Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/466

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450 The European Sky-God.

him to go in quest of the Tree of Virtues — for she would have none but the man who should bring her that Tree — and his foster-brothers had gone with him ; but they had all been forced to behead one another through the enchant- ment of a little man with a harp. Cod buried them in one grave, and had scarcely done so when he saw the same harper advancing towards him. Cod leaped upon him and dashed his harp against a rock ; but the little man gathered up the pieces, and it was whole again. Cod seized him a second time and severed his head from his body : thereupon the harper walked ofif with his head in one hand and his harp in the other. There next appeared a wondrous ox with golden horns, which blew a horn- trumpet and summoned all the cats and hags and spectres of the Forest. Cod speared the ox and amid a perfect pandemonium of sound — the creatures screaming, bellowing, moaning, stamping, the stones and trees shaking and thundering — collected the various beasts and drove them into a cave. Soon afterwards he beheld a queen with a bevy of fair women carrying the ox on a bier. At this he drew his sword and chopped the bier to bits. At length he reached the Tree of Virtues, plucked a great shoulder-load of its branches, and built himself a booth with them. He kindled a big fire for the night, but was tormented by the cries of hideous monsters till he arose, gathered them together, and again drove them into the cave. Returning from this task he found his fire extinguished and his booth changed into a close oak-wood of thin trees, smooth and very high, their tops laden with snow, while bitter winds were blowing and cold linns of water welling between them. After that, a hideous giant met Cod beside the Forest : he was clad in the skins of hornless deer and roebuck ; he had two goats'-horns growing through his skull, a circular jet-black hand, and a single leg like a ship's mast ; in one hand he held a thick club-staff of iron, in the other a thong attached to a wild-calf. Cod drove his sword through the head of the giant, who fell like a prime oak, but rose again and made for the cave's mouth with Cod on his shoulder and the sword through his head. Cod gripped the sword handle till he made fragments of it and so slipped on to the ground. Looking back he saw the giant transformed into a pillar of stone. Unable to withdraw his sword. Cod snatched the Fomorian club that the giant had and returned through the Forest, where he found trees and stones in one flag of ice. And now he was met by a maiden bearing a shining beautiful lamp, who proved to be Grian the Bright-faced. She welcomed him to her own palace, a cathair of unequalled splendour, where the King of the Forest sat on a golden throne surrounded by his knights and ladies. Cod declared that, had it not been for Grian, he would have severed their heads from their bodies and have seized the cathair for himself by force. As it was, the King of the Forest of his own accord vacated his throne for Cod, while all the people accepted him as chieftain and lord, swearing by the sun and moon to be faithful to

only one of them is a son of the King of the Land-of-Snow. Elsewhere too the poems inserted in the text contain a variant tradition (D. Hyde ib. p. xi.).