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The Legacy of Finoula O'Halloran

by Steven "Prometheus" Hoey

Researcher ’s foreword:

The following story by my ancestor, Donneail O’hEochaidh, was translated from the Gaelic in 1756 by Sean O’Haughey. The manuscript was thought lost in the unexplained fire that took O’Haughey’s life in 1757 at the age of 43 years. That the manuscript survived is amazing as it is said that the heat of the flames caused the very stones of Drommond Tower (where O’Haughey was staying as a guest of Glynnis Dunne, heiress to the Drommond clover-wine fortune) to burn until morning. It seems that in his last lucid moments of life, poor Sean O’Haughey weighted the parchment with a bust of Pope L. F. N. Titus II and immersed it in an oaken keg of clover wine that was said miraculously not to have been consumed by the flames. Lottie Dunne discovered the manuscript one evening upon quaffing the entire contents of the charred keg on the wager she could not by one Prichard Todd, a local barrister of little reputation (and no historical significance other than this mention whatsoever). Upon having the contents of her gut pumped by Dr. Thomas Oakely (as well as other sundry parts as Dr. Oakely was said to be nothing if not thorough), the manuscript was recovered and preserved in Ellie Durham’s mutton stew for 26 years, it being known to prevent all manner of rot and decay (and so indigestible that any item resting in the pot with Mrs. Durham ’s stew was safe from most anything).

The manuscript was rediscovered in a jumble sale in the village of Bumratty in County Claredaloon in 1783 by Deirdre Ann Smalle when she was but a ‘wee lassie’. The manuscript was thereupon made into a bathing costume for Miss Deirdre who was said to be quite the swimmer in her day. The stew residue acted as a natural insulator against the chill Irish lake waters as well as reducing Miss Deirdre’s negligible drag. Miss Deirdre won the County Claredaloon Summer Swim Races from that year through 1797. It was feared she would never marry as the local men were put off by the sight of her chowder-encrusted bikini (Deirdre appears to have been ahead of her time regarding bathing mores). In fact, marry she never did. But her daughter(!), Aliantha, wore the manuscript well into the mid-1800s (with minor alterations) and attempted a channel crossing in 1832.

Aliantha is said to have perished on her second attempt to swim the Channel in 1838. Reports have it she was attacked 2 miles offshore from Calais by a giant sperm whale and swallowed alive never to be seen again.

The O’Haughey manuscript was again recovered (still coated in Ellie Durham’s teflon chowder) clinging to a survivor of the H.M.S. Titanic disaster in 1914. Hurdie Gurdie Meyer, a beautiful Swiss girl from Strumpfhosen, knew not how she came to be clad in the buoyant manuscript, only that it was certainly the means of her survival. She celebrated her rescue with wild abandon for three months in New York City, eventually pawning the manuscript-cum-lifejacket for a methusulah of absinthe, upon which Hurdie finally did drown one night in a cheap hotel on E. 14th Street.

The manuscript remained unaccounted for until 1969 whereupon it was rediscovered as a lampshade in the bedroom of this researcher in Rockton, Illinois when he was but 6 years old. Years of precocious, scholarly work were required to create a solvent to break Ellie Durham’s ‘seal of silence’ and read the marvellously preserved text beneath. It was not until I accidently recreated Ellie Durham’s elusive recipe over the recent holidays that I cracked the code (and my mother’s favorite pot) and recovered the O’Haughey manuscript.

This will be the first reading in over 200 years. Mediums and psychometrics having laid hands on the manuscript, percieve the events described here to predate that time by nearly two centuries! They have also warned me of the great danger risked in reading the manuscript aloud, so infused it is with ‘evil and darkness’. Being a Byronist, I eschew such warnings as rubbish and so we forge ahead and sod the consequences! So here it is as follows, the 1756 O’Haughey original translation of Donneail O’hEochaidh’s ancient text.

Steven D. ‘Prometheus’ Hoey, Earl of Rockton, Hampstead, London in the year of our lord nineteen hundred and ninety-one.

Lheaghacy O’AFinoulah O'Haelaighan

[Original Gaelic Text of Donneail O hEochaidh]

Comain O’Fiachnan gallochbhair, mag fhionngeal O’Kylea Muineog
O'Haelaighan e blach ghuinnes stowt t ’filh Loch Lomondh haegh
Lo laiodh O’hIfearnain O’Baelyes eire creym Pernodh
Inneirghe Londondherry ayre fiannaidhe mutton pye
O'Haelaighan e blach ghuinnes stowt t ’filh Loch Lomondh haegh
Lo laiodh O’hIfearnain O’Baelyes eire creym
Comain O’Fiachnan gallochbhair, mag fhionngeal O’Kylea Muineog
O'Haelaighan e blach ghuinnes stowt t ’filh Loch Lomondh haegh

Lo laiodh O’hIfearnain O’Baelyes eire creym Pernodh
Inneirghe Londondherry ayre fiannaidhe mutton pye
O'Haelaighan e blach ghuinnes stowt t ’filh Loch Lomondh haegh
Lo laiodh O’hIfearnain O’Baelyes eire creym
Comain O’Fiachnan gallochbhair, mag fhionngeal O’Kylea Muineog
O'Haelaighan e blach ghuinnes stowt t ’filh Loch Lomondh haegh
Lo laiodh O’hIfearnain O’Baelyes eire creym Pernodh
Inneirghe Londondherry ayre fiannaidhe mutton pye
[etc., etc., usw.]

