White Isles - John Millington Synge (2023)

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Wikipedia biography by JM Synge

This book was first published in 1907, two years before Synge's death.


White Isles - John Millington Synge (1)The geography of the Aran Islands is very simple, but you may need a word for yourself. There are three islands: Aranmor, the northern island, some nine miles long; Inishmaan, the middle island, about three miles and a half across, and almost round; and South Island, Inishere, Irish for East Island, like Middle Island but slightly smaller. They are about thirty miles from Galway in the middle of the bay, but not far from the cliffs of County Clare to the south or the corner of Connemara to the north.

Kilronan, the capital of Aranmor, was so transformed by the fishing industry developed there by the Congested Districts Board that it now resembles a fishing village on the west coast of Ireland. The other islands are more primitive, but many changes are made there too, which are not worth mentioning in the text.

On the following pages I tell directly about my life on the islands and what I found there, without inventing anything or changing anything essential. However, I have disguised the identities of the people I speak of as much as possible by making changes to their names and the letters I quote, and by changing some local and family relationships. I don't have anything to say about them that isn't entirely theirs, but I made up this fantasy to prevent them from feeling that their kindness and friendship were being used too directly, for which I'm more grateful than I am can imagine. it's easy to spot. say.

part One

I'm in Aranmor, sitting by a turf fire and listening to Gaelic murmurs from a little tavern below my room.

The steamer to Aran runs with the tide, and it was six o'clock in the morning when we left Galway docks in a thick layer of fog.

At first a low shoreline was visible to the right amidst the rolling waves and fog, but as we advanced it disappeared and nothing was to be seen but fog billowing in the rigging and a small circle of foam.

There were few passengers; a few men walking out with little pigs wrapped in sackcloth, three or four girls sitting in the hut with their heads all bowed in their shawls, and a builder pacing to repair Kilronan's pier. spoke to me

After about three hours, Aran appeared. First there was a shadowy rock, rising out of the sea into the mist; then we approach a Coast Guard post and the city.

A little later he walked the only good path on the island and looked over the low walls on either side to small flat fields of bare rock. I've never seen anything so desolate. Everywhere gray streams of water ran over the limestone, sometimes turning from the road into a wild torrent that meandered incessantly over low hills and rocky caves, or through a few small potato or grass fields tucked away in sheltered nooks. Each time the cloud rose I could see the edge of the sea to my right and the bare ridge of the island above me on the other side. Every now and then he would pass a lonely chapel or school, or a series of stone pillars topped with crosses and inscriptions. ask for a prayer for the soul of the person they honor.

I only met a few people; but here and there I would pass a group of tall girls who would turn to Kilronan and phone me in good-natured surprise, speaking English with a faint foreign intonation very different from the Galway accent. The rain and cold seemed unaffected by their vitality, and as they passed me with anxious laughter and gossiping in Gaelic, they left the damp masses of rock more desolate than before.

Just after noon, on the way back, a half-blind old man spoke to me in Gaelic, but overall I was impressed by the richness and fluency of the foreign language.

The afternoon rained on so I sat at the inn and watched through the mist some men unloading whores who had arrived with the Connemara mob and the leggy pigs playing in the surf. As fishermen came and went in the tavern below my room, I could hear through the broken glass that some of them still spoke Gaelic, although it seemed to have fallen out of favor with the young people of this village.

The old woman in the house had promised to get me a language teacher and after a while I heard footsteps on the stairs and the dark haired old man I had spoken to that morning was groping around the room.

I took it to the fire and we talked for many hours. He told me that he knew Petrie and Sir William Wilde and many living antiquarians and that he knew Dr. Fink and Dr. Pedersen and told Mr. Curtin from America. Shortly after his middle age he fell off a cliff and has had poor eyesight and tremors in his hands and head ever since.

As we talked he sat huddled by the fire, trembling and blind, but his face was indescribably lithe, lit up in an ecstasy of humor when he said anything to me that had a touch of malice or malice, and went dark and desolate...when he spoke of religion. or the fairies

He had great faith in his own powers and talents and in the superiority of his stories to all other stories in the world. When we heard about Mr. Curtin, he told me that this gentleman had published a volume of his Aran histories in America and made five hundred pounds selling them.

"And what do you think he did then?" He continued; He wrote a book of his own stories after making so much money with mine. And he took them away, and the devil took half a denarius for them. would you believe it

Then she told me how the fairies kidnapped one of her children.

One day a neighbor came by and when she saw him on the street she said, 'That's a good boy.'

Her mother tried to say "God bless you," but something choked the words in her throat.

A little later they found a wound on his neck, and for three nights the house was full of noise.

'I never wear a shirt at night,' he said, 'but I got out of bed stark naked when I heard noises in the house and turned on the light, but there was nothing in it. .'

Then a dummy came and made signs to drive nails into a coffin. The next day the seed potatoes were covered in blood and the boy told his mother he was going to America.

That night he died, and "believe me," said the old man, "the fairies were in there."

When he left they sent a barefoot girl with turf and bellows to start a fire that would last all night.

She was shy but willing to talk and told me she spoke Irish well and was learning to read at school and had been to Galway twice although there were many adult women there who had never set foot. across the continent.

The rain stopped and I had my first real acquaintance with the island and its people.

I left Killeany, the poorest village in Aranmor, along a sandbar that juts out to sea to the south-west. As I lay on the grass, the clouds rose from the Connemara Mountains, and for a moment the rolling greenery in the foreground, with a mountain mass in the background, reminded me of the country near Rome. Then a hooker's brown topsail swept over the edge of the sandbar, revealing the presence of the sea.

As I was advancing, a boy and a man from the neighboring village came down and spoke to me, and I found that English, at least here, was imperfectly understood. When I asked if there were trees on the island they quickly asked me in Gaelic and then the man asked if 'tree' meant the same as 'bush' because if so there were some in sheltered hollows to the east.

They walked on with me and followed the sound separating this island from Inishmaan, the island in the middle of the group, and showed me the Atlantic swell rising between two rock faces.

I was told that several men had stayed on Inishmaan to learn Irish, and the boy pointed to a row of cottages they had stayed in, running like a thatched belt around the center of the island. The place looked barely livable. There was no green to be seen, and no sign of people save for those beehive roofs and the outline of a dun outlined above them against the edge of the sky.

After a while my companions left and two other boys came and walked behind me until I turned and got them to talk. First they talked about their poverty, and then one of them said, "May I say that you have to pay ten shillings a week for the hotel?" "More," I answered.

-Twelve? -Advance payment.


Even more.

He then withdrew and asked no further questions, thinking I either lied to quell his curiosity or was too impressed with my wealth to continue.

Driving through Killeany again, I was joined by a man who had spent twenty years in America, where he lost his health and then returned so long ago that he had forgotten his English and could barely make himself understood. He looked desperate, dirty, and asthmatic, and after walking with me a few hundred yards, he stopped and asked for copper coins. I had nothing left, so I gave him a puff of tobacco and he went back to his cabin.

As she left, two little girls took her place behind me and I engaged them in conversation.

They spoke with a delicate, exotic, charming intonation and told me in a sort of chant how they take the 'ladies and girls' to all the sights in their neighborhood in the summer and sell them pampuses and girls in women's hair. . these are common. between the rocks.

We were in Kilronan now and when we parted they would show me holes in their own pampooties or leather sandals and ask the price of new ones. I told them my bag was empty and then, with some strange blessings, they turned away from me and went down to the pier.

This whole way back was exceptionally good. The intense island light, seen only in Ireland, and after the rain threw every ripple in the sea and sky and every cleft in the hills across the bay.

An old man came up to me tonight and said he knew a relative of mine who spent some time on this island forty-three years ago.

"I was standing under the quay wall fixing nets," he said, "when you left the ship, and I said to myself at the time, if there's a man called Synge going around the world, it's that man over there, him ." will be.

He continued to complain in strangely simple but dignified language about the changes that had taken place here since he left the island for the sea before the end of his childhood.

'I'm back,' he said, 'to live in a little house with my sister. The island is nothing like it used to be. I can get little from the people who are here now, and everything I have to give them doesn't interest them.

From what I've heard, this man seems to have locked himself into a world of individual ideas and theories, living on the fringes of his craft of repairing nets, which is viewed with ironic respect and sympathy by the other islanders.

When I went down to the kitchen a little later, I found two men from Inishmaan who had been ignored on the island. They seemed simpler and perhaps more interesting than the people here, and they spoke in careful English about the history of the duns, the Book of Ballymote, the Book of Kells and other ancient manuscripts whose names sounded familiar. .

Despite the charm of my teacher, the blind old man I met the day I arrived, I decided to move to Inishmaan where Gaelic is more widely used and life is perhaps the most primitive thing left in Europe.

I spent this entire last day with my blind guide looking at the antiquities that abound in the west or north-west of the island.

As we walked I watched among the groups of girls smiling at our fellowship - old Mourteen says we are like the cuckoo with its lump - a pretty oval face with that unique spiritual expression so pronounced in a West Irish type of woman . Later that day, as the old man kept talking about the fairies and the women who had kidnapped them, it seemed like there was a possible connection between the wild mythology accepted on the islands and the women's strange beauty .

At noon we stopped by the ruins of a house, and two handsome young men came and sat down beside us. Old Mourteen asked her why the house was in ruins and who lived in it.

'A rich farmer built it some time ago,' they said, 'but after two years he was driven out by the fairy army.'

The boys took us a little further north to see one of the old beehive-shaped dwellings, which is still in perfect condition. earthy humor and started telling what he would have done if he had walked in there as a young man and a young woman with him.

Then he sat down in the middle of the floor and began reciting old Irish poems with a wonderfully pure intonation that made me cry even though I understood very little of the meaning.

On the way home he gave me the Catholic Fairy Theory.

When Lucifer saw himself in the mirror, he believed he was equal to God. Then the Lord drove him out of heaven and all the angels who were his. As he "cast them out," an archangel asked him to spare some of them, and those who fell are still aloft and have the power to destroy ships and do evil in the world.

After that he occupied himself with boring theological subjects and repeated many long prayers and sermons in Irish which he had heard from the priests.

A little further we came to a slate house and I asked him who lived there.

"Kind of a teacher," she said. then his old face twisted with a flash of pagan malice.

"Ah, sir," she said, "wouldn't it be nice to be there and kiss her?"

A few miles from this village we made a detour to an old ruined church of Ceathair Aluinn (The Four Beautiful People) and a holy well next to it which is famous for curing blindness and epilepsy.

As we sat by the fountain, an old man came out of a shack down the road and told me how famous he had become.

“A woman in Sligo had a son who was born blind and one night she dreamed that she saw an island with a blessed well that could heal her son. In the morning she told her dream and an old man said that she dreamed of Aran.

Taking his son to the Galway coast, he took off in an Acuragh and landed under where a patch of bay is visible.

"Then she went to my father's house - God bless his soul - and told them what she was looking for.

“My father said that there was a well just like she had dreamed of and that he would send a boy to show her the way.

"No need at all," she said; "Didn't I see all this in my dream?"

“So she went out with the child and went to this well and knelt down and started saying her prayers. Then she reached her hand into the water and held it to his eyes, and the moment she touched him he exclaimed, "Oh mother, look at the beautiful flowers!"

After this, Mourteen described the feats of drinking Poteen and fighting he had accomplished in his youth, and went on to speak of Diarmid, the strongest man after Samson, and one of Diarmid's and Grainne's beds, which was next to . of the island Diarmid is said to have been killed by the druids who set fire to a shirt on him, a bit of mythology that Diarmid could link to the legend of Hercules if not to 'learn' in a covering teacher's ballad.

Then we talk about Inishmaan.

'You'll have an old man there talking to you,' he said, 'and telling you fairy tales, but he's been walking under him with two sticks for ten years. Have you ever heard what he does with four legs when he is young, then with two legs and then with three legs when he is old?

I gave him the answer.

'Oh Master,' he said, 'you are very pretty and God bless you. Well, I've got three legs now, but the old man from beyond is back with four; I don't know if I'm better than him; He has a vision and I'm just a dark old man.

I'm finally settled in a small hut on Inishmaan, and a steady Gaelic hum comes from the kitchen that leads to my bedroom.

This morning the master of the house came in a four-oared curagh, that is to say, a curagh with four oars and four oars on each side, as each man needs two, and we set out a little before noon.

It was a moment of great satisfaction to see me sailing away from civilization in that crude canvas canoe whose pattern has served primitive peoples since humans were first thrown to sea.

We had to stop briefly at a hull anchored in the bay to make some preparations for brining central island fish, and my crew shouted that they had a man with them as soon as we were within earshot. who has been in France for a month since that day.

When we started again, a small sail was hoisted at the bow, and we made our way across the strait with a rocking sway, nothing like the ponderous movement of a ship.

The sail is used only as an aid, so after I got on board the men rowed, and while they occupied the four transverse seats I lay down on the stern canvas and frame of thin slats that warped and quivered as the sails swayed , waves passed. among them.

It was a clear April morning when we set out, and the bright green waves seemed to throw the canoe against each other, but as we approached this island a sudden gale broke out from behind the rocks we were approaching, and gave this island a temporary turmoil ... quiet. Atlantic vein.

We went ashore at a small dock, from where a rough path leads up to the town between small fields and bare slabs of rock like those at Aranmor. My coxswain's youngest son, a boy of about seventeen who will be my teacher and guide, met me on the quay and took me home while the men engaged the curagh and slowly followed me with my luggage.

My room is at one end of the cabin, with a wooden floor and ceiling and two facing windows. Then there is the kitchen with mud floors and open beams and two opposing doors opening to the outside but no windows. Next are two small rooms half as wide as the kitchen, each with a window.

The kitchen itself, where I will spend most of my time, is filled with beauty and refinement. The red dresses of the women huddled on their stools around the fire exude an almost oriental glow, and the walls are stained with smoke from the lawn, a soft brown that blends with the earthy gray of the floor. All kinds of fishing gear, nets and men's skins hang on the walls or between the open beams; and just above, under the thatched roof, is a whole hide, which they make pampuses of.

Each article about these islands has an almost personal character that brings something of the artistic beauty of medieval life to this simple life where all art is unknown. The curaghs and spinning wheels, the tiny wooden casks that are still often used today in place of earthenware, the cradles, jugs and home-made baskets, all are full of individuality and made from common if somewhat idiosyncratic island materials, it seems a natural one connection between people and the world around them.

The simplicity and uniformity of the dress adds to the local beauty. The women wear red petticoats and laurel island cardigans, to which they usually add a plaid scarf, which is twisted around the chest and tied at the back. When it rains they pull another petticoat over their heads, tying them around their faces, or when they are young they wear a thick shawl of the kind worn in Galway. Other coats are worn from time to time, and during the storm I got into, I saw several young women with men's waistcoats buttoned up. Their skirts fall not far below the knee and show off their strong legs in the heavy indigo stockings they are dressed in.

Men dress in three colors: natural wool, indigo, and a gray flannel woven with alternating threads of indigo and natural wool. In Aranmor many of the young men have adopted the usual fisherman's sweater, but I have only seen one on this isle.

As flannel is cheap - the women spin the thread from their own sheep's wool, and it is then woven by a weaver in Kilronan at fourpence a yard - the men seem to wear an indefinite number of woolen waistcoats and trousers, one over. from the other. . They are often surprised at the lightness of my own dress, and an old man I chatted with briefly on the pier as I disembarked asked if I wasn't cold in "my clothes".

As I sat in the kitchen wiping the dew off my coat, several men who had seen me leaving approached me to speak, usually murmuring at the door, "God bless this place ' or similar words.

The politeness of the old lady of the house is uniquely appealing, and although I didn't understand much of what she was saying (she doesn't speak English), I could see how graciously she guided each visitor to a chair or stool according to their preference. preference. his age and spoke a few words to him until he joined our conversation in English.

At present, my own arrival is the main theme, and the men who enter are eager to converse with me.

Some of them express themselves more correctly than the average peasant, others keep using Gaelic idioms, replacing "he" or "she" with "it", since the neuter pronoun does not occur in modern Irish.

Some of the men have a curiously rich vocabulary, others know only the most common English words and strive to use sophisticated devices to convey their meaning. Of all the topics we can talk about, war seems to be his favorite topic and the conflict between America and Spain stirs up great emotions. Almost every family has relatives who have had to cross the Atlantic, and they all eat the flour and bacon they bring from the States, so they have a vague fear that "if something happens to America," their own island would stop too exist habitable.

Foreign languages ​​are another favorite subject, and being bilingual, these men have a good grasp of what it means to speak and think in many different languages. Most of the foreigners they see on the islands are philology students and people have come to the conclusion that language studies, especially Gaelic studies, is the main occupation in the outside world.

'I've seen French, Danish and German,' said one man, 'and there's a power in Irish books and they read them better than we do. Trust me, there are few rich people in the world now who don't learn Gaelic.

Sometimes they ask me for simple phrases in French, and after listening to the intonation for a moment, most can reproduce them with admirable accuracy.

As I was going out this morning to walk around the island with Michael, the boy who is teaching me Irish, I met an old man coming down to the cottage. He wore shabby black clothes that looked like they came from the mainland, and he was so afflicted with rheumatism that up close he looked more like a spider than a human.

Michael told me it was Pat Dirane, old storyteller Mourteen told me on the other island. I wanted to turn around as he looked like he was going to visit, but Michael didn't want to hear about it.

"He'll be sitting by the fire when we arrive," she said. 'Don't worry, it will be time to talk to him inside and out.'

Was he right? When I went down to the kitchen a few hours later, old Pat was still standing in the corner of the fireplace, squinting in the peat smoke.

He spoke English with remarkable skill and fluency, having, I believe, as a young man worked for months at the harvest in the English provinces.

After some formal praise, he told me how he had been crippled by an attack of 'old hin' (ie the flu) and had complained ever since in addition to his rheumatism.

As the old woman prepared my supper she asked me if I liked stories and offered to tell one in English but added that it would be much better if I could understand Gaelic. Then it started:--

There were two farmers in County Clare. One had a son and the other, a good rich man, a daughter.

The young man wanted to marry the girl, and his father told him to try to win her over if he thought about it, although a golden power wanted someone like her.

"I'll try," said the young man.

He put all his gold in a pocket. Then he went to the other farm and threw the gold in front of him.

"Is that all gold?" said the girl's father.

"All gold," said O'Conor (the young man's name was O'Conor).

"It won't bother my daughter," said the father.

"We'll see about that," O'Conor said.

Then they put her on the scales, the daughter on one side and the gold on the other. The girl fell to the ground, so O'Conor grabbed her bag and set off.

As he walked, he came across a small man standing with his back against the wall.

Where to put the bag? said the little man. "Go home," O'Conor said.

Gold is what you might be looking for? said the man. "It certainly is," O'Conor said.

'I'll give you what you ask,' said the man, 'and we can negotiate thus: you pay me in a year for the gold I give you, or you pay me five pounds cut off. your own flesh

This agreement was made between them. The man gave O'Conor a bag of gold, he returned with it and married the girl.

They were rich people, and he built her a great castle on the cliffs of Clare, with a window looking out over the wild ocean.

One day, while going up with his wife to watch the wild ocean, he saw a ship approaching the rocks and having no sail. She was destroyed upon the rocks, and it was tea that was in her, and fine silk.

O'Conor and his wife went down to look at the wreck and when Mrs. O'Conor saw the silk she said she wanted a dress with it.

They took the sailors' silk, and when the captain went upstairs to get the money, O'Conor asked him to come back and have supper with them. They had a big dinner and then they drank and the captain was drunk. While they were still drinking, a letter arrived for O'Conor saying that a friend of his had died and that he had a long journey to make. While he was getting ready, the captain approached him.

Do you take care of your wife? said the captain.

"I love her very much," O'Conor said.

Wanna bet twenty guineas no man comes near her while you're gone? said the captain.

"I bet," said O'Conor; and away.

There was an old hag on the street near the castle who sold odds and ends, and Mrs. O'Conor let her sleep in a big box in her room. The captain walked down the path to the old witch.

"How long will you let me sleep in your box one night?" said the captain.

"I wouldn't do such a thing for money," said the witch.

For ten guineas? said the captain.

"Not for ten guineas," said the witch.

For twelve guineas? said the captain.

"Not for twelve guineas," said the witch.

For fifteen guineas? said the captain.

"For fifteen I will," said the witch.

So he took it and hid it in the box. As night fell, Mrs. O'Conor went upstairs to her room and the Captain watched her through a hole in the box. He watched as she removed the two rings and placed them on a sort of chimney-like board above her head, stripped down to her shirt and lay down.

As soon as she fell asleep, the captain left his cabin and looked for a way to light the light, for he lit the candle. He approached the bed where she slept without disturbing her or doing anything wrong, took the two rings off the board, turned off the light and went down to the box.

He paused for a moment, and a deep sigh of relief rose from the men and women who had gathered as the story unfolded until the kitchen filled with people.

When the captain emerged from his cabin, the girls, who appeared to be unable to speak English, stopped and held their breath in anticipation.

The old man continued...

When O'Conor returned, the captain greeted him and said he had spent a night in his wife's room and given him both rings. O'Conorg gave him twenty guineas for the wager. So he went up to the castle and took his wife to look out the window at the wild sea. As she watched, he pushed her from behind and she fell off the cliff into the sea.

An old woman was on the beach and saw her fall. Then he went down to the surf and pulled her up all wet and in a great mess, stripped off her wet clothes and put on some old rags that belonged to her.

As O'Conor pushed his wife out the window, he fell to the ground.

After a time Mrs. O'Conor went out to look for him, and when he had wandered here and there about the field for a long time, she heard him mowing a field with sixty men.

He arrived at the pitch and wanted to go in, but the goalkeeper didn't open the door for him. Then the owner came and told him his story. He brought her in and her husband was there to collect it, but he never showed any sign of knowing her. She showed it to the owner and he let the man go and go with his wife.

Then Mrs. O'Conor led him down the street to where horses were parked, and off we went.

When they reached the spot where O'Conor had found the little man, he was standing in the street in front of them.

"Have you got my gold with you?" said the man.

"I don't," said O'Conor.

"Then you will pay me with the flesh of your body," said the man. They entered a house, took out a knife, put a clean white cloth on the table, and placed O'Conor on the tablecloth.

The little man was about to stab him when Lady O'Conor said...

You traded five kilos of meat?

"For five pounds of meat," said the man.

Did you exchange a drop of his blood? said Lady O'Conor.

"Don't bleed," said the man.

"Cut the flesh," said Lady O'Conor, "but if you shed a drop of your blood, I will pierce you." And she put a gun to his head.

The little man left and was never seen again.

When they got to the castle, they prepared a big dinner and invited the captain, the old hag and the old woman who rescued Lady O'Conor from the sea.

