A First Taste of Irony

The Ring of Truth
Anna brings a library book home from school every Wednesday. She’ll be bringing her third one home today, and I’m hoping she chooses as well as she did last week.

I was a bit surprised by her choice. It wasn’t about princesses or fairies or superheroes. It wasn’t a book series she was familiar with, like Curious George or Clifford. It wasn’t by Dr. Seuss. Instead, it was a story about an Irish peddler, blarney contests, and leprechauns: very different from what she usually reads, but she liked the pictures and wanted to hear the story. (NOTE: Spoilers below)

The Ring of Truth is about a peddler named Patrick O’Kelley who is so skilled at telling tall tales that everyone speculates he got a bit of the Blarney Stone stuck in his teeth. He is so skilled at lying that he boasts he could even out-blarney the King of the Leprechauns. Well, the king doesn’t take too kindly to Patrick’s boasting, so he lures him into the Leprechaun Kingdom and tricks him into putting on the Ring of Truth. Now Patrick can only tell the truth. His business, which relies on flattery, suffers, and he can’t enter the blarney contest as he planned.

Well he ends up getting pushed up onstage at the contest anyway and tells the whole tale. Everyone bursts into laughter and the judges declare his story the biggest pile of blarney they’ve ever heard. He protests, but to no avail. No one believes him and he wins the pot of gold.

Now, being part Irish myself and having a well-developed sense of irony, I saw the plot twist coming the moment he got pushed up on stage. Anna, of course, had no idea, but when we got to the punch line she burst out laughing. She got the joke. I was so proud.

My daughter is finding more and more things funny lately and both Julia and I enjoy making her laugh, but this was the first time she laughed at something ironic. It’s a big step forward in her comprehension of literature.

And another way I can get her to laugh.

One thought on “A First Taste of Irony

  1. That is wonderful! My daughter still hasn’t gotten irony, and I can’t wait till she does. She’s so serious with her reading. She understands the lessons, but not really the humor if it isn’t silly.


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