ERIC THE SLOW FAIRY
By
Johnny Mack Hood


Copyright 2004 in San Diego
By John Mack Hood Jr.


Part I – Emily Meets Eric

    Eric was not really a fairy. He was an elf. Fairies don’t actually exist. They are mostly in the imagination of children and in stories that children hear and read. A long time long ago when some children were playing in the woods near home they would see butterflies flitting in and out of the deep shadows. At first it was just a game. It was fun to call them fairies. Then after awhile many of the children came to believe they really were fairies. They told their parents most solemnly that they had seen fairies in the woods. Pretty soon even the parents began to believe. That is how we come today to have so many stories about fairies. Grownups believe there are fairies and tell their children wonderful stories; and don’t children always believe what the grownups say? Well, almost always.

    Eric, however, was an elf – a very slow elf. We will come to know what that was all about pretty soon. Eric’s mother and father, Eloise and Edmund, had left Ireland one hundred and fifty years ago at the time of the “Great Hunger” – what we call now the Irish potato famine. At that time many of the Irish had to give up their rich farms to some people from England and were forced to live on small farms having very rocky hard dirt, suitable only for growing potatoes. This was OK for a while but then a terrible disease caused the potatoes to turn black and not get big enough to eat. Many of the Irish gave up their pitiful little places and got on ships for America. Others stayed at home and got sick and sometimes died from lack of food.
    
    Edmund and Eloise had lived with the McDonough family for many generations and had to make the decision whether to stay in Ireland and find a new family or go to America with the McDonoughs. Elves have always had to live with a regular human family. They are too small to manipulate the farm machinery needed to grow the food that they ate. Being small their host family never noticed the little bit they ate. In return for this unknowing hospitality the Elves provided security from bad things – poisonous snakes for one. Snakes are OK if they stay out where they belong. The other thing about elves is that the families they live with never ever see them. Sometimes they see evidence of them when a little bit of flour or sugar might go missing or some small article in the house is misplaced, but elves can move very fast and seem always to know when someone is about to look in their direction. When that happens they duck behind something and stay out of sight.

    This all sounds a bit strange to the average American. How could they have lived with many generations of McDonoughs? Elves, you see, live a very long time. Nobody knows just how long. Edmund and Eloise were considered among the elves to be a “young married couple.”  They had yet to have any children when they left Ireland. It should be plain that elves can’t have too many children else the world would be completely overrun with elves – considering how long they live. Normal elf families usually have two children, one boy and one girl. Eric was their first-born when his parents were only two hundred and fifty years old. His little sister, Evelyn, was born just fifty years after Eric.

    Now we get to the part about Eric being slow. Today the McDonoughs live near a small country town in Colorado. Originally they had settled in New Mexico where a lot of the Irish went when they got off the boats in the 1850’s. The family moved up into Colorado in 1910 when they found out that you could grow really good potatoes there. Most of the people who lived in this high mountain valley were either Hispanic and were descendents of the early Spanish Conquistadors who traveled north to this area from Mexico or the Mormons who settled here after leaving Illinois and other parts of the East in the 1800’s. The Hispanic population was, of course, Catholic as were the McDonoughs. Today the McDonoughs know hardly anything about those remote ancestors of theirs that left Ireland so long ago. And they certainly do not know that they have an elf family living with them on their farm. They don’t know, but their little daughter, Emily, knows all about the elves. Emily is five and she plays outside and around behind the barn quite a bit.

One day Emily was sitting on a pile of straw behind the barn trying to weave the straw into a garland to put in her hair. She was very quiet and was having quite a hard time getting the straw to weave in and out the way she thought it should. She was concentrating so hard that at first she didn’t see the two big brown eyes and the shock of red hair peeping at her from the corner of the barn. But then she glanced up and did see that someone was there. The person disappeared right away but she knew the he was still there.

    “Hi there. I can’t make this work.” She pouted. “I’ll bet you can help.”

