Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/456

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

440 The European Sky- God.

foot, and asked for some berries, which Searbhan refused to grant. The result was a furious fight, in which Diarmuid gripped the giant's club and dealt him three mighty blows with his own weapon. Searbhan fell dead upon the spot. Diarmuid plucked the berries for Grainne, and gave some also to the two men as their eric. When the latter had returned to Finn, Diarmuid and Grainne went into the top of the quicken-tree and laid them in the bed of Searbhan, and — says the narrative — the berries below were but bitter berries compared to the berries that were above upon the tree.

Finn and the Fianna next followed the track of Diarmuid to the foot of the quicken-tree, and, finding the berries unguarded, ate their fill of them. During the mid-day heat Finn and Oisin played chess together beneath the tree. Diarmuid, who saw that Oisin could only win by one move, dropped a berry on the right piece; and this he did again and yet again, till the Fianna shouted in astonishment. Finn, however, called up to Diarmuid to ask him if he was in the tree. Diarmuid answered that he and Grainne were there in the bed of Searbhan, and promptly gave Grainne three kisses in the presence of all.

Finn then made a cordon of Fianna about the tree, and promised to reward any man who would mount it and avenge him upon Diarmuid. Again Aonghus came to the rescue, and, when Diarmuid kicked down Garbh of Sliabh Cua, his first assailant, into the midst of the Fianna, changed the shape of the man into that of Diarmuid himself: the Fianna at once beheaded him, when lo, he took the form of Garbh once more. Next Garbh of Sliabh Crot attacked the tree : he too was flung down in the likeness of Diarmuid, beheaded by the Fianna, and restored to his own form. After that, Garbh of Sliabh Guaire met with precisely the same fate. And so did nine Garbhs in succession, till Finn was full of