Excerpt from The Aran Islands by JM Synge
As I was looking round I saw a light in some trees two perches off, and thinking any sort of a house would be better than where I was, I got over a wall and went up to the house to look in at the window.
I saw a dead man laid on a table, and candles lighted, and a woman watching him. I was frightened when I saw him, but it was raining hard, and I said to myself, if he was dead he couldn't hurt me. Then I knocked on the door and the woman came and opened it.
'Good evening, ma'am,' says I.
'Good evening kindly, stranger,' says she, 'Come in out of the rain.' Then she took me in and told me her husband was after dying on her, and she was watching him that night.
'But it's thirsty you'll be, stranger,' says she, 'Come into the parlour.' Then she took me into the parlour—and it was a fine clean house—and she put a cup, with a saucer under it, on the table before me with fine sugar and bread.
When I'd had a cup of tea I went back into the kitchen where the dead man was lying, and she gave me a fine new pipe off the table with a drop of spirits.
'Stranger,' says she, 'would you be afeard to be alone with himself?'
'Not a bit in the world, ma'am,' says I; 'he that's dead can do no hurt,' Then she said she wanted to go over and tell the neighbours the way her husband was after dying on her, and she went out and locked the door behind her.
I smoked one pipe, and I leaned out and took another off the table. I was smoking it with my hand on the back of my chair—the way you are yourself this minute, God bless you—and I looking on the dead man, when he opened his eyes as wide as myself and looked at me.
'Don't be afraid, stranger,' said the dead man; 'I'm not dead at all in the world. Come here and help me up and I'll tell you all about it.'
Well, I went up and took the sheet off of him, and I saw that he had a fine clean shirt on his body, and fine flannel drawers.
He sat up then, and says he—
'I've got a bad wife, stranger, and I let on to be dead the way I'd catch her goings on.'
Then he got two fine sticks he had to keep down his wife, and he put them at each side of his body, and he laid himself out again as if he was dead.
In half an hour his wife came back and a young man along with her. Well, she gave him his tea, and she told him he was tired, and he would do right to go and lie down in the bedroom.
The young man went in and the woman sat down to watch by the dead man. A while after she got up and 'Stranger,' says she, 'I'm going in to get the candle out of the room; I'm thinking the young man will be asleep by this time.' She went into the bedroom, but the divil a bit of her came back.
Then the dead man got up, and he took one stick, and he gave the other to myself. We went in and saw them lying together with her head on his arm.
The dead man hit him a blow with the stick so that the blood out of him leapt up and hit the gallery.
That is my story.
Excerpt taken from here