================================================= The Information about Ireland Site Newsletter August 2005 The Newsletter for people interested in Ireland Now received by over 50,000 people worldwide http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.irishnation.com Copyright (C) 2005 ================================================= IN THIS ISSUE === Foreword === News Snaps from Ireland === New free resources at the site === The Flight of the Earls by John McCavitt === The Good-Hearted Burglar by William M. Cooper === Unusual things to do on your Irish Vacation #3 === The Flag of Ireland === A little bit of Dublin - #5 === Gaelic Phrases of the Month === Monthly free competition result =================================================== FOREWORD ======== Many thanks to our contributors again this month who have provided an insightful article into the famous 'Flight of the Earls' and a light-hearted story. Perhaps you have a poem, story or history article you would like to contribute? Come on then - get to it! until next month! Michael WE NEED YOUR HELP! PLEASE - send this newsletter on to your friends or relatives who you think are interested in Ireland. By doing this you are helping to keep us 'free'. Got something to say? Don't keep it to yourself! Why don't you submit an article for inclusion in the next edition? Go here for more information: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm Do you have access to a website? You can help to keep this newsletter alive by adding a link to any of our websites below: http://www.irishnation.com http://www.irishsurnames.com http://www.ireland-information.com http://www.allfamilycrests.com http://www.irishpenpals.com If you have an AOL or HOTMAIL account then you will get much better results by viewing this newsletter online here: http://www.ireland-information.com/aug05.htm The only way that you could have been subscribed to this newsletter is by filling out a subscription form at the site whereupon a confirmation notice would have been issued. If you wish to unsubscribe then go here: http://www.ireland-information.com/newsletter.htm ================================================= NEWS SNAPS FROM IRELAND ======================= INVESTIGATION INTO GPO EASTER RISING DAMAGE A row has erupted between An Post (the Post Office), who operate the general Post Office (GPO) on Dublin's O'Connell Street, and several historians. Pock marks and holes in the walls of the famous Dublin landmark have for long been accepted as remnants of the 1916 Easter Rising, led by Pearse and Connolly. Current plans to have the front of the building cleaned led to An Post stating that the damage marks were not in fact caused during the rebellion but were in fact caused after the GPO was finally reopened in 1929. Several historians have questioned this assertion and are convinced that the visible damage marks are relics of the fighting that took place nearly a century ago. The Office of Public Works (OPW) who owns the building are to conduct further research into the matter. There is no dispute however about the bullet holes that appear on the plinth of the statue of O'Connell at the head of the street having been caused during the uprising. A similar artifact of Irish rebellion can be found in Dublin Castle where damage caused by a musket is credited with having been caused during the Wolfe TOne 1798 rebellion. IRISH POTATO UNDER THREAT The humble Irish spud is under threat from pasta, rice and fast food as the culinary appetite of the nation changes. There has been a huge drop in the number of potato growers in the country from over 1700 in 1995 to 650 a decade later. Research by the Irish Food Authority 'Bord Bia' has shown the potato to be out of fashion, especially with younger people who view it as time consuming to cook as well as being fattening when compared to rice or pasta. Despite the recent downturn in demand Irish households still consume more potatoes than any of their European neighbours. EU TO REWARD AER LINGUS AND RYANAIR SAFETY RECORDS A new European Union (EU) Scheme to identify airlines with good safety records (and to show those airlines with dubious safety records) is to be introduced in 2006. Both Aer Lingus and Ryanair are to benefit from the scheme which will see them listed in the top tier of safe airlines. DUBLIN SHED OFFERED FOR EURO 250,000 In another sign of the inexorable demand for property in Ireland's capital city a shed and yard have been put in the market for a cool quarter of a M-illion. The near derelict shed and small yard in the suburb of Kimmage represent a new level of madness in the Dublin property market. The average price of a house in Dublin is now EURO 347,000, over 50% higher than the rest of the country. Recent figures have shown a 300% increase in Dublin property prices in the last 9 years. LIMERICK WOMAN WINS EURO 115 M-ILLION LOTTERY A Limerick woman has had to go into hiding after scooping