THERE was a strong farmer one time and he had nine beautiful cows grazing on the best of land. Surely that was a great prosperity, and you'd be thinking him the richest man in all the countryside. But it was little milk he was getting from his nine lovely cows, and no butter from the milk. They'd be churning in that house for three hours or maybe for five hours of a morning, and at the end of all a few wee grains of butter, the dead spit of spiders' eggs, would be floating on the top of the milk. Evenly that much did not remain to it, for when herself ran the strainer in under them they melted from the churn.
There were great confabulations held about the loss of the yield, but the strength of the spoken word was powerless to restore what was gone. Herself allowed that her man be to have the evil eye, and it was overlooking his own cattle he was by walking through them and he fasting at the dawn of day. The notion didn't please him too well, indeed he was horrid vexed at her for saying the like, but he went no more among the cows until after his breakfast time. Sure that done no good at all--it was less and less milk came in each day. And butter going a lovely price in the market, to leave it a worse annoyance to have none for to sell.
The man of the house kept a tongue hound that was odious wise. The two walked the cattle together, and it happened one day that they came on a hare was running with the nine cows through the field. The hound gave tongue and away with him after the hare, she making a great offer to escape.
"Maybe there is something in it," says the man to himself. "I have heard my old grandfather tell that hares be's enchanted people; let it be true or no, I doubt they're not right things in any case."
With that he set out for to follow his tongue hound, and the hunt went over the ditches and through the quick hedges and down by the lake.
"Begob it's odious weighty I am to be diverting myself like a little gosoon," says the man. And indeed he was a big, hearty farmer was leaving powerful gaps behind him where he burst through the hedges.
There was a small, wee house up an old laneway, and that was where the hunt headed for. The hare came in on the street not a yard in front of the tongue hound, and she made a lep for to get into the cabin by a hole on the wall convenient to the door. The hound got a grip of her and she rising from the ground. But the farmer was coming up close behind them and didn't he let a great crow out of him.
"Hold your hold, my bully boy! Hold your hold!" The tongue hound turned at the voice of the master calling, and the hare contrived for to slip from between his teeth. One spring brought her in on the hole in the wall, but she splashed it with blood as she passed, and there was blood on the mouth of the hound.
The man came up, cursing himself for spoiling the diversion, but he was well determined to follow on. He took the coat off his back and he stuffed it into the opening the way the hare had no chance to get out where she was after entering, then he walked round the house for to see was there any means of escape for what was within. There wasn't evenly a space where a fly might contrive to slip through, and himself was satisfied the hunt was shaping well.
He went to the door, and it was there the tongue hound went wild to be making an entry, but a lock and a chain were upon it. The farmer took up a stone and he broke all before him to get in after the hare they followed so far.
"The old house is empty this long time," says he, "and evenly if I be to repair the destruction I make--sure what is the price of a chain and a lock to a fine, warm man like myself!"
With that he pushed into the kitchen, and there was neither sight nor sign of a hare to be found, but an old woman lay in a corner and she bleeding.
The tongue hound gave the mournfullest whine and he juked to his master's feet, it was easy knowing the beast was in odious dread. The farmer gave a sort of a groan and he turned for to go away home.
"It's a queer old diversion I'm after enjoying," says he. "Surely there's not a many in the world do be hunting hares through the fields and catching old women are bleeding to death."
When he came to his own place the wife ran out of the house.
"Will you look at the gallons of beautiful milk the cows are after giving this day," says she, pulling him in on the door.
Sure enough from that out there was a great plenty of milk and a right yield of butter on the churn.