After they had a good meal, Mrs. O'Conor began, saying that everyone would tell their story. Then she told how she was rescued from the sea and how she found her husband.

Then the old woman told her story; finding Lady O'Conor wet and in a great disorder, and bringing her in and putting on some old rags on her.

Lady O'Conor asked the captain his story; but he said they would get no stories from him. Then she took the pistol out of her pocket, put it on the edge of the table and said if anyone didn't tell her story, she'd be shot.

Then the captain related how he had entered the box and approached her bed without touching her and removed her rings.

Then Mrs. O'Conor took the pistol and fired it into the witch's body, and she was thrown off the cliff into the sea.

This is my story. It filled me with a strange sense of wonder to hear these illiterate people on a wet rock in the Atlantic tell a story so full of European associations. The incident of the faithful wife takes us beyond Cymbeline in the sun by the Arno and the merry company that set out from Florence to tell love stories. This takes us back to the lower vineyards of Würzburg am Main, where the same story was told of the “two merchants and the faithful wife of Ruprecht von Würzburg” in the Middle Ages.

The other part, dealing with the pound of flesh, is even more widespread, from Persia and Egypt to the Gesta Romanorum and the Pecorone of the Florentine notary Ser Giovanni.

The actual union of the two stories has already been found among the Gaels, and there is a somewhat similar version in Campbell's PopularTales of the Western Highlands.

Michael walks so fast when I'm with him that I can't keep up, and the sharp fossils that abound in the limestone have torn my shoes.

The family consulted them last night and in the end it was decided to make me a pair of pampooties to wear among the rocks today.

They consist simply of a piece of rawhide with loose hair tied at the toe cap and around the heel with two ends of fishing line twisted and tied at the instep.

At night when they are removed they are placed in a bowl of water as the rough skin cuts the foot and the sock becomes hard. For the same reason, people often dive into waves during the day, leaving their feet constantly wet.

At first I put all my weight on my heels, as one naturally does with a boot, and was badly bruised, but after a few hours I learned the natural human gait and was able to follow my guide anywhere on the island.

In a district on the cliffs to the north there is a street like a thousand, leaping from rock to rock without a common common path; and here I realized that the toes have a natural use, for I leapt at every little crevice in front of me and clung to it with an eager grip that made every muscle in my foot aching with the exertion

The absence of the heavy boot of Europe preserved these people with the agile gait of the wild beast, while the general simplicity of their lives bestowed on them many other points of physical perfection. Their way of life has never been influenced by anything more artificial than the nests and dens of the creatures that live around them, and they seem in some ways closer to the more sophisticated types of our aristocracies that were artificially created. a natural ideal, than the laborer or the commoner, since the wild horse is a thoroughbred rather than a draft or draft horse. Tribes of the same natural development may be common in semi-civilized lands, but here a touch of the refinement of ancient societies blends with the characteristics of the wild animal to a unique effect.

When I go for a walk with Michael, someone always asks me what time it is. However, few people are accustomed to modern time to more than vaguely understand the convention of time, and when I tell them what time it is on my watch, they are not satisfied and ask how much time they have left. before dawn.

Interestingly, general knowledge of the weather on the island depends on the wind direction. Almost all cabins are built like this one with two opposing doors, the most protected of which is left open all day to illuminate the interior. When the wind is from the north, the south door opens and the shadow of the sill moving across the kitchen floor marks the hour; However, as soon as the wind turns south, the other door opens and people who have never thought to turn a primitive dial feel lost.

This portal system has another curious result. It often happens that all the gates on one side of the village street are open and women sit on the thresholds, while on the other side the gates are closed and there is no sign of life. The moment the wind shifts, everything flips, and sometimes when I walk back into town after an hour's walk, there seems to be a general flight from one side of the street to the other.

In my own cabin, swapping the doors changes the entire tone of the kitchen, transforming it from a bright space opening onto a patio and passageway to a somber cell with gorgeous views of the sea.

When the wind blows from the north, the old woman takes care of my meals fairly regularly; but other days she makes my tea at three rather than six. If I refuse, she simmers it on the lawn for three hours, then brings it back at six, curious to see if it's hot enough.

The old man suggests that I send him a watch when I leave. If she wants something of mine in the house, she says, they wouldn't forget me, and wouldn't a clock be as useful as anything else and would they think of me every time they saw it? Face.

General ignorance of the exact times of day makes it impossible for people to eat regular meals.

They seem to eat together in the afternoon and sometimes in the morning just after sunrise before retiring to work, but during the day they just have a cup of tea and a piece of bread or some potatoes whenever they want. hungry.

For men who live outdoors, they eat strangely little. Often, when Michael is hoeing potatoes for eight or nine hours without eating, he comes in and eats a few slices of homemade bread, and then he's ready to take me out and roam the island for hours.

They use no animal feed except for some bacon and salted fish. The old woman says that if she ate fresh meat, she would get very sick.

A few years ago, before tea, sugar and flour became commonplace, salted fish was much more the staple than it is today, and skin diseases, I'm told, were common on the islands, though rare today. .

No one who has not lived between those gray clouds and the sea for weeks can understand the joy with which eyes fall on the women's red dresses, especially when they are in groups, as happened this morning.

I heard the heifers were to be shipped off to a country fair in a few days, and I went down to the wharf just after sunrise to watch them.

The bay was shrouded in gray from the approaching rain, but the thin clouds cast a silvery light over the sea and an unusually deep blue over the Connemara Mountains.

As he crossed the sandy hills, a brown-sailed whore crept up slowly to begin her voyage, and another headed for the docks. the long stretch of grass separating the sea from the rocks, a new unity of colour.

The quay itself was crowded with oxen and a large number of people. I noticed an extraordinary girl in the crowd who seemed to exercise authority over anyone who approached her. Her oddly shaped nostrils and narrow chin gave her a witchy expression, but the beauty of her hair and skin made her uniquely attractive.

When the empty hooker was tied, her deck was still many feet below the level of the wharf, so the beasts were lowered with ropes from the top of the mast with much trouble and confusion. Some of them made frantic attempts to escape, almost dragging their owners out to sea with them, but they were handled with wonderful skill and there was no mishap.

When the open hold was filled with young cattle as densely as possible, the owners, with their wives or sisters accompanying them to avoid Galway extravagances, jumped on deck and the voyage began. Immediately afterwards a rickety old prostitute was beaten up by the Connemara mob and as she unloaded all the men sat at the edge of the dock and talked about the rotting wood until the owners went mad with rage.

The tide was too low for any more boats to reach the quay, so we continued to a stretch of sand to the southeast where the rest of the cattle had been swept up by the waves. Here the hooker anchored about fifty yards from shore, and a curagh was rowed in to haul the beasts. Each ox was taken in turn and girded with a sling of rope to be hoisted aboard. Another rope was tied to the horns and given to a man on the curagh's trunk. The animal was then pushed through the waves and out of its depths before it had much time to fight back. When she went swimming, she was dragged onto the hooker and washed aboard, half-drowned.

The freedom of the arena seemed to imbue a stronger spirit of rebellion, and some of the animals were only captured after a dangerous fight. The first attempt wasn't always successful, and I saw a three-year-old boy pick up two men in his horns and drag them by their tails another fifty yards across the sand before he was overpowered.

While this work was in progress, a crowd of girls and women gathered at the edge of the cliff, shouting a confused babble of satire and praise.

When I returned to the hut, I found among the women who had gone to the mainland a daughter of the old woman, and that her nine-month-old baby had been left in her grandmother's care.

When I walked in she was busy getting my dinner ready and old Pat Dirane, who usually arrives at this time, was rocking the cradle. It is made of coarse wicker, with two pieces of coarse wood fastened underneath to act as seesaws, and all the time I'm in my room I can hear it hitting the floor with extraordinary force. When the baby is awake, it lies down on the floor. , and the old woman sings various inarticulate lullabies that have plenty of musical charm.

Another daughter who lives at home went to the county fair too, so the old lady has to look after the baby and I, plus some chickens that live in a hole by the fire. Often, when I want tea or the old lady goes to fetch water, it has to be my turn to rock the cradle.

One of the largest duns, or pagan strongholds, in the islands is a short walk from my home, and I often go there after a supper of eggs or salted pork to smoke sleepily on the stones. Neighbors know about my habit, and it's not uncommon for someone to come up to me and ask about the latest newspaper I've received or about the American war. When nobody comes, I open my book to spruce-touched stones and sleep for hours in the delicious warmth of the sun. The last few days I have almost lived in the round walls, because through a miscalculation our territory has come to an end and the bonfires are maintained with dry cow dung, the common fuel on the island, the smoke that seeps in . across the hall and lies down on my table and bed in blue robes.

Luckily the weather is good and I can spend my days in the sun. Looking around from the top of these walls I see the sea on almost all sides, stretching to distant mountain ranges to the north and south. Below me, to the east, is the island's only inhabited quarter, where I see red figures moving through the huts, occasionally sending up snippets of conversation or old island songs.

The baby has been teething and crying for a few days. Ever since his mother went to the market they have fed him cow's milk, often a little sour, and I think they have given him more than he needs.

However, things looked so bad that morning that they sent for a foster mother in the village, and soon a young woman who lives a little further east came and restored her natural diet.

A few hours later, when I went into the kitchen to speak to old Pat, another woman rendered the same kind service, this time a person with an oddly quirky expression on her face.

Pat told me the story of an unfaithful wife, which I will tell later, and then started a moral argument with the visitor, much to the delight of some young men who came to hear the story. Unfortunately it was done so quickly in Gaelic that I missed most of the points.

(Video) J. M. Synge - The Influence of The Wild

This old man often speaks in a melancholy tone about his failing health and impending death, but he occasionally has a touch of humor that reminds me of old Mourteen on the North Island. Today there was a grotesque two-cent doll lying on the floor next to the old woman. He picked it up and examined it as if comparing it to her. Then she held it up: "Are you the one bringing this thing into the world?" she said, "Miss of the house?"

This is the story:--

One day I was walking from Galway to Dublin and it was getting dark and I was ten miles from the city where I intended to spend the night. Then it started to rain heavily and I got tired of walking, so I stopped on the way when I saw some kind of roofless house by the road so that the walls could shelter me.

Looking around I saw a light in some trees two branches away and thinking that any kind of house would be better than where I was I jumped over a wall and climbed on top of the house to look out the window .

I saw a dead man lying on a table, candles lit and a woman looking at him. I was startled when I saw him, but it was raining hard and I told myself that if he were dead, he couldn't hurt me. So I knocked on the door and the woman came and opened it for me.

"Good night ma'am," I tell her.

"Good night, stranger," she says, "come out of the rain." Then she picked me up and told me that her husband was behind her and that she was taking care of him that night.

"But you're going to get thirsty, stranger," she says, "come to your room." Then he ushered me into the room (and it was a good nursing home) and placed a cup and saucer underneath it on the table with powdered sugar and bread.

After drinking a cup of tea I returned to the kitchen where the dead man lay and she gave me a nice new pipe from the table with a drop of liqueur.

"Strange," she says, "would you be afraid to be alone with yourself?"

'Not in the world, ma'am,' I say; "There's nothing you can do if you're dead," so she said she wanted to tell the neighbors how her husband was after he died inside her, and she walked out, closing the door behind her.

I smoked a pipe, bent down and picked up another from the table. He was smoking with his hand on the back of my chair like you are doing now, bless you, and I looked at the dead man as his eyes widened as wide as mine and looked at me.

"Don't be afraid, stranger," said the dead man; I'm not absolutely dead in the world. Come and help me up and I'll tell you everything.

Well I went upstairs and took the sheet off him and I saw that he was wearing a clean thin shirt over his body and thin flannel pants.

Then he got up and said that...

I have a bad foreign wife and I play dead seeing what she's doing.

Then he took two thin sticks that he had to hold his wife, placed them on either side of her body and lay down again as if he were dead.

After half an hour his wife and a young man returned with her. Well, she gave him tea and told him she was tired and it would be nice to go to bed in her room.

The young man entered and the woman sat down next to the dead man to watch. After a while she got up and 'strange' she said, 'I'll take the candle out of the room; I think the young man will be asleep by now. She entered the room, but the divinity within her returned.

Then the dead man got up, took a stick and gave me the other one. We went in and saw them lying together with their heads on his arm.

The dead man hit him with his stick so that the blood that came out jumped and fell on the gallery.

This is my story.

In stories of this type, he always speaks in the first person, using minute details to show that he was actually present in the scenes being described.

At the beginning of this story he told me in detail what the trip to Dublin had done to him on that occasion and he told me about all the rich people he would see walking the best streets of the city.

A week passed in a gripping fog that left me with a strange sense of exile and desolation. Most days I walk around the island, but all I can see is a mass of wet rocks, a rim of waves, and then a riot of waves.

The slate is blackened from water dripping on it, and wherever I look the same gray obsession squirms and squirms between the narrow fields, and the same howling wind howls and whistles between the loose debris of the walls.

At first, people do not pay much attention to the wilderness around them, but after a few days their voices drown in the kitchen, their endless chatter about pigs and cattle turns into the whispers of men telling stories in a house. You.

The rain continues; but this afternoon several young men were in the kitchen mending hammocks, and the bottle of Poteen was taken from its hiding place.

One does not think that these people drink wine on this ruined abyss, but their gray potency, which gives a gush of joy to the blood, seems predestined to preserve the sanity of the people who live forgotten in these misty worlds.

I sat in the kitchen part of the night to feel the joy rising, and when I went to my room after dark, every time the bottle spun, one of the sons would come in for my share to serve.

It cleared and the sun shone with a radiant heat that lit the whole island with jewel-like splendor and filled the sea and sky with a blaze of blue light.

I have come to lie on the rocks where the black edge of the North Island lies before me, Galway Bay almost too blue to see on my right, the Atlantic on my left, a sheer cliff below my ankles and beyond . I have countless gulls chasing each other in a white winged cirrus.

There's a hooded crow's nest somewhere near me, and one of the old birds tries to startle me by falling like a rock every few moments, about forty meters above me, within range.

Gannets glide back and forth across the Sound, occasionally diving after mackerel, and further away I can see the entire hook fleet leaving Kilronan for night fishing in the deep waters to the west.

Hour after hour, as I lie here, I seem to indulge in the wild pastime of the cliffs and become companions of cormorants and ravens.

Many of the birds stand before me with the vanity of barbarians, acting in strange evolutions while I discern, and returning to their ledge when I am gone. Some are wonderfully skilled, displaying graceful figures for unimaginably long periods of time without hesitation, and are so engrossed in their own abilities that they are often struck by their escape, an incident always followed by a wild outburst of insults. Their language is simpler than Gaelic and I seem to understand most of their cries, although I cannot answer them. There is a note of melancholy they pick up to extraordinary effect in the midst of their ordinary conversation, and they walk from one to the other along the cliff with a sort of inarticulate wail, as if recalling for a moment the horror of the fog.

In the lower strata to the east, I see a line of red and gray figures rushing to work. The constant transition on this island between last night's misery and today's splendor seems to create an affinity between the moods of these people and the multiple ecstasies and discouragements common to artists and certain forms of alienation. However, it's only in the intonation of a few phrases or a snippet of an old tune that I catch the true spirit of the island, for usually the men sit together and talk endlessly about the tides and the fish and the price of the seaweed. in Connemara. .

An old woman was buried after mass this morning. He lived in the hut next to mine, and more than once before noon I heard a faint echo of the high pitched sound. I did not attend the wake for fear my presence might disturb the mourners, but I did hear the pounding in the courtyard all last night, where next of kin amidst a small group of idlers worked slowly before the hour at the funeral Poteen was served to several men who were out, and a portion was brought to my room. The coffin was then brought in loosely sewn with canvas and held close to the ground with three cross braces cut from above. As we approached the eastern lower part of the island almost all the elderly men and women with petticoats over their heads came out and joined the procession.

When the tomb was opened, the women sat down between the flat tombstones, surrounded by a pale fringe of primeval ferns, and began wild howling or mourning. Each crone seemed momentarily possessed by a deep ecstasy of grief as she took down the main recitative, swaying and bending her forehead against the stone in front of her as she chanted to the dead. recurring hiccups

Across the graveyard, other wizened women rocked from under the dark red petticoats that covered them, swaying to the beat and singing the inarticulate chant they all sing in accompaniment.

The morning had been wonderfully fine, but as the coffin was lowered into the grave, thunder rumbled overhead and hail hissed through the ferns.

In Inishmaan we are forced to believe in the sympathy between man and nature, and as the thunder rumbled over the women's voices with a deadly rumble of exceptional majesty, I could see the faces beside me frozen and weary with emotion.

As the coffin lay in the grave and thunder echoed through the hills of Clare, the howling broke out once more with greater passion than before.

This searing pain is not a personal lament at the death of a woman in her eighties, but seems to contain all the passionate anger that lurks somewhere in every island native. In this cry of pain, people's inner consciousness seems to undress for a moment, revealing the state of mind of beings feeling their isolation from a universe that fights them with wind and sea. Usually they are silent, but in the face of death any outward indifference or patience is forgotten, and they cry out in wretched despair at the horror of fate to which all are doomed.

Before the coffin was covered, an old man knelt by the grave and recited a simple prayer for the dead.

There was irony in these words of atonement and Catholic faith, spoken by voices still hoarse from the cries of pagan despair.

A little way behind the tomb I saw a line of old women who had been reciting in front of everyone, sitting in the shade of a wall next to the roofless church. They were still sobbing and shaking with pain, but they went back to talking about the mundane little things that the terror of the world hid from them.

When we all left the graveyard and two men reconstructed the hole in the wall where the coffin had been pushed, we went back to town, talking and joking about everything as if we had just got off the boat. - slip or spring.

A man told me about the use of potine at some funerals.

'Some time ago,' he said, 'two men fell in the cemetery while they were drunk. The sea was rough that day, no one could fetch the doctor, and one of the men never woke up and died that night.

The other day the men of this house planted a new field. There was a small mound of earth under the courtyard wall and another in the corner of the herb garden. The old man and his eldest son dug up the clay, with the care of men working in a gold mine, and Michael packed it in saddlebags (there are no wheeled vehicles on this island) to tie them to a flat rock in a corner transport. protected. .from his property, where it was mixed with sand and seaweed and strewn over the stone in a single layer.

Most of the potato growing on the island takes place in such fields, for which the people pay a sizeable rent, and when the season is dry their hopes of a good harvest are almost always dashed.

Nine days have passed since the rains and people are scared even though the sun has not yet warmed up enough to do any harm.

Drought also leads to water shortages. There are a few springs this side of the island, but they come in a short distance and are unreliable in hot weather. The supplies for this house are carried in a water barrel by one of the women. If removed immediately, it doesn't cause much nausea, but if left in the barrel for a few hours, as is often the case, the smell, color and taste are unbearable. Washing water is scarce too, and when I walk along the shore I often meet a girl with her petticoats wrapped around her and standing in a tide pool washing her flannels among the sea anemones. Sea and Crabs Their red bodices and tapered white legs make them as pretty as tropical seabirds as they perch on a seaweed structure on the edge of the Atlantic. However, Michael gets a little uncomfortable when they're in his sight and I can't stop looking at them. This custom of using seawater for washing causes a lot of rheumatism on the island as the salt stays on the clothes and keeps them constantly wet. People took advantage of this dry moment to burn the seaweed, and all the islands lay in a mass of gray smoke. This year there will not be a very large crowd as people are put off by the uncertainty of the market and set about the task of manufacturing with no certainty of profit. The work required to form a ton of algae is considerable. The seaweed is collected from the rocks after the autumn and winter storms, dried in good weather, and then made into a mound where it remains until early June. Then they are burned in low kilns on the beach, which takes twelve to twenty-four hours of non-stop hard labour, although I understand that people here don't get along and spoil some of their production by burning more than is necessary.

The furnace contains about two tons of molten seaweed and when full is covered with loose stones and left to cool. Within days the substance is as hard as limestone and must be broken up with crowbars before being taken to Curaghs for transport to Kilronan, where it is tested for iodine content and paid for accordingly. In the old days, good seaweed fetched seven pounds a ton, but now four pounds isn't always reached.

In Aran, even the manufacturing is interesting. The low flame furnace belching out thick clouds of creamy smoke, with a group of workers dressed in red and gray moving in the mist, and usually a few children and women in petticoats coming down with a drink, makes for a scene of such diversity and colour like any other. eastern image.

The men somehow feel the nobility of their island and proudly show me their work. One of them said to me yesterday, 'I don't think you've seen anything like this before?'

"That's right," I replied, "I've never done that." 'Bedad,' he said, 'isn't it a great miracle that you saw France and Germany and the Holy Father and never saw a human being? to make kelp up to Inishmaan.'

All the horses on this island graze among the Connemara hills from June to late September as there is no grazing here in summer.

Loading and transporting them is even more difficult than with cattle. Most of them are wild Connemara ponies and their great strength and shyness make them difficult to handle on the narrow pontoon, while at the same time not easy to get them to their feet safely in the small space available. They are treated in exactly the same way as the oxen of which I have already spoken, but the excitement is much more intense, and the Gaelic storm that ensues as soon as a horse is pushed off the quay until it is securely in place is indescribable. . Twenty boys and men howl and shout excitedly, curse and admonish, mostly without knowing what they are saying.

Aside from this primitive babble, however, the skill and power of humans proves more beneficial than anything I have ever seen. I paid particular attention to the owner of a North Island prostitute who was charged this morning. He seemed able to carry a horse with his sole weight when balanced on the pole, and maintained a playful calm even in moments of wild excitement. Sometimes a large mare would fall sideways onto the other horses' backs and kick out until the hold seemed filled with a mass of fighting centaurs, as the men would often jump in themselves to try to keep the foals from injuring themselves. The horses' backs in first place are usually badly scarred by the horseshoes of the others arriving at the top, but other than that they don't seem much worse, and since they're not on their way to a carnival it doesn't either doesn't matter what condition they arrive in.

There is only one bridle and saddle on the island, used by the priest who rides from the chapel to the docks when celebrating Sunday services.

The islanders themselves ride with a simple halter and cane, but they sometimes travel, at least on the larger island, at a desperate gallop. Since horses normally carry saddlebags, the rider sits sideways at the withers, and when the saddlebags are empty they go full throttle in that position without being able to hold on.

More than once in Aranmor I encountered a party heading west with empty Kilronan bags. Long before they came into sight she heard the sound of hooves, and then horses galloped around a corner, heads out, ignoring the flimsy bridle that is their only bridle. They usually drive in single files a few meters apart and since there is no traffic there is little risk of accidents.

