The tale which gives its title to the volume was—as is hinted at in its closing paragraph in great part transmitted to the writer of these pages by the eccentric poet and recluse of Coralstown, the late John Kelly, but necessarily it has received a certain amount of elaboration, and some cognate local traditions have been incorporated with it. I can vouch for the authenticity of the main incidents ; the graveyard is in the vicinity of Kinnegad, but the time of the tragic occurrence is antedated by quarter of a century.
The study of folk lore has of late received a great deal of attention from learned enquirers ; and though the Irish branch of this interesting subject has not been neglected, it must be regretfully admitted that its study has not been pursued with such ardour as has been expended on that of other countries less rich in legendary lore than is the land of the Gael. The folk lore societies of various European countries, with their bulky quarterly or annual volumes, attest this fact, For these reasons, and for others that might be easily adduced, I venture to consider that no contribution to this department of literature, however humble, ought to be ignored. I, therefore, express the hope that the quaint traditions given in this volume may be received with intelligent appreciation.