O’Donovan and the Fairy Bush
Jeremiah O’Donovan was a big man. As he said himself, he was afraid of “neither man nor beast in the twelve parishes.” He lived in a place called Baravore, a beautiful but barren place right at the head of Glenmalure. A place where the best the land could produce each year was a fresh crop of rocks.
However, there was one piece of Jerimiah’s land right on the hillside that had the potential for cultivation. Except right on top of the hill there was a hawthorn tree, a fairy bush. One night he announced to his friends that he was going to crop down the tree and bring the land into cultivation. There was consternation. “You can’t do that. That’s the Fairy Tree!”. “I’m Jerimiah O’Donovan, I’m not afraid of man nor beast why would I be afraid of a few little old fairies?”
The next morning Jerimiah got his axe, sharpened it up till it glinted in the morning sun and proceeded up the hill. When he reached the sceach, the bush he swung the axe and as he swung he got a glimpse of his house. It was on fire! Down the hill and up the lane he went. When he got to the cottage it was perfect. Well what he didn’t call the fairies. I won’t be explicit but let’s just say the language was blue!
Up the hill he went once more. Again he swung the axe and again he saw that his house was on fire. Off down the hill and up the lane to the cottage he ran. When he got there the cottage was yet again perfect. Well, if the language was blue the first time, it was royal blue the second.
Not to be deterred up the hill he went a third time. Chop, chop chop, tree down. Down the hill he came and up the lane to the cottage. When he got there the house, his home, was burned to the ground. The Good People had given him two warnings and he had failed to heed them.