THE ENCHANTMENt OF GEAROID IARLA
In old times in Ireland there was a great man of the Fitzgeralds.
The name on him was Gerald, but the Irish, that always had a great liking for the family, called him Gearoidh Iarla*.
He had a great castle or rath at Mullaghmast, and whenever the English government were striving to put some wrong on the county , he was alway the man that stood up for it.
Along with being a great leader in a fight, and very skillful at all weapons, he was deep in tne' black art' and could change himself into wahtever shape he pleased.
His lady knew that he had this power, and often asked him to let her into some of his secrets, but he never would gratify her.
She wanted particulary to see him in some strange shape, but he put her off and off on one pretence or another.
But she wouldnt be a woman if she hadnt perseverance; and so at last he let her know that if she took the least fright while he'd be out of his natural form, he would never recover it till many generations of men would be under the mould.
"oh! she wouldnt be a fit wife for Gearoid Iarla if she could be easily frightened'.
'Let him but gratify her in this whim, and he'd see what a hero she was!'
So one beautiful summer evening,as they were sitting in the grand drawing room he turned his face away from her an muttered some words,and while you'd wink he as clever and clean out of sight, and a lovey goldfinch was flying about the room.
The lady, as courageous as she thought herself, was little startled, but she held her own pretty well, especially when he came and perched on her shoulder,and shook his wings, and put his little beak to her lips, and whisteld the delightfullest tune you ever heard.
Well he flew in circles rounD the room, and played hide and go seek with his lady, and flew out into the garden, and flew back again, and lay down in her lap as if he was asleep, and jumped up again.
Well, when the thing had lasted long enough to satisfy both, he took one flight more into the open air; but by my word he was soon on his return.
He flew right into his ladys bosom, and the next moment a fierce hawk was after him.
The wife gave one loud scream, though there was no need, for the wild bird came in like an arrow, and struck against a table with such force that the life was dashed out of him.
She turned her eyes from his quivering body to where she saw the gold finch an instant before, but neither goldfinch or Earl Garrett did she ever lay eyes on again.
Once every seven years the Earl rides round the Curragh of Kildare on a steed, whose silver shoes were half an inch thick the time he disapeared; and when these shoes are worn and as thin as a cats ear, he will be restored to the society of living men, fight a great battle with the English, and reign King of Ireland for two score years.
Himself and his warriors are now sleeping in a long cavern under the Rath of Mullaghamast.
There is a table runing along thorough the middle of the cave.
The Earl is sitting at the end, and his troopers down along in complete armour both sides of the table,and their heads resing on it.
Their horses saddled and bridled,are standing behind their master in thir stalls at each side and when day comes the millers son thats to be born with six fingers on each hand will blow his trumpet, and the horses will stamp and whiny, and the knights awake and mount their steed and go forth to battle.
Some night that happens once in every seven years, while the Earl is riding around the Curragh, the entrance may be seen by any one chancing to pass by.
About a hundered years ago, a horse dealer that was late abroad and a little drunk saw the lighted cavern, and went in.
The lights and the stillness, and the sight of the men in armour cowed him a good deal and he became sober.
His hads began to tremble and he let fall a bridle on the pavement.
The sound of the bit echoed through the long cave,and one of the warriors that was next him lifted his head a little and said in a deep hoarse voice,
'Is it time yet ?'
He had the wit to say,
'Not yet but soon will', and the heavy helmut sunk down on the table.
The horse dealer made the best of his way out,and I never heard of any other one getting the same opportunity.
from the writings and narration of Patrick Kennedy
*Gear is the Irish spelling for German the Gearman;
oid is pronounced 'ead' and is said 'ald' meaning old ;
ead means jelous or envious;
oi is also pronounced ae which is pronounced au like auld;
fitz is a son of;
So Fitz Gearoid would essentially mean
son of the old german, or son of the jelous gearman.
The spelling of Irish lapses into pronuciation spelling in the middle Irish which would be from 1200 -1600 and again takes on the sound phonetic writing of the English from 1600-2000 Ad
This change in script comes with the continental church friars and priests replacing the native Irish as bishops etal; and these writings retained the old pronuciation of the Irish which is the sound written down in the English words .
copyright April 16 2011
spourse: Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts, Patrick Kennedy,
Macmillan and Co , 1866