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One of the folklores studied in class is the Laborer of the Devil which describes a conniving and cunning way in which the Evil one convinced a woman to get in between a couple. This is closely related to The Old Woman as Trouble Maker folklore which describes the way a couple that had been together for many years end up allowing anger get in between them, leading to the death of one of them. The couple had remained together since their marriage and despite the challenges they faced, they had stuck with each other as they did not allow anything to get in between them (Briggs, 1991). The Devil used the woman and lied to the man that his wife had been with another individual in the house which had caused their child to cut himself using a knife. The man was convinced and did not take time to ask his wife what had happened to his child and had hit the woman who fell down dead. All these had been done on the promise of having a pair of shoes. According to O'Flannagain, the Devil had promised the woman shoes since she had suffered for a long time being without a pair in which she could wear. Her legs had grown weary and she was willing and able to do anything for anyone that would promise her a pair of new shoes.
Constant changes in the original narrative had caused distortion of the information. Translators and editors of the narrative had added and removed words in the original narrative with an aim of appealing to the different audiences (Sean O' Diorain, Sruthan &Arainn 1931). For instance, in the tale, Gobnait Ni Chineide had stated that instead of the shoes, the women had been promised gold. Gold is one of the most precious stones that people strive to acquire since it has a high probability of making one wealthy. Hence, the woman was also willing and able to cause a rift between the married couple as long as she could get wealthy (Yeats, 1888). Despite the success that the woman has in causing a misunderstanding between the man and his wife, the gold she received later turned into cow-dung, even though the damage had already been done.
The Irish folklore beliefs and teachings taught in the learning institutions also focus on The Old Woman as Trouble Maker. Curtin & Siochfhradha (1943) state that the woman had been promised lots of money if she managed to cause a rift between the man and his wife. Replacing the value of the promise given to the woman in each case represents the beliefs of each community. Still, on the English speaking countries, the woman had been promised that she would be given tow farms. She would move in with her family in the farm where they would thrive due to the large-scale farming activities she would do in the long-term (Wright, 1993). The common belief that the folklores have is that the woman sent to cause havoc in the marriage of the couple relied on the knowledge that she could use the man. In other cases, the wife is used so that she can provoke her husband who will later attack her, leading to her death. For instance, one of the English versions suggests that the wife was advised to cut her husband's hair so that he can love her more. When he wakes up, he gets angry and kills her. Changes in the plot and description of the way the Devil managed to get in between the man and his wife reveal that he did not give up in his quest to ensure that the couple was at loggerheads (Briggs, 1991). In addition, the theme of greed is evident in all folklores since the woman used to get in between the couple is committed to ensuring that she causes a rift between the couple on the promise of a reward that will benefit her both in the short-term and in the long-term.
Thoughts and Opinions
Folklores have an important role in educating the youths in a country as they are passed down from the elderly persons in a society to the younger one (Wright, 1993). The main aim of narrating the folklores is creating awareness and educate the listeners on how they should approach life when they need to make decisions. The change in the approach in every folklore shows the diversity in each community and its ability to maintain an originality despite copying the idea from another narrative. Audiences in each folklore understand the main message which is the need to clarify before acting as well as avoiding third parties in getting in between two people who understand each other. On the other hand, it teachers the way the Devil works so that he can cause havoc in the lives of individuals that live in peace with each other. In conclusion, I think that translation errors are bound to occur in folklores since the target audiences are different and attach value to different things. This justifies the use of gold, shoes, farms, amongst other treasures in the story of The Old Woman as Trouble Maker.
Briggs, K. M. (1991). A Dictionary of British Folk-Tales in the English Language Part A: Folk Narratives. Routledge.
Curtin, J., & Siochfhradha, P. O. (1943). Irish folk-tales. Folklore of Ireland Society.
Sean O' Diorain, Sruthan, Arainn, 62 bl. a d'inis an da sceal seo dhom 6-10 Feabhra 1931 (CFC 73: 265-268).
Wright, C. D. (1993). The Irish Tradition in Old English Literature (Vol. 6). Cambridge University Press.
Yeats, W. B. (Ed.). (1888). Fairy and folk tales of the Irish peasantry. Courier Corporation.
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