Thursday, July 27, 2006

Irish (Rat) Folktales

A Clare woman told me that a man whose love was rejected by a girl living in Limerick city died, and his soul went into a rat and used to bite her throat until she had to emigrate. The rat tried to follow her and was drowned, and so the persecution ended.

A curious ‘parliament of rats’ was held near Durra in Upper Bunratty, the fields being covered with them, but, when it broke up, the ‘troops’ dispersed, and no bands were seen at any distance from the rendezvous.

A rat was ‘heard talking with the Devil’ in the grave of an unpopular person before 1875, but how the holders of this curious conversation were identified was never stated.

I have met a belief in speaking rats in eastern Clare and among fishermen at Kilkee.

From A Folklore Survey of County Clare by Thomas Johnson Westropp

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