The first three stories, namely, “The Tailor and the Three Beasts,” “Bran,” and “The King of Ireland’s Son,” I took down verbatim, without the alteration or addition of more than a word or two, from Seáġan O Cuinneaġáin (John Cunningham), who lives in the village of Baile-an-ṗuil (Ballinphuil), in the county of Roscommon, some half mile from Mayo. He is between seventy and eighty years old, and is, I think, illiterate.
The story of “The Alp-luachra” is written down from notes made at the time I first heard the story. It was told me by Seamus o h-Airt (James Hart), a game-keeper, in the barony of Frenchpark, between sixty and seventy years old, and illiterate. The notes were not full ones, and I had to eke them out in writing down the story, the reciter, one of the best I ever met, having unfortunately died in the interval.
The stories of “Paudyeen O’Kelly,” and of “Leeam O’Rooney’s Burial,” I got from Mr. Lynch Blake, near Ballinrobe, county Mayo, who took the trouble of writing them down for me in nearly phonetic Irish, for which I beg to return him my best thanks. I do not think that these particular stories underwent any additions at his hands while writing them down. I do not know from whom he heard the first, and cannot now find out, as he has left the locality. The second he told me he got from a man, eighty years old, named William Grady, who lived near Clare-Galway, but who for the last few years has been “carrying a bag.”
The long story of “Guleesh na Guss dhu,” was told by the same Shamus O’Hart, from whom I got the “Alp-luachra,” but, as in the case of the “Alp-luachra” story, I had only taken notes of it, and not written down the whole as it fell from his lips. I have only met one other man since, Martin Brennan, in the barony of Frenchpark, Roscommon, who knew the same story, and he told it to me–but in an abridged form–incident for incident up to the point where my translation leaves off.
There is a great deal more in the Irish version in the Leaḃar Sgeuluiġeaċta, which I did not translate, not having been able to get it from Brennan, and having doctored it too much myself to give it as genuine folk-lore.
The rest of the stories in this volume are literally translated from my Leaḃar Sgeuluiġeaċta. Neil O’Carree was taken down phonetically, by Mr. Larminie, from the recitation of a South Donegal peasant.
The Hags of the Long Teeth come from Ballinrobe, as also William of the Tree, the Court of Crinnawn, and the Well of D’Yerree-in-Dowan. See pages 239-240 of the L. S.