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  1. The Basket of Eggs
  2. The Lawyer and the Devil

The Basket of Eggs

There was a woman who was on her way to the market, counting the price of her basket of eggs.

"If eggs are up," she said, "I'll be gaining a handful of silver and evenly if prices be down I'll not do too badly at all for I have a weighty supply."

With that she remarked a little wee boy sitting down by the hedge and stitching away at a brogue. "If I had a hold of that lad over there," she said, "I'd make him discover a treasure - for the like of him knows where gold is hid."

She sneaked up behind him, like a cat after a bird and caught a strong grip of his neck. He yelled in surprise. "I have got you," she said.

"Surely," he answered.

"Will you show me a treasure?" she said, for lepracauns should be made to do that, she had been taught from she was little.

"Hm – surely, but the pot of gold I could carry you in sight of is guarded by a very strange frog."

"What do I care for frogs?" she said. "A frog would not scare me at all."

The boy was allowed to sit on the handle of the basket while she kept a hold of his ear and walked along to get the treasure, following his directions. "You're a terribly steady and resolute woman," he said to her. "I've never met your equal."

"Go on with that chatting," she said. Then, as the hours went by, he began to bail out the eggs.

"Stop breaking my eggs," she said and looked back to see if any eggs were lying on the road. But when she turned her head the leprechaun slipped from her grasp. He made one spring from the basket into the hedge and he vanished from the place.

"The wee lad fooled me," she said, "and all my eggs are destroyed - but he said I am the finest woman he's seen and that's a really good thing to know!"


The Lawyer and the Devil

A man had three sons and wanted to make something of them, but did not have the money. So he sold himself to the devil for the sake of getting money to school the three boys. One was to become a priest, the other a doctor and the third one a lawyer. The devil gave him the money to pay for their education.

At the end of seven years the devil showed up to claim the old man and take him down to hell. The man had a son with him when the devil came. It was the priest. He began to pray and beg and appeal to the devil to spare his father, and in the end the Devil gave in and gave the old father a few years more to live.

When that time was up and the devil came again, the doctor was there and appealed to the devil to spare the old man, and he got still more years from him.

When the devil came the third time to claim the old fellow, the lawyer was there. The lawyer says to the devil:

"You have spared my father two times already, and I do not expect you to do it again. But will you let him live until that candle has burnt down?"

He pointed to the candle that was burning on the table.

The devil said he would; it was only a butt of a candle and would not last very long. He would neither touch it nor blow at it, he said.

At that the lawyer picked up the candle butt, blew it out and put it in his pocket. And that was that! The lawyer held on to the butt of a candle, and the devil had to keep to his bargain and be off without the old man.

[Glassie 1985:116. Retold.]



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