Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/166

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154 ^^^ European Sky -God.

on which stood three dims. A woman outside the first welcomed Tadg-, and told him that it was the dmi of the kings of Ireland from Heremon to Conn the Hundred- fighter. She also informed him that the country was called Inislocha, the Lake Island, and was ruled by two kings, Rudrach and Dergcroche, sons of Bodb. Outside the second dun stood a fair queen in a golden robe, Cesair, daughter of Noah's son Bethra, the first woman that ever reached Ireland. She in turn welcomed Tadg, and said that in her dun dwelt kings and chiefs such as Parthalon and Nemed, Firbolgs and Tuatha De Danann. She gave the name of the country as Red Loch Island. On the top of the third dun Tadg met a pair of lovers, young and comely, dressed in green and gold. They again welcomed him, and explained that they were Connla, son of Conn, and Veniusa, daughter of Adam, who had brought her lover from Ireland. Both of them were now ageless and painless ; for they fed upon a golden apple, which Connla held in his hand. Ever and anon he would bite a third part of it ; but it always regained its full size. Tadg asked after the dun on this third hill, and was told that it was for future kings of Ireland. It had walls of white bronze set with crystal and carbuncles, which shone by night as well as by day. On looking out from the house ladg saw to one side of him a great sheltering apple-tree with blossoms and ripe fruit upon it. 'What is that apple-tree beyond?' said Tadg. ' The fruit of that tree,' said Veniusa, ' is food for the host in this house. And it was an apple of that tree which brought Connla here to me : a good tree it is with its white-blossomed branches and its golden apples that would satisfy the whole house.' A troop of beautiful women next approached, led by Cliodna of the Fair Hair, who once more bade him welcome and said that they too fed on apples from that tree. But Tadg, eager to find his own people, would not stay.