AT WOULD HAVE liked some of the jewels, but he put the furze-blossoms by for love. "Good-evening to your honour," says he.
"And where are you going, Pat, dear?" says the fairy man.
"I'm going home," says Pat. And if the fairy man didn't know where that was, small blame to him.
"Just let me dust them shoes for ye, Pat," says the fairy man. And as Pat lifted up each foot he breathed on it, and dusted it with the tail of his green coat.
"Home!" says he, and when he let go, Pat was at his own doorstep before he could look round, and his parcels safe and sound with him.
Next morning he was up with the sun, and carried the fairy man's shoes back to the Rath. As he came up, the little man looked over the ditch.
"The top of the morning to, your honour," says Pat; "here's your shoes."
"You're an honest boy, Pat," says the little gentleman. "It's inconvenienced I am without them, for. I have but the one pair. Have you looked at the yellow flowers this morning?" he says.
"I have not, sir," says Pat; "I'd be loth to deceive you. I came off as soon as I was up."
"Be sure to look when you get back, Pat," says the fairy man, "and good luck to ye."
With which he disappeared, and Pat went home. He looked for the furze-blossoms, as the fairy man told him, and there's not a word of truth in this tale if they weren't all pure gold pieces.
Well, now Pat was so rich, he went to the shoemaker to order another pair of brogues, and being a kindly, gossiping boy, the shoemaker soon learned the whole story of the fairy man and the Rath. And this so stirred up the shoemaker's greed that he resolved to go the very next night himself, to see if he could not dance with the fairies, and have like luck.
He found his way to the Rath all correct, and sure enough the fairies were dancing, and they asked him to join. He danced the soles off his brogues, as Pat did, and the fairy man lent him his shoes, and sent him home in a twinkling.
As he was going over the ditch, he looked round, and saw the roots of the furze-bushes glowing with precious stones as if they had been glow-worms.
"Will you help yourself, or take what's given ye?" said the fairy man.
"I'll help myself, if you please," said the cobbler, for he thought--"If I can't get more than Pat brought home, my fingers must all be thumbs."
So he drove his hand into the bushes, and if he didn't get plenty, it wasn't for want of grasping.
When he got up in the morning, he went straight to the jewels. But not a stone of the lot was more precious than roadside pebbles. "I ought not to look till I come from the Rath," said he. "It's best to do like Pat all through."
But he made up his mind not to return the fairy man's shoes.
"Who knows the virtue that's in them?" he said. So he made a small pair of red leather shoes, as like them as could be, and he blacked the others upon his feet, that the fairies might not know them, and at sunrise he went to the Rath.
The fairy man was looking over the ditch as before.
"Good-morning to you," said he.
"The top of the morning to you, sir," said the cobbler; "here's your shoes." And he handed him the pair that he had made, with a face as grave as a judge.
The fairy man looked at them, but he said nothing, though he did not put them on.
"Have you looked at the things you got last night?" says he.
"I'll not deceive you, sir," says the cobbler. "I came off as soon as I was up. Sorra peep I took at them."
"Be sure to look when you get back," says the fairy man. And just as the cobbler was getting over the ditch to go home, he says:
"If my eyes don't deceive me," says he, "there's the least taste in life of dirt on your left shoe. Let me dust it with the tail of my coat."
"That means home in a twinkling," thought the cobbler, and he held up his foot.
The fairy man dusted it, and muttered something the cobbler did not hear. Then, "Sure," says he, "it's the dirty pastures that you've come through, for the other shoe's as bad."
So the cobbler held up his right foot, and the fairy man rubbed that with the tail of his green coat.
When all was done the cobbler's feet seemed to tingle, and then to itch, and then to smart, and then to burn. And at last he began to dance, and he danced all round the Rath (the fairy man laughing and holding his sides), and then round and round again. And he danced till he cried out with weariness, and tried to shake the shoes off. But they stuck fast, and the fairies drove him over, the ditch, and through the prickly furze-bushes, and he danced away. Where he danced to, I cannot tell you. Whether he ever got rid of the fairy shoes, I do not know. The jewels never were more than wayside pebbles, and they were swept out when his cabin was cleaned, which was not too soon, you may be sure.
All this happened long ago; but there are those who say that the covetous cobbler dances still, between sunset and sunrise, round Murdoch's Rath.