effect: “You have told that man everything about my life,

 people involved | time:2023-11-30 02:36:33

[126] Sir George Grey once told some Australian natives about the countries within the arctic circle where during part of the year the sun never sets. "Their astonishment now knew no bounds. 'Ah! that must be another sun, not the same as the one we see here,' said an old man; and in spite of all my arguments to the contrary, the others adopted this opinion." Grey's Journals, I. 293, cited in Tylor, Early History of Mankind, p. 301.

effect: “You have told that man everything about my life,

[127] Max Muller, Chips, II. 96.

effect: “You have told that man everything about my life,

With many of these legends which present the myth of light and darkness in its most attractive form, the reader is already acquainted, and it is needless to retail stories which have been told over and over again in books which every one is presumed to have read. I will content myself with a weird Irish legend, narrated by Mr. Patrick Kennedy,[128] in which we here and there catch glimpses of the primitive mythical symbols, as fragments of gold are seen gleaming through the crystal of quartz.

effect: “You have told that man everything about my life,

[128] Fictions of the Irish Celts, pp. 255-270.

Long before the Danes ever came to Ireland, there died at Muskerry a Sculloge, or country farmer, who by dint of hard work and close economy had amassed enormous wealth. His only son did not resemble him. When the young Sculloge looked about the house, the day after his father's death, and saw the big chests full of gold and silver, and the cupboards shining with piles of sovereigns, and the old stockings stuffed with large and small coin, he said to himself, "Bedad, how shall I ever be able to spend the likes o' that!" And so he drank, and gambled, and wasted his time in hunting and horse-racing, until after a while he found the chests empty and the cupboards poverty-stricken, and the stockings lean and penniless. Then he mortgaged his farm-house and gambled away all the money he got for it, and then he bethought him that a few hundred pounds might be raised on his mill. But when he went to look at it, he found "the dam broken, and scarcely a thimbleful of water in the mill-race, and the wheel rotten, and the thatch of the house all gone, and the upper millstone lying flat on the lower one, and a coat of dust and mould over everything." So he made up his mind to borrow a horse and take one more hunt to-morrow and then reform his habits.

As he was returning late in the evening from this farewell hunt, passing through a lonely glen he came upon an old man playing backgammon, betting on his left hand against his right, and crying and cursing because the right WOULD win. "Come and bet with me," said he to Sculloge. "Faith, I have but a sixpence in the world," was the reply; "but, if you like, I'll wager that on the right." "Done," said the old man, who was a Druid; "if you win I'll give you a hundred guineas." So the game was played, and the old man, whose right hand was always the winner, paid over the guineas and told Sculloge to go to the Devil with them.

Instead of following this bit of advice, however, the young farmer went home and began to pay his debts, and next week he went to the glen and won another game, and made the Druid rebuild his mill. So Sculloge became prosperous again, and by and by he tried his luck a third time, and won a game played for a beautiful wife. The Druid sent her to his house the next morning before he was out of bed, and his servants came knocking at the door and crying, "Wake up! wake up! Master Sculloge, there's a young lady here to see you." "Bedad, it's the vanithee[129] herself," said Sculloge; and getting up in a hurry, he spent three quarters of an hour in dressing himself. At last he went down stairs, and there on the sofa was the prettiest lady ever seen in Ireland! Naturally, Sculloge's heart beat fast and his voice trembled, as he begged the lady's pardon for this Druidic style of wooing, and besought her not to feel obliged to stay with him unless she really liked him. But the young lady, who was a king's daughter from a far country, was wondrously charmed with the handsome farmer, and so well did they get along that the priest was sent for without further delay, and they were married before sundown. Sabina was the vanithee's name; and she warned her husband to have no more dealings with Lassa Buaicht, the old man of the glen. So for a while all went happily, and the Druidic bride was as good as she was beautiful But by and by Sculloge began to think he was not earning money fast enough. He could not bear to see his wife's white hands soiled with work, and thought it would be a fine thing if he could only afford to keep a few more servants, and drive about with Sabina in an elegant carriage, and see her clothed in silk and adorned with jewels.

[129] A corruption of Gaelic bhan a teaigh, "lady of the house."

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