Monaghan, 1 November –

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Henry Morris in 1915, recounting beliefs from his Childhood in the Farney Barony;

‘Nice ripe blackberries are sweet and palatable; but hungry boys and girls will eat blackberries that are neither sweet or palatable. However after ‘Oidhche Shamhna’ or Hallow Eve no blackberries are eaten. And why? Because on that night the púca* goes abroad and crawls over the blackberries covering them with an invisible slime, and where is the boy or girl who would eat a berry soiled with the púca’s slime. The fact seems to be that blackberries after that date are stale and unwholesome. But the púca’s slime is the great deterrent.’

*Sometimes spelled pooka, is a shape-shifting spirit/fairy/ghost, often taking the form of a black horse, with some describing it as resembling a mix between a mule a bullock and a big black pig. The púca is also said to befoul blackberries at Michaelmas, 29 September.

Journal of the Louth Archaeological Society, 1915.

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4 thoughts on “The Púca, and Blackberries after Hallowe’en

  1. I’ve been studying The Apple Branch: A Path to Celtic Ritual by Alexei Kondratiev. He says to leave off all food gathering after Samhain because folk believed they’d come under the influence of the “‘devil,’ that is, the spirits of the Land, who, with the end of the ritual harvest period, are no longer being compelled to cooperate with humanity…” I suppose a puca would fall into that category, unless it’s like the boogey man, made up by parents.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh how I cherish these invaluable stories/lessons/myths/customs/lore/Auld ways/ much more. Thank you. . immeasurably.

    P.S. Ya know? The odd apple, lingering fruit or vegetable really doesn’t taste all that great after Samhain. . .now I know why.

    Liked by 1 person

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