The Fools of Killogue
by Irwin Russell
Is it tell yez a shtory? Be aff wid yez, childher! Sure it's mesilf that ought to be afther wathering thim gladiodlusthes that yer mother is so partickiler about--sure me hairt is broke wid them intoirely. Shtories, indade! Well, well, annyhow--we'll see what can be done, av ye'll wait till me shmoke is out; for the saints resave the poipe that has touched me lips the day, barrin' three, at all at all.
Per'aps y' 'ave haird about the fools av Killogue? No? Sure yer hishthorical education is been moightily nayglicted, av yez don't know that. Killogue, do ye moind, was a shmall bit av a village--and so it is to this day--in the south av Oireland; and a matther av some hundred yares ago, may be more, there was a King ruled over thim parts by the name av Brian Rhua. You see, they called him that by raison av his auburn hair--for the maning of Brian Rhua signifoys Rid Brian. Av the accounts is thrue, he was a foine man to look at: bein' aylivin fate hoigh, no liss, and wearin' goold and diminds and grane vilvit till is 'd make yer oyes wink to luk at 'm. And the bit o' blackthorn he carri'd was two yairds long, and that heavy that only himself c'd lift it. Now in thim days the counthry was greatly in nade av public roads. There was only wan in the whole kingdom, and that was a short wan, for it was betune the palace and Mrs. Rafferty's shebeen-house--where the king, rest his sowl, used to go ivery avening to shmoke his dudeen and dayliberate on the affairs av the nation, along with Lanty Feeny, his proime ministher,--and an iligant boy Lanty was. There the two av thim w'u'd sit and make up laws, for the parleymint to inact afther thim and be rishponsible for; the mimbers av that same bein' app'inted by the King, and li'ble to be hung whin annything wint wrong wid the counthry; and as there was no salaries ped, office-holdin' was not popilar. Considherin' the absince av hoighways, and the great naycissity their was for thim, wan day the King says to Lanty;
"Lanty," siz he.
"Sorr,--Yer Majesty, Oi mane," siz Lanty.
"Tell wan av the byes to have the kyar befoore the doore nixt Wednesday mornin'," siz Brian Rhua, "for Oi's goin'to thravel over me kingdom. And come you and the rist av the coort along wid me on horseback. Wheriver we pass, that shall be a public road foriver; and aich town we come to we'll take tin min out av it for the parleymint, for it is gettin' thinned out, it is, lately."
Whin the paple av Killogue haird of this--for it was giv out in all the newspapers--it med thim very onaisy in their moinds. None av thim was willing to be impressed for the parleymint, as was natural, av coorse; but that was not all. There was a large foine meadow all around the town, which belonged to thim all together, and they all farmed in, sharin' aloike, ye undhershtand; and, av a road was run through it, it would go near to ruin it altogether, widout the throuble and ixpense av buildin' walls was gone to. So they laid their hids together, and med up a plan to kape the King from comin'.
On the Wednesday mornin', Brian Rhua and his coort shtarted out, wearin' their hats on the ind av their shticks, and singin' "Ayrin go Bragh" in the hoighth av milody, whin they mit a man that was goin' the other way.
"Who are you?" axed Brian Rhua.
"Patsy Doolan, sorr, av ye plaze," answered the man.
"And where have you been this foine mornin'?" siz the King.
"'Tis lookin' for Tim O'Rourke bit av a pony Oi am," siz the man.
"Do you live about here?" inquoired the King.
"Oi do not, worse luck, yer honor," siz Patsy; "Oi did be livin' at Killogue, beyant; but a fortnight ago come next Sathurday the river rose wid the rains and kivered the place intoirely, so that sorra taste av the town is lift ixcipt the lake that shtands over it."
Thin Brian Rhua, who hated wather worse nor annything, immadiately turned off in another diriction and niver wint nare Killogue at all; and the paple av that town rayjoiced in the succiss av their schame, and how they had fooled him. But by and by the matther kem to the King's ayres, and he sint Lanty Feeney to investigate the thruth av it, Whin the Killogue paple got news av the proime ministher's comin', as they did, they wor tirribly froightened; and, afther considheration, they decoided to thry and make Lanty belaive thim all to be fools and idiots altogither, that they moight not be punished as they desarved. And so they did. Lanty wint to Killogue, and whin he kem back he med repoort to the King.
"Soire." siz he, "thim is omadhauns that lives at Killogue, aich mother's son av thim. Oi niver saw the loike sence Oi was borrn, as Oi saw there. Wan man was chaining up his cat to kape her from jumping in the river, w'u'd you belave it? Others was blowin' their breath at the sun, to make the weather cooler. A lot more av thim was 'tendin' a shcool, where an ould chap was taiching thim to whistle "Garryowen" backwards. And as for that felly we mit, Patsy Doolan, what gev us the false shtory av the wather roising, he was the biggest fool av all; for he was paling his praties afore he biled 'em!"
"Well," said the King, "av they have no more since than that, they ought not to be dilt wid sevarely, but they must tin av thim be put in the parleymint, annyhow."
And so they wor. But nobody has iver wint to Killogue, by rason av there bein' no road to it, from that day to this--and as then was the first toime that fools was iver thought iligible for office, yez may know it was moighty long ago, begorra!