MCGILLVERY AND MCGILLICUDDY

Ben Meyers

With

J. J. Jeshurun

FADE IN:

EXT. IRELAND/IRISH MOOR/TINKER'S WAGON/IRISH COTTAGE/ROAD TO ABANDONED COTTAGE/ABANDONED COTTAGE - DAY/NIGHT

Happy Irish music plays through swirling mist and fog that alternately hide and reveal rich, green Irish moors covered in blooming heather. The mist and fog periodically form into the semblance of cats, castles, priests, warriors, babies, orphans, and tinker's wagons. The Irish music changes its happy tone to match somber, shadowy mist and fog that become threateningly dark with flames of fire burning through the cloudy mist. The music, mist, and fog wind down from tension-filled atmosphere to the commonplace and peaceful scene. The mist clears to reveal a beautiful, early summer's blue sky blanketing green pastures dotted with white sheep on flowery fields sprinkled with ancient, apple trees. An endlessly winding road leads across the fields to the far horizon. McGillvery and McGillicuddy-two poverty-stricken, middle-aged, Irish tinkers-sit on the seat of an ancient, poorly kempt tinker’s wagon pulled by two aged, shaggy, gray, tinker horses. A lame gray mare is tied to the back of the wagon. The tinker horses automatically turn into a dusty lane that leads toward a well-kempt, thatched, white-washed cottage. The sign swinging from the back of the tinker wagon proclaims-in conservative blue letters on green-McGillvery and McGillicuddy, Tinkers at Large. McGillvery and McGillicuddy eagerly sit forward on their wagon seat and sniff appreciatively at the kitchen smells wafting from the open cottage window.

MCGILLVERY

Smells like cabbage and lamb wi' a side of potatoes.

MCGILLICUDDY

An’ I’m smelling apples cookin’ in sweet syrup.

McGillvery pulls a wrinkled, red handkerchief from behind the wagon seat, wipes his face generously, and quickly hands it to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

Make y’rself presentable, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy quickly wipes his face and stuffs the handkerchief into his pocket. McGillvery flicks the reins on the tinker horses’ backs to urge them up the last small incline leading to the cottage. The horses automatically stop in front of the cottage door. McGillicuddy begins dismount to the ground. A burly, red-face man quickly exits the cottage door; he holds a long gun in his hand.

BURLY, RED-FACE MAN

(Roughly)

An’ what’re y’ doin’ comin’ up me lane without invitation and at supper time, too?

McGillicuddy stops his dismount from the wagon.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Meek assurance)

No offense, kind sir. We’re tinkers three generations down and have come to furnish the home with needles and pins, pans and fabric, a story or two, and a bit of music as the evenin’ winds down.

A well-rounded woman, wiping her hands on cotton toweling, appears in the cottage shadows behind the man. The burly, red-face man’s eyes roam to the back of the tinker’s wagon where the lame, gray mare is tied.

BURLY, RED-FACE MAN

(Growls)

An’ a bit of ‘orse tradin’, too, I see. What’s wrong wi’ ‘er?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Assuringly)

Nothin’ that won’t be right in a new moon.

The burly, red-face man glowers at McGillvery.

BURLY, RED-FACE MAN

(Testily)

Two tinkers on a fellow’s property looks a bit unseemly. What’s the one doin’ while the other’s sellin’? Perhaps ‘e’s goin’ ‘round back and shooing me best ewe out to pasture to pick up a little later in the evenin’, eh?

Before McGillvery and McGillicuddy can wag their heads ‘no’, the burly, red-face man pulls the gun to his shoulder, points it, and cocks it at McGillicuddy’s head.

BURLY, RED-FACE MAN

(Roughly)

Take the mare and be off’n the property or I’ll be givin’ y’a taste of the lead.

McGillvery reaches and pulls urgently at McGillicuddy’s arm.

MCGILLVERY

Come now, Cuddy. The man’s set sure to fight.

McGillicuddy scrambles back into his seat while McGillvery turns the tinker horses in the tight yard and heads back down the lane. McGillvery’s stomach growls loudly.

MCGILLVERY

(Gentle lament)

When the wintry mist is particularly bitin’, it’s damagin’ to one’s good nature to be refused the ‘ospitality of a comforting cup o’ tea at fireside.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Correcting)

‘Tis not winter, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

(Argues)

It’s damagin’ in fair weather or in foul.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Philosophically)

We’d best get used to the fact that the welcomin’ scent of soda bread waftin’ down the tinker’s road is not a sure invitation for a wee bite of the warm loaf.

McGillvery disappointedly rubs his stomach.

MCGILLVERY

(Mournfully)

A grown man like meself needs a good meal before settin’ to bed.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Consolingly)

Maybe tomorrow we’ll ‘ave the better side of luck and be dinin’ on fowl and summer peas.

MCGILLVERY

(Gloomily)

There’s been many a ‘morrow gone by without such luck. Our breeches will barely stay in place for the starvation this year, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

Shhh, now. Here’s the Earl of Donogough’s place comin’ up. Look cheery.

The tinker wagon passes two imposing stone pillars holding a highly decorated, secured iron gate.

MCGILLVERY

I’ve ‘eard tell ‘e dines on little pastries wi’ ‘is name carved into the top o’ ‘em.

MCGILLICUDDY

I’ve ‘eard the same.

MCGILLVERY

Why couldn’t it be us dinin’ in such a manner, Cuddy?

MCGILLICUDDY

It’s not the order of things, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

Would it upset the order of the whole universe if two tinkers raised themselves to eat as well as an earl does day by day?

A small wind swirls dust around the wagon’s wheels. The gray mare spooks and pulls at the lead rope at the back of the wagon. McGillicuddy shifts uneasily in his seat.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye, now, quit thinkin’ such thoughts. It’s makin’ the unseen ones upset already and they’re spookin’ the mare. Look sharp now. There’s a comfortable cottage up ahead.

McGillicuddy sits forward on the stoop and points to a grass-overgrown lane leading to a windowless cottage with a partially destroyed thatched roof. The tinker’s wagon turns down the lane and pulls to the front of the cottage. McGillicuddy climbs down from the wagon seat to start a small campfire. McGillvery reaches for the potato sack, shakes it, frowns, and reaches into its bottom. He pulls a single potato from the sack.

MCGILLVERY

It’s the last one, Cuddy. Not enough for the two of us.

McGillicuddy hands him a covered iron pot.

MCGILLICUDDY

Best be puttin’ it to bed then and we’ll be splittin’ it fairly.

A low moaning wind rises around the stone cottage. McGillicuddy pulls his ragged coat up around his ears and looks uneasily around.

MCGILLICUDDY

The saints are a’walkin’ tonight. Best be consolin’ them by readin’ in Mum’s book.

McGillvery nods, puts the iron pot on the fire, and reaches for an ancient, tattered, leather-bound book. McGillvery opens the book to a marked place while McGillicuddy stakes the horses.

MCGILLVERY

Did y’ notice Mum marked some of the passages differently than the others?

MCGILLICUDDY

Not to say I did.

MCGILLVERY

She marked some of them with an eye and a small series of black dots.

MCGILLICUDDY

She ‘ad some peculiar ways, all right.

MCGILLVERY

First noticed it when reading a passage from King Solomon’s writings. Look, she marked it with an eye and a single black dot.

McGillvery hands the book to McGillicuddy and points to the passage. McGillicuddy reads it slowly.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Frowns)

I wonder she would mark such a confounded piece. It makes no sense at all.

MCGILLVERY

(Encourages)

It’s like steps, rungs on a ladder, Cuddy. Read it again.

McGillvery points to the passage and holds up fingers one at a time.

MCGILLVERY

See? Five steps.

McGillicuddy re-reads the passage.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Frowns)

An’ ‘ow would an ‘onest fellow even know ‘ow to stand on such a step?

McGillvery flips forward several pages and points.

MCGILLVERY

Look ‘ere. She marked this piece with an eye and two dots.

McGillicuddy reads the passage, then frowns, and hands the book back to McGillvery.

MCGILLICUDDY

It’s as much a riddle as the other What’s it mean talkin’ about good and bad? What’s bad to one person is another’s goodness.

McGillvery nods excitedly and quickly flips several pages backward.

MCGILLVERY

But, look ‘ere. Another eye and three dots. It should start makin’ sense now.

McGillicuddy reads, becomes excited, and takes the book from McGillvery’s hand to carefully re-read the passage. He sits back, flabbergasted.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Amazement)

The richest man in the world and ‘e left a map as plain as day!

McGillvery laughs aloud and claps McGillicuddy on the back.

MCGILLVERY

‘An Mum showed us the way!

McGillicuddy looks at the passage again and clears his throat.

MCGILLICUDDY

An’ where do y’ think we’d be on that ladder?

MCGILLVERY

(Promptly)

The first rung.

MCGILLICUDDY

An’ why would y’ think that?

MCGILLVERY

Because we’re not the bad lads-we’re the peaceful sort-associating with the priest when we’re in Catholic land and with the vicar when we’re in Protestant land.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Objects)

Nay...I’m thinkin’ we’re surely standin’ on the second rung.

McGillvery frowns slightly and shakes his head ‘no’.

MCGILLVERY

No, I’m thinkin’ it takes a powerful great ‘umbleness to stand there...enough ‘umbleness to ask for what’s lackin’ an’ to follow it through. We’ve never properly asked for our way, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy looks uncomfortably around.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Worriedly)

Usually a body gives somethin’ before ‘e gets, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

What does a child ‘ave to give ‘is father for ‘is plate of food? ‘E just asks for it. Nothin’ more.

McGillicuddy rubs his unshaven face as if contemplating the possibility of rising in life.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Doubtfully)

It’s a long way steppin’ from a starvin’ tinker to a well-fed king.

MCGILLVERY

We’ll never know the length of the step if we don’t try. We’re the young lads still. Wouldn’t it be gran’ if we could walk an ‘igher road?

McGillvery earnestly looks at McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

(Urges)

All we got to do is ask, Cuddy. ‘Ow ‘ard is that? It’s ‘ow King Solomon himself started...by askin’.

MCGILLICUDDY

‘E didn’t ask for the gold, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

(Admits)

But, ‘e was a king’s son, well-outfitted. We’re just a bit short of bein’ fixed so well. Our askin’s necessarily got to be a bit different. Let’s just be the ‘umble men and ask.

MCGILLICUDDY

I never saw meself as bein’ overly proud, Gilly. Askin’s not an ‘ard thing to do.

McGillicuddy gets up from his stump seat, walks to the doorstep of the abandoned cottage, stiffly gets down on his knees, bows his head, and delivers a prolonged, heartfelt prayer to heaven. McGillvery joins him. When they are finished, McGillvery turns to McGillicuddy. 

MCGILLVERY

(Anxiously)

Were y’ truly ‘umble in yer ‘eart, Cuddy?

McGillicuddy carefully rises and rubs sore, arthritic knees.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Gently complains)

If I’d been anymore ‘umble, I wouldn’ be able to walk again.

MCGILLVERY

Then we jus’ need to keep our eyes open for our answer.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy return to sit on their stumps as if to wait for an answer, but soon nod to sleep. At the midnight hour, a stiff breeze begins swirling around the cottage and sets the blue-green sign hanging from the back of the tinker’s wagon to creaking on its shaft. The gray mare skitters at the end of her lead rope. The two tinker horses throw their heads, roll their eyes, and kick against their hobbles. Strange dark clouds begin rolling across the night sky. McGillicuddy shivers and mumbles in his sleep. The wind suddenly blows fiercely and the tinker’s sign at the back of their wagon does a 360 degree turn on its shaft three times. The camp fire throws shadows in the form of cats, priests, and men on the side of the cottage wall. The shadows enhance in size and become accompanied with sound-large cats padding back and forth, moans of wounded and dying men, and the voices of imperious lords ordering servants about in echoing castle walls. McGillicuddy starts from his sleeping position, his eyes grow wide in terror at the visions before him, and his hair begins rising on his head as if it is electrified. McGillicuddy reaches to shake McGillvery awake. 

MCGILLVERY

(Complains)

What’re y’ shakin’ me for?

McGillicuddy points toward the cottage wall.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Whispers)

Shhh! Look and listen.

McGillvery obliges with quiet, listening ears; but the wind is silent. The shadows are nonexistent. The sounds have faded away.

MCGILLICUDDY

Y’ didn’t see it?

MCGILLVERY

Nay.

MCGILLICUDDY

T’was like the Saints rehearsin' for a play.

MCGILLVERY

Y're dreamin', Cuddy. ‘Tis the silence of the sign at the back of the cart that's causin' anxiousness.

McGillicuddy continues listening uneasily. A large, black raven flies low over the camp and caws three times. McGillicuddy starts from his seat and heads for the tinker's wagon.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay, the place is spooked, Gilly. Come now. We'll be headin' down the road a piece.

The raven circles and perches in a tree above the two men. McGillvery notes the raven’s place over their camp, immediately stands, and retrieves the horses. As McGillvery returns, McGillicuddy begins shivering violently.

MCGILLVERY

What's troublin' you, Cuddy? Are y' takin' a chill?

McGillicuddy shakes his head negatively.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay.

McGillvery pulls the horses short on their lead ropes and looks at McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

I'm sure knowin' there's somethin' wrong wi' you. Y're lookin' right pale as if y' saw the Banshee for y'rself or ‘earing 'er for the both of us.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Queerly)

Nay, not the Banshee.

MCGILLVERY

What then?

MCGILLICUDDY

The Dread.

McGillvery halts his action in hitching the horses.

MCGILLICUDDY

I saw ‘im-in ‘is ‘ome place, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

An’ where would any man be findin’ such a horror as that?

MCGILLICUDDY

Far and away-above the Shannon.

MCGILLVERY

(Objects)

I’m ‘ardly seein’ Ireland’s the place for the Dread to be residin’.

McGillicuddy looks at McGillvery wild-eyed.

MCGILLICUDDY

I felt ‘im, Gilly.

McGillvery considers this information

MCGILLVERY

An’ lived to tell about it.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy finish harnessing the horses, mount the wagon, and pull away from the cottage. The raven leaves its place and flies ahead of them cawing as it flies. McGillvery stops the horses in the road.

MCGILLVERY

Could be our sign, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Shivers)

Mum always said one raven means death, Gilly.

McGillvery hunches over in his seat.

MCGILLVERY

Mum also said they would go where other things would not...an’ that they were good at findin’ lost things. Could be the Saints showin’ us the way.

MCGILLICUDDY

Or the invisible ones playing an ‘uge trick on us.

McGillvery watches the raven fade into the distant sky’s blackness.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay. It flew toward the Shannon and you jus' tellin' about the Dread hauntin' that place. Now...what could be hidin' there so valuable as to 'cause the Dread to trouble those shores? Wouldn’t it be a wonder if Solomon’s Ladder had planted its feet in Ireland?

