A man not too far from us here he’d go over to his uncle for the chat of a night. But he was there this night coming on the Christmas. An’ the uncle’s wife was gone down in the kitchen for to make a drop o’ tea.
“No. I had tea when I came”, he said, “an’ that’s it. I’ll be walking away back. The night is grand”.
“Faith, then, you won’t go now”, says the man o’ the house to him. “You won’t go now”.
Up he got with his stick an’ out the door.
“Ah, you’ll be back again”.
Out by the end o’ the cabin an’ up by this boreen where the cows was goin’ up along there. The bull-paddock was there an’ the bull was inside. He went away out past an’ he took this boreen up past this bush – there was a whitethorn bush up there on the side o’ that hill. A nice round bush.
“I’ll go this way now, ‘twill be the driest”, he said. “I’ll go ‘way up along this, an’ I’ll concentrate on the quarry” – there was a quarry to guide him, you see. Anyway, sure, he knew the road. He had it done several times.
But it chanced to be nearly one o’clock. An’ he went as far as the bush and stopped. Couldn’t go no farther. So he sat down. Thought of himself. Looked at himself. Christ, he got up to go. No good.
“Well, I s’pose I have to go back”.
He was coming back anyway an’ he was thinking of himself, “but what did that man say to me coming out – ‘you won’t go now’”?
When he went in “I knew you’d be back”, the uncle said. He made a sup o’ tea for him. He drank the tea an’ they talked away.
Faith it went to half past one.
“I s’pose I’ll go ‘way home now, anyway. I’ll go round by the road, though”.
“You needn’t. You can go back there beyond”, he said, “now. Go back there the hill”.
An’ he did. An’ got home no trouble.
But the man o’ that house told me that ‘tis back on that hill he heard awful pucking o’ the ball, shouting an’ roaring, goals let in. He stayed there about a half an hour listening to ‘em. The Good People that was in it, for sure.
Men like that don’t tell lies. As solid men as ever walked. There was the pucking o’ the ball at half past twelve at night.
‘Twas near the very same place, I was coming there one night about three o’clock an’ I heard the scythe edging. Stood. I wasn’t inside in that field but I was within maybe three or four hundred yards away from it, an’ there I heard that scythe.
“Ah”, I said to myself, “there’s something not right about this. But …. Maybe ‘tis oul’ Jack” – he was the man who owned the field that time – “going to the fair o’ Spancilhill, bringing a bag o’ sile, out cuttin’ a bag o’ sile”.
Faith, I was wrong. No one around here was at the fair. But I heard that scythe edging as plain as a pike-staff.
But I was put astray in it another night an’ put into an awful hole o’ water an’ nearly drowned. An’ I knew the place well. An’ the flashlamp was in my hand, an’ ‘twas lighting. An’ the flashlamp stayed in the hole. I got it the following evening.
Some places do have a name like that. Sure, where the man went into the field below there, he couldn’t come out of it. I showed you that, didn’t I? The loveliest little wall ever seen all around him. He sat down. Sure, I asked him after was there a few pints o’ porter drank. No, he said. Not one drop.
Oh yeah. There’s many fields like that. From here to the west. The west. That’s a fact. But the old people used say that you’d never see a beast to keep grazing in them fields. They were no good to people, them fields. There’s something in them fields. They never produced anything much only rushes, an’ the grass that’d grow in ‘em, ‘twould never grow no higher than two inches. ‘Twould never make you rich, that’s for sure.
An’ no matter what manure or fertilizer you put on ‘em, it made no difference.
An’ they’re the very same today, them fields, however ‘tis.
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.