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O'Connell, and he left the country and went away and died in some place
called Genoa. He was a very ambitious man, like Napoleon. He got
Emancipation; but where is the use of that? There's Judge O'Brien, Peter
the Packer, was calling out and trying to do away with trial by jury.
And he would not be in his office or in his billet if it wasn't for
O'Connell. They didn't do much after, where they didn't get the money
from O'Connell. And the night they joined under Smith O'Brien they
hadn't got their supper. A terrible cold night it was, no one could
stand against it. Some bishop came from Dublin, and he told them to go
home, for how could they reach with their pikes to the English soldiers
that had got muskets. The soldiers came, and there was some firing, and
they were all scattered. As to Smith O'Brien, there was ten thousand
pounds on his head, and he hid for a while. Then at the last he went
into the town of Clonmel, and there was a woman there in the street was
a huckster, and he bade her give him up to the Government, for she would
never earn money so easy. But for all she was worth she wouldn't do
that. So then he went and gave himself up, and he was sent to Australia,
and the property was given to his brother."


"Mitchell was kept in Clonmel gaol two years before he was sent to
Australia. He was a Protestant, and a very good man. He said in a
speech, where was the use of meetings and of talking? It was with the
point of their bayonet the English would have to be driven out of
Ireland. It was Mitchell said that."


"It was a man from America it came with. There was one Mackie was taken
in a publichouse in Cork, and there was a policeman killed in the
struggle. Judge O'Hagan was the judge when he was in the dock, and he
said, 'Mr. Mackie, I see you are a gentleman and an educated man; and
I'm sorry,' he said, 'that you did not read Irish history.' Mackie cried
when he heard that, for indeed it was all spies about him, and it was
they gave him up."


"The greatest wonder I ever saw was one time near Kinvara at a funeral,
there came a car along the road and a lady on it having a plaid cloak,
as was the fashion then, and a big hat, and she kept her head down and
never looked at the funeral at all. I wondered at her when I saw that,
and I said to my brother it was a strange thing a lady to be coming past
a funeral and not to look on at it at all. And who was on the car but
O'Gorman Mahon, escaping from the Government, and dressed up as a lady!
He drove to Father Arthur's house at Kinvara, and there was a boat
waiting, and a cousin of my own in it, to bring him out to a ship, and
so he made his escape."


"I saw Clerkenwell prison in London broken up in the time of the
Fenians, and every ship and steamer in the whole of the ocean stopped.
The prison was burned down, and all the prisoners consumed, and seven
doctors' shops along with it."


"Father Mathew was a great man, plump and red in the face. There
couldn't be better than what he was. I knew one Kane in Gort he gave a
medal to, and he kept it seventy years. Kane was a great totaller, and
he wouldn't drink so much as water out of a glass, but out of a cup; the
glass might have been used for porter at some time. He lost the medal,
and was in a great way about it, but he found it five years after in a
dung-heap. A great totaller he was. Them that took the medal from Father
Mathew and that kept it, at their death they would be buried by men
dressed in white clothes."


"My husband was in the war of the Crimea. It is terrible the hardships
he went through, to be two months without going into a house, under the
snow in trenches. And no food to get, maybe a biscuit in the day. And
there was enough food there, he said, to feed all Ireland; but bad
management, they could not get it. Coffee they would be given, and they
would be cutting a green bramble to strive to make a fire to boil it.
The dead would be buried every morning; a big hole would be dug, and the
bodies thrown in, and lime upon them; and some of the bodies would be
living when they were buried. My husband used to try to revive them if
he saw there was life in them, but other lads wouldn't care - just to put
them down and have done. And they were allowed to take nothing - money,
gold watches, and the like, all thrown in the ground. Sure they did not
care much about such things, they might be lying in the same place
themselves to-morrow. But the soldiers would take the money sometimes
and put it in their stocking and tie the stocking below the ankle and
below the knee. But if the officer knew that, they would be
courtmartialed and punished. He got two medals - one from the English and
one from the Emperor of Turkey. Fighting for the Queen, and bad pay she
gave him. He never knew what was the war for, unless it might be for
diminishing the population. We saw in the paper a few years ago there
was a great deal of money collected for soldiers that had gone through
hardship in the war, and we wrote to the War Office asking some of it
for him. But they wrote back that there were so many young men crippled
in the Boer war there was nothing to be spared for the old. My husband
used to be saying the Queen cared nothing for the army, but that the
King, even before he was King, was better to it. But I'm thinking from
this out the King will get very few from Ireland for his army."