The Legacy of Finoula O'Halloran [Translation]

Draw ye up close for I dare to tell the tale
Of the ancient clan O'Halloran and their wicked, witchly ways
Bank low the fyre ’til it flicker wan ’n pale
As I take ye back, me darlins, to them darke, godless days
Fearful be ye nowe for what I’ll say be true
So listen to me close, as I’ll tell ye not again
It all began with a storm and a dark Irish brew
When up blew a gayleforce that shattered every pane
An’ brought down the lighthouse from ole Dunmerry Hill
Killing poor O’Leary, his wife, and their three boys!
Thus was borne the curse and so it lives on still
For evil does nay die, but sleeps without a noise
’Twas the 19th day of January in 1692
In county Hull d’Mayo neare Greengherkin she was borne
Finoula O'Halloran, they named her, that much be surely true
But man-sired she wasn’t, for she was borne with horns!

Ahhh, ye wink now and nod thinkin’ ‘mad, old man’s talk’,
But so it is and so it was in me father’s day afore
An his father too afore him, back and back along time’s walk
’Cause ye are ignorant fools and starved of ancient lore!
’Twas our mother’s faithe in God that warded o’er us then
’Gainst evil charms an’ hexes an’ all the devil’s wares
An’ wary we were too of the black pig in his pen
That oft leapt out on moonless nights to slaughter all our hares!

’Twas a ’trothal gift to me sister, that foul, gruntin’ pig,
From Danny o’ th’ clan O'Halloran, a comely lad if thicke
An’ his mother, Susan Mae, baked a pie well-stuffed with fig
But me sister was a harlot marrying Dan for his heart [’twas rather large]
Now the O'Hallorans they were bad and always ha’ been so
From a line o’ potent witches descended were they said to be
For when they were angry at a glance a O'Halloran could melt the snow!
An’ oft-times did their clan send a body burning to the sea!

Och, but I ramble for I mentioned afore the brew
That darke night was boilin’ in a cauldron o’er a flame
’Twas witchcraft, aye, and this ye surely knew!
Conjured by younge Finoula, seventh witch to beare that name
And the seventh of a seventh daughter was she know to be
Most powerful of the clan O'Halloran and they were strong indeed!
Her eyes a deepe greene shown, her hair like fyre so free,
But a wanton witch she was, ever eager to meet a lad’s sore need;

So the brew she stirred and the fyre she stoked
Addin’ mandrake ’n Bisto, pickled entrails of beast
While singin’ low to Satan, her voice thickly croaked
Finoula boiled her pot for some ill-omened feast
Never stoppin’ once her stirrin’, never deignin’ to sleep
Round ’bout the tenth day the skye started turnin’ to black
And the hogs pure went wild buggerin’ all the sheep!
Whilst all ’round the O'Halloran place the earth began to crack!
An’ from them vents a foule stench did issue
As a sickly carmine light bled from the fissured lande
The aire was so vile as to force ye breathe through tissue
Most o’ the village then thought the judgement daye at hande!
The womenfolke set to wailin’ and the menfolkes’ knees to shake
When the grounde at last burst open rainin’ rock upon their head
Up came a daemon horde their aime a soule to take
Whilst the aire danced with spirits, the ghouls danced with the dead!

Music filled the aire, cuttin’ quick right thru the din
An eerie fiddle tune dashed off at breakneck speed
Started all the girles to dancin’ and then to carnal sin
’Twas the black man to be sure upon his fyrey steed!
Sawin’ on his fiddle just as pleased as he could be
For Finoula O'Halloran had called ’im to be his wedded bride
An’ left her pot, now thicke as snot, to heare his melodie
To prance about an’ give a shout then kneel by his side

[Researcher’s note: O’Haughey’s original translations of the next several lines are missing, no doubt victim of Deirdre’s daughter’s many alterations to her bathing suit in the 1830s. Therefore, I have personally translated the odd bit of Gaelic to complete the needed rhyme.]

‘O great an’ awesome darke one,’ she began in reverent tones,
‘Ye came at last to take me to be your one true love!
To have me an’ to holde me ’til I’m nought but dust ’n’ bones
For I give meself to darkeness ’n’ forsake the light above! ’
Well, the devil stopped his fiddlin’, gazin’ downe upon her face
An’ smiled his winnin’ smile whilst he eyed her up ’n’ down.
Pleased he be, for Finoula was then the fayrest of her race:
Fayrer then than all her ken, the sexiest chicke in towne.