    She went back to her hopeless chore and began to get more and more angry and frustrated. She looked up again, “:I’ll bet you can do this.”

    Still nobody appeared. She knew he was still there though. After a little while with her heaving big sighs and grumbling about the stubborn straw she was aware that the eyes had appeared again – along with the red hair.

    “Maybe I can help,” came the small voice.

    After a minute or so the small figure stepped into full view. He was about three feet tall – about the same size as Emily – and was wearing knee length pants and funny shoes with curious large square buckles. He also had suspenders to keep his trousers up. He looked like a very small man rather than a child but of course Emily didn’t notice that. She just thought he was a little boy about her own age. He came over to the straw pile and sat down next to Emily with his legs crossed and began to work with a small pile of straw. Emily was very pleased to see that he seemed to know how to weave the straw in marvelous ways. He not only made a little garland of straw for her hair but also made a small straw doll. He presented these to her with a very large ear-to-ear grin.

    “Here,” he said, “It’s not so hard. I’ll teach you.”

    So they spent the whole afternoon making straw toys. As the sun got low in sky and near the western mountains Emily heard her mother calling her to come in and wash for dinner.

    “I’ve got go,” she said, “Can you come and play tomorrow?”

    Eric stood and bowed and said, “My name is Eric. I already know yours. It’s Emily – Right?”

    Emily stood up too and said, puzzled, “You must live near here. I hope you can play again. It gets so lonesome here. When I start school in September I will have lots of friends.”

    Eric scratched his tousled red hair and said, “I will try but I have to ask my folks.” He never mentioned, of course, that he and his folks lived right here on Emily’s farm. Elves are not supposed to give away their secrets and Eric had already broken the main rule: NEVER BE SEEN BY ORDINARY PEOPLE.

    Emily went her way to the house for the evening meal, taking with her several of the straw toys that she and Eric had made. Eric slipped into the barn and down below the floor under a loose board into a special cozy place that his father and mother had made into a very comfortable home for the four of them.

    When Emily had washed up and was getting ready for her dinner her mother asked what she had been doing all day. Then Emily took out several of her straw toys and showed them to her mother.

    Her mother was just a little amazed, “Emily dear, these are very nice where did you learn to weave straw so nicely?”

    “Eric taught me,” said Emily with great enthusiasm.

    “Who is Eric, dear?”

    “He is a very nice little boy who came to play with me today and taught me all about straw toys. I am going to play with him tomorrow,” smiled Emily.

    Now, Mrs. McDonough knew that there were no farm houses near enough from which a small boy might appear on their doorstep so she asked, “How old is Eric, Emily?”

    Emily proudly proclaimed, “He is just my age, five, and he is very clever and I am going to play with him every day.”

    That night Mr. and Mrs. McDonough had a long and serious talk about Eric. It was very puzzling. It was even possible they concluded that Emily had a very realistic imaginary friend. Mr. McDonough said that he had heard that children of this age often have such playmates, especially if they live in the country and don’t have very many friends nearby. This seemed to be the answer to their worries and they were finally able to go to sleep.

    The situation in Eric’s home was not so easily taken care of. His parents, Edmund and Eloise, were furious when they learned that Eric had broken the cardinal rule of elfdom. He had allowed a mortal ordinary human being to see him – not only see him but he had played with this person all day long. Outrageous!! Their discussion went on all night long. What in the world were they to do?

    The next morning they confronted Eric with their anger and forbad him to see Emily again. “You will not allow Emily to see you again.”

    Eric began to cry. This was unusual. He had never cried before in all his short life – fifty years. Eloise melted. She could not bear to see their son in such a state. “Maybe we can work something out,” she said looking appealingly at her husband.

    Edmund scratched his little beard and looked thoughtful. “I have an idea,” he said, “but it will require Eric to be absolutely obedient in the matter. He can see Emily again on one condition only.”

