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Rosie's tail like a flag.
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As the cow turned into the long, narrow valley whichcuts into the east side of the mountain, the Good
Peoplecaught up with the pair, and what they didn't do toDarby, in the line of sticking pins, pulling
whiskers, andpinching wouldn't take long to tell. In troth, he was just about to let go his hould, and take
the chances of a fall,when the hillside opened and whisk! the cow turned into the mountain. Darby
found himself flying down awide, high passage which grew lighter as he went along.He heard the opening
behind shut like a trap, and hisheart almost stopped beating, for this was the fairies'
DARBY O'GILL AND THE GOOD PEOPLE 151
home in the heart of Sleive-na-mon. He was captured bythem!
When Rosie stopped, so stiff were all Darby's joints,that he had great trouble loosening himself to come
down. He landed among a lot of angry-faced little peo-ple, each no higher than your hand, every one
wearinga green velvet cloak and a red cap.
"We'll take him to the king," says a red-whiskeredwee chap. "What he'll do to the murtherin' spalpeen 'll
be good and plenty!"
With that they marched our bould Darby, a prisoner, down the long passage, which every second grew
widerand lighter, and fuller of little people.
Sometimes, though, he met with human beings likehimself, only the Mack charm was on them, they
havingbeen stolen at some time by the Good People. He sawLost People there from every parish in
Ireland, bothcommoners and gentry. Each was laughing, talking, anddivarting himself with another. Off to
the sides he couldsee small cobblers making brogues, tinkers mendingpans, tailors sewing cloth, smiths
hammering horseshoes,every one merrily to his trade, making a divarsion out ofwork.
Down near the center of the mountain was a roomtwenty times higher and broader than the biggest
churchin the world. As they drew near this room, there arosethe sound of a reel played on bagpipes. The
music wasso bewitching that Darby, who was the gracefullest reeldancer in all Ireland, could hardly make
his feet behave.
At the room's edge Darby stopped short and caughthis breath, the sight was so entrancing. Set over the
broad floor were thousands and thousands of the GoodPeople, facing this way and that, and dancing to a
reel;while on a throne in the middle of the room sat ouldBrian Conners, King of the Fairies, blowing on
the bag-pipes. The little king, with a goold crown on his head,wearing a beautiful green velvet coat and
red kneebreeches, sat with his legs crossed, beating time with hisfoot to the music.
There were many from Darby's own parish; and whatwas his surprise to see there Maureen McGibney,
his
152 Herminie Templeton
own wife's sister, whom he had supposed resting dacintlyin her grave in holy ground these three years.
There she was, gliding back and forth, ferninst a littlegray-whiskered, round-stomached fairy man, as
thoughthere was never a care nor a sorrow in the world.
As I told you before, I tell you again, Darby was thefinest reel dancer in all Ireland; and he came from a
family of dancers, though I say it who shouldn't, as hewas my mother's own cousin. Three things in the
worldbanish sorrow love and whisky and music. So, when thesurprise of it all melted a little, Darby's
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feet led him in to the thick of the throng, right under the throne of theking, where he flung care to the
winds, and put his heart and mind into his two nimble feet. Darby's dancing wassuch that purty soon
those around stood still to admire.
Backward and forward, sidestep and turn; cross over,then forward; a hand on his hip and his stick
twirlingfree; sidestep and forward; cross over again; bow to hispartner, and hammer the floor.
It wasn't long till half the dancers crowded aroundadmiring, clapping their hands, and shouting
encourage-ment. The ould king grew so excited that he laid downthe pipes, took up his fiddle, came
down from thethrone, and standing ferninst Darby began a finer tunethan the first.
The dancing lasted a whole hour, no one speaking aword except to cry out, "Foot it, ye divil!" "Aisy
now,he's threading on flowers!" "More power to you!" "Playfaster, king!" "Hooroo! hooroo! hooray!"
Then the king stopped and said:
"Well, that bates Banagher, and Banagher bates theworld! Who are you, and how came you here?" [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]