58 THE FAIRY NURSE
There they stood, looking towards the bridge of Thuar, in the dead of the night, with a little moonlight shining from over Kilachdiarmid. At last she gave a start, and " By this and by that," says she, " here they come, bridles jingling and feathers tossing ! " He looked, but could see nothing ; and she stood trembling and her eyes wide open, looking down the way to the ford of Ballinacoola. " I see your wife," says she, " riding on the outside just so as to rub against us. We'll walk on quietly, as if we suspected nothing, and when we are passing I'll give you a shove. If you don't do your duty then, woe be with you ! "
Well, they walked on easy, and the poor hearts beating in both their breasts ; and though he could see nothing, he heard a faint jingle and trampling and rustling, and at last he got the push that she promised. He spread out his arms, and there was his wife's waist within them, and he could see her plain ; but such a hullabulloo rose as if there was an earthquake, and he found himself surrounded by horrible-looking things, roaring at him and striving to pull his wife away. But he made the sign of the cross and bid them begone in God's name, and held his wife as if it was iron his arms were made of. Bedad, in one moment everything was as silent as the grave, and the poor woman lying in a faint in the arms of her husband and her good neighbour. Well, all in good time she was minding her family and her business again ; and I'll go bail, after the fright she got, she spent more time on her knees, and avoided fairy men all the days of the week, and particularly on Sunday.
It is hard to have anything to do with the good
people without getting a mark from them. My brave
nurse didn't escape no more than another. She was
one Thursday at the market of Enniscorthy, when
what did she see walking among the tubs of butter