the biggest lottery price in European history, over 115 M-illion Euro. A media frenzy awaited her as she collected her prize from the Dublin Lottery Office on Abbey street. A taste of the problems such large winnings can cause have already surfaced with a friend of the family selling pictures of the celebrations of the win to a tabloid newspaper. And already the begging letters have started to arrive. IRISH POKER STAR FINISHES FIFTH IN WORLD SERIES Dubliner Andrew Black has finished fifth in the World Series of Poker having finished fifth in the huge tournament which originally had over 500 entrants. His EURO 1.45 M-illion prize will be used in part to repay investors who backed him to the tune of EURO 600,000. The Dubliner credited his personal psychologist with helping him to his fine achievement. Voice your opinion on these news issues here: http://www.ireland-information.com/cgi-bin/newsletterboardindex.cgi ================================================= NEW FREE RESOURCES AT THE SITE ============================== NEW COATS OF ARMS ADDED TO THE GALLERY: The following 6 coats of arms images and family history details have been added to the Gallery: D: Duckett F: Furey L: Leddy, Lenaghan M: Morgan O: Orr View the Gallery here: http://www.irishsurnames.com/coatsofarms/gm.htm THE PERFECT WEDDING, ANNIVERSARY OR BIRTHDAY GIFT! We now have over 100,000 worldwide names available. Get the Coat of Arms Print, Claddagh Ring, Screensaver, Watch, T-Shirt Transfer or Clock for your name at: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestgifts.htm ================================================= THE FLIGHT OF THE EARLS by John McCavitt ======================= The Flight of the Earls in 1607, when Hugh O'Neill, earl of Tyrone and Rory O'Donnell, earl of Tyrconnell boarded a ship on Lough Swilly bound for the continent never to return, is often considered a pivotal moment in Irish history, witnessing the demise of Gaelic Ireland, the onset of Protestant ascendancy and penal days for Irish Catholics. An event shrouded in controversy, the Flight is typically characterised as mysterious, and enigmatic to the point of defying explanation. Even the term 'the Flight of the Earls', conjuring up notions of a precipitate, tragic, perilous escapade tinged with romance and despair, has been the subject of dispute, with some commentators questioning the historical accuracy of terming the departure of the northern earls from Ireland as a 'flight' at all. Hostile commentators allege that far from being driven from their lands the earls voluntarily departed their native shores, indeed 'abandoned' their people. The reality is that the departure of the northern chieftains was indeed known at the time as the 'Flight of the Earls', that the earls fled in fear of their lives, so much so indeed that the Earl of Tyrone's young son, Con, aged about seven, could not be located before the ship departed from Rathmullan on Lough Swilly. Just as painfully for the earl of Tyrconnell, his pregnant young wife had to remain behind as well. Not only did the exiled earls seek to secure the safe passage of Con O'Neill and the countess of Tyrconnell, but the fugitive party on the continent endeavoured to persuade the Spanish authorities to support an invasion of Ireland spearheaded by the Irish regiment in Flanders commanded by the earl of Tyrone's son, Henry. As it happened a series of tragedies soon engulfed the families of O'Neill and O'Donnell. Within a short period of time, the earl of Tyrone's sons, Hugh and Henry, passed away, while the O'Donnells lost Rory, earl of Tyrconnell and Cathbarr, his brother. As for the earl of Tyrone, he became a victim of circumstance, his ambition to return to his homeland being frustrated by the fragile peace that persisted between England and Spain. Indeed, the international dimension to the Flight of the Earls is little appreciated. This resulted in part from the contemporary reputation of the earl of Tyrone in particular. Following his spectacular victory at the battle of the Yellow Ford in 1598 his fame spread throughout Europe, earning him the accolade as 'the third soldier of his age'. Thus, when the earls arrived on the continent they were treated as international celebrities by allies and admirers but became targets for assassination by their enemies. Throughout his years in exile, 1607-16, the earl of Tyrone was reputed to have slept every night with a sword under his pillow. Overall, when the Flight of the Earls is contextualised against a longer view stretching back to the days of the Nine Years War, 1594-1603, it is a tale comprising a series of dramatic, sometimes comic, but more often poignant and tragic events. An episode in Irish History steeped in tales of war, passion, betrayal and derring-do, with heroes and villains of every hue, the Flight of the Earls constitutes a fascinating story spiced with references to spies, assassins and outlaws, kidnapping