The Phantom of the Tree

Here is the story of the Phantom of the Tree. In the old days, there was a man called Pâdîn Ruadh 0'CeaIlaigh and who lived at the foot of the Petit-Nêifin hill. He was married, but he had no other child than a daughter, who was blind from birth.

The Phantom of the Tree

The Phantom of the Tree

The neighbors called her Nora Dall (Blind Nora), and they got the idea that she was dealing with good people. Paidîn had only two acres of land on his farm, and for this reason he was very poor; he was out every night, whether it was wet or dry, cold or hot, he didn't know what attracted him outside, but he was of a restless nature and he couldn't stay home. In the old days, people believed that all the puca and ghosts in the earth came out on Samhain's night to destroy the blackberries, and people would not have put a single blackberry in their mouth after that night. But Paidîn was not afraid of anything in the world.

One night of Samhain, Pâidîn went out, as he used to, and he walked until he came to the height of an old cill (name of the enclosure which contains the church and the cemetery) . There was a tree high in the cill. The moon was in its fullest and it gave a beautiful light; Paidîn looked up and saw a tall man jumping from tree to tree. All the hair on his head stood on end and a cold sweat began to trickle down his body; he couldn't put one foot in front of the other. The ghost jumped to the ground, stopped in front of Paidîn and said to him:

- Don't be afraid of me, I won't hurt you; you have good courage and I will show you the fairy troop of Connacht (Connaught) and Mûmhan (Munster) playing ball on the top of the hill of Grand-Nêifin.

He seized Paidîn by both hands, threw him on his back like a woman throws a one-year-old child, jumped on the tree and, on the way, from tree to tree, until he reached the top. du Grand Nêifin and that he places Pâidîn gently and gently at the top of the hill. Connacht's fairy troop and Mûmhan's were not long in arriving; they began to play ball in the presence of Padraic and the ghost, and never a living man had seen such an amusing thing: Paidîn laughed so much that he thought to burst. At the end, the king of Connacht's fairy troop exclaimed:

- Hey ! ghost of the trees, which troop won the game?

"Connacht's troop," said the ghost.

"You are telling a lie," said the king of Mûmhan's fairy troop, "and we will fight before we leave the game to the people of Connacht."

They began to fight and it was not a fight for laughs that they fought, skulls, hands and feet were broken and the hill was red with blood. The fairy king of Mûmhan uttered a cry at the end, and said:

- Peace, I give you victory this time, but we will fight again on Bealtaine's night.

Then the ghost of the trees said to the two kings:

- Pay this man alive that I brought here, you could not have played ball without him.

"You are telling the truth," said the king of Connacht's fairy troop, and he handed a gold purse to Paidîn.

- I will not be less generous than him, said the king of the fairy troop of Mûmhan, and he handed him another purse, and in a jerk of the hand, the two troops disappeared.

Then the ghost said to him:

- You have a lot of money now, is there anything else you would like?

- Yes, in truth, there is, said Paidîn: I have a daughter who is blind from birth, and I would like her to see clearly.

- She'll see clearly before the sun goes down tomorrow night, said the ghost, if you take my advice. There is a little bush growing on your mother's grave; take a thorn and push it into the pustule behind your daughter's head, and she will see as well as you; but if you tell your secret to any living man, she will go blind again. Now is the time for us to go, for I have to show you my home before you return home.

So he took Paidîn with both hands, threw him on his back and, on the way, he did not stop until he placed him under the big tree, in the eyelid, gently and gently. Then he grabbed the tree, lifted it up and said:

- Follow me.

Paidîn entered and the ghost pulled the tree after him; they descended a beautiful staircase and came to a large door; he opened the door and they entered. When Paidîn looked around he saw many people who had died in his neighborhood years before; some welcomed Paidîn and asked him when he was dead:

"I'm not dead yet," said Pâidîn.

- You're joking, they said, and if it wasn't true that you were dead, you wouldn't be here in the midst of the troop of the dead.

The ghost approached, and said:

- Do not believe these people; you have a long happy life ahead of you; come with me now; it will be time for you to go home. Here is a little pot for you, and anytime you need food, strike three knocks on the stone and say, "Food and drink, and servants," and you will have whatever you want, but if you part with it, you will repent. Here is also a little whistle for you, and any time you are in distress, blow on it, and you will be helped, but, on your soul, do not part with it.

Thereupon he removed Paidîn; he left him on the road and said:

- About your soul, do not tell any living person anything that you saw last night.

Paidîn went to his house at daybreak, and his wife asked him where he had spent the night.

- I haven't strolled, he said.

