Posted in Female Author, Short Story

Deal Me In, Week 28 ~ “Darby O’Gill and the Good People”


Hosted by Jay @ Bibliophilopolis

“Darby O’Gill and the Good People” by Herminie T. Kavanagh

Card picked: Two of Hearts – A WILD card!
From: Masterpieces of Terror and the Unknown, edited by Marvin Kaye


While I’m fairly sure I haven’t seen the Disney movie Darby O’Gill and the Little People, I was familiar with the title. I had a vague notion that it was a comedic, you know, *Disney* movie, not the sort of thing that would end up in an anthology of “terror and the unknown.” Then again, most Grimm stories are much more grim than their Disney adaptations, so I held out hope. The story semi-delivered.

I’m guessing the biggest different between this story and the movie (aside from the fact that the movie was based on several of Kavanagh’s stories) is that it’s pretty clear in the story that the Good People—fairies of Irish mythology—are damned in God’s eyes. “If we had put our charm on you outside to bring you in you’d never die till the ind of the worruld, when we all must go to hell,” explains the King after Darby infiltrates their mountain kingdom and impresses everyone with a great feat of dancing. But damned doesn’t mean that they’re bad people. Darby can’t leave, but the King vows to take care of Darby’s family. Darby spends six months with the Good People, eating, drinking, and dancing. When Darby does finally escape and negotiates a deal, the King keeps his word. It’s interesting, but the only terrifying thing was the occasional use of dialect in the writing…

The movie version, released in 1959, features a pre-Bond Sean Connery: