Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/451

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


The Etiropean Sky -God. 435

hence, said he, out of my sight, and thou shalt have a truce of three days and three nights, and after that beware of me ! "

Then Derg Corra went into exile and took up his abode in a wood and used to go about on shanks of deer (si uerum est) for his lightness. One day as Finn was in the wood seeking him he saw a man in the top of a tree, a black- bird on his right shoulder and in his left hand a white vessel of bronze, filled with water, in which was a skittish trout, and a stag at the foot of the tree. And this was the practice of the man, cracking nuts ; and he would give half the kernel of a nut to the blackbird that was on his right shoulder while he would himself eat the other half ; and he would take an apple out of the bronze vessel that was in his left hand, divide it in two, throw one half to the stag that was at the foot of the tree, and then eat the other half himself. And on it he would drink a sip of the bronze vessel that was in his hand, so that he and the trout and the stag and the blackbird drank together. Then his followers asked of Finn who he in the tree was, for they did not recognise him on account of the hood of disguise which he wore.

Then Finn put his thumb into his mouth. When he took it out again, his imbas illumined him and he chanted an incantation and said: . . . " 'Tis Derg Corra son of Ua Daigre," said he, "that is in the tree."'

All the accessories of this peculiar figure, the nuts,^ the apple,^ the vessel of bronze,^ the blackbird,* the fish,^ and the stag,^ have met us before as concomitants of the

^Folk-lore xvii. 58 f., 61, 165, 311 n. i, 330.

"^ lb. xvii. 56 ff., 61, 144, 147 f., I52fr., 159 f., 162, 169 ft., 308 ff.

^ lb. xvii. 152 f., 155, 168, 173, 309 f., cp. supra p. 431.

^ lb. xvii. 165 ff., 313 f. '^ lb. xvii. 39ff., 43, 62, 152, 162,3295.

^ lb. xvii. 46 f. , 342. The statement that Derg Corra used to go about on shanks of deer reminds us that Finn too was closely related to the same animal. His mother was transformed into a fawn (D. Hyde Beside the Fire London 1890 p. 14 ff.). He married Sadbh, who had previously been turned into a fawn by Fear Doirche, the Dark Druid of the Men of Dea, and was later on forced to resume her animal shape by the same magician (P. Kennedy Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts p. 235 ff.. Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 174 ff.). Sadbh was by Finn the mother of Oisin, the ' Little Fawn ' (O'Curry Manuscript Materials p. 304), who would not eat the shin-bone of a deer lest it should be that of his own mother. It is said in Skye that Oisin's mother (or nurse) was a deer ; and that fur like deer's fur grew on his forehead, where it had been licked by her (Rev. J. G. Campbell The Fians p. 78 ff., Rev. D. Maclnnes Folk and Hero Tales London 1890 (IVaifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition: Argyllshire Series, ii.) p. 470 f., D. Hyde Beside the Fire p. 178). Finn himself was on one occasion changed into a grey fawn;