There was once a boy in the County
Mayo, Guleesh was his name. There
was the finest rath a little way off from the gable of
and he was often in the habit of seating himself on the
bank that was running round it. One night he stood, half
against the gable of the house, and looking up into the
watching the beautiful white moon over his head. After
he had been
standing that way for a couple of hours, he said to himself, "My
bitter grief that I am not gone away out of this place
I'd sooner be any place in the world than here. Och, it's
you, white moon," says he, "that's turning round,
turning round, as
you please yourself, and no man can put you back. I wish
I was the
same as you."
Hardly was the word out of his mouth when he heard a great
coming like the sound of many people running together,
and laughing, and making sport, and the sound went by him
whirl of wind, and he was listening to it going into the
"Musha, by my soul," says he, "but ye're merry
enough, and I'll
What was in it but the fairy host,
though he did not know at first
that it was they who were in it, but he followed them into
It's there he heard the fulparnee, and the folpornee,
the rap-lay-hoota, and the roolya-boolya, that they
and every man of them crying out as loud as he could, "My
and bridle, and saddle! My horse, and bridle, and saddle!"
"By my hand," said Guleesh, "my
boy, that's not bad. I'll imitate
ye," and he cried out as well as they, "My horse,
and bridle, and
saddle! My horse, and bridle, and saddle!" And on
the moment there
was a fine horse with a bridle of gold, and a saddle of
standing before him. He leaped up on it, and the moment
he was on
its back he saw clearly that the rath was full of horses,
little people going riding on them.
Said a man of them to him, "Are
you coming with us tonight,
"I am surely," said
"If you are, come along," said
the little man, and out they went all
together, riding like the wind, faster than the fastest
you saw a-hunting, and faster than the fox and the hounds
The cold winter's wind that was before them, they overtook
the cold winter's wind that was behind them, she did not
them. And stop nor stay of that full race, did they make
they came to the brink of the sea.
Then every one of them said, "Hie
over cap! Hie over cap!" and that
moment they were up in the air, and before Guleesh had
remember where he was, they were down on dry land again,
going like the wind.
At last they stood still, and a man
of them said to Guleesh, "Guleesh, do you know where
you are now?"
"Not a know," says
"You're in France, Guleesh," said
daughter of the king of
France is to be married tonight, the handsomest woman
that the sun
ever saw, and we must do our best to bring her with us
- if we're
only able to carry her off - and you must come with us
that we may be
able to put the young girl up behind you on the horse,
when we'll be
bringing her away, for it's not lawful for us to put her
behind ourselves. But you're flesh and blood, and she can
good grip of you, so that she won't fall off the horse.
satisfied, Guleesh, and will you do what we're telling
"Why shouldn't I be satisfied?" said Guleesh. "I'm
surely, and anything that ye will tell me to do I'll do
They got off their horses there, and
a man of them said a word that
Guleesh did not understand, and on the moment they were
and Guleesh found himself and his companions in the palace.
was a great feast going on there, and there was not a nobleman
gentleman in the kingdom but was gathered there, dressed
in silk and
satin, and gold and silver, and the night was as bright
as the day
with all the lamps and candles that were lit, and Guleesh
shut his two eyes at the brightness. When he opened them
looked from him, he thought he never saw anything as fine
as all he
saw there. There were a hundred tables spread out, and
their full of
meat and drink on each table of them, flesh-meat, and cakes
sweetmeats, and wine and ale, and every drink that ever
a man saw.
The musicians were at the two ends of the hall, and they
playing the sweetest music that ever a man's ear heard,
were young women and fine youths in the middle of the hall,
and turning, and going round so quickly and so lightly,
that it put
a soorawn in Guleesh's head to be looking at them. There
more there playing tricks, and more making fun and laughing,
such a feast as there was that day had not been in France
years, because the old king had no children alive but only
daughter, and she was to be married to the son of another
night. Three days the feast was going on, and the third
was to be married, and that was the night that Guleesh
sheehogues came, hoping, if they could, to carry off with
king's young daughter.
Guleesh and his companions were standing together at the
head of the
hall, where there was a fine altar dressed up, and two
behind it waiting to marry the girl, as soon as the right
should come. Now nobody could see the sheehogues, for they
word as they came in, that made them all invisible, as
if they had
not been in it at all.
"Tell me which of them is the king's daughter," said
he was becoming a little used to the noise and the light.
"Don't you see her there away from you?" said
the little man that he
was talking to.
