The Little Weaver Of Duleek Gate

: Irish Fairy Tales


You see, there was a waiver lived, wanst upon a time, in Duleek here,

hard by the gate, and a very honest, industherous man he was, by all

accounts. He had a wife, and av coorse they had childhre, and small

blame to them, and plenty of them, so that the poor little waiver was

obleeged to work his fingers to the bone a'most to get them the bit

and the sup; but he didn't begrid
e that, for he was an industherous

craythur, as I said before, and it was up airly and down late with

him, and the loom never standin' still. Well, it was one mornin' that

his wife called to him, and he sitting very busy throwin' the shuttle;

and says she, 'Come here,' says she, 'jewel, and ate your brekquest,

now that it's ready.' But he never minded her, but wint an workin'. So

in a minit or two more, says she, callin' out to him agin, 'Arrah,

lave off slavin' yourself, my darlin', and ate your bit o' brekquest

while it is hot.'

'Lave me alone,' says he, and he dhruv the shuttle fasther nor before.

Well, in a little time more, she goes over to him where he sot, and

says she, coaxin' him like, 'Thady, dear,' says she, 'the stirabout

will be stone cowld if you don't give over that weary work and come

and ate it at wanst.'

'I'm busy with a patthern here that is brakin' my heart,' says the

waiver; 'and antil I complate it and masther it intirely I won't


'Oh, think o' the iligant stirabout, that 'ill be spylte intirely.'

'To the divil with the stirabout,' says he.

'God forgive you,' says she, 'for cursin' your good brekquest.'

'Ay, and you too,' says he.

'Throth, you're as cross as two sticks this blessed morning, Thady,'

says the poor wife; 'and it's a heavy handful I have of you when you

are cruked in your temper; but stay there if you like, and let your

stirabout grow cowld, and not a one o' me 'ill ax you agin;' and with

that off she wint, and the waiver, sure enough, was mighty crabbed,

and the more the wife spoke to him the worse he got, which, you know,

is only nath'ral. Well, he left the loom at last, and wint over to the

stirabout, and what would you think but whin he looked at it, it was

as black as a crow; for, you see, it was in the hoighth o' summer, and

the flies lit upon it to that degree that the stirabout was fairly

covered with them.

'Why, thin, bad luck to your impidence,' says the waiver; 'would no

place sarve you but that? and is it spyling my brekquest yiz are, you

dirty bastes?' And with that, bein' altogether cruked-tempered at the

time, he lifted his hand, and he made one great slam at the dish o'

stirabout, and killed no less than three score and tin flies at the

one blow. It was three score and tin exactly, for he counted the

carcasses one by one, and laid them out on a clane plate, for to view


Well, he felt a powerful sperit risin' in him, when he seen the

slaughther he done, at one blow; and with that he got as consaited as

the very dickens, and not a sthroke more work he'd do that day, but

out he wint, and was fractious and impident to every one he met, and

was squarin' up into their faces and sayin', 'Look at that fist!

that's the fist that killed three score and tin at one blow--Whoo!'

With that all the neighbours thought he was crack'd, and faith, the

poor wife herself thought the same when he kem home in the evenin',

afther spendin' every rap he had in dhrink, and swaggerin' about the

place, and lookin' at his hand every minit.

'Indeed, an' your hand is very dirty, sure enough, Thady jewel,' says

the poor wife; and thrue for her, for he rowled into a ditch comin'

home. 'You had betther wash it, darlin'.'

'How dar' you say dirty to the greatest hand in Ireland?' says he,

going to bate her.

'Well, it's nat dirty,' says she.

'It is throwin' away my time I have been all my life,' says he;

'livin' with you at all, and stuck at a loom, nothin' but a poor

waiver, when it is Saint George or the Dhraggin I ought to be, which

is two of the siven champions o' Christendom.'

'Well, suppose they christened him twice as much,' says the wife;

'sure, what's that to uz?'

'Don't put in your prate,' says he; 'you ignorant sthrap,' says he.

'You're vulgar, woman--you're vulgar--mighty vulgar; but I'll have

nothin' more to say to any dirty snakin' thrade again--divil a more

waivin' I'll do.'

'Oh, Thady dear, and what'll the children do then?'

'Let them go play marvels,' says he.

'That would be but poor feedin' for them, Thady.'

'They shan't want for feedin',' says he; 'for it's a rich man I'll be

soon, and a great man too.'

'Usha, but I'm glad to hear it, darlin',--though I dunna how it's to

be, but I think you had betther go to bed, Thady.'

'Don't talk to me of any bed but the bed o' glory, woman,' says he,

lookin' mortial grand.

'Oh! God send we'll all be in glory yet,' says the wife, crassin'

herself; 'but go to sleep, Thady, for this present.'

'I'll sleep with the brave yit,' says he.

'Indeed, an' a brave sleep will do you a power o' good, my

darlin','says she.

