John McCullagh March 29, 2004
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‘Finn McCool was on the mountain this day with he’s wife, which of them I won’t be sayin’, for they do tell me he had more than one.  An’ he was sore put about when he heared that the Scotchman wus comin’ an’ he jist after a wakeness of sorts an’ still shaky on his pegs.  He’s wife though had her wits about her.


‘Finn’, says she, ‘lie there quiet like and trust till me.’

‘Och woman,’ says he, ‘I’m a done man.’

‘Bedad yer not,’ says she, ‘didn’t I rescue you from the Calliagh Berra?’

‘Och houl’ yer tongue, woman.  Ye’ll dave me with yer blethers!’ says he.

‘Shure it was me sworn comrades did that.  I tell ye woman, I’m a gonner.’

‘Go along with ye, ye great big booby!’ says she. ‘Who wus it sent them after ye, knowin’ full well ye couldn’t keep out of mischief yer lone?’

And Finn, well knowin’ that a woman wud have the last word, let it go at that.  An’ all wus pace and quietness when the Scotchie arrived.  An’ the good woman wus all smiles an’ politeness an’ sweet as ye like, an’ her just after havin’ the cross word with Finn the minit afore.

‘An’,’ says he, ‘Is himself at home?’

‘No,’ says she, ‘but sit ye down till he comes in.

An’ then,’ says she, ‘will ye be after excusin’ me if I go on with the bakin’, for himself will be fit till ate the house when he comes back.’

An’ if Finn, the devil, didn’t just then move in the bed!

‘Ah,’ says the Scotchie. ‘what have we here?’

‘Why, that is our baby!’ says she.

‘It’s a devil of a fine baby!’ says he, while till himself he says, ‘If that’s the chile what must the father be like, at all, at all?’ 

And he wud have been off again till Scotland as fast as his legs wud carry him only that herself hadn’t finished with him.

‘Ye’ll stay for some tae,’ says she, ‘For if Finn returned this night an’ foun’ I hadn’t offered ye neither bit nor sup, it’s meself wud git the tongueing.  An’ with the baby teethin’ it’s troubles enough I have.  Surely ye’ll stay?’

And Scottie sat himself down to a beautiful cake with a griddle in the middle of it, for she was the cunning one.  An’ poor Scottie, rather than hurt her feelings ate it up, though indeed the griddle played oul’ Nick with he’s teeth an’ worse with his innards.  An’ when he had finished, says he,

‘Cud I have a drink till drown my thirst?’

‘Ay,’ says she, ‘Till be sure.  Ye see the wee lake below ye?  That’s where himself drinks when the thirst is upon him.  Shure there’s niver a vessel I have large enough till fill the belly of him.’

An’ I forgot till tell ye that she had hundreds of bundles of wee sticks all dried up and ready agin the winter fires, an’ she had the sarvents drop them in till the lake, an’ they were mad for they didn’t want till have to gather more, when it was huntin’ they might be. 

An’ poor oul’ chappie he is off till the lake.  The tears were coursin’ down he’s cheeks because of the salt cake he’d ate, an’ the bits of griddle wur hurtin’ cruel.  An, the man wus in a desperate state altillgether.  An’ he drunk an’ he drunk till he wus fit till burst an’ filled himself full of wee sticks.  An’ then he says till himself,

‘If Finn comes back, I’m done for.’

An’ a tarrable wakeness came upon him, but he ony got a sleepiness he niver got over, so he laid himself down an’ there he lies till this very day.  An’ while he slept the griddle caused trouble in the insides of him. An’ he not being able till digest it, it set up a quarrel with the sticks, an’ between them they destroyed him entirely.

That wus what Finn’s wife planned an’ Finn wus Cock of Slieve Gullion again!’

 

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