National Folklore Collection
The story on this page has been taken from the Dúchas web site, page http://www.duchas.ie/en/cbes/5082122/5037866/5082394 and pages following. An image of the original manuscript can be viewed on the Dúchas page as well as more detailed information about the informant and recorder of the story.
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Long, long ago there lived a pair in the glen of a mountain Slieve Gallion. They lived happily for many years mostly by fishing and hunting. The father was a very big strong man, and Nora his wife was almost as tall. Dinas would face the greatest elk or deer or wild bull that ever came his way. He was able to take
him by the horns and the nose and turned his neck until it would crack, and then he was done, but one day he encountered a very large bull. The bull put down his head Dina's hand slipped off his smooth horn, and the beast threw back his head so quickly that he hit Dinas and he lost his breath. Dinas had a great dog that he had trained to stay where he told him until he would whistle for him. This time he did not get time to whistle him. The great faithful dog heard the roaring of the bull so he made a spring forward. The bull was just standing back to drive his horns through Dinas lying on the ground when Gowl for that was his name sprang across Dina's body and seized the bull by the snout. The great beast threw up his head and went backwards, and then he fell on his knees. Gowl had the hill (over him) and twisted the bull's neck.
The bull rolled over. The great dog let go the nose and took the neck and with one pull he tore the main artery of the jugular vein. The blood flowed just as if a butcher cut his throat. The bull's head was down the hill so he bled to the last drop. By this time Dinas had recovered from
the shock and was on his feet again. '' More power to you Gowl, you took satisfaction out of him, for my hurt.''
He claped the dog and fondled him
'' you great fellow you saved my life. He skinned the bull and brought him home and salted the beef.
(This was the way they lived) Dinas was not so good a man after after the trust of the bull's horns. He got worse every day until he was not able to hunt. Paddy was near eighteen so he had to take up the chase. He had the house well stored, for his father was finished hunting or finishing. The was a river that ran along the valley which was great for salmon and Paddy would catch plenty of them. He went to the sea with a creel and brought the full of it of rock salt smashed it up and salted his meat and fish. Poor Dinas was every day worse till he was not able to leave the house. Paddy went out on a hunting expedition one day. Night came on and he did not return. His people were very much annoyed for Dinas thought he might have encountered a bull and was killed
His mother had great confidence in her son Paddy. She still said he would come back.
all night, but Dinas had made up his mind that Paddy was killed but his mother would not hear of it. '' Paddy is a brave fellow and it will want to be a good bull that would get the better of him. '' Well nor, I only wish you were right, if I was able. I would soon know what was the matter with him. ''
'' He might have lost his way '' said she and she was right for Paddy wandered very far from home in pursuit of a herd of deer and there fell a thick fog so dense that he could hardly see the ground at his feet, and there was giggling and stamping of feet all around him and he says '' Boys if you can see where you are please show a poor boy the way out. who can't see where it is.'' Then and there the fog cleared away and a queer little deformed man says to him '' You lost your way Paddy. '' '' I'd like to know how you know my name. ''
'' And I'd like to know who it is that I don't know. ''
'' Maybe you'll show me a short-cut home, '' says Paddy.
'' Home '' says the little man in a tone of surprise '' Why man you wouldn't be home till this time tomorrow. ''
'' What, am I so far away as that from home ''
'' Come and I'll show you a place where you can stay for the night ''
'' Is it a house '' ? says Pat. '' It is
and a big one '' So Pat followed him and was brought up to a great dark castle and was soon standing before the open door. '' There now, '' said the little man '' you can walk right in, '' and when Pat turned round to look at him he was gone. ''
So Pat walked in for he was tired and hungry and was glad to get shelter anywhere. So he came up to a door through an archway. He walked down a long hall or passage and at last came to an open door on the right. There was no light only the light that came from the big fire on the hearth. He went up to it.
