Author’s foreword to Iosagán agus Sgealta eile, which is here translated into English by Joseph Campbell. Taken from the appendix of The Collected Works of Pádraic H. Pearse: Plays, Stories and Poems.
Putting these stories in order, it is no wonder that my thoughts are on the friends that told them to me, and on the lonely place on the edge of Ireland where they live. I see before my eyes a countryside, hilly, crossed with glens, full of rivers, brimming with lakes; great horns threatening their tops on the verge of the sky in the north-west; a narrow, moaning bay stretching in from the sea on each side of a ‘ross;’ the ‘ross’ rising up from the round of the bay, but with no height compared with the nigh-hand hills or the horns far off; a little cluster of houses in each little glen and mountain gap, and a solitary cabin here and there on the shoulder of the hills. I think I hear the ground-bass of the waterfalls and rivers, and the sweet cry of the golden plover and curlew, and the low voice of the people in talk by the fireside… My blessing with you little book, to Rossnageeragh and to them in it, my friends!
It is from the ‘patairidhe beaga,’ the ‘little soft young things’ that Old Matthias used see making sport to themselves on the green that I heard the greater part of the first story. They do be there always, every sunny evening and every fine Sunday morning, running and throwing leaps exactly as they would be when Old Matthias would sit looking on them. I never saw Iosagan among them, but it’s like He does be there, for all that. Isn’t His wish to be rejoicing on the earth, and isn’t His delight to be along with His Father’s children?… I have told in the story itself the place and the time I heard The Priest. It’s well I remember Nora’s little house, and the kindly little woman herself, and the three children. Paraig is serving Mass now, and I hear Taimeen has ‘Fromsó Fromsó,’ by heart… It was from Brideen herself that I heard the adventures of Barbara. One evening that we went in on Oilean ni Raithnighe (the Ferny Island), I and she, it was she told it to me, and we sitting on the brink of the lake looking over on the Big Rock. She showed me Barbara’s grave the same evening after our coming home, and she took a promise from me that I’d say a prayer for her friend’s soul every night of my life. Brideen will be going to school next year, and she will be able to read the story of Barbara out of this, I hope she will like it… As for Eoineen of the Birds, I don’t know who it was I heard it from, unless it was from the swallows themselves. Yes, I think it was they told it to me one evening that I was stretched in the heather looking at them flying here and there over Loch Eireamhlach. From what mouth the swallows heard the start of the story, I don’t know. From the song-thrush and from that yellow-bunting that have their nests in a ditch of the garden, it’s like.
To you, sweet friends, people of the telling of my stories, both little and big, I give and dedicate this little book.