Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/328

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


14 The Etiropean Sky-God.

Sea-mews, pied-black and white are there, On every forehead a bloodspeck clear.

With them a corbie, ash-grey for eld, And a young crow aye at her side beheld.

Wayworn seem the twain, with wings that dreep, As birds that flight o'er sea must keep.

So sweetly sing these birds, and clear, The great sea stills its waves to hear,

And aye their songs one burden hold,

All save the young crow's and the corbie's old.

And this is ever the crow's sore cry, " Sing, little birds, sing merrily."

"Sing, birds o' the land, in merry strain, You died not far from your own Bretayne.'"

Another anonymous Breton ballad ^ translated by Mr. Taylor dates from the sixth century. It tells the tale of The Lord Nann and the Fairy. Lord Nann gripped his oaken spear and sallied out into the wild-woods to get venison for his bride. While pursuing a snow-white hind he intruded upon the grotto of a Corrigaun, who challenged him to wed her on pain of pining away for seven years or dying within three days. True to his young wife he refused temptation, and the Corrigaun laid a spell upon him. He at once fell sick and died. His wife came suddenly upon his grave :

' She threw herself on her knees amain, And from her knees ne'er rose again.

That night they laid her, dead and cold, Beside her lord, beneath the mould ; When, lo ! — a marvel to behold ! —

Next morn from the grave two oak-trees fair. Shot lusty boughs high up in air ;

And in their boughs — oh, wondrous sight ! — Two happy doves, all snowy white —

That sang, as ever the morn did rise. And then flew up — into the skies ! '

IT. Taylor Ballads and Songs of Brittany p. 7 ff., Maclean Literature of the Celts p. 240 ff.