Here's a thought for the day of my husbands that I tought the list might
>From "A Guide to Early Irish Law" by Fergus Kelly
In the chapter titled _Contracts, Pledges, and Sureties._
A pledge may be given even before any offense has taken place. For
neighboring farmers exchange fore-pledges to cover potential injury,
especially trespass by cattle and other domestic animals. The
regarding fore-pledges for bees are of particular interest as they show
that -- even though the basic principles of early Irish law are fairly
constant -- the authors of different law-texts can approach the same
in quite different ways. According to Bechbretha (bee-law), a
is given by a bee-keeper to his four nearest neighbors when he starts
bee-keeping. This fore-pledge guarantees three years of immunity from
for his bees. In the fourth and fifth years, the neighbors each receive
turn a swarm from the bee-keeper. This means that they themselves become
bee-keepers, so the trespasses of their bees (i.e. collecting nectar and
forth) cancel out any committed by the bees of the original bee-keeper.
The fore-pledges are then returned to him.
Another law text takes a contrary view. The author states that a
fore-pledge should *not* be given on behalf of bees, because they are
flying creatures which cannot be kept in by a fence. Instead he holds
a penalty should be paid by the bee-keeper for the trespasses of his
Yet another approach to the problem is found in a text on distraint.
the fore-pledge is identified with the payment of honey or swarms which
bee-keeper gives to his neighbours. If this fore-pledge is not given, a
neighbour may kill any of the bees which he catches trespassing on his
**(Can't ye just see the little gallows, and a tiny wee rope around the
neck of the minute marauder? Any last words? Bzzzz....
Methinks perhaps some of our ancestors had a bit too much time on their