Two old women were sitting on the rocks that lay in a great uneven wall along the seashore beyond the village of Rundangan. They were knitting. Their red petticoats formed the only patch of colour among the grey crags about them and behind them. In front of them stretched the sea, blue and calm. It sparkled far out where the sun was shining on it. The sky was blue and empty and the winds were silent. The only noise came from the sea, near the shore, where it was just low tide. The water babbled and flopped along the seaweed on the low rocks that lay afar out, black strips of rocks with red seaweed growing on them. It was a spring evening and the air was warm and fresh, as if it had just been sprinkled with eau de cologne or something. The old women were talking in low voices sleepily as they knitted woollen stockings. ‘Ah yes,’ said one of them called Big Bridget Conlon, an old woman of seventy, a woman of great size and strength, with big square jaws like a man, high cheekbones, red complexion and wistful blue eyes that always seemed to be in mourning about something. She made a wedge of a corner of the little black shawl that was tied around her neck and cleaned out her right ear with it. ‘I don’t know,’ she said, ‘why it is, but I always get a pain in that ear when there’s bad weather coming. There it is now, just as if there was a little stream running along inside in it. My grandmother, God have mercy on her, suffered the same way.’


Black Strip White Water Spring Evening High Cliff Furrowed Brow 
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Copyright information

© Liam O’Flaherty 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. A. Kelly

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