Sometimes a woman and a man travel together, but in this case the man sits in the usual position and the woman sits sideways behind him, holding him around the waist.

Old Pat Dirane comes by every day to talk to me, and sometimes I bring the conversation back to his experiences with fairies.

He's seen many of them, he says, in different parts of the island, especially in the sandy areas north of the slipway. They are about 1.20 m tall and have peeler-like caps pulled over their faces. Once he saw them playing ball just above the dock at dusk and he told me to avoid that place in the morning or after dark for fear of hurting myself.

He saw two women "dating" them, one young married woman and the other a girl. The woman was leaning against a wall in a spot she described to me very accurately, facing north.

Another night he heard a voice calling out in Irish: "Mhathair ta memarbh" ("Oh, mother, they killed me") and in the morning there was blood on the wall of his house and a child in a house not far away. I was dead.

Yesterday he took me aside and said he was going to let me in on a secret he had never told anyone in the world. "Take a sharp needle," he said, "and stick it under the collar of your coat, and none of them will have power over you."

Iron is a talisman common among barbarians, but in this case there was probably also an idea of ​​exquisite sharpness and perhaps some sense of the sacredness of the tool of work, a belief widespread in Brittany. Fairies are more numerous in Brittany. May than any other county, although they like certain districts of Galway where the following story is said to have taken place.

“A farmer was in great distress because his harvest failed and his cow died from him. One night he begged his wife to make him a good new bag for flour before morning; and when it was over, it began with him before dawn. “There was a knight who had been captured by the fairies and became an officer among them, and people would often see him riding a white horse at dawn and dusk. The poor man went down to the place where they used to see the officer, and as he passed on horseback he asked for two and five hundred heads of flour, being in great need.

"The officer summoned the fairies from a hole in the rock where they kept the wheat and told them to give the poor man what he asked for. So he told him to come back and pay in a year and he left.

"When the poor man came home, he wrote the day down on a piece of paper

off, and that day he returned and paid the officer.'

When he finished his story, the old man told me that the fairies have a tenth of all produce in the land and store it in the rocks.

It's a holy day and I went up to sit on the dun while the people are at mass.

A strange stillness fell over the island this morning, as it sometimes does on Sundays, filling the twin circles of sea and sky with the stillness of a church.

The only landscape here lends itself with singular vigor to this hint of a luminous gray cloud. There is no wind, no particular light. Aranmor seems to sleep as in a mirror, and the hills of Connemara seem so close to me that the expanse of the bay before them makes me uneasy, this morning touched by the individual expression one sometimes sees in a lake.

On these rocks, where neither plants nor animals grow, all seasons are the same, and this June day is so full of autumn that I subconsciously hear the rustling of dead leaves.

The first group of men leave the chapel, followed by a group of women who split at the door and push in different directions, the men pausing to gossip along the way.

The silence is broken; I hear a faint murmur in Gaelic in the distance, as in the water.

In the afternoon the sun came up and I was taken to Kilronan by boat.

As my men rounded the Curagh to retrieve me from a headland near the docks, they struck a submerged rock and landed with a large body of water. the priest, and we left with nothing but a piece of torn canvas between us and the Atlantic.

Every few hundred yards one of the rowers had to stop and jump out, but the hole didn't get any bigger.

Halfway across the strait, we met a Curagh coming toward us at full speed. After a few shouts in Gaelic I knew they had a deck of cards and tobacco for me. We got as close as we could with the parchment, and my belongings were thrown at me, dewy.

After my weeks on Inishmaan, Kilronan seemed to be a powerful center of activity. The larger island's semi-civilized fishermen tend to despise the simplicity of life here, and some of those who stood by when I landed asked me how I managed without decent fishing.

I turned away for a moment to chat with the elderly couple at the hotel and then left to make other visits to the city.

Later that evening I walked up the North Road, where I met many of the natives from the surrounding towns who had come to Kilronan for the holy day and were now returning home in scattered groups.

Women and girls, when not accompanied by men, usually tried to make fun of me.

are you tired stranger said a girl. I walked very slowly to pass the time before heading back east.

"Bedad, that's not it, child," I replied in Gaelic, "I'm alone."

'Here is my little sister, stranger, who will take your arm.' And so it was. Silent as these women are on ordinary occasions, when two or three of them are gathered together in their festive petticoats and shawls, they are as wild and capricious as the women who live in the cities.

I returned to Kilronan around seven and shooed my crew to the taverns by the bay. With their usual negligence they had not noticed the leak in the Curagh, nor an oar that had come loose from the tollbooth, and we crossed the strait at an absurd pace with a deepening puddle behind our feet.

A magnificent evening light fell over the island, which made us glad that we were late. Looking back, behind the sharp edges of the rock was a golden haze and a long ray of sunshine turning the bubbling oars into jewels. I had already seen it and stopped every now and then to smell the oily mackerel rising from the waves.

They tell me there's a eviction party coming to the island tomorrow morning, and they tell me in detail what they're going to earn and spend in a year, and their rent problems.

"The rent is hard enough for a poor man," said one of them, "but this time we're not paying, and they're behind every one of us. A man now has his rent to pay and a lot of money for the suit, and I think the agent will get enough money from these suits to pay his maid and her husband for the whole year.

So I asked who owns the island.

'Bedad,' they said, 'we always heard it belonged to the girl, and she's dead.'

As the sun slid across the sea like a diamond of golden flame, the chill intensified. Then the men began to talk to one another and I lost the thread, lying half dreamily looking at the pale oily sea around us and the low cliffs of the island that rose beyond the smoky crowned town of Dunconor. Contour. .

Old Pat was home when I arrived, and he told me a long story after dinner:

Once upon a time there was a widow who lived in the middle of the forest, and her only son lived with her. He went between the trees every morning to look for sticks and one day as he was lying on the ground he saw a flock of flies flying over what the cow had left behind. He took his scythe and slashed at them so hard that none of them survived.

That night he told his mother that since he could kill an entire flock of flies with a single blow it was time to go out into the world and seek his fortune, and asked her to bake him three cakes while he ate them went. . with him in the morning.

She started the next day just after sunrise with her three cakes in her bag and ate one around ten.

At noon he was hungry again and ate the second, and when it got dark he ate the third. After that he met a man on the street who asked him where he was going.

"I'm looking for a place where I can earn a living," said the young man.

"Come along," said the other man, "and sleep in the barn tonight and I'll give you a job tomorrow to see what you're up to."

The next morning the farmer took him outside and showed him his cows and told him to graze in the hills and make sure no one came to milk them. The young man took the cows out to pasture, and when the heat of the day came he lay on his back and looked up at the sky. A little later he saw a black bubble to the northwest, and it grew and got closer until he saw a big giant coming towards him.

He got up and grabbed the giant by the legs with both arms, pinning him to the hard ground above his ankles so he couldn't break free. So the giant told him not to hurt him and gave him his wand and told him to hit the rock and he would find his beautiful black horse, his sword and his beautiful robe.

The youth struck the rock, and it opened before him, and he found before him the handsome black horse, sword, and cloak of the giant. He single-handedly drew his sword and cut off the giant's head with a single blow. So he stuck the sword back into the rock and went out again with his cattle until it was time to take them home to the farmer.

When they went to milk the cows, they found the power of milk in them, and the farmer asked the young man if he hadn't seen anything in the hills because the other cowboys were bringing the cows home without a drop of milk. . And the young man said he didn't see anything.

The next day he went out again with the cows. He was lying on his back in the heat of the day, and after a while he saw a black speck to the north-west, growing bigger and closer until he saw it was a big giant about to attack him.

"You killed my brother," said the giant; "Come here until I make your body a league."

The young man approached him, grabbed his legs and pinned him to the hard floor up to his ankles.

Then he struck his staff on the rock, drew his sword and cut off the giant's head.

That night the farmer found twice as much milk in the cows as the night before and asked the young man if he had seen anything. The young man said he saw nothing.

On the third day the third giant approached him and said: “You killed my two brothers; come here till I make your body a league.' And he did to that giant what he had done to the other two, and that night there was so much milk in the cows that it flowed from their udders in the street.

The next day the farmer called him and said that maybe that day he would leave the cows in the stalls as there were many curious people, especially to see a beautiful king's daughter who was going to be eaten by a big fish, otherwise there would be no one there who could save her. But the young man said that such a sight was everything to him, and he went to the mountains with the cows. When he got to the stones he hit them with his staff and took off his suit and put it on and took his sword and buckled it to his side like an officer and he mounted the black horse and rode faster than the wind , until he arrived where the king's beautiful daughter was sitting in a golden chair on the beach waiting for the big fish.

When the big fish, larger than a whale, entered the sea with two wings on its back, the young man dived into the waves and struck it with his sword, cutting off one wing. The whole sea turned red with blood until it swam away, leaving the young man on the beach.

Then he turned his horse and rode faster than the wind until he reached the rocks, took off his clothes and put them back on the rocks, with the giant's sword and the black horse, and led the cows to the yard.

The man walked out in front of him and said that the greatest miracle ever was lost and that a noble person would come after she came down in a beautiful suit and cut off the wings of one of the big fish.

"And he'll have the same need two more mornings," said the farmer, "and you'd do well to visit him."

But the young man said he would not come.

The next morning he went out with his cows, took his sword, his cloak and his black horse from the rock and rode faster than the wind until he came to where the king's daughter was sitting on the beach. When people saw him coming, they were very surprised that it was the same man they had seen the day before. The king's daughter asked him to kneel before her, and when he knelt, she took the scissors and cut a lock of hair from the back of his neck and hid it in his clothes.

Then the big worm came out of the sea, dived into the waves and cut off the other wing. The whole sea was red with his blood until he swam out and left her.

That night the farmer went out before him and told him what a great miracle he had lost and asked him to come and see it the next day. The young man said he wouldn't do it.

On the third day he returned on the black horse, where the king's daughter sat on a golden chair and waited for the great worm. Coming out of the sea, the young man sank before him and every time he opened his mouth to eat, he stabbed him in the mouth until his sword pierced his neck and he rolled back and died.

So he rode faster than the wind, put the suit, sword and black horse on the rock and brought the cows home.

The farmer came before him and said there would be a great wedding feast for three days, and on the third day the king's daughter would marry the man who killed the big worm if they could find him.

There was a great feast, and very strong men came and said that they themselves had killed the great worm.

But on the third day the young man put on his suit and tied his sword to his side like an officer, mounted the black horse and rode faster than the wind until he reached the palace.

The king's daughter saw him, brought him in and made him kneel before her. Then he looked at the back of her head and saw the spot where he had severed the curl with his own hand. Gave it to the king and they got married and the young man got all the property.

This is my story.

Two recent attempts at evacuation of the island failed, as each time the steamer approached a sudden storm arose, it is said, by the power of a local witch, making landing impossible. This morning, however, it was dawning under a clear June sky and when I stepped outside the sea and rocks shone with a wondrous glow. Groups of men in evening dresses paused and spoke with anger and fear, but contentedly watched the thought of the dramatic spectacle that was to break the stillness of the seas.

About eight-thirty the steamer appeared on the narrow horizon of the sea that can be seen in the middle of the bay, and then a last attempt was made to hide the cows and sheep of the most indebted families.

Until that year, no one on the island agreed to act as bailiffs, making it impossible to identify debtors' livestock. Now, however, a man named Patrick has sold his honor and the cover-up efforts are futile. .

This turning away from the island's old allegiance caused great outrage, and yesterday morning while I was daydreaming on the dun, this letter was nailed to the chapel doorframe:

"Patrick the devil, a revolver is waiting for you. If you miss the first shot, five more will hit you.

"Every man that talks to you or works with you or drinks half a pint of stout in your shop will be made just like you."

As the steamer drew near, I went down with the men to watch the arrival, though no one went more than a mile from shore.

Two Kilronan-Curaghs with one man helping to identify the cabins, the medic and auxiliary officer, drifted with the tide and were reluctant to go ashore without assistance from the larger party. As they dropped anchor, a strange anguish came over me as I watched the boats sink and the sun glint on the rifles and helmets of the policemen penned within.

Once ashore, the men fell into tight marching order, a word was spoken, and the heavy drumbeat of their boots echoed off the rocks. We were gathered in two scattered groups on either side of the bridge, and moments later the group of resplendent armed men passed us, followed by a low mob who had been herded in to act as chauffeurs for the bailiff.

After the weeks I spent among primitive people, this vision of new types of humanity did not calm me. However, these mechanical police, with the humble guards and bailiffs and the mob they hired, represented very well the civilization by which the homes of the island would be desecrated.

We stopped at one of the first huts in the village and the working day began. However, a compromise was reached here and in the adjoining cabin, as some relatives stepped in at the last moment and borrowed the money needed to secure a truce.

In another case, a girl was sick at home, so the doctor intervened and people were allowed to stay after a formal eviction. About noon, however, they came to a house where there was no claim for clemency and no money to be had. At a signal from the bailiff, work began with the removal of the beds and utensils amidst a crowd of natives who watched in silence, only interrupted by the wild curses of the lady of the house. Belonging to one of the island's most primitive families, she shuddered with uncontrollable anger as she watched the strange armed men, speaking a language she did not understand, lead her out of the house where she had meditated for thirty years. For these people, insulting one's homeland is the ultimate catastrophe. They live here in a gray world, where there is unbridled rain and fog every week of the year, and their warm inglenooks, full of boys and girls, growing civilized in a way not easily perceptible in the consciousness of any family farther places.

Insulting a grave in China probably no more shocks the Chinese than insulting a house in Inishmaan shocks the people.

After the few little things were done and the door barred with stones, the old woman sat down on the threshold and pulled her shawl over her head.

Five or six other women who lived nearby sat in a circle around her in silent sympathy. The mob then moved with the police to another shack where the same scene was supposed to take place, leaving the group of distraught women sitting at the side of the shack.

There were no clouds in the sky yet and the heat was intense. When the police were stopped, they were sweating and panting under the walls with their uniform jackets unbuttoned. They were unattractive and I compared them to the islanders, who walked as cool and light as seagulls.

After the last evacuation, a division was made: half of the group went with the bailiff to search the inner plain of the island for the cattle that had been hiding in the morning, the other half stayed on the way to town to look around her to take care of some pigs that had already been taken.

After a while, two of these pigs escaped the drivers and began a wild race up and down the narrow road. People screamed and howled to add to the terror, and eventually some of them got so excited that the police thought it was time to intervene. They double-parked at the entrance to a cul-de-sac where the animals were caged. A moment later the squeaking from the west started again and the two pigs appeared, running down the middle of the road with the drivers behind them.

They reached the police line. There was a little scuffle, and then the pigs continued their mad run east, leaving three policemen in the dust.

The satisfaction of the people was immense. They squeaked and hugged each other with delight, and it's likely these animals have been passed down in island folklore for generations.

Two hours later, the other group came back, driving three lean days ahead of them, and the skidding began. At the tavern, the police got a drink while the dense crowd that followed them waited in the street. The island bull was in a nearby field and was very excited to see the cows and strangely dressed men. Two young islanders approached me once or twice while I was leaning against a wall, and one of them whispered in my ear, "Do you think we could be fined if we let the bull loose on them?"

In front of the crowd of women and children, all I could say was that it was likely, and they fled.

There was a lot of bargaining on the stands, ending with the return of all the cattle to their owners. Obviously there was no point in taking them since they were worthless.

As the last policeman got on, an old woman stepped out of the crowd, climbed onto a rock near the quay and began a wild rhapsody in Gaelic, pointing at the policeman and waving her scrawny arms with extraordinary anger: 'This man belongs me, my son," she said. It is I who should know him. He is the first bully in the whole big wide world. Then she related her life, tinged with a vengeful rage that I cannot express. As she went on, the emotions became so intense that I thought the man would be stoned before he could return to his hut.On these islands the women live only for their children, and it is difficult to judge how strong the impulse was that made this old woman to curse her son.... In the fury of her speeches I seem to gaze again at the strangely reserved temperament of the islanders and sense the passionate spirit that only at rare moments expresses itself in grand words and gestures . Old Pat told me a story about the goose that lays the golden eggs, which he calls the phoenix:—A poor widow had three sons and a daughter. One day, while their children were looking for sticks in the forest, they saw a beautiful spotted bird flying among the trees. The next day they saw him again and the eldest son told his brothers to go alone and look for sticks because he was after the bird. He followed it and took it with him when he came home at night. They put him in an old chicken coop and gave him some of the food they had for them; I don't know if they ate the food, but they gave out what they had themselves; they couldn't do more. That evening she placed a speckled egg in the basket. The next evening he put on another. At that time his name was in the newspapers and many heard about the bird that laid the golden eggs because the eggs were golden and there was no lie in them.

The next day, when the boys went to the store to buy a stone of flour, the shopkeeper asked if he could buy them the bird. Well it was fixed like this. The shopkeeper would marry the boys' sister, a poor girl without a scrap of good clothes, and take the bird away.

Some time later one of the boys sold a bird's egg to an agent who was in the country. The man asked if he still had the bird. He said the man who married his sister wanted it.

"Well," said the knight, "the man who eats the heart of that bird will find a sack of gold beneath him every morning, and the man who eats its liver will be king of Ireland."

The boy went out - he was a poor simple man - and told the shopkeeper.

So the shopkeeper brought the bird and killed it, and he himself ate the heart and gave the liver to his wife.

When the boy saw this, he felt a great anger inside and he went back and told the knight.

"Do as I say," said the knight. Now go down and tell the shopkeeper and his wife to come over here and play cards with me as I'm very lonely tonight.

When the boy left, he mixed up some vomit and poured it into a couple of whiskey bottles and put a thick cloth under the cards on the table.

The man came with his wife and they started playing.

The shopkeeper won the first game and the lord made them drink whiskey.

They played again and the shopkeeper won the second game. Then the gentleman forced him to take another sip of whiskey.

At the third game, the shopkeeper and his wife vomited on the cloth, and the boy picked it up and carried it out into the yard because the master had told him what to do. Then he found the bird's heart and ate it, and the next morning when he turned over in bed there was a bag of gold underneath. This is my story.

When the steamer is expected I seldom fail to visit the berths, as the men usually gather when she is about to depart, and quarrel between their curaghs, till she has visited the South Island and is seen her up she comes .

This morning I had a long chat with an old man who was delighted at the improvement he had seen here over the past ten or fifteen years.

Until recently there was no connection with the mainland except by hooks, which were generally slow and could only make the voyage in unbearably good weather, so that when an islander went to a fair it often took three weeks to return could. But now the steamer comes here twice a week and the journey takes three to four hours.

The dock on this island is also a novelty and much thought has been given to it as it allows the prostitutes who still transport peat and cattle to unload and receive their cargo directly from the shore. However, the surrounding water is only deep enough for a hooker when the tide is nearly full, and will never make the steamer float, so passengers still have to disembark at curaghs. The pier on the next corner of the South Island is extremely useful in good weather, but it faces strong swells from the south and is so narrow that Curaghs risk losing it in the raging waves.

In inclement weather, four men typically spend nearly an hour atop the pier, curagh in hand, watching a rocky outcrop to the south, where they can see the power of the oncoming waves.

As soon as a pause is in sight, they hit the waves, launch their curagh and head out to sea at incredible speed. Landing presents the same difficulty, and if the timing is wrong, they're likely to be swept sideways and get stuck between the rocks.

This constant danger, which could only be avoided by extraordinary personal skill, had a considerable impact on the local character, as the waves made it impossible for clumsy, reckless or fearful men to live on these islands. When the ship is less than a mile from the slip, the curaghs are driven out and lined up in two rows (usually four to a dozen) some distance from shore. As soon as she intervenes, there is a brief but desperate struggle for good places at her side. . The men lean on their oars and converse in the dreamy tones that accompany the rolling of the waves. The ship lies and in no time their faces are contorted with passion as the oars bend and tremble with tension. For a minute, they seem completely indifferent to their own safety and that of their friends and siblings. Then the order is established and they speak again in their usual dreamy tones, fasting and steaming.

While the Curaghs are gone, I'm staying with a couple of very old women and men who can't row. One of these old men, with whom I speak often, is somewhat famous as a silver bone and is said to have performed remarkable healings both here and on the continent. Stories are told of how he was driven through the Connemara hills by the quality of his carriages, looked after his sons and daughters and returned home with pockets full of money.

Another old man, the oldest man on the island, likes to tell little anecdotes, not folk tales, about things that happened here in his life.

He always tells me about a Connaught man who killed his father with a spade when he was in love and then fled to this island and put himself at the mercy of some natives with whom he was said to be in touch. They hid him in a hole the old man showed me and kept him safe for weeks, despite the police looking for him and he heard his boots squeaking on the rocks above his head. Despite the reward offered, the island was incorruptible, and after much trouble, the man was safely shipped to America.

This impulse to protect the criminal is omnipresent in the West. It seems to be due in part to the connection between justice and the hated English jurisdiction, but more directly to the primitive feeling of those people who are never criminals but always capable of crime, that a man will do no harm unless he is under the influence stands ... a passion as irresponsible as a storm at sea. If a man has killed his father and is already sick and repentant, they see no reason why the law should bring him down and kill him.

Such a man, they say, will be quiet for the rest of his life, and when you suggest, by way of example, that punishment is necessary, you ask, "Would anyone kill their father if they could help it?"

Some time ago, before the introduction of the police, all the people on the islands were as innocent as the people here are today. He mistakenly wrote a letter to a prison guard in Galway and sent him alone to serve a prison sentence.

Since there was no steam, the malefactor gave way to a casual prostitute to the nearest point on the mainland. So he walked many kilometers along a deserted coast until he reached the city. When his time was up, he crawled back the same way, weak and emaciated, often having to wait many weeks before he could reclaim the island. At least that's the story.

It seems absurd to apply the same laws to these people and to the criminal classes of a city. The smartest man in Inishmaan often tells me about his disregard for the law and the increase in crime that the police have brought to Aranmor. On this island, he says, when men have a little disagreement or argument, his friends see it doesn't go too far and is soon forgotten. There are plenty of men in Kilronan who get paid; The moment a punch is struck, they descend the stairs and arrest the man who committed it. The other man you fought has to testify against you; Whole families go to court and swear by each other until they become bitter enemies. When there is a condemnation, the condemned never forgives. He waits, and before the year is out there is a return call, which the other man again never forgives. The feud grows until a dispute over a man's hair color ends in murder after a year of prosecution. The mere fact that it is impossible to obtain credible evidence on the island - not because people are dishonest, but because they believe that claims of kinship are more sacred than claims of abstract truth - makes the whole system of sworn evidence a demoralizing one Illusion. , and it is easy to believe that legal transactions on this false basis must lead to all sorts of wrongs.

As I discuss these things with the elders, the Curaghs arrive with plenty of salt, flour, and stout.

