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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "O'Donoghue"


And there was a sound of sweet, soft music, like harps and mellow horns.

"The King and his train came nearer and I saw them plainer, and the music sounded louder. Then they passed me and moved far away again on the lake. The sight of them grew dim and the music grew faint, and I strained my eyes and my ears for the last of them, and they were gone. Then I could move and speak and breathe again, for it had seemed to me that I could not do any one of these things while the King was passing, and I knew that I had seen O'Donoghue."

The old woman stopped, as if the story were ended, but the younger people did not speak, for they knew that she had something else to tell. "O'Donoghue had passed and was gone," she said, "but he always leaves good luck behind him, and he left the good luck with me. That summer some rich young ladies came from Dublin to see the Lakes of Killarney. They heard the story of O'Donoghue, and the people told them that I was the last who had seen him. They came to my father's house and asked me to tell them what I had seen. They seemed pleased with what I told them, or with something that they saw in me, and they asked my father to let them take me back to the city with them, for a lady's maid. He did not like to let me go, but they said that they would pay me well and would have me taught better than I could be at home. He was poor, there were others at home who needed all that he could earn, I wished to go, and at last he said I might.

"So I went to Dublin and lived in a grand house, among grand people. I tried to do my duties well, and they were kind to me. They kept the promise that they had made to my father. They gave me books and allowed me time to study them, and they helped me in things that I could not well have learned by myself, even with the books. I was quick at study, and in the little time that I had, I learned all that I could. Three times they took me to London with them, and I saw still grander people and grander life.

"Those were happy days, but happier came.

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