EXT./INT. IRELAND/THE LAND BEYOND THE CLOUDS/THE TREASURY ROOMS - DAY/NIGHT

McGillicuddy and McGillvery immediately find their road a continually narrowing path that becomes increasingly laborious. They abandon their wagon, mount the tinker horses, and ride an increasingly steep trail. The landscape darkens. The greenness of Ireland turns into blackened, knurled wooden stumps that cast creeping cat's claw shadows over a path that disappears and appears in wisps of cloud and fog. McGillvery and McGillicuddy release the horses and proceed cautiously on foot. As they reach the top of the mountain, McGillicuddy becomes increasingly uneasy and looks fearfully through the thickening fog.

MCGILLICUDDY

I’m already feelin’ ‘im, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

Sure ‘tis an imagination, Cuddy. I’m not feelin’ anythin’.

McGillicuddy grimaces, wipes perspiring palms on his breeches, turns toward the path, and disappears into a thick cloud. McGillvery follows. Instantly, the path clears of fog and mist. Above them is a brilliantly lit cloud ceiling and in front of them is a broad, ascending stone path. Thousands upon thousands of footprints are permanently embedded into the broad path's surface. All footprints ascend. None descend.

MCGILLVERY

(Puzzlement)

An’ what do the footprints mean? None comin’ back?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Fearfully)

May be no way back after a body’s started ascendin’.

McGillvery hesitates.

MCGILLVERY

That's not a good answer for men such as we be. The earth's the place for man and especially for two men with gran’ plans.

McGillicuddy points to a grotesquely twisted human skeleton lying alongside the path.

MCGILLICUDDY

(With extreme trepidation)

The Dread-’e’s no man and not fond of man’s plans.

McGillvery shudders and quickly pushes McGillicuddy forward past the skeleton. As McGillvery and McGillicuddy progress upward, heavy perspiration breaks on their brow. The path becomes increasingly strewn with men's violently twisted skeletons. The path begins to narrow and the footsteps become fewer. The two brothers begin gasping for air and then begin coughing violently as if poisoned. McGillicuddy's eyes grow bulging large as if they will pop from his head. McGillvery's steps become uneven and wobbly. They cry out and grip their chests as if in extreme pain. A blood-curdling scream is heard and the hair on both McGillvery and McGillicuddy's heads suddenly stands on end as if electrified. Their clothing raises on their bodies as if floating. Terrifying phantasms rise before their anxious eyes, linger, and disappear.

MCGILLVERY

(Gasps)

It’s-against-nature-to-continue.

MCGILLICUDDY

It's-the-Dread-Gilly-'e's a professional demon, not the common sort at all.

McGillicuddy suddenly screams a blood-curdling scream. McGillvery closes his eyes and pushes McGillicuddy forward.

MCGILLVERY

(Labors)

You-need-to-think-of-the powerful-words-Cuddy. Speak-them. 'We-will-fear-not.'

MCGILLICUDDY

(Barely whispers)

‘We-will-suffer-no-harm.’

McGillvery and McGillicuddy march deeper and deeper into the Dread's territory until the path contains only five men's footprints. McGillicuddy's hands begin tremoring; his face shows great angst. McGillvery's mouth opens and shuts; his leg muscles appear to give out and then, when only three men's footprints are left, the trail opens onto a wide flat place and the Dread disappears. McGillvery breathes deeply, wipes his perspiring brow, collapses onto a black, glassy outcropping of rock, and looks around the unearthly, black, glassy landscape. Both McGillvery and McGillicuddy shiver as if chilled to the bone and look around unsteadily. McGillicuddy turns and stacks a large pile of black, glassy rock at the head of the trail. He pulls a silver heart necklace from his pocket and hangs the necklace on the topmost rock. At McGillvery's questioning look, McGillicuddy explains.

MCGILLICUDDY

It's a confounded place, Gilly. No matter the trickery 'ere, we'd recognize Mum's locket and could go home, wouldn't we?

MCGILLVERY

Two heads are better than one. If you don’t recognize it, I will.

McGillicuddy looks down at the three men's imprinted footprints. The footprints circle around the bottom of a glassy, black rock mountain-a mountain with its top lost in heavy mist and cloud.

MCGILLICUDDY

What do two heads say about followin’ the footprints?

McGillvery looks at the footprints.

MCGILLVERY

Perhaps goin’ in the other direction would be the better advice.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy begin walking in the opposite direction around the base of the sheer, glassy-black cliff face and spy an opening halfway up the cliff's side. They follow a narrow path to its entrance and find themselves in a palatial cave.

MCGILLVERY

(Disappointedly)

A dead-end, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

Perhaps not. Doesn't it seem a light shines behind the glassy, black rock? Perhaps we're needin' the simplest magical word to open a concealed door.

MCGILLVERY

(Disappointedly)

We're just that much unprepared, then, for I'm not 'avin' access to such a word.

MCGILLICUDDY

Then, maybe it's as simple as walkin' forward as if the wall isn’t there.

McGillicuddy walks toward the glow at the cave's back wall. The cave's wall begins vibrating, then shaking, and then groaning. The wall opens to reveal heavily-engraved, black, glass steps covered with oddly shaped letters. The steps lead down into a brilliantly lit recess.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Wonderingly)

Seems an open invitation to descend.

MCGILLVERY

(Positively)

Then, lead the way, Brother.

As McGillvery and McGillicuddy descend the stairs, the brightness increases until they need to shield their eyes against the bright intensity. As they stand at the base of the stairs, their eyes focus and they find themselves facing mountains of golden nuggets.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

By the Saints, Cuddy, we’ve become the successful men.

McGillvery falls on his knees and reaches to scoop handful after handful of the gold into his hands. McGillicuddy spies two rucksacks hanging on the wall, appropriates them, and begins to fill them with the gold. After the rucksacks are full, McGillvery and McGillicuddy hoist the packs to their backs. McGillvery turns to regretfully survey the remaining gold.

MCGILLVERY

I’m hatin’ to leave so much behind.

McGillicuddy hoists his pack a little higher on his back.

MCGILLICUDDY

Leavin’ doesn’t mean we can’t come back.

McGillvery nods and turns with McGillicuddy toward the stairs. Both boys start backward in surprise.

MCGILLICUDDY

An’ what did the stair invite down beside us?

A tremendously sized, highly-groomed, white cat slinks down the stair and opens its mouth to snarl warningly at McGillvery and McGillicuddy. McGillvery and McGillicuddy's eyes follow the White Cat as it pads around the gold. The White Cat turns toward them and fills the room with an intimidating roar.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Whispers)

It seems right upset, Gilly. Perhaps consolin' it with a bit of music would be a fine thing to do.

McGillvery nods, looks steadily at the white cat, and begins humming a consoling tune.

MCGILLVERY

"Here now, pussy/Be a nice pussy/Purr a little song, pussy."

The white cat merely swishes its tail, roars again, and begins pacing back and forth while watching both boys with yellow, glittering eyes-eyes not unlike the gold it seems to guard.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

What'll we do, Cuddy? I've not even a stick to beat it with.

MCGILLICUDDY

We could start backing toward the steps and retreat. Never show fear, you know.

McGillvery nods his head in agreement and the two boys begin a backward two-step to the stairway never taking their gaze from the eyes of the White Cat. Suddenly, with the rush of a stiff breeze, the room fills with one word.

WHITE CAT

Thieves.

McGillvery stops.

MCGILLVERY

Who said that? Who said ‘Thieves’?

WHITE CAT

(Husky whispering)

Tinkering thieves.

MCGILLVERY

(Severely disagrees)

Nay, not thieves and never thieves.

WHITE CAT

(Husky whispering)

And, what’s your definition of thieves, McGillvery?

MCGILLVERY

(Great astonishment)

‘E knows me name, Cuddy!

MCGILLICUDDY

‘Tis not the primary issue ‘ere, Gilly.

McGillicuddy draws himself to his full height, straightens his hat, and looks the white cat straight in the eye as only a man of good conscience can.

MCGILLICUDDY

A man can only be charged with thievery if ‘e's taken something not rightfully ‘is. And y' can see we've only the clothes on our backs and these rucksacks.

WHITE CAT

(Spits words)

But, what’s IN those rucksacks?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Truthfully and innocently)

Nary a thing but the gold from this room.

The white cat leaps across half the room toward McGillvery and McGillicuddy and stands on its hind feet to deliver a speech as if standing in a court of law.

WHITE CAT

You passed the Dread without the Passport for Entrance. You've filled two rucksacks with gold without providing the Certificate of Duty Free Export. Without appropriate documentation, it is obvious that the Supreme Punishment is in order.

MCGILLICUDDY

The Supreme Punishment?

McGillvery appears to nearly faint.

MCGILLVERY

We’re done, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy braces his brother.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay. I’m well-knowin’ ‘ow to ‘andle such charges.

McGillicuddy turns to the white cat.

MCGILLICUDDY

Y' know as well as I that paperwork sometimes gets lost in the jungly maze of paper handlers. The Passport of Entrance may have delayed in processing. We gave the proper words to the Dread for we entered, didn't we? And as for the Certificate of Duty Free Export-it may have been misfiled, mislaid, misjudged, or misread.

The white cat narrows its yellowish eyes and begins a swishy twitching of its tail.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

Careful, Cuddy. I’ve seen Mother’s own tabby do that just before it pounces.

WHITE CAT

(Slowly accuses)

Even if you had all the proper documentation, you'll both be found guilty for you've broken the Ultimate Law.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Indignantly sputters)

Broken the Ultimate Law? And name me this law, dear cat.

WHITE CAT

(Great solemnity)

The Ultimate Law prohibiting Plenteous Possession.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Severely protesting)

We're great admirers of all law. What are the specifics of this law you accuse us of breaking?

WHITE CAT

The Law first says that those who do not work, shall not eat.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Hurriedly remonstrates)

Idle bread we’ve never eaten.

WHITE CAT 

(Purr ending in a sucking twist of satisfaction)

But you've not earned this gold. This gold does not go with the man who has not earned it.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy are uncharacteristically silent.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers urgently)

Loosen y'r tongue, Cuddy, or we're to perish amidst all these riches without tastin’ a bit of their goodness.

McGillicuddy’s tongue suddenly loosens.

MCGILLICUDDY

You, Cat, charge us with not earnin’ the gold, but we've done somethin’ a bit better than earn it. We asked for it.

McGillvery breaks into a wide smile and claps his brother on the back.

MCGILLVERY

Well-spoken, lad. ‘Tis the absolute truth.

McGillvery directs his attention to the white cat.

MCGILLVERY

Just last evenin’ we asked the Owner of all the gold for our fair portion.

The white cat advances toward them extending one talon and then another.

WHITE CAT

Asked, did you? And what did the Owner of the gold say? I'll warrant He didn't answer you-yea or nay-for little unimportant tinkers like yourselves do not have access to the Owner of the Gold.

The white cat licks his lips.

WHITE CAT

I see two voracious and audacious Irish crocks walking on two legs.

The left leg is full of presumption and the right leg is full of greed. Leave the rucksacks and back up the steps. Forgive and forget I will if you'll set for home.

McGillvery hitches his rucksack a little higher on his back.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

Cuddy, we made it past the Dread. The fact that we're standin' in this room is a kind of permission to do what we're doin'.

McGillicuddy nods in agreement, stands still as stone, and then suddenly leaps toward the white cat with a tremendously loud shout.

MCGILLICUDDY

BOO!

The white cat screeches like a tabby with its tail run over by a cart and vanishes into thin air.

MCGILLVERY

(Marveling)

Why, Cuddy! How ever did you know what to do?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Grins)

I don’t know. But, it appears that cat was all meow and nothin’ more.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy turn, exit the room, and rapidly return to the base of the mountain. They begin looking for their exit path. McGillvery turns around in consternation and sets his rucksack on the ground.

MCGILLVERY

Sure ‘twas here.

McGillicuddy sets his rucksack on the ground.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay, the silver locket would be shining atop the pile of rocks we made. 

PRIEST

Perhaps was a bit further on.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy turn startled eyes in the direction of the voice. A black-robed priest stands before them.

MCGILLICUDDY

Why, Father! An' I was thinking we were alone and here we are with a materialization of profound spiritual guidance in front of our innocent eyes.

The priest turns eyes toward the rucksacks on the ground.

PRIEST

Y' seem to have a heavy load to carry, boys. Are y' needin' some help with it?

McGillvery and McGillicuddy speak in unison.

MCGILLVERY/MCGILLICUDDY

Nay.

The priest steps forward quickly and lightly kicks the rucksacks.

PRIEST

An' what would y' be wantin' to be takin' from this land to the land below the clouds? Are y' involved in an undertakin' not to our Lord's likin'? Perhaps takin' something not rightfully yours?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Protests)

We've paid for what's in those bags with faith, wise words, and courage, dear Father, an' not a smallish bit of 'em either.

MCGILLVERY

Aye. This whole undertaking should be most to our Lord's likin' for it was a wished for thing and a worked for thing.

MccGillvery urges McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

Let's be showing ‘ospitality to our guest-share the potato with the dear Father.

McGillicuddy reaches into his pocket, carefully cuts the potato into three pieces, and noticeably offers the priest the largest share. The priest moves forward and sits down on the two rucksacks before biting into the cold potato. The priest makes a severe grimace.

PRIEST

Gold was never made for man, Brothers. Many more a curse has gone with a pot of gold than a blessin'.

MCGILLVERY

(Incredulously)

We're well knowin' what a blessin' a pot of gold could be for fellows such as we.

PRIEST

An’ are y’ sayin’ that from an innocent heart, Gilly?

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

‘E’s knowin’ me name, too, Cuddy.

McGillvery turns to the priest.

MCGILLVERY

Aye, from a pure ‘eart.

PRIEST

Then I'll answer so's y're understandin' well. You see, not many a man's so careful and disciplined of his actions that he'll procure blessings for his soul while in the presence of opulent abundance. In fact, boys, did y' know now that many a wealthy man has said, ‘great wealth is a curse rather than a blessin'?

MCGILLVERY

In the company we walk in, dear Father, no one's ever had the opportunity to find out for themselves whether that be true or not.

PRIEST

Believe me, lads, it's true, it's true. Ahhh, but how little prepared be a man for the handlin' of so much fiscal responsibility as y' both are cartin' away here. Much evil has occurred when wealth was gotten and this...

The priest indicates the two rucksacks.

PRIEST

Ill-gotten-all at once. Fellows, money's a thing you need to be growin' into, little by little. 'Tis always the best way.

McGillvery wrinkles his forehead with deep concern.

MCGILLVERY

Father, even when we were wee little ones, prosperity walked 'round the corner from us and never bothered castin' a glance behind. So we've had many a year to prepare for this day.

PRIEST

Don't be overmuch righteous, lads. What y' think y' plan to do before y're sprinkled with gold dust and what y' actually do after bein’ sprinkled with the dust...well....

McGillicuddy starts and looks carefully at a silver gleam coming from around the priest’s neck.

MCGILLICUDDY

Father, I see a lovely silver strand 'round your neck. Would you bring it out now and we'll be sayin' a prayer for a saint to be sent as a watch-guard against unholy hearts.

