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Séadna - The Story of the Cobbler with 3 Shillings

Séadna - Cobbler Story ... Chapter 1.

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éadna is an old Irish folktale by Peadar Ó Laoghaire (1839-1920), published in 1904. It is the best-known work of an tAthair Peadar Ó Laoghaire and was intended to provide reading material for learners of Irish. He became a parish priest in Castlelyons in 1891, and it was there that he wrote this his most famous story, Séadna, and told it as a fireside story to three little girls.

The plot of the story concerns the cobbler Séadna who runs out of leather to make shoes. He finds that he has just enough to scrape by and go down to the village with the coins he finds in his pocket to buy a small quantity of leather. This is how our story begins.

The author, Peadar Ó Laoghaire, attended St Patrick's College, Maynooth and was ordained a priest of the Catholic Church in 1867. He became a parish priest in Castlelyons in 1891, and it was there that he wrote his most famous story, Séadna. The book was published in 1904. The plot of the story concerns a deal that the cobbler Séadna struck with "the Dark Man". Although the story is rooted in the folklore the writer heard from shanachies by the fire during his youth, it is also closely related to the German legend of Faust.

1. (Fadó, fadó, bhí fear ann agus Séadna dob ainm dó. Greasaí do beadh é. Bhí comhnuí air i dtigín beag, bán, cheann tuí ag bun an cnoic do dhéin sé féin dó féin agus 'se a bhí comh sásta áthasach le haon fhear riamh ná ó shin.)

1. Long, long ago, there lived a man named Séadna (SHAY-NA) and he was a cobbler. He lived in a little white thatched cottage that he made for himself by himself and he was as happy as any man ever was, before or since.

2. (Bhí trí rudaí aige a bhí sé an bhródúil as: Bhí cathaoir shúgáin aige do dhéin sé féin dó féin agus ba gnáth leis suí inti um thráthnóna, nuair a bhíodh obair an lae críochnaithe aige agus bhíodh sé ar a shástacht. Bhí mealbhóg mine aige crochta in aice na tine agus anois agus arís, chuireadh sé a lámh inti agus thogadh sé lán a dhoirn den mhin agus bhíodh sé á cogaint ar a shuaimhneas. Bhí crann úll ag fás ar an dtaobh amuigh de dhoras aige agus is ar an gcrann seo a bhí na h-úll is fearr ar fud Éireann. Nuair a bhí tart air ó bheith ag cogaint na mine, chuireadh sé a lámh sa chrann san agus thógadh sé ceann des na húllaibh agus d'itheadh sé é.)

2. He had three things of which he was very proud . He had a sugawn chair which he had made for himself by himself and he liked to sit in it of an evening, when the work of the day would be done and he would be at his ease. He had a bag of meal which hung near the fire and now and again he would put his hand into it and take the full of his fist of the meal and he would be chewing away happily. He had an apple tree which grew outside the door and on this tree grew the finest apples in all Ireland. When he would be thirsty from chewing the oatmeal he would put his hand up in the tree and take one of the apples and be eating it.

3. (Anois, san am sin ní hamhain a bhí na gréasaí ag deisiú na mbróg, ach dhéin siad brógai nua ar fad, agus tiochfhaidh na daoine i bhfad uaidh chun brógai fháil ó Shéadna mar bhi cáil mór air mar fear is fearr déanta na mbróg ar fud Éireann.)

3. Now, in those days, a cobbler not only mended shoes, he also made them and people would come from far away for a pair of Séadna's shoes, because he was the best shoemaker in the whole of Ireland.

