Irish Fairy Tales
Like their love for music, the Irish are renowned story-tellers. Indeed, in days past, the story-tellers would gather round a fire and recite their favourite stories. Voting would then take place on whose story was the best. And in a true oral tradition, some were recited with pin-point accuracy – word for word; others delightfully embellished. Using eerie phantoms, 'dark' fairies, and mischievous leprechauns, cheerfulness mixes with melancholy. W. B. Yeats, editor of this 19th century edition of Irish Fairy Tales, tells the beginning of one such tale: 'How are you to-day, mother?' 'Worse!' 'May you be worse to-morrow;' and on the next day, 'How are you to-day mother? 'Better, thank God.' 'May you be better to-morrow.'