Guleesh looked where the little man was pointing with
and there he saw the loveliest woman that was, he thought,
ridge of the world. The rose and the lily were fighting
her face, and one could not tell which of them got the
arms and hands were like the lime, her mouth as red as
when it is ripe, her foot was as small and as light as
hand, her form was smooth and slender, and her hair was
from her head in buckles of gold. Her garments and dress
with gold and silver, and the bright stone that was in
the ring on
her hand was as shining as the sun.
Guleesh was nearly blinded with all
the loveliness and beauty that
was in her, but when he looked again, he saw that she was
and that there was the trace of tears in her eyes. "It
said Guleesh, "that there's grief on her, when everybody
is so full of sport and merriment."
"Musha, then, she is grieved," said
the little man; "for it's
against her own will she's marrying, and she has no love
husband she is to marry. The king was going to give her
to him three
years ago, when she was only fifteen, but she said she
young, and requested him to leave her as she was yet. The
her a year's grace, and when that year was up he gave her
year's grace, and then another - but a week or a day he
give her longer, and she is eighteen years old tonight,
time for her to marry - but, indeed," says he, and
he crooked his
mouth in an ugly way--"indeed, it's no king's son
she'll marry, if I
can help it."
Guleesh pitied the handsome young lady greatly when he
and he was heart-broken to think that it would be necessary
to marry a man she did not like, or, what was worse, to
take a nasty
sheehogue for a husband. However, he did not say a word,
could not help giving many a curse to the ill-luck that
was laid out
for himself, to be helping the people that were to snatch
from her home and from her father.
He began thinking, then, what it was
he ought to do to save her, but
he could think of nothing. "Oh! if I could only give
her some help
and relief," said he, "I wouldn't care whether
I were alive or dead -
but I see nothing that I can do for her."
He was looking on when the king's son came up to her and
for a kiss, but she turned her head away from him. Guleesh
double pity for her then, when he saw the lad taking her
by the soft
white hand, and drawing her out to dance. They went round
dance near where Guleesh was, and he could plainly see
were tears in her eyes.
When the dancing was over, the old
king, her father, and her mother
the queen, came up and said that this was the right time
her, that the bishop was ready, and it was time to put
ring on her and give her to her husband.
The king took the youth by the hand, and the queen took
daughter, and they went up together to the altar, with
the lords and
great people following them.
When they came near the altar, and
were no more than about four
yards from it, the little sheehogue stretched out his foot
the girl, and she fell. Before she was able to rise again
something that was in his hand upon her, said a couple
of words, and
upon the moment the maiden was gone from amongst them.
see her, for that word made her invisible. The little man
then seized her and raised her up behind Guleesh, and the
king nor no one
else saw them, but out with them through the hall till
they came to
Oro! dear Mary! it's there the pity
was, and the trouble, and the
crying, and the wonder, and the searching, and the surprise,
when that lady disappeared from their eyes, and without
what did it. Out of the door of the palace they went, without
stopped or hindered, for nobody saw them, and, "My
horse, my bridle,
and saddle!" says every man of them. "My horse,
my bridle, and
saddle!" says Guleesh - and on the moment the horse
ready caparisoned before him. "Now, jump up, Guleesh," said
little man, "and put the lady behind you, and we will
be going - the
morning is not far off from us now."
Guleesh raised her up on the horse's back, and leaped
before her, and, "Rise, horse," said he; and
his horse, and the
other horses with him, went in a full race until they came
"Hie over cap!" said
every man of them.
"Hie over cap!" said
Guleesh - and on the moment the horse rose under
him, and cut a leap in the clouds, and came down in Erin.
They did not stop there, but went of a race to the place
Guleesh's house and the rath. And when they came as far
Guleesh turned and caught the young girl in his two arms,
off the horse.
"I call and cross you to myself,
in the name of God!" said
he - and
on the spot, before the word was out of his mouth, the
down, and what was in it but the beam of a plough, of which
made a horse - and every other horse they had, it was that
made it. Some of them were riding on an old besom, and
some on a
broken stick, and more on a bohalawn or a hemlock-stalk.
The good people called out together when they heard what
"Oh! Guleesh, you clown,
you thief, that no good may happen you, why
did you play that trick on us?"
But they had no power at all to carry off the girl, after
had consecrated her to himself.
"Oh! Guleesh, isn't that
a nice turn you did us, and we so kind to
you? What good have we now out of our journey to France.
yet, you clown, but you'll pay us another time for this.
you'll repent it."
"He'll have no good to get out of the young girl," said
man that was talking to him in the palace before that,
and as he
said the word he moved over to her and struck her a slap
on the side
of the head. "Now," says he, "she'll be
without talk any more; now,
Guleesh, what good will she be to you when she'll be dumb?
for us to go--but you'll remember us, Guleesh!"
