Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/467

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


The European Sky -God. 451

him thenceforward. Grian too took her seat on a beautiful throne ; and a

great feast was made ready for all who were present. The next day Cod

received the wondrous rod, and returned with Grian to the lake where he had met her at the first.

This is but a meagre outline of one episode in The Adventures of the CJdldreii of the King of Norway — a tale which, from the view point of comparative mythology, would repay detailed study — but it will suffice to show that Grian the sun-goddess in her subaqueous wonder- land had a marvellous fruit-tree growing in an enchanted forest ; that a number of princely champions went in quest of the tree, which was defended by a little harper with a magic harp, a hideous giant with an iron club, and a king known as the King of the Forest of Wonders ; that this king and his daughter Grian possessed white rods of peculiar power ; that Cod, the successful champion, thanks to the virtue of Grian's rod, vanquished the defenders of the tree, plucked some of its boughs, and himself became King of the Forest. All this savours strongly of the rex Nemorensis, and in particular resembles the other Irish tales concerned with Grainne and her tree. The harper with his magic harp recalls Tolgne the druid of Grian's tree.^ The giant with an iron club has met us before at Dubhros in the person of Searbhhan Lochlannach.2 The rod which, when whittled, conferred supernatural strength is like the branch of the mountain- ash borne by Sharving the Surly in Doolas Woods.^ The story as a whole strengthens our conviction that Diarmuid in the cantred of Hy Fiachrach played the part of rex Nemorensis.

Fortunately the Dubhros myth can be brought into connexion with actual custom. For, not only were Irish kings often inaugurated under a sacred tree,* but Dr.

^ Supra p. 448. ^ Supra p. 439 ff. ^ Supra p. 443 fif.

  • P. W. Joyce The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places ed. 2

Dublin 1870 p. 481 f.