An Irish Tale for April
Once upon a time there was a beautiful mansion of 32 rooms, divided into four wings. The family that owned the mansion allowed its use as a monastery – a center for scholarship. Great artistic treasures were made there and all its neighbors benefitted, for the family willingly shared its learning.
One day, a neighboring tribe raided the mansion and took possession of all its property. They halted the learning and stole all the treasures. The family that had been the former owners were enslaved as servants to the invaders. Servitude became a way of life for the former owners, they were relegated to servant’s quarters in the basement and their children were born into serfdom. Further, the children were even denied an education in the mansion that had once been a school. Every so often, one of the children would try to organize members of the family to take back possession of the mansion, but they were ultimately beaten down and the whole family was punished.
The former owners were constantly mistreated. Once, the tribe that held the mansion even sold the food from the garden to neighbors and allowed the former owners to starve. Many of the children had no choice but to reluctantly bid farewell to their family and leave home. As far away as they settled, they never forgot the Mansion and the family they were forced to leave. As they began to prosper, they sent assistance back home, but it was never enough to break the restrictions under which their family lived.
Then one April day, a son named Padraic succeeded in inspiring the family to make another attempt at taking back what had been stolen so many years ago. Like others before him, he was unsuccessful, but the punishment inflicted on him and his followers infuriated the whole family, and they rose and fought the tribe into a bargain. The descendants of the original thieves would return a section of the mansion to the former owners, but they would keep the north wing for just a while, until they could remove their possessions.
The family of the former owners were delighted, except for a few who awaited the return of the north wing for many of the mansions greatest memories were there. After a number of years, it became obvious that the neighboring tribe not only had no intentions of returning the stolen rooms of the mansion, but they built a restraining wall around six of the nine rooms in the wing. Then, many of those in those six rooms declared allegiance to the tribe that had originally stolen the entire mansion. They also kept the family members who still lived in those rooms in the same bondage as they had formerly held the whole family.
Trouble erupted in the north wing and, with the help of family members who had long ago left home, a settlement was finally reached with the descendants of the original invaders. They finally agreed to allow the family members a voice in running the stolen six rooms of the wing. Some family members angrily declared that the only agreement they would accept is for the descendants of the old tribe to leave. However, others understand that several generations of these descendants were actually born in those six rooms and are inclined to let them stay – but only as equals, not as masters!
And although the story appears to be nearing an end, it has not ended yet. Although they were not destroyed, there was much damage done in the isolated six rooms and they must be repaired. Part of that reparation is to restore rights to those who had been denied, accept those who had been ostracized, to employ those who had been blacklisted, to house those who had been shut out, to provide justice to those who had been victims and, most importantly, to tear down the restraining wall that was built around the six rooms to keep them from the rest of their family. In that way, the residents will finally fulfill the dying wish of many of the family’s deceased children and, to paraphrase one of those children, Thomas Davis, make that home a mansion once again.