'And it's I that will be the knight!' says he.

'All night, if you plaze, Thady,' says she.

'None o' your coaxin','says he. 'I'm detarmined on it, and I'll set

off immediantly, and be a knight arriant.'

'A what?' says she.

'A knight arriant, woman.'

'Lord, be good to me, what's that?' says she.

'A knight arriant is a rale gintleman,' says he; 'going round the

world for sport, with a swoord by his side, takin' whatever he plazes

for himself; and that's a knight arriant,' says he.

Well, sure enough he wint about among his neighbours the next day,

and he got an owld kittle from one, and a saucepan from another; and

he took them to the tailor, and he sewed him up a shuit o' tin clothes

like any knight arriant and he borrowed a pot lid, and that he was

very partic'lar about, bekase it was his shield and he wint to a frind

o' his, a painther and glazier, and made him paint an his shield in

big letthers--




'When the people sees that,' says the waiver to himself, 'the sorra

one will dar' for to come near me.'

And with that he towld the wife to scour out the small iron pot for

him, 'For,' says he, 'it will make an iligant helmet'; and when it was

done, he put it an his head, and his wife said, 'Oh, murther, Thady

jewel, is it puttin' a great heavy iron pot an your head you are, by

way iv a hat?'

'Sartinly,' says he; 'for a knight arraint should always have a

woight an his brain.'

'But, Thady dear,' says the wife, 'there's a hole in it, and it can't

keep out the weather.'

'It will be the cooler,' says he, puttin' it an him; 'besides, if I

don't like it, it is aisy to stop it with a wisp o' sthraw, or the

like o' that.'

'The three legs of it looks mighty quare, stickin' up,' says she.

'Every helmet has a spike stickin' out o' the top of it,' says the

waiver; 'and if mine has three, it's only the grandher it is.'

'Well,' says the wife, getting bitther at last, 'all I can say is, it

isn't the first sheep's head was dhress'd in it.'

'Your sarvint, ma'am,' says he; and off he set.

Well, he was in want of a horse, and so he wint to a field hard by,

where the miller's horse was grazin', that used to carry the ground

corn round the counthry.

'This is the idintical horse for me,' says the waiver; 'he is used to

carryin' flour and male, and what am I but the flower o' shovelry in

a coat o' mail; so that the horse won't be put out iv his way in the


But as he was ridin' him out o'the field, who should see him but the


'Is it stalin' my horse you are, honest man?' says the miller.

'No,' says the waiver; 'I'm only goin' to axercise him,' says he,

'in the cool o' the evenin'; it will be good for his health.'

'Thank you kindly,' says the miller; 'but lave him where he is, and

you'll obleege me.'

'I can't afford it,' says the waiver, runnin' the horse at the ditch.

'Bad luck to your impidence,' says the miller; 'you've as much tin

about you as a thravellin' tinker, but you've more brass. Come back

here, you vagabone,' says he.

But he was too late; away galloped the waiver, and took the road to

Dublin, for he thought the best thing he could do was to go to the

King o' Dublin (for Dublin was a grate place thin, and had a king iv

its own), and he thought, maybe, the King o' Dublin would give him

work. Well, he was four days goin' to Dublin, for the baste was not

the best and the roads worse, not all as one as now; but there was no

turnpikes then, glory be to God! When he got to Dublin, he wint

sthrait to the palace, and whin he got into the coortyard he let his

horse go and graze about the place, for the grass was growin' out

betune the stones; everything was flourishin' thin in Dublin, you see.

Well, the king was lookin' out of his dhrawin'-room windy, for

divarshin, whin the waiver kem in; but the waiver pretended not to see

him, and he wint over to a stone sate, undher the windy--for, you see,

there was stone sates all round about the place for the accommodation

o' the people--for the king was a dacent, obleeging man; well, as I

said, the waiver wint over and lay down an one o' the sates, just

undher the king's windy, and purtended to go asleep; but he took care

to turn out the front of his shield that had the letthers an it; well,

my dear, with that, the king calls out to one of the lords of his

coort that was standin' behind him, howldin' up the skirt of his coat,

accordin' to rayson, and says he: 'Look here,' says he, 'what do you

think of a vagabone like that comin' undher my very nose to go sleep?

It is thrue I'm a good king,' says he, 'and I 'commodate the people by

havin' sates for them to sit down and enjoy the raycreation and

contimplation of seein' me here, lookin' out a' my dhrawin'-room

windy, for divarshin; but that is no rayson they are to make a hotel

o' the place, and come and sleep here. Who is it at all?' says the


'Not a one o' me knows, plaze your majesty.'

'I think he must be a furriner,' says the king; 'bekase his dhress is


'And doesn't know manners, more betoken,' says the lord.

'I'll go down and circumspect him myself,' says the king; 'folly

me,' says he to the lord, wavin' his hand at the same time in the most

dignacious manner.