'' Begorra but that itself is a grand thing on such a night as this. '' There were plenty of grand chains all round the room Pat fixed himself at the fire and was saying to himself '' What good luck I have now if I could get something to eat I'd be all right. ''
So he began to look about him and to his great joy he saw plenty of beef hanging over the fire on the wall
'' Begorra says Paddy, '' this is great luck, '' I just roast a griskin, I don't see any bread. '' So he roasted a good lump of meat and ate it, and had just finished it when in walked two black bulls, a little distance apart, and across their heads they carried a black coffin. Paddy turned round
in surprise for that was the first sign of life that he had seen in the place since he came in. The two bulls went quietly up to the fire, sank down on their knees, took the coffin off their heads turned round and walked out just as they came in.
Paddy was a little annoyed to see the two black bulls carrying in the coffin on their heads and leaving it almost at his feet just in front of the fire.
'' It will do for a seat, '' says Paddy, and he went up and sat on it. After a while the voice came out of the coffin. '' Get up Paddy you are squeezing me ''. Pat jumped up and began to take the lid off and when he did there was a man lying in it
'' Get up, '' says Paddy '' Aren't you alive? '' '' I am '' '' Well I'll soon put you on your feet. '' '' No '' says the man, '' You can do nothing till the spell is taken off me. I was brought in here to frighten you away. Push me over one side and I'll be all right. You will get another fright tomorrow night. ''
'' The 'sorrow bit' you frightened me ''
'' That's good '' says the man in the coffin '' if you stand all you will be the luckiest man in the land ''
Next night Paddy was sitting at the fire roasting beef when he heard
the clinking of chains and in comes two crawling brutes that Paddy never saw or heard of before. They had great long heads and were throwing fire from their mouths at Paddy. '' Better for you to stop that. I don't want any of your sparks about me, so turn out or I'll make blood come out of your mouth instead '' So they turned round and gave a screech that Paddy thought was through his brain. '' Begorra '' says he, '' as they went out, '' this is a queer place. The little man said that if I put in three nights in this place I would be the best hero in the land. Well I have only one night now and I will see what is going to happen. The next night came.
Paddy was at his supper when in came two things of fierce appearance. They were like huge birds shining black with hook-shaped bills and feet like fowl but the green glitter of there eyes was almost blinding.
'' Begorra ,'' says Paddy these are an angry pair, '' for they put out their wings in a fighting attitude and dashed at Paddy. He pulled out his long knife and as they advanced he made a cut at them but like lightning they sprang back. '' Ah, '' says Paddy '' you're not game you old bald coot and it's better for you to get away and your blazing eyes and your ugly crooked bills. ''
They were flapping their wings and raising a wind that staggered Paddy.
'' Well in troth, '' says he, '' these are the sharpest shooters that yet came to visit me. ''
At that moment they made a dash at Paddy and sent out a scream that seemed to go through his brain.
'' That's the most awful screech that ever I heard and now let you be living or dead. I'll try my knife on your throat. '' As soon as he said that they wheeled and dashed away like a flash of lightning.
'' May you never come back you ugly pair of ravens '' cried Jack. Just as he did so in walked a woman with a withered face and long white hair.
You would think she was a skeleton for there was no flesh on her bones, and her eyes were dazzlingly bright. As if she was pleased she came over to Paddy and said in a shrill voice
'' Well done brave hero. You have with stood all dangers You are the only man out of 100 who has and my thanks to you for it. '' Begorra ''. says Paddy '' I don't know where or how I did anything to serve you ''
'' Oh man you have released me from a hard sentence ''
'' And what was the crime and the punishment? ''
'' I will tell you all. There was a queen of the witches and I was a favourite of hers and she gave me a wand. Whatever I wished to turn anyone
into I could do it with this wand. I was bad-tempered and the king of the Castle of the Black Arches offended me one day, and I put him under a spell and all his people I turned them into fowls of the air and beasts. The queen got angry and called me to trial for being so wicked. ''
'' Well '' says Paddy '' And what did she do to you '' ?
