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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/186

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178
Folk-lore Gleanings from County Leitrim.

specially the place of meeting, and no one would willingly disturb one. There are stories of persons being struck dead for even cutting bushes round a fort. It is also said to be unwise to attempt to build on a "walk"; buildings so put up are invariably thrown down during the night. A tale is told of a man who attempted to add an outbuilding to his house, in spite of the advice of a friend—for it is in that way the fairies dissuade one from building. What he built in the day was promptly thrown down at night, because the "good people" had a walk on that side of the house, and he finally had to take his friend's advice and build on the other side.

That the "good people" take away infants from their parents, and leave "an old stick of a thief" in the guise of a child in their place is also believed. There are several tales of these changelings and their doings. Here is one: Once on a time there was a woman whose child was taken away, and an old thief left in its place, yet was he so disguised that the woman never found out the difference. Now, there lived in the same house a tailor, and one day when the woman had gone into the town, to the tailor's surprise, the baby got out some pipes and began to play. He played away merrily until he thought the woman would be returning, and then he told the tailor that he must on no account tell her, or it would be no more tunes he'd be playing him. However, the tailor did tell the woman, and sent her out to the town with directions to return speedily. So she came back in a short time and found the "young old man" sitting up in the cradle and playing to the tailor; but when she came in at the door he put the pipes under the pillow, and was as though he were an infant again. The woman was afraid when she saw that it was not her child, for when she heard the pipes going she knew the "good people" had changed them, so she took counsel with the tailor as to what was to be done. "Take the old man on your back", said he, "as though for a walk, and when you come to the stream, go to cross it,