The Wells of Death; the Wells of Riches and Poverty

Patrick Weston Joyce

In some part of the baronies of Orior in the east of Armagh, there were formerly two wells situated near each other—and they are still there no doubt if we could only find them—which were much more deadly vengeful than the well of Slieve Bloom. Whoever tasted the water of one fell dead on the spot; and the other was quite as bad in its own way; for if a person looked into it three times, the water rose up furiously till it drowned him.

According to another old book however, the qualities possessed by these two wells were much less fatal, though equally surprising. Whoever took a drink of the water of one was sure to become rich; but if he drank from the other, nothing could save him from becoming as poor as a church mouse. The puzzle of the thing was however that no one knew which was which; and every man who drank made a hazardous venture, as he knew not whether he was drinking affluence or poverty.