Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/165

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


The European Sky -God. 153

warned him that on the day of his death the cup and branch would be taken from him. Next morning, when Cormac awoke, he and his were together on the meads at Tara, and by his side the cup and branch. It should be added that the annals of Tighernach, who died in 1088 A.D.,^ record at the year 248 A.D. the 'disappearance of Cormac, grandson of Conn, for seven months,' and that the same expression is used to describe the carrjdng off of Etain by the god Midir.^

The Adventures of Tadg^ have much in common with the Adventures of Cormac. Tadg was the son of Cian son of OilioU Oluim, King of Munster, who died in 234 B.C.,* and could therefore trace his descent back to Eber, one of the two surviving leaders of the Milesian expedition.^ This Tadg once set sail on the high seas looking for his wife and brothers, who had been captured by foreigners from Fresen. At the end of twenty days he reached an island full of monstrous sheep, and after that two more islands occupied by marvellous birds. Six weeks later, when Tadg and his men had weathered a fearful storm, they saw before them a pleasant land. Disembarking they passed through a wood and came to an apple-garden having red apples in it and leafy oak-trees and hazels yellow with nuts.*^ In another wood were birds with white bodies, purple heads and golden beaks, eating round purple berries and making magical music. Further on the wanderers reached a flowery plain,

^O'Curry Manuscript Materials pp. 57 f., 517.

^D'Arbois Cycle mythologique p. 326 f.

^Text and translation by S. H. O'Grady Silva Gadelica i. 342 ff., ii. 385 ff. ; translation also by Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 126 ff. See too A. Nutt Voyage of Bran i. 201 ff., who concludes that the tale shows didactic and Christian treaUuent of an ancient episode.

  • O'Curry Manuscript Materials p. 208 f. ^ Id. ib. p. 207.

^ The combination of apples, oaks, and nuts, which meets us also in the story of Cormac {supra p. 152), recalls the sacred tree of Mugna that bore apples, nuts, and acorns in succession {Folk-lore xvii. 61).