing like axin' enough.'

'Say fifty thousand pounds,' said he. (He might as well have said a

hundred thousand, for I'll be bail the beast had money gulloure.)

'You shall have it,' said the hound; and then, after trotting away a

little bit, he came back with a crock full of guineas between his


'Come here and reckon them,' said he; but Paddy was up to him, and

refused to stir, so the crock was shoved alongside the blessed and

holy circle, and Paddy pulled it in, right glad to have it in his

clutches, and never stood still until he reached his own home, where

his guineas turned into little bones, and his ould mother laughed at

him. Paddy now swore vengeance against the deceitful beast of a

greyhound, and went next night to the Rath again, where, as before, he

met Mr. Hound.

'So you are here again, Paddy?' said he.

'Yes, you big blaggard,' said Paddy, 'and I'll never leave this place

until I pull out the pot of money that's buried here.'

'Oh, you won't,' said he. 'Well, Paddy M'Dermid, since I see you are

such a brave venturesome fellow I'll be after making you up if you

walk downstairs with me out of the could'; and sure enough it was

snowing like murder.

'Oh may I never see Athy if I do,' returned Paddy, 'for you only want

to be loading me with ould bones, or perhaps breaking my own, which

would be just as bad.'

''Pon honour,' said the hound, 'I am your friend; and so don't stand

in your own light; come with me and your fortune is made. Remain where

you are and you'll die a beggar-man.' So bedad, with one palaver and

another, Paddy consented; and in the middle of the Rath opened up a

beautiful staircase, down which they walked; and after winding and

turning they came to a house much finer than the Duke of Leinster's,

in which all the tables and chairs were solid gold. Paddy was

delighted; and after sitting down, a fine lady handed him a glass of

something to drink; but he had hardly swallowed a spoonful when all

around set up a horrid yell, and those who before appeared beautiful

now looked like what they were--enraged 'good people' (fairies).

Before Paddy could bless himself, they seized him, legs and arms,

carried him out to a great high hill that stood like a wall over a

river, and flung him down. 'Murder!' cried Paddy; but it was no use,

no use; he fell upon a rock, and lay there as dead until next morning,

where some people found him in the trench that surrounds the mote of

Coulhall, the 'good people' having carried him there; and from that

hour to the day of his death he was the greatest object in the world.

He walked double, and had his mouth (God bless us) where his ear

should be.

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