Down he wint accordingly, followed by the lord; and whin he wint over

to where the waiver was lying, sure the first thing he seen was his

shield with the big letthers an it, and with that, says he to the

lord, 'Bedad,' says he, 'this is the very man I want.'

'For what, plaze your majesty?' says the lord.

'To kill that vagabone dragghin, to be sure,' says the king.

'Sure, do you think he could kill him,' says the lord, 'when all the

stoutest knights in the land wasn't aiquil to it, but never kem back,

and was ate up alive by the cruel desaiver.'

'Sure, don't you see there,' says the king, pointin' at the shield,

'that he killed three score and tin at one blow? and the man that done

that, I think, is a match for anything.'

So, with that, he wint over to the waiver and shuck him by the

shouldher for to wake him, and the waiver rubbed his eyes as if just

wakened, and the king says to him, 'God save you,' said he.

'God save you kindly,' says the waiver, purtendin' he was quite

onknowst who he was spakin' to.

'Do you know who I am,' says the king, 'that you make so free, good


'No, indeed,' says the waiver; 'you have the advantage o' me.'

'To be sure I have,' says the king, moighty high; 'sure, ain't I the

King o' Dublin?' says he.

The waiver dhropped down an his two knees forninst the king, and says

he, 'I beg God's pardon and yours for the liberty I tuk; plaze your

holiness, I hope you'll excuse it.'

'No offince,' says the king; 'get up, good man. And what brings you

here?' says he.

'I'm in want o' work, plaze your riverence,' says the waiver.

'Well, suppose I give you work?' says the king.

'I'll be proud to sarve you, my lord,' says the waiver.

'Very well,' says the king. 'You killed three score and tin at one

blow, I understan',' says the king.

'Yis,' says the waiver; 'that was the last thrifle o' work I done, and

I'm afeard my hand 'll go out o' practice if I don't get some job to

do at wanst.'

'You shall have a job immediantly,' says the king. 'It is not three

score and tin or any fine thing like that; it is only a blaguard

dhraggin that is disturbin' the counthry and ruinatin' my tinanthry

wid aitin' their powlthry, and I'm lost for want of eggs,' says the


'Throth, thin, plaze your worship,' says the waiver, 'you look as

yollow as if you swallowed twelve yolks this minit.'

'Well, I want this dhraggin to be killed,' says the king. 'It will be

no throuble in life to you; and I am only sorry that it isn't betther

worth your while, for he isn't worth fearin' at all; only I must tell

you, that he lives in the County Galway, in the middle of a bog, and

he has an advantage in that.'

'Oh, I don't value it in the laste,' says the waiver; 'for the last

three score and tin I killed was in a soft place.'

'When will you undhertake the job, then?' says the king.

'Let me at him at wanst,' says the waiver.

'That's what I like,' says the king; 'you're the very man for my

money,' says he.

'Talkin' of money,' says the waiver; 'by the same token, I'll want a

thrifle o' change from you for my thravellin' charges.'

'As much as you plaze,' says the king; and with the word, he brought

him into his closet, where there was an owld stockin' in an oak chest,

burstin' wid goolden guineas.

'Take as many as you plaze,' says the king; and sure enough, my dear,

the little waiver stuffed his tin clothes as full as they could howld

with them.

'Now, I'm ready for the road,' says the waiver.

'Very well,' says the king; 'but you must have a fresh horse,' says


'With all my heart,' says the waiver, who thought he might as well

exchange the miller's owld garron for a betther.

And maybe it's wondherin' you are that the waiver would think of goin'

to fight the dhraggin afther what he heerd about him, when he was

purtendin' to be asleep, but he had no sitch notion; all he intended

was,--to fob the goold, and ride back again to Duleek with his gains

and a good horse. But, you see, cute as the waiver was, the king was

cuter still; for these high quolity, you see, is great desaivers; and

so the horse the waiver was put an was larned on purpose; and sure,

the minit he was mounted, away powdhered the horse, and the divil a

toe he'd go but right down to Galway. Well, for four days he was goin'

evermore, until at last the waiver seen a crowd o' people runnin' as

if owld Nick was at their heels, and they shoutin' a thousand murdhers

and cryin', 'The dhraggin, the dhraggin!' and he couldn't stop the

horse nor make him turn back, but away he pelted right forninst the

terrible baste that was comin' up to him, and there was the most

nefaarious smell o' sulphur, savin' your presence, enough to knock

you down; and, faith the waiver seen he had no time to lose, and so he

threw himself off the horse and made to a three that was growin' nigh

hand, and away he clambered up into it as nimble as a cat; and not a

minit had he to spare, for the dhraggin kem up in a powerful rage, and

he devoured the horse body and bones, in less than no time; and then

he began to sniffle and scent about for the waiver, and at last he

clapt his eye an him, where he was, up in the three, and says he, 'In

throth, you might as well come down out o' that,' says he; 'for I'll

have you as sure as eggs is mate.'

