Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/53

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The European Sky -God. 43

original d as in Nuada, Niidd, Nodons. Apart from the question of names, there are other points of resemblance between these deities incarnate and the legends of St Neot. Nuada and Nodons were both river-gods located within easy distance of the sea and intimately associated with certain sacred salmon. The Cornish town of St. Neot is situated on a small stream called St. Neot's River, which rises in Dosmerry Pool, joins the Fowey, and so flows into the Channel. Near the site of St. Neot's hermitage is still to be seen a beautiful spring of clear water, which fills a reservoir about four feet square and is said to have witnessed more than one strange miracle.^ St. Neot was accustomed to repeat the whole psalter once a day, standing the while in his fountain. In it lived three fish, of which he had divine permission to take one, and only one, for his daily meal : so long as this condition was observed, he was assured that the supply should never be diminished. On one occasion, when the saint was ill, his disciple Barius caught two fish for him, boiled one, broiled the other, and tried to tempt his appetite. St. Neot, much alarmed, bade him restore them to the pool, and prostrated himself in prayer till Barius returned with the welcome tidings that both fish were disporting as usual in the water. Here- upon Barius was sent back to the well and caught one fish. . The hermit had no sooner tasted it than he was restored to perfect health. The part played by the sacred spring and the sacred fish in the legends of St. Neot is certainly suggestive of a Cornish counterpart to Nuada and Nodons.

Again, the dates of St. Neot's festivals deserve con- sideration. It is said that St. Neot died on July 31 ; and that day was the festival of St. Neot observed at the Priory in Huntingdonshire and also at the Abbey of Bee Hellouin in Normandy.^ On the same day and the ^ Gorham ib. p. 32 ff. ^Gorham ib. pp. 44 n., 143.