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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "The Stars in the Water"

The Stars in the Water

This is to be another sort of chapter altogether. I am going to tell you now what happened. The eighteen years are gone now and we have come to the time when there is something to tell.

When those eighteen years began, you know, Kathleen and Terence were not much more than born. So, if you have got as far as addition and can add eighteen to nothing and find that it makes eighteen, you will see that by this time they were about eighteen years old. John O'Brien and his mother and Kathleen did not live on the east side of Central Park any more. John had got on better and better with the work that he was doing. After a while, instead of having to do work of common kinds any more, he had been put in charge of other men who were doing it. After another while he learned so much about the work and how it was done and how it ought to be done, that he was made one of the partners in the company that did it. So he got a good deal more money and he was able to take his mother and Kathleen out of the little tenement where she was born, and to live in a better place. Then he had a house of his own, over on the west side of the Park, and it was there that Kathleen lived when she was eighteen years old.

Peter had not got along so well. John himself employed him, but Peter knew enough to go only just so far, and there he stuck. He lived in a little better place than he did at first, but he could never make his way like John. And then Terence, as he grew up, made a good deal of trouble. He never would learn anything useful and he never would do anything useful. He never helped his father at all, and always his father had to help him. If there was any fight or any accident or anything troublesome or wrong within a mile, Terence was always in the midst of it. He was constantly getting his head and his ribs broken, and Peter was always having to pay for other people's things that he had broken, from their heads to their windows.

Ellen's excuse for him, that he was never well and had never been quite himself since he was born, was pretty well worn out.

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