and hostage-taking, even references to contemporaneous Robin Hoods as well as a curious incident involving witchcraft. Such was the degree to which war reduced people to desperation that there were horrific scenes of cannibalism during the Nine Years War (1594-1603), a conflict which witnessed increasingly desperate crown forces resorting in some areas to mass murder tantamount to genocide. That Ireland was once a refuge for pirate fleets as powerful as any that plied the Barbary coast is little appreciated. To a considerable extent too, the Irish 'diaspora' originated in this period. The early seventeenth century witnessed Irishmen dispersed as far afield as the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Newfoundland and even the Amazon. As a direct result of the Flight of the Earls, Irish soldiers, the original 'wild geese', saw service in Sweden, Denmark, Poland and Russia, many of them having been transported by the English government. So many themes that have resonated throughout much of modern Irish history had distant echoes in events culminating from the Flight. Thus the issue of extradition arose directly from the Flight when the English government sought to force continental powers to repatriate the fugitive earls. The English government attempted to disarm (decommission) potentially disloyal elements in Ireland. Catholic absentionism from political institutions also occurred, and the collection of a Catholic rent was organised. Protestant settlers in Ulster, fearing for their future in the event of the oft touted return of the earls to reclaim their lands by force, soon developed a siege mentality, surrounded as they were by a hostile indigenous population. The in-built 'apartheid' complexion of the Ulster colonization project, inspired by biblical teaching that it was fundamentally important to separate the weeds from the good corn, instituted a form of religious segregation in Ulster that far from dissipating with the passage of time is, it seems, becoming ever more prevalent. Overall, the story of the Flight of the Earls is a tale of epic proportions, an enthralling and seminal episode in the history of Ireland that has lost none of its drama and appeal in the passage of time. Arguably, indeed, it is only now, as the 400th anniversary of the Flight of the Earls occurs in 2007, that Ireland has finally come to terms with the consequences of that momentous day in 1607 when the earls departed Rathmullan's shores, never to return. ~~~ Find out more at www.theflightoftheearls.net A special weekend of commemorative events has been arranged to mark the 400th anniversary, in conjunction with the Rathmullan House Hotel on 2nd to 4th September 2005. Further details can be found at: http://www.rathmullanhouse.com/week.html#Earls John McCavitt ================================================= YOU CAN HELP TO KEEP THIS FREE NEWSLETTER ALIVE! Visit: http://www.irishnation.com where you can get great Irish gifts, prints, claddagh jewellery, engraved glassware and much more. Anne MacDonald ordered a family crest plaque: Hello, Michael, Received my plaque, carefully wrapped, in good order. It is splendid! I am thrilled, and I know that my dad, for whose 81st birthday this was ordered, will love it. I would like to order another one! Everyone who has seen the plaque has been really impressed, even those who, as my daughter says are 'not into ancestor worship!' Again, my hearty thanks for this first-class product. Best wishes for happy holiday season. Sincerely, Anne MacDonald THE PERFECT WEDDING OR ANNIVERSARY GIFT! View family crest plaques here: http://www.irishnation.com/familycrestplaques.htm =================================================== THE GOOD-HEARTED BURGLAR by, William M. Cooper ======================== Chapter One: Unappreciated 'These kids are driving me crazy,' said Joan. 'I know exactly what you mean,' said, Rick her husband. 'Why did we ever decide to be foster parents?' Rick continued. Joan moaned out, 'So we could have access to all of the government assistance we are getting for having them, you block-head.' 'Oh, yeah,' Rick mumbled to himself. 'Well, what should we do with them today,' Rick yelled back to Joan who was in the other room. 'I mean, we whipped them pretty good this morning for making a mess during breakfast. The last thing we need is for somebody to notice all the bruises and belt stripes we put on them.' 'Yeah, you're right,' Joan responded as she thought for a moment. 'Let's just lock them inside the closet until we get back from work. That way they don't wander off to the neighbors and show them what they got for being bad.' This story can be read in the online edition and can be viewed here: http://www.ireland-information.com/aug05.htm#story A-O-L USERS GO HERE
Joan went down the hall to her step-children's room and took them by the arms.
'Please quit squeezing my arm so hard,' said little Elizabeth, 'You're hurting me.'
