TUESDAY WRITING CONVERSATION

The Girl Who Got The Better Of The Gentlemen.

 

 

THERE was an old man with a girl of thirteen years, and he was begging. He came to a gentleman, and begged of him. The gentleman said it would be better for him to go and earn wages than to be begging. the man said he would go, and willingly, if he got anyone to pay him. The other said he would himself give him pay, and a house to live in for himself, and for the girl to come to and wash and cook for him. He gave them the house, and they went to live in it.

They were not long there when the gentleman came to the girl one day, and thought to take liberties with her, but she kept herself free from him. When he saw that, he went to his workmen, and he spoke to her father, and said to him that he would hang him at twelve o’clock next day unless he told him which there was the greater number of, rivers or banks. His intention was to put the old man to death, that he might have his way with the girl.

The old man went home sorrowful and troubled. His daughter asked him what ailed him, and he told her he was to be hung at twelve o’clock next day unless he could tell which there was the greater number of, rivers or banks.

“Oh, don’t be sorrowful,” said his daughter, “eat your supper, and sleep plenty, and eat your breakfast in the morning, and when you are going to work, I will tell you.”

In the morning said she to him, “Say, when he asks you the question, that there is not a river but has two banks.”

When he went to work the master came and asked him, “Which is there the greater number of, rivers or banks?”

“There is not a river,” said he, “but has two banks.”

“Your question is answered; but you must tell me tomorrow the number of the stars.”

He went home in the evening sorrowful and troubled. His daughter asked him what ailed him, and he told her. She bade him not to be sorrowful, for she would tell him in the morning. And in the morning he went to his work, and his master came and asked him to count the number of the stars; and he said, “I will, if you put posts under them.”

And he could not do that, but he said, “I will hang you at twelve tomorrow, if you don’t give me the measure of the sea in quarts.”

And he went home to his daughter and told her, and in the morning, as he was going to work, she said,

“Let him stop the rivers that are going into the sea or out of it, and you will measure it in quarts.”

So he gave that answer to his master, and his master could not stop the rivers.

Then he asked for the girl in marriage, and the old man told him not to be making fun of the girl, she was not fit for him. He would get a lady.

“I will not do that,” said he, “you must give her to me to marry.”

“Well, I must see the girl; she will know what she will do.”

He went to his daughter and told her what the gentleman said, and the girl answered her father, and said to him,

“I will marry him, but he must give me a writing under his hand that on the day when he puts me away, he must give me my choice of all that’s in his house, to take away three loads with me.”

And he said he would give her that, and she got it in his handwriting and signed by the lawyer.

Then the girl came and lived in his house with him until she had two children. At that time there was a dispute in the village between two men, one of whom had a horse, and the other a mare and a foal, and the three beasts used to be together. And the man who owned the horse said that the foal belonged to the horse; and the man of the mare, said no, that the foal was his.

The man who owned the horse put law on the man who owned the mare, and they left it to arbitration; and the man who was brought in to decide was the gentleman, who said he would settle it between them.

He said: “Put the three animals into an empty house and open two doors. The foal is to be with the one it follows.” The horse went out first and the foal followed him. Then the foal was given to the man who owned the horse.

All was well till there came some gentlemen to the house. They went out hunting. And when they were a while gone the woman took a fishingrod, and she went fishing in the lake, and she was catching white trout until she saw the company coming, and she turned her back to the lake, and she began casting her line on the dry land. When her husband saw that, he went towards her, away from the other people, and he came and said it was a great wonder she should be casting her line on the dry ground and the lake on the other side of her; and she said it was a great wonder that a horse without milk should have a foal. That made him very angry, and he said on the spot, “After your dinner get ready and go from me.”

“Will you give me what you promised?”

“I will give it.”

After dinner, when the gentlemen were gone, he told her to be going, and she stood up and took with her her own child as a load and laid it down outside the door. She came in and took the second child as her load and put it outside.

She came and she said, “I believe yourself are the load that’s nearest to me.” And she threw her arms round him and took him out as her third load. “You are now my own,” said she, “and you cannot part from me.”

“Oh! I am content,” said he, “and I promise I will not part from you for ever.”

They lived together then, and she took her father into the house, and he was with her until he died. They had a long life afterward too.

 

Source: oaks.nvg.org/irish-tales.htm

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