The European Sky-God. 155
While CHodna was speaking with him, three bright- coloured birds settled on the great apple-tree : each of them ate an apple and sang such music as would put sick men into their sleep. Cliodna promised that these birds should escort Tadg home to Ireland. She also gave him a beautiful green cup of such virtue that water poured into it turned to wine. He was, however, always to keep it by him ; for, whenever it escaped from him, death would be near at hand. Tadg's companions thought that they had been only a day in the island ; but Cliodna told them that they had in reality been there a whole year. They would fain have stayed longer; but Tadg was still minded to seek for his own people. So they all set sail together and, looking back, found the island already hidden by a druid mist. They were down-hearted for a while, till the birds began to sing and guided them, wrapped in a deep sleep, to Fresen. Here Tadg recovered his people, rested awhile, and then returned in safety to Ireland.
The tales of Cormac and Tadg differ from those of Bran, Comila, Oisin, etc., not only inasmuch as the hero is not actually married to the Elysian queen, but also because he receives a magic cup tenable for life, and returns home in safety. On the other hand, there are important points of agreement between the two groups of tales. Tadg, like Bran, sees a great apple-tree grow- ing beside the Elysian palace. And Cormac, like Bran, is presented with a silver apple-branch.
Somewhere between the two groups may be placed TJie Voyage of Mael-Diiin} in which we get at once the marriage and the safe return. The fairy isle has indeed
^ Text and translation by Whitley Stokes in the Revtie celtiqiie ix. 446 ff. , X. 50 ff. French translation by F. Lot in D'Arbois L'ipopie celtique p. 449 ff. English versions by O'Looney in P. W. Joyce Old Celtic Hotnatices London 1894 p. 112 ff. and by A. Nutt in J. Jacobs The Book of Wonder Voyages London 1896 p. 87 ff.