    It turned out to be two conditions but Eric dried his tears and agreed. He was allowed to play with Emily but he could never tell her that he was not a human but only an elf and he must never take a chance of Emily’s parents or any other adult seeing him. Happily then the next day Eric was waiting patiently behind the barn when Emily came out to play. Again they played all day and Eric showed Emily how to build a tall fort out of stones and straw. It had a moat around it, which Eric allowed Emily to fill with a bucket of water from the well. Eric stayed safely out of sight while she pumped the water into the pail and struggled to carry it to the back of the barn. This happy state of affairs lasted through the long summer days and Emily and Eric became the very best of friends.

    Soon though it was fall and Emily was being prepared for her first day in a real school. She had not been to school before and this year was her initiation into the first grade at the small elementary school in the nearby small town. A school bus was to pick her up each morning and bring her back home each afternoon at four. She was very excited and could talk of nothing else when she was with Eric. It made him sad because he really had no idea what it was all about. Elves did not go to school. They learned what they needed to know from their mothers and fathers. To him it meant that he would not be able to see Emily nearly as much. And worse than that she would have ever so many new friends and she might not want to see him as often as she might.

    Eric’s parents could see what was going on and they felt very sorry for their son. Eloise said, “This is what comes of us letting Eric have his way in playing with a human all this time. It was a mistake.”  

    Edmund said, “Eric is growing up and has to learn what the world is like for us elves.”

    “Ah,” said Eloise, “but just think, dear husband, we are no longer in Ireland. When was the last time you saw any other elves. You and I grew up with the company of the entire elf kingdom. We had it very good. We have got to make the best of it now even if it means that Eric will have to go through some hard times.”

    Edmund looked down and said softly to no one in particular, “The Great Hunger, what a terrible thing it was – terrible. It could be the end of us all. Here we are across a vast ocean, no elf company, and very little human company. And we don’t even know how things are going back in the old country. I wonder if they are still dying of the Hunger.”

    “Husband dear, we can do nothing except take what is given us. Let us go about our lives. Emily’s folks will need some of our help this night. I hear that her father’s boots have sprung a leak and he is talking of trying to get them repaired or perhaps some new ones. We know they cannot afford new boots these days. You can fix them. That’s what we should be thinking about.”

    So after all were asleep in the farmhouse Edmund and Eloise slipped quietly into the bedroom of Emily’s parents and carried Mr. McDonough’s boots back to the small shop they had set up under a loose floorboard in the barn. There they worked hard all night replacing the stitching in the boots and patching a small hole in the heel of one boot with a scrap of leather. Then just before dawn back they went to the bedroom with the boots neatly repaired and oiled against the mud and water. They had once again earned their keep with the McDonough family.

    The next morning Mrs. McDonough was bustling about the bedroom getting dressed when she noticed Mr. McDonough’s boots beside the bed. “Dear, I thought you were telling me yesterday you needed new boots. Your old ones look fine to me. You know we can’t afford new ones quite yet.”

    Mr. McDonough called out from the bathroom with a laugh, “Well, I thought I did. Maybe the elves fixed them during the night.” He had laughed heartily because neither he nor his wife put much stock in the old Irish stories about elves.

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Part II – Emily Begins School

    This was an important morning. Emily was to begin school today. The small school where Emily would attend was about five miles away and she would have to take the school bus. She had often seen the big yellow bus passing her house and had wondered what it would be like to ride in it. It was sort of scary thinking about it but she was really looking forward to going to school. A girl at the farm next to theirs had been in school for two years and had told her all sorts of wonderful stories about school so Emily was really not afraid – very much. For the first day, though, her father was going to take her in their model T ford truck.

    The school was a two room building on the outskirts of the village. First, second and third grade were in one room and the fourth through sixth in the other. When a person “graduated” from the small elementary school the children then took a bus on a much longer journey to the town of Hermosa where the Junior and Senior High were located in a large two story tan brick structure. Hermosa had a population of over 1500 and the school had a football and a basketball team.

