John McCullagh October 31, 2006
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With the night that’s in it, I thought I’d warn you with a salutary tale.




‘One time there was a man going to a charity auction. 

What’s that, you say? 

Well, a charity auction is one held on the dead beast of a poor person, to whom the receipts of the auction are handed so they might be assisted in replacing its loss. Indeed any one will tell you that when a beast dies on you like that, some of the money destined to buy another animal should be charity money. One should ask a portion, however small, from another person.

Crossing some fields this man met a stranger and they stopped and had the crack:

‘An’ if it’s no harum to ask,   where are you going?’

‘In trot’ it’s no harm at all,’

the other answered lightly, telling him his mission: a cow had died on a poor old man and the neighbours were auctioning the carcass. The stranger stooped down and pulled up a cushog of grass which he formed into a loop. As he handed it to the man, he said,

‘When you go to the auction, stand back from the crowd and look at the dead cow through this cushog! Then you’ll see what’s being auctioned.’

The stranger walked on leaving him with the cushog of grass. He arrived at the auction finding a great crowd there, each buying parts of the cow. The carcass was entirely destroyed afterwards of course. The auction simply obviated any qualms the poor person might have over accepting charity. Our man bid with the rest.

Suddenly he thought of the cushog.   Without letting any one see him, he stepped back and looked at the dead cow on the ground through it.

To his astonishment he saw an old man, instead of a cow. With his naked eye he could see a cow: but through the cushog, he saw an old man, dead. He withdrew from the auction and hurried home, without speaking to a soul about his discovery.

Some time afterwards he found that the sight of the eye – the one he had looked through the cushog with – was getting bad. Soon it was dark.

He went to the town one day to have it examined. While he was walking up the street, who did he meet only the stranger who had given him the cushog?

They exchanged greetings as before and the man told the stranger the story.

‘An’ which eye,’   asked the stranger,

‘did you see the old man with?’

The man told him – the eye that was defective now.

Without warning, the stranger jabbed his forefinger straight into the man’s other eye,

making him totally blind instantly!



And in case you have difficulty believing this tale, remember this!

A cow always breathes on the grass she is about to lie down on – and there’s a reason.

It’s to clear it of all fairies and spirits of evil intention who might be lurking there!

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