Elementary Novels

Mr Sing My Heart’s Delight by Brian Friel

There are remote places in Ireland and few people know about them. Salty waves, cold air and picturesque nature. Random people do not come there. In one of these regions, a guy tells his grandmother a story about his life. He is a poor salesman who has to travel a lot to do for a living. But even in such work there are sometimes kind and pleasant people. At the beginning of the year, he travels about fifty miles: by a van, by a train, and just on foot. He walked to his grandmother’s house, which was built on the top of a large rock at the very end of the village. The guy spent the whole winter there, helping his grandmother. But he was glad – it was always nice to miss school and stay in such a beautiful place. Strict parents, brothers and sisters – everybody stayed at home.

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Mr Sing My Heart’s Delight by Brian Friel

On the west coast of Ireland, there are wild, lonely places, where few visitors come. A boy on his yearly visit to his grandmother tells a tale of the simple life, when a travelling salesman from a faraway land finds a kindness he did not expect…

Mr Sing My Heart's Delight by Brian Friel

On the first day of every new year, I made the forty-five-mile journey by train, post van, and foot across County Donegal to my grandmother’s house. It sat at the top of a cliff above the wild and stormy Atlantic, at the very end of a village called Mullaghduff. This yearly visit, lasting from January until the end of March, was made mostly for Granny’s benefit; during these months, Grandfather went across the water to Scotland to earn enough money to keep them going for the rest of the year. But it suited me very well too: I missed school for three months, I got away from strict parents and annoying brothers and sisters, and in Granny’s house, everything I did was right.


The house consisted of one room, in which Granny and Grandfather lived and slept. It was a large room lit by a small window and a door which could be left open for most of the day, because it faced east and the winds usually blew from the west. There were three chairs, a table, a bed in the corner, and an open fire, over which stretched a long shelf. All the interesting things in the house were on this shelf – a shining silver clock, two vases, a coloured photograph of a racehorse, two lifelike wooden dogs, and three seashells sitting on matchboxes covered with red paper. Every year I went to Granny’s, these pieces were handed down to me, one by one, to be inspected, and my pleasure in them made them even more precious to Granny…

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