    Emily joined a class of 23 that first day; 8 in first grade, 8 in second and 7 in third. The girl from the next farm was in third grade. The teacher was Miss Hathaway and was very nice. The first day was easy because Emily had already learned her numbers and the alphabet at home and could spell many words. Her mother had read to her from several books and she had learned to recognize many of the words.

    At about ten o’clock Miss Hathaway passed out small bottles of milk and a small paper packet of graham crackers. After they had had this wonderful treat (which Emily had not heard about before) the first graders were asked to put their heads down on their desks and close their eyes for fifteen minutes.  While they were doing this Miss Hathaway was helping some of the older children with their arithmetic and spelling.

    Soon it was lunchtime and Emily went outside and sat at a bench with her neighbor and some other girls. The conversation soon turned to her.

    “Hi, I am Mary Jane. Where do you live?” said one.

    Emily told her and then another girl said, “Do you have brothers and sisters?”

    Emily said “No.”
    
    This was a little bit of a surprise since many of the families in these parts were Mormons and were quite large.

    “Well, Who do you play with?” said Mary Jane.

    Emily was a little uncomfortable with this, “I have a friend that I play with sometimes.” She didn’t want to say too much about Eric because he had told her not to talk about their friendship to others.

    Her neighbor, Susan, spoke up, “Emily has an imaginary playmate. I’ve never seen him but she seems to have a good time with him.” She laughed.
    
    The rest of the girls tittered. They thought that was pretty neat. This new little girl had a boyfriend and she was only six, even if he was imaginary. Emily didn’t mind them laughing. Eric was too important to her and she knew perfectly well that he was real even if they didn’t. Eric had never wanted to meet anyone else and she didn’t mind. They had so much fun together and he had taught her so much about how to make things and had told her such wonderful stories.

     That afternoon at home Emily went out to the barn to play and saw Eric standing in a corner.

    “How was school?” he said looking just a little forlorn. “I missed you.”

    “We had a really good time,” she said’ “I wish you could come. Can’t you go to school too?”

    Eric couldn’t say anything to that; he knew the rules of elfdom. “I do my studies at home,” he stammered.

    “I am so sorry you can’t be there. We have ever so much fun. People say you’re imaginary but I just laugh at them. I know better.”

    And so it went all year. Emily rode the big yellow bus and once in awhile someone asked her about her imaginary playmate. Every afternoon she sat with Eric behind the barn and they made straw dolls or just talked. Emily told him all the things that she was learning in school. Eric seemed to appreciate that. His home instruction didn’t seem to include much of what Emily was learning.

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Part III – Growing Up

    The years passed quickly for Emily. School kept her very busy. She enjoyed it. But things were not going so well for Eric. Eric was an elf and he was already at full stature for an elf but it was clear that Emily was now quite a bit taller than he. He and Emily were uncomfortable some of the time when they were together. She just couldn’t see why he was as small as he was. They often argued about it and he simply could not tell her the truth of the matter. It did prey on his mind though because he was very lonely and Emily was the only person that he knew other than his parents and his sister. He had first loved her as a friend then he came to love her as a sister but now she seemed to prefer other company to his and he really could not handle the sorrow of the situation.

    His parents Edmund and Eloise also noticed that he was grieving.

    “Eric is not happy,” mused his father.

    “Edmund, we must make some hard decisions. It was wrong of us to come so far and to live like this without a community of elves for Eric to be with,” said his mother.

    “But,” his father said, “What choices do we have? We can’t go back to Ireland. We don’t know which way it is and we have no means. And there are no other elves in these parts.”

    Eloise was silent for a long time but then she looked hard at Edmund, “You know there is something that can be done.” The tears came to her eyes.

    Edmund heaved a great shuddering sigh and turned to the wall of their little home, “I know, I know. Not that. Please. Not that.”

    “Edmund, do you measure happiness in length of years. What does it matter if you live five hundred years and are desperately unhappy the whole time? Tell me.” She said fiercely.

