Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/42

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32 The European Sky -God.

he was ipso facto subterranean in character. It should be noted in this connexion that Nuada, when slain by Balar, was buried in a tumulus called Grianan Aileach or the ' Sun-bower ^ of Aileach/ which is still to be seen on the base of the Inishowen Peninsula between Lough Swilly and Lough Foyle.- Tradition has it 'that a thousand armed men sit resting there on their swords, and bound by magic sleep till they are to be called forth to take their part in the struggle for the restoration of Erin's freedom. At intervals they awake, it is said, and looking up from their trance they ask in tones which solemnly resound through the many chambers of the Grianan : " Is the time come ? " A loud voice, that of the spiritual caretaker, is heard to reply : " The time is not yet." They resume their former posture and sink into their sleep again.' ^

I have already shown that in early days Greek kings were treated as embodiments of Zeus,* Latin kings as embodiments of Jupiter.^ By parity of reasoning we might expect to find that Irish kings were regarded as embodiments of Nuada. And this seems actually to have been the case. Observe, in the first place, that Nuada is described not merely as king of the Tuatha De Danann, but also as king of Ireland. As such he reigned at Tara for twenty years,*^ being reputed the son of Echtach mac Edarlamh.^ Even more circum- stantial is what the Coir Anmami or treatise on 'Fitness of Names' says of Irel Faith : ' He was a prophet (faith),

^ Rhys Hibbert Lectures p. 145.

^Squire Mythology of the British Islands pp. 122, 157.

^Rh5^s Celtic Folklore: Welsh and Manx ii. 481 f.

^Folk-lore xv. 299 ff. ^^ lb. xvi. 285 ff.

^D'Arbois Vipopie celtique p. 418 ff., Cycle mythologique p. 172 ff.

^S. H. O'Grady Silva Gadelica London 1892 ii. 476, 522, from the Book of Ballymote. G. Keating The History of Ireland I. 12 (trans, by D. Comyn in Irish Texts Society London 1902 iv. 221) carries his genealogy back for eleven generations.