Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/156

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144 ^-^^ European Sky -God.

To begin with, there is a group of four tales, two of them very ancient and two more recent, dealing with the adventures of Bran and Connla, Oisin and Cuchulain.

First and foremost The Voyage of Bran} Once upon a time Bran, son of Febal, was out near his dun, when he heard behind him music so sweet that he fell asleep. On awaking he found at his side a silver branch covered with white blossoms. He took it in his hand to his royal house; and there in the presence of his hosts a woman in strange raiment appeared and sang as follows —

' A branch of the apple-tree from Emain I bring, like those one knows; Twigs of white silver are on it, Crystal brows with blossoms.

There is a distant isle,

Around which sea-horses glisten:

A fair course against the white-swelling surge, —

Four feet uphold it.

A delight of the eyes, a glorious range,

Is the plain on which the hosts hold games:

Coracle contends against chariot

In southern Mag Findargat [White-Silver Plain].

An ancient tree {bile) there is with blossoms, On which birds call to the Hours. 'Tis in harmony it is their wont To call together every Hour.

At sunrise there will come

A fair man illumining level lands;

■•An edition with text, translation, and notes by Kuno Meyer is included in Mr. Nutt's work i. i-ioo. See also H. D'Arbois de Jubainville Le cycle mythologique irlandais et la mythologie celtique Paris 1884 p. 322 ff.. Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. no ff. The existing text of The Voyage of Bran appears to be at least as old as the ninth century A.D. (Nutt op. cit. pp. 135, 141).