Gateway to the Classics: The Irish Twins by Lucy Fitch Perkins
 
The Irish Twins by  Lucy Fitch Perkins

"Diddy"

Larry and Eileen took hold of hands, and began running as fast as they could. They jumped from one tuft of grass to another. Dennis came splashing through the puddles after them. He had almost caught them, when all of a sudden, Larry stopped and listened.

"What 's that now?" he said. Eileen and Dennis listened too. They heard a faint squealing sound.

They looked all around. There was nothing in sight but the brown bog, and the stones, and the blue hills far beyond. They were a little bit scared.

"Do you suppose it might be a Leprechaun?" Eileen whispered.

" 'T is a tapping noise they make; not a crying noise at all," Larry answered.

"Maybe it's a Banshee," Dennis said. "They do be crying about sometimes before somebody is going to die."

" 'T is no Banshee whatever," Eileen declared. "They only cry at night."

They heard the squealing sound again.

" 'T is right over there," cried Eileen, pointing to a black hole in the bog where turf had been cut out. "Indeed, and it might be a beautiful baby like Deirdre herself! Let's go and see."

They crept up to the bog-hole, and peeped over the edge. The hole was quite deep and down in the bottom of it was a little pig! Dennis rolled over on the ground beside the bog-hole and screamed with laughter.


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"Sure, 't is the beautiful child entirely!" he said.

" 'T is the little pig the Tinkers had!" cried Eileen.

"It broke the rope and ran away with itself," shouted Larry.

"However will we get it out?" said Eileen. "The hole is too deep entirely!"

"The poor little thing is nearly destroyed with hunger," Larry said. "I 'll go down in the hole and lift her out."

"However will you get out yourself, then, Larry darling?" cried Eileen.

"The two of you can give me your hands," said Larry, "and I 'll be up in no time."

Then Larry jumped down into the hole. He caught the little pig in his arms. The little pig squealed harder than ever and tried to get away, but Larry held it up as high as he could.

Eileen and Dennis reached down and each got hold of one of the pig's front feet. "Now then for you!" cried Larry.

He gave the pig a great shove. He shoved so hard that Eileen and Dennis both fell over backwards into a puddle! But they held tight to the pig, and there the three of them were together, rolling in the bog with the pig on top of them

"Hold her, hold her!" shrieked Larry. By standing on tiptoe his nose was just above the edge of the bog-hole, so he could see them.

"I 've got her," Eileen cried. "Run back for the bit of rope the Tinkers left, Dennis, and tie her, hard and fast!"

Dennis ran for the rope while Eileen sat on the ground and held the little pig in her arms. The little pig squealed and kicked and tried every minute to get away. She kicked even after her hind legs were tied together. But Eileen held on!


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"You 'll have to get Larry out alone, Dennis, while I never let go of this pig," cried Eileen, breathlessly. "She 's that wild, she'll be running away with herself on her two front legs, alone."

Dennis reached down, and took both of Larry's hands and pulled and pulled until he got him out.

Larry was covered with mud from the bog-hole, and Eileen and Dennis were wet and muddy from falling into the puddle.

But they had the pig!

"Sure, she is a beautiful little pig, and we 'll call her Deirdre, because we found her in the bog just in the same way as Conchubar himself," said Larry.

"Indeed, Deirdre was too beautiful altogether to be naming a pig after her," Eileen said.

"Is n't she a beautiful little pig, then?" Larry answered.

"Well, maybe we might be calling her 'Diddy,' for short, and no offense to herself at all," Eileen agreed.

The poor little pig was so tired out with struggling, and so hungry, that she was fairly quiet while Dennis carried her on his shoulder to the road. Eileen walked behind Dennis and fed her with green leaves.


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She was so quiet that Larry said: "We 'll tie the rope to one of Diddy's hind legs, and she'll run home herself in front of us."

So when they reached the road he and Dennis tied the rope securely to Diddy's left hind leg and set her down.

They found Colleen asleep, standing up.

Larry woke her. Then he said, "Eileen, come now, you take the jug, and get on Colleen's back. Dennis can lead her, and I 'll drive the pig myself."


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But Diddy was feeling better after her rest. She made up her mind she did n't like the plan. She squealed and tried to get away. Once she turned quickly and ran between Larry's legs and tripped him up. But she was a. tired little pig, and so it was not long before, somehow, they got her back to where Mr. McQueen was working.

He had n't heard them coming, though what with the pig squealing, and the children all speaking at once, they made noise enough. But Mr. McQueen had his head down digging, and he was in a bog-hole besides, so when they came up right beside him, with the pig, he almost fell over with astonishment.

He stopped his work and leaned on his clete, while they told him all about the pig, and how they found it, and got it out of the hole, and how the Tinkers must have lost it. And when they were all done, he only said, "The Saints preserve us! We 'll take it home to Herself and let her cosset it up a bit!"

So the children hurried off to take the pig to their Mother without even stopping to eat their bit of lunch. Mr. McQueen came, too.

When they got home, they found Mrs. McQueen leaning on the farmyard fence. When she saw them coming with the pig, she ran out to meet them.

"Wherever did you find the fine little pig?" she cried. Then she threw up her hands. "Look at the mud on you!" she said.

Then the Twins and Dennis told the story all over again, and Mrs. McQueen took the little pig in her apron. "The poor little thing!" she said. "Its heart is beating that hard, you 'd think its ribs would burst themselves. I 'll get it some milk right away this minute when once you 've looked in the yard."

Mr. McQueen and Dennis and the Twins went to the fence. There in the yard were the two geese with the black feathers in their wings! "Faith, and the luck is all with us this day," said Mr. McQueen. "However did you get them back at all?"


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" 'T was this way, if you 'll believe me," said Mrs. McQueen. She scratched the little pig's back with one hand as she talked. "I was just after churning my butter when what should I see looking in the door but that thief of a Tinker with the beard like a rick of hay! Thinks I to myself, sure, my butter will be bewitched and never come at all with the bad luck of a stranger, and he a Tinker, coming in the house!

"But he comes in and gives one plunge to the dasher for luck and to break the spell, and says he, very civil, 'Would you be wanting to buy any fine geese to-day?'

"My heart was going thumpity-thump, but I says to him, 'I might look at them, maybe,' and with that I go to the door, for the sake of getting him out of it, and if there were n't our own two geese, with the legs of them tied together!"

"The impudence of that!" cried Mr. McQueen. "Get along with your tale, woman! Surely you never paid the old thief for your own two geese!"

"Trust me!" replied Mrs. McQueen. "I 'm coming around to the point of my tale gradual, like an old goat grazing around its tethering stump! I says to him, 'They look well enough, but I 'm wishful to see them standing up on their own two legs. That one looks as if it might be a bit lame, and the cord so tight on it! And meanwhile, will you be having a bit of a drink on this hot day?'

"Then I gave him a sup of milk, in a mug, and with that he thanks me kindly, loosens the cord, and sets the geese up on their legs for me to see. In a minute of time I stood between him and the geese, and 'Shoo!' says I to them, and to him I says, 'Get along with you before I call the man working behind the house to put an end to your thieving entirely!'

"And upon that he went in great haste, taking the mug along with him, but it was cracked anyway!"

"Woman, woman, but you 've the clever tongue in your head," said Mr. McQueen with admiration.

" 'T is mighty lucky we have," said Mrs, McQueen, "for it 's little else women have in this world to help themselves with!"

Then she put the little pig down in the empty pig-pen in the farmyard and went to fetch it some milk.


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