Author Archives: saccone

“Take Care of the Water” and the Scorched Black Sheep

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Irish/Polish
Age: 16
Occupation: Na
Residence: Na
Date of Performance/Collection: October 28, 2020
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Karisa talked about a time she was on the porch with her Grandfather. Karisa threw out her cup of water onto the grass below, and her grandfather asked why she didn’t warn spirits around her to “take care of the water” or watch out for the water. He then told her the story of the Black Lamb. One night, a woman went out to throw some boiling hot water. When she threw it out, she did not say “take care of the water” and after she threw it she immediately heard wailing and screaming. Later that night, a black lamb with all of the wool scorched off its back wandered into her house. The woman was sure it was the spirit that she hit with the water. The lamb laid by her fireplace and died. The lady gathers some of her neighbors and they go to bury the lamb under the ground and lay it to rest properly. But the next night, the lamb returns and once again dies by her fireplace. The lady buries it again, but it returns again the next night. This cycle continues until the woman decides to hire an exorcist. The lamb does not return, so the next morning the woman and the neighbors go to see the place where the lamb was buried. They could not find the lamb. The story is told as a warning in Ireland to make sure to tell people and spirits around when you throw out water or other items. I believe the story teaches courtesy and general manners/superstitions.