4 MAY 1895, Page 17




SIR,—I have read with great interest the letter in the Spectator of April 20th relative to "Irish Superstitions" in Galway. The firm belief in the malevolence of the fairies may be found much nearer the centres of civilisation. I was staying at a country house only an hour by rail from Dublin, when it was proposed to visit a rath. An English lady— quite an up-to-date person, a member of a School Board, &e.—was one of the party. All round the rath were quantities of the bright yellow ragweed, which was then covered with little green caterpillars. This lady broke off a piece of the weed to examine them. The girl who was showing the place was horrified. "For your life, don't do that, my lady, sure; thims the good people, that's the shape they do be taking in the daytime, and in the night they do be dancing in the rath." The Englishwoman was astounded, and harangued about ignorance and superstition. Finally, she bore away the ragweed with the caterpillars ; the latter she put into a cardboard box on her dressing-table, "just to show the poor ignorant creatures how absurd they were." Lo! in the morning the box was still there, but the cater- pillars were gone. Not a trace of them could be found high or low; and, moreover, her watch, which had never been known to do such a thing before, had suddenly stopped. "Well it was for ye," said the pretty, brown-eyed housemaid ; "sure, it's a warning they're after givin' ye not to be meddling with the like of them. It is a wonder they didn't throttle you intirely."

—I am, Sir, &c., E. DOR.A. GRIXIMA.W. Milton Lodge, Ventnor, April 29th.