We are not great at the whole blogging, tweeting, posting and texting, so you work away the the discussion group. Will this help kick you off ? You may know of a ballad, collected by Sean O'Boyle and Peter Kennedy in the early fifties, it's called 'The Devil and Bailliff McGlynn. it came about because it is WELL known that there are certain times the lad from the hot place comes visiting, looking for a new soul to take down below. Of course he is only looking for those most heinous in thought, word and deed and so the first person he met, was a bailiff on his way to evict a farmer who was down on his luck, his crops having failed and his rent fallen into arrears.
Even a bailiff knows a blacker heart than his own. It was a bright sunny day and from the shadow cast by his new companion, the tail was a giveaway as to his identity. This bailiff also knew he would be going down below, with this gent, if he did not get a better offer.
They walked along in polite conversation and were passing a farmhouse. Inside, the mother was fretting at the lack of money about the place and was tested to the last of her temper by her unruly boy. In order to give her head peace, she scolded the boy severely for his bad ways and drove him out of the house, telling him he was for the de'il.
The bailiff was much relieved to hear of this "offering" within earshot of his escort and asked the dark one to grant the poor mother this favour, as she would have one less mouth to feed. He suggested it as an altruistic act, to take the bad look off what he was saying. His friend got a red glow in his eye, but he could recognise it was just the words of a mother, tired and fed up with her lot. And he shrugged.
They walked a little further and in the middle of a neat wee front garden there was a young pig amid the dainty flowers, making a great mess of the whole lot. The owner came out and hopped a stone off the pig's lug, calling for the de'il to take the animal. The bailiff thought this was surely a reprieve and started to eulogise about the pig, stating its seed, breed and generation. The dark man at his side cut him short. He would admit that a moment of frustration had made the gardener perplexed, that his fuchsia and marigolds were temporarily excavated. But it was an outburst that would be short lived and the fine pig would be well thought of again in no time.
The bailiff started to twitch and wriggle like a salmon caught at Torr head. He saw no way out of this situation, only to do a U-turn and leave his fellow traveller on the road. He bid an overblown, humble and sad farewell. The wind carried their words back to the rogue of a lad that had been causing his mother such strife. When he heard who was on the road, he ran as fast as he could to warn his mother, in her state of debt, to bolt the door, as there was a bailiff heading toward the house. Well she let out a piercing cry, from her heart and soul that the de'il might come and take that money seeking, wretch of a bailiff from her door. There was a clap of thunder and both fellas were gone off the road.

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This is one of my favorite stories posted by Kathleen O'Sullivan and Billy Tears and was as enjoyable re-reading it as the first time. Take a moment to check it out.



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