" Now tell me, Molly," said Mr. Coote to Molly
Cogan, as he met her on the road one day, close to one of the old gateways of
Kilmallock, ("Kilmallock seemed to me like the court of the Queen of
Silence." - O'Keefe's Recollections) did you ever hear of the Cluricaune?"
"Is it the Cluricaune? why, then, sure I did, often
and often; many's the time I heard my father, rest his soul! tell about
"But did you ever see one, Molly, yourself?"
"Och ! no, I never see
one in my life ; but my grandfather, that's my father's father, you
know, he see one, one time, and caught him too."
"Caught him! Oh ! Molly, tell me how?"
"Why, then, I'll tell you. My grandfather, you see,
was out there above in the bog, drawing home turf, and the poor old mare was
tired after her day's work, and the old man went out to the stable to look
after her, and to see if she was eating her hay; and when he came to the stable
door there, my dear, he heard something hammering, hammering, hammering, just
for all the would like a shoemaker making a shoe, and whistling all the time
the prettiest tune he ever heard in his whole life before.
Well, my grandfather, he thought it was the Cluricaune,
and he said to himself, says he, 'I'll catch you, if I can, and then I 'll
have money enough always.' So he opened the door very quietly, and didn't make
a bit of noise in the world that ever was heard; and looked all about, but the
never a bit of the little man he could see any where, but he heard him
hammering and whistling, and so he looked and looked, till at last he see the
little fellow; and where was he, do you think, but in the girth under the
mare; and there he was with his little bit of an apron on him, and hammer in
his hand, and a little red nightcap on his head, and he making a shoe; and he
was so busy with his work, and he was hammering and whistling so loud, that he
never minded my grandfather till he caught him fast in his hand.
' Faith, I have you now,' says he, ' and I'll never
let you go till I get your purse - that's what I want; so give it here to me
at once, now.' -' Stop, stop,' says the Cluricaune, ' stop, stop,' says he, '
till I get it for you.' So my grandfather, like a fool, you see, opened his
hand a little, and the little fellow jumped away laughing, and he never saw
him any more, and the never the bit of the purse did he get, only the
Cluricaune left his little shoe that he was making; and my grandfather was mad
enough angry with himself for letting him go, but he had the shoe all his
life, and my own mother told me she often see it, and had it in her
hand, and 'twas the prettiest little shoe she ever saw.
"And did you see it yourself, Molly ?"
Oh ! no, my dear, it was lost long afore I was born: but
my mother told me about it often and often enough."
Source: Thomas Crofton
Croker - Fairy Legends and Traditions, first published 1825.
republished by Collins Press, Cork, 1998.