'Divil a fut I'll go down,' says the waiver.

'Sorra care, I care,' says the dhraggin; 'for you're as good as ready

money in my pocket this minit, for I'll lie undher this three,' says

he, 'and sooner or later you must fall to my share'; and sure enough

he sot down, and began to pick his teeth with his tail, afther the

heavy brekquest he made that mornin' (for he ate a whole village, let

alone the horse), and he got dhrowsy at last, and fell asleep; but

before he wint to sleep, he wound himself all round about the three,

all as one as a lady windin' ribbon round her finger, so that the

waiver could not escape.

Well, as soon as the waiver knew he was dead asleep, by the snorin' of

him--and every snore he let out of him was like a clap o'

thunder--that minit the waiver began to creep down the three, as

cautious as a fox; and he was very nigh hand the bottom, when, bad

cess to it, a thievin' branch he was dipindin' an bruk, and down he

fell right a-top o' the dhraggin; but if he did, good luck was an his

side, for where should he fall but with his two legs right acrass the

dhraggin's neck, and, my jew'l, he laid howlt o' the baste's ears, and

there he kept his grip, for the dhraggin wakened and endayvoured for

to bite him; but, you see, by rayson the waiver was behind his ears,

he could not come at him, and, with that, he endayvoured for to shake

him off; but the divil a stir could he stir the waiver; and though he

shuk all the scales an his body, he could not turn the scale agin the


'By the hokey, this is too bad intirely,' says the dhraggin; 'but if

you won't let go,' says he, 'by the powers o' wildfire, I'll give you

a ride that 'ill astonish your siven small sinses, my boy'; and, with

that, away he flew like mad; and where do you think he did

fly?--bedad, he flew sthraight for Dublin, divil a less. But the

waiver bein' an his neck was a great disthress to him, and he would

rather have had him an inside passenger; but, anyway, he flew and he

flew till he kem slap up agin the palace o' the king; for, bein'

blind with the rage, he never seen it, and he knocked his brains

out--that is, the small thrifle he had--and down he fell spacheless.

An' you see, good luck would have it, that the King o' Dublin was

lookin' out iv' his dhrawin'-room windy, for divarshin, that day also,

and whin he seen the waiver ridin' an the fiery dhraggin (for he was

blazin' like a tar-barrel), he called out to his coortyers to come and

see the show. 'By the powdhers o' war, here comes the knight arriant,'

says the king, 'ridin' the dhraggin that's all afire, and if he gets

into the palace, yiz must be ready wid the fire ingines,' says he,

'for to put him out.' But when they seen the dhraggin fall outside,

they all run downstairs and scampered into the palace-yard for to

circumspect the curosity; and by the time they got down, the waiver

had got off o' the dhraggin's neck, and runnin' up to the king, says

he, 'Plaze your holiness,' says he, 'I did not think myself worthy of

killin' this facetious baste, so I brought him to yourself for to do

him the honour of decripitation by your own royal five fingers. But I

tamed him first, before I allowed him the liberty for to dar' to

appear in your royal prisince, and you'll oblige me if you'll just

make your mark with your own hand upon the onruly baste's neck.' And

with that the king, sure enough, dhrew out his swoord and took the

head aff the dirty brute as clane as a new pin. Well, there was

great rejoicin' in the coort that the dhraggin was killed; and says

the king to the little waiver, says he, 'You are a knight arriant as

it is, and so it would be of no use for to knight you over agin; but I

will make you a lord,' says he.

'O Lord!' says the waiver, thunder-struck like at his own good luck.

'I will,' says the king; 'and as you are the first man I ever heer'd

tell of that rode a dhraggin, you shall be called Lord Mount

Dhraggin,' says he.

'And where's my estates, plaze your holiness?' says the waiver, who

always had a sharp look-out afther the main chance.

'Oh, I didn't forget that,' says the king; 'it is my royal pleasure to

provide well for you, and for that rayson I make you a present of all

the dhraggins in the world, and give you power over them from this

out,' says he.

'Is that all?' says the waiver.

'All!' says the king. 'Why, you ongrateful little vagabone, was the

like ever given to any man before?'

'I b'lieve not, indeed,' says the waiver; 'many thanks to your


'But that is not all I'll do for you,' says the king; 'I'll give you

my daughther too in marriage,' says he. Now, you see, that was nothin'

more than what he promised the waiver in his first promise; for, by

all accounts, the king's daughther was the greatest dhraggin ever was

seen, and had the divil's own tongue, and a beard a yard long, which

she purtended was put an her by way of a penance by Father Mulcahy,

her confissor; but it was well known it was in the family for ages,

and no wondher it was so long, by rayson of that same.