Page:A book of the west; being an introduction to Devon and Cornwall.djvu/29

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7
THE SLAVE OF THE HAFT

force of arms, entered into terms with them, for Gildas speaks of the Romans as making confederates of Irish. Doubtless Stilicho surrendered to them their hold over and the tribute from the western part of Britain. And now I must tell a funny story connected with the introduction of lap-dogs into Ireland. It comes to us on the authority of Cormac, king-bishop of Cashel, who died in 903, and who wrote a glossary of old Irish words becoming obsolete even in his day.

"The slave of the Haft," says he, "was the name of the first lap-dog that was known in Erin. Cairbre Muse was the man who first brought it there out of Britain. At that time the power of the Gadhaels (Scots or Irish) was great over the Britons; they had divided Albion among them into farms, and each of them had a neighbour and friend among the people." Then he goes on to say how that they established fortresses through the land, and founded one at Glastonbury. "One of those divisions of land is Dun Map Lethan, in the country of the Britons of Cornwall." This lasted to A.D. 380.

Now Cairbre was wont to pass to and fro between Britain and Ireland.

At this time lap-dogs were great rarities, and were highly prized. None had hitherto reached Ireland. And Cairbre was desirous of introducing one there when he went to visit his friends. But the possessors of lap-dogs would on no account part with their treasures.

Now it happened that Cairbre had a valuable knife, with the handle gold-inlaid. One night he