The return of a native who had spent five years in New York caused a stir today. He disembarked with half a dozen people who had shopped on the mainland and paced the platform in his smart suit, looking oddly alien, while his eighty-five-year-old mother ran through the slippery seaweed. , half insane with joy, told everyone the news.

When the Curagh were in place, the men crowded around him in greeting. He shook hands willingly, but without an appreciative smile.

They say he's dying.

Yesterday, on a Sunday, three young people rowed with me to Inisheer, the island south of the group.

The stern of the Curagh was occupied, so they put me in the bow with my head level with the rail. A considerable sea surged with the sound, and as we left the shelter of this island the Curagh rocked and leaped in a way difficult to describe.

At one point, as we descended into the furrow, green waves rippled and curved over me; then I was instantly flung into the air and could look down on the rowers' heads as if we were on a ladder, or through a forest of white ridges to the black cliff of Inishmaan.

The men looked excited and restless, and for a moment I thought they were probably going to overpower us. Before long, however, I became aware of the Curagh's ability to raise its head above the waves, and the movement became strangely intoxicating. Even, I thought, if we were thrown into the blue abyss of the waves, this death with fresh sea salt in our teeth would be better than most deaths one is likely to encounter.

When we got to the other island, it was raining heavily so we couldn't see any antiques or people.

We spent most of the afternoon sitting in front of empty casks in the tavern, talking about the fate of the Gaelic. We were admitted as travelers and the shutters closed behind us, admitting only a gray flash of light and the roar of the storm. By mid-afternoon it cleared up a bit and we returned home to a calmer sea but with a dead headwind that gave the rowers everything they could to make the crossing.

On calm days I usually go fishing with Michael. When we reach the spot above the wharf where the curaghs sit bottom to top on the limestone, he lifts the bow of the boat we're boarding and I slide down, resting the middle of the bow on my neck. He then crawls under the stern and stands up with the last seat over his shoulders. We're going to the sea. The long arch curves in front of me so that I can see only a few meters of pebbles below me. A searing pain shoots through me from the top of my spine to the sharp stones that seem to pierce my boots and scrape my knuckles. We stagger and groan under the weight; but eventually our feet reach the ramp and we descend at a half-trot, like the pace of barefoot children.

We stop a meter from the sea and go down the Curagh on the right. It has to be lowered carefully (a difficult task for our tight and aching muscles) and sometimes when the rail reaches the dock I lose my balance and roll between seats.

We went out yesterday on the Curagh which broke on the day I visited Kilronan and as we paddled the freshly tarred patch stuck to the slide which was hot in the sun. We filled the bucket, the "Super", with water, a shallow wooden bowl similar to a deep bowl, and with infinite pain we freed ourselves and walked away. Within minutes, however, water was pouring at my feet.

The patch had been misplaced and this time we had no burlap. Michael borrowed my pocket scissors and with admirable speed cut a piece of flannel from the hem of his shirt, stuffed it into the hole and secured it with a splint he had cut out. one of the oars.

During our excitement the tide had carried us to the edge of the rocks and I admired again the skill with which he dipped the oars into the water and tossed us as we rode a wave that would have carried us to our doom.

As our Curagh was wounded, we did not stray far from shore. After a while I took my time with the oars and gained some dexterity, although they are not easy to handle. The handles overlap about six inches (to gain strength as the curagh is narrow) and at first it was almost impossible to avoid banging the top paddle against your knuckles. The rudders are rough and jagged except at the tips, so you can't do that with impunity. Again, an Acuragh with two light people in it floats like a walnut shell on water, and the slightest jerk in the stroke will swing the bow at least at right angles to its course. In the first half hour I returned to where I had come from more than once, much to Michael's satisfaction.

This morning we depart again near the pier on the north side of the island. Paddling slowly with the tide and looking for haddock, we passed several curaghs side-loaded with seaweed on their way to Kilronan.

An old woman, wrapped in a red petticoat, sat on a bluff that jutted out into the sea where the Southern Curaghs passed, saluted them in trembling Gaelic and asked for passage to Kilronan.

The first, turning without a load, turned from afar and took her with her.

The morning had none of the supernatural beauty that so often occurs on the island when it rains, so we enjoyed the sun and contemplated the lush lushness of the vegetation beneath the sea, contrasting oddly with the bareness above.

(Video) John Millington Synge | Biography | With Notes | Easy Explanation

Some dreams I had in that cabin seem to support the view that certain neighborhoods are associated with a psychic memory.

Last night, after walking in a dream between buildings with a strangely bright light around them, I heard a faint musical rhythm starting in the distance on a stringed instrument.

It drew closer to me, gradually increasing in speed and volume with an irresistibly defined progression. When I got close enough, the sound began to travel through my nerves and blood, urging me to keep going.

I knew if I gave in I would be drawn into a moment of horrible agony, so I forced myself to stay still and cup my knees in my hands.

The music grew steadily, sounding like the strings of a harp tuned to a forgotten scale and piercing as the strings of a cello.

Then the tantalizing excitement overcame my will, and my limbs moved despite me.

At one point I was swept away by a whirlwind of notes. My breath and my thoughts and every impulse of my body became a form of dance until I could no longer distinguish between the instruments and the rhythm and my own person or consciousness.

For a moment it felt like a feeling of joy, then it turned into an ecstasy where all existence was lost in a whirlpool of movement. She couldn't imagine there ever being life beyond the whirlwind of dancing.

Then, with a jolt, the ecstasy turned to agony and rage. I struggled to free myself, but the steps I was heading for seemed to swell with passion. When she screamed, she could only repeat the rhythm notes.

Finally, with a moment of uncontrollable frenzy, I regained consciousness and woke up.

Shivering, I dragged myself to the cabin window and looked out. The moon shone on the bay and there was no sound anywhere on the island.

I'm leaving in two days and old Pat Dirane said goodbye. He met me in town this morning and took me to "his little tincture," a run-down shack where he spends the night.

I sat by his door for a long time while he leaned on a stool beside his bed behind me and told me the last story I will ever have of him, a clumsy anecdote not worth chronicling. Then he told me with careful emphasis how as a young man he had wandered and lived in a fine college and taught Irish to the young priests!

It is said on the island that he could tell as many lies as four men: perhaps the stories he learned fueled his imagination. As I stood at the door to give him God's blessing, he bent over the straw that made up his bed and shed tears. Then he turned back to me and held up a trembling hand, the glove worn from rubbing his crutch except for a hole in his palm.

'I won't see you again,' she said, tears streaming down her cheeks, 'and you're a good man. If you come back next year I won't be the starter. I will not live past winter. But now hear what I tell you; Get me insured in Dublin City and you'll get five hundred pounds at my funeral.

This night, the last on the island, is also the night of the "Patron", a party that is something of Brittany's "pardon".

I was especially waiting to see him, but the piper I was expecting didn't show up, and it wasn't fun. Some friends and relatives came from the other island and stayed in the tavern in their best clothes, but without music it was impossible to dance.

I think that sometimes when the piper is around, it's a good day full of dancing and emotion, but the Galway piper is getting old and it's not easy to get him to go on the journey.

Last night, San Juan night, the fires were lit and the boys ran around with bits of the burned peat, although I couldn't find out if the idea of ​​starting fires in fire stations is still around on the island.

I left a hotel full of tourists and business travelers to stroll along the shores of Galway Bay and look out over the islands. The longing for these lonely rocks is indescribably strong. This city, otherwise so full of wild human interests, strikes me, in my present condition, as a strange mixture of all that is crudest in modern life. The nothingness of the rich and the misery of the poor give me the same touch of astonishment; However, the islands are already disappearing and I can hardly say that the smell of seaweed and the hum of the Atlantic still wafts around you.

One of my island friends wrote to me:

DEAR JOHN SYNGE: I have been waiting for a letter from you for a long time and I think you are completely forgetting about this island.

Mister. died long ago on the big island and his ship was anchored in the harbor and the wind carried him to Black Head and wrecked him after he died.

Tell me, have you been learning Irish since you left? Now we have a branch of the Gaelic League here and people get along well with Irish and reading.

I will write the next letter in Irish. Tell me if you are coming to visit us next year and if so, write me a letter first. All your dear friends are in good health. – Mise do Chara Gohuan.

Another guy I sent bait to also wrote me, starting his letter in Irish and ending in English:

DEAR JOHN: I received your letter four days ago and I was proud and happy that it was written in Irish and it was a beautiful, beautiful, nice letter. The baits you sent are very good but I lost two and a half of my line. A big fish came in and got the bait and the line was bad and half the line and baits were gone. Now she finds herself alone and poor on the island. I am your friend. ...

Write soon and have it written in Irish or I won't see it.

Part II

The night before returning west, I wrote to Michael, who had left the islands to earn a living on the mainland, to say that the next morning, a Sunday, I would stop by the house where he was staying.

When I knocked on the door, a young woman with beautiful Western features and little English came out. She seemed to have heard everything about me and was so full of the importance of her message that she could barely get it out.

"She got your letter," he said, mixing up pronouns, as is often done in the West, "she went to Mass and will be on the square afterwards." Now let go your lordship and sit in the seat and Michael will meet you.

As I was walking down the main street, Michael came down the stairs to meet me, tired from waiting.

He seemed to have grown into a powerful man since she had seen him, and now he wore the heavy brown flannel shirts of the Connaught workers. After a little chat, we reunited and made our way to the sandy hills above town. Finding him here, just on the threshold of my hotel, I was singularly struck by the sophistication of his nature, unaffected by his new life and the townspeople and sailors he encountered.

"I go out of town a lot on Sundays," he said as we spoke, "so what are you supposed to do in a city with all those people when you're not working?"

A little later, another Irish speaking worker, a friend of Michael's, joined us and we spent hours talking and discussing marijuana. The day was unbearably muggy, and the sand and sea near us were full of half-naked women, but none of the young men seemed to notice their presence. Before we returned to the village, a man came out to corral a young horse in the arena near where we were lying, and then my companions became very interested.

At the end of the afternoon I found Michael again and we strolled along the bay, which was still full of bathers, until it got completely dark. I won't see him again until I get back from the islands, as he's busy tomorrow and I'm leaving on the steamer on Tuesday.

I returned mid-island to Kilronan by steamer this morning, and here in a curagh that had gone overboard with saltfish. As I left the docks, the city gates were full of women and children, and several came down the street to shake my hand and give me a thousand welcomes.

Old Pat Dirane is dead and some of my friends have gone to America; That's all they have to say to me after many months of absence.

Arriving at the hut I was greeted by the old people and was delighted with some small gifts I bought for them: a pair of folding scissors for the old lady, a necklace for the man and a few other knick-knacks. .

So the youngest son, Columb, who is still home, went inside and got the alarm clock I sent them when I left last year.

"I really like this watch," he said, patting her on the back. A bell rings every morning when I want to go fishing. Bedad, no two clocks are alike on the island.

I had some pictures to show that I took here last year and as I sat on a stool by the kitchen door and showed them to the family, a beautiful young woman I had spoken to a couple of times last year snuck in and after a wonderfully simple and heartfelt welcome speech, he sat down on the floor next to me to watch as well.

The total lack of shyness or shyness in most of these people gives them a special charm, and when this beautiful young woman bent over my knee to take a closer look at a photo she liked, I felt more than ever the strange simplicity of island life. . .

Last year when I came here everything was new and the people were a bit strange to me, but now I know them and their way of life, so their qualities impress me more than before.

When my photographs of this island were examined with great pleasure, and all the persons therein identified, even those showing only a hand or a leg, I showed some that I had taken in County Wicklow. Most of them were fragments showing fairs at Rathdrum or Aughrim, men mowing grass in the hills, or other scenes of inland life, but they offered the greatest amusement to the sea-weary folk.

This year I see a darker side of island life. The sun rarely shines and every day a cold south-west wind blows over the cliffs, bringing hail showers and dense clouds.

The kids who are at home go fishing when it's calm enough, from three in the morning until after dark, but they don't want much because there aren't many fish.

The old man also fishes with a long rod and groundbait, but he usually has even less success.

When the weather improves completely, the fishing stops and the two go down to dig potatoes in the rain. The females sometimes help them, but their usual job is tending to the calves and walking around the house.

There is a vague depression in the family this year, with two sons, Michael on the continent and another son who worked in Kilronan last year in the States.

A letter came from Michael to his mother yesterday. It was written in English as he is the only one in the family who can read or write Irish and I listened to him spell and translate slowly as I sat in my room. A little later the old woman got me to read it.

He first told her about his job and the salary he gets. So he said he was walking through town one night and he looked up and down the streets and thought to himself what a great night it was going to be at Sandy Head on this island; not, he added that he felt lonely or sad. At the end he told me with the dramatic vigor of the fairy tale how he found me on Sunday morning and said 'believe me' it was a good conversation we had for two or three hours. .' He also told them about a knife he was given that was so good that no one on the island "had ever seen one like it."

The other day he got a letter from his son who is in America saying he had a little accident with his arm but that he's fine and that he's leaving New York and driving a few hundred miles across the country.

All the next night the old woman sat on her stool by the fire, her shawl over her head, and wept pityingly. America seemed so far away, but she seemed to have felt it was just across the Atlantic, and now, hearing her talk about railroads and inland towns where there's no sea, things she doesn't understands, she returns home. her that her son is gone forever. She always tells me how she sat against the back wall of the house last year and watched the whore she worked for come from Kilronan and get the right tone, and what company it used to be for her when everyone's gone were.

The maternal feeling is so strong on these islands that it tortures women for life. Their children grow up to be banished as soon as they come of age, or to live here at sea in constant danger; their daughters leave too, or when they are young they are fed up with having children who soon molest them.

A storm has been raging for the last twenty-four hours, and I've hiked the cliffs until my hair is stiff from the salt. Huge masses of spray flew from the base of the cliff, sometimes being swept away by the wind. and turned to fall some distance from shore. When one of them landed on me, I had to duck briefly, enveloped and blinded by a shower of white foam.

The waves were so big that when I saw a larger than normal one coming my way, I instinctively turned to hide, like someone who blinks at being struck by their eyes.

After a few hours, the mind is stunned by the endless movement and struggle of the sea, and utter depression replaces the first moment of euphoria.

In the southwest corner of the island I found a group of people collecting the seaweed that is now accumulating on the rocks. The men caught her in the waves and then a group of girls carried her to the top of the cliff.

In addition to their coarse clothing, these girls wore a raw sheepskin over their shoulders to catch the seeping seawater, and they looked oddly fierce and seal-like, with salt on their lips and crests of seaweed on their heads or hair

For the rest of my hike I saw nothing but a few sandpipers and a few nuggets hidden among the rocks.

Just before sunset, the clouds parted and the storm turned into a hurricane. Beams of violet clouds stretched along the Sound, where huge waves rolled in from the west, cloaked in snowy spray fantasies. Then there was the bay filled with mad green and the Twelve Bowls touched by purple and scarlet to the east.

The suggestion of this world of unspoken power was immense, and now at midnight, when the wind dies down, I still tremble and blush with delight.

Despite the rain, I walked the wet streets in my pampuses, and I brought with me a feverish cold.

The wind is great. If anything serious were to happen to me, I could die here and be nailed to my box and thrown into a wet crevice in the graveyard before anyone on land could notice.

Two days ago a Curagh stopped by from the South Island - they can leave due to a sheltered bay on their island if we've forced the weather - to look for the Doctor. Then it got too hectic to start the return journey and it wasn't until this morning that we saw them pass again to the southeast in a terrible sea.

A four-oared curagh with two men on board and the oarsmen (probably the priest and doctor) went first, followed by the more vulnerable three-oared curagh of the South Island. At this time they also bring the priest, not knowing if it will be possible to look for him later if necessary.

As a rule, there are hardly any illnesses and the women often carry out their births with one another without trained help. In most cases all goes well, but sometimes a Curagh will frantically run off to find the priest and doctor when it's too late.

The baby who spent a few days here last year is now settled at home; I assume the old lady adopted him to console herself for the loss of her own children.

He's a big boy now, although he still doesn't speak more than a few words of Gaelic. His favorite thing to do is stand behind the door with a stick, wait for stray pigs or chickens to come in, and then run and chase them. There are also two kittens in the kitchen that he abuses without wanting to hurt them.

Whenever the old woman with grass for the fire enters my room, he solemnly enters behind her with a grass under each arm, very carefully places her behind the fire, and then flies into the corner with his long petticoat behind him. .

He has not yet been given an official name on the island, as he has not come out of the hearth, but in the household he is often referred to as "Michaeleen beug" (i.e. "little Michael").

He occasionally beats him up, but mostly the old woman keeps him updated with tales of the "long-toothed witch" who lives in the dun and eats naughty children. He spends half the day eating cold potatoes and drinking strong tea, but appears to be in excellent health.

I received an Irish letter from Michael. I translate verbatim.

DEAR NOBLE PERSON: I am writing this letter with joy and pride because the day you were on the steamer you found your way to my father's house. I think there will be no loneliness in you because there will be the beautiful and beautiful Gaelic League and you will learn mightily.

I think that now there is no one in life who walks with you but you, from dawn to dusk, and great is the pity.

How is my mother, my three brothers and sisters, and don't forget white Michael, the poor boy, the gray old woman and Rory? I forget all my friends and relatives. I am your friend...

Funny how he accuses himself of forgetfulness after asking the whole family's name. I suppose the first homesickness fades, and he sees his independent well-being as a betrayal of his relatives.

One of his friends was in the kitchen when the letter was brought to me and, at the old man's request, read it aloud as soon as I had finished. When he got to the last sentence, he hesitated and then dropped it altogether.

This young man came to bring me a copy of the Connaught Love Songs he has and I persuaded him to read, or rather sing, some of them to me. As she read some of them, I found that the old woman knew many of them from her childhood, although her version was often not the same as in the book. He rocked on a stool in the corner of the fireplace next to a pot of indigo in which he was dying wool, and several times when the young man had finished a poem, he would pick it up again and recite the lines with exquisite intonation, punctuating them lets her melancholy and passion flow in. a voice that seemed to give him all the cadences one looks for in the deepest poetry.

The lamp burned low and another terrible storm howled and howled across the island. It felt like a dream to sit here among these men and women, listening to this raw and beautiful poetry, full of the world's oldest passions.

The horses returned to graze in Connemara for the last days of summer. They landed them on the beach where the cattle were loaded last year and I went down early this morning to watch them arrive across the waves. The hooker was anchored some distance from shore, but I could see a horse standing on the rail surrounded by men screaming and hitting him with lengths of rope. In a moment he jumped overboard, and some men waiting in a curagh grabbed him by the halter and dragged him twenty yards out of the swell. Then the curagh turned to the whore, and the horse fell alone on the path.

As I stood, a man approached me and asked for the usual greetings:

'Is there a war in the world now, noble?' I told him something about the excitement in the Transvaal and then another horse came out of the waves and I passed and left it.

Then I walked down the boardwalk to the pier where a lot of weed was recently brought in. It is usually piled up in the sandhills for some time and then carried to the huts in saddlebags slung on donkeys or other horse that is needed. on the island.

This has kept them busy for the past few weeks, and the road from the village to the port is lined with rows of boys in red petticoats, leading their donkeys or galloping down with empty suitcases.

Somehow these men and women seem strangely distant to me. They have the same feelings as me and animals, but I can't talk to them when there's so much to say, more than the dog whimpering next to me. mountain mist

I can hardly spend an hour with them without feeling the impact of an unimaginable idea, and again the impact of a vague emotion familiar to you and me. Some days this island feels like a perfect home and a place of rest; Other days I feel like an abandoned child among people. I can feel more with them than they can with me and when I walk among them sometimes they like me and sometimes they laugh at me but they never know what I'm doing.

In the evenings I sometimes meet a girl who is not yet in her mid-teens but seems in some ways more self-developed than any of the others I have met here. He spent part of his life on the continent and the disappointment he experienced in Galway affected his imagination.

As we sit on benches on either side of the fire, I hear his voice shift back and forth in the same sentence, from the joy of a child to the melancholy intonation of an ancient race worn down by grief. Sometimes she is a simple peasant woman, sometimes she seems to look at the world with a feeling of prehistoric disillusionment and summarizes in the expression of her grey-blue eyes all the outer shadows of clouds and sea.

Our conversation is often incoherent. One evening we were talking about a town on the mainland.

"Oh, it's a strange place," he said, "I wouldn't choose to live there. It's a strange place, and really, I don't know of any place that isn't.

The other afternoon we talked about the people who live on the island or come to visit.

"Daddy's gone," she said; He was a kind but strange man. Priests are strange people and I don't know who isn't.

Then, after a long pause, she spoke to me seriously, as if speaking of something that surprised her and should surprise me, who loved children very much.

In our conversation, which is sometimes filled with the innocent realism of childhood, she's always pathetically anxious to say the right thing and to be attractive.

One afternoon I found her trying to light a fire in the small side room of her cottage, where there is a crude hearth. I went to her aid and showed her how to hold a piece of paper in front of the fireplace to make a sketch, a method she had never seen before. So I told him about men who live alone in Paris and build their own fires so no one disturbs them. She sat huddled on the ground looking down at the grass and when I finished she looked up in surprise.

"You're very like me," he said; Someone would have thought so!

Beneath the sympathy we feel there is still an abyss between us.

"Musha," she murmured as I left her tonight, "I think you're going to hell."

I also occasionally find them in the kitchen where the boys go out to play cards after dark and a few girls sneak in to join in. In those moments, her eyes sparkle in the candlelight and her cheeks are flushed from the first turmoil of youth, until she hardly looks like the same girl who sits on the lawn every night and talks to herself.

A branch of the Gaelic League has been formed here since my last visit, and every Sunday afternoon three girls run through the village ringing a shrill bell as a sign that the women's meeting is going to take place, here it would be. pointless to set a time because times are not recognized.

A short time later, groups of girls of all ages, from five to twenty-five, in their petticoats, redder than ever, begin to come down to the school. It is remarkable that for no other reason than a vague reverence for Gaelic, these young women are willing to spend their one afternoon of freedom in laborious study of spelling. It is true that they owe this homage, or most of it, to the influence of some recent visitors. However, the fact that you feel such an influence so strongly is interesting in itself.

I see no particular affection for Gaelic among the older generation, who have not been influenced by the recent language movement. Whenever they can, they speak English with their children so that they can get on better in life. Even young people sometimes tell me:

They have very difficult English and I would like something similar.

Women are the great conservative force on this issue of language. They learn some English at school and from their parents, but they rarely have the opportunity to speak to people who are not native to the islands, so their foreign language skills remain rudimentary. In my cabin I never heard a word of English from the women except when they were talking to the pigs or the dogs or when the girl was reading a letter in English. However, women of a more assertive temperament, who seem to have had the same opportunities, usually attain considerable dexterity, as in the case of a relative of the old lady of the house who comes here frequently.