'Stop your squawking,' Joan snapped back. 'You're lucking I'm in a hurry or I would have spanked you for your rudeness just now. Now go into the closet if you know what's good for you.'
Little Elizabeth went in without any resistance, for she was glad to get away from Joan.
Thomas; on-the-other-hand, struggled against Joan and said, 'I don't want to go in there.'
Joan, (who was completely out of patience with the children) slapped Thomas in the face so hard that it sent him sliding into the closet floor.
As Thomas lay on the floor crying from being slapped, Rick ran over and said as he was pushing Thomas further into the closet with his feet, 'See what you get for being a smart mouth, you cry-baby. Now, don't make a mess on our floor while you are in there or you'll get worse than that, when we get home.'
Joan was still enraged at Thomas for struggling with her, so she said to him in a stern tone, 'You'll learn to mind me, young man or you'll spend the rest of your life in the dark.' With that warning, Joan giggled to herself as she turned the lights out to the closet and locked the door with a padlock.
Rick honked the horn and yelled out of the car window, 'Hurry up, before you make us late for work,' and then he backed the car out of the garage.
Joan quickly locked the house door, slammed the garage door closed and then dashed into the car. As Joan and Rick sped off to make it to work on time, the children huddled together, for they were desperately afraid of the dark.
'Thomas,' Elizabeth said, 'I'm scared.' Thomas replied back, 'I am too. But you know what?'
'What,' said Elizabeth.
As Thomas hugged his little sister he said, 'I'm more afraid of Joan and Rick getting mad at us, than I am of being in the dark.'
'Yeah, I know what you mean,' Elizabeth said.
Chapter Two: Look What We Have Here
Charlie was a good ole Irish boy, if ever there was one. He was just the most loveable and joyful person you could ever want to meet. Charlie had only one real flaw, which was that he liked stealing from the rich and giving to the poor; namely himself.
For a week now, Charlie had been on a stake-out, watching the daily routines of Joan and Rick. He did this because he planned on burglarizing their home soon and wanted to make sure he arrived when they were just leaving. He figured that it was a safe place to hit, because Joan and Rick lived alone and on the few times he followed behind them at the grocery store, he never heard them make any mention the children, nor did he ever see the children with them. Ever since the children moved in they never were allowed to play in the front yard, so as far as Charlie was concerned, today was a good day to steal from the rich and give to himself.
All the houses in the area had high privacy fences surrounding them which blocked out the view of the other homes. Charlie felt that the alley approach would be the best way to get inside the house. He parked his car down the alley a short distance away and strolled over to the yard where he cut the gate bolt with a battery powered saw. He got to the back door and placed a small hydraulic jack and a two-by-four between the door jambs. Pumping up the jack, caused the board to push against the jamb, which caused the jamb to separated from the door. The opening was so big, that he simply put a large screwdriver on the back side of the bolt and pried it back inside the door. Charlie gave out an Irish smile as he removed the jack, opened the door and walked into the house as though he just moved there.
'Ah,' Charlie said as he exhaled another hearty grin, 'It looks as though the luck of the leprechauns is still with me. Now, let me eyes see what the pot is filled with today.'
Charlie rummaged around the kitchen a bit, eating some donuts that were on the counter. He walked a little ways down the hall when he came to the closet and saw that it had a padlock keeping it safe. 'Ah, yes, here it is, the pot of gold they've been hiding and it has a lid on it.' Charlie placed his wrecking bar inside the latch and jerked. The lock tore from the door and wall and fell as though it weighed a ton to the ground. Charlie danced a little jig to celebrate the ease of his efforts he was having that day.
Charlie switched on the lights and opened the door and there before him were Thomas and his little sister Elizabeth.
'Please don't hurt us,' the children cried out.
Charlie reached up to scratch his head and said, 'Look what we have here. Two little pups with beating marks all over them.' Charlie continued as he stooped down closer to them, 'I promise never to hurt you two. Will you make me a promise?'
'What's that,' Thomas inquired?
'Promise me you want scream so we can talk to each other,' Charlie asked with a kind Irish voice.
'Deal,' Thomas said still holding his sister. Charlie began his questioning by saying, 'Tell me lad, who done you and your sis this way?'
Thomas said in a whisper, 'It was our step-parents.'
