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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "A Year and a Day"

A Year and a Day

When Kathleen did not come home at the time she was expected, her father and her grandmother were not much surprised at first. She was in the habit of going where she pleased and of coming back when she pleased. If she chose to be an hour or two late her father or her grandmother might ask her why, or they might not think of it. So, on that May Eve when she danced with the Good People, as it began to get late and still she did not come, they had no doubt that she had decided to make her visit at the Sullivans' a little longer than she had intended. When it got later and still she did not come, her father said that he would walk over to the Sullivans' and come back with her. He never thought of not finding her there. Even when he got there and Ellen told him that Kathleen had gone away hours ago and had said that she was going home, he did not think that any harm could have come to her.

"She met some of the girls that she knew and went with them, maybe," he said, "and she'll be home before me."

But when he got home again and found that she was not there, and when he told his mother that she was not at the Sullivans', they both began to be a little worried. They told each other over and over that Kathleen knew how to take care of herself and that no harm was likely to come to her, but they both doubted their own words. Late at night John went to the Sullivans' again, taking the way that he thought Kathleen would be likely to take, and looking everywhere for her, though he knew that to search for her in such a way as that was nonsense.

The Sullivans had all gone to bed when he got there, but Peter got up and walked back with him, by another way. They went to a police station and asked if there had been any accident—if any girl had been hurt and taken to a hospital. There had been no accident that night. They went home and waited again. At last John could wait no longer. He and Peter started out again and went different ways. They went to other police stations and asked if there had been accidents.

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