In the kindergarten I sometimes attend, the children amaze me with their knowledge of English, although they always speak Irish to each other. The school itself is a vacant building in a terribly desolate place. When it's cold the children come in the morning with a peat tied to their books, a simple tribute that feeds the fire well, although I think a more modern method will soon be introduced.

I'm back on the North Island, looking at the cliffs across the strait with a unique sense. It's hard to believe that these slums I've just seen in the South are full of people whose lives have that strange quality found in the oldest poems and legends. Compared to them, the decline that has accompanied the rise of this island's prosperity fills with dismay. The magic that the people there share with the birds and flowers has been replaced here by the fear of the people out for profit. The eyes and expression are different, although the faces are the same, and even the children here seem to have an indefinable modern quality that the men of Inishmaan lack.

My journey from the central island was a wild one. The morning was so blustery that under normal circumstances I would not have attempted the crossing, but having arranged the journey with a Curagh who would come to meet the parish priest who will take up post at Inishmaan, I did not want to back down. .

I left in the morning and climbed the cliffs as usual. Several men I met shook their heads when I told them I was going, saying they doubted a curagh could cross the strait with the sea in it.

When I got back to the cabin I found that the vicar had just arrived from the South Island and had made a worse journey than I had ever made before.

The tide would change at two o'clock, and after that it was thought that the sea would be calmer as the wind and waves would come from the same place. We sat in the galley all morning, and the men came in every few minutes to give us their opinion as to whether the crossing should be attempted and where the sea was likely to be at its worst.

Eventually it was decided that we should go and I made my way to the docks through a downpour with the wind howling against the walls. The teacher and a priest who were to go with me walked as I was passing through the city and advised me not to go over; but my crew had gone to sea, and I thought I had better be after them. The eldest son of the family was with me and I figured that the old man, who knew the waves better than I did, would not send his son if there was more than reasonable danger.

My crew was waiting for me under a high wall below the town, and we continued on our way together. The island had never seemed so desolate to me. As I gazed across the black limestone through the pouring rain to the Gulf of Crashing Waves, I felt an indescribable sense of dismay.

The old man gave me his perspective on dealing with fear.

"A man who does not fear the sea will soon drown," he said, "because he goes out on the wrong day. But we are afraid of the sea and only occasionally drown.

A small group of locals had gathered below to say goodbye and as we crossed the sandy hills we had to shout at each other to drown out the wind.

The crew descended from the Curagh and stood under the shelter of the dock, tying their hats with string and putting on their raincoats.

They tested the rudder clamps, rudders and everything else on the Curagh with a level of care I have never seen before, then put the bag on me and we were good to go. In addition to the four men of the crew, there was one man with us who wanted a passage to this island. As he climbed over the bow, an old man stepped out of the crowd.

"Don't take this man with you," he said. Last week they took him to Clare and they almost all drowned. Another day he went to Inisheer and they broke three ribs of the Curagh and came back. There is no one like him to gamble on the three islands.

"The devil will choke your old mouth," said the man, "you will speak."

We set it up. It was a four-oared Curagh, and I was given the last seat at the stern for the man sailing with one oar moved at right angles to the others by an additional pin in the stern rail.

When we had gone about a hundred yards they raised a small sail at the bow and the pace became extremely fast.

The downpour had passed and the wind had died down, but great waves of glorious splendor swept overhead at right angles to our course. the next groove with a bang, splashing gunmetal. The stern rose again, and both the helmsman, who dropped his oar and clutched the railing with both hands, and I were lifted high above the sea.

The wave passed, we found ourselves paddling vigorously for a few meters, then we had to repeat the same maneuver. As we delved deeper into the sound, we discovered a different class of waves that could be seen from afar and stood out from the rest.

When one of them appeared, the first effort was to get past its reach. The helmsman began to shout in Gaelic, 'Siubhal, siubhal' ('Run, run'), and sometimes, as the crowd slid toward us at hideous speed, his voice rose to a scream. Then the oarsmen themselves heard the cry, and the curagh seemed to leap and tremble with the maddened terror of a wild beast until the wave passed behind him or struck the stern.

In this race with the waves lies our greatest danger. If the wave could be avoided, it was better to do so, but if it caught up with us trying to escape and caught us sideways, our doom was certain. I could see the helmsman trembling with excitement at his task, for any error in his judgment would have crushed us.

We narrowly escaped. One wave rose high above the others and there was the usual moment of intense exertion. It was no use, and in no time at all the wave seemed to collapse on us. With a cry of rage, the helmsman struggled with his oar to bring our bow to him. I was almost there when there was a crash and water rushed all around us. I felt as if I had been hit in the back with knotted ropes. White foam gurgled around my knees and eyes. The curagh bucked, swayed and trembled for a moment, then dropped safely into the rut.

That was our worst moment, although on more than one occasion we had a dangerous job when several waves got so close that we didn't have time to regain control of the canoe between them. Our life depended on the skill and courage of the people, for the life of the riders or swimmers is often in their own hands, and the excitement was too great to give time to fear.

I liked the passage. In that shallow channel of sail, buckling and trembling with the movement of people, I felt the majesty and power of the waves far more intimately than I had ever felt on a steamer.

Old Mourteen came back to keep me company and I can almost understand his Irish now.

He took me today to show me the remains of some cloghauns, or beehive dwellings, located near the central ridge of the island. After looking at them, we lay in the corner of a small field, full of autumn sun and the smell of dying flowers, while he told me a long folk tale, which took over an hour to tell.

He is so blind that I can look at him without being rude, and after a while the expression on his face made me forget to listen and I lay dozing in the sun, letting the ancient formulas of history mingle with the marks of the masonry. that I built. The childlike revelry that came over him as he reached the absurdity at the end so common in these stories reminded me of myself, and I listened intently as he murmured with delighted haste, "You've found the way and I found the puddle. They drowned and found me. If it's all the same for me tonight, it wasn't all the same for her the next night. But if it weren't for him, they'd just be missing an old molar or something.

He guided him home by the routes he described (that's how we got by), sometimes lifted him over low, rickety walls to climb, and brought the conversation back to the topic they never tire of: my opinions. . about marriage

He stopped when we reached the top of the island with the Atlantic just behind him.

"Whisper, noble man," he began, "don't you ever think of young women?" When I was young, one of them could fucking marry her unintentionally.

"Ah, Mourteen," I replied, "it's quite surprising that you should ask me. What do you think of me?'

"Bedad, noble man, I think that you will marry soon. Hear what I say: an unmarried man is no better than an old fool. He enters his sister's house and his brother's house; he eats a little in this place and a little in another place, but he has no home of his own like an old fool lost on the rocks.

I have left Aran. The ship was more heavily laden than usual, and it was after four o'clock when we left Kilronan.

Again I saw the three low rocks fall into the sea with an unimaginable moment of pain. It was a clear afternoon and as we stepped out onto the bay the sun was rising like a halo behind the cliffs of Inishmaan. A little later, a radiant glow covered the sky and bathed the blue of the sea and the hills of Connemara in a light.

As it grew quite dark, the chill intensified and I wandered around the lonely ship that seemed to be moving out of the sea. I was the sole passenger and all but one man at the helm were huddled in the heat of the engine room.

Three hours passed and nobody moved. The slowness of the ship and the howling of the cold sea on either side became almost unbearable. Then the lights of Galway came on and the crew appeared as we slowly made our way towards the pier.

Once ashore I had some difficulty finding someone to carry my luggage to the railroad. When I found a man in the dark and slung my bag over his shoulder, it turned out he was drunk and I had a hard time stopping him from rolling off the pier with all my belongings. He pretended to take a shortcut into town with me, but when we were in the middle of a desert of collapsed buildings and ship skeletons, he threw my bag on the ground and sat on it.

"It is very difficult, Your Honor," he said. I think it's gold that will be on it.

"Divil a hap'worth exists in everything but books," I replied in Gaelic.

"Bedad, is mor an truaghe" ("It's a pity") he said; If it were gold it would be the lavish party we were throwing in Galway tonight.

In about half an hour I had my luggage on my back and we were on our way into town.

Later that night I went down to the dock to look for Michael. As I entered the narrow street where he lives, someone seemed to be following me in the shadows, and as I stopped to look for his house number, I heard Inishmaan say 'Failte' (Welcome) next to me.

it was michael

"I saw you on the street," he said, "but I was too embarrassed to talk to you in a crowd, so I followed you wherever you wanted to see if you remembered me. "

We turned around together and walked through the city until he had to go to his quarters. He was still the same, with all his old simplicity and cunning; but the job he has here doesn't suit him and he's not happy.

It was the eve of Dublin's Parnell celebrations and the city was packed with day-trippers waiting for a midnight train. When Michael dropped me off, I spent some time in a hotel and then went to the railroad.

A wild crowd was on the platform, circling the train in all states of intoxication. He gave me a better example of Connaught's somewhat wild temper than I had ever seen. The strain of human excitement in that puny crowd seemed greater than anything she had felt in the huge crowds of Rome or Paris.

There were some people from the islands on the platform and I got into a third-class car with them. One of the women at the party was with her niece, a young woman from Connaught, who was seated next to me; At the other end of the carriage sat some Irish-speaking old men and a young man who had been a sailor.

There was applause and cheering on the platform as the train departed, and the noise on the train itself was loud; Men and women shout and sing and bang on the partitions with their sticks. There were rushes to the bar at several stations, so the excitement built as time went on.

At Ballinasloe, some soldiers were looking for seats on the platform. The sailor in our compartment got into a fight with one of them, and in a moment the door was thrown open and the compartment was filled with uniforms and trembling batons. After a moment of uproar, peace was made and the soldiers left, but as they did, a group of their female followers stuck their bare heads and arms through the door and cursed and cursed with extraordinary fury.

When the train departed a moment later, these women began to cry in despair. I looked out and saw the wildest heads and figures I had ever seen screaming and screaming and waving their bare arms in the lantern light.

As the night wore on, the girls in the car next to me started screaming and I could hear the racy lyrics as the train pulled into a station.

In our own compartment, the seaman let no one sleep and talked through the night, sometimes with a touch of wit or brutality, and always with a nice fluency and a wild temper behind it.

The old men in the corner, dressed in black cloaks that resembled family heirlooms, talked in Gaelic all night. The young woman next to me lost her shyness after a while and let me point out the peculiarities of the country that began to emerge at dawn as we approached Dublin. She was pleased with the shade of the trees - trees are rare in Connaught - and the canal beginning to reflect the morning light. Every time I showed her a new shadow, she screamed with naive emotion:

Oh it's beautiful but I can't see it.

His presence at my side was a strange contrast to the brutality that shook the barrier behind us. The whole spirit of the West of Ireland, with its strange savagery and reserve, seemed to move in this single move to pay their last respects to the late statesman of the East.

Part III


MY DEAR FRIEND,--I hope you are in good health, as I have heard from you before, I think of you often because I have not forgotten you and it was for the future.

I was home for two weeks in early March and was very ill while under the influence, but I took good care of myself.

I've been getting good wages since the beginning of this year and I'm afraid I can't stand it, although it's not hard, I work in a sawmill and get the money for the wood and keep the account.

I get a letter and news from home two or three times a week and everyone is fine and so are your friends on the island as if I mentioned them.

Have you seen any of my friends in Dublin sir... or any of those gentlemen or ladies?

I think I'll get a taste of America soon, but not until next year if I'm alive.

I hope we can meet again in good and comfortable health.

Now it's time to come to a conclusion, goodbye and not forever write soon I'm your friend in Galway.

Write soon dear friend.

Another letter in a more rhetorical tone.

MY DEAR MR. S., - I tried for a long time to take the time to write you a few words.

I hope you are still thinking of good and agreeable health as I received a letter from you earlier.

Now I see your time has come to come to this place to learn your native language. Two weeks ago there was a big feis on this island and there was a very big turnout from the south island, not much from the north.

Two cousins ​​of mine have been in this house for three weeks or more but they are gone and there is a place for you if you want to come and you can write in advance and we will try to take care of it you as best as we can.

Now I've been home for about two months because the factory I was working in caught fire. After that I was in Dublin, but I didn't get well in that city. – Mise le mor mheas place a chara.

Shortly after receiving this letter, I wrote to Michael that I would be returning with them. This time I chose a day when the steamer was heading straight for the middle island, and as we got between the two lines of Curaghs waiting outside the harbor I saw Michael, back in his island gear, paddling away from them.

He made no sign of confirmation, but as soon as they caught up with him, he climbed aboard and walked up the bridge to me.

'Bhfuil tu go maith?' ("Are you alright?") he said. where's your purse

Her curagh had gotten into a bad spot near the ship's bow, so I was thrown from a considerable height onto some flour sacks and my own bag while the curagh staggered and crashed into the side of the ship.

When we were free I asked Michael if he got my letter.

"Oh no," he said, "not a clue, but maybe next week."

Part of the landslide was washed away in the winter so we had to land left between the rocks and tack with the other curaghs arriving.

As soon as I reached the shore, the men surrounded me to welcome me and, while shaking my hand, asked me if I had traveled far and seen many wonders in winter, ending as usual by asking if it was much war in the world gave shore, at that moment. or world.

I felt a shudder of joy as I heard their blessings in Gaelic and watched the steam dissipate, leaving me utterly alone among them. The day was beautiful, with clear skies and the sea glistening behind the limestone. Further on, a light fog over the cliffs of the largest island and over the Connaught hills made me think it was still summer.

A boy was sent to tell the old woman I was coming and we followed slowly, talking and carrying luggage.

When I ran out of news, they told me theirs. A group of strangers, four or five in number, including a French priest, had been on the island in the summer; the potatoes were bad but the rye got off to a good start until a dry week came and then it was oats.

"If you didn't know us so well," the announcer said, "you would think that what we are saying is a lie, but the pain in it is a lie. It grew straight and to knee height and then turned into oatmeal. Have you ever seen anything like this in County Wicklow?

In the cabin everything was as usual, but Michael's presence restored the old woman's humor and joy. As I sat down on my stool and lit my pipe with a blade of grass, I could have screamed at the celebratory feeling this return gave me.

This year Michael is busy during the day but now it's a full moon and we spend most of the night wandering the island and gazing across the bay where the cloud shadows cast strange patterns of gold and black. Driving back through town tonight there was a big party going on in one of the smaller cabins and Michael said it's the boys and girls who have fun this time of year. I would have liked to join them, but I was afraid of interrupting their fun. As we passed again, the clusters of huts scattered on either side of the road reminded me of places I had sometimes passed on night trips in France or Bavaria, places that looked so sacred in the blue stillness of the night that I was able to do not think they would wake up again.

Then we went to the dun, where Michael said he's never been before dark, even though he lives a few steps away. The site takes on an unexpected splendor in this light, rising like a prehistoric stone crown on the island. We walked around the wall for a while, looking at the pale yellow roofs, the rocks glittering beyond, and the stillness of the bay. Although Michael is aware of the beauty of nature around him, he never speaks directly about it, and many of our evening walks are taken up by long Gaelic babbles about the movements of the stars and moon.

These people make no distinction between the natural and the supernatural.

It was raining this afternoon - it was a Sunday when the islanders usually have an interesting conversation - so I went to the schoolmaster's kitchen, which is frequented by the most progressive people in town. I am so unfamiliar with their fishing and farming methods that I find it difficult to keep our conversation going without getting on to subjects they cannot follow me on, and as the novelty of my photographs has waned, falls it's hard for me to give them the entertainment they look like. expect from my company. Today I taught you some easy gymnastics tricks and tricks that you really enjoyed.

"Now tell us," said an old woman when I had finished, "didn't you learn these things from the witches who roam the land?"

In one of the tricks, it appeared to connect a length of rope that had been cut by humans, and the illusion was so complete that I saw a man take it into a corner and pull on the apparent connection until it ridged red in it the edges sunken. Hands.

So he gave it back to me.

"Bedad," he said, "this is the greatest wonder I have ever seen. The rope is a little thinner where you connected it, but it's as strong as ever.

Some of the younger men looked doubtful, but the older folk, having seen rye transformed into oats, seemed openly accepting of magic and showed no surprise that 'un duine uasal' (a noble person) could do so. as witches

My association with these people made me realize that wherever the new legal concept is not understood, there must be miracles. Enough miracles happen each year on these islands alone to endow a divine emissary. Rye turns to oats, storms rise to drive the victors from the shore, cows isolated on lonely rocks give birth to calves, and the like is common.

A miracle is an expected rare event, like a storm or a rainbow, only a little rarer and a little more miraculous. When I walk and talk to people and tell them that I received a document from Dublin, they often ask me, 'And is there a great miracle in the world right now?'

When I finished my dexterity, I was surprised to find that none of the islanders, even the youngest and most agile, could do what I did. As I pulled on their limbs in an effort to teach them, I felt that the ease and beauty of their movements made me believe they were lighter than they really were. In their curaghs between these cliffs and the Atlantic they look lithe and small, but if dressed like us and seen in an ordinary room many of them would look heavy and powerful.

One man, the island's master dancer, however, got up after a while and demonstrated the leap of the salmon, lying on his stomach and then jumping horizontally very high in the air, and some other feats of exceptional agility, but he is not young and we couldn't get him to dance.

(Video) Riders To The Sea By J M Synge Summary - Riders To The Sea By John Millington Synge Animation

At night I had to repeat my tricks here in the kitchen, because her fame had spread all over the island.

These achievements will no doubt be remembered here for generations. People have so few images for description that they take whatever catches their visitors' eye and use it later in their chat.

A few years ago, when someone with fine earrings was spoken of, it said, "He had nice rings on his fingers like Lady--", a visitor to the island.

I sat in the dock until dark. I'm just beginning to understand the Inishmaan nights and the impact they had in giving a special touch to these men who do most of their work after dark.

All she could hear was a few kingfishers and other wild birds hissing and squawking in the seaweed and the soft lapping of the waves. It was one of those dark, muggy September nights, with no light save for the phosphorescence of the sea and an occasional crack in the clouds to reveal the stars beyond.

The feeling of loneliness was immense. I couldn't see or be aware of my own body and seemed to exist only in my perception of waves and birdsong and the smell of seaweed.

I got lost among the sand hills trying to get home, and the night seemed to grow indescribably cold and melancholic as I groped between slimy masses of algae and crumbling damp walls.

After a while I heard movement in the sand and two gray shadows appeared next to me. Two men came back from fishing. I spoke to them and recognized their voices and we went home together.

In autumn, threshing the rye is one of the many tasks that falls to men and boys. The reels are collected on the bare rock and then each one is hit one at a time onto a pair of stones placed against each other. The soil is so poor that it produces little more grain in the field than is needed for the following year's sowing, so rye is grown only for the straw used as mulch.

Sticks are carried to and from the threshing floors, piled on donkeys that are everywhere at this time of year, their tumultuous black heads barely visible under a tip of golden straw.

As the threshing progresses sons and daughters appear with one or the other until there is a small crowd on the rocks and everyone who passes stops for an hour or two to chat on their way to the sea, so that while the threshing progresses, the seaweed burning in the summer, this work is full of conviviality.

After threshing, the straw is transported to the cottages and piled up in a shed or more commonly in a corner of the kitchen, where it takes on a new brilliance of colour.

A few days ago, when she was visiting a country house where the most beautiful children on the island live, the eldest daughter, a girl of about fourteen, sat down on a pile of straw by the door. A ray of sunshine fell on her and on a patch of rye, giving her figure and her red dress with the straw underneath a curious relief against the hammocks and raincoats, forming a natural image of exquisite harmony and color.

In our own country house the thatched roof has just been done, which is done every year. The rope was sometimes twisted in the street, sometimes in the kitchen when the weather was uncertain. Usually two men sit together during this work, one hammering the straw with a heavy block of wood, the other shaping the rope, the main part of which is twisted by a boy or girl with a specially shaped curved stick.

When it rains, when the work has to be done indoors, the person who turns will gradually move away from the gate, across the street, and sometimes a square or two behind it. A great length is required to form the narrow web that spans the thatched roof, each piece measuring about fifty meters. When this work is underway on half of the houses in the village, the road looks strange and one must tread carefully through a maze of tangled ropes leading to the fields from the dark gates on either side.

When four or five huge balls of rope are finished, a party of carpenters is assembled, and before daybreak they descend to the house, and the work is done with such vigor that it is usually completed in the same day.

Like all work that is done together on the island, reporting is considered a kind of party. From the moment a roof is taken off there is a whirlwind of laughter and talk until it's done, and as the man whose house is being roofed is more of a host than a patron, he goes out of his way to help the men to please those who work like him

The day our own house was thatched, the large table from my room was brought into the kitchen and snacks were served every few hours. . Once, walking to the window, I heard Michael telling my astronomical lectures from the top of the pediment, but usually his business has to do with island business.

It is likely that much of the intelligence and charm of these people is due to the absence of any division of labor and the consequent comprehensive development of each individual, whose diverse knowledge and skills require considerable mental activity. Any man can speak two languages. A skilled fisherman, he can handle a curagh with exceptional courage and skill. You can easily farm, burn seaweed, cut pampooties, fix hammocks, build and cover a house, and make a cradle or coffin. His work changes with the seasons to relieve him of the boredom that afflicts people who always have the same occupation. The danger of his life at sea gives him the vigilance of a primitive hunter, and the long nights he spends fishing in his curagh bring him some of the emotions thought to be characteristic of men who have lived with the art.

Since Michael is busy during the day, I have a boy who comes to my house every afternoon and reads Irish to me. She's about fifteen years old and uniquely intelligent, with a genuine sympathy for the language and the stories we read.

One afternoon as he read to me for two hours, I asked him if he was tired.

'Tired?' said, "I'm sure you'll never tire of reading!"

A few years ago his penchant for intellectual things led him to sit with the old men and learn their stories, but now boys like him are turning to the Irish-language books and papers sent to them from Dublin.

In most of the stories we read where English and Irish are printed side by side I see him looking at English in rather obscure passages, although he's outraged when I say he understands English better than Irish. You probably know local Irish better than English and printed English better than printed Irish, as the latter often has dialectical forms that you are not familiar with.

A few days ago, while reading a folk tale from Douglas Hyde's "Beside the Fire," he noticed something in the translation.

"There's a mistake in English," he said after a moment's hesitation, "you put 'Golden Chair' instead of 'Golden Chair.'

I pointed out that we are talking about gold watches and gold pins.

- And why not? he said; 'but "golden chair" would be much better.'

It is curious to see how his rudimentary culture gave him the beginnings of a critical mind, concerned with both the form of language and ideas.

One day I alluded to my thread-gathering trick.

