Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/447

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The European Sky -God. 431

could make nothing of it either individually or as a body. One by one they failed to lift it from the ground. Finn (Fionn) himself then went out, and took in the bag, suspended from his little finger. This at once put him in the forefront, and even made him master of the whole band.'

The interest of this tradition is that it combines a confused remembrance of the burning dun test with a confused remembrance of the Otherworld apple-branch. The bag of apples brought into the palace ' on the point of a twig ' is the homely counterpart of Bran's silver apple- branch, Cormac's silver branch with nine golden apples, Mael-Duin's branch with three apples on its tip, and proves that Finn too claimed to be king of the solar tree.^ As Virgil's golden bough would follow none but the appointed hero,^ so none but Finn, the destined king, could bring in the apples on the twig.

On this showing Finn was the human representative of Manannan — a conclusion which squares well with sundry other features of his legend. For Mongan, son of Manannan, was also said to have been a re-birth of Finn.^ And Finn, 'the invulnerable Green,' would fittingly embody Manannan, who appeared to Fiachna Finn as a warrior wearing 'a green cloak of one colour.'* Appro- priately enough, too, Finn obtained possession of Man- annan's treasure-bag containing, among other things, Manannan's shirt and knife.^

Again, Finn, like Cormac and Tadg,^ had a magic cup of clay called the Cup of Virtues : by drinking from it the Fianna were always victorious. It was once stolen from Finn by Muileartach, Manus' foster-mother, who used a tree for a stick ; but Finn recovered it, and along with it a certain apple, to retain which the hag fought long and furiously.^

'^Folk-lore xvii. 156 ff. -Verg. Aen. 6. 146 ff.

2 A. Nutt The Voyage of Bran i. 42 ff., 136 ff., ii. i ff. ^ Id. ib. i. 72.

^Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 161 f.

  • ^ Folk-lore y.Vn. 152 f., 155, 169.

Rev. J. G. Campbell The Fians p. 131 ff.