Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/39

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The European Sky -God. 29

safety's sake, and so restored the ruler of Olympus to strength and victory once more.^ In much the same way Nuada at the first battle of Mag-Tured engaged in single fight with a Fir Bolg champion called Sreng, the ' Strong,' who shore oft" his right fore-arm and half his shield. Since, according to Irish notions, the king must not be in any way halt or maimed,^ Nuada had perforce to retire from his kingship, which passed to Bres a chief of the Fomore. But Bres in the course of the next seven years proved himself so churlish and illiberal that Cairpre, son of Ogma, satirised his lack of hospitality. This satire caused great red blotches to break out over the face of Bres, who thus in his turn received a blemish that unfitted him for the post of king. Meantime the injured Nuada had got made for himself by Dian-Cecht, the leech of the gods, and by Creidne, their worker in bronze, an artificially jointed hand of silver. The metallic hand caused his wrist to fester — a mischief cured by Miach, son of Dian-Cecht, who dug up Nuada's original hand and united it to the stump by means of the incantation : ' Sinew to sinew and nerve to nerve be joined ! ' Thus renovated Nuada resumed his throne, being known thenceforward as Nuada Argat-lam or Nuada 'of the Silver Hand.'^ As such he reigned another twenty years till the second battle of Mag- Tured, at which he was killed by Balar Balcbeimnech,

  • of the Mighty Blows,' with a flash of his evil eye.

^ Apollodor. I. 6. 3, cp. Nonn. Dionys. i. 362 ff.

"^Senchtis MSr i. 73 cited by Rhys Celtic Britain London 1884 p. 63, n. I. E. O'Curry Lectu7-es on the Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History Dublin 186 1 p. 48, On the Mantters and Customs of the Ancient Irish Dublin 1873 iii. 197 f., tells how Cormac mac Airt had to quit the office of king on losing bis eye. Cp. P. W. Joyce A Social History of Ancient Ireland London 1903 i. 43, 311. For Greek and Italian parallels see Folk-lore xv. 374 ff., xvi. 328.

^The episode of Miach and the hand of flesh is apparently later than that of Dian-Cecht and the hand of silver : see D'Arbois Cycle mythologique p. 394 f.