"You can't join a chain, don't say that," he said; "I don't know about you after deceiving us, but you didn't join this chain, not one iota of you."

The other day when he was with me the fire was low and I held out a newspaper to take a swipe. He didn't respond very well, and although the boy didn't say anything, I could tell he thought I was a fool.

The next day he ran very excited.

'I'm going to test the paper in the fire,' he said, 'and it burned very well. When I saw you doing it, I didn't think there was anything good about it, but I put a piece of paper in the teacher's (the school teacher's) fire and it lit up. So I pulled the corner of the paper and stuck my head in, and believe me, there was a strong, cold wind coming down the chimney that would blow your head off.

We almost got into a fight because he wanted me to take a picture of him in his Galway Sunday attire instead of his much tighter native attire, although he dislikes it as it seems to associate him with primitive life on the island. With her sharp temper, she can go far if she can get out into the world.

you think all the time

One day he asked me if there was great astonishment in the country at their names.

I said there was no wonder in them.

"Well," he said, "your name is a great marvel in the island, and I thought perhaps there is a great marvel for our names in the land."

In a way he's right. Although the names are fairly common here, they are used quite differently than the modern surname system.

When a boy starts wandering around the island, the neighbors call him by his first name followed by his father's first name. If this is not sufficient for identification, add the father's epithet, a nickname, or the father's own name.

Sometimes, when the father's name is not borrowed, the mother's baptismal name is adopted as an epithet for the children.

An old woman near this cabin is named "Peggeen", and her children are "Patch Pheggeen", "Seaghan Pheggeen", etc.

Occasionally the surname is used in its Irish form, but I have not heard them use the prefix 'Mac' when speaking Irish to each other; maybe the idea of ​​a surname he gives is too modern for them, maybe they use it on occasions that didn't catch my eye.

Sometimes a man gets his name from the color of his hair. So there is a Seaghan Ruadh (Red John), and his children are 'Mourteen Seaghan Ruadh' etc.

Another man is known as "an iasgaire" ("the fisherman"), and his children are "Maire an iasgaire" ("Mary the fisherman's daughter") and so on.

The schoolmaster told me that when he reads the scroll in the morning, after each official name, all the children whisper the place name together, and then the child answers. For example, if you shout "Patrick O'Flaharty," the children murmur "PatchSeaghan Dearg" or a similar name, and the child responds.

People who come to the island are treated equally. A student of French Gaelic was in the islands recently and is always referred to as "An Saggart Ruadh" ("the red priest") or "An SaggartFrancach" ("the French priest"), but never by name.

If an islander's name is enough to distinguish them, then he's the only one, and I know a man named Eamonn. There may be other Edmunds on the island, but if so, they likely have nicknames or epithets of their own.

In other countries where names are in a similar state, as in modern Greece, the male's occupation is usually one of the most common distinguishing marks, but here, where all have the same occupation, this is not available. accessible. Late in the afternoon I saw a three-oared Curagh with two old ladies in it and the oarsmen spinning to a halt on the quay. Coming from Inishere, they paddled fast enough until they were only a few yards from the wave line. , where they turned and held their bows out to sea as wave after wave passed beneath them and broke over what was left of the slipway. Five minutes passed; ten minutes; and they still waited with their oars in the water and their heads on their shoulders.

He was just beginning to think that they might have to give up and row to the leeward side of the island when the Curagh suddenly seemed to become a living thing. The bow was back on the dock, jumping and shooting through the foam. Before she could touch it, the man at the bow had turned, two white legs sticking out of the bow like the flash of a sword, and before the next wave came he had the Curagh out of harm's way.

This sudden and united action in men without discipline clearly shows the education that the waves gave them. When the Curagh was troubled, the two old women were carried on their children's backs by the waves and the slippery seaweed.

It's not safe for a curagh to get out in this foul weather, but accidents are rare and almost always seem to be caused by alcohol. Since I was here last year, four men have drowned on their way home from Ilha Grande. First landed here the next night was a South Island Curagh, who put to sea with two men laden with liquor, dry and unharmed, with sails half-furled and nobody on board.

More recently, a Curagh from that island got upset on the way home with three men made worse by alcohol. The steamer was not far away and rescued two of the men but was unable to reach the third.

Now a man has washed ashore in Donegal wearing a pampooty and a striped shirt with a purse in a pocket and a box of tobacco.

For three days, people tried to fix their identities. Some think it's the man from this island, others think the man from the south fits the description better. When we returned from the docks tonight we found the mother of the man who drowned on this island still crying and looking out to sea. He stopped the people who had come from the South Island to ask them in startled whispers what they were thinking there.

Later, while he was sitting in one of the huts, the dead man's sister walked out in the rain with her baby and there was a long talk about the rumors that had arisen. She collected everything she could remember about her son. Clothes, and what her bag looked like and where she got it from, and the same for her tobacco box and her socks. In the end, there seemed little doubt that it was his brother.

'Oh!' She said, "It really is Mike, and may God give him a proper burial."

Then she slowly began to take an interest in herself. Her loose blond hair was plastered to her head from the rain, and as she sat in the doorway nursing her baby, she looked like a role model for island women.

For a while people were silent and nothing could be heard but the child's lips, the hissing of the rain in the yard and the breathing of four pigs sleeping in a corner. Then one of the men started talking about the new ships that had been sent to the southern island, and the conversation returned to its usual tone.

The loss of a man seems like a minor disaster to all but immediate family members. A father and his two eldest sons are often lost in an accident, or all active men in a household die together in some other way.

A few years ago, three men from a family that made the wooden vessels, like small barrels that are still used among the people, went to the big island together. They drowned on the way home, and with them the art of making these casks died, at least on Inishmaan, although it still exists on the northern and southern islands.

Another catastrophe that happened last winter added a strange flavor to the celebration of the holiday. It seems that it is not usual for men to go fishing on a holy afternoon, but one evening last December some men wanted to start fishing early the next morning and rowed out to sleep on their hooks.

In the morning a terrible storm arose, and several prostitutes with their crews on board were torn from their berths and torn to pieces. The sea was so high that no rescue attempt could be made and the men drowned.

'Oh!' said the man who told me the story, "I think it will be a long time before the men go out again on a holy day. That storm was the only one to make landfall all winter, and I think there was something to it.

Walking down the slipway today I found a Kilronan hog farmer with about twenty hogs to be sent to the English market.

As the steamer approached, the entire herd moved to the docks and the Curaghs were kept close to the sea. Each animal in turn was then picked up and thrown on its side while its legs were tied together in a single knot, leaving a rope by which to carry it.

The pain inflicted was probably not great, but the animals closed their eyes and squeaked in almost human intonation until the noise became so intense that the men and women who were watching went wild with excitement, and the pigs who were waiting turned on their turn to come, frothing. in the mouth. mouth and broke their teeth.

After a while there was a pause. The whole quay was covered with a mass of sobbing animals, and here and there a frightened woman crouched among the corpses and petted a particular favorite to keep it quiet while the curaghs were released.

Then the shouting started again as the pigs were taken out and put in their places, with a vest tied around their feet to prevent them from damaging the canvas. They seemed to know where they were going and looked sideways at me with a base desperation that made me shudder to think I'd eaten that groaning meat. When the last Curagh left I was left on the quay with a group of women and children and an old boar sitting and looking out to sea.

The women got really excited and when I tried to talk to them they crowded around me and started making fun of me and yelling at me because I'm not married. A dozen screamed at once, so fast I couldn't hear everything they were saying, but I realized they were taking advantage of their men's absence to show me all their contempt. Some children, hearing it, fell to the ground and squirmed with laughter in that seaweed, and the girls blushed with embarrassment and looked at the waves.

I was confused for a moment. I tried to speak to them but couldn't make myself understood, so I sat on the sheet and grabbed my photo card. In a moment the whole gang swarmed around me in their normal state of mind.

When the Curagh returned, one of them dragged a large kitchen table out of the waves and then somersaulted in an extraordinary manner, word spread that the Ceannuighe (pedlar) was coming.

He opened his wares at the dock as soon as he landed and sold various knives and cheap jewelry to the girls and younger women. He spoke no Irish and the business greatly amused the crowd that gathered around him.

I was surprised to find that several women who claimed to know English could easily make themselves understood if they wanted to.

"The rings are too expensive for you," said a girl using the Gaelic construction; 'put less money into it and all the girls will buy'.

After the jewelry, it featured some cheap religious paintings - hideous oleographs - but I didn't see many buyers.

I'm told that most of the street vendors that come here are German or Polish, but I haven't had a chance to speak to this man alone.

I came to the South Island for a few days and as always my trip was not cheap.

The morning was beautiful and seemed to promise one of those extra calm and clear days that sometimes come before the rains at the beginning of winter. From the first rays of dawn the sky was covered with white clouds, and the calm was so complete that every sound seemed to float by itself in the stillness of the bay. Plumes of blue smoke swirled over the village, and further away heavy rain clouds lay on the horizon. We set out early in the day, and although the sea seemed calm from a distance, on leaving shore we encountered a considerable rut coming from the south-west.

About halfway through the noise, the man paddling in the bow broke the oar needle, and handling the canoe properly became a difficult affair. We had only a three-oared Curagh, and if the sea had risen much higher we should have been in grave danger. Our progress was so slow that the wind broke the clouds before we reached shore and the rain began to fall in large single drops. The black curagh slowly working through this gray world and the gentle hissing of the rain put me in one of those moods when we contemplate with immense agony the brief moment we have to appreciate all the wonders and beauties of the world experience.

Access to the south of the island is via a fine sandy beach in the northwest. This gap in the rocks is of great use to people, but the stretch of wet sand with some hideous fishermen's houses recently built on it looks singularly desolate in inclement weather.

When we landed the tide was receding so we just beached the Curagh and walked up to the little hotel. The collector worked in one of the rooms and there were several men and boys waiting who looked at us as we stood at the door and spoke to the owner.

After we had a drink, I went to sea with my men, who were in a hurry to leave. They spent some time replacing the oar peg and then set off, although the wind continued to pick up. Many fishermen came down to see the launch, and long after the Curagh was out of sight I rose and spoke to them in Irish, anxious to compare their language and temperament with what I knew of the other island .

The language appears to be identical, although some of these men speak it more clearly than any Irish speaker I have ever heard. However, in physical type, dress, and general character, there seems to be a considerable difference. The people of this island are more advanced than their neighbors, and families here gradually fall into different categories, including the rich, the struggling, and the quite poor and spendthrift. These distinctions are also present on the central island, but there they had no impact on the people, among whom absolute equality still reigns.

A little later the steamer appeared and drove away. As the Curagh were led out, I noticed in the crowd several ragged, good-natured men who were supposed to represent the true peasants of Ireland. It was pouring rain, and as we peered through the mist, there was something almost frightening about the laughter of one of these people, a man of exceptional ugliness and intelligence.

Eventually he made his way to the houses, wiping his eyes with the hem of his skirt and moaning to himself, "Ta me marbh" ("I'm dead"), until someone stopped him and he started again, a potpourri of play to play . from rough words. and jokes that meant more than they said.

There is quirky humor and sometimes wild humor on the central island, but never this semi-sensuous ecstasy of laughter. Perhaps a person must have an inner misery not known there before he can begin to scoff and scoff at the world. These strange men, with receding foreheads, high cheekbones, and rebellious eyes, seem to represent an ancient type found on those few acres on the farthest borders of Europe, where only jokes and wild laughter can express their loneliness and despair.

The way of reciting ballads on this island is uniquely harsh. I met a curious man today beyond the east town and we walked over the rocks to the sea. While we were together a winter rain fell and we huddled in the ferns under a loose wall. When we were done with the usual tracks he asked me if I liked the songs and started singing to show what he could do.

The music was very similar to that he had heard on the islands before: a monotonous chant with pauses in the high and low notes to mark the rhythm; but the harsh nasal tone with which he sang was almost intolerable. His performance often reminded me of a song I once heard a group of Orientals sing. He traveled from Paris to Dieppe in a third-class carriage, but the islander spread his voice over a much wider area.

His accent got lost in his hoarse throat, and though he shouted in my ear to make sure I heard him over the howling wind, all I could understand was that it was an endless ballad telling a young man's future , who had gone. . to the sea and experienced many adventures. English nautical terms were used constantly to describe his life on the ship, but the man seemed to feel like they were out of place and paused as one of them nudged me and gave me the one that I understood best The ship explained the features of wedge, topsail and bowsprit. Poem. When the scene shifted to Dublin, "whiskey glass", "pub house" and the like were in English.

After the bath he showed me a strange cave hidden between the cliffs not far from the sea. On the way back he asked me the three questions I find everywhere: I am a rich man, I am married and I have seen a poorer place than these islands.

When he found out I wasn't married he urged me to come back in the summer so he could take me in a curagh to the spa in County Glare for "spree mor agus go leor ladies" ("big party and lots of fun ") gives. ). ladies').

Something about the man disgusted me while I was with him, and although I was cordial and liberal, he seemed to sense that I despised him. We set out to meet again in the evening, but when I crawled to the meeting point with inexplicable hatred, there was no sign of him.

It is significant that this man, who is probably a drunk and she was almost always and certainly in poverty, turned down the chance of a shilling because he felt I didn't like it. He had an oddly mixed expression of hardness and melancholy. His character has probably given him a bad reputation on the island, and he lives here with the restlessness of a man who has no pity for his fellow man.

I returned to Inishmaan and this time I had good weather for my trip. The air was full of bright sunshine from early morning, and it was almost a summer's day when I set sail at noon with Michael and two other men who had picked me up from Acuragh.

The wind was in our favor so we hoisted the sails and Michael flattened the stern to steer with one oar while I rowed with the others.

We had eaten and drunk well, and this sudden awakening of summer had thrown us into a dreamy lust that made us cry out with delight as we heard our voices drown out the blue glow of the sea.

Even after the people of the southern isle, these men of Inishmaan seemed driven by strange archaic sympathies for the world. Their humor adapted with wonderful delicacy to the stimuli of the time, and their ancient Gaelic seemed so full of divine simplicity that I could have turned the bow to the west and rowed with them forever.

I told them I would return to Paris in a few days to sell my books and my bed, and then I would return to grow up strong and simple as they are on the western islands.

When our excitement subsided, Michael told me that one of the priests had left his gun in our hut and given me permission to use it until I got back to the island. There was also another gun and a ferret in the house and he said as soon as we got home he would take me rabbit hunting.

A little later we set off and I almost laugh at Michael's enthusiasm for a good photo.

We left the ferret in a crevice between two bare slabs of rock and waited. Within minutes we heard footsteps pounding beneath us, then a rabbit was shot through the air through the cracks below us and headed for a wall a few yards away. I dropped the gun and fired.

"Buail tu e," Michael shouted at my elbow as he ran over the rock. I killed him.

Over the next hour we shot seven or eight more and Michael was very happy. If I had gotten it wrong, I think I would have had to leave the islands. People would have despised me. A 'duineuasal' who cannot shoot appears to these descendants of hunters as a fallen lad worse than a renegade.

The women of this island are above average and share some of the liberal traits thought to be peculiar to the women of Paris and New York.

Many of them are too content and sturdy to be anything more than decorative, but there are others full of odd individuality.

This year I met a wonderfully funny little girl who has been spinning in the kitchen with the old lady's spinning wheel for a few days. In the morning when it started, I heard her exquisite intonation almost before I woke up, reflecting and cooing every syllable she uttered.

I've heard something similar in the voices of German and Polish women, but I don't think men, at least European men, who are always further from simple and animal emotions than women, or any speaker using languages ​​with weak gutturals. , like French. or English, can produce this inarticulate chant in your ordinary language.

She is constantly playing with her Gaelic, as girls like it, piling on diminutives and piling on adjectives with a humorous disregard for syntax. While she's here, the conversation doesn't stop in the kitchen. Today you asked me many questions about Germany because it seems that some years ago in America one of your sisters married a German who made her very comfortable riding a beautiful 'Capulglas' ('grey horse'). . forward, and this girl decided to escape the monotony of the island in the same way.

This was my last night on my stool in the corner of the fireplace and I was having a long chat with some neighbors who came to ask me for prosperity and they laid their heads on the stool and their feet flat on the stool ground the ground. the glow of the lawn. . The old woman was on the other side of the fire and the girl I was talking about was standing at her spinning wheel talking and joking with everyone. She says if I go now I will marry a rich woman with lots of money and if she dies I have to come back here and marry her as my second wife.

I have never heard anything so simple and attractive as from these people. Tonight they started talking about their wives and it seemed that the greatest merit they see in a woman is that she is fertile and bears many children. Since the children on the island cannot earn any money, this attitude shows the big difference between these people and the people in Paris.

Direct sexual instincts are not weak on the island, but they are so subservient to family instincts that they rarely lead to irregularities. Life here is still almost patriarchal, and the people are almost as removed from the romantic mood of love as they are from the impulsive life of the savages.

The wind was so strong this morning that there was some doubt if the steam would make it and I spent half the day wandering around with Michael and looking at the horizon.

When we finally delivered her, she appeared far to the north where she had gone to let the wind carry her where the sea was higher.

I got my bags from the farmhouse and walked to the stands with Michael and the old man, stepping into a farmhouse here and there to say goodbye.

Despite the wind outside, the sea on the dock was as calm as a swimming pool. The men who stood while the ship was in the South Island wondered one last time if she would be married when she saw them again. Then we left and took our place in line. As the tide came in strong, the steamer halted some distance from shore, giving us a long run to find good seats beside it. We didn't fare well in combat, so I had to climb over two curaghs, twisting them and struggling with the coil to get on board.

It seemed strange to see Curagh's full of familiar faces coming down the slide without me, but the noise within the noise soon diverted my attention. On board were some men I had seen in the South Island and a large number of Kilronmen returning home from Galway who told me they had come in heavy seas during part of their morning voyage.

As usual on Saturdays the ship had a large cargo of flour and flour to unload at Kilronan and as it took almost four hours for the tide to bring it to dock I had some doubts about our passage to Galway.

The wind picked up during the afternoon and when I descended at dusk I found that the cargo had not yet been fully unloaded and the captain was afraid of the storm. It took me some time to make a final decision and we paced up and down town with heavy clouds blowing overhead and the wind howling against the walls. Eventually he cabled Galway to inquire if he was needed the next day, and we went to a tavern to await an answer.

The kitchen was full of men seated in long rows on either side of the fire. A fierce-looking but pretty girl knelt by the fireplace talking loudly to the men, and some Inishmaans stood in the doorway, miserably drunk. At the back of the kitchen was the bar with a kind of niche on the side, and a few gentlemen were playing cards. Above were the open beams, filled with peat and tobacco smoke.

This is the place so feared by the women of the other islands, where the men gamble with their money until they stagger and lose themselves in the sound. Without this backdrop of empty curaghs and naked bodies floating with the tide, the distraction of this simple place where men sit night after night, drinking bad whiskey and stout and conversing in endless iterations of fishing, would be almost absurd. , and seaweed, and the pains of purgatory.

When we finished our whiskey word came that the boat could stay.

With some difficulty I got my trunks off the steamer and carried them through the crowd of women and donkeys still toiling on the docks in an unimaginable mix of sacks of flour and crates of oil. When I got to the inn the old woman was in a very good mood and I chatted for a while by the kitchen fire. So I groped my way back to port, where I was told the old net mechanic who had visited me on my first visit to the islands was to spend the night on watch.

It was quite dark on the docks and a terrible gale was blowing. There was no one in the small office I expected to find him in, so I groped my way with a flashlight toward a figure I saw.

It was the old man and he remembered me as soon as I greeted him and told him who I was. He spent some time fixing one of his lanterns and then took me back to his office, a simple shed of planks and corrugated iron erected for the contractor on an ongoing site on the wharf.

As we reached the light, I saw that his head was wrapped in an extraordinary collection of cloths to protect it from the cold, and that his face was much older than when I had seen it before, although it still is was full of intelligence.

He began to relate how he had visited a relative of mine in Dublin when he left the island as a cabin boy about forty or fifty years ago.

He told his story in the usual detail:

We saw a man walking along the Dublin docks looking at us without a word. Then he went down to the yacht. Are you the men of Aran? He said.

"That's us," we said.

"Then you have to come with me," he said. 'Why?' we said. Then he told us it was Mr Synge who had sent him and we went with him. Synge ushered us into her kitchen and gave the men a glass of whiskey each and half a glass for me because I was a boy, although then and now I can drink as much as two men and am not the worst. from both. We were in the kitchen for a while, then one of the men told us to leave. I said it wouldn't be right to go without Mr Synge. So the maid went upstairs and took him downstairs and he got us another glass of whiskey and he gave me a book in Irish because I went to sea and I could read Irish.

I owe it to Mr Synge and this book that when I came back here after not hearing a word of Irish for thirty years, I had an Irishman who was as good, or perhaps better, than any Irishman on the island.

I could see throughout his lecture that the sense of superiority his erudition in this little-known language gave him over the common seaman affected his entire personality and was the central concern of his life.

On a voyage I had a fellow sailor who often boasted that he went to school and learned Greek and this incident happened:

One night we got into an argument and I asked him if I could read him a Greek book with all his talk about it.

"Then I can," he said.

"Let's see," I said.

Then I took the Irish book out of the case and handed it to him.

"Read me that," I said, "if you know Greek."

He took it and looked back and forth, and not one iota of it could understand.

"Bedad, I forgot my Greek," he said.

"You're lying," I said. "I'm not," he said; "It's a bit divine that I can read it."

So I picked up the book again and said to him: 'It's a pity that you ever knew a word of Greek in your life, because there isn't a word of Greek in this book and you don't understand anything. .'

He told me another story of the only time he heard Irish spoken in his travels:

I was in New York one night, walking the streets with other men, and we came across two women arguing in Irish outside a tavern.

What is this jargon? said one of the men.

"It's not slang," I said.

'What is it?' He said.

"He's Irish," I said.

So I went to them and you know sir there is no language like Irish to soothe and soothe. The moment I spoke to them they stopped scratching and cursing and just stood there like two lambs.

Then they asked me in Irish if I could come over for a drink and I told them I couldn't leave my friends alone.

"Bring her too," they said.

So let's all take a drop together.

As we were talking another man came in and sat down in a corner with his pipe, and it was raining so hard we could scarcely hear our voices over the noise of the iron roof.

The old man continued to relate his experiences at sea and the places he had visited.

"If I had to live my life over again," he said, "there would be no other way to spend it. I went in and out everywhere and saw everything. I've never been afraid to pick up my glass even though I've never been drunk in my life and I was a great card player even though I've never played for money.

"Cards aren't fun unless you're playing for money," said the man in the corner.

