"...we should pass over all biographies of 'the good and the great,' while we search carefully the slight records of wretches who died in prison, in Bedlam, or upon the gallows."
~Edgar Allan Poe

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Newspaper Clipping of the Day

Via Newspapers.com

At last, the Strange Company moment we’ve all been waiting for: trouble-making Irish ghost pigs.  The “New York Herald,” June 30, 1918:

Of the many stories coming from Ireland as the result of the opposition to conscription and its possible effects is that concerning the appearance of the "Black Pig.” The legend connected with this appearance is said to portend disaster for Ireland, and the stories now in circulation have created quite a ferment In the country districts. 

According to a newspaper correspondent at Roscommon the first tale of the appearance of the "Black Pig" was told in Strokestown, where some people who had come into market from Kiltrustan, about two miles away, said that a little girl named Beirne, aged about 12 years, while going to school saw a black pig come out of a crack or a small hole in the ground near the schoolhouse and begin to walk around the stump of an old tree that had been cut down recently near the public road.

According to the story, the little girl ran to the school and told the teacher, who went with her to the spot, but failed to see the animal, the child persisting all the time that It was there and was walking about quite near to them. Other children of the same age were called from the school, and each of them cried out simultaneously, "Oh, look at the black pig!" "She is eating grass," "She is walking on your boots," &c. The news spread rapidly throughout the district, and a large number of men and women came to the place, but all of them declared they could see nothing of the animal. 

On the next day the little girls again declared that they could see the pig quite plainly walking around the old tree stump, but on this occasion accompanied by six little bonhams (young pigs), three of them trotting on each side of the old sow. Again the elder people who came at the same time with the children said they could see nothing but the trees and underbrush, but the children insisted that the pig and bonhams were there all the time. 

The story has created an extraordinary sensation all over north and south Roscommon. Old people who had studied the prophecies of St. Columcille say that the "Black Pig" is referred to there as an evil omen for Ireland and that she is to travel through a certain part of the country west of the River Shannon before being killed or banished. Others say that the appearance of the pig is the forerunner of a rising in the north to fight against home rule. These wiseacres say that while the omen portends evil in Ireland the application will be confined to Ulster. 

According to old ideas, however, the "Black Pig" was associated with the coming rout of the enemies of Ireland. Yeats says that the prophecies were a great force in the days of the Fenians and that he heard of one man who didn't think it worth while to support the Land League because the battle in the valley of the pig was so near. 

"A few years ago." he said, "an old man at Lisadill in Sligo used to fall down in a fit and rave about descriptions of the battle; and a man in Sligo has told me that it will be so great a battle that the horses will go up to their fetlocks in blood, and that their girths when it is over will rot from their bellies for lack of a hand to unbelly them." 

The legends connected with the appearance of the "Black Pig" are extremely numerous, but perhaps the most interesting is that quoted by W. F. de Vismes Kane, who states that the "Black Pig" eventually settled at Creta after being chased by St. Patrick over half of Ireland. When the pig came to Granard, County Longford, it crossed by Rooskey, swam the river Mair, a tributary of the Shannon, at Muckinagh, and then ran by way of Orange to Kiltrustan, where St. Patrick finally captured it and commanded it to stay until the years of the Great War. It was then to appear three times, and if it could run from there back to Killmore-na-Shinna there would be great trouble in Ireland. This trouble would be averted if it were shot by a one eyed marksman, and the only place where the marksman would have a chance of killing it is at Bonny-a-Glass, a field behind the rectory at Killmore and running from the rectory gate to the crossroads on the Tully side. All legends agree that in the years of the Great War there would be trouble in Ireland.

You have to admit, that pig would explain a lot about Irish history.

1 comment:

  1. The headline in the newspaper story: "Evil Black Pig Scares Ireland"... An evil black pig could scare pretty much any country, I should think.


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