An Próca Óir – The Crock of Gold

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some comments at the bottom, along with a vocabulary. As usual, I have attempted to transcribe exactly, so any spelling errors in the original will remain.

Sgéul.

Ar an dtaobh shoir don bhaile seo (Cumolán) tá cuas ar a dtugtar Cuas a Dubhghlais. Aige bun a bhóthair atá sí agus sruthán uisge a rith síos ann. Deirtear go bhfuil próca óir curtha shíos sa chuas san agus fear gorm agus claidheamh aige á ghárdaíl.

Seo mar a thárla do bheith ann d’réir na sean sgéulta:- Fadó, fadó riamh tháinig long ón Austráil ar dtír san áit sin a lorg fíoruisge. Ní ró fhada ar dtír dóibh go dtáinig an tóir ón bhfairrge ortha. Ní raibh ach an próca óir sin acu agus thugadar as an luing é agus chuireadar annsan istig i dtóin a’ chuais é agus chuireadar an fear gorm mar ghárda air. Chuireadar geasa air an t-ór a chosaint beo agus marbh do go dtiocfaidís féin á iarraidh aris. Tá sé dóigheamhail nár thánadar chun an fhir bhoicht a fhuasgailt fós, mar ar uair áirighthe nach aon oidhche cloistear mar a bheadh duine ag gearán thíos san chuas.

Story.

On the East side of this town (Cumolán) there’s a hollow known as “Douglas’s Hollow”. It’s at the bottom of the road and a stream of water runs down there. It is said there there is a crock of gold put down in that hollow and a black man and his sword guarding it.

This is how its being there came about according to the old stories: – Long, long ago, a ship came to land from Australia in that place looking for fresh water. They weren’t long on land before pursuit from the sea came upon them. They only had that crock of gold and they took it from the ship and put it there in the bottom of the hollow and they set the black man as the guard of it. They put binding spells upon him to guard the gold, be he dead or alive, until they themselves would come seeking it again. It is likely that they never came to release/deliver the poor man yet, because at certain times every night it is heard as though there is a person complaining down in the hollow.

Notes:

  • a rith is simply “ag rith” (running), however the g isn’t pronounced.
  • beo agus marbh do – be he dead or alive (interesting that agus is used instead of nó here). The use of “do” rather than “dó” is dialectical.
  • don bhaile seo – don and den are somewhat confused in Munster.

Foclóirín:

As usual, (pre.) indicates a pre-reform spelling and (dial.) a dialectical spelling or variant and I have enclosed the modern “Standard Irish” equivalent in brackets.

aige (ag) – at (dial.)
claidheamh (claíomh) – sword (pre.)
ar dtír – on land. An example of how the article can be dropped when a word is used in a generic sense. The preposition “ar” eclipses in certain calcified expressions.
as an luing (as an long) – out of the boat. We see a dative form here. (dial.)
dóigheamhail (dóighiúil, a variant of “dóchúil”) – likely, probable (pre., dial.)
fairrge (farraige) – sea (pre.)
fhuasgailt (fhuascailt) – release (pre.)
fíoruisge (fíoruisce) – fresh water, spring water (pre.)
geasa – plural of geas (spell, taboo)
nach aon (gach aon) – every single (dial.)
ortha (orthu) – on/upon them (dial.)
próca óir – crock of gold
shíos (thíos) – down. This is normally a dialectical way of spelling thíos, but it seems to be being used here in a way you’d expect síos to be used. (dial.)
shoir (thoir) – east (dial.)

Comments and corrections are welcome!

I make use of this source with thanks to Dúchas.ie, under the conditions of the CC BY-NC 4.0 licence.

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