Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/487

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Collectanea. 451

The wild cat is believed to have a spike or hook at the end of its tail which it can stick into a pursuer, but I found no such fine legend in Clare on this point as I did near Kenry in Limerick, where the cats pursued, and anchored themselves on, a farmer and his dog, after chasing them from Clorane to Old Kildimo !

Elk. — The Irish elk is known among the turf cutters of Clooney and Tulla as the "Fiaghmore" (so pronounced, but really yfa^>^ mor, big deer), — "it might be one of the deer Finn hunted." Its numerous remains have given to one townland the name " Fiagh- more, Fiah,"8 in 1655. The "Agallamh"^ has an interesting allusion. Diarmaid kills a huge deer, and its antler, when resting on his foot, reaches above his head, despite his great height. Caoilte produces this horn from a lake to convince St. Patrick of the truth of his stories of the heroes.

Badger, Squirrel, and Marten. — It is asserted that there are two kinds of badgers, — the " dog-badger," which eats carrion and digs into graves, and the " pig-badger," which is a strict vegetarian and is eatable. In the Boroma tract from the Book of Leinster}'^ and the " Agallamh,'" badger bacon and squirrels are mentioned as fit to set before a king or hero. It is doubtful whether the togmal, (kept as a pet by Queen Maeve and killed on her shoulder by CuchuUin's slingstone), was a squirrel or a bird, but squirrel skins, along with marten skins, formed a considerable export from Ireland at least from 1230 to 1580, and in 1686 Roderic O'Flaherty names the squirrel amongst the animals of Connaught.^^ The true marten was until recently common in east Clare, and, like the supposed "marten-cat" (a large red domestic cat that has gone wild), was reputed uncanny in my boyhood. I have seen martens at play in the Clare woods in 1869, and had one stuffed in 1876, but they seem now to be extinct.

Hybrids. — Besides the " dog-badger," there were said to be un- eatable hybrids of the cat and the rabbit, and of the rook and

^ Proceedings of the Royal Irish Acadetny, vol. xxiv., p. 94.

  • Silva Gadelica, vol. ii. , p. 1 76. Antlers over six feet long have been found

in Clare, and there is a fine single antler 6 ft. 2 in. long at Violet Hill, Broadford.

^'^ Revue Celtitpte, vol. xiii., p. 47.

^^ The Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, vol. xl., p. 245.