She hadn’t paid the stories much mind at first, especially three years ago, when she was just settling into her new role. Travelers always told tall tales, but soon enough she was paying close attention. The stories had been trickling in more and more lately. Always the same man. Always the same impossible circumstances. But there had to be something to them.
This was the third time and the third accent she’d heard about the hitchhikers, and the fifth time she’d heard about the elephant. Sometimes it was a beer bottle, not a beer can. Other than that, the details didn’t change much, but more and more stories kept trickling into Clifden.
Travelers spoke of a lanky, grubby backpacker who had rescued kids from pirates using nothing but a joke and a bottle of rum. One night over pints, Aisling had heard the one about a prime minister, new laws, and an end to corruption. Then there were the ten tellings of the same traveler crossing borders with nothing but a wink, not even a passport—or a pocket to put one in. How many people had gone through a border crossing naked and made it to the next country on the other side?
Sometimes the details were murky, but even in western Ireland, in Connemara, in wee Clifden, at the edge of the world, the tales of the traveler came.
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