Charlie continued by saying, 'Now, tell me this; what could you and the lass here have done to anger them so mightily?'
Elizabeth liking Charlie's voice and wanting to talk with him spoke up and said, 'We spilt some milk while we were eating cereal.'
'Ah, the little princess has a voice as sweet as the angel's there in Heaven,' Charlie said to comfort her.
Elizabeth gave him a big smile when she heard his complement and accent and so she said out of turn again, 'Are you a burglar?'
Charlie struggled for a moment with his eyes dancing some and then said enthusiastically, 'Ah, little sister I am, but, a good-hearted burglar, I am.'
'A good-hearted burglar,' laughed Thomas, 'What in the world is that?'
'I thought you'd be asking me that sonny, so I want you to know that unlike most burglars who steal people's property, I only take little children who are being mistreated to my home where I take care of them until we can find a safe place for them to live,' Charlie said, quite proud of his ingenuity.
'Wow,' said Elizabeth, 'We are being mistreated here, Charlie.'
'I know that child; that's why I'm here to save you two,' Charlie said as he stood up and placing his hand on his hips; as his fingers tapped one after another in rows.
'Cool,' said Thomas, 'Are you really going to take us away from here?'
Charlie smiled and said as joyfully as he could, 'Yes, indeed me boy, but I need you two to do me one favor.'
'Oh, what is it Mr. Good-hearted Burglar,' Elizabeth said as she sprang to her feet.
'I'm going to need you to trust me, until I can find you a decent home,' Charlie said and then sticking his hands out towards them he finished his bargain by saying, 'Is that a deal?'
The children leaped towards him and shook his hands and then gave him a big smile-smothered hug.
Chapter Three: All Points Bulletin
Joan and Rick finally made it back home around seven in the evening. They immediately went to the closet to see if a mess was made on their floor. In shock they discovered that the lock had been broken and the children gone. Joan noticing that some plaster from off the wall was on the floor in the kitchen. As they looked further, they noticed that the door jambs were scarred on both sides and that they were buckled some.
'Look,' Rick said, 'The gate near the alley is open.' Running over to the gate they discovered that the lock had been cut.
Joan's eyes brightened up as she said, 'Do you know what this means?'
'Yeah, I know what this means,' Rick said in total confusion, 'It means that we got ripped off.'
'No you block-head, this is the answer we've been waiting for,' Joan continued with a giant smile on her face.
Rick, now more confused than ever said, 'In what way does this help us? The children are loose and we have a messed up house.'
'Think about it, oh you of few brain cells,' Joan said, 'Someone came and took the brats away from us. Whoever did this broke into our house. That makes that person an outlaw, which in turn means that nothing that person says can be trusted.'
'So,' Rick responded.
Joan slapped Rick in the face and then said, 'You're worse than Thomas. I should have locked you up in the closet today as well, so that when I got home you would have been gone too.
'But honey,' Rick said with a sad demeanor.
Joan said, 'Think of it like this; we now have someone we can say put those belt marks on the children.'
'Sure, I got it now,' Rick said as though he had just figured out the secret to the black hole, 'The Burglar did it.' Rick sat on the sofa and said, 'Oh, yes sir-re Bobby, we can call the police and report the break in and inform them that our children were kidnapped. There's only one flaw with this story though.'
'What's that,' Joan inquired?
'Well, how do we explain that the children were here alone and that we had them locked up in the closet,' Rick questioned quite intelligently.
'Now you are using your head my love,' Joan said somewhat impressed with his momentary burst of brain power. Then Joan went into the kitchen and taking a skillet from the hanger, walked back into the den and up behind Rick who was comfortably sitting in the recliner Joan sweetly called out to Rick, saying, 'Dimples.'
As Rick turned towards the intoxicating voice of his wife, Joan plowed into him with the skillet, scoring a direct hit in the forehead.
Rick flew up out of the recliner with a scream, as he angrily question Joan, 'What in the world are you doing? Have you gone insane?'
Joan, holding the skillet like a tennis racket, exhaled as though she was releasing a big puff of smoke; then said with a cynical look on her face, 'Thank you dearest for using your head twice today.'
'What do you mean by that,' Rick inquired still holding his head.
