Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/330

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2, 1 6 The Europeaft Sky -God.

the Wife of MeargacJi} Ailne is thus forewarned of the death of her husband and two sons :

' I knew, by the eagle's visit Each evening over the Dun, That ere long I would hear Evil tidings from my Three !

I knew, when the huge tree {bile) withered, Both branch and leaves before the Dun, That victorious you would never return From the wiles of Fionn Mac Cumhaill ! '

Similarly, in the tale of Arthur and Gorlagon^- the Welsh king has in his garden a young tree {virga), which sprang up when he was born, has grown with his growth, and exactly matches him in height. He keeps it most jealously guarded, because a blow from the slender end of it will turn him into a werwolf. In Scotland too the life of the king or local magnate was bound up with that of a tree, especially an oak-tree. This sympathetic relationship comes out in a folk-tale from Argyll.^ There was once a big man called the Strong Man of the Wood. One day he cut a large oak, which fell on him and gave him his death- hurt. But, before he died, he bade his wife plant an acorn of the tree in the midden-stead by his door. When the acorn appeared above ground, a son should be born of her.* She was to nourish him with the sap of her

^Transactions of the Ossianic Society for 1856 Dublin 1859 iv. 173. ^A. C. L. Brown in Studies and A'otes in Philology and Literature Boston 1903 viii. 153, 171.

^J. Macdougall Folk and Hero Tales f7-o?Ji Argyllshire London 1891 p. 187 ff. Somewhat similar is the Irish tale of the giant cow-herd, who pulls up an oak-tree by the roots, does the bidding of Finn in a series of desperate adventures suggested by Finn's men, who are afraid of him, and at last proves to be no cow-herd but the son of the king of Alba (J. Curtin Myths and Folk-lore of Ireland London 1890 p. 292 fif. ). For other parallels see Grimm's Household Tales trans. M. Hunt London 1901 ii. 16 ff., 383 ff.

  • Cp. the oak of Mughna, which was ' hidden ' till the birth of King

Conn (Folk-lo7-e xvii. 60, 68).