    And so they talked far into the night discussing the pros and cons of the drastic solution that they both had knowledge of to Eric’s overwhelming sadness.  The problem seemed to resolve into a decision by morning to confront Eric with the matter and let him choose his own fate. Sadly though Eric’s little sister Evelyn’s fate was also involved. Evelyn had always been a happy child and had been quite content to help her mother and father and stay very close to home. She was well aware of the problem, though, as she loved her brother and it saddened her to see him sad.

    The next morning Edmund asked Eric to sit down, that he and his mother had something to say to him. Eric was puzzled and just a little worried by the grim expressions on both his parent’s faces.

    His father began, “Eric, as you know we elves have a very long life span – many hundreds of years – barring accidents. Normally this is a great boon, as we see much of the world in that long period of time and have time to enjoy so much of life. But we are not in normal circumstances now. We are a long way from Ireland and there are only the four of us. What you may not know and what is usually kept as a dark secret is that we have the power to change our situation very drastically.”

    Eric was puzzled and looked from his father to his mother, “I don’t understand.”

    His mother said, “Of course you don’t. It is one of the very best kept secrets of the elves. It is not necessary that we – any of us - remain elves for ever.”

    Now Eric was truly puzzled, “What do you mean?”

    Eloise continued, “It is very simple, Eric, as simple as stepping over the threshold of a door. We simply leave our secret lives and step into life as ordinary humans. We show ourselves and take up the work of the human community we find ourselves in. We then become human.”

    Edmund added, sadly, “And the cost is very high. We then age and die after a normal human life span. Your mother and I could not expect another fifty years and you and Evelyn might expect eighty.”

    On a lighter note his mother remarked, “Eric dear, we will all be slow then if we do this together.”

    Eric jumped up angrily, “Together? What do you mean? This is for me not for you. Why should you do this too?”

    Edmund said quietly, “Eric, we are too far from our home. This is the only home you know. We are going to stay together as a family. If one of us decides to become a human person we all do. Our family will continue, maybe grow too.” He smiled brightly.

    So it was decided. Evelyn was pleased. She had heard so much about school that she was anxious to go. The big problem was how to make a discrete entrance into the world of humans without causing a stir. It was finally decided that Eric would be their agent and would smooth the way. The next time he saw Emily he told her that his family had decided to seek work on a farm in the neighborhood and he asked her help. Was there anyone she knew that could use the help of a good farmer and craftsman? He made the strong point that they were not looking for wages immediately and would work hard for room and board. He told her that he had a sister and that she would like to go to school here too.

    He was a dear old friend and he was very persuasive. Even though her father was not well off they did have room and the land was getting to be too much for him to care for. He had only planted 30 acres last year. She begged her mother and father to take them in but she did not tell them that Eric was her lifelong playmate and friend. She had a hunch that that would not go down too well. Her mother asked her how she had heard of these people. She told a small fib and said that she had heard of them at school.

    When the family of elves-soon-to-be-humans presented themselves at the back door Emily’s parents were just a little surprised to see that they were of quite small stature. Edmund impressed the family with his knowledge of the farm and his ability to take on all sorts of jobs that were beyond Emily’s father’s available time or skill. An outbuilding was converted to a small home and the new family moved in. Eloise and Evelyn helped Emily’s mother with cooking and canning and the making of clothes. All in all it became a very happy arrangement. There seemed to be a special bond in that both families were “of Irish descent.” Edmund had a world of stories about Ireland and seemed to know more fairy tales than any grown man had a right to know.

    Emily, Eric, and Evelyn started school the next fall. Eric and Evelyn had no records to present so they were given a series of tests and were placed in the eighth grade with Emily. They got to ride the big bus to Hermosa together.

    No one seemed to notice especially but the good food and hard work seemed to result in a spurt of growth for all of Eric’s family. Eric was now over five feet tall – nearly up to Emily’s five feet two and even Eric’s dad was now topping four feet six.

