Happy as Larry

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  • Teideal (Title): Happy as Larry.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840117.
  • 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): between 1979 and 1981.
  • 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.

There is always a reason for everything. This story explains where the expression ‘Happy as Larry’ came from.

A king has everything he wants – but he’s not happy. He goes to a wise old man to find out how he could be happy. The wise old man tells him he needs to get a shirt from a poor, happy man. So the king sends his soldiers out to see if they can find such a person, and get his shirt from him. After searching Ireland for a man who is both poor and happy, the soldiers think they’re going to have to return to the king empty-handed, when they hear the voice of a man, singing, from behind a wall.

The man is poor, and he’s happy – but he doesn’t own a shirt.


This story corresponds to an international type, AT 844, The luck-bringing shirt.