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  1. The Old Crow Teaches the Young Crow
  2. The Lady Promised

"I understand, Pat," said an employer interviewing an applicant for a job, "that you have a big family dependent on you?"

"Yes, sir - ten children, seven pigs and the old woman!"

[Harvey 1906:85]

The Old Crow Teaches the Young Crow

There was an old crow long ago, and he made a nest. After a time, only one of his brood remained with him.

One day the old crow took the young one out into the field to teach him how to fly.

When the young crow had learned how to fly and was able to go to any part of Ireland, the old crow said, "I think that you are able to fly anywhere now and make your living by yourself. Before you go, I want to give you a little advice that will protect you from danger, as it has protected myself."

"Tell it to me," said the young crow.

"If you are ever in a potato field or cornfield and see a man coming toward you with something under his arm or in his hand, fly off immediately, fearing he may have a gun and may shoot you."

"I understand," said the young crow.

"Another bit of advice to you," said the old crow. "If you see a man bending down as he comes toward you in the field or on the road, fly off as fast as you can, for he will be picking up a stone to throw at you. If he has nothing under his arm and if he doesn't bend down, you're safe."

"That's all very well," said the young crow, "but what if he has a stone in his pocket?"

"Off you go," said the old crow. "You know more than myself!"

[From O'Sullivan, p. 14-15]


The Lady Promised

A long, long time ago O'Donoghue was a brave and mighty prince. He was as fine and good at leaping and running and hunting and swimming as any other, and even better. Ross Castle and all the estates surrounding it belonged to him. He was not hard on poor tenants or people, and if they couldn't pay the rent, he wouldn't be taking the beasts they had for that matter.

Besides all this, he was learned in many books, and was able to change himself into any shape or form that he wanted. To be sure, it was a great gift, but he had sold himself to the Devil for it. The bargin was that if a woman should screech while he was in a changed shape, he should give himself up to the Devil.

For a long time O'Donoghue took very good care that there was no woman nearby whenever he diverted his friends by changing his form into whatever shapes they would be calling after. People talked about it in whole land, and they all were amazed that he could change his form like that.

After he had shown off in this way for princes and many others in many places for some years, his wife said to him: "Why don't you show me any of your miracles that there is such talks about? Surely you will gratify your own wife before any stranger." She went on pressing him so well that he could not find in his heart to refuse her yellow locks and her large, light eyes anything at all.

"Well, then, dear Aileen," he said, "you must not open your mouth or say a single word, whatever becomes of me. If you do, all is lost."

She promised to be very quiet and said she would not be frightened at all, and to do whatever he told her. Then O'Donoghue made himself into an elegant stag, and kept leaping and running about the court for some time, delighting all that was looking on.

When he grew tired of that, he became the most beautiful fish that you ever saw, and as always, no one could understand how he changed himself. Then he made sort of a kind of a pool on the very top of the castle and began swimming there. As he swam round and round ,the castle began to go round too, and seemed about to turn upside down. His lady was inside the castle when it started to spin and tilt, and got topsy-turvy from it. Quite beside herself, forgetting all his commands, she screeched of fright.

Surely enough it was a sore screech for her husband, for without another word he took a leap into the lake and was never seen from that day to this.

[From Tibbits, 1904, p. 85-88. Retold]



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