Example of Folktale: The Uglier Foot

‘There was a tailor in Ballyvourney long ago. He had very big ankles, and the nickname that people had on him was Tadhg of the Ankles. At that time, tradesmen travelled from house to house, and the people used to gather in for sport and fun with them.

One night when Tadhg was sewing away, sitting on the table, and he had one of his legs stretched out in front of him. The woman of the house was sitting at the head of the table, between Tadhg and the fire. She noticed Tadhg’s big ankle.


‘Upon my conscience, that’s an ugly foot,’ says she. One or two people laughed at this.

‘Upon my conscience,’ said Tadhg, ‘there’s a still uglier foot than it in the house.’

The woman of the house must have had badly shaped feet herself, and she thought that Tadhg was hinting at her.

‘There isn’t an uglier foot than it in the whole world’, said she.
‘Would you lay a bet on that?’ asked Tadhg.
‘I would’, said she.

‘I’ll bet you a quart of whiskey that there’s an uglier foot than it in this house,’ said Tadhg.

‘I’ll take that bet’, said the woman.
At that, Tadhg pulled his other foot from under him.

‘Now,’ said he, ‘which is the uglier foot, the first foot or the second one?’

‘Upon my word, the second is a lot uglier,’ said the woman.
‘Very well,’ said Tadhg. ‘Send out a quart of whiskey for me.’
‘I will, indeed,’ said the woman.

She was glad to have lost the bet when her own feet weren’t compared to Tadhg’s.


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