He put the little pot down and said:

- " food and drink ",

but he forgot to hit all three. hits on the stone and nothing came at all; then he remembered, he struck the three knocks and two young women jumped out of the pot, set the table, and on it all kinds of things to eat and drink as good as those which were on the king's table. Pâidîn and his wife and Nôirîn Dall ate and drank well their content and when they had finished, the young women entered the pot and Pâidîn put the stone on it. So he said to his wife:

- Nôirîn will not be blind for long, I will cure her without delay, but do not ask me for information on this subject, because I cannot give you any.

- You are making fun of me, said the woman, she is blind from birth.

"Wait and see," said Pâidîn.

And here he came out, and he did not stop until he arrived at the bush that was growing on his mother's grave; he found the thorn and came home; he seized Nôirîn, he thrust the thorn into the pustule and she cried:

- I see everything!

The mother rubbed her hands with joy and said to Paidîn:

- The love and the vein of my heart, it is you; you are the best man there is in the world.

Then he struck the stone in the little pot three times and said:

- "Food and service".

These words were no sooner out of his mouth than the two women came out of the pot; set the table before Paidîn, and on it all kinds of things better than those which were on the king's table; they ate and drank, he, his wife and Nôirîn, all their content, and, when they had finished, the young women put everything in the pot, they entered it themselves and Paidîn put the stone on the pot.

It was rumored that Paidîn had a lot of wealth, and everything he wanted. The people were filled with envy, and told each other that it was not right that he was alive, and they formed a plot to kill him; but there was a friend among them; he was the brother of Paidîn's wife, and the latter warned him. Pâidîn put the whistle in his mouth; he breathed into it and soon after he heard a whisper in his ear:

- Go out, and take the herbs which are in your garden, at the foot of the wall; eat it and give the rest to your wife and your daughter, and each of you will be as strong as a man as there are hair on your heads. With the mallet that is on the wall of your house, you can beat all that there are men in the parish.

In the morning, the next day, the men and women of the village came to kill Pâidîn; they called him Lorgadân and Fearsidh (man-fairy) and said that if he did not come out, they would burn the house over his head. Paidîn came to the door, told them to go home, that he had not wronged any of them; but nothing could satisfy them, except the murder of Paidîn. Pâidîn seizes the mallet and the woman a spade handle and the girl a churn churn and there they are out; the people who were outside around the. house attacked them, but Paidîn did not take long to rout them; he left half of them lying on the ground, and they caused him no further inconvenience from that day on.

It is true, the saying, that a woman cannot keep a secret, and this same saying became true then; Paidîn's wife spoke about the little pot to another woman; She told it to another, so that the story passed from mouth to mouth until it reached the ears of the Lord of the Earth: the latter came to Paidîn and said:

- I heard you had a wonderful pot; show me.

Paidîn showed him the little pot and then the Lord said to him:

- Show me the virtue that is in him.

Paidîn struck the stone in the pot three times and said:

- "Food and service. "

No sooner had he said these words than the two young women jumped out of the pot and set the table with food and drink on it, in front of Paidîn and the Lord.

"By my hand," said the latter, "here is a good pot; it would be fair if you lend it to me one day, because there are gentlemen who will visit me one day of the week to come.

Pâidîn thought about what he would do, and finally he said:

- The pot would have no virtue if I were not present.

- You can come, and you will be welcome, said the Lord of the Earth, but be well dressed.

"I will be," said Pâidîn, for he was proud to be among the gentlemen.

- Monday morning be at my house, and on your soul do not miss my word, said the Lord.

The next day, Paidîn bought a new complete garment and when he had put it on, he looked so good that his wife and daughter nearly did not recognize him. On Monday morning, he took the little pot with him and he went to the Lord's house. There was a great gathering of gentlemen there; the Lord brought Paidîn and the little pot into the living room, and said:

- Have some food and drink prepared that I see if there will be enough to satisfy these gentlemen.

Paidîn struck the stone in the pot three times and said:

- "Food, drink and service people."

Immediately six young women jumped out of the pot together, they set up a beautiful table, and on it there was to drink and eat all kinds of things, each better than the next.
The lord then invited the gentlemen; they entered and were full of admiration when they saw the beautiful table and all that was on it; they ate and drank their fill, but soon, a heavy sleep took hold of them all and when they awoke, the roof of the house had disappeared without anyone knowing what had become of it. Paidîn's little pot, whistle, and two gold purses were gone, and he was as poor as he had ever been.

While he was plunged into the drunken sleep, a lorgadan had come who had carried it all away, and misfortune fell on Paidîn because he had not kept the secret of his friend, the ghost of the trees.