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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "The Time for Naggeneen's Plan"

The Time for Naggeneen's Plan

Little happened that needs to be told in the next few months, either to the fairies or to the human people. John O'Brien and Peter Sullivan were not long in finding work to do, and they were paid for it, and the two families got on better than they had in Ireland. The O'Briens got on better than the Sullivans. John was a better workman than Peter. Peter could do the work that was set before him in the way that he was told. But John could do better than that. He could see for himself how the work ought to be done, and he saw that if he did it well he might get better work to do. In Ireland, work as he would, he could no more than live, and so he had come to care little what he did or how he did it. But it was different here. The men who employed him saw that he was not a common workman, and soon they gave him better than the common work and more than the common pay.

But Peter was a common workman. Then, too, John's mother knew how to care for the house better than Ellen did, and because of that, too, the O'Briens did better. Every day, just as she used to do in Ireland, Mrs. O'Brien left something to eat and drink outside the house for the Good People. She said that she did not know whether there were any Good People here, but if there were they must be well treated. And when she found that what she left for them was taken, she said that she knew that there were Good People here. Of course she did not know that they were the same ones who had lived near them in Ireland. She put the milk and the water and the bread, or whatever she had for them, on the fire-escape, at the back of the rooms where they lived. And first she always laid down a little piece of carpet to put the dishes on, so that the fairies could come and get the food without touching the iron, for she knew that they could never do that. There was only one thing that did not go well with the O'Briens. Kitty's health did not come back to her, as they had hoped that it would. She did not need to do any work now, though she would do some, and the rest was good for her, but she was still pale and still weak.

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