The priest ignores McGillicuddy and speaks directly to McGillvery.

PRIEST

Sons, leave it be. I plead with you. Only evil can possibly come of it-even the good teacher said to be content with each day's sustenance.

McGillvery turns to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

That’s fair true, Cuddy. P’rhaps we are a mite greedy to be wantin’ so much for ourselves.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Counters)

Why, now, Gilly, I'm not seein' how the Lord would grudge us takin' such a wee bit of all that opulence

The priest moves a bit to catch McGillvery’s eye.

PRIEST

The book says money is the root of all evil.

McGillicuddy moves between McGillvery and the priest.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Counters)

The book also says money is a stronghold in a day of distress.

McGillicuddy steps up to the priest.

MCGILLICUDDY

I’ll be takin’ this and takin’ your blessin’, too.

McGillicuddy tears a silver strand from around the priest’s neck as McGillvery begins the start of a protest.

MCGILLVERY

No! Cuddy! Mind your man....

McGillvery stops. In McGillicuddy’s hand is their mother’s silver locket.

MCGILLICUDDY

He's a fraud, Gilly. Tryin' to persuade us we're not worthy of the gold. But we've as much a right to experiment at worthiness as anyone else.

McGillicuddy turns toward the priest.

MCGILLICUDDY

If y'll be steppin' away from our gold, Father, I'm bettin' our path will appear behind you.

The priest scowls and sneers.

PRIEST

In those two bags are ulcers, jealousy, and murder, boys. Y'll be glad to cast them away and go back to being the tinkers y' are and ever shall be before it's all over. Whoever heard of a tinker raisin' 'imself in the world? It can't be done.

McGillicuddy hoists McGillvery’s rucksack onto McGillvery’s back and helps himself into his.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nothin's impossible with the 'eavenly Father and 'e's a loyal one to help 'is friends. We'll be biddin' y' good day, Father.

McGillicuddy steps around the priest and finds the pile of rocks marking the trail out of the treasury rooms. McGillicuddy and McGillvery begin walking down the path, not noticing the permanent prints they leave behind. But the priest notices and frantically begins scuffing at the prints with his shoes to obliterate the fact that two persons have successfully left the treasury rooms. As McGillvery and McGillicuddy fade into the clouds, the Priest calls for the white cat.

PRIEST

Cat! Come quickly. Look what’s happened.

The white cat appears immediately.

PRIEST

(Moans)

Oh, Cat. Others will find this place and when they see someone came up and went back, they'll gather the courage to follow and soon Cat, all the gold will be gone. O' Cat, DO something!

WHITE CAT

(Grimly)

There's not much I can do. Didn't you see the bags they carried the gold in?

PRIEST

No.

WHITE CAT

The Ever Filling Bags from the treasury room.

PRIEST

What does it mean?

WHITE CAT

It means whenever McGillvery and McGillicuddy come to the bottom of their sacks, the bags will magically refill to the top again. They'll never be out of gold, old one.

PRIEST

(Horrified)

We’ll be impoverished.

The white cat pads softly back and forth as if analyzing its problem.

WHITE CAT

And yet, heaven's potion for success is a queer mixture. We're not knowing the ability of the tinkers to maintain the tincture at the proper consistency do we? Nor do we yet know how truly humble they are.

PRIEST

Then, make another attempt to dissuade them.

The white cat swishes its tail while padding back and forth.

WHITE CAT

Fear and angst did not work. Power of the Word did not work. What else can be used on mortal man?

PRIEST

If I may suggest, Cat, punishment works quite well.

The white cat turns golden-glitter eyes toward the priest.

WHITE CAT

Punishment? It’s against the rules to physically harm them.

PRIEST

True, but man does not like sustained effort. One may be able to increase their mortality rate through requiring them to perform acts with consistent, sustained effort.

WHITE CAT

What are you plotting, Ancient Man?

PRIEST

You have the power to place a rule on their use of the gold. If they go beyond the bounds of the rule, then their right to the treasure will be forfeited.

WHITE CAT

Speak on, wise one.

The priest bends close to the white cat’s ear to whisper his scheme.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/THE LAND BEYOND THE CLOUDS/THE TREASURY ROOMS - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery and McGillicuddy labor to the bottom of the stone path, remove their sacks, and sit down. As soon as they sit, the white cat appears. McGillvery and McGillicuddy rise from their seats in consternation. The white cat begins a purring vibration-a type of humming song. McGillvery and McGillicuddy place foots firmly on their gold-filled packs.

MCGILLICUDDY

None of your sassy ways, Cat. We'll buy none of the foolishness about returnin' the gold.

WHITE CAT

(Feigns surprise)

I've no intention of asking you to return it. I've come only to give you a final word or two, then you both shall be on your way.

MCGILLICUDDY

Careful, Cat, about that word or two. It may not be a word or two we'd be wantin'.

WHITE CAT

But a word you’ll be needin’.

MCGILLICUDDY

Usually when folks say you need something, it's them that needs it.

WHITE CAT

(Luxuriantly purrs)

That may or may not be, McGillicuddy, but I am Keeper of the Treasure and I've a right to speak a word over it. Listen carefully and fairly. The gold is going with you, to be sure; but it will only stay with you if you spend all that is in the bags by evening's fall each day. In the morning the bags will be full again, completely replenished; but again, you must spend it in one day by evening's fall. If there's one round nugget left in the bottom of one of the bags at end of day, then bags and gold shall return to their rightful keeper.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy quickly inhale their breath at this fantastic revelation of unbelievably good fortune.

WHITE CAT

(Sneers)

But, mark my words, you'll never have it long for no mortal is wise enough to have gold and the happiness meant to go with it. For 'tis a great secret none can find.

The white cat begins rumbling a little purring tune.

WHITE CAT

While in their eyes the golden glint gleams and in their hands the lustrous metal sheens, a slave they’ll be to a ruler cold, for few shall govern as well as gold.

The white cat narrows his eyes.

WHITE CAT

(Deridingly)

And, I'll be reminding you both this ruler is a sovereign who changes its slaves as easily as you change your clothing.

McGillvery has heard nothing past the fact that the bags will forever replenish. Enthralled, McGillvery starts to speak when McGillicuddy puts a finger to his lips. Without another word, the white cat disappears.

MCGILLICUDDY

Be careful to whom y' say thank you. I think the Cat meant those words as a curse not a blessing.

MCGILLVERY

(Sputters)

A curse? Why Cuddy! The Saints have smiled on us today. Our only obligation is to spend the gold! After a lifetime of lack and ill-fortune! What a glorious end to our sad story!

MCGILLICUDDY

Did y' not hear the words? We've need to spend the gold this day. 'Ave y' looked at the sun's positionin' in the sky?

McGillvery looks at the late afternoon sun.

MCGILLVERY

What will we do!?

McGillicuddy looks thoughtfully at McGillvery for a moment.

MCGILLICUDDY

I’m rememberin’ a village on the western side of this mountain.

MCGILLVERY

Then set a brisk pace then before we lose our treasure to a sun dipping itself into the ocean.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/MACKENAY ON THE SHORE/THE BAY OF MACKENAY PUB - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery and McGillicuddy look down upon a village flanked by the Atlantic Ocean. A dilapidated sign along the road states-MacKenay on the Shore.

MCGILLVERY

(Puffs)

To the pub, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy follows McGillvery's swift descent to the front of a pub whose wooden signature declares-The Bay of MacKenay. The air fills with a hubbub of Irish laughter. McGillvery shares an excited look with McGillicuddy and pushes through the door. The room is filled with muscularly built fishing men-the kind of men loving a good brawl or a rowdy laugh equally well. McGillvery marches to the bar and pounds on the waxed surface to gain their attention.

MCGILLVERY

We’ve gold to spend and lookin’ for land to buy.

A sudden hush fills the room. All eyes turn toward McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

That’s right, men. We’ve gold to spend and lookin’ for land to buy.

A few sniggers arise from the back of the room. Suddenly a ruddy face young man, McDougal, is pushed to the center of the floor.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

McDougal’s got property. Now haven’t y’, McDougal?

MCDOUGAL

Now, boys, leave me alone. Y’ know I’ve got property all right.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

(Mirthfully)

Then, be talkin' to the strange gents about cuttin’ a sweet trade.

PUB CROWD

Aye.

McDougal lowers his neck into his shoulders as does a bull before getting ready to fight.

MCDOUGAL

(Stubbornly)

I’ve got property all right.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

(Merrily)

Y’ mean y’re wife’s got property.

All men roar gleefully. McDougal’s face reddens to the color of a coastal, red sky at morning tide.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

(Hollers)

McDougal’ll assist you, boys, soon as he can wean his dearie from her father’s sage advice.

McDougal is not one to hang his head in shame. McDougal’s neck swells and his eyes bulge.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

There’s sure to be a fight.

McGillicuddy looks worriedly to the window’s framing of a setting sun.

MCGILLICUDDY

Not to our advantage.

McGillvery steps forward.

MCGILLVERY

Now, now, Gentlemen. It's forever Ireland, isn't it? All good friends together. Let's have a drink to peace, goodwill, and the blessin’s of our Lord on all.

McDougal’s fighting posture does not change, but he is pushed and shoved by the good-natured shoulders of his friends as they surge forward to claim McGillvery's offer of a free drink. McDougal's eyes seek McGillvery's.

MCDOUGAL

(Loudly as an enraged bull)

Y're a stranger here. It seems in front of all me friends y've accused me of bein’ less than a man.

McGillvery quickly shakes his head.

MCGILLVERY

Nay, nay. No such thing. Remember it was only a piece of land I was askin’ to buy.

McGillvery opens his mouth to reason peaceably with the young McDougal, but finds himself at the end of McDougal's arm, feet dangling several centimeters from the floor. McDougal shakes his head slowly back and forth.

MCDOUGAL

Nay, but you did make me little in front of me countrymen.

McGillvery's eyes sweep to the ceiling in an earnest unspoken prayer for heavenly assistance. A man jostles the elbow of McDougal. McDougal grabs the man by the neck kerchief.

MCDOUGAL

Don't jostle me when I've an important matter to be discussing with me friend ‘ere.

MAN

(With a tongue not inclined toward peaceful reconciliation)

An’ who jostled who?

McDougal releases McGillvery and takes a masculine swing at the man’s face. McGillvery scrambles over the pub's bar splashing ale and spirits on all persons pressed there for refreshment. A free-for-all ensues with mugs and short glasses hurling through the air as freely as fists and kicks. McGillicuddy, already ducked behind the bar and sitting on his bag of gold, waits for the brawl to subside. Fierce fighters that the men are, it takes no time for the scrap to simmer to a few groans and moans. As suddenly as the fight stops, someone cries.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

It's those two strangers what has done this to friends all together. Throw them out!

McGillvery and McGillicuddy barely manage to gather their bags before finding themselves seat first on the dusty road in front of the pub. The pub keeper comes outside wiping his hands on an apron much in need of washing.

PUB KEEPER

In Ireland, there are three things about the nip-to tipple it well, to hold it better, and to pay for it before the day is done.

The pub keeper reaches down and empties one of the bags of gold into his own satchel and tosses the empty bag to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Shocked gasp)

May our Lord in common maintain the bounty of your ‘eart always.

The pub keeper checks McGillicuddy closely.

PUB KEEPER

Are y' being cheeky with me lad? Let me give you a piece of advice. 'Distant hills are green, but the home fireplace is the best fireplace.' I'd suggest you be lookin' for your own fireplace.

McGillvery opens his mouth and shuts it promptly at McGillicuddy’s quick nudge to his bruised ribs.

MCGILLICUDDY

Sure ‘tis a fine piece of wisdom y’ve given and one we’re sure to heed.

The pub keeper hesitates, looks for a note of scorn in McGillicuddy'S voice or face. McGillicuddy looks as innocent as the Christ child despite his rapidly swelling eye. Satisfied, the pub keeper returns to his customers and neighbors. McGillvery picks himself up groaning.

MCGILLVERY

Life doesn’t get easier, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Agrees)

I’m feelin’ older than the Hag of Beare right now, Gilly.

McGillicuddy holds the empty bag for McGillvery to see.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Wryly)

However, one of the bags is neatly spent.

McGillvery ruefully feels his chin.

MCGILLVERY

That much gold could rebuild the entire town twice over, Cuddy. Not that I'd be questionin' the man's judgment about the cost of the damage to 'is pub.

MCGILLICUDDY

Hush now and keep your eyes open. We've still a bag to dispose before nightfall.

A freckle-face lad comes into the street with arms wrapped tightly around a sack filled to the brim with a fat brown puppy of dubious lineage. McGillvery leaps at the single show of opportunity in this most quiet and eventless town.

MCGILLVERY

Say, laddie, would you like to sell your puppy?

FRECKLE-FACE LAD

Was takin’ ‘im to the pub to do jus’ that.

MCGILLVERY

Well, then, y’ll not need travel any further. We’ll buy your puppy on the spot.

The freckle-face lad launches into his rehearsed sales pitch.

FRECKLE-FACE LAD

This pup is out of my father's dog, Aishling-she's famous hereabouts-my father's finest dog. This pup's special 'cause it is the largest and friendliest of the litter. We don' know who the father is, but it should be no account any ways 'cause Aishling's so fine. My father's figgerin' to drown 'em all. But I figure one half Aishling is one half famous. So the puppies, and especially this one, should be worth somethin' now.

MCGILLVERY

Son, you are entirely correct. We will buy Aishling’s fine puppy.

McGillvery reaches down, takes the puppy out of the freckle-face boy’s sack, and quickly pours the bag of gold into the freckle-face boy's bag.

FRECKLE-FACE LAD

(Quick intake of breath)

Sure thing, Mister. Aishling's got ten more. For all this, I'll bring the rest in under 'alf an hour.

MCGILLVERY

No, laddie. Enjoy your good fortune. This one’s all we’ve a use for.

FRECKLE-FACE LAD

Yes, Sir.

The freckle-face lad turns and drags the sack of gold slowly, an inch at a time, up the street. McGillicuddy looks at the sun. The last tip just sets into the ocean. McGillicuddy shakes his head sadly and slings his empty sack over his shoulder.

MCGILLICUDDY

Well, we did it and in time, too.

MCGILLVERY

Surely not the best tradin’ we’ve ever done.

MCGILLICUDDY

An’ not the worst either.

MCGILLVERY

I’m not seein’ how y’ve reached that conclusion.

A slight grin plays around McGillicuddy’s mouth.

MCGILLICUDDY

'Tis not like we've no gain at all. I'm countin' one very outstandin' black eye and a story to tell 'round every fireside in Ireland that will set men, women, and children on the edge of their seats every time we're tellin' it. The story will bring us the best luck, you'll see-crumpets and tea in fair weather or foul.

MCGILLVERY

I'll feel a slight more lucky if we find a good meal to feed our hunger.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Peacefully)

Let’s find a sheep and eat then.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy turn their steps toward an inn.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy...