____________________________________________________

Part III – Love in Bloom

    One day Evelyn came home with stars in her eyes. One of the boys on the football team had stopped and talked to her in the hall and asked her to come with him after school to have a coke at the drug store. She couldn’t accept because she had to ride the bus but she was smitten. Now this seems a bit odd considering that she had been an elf for nearly fifty years before becoming human but then as an elf she had led a very sheltered life and elf years pass so quickly that you hardly notice them. Her mother said that she could go to the drug store if he asked her again but it would have to be by pre arrangement so that her father could pick her up in the new truck in town after the “date.”

    The date did occur with Lawrence, and many more besides. It wasn’t long before Evelyn and Lawrence became known as a “thing,” that is, a couple, going steady. They eventually went to a movie together and when the junior prom came along it was Lawrence and Evelyn who were chosen as prom King and Queen.

    Surprisingly Eric and Emily did not date during high school. They somehow saw each other as brother and sister. They did attend the prom together and they both had gone out with others on occasion but nothing steady.

    After high school graduation Emily decided that she wanted to go to the Aggie and Teaching College in Valley View. She had ambitions of being a teacher like the ones that she had been so fond of in elementary school – like Miss Hathaway. Eric hadn’t decided but he felt that his whole life had been on the farm and that it was a very natural place to be. There was so much new to know about farming and he felt it would be a great help to his ageing father and Emily’s family if he were to study agriculture and help to improve the place as well as work with others in the area. He too decided on the College in Valley View.

    And so they were together again, seeing each other on campus as they went their separate ways to class. Although Eric was doing well in his course work he did not feel as happy and satisfied as he thought he might. He couldn’t put his feelings into words but he knew somehow that it involved Emily. Rather than think it all through He just tried to forget and worked harder on his studies. He felt especially distressed one day when one of his friends told him that Emily and a senior that they both knew were going steady. Eric could not swallow that easily. Emily was his special friend and had no right to be seeing someone on a regular basis. That was the way his thinking ran. The more distant Emily became the more miserable he felt.

    It was spring and the College Spring Dance was being planned. Everyone was terribly excited. A band had been hired from Pueblo and weeks were spent decorating the college gymnasium. Everyone at the college was happy – but not Eric. He made excuses to his friends about not having a date and not really caring. Emily was going with Joseph Grimes. She had been seeing quite a bit of him. Joe had a new car, a Model A with a rumble seat. After the dance they were all planning to go out to the park in the foothills for a cookout. It was going to be an adventure to end all adventures for these young people.

    The night of the party Eric wandered over to the gym to see what was going on. Actually he was feeling sorry for himself and seemed to want to make it even worse by watching everyone having a good time. He tried to stay in the shadows and out of sight but then, you know his failing, one of his friends spotted him immediately.

    “Hi, Eric, did you decide to come after all?”

    “Nope. I have some serious studying to do so I have to go back to the dorm pretty quick. Nice party, eh?”

    “Sure is Eric. Wish you would join us. We are going out to Pine Forest Park afterwards. Come on along,” his friend insisted.

    Eric thought he would be a fifth wheel and he knew he couldn’t go. Besides he didn’t want to see Emily there with Joe having a good time and he being alone without a date.

    So Eric went home early and missed being present at the tragic event that occurred that night. The next morning he awoke to a banging on his dorm room door.

    “Eric, Eric, wake up. Have you heard?” shouted his friend Lee. “There’s been a terrible accident.”

    Eric got out of bed in a hurry and opened the door. “What happened?”

    Lee had an awful look on his face and stammered, “I don’t know how to say it, Eric. Emily and Joe were in an accident.”

    Eric felt faint. He thought he might fall down. “Tell me.” The tears started to stream down his cheeks.

    “Joe’s car ran off the bridge over the river coming home and overturned in the water. Joe and Emily are in the hospital. I don’t know any more than that.”

    Eric threw on his clothes and headed for the hospital down town. It was about ten blocks and he ran all the way. It was still early in the morning and surely long before visiting hours but Eric knew as he ran up the steps into the foyer of the hospital that he had to see Emily. He knew now what had been bothering him for so long and he had to do something about it. The attendant at the desk knew him, his red hair was legend even up here in Valley View.

