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

A Year and a Day

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"It's the last day of April," John answered; "it's a year this night she's been away. Could I forget it? Don't I think of it all the time?"

"There's no time in the year," Mrs. O'Brien said, "when the Good People have more power than on May Eve."

"Oh, mother," said John, "don't talk to me of the Good People; I've heard too much of them. I don't care if there are any Good People or not. I only know that Kathleen has been from us a year. When her mother died I could bear it, because I had Kathleen left, but now she's gone, and how can I bear it?"

"Listen to me, John," his mother went on. "It's on May Eve, as I told you, that the Good People have great power. It's then that they dance, and then they make young girls or young men that they want come and dance with them, and then they carry them off. But it's on May Eve, too, sometimes, that they can be got back by those who know what to do. And so it's to-night that we must try to get Kathleen back. I wouldn't tell you till the time came, for fear you might hope too much. We may not find her, and then we may, and you must come with us, for we don't know how much help we'll need."

"Who is it that I must come with?" John asked.

"With me and with the girls that were with Kathleen that night and saw her last."

"How do we know that they can come?" said John. "It's late in the day now and they may be away from home."

"I've taken care of all that," Mrs. O'Brien said; "they'll be here in a little while to go with us."

In a little while the girls came. Then they and Mrs. O'Brien and John went together to the place where Kathleen had met the girls, on her way home from the Sullivans', a year ago. "Was it about this time of the day," Mrs. O'Brien asked, "that you met Kathleen here a year ago to-night?"

"It was," one of the girls said, "about this time."

"Then you must take us," Mrs. O'Brien went on, "just the way that you went, and show us the very place where Kathleen stood, the last instant that you saw her."

They all walked along through the Park, the girls leading the way.

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