I once had, and may still have in a lockup in New Zealand, a small leather bound book of Irish folk stories in both Gaeilge and English. It was published in the nineteenth century so the English translations of the stories were almost as obscure to me as the Irish. I suspect they had been literally translated, but not interpreted. In any case, understanding the stories in their context was difficult. The purpose, or moral of the tales, if there was one, was not particularly obvious. The expected beginning, middle and end were not always there.
The only story from the book I can now call to mind was entitled Conaill Without the Power of Standing Up or Sitting Down.The thrust of the plot was that Conaill, once as strong and brave as a wolf, was unable to serve his guests meat and drink because he had lost the power to stand up and sit down. This was clearly a breach of protocol or at least a matter of concern, or why was it recorded? The story did not go into the cause or consequence of Conaill’s difficulties. I suspect it was a fragment from some longer story.
Though I don’t understand the significance of the folklore to the Irish folk of the time, I think I understand the cause of Conaill’s problem. I have only to listen to the creaking and grinding sounds from my own knees whenever I try to stand, or lower myself onto a seat. The poor bugger had a really bad case of osteoarthritis. Worse than mine. It is a small comfort, that.
These are the sort of things that come to mind when visiting the dunny and one wishes the seat was higher.