He could hear the tolling. He said over to himself the song that Brigid had taught him.
Dingdong! The castle bell!
Farewell, my mother!
Bury me in the old churchyard
Beside my eldest brother.
My coffin shall be black,
Six angels at my back,
Two to sing and two to pray
And two to carry my soul away.
How beautiful and sad that was! How beautiful the words were where they said BURY ME IN THE OLD CHURCHYARD! A tremor passed over his body. How sad and how beautiful! He wanted to cry quietly but not for himself: for the words, so beautiful and sad, like music. The bell! The bell! Farewell! O farewell!
The cold sunlight was weaker and Brother Michael was standing at his bedside with a bowl of beef-tea. He was glad for his mouth was hot and dry. He could hear them playing in the playgrounds. And the day was going on in the college just as if he were there.
Then Brother Michael was going away and the fellow out of the third of grammar told him to be sure and come back and tell him all the news in the paper. He told Stephen that his name was Athy and that his father kept a lot of racehorses that were spiffing jumpers and that his father would give a good tip to Brother Michael any time he wanted it because Brother Michael was very decent and always told him the news out of the paper they got every day up in the castle. There was every kind of news in the paper: accidents, shipwrecks, sports, and politics.
—Now it is all about politics in the papers, he said. Do your people talk about that too?
—Yes, Stephen said.
—Mine too, he said.
Then he thought for a moment and said:
—You have a queer name, Dedalus, and I have a queer name too, Athy. My name is the name of a town. Your name is like Latin.
Then he asked:
—Are you good at riddles?
—Not very good.
Then he said:
—Can you answer me this one? Why is the county of Kildare like the leg of a fellow’s breeches?
Stephen thought what could be the answer and then said:
—I give it up.
—Because there is a thigh in it, he said. Do you see the joke? Athy is the town in the county Kildare and a thigh is the other thigh.
—Oh, I see, Stephen said.
—That’s an old riddle, he said.
After a moment he said:
—What? asked Stephen.
—You know, he said, you can ask that riddle another way.
—Can you? said Stephen.
—The same riddle, he said. Do you know the other way to ask it?
—No, said Stephen.
—Can you not think of the other way? he said.
He looked at Stephen over the bedclothes as he spoke. Then he lay back on the pillow and said:
—There is another way but I won’t tell you what it is.
Why did he not tell it? His father, who kept the racehorses, must be a magistrate too like Saurin’s father and Nasty Roche’s father. He thought of his own father, of how he sang songs while his mother played and of how he always gave him a shilling when he asked for sixpence and he felt sorry for him that he was not a magistrate like the other boys’ fathers. Then why was he sent to that place with them? But his father had told him that he would be no stranger there because his granduncle had presented an address to the liberator there fifty years before. You could know the people of that time by their old dress. It seemed to him a solemn time: and he wondered if that was the time when the fellows in Clongowes wore blue coats with brass buttons and yellow waistcoats and caps of rabbitskin and drank beer like grown-up people and kept greyhounds of their own to course the hares with.