[Illustration: W.E. GLADSTONE]


"There was one of my brothers died at Lyons in France. He had a place in
Guinness's brewery, and earning £3 10s. a week, and it was the time
Garibaldi, you might have heard of, was out fighting. There came a ship
to Dublin from France, calling for soldiers, and he threw up his place,
and there were many others threw up their place, and they went off,
eleven hundred of them, in the French ship, to go fighting for their
religion, and a hundred of them never came back. When they landed in
France they were made much of and velvet carpets spread before them. But
the war was near over then, and when it had ended they were forgotten,
and nothing done for them, and he was in poverty at Lyons and died. It
was the nuns there wrote a letter in French telling that to my mother."
"And Napoleon the Third fought for the Pope in the time of Garibaldi. A
great many Irishmen went out at that time, and the half of them never
came back. I met with one of them that was in Russell's flour stores,
and he said he would never go out again if there were two hundred Popes.
Bad treatment they got - black bread, and the troops in the Vatican well
fed; and it wasn't long till Victor Emanuel's troops made a breach in
the wall."


"Napoleon the Third was not much. He died in England, and was buried in
a country church-yard much the same as Kiltartan. But Napoleon the First
was a great man; it was given out of him there never would be so great a
man again. But he hadn't much education, and his penmanship was bad.
Every great man gave in to superstition. He gave into it when he went to
ask the gipsy woman to divine, and she told him his fate. Through fire
and a rock she said that he would fall. I suppose the rock was St.
Helena, and the fire was the fire of Waterloo. Napoleon was the terror
of England, and he would have beat the English at Waterloo but for
treachery, the treachery of Grouchy. It was, maybe, not his fault he was
treacherous, he might be the same as Judas, that had his treachery
settled for him four thousand years before his birth. There was a curse
on Napoleon the Third because of what Napoleon the First had done
against the Church. He took Malta one time and landed there, and by
treachery with the knights he robbed a church that was on the shore, and
carried away the golden gates. In an ironclad he put them that was
belonging to the English, and they sank that very day, and were never
got up after, unless it might be by divers. And two Popes he brought
into exile. But he was the friend of Ireland, and when he was dying he
said that. His heart was smashed, he said, with all the ruling Princes
that went against him; and if he had made an attack on Ireland, he said,
instead of going to Moscow the time he did, he would have brought
England low. And the Prince Imperial was trapped. It was the English
brought him out to the war, and that made the nations go against him,
and it was an English officer led him into the trap the way he never
would come to the Throne."

[Illustration: LOUIS NAPOLEON]


"I was in the army the time of the Zulu war. Great hardship we got in it
and plenty of starvation. It was the Dutch called in the English to help
them against the Zulus, that were tricky rogues, and would do no work
but to be driving the cattle off the fields. A pound of raw flour we
would be given out at seven o'clock in the morning, and some would try
to make a cake, and some would put it in a pot with water and be
stirring it, and it might be eleven o'clock before you would get what
you could eat, and not a bit of meat maybe for two days."


"There was a young Napoleon there, the grandson of Napoleon the First,
that was a great man indeed. I was in the island where he was interred;
it is a grand place, and what is not natural in those parts, there are
two blackthorn bushes growing in it where you go into the place he was
buried. And as to that great Napoleon, the fear of him itself was enough
to kill people. If he was living till now it is hard to say what way
would the world be. It is likely there'd be no English left in it, and
it would be all France. The young Napoleon was at the Zulu war was as
fine a young man as you'd wish to lay an eye on; six feet four, and
shaped to match. As to his death, there was things might have been
brought to light, but the enquiry was stopped. There was seven of them
went out together, and he was found after, lying dead in the ground, and
his top coat spread over him. There came a shower of hailstones that
were as large as the top of your finger, and as square as diamonds, and
that would enter into your skull. They made out it was to save himself
from them that he lay down. But why didn't they lift him in the saddle
and bring him along with them? And the bullet was taken out of his head
was the same every bit as our bullets; and where would a Zulu get a
bullet like that? Very queer it was, and a great deal of talk about it,
and in my opinion he was done away with because the English saw the
grandfather in him, and thought he would do away with themselves in the
time to come. Sure if he spoke to one of them, he would begin to shake
before him, officers the same as men. We had often to be laughing seeing