When he said that he stretched out his two hands, and
was able to give an answer, he and the rest of them were
the rath out of his sight, and he saw them no more.
He turned to the young woman
and said to her: "Thanks
be to God,
they're gone. Would you not sooner stay with me than with
gave him no answer. "There's trouble and grief on
her yet," said
Guleesh in his own mind, and he spoke to her again: "I
that you must spend this night in my father's house, lady,
there is anything that I can do for you, tell me, and I'll
The beautiful girl remained silent, but there were tears
eyes, and her face was white and red after each other.
"Lady," said Guleesh, "tell
me what you would like me to do now. I
never belonged at all to that lot of sheehogues who carried
with them. I am the son of an honest farmer, and I went
without knowing it. If I'll be able to send you back to
I'll do it, and I pray you make any use of me now that
He looked into her face, and he saw the mouth moving as
if she was
going to speak, but there came no word from it.
"It cannot be," said Guleesh, "that
you are dumb. Did I not hear you
speaking to the king's son in the palace tonight? Or has
made you really dumb, when he struck his nasty hand on
The girl raised her white smooth hand, and laid her finger
tongue, to show him that she had lost her voice and power
and the tears ran out of her two eyes like streams, and
own eyes were not dry, for as rough as he was on the outside
a soft heart, and could not stand the sight of the young
she in that unhappy plight.
He began thinking with himself what he ought to do, and
he did not
like to bring her home with himself to his father's house,
knew well that they would not believe him, that he had
France and brought back with him the king of France's daughter,
he was afraid they might make a mock of the young lady
As he was doubting what he ought to
do, and hesitating, he chanced
to remember the priest. "Glory be to God," said
he, "I know now what
I'll do - I'll bring her to the priest's house, and he
me to keep the lady and care for her." He turned to
the lady again
and told her that he was loth to take her to his father's
that there was an excellent priest very friendly to himself,
would take good care of her, if she wished to remain in
his house -
but that if there was any other place she would rather
go, he said
he would bring her to it.
She bent her head, to show him she was obliged, and gave
understand that she was ready to follow him any place he
"We will go to the priest's house, then," said
he; "he is under an
obligation to me, and will do anything I ask him."
They went together accordingly to the priest's house,
and the sun
was just rising when they came to the door. Guleesh beat
and as early as it was the priest was up, and opened the
himself. He wondered when he saw Guleesh and the girl,
for he was
certain that it was coming wanting to be married they were.
"Guleesh, Guleesh, isn't
it the nice boy you are that you can't wait
till ten o'clock or till twelve, but that you must be coming
at this hour, looking for marriage, you and your sweetheart?
ought to know that I can't marry you at such a time, or,
events, can't marry you lawfully. But ubbubboo!" said
as he looked again at the young girl, "in the name
of God, who have
you here? Who is she, or how did you get her?"
"Father," said Guleesh, "you
can marry me, or anybody else, if you
wish - but it's not looking for marriage I came to you
now, but to
ask you, if you please, to give a lodging in your house
The priest looked at him as though
he had ten heads on him - but
without putting any other question to him, he desired him
in, himself and the maiden, and when they came in, he shut
brought them into the parlour, and put them sitting.
"Now, Guleesh," said he, "tell
me truly who is this young lady, and
whether you're out of your senses really, or are only making
"I'm not telling a word of lie,
nor making a joke of you," said
Guleesh, "but it was from the palace of the king of
France I carried
off this lady, and she is the daughter of the king of France."
He began his story then, and told the whole to the priest,
priest was so much surprised that he could not help calling
times, or clapping his hands together.
When Guleesh said from what he saw he thought the girl
satisfied with the marriage that was going to take place
palace before he and the sheehogues broke it up, there
came a red
blush into the girl's cheek, and he was more certain than
she had sooner be as she was--badly as she was--than be
wife of the man she hated. When Guleesh said that he would
thankful to the priest if he would keep her in his own
kind man said he would do that as long as Guleesh pleased,
he did not know what they ought to do with her, because
they had no
means of sending her back to her father again.
Guleesh answered that he was uneasy about the same thing,
he saw nothing to do but to keep quiet until they should
opportunity of doing something better. They made it up
themselves that the priest should let on that it was his
daughter he had, who was come on a visit to him from another
and that he should tell everybody that she was dumb, and
do his best
to keep every one away from her. They told the young girl
was they intended to do, and she showed by her eyes that
obliged to them.
Guleesh went home then, and when his people asked him
where he had
been, he said that he had been asleep at the foot of the
had passed the night there.
