by Denis Lehane
Yesterday evening, with the sun about to disappear over the horizon, I went to check out a few bullocks that seemed to be in a terrible state of agitation.
They were in the field by the old ring fort and something was definitely up.
So into an old ringfort I did go to investigate the problem, for ‘twas there that some awful wailing and howling was coming from.
Soon the mystery was solved when, in the very centre of the fort, I spotted this little fellow, and he leaping up and down in a frightful rage. “We are ruined!” he squealed. “Ruined!” He was making a most awful nuisance of himself and frightening cattle left, right and centre.
Quickly I stole up behind him and, grabbing him by the collar, I lifted him up,
demanding to know what was behind all the racket.
“Let me go,” he screamed in a raspy voice, trashing his arms about. “Or I’ll cast a thousand misfortunes down upon you.”
“No you won’t,” says I, “for I’m a beef farmer, my life is cursed enough already.”
With that, he came to his senses, and I lowered him to the ground.
With normality restored, the fairy began to speak.
“I’m very cross!” says he, stamping his little boots on the sods of earth, “For we are a forgotten people. Nobody has any time for the little people any more. Halloween came and went on Tuesday and not one youngster in the whole of Ireland dressed up as a fairy. Tis a disgrace I’m telling you. Nobody
remembers us at all.”
“Ah, would you stop with all the nonsense,” says I, “for goodness sake.”
But on he went, for he was an agitated little devil.
“It’s all the fault of them damn computers and mobile gadgets,” says he.
“Everyone today is peering blankly into them tiny screens and nobody has time at all to think, ponder and dream. Imagination,” he went on, “is gone. And with it, the little people.”
“Yerra, imagination,” says I, “is overrated.”
“And haven’t ye got Danny Healy-Rae back in South Kerry flying the flag for the fairies? I reminded him of Danny’s recent comment that the fairies might be responsible for Kerry potholes.
“Danny,” says the fairy with his head held high, “is the greatest human of them all.”
And with a sly giggle, the little fellow added, “And yes, we are responsible for the potholes in Kerry. But don’t tell anyone, for ’tis all a bit of harmless fairy fun.”
“Look,” says I, “you might think you have it bad, but ’tis nothing compared to the life of hardship endured by the Irish beef farmer. We are the real forgotten people.”
I went on to tell the fairy in the ring fort all about the troubling times of the beef farmer. The lousy factory trade, the threats from foreign imports, and storm Ophelia, which was the last straw for many, I explained.
“I never realised,” says he, “that times were so bad. And fair play to you, but you have never tampered with my little home here in the field.”
“Never,” says I. “Nor will I.”
“And did you get your Basic Farm Payment last week?” the fairy asked.
“I did not,” I fumed, “and I’m furious. I’m still awaiting the blasted thing.”
“Well let that with me,” says he, and he pulled out a tiny little pencil and the smallest notebook I ever did see. “You’ll have it shortly,” he promised.
“Thank you, little creature,” I said, for I was indeed grateful.
And just like that, with
the night coming down
fast here in Kilmichael, he disappeared.
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