152 The Europea7i Sky-God.
thread, a purple mantle, and shoes of white bronze. This magnificent personage bore on his shoulder a branch of shining silver with nine^ apples of red gold upon it. The branch, when shaken, made such entrancing music, that all who heard it, whatever their troubles, instantly- fell asleep. To get the branch Cormac parted in succession with his daughter, his son, and his wife. Chagrined at their loss, he went in pursuit of them with all his host. But in the middle of the Plain of the Wall a thick mist came on, and, when it cleared off, Cormac found himself alone in a wide country. Before him was a diin with a wall of bronze and a house of silver half-thatched with white birds'-wings. A great troop of riders was engaged in thatching it ; but, before they could complete their task, a wind would sweep the feathers from the roof Next he saw a man kindling a fire and casting upon it one thick oak-tree after another ; but, as often as he brought up a tree, he found the tree before it already burnt out. After this, Cormac came to a very large dun, in which stood a king's palace. It had beams of bronze and walls of silver, and was thatched with the wings of white birds. On the green was a shining well from which flowed five streams. Over the well grew the nine purple hazels of Buan. They dropped their nuts into the water ; and the nuts were caught by five salmon, which sent the husks floating down the streams. In the palace Cormac was entertained by a comely man and woman who proved to be Manannan and his queen. Manannan gave him a golden cup, which could distinguish between truth and falsehood.^ He also suffered him to retain the magic branch, and restored to him intact his wife, son, and daughter. Only he
^So O'Grady (p. 213), D'Arbois (p. 327) and Lady Gregory (p. 115): Whitley Stokes (p. 212) has 'three.'
^ Cp. a crystal vessel possessed of the same power, which was brought from a fairy mound to King Badurn by his wife (Whitley Stokes ib. p. 209).