Michael O’Connor and his wife had relationship with nearly every person in the parish—they had, as the neighbours used to say, “a long tail” and on the morning of next day there was a great assemblage gathered round the house ready to go in the funeral. They were all putting down (talking about) and backbiting Daniel on account of the burst (of laughter) he let out of him at the wake the day before that; but it wasn’t long till he himself came on the sod. He walked in among the people and he kept up his head, for he knew well they were cutting him as fine as tobacco. Some of them saluted him, but there was churlishness on another share of them, and they turned their backs on him, but he didn't meddle with them.
“What happened to you yesterday, or what did you do?” said Peter Bacach. “Isn’t it great the foolishness that was on you, Daniel? You are under bad favour here to-day.”
“Isn't it indifferent to you now, Peter?” said Daniel. “Under bad favour you say! You know well that I am here independently of them. But wait awhile and you will see that there will be great friendship with them for me by-and-by: don’t be out of the way, maybe it would be in your power to give me some help.”
Daniel went into the house then, and he left Peter standing outside at the gable of the house looking after him and shaking his head:
“To give him help, is it? For what reason, aroo? O! the d—l is behind on him to-day; he beats the two William Daxons out-and-out. May my Lord God help you, Daniel!”
When Daniel went in he struck his back to the fire, and looked sharply on the “hero,” but this time he bruised down the laughter and kept it inside; but for all that a smile was breaking out on his eyes. He asked an old woman who was sitting on her hunkers at the fire what time would the child be ready to go in the coffin, and she said, at the end of a half an hour, or that way.
“It is time for me to begin, I think,” said Daniel, and he threw an eye in on the cradle.
He went out then and brought in a great basket of turf. and, though there was a good fire down before, he put down the turf, and it was not long till the people were perspiring with the (share of) heat that was out of it. Michael took no notice of him, for he was red certain that poor Daniel was “light;” but he asked the women who were inside to put the child in readiness against the funeral.
Daniel opened the two doors and drew out the fire in a way that there was a big hole behind it; and then he said to the people who were making wonder of him:
“Ye are all slandering and abusing me since yesterday morning. Ye are certain that I am gone out of my mind; but I am not, thank God! And now, Michael O’Connor, look on the thing that is under a wake here with you.”
With that he made an effort to get a grip on the “hero,” but he (the “hero”) was too quick for him, and, on the closing of your eye, he made a black hare of himself, and, with a terrible shriek that was heard a mile from home, he leaped out of the cradle and out with him like a “fairy blast,” and the dog after him, and the young boys after him again. But the hare brought the legs from the whole of them, and he was not seen any more. I suppose he put the breadth of the county between himself and Daniel at any rate.
No one ever heard the like of the confusion that was when the hare leaped among the women. They began to scream, and some of them fainted. The people outside thought Daniel was getting worse, and that he was killing the women; and when they ran in to make peace they found the cradle empty, and Michael (and he) having a grip of Daniel, (and he) asking him for the sake of his father’s soul where was his child.
“It was easily known,” said Peter Bacach, “that he had more knowledge than he let on about that detestable thing that ran out awhile ago. And now, Daniel, if you have any information about Michael O’Connor’s child, give it from you, and the blessing of God on you! Do you know where is the child?”
“Maybe I do and maybe I don’t. But wait awhile quietly until I see.”
He went out and sent a messenger for his mother and the child. and she came without delay. Daniel took the child from his mother at the door and showed him to the people. His (the child’s) mother gave a leap out of her body with joy, and it is wonderful she didn’t smother the creature; and on the other side, Michael was kissing and shaking hands with Daniel and giving him thanks, and excuses for the bad opinion he had of him.
It was necessary for Daniel then to tell his story from beginning to end, and when he was finished, in the place of a wake and funeral it was a wedding (i.e., a feast) they had.
The child grew up, and a fine strong man was made of him, and he was as fond of Daniel as he was of his own father. When the “bad times” came, Michael O’Connor was broken out of his (share of) land, and he, his wife, and young Michael—that is, the son—went over to America, and a year or two alter that, when he buried the old woman, Daniel followed them, and they gave help to each other to find a living in that country. The luck was on them. Young Michael is to-day (and he) without the want o the world on him. He is as rich as a prince, and he has no hold in the world of the money. He never turned his back on a person from the County Clare, and there is a cead mile failte with him for the people who go over from this side. They say he will be coming home this year coming to get one sight before he dies of the place in which Daniel took him from the fairy women.
Daniel never married. He is buried for a good while now, and on the monument young Michael put over him, these words are to be seen:
The Man who beat the Good People.
Ag cur síos, “talking about;” lit., “putting down.”
Bíodán, “calumny, falsehood, lies.”
Báiḋ, “affection, friendship.”
An ḋa ’Liam Dacson, two fictitious characters who bore an unenviable reputation in West Clare.
Ar a gruga, “on her hunkers.”
Dearg-cinnte, “positively certain.”
Le h-aġaiḋ na socraide, “in order to, with a view to.” See note on “Aġaiḋ,” Trí Ḃior-Ġaoiṫe, page 301.
siḋe gaoiṫe, “a fairy wind.” Often applied to a sudden gust of wind, which, on a calm summer day, sends the dust on the road, or the hay on a meadow, whirling up into the air.
réiteaċ, "harmony, reconciliation."
an droċ-aimsir, “the bad times,” referring to the years ’47-8.
uireasḃuiḋ, pron, urusa in Clare; “want, need, indigence.”