I heard a story one time that this man came to a house one evening. He had a hard hat an' an oul' bawneen. An' begod, he knocked at the door an' came in. The woman o' the house said "I'll put down tea for you now when I have the child fed".
"Oh, I'll feed the child for you. Don't worry about that at all", says he.
Begod, he fed the child an' he drank the tea an' stayed for a little while. But once he went out the door they didn't get one bit o' good o' the child. Roarin' an' tearin'. Couldn't pacify him.
Begod, an oul' woman came in about three weeks after with a shawl. She knocked at the door. An' someone said what sort o' one was she.
"Oh", they said, "don't let her in now. Don't ye see what happened now the last night here with th' oul' lad".
But the man o' the house said "let her in". An' when she came in they put down tea an' things for her, an' the woman o' the house said "there was a man here about three weeks ago, an' he went feeding the child, an' I put down tea for him, an' once he went outside the door I can't get one bit o' good o' the child".
"You can not", she said. "He has yeer good child gone an' this oul' child left in its place. But I'll tell ye what ye'll do.Go to where there's a blessed well an' get a bottle o' water out of it, an' bring a bit of a branch out o' the nearest tree to the well. An' be sure to be home before the break o' day. An' put it in in the fire. Shake the holy water around then".
They did. An' the very minute they put the branch in the fire the child started roaring an' tearing, roaring an' tearing. The next thing was, he was gone an' their own child came back. You see, They can bring childer, too.
Well now, I heard where there was a house one time an' this woman went out to milk the cow - nine o'clock at night that time they'd go out. They had only the one cow. An' there were three or four lads within an' they smoking. Whatever sort o' pipes they had I don't know. But there was a little lad near one of 'em in an oul' cot.
"Gimme a smoke out o' the pipe", he said.
Jeez, he gave him the smoke out o' the pipe, an' there he was, fogging tobaccy like hell. An' when he gave back the pipe to the lad the lad didn't want to smoke an' let it fall.
"Ah", he said, "but you needn't do that with it".
He was an oul' fairy child, o' course.
Jeez, if 'twas myself was there I'd tell the mother when she'd come in, to burn him or something.
But they'd bring stock, too. We often heard that. A man told me he was going up this night to see a cow that was calving. An' he had a noble great lamp. An' all the cattle in the place, he said, was roaring. I s'pose They were bringing one o' the cattle. An' They would, you know. That's how it does happen. But anyways, he said, in one blast the lamp was quenched.
"Jeez, I was there", he said, "an' no light. An' I said what in the name o' God am I going to do?"
But he kept poking ever until he came out on the road. The very minute he came out on the road a big glare o' light came out o' the lamp without leaving a hand to it. They only quenched the light on him, you see.
Oh, They would bring cattle, wholesale. You'd often see a beast, now, dying or maybe put into a dyke. But 'tis the siogs are putting 'em in in it.
Well, I heard tell of a man, now, that went to the friars. All his cattle were going into a certain hole in the field an' he told the friar. An' the friar got a pair o' scapulars an' he blessed 'em, an' he said "when you go back throw them in in that hole an' no more o' your stock'll go in in it".
Never a one after that.
The siogs were putting 'em in in it an' bringing the good ones.
This one now is a real true story. It happened ourselves when we were in the old house below in the hollow there. There was about ten foot or eleven between the end o' the house an' the side o' the barn. An' I was only a young lad that time, but young an' all, I remember what was going on.
A flock o' cattle came up below at the back o' the house one night. 'Twas the very same as you'd have a big drove o' cattle going an' you driving them. But no one there. An' they were hopping out at the end o' the house an' the barn. I don't know how many came out, but a big rake o' them. They had that much going, anyways. I know that for an honest fact.
I s'pose They'd want 'em for grub an' things. Like ourselves. That's why They'd bring 'em.
Eddie has been collecting folklore in Co. Clare and further afield for nearly 40 years. Here, Eddie shares some of the stories he has collected on his travels. Print copies of each story appear in his long-running "Folklore Corner" in the Clare County Express.