PIPER AND THE PUCA
the old times, there was a half fool living in
Dunmore, in the county Galway, and although he
was excessively fond of music, he was unable to
learn more than one tune, and that was the
"Black Rogue". He used to get a good
deal of money from the gentlemen, for they used
to get sport out of him. One night the piper was
coming home from a house where there had been a
dance, and he half drunk. When he came to a
little bridge that was up by his mother's house,
he squeezed the pipes on, and began playing the
"Black Rogue". The Puca came behind
him, and flung him up on his own back. There were
long horns on the Puca, and the piper got a good
grip of them, and then he said--
on you, you nasty beast, let me home. I have a
ten-penny piece in my pocket for my mother, and
she wants snuff."
mind your mother," said the Puca, "but
keep your hold. If you fall, you will break your
neck and your pipes." Then the Puca said to
him, "Play for me the 'Shan Van
don't know it," said the piper.
mind whether you do or you don't," said the
Puca. "Play up, and I'll make you
piper put wind in is bag, and he played such
music as made himself wonder.
my word, you're a fine music-master," says
the piper then; "but tell me where you're
for bringing me."
a great feast in the house of the Banshee, on the
top of Croagh Patric to-night," says the
Puca, "and I'm for bringing you there to
play music, and, take my word, you'll get the
price of your trouble."
my word, you'll save me a journey, then,"
says the piper, "for Father William put a
journey to Croagh Patric on me, because I stole
the white gander from him last Martinmas."
Puca rushed him across hills and bogs and rough
places, till he brought him to the top of Croagh
Patric. Then the Puca struck three blows with his
foot, and a great door opened, and they passed in
together, into a fine room.
piper saw a golden table in the middle of the
room, and hundreds of old women sitting round
about it. The women rose up, and said, "A
hundred thousand welcomes to you, you Puca of
November. Who is this you have with you?"
best piper in Ireland," says the Puca.
of the old women struck a blow on the wall, and
what should the piper see coming out but the
white gander which he had stolen from Father
my conscience, then," says the piper,
"myself and my mother ate every taste of
that gander, only one wing, and I gave that to
Red Mary, and it's she told the priest I stole
gander cleaned the table, and carried it away,
and the Puca said, "Play up music for these
piper played up, and the old women began dancing,
and they were dancing till they were tired. Then
the Puca said to pay the piper, and every old
woman drew out a gold piece, and gave it to him.
the tooth of Patric," said he, "I'm as
rich as the son of a lord."
with me," says the Puca, "and I'll
bring you home."
went out then, and just as he was going to ride
on the Puca, the gander came up to him and gave
him a new set of pipes. The Puca was not long
until he brought him to Dunmore, and he threw the
piper off at the little bridge, and told him to
go home, and says to him, "You have two
things now that you never had before--you have
sense and music."
piper went home, and he knocked at his mother's
door, saying, "Let me in, I'm as rich as a
lord, and I'm the best piper in Ireland."
drunk," said the mother.
indeed," says the piper, "I haven't
drunk a drop."
mother let him in, and he gave her the gold
pieces, and "Wait now," says he,
"till you hear the music I'll play."
buckled on the pipes, but instead of music, there
came a sound as if all the geese and ganders in
Ireland were screeching together. He wakened the
neighbours, and they were all mocking him, until
he put on the old pipes, and then he played
melodious music for them; and after that he told
them all he had gone through that night.
next morning, when his mother went to look at the
gold pieces, there was nothing there but the
leaves of a plant.
piper went to the priest, and told him the story,
but the priest would not believe a word from him,
until he put the pipes on him, and then the
screeching of the ganders and geese began.
my sight, you thief," says the priest.
nothing would do the piper, till he would put the
old pipes on him to show the priest that his
story was true.
buckled on the old pipes, and he played melodious
music, and from that day till the day of his
death, there was never a piper in the county
Galway as good as he was.