From the book Scary Story Reader, as narrated by storyteller Steven Long, comes this retelling of a tale from Ireland about a spoiled youth named Tad O’Cain, who after spending many nights in bars engaged in all sorts of debauchery, gets a wake-up call to return to a more noble lifestyle. What it takes to get him to realize the error of his ways is a horror that most cannot fathom, much less endure.
As authors Richard Young and his wife Judy Dockrey-Young comment in the notes on the story from Scary Story Reader, “In Ireland the wastrel’s name is Teig O’Kane and he visits five churches; at the third he is choked by unseen hands, at the fourth he is driven away by ghostly grave lights, and at the fifth he is relieved of his burden. In the Irish version, the gremlins or goblin are instead wizened, gray elves.”
For a similar story with a female protagonist, see the tale “Mary Calhoun” in the book Ozark Tall Tales (August House Publishers, 1989).
To see/hear more of Steven Long, check out his YouTube channel here.
If you enjoyed this tale, perhaps you would be interested in the following items:[sc:folktale-faves]