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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "Black, Brown, and Gray"

Black, Brown, and Gray

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He lay down and pulled some of the bodies over himself. He wasn't there long when he saw an old hag coming into the house. She had but one leg, one arm, and one upper tooth, which was as long as her leg and served her in place of a crutch. When inside the door she took up the first corpse she met and threw it aside; it was lean. As she went on she took two bites out of every fat corpse she met, and threw every lean one aside.

She had her fill of flesh and blood before she came to Glasán; and as soon as she had that, she dropped down on the floor, lay on her back, and went to sleep.

Every breath she drew, Glasán was afraid she'd drag the roof down on top of his head, and every time she let a breath out of her he thought she'd sweep the roof off the house.

Then he rose up, looked at her, and wondered at the bulk of her body. At last he drew his sword, hit her a slash, and if he did, three young giants sprang forth.

Glasán killed the first giant, the dog Bran killed the second, and the third ran away.

Glasán now hurried back, and when he reached the fountain at Fin's castle, his log of wood was burned, and day was dawning.

When all had risen in the morning, and the Fenians of Erin came out, Fin said to Dubh, "Have you anything new or wonderful to tell me after the night's watching?"

"I have," said Dubh; "for I brought back the drinking-cup that you lost a hundred years ago. I was out in the darkness watching. I walked on, and the dog Bran with me till I saw a light. When I came to the light I found a house, and in the house a company feasting. The chief was a very old man, and sat on a high place above the rest. He took out the cup and said: 'This is the cup that was stolen from Fin MacCumhail a hundred years ago, and it is always full of the best drink in the world; and when one of you has drunk from the cup pass it on to the next.'

"They drank and passed the cup till it came to me. I took it and hurried back. When I came here, my log was burned and my watch was finished.

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