Monday, March 24, 2014

More Celtic Fairy Tales: The Legend of Knockgrafton (cont.)

This story is part of the Celtic Fairy Tales (2) unit. Story source: More Celtic Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs with illustrations by John D. Batten (1895).



The Legend of Knockgrafton (cont.)

"I have come," said the woman, "out of Decie's country, in the county of Waterford looking after one Lusmore, who, I have heard tell, had his hump taken off by the fairies, for there is a son of a gossip of mine who has got a hump on him that will be his death, and maybe if he could use the same charm as Lusmore, the hump may be taken off him. And now I have told you the reason of my coming so far 'tis to find out about this charm, if I can."

Lusmore, who was ever a good-natured little fellow, told the woman all the particulars, how he had raised the tune for the fairies at Knockgrafton, how his hump had been removed from his shoulders, and how he had got a new suit of clothes into the bargain.

The woman thanked him very much and then went away quite happy and easy in her own mind. When she came back to her gossip's house, in the county of Waterford, she told her everything that Lusmore had said, and they put the little hump-backed man, who was a peevish and cunning creature from his birth, upon a car and took him all the way across the country. It was a long journey, but they did not care for that so long as the hump was taken from off him, and they brought him, just at nightfall, and left him under the old moat of Knockgrafton.

Jack Madden, for that was the humpy man's name, had not been sitting there long when he heard the tune going on within the moat much sweeter than before, for the fairies were singing it the way Lusmore had settled their music for them, and the song was going on: Da Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort, Da Luan, Da Mort, augus Da Cadine, without ever stopping.

Jack Madden, who was in a great hurry to get quit of his hump, never thought of waiting until the fairies had done or watching for a fit opportunity to raise the tune higher again than Lusmore had; so, having heard them sing it over seven times without stopping, out he bawls, never minding the time or the humour of the tune, or how he could bring his words in properly, augus Da Cadine, augus Da Hena, thinking that if one day was good, two were better; and that if Lusmore had one new suit of clothes given him, he should have two.

No sooner had the words passed his lips than he was taken up and whisked into the moat with prodigious force, and the fairies came crowding round about him with great anger, screeching, and screaming, and roaring out, "Who spoiled our tune? Who spoiled our tune?" and one stepped up to him, above all the rest and said:

Jack Madden! Jack Madden,
Your words came so bad in
The tune we felt glad in;
This castle you're had in,
That your life we may sadden
Here's two humps for Jack Madden!

And twenty of the strongest fairies brought Lusmore's hump and put it down upon poor Jack's back, over his own, where it became fixed as firmly as if it was nailed on with twelve-penny nails by the best carpenter that ever drove one. Out of their castle they then kicked him, and, in the morning when Jack Madden's mother and her gossip came to look after their little man, they found him half-dead, lying at the foot of the moat, with the other hump upon his back.

Well to be sure, how they did look at each other! But they were afraid to say anything, lest a hump might be put upon their own shoulders. Home they brought the unlucky Jack Madden with them, as downcast in their hearts and their looks as ever two gossips were, and what through the weight of his other hump, and the long journey, he died soon after, leaving they say his heavy curse to any one who would go to listen to fairy tunes again.

Next: Elidore




(800 words)




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