'I mean that the Burglar hit you in the head and knocked you out; then he broke into the closet where we kept our family heirlooms worth tens of thousands. Then after he packed it all away, he went into the children's room while they were taking their nap and he nabbed them.'
'Wow,' Rick confessed, 'Even I believe that story.' Rick walked into the kitchen and started to get some ice to put on his head.
'What are you doing you idiot,' Joan said in great alarm?
'I'm trying to shrink the swelling a little bit if you don't mind,' Rick responded still agitated that Joan had clobbered him.
'Yes, I do mind,' Joan said as she took his ice filled hand and lowered it away from his head. 'Let it swell, so that it looks all the more believable.'
The more Joan schemed, the more Rick was impressed with her devious methods.
'Ok,' Joan said as though she was going step by step through a recipe, 'Now, you can call the police and I'll cut the onions.'
'Onions,' Rick said with another lost look on his face.
'Yes, onions,' Joan said, 'You play the role of the injured father and I'll play the part of a teary-eyed mother who just discovered that the children of her dreams has just been kidnapped, her husband badly battered, the house broken in to and made a wreck and the family treasures stolen.'
Rick looked at Joan in complete amazement and said, 'I hope they find the children dead.'
Joan laughed as she said, 'Now, that wasn't very nice to say.'
Rick laughed back saying, 'I know.'
After the police were finished doing their investigation, Channel 12 news arrived and asked if they could run a story on it. Joan immediately seized upon the opportunity to become famous as she sat on the living room couch holding a picture of the children in front of her. During the interview, Joan made mention of the terrible destruction that the burglar had done to the gate and house and how impossible it would be to go to work, because someone would have to stay by the phone in case a ransom call came in. She finished her interview with a tearful plea for financial assistance from the community.
Chapter Four: Forty Shades Of Love
Charlie lived out on a parcel of land in the country. It had a large lawn that was filled with beautiful grass and a field that he grew nothing but clover in it.
Once they all entered the house, Charlie ran the bath water as the children sat. They had noticed that Charlie had a beautiful Christmas tree set up.
'Charlie,' little Elizabeth said?
'What's that lassie,' Charlie cheerfully said back?
'Could we see the Christmas tree lights,' Elizabeth continued?
'Oh, so you like sparkly lights, do you,' Charlie knowingly questioned?
As the children nodded their heads, Charlie lit up the Christmas tree and then turned on his most favorite song in the whole world, 'Christmas in Killarney'. As the song played, Charlie began to dance and the children began to clap. Then, Elizabeth jump onto the floor to see if she could dance to the song the way Charlie was doing it. Over and over the song played and each time it played, the children got more involved with their clapping and dancing. Charlie went to his room and pulled out an instant camera where he began taking pictures of his two new friends.
Thomas sat down and acted as though he hadn't slept in days.
'What's wrong lad,' Charlie inquired?
'I'm hungry and tired,' Thomas complained.
'Do people your size eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,' Charlie said with a puzzled look as though he really didn't know.
'Oh, yes sir, we eat lots of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,' Thomas said as he sat up in his chair.
'Then come on lad and I'll set you up a round or two,' Charlie said happily as he hopped up and waved his arm like the leader of a wagon train indicating it was time to move on.
While they ate, the children were still kicking their legs from all the fun they were having listening to the music and watching Charlie jiggle as he made more sandwiches.
As Elizabeth at, she kicked underneath the table and squirmed to the music. Doing so caused her to spill some of her milk on her cloths and table top. Thomas froze, in fear of what just happened. He remembered the price they had paid earlier that day for the same mistake they made in front of their step-parents house.
Charlie said with a big smile on his face, 'Oops, me little angel had the rug pulled out from underneath her,' as he reached over and lovingly wiped her face with a damp towel and them wiped up the mess on the table.
Thomas and Elizabeth looked at each other with a smile on their faces and continued eating the best peanut butter and jelly sandwich they had ever had.
Once the children finished eating, Charlie had them take baths and get dressed for bed. Before they went to bed though, Charlie sat on the couch with them and read them a short story of an Irish prince and the noble things he did for others.
'That prince is you Charlie,' Elizabeth said as she leaned against his arms.
'Do you think so,' Charlie questioned back?
'Yes, indeed,' said Thomas as Elizabeth was looking up and nodding her head.