MCGILLICUDDY

(Woefully)

Don’t say it, Brother.

McGillicuddy opens his empty rucksack.

MCGILLICUDDY

Mine is empty down to the cordin’. Did y’not save one gold piece?

MCGILLVERY

Nay, not one.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Philosophically)

Hunger is a good sauce.

MCGILLVERY

(Resignedly)

Best be castin’ our eyes toward the ‘umble lodgings for this night, Cuddy.

INT. IRELAND/MACKENAY ON THE SHORE/STABLE - NIGHT/DAY

McGillvery and McGillicuddy soon find the stable and the grain bags kept for the horses. McGillicuddy dips his hand into the sack and apportions a small handful to McGillvery.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Encouragingly)

Small portions are tasty.

McGillvery disappointedly takes his portion. McGillvery and McGillicuddy settle for the night. The moon passes between clouds and night birds take wing. The stable door opens. An angry man comes stomping into the stable and roughly pulls McGillvery and McGillicuddy from their beds. The angry man uses giant-sized fists to shake McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

ANGRY MAN

Are you or are you not the men who purchased a worthless puppy of no-good breedin' for an unholy sum of money from my son?

The puppy whimpers from the manger. McGillvery looks nervously in the direction of the dog.

MCGILLVERY

We did indeed buy a puppy from a good lad. But sure we meant no harm by the payment of gold to the child.

ANGRY MAN

No harm?! That much money the MacKenay's themselves do not pay for the wages of an ‘undred men for an entire year. No harm? I swear by St. Patrick I will beat you both into a St. Paddy's mash. You'll be most fortunate to crawl from this village on the morrow.

The angry man delivers a crushing blow to McGillvery's head. McGillvery attempts to fight bravely while McGillicuddy waits his turn. When the angry man is finished with McGillvery, he turns to fight McGillicuddy who feels a slight embarrassment that the man should be fighting him while not fresh and therefore offers little resistance. McGillvery and McGillicuddy receive a sound beating after which the angry man flings down the bag of gold.

ANGRY MAN

There’s your filthy lucre. May it stick to you as the cockleburs in MacKenay’s Meadows!

McGillvery looks unbelievingly at the pile of glistening gold.

MCGILLVERY

Nay, Mister, we cannot keep it. You must take it back. We're the 'onorable men, you see. We ‘ave your puppy and we must pay for it.

ANGRY MAN

(Snarls)

The puppy goes for the beating.

The angry man leaves as quickly as he came. A glumness settles over McGillvery.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, could it be that gold acts differently when there is plenty compared to when one is scrappin' for it every day of one's life? Is this why rich men stay rich? They can't get rid of their gold?

McGillvery raises despairing eyes to McGillicuddy. McGillicuddy, one eye swollen completely shut, his garments strewn with hay, a bleeding cut at his hair line dribbling blood and drying about the region of his nose, shakes a perplexed head.

MCGILLICUDDY

I've never seen anything like it, Gilly. We seem to be visitin' a knot-headed land if ever there was.

MCGILLVERY

We'll be drownin' in our own treasury rooms if the gold that's spent keeps returnin' to us.

The white cat appears behind McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

WHITE CAT

(Purringly)

It won’t happen.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy jump in fright.

WHITE CAT

(Smacks his lips as if over oiled cod)

It won't happen because you've not followed the rules. You were to dispose of two bags of gold every day before sunset and I see a pile of glistening gold at your feet.

MCGILLVERY

(Stutters)

See here, Cat. We did spend the gold. We spent it fairly and squarely. It jus' came back to us, that's all.

WHITE CAT

Nevertheless there should be no bags of gold in this stable tonight with two lads named McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

McGillicuddy juts a firm chin forward and steps toward the white cat.

MCGILLICUDDY

Cat, we cannot help the Lord's generosity. You would not try to put rules upon the Lord's bounty now would you?

The white cat spits.

WHITE CAT

Phhht! I will check the proper channels to see if that was the Owner's intention.

MCGILLVERY

No need to do that. The proof is right here in front of your whiskers, Cat.

The white cat screeches a howl of midnight fury as it vanishes into the darkness and as the white cat vanishes, the two ever-filling bags refill.

EXT. IRELAND/MACKENAY ON THE SHORE/STREETS/ROAD TO MACKENAY CASTLE - DAY

As the sun rises, McGillvery and McGillicuddy leave the stable to head toward the inn. A small, oddly shaped, thin, almond-eyed, raggedy child-Mairin-comes mincing down the street toward McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Whispers)

Such a furtive look, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

(Agrees)

Aye, but not mean, Cuddy.

McGillvery looks a bit closer at the raggedy child, Mairin’s, narrowly fashioned face.

MCGILLICUDDY

No. Definitely not mean.

MAIRIN

Be y’ the lads with gold to spend, now?

MCGILLVERY

Aye, that we be.

MAIRIN

I’ve a place where y’ can spend all y’ ‘ave an’ more.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Astonished)

Perhaps that would be a fine thing-but what are y’ sellin’ child?

MAIRIN

Oh, ‘tis not me that’s sellin’. ‘Tis not me!

The raggedy child, Mairin, giggles at the absurdity that she would have anything to sell.

MAIRIN

There's folks who ‘as you see and whoever 'as, gets. That's the way of it. But poor Mairin, no, now never 'as and never gets.

McGillvery raises his eyebrows in wonderment while the raggedy child, Mairin, motions for them to follow. Mairin points a small, thin finger at the puppy under McGillicuddy's arm.

MAIRIN

Not with that.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Protests)

We’ve not a place to leave ‘im.

MAIRIN

(Flatly)

Madam doesn’t like ‘em.

At that precise moment, the freckle-face lad appears.

FRECKLE-FACE LAD

I wouldn't want y' to have the bad conscience for not payin' for the pup. I'll be takin' it now.

The freckle-face lad takes the pup and disappears around the corner. McGillvery and McGillicuddy look astonished, shrug, shoulder their bags, and follow Mairin. Mairin leads them up a road that follows the tops of the sea cliffs toward a black, foreboding castle. Mairin points to the castle.

MAIRIN

MacKenay. It’s MacKenay.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/MACKENAY ON THE SHORE/MACKENAY CASTLE/SHORE ALONG THE BAY/BAY'S CAVES - DAY/NIGHT

Mairin runs through the castle's main gates and up the castle steps. Mairin motions for McGillvery and McGillicuddy to hurry, opens the massive entrance doors, and waves them triumphantly into the rooms beyond. McGillvery and McGillicuddy cautiously peer around the last door into the interior chambers and are astonished to see a very old woman sitting upright in a chair that is fashioned as the old Ireland kings frequently used. Behind her a fireplace, large enough to roast two oxen, roars.

MADAM

(Imperiously)

Come in, come in.

The Madam turns to Mairin.

MADAM

Be gone, now. You’ve done your business. Be at your work.

Mairin curtsies and vanishes from the room. The Madam strokes the silk coverings lining her regal chair and motions McGillvery and McGillicuddy to sit.

MADAM

I hear you’ve gold to spend.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye.

MADAM

And what are you looking to buy?

MCGILLVERY

Land.

MADAM

Land?

MCGILLICUDDY

To be sure. ‘Tis a good way to spend one’s money.

MADAM

There's only so much land, Sir. What good is land to you if it is all stone and won't grow anything else? Where is the investment sense in land?

McGillvery appears to think this over.

MCGILLVERY

You live in a fine castle, Ma'm. Perhaps y' can tell us how y've managed so well and could give two poor lads such as we some keen advice.

The Madam attempts a tiny smile.

MADAM

Investments, Sir.

MCGILLVERY

Investments?

MADAM

(Murmurs)

Yes, investments.

McGillvery draws his chair a bit closer to the Madam’s throne.

MCGILLVERY

Could y’ go on about the investments, now?

MADAM

There's many investments, young man. The Molly B's an investment for Molly. The Bay of MacKenay is an investment for our fine innkeeper. All the little shops along the way are investments, but investments which own the man. The man does not own them.

MCGILLVERY

By Jove, Cuddy. The old woman's right. Our little tinker business-an investment-but we were a slave to it as sure as can be.

A large cat jumps into the Madam’s lap.

MADAM

Investments can free you of worry, of menial living, and can give you power and stature in the world.

McGillvery appears transported.

MADAM

Of course, the larger the investment, the larger the return. The MacKenays have always sought the larger investments and as you can see it has paid off handsomely.

The Madam waves a bejeweled hand around the room. McGillvery impetuously pours his bag of gold onto the rug.

MCGILLVERY

‘An would this buy a large investment, Ma’m?

The Madam puts the hand that is stroking the cat to her neck with a short intake of breath.

MADAM

Why, that would do nicely.

McGillvery impulsively grabs McGillicuddy's bag and pours it onto the floor along with the bag of gold that had been used to purchase the puppy.

MCGILLVERY

(Grandly)

Then, we’ll triple what will do nicely.

The Madam fingers the diamonds at her throat and calls.

MADAM

Sean!

An elderly man, dressed in black and carrying a black leather case, appears.

MADAM

Sean, it seems we have investors. Could you please draw the legal documents for me?

The elderly man carefully arranges the leather case’s contents on a table near the window and sets a quill pen and ink in a strategic location to paper.

MADAM

Gentleman, all that is necessary to secure your future is your signature affirmation. Please sign.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy quickly sign the documentation. Small waifs appear around the Madam.

MADAM

Gather the gold, children. You know where to put it.

MCGILLVERY

Ma'm, if we should happen to have more gold to invest, would you be able to place it for us?

The Madam’s eyes seem to widen in surprise and then narrow calculatingly.

MADAM

Of course. The MacKenays offer a wide variety of investments. There is no end to the number of investments one can make at MacKenay's Castle. Gentlemen, perhaps you would like to spend an evening at MacKenay's? In the morning, we could discuss additional investing.

MCGILLVERY

We graciously accept the hospitality of MacKenay’s Castle.

SCENES FLASH showing McGillvery and McGillicuddy pouring their bags of gold in front of the Madam day after day, then eating at long tables filled with the richest of Irish food-highly marbled beef, tidbits, and delicacies. Every evening the two brothers retire to the castle library's roaring fire and deeply padded, leather-cushioned lounges.

MCGILLICUDDY

Gilly, we've been 'ere this long. Every day we pour out our bags and I've yet to see a return on all that money spent. Don't y' think it a bit odd there's no return?

MCGILLVERY

I reckon castles aren’t built in a day and it takes some time for a return to be realized.

McGillvery walks from the fireplace to the window overlooking the ocean.

MCGILLVERY

Looks to be a storm comin’, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy sinks deeply into the cushions of the chair.

MCGILLICUDDY

I can’t think of a better place to be when a storm’s comin’.

McGillvery suddenly stiffens and motions to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, come quick.

McGillicuddy joins McGillvery at the window.

MCGIILLVERY

What are they?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Wonderingly)

It looks like children movin’ away from the castle.

MCGILLVERY

What parent would put such babes out at such an hour as this?

MCGILLICUDDY

This black castle has a few secrets to tell, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

(Troubled)

Aye, and perhaps we’d best be discovering the worst of ‘em now.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy creep down darkened stairs through the side entrance of the castle and mingle with the two long lines of children walking toward the edge of the cliff. McGillvery touches the shoulders of one of the children.

MCGILLVERY

Do y’ know a place where we can spend the night?

Waif 1’s pinched face looks at McGillvery.

WAIF 1

Not where y’ll be warm and well fed.

MCGILLVERY

Do y’ not go home to Fathers and Mothers?

WAIF 1

Nay. We be the orphans of MacKenay’s Castle.

McGillvery stops in astonishment. Waif 1 rejoins his place in the line without looking back. As the last waif leaves the castle, McGillvery and McGillicuddy get into line and follow along the foaming surf and the cold, wet sand to the north of the castle and up steep, rocky cliffs along a narrow trail which leads to caves elevated above the ocean's highest tides. There, in large, darkened caverns, hundreds of children quietly wrap themselves in raggedy, black cloaks and huddle for warmth beside one another-the youngest in the middle, the oldest on the cooler outer ends. McGillvery looks wonderingly at the rows and rows of children.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, ‘ave y’ ever seen so many children?

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay. Never in all me days.

MCGILLVERY

Did you see them eat anythin’?

MCGILLICUDDY

Nay and no fire neither. But p’rhaps they had the scraps from our many meals at the castle, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

The scraps could not have gone far with so many small mouths askin’ for food, Cuddy.

A waif coughs. Another whimpers in its sleep.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

Do y’ agree wi’ me that the gold could do much good here, Cuddy?

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye. It’s an ‘investment’ of the finer type, don’t y’ think?

McGillvery and McGillicuddy quietly creep out of the cave’s entrance and follow the sea line back to the village.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/MACKENAY ON THE SHORE/BAY'S DOCKS/BAY'S CAVES - DAY/NIGHT

Five ships lay quietly at anchor in the harbor. Bales of wool lay on the docks ready for loading. As the eastern light dawns red, sailors begin loading and unloading cargo-crates of oranges from the islands, leather, silks and satins. McGillicuddy and McGillvery begin bargaining for wares. Soon, a pile of supplies and food to feed hundreds of children sit ready for transport on the docks. McGillvery and McGillicuddy hire wagons and drivers to transport the material goods to the cave. The brothers spend the rest of the day cooking and preparing sleeping quarters for the children. At midnight, the children straggle in one by one, look dully at the blazing fire, the bedrolls, and the food. McGillvery and McGillicuddy begin ladling hot stew into bowls. The children silently take the bowls, eat, wrap themselves in new woolen blankets, and lay down to sleep.

MCGILLVERY

They need not be workin' these long hours, Cuddy. Why the littlest lassie-what could she possibly do of any worth at the castle?

MCGILLICUDDY

We can transport them to more charitable waters.

MCGILLVERY

The ships?

McGillicuddy nods. In the morning the children awake, reach for their bread, and begin winding down the path to the castle.

MCGILLVERY

No, children, no. Not today.

MCGILLICUDDY

Children, follow me. This way, children.

The children seem confused. They try to push past McGillicuddy to the path leading to the castle.

MCGILLICUDDY

No. No, children. This way! Follow Gilly. He’ll show you the way to go.

McGillicuddy begins pushing the children toward McGillvery and McGillvery begins a prancing dance toward the village. 

MCGILLICUDDY

Sing, Gilly. Catch their attention.

MCGILLVERY

“By the bonny glens of Fenwood Green....”

Mairin pushes forward from the back of the group of children.

MAIRIN

They's got nothin', Mister. They's that got nothin' don't understand how to gets somethin'.

MCGILLICUDDY

Then, lead them to somethin’ better, Mairin.

Mairin shakes her head ‘no’.

MAIRIN

Only them that's got, gets. It's the rules. Y' cain't be breakin' the rules, Mister. Even you. You ain't got and you ain't gettin'. All that's here belongs to the Madam. She's the Keeper of the Treasure.

