The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #123801   Message #2735820
Posted By: Rumncoke
01-Oct-09 - 10:24 AM
Thread Name: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
Subject: RE: Origins: The Devil and the Feathery Wife
It is part of the story of the 'May-all-good-be-gone'.

A man is walking home after serving in the army for many years, but on the way he is robbed of all his money except for one shilling. As he is wandering along he laments his fate and that of his wife and family who are waiting for him expecting his return to bring prosperity. Onto the path steps a handsome young man with dark curly hair and he is offered the tenancy of a good farm and is given a purse of money. The price of this will be made known to him in six years and eleven months, to be paid one month later.

When the price is revealed it is the souls of everyone living on the farm if the man can't name the beast the Devil will arrive on.

The man consults with his wife, and agrees the terms, if the Devil will agree to try to name the beast that he will drive to the meeting place. If he fails then the man will have the farm, and no interferrence from the Devil forever after.

On the day appointed the man is told to scatter thorn branches on the road and hide nearby. When the Devil comes riding up the beast treads on the thorns and rears up, throwing the Devil into a ditch from where he swears at it, and names it, calling it stupid.

The man then runs home and finds that his wife has cut up the skin of a ram, rubbed herself with honey and opened up a sack of feathers. He helps her to put on the skin, with the horns upon her head, and then cover everything not under the ram skin with feathers.

She then pulls him in her market trap to where he will be meeting the Devil, who stares at her in amazement.

The man jumps down and greets the Devil.

'Did you bring a beast for me to name?' he asks 'Is it over there with the May-all-good-be-gone?'

Realising he has lost the Devil leaps onto his steed and sets off back to Hell - quite forgetting that there is a place in the lane where his mount suddenly rears up and throws him into the ditch.