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Harker Heights Evening Star
Harker Heights Evening Star

Time for the Wearing of the Green

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Betty Weiss

     Betty Weiss

The Bleeding Horse, The Green Lizard, The Maid of Erin, Deadman’s Inn, The Barn Owl, or Scruffy Murphey’s are just a few of the many pubs where you can spend ST. PATRICK’S DAY, if you happen to be in Dublin, Ireland on March 17th.

Aye, it’s about time for the wearing of the green, breaking out your “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” pin and T-shirt, and bellying up to the bar for a pint of Guinness.And while sipping your Guinness, you’ll be hearing stories of St. Patrick chasing the snakes out of Ireland, and the antics of the mischievous leprechauns and fairies that roam the Emerald Isle.

Tales they may be, because they’ve never really been “elucidated”-try saying that word after a few pints- so they remain forever part of the Irish folklore.And what a bleak day it would be in Ireland if there were no more stories to spin.

Hundreds of years ago, an old man called a “Seanchai” (storyteller) would come to the a home in the countryside and live with a family for maybe a week at a time just to tell stories of the land – even before it was a country called Ireland.

Neighbors would gather at the chosen house each evening to hear the storyteller spin his magic.He’d often begin from the time volcanic rock rose from the sea and finally became an island of misty green meadows and gently flowing rivers.

And what about St. Patrick?He was born in England near the end of the fourth century to wealthy parents.When he was 16-years-old, he was captured by Irish invaders and take as a prisoner back to Ireland.

He escaped after six years and walked over 200 miles from County Cork to the Irish coast to get passage back to England.Later, he returned to Ireland after having dreams and visions of angels that urged him to become a missionary.

Then there are the leprechauns.According to legend, they can’t escape if you keep your eyes fixed on them.But if you blink, they’ll vanish.

Usually depicted as cobblers with red hair and beards, they’ll rob your gold and cause all kinds of mischief.Prior to the 20th century, the wee men word red, but their wardrobe changed to emerald green trousers and waistcoats laced with gold and trimmed with seven rows of gold buttons with seven buttons in each row. A jaunty top hat and shoes with big buckles rounded out their whimsical look.

The Banshee is usually depicted as an old crone dressed in white or gray, and she’ll sometimes have the appearance of someone who recently died.But if witchcraft comes into play, she will often take the form of a rabbit, an owl, or a cat.Whatever form she takes, her mournful wailing is always considered an omen of death.

If you’ve ever wondered why your third molars are called “wisdom teeth,” this bit of Irish legend will elucidate that:It seems that while Finn MacCool, a great Irish warrior, was watching salmon cook, a blister rose up on the salmon’s skin.Finn worried that the fish was burning, so he pressed his thumb down on the blister, which burned his finger. Then he stuck his finger in his mouth to cool the burn, and when his finger touched one of his third molars, he suddenly saw all the wisdom in the world.And that’s the origin of “wisdom teeth.”

A good thing to remember on St. Patrick’s Day is that an Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold on to a blade of green grass to keep from falling off the earth.ERIN GO BRAGH!

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