It Is Illegal for a Bee to Sting an Innocent Passer-By Who Has Done It No Harm; ANCIENT IRISH . LAWS THAT STILL HOLD TRUE

The Mirror (London, England), January 5, 1999 | Go to article overview

It Is Illegal for a Bee to Sting an Innocent Passer-By Who Has Done It No Harm; ANCIENT IRISH . LAWS THAT STILL HOLD TRUE


THE ancient tribes of Ireland might have been a warrior race - but they knew right from wrong.

Two thousand years ago the pagan people of Eire were governed by laws overseen by the wise men known as poets.

Now, in the last 12 months of the second millennium, maybe it's time to revive those ancient rules and regulations - which have never been removed from the statute books.

Crime: It is illegal for a bee to sting an innocent passer-by who has done it no harm.

If a suspect sleeps in heav- ily after a crime, this will cast doubt on his innocence. Or if he trembles, blushes or develops a thirst due to nervousness while being questioned.

Punishment: If you do not hunt down pirates, horse thieves and wolves for your chieftain, or if you refuse to accompany him to the great assembly, your livestock shall be taken to the animal pound.

The professional satirist who bestows an evil nickname on a tribesperson such as "foul-breath" or "scabby-face" shall have his cows or jewellery seized or other punishment.

Divorce: "A husband may divorce his wife for unfaithfulness, persistent thievery, inducing an abortion on herself, bringing shame on his honour or smothering her child.

Fines: If a tribesman breaks another tribesman's leg he must pay a fine and supply a horse for the victim to ride on.

If the juggler at a fair juggles with pointed spears or sharpened knives and injures a bystander, he pays a great fine. For this is a dangerous juggle.

The fine for leaving a wounded man overnight without nursing care is one cow.

Healing: The doctor may not keep his patients in his cow-house, his sheep-house or his pig-house. He need not take anyone into his house of healing whose death is probable.

An unlimited amount of celery is allowed to patients of every class, due to the abundance of its juice.

Hospitality: All members of the tribe are required to offer hospitality to strangers. The exceptions are minor children, madmen and old people.

Hunting: In whatever place it is a tribesman's right to spear a salmon seen near the top of the water. But one thrust of the spear is all that is allowed. …

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