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Monday, March 6, 2017

Irish Folklore: A Grave and a Bottle

In 2006 I went to Ireland to spend some time with my wife, who had been there for a month teaching elementary school. She was in a little town called Port Laois (pronounced Leesh, in case you couldn't figure that out from the spelling). One of her coworkers took us to meet her uncle, who is a seanachie (pronounced shanakee)--a storyteller. We listened to him perform for a crowd, and his stories were great. We didn't have much time to talk afterward, much to my disappointment. Also disappointing: I only remember one story in full. It's about two friends who go out drinking a lot:

They've been friends for years. Went through school together. Worked together. And every night they shared a bottle of whiskey. Then one gets sick, and asks the other to pour out a bottle of their favorite whiskey on his grave when the time comes. The other agrees. The one dies, and is buried, and shortly after the funeral, the other brings to bottle of whiskey to the grave.

He says, "I'll surely miss you, dear friend. And I've brought the bottle, as requested." He took the bottle out and gave it a long look. Pulling out the cork, he says, "I'll pour it over your grave, as you asked...but I hope you don't mind if I run it through my kidneys first."

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