Farmer, the Teacher and the Priest, The

Play recording: Farmer, the Teacher and the Priest, The

view / hide recording details [+/-]

  • Teideal (Title): Farmer, the Teacher and the Priest, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840119.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): story.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 24/01/1984.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

A man returning from town in his horse and cart offers a lift to a teacher and a priest on the road. They begin discussing which of them provides the greatest benefit to society. They agree to ask the first person they meet to decide the question. When the come to a crossroad, they meet a stranger, and they ask him which of them performs the greatest service to the community.

The stranger sets them a challenge, to go up to the top of a mountain; when they do so, they lose one another in a mist.

The teacher comes across an apple tree, and after eating some and filling his pockets with more, he lies down to take a nap.

The priest comes to a valley where he sees a group of people — children, adults, and old people — throwing a ball against a wall, and each time it bounces back, they throw it again even harder. He sits down and watches this for a while, and then he falls asleep.

The farmer comes to a small cottage. The door is open, there’s a fire in the grate, and a table set full of food. He helps himself to the food and then, feeling tired, he attempts to lie down in one of the two beds in the corner. The first bed, however, overturns; so he gets into the second bed and sleeps until morning.

When he wakens, he is back at the crossroads, along with his two travelling-companions. The stranger asks each of them to tell what they saw and did. The stranger then interprets their experiences for them, drawing a lesson from each. The farmer is the only one of the three who comes out with a clean bill of moral health.

The lesson of the story is, ‘You’ve got to play straight with people. Otherwise it’s going to come down on you!’