The boy was knocked, but if he was, he rose quickly and away with him like the wind. He didn't get another blow, though he had three or four falls from fright before he reached the priest's house, thinking that Foley was after him. When he went in there was terror in his heart. The priest asked, did he bring the pig so soon? He said he didn't bring the pig, and he couldn't, for Tom Foley was minding the place as well as if he wasn't buried at all.
"What's that you tell me?" asked the priest.
"Oh, father, sure when I went to bring the pig Tom Foley was inside in the straw. The pigs made a noise, and he ran after me with a big wattle and asked why was I disturbing his pigs at that hour of the night. He gave me a blow in the back and knocked me on the road. I got three or four other falls from fright before I came home."
"Yerra, go, my boy, and bring me the pig. It's some stranger that's in it; it's thieving he is. If you don't bring the pig to-night, maybe we won't have him to bring on Monday."
"Whatever you do, father, or whatever will happen the pig, I won't face Foley a second time," said the boy.
The priest called a small boy that he had herding, and said, "Go you and bring the big pig from Foley's."
"I'll go if somebody goes with me."
"Oh, I'll go with him," said the curate's brother, who happened to be visiting him. "I know the place, and I knew Tom Foley."
The two went off together, and the curate's brother stopped a couple of fields away from Foley's house. The boy went on, and when he began to drive out the big pig, the pig made a noise that woke Foley a second time, and he went after this boy more venomously than after the first one. The boy ran with his life to the field where the curate's brother was. Foley had to turn back, and didn't catch him. The curate's brother saw Foley hunting the boy, and knew that 'twas no lie for the first boy, that the ghost was in it. The two hurried home with what strength was in their legs.
"Oh, then, Foley's ghost is there as sure as I am standing before you," said the brother to the curate in presence of the priest.
On the following morning Foley rose out of the barn drowsy and queer after the night. The door of his house was closed and he had no chance of going in. "I will go to first Mass," thought Tom, "with the clothes I have on; Mary will be up before me when I come home, I can sleep the remainder of the day and take a good rest."
Whenever a man going the way saw Foley he left the road to him and ran through the field. Foley didn't know why people were leaving the road to him. When he went into the chapel all made a rush towards the altar. The priest, who came out at the moment, asked the peoplewhat ailed them.
"Oh God between us and harm," said one, "Tom Foley is here from the other world."
The priest called Foley by name, and asked, was he there?
"Why shouldn't I be here, father? Don't you see me?"
"Tell me, in the name of God, where did you come from?" asked the priest.
"Where would I come from," said Foley, "but from my own house?"
"Sure the whole parish knows that you were drowned," said the priest, "and buried yesterday. Wasn't I at your funeral myself?"
"Well, then, you and the whole parish were mistaken," said Foley. "I buried my brother John yesterday eight miles beyond Tralee."
"And who was the man that was drowned?" asked the priest.
"I left my brother's servant-man here fishing instead of myself. Maybe he was drowned and the people buried him. I know well that they didn't bury me."
The priest stepped out and called the curate, and told him that Foley wasn't dead at all. "Do you hurry now to Tom's house," said he, "and tell John Garvey to be off with himself, that Foley is alive and will be home very soon, and when Garvey is gone tell Mrs. Foley that I'll come with Tom after first Mass, and to be ready for him."
The curate hurried away, and the priest went in to Foley. "Your wife may not believe that you are not dead," said he. "I will go with you after Mass and tell her that you are not dead at all."
"I knew," said Tom, "that there was something wrong. It was late last night when I came home. My wife was in bed, no one up before me but my mother, and she wouldn't open the door for me, but began to ask what was troubling my soul. She said to tell her, and she would give alms and have Mass said for me. Now I know why this was."
"It will be the same with her to-day," said the priest. "I'll go to the house with you."
The two went to the house after Mass. When Mary Foley saw Tom she dropped on the bench and looked as though she'd die from fright.
"Don't be afraid," said the priest. "It wasn't Tom that was buried but his brother's servant-man."
Tom told the wife how he gave the loan of his coat to the servant-man and went to bury his brother John. The wife was satisfied now. The priest took her aside, and told her to have no trouble of mind on account of what she had done by getting married.
"You meant no harm," said he, "but no one in the world must know a word about it. You and I will keep our own - do you keep the big pig and I'll keep my five pounds."
The following curious story reminds one a little of Slav tales of dead men who dwell in their tombs as in houses. Some of the Slav tomb-dwellers are harmless, others malignant. The malignant ones are dead persons who rise up bodily and go around at night devouring people. When one of these has eaten a victim he rushes back to his grave, for he is obliged to remain wherever he may be at cock-crow; if outside his grave, he falls stiff and helpless to lie there till the next night. There are two ways of giving a quietus to such a ghoul. One is to pin him to the earth by driving a stake of aspen wood through his heart; the other is to burn him to ashes. The burning, as described in Russian tales, is performed by a great crowd of people armed with bushes, long brooms, shovels, and rakes. These gather round the fire to drive back everything that comes from the body. When the body is on the fire a short time it bursts, and a whole legion of devilry rush forth in the form of worms, snakes, bats, beetles, flies, birds; these try with all their might to get away. Each carries the fate of the ghoul with it. If only one out of the crowd escapes, the dead man will be eating people the next night as actively as ever, but if the crowd drive every thing into the fire again he will be destroyed utterly.
A striking trait in the Irish fairy tales is the number of observances caused by the presence of fairies, rules of ordinary living, so to speak. For instance, nothing is more pleasing to fairies than a well-swept kitchen and clean water. A dirty kitchen and foul water bring their resentment.
The ghosts or night-walking dead, as they belong to the other world, seem to have at least in some cases the same likes and dislikes as the fairies. In the following tale Michael Derrihy, the dead man brought from the tomb by Kate, kills the three brothers because the people in the house did not throw out dirty water and brought in none that was clean, and he is determined that they shall stay killed, for he tries to do away with the only cure that can bring them to life again. Various acts of personal uncleanliness involve punishment from the fairies. In one tale they carry off from a mother an infant which she fails to wash properly; in another a careless, untidy girl, who rises in the night and commits offensive acts in the kitchen, is punished in a signal manner. There is present a whole party of fairies, men and women, though unseen by the girl. One of the women, who is making tea, takes a saucer and hurls it at her as she is returning to bed. The saucer is broken; one half flies over the bed to the wall beyond, the other is buried in the girl's hip. She screams and wakes the whole house. No one can help her. She is in bed for three years after that in great suffering. No relief for her till her mother, who had just earned the gratitude of the fairies by acts of service, prays to have her daughter cured.
The fairy woman tells how the daughter offended and how she was punished, says that if the mother will go to the wall she will find one half of the saucer there; if she applies that to the affected part of the daughter's body it will cure her. The mother does as directed. One half of the saucer comes out of the hip to join the other, and the girl is cured straightway.
When the fairies are maltreated or despised they take ample vengeance; they punish severely. They are generous in a like degree for services or acts of kindness. So far as fairy methods of action are revealed to us in tales and popular beliefs, they constitute a system of rewards and punishments regulating the intercourse between this world and another. They are parts of an early religion in which material services are rewarded by material benefits, and in which conduct bordering upon morality is inculcated.
The ghosts, mainly malignant and nearly all women, are represented as partly under fairy rules and partly under Church punishment. Their position is not fixed so definitely.