There was great wonderment on the priest's neighbours
at the girl
who came so suddenly to his house without any one knowing
was from, or what business she had there. Some of the people
that everything was not as it ought to be, and others,
was not like the same man that was in it before, and that
it was a
great story, how he was drawing every day to the priest's
that the priest had a wish and a respect for him, a thing
not clear up at all.
That was true for them, indeed, for
it was seldom the day went by
but Guleesh would go to the priest's house, and have a
him, and as often as he would come he used to hope to find
lady well again, and with leave to speak; but, alas! she
dumb and silent, without relief or cure. Since she had
means of talking, she carried on a sort of conversation
herself and himself, by moving her hand and fingers, winking
eyes, opening and shutting her mouth, laughing or smiling,
thousand other signs, so that it was not long until they
each other very well. Guleesh was always thinking how he
her back to her father, but there was no one to go with
her, and he
himself did not know what road to go, for he had never
been out of
his own country before the night he brought her away with
had the priest any better knowledge than he; but when Guleesh
him, he wrote three or four letters to the king of France,
them to buyers and sellers of wares, who used to be going
to place across the sea; but they all went astray, and
never a one
came to the king's hand.
This was the way they were for many months, and Guleesh
deeper and deeper in love with her every day, and it was
himself and the priest that she liked him. The boy feared
last, lest the king should really hear where his daughter
take her back from himself, and he besought the priest
to write no
more, but to leave the matter to God.
So they passed the time for a year,
until there came a day when
Guleesh was lying by himself, on the grass, on the last
day of the
last month in autumn, and he was thinking over again in
his own mind
of everything that happened to him from the day that he
the sheehogues across the sea. He remembered then, suddenly,
was one November night that he was standing at the gable
house, when the whirlwind came, and the sheehogues in it,
said to himself: "We have November night again today,
stand in the same place I was last year, until I see if
people come again. Perhaps I might see or hear something
be useful to me, and might bring back her talk again to
was the name himself and the priest called the king's daughter,
neither of them knew her right name. He told his intention
priest, and the priest gave him his blessing.
Guleesh accordingly went to the old
rath when the night was
darkening, and he stood with his bent elbow leaning on
a grey old
flag, waiting till the middle of the night should come.
rose slowly, and it was like a knob of fire behind him
- and there
was a white fog which was raised up over the fields of
grass and all
damp places, through the coolness of the night after a
great heat in
the day. The night was calm as is a lake when there is
not a breath
of wind to move a wave on it, and there was no sound to
be heard but
the cronawn of the insects that would go by from time
time, or the hoarse sudden scream of the wild-geese, as
from lake to lake, half a mile up in the air over his head
- or the
sharp whistle of the golden and green plover, rising and
lying and rising, as they do on a calm night. There were
thousand bright stars shining over his head, and there
was a little
frost out, which left the grass under his foot white and
He stood there for an hour, for two
hours, for three hours, and the
frost increased greatly, so that he heard the breaking
traneens under his foot as often as he moved. He was
in his own mind, at last, that the sheehogues would not
night, and that it was as good for him to return back again,
he heard a sound far away from him, coming towards him,
recognised what it was at the first moment. The sound increased,
and at first it was like the beating of waves on a stony
then it was like the falling of a great waterfall, and
at last it was like
a loud storm in the tops of the trees, and then the whirlwind
into the rath of one rout, and the sheehogues were in it.
It all went by him so suddenly that he lost his breath
with it, but
he came to himself on the spot, and put an ear on himself,
to what they would say.
Scarcely had they gathered into the
rath till they all began
shouting, and screaming, and talking amongst themselves
- and then
each one of them cried out, "My horse, and bridle,
and saddle! My
horse, and bridle, and saddle!" and Guleesh took courage,
out as loudly as any of them, "My horse, and bridle,
and saddle! My
horse, and bridle, and saddle!" But before the word
was well out of
his mouth, another man cried out: "Ora! Guleesh, my
boy, are you
here with us again? How are you getting on with your woman?
no use in your calling for your horse tonight. I'll go
won't play such a trick on us again. It was a good trick
on us last year?"
"It was," said another man; "he
won't do it again."
"Isn't he a prime lad, the
same lad! to take a woman with him that
never said as much to him as, 'How do you do?' since this
year!" says the third man.
"Perhaps he likes to be looking
at her," said
"And if the omadawn only
knew that there's an herb growing up
by his own door, and if he were to boil it and give it
to her, she'd
be well," said another voice.
"That's true for you."
"He is an omadawn."
"Don't bother your head
with him - we'll be going."
"We'll leave the bodach
as he is."
And with that they rose up into the
air, and out with them with one
roolya-boolya the way they came - and they left poor Guleesh
standing where they found him, and the two eyes going out
head, looking after them and wondering.