'Well, I'll be having to believe you on that one, for I'm unsure of me own nobleness,' Charlie said as he reached around both of them; giving them a hug of thanks for their kind words.
'Now, it's off to bed with you all, or there'll be no green on the grass by morning,' Charlie said as though he believed there really was such a curse.
'Good night Uncle Charlie,' the children said as they smothered him back with a big hugs.
'Ah, all right now me dearest ones. Good night and sleep tight,' Charlie said as he rushed them off to bed.
Charlie danced a little bit as he made his way back towards the den. Though he weighed a good 230 pounds, there was no doubt that he felt like he was walking on air. He had totally forgot how it felt to be so useful to someone else and to feel their genuine love back to him. He sat down in front of the TV and turned it to channel 12. The news was on and the main story was the kidnapping of the two children he had saved. He watched the tearful interview that the children's step-mother gave.
'Ah, baloney,' Charlie said in disgust as he listened. 'The only thing that lady has missing is the broom stick she flew in on,' Charlie continued saying to himself.
As Charlie sat watching the news, he realized that the record needed to be set straight. He determined that tomorrow, he would turn the children in to the police, but tonight he would make sure his little friends got a good nights sleep.
Chapter Five: Setting The Record Straight
The children were met with a big breakfast. Charlie wanted to make sure that the children had the grandest of meals. He made pancakes, eggs, bacon, biscuits with gravy and if that didn't hit the spot, he also made blue berry muffins. The children were shocked and pleased and wasted no time digging in after Charlie said the blessing. That morning, while the children slept, Charlie made good use of the time by washing and drying their cloths. After breakfast, Charlie got them dressed and took them out to his car, where he strapped them in and drove towards the police station.
'Where are we going, Charlie,' Thomas inquired?
'Well, lad,' Charlie said, 'Remember I told you at your house that I took children that were being abused in order to find them a better home?'
'Yes,' Thomas said as he remembered their first conversation.
'That's where I'm taking you son, to get you and your sis a better home to live in,' Charlie said with a knot in his throat.
'But we found a better home with you, Charlie,' Thomas said disappointedly. Elizabeth just said in a long aggravated tone, 'Charlie.'
Charlie knew that what he had to do wouldn't be easy, but it was the only way to save the children from going back to the step-parents.
As Charlie stepped through the door at the police station with a child in each hand, Officer McGregor announced to the crew, 'Look what we have here, O'Riley has come for a visit and he's toting two wee pups.'
'McGregor, I thought you had died,' Charlie said back with a smile.
'Me,' replied Officer McGregor?
As the men in the office were laughing, it finally dawned on McGregor who the children were.
'Hey, wait a minute now,' Officer McGregor said as he waved his arms to everybody to settle down; 'These here youngsters are the missing children who were abducted.'
'We're not missing,' Elizabeth said, causing the officers standing around to gawk a little in amusement.
'Well then,' Officer McGregor said, 'It seems you are right little one. Where did O'Riley find you wandering around?'
'In the closet,' Thomas said, so he could join the conversation that was going on.
'In the closet,' McGregor said confused?
'I can explain,' Charlie said as he tried to put his hand over Thomas' mouth.
Thomas pulling Charlie's hand away from his mouth continued talking, by adding, 'Yes, indeed, Charlie is a good-hearted burglar.'
At that Charlie knew the game was up and so instead of trying to fish his way out of it, he simply turned as he gave everybody a look of shear embarrassment.
'I'll be calling the Child Protective Agency while Officer Muldoon assist the children over to the break room,' McGregor said as he motioned his head from Muldoon towards the children. 'As for you Charlie, we will need to take your picture over in the print room so you can get your reward.'
Charlie knew what that meant, and so he bent down on his knees and took the children in his arms and hugged them tightly. 'I need you two to make me another promise,' Charlie said.
'What's that,' the children said together. 'I need you to promise me,' continued Charlie, 'That you will be nice to Officer Muldoon and let him show you to your new home. Will you do that for me while I go to the other room with Officer McGregor?'
'Yes,' the children said sadly.
As Charlie rose to go into the finger printing room, you could see the stream of tears flowing from his eyes. The men were obviously disturbed when they saw this, for no one had ever seen anything but a smile on Charlie's face. Charlie was careful not to allow the children to see him crying as they went their separate ways.
