The following is an Irish faerie legend. It is the story of Lusmore, a humpback with the following description--"he looked just as if his body had been rolled up and placed on his shoulders and his head was pressed down with the weight so much that his chin, when he was sitting, used to rest on his knees for support."
One evening, on a return walk home, Lusmore sat down along a moat to rest his limbs. A beautiful, yet unearthly melody began to captivate the weary man. He listened intently, but soon became tired of the repetition of the tune. After a pause, he took up the tune, raising it up a little and then singing with the voices he had first heard. So delighted were the faeries with the little man's variation that they decided to bring the mortal amongst them. Lusmore's musical skill, they felt, so exceeded theirs that he was conveyed into their company with the 'eddying speed of a whirlwind'.
The consultation of the faeries, which was nothing more than their paying tribute to Lusmore, began to somewhat alarm him. Then, a faerie stepped away from the group and said:
Doubt not, nor deplore,
For the hump which you bore
On your back is no more;
Look down on the floor,
And view it, Lusmore!'
Lusmore then felt a lightness on his shoulders that he was unaccustomed to and was so delighted that he could have 'bounded at one jump over the moon'. Able to lift his head for the first time, he looked around in wonder at the resplendent beauty surrounding him. The visual was overpowering...
he grew quite dizzy, his eyesite became dim and at last fell into a sound sleep.
When at last Lusmore awoke he was dressed in a new suit, which must have been the work of the faeries, and was wonder of wonders like a different man.
The story of Lusmore's hump became well-known throughout the countryside. Not long after the faeries' kindess, an old woman came to his home asking the details of the 'cure' for the son of an acquaintance who was also a humpback. Being a good-natured soul, Lusmore described what had happened in detail. After thanking him kindly, the woman returned home and then told her friend what she had been told. Together then they journeyed with the son to the old moat of Knockgrafton. The humpback, Jack Madden, was a 'peevish and cunning creature from his birth' and on hearing the faerie music, he was in such a hurry to get rid of the hump upon his back that he never thought to wait of an appropriate time to sing a variation or even that he should mind the quality of his voice. And so, he interjected, bawling out 'thinking that if one day was good, then two were better; and that if Lusmore had one new suit of clothes given him, he should have two.'
The faeries, beside themselves with anger, whisked the vociferous humpback into the moat and surrounded him, screeching and yelling. Stepping forth from the crowd, one said:
'Jack Madden, Jack Madden!
Your words came so bad in
The tune we felt glad in;
That your life we may sadden;
Here's two humps for Jack Madden
As the last bit of the song died away, twenty of the very strongest faeries brought Lusmore's hump and placed it upon Jack's back 'over his own, where it became fixed as firmly as if it was nailed with twelve penny nails, by the best carpenter that ever drove one.'
This done, the faeries removed the unfortunate fellow. He was found the next morning by the two women, half dead, with the double hump on his shoulders. Jack Madden did not survive long, what with the long journey home and the tremendous weight now on his shoulders and he died soon after.