ON Sunday, March 2, a new book, ‘Life and Times of Eddie Anderson’, is due to be launched at the John Joe Maguire Festival Week-end in Swanlinbar.
Its authors, his grandchildren, have sifted painstakingly through old copies of the ‘Herald’ which, to its credit, in 1941, made an effort to recover some of the folklore of Fermanagh by means of a folklore story competition.
Tied for first place was Eamon (Eddie) Anderson of Cornagun, Kinawley whose pen, according to his family, ‘has done a great deal to interest the public in the Fermanagh of the past’.
This week, they excerpted an article from the Fermanagh Herald of 1 November 1941 to show the kind of storyteller their grandfather, Eamon Anderson (died 1963) was.
His grandchildren are confident that, ‘the rich traditions, the news-laden stories of the seanachaidhes (storytellers) of Ireland will make good reading some day when the entire collection is made available’.
His contribution of some 70 pages of closely written matter contains stories and information which, we are sure, will be read with interest and pleasure by our readers,” they added.
Even though his stories refers to Kinawley, and not to all of Fermanagh, they are sure these pieces will be equally read and appreciated in that many Kinawley traditions, beliefs, superstitions and stories are common to all districts.
In the Herald of 1 November, 1941, Eddie Anderson writes: “One night, a man smuggled five heifers across the border and tied them in a byre on an out-farm or “hurden” that he had about a mile from home.
The (RIC) sergeant and his men landed the next day to re-check the cattle at the home farm first. He then brought the man over to the out farm to check the cattle there. When they came to the byre, the man denied all knowledge of the five heifers tied there and said that any smuggler could put them there unknown to him as he hadn’t been there for two days.
He knew that he was going to lose the cattle anyhow, but he wanted to escape the heavy fine. The sergeant appeared to be satisfied with this explanation but, as his men were driving away the cattle, the sergeant said to them, “Have some hay given to those cattle, when you go to the barracks. I must prosecute this man for cruelty, those cattle are starving.”
“No they’re not”, says the man taken unawares, “ I gave them hay this morning.”
But, the next moment he could have cut his own tongue out for he saw that the sergeant had him then and there.
Pigs were the hardest animals of all to smuggle with safety as their squeals in the ‘march’ across the fields would attract the attention of any Custom man within a mile.
Many plans were tried to keep pigs quiet, but I think this one was the best: give him a good feed first and fill him up well, mixing a pint or so of stout in the feed. Then place him in a bag and fix him in a creel padded well with hay to keep him comfortable.
“After a while you can carry him any place and he won’t squeal.”