"Parnell was a very good man, and a just man, and if he had lived to
now, Ireland would be different to what it is. The only thing ever could
be said against him was the influence he had with that woman. And how do
we know but that was a thing appointed for him by God? Parnell had a
back to him, but O'Connell stood alone. He fought a good war in the
House of Commons. Parnell did a great deal, getting the land. I often
heard he didn't die at all - it was very quick for him to go. I often
wondered there were no people smart enough to dig up the coffin and to
see what is in it, at night they could do that. No one knows in what
soil Robert Emmet was buried, but he was made an end of sure enough.
Parnell went through Gort one day, and he called it the fag-end of
Ireland, just as Lady Morgan called the North the Athens of Ireland."


"Gladstone had the name of being the greatest statesman of England, and
he wasn't much after all. At the time of his death he had it on his mind
that it was he threw the first stone at Parnell, and he confessed that,
and was very sorry for it. But sure there is no one can stand all
through. Look at Solomon that had ten hundred wives, and some of them
the finest of women, and that spent all the money laid up by Father
David. And Gladstone encouraged Garibaldi the time he attacked the
Vatican, and gave him arms, Parnell charged him with that one time in
the House of Commons, and said he had the documents, and he hadn't a
word to say. But he was sorry at Parnell's death, and what was the use
of that when they had his heart broke? Parnell did a great deal for the
Irish, and they didn't care after; they are the most displeasing people
God ever made, unless it might be the ancient Jews."


"Queen Victoria was loyal and true to the Pope; that is what I was told,
and so is Edward the Seventh loyal and true, but he has got something
contrary in his body. It is when she was a girl she put on clothes like
your own - lady's clothes - and she went to the Pope. Did she turn
Catholic? She'd be beheaded if she did; the Government would behead her;
it is the Government has power in England."


"As to the last Queen, we thought her bad when we had her, but now we
think her good. She was a hard woman, and she did nothing for Ireland in
the bad years; but I'll give you the reason she had for that. She had it
in her mind always to keep Ireland low, it being the place she mostly
got her soldiers. That might not be good for Ireland, but it was good
for her own benefit. The time the lads have not a bit to eat, that is
the time they will go soldiering."


"There was war and misery going on all through Victoria's reign. It was
the Boer war killed her, she being aged, and seeing all her men going
out, and able to do nothing. Ten to one they were against the Boers.
That is what killed her. It is a great tribute to the war it did that."


"The present King is very good. He is a gentleman very fond of visiting,
and well pleased with every class of people he will meet."


"The old age pension is very good, and as to taxes, them can't pay it
that hasn't it. It is since the Boer War there is coin sent back from
Africa every week that is dug from the goldpits out there. That is what
the English wanted the time they went to war; they want to close up the
minerals for themselves. If it wasn't for the war, that pension would
never be given to Ireland. They'd have been driven home by the Boers if
it wasn't for the Irish that were in the front of every battle. And the
Irish held out better too, they can starve better than the rest, there
is more bearing in them. It wasn't till all the Irish were killed that
the English took to bribing. Bribed Botha they did with a bag of gold.
For all the generals in England that are any good are Irish. Buller was
the last they had, and he died. They can find no good generals at all in
England, unless they might get them very young."


"It was old money was in the Treasury idle, and the King and Queen
getting old wanted to distribute it in the country it was taken from.
But some say it was money belonging to captains and big men that died in
the war and left no will after them. Anyway it is likely it will not
hold; and it is known that a great many of those that get it die very


"It is likely there will be a war at the end of the two thousand, that
was always foretold. And I hear the English are making ships that will
dive the same as diving ducks under the water. But as to the Irish
Americans, they would sweep the entire world; and England is afraid of
America, it being a neighbour."


