Last week in Clontarf Lois Fennell told us the following story. Lois had heard the story many times, and the woman’s name in the story had been lost to the years, but a couple of former residents agreed it was Mrs. Fleming. I will say it was Mrs. Fleming, but who knows for certain?
Mrs. Fleming brought a crock of butter to McDermott’s store. She didn’t intend to sell it, only make an exchange. The night before she had forgotten to cover the butter and a mouse tracked across the surface.
Mrs. Fleming explained to Mr. McDermott that the butter was perfectly fine, but she couldn’t bear to use it, knowing what had scurried over it the night before. She suggested Mr. McDermott smooth out the butter, put a piece of wax paper over it, give her a new crock of butter, and save her butter for the next customer. “After all,” Mrs. Fleming said, “what they don’t know, won’t hurt them a bit.”
Mr. McDermott nodded and brought the mousy butter back. He smoothed it out with a new piece of wax paper. He returned to the front with butter for Mrs. Fleming. She went on her way, relieved to have untainted butter.
When Mr. McDermott recounted the story, he smiled and said, “Well, what she doesn’t know…”