Oh man it was a dreadful sentence She sent me to range a wood for seven years, and seven years more in a river of blood, seven years more tolling a bell, and seven years more emptying a well. '' '' Begorra '' says Paddy she paid you in the double but how are you under any compliment to me '' ? I tell you the sentence lasted till some hero would brave the fright of the castle, and no man ever did till you did and hundreds tried and many of them lost their lives, you notice the dark arches have great heavy doors, but they were always left open for the wanderer to come in, and the little deformed creature was left to show them in and to lure them. ''
'' Begorra '' he showed me in too Well sorra a bit I'm sorry when it did good to someone. '' At that moment in walked a woman in the richest attire. She was very handsome and looked young. She bowed to Paddy. '' I am glad to
see, the great hero you will soon be lord of this Castle of the Dark Arches. ''
She turned to the other woman and she said '' Now Rosalin you are free-for ever, and young hero I will show you the work that you have done. She went to a cove in the wall and touched a secret spring and she took out a rod of gold. She stuck the other woman with it and she beacame a very beautiful young lady. She turned to the man in the coffin, and struck him too and at once- up stands a fine young gentleman, and he lowered to Paddy and said '' you-are-a great man to do all-this.''
'' Go '' said the queen and bring in the two blacks. '' She went and in a minute the two bulls walked in. She struck them with hew wand, and there-stood, two fine young cavaliers and they saluted Paddy. The other woman came in again and the queen told her to bring in the two fowls, and-so they came in very quiet to the-great astonishment of Paddy. There stood two of the greatest beauties that ever Paddy saw, or anyone else. They came up to Paddy and bowed to him. '' Oh my lady '' don't humble yourself bowing to me I'm not worth looking at
'' Oh Pat you are the greatest hero that ever stood inside of the Dark Arches, and as she spoke in walked a very tall-man with a big white beard. He wore a hat the shape of a church spire and four gold tassels round it with one-on the top, and a gold band round the lower part of it, and a long blue cloak embroidered with gold. He walked up to Paddy and put out his hands to him
'' Well done young cavalier you have earned the greatest prize that I can give you. I am the father of these two ladies and you can have your choice of them for your bride. ''
'' Oh begorra '' says Paddy, that's more than I deserve. '' ' No it is not enough for what you have done Take your choice. ''
Paddy looked at the two ladies, he could see no difference in them, so he reached his hand for the one that stood nearer his right. They are both beautiful '' says Paddy and I know the one I left will not be jealous, for I'm not much to look at. ''
'' Oh you are magnificent, and what's better you are brave beyond all men. '' Begorra I'm glad you have such a grand opinion of me. ''
'' Yes '' says she, and it will last forever '' '' Come now '' says the old man. '' Come till I see you
plight your troth to each other '', so he brought them, through many arches, all dark stone, almost black. At last they arrived at a large chamber decorated from the floor, with gold tapestry to the roof. Poor Paddy looked with astonish-ment at the grandeur of the place. He said nothing, as they made there vows hand in hand before the old man. With one hand up they vowed to be faithful until death, and just as they got up who should walk in but the man that was in the coffin and Silvea with him. '' oh Pedro are you and Silvea going to wed '' ? '' Yes '' she said we are engaged for twenty-eight years, and I think it's long enough, but only for Olive we would not be so long. '' Well '' said the old king the sooner it's done the better. you Pedros have estates of your own in the plains of pleasure you have of oxen and cows, so take your bride with you. The wichet Olive is gone to her beautiful demesne. Cleena will not trouble you anymore. ''
The old man called his two sons and said '' You have great and beautiful parks so do you agree with me in giving up my estate to the hero Paddy '' .
With all our hearts, we would have been two black bulls only for his courage and
bravery. '' Now '' says the old man '' you Paddy are now Lord Dark-arch. He then brought them into another chamber and showed them a heap of gold lying on the marble floor, '' That is all yours and my estate. '' At that minute in came the little deformed fellow, he went down on one knee and said '' My Lord Dark-arch, your great mother is looking for you in the mountains ''
'' Oh my dear darling mother I must be off to her, she loves me very much, and I love her too, more than I can tell so I'm off. ''
'' Wait a minute Paddy you must dress in your lordships costume. '' My mother won't know me in that grand dress. '' Paddy was dressed in such a rich costume that he was rather ashamed. '' Now '' says Silvia I'm going with you. ''
'' Im welcome '' my darling. '' But you will not see a grand dressed lady but she is nice and I love her. '' I love you the better for that Padolum, that's what I'm going to call you '' Its easier said all right ''says Paddy, but my mother will call me Paddy. '' So off they started on two fine horses, and Paddy looked like a prince in his grand uniform and Silvia was proud of him. At home in Dina's house there was great grief. The mother roamed a great
part of the mountain in search of Paddy but to no effect. Gowl the great dog was sent everyday to look for him, but he always came home with his head down. Nora would say '' Any sign '' ? The dog would shake his head and was dull and whining. The last day that he was sent out, when Nora gave orders to find Paddy, old Dinas said to her '' You need not bother sending him for Paddy is dead, or would be here long ago. ''
'' I'll not give up hope yet for Paddy is a brave fellow that fears nothing.
