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By Gerald GRIFFIN
Y father went once upon a time about the country, in the idle season, seeing if he could make a penny at all by cutting hair or setting rashurs or penknives, or any other job that would
fall in his way.
- Weel an' good—he was one day walking alone in the mountains of Kerry, without a ha'p'ny in his pocket (for though he traveled afoot, it cost him more than he earned), an' knowing there was but little love for a County Limerick man in the place where he was, an' being half perished with the hunger, an' evening drawing nigh, he didn't know well what to do with himself till morning.
Very good—he went along the wild road; an' if he did, he soon sees a farmhouse at a little distance o' one side—a snug-looking place, with the smoke curling up out of the chimney, an’all tokens of good living inside. Well, some people would live where a fox would starve.
What do you think did my father do? He wouldn't beg (a thing one of our people never done yet, thank heaven!) an' he hadn't the money to buy a thing, so what does he do? He takes up a couple o the big limestones that were lying in the road, in his two hands, an' away with him to the house.
‘Lord save all here!' says he, walking in the door. ‘And you kindly,' says they.
'I'm come to you,' says he, this way, looking at the two limestones, 'to know would ye let me make a little limestone broth over your fire, until I'll make my dinner?'
‘Limestone broth!' says they to him again: 'what's that, aroo?
'Broth made of limestone,' says he; 'what else?' ‘We never heard of such a thing,' says they.
'Why, then, you may hear it now,' says he, ‘an’ see it also, if you'll gi' me a pot an' a couple o' quarts o'soft water.
*You can have it an’ welcome,' says they.
So they put down the pot an' the water, an' my father went over an’tuk a chair hard by the pleasant fire for himself, an' put down his two limestones to boil, an' kept stirrin' them round like stir-about.
Very good—well, by-an’-by, when the wather began to boil—''Tis thickening finely,' says my father; ‘now if it had a grain o'salt at all, 'twould be a great improvement to it.'
‘Raich down the salt-box, Nell,' says the man o' the house to his wife. So she did.
‘Oh, that's the very thing, just,' says my father, shaking some of it into the pot. So he stirred it again a while, looking as sober as a minister. Byan’-by he takes the spoon he had stirring it an' tastes it.
'It is very good now,' says he, ‘altho’ it wants something yet.'
'What is it?' says they. 'Oyeh, wisha nothin',' says he ; ‘maybe 't is only fancy o' me.'
'If it's anything we can give you,' says they, ‘you're welcome to it.'
''Tis very good as it is,' says he; but when I'm at home, I find it gives it a fine flavor just to boil a little knuckle o' bacon, or mutton trotters, or anything that way along with it.'
'Raich hether that bone o' sheep's head we had at dinner yesterday, Nell,' says the man o' the house.
‘Oyeh, don't mind it,' says my father; ‘let it be as it is.'
'Sure if it improves it, you may as well,' says they. ‘Baithershin!' says my father, putting it down.
So after boiling it a good piece longer, “ 'Tis fine limestone broth,' says he, ‘as ever was tasted, and if a man had a few piatez,' says he, looking at a pot o’ them that was smoking in the chimney corner, 'he couldn't desire a better dinner.'
They gave him the piatez, and he made a good dinner of themselves and the broth, not forgetting the bone, which he polished equal to chaney before he let it go. The people themselves tasted it, an' tho't it as good as any mutton broth in the world.”
Adapted From The Autobiography of Davy CROCKETT
G ODNE day as I was walking through the
woods, I came to a clearing on a hillside, and as I climbed the slope I was startled by loud, profane and boisterous voices which seemed to proceed from a thick cover of undergrowth about two hundred yards in advance
of me. “You kin, kin you?”
“Yes I kin and I'm able to do it! Boo-00-00!— O wake snakes, brimstone and fire! Don't hold me, Nick Stoval; the fight's made up and I'll jump down your throat before you kin say “quit.'”.
“Now Nick, don't hold him! Just let the wildcat come, and I'll tame him. Ned'll see me a fair fight, won't you Ned?”
“O yes, I'll see you a fair fight; blast my old shoes if I don't.”
“That's sufficient, as Tom Haines said when he saw the elephant; now let him come.”
Thus they went on with countless oaths and with much that I could not distinctly hear. In mercy's name, I thought, what a band of ruffians is at work here. I quickened my gait and had come nearly opposite the thick grove, whence the noises proceeded, when my eye caught, indistinctly through the foliage of the scrub oaks and hickories that inter