The Little Shoe: A Folktale of Kilmallock, Ireland

Pinpoint Location: Kilmallock, County of Limerick / Map data ©2016 Google

This folktale from Kilmallock tells a rather typical tale about a man who tried to capture a Cluricaune for its gold.

One day, an old farmer was out in the bog, drawing home turf, and his poor old mare was tired after the day’s work. The old man went out to the stable to look after her, and to see if she was eating her hay. When he came to the stable door he heard something hammering, hammering, hammering. Like a shoemaker making a shoe, and whistling the prettiest tune he ever heard.

The farmer thought it was a Cluricaune, and he said to himself: “I’ll catch the creature and become a rich man.” He opened the door — very quietly — and looked around, but the little man was nowhere to be seen. Still, the hammering and whistling continued, and so the farmer looked and looked, until at last he saw the little fellow in the girth under the mare.

There he was with his little apron on him, hammer in his hand, and a little red nightcap on his head. He making a shoe, hammering and whistling so loud that he never noticed the old farmer until he was caught.

“I have you now, Cluricaune,” said the farmer, “hand over your purse.”

“Stop, stop,” said the Cluricaune, “I’ll get it for you.”

The farmer opened his hand, and the little fellow jumped away laughing. He was never seen again, and the farmer’s sole prize was the little shoe that was left behind.

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