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Index of All Children's Stories

Kids' Ireland Library

The Bewitched Kerry Cow
by Bridget Haggerty, edited and adapted from a story by Miss Latitia Maclintock

Not far from Rathmullen, in county Donegal lived a family called Hanlon and in a farm-house, some fields distant, people named Dogherty. Both families had good cows, but the Hanlons were fortunate in possessing a Kerry cow that gave more milk and yellower butter than the others.

Grace Dogherty, a beautiful young girl, who was more admired than loved in the neighbourhood, took much interest in the Kerry cow, and appeared one night at Mrs. Hanlon's door with the modest request:

"Will you let me milk your Kerry cow?"

"And why would you wish to milk wee Molly - for that was the cow’s name - ?” inquired Mrs. Hanlon.

"Oh, just because you're so busy at the present time."

"Thank you kindly, Grace, but I'm not too busy to do my own work. I'll no trouble you to milk."

The girl turned away with a discontented air; but the next evening, and the next, found her at the cow-house door with the same request.

At length Mrs. Hanlon, not knowing how to persist in her refusal, yielded, and permitted Grace to milk the Kerry cow.

She soon had reason to regret her want of firmness. Molly gave no milk to her owner. When this sad state of things lasted for three days, the Hanlons applied to a certain Mark McCarrion who lived near Binion and was known to help overcome a possible bewitchment, "That cow has been milked by someone with an evil eye," said he. "Will she give you a wee drop, do you think? The full of a pint measure would do."
"Oh, aye, Mark, dear; Molly will give me that much.”

"What you must do then, Mrs. Hanlon, is lock the door, and get nine new pins that was never used in clothes, and put them into a saucepan with the pint o' milk. Set them on the fire, and let them come to the boil."

The nine pins soon began to simmer in Moiley's milk.

Rapid steps were heard approaching the door, agitated knocks followed, and Grace Dogherty's high-toned voice was raised in eager entreaty.
"Let me in, Mrs. Hanlon!" she cried. "Take that cruel pot off the fire! And Take out them pins, for they're pricking holes in my heart, an' I'll never offer to touch milk of yours again."

There is hardly a village in Ireland where the milk is not thus believed to have been stolen times upon times. There are many charms to overcome this unlucky look of the evil eye Sometimes new horse-shoe or donkey-shoe is heated and put under the churn, with three straws, if possible stolen at midnight from the thatched roof of the one with the evil eye, is quite infallible.

More about Molly
The cow in this story is named Molly and this might be because she was one of the Irish Moiled, a very ancient breed of cattle. They never had horns, they were always red and white in colour and their markings varied from one cow to another. In days gone by, Irish families loved their Mollys because she would always give them lots of milk.

Photo Credits & Copy Resourcces:

The original story was taken from Fairy and Folk Tales of the Irish Peasantry
Edited and Selected by W. B. Yeats, published in 1888. We are also thankful to the site Sacred texts. Where you will find many other wonderful stories.

Ystrad Traditional Organics
Moiled Cows
Milking a Cow - Art.com

Index of All Children's Stories



Kids Reading - from All Posters
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Thu, Apr 13, 2017


Making a May Bush for Beltane

Beltane is on May 1st and it’s a very old celebration to mark the beginning of the summer season. Long ago, children saved the colored shells from their hard-boiled Easter eggs and added them to the decorations for the May Bush which was a small shrub chosen for the honour. It was cut down and placed in front of the house in the days or weeks before Beltane. The children would then decorate it with flowers, ribbons, and Easter egg shells. Candles or rush lights* were attached to the bush and were lighted at dusk. In the cities, the May Bush was made by neighbours and sometimes there were attempts to steal it by folks from other neighbourhoods. It was said that you’d be taking the year's luck from the rightful owners. So, the May Bushes were fiercely guarded until the evening of May Day, when the bush would be cast into the Beltane Bonfire.
*To find out about rush lights, please click Wikipedia.
Photo Credit: RushMi.

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"No man ever wore a cravat as nice, as his own child's arm around his neck."
- Irish Proverb



The Last Wolf in Ireland
by Elona Malterre

In Ireland in the 1780s, a young boy and girl who find a wolf's den in the forest vow to protect the animals from the superstitious townspeople and the greed of the hunters. Rave reviews including this one from Booklist:
"Convincing characters, tense action, and powerful conflicts makethis book an outstanding choice."
To learn more or to purchase, please click The Last Wolf in ireland.



Children's Irish Dictionary
by Hippocrene Books

As a total beginner in Irish, this has taught me quite a few words. The illustrations are beautifully done, and best of all, each word is given a rough English spelling of its pronunciation. Edited from an amazon review.
Click here for Kid's Irish Dictionary.


A lovely collection of well known Irish songs from the turn of the twentieth century. This album was created as a gift to MaryLee's Nana, Rose Burke Duval. The first half are songs well known to grandparents and the second half are original and traditional songs for children.

Click here for Irish Songs.



 

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