The old woman and the black bull

Here is the story of the old woman and the black bull. In the old days there was an old woman who lived in Gleann-na-mBiorach, in Ciarraidh County (Kerry). She had neither house nor lodging, but a hole which was at the foot of a large rock on one side of the valley. She had been in that place since the time of the oldest man in the neighborhood, and she hadn't changed a bit during that time.

the old woman and the black bull

The old woman and the black bull

She had no means of existence, and she was never seen a pole opening the hole and people never saw her bring food and drink, but all the people in the place had the idea that she was an old witch. And no one in the world, old or young, for gold or silver, would have walked through Gleann-na-mBiorach in the dark of night. There was not a night in the year when people did not hear a loud barking in the valley, as if there had been hundreds of dogs fighting there.
One day, before sunrise, an old man named Murrchadh Ruadh 0 Conchubhair crossed Gleann-na-mBiorach with a sheaf of oats to give it to a black bull which he had to graze in the valley. As he looked at the opening of the old woman's hole, while crossing, he saw a heron and a large, long eel in its beak; he dropped the eel at the opening of the hole and soon after a white dog came out which brought the eel in with him. Murrchadh Ruadh noticed that the white dog had eight legs and he was taken with a great astonishment and a great fear.

- On my soul, he said, the people's idea is correct, it's an old witch who is in that hole over there.

The black bull listened to Murrchadh Ruadh say these words, he pricked up his ears, gave a little bellow, and said:

- Murrchadh Ruadh, do not be surprised or afraid, but listen to my words, because they are true. The old woman with the gray hair has been in this hole since the time of the Fir-bolg and it was she who sent the extermination on the cows of the country; you may not have heard of the extermination of the same plague. That plague didn't leave a bull or cow or heifer in the land except me and the heifer that was in that valley and most of the cows in the land came from us. There is only one way to destroy the old woman and her son, the eight-legged dog.
Take a quantity of my droppings, you will make a big fire and, when it is dry, make a pile of it at the entrance to the old woman's hole and set it on fire. This will bring her out and with her her son, the eight-legged dog. The heron is the mother of the old woman. Push it aside, or it won't leave an eye in your head. Take a plague with you, do not strike the old woman, but attack the dog and the heron if they approach you, and I will fight the old woman.

- I promise you that I will do as you told me, said Murrchadh Ruadh, but silence! Will I tell the boys that you talked to me? said the latter.

"I don't really care," said the black bull; because when I have killed the old woman with the gray hair, her son and her mother, my earthly life will be at an end, but it is better not to speak of it.

Murrchadh Ruadh was very uncomfortable going home. In the morning, the next day, he called his wife and told her to go and borrow a plague for him.

- What do you have to do with a plague? said the woman, you have neither oats nor wheat to thresh.

- You don't care what I do with it, but go get it for me.

Murrchadh then ate a bite, then left for Gleann-na-mBiorach; he gathered a lot of the black bull's droppings, and put it on a large stone to dry.

Then he returned home and asked his wife if she had found the plague.

- I found it, she said, it's around, but I have to return it tomorrow if I'm alive.

- Understood, said the latter, unless it is broken.

The next day he went to Gleann-na-mBiorach and he made a pile of dry droppings at the entrance to the old woman's hole, and he set it on fire; after a short time it caught fire and the smoke went into the hole.
Murrchadh grabbed his flail and stepped away from the opening of the hole in the valley; it was not long before he heard barking and coughing in the hole. Shortly after, the old woman and the white dog came out. The black bull knew they were coming. He came at full speed and attacked the eight-legged dog. The old woman clapped her hands and cried:

- Seize it, my doggie, seize it or you will be deleted and I with you; this bull which is in front of you is Domblas Môr, a strong enemy that I have persecuted since the time of the plague of cows.

- Yes, horrible old woman, you killed thousands of cows and you left hundreds and thousands of people in need, without butter or meat, said the black bull.

The dog then jumped up and thought to grab the bull's nostrils; but the bull lowered its two horns, threw it in the air, as you would throw a pebble, and, as it descended, Murrchadh drew its flail and struck it between the two eyes which split its skull. But the eight-legged dog was not dead. He attacked the bull for the second time, and he thought he was leading it to the edge of the hole, but the bull was too cunning for him; he tossed it into the air again, higher than the first time, and as it descended, Murrchadh was about to give it another blow, but as he threw the blow, the heron arrived and thought to give it a beak in 1 'eye1, but it wasn't in the eye that he hit him, it was on the forehead, and he knocked him upside down. The old woman ran up, grabbed him, and shook him and suffocated him so that she thought he would die. She would have killed him if the black bull hadn't come, and given the old woman a kick that sent her across the valley. She came back quickly and she said to the black bull:

- Leave the fight between me and Murrchadh.

- I am satisfied, said Murrchadh, but you had the advantage over me, when I was on the ground following the peck of your mother witch.

Thereupon he drew his flail and struck her on the forehead, so that she uttered a cry which was heard seven miles from the valley. The eight-legged dog was stretched out as if he were dead, but when he heard the cry of the old woman, he stood up, jumped, grabbed Murrchadh by the throat and was going to choke him when the black bull came with its mouth open. ; he grabbed the dog and made a mush of all the bones in his body.

"I give you victory and my seven thousand curses with it," said the old woman, and she fell dead over the eight-legged dog.

The heron came screaming, and he tried to strike Murrchadh, but he was on his guard, he broke his neck with a blow from the plague, and the heron fell dead on the heap formed by the other two. .

- On my word, you are a good champion, said the bull, follow me and I will show you a treasure of gold and silver.

Murrchadh followed him into the old woman's hole and things as he saw, no eye had ever seen before him. There was a large yellow gold table in the middle of the room, and on it was a pile of gold and silver coins.

- Now, said the black bull, take with you all gold and silver that you will need during your life and if you are asked about it, say that you sold me dear, because no one will see me from today.

- In truth, it pains me, you were a good friend, but since I can do nothing about what happened, I give you a thousand blessings, said Murrchadh.

- There is a leather purse under the table, fill it quickly and go away, said the black bull.

Murrchadh did so and when he was out he fell at the opening of the hole a mass of earth which blocked him completely.
It was late when Murrchadh returned home. The rod of the plague was broken.

- Where have you been, or how have you broken the plague of Pâidin, the son of Seumas? said the woman.

- I broke the rod by hitting my bad bull; a lord of Connaught came and I sold him my bull; I am too old and too weak to correct it.

- How much did you sell it? she says.

He took out the big purse and said:

- See, this purse is full of gold and silver. This is the highest price that we have ever found for a bull.

- You are the love of the heart, she said, we are rich forever.

Murrchadh and his wife led a happy life as a result, but when he knew that his death was near, he sent for a friend and told him the story from the beginning to the end; the story went from mouth to mouth so that my grandmother heard about it and I got it from her.