Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/159

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The European Sky -God. 147

departed, but ere she went flung an apple to Connla. For a whole month Connla lived on that apple, caring for no other meat or drink. Then the woman appeared once more to him, when he was with his father in Magh Archomnim, and repeated her invitation :

' The Ever-living Ones are calling for thee. Thou art the hero of the men of Tethra.'

Conn sent again for Coran. But Connla, save for the grief that he felt at parting with those he loved, was willing enough to go with the woman. She bade him step on board her boat of glass, and promised that all his sorrows should disappear in the divine city of the conqueror. Though the sun was setting, they would be there before night fell, in the land of joy, where none dwelt but women and girls. Hereupon Connla with one bound sprang on board the boat of glass and put out to sea. Conn and his companions watched from the shore, till the boat bearing his son and the woman became a speck in the distance and vanished to return no more.

The tale of Oisin,^ written down in the eighteenth century by the folk-singer Michael Comyn, is perhaps a thousand years later than the tales of Bran and Connla; yet it preserves essentially the same conceptions. Oisin, son of Finn, was one misty morning hunting with his father near Loch Lein, when a beautiful young queen riding a fleet white horse approached them. She wore a royal crown ; her steed, a silver wreath. She gave her name as Niamh of the Golden Head, and said that her father was king over the Country of the Young.

^ A text and translation of this tale were published by Bryan O'Looney in the Transactions of the Ossianic Society for i8^b Dublin 1859 iv. 227 ff. Another English rendering is given by Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 431 ff. See also D'Arbois Cycle mythologiqiie p. 362 f., Nutt Voyage of Bran p. 149 ff.