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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/191

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183
Folk-lore Gleanings from County Leitrim.

which must be fetched in three bottles, an Ave and a Pater being said as each bottle is filled, and on leaving the place It is strictly forbidden to look behind one, or the effect of the water will be lost.

It is small wonder that all sorts of stories are told about the lake, and that it is said to be enchanted, and no one will go near it after dark. There are also said to be water-horses in it, to which the following bears witness:

Once on a time a gossoon, who was working in the field hard by the lake, caught what he thought was a tame horse, and began to harrow with him. He was, however, a water-horse in disguise, and presently he ran away, and dragging harrow, gossoon, and all after him, disappeared into the lough. The unfortunate lad, when he found himself going, cried out for help, but when the other men who were working there came up to the lake, they could see nothing but blood. It is said that the gossoon with the horse and harrow is sometimes to be seen wandering round the margin of the lough.


Fear-Gorta.

The fear-gorta (hungry man) is usually said to appear at famine times, and to wander about asking for food. In Kiltubrid, however, the term is applied to a hunger which is said to seize you whilst on the mountains, and which is fatal if not speedily satisfied. There is also said to be a fear-gorta stone at the base of Slieve-an-iarain, upon which if you tread you are seized with this unappeasable hunger.


Witches.

Witches seem to have disappeared from this part of the country; at least, I could not hear of any person who was regarded in the light of one. There are also few tales of their former performances, save a general idea that they assumed a hare's shape at times when it suited them to do so. The story—common to many other places—is told of how a hare one day, chased by dogs, fled to a house near at