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The Big Poor People


"You can if you like," said the old woman, "but when you throw out water without warning, it's as likely as not some of the Good People may be passing, and they don't like dirty water to be thrown on them; and so after that your cow gives no milk, your pig is thin, and your dishes are thrown around the room. Do as you like with your water, or with anything else, but if you anger the Good People, be sure they'll do you harm."

"It's superstitious you are. Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter; "I dunno what it is that's throubling us, but there's no fairies at all."

"Superstitious, is it?" said the old woman. "And so you're not superstitious at all, and you don't believe in the Good People! Now tell me, Peter Sullivan, when you came to that door just now and said 'God save all here,' like a decent man, why did you add 'except the cat?' What did you mean by those words 'except the cat?' Tell me that now."

"Why, sure, Mrs. O'Brien," Peter answered, just a bit confused, "sure, we're told that cats is avil spirits, so we mustn't put blessings on them, and when we say 'God save all here,' we add onto it 'except the cat,' so as not to be calling down a blessing on an avil spirit."

"Ah!" said Mrs. O'Brien, "it's not the likes of you that's superstitious. You can't put a blessing on the poor cat, when you're blessing everybody and everything else in the house, for fear you'ld be putting it on an evil spirit; but you're not superstitions, and so you throw dirty water on the Good People as they're passing, and you call them by names that they don't like, and then you wonder what it is that's troubling you."

"No, Mrs. O'Brien," said Peter, again, "I dunno what it is at all. It may be the avil spirits themselves, for what I know, and whatever it is. I'ld go away and leave it and leave the country, if I had the money to get to the States. I heard once of a man that was druv out of the counthry by a monsther that I suppose was maybe something like the fairies—like them in making trouble for the man, anyway.

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