He did not stand long till he returned
back, and he thinking in his
own mind on all he saw and heard, and wondering whether
really an herb at his own door that would bring back the
talk to the
king's daughter. "It can't be," says he to himself, "that
tell it to me, if there was any virtue in it - but perhaps
sheehogue didn't observe himself when he let the word slip
his mouth. I'll search well as soon as the sun rises, whether
there's any plant growing beside the house except thistles
He went home, and as tired as he was he did not sleep
a wink until
the sun rose on the morrow. He got up then, and it was
thing he did to go out and search well through the grass
the house, trying could he get any herb that he did not
And, indeed, he was not long searching till he observed
strange herb that was growing up just by the gable of the
He went over to it, and observed it
closely, and saw that there were
seven little branches coming out of the stalk, and seven
growing on every branch of them - and that there was
white sap in the leaves. "It's very wonderful," said
he to himself,
"that I never noticed this herb before. If there's any
virtue in an
herb at all, it ought to be in such a strange one as this."
He drew out his knife, cut the plant,
and carried it into his own
house - stripped the leaves off it and cut up the stalk
- and there came a thick, white juice out of it, as there
comes out of the sow-
thistle when it is bruised, except that the juice was more
He put it in a little pot and a little water in it, and
laid it on
the fire until the water was boiling, and then he took
a cup, filled
it half up with the juice, and put it to his own mouth.
It came into
his head then that perhaps it was poison that was in it,
the good people were only tempting him that he might kill
with that trick, or put the girl to death without meaning
it. He put
down the cup again, raised a couple of drops on the top
finger, and put it to his mouth. It was not bitter, and,
a sweet, agreeable taste. He grew bolder then, and drank
the full of
a thimble of it, and then as much again, and he never stopped
he had half the cup drunk. He fell asleep after that, and
wake till it was night, and there was great hunger and
He had to wait, then, till the day
rose - but he determined, as soon
as he should wake in the morning, that he would go to the
daughter and give her a drink of the juice of the herb.
As soon as he got up in the morning, he went over to the
house with the drink in his hand, and he never felt himself
and valiant, and spirited and light, as he was that day,
and he was
quite certain that it was the drink he drank which made
When he came to the house, he found the priest and the
within, and they were wondering greatly why he had not
for two days.
He told them all his news, and said that he was certain
was great power in that herb, and that it would do the
lady no hurt,
for he tried it himself and got good from it, and then
he made her
taste it, for he vowed and swore that there was no harm
Guleesh handed her the cup, and she drank half of it,
and then fell
back on her bed and a heavy sleep came on her, and she
out of that sleep till the day on the morrow.
Guleesh and the priest sat up the entire night with her,
till she should awake, and they between hope and unhope,
expectation of saving her and fear of hurting her.
She awoke at last when the sun had gone half its way through
heavens. She rubbed her eyes and looked like a person who
know where she was. She was like one astonished when she
and the priest in the same room with her, and she sat up
best to collect her thoughts.
The two men were in great anxiety waiting to see would
she speak, or
would she not speak, and when they remained silent for
a couple of
minutes, the priest said to her: "Did you sleep well,
And she answered him: "I
slept, thank you."
No sooner did Guleesh hear her talking
than he put a shout of joy
out of him, and ran over to her and fell on his two knees,
"A thousand thanks to God, who has given you back the
talk - lady of
my heart, speak again to me."
The lady answered him that she understood
it was he who boiled that
drink for her, and gave it to her - that she was obliged
to him from
her heart for all the kindness he showed her since the
day she first
came to Ireland, and that he might be certain that she
Guleesh was ready to die with satisfaction and delight.
brought her food, and she ate with a good appetite, and
and joyous, and never left off talking with the priest
while she was
After that Guleesh went home to his house, and stretched
the bed and fell asleep again, for the force of the herb
was not all
spent, and he passed another day and a night sleeping.
When he woke
up he went back to the priest's house, and found that the
was in the same state, and that she was asleep almost since
that he left the house.
He went into her chamber with the priest, and they remained
beside her till she awoke the second time, and she had
her talk as
well as ever, and Guleesh was greatly rejoiced. The priest
on the table again, and they ate together, and Guleesh
that to come to the house from day to day, and the friendship
was between him and the king's daughter increased, because
no one to speak to except Guleesh and the priest, and she
So they married one another, and that
was the fine wedding they had,
and if I were to be there then, I would not be here now
- but I heard
it from a birdeen that there was neither cark nor care,
sorrow, mishap nor misfortune on them till the hour of
and may the same be with me, and with us all!