THERE WAS THIS IRISH FELLAH....
The Blasket Islands
The English tell Irish stories; the Irish tell Kerry stories and Kerrymen tell Blasket Islander stories, leaving the latter at the bottom of the pile.
The six Blasket Islands lay off the south-west coast of County Kerry and have been unpopulated since 1954.
The Strange Wedding Custom
Back in the day it was said that the islanders had a unique wedding custom. After the ceremony, the bride and groom would move in with either’s parents. In this case the happy young couple settled with the groom’s mother and father.
At first everything went smoothly. The young wife helped her mother in law with the cooking, cleaning and mending. The groom took over his father’s fishing boat leaving the older man to work the family’s two acres of land.
Then it all started to go wrong. The mother’s eyesight started to fail which left more and more work to the young wife. She in her turn became increasing broody and short tempered. She wanted a child but however often she and her husband tried, she just could not conceive. Then to cap it all, the father’s arthritis suddenly got worse leaving his son not only to do the fishing but also to tend to the land. Frustrations grew, tempers got worse as more and more fell upon the shoulders of the young man as well.
On a morning like any other and believing things could get no worse, he made his way to the field with its winter-sustaining crop of potatoes that stood between the family and hunger. His heart sank. The leaves were turning black. It was the Blight. The whole crop was doomed.
Utterly defeated, the loyal young Irishman, flopped down on a nearby stile, and in despair buried his head in his hands.
Suddenly he heard a voice,
“Hello dare sorr. What’s after ailing ye on this foine mornin’?”
The young man whirled round. At first he saw no one, but then glancing down by his side saw the speaker- a little man not above a foot high, dressed in green with a shamrock pinned to his battered top hat. A Leprachaun!
Needing no encouragement, the young man promptly unburdened himself of all his troubles-wife, parents, poverty.
The Leprechaun listened attentively.He did not speak until the young man had finished his tale of woe.
“Oim dreadful sorrie to hear o’ yer troubles,” he finally said before continuing…
“In better days oid be grantin’ yer three wishes but der toimes hev been hard on us leprechauns as well so the most oi kn afford is just one wish. Now, what iver it is, if yer come back ter this stile to morra at the same toime, tell me what it is, an’ oil grant it to ye!”
Then in a puff of smoke, he was gone!
Knowing a leprechaun would never go back on his word, the young man promptly set off for home with a spring in his step and a song in his heart.
As soon as he announced his news to the family he was disabused of any hope of peace. First to speak was the mother,
“Ah son, blindness is a terrible thing. Ask to get my sight back then I can share the housework with your wife and the reduced workload might well help her to conceive!”
His wife then chimed in, “You must ask for a baby son. He will share the fishing and the farming with you and he will look after us in our old age!”
At last it was the father’s turn,
“Don’t listen to the women, son! Our problems are caused by poverty. Ask for riches to get us out of it!”
This left the young man in turmoil. Where should his loyalty lay, with his mother, his wife or his father? Which argument should he go for? Sight? Child? Riches?
The next morning came. The young man had made up his mind so to avoid further confrontation, he quietly slipped out of the cottage and made his way to the stile.
Sure enough, there sat the leprechaun waiting for him.
“Top o’tha morning to ye, sir! And have you made your choice?”
“I have” said the young man.
“So what’s it going to be?” said the little fellow, “Sight for you mother, a child for your wife or wealth to satisfy your fatherS?
The young man looked the leprechaun in the eye and said…
<<<AT THIS POINT I HAVE HIT THE PAUSE BUTTON.
IF YOU HAD BEEN
IN THE YOUNG MAN’S SITUATION, WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE CHOSEN AND WHAT IN FACT DO YOU THINK HE CHOOSE? SIGHT FOR HIS MOTHER? CHILD FOR HIS WIFE? RICHES FOR HIS FATHER?
You should not find it difficult to reach a decision. Afterall the young man was only a thick Blasket islander, looked down upon by alL.
I will give you his answer in next week’s Blog when I hit the Play button>>