Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/162

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150 The European Sky -God.

From the hall steps a lady

Well gifted, and fair : None is like her in Erin ;

Like gold is her hair.

And so sweet, and so wondrous

Her words from her fall, That with love and with longing

She breaks hearts of all.'

Cuchulain went, and slew Labraid's foes, and stayed with Fand for a month. At the end of that time he agreed to meet her by Ibar Cinn Tracta, the yew at the head of Baile's strand. But Emer, Cuchulain's wife, heard of it and came to the same trysting-tree. Cuchulain did not know with which to side, the fairy queen or the mortal ; and the situation was saved by the sudden appearance of Manannan, who reclaimed Fand as his own and left Emer to Cuchulain.^

Now there is obviously much food for reflection in these old Celtic tales of the Otherworld. But the

^ A partial parallel to The Sick-bed of Cuchulain is the tale of Laegaire 7nac Crimthainn (S. H. O'Grady Silva Gadelica ii. 290 f., D'Arbois Cycle mythologique, p. 356 ff., A. Nutt Voyage of Bran i. 180 ff., Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 136 ff.). Laegaire Liban, son of Crimthan Cass, the king of Connaught, was out one day with his father near Loch na-n Ean, the Lake of Birds, when a splendid warrior was seen approaching through the mist. It was Fiachna, son of Betach, who asked for help against Goll, son of Dalbh, king of a people of Magh Mell. Laegaire with fifty of his followers agreed to help him, and plunged with him into the Lake. Here they slew Goll and rescued Fiachna's wife, whom he had carried off. Fiachna in token of his gratitude bestowed his own daughter Deorgreine, a Tear of the Sun, on Laegaire, and fifty other women on Laegaire's followers. At the end of a year Laegaire and his men returned home on horseback, but were straightly charged not to dismount. Accordingly, they could but bid their assembled friends farewell and go back again to Lakeland. Unfortunately neither Fiachna nor Laegaire gave a detailed account of Magh Mell. What struck Laegaire most was a rain of ale, and the delight of drinking from gleaming goblets to the sound of melodious music. He brought back thirty caldrons and thirty drinking-horns in proof of his assertions ; and then returned to share the kingdom of Magh Mell with Fiachna, his father-in-law.