Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/450

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434 ^^^^ Eurot)ean Sky -God.

to leap over the dark terrific chasm, after having neglected to do so till after the expiration of a 3/ear and a day. There is a deep glen called Gleanu Dealgain the (Glen of the river Dealgan), in the county of Waterford, about three miles distant from the town of Dungarvan, on the Waterford road, where it is traditionally related that Fionn Mac Chumhaill made an extraordinary leap on every May- day morning. The stupendous depth of the place is fearful to behold when compared with the narrow expanse at the top ; and it is said that Fionn was under a geasa (pledge) to leap this glen forwards and backwards before sunrise on the mornings of May-day ; but that on a certain morning, as he was on his way to make the leap, he met a red-haired woman milking cows on the way-side, from whom he asked a drink, which she sternly refused, not knowing who it was that asked her. for it. When Fionn found his request refused, he foresaw that his days were numbered, and he cursed the red-haired woman ; but nevertheless he made towards the glen, which he leaped forward ; but in leaping it backwards he fell into the glen, and the imprint of his hands, knees, etc., are still visible on a greenish stone, which lies in the bottom of the glen.^' This yearly trial was, if I mistake not, the superannuation test of a woodland king.

Other jumpers besides Finn appear to have been wood- land kings. Prof. Kuno Meyer cites from the Senchas Mor the following tale of Finn and the Man in the Tree : ^

'Some time afterwards they (i.e. the Fian) carried off captive women from Diin lascaig in the land of the Desi. A beautiful maiden was taken by them. Finn's mind desired the woman for himself. She set her heart on a servant whom they had, even Derg Corra son of Ua Daigre. For this was his practice. While food was being cooked by them, the lad jumped to and fro across the cooking hearth. It was for that the maiden loved him. And one day she said to him that he should come to her and lie with her. Derg Corra did not accept that on account of Finn . . . She incited Finn against him and said : " Let us set upon him by force ! " Thereupon Finn said to him : " Go

^ Transactions of the Ossianic Society for 18^4. ii. 130 n. 6, cp. 30 f. ^ Revue cellique xxv. 344 ff.