Before the mug shot and finger prints were taken, Charlie was asked to empty his pockets and to place the contents on the table. As he emptied overall pockets, he removed the instant pictures that he took of the children the day before. The investigator looked hard at them and then raced out of the room. Charlie heard some raised voices, but could not make them out. As the detective came back in, he was accompanied by Officer McGregor.
'Tell us, Charlie,' McGregor said insistently, 'Did you find the children all bruised up like this at their house?'
'Ay, I did,' Charlie said, still wiping tears from his eyes.
The detective jumped in at that point and said, 'Charlie, we know you were robbing the house when you came upon the children, but what we don't know is where you found them when you took them away?'
Charlie realizing what was going on, said with one of his eyebrows raised, 'I can see here gentlemen, that you are in need of an eye witness to a possible abuse case and as you can see, I am in need of a plea bargain.'
The detective and McGregor stepped out of the room for a moment and came back in. McGregor said, 'Tell us what we need to know and I'll see what I can do to help you out in court. I'm not making any promises the judge will go easy on you, Charlie, but I'm giving you my word, I will mention your cooperation.' McGregor stuck out his hand and Charlie clasped on to it stating, 'You got yourself a deal.'
Chapter Six: What A Fine Mess This Is
After receiving the testimony from Charlie about how he discovered the children, Joan and Rick were immediately picked up and charged with felony counts of child endangerment, battery and abuse. Due to the fact that this was committed against adopted children, the judge threw the book at them.
It was Charlie's time now, and the channel 12 was there to get the full scoop. Bets were going on all over the county on what the judge would do to him. Charlie; seeing what a fine mess he was in, plead guilty to the burglary charge and then sat back down to await his punishment.
As Charlie was sitting down, Officer McGregor and the detective asked if they could approach the bench. The judge motioned for them and there they held a low toned discussion. A few times the judge would move his head around in order to look at Charlie. As this was going on, the foster parents of Thomas and Elizabeth came through the door, holding the children by their hands. Charlie's attorney noticed them entering and got up to meet them. As the attorney began shaking the foster parents hands the children saw Charlie sitting in the front and so they shouted out, 'Charlie!' Thomas and Elizabeth tore loose from the grips of their foster parents and ran up to the front where Charlie was. When they got close enough, they jumped into his arms where they began laughing hysterically from the joy of finally being back together.
The court room erupted with noise as people began sharing their comments back and forth to each other. Channel 12 was videoing the entire spectacle and was feeding it live to the station down the street. Every business in town had a TV on and everyone in the area (it seemed) was watching the case as it unfolded.
The judge used his gavel to regain the court's composure and then said, 'The court has arrived at a decision. Would the accused stand?'
Charlie placed the children gently on their feet and taking one in each hand, Charlie stood facing the judge.
The judge continued as he gave his verdict and sentence, 'On examining all of the evidence, the court finds, Charlie Maxwell O'Riley guilty of Burglary of a Habitation. Notwithstanding, and due to unusual circumstances, the court finds it necessary to take into consideration the cooperation of the accused in how such cooperation from him assisted the efforts of the law enforcement officials in concluding a case of serious magnitude. The court has determined that the accused be given one year probation and a fine of two thousand, plus court cost and attorney fees. Also, due to the nature of the case and the good-heartedness that the accused has consistently demonstrated towards the children involved in the earlier mention case that was solved, the court has determined that it can find no reason why Charlie Maxwell O'Riley should be restricted from visiting Thomas and Elizabeth, so long as such visitations are permitted by the managing conservators who are in c! harge of said children. This case is closed and the court is now out of session.'
With that, the audience within the court room jumped to their feet cheering and applauding. Charlie took the children in his arms and hopped around the court room a bit as he danced another Irish jig with them.
'Charlie,' Elizabeth said.
'What's that princess,' Charlie inquired with a giant smile on his face?
'Can we go to your place and turn the Christmas lights on,' Elizabeth finished her question.
'Sure we can,' Charlie said. 'And if you'd like, we can dance around until we get hungry for some peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.'
'All right!' Thomas shouted, as they left the court room laughing and dancing an Irish jig.
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