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The Cow of a Widow of Breffny

Chapter I Page 1


THERE was once an old man of Ireland who was terrible poor, and he lived by his lone in a small wee house by the roadside. At the morning of the day he would go for to gather sticks in a wood was convenient to that place, the way he'd have a clear fire to be sitting at of an evening.
It fell out one time, of a cold night, that Paddy heard a knock at the door. He went over, and when he opened it he seen a little boy in a red cap standing without.
Let you come in and take an air to the fire," says he, for he always had a good reception for every person.
The boy with the red cap walked in, and he stopped for a good while conversing. He was the best of company, and the old man didn't find the time passing until he rose for to go.
Let you come in and rest yourself here any evening you are out in these parts," says he.
The very next night the little fellow was in it again, and the night after that, warming himself at the clear fire and talking away.
"Paddy," says he, the evening he was in it for the third time, "Paddy, I do be thinking it is bitter poor you are ! "
I am, surely," says the old man.
Well, let you pay attention to me, it is the truth I'm speaking, you'll have more gold than ever you'll contrive for to spend."
" I could go through a fair share of gold," says Paddy.
" I am determined for to make a rich man of you," the little boy goes on. "There is a lady at the point of death, and she is the King's daughter of France. I have a bottle here in my pocket, and that is the cure for the disease is on her. I'll be giving it to you, and let you set out for France at the morning of the day. When you come to the King's palace the servants will bid you be gone for an ignorant beggar, but let you not be heeding them at all. Don't quit asking to see the King, and in the latter end they'll give in to you. It is with himself the most difficulty will be, for that man will think it hard to believe the likes of a poor old Irishman could have a better cure nor all the doctors in the world. A power of them allowed they'd have her right well in no time, and it is worse they left her. The King is after giving out that the next person coming with a false cure be to lose their life. Let you not be scared at that decree, for you are the man shall succeed. You may promise to have the lady fit to ride out hunting in nine days. Three drops from the bottle is all you have to give her, and that for three mornings after other."
Paddy paid great heed to all the boy in the red cap was telling him. He took the wee bottle that was to make him a rich man, and he made ready for to set out at the morning of the day.
He was a long time travelling the world before he came to the palace where the King's daughter of France was lying at the point of death. The servants made a great mock of the poor old Irishman, but he paid no attention to their words at all. In the latter end he got seeing the King, and that gentleman allowed the likes of Paddy could never succeed when the doctors of the world were after failing.
"I'd only be having the head cut off you, my poor old man ! " says he.
" I'm not the least bit in dread, your honour," says Paddy. "The lady is bound to be ready to ride out hunting in nine days, if she uses my medicine."
His perseverance and courage won over the King of France, and permission was given for a trial of the cure.
The first morning, after taking the three drops from the bottle, the lady turned in her bed. The second morning, after the treatment, she sat up and ate her food.
The third morning, when she had taken the three drops, the King's daughter of France rose from her bed. And in nine days she was ready to ride out hunting.
They could not do enough for Paddy, there was great gratitude in them. Well, the reward he accepted was a big sack of gold, and that was the load he brought home to his cabin in Ireland.
The first evening he was sitting by his clear fire, the little boy came in at the door.
"Didn't I do well for you, Paddy ? " says he.
You did surely. I have more gold in that sack than ever I'll contrive for to spend."
"Ah, not at all ! It is twice as much I'll be getting for you."
"Is it another King's daughter has need of a cure? " asks Paddy.
"No, but a different business entirely. There is a great bully to be fought in the City of Dublin, and yourself is the man shall win it."
" Do you tell me so ! " says Paddy.
"In troth I do. The man you have to fight is a big, fierce fellow no one can get the better of. He has the youth of the world battered to pieces, the way no person comes forward against him any more. There is a fine purse of money put up for to entice a champion to face him ; and there will be great laughter when yourself puts in an appearance. They will ask if you are wishful to fight with gloves on your hands, but it is your bare fists are the best. Let you say you'll toss for which it is to be, but toss with the half-crown I give you, and you are certain to win. Myself is coming to that place for to second you, and it's bound to be the grandest bully was seen in the City of Dublin."
With that the little fellow went away out of the house. And at the morning of the day my brave old Paddy started for Dublin. He wasn't too long on the road, for he got a lift from a man was driving there to see the bully. Well, there was odious laughing and cheering when the crowd saw the champion was come to accept the challenge. The big man was after battering the youth of the world, allowed he had no notion of striving against the likes of Paddy. But when no person else came forward they were bound for to accept him, and they asked would he wear gloves on his fists.
" We'll be tossing for that," says he, bringing out the half-crown he had from the little boy in the red cap.
He won the toss, sure enough, and he allowed it was bare-handed he'd strive. All the time he was looking round, anxious like, but he could see no sign of the one that was to second him. He went into the ring in odious dread ; but then the little fellow came and stood beside him. My brave Paddy let out and he struck the champion one blow, and didn't he lay him dead at his feet.
It was then there was roaring and cheering for the old man. And in all the confusion the little lad got away ; Paddy never seen where he went. The whole crowd took up a terrible great collection of money for the champion was after destroying the man with a single blow. That lot of gold, along with the purse was promised for the fight, filled a sack as full as it could hold. So Paddy went home well rewarded, and not a bit the worse of his jaunt to the City of Dublin.
The first evening he was sitting by his own fireside, the little boy in the red cap came in at the door.
Didn't I do well for you, Paddy ? " says
" You did, surely. It is rich for life I am owing to your contrivances."
" Then will you be doing me a service in return for all ? " asks the little fellow.
Indeed then, I will," says Paddy.
We have all arranged for to cross over to France this night. We intend for to bring away the lady you cured, the King's daughter of that country," says the boy. "But we cannot contrive for to accomplish the like unless we have flesh and blood along with us. Will you come ? "
" Aye, surely ! " says Paddy.
With that the two went out at the door and across the road into a field. It was thronged with regiments of the Good People, past belief or counting. They were running every way through the field, calling out
Get me a horse, get me a horse ! "
And what were they doing only cutting down the bohlans and riding away on them.
Get me a horse, get me a horse ! " says old Paddy, calling out along with them.
But the fellow in the red cap came over to him looking terrible vexed.
" Don't let another word out of you," says he, "except one of ourselves speaks first. Mind what I'm telling you or it will be a cause of misfortune."
I'll say no more except in answer to a question," says Paddy.
With that they brought him a white yearling calf, and put him up for to ride upon it. He thought it was a queer sort of a horse, but he passed no remarks. And away they rode at a great pace, the Good People on the bohlans and Paddy on the yearling calf.
They made grand going, and it wasn't long before they came to a big lake had an island in the middle of it. With one spring the whole party landed on the island and with another they were safe on the far shore.
"Dam, but that was a great lep for a yearling calf," says Paddy.
With that one of the Good People struck him a blow on the head, the way the sense was knocked out of him and he fell on the field.
At daylight the old man came to himself, and he lying on the field by the big lake. He was a long journey from home, and he was weary travelling round the water and over the hills to his own place. But the worst of all was the sacks of gold : didn't every bit of the fortune melt away and leave him poor, the way he was before he came in with the Good People.

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