"There's no point in gambling for money," said the old man, "because I'd always lose, and what's the use of gambling if you always lose?"

Then our conversation turned to the Irish language and the books written in it.

He went on to criticize Archbishop MacHale's version of Moore's Irish Melodies with great severity and wit, quoting entire poems in English and Irish and then presenting versions of his own invention.

'A translation isn't a translation,' he said, 'unless it gives you the music of a poem along with the words. In my translation you will not find a foot or a syllable that is not in English, but I have written down all the words that mean it and nothing else. Archbishop MacHale's play is a lousy production.

From the verses he quoted his judgment seemed perfectly justified, and even if it were wrong, it is interesting to note that this poor sailor and night watchman was ready to rise up and become a great dignitary and scholar on very delicate and finer points of verses criticizing distinctions. under old Gaelic words.

Despite his unique intelligence and careful observation, his reasoning was medieval.

I asked him what he thought about the future of the language on these islands.

'It can never die out', he said, 'because there isn't a family in this place that can live without a patch of potato field and they only have the Irish words for whatever they do in the fields. They sail their new ships, their whores in English, but they sail a Curaghoftener in Irish, and in the fields they have only the Irish. It can never be extinguished, and when people start seeing it sink too low, it will rise like a phoenix from its own ashes.

"What about the Gaelic League?" I asked him.

The Gaelic League! Didn't they come here with their organizers and secretaries and their meetings and speeches and start a branch of it and teach the power of Irish for five and a half weeks? [for]

"What do we want here, where you teach Irish?" said the man in the corner; Aren't we all Irish?

"You didn't," said the old man; "There is not a soul in Aran who can count to nine hundred and ninety-nine without using a word of English, save myself."

It was getting late and the rain had let up for a moment, so I groped my way back to the inn through the intense darkness of an autumn night.

[a] This, it will be remembered, was written some years ago.

Teil IV

No two trips to these islands are the same. I stepped out into the cool night air just after five this morning as the stars twinkled over the bay. Several Claddagh fishermen had spent the night fishing not far from the harbor, and without thinking of the ship, or perhaps wanting to think of it, cast their nets into the channel through which she would pass. Just before we left, the officer repeatedly blew his steam whistle to warn them and said:

Gentlemen, if you were in the bay right now, you would hear good prayers.

Approaching a little we began to see the light of the fires brought by the fishermen flickering in the water and we heard the faint sound of angry voices. Then in the darkness appeared the silhouette of a large fishing boat in the form of three men standing on the course. The captain was afraid of getting lost because there are sandbars near the channel, so the machines stopped and we slid over the nets without hurting them. As we passed close to the boat, the crew could be clearly seen on deck, one of them holding the bucket of red peat, and her insult could be clearly heard. He kept switching from copious curses in Gaelic to the simpler curses you know in English. As they spoke, they could be seen squirming and squirming passionately against the light appearing in the waves of the sea. A moment later another group of voices began ahead of us, breaking in strange contrast to the fading stars and early morning stillness.

Later we passed many boats that let us pass without a word because their nets were not in the canal. Then morning dawned quickly, with cold rain showers that turned golden with the first rays of the sun, filling the sea caves with strange transparencies and lights.

This year I brought my violin to have something new to get people's interest. I played them some songs, but as far as I can tell they don't feel modern music, although they listen enthusiastically out of curiosity. Irish songs like 'Eileen Aroon' suit them better, but it's only when I play a jig like 'Black Rogue', which is well known on the island, that they seem to capture the full meaning of the tones. I played last night to a large crowd gathered from around the island for another purpose.

About six o'clock I went into the schoolmaster's house and heard a violent argument between a man and a woman near the west cottages, which are under the road. As I listened to them, several women came down to listen behind the wall as well and told me that the people who fought were close relatives who lived side by side and often argued over trifles, although they were good ones the next day friends were. as always. . The voices sounded so angry I thought it might do some harm, but the women laughed at the idea. Then there was a pause and I said they seemed finally done.

'Complete!' said one of the women; You sure didn't start well. You're still playing.

It was just after sunset and the night was very cold so I went in and out.

An hour later, the old man came down from my hut to say that some of the boys and the "Fear Lionta" ("the man with the nets", a young man from Aranmor who teaches the boys to mend nets) were at home and sent him to tell me what they would like to have today if I would go and play it for them.

I left immediately, and as soon as I got on the air, I heard the rivalry continue in the West with more violence than ever. The news had spread across the island, and small groups of girls and boys enthusiastically rushed up the paths to the battle site, as if they were going to a racetrack. I stood by the door of our cabin for a few minutes, listening to the volume of insults rising in the island's stillness. Then I went into the kitchen and started tuning the violin because the kids were impatient with my music. At first I tried to play standing, but on the upstroke my bow made contact with the salted fish skins and oil dangling from the rafters, so I ended up sitting at a table in the corner, off the beaten track. , and I got one of the people to blame me for my song because it wasn't endorsed. First I played some French music to get used to the people and qualities of the space, which has little resonance between the dirt floor and the thatched roof. So I played Black Villain, and at one point a tall man jumped down from his stool under the fireplace and started flying around the kitchen with a strangely confident and graceful swagger.

The lightness of the Pampooties seems to make dancing on this island easier and quicker than anything I've seen on the mainland, and the simplicity of the men allows them to put a naive extravagance in their step, impossible in places where people are shy.

However, the speed was so violent that I had some difficulty in maintaining it, as my fingers were not in practice and I could not devote more than a small portion of my attention to watching what was happening. When I was done there was a knock on the door and all the people who had come down to see the fight crowded into the kitchen and leaned against the walls, the women and girls forming a dense mass as usual, the ones above crouched each other. , your arms. jump near the door.

I began another dance, "Paddy, get up," and the "Leonta of Fear" and the prima ballerina performed it together, with greater speed and grace, moved by the presence of the people who had entered. Then word got around. There was an old man out there named LittleRoger, and I'm told he used to be the best dancer on the island.

For a long time he refused to come in because he said he was too old today, but finally he was convinced and people forced him in and gave him a stool in front of me. His turn took a little longer and when he did, although he was greeted with loud applause, he only danced for a few moments. He didn't know the dances in my book, he said, and he didn't mind dancing to music he didn't know. When people crowded him again, he looked at me.

"John," he said in shaky English, "did you have 'Larry Grogan' because it's a beautiful aria?"

He didn't, so some of the young people danced 'BlackRogue' again and then the party broke up. The fight in the farmhouse below was still ongoing, and people were excited to see what was about to happen.

Around ten o'clock a young man came in and told us the fight was over.

"They've been there for four hours," he said, "and now they're retired."

In fact, it's about time they did, because you'd rather hear a man kill a pig than the noise they make.

After the dancing and fuss we were too excited to take a nap, so we sat around the coals on the lawn for a long time, talking and smoking by candlelight.

From ordinary music we got down to the music of fairies and they told me this story as I told them some of my own stories:

A man who lives on the other side of the village one day took his gun and was looking for rabbits in a bush near Little Dun. He saw a rabbit sitting under a tree and he raised his gun to aim at it, but as soon as he covered it he heard some kind of music above his head and he looked up at the sky. When he looked around for the rabbit, there was no sign of him.

After that, he went ahead and listened to the song again.

Then he looked over a wall and saw a rabbit sitting against the wall with a kind of flute in its mouth and he was playing with two fingers!

What was that rabbit? said the old woman when they were done. "How could that be a real rabbit? I remember old Pat Dirane used to tell us he was on the cliff once and saw a big rabbit sitting in a hole under a slab. He called a man who was with him and they attached a hook to the end of a pole and lowered it into the hole. Then a voice called out to them:

"Oh, Paddrick, don't hurt me with that hook!"

"Pat was a real rascal," said the old man. Do you remember the pieces of horn he used as handles on the ends of his poles? Well, one day a priest came by and said to Pat, "Are those devil horns you have on your sticks, Pat?" "I don't know exactly," said Pat, "but if you did, you've been drinking devil's milk as much as you can drink, and devil's meat you've eaten, and devil's butter. I've been drinking." I put bread on you because I seen horns like that on every old cow in the country.

The weather was rough, but by early afternoon the sea was calm enough for a whore with Connemara peat to come in, although the swell on the quay was so great that the men had to watch the waves and slacken the line. Every time a big one came in, she could relax by the water.

There were only two men on board, and when empty they had difficulty in hauling in the lines, hoisting the sails, and getting out of port before the wind blew them against the rocks.

Shortly thereafter a heavy downpour fell and I lay down under a mound of grass with a few people who were standing and waited for another whore with horses to arrive. They started talking and laughing about last night's fight and the noise it made.

"The worst fights are free here," said an old man next to me. Did Mourteen or any of them on the big island ever tell you about that fight they had there sixty years ago when they stabbed each other on the beach?

"You never told me," I said.

(Video) Synge, Wilde, Shaw, and the Irish Renaissance: Crash Course Theater #36

'Well,' he said, 'they were going to mow grass, and a man sharpened his knife on a stone before he went out. A boy came into the kitchen and said to the man, "What are you sharpening this knife for?"

"To kill your father," the man said, and they were best friends the entire time. The young man returned home and told his father that a man was sharpening a knife to kill him.

"Bedad," said the father, "if he has a knife, so do I."

After that he sharpened his knife and they went down to the beach. Then the two men started mocking their knives and from there they started raising their voices and it wasn't long before ten men were fighting with their knives and they didn't stop until five were dead.

"They were buried the next day, and when they returned home what did they see besides the boy beginning the work by playing on their graves with the other's son and both their fathers?"

When it stopped, a gust of wind came and lifted a pile of dry seaweed that was near us right onto our heads.

Another old man began to speak.

"It was a strong wind," he said. “I remember there was once a man in the South Island who had a pile of wool in a shed on the corner of a wall. It was after it had been washed, dried and turned inside out and it was all clean and pretty as only they could card. Then a wind blew and the wool began to spread all over the wall. The man wrapped his arms around him and tried to stop him and another man saw him.

'"The devil is patching your head!" he says, "since this wind is too strong for you."

"If the devil himself is involved," said the other man, "I'll hold out while I can."

"Whether or not it lived up to the word I don't know, but all the wool went on his head and flew all over the island, yet when his wife came after to spin he had everything they expected, as if it like that They didn't lose much.'

"There was more to it," said another man, "because last night a woman had a great vision in the west of this island, and she saw all the people who were long dead on this island and on the island by then south, and they all talk to each other. That evening a man from the other island was there and he overheard the woman talking about what she had seen. The next day he went back to the South Island and I think he was alone in Curagh. As soon as he approached the other island, he saw a man fishing on the cliffs, and this man shouted at him, "Now hurry up and go up and tell your mother to hide the poten." His mother was selling poten. - "because I want to see the largest group of shellers and peasants that has ever been seen on the island walking through the rocks." It was at this time that the wool was being brought up and down the hill with the other man and there were no strippers on the island.

A little later the old people left and I stayed with some young people in their 20's and 30's who talked to me about different things. One of them asked me if I had ever been drunk and another told me that I would do well to marry a girl from this island because there were good women, nice fat girls who were strong and many children would have, and don't waste my money, money with me.

As the horses disembarked, a curagh came running up from just behind the lobster pots, and a man ran out of the sandy hills to meet a girl coming down with a bundle of Sunday clothes. He changed them in the arena and then went in search of the whore and went to Connemara to get his horses.

A young married woman I spoke to earlier is dying of fever, typhoid I am told, and her husband and brothers have gone to see a doctor and priest in the North Island, even though the sea is rough.

I watched them from the dun long after they left. Wind and rain blew across the channel and I could see no boats or people anywhere except this black curagh splashing and fighting against the waves. When the wind dropped a little, I could hear people banging to the east below me. The body of a young man who drowned a few weeks ago washed up on the beach this morning and his friends have been busy building a coffin in the backyard of the house where he lived all day.

After a while the Curagh was hidden in the fog and I went down to the hut, shivering with cold and sadness.

The old woman cried by the fire.

"I was in the house where the young man is," he said, "but I couldn't go to the door because the air was coming out. They say his head isn't at all and it's really not surprising and he's been at sea for three weeks. Isn't everyone on this island in great danger and pain?

I asked him if the curagh would be back with the priest soon. "He won't be coming soon or tonight," he said. The wind has picked up now, and no Curagh will come to this island for two or three days. And wasn't it cruel to see that they were in a hurry and in constant danger of drowning?

So I asked him how the woman was doing.

"She's almost lost," said the old woman; 'She won't be alive in the morning. They don't have boards to build a coffin for him and they're going to want to borrow the boards that a gentleman down there had those two years to bury his mother and she's still alive. I heard them say that there are two other women with fever and a child who is not yet three years old. The Lord have mercy on us all!

I went out again to look at the sea, but night had fallen and the hurricane was howling over the dun. I was walking down the street and I heard howling in the house where the young man was. Ahead I could see movement around the door of the hut that had been attacked by typhus. So I turned around in the rain and sat by the fire with the old man and woman and talked about people's worries late into the night.

Tonight the old man told me a story he had heard long ago on the mainland:

There was a young woman, he said, and she had a son. The woman died shortly thereafter and was buried the next day. That night another woman, a woman of the family, sat by the fire with the child in her arms and fed him milk from a cup. Then the woman they wanted to bury opened the door and entered the house. She walked over to the fire, pulled up a stool and sat across from the other woman. Then she reached out and took the child on her lap and gave him her breast. So she put the baby in the cradle and went to the dresser and got milk and potatoes and ate. Then she left. The other woman was frightened and told the head of the house when he returned, and two waiters. They said they would be there the next night and when she came back they would get her. She came the next night and breastfed the child, and when she got up to go to the chest of drawers, the master of the house grabbed her but fell to the ground. Then the two youths grabbed her and lifted her up. She told them that she had gone with the fairies and that although she had not eaten with the fairies, they could not stay with her that night so that she could return to her son. So she told them that they were all going to leave that part of the country at the Oidhche Shamhna, and that four or five hundred of them would be on horseback, and she would be on a gray horse and riding behind a young man. And she told them to go down to a bridge which they intended to cross that night and wait for it at the top, and when she went up she would give the reins to the horse, and they might throw something at her and at the young man. , and they would fall to the ground and be saved.

She then left, and in Oidhche Shamhna the men descended and rescued her. After that he had four children, and in the end he died.

They didn't bury themselves the first time, but something old that the fairies put in its place.

"There are people who say they don't believe in these things," said the old woman, "but there are strange things, say what you like." There was a woman who had been sleeping down town for some time, and her child with her. They didn't sleep for a while, and then something appeared at the window and they heard a voice saying:

"It's time to sleep on it."

By morning the child was dead, and indeed many die that way on the island.

The young man was buried and his funeral was one of the strangest scenes I have ever seen. People could be seen going down to his house from early in the morning, but when I went there with the old man in the afternoon, the coffin was still in front of the door and the men and women of the family were standing and knocking it. , and whine about it, in a large crowd of people. A little later everyone knelt down and a final prayer was said. Then the dead man's cousins ​​prepared two oars and some lengths of rope—the men of his own family seemed too sad to know what they were doing—the coffin was tied, and the procession began. The old woman walked right behind the coffin and I took a seat right behind them, among the first men. The bumpy lane leading to the cemetery slopes down to the east, and the crowd of women coming down in front of me in their red dresses, bonnets in red coats, belts on their heads, seen only from behind, looked strange, as did that white coffins and the unity of colors gave an almost monastic stillness.

This time the cemetery was full of dry grass and ferns instead of the first ferns that were everywhere at the other funeral I spoke of, and the grief of the people was of a different nature, for they had come to bury a young man who had died. rather in his early manhood than an old woman of eighty. Hence the acute lost some of its formal character and was recited by the young people of the man's own family as an expression of intense personal pain.

When the coffin was set up, two long sticks were cut out of the brush between the rocks near the grave to be opened, and the length and width of the coffin were marked on them. Then the men began their work, clearing away stones and thin layers of earth and smashing up an old coffin that was standing where the new one was to be lowered. As several blackened boards and pieces of bone were thrown into the clay, a skull was removed and placed on a tombstone. Immediately the old woman, the mother of the deceased, took him in her hands and carried him alone. So she sat up and placed it on her lap - it was her own mother's skull - and began to cry over it and shriek in the wildest wails.

As the mound of moldy clay rose beside the grave, a strong odor rose and the men rushed to work, repeatedly measuring the hole with the two hawthorn sticks. When it was almost deep enough, the old woman got up and walked back to the coffin and began pounding it, holding the skull with her left hand. That last moment of pain was the most terrifying of all. The young women almost lay between the stones, exhausted by the passion of pain, but got up from time to time to bang on the coffin boards with grand gestures. The youths were also exhausted and their voices constantly turned into high-pitched wails.

When all was ready, the pall was removed and placed in its place. Then an old man took a wooden vessel of holy water and a fern leaf, and people crowded around him as he sprinkled the water on it. They seemed eager to get as much as they could, more than a little old lady shouting in an amused voice:

"Give me another drop, Morteen." ("Give me another drop, Martin.")

When the grave was half full I wandered north and watched two seals chasing each other close to the waves. I arrived at Sandy Head just as the light was beginning to fade and met some of the men I knew best there with some sort of fishing tackle. It's a lengthy process and I sat in the sand for a long time watching the net being hauled in and hauled in again by eight men working together in a slow, rhythmic motion.

When they spoke to me and gave me some Potene and some bread when they thought I was hungry, I couldn't help feeling that I was talking to men on trial for death. I knew that in a few years they would all drown in the sea and be beaten naked on the rocks, or die in their own hut and be buried with another horrible scene in the churchyard I had come from.

When I got up this morning I found that people had gone to Mass and locked the kitchen door from the outside so I couldn't open it to get light.

I sat by the fire for almost an hour with a strange feeling that I should be alone in this little house. I'm so used to sitting here with people that the space never felt like a place where any man could live and work alone. After waiting for some time, just enough firelight to be able to see the beams and the gray of the walls, I was indescribably sad because I felt that this little corner on the surface of the world and the people we live in was seen, you have a peaceful peace and dignity from which we are forever excluded.

While I was dreaming, the old woman rushed in and made tea for me and the young priest, who followed a little later, drenched with rain and foam.

The priest in charge of the middle and southern islands has a tiring and dangerous job. He comes to this island or to Inishere on Saturday evening when the sea is calm enough, and he says mass on Sunday morning. Then he goes down fasting and is rowed to the other island and has mass again, so that about noon he eats a hasty breakfast before setting out again for Aranmore, often encountering rough and dangerous seas on both passages.

Two Sundays ago I was lying outside the hut in the sun, smoking my pipe, when the priest, a man of the utmost kindness and humor, came in, wet and exhausted, for his first meal. He looked at me briefly and then shook his head.

"Tell me," he said, "did you read your Bible this morning?"

I answered no.

'Well, my God, Mr Synge,' he continued, 'when you go to heaven you're going to laugh a lot at us.

Although these people are kind to one another and to their children, they have no sense of animal suffering and little understanding of pain when the person feeling it is not in danger. A few times I saw a child writhing and crying with a toothache while his mother sat on the other side of the fireplace, pointing and laughing at him as if the sight were amused.

A few days ago, when we were discussing the death of President McKinley, I was explaining the American way of killing assassins, and a man asked me how long the man who killed the President slept.

"While you would be snapping your fingers," I said.

'Well,' said the man, 'you might as well hang it up like this and not bother with all those threads. A man who would kill a king or a president knows he must die for it and will only give him what he expects if he dies easily. It would be fair that it took him three weeks to die and less of those things would be done in the world.

When two dogs fight on the pier while we wait for the steamer, the men rejoice and do their best to keep up the fighting frenzy.

They tie the donkeys' heads to their hooves to keep them from walking about in a way that must cause excruciating pain, and sometimes, when I enter a hut, I see all the local women on their knees plucking live ducks and geese .

When people are hurt, they don't try to hide or control their feelings. An old man who was ill during the winter recently took me to show me how far down the road he could be heard crying "when he had a headache."

There was a big storm this morning and I went up the cliff to sit in the hut they had built there for the men who guard the bow. Soon after, a sheep boy came from the west and we had a long chat.

He began by giving me the first coherent account of the accident some time ago when the young man drowned en route to the South Island.

'Some men from the South Island,' he said, 'came and bought some horses on this island and hitched them to a whore to ferry them across. They wanted a curagh to go with them to haul the horses ashore, and a young man said he would do it and they could give him a rope and drag him after the whore. When they were on the sound a wind blew over them, and the man in the curagh could not turn them towards the waves, for the whore threw them, and they began to fill with water.

"When the prostitutes' men saw him, they started screaming this and that, not knowing what to do. A man called out to the man holding the rope, "Now let go of the rope or you will sink it."

And the man with the rope threw it in the water, and the curagh was already half full, and I think he only had one paddle on it. Then a wave came and it sank before them, and the youth began to swim; So they threw the candles at the hooker so they could catch him. And when they caught up with them they were far away, and they raised the sails again just as they could tack for him. He was out there in the water, swimming and swimming, and before they could catch up he sank a third time and they never saw him again.

I asked if anyone had seen him on the island since he died.

"They didn't," he said, "but there were weird things about him. That day, before he left for the sea, his dog came to him, sat down on the rocks next to him, and began to cry. As the horses were being let into the stable, an old woman saw her son who had just drowned riding one of them, she didn't say what it was after she saw it, and that man got the horse, he got his own horse first, so he took that one, and after that he went out and was drowned. Two days later I dreamed that it was found in Ceann Gaine (the SandyHead) and carried home to the apartment, the pampooties removed and hung on a nail to dry. That's where they found him later, as you may have heard.

"Are you always scared when you hear a dog crying?" I said.

"We don't," he replied; “You will often see her on the rocks and looking at the sky and crying. We don't like anything, and we don't like it when a rooster or hen breaks something in the house because we know someone is going to leave. Just before the man who lived in that cabin down there died in the winter, his wife's rooster started fighting with another rooster. The two flew over the dresser and knocked over the glass of the chandelier, which fell to the floor and shattered. The woman then took his stick and killed him, but she could not kill the other stick because it belonged to the neighbor. Then he himself became ill and afterwards died.'

I asked her if she had ever heard the island fairies' song.

'Some time ago I heard some of the boys at school talking,' he said, 'and they said their brothers and another man went fishing one morning two weeks ago before the rooster crowed. When they were near Sandy Head they heard music near them and it was the fairies that were in it. I've heard about other things too. Three men went out in a curagh one night at night and saw a large ship coming towards them. They got scared and tried to walk away, but he approached them until one of the men turned and made the sign of the cross, and then they didn't see him anymore.

