IrelandI had a gran'uncle, he was a shoemaker; he was only about 3 or 4 months married. I'm up to fourscore now. Well, God rest all their souls, for they are all gone, I hope to a better world!
Well, sir, he says to his wife, and a purty girl she was, as I hear um say, -- the fortune wasn't very big but 'twould buy him a good bit of leather, and I might tell you, 'twas all brogues that was worn at the time, and faith, you should be big before you would get them same.
Howisever, he started one day for Limerick would [with] and ass and car, to bring home leather and other little things he wanted. He did not return that night or the next, nor the next. Begor, the wife and some frinds went to Limerick next day, but no trace of the husband could be found. I forgot to tell you that the third morning after he was gone the wife rose very early, and there at the dure [door] was the ass and car. The whole country was searched, up high and low down, but no trace. Weeks, monts and years came and went, but he never turned up.
Now the wife kept on a little business, sellin' nick-nacks to support herself, and a son, that grew to be a fine strapping man, as I hear um say, the picture of his father.
Now, sir, the boy was in or about twenty, when one day, himself and his mother were atin' their dinner, whin in comes a man and says, "God save ye!"
"And you too," says the mother. "Will you ate a spud, sir?" says she.
He rached for the spud, and in doin' so the sleeve of his coat shortned as he reached out his hand. He had a mole on his wrist and she see it, and her husband had one in the same spot.
"Good God!" says she, "are you John M'Namara?" -- for that was his name.
"I am," says he, "and your husband, and that's my son, but I can't tell you for some time where I was since I left you. But some time I might have the power, but not now."
Well, lo and behold you, in a week's time he started to work, and the boots he made were a surprise to the whole country round, and I believe he lived for nine or ten years ater that, but he never tould her or any one where he was, but of course everbody knew that 'twas wood [with] the good people.
- Source: "Folk-Tales from County Limerick collected by Miss D. Knox,"
Folk-Lore: A Quarterly Review of Myth, Tradition, Institution, &
Custom (London: Folk-Lore Society, 1917), v. 28, pp. 215-216.
- Knox's source: Told by John Kelly, Cooraclare?, County Clare.
- I have retained Knox's spelling.
- Return to the table of contents.