McGillicuddy looks closely at Mairin’s face.

MCGILLICUDDY

Why, why, y’re...

McGillicuddy grabs her and turns her upside down. A cat's squeal comes out of her. McGillicuddy throws her up into the air and she twists around and comes down on all fours.

MCGILLICUDDY

It’s an illusion, Gilly! All of this-an illusion!

McGillvery quits singing and watches as the creatures meow and scramble their way toward the castle.

MCGILLVERY

Where are we, Brother, so that cats continue to present themselves to us and we realize nary a penny reward on our bags?

MCGILLICUDDY

It appears we’ve not left the confounded land. ‘Ave y’ ‘eard a bird singin’ since we’ve been here?

McGillvery shakes his head ‘no’.

MCGILLVERY

Then, if she controls the land, let’s see if she controls the sea.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy swing the rucksacks to their shoulders, make a loping run to the harbor, untie a small fishing boat, and set sail for the ocean. A storm immediately forms and a stiff wind rises as McGillvery and McGillicuddy endeavor to steer the boat from the harbor. As the boat enters the ocean a clap of thunder crashes overhead; lightning zigzags around the ship; a huge cat-shaped cloud rolls toward their vessel spitting and clawing in dark anger. The storm grows increasingly fierce. The ocean's waves grow higher and higher and in a place where none could ever be-between two heaven-high walls of water-a huge whirlpool appears.

MCGILLVERY

(Screeches)

We’re lost, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

Hang onto your bag, Gilly. Into the foaming mass we go.

The boat tips bow first into the swirling abyss below.

INT. IRELAND/COVERED WAGON - DAY

McGillicuddy lies, eyes closed, in the back of a moving, covered wagon.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Weakly)

Gilly.

The wagon keeps pulling ahead, but McGillvery climbs over the wagon seat into the wagon’s interior.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy! Y’re awake. Finally. Y’ve been gone a very long time.

McGillicuddy smiles wanly, nods, and falls into unconsciousness.

INT./EXT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE/MCGILLVERY'S COACH/MCGILLVERY'S TOWNHOUSE/VILLAGE/STABLE - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery-dressed in a Lord's suit of rich, silk brocade and shod in soft gentlemen's shoes-sits in richly carved chairs within the Earl of Donogough’s private library. McGillvery engages in deep conversation with the Earl of Donogough and watches carefully as the Earl of Donogough runs his fingers through the two heaps of glistening gold lying on the table between them. The Earl of Donogough leans in the direction of his barrister.

EARL DONOGOUGH

What think you?

The barrister clears his throat, places gold-rimmed glasses at the end of his nose, and picks up a sheaf of papers.

BARRISTER

The papers are quite in order. But I’m exceedingly perplexed at the exceptionally low interest rate you’ve charged for the use of your monies.

MCGILLVERY

(Smoothly with language of an educated man)

I'm not a greedy man. You've surely not forgotten the ways of money. Over a lifetime its face whimsically changes many times. Sometimes it presents a face of value and sometimes its face makes a poor showing. Interest rates fluctuate. I am content with a lifetime of fair showings-neither excellent nor poor. By playing a moderate game, I save myself palpitation of heart and gain a certain security knowing I have a comfortable, guaranteed income without further investment of my time or my energies. I am satisfied with that, Sir.

The barrister appraises McGillvery.

BARRISTER

Then do as you will, Donogough. It's all in your favor. You'll not receive an offer like it again.

EARL DONOGOUGH

So thought I. Would you supervise the reading of the agreement and my signature?

BARRISTER

To be sure.

McGillvery receives his receipt and bows low.

MCGILLVERY

I take your leave, Gentlemen.

McGillvery enters a richly appointed coach with a double, golden M engraved on its door. The coach driver sets the coach for a rapid pace toward McGillvery's townhouse. As McGillvery exits the coach, a butler immediately helps the driver unload the luggage while McGillvery enters the townhouse foyer and hands papers to Rachel, his secretary.

MCGILLVERY

The papers for Donogough House. Please add it to the papers for the other houses. And how's my brother?

MCGILLICUDDY

Well, Brother.

McGillvery turns to see McGillicuddy at the top of the stairs and gives a joyous yelp while running up the stairs two at a time and grasps McGillicuddy by the arms to survey his good health.

MCGILLVERY

Aye, and it’s a fine day to see you standing.

McGillvery releases McGillicuddy’s arms.

MCGILLVERY

Follow me. I’ve things right grand to tell.

McGillvery starts undressing as he leads McGillicuddy toward the dressing rooms.

MCGILLVERY

I've one more house to lend monies and then we will own every major house in Ireland. The lending payments on the houses will free us of the daily spending of the bags for at least a fortnight.

MCGILLICUDDY

A fortnight! A rich blessin’! But, what to do when that fortnight is spent?

McGillvery turns and sits heavily in his bedroom chair.

MCGILLVERY

Race at heart speed to England and then to France, Prussia, Spain, Africa...buying everything our eyes set sight on.

MCGILLICUDDY

What then?

McGillvery throws his arms in the air.

MCGILLVERY

Then we’ll own the whole world, Cuddy. What else do we need?

MCGILLICUDDY

We’ll still have the bags, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

Perhaps we'll begin a money house solely devoted to buying the stars, Cuddy. Two bags per star. That should take us way beyond this lifetime.

McGillvery’s exasperation changes into a wry acceptance of their problem.

MCGILLVERY

But, for now, we've no worries and time to eat hot meals and make sure you're well enough to join the society the bags have invited us into.

SCENES FLASH showing McGillvery instructing tailors to outfit McGillicuddy and enlisting teachers to teach McGillicuddy in the acceptable social manners and graces. McGillvery is asked to contribute to charitable institutions such as educational facilities, medical facilities, parks, and theaters. McGillvery generously donates large sums of money for these activities. As McGillvery writes a large check to build a new hospital, Jeames, their butler, enters the room.

JEAMES

Sir, I’ve a letter requesting your presence at Donogough Castle within the week.

McGillvery winks at McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

Satisfied customers wishing to feat us for our generous offer to allow them use of our money. What say you, brother? Are you ready to be feated?

INT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE - DAY

McGillvery and McGillicuddy stand facing dour faces of Ireland’s finest lords and earls. McGillvery takes in the unhappy atmosphere.

MCGILLVERY

(Cautiously)

Gentlemen, I’ve come a long journey at your invitation and I’ve not been asked to remove cloak or gloves.

LORD DANSHIRE

And, you’ll not be asked either.

McGillvery raises his eyebrows and pans a look of innocence.

MCGILLVERY

It seems I somehow have a room of dissatisfied customers.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

You’re bloody well right about that.

McGillvery surveys the earl and lords’ bulging waistcoats and feigns an anxious look.

MCGILLVERY

Gentlemen, has my money not fed you well?

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

You’ve bloody well seen that we got your cursed gold.

MCGILLVERY

Gold has rarely been a curse, but more of a blessing for me. Let's sit, talk, and see how we may rectify your unhappiness.

McGillvery moves to sit in a well-cushioned chair. Two men immediately grip his arms and keep him in a standing position.

EARL DONOGOUGH

You’ll hang from my trusses before you sit on my cushions, McGillvery.

McGillvery runs a finger around his shirt neck.

MCGILLVERY

Gentlemen, if there is any wrong I've dealt you, I'll truly try to rectify it. Surely, it can't be as bad as you're making it to be.

LORD DANSHIRE 

(Grimly)

It's worse than bad. And we've already voted our decision. Without discussion, you're a dead man, McGillvery.

MCGILLVERY

(Chiding)

Gentlemen, gentlemen, let’s be reasonable and talk about it.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

Silence! When a King plots and plans as you've done-not all his treasury will buy his life-much less the lives of two common tinkers.

MCGILLVERY

(Remonstratively)

But, Gentlemen, I'm not a man of limited resources. I'm able to make all right whatever ails the finest of Ireland.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

Indebting all of Ireland! What a treacherous piece of business! Without a war, you've established yourself as owner of our entire country! Did you leave one house without debt to you?

LORD DANSHIRE

The motto of Danshire House is ‘Strike now the enemy before he is on guard.’

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

Dispatch them.

Each earl and lord draws a small dagger from his shirt and closes the circle around McGillvery and McGillicuddy. Earl Donogough holds up a hand.

EARL DONOGOUGH

Wait. It could be there's more to this dirty business than what we see. I suggest placing them in the dungeon until we've understood the length and breadth of their plan.

The lords and earls slowly nod their heads and back away as four men blindfold McGillvery and McGillicuddy and hustle them from the room.

INT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE/DUNGEON - DAY/NIGHT

The sound of metal scraping against stone indicates the opening of the dungeon door. Two men stand with torches in their hand holding the door open. Two men thrust McGillvery and McGillicuddy through the door. As soon as the light from the torches disappear, McGillvery hears a rustling sound behind him.

MCGILLVERY

(Moans)

Rats. Our blessed Irish luck has put us in a prison cell with rats.

ENNA

(Chortling and raspy voice)

Not rats, mister. I done et them all long ago.

MCGILLVERY

Who are you?

The shuffling sound gets closer. Claw-like fingers grip McGillvery’s sleeve.

ENNA

My, my, an’ what ‘ave we ‘ere? A man o’ means I’d say.

The claw-like fingers pinch McGillvery’s waist.

ENNA

Y’ ‘aven’t missed many meals lately, now ‘ave y’.

MCGILLVERY

(Shakily)

What be your name, Sir?

Claw-like fingers continue to poke and prod like old women press geese at market before buying them for supper. There is no return answer. McGillvery feels the chap's weight shift a little. McGillvery ducks and runs as something hard and steel-like hits the dungeon bars just where his head had been.

MCGILLVERY

(Panting)

Why, Sir! Are y’ settling for such a lowly meal as me when I’ve resources to allow you full meals on which to dine?

ENNA

(Chortles)

There’s no resources attached to anyone in Donogough’s dungeon.

MCGILLVERY

By Jove, it’s like Daniel and the lions’ den. I’m Daniel and for the life of me I can’t remember what he did to seal the lions’ mouths.

FATHER CIARON

(Quietly)

He most likely prayed and relied on his Lord.

MCGILLVERY

Sensible words.

FATHER CIARON

(Sharply)

Enna, put the bar down. Down! I say!

The sound of a steel bar dropping to the ground and then dragging along stone flooring into the darkness beyond echoes throughout the dungeon.

FATHER CIARON

We've not had visitors for awhile. Our manners are in need of some repair, I dare say. Allow me. I'm Father Ciaron of Donogough Abbey.

MCGILLVERY

(Incredulously)

And, are you visiting the prisoners today, Father?

FATHER CIARON

Would that it were so, but I'm a permanent fixture of Donogough's dungeon. Take my hand and I'll lead you to a place where you'll feel more at ease.

Father Ciaron leads McGillvery and McGillicuddy along a stone-lined passage and up a long stairway until they come to a small room with a window.

FATHER CIARON

There. ‘Tis better now, isn’t it?

McGillvery visibly relaxes in the sunshine, then jumps when he sees Enna cowering in the corner.

MCGILLVERY

How long has he been here?

FATHER CIARON

As near as I can understand-since he was a child.

MCGILLVERY

What could his offense have been that he was forgotten in such a situation as this?

FATHER CIARON

(Shrugs)

Who knows? Perhaps he failed to lay out his master’s combs properly.

MCGILLVERY

No one brings food or drink?

FATHER CIARON

(Grins mirthlessly)

Food belongs to those who are alive, not those who are dead.

McGillicuddy looks around.

MCGILLICUDDY

Seems a primary occupation-in that case-would be escape.

FATHER CIARON

Faith, without light to explore one could be worse off than in this room. The window offers a view of the world. The rain drops our drink to the sill and occasionally the heavens send us a dove.

McGillvery grimaces and turns to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLVERY

Did y' happen to have a strike, Cuddy? My hand felt torches along the entire length of the passage we walked.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye. I do.

MCGILLVERY

Follow us, Father. We’ll see if the Lord will send us more than raindrops and a dove.

McGillvery walks forward into the darkened hallway and begins feeling along the right of the wall until his hands reach the first torch. McGillicuddy strikes the flint and the torch sputters. The second strike causes the torch to blaze. The light catches and scatters a glow over the multitudinous cobwebs stringing the ceilings far above them.

MCGILLVERY

How big do you suppose this labyrinth to be?

FATHER CIARON

The castle building itself covers an acre of ground in its entirety. It's likely to suppose the underground passages run at least its length.

MCGILLVERY

(Gently chiding)

Seems odd a Father wouldn’t know something of the wine cellars.

FATHER CIARON

(Grinning)

You may misunderstand, McGillvery. My abbey serves the poor of Donogough Village. I am not the Father for the castle.

MCGILLVERY

(Appraising)

That would explain your raiment I suppose.

McGillicuddy pulls on McGillvery’s arm.

MCGILLICUDDY

Look there-high up-is it a door I’m seeing?

McGillvery, McGillicuddy, Enna, and Father Ciaron walk forward to search the wall above them until they verify McGillicuddy's find. Far above, in the stone, is the appearance of a square tunnel.

FATHER CIARON

Enna, come here. Up you go.

After a boost from the Father, Enna disappears into the tunnel. As the first torch begins to die, McGillvery uses it to light a second torch. They wait patiently for Enna's return. When he comes back, he is covered with cobwebs and dust.

FATHER CIARON

Enna, is there a way out?

Enna shakes his head 'no'. He drops to the floor and the group quietly proceeds down the hallway which soon ends in a bricked-in wall-a dead end, no way to go left or right or forward. McGillvery kicks at the wall in frustration.

MCGILLVERY

What an odd set of thinking. Why would one build such a long tunnel, only to have it end like this?

McGillicuddy holds the torch closer to the wall.

MCGILLICUDDY

Perhaps it did not always end here. Look. This part of the wall is much newer than the rest-made of red brick rather than stone.

McGillvery runs his hand carefully over the brick.

MCGILLVERY

‘Tis not kiln-fired brick. If we had a heavy tool, the brick could be smashed. It’s old and crumbly.

Enna pushes forward and draws a heavy iron bar from his clothing. He motions for everyone to stand back and begins swinging at the most deteriorated spot in the brick wall. A hole soon appears. By taking turns prying the rod up and down, an aperture large enough for a man to pass is made. Enna crawls through first, then McGillicuddy, McGillvery, and Father Ciaron. A torch is held high to reveal the house's wine cellar. McGillvery reaches for an ancient bottle of a fine liqueur covered with cobwebs and dust.

MCGILLVERY

(Mirthlessly)

I think I'll have a toast to Lady Freedom courtesy of the gracious hospitality of the Earl.

MCGILLICUDDY

We’re not free yet.

MCGILLVERY

That can be rectified soon enough.

McGillvery immediately heads for the cellar stairs.


FATHER CIARON

(Quietly)

Wait. Prudence first, McGillvery. Wait till we believe the maids to have retired for the evening.

