Irish fairy tales

The Story of the Pig-Trough

the story of the pig-trough

In the beginning of the century, Hughes went as military substitute for a farmer’s son. He got £80, a watch, and a suit of clothes. His mother was loath to let him go, and when he joined his regiment, she followed him from Amlych to Pwlheli to try and buy him off. He would not hear of it. “Mother,” he said, “the whole of Anglesey would not keep me, I want to be off, and see the world.”

The regiment was quartered in Edinboro’, and Hughes married the daughter of the burgess with whom he was billeted. Thence, leaving a small son, as hostage to the grandparents, they went to Ireland, and Hughes and his wife were billeted on a pork-butcher’s family in Dublin. One day, the mother of the pork-butcher, an old granny, told them she had seen the fairies.

“Last night, as I was abed, I saw a bright, bright light come in, and afterwards a troop of little angels. They danced all over my bed, and they played and sang music—oh! the sweetest music ever I heard. I lay and watched them and listened. By-and-bye the light went out and the music stopped, and I saw them no more. I regretted the music very much. But directly after another smaller light appeared, and a tall dark man came up to my bed, and with something in his hand he tapped me on the temple; it felt like some one drawing a sharp pin across my temple then he went too. In the morning my pillow was covered with blood. I thought and thought, and then I knew I had moved the pig’s trough and must have put it in the fairies’ path and the fairies were angered, and the king of the fairies had punished me for it.” She moved the trough back to its old place the next day, and received no more visits from the wee folk.

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