It is probable that the first tradition is to be met outside the Pale, and even as far as Connemara, but the writer has heard or read it nowhere since he learned it in his youth from Mrs. K., our already quoted authority.
The devil and the hearth-money collector for Bantry set out one summer morning to decide a bet they made the night before over a jug of punch. They wanted to see which would have the best load at sunset, and neither was to pick up anything that wasn't offered with the goodwill of the giver. They passed by a house, and they heard the poor vanithee cry out to her lazy daughter, " O musha,-take you for a lazy sthronshuch of a girl! do you intend to get up to-day?" "Oh, oh!" says the tax-man, " there is a lob for you, Nick." " Ovoch ! " says the other, "it wasn't from her heart she said it: we must pass on." The next cabin they were passing, the woman was on the bawn-ditch crying out to her husband, that was mending one of his brogues inside : " Oh, tattheration to you, Mick ! you never rung them pigs, and there they are in the potato drills rootin' away; the-run to Lusk with them ! " " Another windfall for you," says the man of the inkhorn, but the old thief only shook his horns and wagged his tail. So they went on, and ever so many prizes offered to the black fellow without him taking one. Here it was a gorsoon playing marvels when he should be using his clappers in the corn-field ; and there it was a lazy drone of a servant asleep with his face to the sod, when he ought to be weeding. No one thought of offering the hearth-money man even a drink of buttermilk, and at last the sun was within half a foot of the edge of Cooliagh. They were just then passing thro' Monamolin, and a poor woman that was straining her supper in a skeeoge outside her cabin door, seeing the two standing at the bawn gate, bawled out, " Oh, here's the hearth-money man,-run away wid 'im ! " " Got a bite at last," says Nick. " Oh, no, no ! it wasn't from her heart she said it," says the collector. " Indeed an' it was from the very foundation stone of her heart it came. No help for misfortunes : in with you," says he, opening the mouth of his big black bag ; and whether the devil was ever after seen taking the same walk or not, no one ever laid eyes on his fellow-traveller again.
The Cooliagh, or White Mountain, forms part of the north-west boundary of Wexford. The mere English reader is informed that the skeeoge or flattish wicker basket, having received the potatoes and boiling water on the pavement, lets the liquid off to the pool at the bottom of the yard. The shields of the ancient Irish, consisting of strong leather, or plates over a wicker framework, were called skiaghs.
At some period of the troubles in Munster a small tribe emigrated to the north-east portion of the county Wexford. The following legend connected with the family was current among the descendants who lived, and loved, and sinned, and fought the battle of life half a century since.