Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/189

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Folk-lore Gleanings from County Leitrim.

Once on a time there lived in the parish of Fenagh a family whose supply of milk invariably turned sour, and no butter was to be obtained. It chanced that there came to them one day an old traveller who asked for a drink. "Well", said the woman of the house, "I cannot give you milk, for all we have is bad."

"How is that?" said the traveller.

So he was told all they knew about the matter.

"If you give me a lodging this night", said he, "I will get your butter back for you"; and thinking things could not be much worse, they let him remain.

After sunset the traveller barred every door and window in the place, and made a great fire of turf, and in the fire he placed nine irons. Now, as the irons got hot, a loud roaring was heard without, and an old woman who dwelt near was seen beating at the door and windows and shouting to be let in.

"Take the irons from the fire, they have me burnt!" she said. But the traveller answered that until she brought back the butter she had taken the irons would remain in the fire to burn her. Then she tore round the house in a fury, and got upon the roof to try and get in that way to take the irons from the fire; but finding it was useless, she went home, roaring all the time for the pain she was in, and brought the butter in a barrel to the door, upon which the irons were taken from the fire, and she was released. From that time the family had no cause to complain of their milk.

The Stray Sod.

Among the minor superstitions current is that of the "stray sod". The old folk say that wherever an unbaptised child is buried there is a "stray sod", so that at night, if you walk in that field and chance upon the particular spot, you have no power but to set off wandering all that night! A man, they say, whilst walking in the fields one night, happened on a "stray sod", and immediately found himself