Then, in response to another question, he continued:

We often see the people who are with them. There was a young man who died a year ago, and he often went to the window of the house where his brothers slept and talked to them at night. He had been married for some time before that and used to say in the evenings that he was sorry he hadn't promised his son the land and that he should go and see him. On another occasion he said something about a mare, her hooves or the shoes that had to be put on her. Patch Ruadh recently saw him walking down the street in brogaarda (leather boots) and a new suit. Then two men saw him elsewhere.

"See that straight rock face?" he continued a few minutes later, pointing to a spot below us. There the fairies play ball at night, and when you come in the morning you can see the tracks of their jumps, and they have to mark the line with three stones, and another big stone on which they bounce the ball. Often the boys keep the three stones and keep coming back in the morning, and some time ago the owner of the land took the big stone and rolled it and threw it over the cliff, but in the morning it was back in its place in front of him.

I am back in the South Island and have found some old men with a wonderful variety of stories and songs, the latter quite often in both English and Irish, I went to one of them today with a local scholar who can write Irish , and dialed a certain number and listened to others. Here's one of the stories the old man told us at the beginning, before warming to the subject. I didn't remove it, but it worked like this:--

There was a man named Charley Lambert, and every horse he rode in a race was out first.

The peasants eventually got angry with him and this law was passed that he should no longer take part in the races, and if he did so anyone who saw him had the right to shoot him. After that there was a gentleman from that part of the country in England and he spoke to the people there one day and said that the horses of Ireland were the best horses. The English said that the English horses were the best and finally they said that there should be a race and the English horses would come and compete against the Irish horses and the Lord put all his money into that race.

When he got back to Ireland he went to Charley Lambert and asked him to get on his horse. Charley said he would not ride and told the Lord what danger he would be in. Then the gentleman told him how he had loaded all his things on the horse and finally Charley asked where the races would be held and when and when. Day. The Lord told you.

"Get a bridle and saddle horse every seven miles from here to the racecourse that day," said Lambert, "and I'll be there."

When the gentleman left, Charley undressed and got into bed. So he sent for the doctor and when he heard him coming he started waving his arms because the doctor would think his pulse was racing with fever.

The doctor took his pulse and told him to be calm until the next day when he would see him again.

The next day it was the same, and so on until race day. That morning Charley's pulse was so fast that the doctor thought badly of him.

"I'm going to the races now, Charley," he said, "but I'll see you again when I come back in the evening, and I'll let you be very careful and keep quiet until you see mine."

As soon as he was gone, Charley jumped out of bed, mounted his horse, and rode seven miles to where the first horse was waiting. So he rode that horse seven miles and another horse another seven miles until he reached the racecourse.

He mounted the knight's horse and won the race.

A great crowd watched, and when they saw him come in they said it was Charley Lambert, or the devil be in it, for no one else could bring a horse like him, as the leg was after it was cast. out of. the horse and he entered in the same way.

When the race was over, he mounted the waiting horse and rode seven miles away. So he mounted the other horses seven miles and his own horse seven miles, and when he got home he undressed and lay on the bed.

After a while the doctor came back and said it was a great career they were looking for.

The next day people said that Charley Lambert was the man on horseback. An examination was conducted and the doctor swore that Charley was ill in his bed and that he had seen him before and after the race, so the Lord saved his fortune.

After that he told me another similar story about a fairy knight who found a gentleman trying to lose all his fortune but a shilling and asked him for the shilling. The knight gave him the shilling, and the fairy knight, a little red man, rode a horse for him in a race, waving a red handkerchief as a sign that he should double the stake, and made him rich.

Then he gave us an extraordinary English rhyme which I dropped, although when written at length it seems singularly incoherent. These rhymes are repeated by the elders as a sort of chant, and when a more irregular than usual verse comes up they seem to enjoy casting it in citation form. As he sang, the old man maintained a kind of snake movement in his body that seemed to blend with the chant and make him a part of it.


my horse is white
Although it was a bay at first,
And he was very happy
when traveling at night
And during the day.

your trips were great
If only I could count half of them
Adam rode him in the garden,
The day you fell

On the plains of Babylon
He ran across the board at speed,
The next day he was hunted.
For Hannibal the Great.

After that he was followed
looking for a fox
When Nebuchadnezzar ate grass,
In the form of an ox.

In the following verses we are told of his entering the ark with Noah, of Moses riding him through the Red Sea; Then

He was with King Pharaoh in Egypt
When luck smiled
And rode majestically along
The happy banks of the Nile.

was with King Saul and all
Your troubles are gone
He was with King David that day
That Goliath killed him.

For a few verses he's with Judah and Maccabee the Great, with Cyrus and back in Babylon. Then we find him like the horse that entered Troy.

When ( ) came to Troy full of joy,
My horse has been found
He broke through the walls and entered
The city they tell me.

I found him again in Spain
And he in bloom
Hannibal the Great rode him
And he crosses the Alps to Rome.

the horse is big
and the very high Alps,
Your rider has fallen
And Hannibal the Great lost an eye.

He then carries young Sipho (Scipio), and is later ridden by Brian when driving the Danes from Ireland, and by Saint Ruth when he fell at the Battle of Aughrim, and by Sarsfield at the Siege of Limerick.

He was with King James who was sailing
to the Irish coast,
But eventually he became lame
When the bloody Battle of the Boyne ended.

He was ridden by the tallest men
Not Famous Waterloo,
Brave Daniel O'Connell sat down
back is true.

* * * * * * *

Brave Dan has his back,
He's ready for the field again.
It will never stop until the conservatives
He will make her give up.

Grotesque as this long rhyme appears, as has been said, it has a kind of existence when sung by the old man by the fire, and is of great fame on the island. The old man himself expects him to print it because it wouldn't be fair, he says, to disappear from the world and he's the only one here who knows about it, and none of them on the mainland have ever heard of it. . There are a few more examples of the same type of bullshit, but I haven't removed them.

In both English and Irish, the songs are full of words that people cannot understand on their own, and when they start saying the words slowly their memory is often unreliable.

I spent the whole morning digging for ferns with a boy I met on the rocks who was very sad because his father died suddenly of heartbreak a week ago.

"We would not have chosen to lose our father for all the gold in the world," he said, "and there is a great loneliness and sadness at home now."

Then he told me that a brother of his who is a stoker in the Navy had come home just before his father died and that he had spent all his money on a good funeral with lots of drinking and smoking.

"My brother has come a long way in the world," he said, "and he has seen great wonders. He tells us about the people who come to them from Italy, Spain and Portugal and that they speak a kind of Irish, not English, although it's just a word here and there. would understand.

When we dug enough roots out of the deep crevices in the rock where only they are found, I gave my companion a few pennies and sent him back to his hut.

The old man who tells me the Irish poems is oddly pleased with the translations I have made of some.

He never tires of them, he says, listening to me read them, and they're so much better than his old rhymes.

Here's one of them, as close to the Irish as you can get:


I place the penalty of destruction on bad luck,
Because it would be a shame to deny it
It's for me that you're stuck
For the loneliness my pain, my lament.

is the host of the fairies
made me wander
And he took my goods from the world.

En Manster Na Ruadhe
It is on me that the shameful deed was committed:
Finn Beara and his host fairy
I took my horse out from under the bag.

if they let me skin
He brought me tobacco for three months
But they left me nothing
But the old minister in his place.

Shouldn't I be sorry?
My deposit and my note are with her,
And the price for her is not yet paid,
My loneliness, my pain, my lament.

The devil is a hill or a valley or the highest fortress
Ever was built in Ireland,
It is not sought in me by my mare;
And I'm still on my complaint.

I got up in the morning
I put a red spark in my whistle.
Fui al Knock-Maithe
to get satisfaction from them.

I told them
If it was in them to do the right thing
To pick me up my little mare
Or would I change my intelligence.

Can you hear me, Rucard Mor?
It's not here, it's your mare
She's in Bally Brislawn Hill
With the magic men these three months.

I kept walking on my way
I followed the straight path
I've been to Glenasmoil
Before the moon ended.

I talked to the fairy man
If it was in him to do the right thing
To pick me up my little mare
Or would I change my intelligence.

Do you know Rucard Mor?
It's not here, it's your mare
She's in Bally Brislawn Hill
With the knight of music these three months.'

I escaped on my walk
I followed the straight path
Eu ain't no Bally Brishlawn Hill
With the black nightfall.

This is a place that has been a crowd
as seen by me
All the weavers in the world
There you would hear from them.

I spoke to the knight
If it was in him to do the right thing
To pick me up my little mare
Or would I change my intelligence.

Can you hear me, Rucard Mor?
It's not here, it's your mare
She's in Knock Cruachan
At the back of the palace.

I escaped on my walk
I followed the straight path
I didn't rest or stop
Until I stood in front of the palace.

This is the place where there was a crowd
as it seemed to me
The men and women of the land
And everyone makes you happy.

Arthur School (?) got up
And he himself began to lead,
He is cheerful, light and active,
I would have danced the course with them.

You got up
And they started laughing...
'Mira a Rucard Mor,
And he is looking for his little mare.

I spoke to the man
And he's ugly and hunchbacked
Unless I get my mare
It would break a third of your bones.

Can you hear me, Rucard Mor?
It's not here, it's your mare
She's in Alvin of Leinster,
Hanging out with my mom.

I escaped on my walk
And I came to Alvin from Leinster.
I met the old...
I give you my word it wasn't good.

I spoke to the old woman
And it broke out in English:
"Stay away, rascal,
I don't like your ideas.

Are you listening, old lady?
get away from me with your english
But speak to me with your tongue
I hear from every person.

"Through me you will know her,
You're too late--
I made a hunting hat
For her Conal Cath yesterday.

I escaped on my walk
On cold, dirty roads.
I fell in love with the fairy man
And he is in the Ruadthe.

"I pity a man without a cow,
I pity a man without a sheep
But in the case of a man without a horse
It is difficult for him to be in the world for a long time.

This morning, while lying on a rock near the sea for a long time and watching hooded crows throwing shells onto the rocks to break them, I saw a bird with a large white object which it kept dropping in vain. I picked up some rocks and tried to pull it away when the thing fell, but several times the bird was too quick for me and grabbed it before I could reach it. However, I ended up almost dropping a rock on him and he flew away. I ran downstairs to my dismay to find a worn out golf ball! No doubt it was taken one way or another by the Glare County ties, which aren't far away, and the bird attempted to break it mid-morning.

I later had a long chat with a young man curious about modern life and explained to him an ingenious trick or trick in the stock market that I had recently heard about. When I got him to understand it fully, he squealed with delight and amusement.

"Well," he said, falling silent again, "isn't it a great wonder to think that these rich men are as great scoundrels as we are?"

The old storyteller told me a long rhyme about a man who fought an eagle. It's quite irregular and has some obscure passages, but I translated it with the scholar.


When I get up in the morning
And I got mad one Sunday
I wear my brogues
And I'm going to Tierny
Na Kanada der Toten.
There the great eagle fell with me,
He likes a bunch of black grass that sits imposingly.

I called him a hillbilly and a fool
The son of a woman and a fool
Of the Cleopas clan race, the greatest bandits in the land.
That and my seven curses
And never a good day to be with you
Who stole my girl who could sing the sweetest?

"Keep your sanity to yourself
And don't curse me too much
By my strength and my oath
i never rented you
I held no grudges for what you had to go without
In the house of the burnt doves,
It is always useful that you went to businessmen.

"But go home
and ask the daughter-in-law
What was the name of the young woman who scalded his head?
The feathers that were on your ribs
burn at home
And they ate and drank and were not very thankful for it.'

"You are a liar, a thief,
You haven't eaten and you take it with you
I don't like the style without thanks
you got it yesterday
As Nora told me
And the quarter of the harvest will not be spent until I receive a tax from you.'

“Before I lost the Fianna
He was a good boy, he was
It wasn't about stealing, it was my knowledge
But always cast spells
Play games and matches with the power of Gol MacMorna,
And you make me dishonest
At the end of my life

"With me is a part of my father's books,
Store on the bottom of a box,
And when I read them, tears flow.
But I found out in history
That you are a son of Dearg Mor,
When you want to fight and don't appreciate it.

The eagle showed his courage
With your coat of arms and your clothes,
He had the sharpest sword.
It can be obtained anywhere.
me and my scythe with me,
And nothing but my shirt
We faced each other earlier in the day.

We were like giants
Plowing in a valley in a valley in the mountains.
For a while we didn't know which man was better.
You could hear the trembling that was in our arms with each other,
From then until sunset
Until he was forced to surrender.

I wrote her a 'Challenge Boxail'
in the morning of the next day,
I arrived until no doubt we would fight at dawn of day.
The second fist I brought him hit him in the jawbone,
He fell and it's no lie that he had a cloud on his head.

the eagle rose
He took the edge of my hand:--
"You are the best man I have ever seen in my life,
go home my blessings will be with you forever
You kept Eire's glory to yourself until Doomsday.

Oh! Neighbors, did you hear?
Felim's goodness and power?
The biggest wild animal you could have
He drew his second fist against it
Hit him on the jaw
fell and did not get up
By the end of two days.

Now that I seem to know these people on the island, there's hardly a day that I don't stumble upon a new primal feature of their lives.

Yesterday I entered a hut where the woman was working and dressed very sloppily. She waited a while until I started talking to her husband, then she hid in a corner and put on a clean petticoat and a light-colored scarf around her neck. Then he returned and took his place by the fire.

Tonight I was in another cabin talking to people until very late. When the little one, the only child in the house, fell asleep, the grandmother took him in her arms and began to sing something to him. Once he was sleepy, she slowly stripped off his clothes, gently scratching his entire body with her fingernails. Then she washed his feet with some water from a pot and put him to bed.

When I went home, the wind blew the sand in my face, making it difficult to find my way. I had to cover my mouth and nose with my hat and my hand in front of my eyes as I groped my way, my feet searching for rocks and holes in the sand.

I sat all morning with an old man who was making sugar rope for his house and he told me stories as he worked. When I was young I was a pilot and in the beginning we had a great conversation about Germans, Italians and Russians. , and the streets of port cities. Then he came to talk about the central island and he told me this story which shows the strange envy that exists between the islands:

A long time ago we were all Gentiles and the Saints came to teach us about God and the creation of the world. The people of the central island were the last to keep the cult of fire or whatever they had at the time, but eventually a saint penetrated among them and they began to listen to him, although at night they often said they believed and then the next morning they say they didn't believe it. In the end the saint won them and they started building a church and the saint had tools that they used to work with the stones. One night, when the church was halfway, while the saint was asleep in his bed, the people held a sort of meeting to see if they really believed and were not mistaken.

The leader stood up and said, "Let them go down and throw their tools over the cliff, for if there were a man like God, and if the saint were as known to him as he claimed, then he would do it. be as capable of pulling tools out of the sea as of throwing them.

So they went and threw their tools over the cliff.

When the saint went to church in the morning, the workers were all sitting on the stones and not working.

'Why are you idle?' asked the saint.

"We have no tools," said the men, and then they told him what they had done.

He knelt down and prayed to God that the tools would come out of the sea, and after that he prayed that no other people would be as stupid as the people of the central island and that God would save dark spirits from madness stealing them to fill. The end of the world. And that's why no man on this island can tell an entire story without stuttering, or finish a job without blaming him.

I asked him if he had ever met old Pat Dirane on the central island and listened to the beautiful stories he used to tell.

"No one knew him better than I did," he said; because I often go to this island and make curaghs for the people. One day old Pat came up to me as I was tarring a new Curagh and asked me to put some tar on the knees of his trousers so the rain wouldn't get to him.

I took the brush in my hand and spread it over his feet before he realized what he was doing. "Now turn over to the other side," I said, "and you can sit where you want." Then she felt the tar brush her skin and she started cursing my soul and I regretted the trick I played on her.

This old man was of the same vein as the kind and moody old men one finds all over Ireland, and he had none of the local qualities that were so pronounced in Inishmaan.

When we got tired of talking, I showed off some of my tricks and a small crowd joined in. As they were leaving, another old man who had come upstairs started telling us about fairies. One night, while returning home from the lighthouse, he heard a man riding in the road behind him and stopped to wait for him, but nothing happened. Then he heard it, like a man trying to get a horse onto the rocks, and soon he was there. The noise behind him grew louder and louder, as if twenty horses and then a hundred or a thousand were galloping behind him. As he reached the step where he was supposed to leave the path and walk along it, something hit him and threw him over the rock, and a gun in his hand fell onto the field behind him.

'I asked the priest we had then what was in it,' he said, 'and the priest told me it was the fallen angels; and I don't know but it was.

"Again," he continued, "I was going down where there is a small cliff and a small hole below, and I heard a flute playing in or near the hole, and that was before daybreak. He says there are strange things. One night thirty years ago a man came down to take my wife to his wife because she was pregnant.

It had to do with the lighthouse or the bodyguard, one of those Protestants who don't believe any of this and make fun of you. Well he asked me to go downstairs and have a drink while my wife got ready and he said he would go down with me if I was scared.

"I said I wasn't scared and went alone.

"When I came back there was something in the way, and I wasn't a fool, I could have walked one way or another on the sand, but I kept going straight until I got close, until I got too close. then i remembered hearing her say none of these creatures can stand in front of you and you said the deprofundis so i started saying it and the thing escaped over the sand and i went back home.

"Some people used to say it was just an old donkey that was in the street in front of me, but I've never heard of an old donkey running away from a man and he said De Profundis."

I told him the story of the fairy ship that disappeared when the man made the sign of the cross, just like I had heard on the central island. "There are strange things in the sea," he said. One night I was down where you can see that green dot and I saw a ship coming closer and I wondered what it was doing getting so close to the rocks. It came straight to me, then I got scared and ran to the houses, and when the captain saw me running, he changed course and left.

“Sometimes I went out as a pilot back then, I went a few times. Well, one Sunday a man came and said there was a big ship coming up the strait. I ran with two men and we walked in a curagh; We circled where the ship was said to be and there was no ship on it. As it was a Sunday we had nothing to do and the day was nice and calm so we rowed a lot in search of the boat until I got further than before or since. When I wanted to go back, we saw a large flock of birds on the water and they were all black, not a single white bird was among them. They weren't afraid of us, and the men with me wanted to climb up to them, so we kept walking. When we got close enough they rose, so many that they darkened the sky, and they flared up again a hundred or maybe a hundred yards away. We went after them again and one of the men wanted to kill you with a needle and the other man wanted to kill you with his fly pole. He feared they would disturb the Curagh, but they would go after the birds.

'When we got close enough one man threw the needle and the other hit her with his paddle stick and they both fell in the curagh and she turned on her side and it was calm enough we all drowned.

I think those black gulls and the ship were of the same type, and after that I never went out as a pilot. Often Curaghs go to the boats and find that there is no boat.

'Some time ago a Curagh sailed in a ship from the great island, and there was no ship; and all the men of the Curagh were drowned. A good song was made about her after that, although I never heard it.

“The other day a curagh was fishing on this island, and the men saw a whore not far from them, and they rowed out to her to light their pipes; there were no matches then, and when they reached the big ship she was gone, from her place, and they were very afraid.'

Then he told me a story he got from the mainland about a man who was driving across the country one night and met a woman who came up to him and asked him to put her in his car. He thought something was wrong with her and continued. As he walked away a little he looked back and it was a pig standing in the way and not a woman.

He thought he was a done man, but he continued. As he was advancing through a forest, two men approached him, one on each side of the road, and seized the horse's reins and led him between them. It was old and old clothes with friezes and old fashions. Coming out of the forest, he met the people like there was a roadside fair, with people buying and selling and people not living at all. The old men carried him through the crowd and then left him. When he came home and told the elders about the two elders and the customs and fashions they had about them, the elders told him that his two grandparents took care of him because they loved him very much and he was a growing child .

Tonight we had a ball in the inn hall where a fire had been lit and the tables pushed into the corners. There was no master of ceremonies, and when I had played two or three jigs and other music on my fiddle, there was a lull because I didn't know how much of my music people wanted or who else I could get to sing or play. . For a moment it looked like a stalemate was approaching, but a young woman I knew very well saw my predicament and took charge of our celebrations herself. First he asked a Coast Guard's daughter to play a coil on the harmonica, which played instantly with admirable spirit and rhythm. Then the girl asked me to play again, told me which one to choose and continued to manage the night in the same way until she thought it was time to go home. Then she got up, thanked me in Irish and walked out the door without looking at anyone, but followed almost immediately by the whole group.

After they left I sat on a barrel in the tavern for a while chatting to some young men who were reading an Irish newspaper. So I spent a long night with the scholar and two storytellers, both old pilots, writing down stories and poems. We worked almost six hours, and the more material we got, the more the old people seemed to remember.

'I was going to go fishing tonight,' said the youngest as he entered, 'but I promised you would come, and you're a polite man, so I wouldn't pay five pounds to break your word. And now,' he picked up his whiskey glass, 'to your health, and may you live until they make a coffin out of a gooseberry bush, or until you die in bed.

They drank my health and our work began.

Do you know the poet MacSweeny? said the same man and sat down next to me.

'I have,' I said, 'in Galway City.

"Well," he said, "I'm going to talk about his play The Great Wedding because it's an excellent play and few people know about it. There was a poor servant in the field, and she married a poor servant. MacSweeny knew them both, was away at the time and took a month to get back. When he got back he went up to Peggy O'Hara—that was the girl's name—and asked if they had a big wedding. Peggy said it was mediocre but they hadn't forgotten anyway and she had a bottle of whiskey in the closet for him. He sat down by the fire and started drinking the whiskey. When he had a few drinks and warmed up by the fire he started making a song and that was the song he made about Peggy O'Hara's wedding.

I had the poem in both English and Irish, but as it was found elsewhere and attributed to another popular poet I need not give it to you.

We had another round of stout and whiskey, and then the old man who had arranged MacSweeny's wedding gave us a ditty to drink, which the scholar wrote down and I then translated with him:

Thus says the old woman of Beulleaca, when she sees an unconscious man:

Have you been to the stills house, did you have a drink? Neither the wine nor the beer is as sweet as it is, but that's okay. I didn't have any burns when I fell after being hit by Mr. Sloper.

"I commend Owen O'Hernon of all doctors in Ireland, he's the one who put medicine in water and dripped it in barley.

"If you gave a drop to a lady who walks the world with a cane, for a week she would think it was a nice bed for her."

After that I had to get out my violin and play them a few songs while they drank their whiskey. This morning a fresh batch of stout was brought to the little tavern below my room, and I could hear in the pauses in our conversation that several men had come to treat some neighbors on the central island, and were singing many songs, some of them in English or Art I gave but most in Irish.

A little later, when the party ended downstairs, my parents got confused by the fairies (they live a little far away) and went to the sand hills.

The next day I left by steamer.

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