Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/178

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1 66 The European Sky-God.

are said to have appeared on the surrounding trees in great numbers.^ So too Cuchulain, i.e. Lug re-incarnate, was compared to a raven ^; and his coming was announced by a couple of ravens.^ As king of the Otherworld Lug occupied the same position as Tethra.'* It is, therefore, noteworthy that the wife of Tethra was identified with the raven. ^ She was perhaps originally one with the Morrigu or Great Queen, who announced herself to Cuchulain as the daughter of King Buan^ but suddenly transformed herself into a crow sitting on a branch.^ The Morrigu again can hardly be separated from Badb ^ the ominous death-goddess, who bore a name meaning ' Crow' ^ and appeared to warriors in the guise of a crow or a raven.^*^ Kings and queens, who played the part of such deities on earth, were similarly related to ravens or other birds. Bran, for instance, seems to have drawn his name from the crow or raven (Welsh brdii)}^ And examples of kings transformed at death into crows or ravens will be cited later.^^ In the story of Cuchulain's birth, Dechtire, his mother, was with her maidens changed by Lug into birds, who appeared in couples linked together by chains of silver or

^ Plut. de fluviis 6.4. - D'Arbois V^popee celtique p. 127.

^ Lady Gregory Cuchulain of Muirthenme p. 288, D'Arbois Lipopie celtique p. 203 f.

^ Supra p. 147. 5 D'Arbois Cycle mythologique p. 196.

^ Supra p. 152. Lady Gregory Cuchulain of Muirthenme p. 21 1 f.

^ Squire Mythology of the British Islands p. 52 f.

^ D'Arbois V^popie celtique p. 447 n. I.

^"D'Arbois Les druides et les dieux celtiques a forme d'animaux Paris 1906 pp. 151, 167 (quoting Hennessy in the Revue celtique i. 34 ff.).

^^ Rhys Arthurian Legend p. 256.

^2 Vide my next article. The famous swineherds Friuch and Rucht, who served Bodb king of the sid of Munster and Ochall Oichni king of the sid of Connaught, took the shape of ravens for two years. They were not indeed kings ; but their fortunes were intimately bound up with those of Irish royalty (A. Nutt Voyage of Bran ii. 58 ff.).