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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "The Big Poor People"

The Big Poor People

There was a knock at the door, and John opened it. "God save all here except the cat!" said a voice outside.

"God save you kindly!" John answered.

A young man and a young woman came in. They were neighbors—Peter Sullivan and his wife, Ellen. "Good avenin' to you, Pether," said John; "you're lookin' fine and hearty, and it's like a rose you're lookin', Ellen."

"It's more like nettles than roses we're feelin'," Ellen answered, "but something with prickles anyway, wid the bother we have every day and all day."

"Thrue for you, it's hard times," said John; "we was speaking about them just the minute before you came in; but we all have to bear them. It's not you ought to complain, as long as you've good health; now here's Kitty—I dunno how—"

"It's not the hard times I'm speakin' of now," said Ellen; "they're bad enough, goodness knows; but it's the bother we have all the time, and we can't tell how or why. Half the time the cow gives no milk, and when she does, you can make no butther wid it. The pig, the crathur, won't get fat; he ates everything he can reach, and still he looks like a basket wid a skin over it. The smoke of the fire comes down the chimney, the dishes are thrown on the floor, wid nobody near them, and such noises are goin' on all night long that never a wink of sleep can a body get. What we'll do at all if it goes on, I dunno."

"By all the books that ever was opened and shut," Peter added, "it's all thrue what she says, and more. What wid all that and what wid the throubles that's on the whole counthry, if I only had the money saved to do it, I'ld lave it all to-morrow and go to the States—I would so."

"Leave off the things you do that make you all these troubles," said the older Mrs. O'Brien, "and you'll have no more need to go to the States than others."

"What things are them that we do?" Ellen asked.

"Haven't I told you before this," said Mrs. O'Brien, "that it's the Good People that trouble you? If you'ld treat them well, as we do, they'ld never bother you.

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