4. (Lá da raibh sé ag déanamh bróg, thug sé fé ndeara ná raibh a thuilleadh leathair aige, ná a thuilleadh snáithe na a thuilleadh cearach. Níor raibh fholáir dó dul go dtí Mágh Chruma agus níos mo fháil sara bhféadfadh sé a thuilleadh bróg a dhéanamh agus dúirt sé leis féin go mba cheart dó dul isteach go dtí an baile ar a lorg. Sheas sé suas agus chuardaigh sé tréna phócaí ag lorg airgead O ach fuair sé nach raibh ach trí scillinge aige. Ní dhéanfhaidh an méid sin an gno! ar seisean leis féin. Ara, nach mbeidh péire eile déanta agam sar i bhfad - agus nuair atá siad sin díolta nach mbeidh mo dhóthain agam chun níos mó leathair a cheannaigh ! Chuir sé a shean cháibín briste bruite ar a cheann agus a chóta ghiobalach agus bhuail sé amach sios an bóthar siar go Mágh Chruma.)

4. One day when he was making boots, he noticed that he hadn't enough leather nor enough thread nor enough wax to make another pair of shoes and he knew that he must go into the town of Macroom to buy some more. He stood up and searched through his pockets and found that he only had three shillings.. Oh Well, that won't buy a lot of leather! O he told himself. Ah well, I'll not be long making another pair of shoes and when I sell them, won't I have enough to buy as much as I need for the next few pairs.... He put on his battered old caubeen(hat) and his patched old coat and set off down the road to Macroom.

5. (Ní raibh se ach mile on dtigh nuair a bhuail leanbh allainn uime agus e ina sheasamh ar thaobh an bhóthair agus thosaigh an leanbh ag cainnt leis as Gaeilge. Dia dhuit a Shéadna...In ainm Dé tabhair rud eigin dom le n-ithe. Táim ag fáil bháis leis an t-ochras! Mhuise mo leanbh bocht... O a dúirt Séadna, Nílim ach tar éis an baile a fhágaint... Níl faic le n-ithe agam le thabhairt duit... agus go tobann thainig sé cuige go raibh trí scilleacha ina phóca aige. Thóg s scilling aca amach agus thug sé don leanbh é. Seo dhuit'''Tóg é seo agus ceannaigh rud éigin le n-ithe duit féin. Thóg an leanbh ina lámh é agus aoibh deas ar a bheola. A Shéadna, tá rud mór déanta agat ar son Dé agus geobhaidh tú luach mar gheall air ! agus le sin d'imthig sé as radharc. )

5. He hadn't gone far before he noticed a beautiful child standing at the side of the road and the child spoke to him in Irish. Dia dhuit a Shéadna (God be with you Seadna)...In the name of God, would you ever give me something to eat, for I'm dying of the hunger ! My poor child... said Séadna I have only just left the house.... I have nothing to eat to give you... Suddenly he thought of the three shillings in his pocket. He pulled one of them out and gave it to the child. Here take this and buy yourself something to eat with it. The child took the money, smiled beautifully and said, Séadna, this day you have done a great thing for God and he will reward you! ... then he vanished!

6. (Chuimil Séadna a shuile agus thochais sé a cheann. A' raibh sé ag brionglóidigh ?...Chuir sé a lámh isteach ina phóca go mall... Gan amhras ar bith... ni raibh ach DHá scilling amhain fágtha aige ! Sin mar do tharla go deimhin... ach ní raibh fhéidir leis créiduint gach ní a chonnaic sé amach is amach. Tar éis taimaillín chuir sé a shean cáibín ar a cheann arís agus bhuail sé síos an bothar go Mágh Chruma.)

6. Séadna rubbed his eyes and scratched his head... Had he imagined it ?... He slowly put his hand into his pocket... Sure enough, he only had TWO shillings left ! It MUST have happened... but he could hardly believe what he had just seen. After a while, he put his old caubeen back on his head and set off, once more, down the road to Macroom.