Time passed on and the afternoon came and they were just sitting down to their evening meal when in dashed Gowl, panting and jumping and his tongue out six inches
'' What '' says Nora by the beauty of the stars but Gowl has found him, '' '' Don't bother going out in the mountain, if Gowl saw him he will soon be here. '' ( Dinas was disabled and he did not like to be left alone)
'' Just go as far as the rock, and look if there is anyone in view. ''
So she went and was back in a few minutes. '' Well '' says Dinas
'' Oh I saw a lady and gentleman coming this way but it isn't Paddy ''
Gowl was still
rushing excitedly through the house
( if you could call it a house ) and he bounded out again and away up the mountain. '' Why be this and be that Gowl knows them whoever they are. ''
The dog came back in leaps and bounds. Nora went out again and rushed back into the hut. '' Oh Dinas, we are done. Here is some great chief and his lady and maybe it's to put us out of this they are coming '' '' Oh us '' says Dinas. '' It wouldn't be worth their while. '' Nora ran out again and back. '' As I live Dinas but they are coming here '' '' Well let them come Nora They won't eat us and as he spoke he heard the voice of Paddy shouting '' Oh darling mother '' In the name of the bright moon is this my dear son Paddy? ''
' It is indeed mother, back home again ''
'' And who is the great lady you have with you? '' '' It's my beautiful bride mother How do you like her? '' Oh nonsense, indeed I wish she was your bride for she is a beauty and has a kind look in her eyes '' '' Well I am his wife '' '' Oh lady what made you take him for he is poor ''
'' No mother
but he is rich, and you'll share it ''
'' Oh '' says Paddy '' let us go in and see my father ''
'' Ah but he is far gone '' says Nora '' Oh yes let us go in and see him. What has happened to him? '' He got a very bad hurt from a bull's horn in the side and he is dwining away this
long time '' Silva examined him and then said '' Have you the horn that hit you ? '' The horns and hide are out there yet ''
'' Get the horn Paddy, '' says Silva. Paddy soon got the horn and Silva took it and put it in the fire and when it was charred she took it out and ground it into powder and took a little flash from the the pocket of her saddle and mixed it with the dust she got from the horn. She spread it on a bit of the bull's hide and clapped it to Diana's side. '' Now '' says she '' you will be able to come out with us ''
'' To where? ''
'' To our castle-Patholem Castle I should have said ''
'' And my beautiful lady where has Paddy a castle ? ''
'' You will see it before many hours go by ''
'' Why lady what have you done to me for I am as well and as strong as ever? '' '' That's
good, so now get ready for here comes Tregalo with two horses sent by my father for your parents. So get ready '' '' Oh '' says Nora '' Am I dreaming or is this all quite real? ''
'' Oh '' says Silva '' quite real and you will soon see for yourself that it is ''
So they all mounted their horses and off they went. It was not long till they arrived at the castle. The old king met them at the door with his two hands out in welcome.
'' Dinas '' says he '' your son is the bravest knight that ever entered the castle of the Dark Arches and he is now the owner of that same - he and his wife, my daughter. He has all my estate with its herds of deer, cattle, horses and gold which
he won by his bravery.
We would all be dead only for him ''
He took them to his state
room and said '' Now sit down and rest, all of your lives you can eat and drink of the best for all is Patholem's as Silva calls him for he earned it bravely.
Informant: B. O' Grady
Location: Bawnboy, Co. Cavan
Teacher: T. O'Grady
Thanks to Bernadette McGovern who transcribed this and a great many other pages of the The Schools' Collection, from the National Folklore Collection Archives.
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