The Banshee and the scream of the fox.

E is a 35-year-old Irish female originally from Cork, Ireland. E currently runs a bed and breakfast with her husband outside out Cork, Ireland.

E performed this folklore over breakfast in the dining room of her bed and breakfast. I asked E if she had any Irish folklore she would be willing to share with me.

E: I remember stories of the Banshee years ago. You know, it was one thing I reckon I was scared of as a kid because if you hear these really loud screams, my mother would say it was the Banshee, like it could be the Banshee, and if you hear the Banshee someone who belonged to you is going to die. Scary stuff, um, it was just an old Irish thing years ago and if you saw the Banshee which is a big white lady, kinda like a ghost, and if you saw that, yeah, they taught that you were going to die, so basically if you saw it that’s the end of you kind of thing. Um, but, I remember as kids, do you know-do you know the way foxes have really loud kind of a bark that a fox would? You can confuse with the Banshee. People who think that “oh my God I heard a noise up the hill!” but it would be a fox because there’s lots of foxes around here, and.. it’s a really high pitched scream. Like it would, it would sound like someone’s nearly being murdered like, its just that type of a scream. But if you didn’t know it was a fox, you might think it was the Banshee.

Reflection: Out of all my efforts to collect folklore in Ireland, the story of the Banshee was the story I heard 90% of my time. As E was the last person I had a chance to interview during my brief visit to Ireland, I was initially disappointed that the story of the Banshee was one of the only bits of folklore she could think of. However, after looking back on her performance of the legend with a clear mind, I realized her telling gave valuable local insight into her community. Based on the E’s association of foxes’ eerily people-like scream to the screams of the Banshee, the legend is imbued with greater credibility through linkage to the real world, that wouldn’t otherwise exist in places where foxes aren’t common. Even though the Banshee legend is generally well-known, the individual variation that E lent to her performance of the legend ensures that including the folklore in my collection is not worth considering a failure.