John McCullagh February 2, 2005
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There’s them that would ridicule me for telling stories out a’ school, but if ye don’t get them from me, where wud ye hear them nowadays?  Me grandfather and namesake toul’ this one to all he’s, an’ he wasn’t the author he’s-self!  There cud be words missin’ and others outa place but I can on’y do me best.


It called the Pennyworth of Lies and it was Jack’s party-piece, a century ago.

 
This is the wonderful account of a poor oul’ woman
That was burned alive here, last night
About six weeks ago, in a hape o’ snow.
 
And hearing upon this melancholic accident
I set out in sarch of her
 
An’ I put me two shin bones in me pocket
An’ me head under me oxter,
in an awful hurry
Stopping every two minutes to rest meself.
 
An’ I went on ahead and I met
The Londonderry Supreme Coach
An’ this man wit’ a slither, slid into Patsy Kelly’s shop
An’ he was safely delivered of a blacksmith’s anvil an’ bellis
 
An’ two Grandadiers,an’ one of them had
the Customs House Dublin on his back
An’ the other had Nelson’s Memorial Monument
in he’s hand, for a walking stick,
 
an’ I asked if they cud give me any account
Of this oul’ woman and he toul’ me
that he cud not but he said that
John the Know-All knew all about her
 
An’ I axed him then where John lived, and he toul me
He lived in the parish of Up and Down
where a mad dog bit a hatchet
An’ he said that it was up in a high hill
down in a low hollow
Where the wind never blew nor the cock ever crew
 
A wee house, he said, standing alone
With about forty or fifty houses standing beside it.
 
So I went on ahead anyhow an’ so, be Jaysus
It wasn’t long until I seed John himself
Stepping out of a vinegar bottle –
 
So well he might, for he was a bottle-maker be trade –
 
And I asked him cud he give me an account
Of this oul’ woman an’ he said
‘I doubt I can’t’
 
Well, he says anyhow, I’ll show ye some of me curiosities
An’ he tuk me out to the field an’ he showed me
A hay-rick an’ it was built o’ stones,
an’ he tuk me into a wee room
An’ he showed me a wee boy an’ he was eighteen feet high
An’ he was thrashin’ tibaccy into pays
 
An’ one of the pays jumped up
An’ it went through an iron, metal, stone, wooden wall
An’ it killed a dead dog on the other side
 
The dead dog jumped up
an’ he barked at a pock-marked cat
On the other side of the wall, an’ I run over to them
An’ I jumped over the wall
and it wasn’t much higher than a cabbage stalk
An’ it wouldn’t be any longer than
St Patrick’s Day to America
 
An’ I run me hand down the dog’s throat
An’ I turned him inside out
When out jumps a hare
 
The hare was follyed then be sixteen bog-trotters
That lost their heads at the Battle of Kilcannon.
 
I went on ahead anyway and they were firing stones,
Sticks, skeletons and paving stones at one another
An’ one of them hut the hare in the left-right-middle eye
When out jumps the oul’ woman
 
B’ Jaysus, I thought,
 
I put me two shin bones in me pocket
I put me head under me oxter
An’ I jumped from the Curragh of Kildare
(That’s away, away over in the middle of Ireland)
To Caroline Bridge in Dublin
 
An’ I let go of the woman, an’ just in two seconds
She fell into the River Liffey
 
An’ she’s dead there until this day
 
Making lovely straw hats
Outa dale boords
 
An’ more of that to Her Lordship.

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