Captain Webb, the Robber Chief

About a hundred years ago a most notorious robber, called Captain Webb, used to make the County Mayo his headquarters; and dreadful tales are still current amongst the people of his deeds of violence and cruelty.

Many beautiful young girls he carried off by force or fraud; and when he grew tired of them it was his practice to strip the unhappy victims naked, and plunge them down a deep hole near Lough Corrib, which is still known throughout the county as "Captain Webb's Hole."

One day, however, fate worked out a revenge on the audacious highwayman by the hands of a woman.

He had committed a daring robbery on the highroad—plundered a carriage, shot the horses, and carried off a noble and lovely girl, who was returning home with her mother from an entertainment, which had been given by a great lord in the vicinity. Consequently, as the robber knew, the ladies were dressed magnificently, and wore the most costly jewels. After stripping the mother of all her ornaments, he left her half dead upon the highway; but wrapping a cloak round the young lady, Captain Webb flung her on the horse before him and galloped off to one of the many hiding-places he had through the country.

For some time he gave up all his other favourites for the sake of the beautiful girl, and carried her about with him on all his wild expeditions, so great was the madness of his love for her.

But at length he grew tired even of her beauty, and resolved to get rid of her, in the same way as he had got rid of the others, by a cruel and sudden death.

So one day, when she was out riding beside him, as he always forced her to do, he brought her to the fatal hole where so many of his victims had perished, intending to cast her down headlong as he had done to so many others; but first he told her to dismount and to take off all her rich garments of silk and gold and her jewels, for she would need them no longer.

"For pity, then," she said, "do not look on me while I undress, for it is not seemly or right to look on a woman undressing; but turn your back and I shall unclasp my robe and fling it off."

So the captain turned his back as she desired him, for he could not refuse her last request; but still he kept close to the edge of the hole ready to throw her in; when suddenly she sprang upon him, and placing both hands on his shoulders, pushed him over the edge down into the fathomless gulf, from which no mortal ever rose alive, and in this manner the country was freed for evermore from the terrible robber fiend, by the courage of a brave and beautiful girl.