Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/41

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The Voice of the Stone of Destiny. 29

or Stone of Destiny, one of the two wonders of Tara cele- brated in Irish sagas. We are indebted to the Book of Lismore, a fifteenth-century manuscript, for an enumeration of the wonderful properties of the Lta Fail. The Colloquy with the Ancients, which is comprised in this precious manuscript, records a number of Irish traditions, some of which would else in all probability have perished beyond recovery. There we learn — the account is put into the mouth of no less a personage than Ossian himself — that " Any one of all Ireland on whom an ex parte imputation rested was set upon that stone : then if the truth were in him he would turn pink and white ; but if otherwise, it was a black spot that in some conspicuous place would appear on him. Farther, when Ireland's monarch stepped on to it the stone would cry out under him, and her three arch- waves would boom in answer : as the wave of Cleena, the wave of Ballintoy, and the wave of Loch Rury ; when a provincial king went on to it the flag w^ould rumble under him ; when a barren woman trod on it, it was a dew of dusky blood that broke out on it ; when one that would bear children tried it, it w^as a ' nursing drop ' " — that is, says Mr. Standish O'Grady, from whose translation I quote, semblance of milk — " that it sweated." ^ The Colloquy is imperfect, the legible portion of the manuscript ceasing a line or two further on, just as we are about to be told how it was that the stone left Ireland.- Its subsequent adventures are related by Keating, who says that it was sent to Feargus the Great, " to sit upon, for the purpose of being proclaimed king of Scotland." However, it is not to the adventures of the stone, but to its properties that I wish now to direct attention. With regard to the former, all that I need add is that the legend has been subjected by

' Standish H. O'Grady, Silva Gadelica (two vols., London, 1892), vol. ii., p. 264.

^ There are other manuscripts of the Colloquy, but none of them contain the sequel of the adventures of the Lia Fhil. See the preface to Stoke's Edition, Irische Textc, 4th ser. (Leipzig, 1900).