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Owen Catches A Thief
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When Owen was a young man he kept twenty pigs on his farm.
Even though he worked hard he was poor because he had to pay rent every month to the landlord Major Feathers.
Owen often looked across the fields at a girl called Norah who lived nearby.
He wished that he had more money so that he could ask Norah to marry him, but that did not seem likely.
Every morning Owen got up very early.
After breakfast he would walk to the farm of his neighbour Danny and buy two buckets of milk from him.
Owen thought that Danny charged him too much for the milk but there was no other dairy farmer near him.
When Owen returned to his farm with the milk, he would mix it with grain and feed it to his pigs, they were always hungry and gobbled up the food greedily.
One Friday morning when Owen was feeding the pigs in the pig sty, he counted them and found that one was missing.
The fence was not broken and Owen knew that someone had come in during the night and stolen one of his pigs!
The next Friday morning Owen found that another pig was missing!
'The thief has come back again,' he said to himself. 'I must stop
this from happening again.'
Owen knew that his neighbour Danny had dogs for sale.
The next morning when he went to Danny's farm to buy the two buckets of milk, he bought a dog from him.
Danny told him that the dog was a great watch-dog and that he would not let anyone steal any of Owen's pigs.
Danny charged Owen a lot of money for the dog.
Owen built a kennel for the dog near the pig sty.
The dog did not want to be near the pigs but Owen made him sleep in the kennel every night.
The next Friday morning when Owen counted the pigs, he found that another one was missing! He had not heard the dog barking during the night, so he decided to give him back to Danny.
When Owen gave the dog back to Danny, Danny would not give him back his money.
Owen did not think Danny was a good neighbour, not giving him his money back was bad enough, but charging him too much for the two buckets of milk every morning was worse.
Owen wished he could get even with Danny.
When Owen returned to his farm he decided to find out who was stealing his pigs.
He examined the ground around the pig sty and found that there were big footprints made by a person with holes in his shoes. He saw that these footprints led towards a grassy lane and then faded away.
Owen worked out a plan!
On the following Thursday Owen went to where he found the big footprints. He dug a big deep hole.
Then he poured six buckets of pig muck into it!
He covered the hole with light branches, and put some soil and grass on top of that, the hole was well hidden.
When Owen got up on Friday morning he heard loud shouts coming from the hole he had dug.
A man had fallen in and was shouting: "Let me out, let me out. I can't bear the horrible smell."
The man held one of Owen's pigs in his arms.
"Hand me that pig," demanded Owen and when the man refused Owen told him he would leave him in the hole all day.
Immediately the man handed the pig to Owen.
"Let me out now," screamed the thief, "I can't stick the smell down here any longer."
"You must tell me who you are and where you live," said Owen.
The thief told Owen that his name was Scuttie Hardhead and that he lived in Annacully.
He roared and begged to be helped out of the hole.
"Not yet," said Owen and he left the man roaring.
Owen walked to the town and called at the Policeman's house.
When the Policeman heard that Owen had caught the pig thief, he was delighted and said "that devil been stealing pigs for months from lots of farmers. Let us go back to your farm."
Owen and the Policeman walked to Owen's farm.
The thief was still in the hole, shouting.
Owen and the Policeman pulled him out.
Holding his nose, Owen had to pour four buckets of water on the thief to get rid of the dirt and the smell!
The Policeman then tied up the thief and led him back to the town.
"This fellow will be locked up for a long time" he told Owen.
Owen was glad to have all his pigs back, but two days later there was even better news.
The Policeman called with a bag of money for Owen.
He said, "I have returned the pigs to the farmers they were stolen from.
When I told them that you were the one who captured the thief, every one of them put money in this bag for you. Take this, Owen.'
Owen was delighted with the bag of money.
When market day came he went into the town and bought a lovely milking cow.
This meant that he no longer had to buy milk from Danny every day.
He also bought ten more pigs.
Owen now had a cow and thirty pigs.
He went over to Danny and told him he would no longer be buying milk from him.
Danny was not happy with that and told Owen that he 'was too big for his boots'. Owen just laughed at him.
Owen was now much better off than he had been.
Every day as he looked across the fields at Norah, he decided that one day soon he would ask her to marry him!
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Martin is now a retired College Lecturer who enjoys writing and foreign travel with his wife, he occasionally writes for magazines.
While Martin's five children were growing up, he and his wife Carmel loved to tell the children stories.
Two of these special stories were Smut Fada (means long snout) and The Three Pats.
When Martin's grandchild Katie wanted to hear some stories, Martin sat down to write the spin-off stories.
Credit is due to Martin's eldest son Rory who provides story illustrations (Smut Fada).
Martin's youngest son Barry, was the original inspiration for boy called Barry in The Three Pats story, Barry now gives Martin technical help with his computer.
Here's a list of just some of Martin's stories which are rotated on this page one at a time and available to registered readers. The entire collection is available immediately to those registered for Unlimited Children's Stories (see Free Story Access above).
Major Feathers And Silver
Smut Fada Book 1 Tales From Ireland
Smut Fada finds a home
Madam Elly learns a lesson
Major Feathers and Silver
Norah and Snowy
Owen Catches a Thief
The Three Pats
Barry and the Pirates
Barry and the Wicked Dogs
Barry helps a Farmer
Barry helps a sick girl
Barry saves the village girls
Thanks for your interest and happy reading.