Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/62

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52 The European Sky-God.

Pellinore.' Thus mythology passes, on the one hand into pseudo-history, on the other hand into romance. But neither the would-be historian nor the romance-writer can help weaving into his narrative some threads of genuine antiquity. Lot, whether conceived as king of Norway, or as king of Lothian and Orkney, has a dominion across the waters, and therein preserves a faint trace 2 of the water-god, whom his predecessors were believed to embody.

Let us gather up our results. It appears that Nuada, Nudd, Lludd and Loth were kings, bearing the name, and sharing the nature, of a Celtic sky-god, who was also a water-god and perchance an earth-god too. This divinity had control over the fish, the cattle, and the crops. His human representative in like manner was expected to bless all animal and vegetable produce. The ideal king, who fed his people aright, was deemed 'Generous' and 'Liberal.' The usurper, on the contrary, according to Irish notions, finds his footsteps dogged by the displeasure of heaven ; ' for the land in his time yields no corn, the trees no fruit, the rivers no fish, the cows no milk.'^ So too a Welsh couplet from the Black Book of Carmarthen (s. xii) runs : —

' We shall have years and long days With false kings (and) failing fruit-crops.'*

In short, the Celtic king, like the Greek ^ or Italian^ king, was responsible for the fertility of animal and vegetable nature.

Now the Greek and Italian kings, who personated

"^ Le Morte Darthitr ed. Strachey pp. 27, 31, 56, 139, alib.

^If Prof. Rh^s is right in identifying Lot's wife with Arthur's sister, Morgan le Fay (Welsh Morgen, ' sea-born ' ; Irish Muirgen, a name of the aquatic lady Liban), the case is strengthened. See Rhys Arthurian Legend p. 22 f.

^ Rh^s Celtic Britain p. 64. •* Rhys Hibbert Lectures p. 308 n. 1 .

'^Folk-lore xv. 312 ff., 392 f. ^Folk-lore xvi. 316 ff.