The Fair Gruagach, Son of the King of Eirinn

From Alexander MacNeill, fisherman, Ten Tangval, Barra.

THE Fair Chief, son of the King of Eirinn, went away with his great company to hold court, and keep company with him. A woman met him, whom they called the Dame of the Fine Green Kirtle; she asked him to sit a while to play at the cards; and they sat to play the cards, and the Fair Chief drove the game against the Dame of the Fine Green Kirtle.

Ask the fruit of the game, said the Wife of the Fine Green Kirtle.

I think that thou hast not got a fruit; I know not of it, said the Fair Chief, son of the King of Eirinn.

On the morrow be thou here, and I will meet thee, said the Dame of the Fine green Kirtle.

I will be (here), said the Fair Chief.

On the morrow he met her, and they began at the cards, and she won the game.

Ask the fruit of the game, said the Fair Chief.

I, said the Dame of the Fine Green Kirtle, am laying thee under spells, and under crosses, under holy herdsmen of quiet travelling, wandering women, the little calf, most feeble and powerless, to take thy head and thine ear and thy wearing of life from off thee, if thou takest rest by night or day; where thou takest thy breakfast that thou take not thy dinner, and where thou takest thy dinner that thou take not thy supper, in whatsoever place thou be, until thou findest out in what place I may be under the four brown quarters of the world.

She took a napkin from her pocket, and she shook it, and there was no knowing what side she had taken, or whence she came.

He went home heavily-minded, black sorrowfully; he put his elbow on the board, and his hand under his cheek, and he let out a sigh.

What is it that ails thee, son said the king of Eirinn; Is it under spells that thou art?--but notice them not; I will raise thy spells off thee. I have a smithy on shore, and ships on sea; so long as gold or silver lasts me, stock or dwelling, I will set it to thy losing till I raise these spells off thee.

Thou shalt not set them, said he; and, father, thou art high-minded. Thou wouldst set that away from thyself, and thou wilt lose all that might be there. Thou wilt not raise the spells; thy kingdom will go to want and to poverty, and that will not raise the spells; and thou wilt lose thy lot of men; but keep thou thy lot of Men by thyself, and if I go I shall but lose myself.

So it was in the morning of the morrow's day he went away without dog, without man, without calf, without child.