McGillvery hesitates. The torch shows a plainly impatient face, but he obeys and returns to the small group. Father Ciaron walks quietly to the bottom of the cellar steps and stands listening carefully.

FATHER CIARON

Sounds as if they're in the preparation for the main supper. Let's block the hole we've made. If we leave this room as we found it, they'll most likely never look for us again.

MCGILLVERY

I’m more for using the time in breaking their fine bottles of drink to give them long remembrance of our visit.

FATHER CIARON

(Grins)

Why waste good drink? Who knows? Perhaps sometime in the future we may yet enjoy it in the upstairs rooms.

The Father nudges McGillvery’s arm.

FATHER CIARON

(Whispers)

It’s time to go. Follow my lead.

INT./EXT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE/WINE CELLAR/KITCHEN/SERVANT YARD/ROAD/VILLAGE/STABLE - NIGHT

McGillvery and McGillicuddy follow Father Ciaron up the stairs through the cellar door into the kitchen, the servant's entrance, and the servant's yard. They move under the clothes' lines and around the washing tubs to the hedgerows. McGillvery and McGillicuddy follow Father Ciaron toward the village where they rent riding horses. McGillicuddy looks at McGillvery over the saddle as he adjusts the stirrups.

MCGILLICUDDY

What are you going to do, Gilly?

MCGILLVERY

They've got me goodwill money. They same as took my life and the life of my brother. I judge them cheats and thieves, Cuddy, and I'll deal with them accordingly.

INT. IRELAND/MCGILLVERY’S TOWNHOUSE - DAY

McGillvery and McGillicuddy enter the city townhouse as dawn breaks over the sky.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Carefully as if to derail McGillvery’s anger)

Perhaps it’s best to rest a bit before starting the day’s business.

McGillvery ignores the suggestion and calls loudly.

MCGILLVERY

Jeames! Rachel!

As Jeames and Rachel appear, McGillvery issues immediate orders.

MCGILLVERY

Jeames, gather information on standing armies willing to battle mercenarily. I need a list of the finest.

JEAMES

(Startled)

Sir?

MCGILLVERY

(Gruffly)

You heard me the first time.

JEAMES

The African armies have a fearsome reputation, Sir.

McGillvery pours two bags of gold on the table.

MCGILLVERY

They are now engaged. I will confer with their Chieftains on the shores at the South of Ireland.

JEAMES

Sir?

MCGILLVERY

Yes?

JEAMES

I'm begging your pardon for my forwardness; but I feel I must state that all your funds have been used for the good of those less fortunate than yourselves-the hospital, the schools-and for sustaining the greatest houses of our land during financial troubles. It seems at odds with your purposes in life to hire mercenary soldiers.

MCGILLVERY

(Brusquely)

Sometimes to continue doing good, it is necessary to fight evil.

Jeames hesitates as if to ask a question, thinks better of it.

JEAMES

Yes, Sir.

EXT. IRELAND/SOUTHERN IRELAND’S SHORES - DAY

One African war ship stands waiting in the bay as three more ships sail into view. McGillvery and McGillicuddy stand on the beach waiting while long boats fill with African warriors and then race toward the beach.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Anxiously)

Gilly, it looks like you called forth the demons of hell.

McGillvery nods apprehensively as he watches hundreds of war horses plunging from the ships into the sea.

MCGILLVERY

They’re as well equipped as England’s own.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Wishfully)

Perhaps the Lords and Earls will be awed by this display of military might and will have the decency to admit their error in dealing with us.

MCGILLVERY

(Hopefully)

Aye.

The African Warrior Chief, as large as a Goliath, broad face set with unreadable dark eyes, disembarks the first incoming ship. He neither salutes nor greets McGillvery or McGillicuddy. The African Warrior Chief surveys the shore as if it belongs to him alone and waves for his warriors to form rank. The soldiers, with horses, mount. In unison the warriors begin a shrill, screaming, hooing sound. McGillvery turns green of face while McGillicuddy turns white. The mounted African soldiers whirl their horses in a fierce charge toward the boys, stopping at the last moment. Horses' hooves spray sand onto the brothers' cloaks. This display repeats three times. McGillicuddy and McGillvery endeavor to hold increasing anxiety. Finally, the African Chieftain steps forward without smile or bow. McGillvery, not sure of proper protocol and not wanting to seem inferior to those he is to command, steps forward, chin held high. The Chieftain advances. McGillvery advances. This continues until the Chieftain and McGillvery are standing toe-to-toe. McGillvery bends his head back and looks upward at the red feathers of the Chieftain's headdress. He motions for McGillicuddy to move a stone into place, scrambles up the stone, reaches up, removes the headdress, and replaces it with his own tam-o-shanter. Then he reaches down, pulls off his two brown, leather, dress boots, hands them to the Chieftain, and bows deeply.

MCGILLVERY

Ireland awaits you, King of Warriors. You have both my head and my feet behind you and in front of you.

The African Chieftan bows his head slightly and holds up two fingers. The warriors begin the shrill hooing again while circling in a tearing eight columned run around McGillvery, McGillicuddy, and the African Chieftain.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE - DAY

The African Chieftan stands on a hillock overlooking Donogough Castle. McGillvery and McGillicuddy stand to his right.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

The fortress?

MCGILLVERY

Yes, the first of fourteen. First, we must parlay.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

I do not understand ‘parlay’.

MCGILLVERY

It means to talk.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

Talk?

The African Chieftan swings his horse around in a tight circle.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

No talk. Battle.

The African Chieftan raises his finger and the warriors begin a hooing which raises in volume and shrillness. McGillvery looks in the direction of the castle and sees no sign of life.

MCGILLVERY

(Calmly)

I have paid you to fight for me. My decision is to talk first.

The African Chieftan’s eyes challenge McGillvery.

MCGILLVERY

(Calmly)

I will risk my life before I risk your warriors’ lives. Wait for my signal.

The African Chieftan'S nostrils flare as if in anger. McGillvery waits. The African Chieftain lowers his fingers. The hooing stops. McGillvery nods solemnly to the African Chieftain while urging his mount forward. The horse's hooves echo hollowly on the flagstone paving-a lonely sound enhanced by the gray sky and the wetness of the trees and grass. The horse neither prances nor tosses his head, but walks forward in a stately manner much befitting McGillvery's frame of mind. McGillicuddy watches his brother's advance and reaches for the flag bearer's pole, takes it into his own hand, spurs his horse alongside McGillvery's horse, and begins tying a white kerchief to the top of the pole. McGillicuddy holds the truce flag high and steady.

MCGILLICUDDY

Look sharp. Is it bowmen and cannons I’m seeing there along the castle battlements?

McGillvery and McGillicuddy stop their horses. McGillicuddy points.

MCGILLICUDDY

There and there.

MCGILLVERY

I suppose I was a fool to think we may talk the Lords into seeing our viewpoint.

MCGILLICUDDY

No, not a fool for that, Gilly. We're both fools if we think ones who've had power so long shall abdicate their positions without a bloody good row.

MCGILLVERY

Then, onward, Cuddy!

McGillvery puts a firm heel to his mount. Before the willing steed takes two prancing steps forward, a cannon roars. An iron ball plops not five meters from McGillvery's mount.

MCGILLVERY

By the Hag of Beare, parlay’s done; fight’s begun.

With McGillicuddy following closely behind, McGillvery charges the main castle gates. The fear-inspiring hooing of the African hordes precedes the sweeping swarm of African warriors over the hills and empty moat toward the castle walls. McGillvery gives second spur to his mount, unsheathes a long unused sword, and heads straight for the main gate. The African warriors, long used to swarming structures embattled with thorns and briers, have already mounted the castle's second floor and enter windows long unbarred as McGillvery charges the main gate. The main gate miraculously swings open. McGillvery, McGillicuddy, and hundreds of African warriors sweep into the castle. Sounds of pounding hooves crashing against stone, servants' shrieks and cries, and the crashing of furniture and weaponry echo from the castle walls. While sitting astride his horse in the main hall, McGillvery twists his sword into the flag of Donogough, and brings it to the floor.

MCGILLVERY

Earl Donogough, for injustices rendered to honest men, I now stand in your castle and I claim it in God's name for myself and my brother.

With that pronouncement, McGillvery drags the Donogough colors from the entrance way along stone paving to the fireplace and hurls the woven tapestry into the licking flames. Still mounted, his horse jumping nervously at the shrill cries all around him, McGillvery surveys the room-the same room where he had been tied and led to the dungeon. McGillicuddy and the African Chieftan come striding through the doorway.

MCGILLICUDDY

Earl Donogough nor his family nor his chief servants are on the grounds. ‘Tis only the kitchen maids and a few gardeners. It appears it was the servants manning the cannons.

MCGILLVERY

Question what's left. Perhaps they've overheard where their fine plumed Earl has fled.

NEXT MORNING

The sun shines brightly. Birds sing. Rabbits dart from one bush to another. Warriors strip the castle of its valuables to pack into Donogough coaches and wagons. Donogough's stable is raided for the finest stable mounts to pull the plundered goods. The African Chieftan receives two bags of gold from McGillvery and McGillicuddy. McGillvery rubs his hands together briskly.

MCGILLVERY

We’ve thirteen fortresses to go. May they all fall as easily as this one.

McGillvery turns to the African Chieftan.

MCGILLVERY

McGillicuddy and I shall ride ahead to the next village. This castle is given to Father Ciaron and his orphans. It must not be burned.

The African Chieftan motions agreement and continues with examination of war plunder.

EXT./INT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH VILLAGE/HUMBLE COTTAGE - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery and McGillicuddy reach Donogough village and find all shops closed, shutters down, and doors barred. McGillvery rides the length of the village square and finally raises his voice to rouse any inhabitant that may be left.

MCGILLVERY

Can I raise no one without pillaging the entire village?

The sound of a woman’s sob is heard. A door cracks open and a young peasant steps timidly from a doorway.

MCGILLVERY

(Astonishment)

Are y’ all that’s left?

The young peasant braces himself against the doorpost while giving McGillvery a mute nod. McGillicuddy comes from behind McGillvery, takes careful note of the lad's whiteness of face and trembling of limbs, and feels surprise.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Compassionately)

Son, whatever are y' afraid of? If the Lords and Earls have threatened you in any way, you may look upon us as your saviors and protectors.

The young peasant looks as if he may faint away. His trembling increases until his teeth rattle. McGillvery surveys the situation, dismounts, and approaches the man. The young peasant moans a dying sound, leans backward, and falls into his house. McGillvery walks forward and leans over the fellow.

MCGILLVERY

(Astonishment)

Why ‘e’s fainted dead away.

McGillvery sees a small lassie by the fire.

MCGILLVERY

Hello! Is this your daddy, then?

The child nods her head 'yes' while sticking four pudgy fingers into an un-talkative mouth. A moan issues from the room beyond the main room. McGillvery walks across the space which serves as kitchen, living quarters, workshop, and play area to push aside tattered red and green plaid curtains to reveal a smallish room beyond.

MCGILLVERY

Hello, what have we here? Cuddy, come quickly.

A woman, near giving birth, lies against the room's wall on a peasant's bed.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, your help will be needed.

The woman rolls her eyes at McGillvery. McGillicuddy brings toweling and soap. McGillvery turns to check the young peasant by feeling the man's neck for a pulse.

MCGILLVERY

(Mutters)

A heart beats strong, but for deeds of valor...well, your young miss has more courage than y' do.

McGillvery shakes his head woefully and looks around the room.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, why should a young fellow be afraid of the likes of you or me? One day we're tinkers running for the top of our wagon, dogs licking our heels, and the next we're mounted astride ponies with the householders fainting in the doorways at the sight of us.

A movement catches the corner of McGillvery's eye. He turns in time to see the young peasant raise himself from the floor onto an elbow while putting the other hand to his forehead.

MCGILLVERY

Here, I'll help you, man. There, now. You've had quite a scare. Come. I'll heat you a broth and you can gather your sense by the fire.

The young peasant turns toward the curtain. McGillvery steers him toward the fire and a short stool at fire’s edge.

MCGILLVERY

She's all right. McGillicuddy's helping her. He's the one for birthing living things. You needn't worry the tiniest of a feather about her.

The young peasant finds his tongue.

YOUNG PEASANT

(Fervently)

McGillicuddy-a good Irish name. Thank God for the Irish.

McGillvery notes the returning color in the young peasant’s cheeks.

MCGILLVERY

How be it you’re alone in this village?

The young peasant looks up in surprise and waves toward the curtain.

YOUNG PEASANT

Couldn't leave 'er. What kind of a man would I be to leave 'er? Everyone else tho', they're gone and won't be back. No.

MCGILLVERY

Why? Why has everyone fled?

YOUNG PEASANT

Why? Where have you been, man? Don't you know the ill fate that has swept Ireland's shores?

McGillvery, not yet divining the young peasant’s concern, dumbly shakes his head ‘no’.

YOUNG PEASANT

Then, you must ‘ave been ‘idden away in a mossy cave. ‘Ow could you be foolish as to the woes that have befallen our dear motherland?

McGillvery, still thick of mind as to the concern of the young peasant, with genuine concern urges.

MCGILLVERY

Speak, man. Speak. What has happened so grim to cause one of Ireland’s own to faint in his doorway?

YOUNG PEASANT

Demon hordes have swept the land. They've so much power the Saints themselves have been bound. No more good shall our green shores see. Even our protectors and ensamples unto fidelity ‘ave fled.

Realization spreads across McGillvery’s face.

MCGILLVERY

(Dismayed protest)

These hordes be not interested in the poor of the land. They’ve only eyes for the gluttonous...

McGillvery stops and carefully inquires.

MCGILLVERY

Protectors and ensamples unto fidelity? And...who might they be?

YOUNG PEASANT

(Simply)

Our Lords and Earls.

MCGILLVERY

(Snorts)

Mmpf! Poor protectors they be if they flee at the first sign of a demon horde. And where did they flee to?

YOUNG PEASANT

North. There are castles more strongly fortified than these. They are raisin' an army to protect our fair land.

MCGILLVERY

(Grimly)

An army of peasants, I suppose.

YOUNG PEASANT

Of course. There are only a few of them and a great many of us. ‘Tis only right we help defend what is ours.

MCGILLVERY

What is theirs, you mean.

The young peasant looks puzzled.

MCGILLVERY

Never mind, lad. We'll stay until the lass is delivered of child and be on our way. You've nothing to fear from us.

McGillvery steps from the young peasant's small cottage into the village streets and looks toward the millions of stars in the sky.

MCGILLVERY

'Tis a cruel joke to have the peasants' blood run for the noblemen's sins. The peasants know not, dearest Father, but the nobles know full well.

McGillvery begins pacing. About midnight, McGillicuddy joins him.

MCGILLICUDDY

‘Tis a laddie, a fine strong one with lusty lungs.

MCGILLVERY

A strange turn in our affairs, McGillicuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye. I heard.

MCGILLVERY

I’d never meant to punish the innocent for the misdeeds of a few.

