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The Little Good People

There was a good deal of commotion that night in the rath near where the O'Briens and the Sullivans lived. Do you know what a rath is? I suppose not. It is hard work to tell stories to you, you are so ignorant. I will tell you what a rath is. First I will tell you what it looks like. It looks like a mound of earth, in the shape of a ring, covered with turf, and perhaps with bushes. They are found all over Ireland. Some people, who have studied so much that they have lost all track of what they know and of what they don't know, say that these raths were made by the people who lived in Ireland many hundreds of years ago, and that they were strongholds to guard themselves and their sheep and their cattle from their enemies or from wild beasts. But people who know as much as Mrs. O'Brien, know that they are the places where the fairies live, or the Good People, as she would call them.

On this night that I have been telling you about, the Good People inside the rath were eating and drinking and dancing and making merry generally, as they do, you know, the most of the time. Perhaps you would like to have me tell you how the inside of the rath looked too. I will do the best I can. In the first place, the walls were all of silver and the floor was all of gold. Perhaps you don't know—no, I suppose you don't know—still you may happen to have heard of this before: the fairies know just where to find pretty much all the gold and silver and precious stones that there are in the world, if they happen to want them. They don't want much of them, of course—only just enough to make the walls and the roofs and the floors of their houses of, and to put all over their clothes and to make all their furniture and dishes of, and all their carriages and their boats, and a few other things—but they know where to find plenty of gold and silver, if they want it.

Now I think that I had better give you a little science. I believe that a book which children are to read, always ought to teach something, so I mean to teach you as much as I can.

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