All the Fat in the Fire and All the Beef in the Pot

Here is a transcription and translation of the story that appears here. There are some notes at the bottom. As usual, I have attempted to transcribe exactly, so any spelling errors in the original will remain. The English translation is somewhat stilted as I have tried to keep close to the Irish.

All the Fat in the Fire and All the Beef in the Pot

Do bhí buachaill aimsire ag obair i dtig a chómharsain aon uair amháin. Sé an obair a bhí ar siúbhal aige ná ag cur phrátaí. Do chuaidh sé isteach sa tig chun a phíopa a dheargadh. Nuair a chuaidh sé anonn chun na teine do chonnaic sé corcán mór ar an dteine. Do bhain sé an clúmhdach don chorcán agus cad a bheadh ann ná feóil. Do chuaidh sé amach sa pháirc arís agus dubhairt sé leis féin go mbeadh dinnéar maith aige an lá san. Tamall ‘na dhiaidh san do ghlaodhad isteach é chun a dhinnéar d’ithe.
Nuair a shuig sé chun an bhúird do chonnaic sé prátaí agus salann roimhis. Níor leig sé aonnídh air go raibh a dhinnéar ithte aige. D’eirig sé ón mbórd annsan agus dubhairt sé:
“All the fat in the fire, and all the beef in the pot agus beidh fhios (be bios) agaibh lá an fhóghmair, cé mhéid (an mór) dhon fheóil a fuair Jack.” Do chuaidh sé amach sa pháirc annsan agus do thug se mála mór síol amach leis agus chun iad a chrádh do chuir sé leath bhuicéad síol síos i ngac aon pholl. Nuair a fhás na prátaí is amhlaidh a bhí scart* mór (pnéocha) pnéacha annso is annsúd ar fuid na páirce.


A servant boy was once working in his neighbour’s house. The work he was doing was planting potatoes. He went into the house to light his pipe. When he went over to the fire he saw a big pot on the fire. He took the covering off the pot and what was [would be] there was meat. He went out into the field again and he said to himself that he’d have a good dinner that day. A while after that he was called in to eat his dinner.
When he sat at the table he saw potatoes and salt before him. He didn’t let on that he had eaten his dinner. He rose from the table then and said:
All the fat in the fire, and all the beef in the pot and ye will know on the harvest day how much of the meat Jack got.” He went out into the field then and he took a big bag of seeds out with him and in order to sow them he put a half bucket of seeds down in every single hole. When the potatoes grew the fact is that there was a big portion* of roots here and there all over the field.


ag cur phrátaí – planting potatoes. Lenition is usually found after the progressive in Cléire. In Muskerry it is at least found in common phrases (ag fáil bháis, ag baint fhéir, etc.).
ar fuid (ar fud) – all over.
chun iad a chrádh – to torture them? I don’t think so. I wonder if perhaps “chun iad a churtha” (“in order to sow them”) is meant. In Cléire, in constructions with a pronoun and “chun” (pronounced and often written “chuin”), the verbal noun is usually (though not invariably) put in the genitive (which often corresponds to the verbal adjective in form). For example: “chuin é a cheannaithe” instead of “chun é a cheannach”. I wonder if perhaps then “chun iad a churtha” in rapid speech could be rendered as “chun iad a chrádh”. If not, then I am at a loss as to the meaning of this.
deargadh – verbal noun of “deargaim” (I redden, I light). Used when lighting things.
d’ithe (a ithe) – to eat. Munster Irish often using “do” as a particle here (which was the traditional form).
gac (gach) – every. This is a spelling mistake. It should be “gach” (pronounced “geach” /g´ax/ in Cléire).
glaodhad (glaodhadh) – A typo, this should be “glaodhadh” meaning, roughly, “was called”; however, it is an autonomous form where the actor isn’t specified, rather than truly being a passive.
is amhlaidh – is is placed at the beginning of a sentence (followed by the relative form) in order to emphasise the following verb. I rendered it here as “the fact is…”, but it could be stated as something like “it is thus…”
pnéocha/pnéacha (fréamhacha) – roots.
*scart – I am not sure what this means. It may be connected to scar, scair or scairt. Perhaps something like “a great portion/layer of roots”, if a form of variant of “scair”.
síol (síolta?) – This appears to be a genitive plural (“of seeds”). The Standard Irish genitive plural form would be síolta.

Comments and corrections are welcome!

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

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