McGillicuddy nods.

MCGILLVERY

If we pursue farther, we're likely to meet the new wee laddie's father eye to eye on battle field. Where would we stand to cut down a small laddie's father and him having to grow up an orphan with a widowed mother?

MCGILLICUDDY

T’would sentence them to a poverty worse than death.

MCGILLVERY

With not even the potato on their plates I so complained of.

MCGILLICUDDY

The young peasant thinks he’s fighting for his home and his family.

MCGILLVERY

(Bitterly)

How little he owns of it! An’ what am I to do in this instance?

MCGILLICUDDY

We could read in Mum’s book, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

No. I'm not much caring to read in it. We've got ourselves into this fine mess and we best be figuring a way out.

MCGILLICUDDY

Mum always said when one least feels like reading in the book, that's when they most needs to read it.

McGillvery’s reluctance increases and he firmly shakes his head ‘no’.

MCGILLVERY

No. I do not wish to read this evening.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy build a small fire in the deserted village square. McGillicuddy lies down for a short nap while McGillvery sits in front of the fire, restless. McGillvery reaches into his pack and pulls out the leather bound book. A breeze stirs. Pages riffle. He lays his hand on a page and reads aloud.

MCGILLVERY

The hope of an irreligious man comes to nothing. The Lord breaks up an ungodly man’s plan.

McGillvery mumbles to himself.

MCGILLVERY

The Earls and Lords need their ungodly plans broken up and Cuddy and I are helping our lord do it.

McGillvery reads further.

MCGILLVERY

The man of peace has a future.

McGillicuddy watches McGillvery'S body posture by the dying flames of their campfire through half-closed, sleepy eyes. McGillvery's posture changes.

MCGILLICUDDY

What are you reading now, Gilly?

MCGILLVERY

Turn over the course of your affairs to Jehovah, and rely on Him, and He will act. He will bring your rightness out like the light and the justice of your case like noonday. Leave it silently to Jehovah and wait for Him; do not lose your temper at one who comes off successfully, a man who executes deep-laid plots.

McGillvery’s shoulders slump despondently.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy, a good and wise man, who had been wronged, would have sent ambassadors first to the Lords and Earls for a parlay, wouldn't he? And, only after talk, would he dare bring war down on their heads and even then with a proper warning first to allow them to repent of their misdeeds and to right the wrong. That'd be the fair and Godly way of doing it, wouldn't it?

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye. 'Tis the way it's done by the great nations. A great deal of talk on both sides and a great deal of compromising.

MCGILLVERY

I've invited myself from the tinker's seat to the seat reserved for leaders of men-kings and generals. With a tinker's thoughts I acted hastily-givin' no time for peaceful negotiations. All I wanted was a potato on our plate and a bit of chop to go with it. How did that simple desire lead us into a war with all our countrymen?

McGillicuddy thinks deeply.

MCGILLICUDDY

I'm remembering the lords themselves acted without giving us time to address ourselves in their presence. They invited us to a meal, if you remember accurately, and threw us into prison without the benefit of the meal or talk. Little questions did they ask.

MCGILLVERY

Yet perhaps our Lord would have required us to parlay one more time before acting.

MCGILLICUDDY

Perhaps. But they didn’t really give us much time for explanations of the simplest sort, did they?

MCGILLVERY

Nay, ‘tis what made me so angry.

MCGILLICUDDY

It's a sad, but great truth that once men have made their minds to a bent and have taken action on that bent, it's not soon they'll be listening to the persuasion of mere words.

The eastern sky dawns red and gold. McGillicuddy rises and places his arm around McGillvery’s shoulders.

MCGILLICUDDY

Our story has become uncommonly complicated. We be not the wise of the land. It's why we always relied so on the book for advice-to keep a little free of error against our Lord and against our fellows. Perhaps we need to step under that umbrella again and take the course of humility.

McGillvery looks quickly at McGillicuddy with dawning comprehension in his face and eyes.

MCGILLVERY

Humility! Yes! Solomon’s Ladder. It had five steps: the second step was 'humility'. If we keep the humble place, we’ve a chance to move up the ladder again. We got our riches. The next step is to acquire honor. How could a rich man become honorable?

MCGILLICUDDY

By carrying out honorable actions with his riches.

MCGILLVERY

Aye, And since our gold is a gift from our King, if we weren't to act as honorably and as wisely and as obediently as we could with our riches, then our King would have just that much right to take it away. We've been poor lads for a great long while, Cuddy. I've no wish to be losing the potato and the chop on our plate that we've come to rely upon. 'Tis a fact that money in the hands of haughty men could do no good and much harm. We've acted the haughty men. 'Tis good for us to listen to the advice of the book as we understood it this day and rely on the Lord for the rest.

MCGILLICUDDY

Amen.

McGillvery stands quickly from the side of their dying fire.

MCGILLVERY

(Decisively)

We must send the African Chieftan and his armies home, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy raises a stiff, smart military salute.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Smiles)

For Ireland and its eternal peace, then.

McGillvery tips his hat and returns.

MCGILLVERY

To Ireland’s mountains and valleys. May God ‘ere smile on her lightness of heart and carefree days.

EXT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE/SOUTHERN IRISH SHORES - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery and McGillicuddy return to Donogough Castle. The African Chieftan stands before McGillvery and McGillicuddy wagging his head 'no'.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

We’ve come to fight and fight we shall.

MCGILLVERY

Nay. The God of this land is no longer with us in this matter.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

What is the name of this God?

MCGILLVERY

His name is Jehovah-One greatly to be feared-a warrior wreaking great vengeance on those not obeying His wishes.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

I know no such one.

MCGILLVERY

But you need know Him, mighty one. He controls the rains, the storms, the sun, the seas. It is most important that you listen in this matter because even if you should pursue the castles and their wealth to the North, you shall have to go home by the sea. He may let you take some of Ireland's wealth aboard your vessels, but never shall He allow the sea to safely carry you home.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

Perhaps I and my warriors already have His backing. Perhaps that is why we stand where we are today.

MCGILLVERY

If you return to your country, we will pledge the two bags of gold you've received each day for an additional four hundred days. It would mean as much wealth as you could possibly take in the whole of Ireland. You would not risk your men's lives and can live in peace in your home territories. Wisdom decrees that to be your best course of action.

The African Chieftan disagrees.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

In four hundred days my warriors would be soft and fat like women. The gold would be gone and they would no longer be in condition to fight and regain their wealth. Soldiers are meant to fight. We came to fight and we shall fight!

MCGILLVERY

Then you’ll not go with my blessing nor the daily payment of gold.

The African Chieftan reaches out, grabs McGillvery by the neck, and raises him from the ground by a full meter.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

Our agreement is to take the North and the South with two full bags of gold per day to be delivered to my tent. My soldiers are to pillage and plunder what they wish with no hindrance. You shall go with us and you shall perform your part of the bargain until we have done with this land.

The African Chieftan sits McGillvery back to the ground.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

Warriors!

The African Chieftan raises his fingers. The shrill hooing begins.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

We march!

A secondary chieftan points a spear at McGillvery and McGillicuddy forcing them to ride in their same positions at the head of the army.

MCGILLVERY

(Bitterly and then stricken)

So this is what desire comes to then? What I do not wish is about to happen and upon my soul will rest all the souls of the innocent children of Ireland. O' Cuddy, what do I do now?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Thoughtfully)

Gilly, it's true we gave the wheel a push, but we did not run down the hill with it to keep it spinning to its final goal. I perceive that this affair is out of our hands and we must silently watch its conclusion.

McGillvery turns in hot anger at McGillicuddy’s philosophical attitude.

MCGILLVERY

How can you live and say such a thing? What a godless outlook that, Cuddy! In fact, it makes me so angry I should strike you!

McGillicuddy reins his mount short.

MCGILLICUDDY

If you weren't so eager to run ahead and would wait a bit to see the lay of the land, so to speak, we wouldn't be in half the trouble we are!

MCGILLVERY

So 'tis my fault then? I, the one who loads the tinker's wagon, hitches the horses, and waits every morning for his majesty, McGillicuddy, to join me on top?

MCGILLICUDDY

If you would wait a bit, you wouldn’t be left to do more than you need!

MCGILLVERY

(Shouting)

And, if I didn't, every day we wouldn't be off until noon. You are a lazy rascal with no initiative. I'm sick of you being my brother!

With that, McGillvery leaps from his horse, pulls McGillicuddy to the ground, and begins choking him about the neck. The book spills from McGillvery's sack and lays in the road with its pages slowly turning in the wind. The African warriors, black faces showing no emotion, make a neat circle around the brothers. It looks like a fight to the death-the end of Ireland's last tinkers. However, as swiftly as the disagreement has begun, it is over. McGillvery stands wiping his hands across a bloodied lip while encouraging McGillicuddy to his feet. McGillvery points a finger to the African Chieftan.

MCGILLVERY

It’s you that’s responsible for this breach.

McGillvery leaps with the power of a tinker horse's rear haunches, pulls the African Chieftain from his mount, wrests the saber from the African Chieftain's belt, holds it to his back, and looks fiercely at the warriors.

MCGILLVERY

You will return. You will return from whence you came or your Chieftain shall die upon this soil never to lead you again.

The African warriors pull back leaving an open road to the sea. McGillvery, not lessening his hold on the African Chieftan, begins the return march to the sea with the saber held tightly to the African Chieftain's back. When the African Chieftan stands on the shores, he speaks.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

Warriors, home.

McGillvery releases the African Chieftan. The African Chieftan looks McGillvery squarely in the eye.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

I will return.

McGillvery shakes his head firmly.

MCGILLVERY

No, this land does not belong to you nor Gilly nor I nor the lords and earls. It is guarded by One more powerful than any of us. He will not let Irish blood be shed at your hands or ours.

AFRICAN CHIEFTAN

I accept your payment of two bags gold for this day's work and two bags every day for four hundred days.

McGillvery nods in agreement while McGillicuddy brings two bags of gold forward. The African Chieftan and his warriors board their ships and set their sails for home. As the last sail disappears over the horizon, McGillvery collapses to the sand quivering with exhaustion. McGillicuddy begins a small fire and rummages through his pockets.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Grins)

Ahhh! One of Earl Donogough's potatoes. I believe part of the skin has been scuffed, but it's large enough to share.

McGillvery sinks into a deep sleep at fire's edge while McGillicuddy tends the baking of their supper. The loud pop of a last dying ember causes McGillvery to awaken. With a small cry of alarm, McGillvery scrambles to his feet.

MCGILLVERY

Cuddy! We gave Donogough's Castle to Father Ciaron and his orphans. If he has taken possession of the castle, the Earls will hang him sure. Up! We must be up to warn the dear Father.

McGillicuddy is slow to respond.

MCGILLVERY

Have you no heart, Man? The Earls will have already heard of the African departure. It's only a day's good ride for them to be returning to their lands. Their anger will be hotter than summer's sun looking for flesh to scorch. They've no heart for orphans in the best of times let alone in the worst of times and it's the orphans and their father who'll be sitting in the way of the Earls' blaze.

McGillicuddy rousts from his bed, catches his horse, and slips a noose around its nose.

MCGILLICUDDY

Ride then if you know how!

McGillicuddy swings onto the mount and gives a sharp heel to its flanks. With short leaps the horse clears the sand bank and breaks into a galloping run toward Donogough's Castle. McGillvery's mount does the same. Both horses settle into a distance-eating lope that soon brings Donogough Castle into view. McGillvery and McGillicuddy urge their mounts forward and dismount to enter the castle's main foyer.

INT./EXT. IRELAND/DONOGOUGH CASTLE - DAY/NIGHT

Everything in the Donogough Castle foyer has been cleaned and put to rights. Even the flag McGillvery had recklessly thrown into the fireplace has been cleaned and returned to its place on the wall.

MCGILLVERY

(Wonderingly)

Didn’t we sack and ruin this castle?

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye, we did.

MCGILLVERY

What witchery is this that turns sack and ruin into order and neatness?

A sound of a pan dropping onto the kitchen floor causes McGillicuddy to walk toward the kitchen door and fling it open. A woman stands washing dishes.

WOMAN

(Gasps)

Who are you?

MCGILLICUDDY

Who are you?

WOMAN

I belong to Father Ciaron. I am helping him put everything to rights.

MCGILLICUDDY

Where is Father Ciaron?

WOMAN

At the orphanage, of course, takin’ care of the orphans.

MCGILLICUDDY

He’s not here?

WOMAN

Nay. Why should he be? The castle belongs to the Donogoughs.

MCGILLVERY

I gave him the castle.

WOMAN

How can y’ be givin’ somethin’ that’s not yours to give?

MCGILLVERY

T’was spoils of war.

The woman looks softly at McGillvery.

WOMAN

But, the Father cannot build good foundations on spoils of war. He is suing for peace. The children are bringin' the repaired furniture in the early mornin'. If y' wait, y' can see ‘im then.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy leave the castle, mount their horses, and ride to a small hillock overlooking the landscape.

MCGILLVERY

They’ll hunt us like rabbits and hang us for our deeds, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye.

MCGILLVERY

(Grimaces)

I’m not knowing how to be leaving me motherland.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nothing more welcoming than the scent of soda bread and tea and the sight of our own emerald green hills.

McGillicuddy’s eyes travel over the terrain and he startles.

MCGILLICUDDY

You're high enough to see it as an angel does. What is it you see there?

McGillvery looks and grips McGillicuddy’s arm.

MCGILLVERY

O’ for the merciful love of God. No.

McGillicuddy looks as if his heart turns to stone. From the east through the early morning darkness marches the African Chieftan with his black-faced warriors toward the crest of the valley. From the west marches Earl Donogough and his Irish peasants toward the crest of the valley. From the south in the bottom of the valley between the two armies come Father Ciaron and his band of orphans. The larger children carry small repaired tables and chairs on their backs. The younger children lead oxen that pull carts of freshly laundered linens and washed/repaired vases and statuary.

MCGILLICUDDY

The angels weep in Ireland tonight.