‘Well, younge wenche, I can spy a hot babe when I see one,
’Tis a rare witch with the power to call me from below.
Horny I am so come to me: in your oven I’ll place a bunne,
An’ for your efforts unto your descendants a legacy bestow.’
So did Finoula then leap up to ride upon his horse
Her arms wrapped ’round his muscled hips, her hand held tight his horn
An’ off they went into the night to run the the fulle moon’s course
An’ wallow in obscenities best described by hard core porn!

[The poet alters his meter at this point for reasons to us unknown]

’Round ’bout morne a cock did crowe as the skye turned milkye whyte
The sound of hooves came o’er the moor as Finoula came ridin’ home
Her backe was scarred, her cheekes were flushed, I tell ye what a sight!
To inspyre some men to lusty thoughts and meself to write a poeme;
The steed then there did drop her down and gallop back to Hell
An’ Finoula she just lay there pantin’ in the dirte
I couldna’ help but gaze upon her lovely bosom swelle
An’ thinke upon e’en darker things hidden ’neath her skyrtes
But banished these at once I tried to save me mortal soul!
From perdition’s ende, brimstone’s breath an’ painful pitchfork pokes
Alas, I helde her in me arms an’ in the haye we rolled
I had the lass, the first for me (afore I’d slept with blokes)
But I couldna’ seem to please her no matter how harde I tried!
An’ though ’twas my very first nook, I sensed somethin’ amiss
At last I had to give it up æ poor Finoula cried and cried;
An’ sobbed she’d lost her lovin’ knack, the little nub of blisse!

‘’Tis the bastard’s worke to thieve me jewele an’ leave me bloody numb!’
This she cried more than once as I puzzled o’er her werdes,
‘In rapture’s fyres did he sear me whilst pluckin’ out me plum!
An’ now the passion o’ the man ’taint e’en werthe a turde!’
From the lash o’ her fowle tongue did then I run for cover
But I couldna’ outrun the scourge o’ her maleficent witch’s hex
With a flashe then did she gelde me so I’d never be a lover
In me agony I helde me tongue then knowing it’d be me only sex.

For tenne dayes did all hell break loose as Finoula raved an’ ranted
Causin’ all raine in the heavens to fall, floodin’ deepe Greengherkin Valley Durin’ these dayes I drank meself blinde æ thirty pints a daye I decanted
In our damp homes did all the towne pray, from forthe ne’er darin’ to sally
Then all at once came a quiet so still like the hush ye heare in a forest
When durin’ a hunt on a windless daye as ev’ry beaste lay still
Hopin’ another daye to live never to heare the hunter’s chorus
When came a sounde ever so soft from atop o’ the nearby hill.

’Twas George the hector, an’ astral skye gazer, callin’ us all t’ come out:
His sweet melodye washed o’er us an’ through us, meltin’ all grim consternation,
An’ brought then a smile to ev’ry man’s lips, but made me vomit me stowt.
An’ in George’s hayre were many a flower, arranged in brighte constellation;
He brought all us back and made us anew, like Adam in the garden with Eve.
’Twas Fionna O’Gregory, a smith’s daughter, who dared to look on the witch,
A teacher, she was referred to as ‘Miss’, an’ a white witch I’m led to believe;
Stern in the classroom, still sterner in bedde, a deft hande with her switch
Fionna found Finoula asleep on the bedde, the wee house around her a sty;
So still was poor Finoula, ashen an’ colde, appearin’ more dead than alive.
Fionna thought twice ’bout bringin’ her ’round, ’bout leavin’ ’n’ lettin’ her die.
A whyte witch may ne’er use her powers for ill, so she drew then a star sided five
’Round that a circle two man-strides across, to protect her from evil intent;
Then did Fionna grab Finoula’s hayre an’ into the pentacle drag her
There did she beat her o’er an’ again ’til Fionna was practically spent
’Twas the means to cure a waywarde witch, of this ye can be sure!

When Finoula O'Halloran recovered her health she was found to be heavy wi’ childe,
A daemon-spawned babe from that hard midnight’s ride, with Satan, the father of lies
She tolde ‘Fi-bum’ then of the terrible curse, on her face was a tight, bitter smyle;
I ’ll tell it now as I heard it then o’ the O'Halloran girles sorry demise:
‘On me daughters own heads will me sins ever rest, though each be borne pure an’ untainted,
With no devil down there to goad them or tempt them wilde, wicked pleasure,
Me daughter’s own girles will growe up unknowing an’ for that they all should be sainted,
But I foresee one chance there’ll be to recover me stolen treasure!
There will come a man in future’s tyme hence, and I know now he’ll call hi’self Dan,
A warlock, Danny boy, is destined to be borne, a lad of silver tongue and spoon,
Thoughtless of his eldritch power, he’ll wield it without planne;
With taunting werdes he’ll be the one to unlock me daughter’s swoon!’

That’s how I heard it from younge Miss Fionna, an’ a whyte witch they say never can lie;
I ’m puzzled most sorely ’bout this witch she names Dan, I know not of what it portend:
Be he whyte or he blacke or some shade in between, I doubt this I’ll know ’fore I die,
But I’ve no more to tell ye ’bout Finoula O'Halloran and so bring this tale to its ende.