I have given this book its name because it is at my own door, in the
Barony of Kiltartan, I have heard a great number of the stories from
beggars, pipers, travelling men, and such pleasant company. But others I
have heard in the Workhouse, or to the north of Galway Bay, in
Connemara, or on its southern coast, in Burren. I might, perhaps, better
have called the little book Myths in the Making.

A sociable people given to conversation and belief; no books in the
house, no history taught in the schools; it is likely that must have
been the way of it in old Greece, when the king of highly civilised
Crete was turned by tradition into a murderous tyrant owning a monster
and a labyrinth. It was the way of it in old France too, one thinks,
when Charlemagne's height grew to eight feet, and his years were counted
by centuries: "He is three hundred years old, and when will he weary of
war?" Anyhow, it has been the way of modern Ireland - the Ireland I
know - and when I hear myth turned into history, or history into myth, I
see in our stonebreakers and cattle drivers Greek husbandmen or ancient
vinedressers of the Loire.

I noticed some time ago, when listening to many legends of the Fianna,
that is about Finn, their leader, the most exaggerated of the tales have
gathered; and I believe the reason is that he, being the greatest of the
"Big Men," the heroic race, has been most often in the mouths of the
people. They have talked of him by their fire-sides for two thousand
years or so; at first earlier myths gathered around him, and then from
time to time any unusual feats of skill or cunning shown off on one or
another countryside, till many of the stories make him at the last
grotesque, little more than a clown. So in Bible History, while lesser
kings keep their dignity, great Solomon's wit is outwitted by the
riddles of some countryman; and Lucifer himself, known in Kiltartan as
"the proudest of the angels, thinking himself equal with God," has been
seen in Sligo rolling down a road in the form of the _Irish Times_. The
gods of ancient Ireland have not escaped. Mananaan, Son of the Sea,
Rider of the Horses of the Sea, was turned long ago into a juggler doing
tricks, and was hunted in the shape of a hare. Brigit, the "Fiery
Arrow," the nurse of poets, later a saint and the Foster-mother of
Christ, does her healing of the poor in the blessed wells of to-day as
"a very civil little fish, very pleasant, wagging its tail."

Giobniu, the divine smith of the old times, made a new sword and a new
spear for every one that was broken in the great battle between the gods
and the mis-shapen Fomor. "No spearpoint that is made by my hand," he
said, "will ever miss its mark; no man it touches will ever taste life
again." It was his father who, with a cast of a hatchet, could stop the
inflowing of the tide; and it was he himself whose ale gave lasting
youth: "No sickness or wasting ever comes on those who drink at
Giobniu's Feast." Later he became a saint, a master builder, builder of
a house "more shining than a garden; with its stars, with its sun, with
its moon." To-day he is known as the builder of the round towers of the
early Christian centuries, and of the square castles of the
Anglo-Normans. And the stories I have given of him, called as he now is,
"the Goban Saor," show that he has fallen still farther in legend from
his high origin.

As to O'Connell, perhaps because his name, like that of Finn and the
Goban, is much in the mouths of the people, there is something of the
absurd already coming into his legend. The stories of him show more than
any others how swiftly myths and traditions already in the air may
gather around a memory much loved and much spoken of. He died only sixty
years ago, and many who have seen and heard him are still living; and
yet he has already been given a miraculous birth, and the power of a
saint is on its way to him. I have charged my son, and should I live
till he comes to sensible years, I will charge my grandson, to keep
their ears open to the growth of legend about him who was once my
husband's friendly enemy, and afterwards his honoured friend.

I do not take the credit or the discredit of the opinions given by the
various speakers, nor do I go bail for the facts; I do but record what
is already in "the Book of the People." The history of England and
Ireland was shut out of the schools and it became a passion. As to why
it was shut out, well, I heard someone whisper "Eugene Aram hid the body
away, being no way anxious his scholars should get a sight of it." But
this also was said in the barony of Kiltartan.

The illustrations are drawn from some delft figures, ornaments in a
Kiltartan house.


COOLE PARK, _November_, 1909.

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