Parson Marcus Burns was a blessing to the Villagers of Ballycarry in 18th century Northern Ireland. When he came to visit, if their floor squeaked it stop squeaking, if their roof leaked, it stopped leaking. Babies stopped crying, dog stopped barking, colors were brighter and the air throughout their home took on a clean and wholesome fragrance. The Parson’s visits brought peace and tranquility to the family along with a sense of security that there would always be plenty of everything they needed.
Some thought the Parson was accident prone because he was known to suffer numerous bruises, scratches, and minor lacerations from odd accidents. Actually, Satan hated him, he cursed him and placed obstacles in front of him to trip him up everywhere he could. He would cause otherwise friendly puppies to bite him and kittens to scratch him. At inconvenient times, bees and unprovoked wasp would sting him. Parson Burns was undaunted by Satan’s efforts. He kept his faith and cheerfully continued his visits with the villagers.
One day while visiting a newlywed couple the bridegroom mentioned that he was concerned that their well was going dry. While leaning over to look into the well, Parson Burns slipped falling headfirst into the well. The young parishioner, trying to save him grabbed the Parson by one leg. Unfortunately, he kept slipping and slipping until he was holding him only by his shoe. Finally the Parson’s foot slipped out of his shoe and he continued to fall into the well which, since being bless, was filled with water. All efforts to save Parson Burns from drowning failed.
The newlywed parishioners kept the Parson’s shoe, placing it in a position of prominence in their home. Throughout their lifetime their home was abundantly blessed with plenty of everything they needed.
Since that time the Villagers of Ballycarry have given a single Parson’s shoe to newlywed couples to remind them of the Parson’s blessing, encourage them to keep the faith and to symbolize their wish that everyone in their home would always have plenty of everything they need. –The Towne Crier, 1796