|The Tillage in the Fort|
Chapter XIV Page 121
THE NEW DECK OF CARDS
OF all the contrivances of the art and learning of man there is none more curious nor cards. They have a connection with beings are not right things at all, and it is well known that an Evil Angel can house himself for a while in a new deck of cards.
There was a young lad called Terry the Luck, and he a great warrant for gaining all games of skill and of chance. He was that strongly renowned the roulette men would warn him away from their boards in a fair, and the thimble trick man fled clean from the street when he come ; the gosoons were in dread to toss pence with himself for the coin fell head or tail as he called.
Now it happened one night that Terry the Luck was on his way home from the sports, and he carried a new deck of cards in his hand. He was in the best of humour for he was after winning a powerful bet on a race. Part of the gain was snug in his pocket, and the remainder had paid for the drink of his friends and himself.
The road to his home was lonely, for he lived in a backward townland. The river passed within sight of his door, and it spanned by a bridge was four arches long.
When Terry the Luck set his foot on the bridge didn't he wheel away round and start in the wrong direction.
That's a strange thing," says he. "Sure my legs were right steady till now."
With that he went at it again, but he couldn't succeed for to cross. He went back about twenty yards and took a run at it, that was no use either. Well any person that seen his antics that night would have died of the laughter. Back he'd go and race up to the bridge for all he was worth, but whenever his foot came upon it he'd turn like a leaf on the wind and away to where he started from. What was more nor horrid vexatious for the poor fellow was to see the light shining in his own kitchen window beyond, and he not fit to get home.
"'Tis enchanted I am," says he.
At long last he thought of the new deck of cards, and he laid them down by the roadside before he made another attempt to go home. He passed the bridge without the least hindrance, but when he went into the house he began to consider it was all a foolishness only.
" What use is there in laying out money for cards, and throwing them there to be rotting with damp? " says he.
Back he went across the river to fetch the new deck of cards. But if he was to strive till he died of exhaustion he couldn't get over the bridge and they in his hand.
"I'll lay them in under a stone until dawn," says he. " Maybe whatever is in them will quit before then."
So he settled his cards in a safe hiding hole, and away with him to his bed.
He rose with the early dawn for to bring out the deck. But there wasn't a heth to be found where he stowed it away and the earth by the stone was all burnt into ash.