Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lady Wilde, Jane Francesca Agnes-Three Irish Folk Lore Stories

"The Priest's Soul" (1882, 22 pages)
"The Black Lamb"  (1883, 6 pages)
"The Horned Women" (1883, 4 pages)

Irish Short Story Week Year Two
March 12 to March 22
Three Paranormal Stories by
Oscar Wilde's Mother

Please consider joining us for Irish Short Story Week Year Two, March 12 to March 22.   All you need do is post on one short story by an Irish author and send me a comment or an e-mail and I will include it in the master post at the end of the challenge. Thanks

1n 1883 Richard Wagnar died.  In Ireland the English government suppressed The Irish Land League, designed to protect the rights of tenant farmers.  George Moore published A Modern Lover.  The Brooklyn Bridge opens.   

 I think the main, perhaps close to the only one, people still read the short stories of Lady Wilde is that they are curious to read something by the mother of Oscar Wilde.   A few people, like myself, also come upon her stories in William Butler Yeats' Folk and Fairy Tales of the Irish Peasants.  Yeats speaks very highly of her though he does say some of her fairy tales are not strictly in accord with the details of Irish Folklore as seen by scholars. 

Lady Wilde, as she was called, was born in Dublin in 1821.  She died in London 1896.   At this time Oscar was in prison.  Lady Wilde, knowing she was to die soon, requested permission to visit him but the English authorities denied her request.  (There is some information about her here.

None of these works are great great short stories  but all are interesting and fun to read..   I admit to a high curiosity factor about her work and I confess I did not really know she was also an author until a few days ago.    I will just post briefly on each story.

"The Priest's Soul" is the longest most interesting story of the three.  It also documents the great respect in which the Irish held people of learning.   As the story opens we meet a young man from a humble family.   At a very young age he can out debate all the teachers and priests in the area.   He reads and studies and learns more and more.   He believes only in what he can see, only in the visible material world.     He does not believe in God or that man has a soul.   He soon becomes known as the wisest man in the land (there is no place or date setting given for the story) and people come from all over even out of the country to listen to him.  Soon almost everyone in the country loses their faith in God and no one believes people have souls.   One day an angel advises him he will die soon.   He is faced with a serious dilemma when he realizes his repudiation of traditional religion was all wrong.   He tries to convince people he was wrong but they all think he was just joking with him.  I will leave the rest of the story untold.

"The Horned Women" is a simple story, it closer to a fable than a short story about a country woman who house is invaded first by a woman with a horn, then another woman with two horns and so on up until there are twelfe horned women in her house.    The fun in this story is how she gets rid of the horned women forever.

"The Black Lamb" is another simple story.   It is a story about a changeling and about folk beliefs about death.   

You can download all of these stories from Manybooks.  They are in the William Butler Yeats collection I mentioned.  

Mel u

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