It's Us They're Talking About: Liam Grant
Margaret Farren

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"A man whose wife is a sib-friend of ours and my father and another man were up looking about sheep, and up in the quarry here they saw a very nice stick growing up in the face of the quarry .'I'll have to have that stick', the man said and the other two prayed for him all ways not to touch the stick, for it was gentle. But he climbed up and cut the stick, and when he threw it to the ground it was a crooked as a caman.

"They begged him to leave the stick where it was but he took it home with him. The next morning his mare had a sore leg and when the man saw this he said to the mare that he'd rather have the sore leg himself than see her with it. He didn't have the words out of his mouth 'til he took a sore leg himself and didn't get rid of it 'til he went to the priest. That's no hearsay, my father was there."

"Another story I heard though it didn't happen in this parish, was about a man out by Carn who closed an existing well so that he could redirect the water and have a well down closer to the road for the people. He wakened the next morning and where was the spring-well rising only in his own hearth. He didn' close it with any badness or anything like that, only to make it handier for the people, but it was gentle and he shouldn't have touched it."

The Grants have very strong convictions about the enchantedness of water. For the first time Paddy is compelled to interrupt the flow of his brother's narrative to assert that we should never let anyone touch water and don't ever divert it. Liam agrees that that would be "the unluckiest thing that was ever done" .

I'm much impressed by this unquestioned belief in fairies and am assured by Liam that there was a woman up in Rooskey who used to say that "the fairies often came into her home for the lend of things, tea, sugar and the likes". Not sure how seriously to take this story I ask if all these areas of the countryside are still gentle and if I'd have any hope of conjuring up a few fairies yet. In a voice that was deadly earnest, but with a divil of a smile behind his eyes, Liam tells me that the fairies were all banished out of Ireland and if I wait 'til we get the tae he'll tell me the story of how it was done. After that I should go and talk to John Barney Toland in Mindoran. There was a man was middling smart at school and would be able to tell me a good bit of history .

 




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