    “I have to see Emily,” he pleaded, eyes red and face flushed from the run.

    “Eric, it isn’t visiting hours yet and Emily’s folks haven’t yet arrived. I will check with the nurse though. Please sit down,” she said.

    Eric didn’t sit down however but paced and peeked down the hallway hoping to see some sign of being let into the room where Emily was. Soon a nurse appeared and spoke to Eric.

    “Eric, Emily will be all right. She has had some sedation and a broken leg and arm have been set. As soon as she wakes up you can talk to her. Would you like to sit in her room and wait for her to awaken?” the nurse said.

    So Eric was ushered into Emily’s room and gingerly took a seat in the only chair. She looked so frail and pale and the giant casts on her arm and leg were frightening. After about a half hour she opened her eyes and saw Eric standing at the foot of her bed.

She smiled, “Eric, I am so glad you’re here.”

Eric had been doing some serious thinking while she slept and he knew exactly what he was going to say, “Emily, I love you very very much and I want you to marry me. Will you?”

Emily blushed and responded, rather quickly, “Yes I will Eric. I have never loved anyone but you.”

And so they had their very first kiss just as Emily’s and Eric’s parents appeared at the hospital room door. We have to credit those wise parents for knowing all along that this would be the outcome. It was a joyous time in the hospital that day. Joe’s injuries were slight and he had gone home earlier.

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Part IV - Several Irish American Households

    Eric and Emily finished their college work and were married right after graduation. The wedding was a wonderful affair with all the friends and neighbors in attendance. No one could quite figure out the peculiar feature of the wedding cake however and neither Eric nor Emily was about to explain. Instead of the usual small figures of a bride and groom on top there were two small straw dolls holding hands. Eric began his work as a farm advisor near Hermosa and was soon able to lease a small place for he and Emily to call their own. His parents continued to live on the farm with Emily’s folks. Evelyn eventually married Lawrence and moved to Pueblo where Lawrence went to work for CF&I.  Emily never put her teachers training to work in the public sector. She was much too busy teaching the large brood of little red headed Irish kids that had appeared at regular intervals in her’s and Eric’s home.

    When you see red hair on a person who is not quite as tall as the average American maybe he has an elf in his ancestry – a slow elf.

 THE END


Note on the Diaspora of the Irish in 1847 from a history compiled by Jerry Desmond:
 
“The holocaust formerly called "Potato Famine" was not a genuine "famine" at all, because only the potato crop was affected, while the vast majority of farmland was planted to other crops and foodstuffs which were grown in sufficient quantities -- or at least nearly sufficient quantities* -- to feed the populace. Hence the human tragedy -- one million dead -- is now more accurately called the "Great Hunger" ("An Gorta Mor" in Irish/Gaelic). Whatever it is called, the disaster resulted from (1) the fungus that totally ravaged the potato crop in 1845, 1846 and 1848, and partially ravaged it in 1847, and (2) government indifference. The Hunger not only devastated the Irish people of 1845-49, it had profound long-term effects on Ireland, effects that remain to this day. Specifically:   What is shocking about the famine is that throughout this entire four-year period of starvation, Ireland was exporting enormous quantities of food. Indeed, up to 75% of Irish soil was devoted to wheat, oats, barley and other crops which were grown for export, and which were actually exported, all while the populace starved”

Not only did so many die but an equal number embarked under miserable conditions aboard ships barely adequate for the task for America. Many died on the way. (Read Angela’s Ashes to get a feel for this).

Some of those who landed in New York made their way to New Mexico by way of Kansas and other western parts. The most famous of these were the parents or parent of Billy The Kid (Who took the name William Boney). The Irish settlers, mostly men, were notorious rogues in North Eastern New Mexico. The Kid will be remembered for his part in the Lincoln County Wars. Today Lincoln County has no town or community that any outsider ever heard of.