Folk Tales of Breffny | Annotated Tale

COMPLETE! Entered into SurLaLune Database in October 2018 with all known ATU Classifications.

Bridge of the Kist, The

THERE was once a man the name of Michael Hugh, and he was tormented with dreams of a kist was buried in under a bridge in England. For awhile he took no heed to the visions were with him in the stillness of the night, but at long last the notion grew in his mind that he be to visit that place and find out was there anything in it.

               "I could make right use of a treasure," thinks he to himself. "For 'tis heart scalded I am with dwelling in poverty, and a great weariness is on me from toiling for a miserable wage." Then he bethought of the foolishness of making the journey if all turned out a deceit.

               "Sure I'll be rid of belief in the dreams are driving me daft with their grandeur and perseverance," says he. "Evenly failure will bring a sort of satisfaction for I'll get fooling whatever spirit does be bringing the vision upon me."

               So my brave Michael Hugh took an ash plant in his hand, and away with him oversea to England to discover the bridge of the kist.

               He was a twelvemonth travelling and rambling with no success to rise his heart, and he began for to consider he had better return to his own place. But just as he was making ready to turn didn't he chance on a strong flowing river, and the sight near left his eyes when he found it was spanned by the bridge he was after dreaming of.

               Well Michael Hugh went over and he looked down on the black depth of water was flowing in under the arch.

               "It'll be a hard thing surely to be digging for a kist in that place," says he. "I'm thinking a man would find a sore death and no treasure at all if he lepped into the flood. But maybe it's laid out for me to gather my fortune here, and some person may come for to give me instruction."

               With that he walked up and down over the bridge, hoping for further advice since he could not contrive a wisdom for his use. There was a house convenient to the river, and after awhile a man came from it.

               "Are you waiting on any person in this place?" says he to Michael Hugh. "It's bitter weather to be abroad and you be to be as hardy as a wild duck to endure the cold blast on the bridge."

               "I'm hardy surely," Michael Hugh makes his answer. "But 'tis no easy matter to tell if I'm waiting on any person."

               "You're funning me," says the Englishman. "How would you be abroad without reason, and you having a beautiful wise countenance on you?"

               With that Michael Hugh told him the story of the dreams that brought him from Ireland, and how he was expectant of a sign to instruct him to come at the kist. The Englishman let a great laugh.

               "You're a simple fellow," says he. "Let you give up heeding the like of visions and ghosts, for there is madness in the same and no pure reason at all. There's few has more nor better knowledge than myself of how they be striving to entice us from our work, but I'm a reasonable man and I never gave in to them yet."

               "Might I make so free as to ask," says Michael Hugh, "what sort of a vision are you after resisting?"

               "I'll tell you and welcome," says the Englishman. "There isn't a night of my life but I hear a voice calling: 'Away with you to Ireland, and seek out a man the name of Michael Hugh. There is treasure buried in under a lone bush in his garden, and that is in Breffny of Connacht.'"

               The poor Irishman was near demented with joy at the words, for he understood he was brought all that journey to learn of gold was a stone's throw from his own little cabin door.

               But he was a conny sort of a person, and he never let on to the other that Michael Hugh was the name of him, nor that he came from Breffny of Connacht.

               The Englishman invited him into his house for to rest there that night, and he didn't spare his advice that dreams were a folly and sin.

               "You have me convinced of the meaning of my visions," says Michael Hugh. "And what's more I'll go home as you bid me."

               Next morning he started out, and he made great haste with the desire was on him to get digging the gold.

               When he came to his own place in Connacht he made straight for a loy and then for the lone bush. Not a long was he digging before he hoked out a precious crock full of treasure, and he carried it into the house.

               There was a piece of a flag stone lying on top of the gold, and there was a writing cut into it. What might be the meaning of that Michael Hugh had no notion, for the words were not Gaelic nor English at all.

               It happened one evening that a poor scholar came in for to make his cailee.

               "Can you read me that inscription, mister?" asks Michael Hugh, bringing out the flag.

               "Aye surely," says the poor scholar. "That is a Latin writing, and I am well learned in the same."

               "What meaning is in it?" asks the other.

               "'The same at the far side,'" says the scholar. "And that is a droll saying surely when it gives no information beyond."

               "Maybe it will serve my turn, mister!" says Michael Hugh, in the best of humour.

               After the scholar was gone on his way, didn't himself take the loy and out to the garden. He began for to dig at the far side of the lone bush, and sure enough he found a second beautiful kist the dead spit of the first.

               It was great prosperity he enjoyed from that out. And he bought the grandest of raiment, the way the neighbours began for to call him Michael Hughie the Cock.

Bibliographic Information

Tale Title: Bridge of the Kist, The
Tale Author/Editor: Hunt, Bampton
Book Title: Folk Tales of Breffny
Book Author/Editor: Hunt, Bampton
Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
Publication City: London
Year of Publication: 1912
Country of Origin: Ireland
Classification: unclassified

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