7. (Ní raibh ach achar ghearr siúilte aige nuair a thug sé fé ndeara go raibh bean állainn agus í cosnochtaithe agus ag féachaint air le haoibh gháire. Labhair sise leis as Gaeilge leis cómh maith mar a dhéin an leanbh, agus bheannaigh sí dó. Dia dhuit a Shéadna!... In ainm Dé tabhair rud éigin dom le n-ithe. Táimse ag fáil bháis leis an t-ochras.A bhean uaisle... d'fhreagair Séadna go stadach - ó bhí sí an állainn ar fad - Is oth liom a admhail nach bhfuil blúire le n-ithe agam anois. Nílim ach tar éis an teach a fhágaint anois beag ach seo dhuit... Tóg an scilling seo agus cheannaigh rud éigin duit féin agus shín sé a lámh leis an dára scilling do bhí aige chun leathair fháil.)

7. He had only gone about a dozen steps when suddenly he noticed a beautiful lady also barefooted and also smiling at him. She too spoke to him in Irish...and said exactly the same as the child had. Dia dhuit a Shéadna! (God be with you Séadna)... In the name of God, would you ever give me something to eat for I'm dying with the hunger! OO My dear madam... O stammered Séadna for she was a very beautiful lady... I fear that I have nothing to eat with me... I'm sad to have to admit that I haven't a scrap to eat now. I'm only just after leaving the house...but here... take this shilling and buy yourself something to eat! and he reached out his hand with the second of his three shillings that he had been going to buy leather with.

8. D'fhéach sí go cineálta air agus, ar sise, A Shéadna, tá beart mór déanta agat ar son Dé agus gheobhfaidh tú do luach. agus d'imthig sise as radharc comh maith ! Bhuel, bhí iontas ceart ar Shéadna bocht. A leithéid den lá seo ní fhacha sé riamh. An féidir gur thárla gach ní in aon chor ? Chuir sé a lámh síos ina phóca agus thosnaigh ag púitseáil timcheall. Ní raibh ach scilling amhain ann. Shuí sé síos ar chloch ar thaobh an bhóthair agus thochais sé a cheann agus is beag nach raibh sé ag súil leis thug sé fé ndeara go raibh seanfhear ina sheasamh ar thaobh an bhóthair go ghearr in aice leis. Bhí aoibh gháire ar a' tsean duine agus bheannaigh sé do Shéadna: Dia dhuit a Shéadna... tá fhios mhaith agam... caithfidh ochras bheith ortsa , arsa Séadna... Seo dhuit...Tóg mo scilling dheireannach seo agus cheannaigh rud éigin le n-ithe duit féin. Dhéin an seanfhear gáire agus dúirt, A Shéadna... tá beart mór déanta son Dé agat inniu agus gheobhfaidh tú luach mar gheall air! D'imthig seisean as radharc freisin.
(Beídh níos mó agaíbh an chead uaír eíle !)

8. She looked kindly at him and said, Séadna, this day you have done a great thing for God and He will reward you! then she too vanished ! Well, this was a day of surprises for poor Séadna. He didn't know WHAT to think... Could it all have REALLY happened? He put his hand down into his coat pocket and rummaged around. There was only ONE shilling left... He sat down on a stone at the side of the road and scratched his head and was looking at the single shilling again when... he was almost expecting it... he noticed an old man with a white beard standing quite close to him. The old man smiled at him and said, Dia dhuit a Shéadna (God be with you Séadna)... In the name of God, would you ever.... I know, I know... said Séadna You're dying with the hunger... Here... you might as well take this last shilling... It's all I have... Go and buy yourself something to eat. The old man said, This day you have done a great thing for God and He will reward you! and he too vanished !

To be continued ...

We would like to acknowledge that, because of unavoidable condensing, necessary for fitting this tale into the space available, some alteration in plot has had to be made. We have, however, tried to use An tAth Peadar's own beautiful West Cork Gaelic as far as possible.

Courtesy of Jack & Vivian, IrishPage.com Nov. 20, 2009
This Page Séadna Chapter 1
Click here for Séadna Chapter 2
Replay background music: Cobbler at the Fair...
Ar mbuiochas le Caoimhghín Ó Brolcháin
ar son a chabhair leis an nGaedhilge


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