At the precise moment the African Chieftan crests the eastern hillock, Earl Donogough crests the western hummock. In the valley between the two hills, the Father looks up in surprise. The Africans begin a shrill hooing. Earl Donogough holds up a signal for his peasants and villagers to spread along the hillside. The Father, in the bottom of the valley, begins an effort to lead the oxen into a small circle to protect his orphans. The older children pile mended chairs and tables alongside the carts. The Father attempts to tie the oxen's heads to the end of the carts to prevent them from bolting. The older children lift younger children into the circle of the carts. The shrill hooing stops. Earl Donogough sharply drops his arm at the same moment the Africans scream and stream down the hillside. The armies meet in the bottom of the narrow valley. The Africans, trained in military technique, cut through row after row of peasant farmers. Bodies lay two and three thick with the hooves of horses trying to gain foothold on dead and dying men. The African Chieftain sits surveying the situation below his station and signals his last rank to round the hill and charge into the southern end of the valley. Then he lights a torch, races to the carts piled high with furniture and throws his blazing brand onto the varnished woods. A crackle, then a blaze follows. The Father endeavors to push the now blazing furniture away from his orphans. Wood, centuries old, long kept from its warming purpose, gives itself readily to flame. McGillvery sobs as he sees the engulfing blaze overwhelm the living bundles vainly struggling to push their way through the rubble only to run a few meters and fall to the ground in melted heaps of human flesh. It seems the Africans will win, for their skill is such that fifty peasants would die for their African one. But Earl Donogough and the Lords propagandized well. The Irish are fighting for their homes and families and their established way of life. From tip to tip, from shore to shore, the Irish have come. On that morning in Donogough's Glen, the valley runs red with blood and no one wins. By early morning's light, a smoky stench arises from the blackened circle where the orphans had been alive and well only a few hours before. The African Chieftain lays with a sword buried to its hilt through his chest. Earl Donogough has been cut in half by a saber. Peasants lay twisted and torn between horses and African warriors. No rabbits play on the glen. McGillvery looks at the shining sun.

MCGILLVERY

How could you be so blasphemous as to show your face on a day such as this? Even the rabbits know when blackness has passed over a land.

McGillvery steps from his horse and walks to the valley. McGillicuddy follows. The silence of death is complete. At the edge of the glen, a young peasant-body grotesquely twisted, mouth permanently set in death's grimace, eyes open in blank stare-catches McGillicuddy's attention.

MCGILLICUDDY

Gilly-the young peasant. The new wee laddie’s father from the next village.

McGillvery turns and begins retching as if his very soul wishes to vomit itself onto the ground. He turns and stumbles and begins walking toward the southern Ireland shores.

EXT. IRELAND/CLIFFS EDGING DONGE'S SEA - DAY/NIGHT

McGillvery stops walking at the edge of the cliffs that edge Donge's Sea. McGillicuddy, gray of face, sick at heart, follows McGillvery and stands beside his brother at the cliff's edge. McGillvery stands, head bowed, looking into the dreary, foaming mass below.

MCGILLVERY

(Wretchedly, lapsing into old brogue)

Y' know what I must be doin', Cuddy. I'm sorry for it; but I cannot face the rest of the days filled as they'll be with the ghosts of me countrymen. The orphaned children would come whisperin' and dancin' in flames of fire with battle cries low and loud to torment all me days and me nights. I'm not man enough to face their thunderous accusations for the rest of me time.

McGillicuddy nods in aching understanding, tears streaming down his sorrow-filled face. McGillvery, without the release of wet grief his brother so freely employs, makes a final request.

MCGILLVERY

Will y' be puttin' the bags of gold on me back now? I'll be takin' them to the hell's depths from which we brought them.

MCGILLICUDDY

Aye.

McGillicuddy lifts the two heavy bags to McGillvery's back. He steps forward to secure their leather bands and then clasps his brother's arms tightly. McGillvery shakes his head as if to clear it from the throes of Misery's Sorrow.

MCGILLVERY

(Bitterly and then stricken)

Isn't it an incomprehensible thing that a prayed for thing could have caused so much hurt, Cuddy?

McGillicuddy's mouth works to bear words, but none come forth. McGillvery turns toward cliff's edge and McGillicuddy's tongue releases to tearfully cry.

MCGILLICUDDY

Brother, what am I to do? I've not the courage to follow you and alone I've not the courage to continue.

McGillvery hesitates. He turns pain-racked eyes to McGillicuddy's quivering shoulders and lowered head. McGillicuddy, near to collapsing on the ground, has pathetically positioned his hands as if pleading for a reprieve from the cruelest and most heartless of prison masters.

MCGILLVERY

(Moans, profoundly sorrowful)

Oh, Brother. Two heads are better than one.

McGillvery grasps McGillicuddy in his arms and cries until his soul's source contains no sustenance for continued well-being. Some time passes before McGillicuddy is able to smudge McGillvery's grief-stricken, freely pouring tears. McGillvery hangs his head in terrible unhappiness.

MCGILLVERY

We’ve lost our honor, Cuddy.

McGillicuddy nods his head in troubled agreement.

MCGILLICUDDY

When something’s lost, a body usually goes looking for it, Gilly.

MCGILLVERY

(Bitterly)

And, in what land does one find an honor lost?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Falters)

Perhaps, it’s not found, but regained.

MCGILLVERY

How so can honor, reputation, and a good name be ever regained once lost? They be of such fragile materials t'would take an angel's breath to sew the seams once they've been rent.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Waivers timidly)

We've not an angel's breath to do our sewin', Gilly. But, we could begin mendin' through right doin' made regular and consistent deeds of valor replacin' deeds of shame. What good would it be, Gilly, to look on a great wrong and then take the one thing we have at hand to right that wrong and destroy it?

MCGILLVERY

(Exceedingly puzzled)

I do not understand what y’re tryin’ so to say.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Stumbling)

We have our life. It is the single most valuable asset we possess which can be used to correct the great wrong we've had a hand in perpetratin'. Courage requires no less of us than to live and to try to use the rest of that life correctly. After a lifetime of courageous, honorable acts we may find that we, in some small way, were able to compensate for our wrong actions. In that compensation, we may, when we are very old men, once again find ourselves in possession of a semblance of honor.

MCGILLVERY

A whole lifetime of good deeds cannot compensate for my guilt today, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

No, there is nothin' that will ever be enough. But, we can give our life once in death for the dead as a guilt offering or we can give our life over and over again as each day begins new, for the livin', as a blessin'.

McGillicuddy’s words begin to rush as the ideas begin to take form and power.

MCGILLICUDDY

Your death will do nothin' for the dead, Gilly. But a lifetime of good deeds and honorable actions could do much for the livin'. If you're bound set to die for your sins, if y' think about it, by the nature of things, y'll come to death soon enough, as all of us will. Why not let the Lord choose when that shall happen? He may yet have a plan for our lives.

McGillicuddy pauses and takes a deep, shaking breath.

MCGILLICUDDY

On that field of battle what was the last thing we saw before comin’ to this cliff?

MCGILLVERY

(Cracks with emotional tension)

The wee bairn’s poor father. The one who wouldn’t leave his young wife.

McGillicuddy lets him cry and then gently wipes McGillvery’s forehead.

MCGILLICUDDY

There was something we should have seen after we saw his face, Gilly.

McGillvery strains to think.

MCGILLVERY

I don’t remember anything after that, Cuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

But there was something, Gilly, think.

MCGILLVERY

I can’t.

MCGILLICUDDY

What about the wee bairn’s face?

MCGILLVERY

(Dumbly)

The wee bairn!

MCGILLICUDDY

The wee bairn’s mother’s face and the wee bairn’s sister’s face.

MCGILLVERY

Oh, Cuddy, I did see all of them-in my thoughts.

MCGILLICUDDY

Gilly, we can do nothin' for all the Father's orphans nor all the men left on the field of battle-but the two bags, Gilly, could do a great deal every day for puttin' at least a potato on the plates of all those men's wives and children-their orphans they've left behind-until those orphans could grow to be men big enough to fill their father's shoes and rebuild the Ireland that's been lost on Donogough Glen.

McGillvery slumps to the ground at cliff’s edge and looks into the foaming surf far below.

MCGILLVERY

T’would not compensate for the loss of their fathers.

MCGILLICUDDY

No, but we still have a responsibility to Ireland-what's left of 'er. We could use our lives to be a bit of 'eaven's blessings to what is left of the shattered lives of all the widows and orphans.

McGillicuddy reaches over and pulls the bags from McGillvery’s back.

MCGILLICUDDY

You know it would suit the Cat's purposes well to have the gold buried at the bottom of the abyss, but it would suit the Lord's purposes better to have gold in the hands of men sustainin' widows and orphans in the real world where the real problems of sickness and hunger will be a daily factor in such lives as theirs.

McGillvery stands and walks away from the cliff’s edge.

MCGILLVERY

No amount of good actions can ever compensate for what I’ve done.

MCGILLICUDDY

For what we’ve done. The unfortunate-ness of ignorance is the legacy of mistakes it leaves behind. Perhaps the only just compensation is to not repeat the mistakes nor allow ourselves to lapse again into that particular ignorance.

MCGILLVERY

(Earnestly)

Yes. We shall not do that again! Shall we?

MCGILLICUDDY

(Firmly)

Two heads are better than one. I’ll endeavor to keep you from it and you endeavor to keep me from it.

McGillvery and McGillicuddy walk away from the cliff's edge as a darkness begins to spread over the land. Suddenly, looming in front of them is the white cat much larger than ever they have seen it. The white cat sneers, laughs, chortles, and snickers.

WHITE CAT

Fools, fools, fools, fools. You've let darkness come and you've not spent the bags. By the Law of the Treasury rooms the bags return to my treasury at this hour.

MCGILLVERY

(Horrified cry)

No! No! Oh, dear God. We must have the bags. Not for ourselves, but for the wee ones and their mothers. Oh, God, help us poor lads or our souls shall be lost in darkness forever unending and so much suffering on the land that not one of Your eyes could bear to look upon it. Let the light spread over this land-for the sake of Your orphans and widows. Be showin' Yourself great in our behalf. 

A clap of thunder splits the darkness and a majestic voice rolls over the earth.

UNKNOWN VOICE

(Thunders)

And your righteous cause shall go before you, McGillvery and McGillicuddy.

With that, the darkness begins to roll backward. The white cat screeches a scream of unearthly sound and begins disappearing as the sound of thousands upon thousands of applauding hands fills the air. A magnificently splendiferous voice peals.

UNKNOWN VOICE

After the darkling hours comes light.

The white cat'S dying shriek fills the air as the darkness rents like a curtain and in the tear of the dark curtain is a stream of light which McGillvery and McGillicuddy, bags of gold over their shoulders, begin running toward as if it were the seat on their tinker's wagon. As they get to the edge of the light, they see a white stairway winding down into sunshine and blue sky.

EXT. IRELAND/BEYOND THE TREASURY ROOMS - DAY

McGillvery and McGillicuddy scramble toward the light.

MCGILLVERY

Go, Cuddy. Go. The tear is trying to close.

McGillvery scrambles through the narrowing slit nearly tumbling over McGillicuddy in his haste to breathe the excitingly fresh air of life, air seemingly scented with the delicate perfume of millions of flowers. Heaven's sweet melodies chorus, surge, and undulate around and into the brothers' yearning ears, trickling down to bathe aching, tired hearts with sustaining, healing waves.

MCGILLICUDDY

Oh, Gilly hold my hand and let’s walk these glorious stairs.

As McGillvery and McGillicuddy walk, faces begin appearing on each side of the stairway, then hands, and then bodies dressed in white. The hands are throwing rose petals, daisy petals, tulips, and daffodils along the stairs. The faces seem familiar. And then, one cries out.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

I couldn’t leave ‘er, Gilly.

The voice laughs. For a moment the creature’s face looks like the young peasant, father of the new, wee bairn.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

(Raspy, chortling voice)

Y’ feel plump and juicy, Gilly.

For a moment this one looks and sounds like Enna. The boys continue down the steps looking first left and then right. One creature cries like a newborn baby and transforms himself into the momentary semblance of a newborn male child and snickers mischievously.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

I don’t understand.

MCGILLICUDDY

Nor I, but I know it is good and I feel so utterly happy.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

I will not risk my warriors.

The creature falls down to the side of the steps-sword buried to the hilt in his chest. It looks for a moment like the African Chieftan. McGillicuddy sees dozens of the luminous creatures turn into the orphans and then gently laugh and blow soft kisses in his and McGillvery's direction. Another turns into the Bay of MacKenay's pub keeper and in the background the white cat pads back and forth.

MCGILLVERY

(Whispers)

They’re all here.

MCGILLICUDDY

Yes. Earl Donogough, Jeames, the Lords, the barrister. All.

MCGILLVERY

All but the Father. Where’s the Father?

McGillvery turns round and looks down the long stairway lined with all the beautiful, beautiful shining faces. The luminous ones, with one accord, turn and point both left and right arms toward the top of the stairway. There, on a throne made of the streamings of an infinite number of brilliant lights, sits the benevolent Father crowned in gold encrusted rubies.

MCGILLVERY/MCGILLICUDDY

Father! Oh, Father! What does it all mean?

FATHER

(Tenderly)

McGillvery and McGillicuddy, do you not yet understand? You prayed for a very big thing, my sons. It is difficult to take a tinker and make him into a prince.

MCGILLVERY

(Objects)

But, we did not pray to be princes.

FATHER

No, you prayed for the gold. How could one have gold without the heart of a prince? With gold comes power. With power comes the ability to do much evil or much good. The evil a poor man does affects only a few. The evil a rich man does affects whole nations of men. How could I answer your simple prayer in wisdom? How could I turn loose, in the real world, a man with tinker's abilities as yet unproved and untried with such power as the gold would buy? I could not, Gilly and Cuddy. Before you were let go with your gift you had to understand what such a gift could do and what you would do with your gift. Loving kindness on earth is that which is most valued in heaven. You have proved yourselves not lacking in that most valuable quality.

MCGILLICUDDY

You mean, this was all a dream?

FATHER

(Corrects kindly)

A theatrical stage, Cuddy. Everyone played a part with you and Gilly as the leading men.

MCGILLVERY

(Hopefully)

Then, no one really died...the orphans...the warriors...the peasants, lords and earls?

FATHER

Turn around, Gilly. Look to the left and right of you. They are all here.

MCGILLVERY

Then we can go home. We can go home not as traitors and with no burdens on our hearts!

FATHER

Yes, go. Turn and go in joy, peace, and happiness. Walk onto Ireland’s stage and sow all the goodness you can, Gilly and Cuddy.

One of the luminous beings steps forward.

ANONYMOUS VOICE FROM CROWD

Listen. Something calls you.

A sound from far below the stairs, deeply beyond the white clouds, wafts to McGillicuddy.

MCGILLICUDDY

(Joyfully)

It’s the Irish music callin’!

McGillicuddy grabs the bags and McGillvery's arm and begins running down the stairs laughing, jumping, and gamboling as a newborn four-legged creature in the warmth of noonday sun.

MCGILLICUDDY

We’re comin’! We’re comin’!

The Father smiles a gentle smile, blows a bit of watery mist after the two brothers, and speaks for them a word of blessing.

FATHER

The last rung on the Solomon’s Ladder is life and that rung I give you both freely without your asking-a full Irish life of goodness and happiness all the days you're caring to live.

The Father lowers his arm.

FATHER

Aye, Ireland, they're coming. Be ready for them with open and generous hearts.

As McGillvery and McGillicuddy step from heaven to earth, their ears fill with the crescendo of rich Irish voices singing in male chorus. Across the clouds of heavenly skies appears these words:

There is no earth’s ill, heaven cannot heal, when earth does lean heavily upon heaven’s windowsill.

FADE OUT:

Happy Irish music plays behind final credits that lay over fog and mist and green Irish valleys covered with flowers, sheep, and apple trees.

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