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Féar Gortach/Féar Gortagh: The hungry man

Note: After I posted this blog this morning, I read it again and said to myself “Gosh darn it, Teresa! What an appropriate post for Canadian Thanksgiving weekend…” Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canucks; Happy Columbus Day to my American friends.

***

William Butler Yeats describes the ‘Féar Gorta’ (also spelled ‘Féar Gortach’), which means ‘hungry man,’ only as “an emaciated phantom that through the land in times of famine, begging an alms [sic] and bestowing good luck on the giver.”

Other sources are a bit more specific, saying that anyone who doesn’t give the Hungry Man a little something will get very, very hungry, and in the end, eat himself to death. (To me, this sounds like a vengeance curse, so I’d actually go so far as to guess the Hungry Man only shows up at the houses of people who can afford to give.)

But language is a weird thing. There’s another phrase pronounced in similar way–Féar Gortagh–that means ‘hungry grass.’ This is a patch of dead grass, some say it pops up where someone has died violently, some say it happens specifically where someone has died of hunger. This grass turns predator. Anyone who walks across it gets the same sickness as the Hungry Man inflicts on the uncharitable. They get insatiable hunger and eat until they burst.

It’s wafer-thin.

Sources

http://www.sacred-texts.com/neu/yeats/fip/fip23.htm#page_80
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
Vampire Universe: The Dark World of Supernatural Beings That Haunt Us, Hunt Us, and Hunger for Us
(Paperback)
by Jonathan Maberry
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About teresawilde

Author of Young Adult Paranormals, Paranormal Romance, Historical Paranormal Romance, tragical- comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, and poem unlimited.

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