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Puck Fair Killorglin, Co Kerry, Ireland Where in August, on The Gathering day, the 12-year-old Puck Queen crowns a wild mountain goat, ‘King Puck.’ Then, as the Gaelic-tongued travelling people move into town with a thousand horses for the sales, the king is hauled to his pedestal above the town-square. For three days now the streets are filled with music and dancers, entertainers and tumblers; bars open till three in the morning; air full of the wistfully beguiling lilt of the fiddle and pit-of-the-tummy-pulping beating of the bodhran. Through it all, King Puck reigns over his subjects from a luxurious cage at the top of the 30-foot tower as, on day two, the horse sales give way to the cattle sales – and day three, The Scattering day, he is dethroned and the people depart. And this is: The Goat's Tale ‘There's magic in the Coolroe-stream, or pucks weave herb into the browse to make me dream ... In Killorglin-town I bowed before a virgin-queen, who gave a crown to make me king with vision over everything. Our match remained unconsummate, for I was hailed on-high, engaged, though caged, in things of state. There, phantoms clad in cap and boot, waved crooked-sticks and mumbled-strange in ancienttongue – then bought and sold the living-soul of sullen-ox and horse and colt. While, at my feet, the men danced women down the street, like spectres borne on haunting-notes of lonely songs that sang of sorrows in the years – how wanton-maids, with torment-eyes, as wild and green as Lough Lean's isles, and ringlets wrought in purest gold, like wavelets caught in sunset's mould, were, by their beauty, thus condemned to birthing-pain and living-drudge. While boys, like bumble-bees, beguiled by nectar spilled by girls, were led along a lane of toil and grudge ...

Now I wake-up in the glen, running free of 'Orglin-men, to gambol up the giddy-scree into the cloud where Mother Earth becomes the sky; and sense a life set out for me, of butting he and tupping she. Then see the visions of my dream; hear the laughing of the stream; and wonder – why?’ Charlie Gregory Puck Fair Killorglin County Kerry

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