Page images
PDF
EPUB

27225.16.25 A
27225,16.2

HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY

BEQUEST OF

WINWARD PRESCOTT

JANUARY 27, 1933

DLZ
12/13

COPYRIGHT,

1890,

P. J. KENEDY.

Turf-Fire Stories.

PREFACE.

T has been said that the traditionary lore of Ireland, and all the marvellous legends and tales about the "good people," are going fast from the old land, and that the native humor of the people is not so rich and racy as of old. For my part, however, I am optimist enough to believe differently; for personal observation in the land of the shamrock has convinced me that the people there to-day are just as proud of the fairy-lore of their Motherland as were their ancestors of yore. It matters not whether it be within the snug farm-house, or by the bright turf-fire in the road-side cabin, the traveller and stranger will still find the Vanithee of the house, or the aged grandsire, ever ready to regale him with some quaint chronicle of the Pooka, the Leprechaun, the Fetch, or the Banshee, with a wit as sparkling as the streamlets in Irish glens.

Some writers aver that the character of a nation may be learned from its popular songs and ballads ; that the mind, the habits, and the morals of a people may be guided by its song writers. Very true; still, I maintain that the traditionary lore of a people is calculated to exert even as great an influence, inasmuch as the legend which is connected with a castle, shrine, or round-tower will live in the memory of

the inhabitants of its neighborhood after castle, shrine, and round-tower have become ruins.

And in Ireland one need rarely trudge a mile without beholding some boreen, rath, lake, hill, or mouldering stone to which is attached some humorous tale, or weird legend.

In excuse for some of the defects of the Turf-fire Stories, the writer may state that many of them have been hastily written within prescribed limits for various journals; but notwithstanding the limited space allowed, while attempting to portray the Irish peasant, I endeavored as much as possible to avoid caricature, bearing in mind the advice given by Hamlet to the players that a subject overdone, "though it make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve."

The American reader may rest assured that the so-called Irish peasant we sometimes see pictured as a compound of idiot and buffoon is simply a creature of the imagination, to be found only in the stage farce or in the prejudiced pages of some anti-Irish magazine.

The greater number of the following sketches are original; the others have been transcribed, and in most cases materially altered, from the musty pages of

some

"Quaint and Curious Volumes of forgotten lore."

In conclusion, it only remains for me to express the hope that the book may be accorded an indulgent reception by the lovers and well-wishers of the Green Isle. BARRY O'CONNOR.

NEW YORK, May, 1890,

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »