The young king of Easaidh Ruadh, after
he got the heirship to himself, was at much merry making, looking out what
would suit him., and what would come into his humour. There was a GRUAGACH
near his dwelling, who was called Gruagach carsalach donn - (The brown
curly long haired one.)
He thought to himself that he would go
to play a game with him. He went to the Seanagal (soothsayer) and he said
to him - ‘I am made up that I will go to game with the Gruagach carsalach
"Aha!" said the Seanagal, "art thou such
a man? Art thou so insolent that thou art going to play a game against the
Gruagach carsalach donn? 'Twere my advice to thee to change thy nature and
not to go there." "I wont do that," said he. " Twere my advice to thee, if
thou shouldst win of the Gruagach carsalach donn, to get the cropped rough
skinned maid that is behind the door for the worth of thy gaming, and many
a turn will he put off before thou gettest her." He lay down that night,
and if it was early that the day came, 'twas earlier than that that the
king arose to hold garrung against the Gruagach. He reached the Gruagach,
he blessed the Gruagach, and the Gruagach blessed him. Said the Gruagach
to him, "Oh young king of Easaidh Ruadh, what brought thee to me to day?
Wilt thou game with me?" They began and they played the game. The king
won. "Lift the stake of thy gaming so that I may get (leave) to be
moving". "The stake of my gaming is to give me the cropped rough skinned
girl thou hast behind the door." "Many a fair woman have I within besides
her," said the Gruagach. "I will take none but that one." "Blessing to
thee and cursing to thy teacher of learning" They went to the house of the
Gruagach, and the Gruagach set in order twenty young girls. "Lift now thy
choice from amongst these." One was coming out after another, and every
one that would come out she would say, "I am she; art thou not silly that
art not taking me with thee?" But the Seanagal had asked him to take none
but the last one that would come out. When the last one came out, he said,
"This is mine." He went with her, and when they were a bit from the house,
her form altered, and she is the loveliest woman that was on earth. The
king was going home full of joy at getting such a charming woman.
He reached the house, and he went to
rest. If it was early that the day arose, it was earlier than that that
the king arose to go to game with the Gruagach. "I must absolutely go to
game against the Gruagach to day," said he to his wife. "Oh!" said she,
"that's my father, and if thou goest to game with him, take nothing for
the stake of thy play but the dun shaggy filly that has the stick saddle
The king went to encounter the Gruagach,
and surely the blessing of the two to each other was not beyond what it
was before. "Yes!" said the Gruagach, "how did thy young bride please thee
yesterday?' "She pleased fully." "Hast thou come to game with me to day?"
"I came." They began at the gaming, and the king won from the Gruagach on
that day. "Lift the stake of thy gaming, and be sharp about it." "The
stake of my gaming is the dun shaggy filly on which is the stick saddle."
They went away together. They reached
the dun shaggy filly. He took her out from the stable, and the king put
his leg over her and she was the swift heroine! He went home. His wife had
her hands spread before him, and they were cheery together that night. "I
would rather myself," said his wife, "that thou shouldest not go to game
with the Gruagach any more, for if he wins he will put trouble on thy
head." "I won't do that," said he, "I will go to play with him to day."
He went to play with the Gruagach. When
he arrived, he thought the Gruagach was seized with joy. "Hast thou come?"
he said. "I came." They played the game, and, as a cursed victory for the
king, the Gruagach won that day. "Lift the stake of thy game," said the
young king of Easaidh Ruadh, "and be not heavy on me, for I cannot stand
to it." "The stake of my play is," said he, "that I lay it as crosses and
as spells on thee, and as the defect of the year, that the cropped rough
skinned creature, more uncouth and unworthy than thou thyself, should take
thy head, and thy neck, and thy life's look off, if thou dost not get for
me the GLAIVE OF LIGHT of the king of the oak windows." The king went
home, heavily, poorly, gloomily. The young queen came meeting him, and she
said to him, "Mohrooai! my pity! there is nothing with thee tonight." Her
face and her splendour gave some pleasure to the king when he looked on
her brow, but when he sat on a chair to draw her towards him, his heart
was so heavy that the chair broke under him.
"What ails thee, or what should ail
thee, that thou mightest not tell it to me?" said the queen. The king told
how it happened. "Ha!" said she, "what should'st thou mind, and that thou
hast the best wife in Erin, and the second best horse in Erin. If thou
takest my advice, thou wilt come (well) out of all these things yet."
If it was early that the day came, it
was earlier than that that the queen arose, and she set order in
everything, for the king was about to go on his journey. She set in order
the dun shaggy filly, on which was the stick saddle, and though he saw it
as wood, it was full of sparklings with gold and silver. He got on it; the
queen kissed him, and she wished him victory of battlefields. "I need not
be telling thee anything. Take thou the advice of thine own she comrade,
the filly, and she will tell thee what thou shouldest do." He set out on
his journey, and it was not dreary to be on the dun steed.
She would catch the swift March wind
that would be before, and the swift March wind would not catch her. They
came at the mouth of dusk and lateness, to the court and castle of the
king of the oak windows.
Said the dun shaggy filly to him, "We
are at the end of the journey, and we have not to go any further; take my
advice, and I will take thee where the sword of light of the king of the
oak windows is, and if it comes with thee without scrape or creak, it is a
good mark on our journey. The king is now at his dinner, and the sword of
light is in his own chamber. There is a knob on its end, and when thou
catchest the sword, draw it softly out of the window ‘case' ". He came to
the window where the sword was. He caught the sword and it came with him
softly till it was at its point, and then it gave a sort of a "sgread."
"We will now be going," said the filly. "It is no stopping time for us. I
know the king has felt us taking the sword out." He kept his sword in his
hand, and they went away, and when they were a bit forward, the filly
said, "We will stop now, and look thou whom thou seest behind thee." "I
see" said he, "a swarm of brown horses coming madly." "We are swifter
ourselves than these yet," said the filly. They went, and when they were a
good distance forward, "Look now," said she; "whom seest thou coming?" "I
see a swarm of black horses, and one white-faced black horse, and he is
coming and coming in madness, and a man on him." "That is the best horse
in Erin; it is my brother, and he got three months more nursing than I and
he will come past me with a whirr, and try if thou wilt be so ready, that
when he comes past me, thou wilt take the head off the man who is on him;
for in the time of passing he will look at thee, and there is no sword in
his court will take off his head but the very sword that is in thy hand."
When this man was going past, he gave his head a turn to look at him, he
drew the sword and he took his head off, and the shaggy dun filly caught
it in her mouth.
This was the king of the oak windows.
"Leap on the black horse," said she, "and leave the carcass there, and be
going home as fast as he will take thee home, and I will be coming as best
I may after thee." He leaped on the black horse, and, "Moirë! " he was the
swift hero, and they reached the house long before day. The queen was
without rest till he arrived. They raised music, and they laid down woe.
On the morrow, he said, "I am obliged to go to see the Gruagach to day, to
try if my spells will be loose." Mind that it is not as usual the Gruagach
will meet thee. He will meet thee furiously, wildly, and he will say to
thee, didst thou get the sword? and say thou that thou hast got it; he
will say, how didst thou get it? and thou shalt say, if it were not the
knob that was on its end I had not got it. He will ask thee again, how
didst thou get the sword? and thou wilt say, if it were not the knob that
was on its end, I had not got it. Then he will give himself a lift to look
what knob is on the sword, and thou wilt see a mole on the right side of
his neck, and stab the point of the sword in the mole; and if thou dost
not hit the mole, thou and I are done. His brother was the king of the oak
windows, and he knows that till the other had lost his life, he would not
part with the sword. The death of the two is in the sword, but there is no
other sword that will touch them but it." The queen kissed him, and she
called on victory of battlefields (to be) with him, and he went away.
The Gruagach met him in the very same
place where he was before. "Didst thou get the sword?" "I got the sword."
"How didst thou get the sword?" "If it were not the knob that was on its
end I had not got it," said he. "Let me see the sword." "It was not laid
on me to let thee see it." "How didst thou get the sword?" "If it were not
the knob that was on its end, I got it not." The Gruagach gave his head a
lift to look at the sword; he saw the mole; he was sharp and quick, and he
thrust the sword into the mole, and the Gruagach fell down dead.
He returned home, and when he returned
home, he found his set of keepers and watchers tied back to back, without
wife, or horse, or sweetheart of his, but was taken away.
When he loosed them, they said to him,
"A great giant came and he took away thy wife and thy two horses." "Sleep
will not come on mine eyes nor rest on mine head till I get my wife and my
two horses back." In saying this, he went on his journey. He took the side
that the track of the horses was, and he followed them diligently. The
dusk and lateness were coming on him, and no stop did he make until he
reached the side of the green wood. He saw where there was the forming of
the site of a fire, and he thought that he would put fire upon it, and
thus he would put the night past there.
He was not long here at the fire, when
"CU SEANG of the green wood came on him.
He blessed the dog, and the dog blessed
"Oov! oov!" said the dog, "Bad was the
plight of thy wife and thy two horses here last night with the big giant."
"It is that which has set me so pained and pitiful on their track to
night; but there is no help for it." "Oh! king," said the dog, "thou must
not be without meat." The dog went into the wood. He brought out
creatures, and they made them meat contentedly. "I rather think myself,"
said the king, "that I may turn home; that I cannot go near that giant."
"Don't do that," said the dog. "There's no fear of thee, king. Thy matter
will grow with thee. Thou must not be here without sleeping. " "Fear will
not let me sleep without a warranty." "Sleep thou," said the dog, "and I
will warrant thee." The king let himself down, stretched out at the side
of the fire, and he slept. When the watch broke, the dog said to him,
"Rise up, king, till thou gettest a morsel of meat that will strengthen
thee, till thou wilt be going on thy journey. Now," said the dog, "if
hardship or difficulty comes on thee, ask my aid, and I will be with thee
in an instant." They left a blessing with each other, and he went away. In
the time of dusk and lateness, he came to a great precipice of rock, and
there was the forming of the site of a fire.
He thought he would gather dry fuel, and
that he would set on fire. He began to warm himself, and he was not long
thus when the hoary hawk of the grey rock came on him. "Oov! oov!" said
she, "Bad was the plight of thy wife and thy two horses last night with
the big giant." "There is no help for it," said he. "I have got much of
their trouble and little of their benefit myself." "Catch courage," said
she. "Thou wilt get something of their benefit yet. Thou must not be
without meat here," said she. "There is no contrivance for getting meat,"
said he. "We will not be long getting meat," said the falcon. She went,
and she was not long when she came with three ducks and eight blackcocks,
in her mouth. They set their meat in order, and they took it. "Thou must
not be without sleep," said the falcon. "How shall I sleep without a
warranty over me, to keep me from any one evil that is here." "Sleep thou,
king, and I will warrant thee." He let himself down, stretched out, and he
In the morning, the falcon set him on
foot. "Hardship or difficulty that comes on thee, mind, at any time, that
thou wilt get my help." He went swiftly, sturdily. The night was coming,
and the little birds of the forest of branching bushy trees, were talking
about the briar roots and the twig tops; and if they were, it was
stillness, not peace for him, till he came to the side of a great river
that was there, and at the bank of the river there was the forming of the
site of a fire. The king blew a heavy, little spark of fire. He was not
long here when there came as company for him the brown otter of the river.
"Och! och!" said the otter, "Bad was the plight of thy wife and thy two
horses last night with the giant" "There is no help for it. I got much of
their trouble and little of their benefit." "Catch courage, before mid-day
to-morrow thou wilt see thy wife. Oh! King, thou must not be without
meat," said the otter. "How is meat to be got here?" said the king. The
otter went through the river, and she came and three salmon with her, that
were splendid. They made meat, and they took it. Said the otter to the
King, "Thou must sleep." "How can I sleep without any warranty over me?"
"Sleep thou, and I will warrant thee." The king slept. In the morning, the
otter said to him, "Thou wilt be this night in presence of thy wife." He
left blessing with the otter. "Now," said the otter, "if difficulty be on
thee, ask my aid and thou shalt get it." The king went till he reached a
rock, and he looked down into a chasm that was in the rock, and at the
bottom he saw his wife and his two horses, and he did not know how he
should get where they were. He went round till he came to the foot of the
rock, and there was a fine road for going in. He went in, and if he went
it was then she began crying. "Ud! ud!" said he, "this is bad! If thou art
crying now when I myself have got so much trouble coming about thee." "Oo!"
said the horses, "set him in front of us., and there is no fear for him,
till we leave this." She made meat for him, and she set him to rights, and
when they were a while together, she put him in front of the horses. When
the giant came, he said, "The smell of the stranger is within." Says she,
"My treasure! My joy and my cattle! there is nothing but the smell of the
litter of the horses." At the end of a while he went to give meat to the
horses, and the horses began at him, and they all but killed him, and he
hardly crawled from them. "Dear thing," said she, "they are like to kill
thee. "If I myself had my soul to keep, it's long since they had killed
me," said he. "Where, dear, is thy soul? By the books I will take care of
it." "It is," said he, "in the Bonnach stone." When he went on the morrow,
she set the Bonnach stone in order exceedingly. In the time of dusk and
lateness, the giant came home. She set her man in front of the horses. The
giant went to give the horses meat and they mangled him more and more.
"What made thee set the Bonnach stone in order like that?" said he.
"Because thy soul is in it." "I perceive that if thou didst know where my
soul is, thou wouldst give it much respect." "I would give (that)," said
she. "It is not there," said he, "my soul is; it is in the threshold." She
set in order the threshold finely on the morrow. When the giant returned,
he went to give meat to the horses, and the horses mangled him more and
more. "What brought thee to set the threshold in order like that?"
"Because thy soul is in it." "I perceive if thou knewest where my soul is,
that thou wouldst take care of it." "I would take that," said she. "It is
not there that my soul is," said he. "There is a great flagstone under the
threshold. There is a wether under the flag. There is a duck in the
wether's belly, and an egg in the belly of the duck, and it is in the egg
that my soul is." When the giant went away on the morrow's day, they
raised the flagstone and out went the wether. "If I had the slim dog of
the greenwood, he would not be long bringing the wether to me." The slim
dog of the greenwood came with the wether in his mouth. When they opened
the wether, out was the duck on the wing with the other ducks. "If I had
the Hoary Hawk of the grey rock, she would not be long bringing the duck
to me. " The Hoary Hawk of the grey rock came with the duck in her mouth;
when they split the duck to take the egg from her belly, out went the egg
into the depth of the ocean. "If I had the brown otter of the river, he
would not be long bringing the egg to me." The brown otter came and the
egg in her mouth, and the queen caught the egg, and she crushed it between
her two hands. The giant was coming in the lateness, and when she crushed
the egg, he fell down dead, and he has never yet moved out of that. They
took with them a great deal of his gold and silver. They passed a cheery
night with the brown otter of the river, a night with the hoary falcon of
the grey rock, and a night with the slim dog of the greenwood. They came
home and they set in order "a CUIRM CURAIDH CRIDHEIL," a hearty hero's
feast, and they were lucky and well pleased after that.
Received June 9, 1859.
An old man, of the name of Angus
MacQueen, who lived at Ballochroy, near Portaskaig, in Islay, "who could
recite Ossian's Poems," taught this more than forty years ago (say 1820)
to James Wilson, blind fiddler in Islay who recited it to Hector MacLean,
The Gaelic is dictated and written by
RIGH OG EASAIDH RUAGH.
Bha rìgh òg Easaidh Ruagh an dèigh dha'n
oighreachd fhaotainn da fèin ri mòran àbhachd, ag amharc a mach dè a
chordadh ris,'s dè thigeadh r 'a nadur. Bha gruagach fagus d'a chomhnuidh
ris an abradh iad a ghruagach charsalach dhonn. Smaointich e ris fèin gun
rachadh e a dh' iomairt cluiche ris. Dh'fhalbh e thun an t-seanaghail, 's
thubhairt e ris, "Tha mi air a dheanadh suas gun d’thèid mi dh' iomairt
cluiche ris a' ghruagach charsalach dhonn. " "Aha," arsa 'n seanagheal,
"an duine mar so thu? am bheil thu cho uaibhreach 's gu bheil thu a' dol a
dh' iomairt cluiche ris a a' ghruagach charsalach dhonn? Be’e mo
chomhairle dhuit do nadur atharrachadh 's gun dol ann." "Cha dean mi sin."
"Be'e mo chomhairle dhuit ma bhủidneas thu air a' ghruagach charsalach
dhonn, an nighean mhaol charrach a tha củl an doruis fhaotainn air son
brìgh do chluiche, 's cuiridh e ioma car dheth mu'm faigh thu i. " Chaidh
e laidhe 'n oidhche sin, 's ma 's moch a thainig an latha 's moiche na sin
a dh' èirich an righ a chumail cluiche ris a'gbruagaich. Ràinig e a
ghruagach. Bheannaich e do'n ghruagaich 's bheannaich a ghruagach dà.
Thuirt a ghruagach ris, "A righ òg Easaidh Ruagh, dè thug a' m'ionnsuidh
an diugh thu? an iomair thu cluiche rium?" Thòisich iad's dh' iomair iad
an cluiche. Bhủidhinn an righ. "Tog brìgh do chluiche 's gu'm faighinn a
bhi 'g imeachd. " " 'S e brigh mo chluiche thu thoirt domh na nighin maoil
carraich a th' agad air củl an doruis. " " 'S iomad boireannach maiseach a
th'agamsa stigh a bharrachd urra." "Cha ghabh mi gin ach i siod." "Beannachd
dhuitse 's mollachd do d' oidionnsachaidh." Chàidh iad gu tigh na
gruagaich 's chuir a' ghruagach an òrdugh fichead nighean òg. "Tog a nis
do roghainn asda sin." Bha Té ‘tighinn a mach an dègh té,'s a h-uile té
‘thigeadh a mach, theireadh i, "is mis' i, 's amaideach thu nach 'eil 'g
am thobh airtse leat;" ach dh'iarr an seanaghal air gun gin a ghabhail ach
an té dheireadh a thigeadh a mach. 'Nuair a thainig an te mu dheireadh a
mach, thuirt e "So mo thè sa." Dh' fholbh e leatha 's nuair a bha iad
stàtuinn o'n tigh dhatharraich a cruth, agus 's i boireannach a b’àille 'bha
air thalamh. Bha'n rìgh 'dol dachaidh làn toil-inntinn leithid de
bhoireannach maiseach fhaotainn. Rànig e'n tigh. Chaidh e laidhe. Ma 's
moch a thainig an latha, is moiche na sin a dh'èirich an righ, 'dhol a
dh'iomairt cluiche ris a ghruagaich. "Is èigin domh dol a dh'iomairt
cluiche ris a ghruagaich an diugh," ars' e r'a bhean. "Oh," ars' ise, "sin
m'athair's ma thèid thu dh'iomairt cluiche ris, na gabh ni sam bith airson
brigh do chluiche ach an loth pheallagach odhar a tha 'n diollaid mhaid'
urra. Dh'fholbh an rìgh, 's choinnich a ghruagach e, 's gu cinnteach cha
robh 'm be beannachadh na bu tàire na bha e roimhe aig an dithis ri chéile.
"Seadh," ars' a ghruagach "demur a chòrd do bhean òg riut an dé?" "Chord
gu h iomlan." "An d' thàinig thu dhiomairt cluiche rium an diugh?" "Thàinig."
Thòisich iad air a' chluiche, 's bhuidhinn an righ air a' ghruagaich an
latha sin. "Tog brìgh do chluiche 's bi ealamh leis." " 'S e brìgh mo
chluiche gum faigh mi an loth pheallagach odhar air a' bheil an dòllaid
mhaide." Dh' fholbh iad còmhla. Ràinig iad an loth pheallagach odhar, thug
e mach as an stàbull i,'s chuir an rìgh a chas thairte, 's b’e 'n curaidh
i. Chaidh e dhachaidh; bha làmban sgaoilt' aig a' bhean roimhe; 's bha iad
gu sủnndach comhla an oidhche sin. "B'fhearr leam fèin," ursa 'bhean, "nach
rachadh thu' dh'iomairt cluiche ris a'ghruagach tuillidh, chionn ma
bhuidhneas e cuiridh e dragh ann ad cheann." "Cha dean mi sin; thèid mi
dh'iomairt cluiche ris an diugh." Chaidh e dh'iomairt cluiche ris a'
ghruagaich. 'N uair a ràinig e, thar leis gun do ghabh a ghruagach boch.
"An d’thàinig thu?" "Thàinig." Dh'iomair iad an cluiche, 's mar bhuaidh
mhollachd do'n rìgh bhuidhinn a' ghruagach an latha sin. "Tog brìgh do
chluiche," arsa righ òg Eas Ruagh, " 's na bi trom orm, chionn cha-n
urrainn mi seasamh ris." "S'e brìgh mo chluiche-sa," urs' esan, "gu bheil
mi 'cur mar chroisean, 'us mar gheasan ort, 'us mar sheisean na
bliadhna, am beathach maol, carrach is mithreubhaiche ‘s is mi-threònaiche
na thu fèin, a thoirt do chinn 's do mhuineil 's do choimhead-beatha dhiot,
mar am faigh thu dhomhsa claidheamh soluis rìgh nan uinneagan daraich."
Chaidh an rìgh dachaidh gu trom, bochd, duibhthaimhasach. Thàinig a
bhànrighinn òg na chomhdhail's thubhairt i ris, "Mo thruaighe! cha 1n ni 'sam
bith leat a nochd." Thug a h-aoidh agus a h-ailleachd rud-eigin de
thoilinntinn do n righ, nur a dh' amhairc e air a gnủis; ach nur a shuidh
e air cathair a tharruinn e d' a ionnsuidh, thug e osann as, is sgoilt a
chathair fodha. "Dè th' ort, na bhiodh ort, nach fhaodadh thu innseadh
dhomhsa?" ars' a bhanrigh. Dh' innis an righ demur a thachair. "Ud," ars’
ise, "de amhail a chuireas thu air, ‘s gur ann agad a tha 'bhean is fheàrr
'an Eirinn, 's an darra each is fheàrr 'an Eirinn. Ma ghabhas thu mo
chombairle-sa thig thu as gach ni dhiubh sin fhathasd." Ma 's moch a
thàinig an latha 's moiche na sin a dh' èirich a bhànfighinn, 's a chuir i
uidhearn air gach ni chum gum bitheadh an rìgh 'dol air a thurus. Chuir i
'n òrdugh an loth pheallagach, odhar, air an robh 'n dìollaid mhaide; 's
ged a chitheadh esan 'na maid' i, bha i làn dhealrach le òr is airgeid.
Chaidh e air a muin. Phòg a'bhanrigh e, 's ghuidh i buaidh làrach leis.
Cha ruig mise leas a bhi'g innseadh ni sam bith dhuit, gabh thusa
comhairle do bhana-chompanaich féin, an loth, 's innsidh i duit dè 's còir
dhuit a dheanamh. Ghabh e mach air a thurus; 's cha bu chianalach a bhi
air muin na steud odhar. Bheireadh i air a' ghaoth luath Mhairt a bhiteadh
roimhpe, 's cha bheireadh i ghaoth luath mhàirt urra. Thàinig iad am beul
an athaidh 's an anamoich gu củirt agus cathair righ nan uinneagan daraich.
Urs' an loth pheallagach odhar ris, "Tha sinn aig ceann turuis, 's cha-n'
eil againn ri dol na 's fhaide, gabh thusa mo chomhairle-sa 's bheir mi
thu far am bheil claidheamh soluis rìgh nan uinneagan daraich, 's ma thig
e leat gun sgread gun s grioch, 's comharradh maith air ar turus e. Tha 'n
righ nis aig a dhinneir, 's tha 'n claidheamh soluis 'n a sheòmbar fèin;
tha cnap air a cheann, ‘s nur a bheireas thu air a chlaidheamh tarruinn gu
réidh mach a "CASE" na h uinneig e." Thàinig e gus an uinneig far an robh
an claidhearnh. Rug e air a claidheamh 's thàinig e leis gu réidh gus an
robh e aig a bhàrr, 's thug e seòrsa sgread as an sin. "Bithidh sinn a nis,
arsa 'n loth, aig imeachd, can-n àm stad duinn e, tha fios agam gun do
mhothaich an righ dhuinn a toirt a chlaidheimh a mach. Ghléidh esan an
claidheamh 'n a laimh 's dh' fholbh iad, 's 'n uair a bha iad treis air an
aghaidh, thuirt an loth, "Stadaidh sinn a nis 's amhaircidh thu co 'chi
thu 'd dheigh." "Chi mi," ars' esan, "sgaoth dh'eachaibh donna 'tighinn
air bhàinidh." " 'S luaithe sinn féin na iad sin fathasd." Dh' fhalbh iad
's 'n uair a bha iad astar maith air an aghaidh, "amhairc a nis" ars' ise
"co 'chi thu teachd." "Chi mi sgaoth dh' eacha dubha, agus; aon each blàr
dubh, 's e a tighinn air a chuthach, 's duin' air a mhuin." " 'S e sin an
t-each is fheàrr an Eirinn, 's e mo bhràthair a th' ann, 's fhuair e
ràidhe banaltrachd a bharrachd ormsa, agus thig e seachad ormsa le sreann,
‘s feuch ambi thu cho tapaidh 's 'nur a thig e seachad ormsa an d' thoir
thu 'n ceann de 'n fhear a th' air a mhuin; chionn an àm dol seachad
amhaircidh e ortsa, 's cha-n 'eil claidheamh 'n a chủirt a bheir an ceann
deth, ach a 'cheart chlaidheamh a tha'd laimh." 'N uair a bha 'm fear so 'dol
seachad thug e amhadh air a cheann a dh' amharc air; tharruinn esan an
claidheamh 'us thug e 'n ceann deth, 's cheap an loth pheallagach 'n a
beul e. B' e so rìgh nan uinneagan daraich. "Leum air muin an eich dhuibh,"
urs' ise, " 's fag a chlosach an siod, 's bi 'dol dachaidh cho luath 's a
bheir e dachaidh thu, 's bithidh mise 'tighinn mar is fheàrr a dh' fhaodas
mi 'n 'ur déigh. " Leum e air muin an eich dhuibh, 's am Moire b’ e 'n
curaidh e, 's ràinig iad an tigh fada roimh latha. Bha 'bhan-rìgh gun
laidhe gus an d' ràinig e. Thog iad ceòl 's leag iad bròn. An la'r na
mhàireach thuirt esan, " 's éigin dòmhsa dol a dh'amharc na gruagaich an
diugh, feuch am bi mo gheasan ma sgaoil." "Cuimhnich nach ann mar a b-àbhaist
a dh' amaiseas a gruagach ort. Coinnichidh e thu gu feargach fiadhaich 's
their e riut, 'an d'fhuair thu 'n claidheamh?' 's abair thusa gun d'fhuair.
Their e riut ciod e mar a fhuair thu e? 'is their thusa,'mar b’e an cnap a
bh'air a cheann cha d'fhuair mi e.' Foigh-nichidh e rithisd diot, 'demur a
fhuair thu 'n claidheamh,’ ‘s their thusa, 'mar b’e an cnap a bh'air a
cheann cha d' fhuair mi e.' Bheir e 'n so togail air a dh' amharc ciod e
'n cnap a th' air a chlaidheamh 's chi thu ball-dorain taobh deas a
mhuneil, agus stob bàrr a chlaidheimh anns a bhall-dorain 's mar amais thu
air a bhall-dorain, tha thuso 's mise réidh. B' e ‘bhràthair righ nan
uinneagan daraich e, 's tha fhios aige gus an cailleadh am fear eile 'bheatha
nach dealaicheadh e ris a chlaidheamh. Tha bàs an dithis 's a chlaidheamh;
ach cha-n 'eil claidheamh eile dhear-gas orr' ach e. " Phòg a bhanrigh e,
's ghuidh i buaidh làrach leis, 's dh' fholbh e. Thachair a gruagach air
anns cheart àit' an robh e roimhid. "An d' fhuair thu 'n claidheamh?" "Fhuair
mi 'n claidheamh. " "Dèmur a fhuair thu 'n claidheamh?" "Mur b’e an cnap a
bh' air a chearm cha n' fhaighinn e." "Leig fhaicinn domh an claidheamh."
"Cha robh e mar fhiachaibh orm a leigeil fhaicinn duit." "Demur a fhuair
thu'n claidheamh?" "Mur b'e an cnap a bh' air a chearm cha d' fhuair mi e.
" Thug a gruagach togail air a cheann a dh' amharc air a chlaidheamh.
Chunnaic esan am ball-dorain. Bha e urrant' ealamh; shàth e 'n claidheamh
s a bhall-dorain, 's thuit a ghruagach sìos marbh. Thill e dhachaidh, ‘s
'n uair a thill e dhachaidh, fhuair e luchd gleidhidh agus coimhead
ceangailt' an sin củl ri eủl; 's gun bhean, no each, no leannan aige, gun
a bhi air an tiort air folbh. 'N uair a dh' fhuasgail e iad, thubhairt iad
ris, "Thàinig famhair mòr agus thug e air folbh do bhean agus do dhà
each." "Cha d' théid cadal air mo shủil no fois air mo cheum, gus am faigh
mi mo bhean agus mo dhà each air an ais. Le so a ràdh dh' fholbh e air a
thurus; ghabh e 'n taobh a bha lorg nan each, 's lean e gu than iad. Bha'n
t-athadh's an t-anamoch a tighinn air, 's cha d' rinneadh stad leis gus an
d' ràinig e taobh na coill' uaine. Chunnaic e far an robh làrach
cruthachadh gealbhain, 's smaointich e gun cuireadh e tein' air, 's gun
cuireadh e seachad an oidhch' ann. Cha b’ fhad 'a bha e 'n so aig a
ghealbhan gus an d' thàinig cu seang na coill' uain' air. Bheannaich e do
'n chủ, 's bheannaich an củ dà. "Ubh! ủbh!" ars' an củ "b' olc diol do
mhnatha 's do dhà each an so an raoir aig an fhamhair mhòr." " ‘S e sin a
chuir mise cho peanasach truagh air an tòir a nochd, ach cha-n' 'eil arach'
air." "A righ," ars' an củ, "cha-n fhaod thu bhi gun bhiadh." Chaidh an củ
stigh do 'n choille, thug e mach beathaichean, 's rinn iad am biadh gu
tlachdmhor. "Tha dủil agam féin," ars' an rìgh, "gum faod mi tilleadh
dhachaidh, nach urrainn mi dol a chòir an fhamhair sin." "Na dean sin,"
ars' an củ; "cha-n eagal duit a righ, cinn'idh do ghnothuch leat. Cha-n 'fhaod
thu bhi so gun chadal. " "Cha leig an t-eagal domh cadal 's gun bharantas
orm." "Caidil thus'," ars 'an củ, " 's barantachaidh mis' thu." Leig an
righ e féin na shìneadh taobh an teine 's chaidil e. Nur a bhrisd an
fhàire thubhairt an củ ris, "Eirich," a rìgh, " 'us gun gabhadh thu greim
bìdh a neartaicheas thu, 's gum bitheadh thu dol air do thurus. Nis," ars'
an củ, "ma thig cruadhchas no càs ort, iarr mo chuideachadh, 's bithidh mi
agad a thiotadh." Dh' fhàg iad beannachd aig a chéile 's dh' fholbh e. An
àm an athaidh 's an ammoich, thàinig e gu h-ailbhinn mhòr creige, agus bha
cruthachadh làrach gealbhain ann. Smaointich e gun cruinneachadh e connadh,
's gun cuireadh e air teine. Thòisich e air a gharadh, 's cha b' fhada bha
e mar so 'n uair a thàinig seobhag liath na creige glais' air. "Ubh! ủbh!
" ars' ise, b' olc diol do mhnatha 's do dhà each an rair aig an fhamhair
mhòr." "Cha-n' 'eil arach' air," ars’ esan, "fhuair mi féin mòran d' an
dragh is beagan d' an àbhachd. "Glac misneach," ars' ise, "gheobh thu
rudeigin d' an àbhachd fhathasd. Cha-n' fhaod thu. bhi gun bhiadh an so,"
ars' ise. "Cha-n' 'eil seòl air biadh fhaotainn ars esan." "Cha-n fhada
bhitheas sinn a faotainn bidh. " Dh' fholbh i 's cha b'fhada bha i n' uair
a thàinig i 's tri lachan 's ochd coilich dhubha 'n a beul. Chuir iad an
ordugh am biadh 's ghabh iad e. "Cha-n fhaod thu bhi gun chadal," ars' an
t-seobhag. "Demur a chaidleas mi gun bharantas 'sam bith orm gu mo dhìon o
aon olc a tha 'n so?" "Caidil thusa, rìgh, 's barantachaidh mis' thu."
Leig e e féin 'n a shineadh, 's chaidil e. Anns a mhaidinn chuir an t-seobhag
air a chois e. Cruadhchas no càs a thig ort, cuimhnich aig àm sam bith gum
faigh thu mo chuideachadhsa. Dh' fholbh e gu dian, foghainteach, luath,
laidir. Bha 'n latha folbh 's an oidhche tighinn, 's eunlaith bheaga na
coille craobhaich, dosraiche, dualaich, a' gabhail ma bhun nam preas 's ma
bhàrr nan dos; 's mu bha, cha bu tàmh 's cha bu chlos dàsan e, gus an d'
thàinig e gu taobh aimhne mhòr a bha sin, agus aig bruach na h-aimhne bha
cruthachadh làrach gealbhain. Shéid an rìgh srachdanach trom teine. Cha
b'fhada bha e 'n so 'n uair a thàinig ann an companas ris doran donn na h-aimhne.
"Och," ars' an doran, "b’olc dìol do mhnatha 'n so an rair aig an fhamhair.
" "Cha-n 'eil arach' air, fhuair mise mòran d'an dragh is beagan d' an
àbhachd." "Glac misneach, fo mheadhon latha màireach chì thu do bhean. A
righ, cha 'n fhaod thu bhi gun bhaidh," ars' an doran. "Demur a gheibhear
biadh an so," ars' an rìgh. Dh fholbh an doran feadh na h-abhann, 's
thainig e 's tri bradain leis a bha ciatach. Rinn iad biadh is ghabh iad
e. Thuirt an doran ris an rìgh, "feumaidh tu cadal." "Demur a chaidleas mi
's gun bharantachadh sam bith orm?" "Caidil thusa 's barantachaidh mis'
thu an nochd." Chaidil an rìgh. Anns a mhaduinn, thuirt an doran ris,
bithidh thu an nochd an làthair do mhnatha. Dh fhàg e beannachd aig an
doran. "Nis," ars' an doran, "ma bhitheas càs ort, iarr mo chuideachadh-a,
's gheobh thu e. " Dh 'fholbh an rìgh gus an d' ràinig e creag, 's dh'
amhirc e sìos ann an glomhas a bha 's a chreig, 's aig a ghrunnd chunnaic
e a bhean agus a dhà each, 's cha robh fios aige demur a gheobheadh e far
an robh iad. Ghabh e mu 'n cuairt gus an d' thàinig e gu bun na creige, 's
bha rathad ciatach a dhol a stigh. Chaidh e stigh, 's ma chaidh, 's ann a
thòisich is' air caoineadh. "Ud! ud!" ars' esan, " 's olc so, mi féin a
dh' fhaotainn na huibhir de dhragh a tighinn ma d' thuaiream, ma 's ann a
caoineadh a tha thu nis." "U," arsa na h-ich, "cuir thus' air' ur
beulthaobh-ne e, 's cha-n eagal da gus am fàg sinne so." Rinn i biadh dà,
's chur i air dòigh e, 's 'n nair a bha iad treis comhla chuir i air
beulthaobh nan each e. 'N uair a thàinig am famhair thubhairt e, "THA
BOLADH AN FHARBHALAICH A STiGH. Ars' ise, "M’ ullaidh, is m'aighear, is m'
fheudail, cha-n' eil ann ach boladh a bhalaidh bhreuna de na h-eachaibh."
An ceann treis chaidh e 'thoirt bidh do na h-eich, 's thòisich na h-eich
air, 's cha mhòr nach do mharbh iad e, 's cha d' rinn e ach snàgan air
éigin uatha. "Ghràidh," ars' ise, "tha iad a brath do mharbhadh." "Na'm b’
ann agam féin a bhitheadh 'm anam g'a ghleidheadh 's fhad' o'n a mharbh
iad mi," ars' esan. "C' ait' a ghràidh am bheil d' anam? An leòbhra,
gabhaidh mise củram deth." "Tha e," ars' esan, "ann an clach nam bonnach."
Nur a dh' fhoIbh esan an l’ar na mhàireach, chuir ise òrdugh clach nam
bonnach gu fuathasach. An am an athaidh 's an anmoich thàinig am famhair a
stigh. Chuir ise a fear air beulthaobh nan each. Chaidh am famhair a
thoirt bidh do na h-eich, 's leadair iad e na bu mhotha 's na bu mhotha. "Ciod
e 'thug ort clach narn bonnach a chur an òrdugh mur sin?" ars' esan. "Chionn
gu bheil d'anarn innte." "Tha mi 'g aithneachadb nam bitheadh fios agad c'
aite 'bheil m' anam, gun d' thugadh thu t'aire mhaith dhà." "Bheireadh."
"Cha-n ann an ain a tha m'anam 's arm a tha e 'sa starsaich." Chuir ise an
ordugh an starsach gu gasd' an la 'r na mhàireach. Nur a thill am famhair
chaidh e thoirt bìdh do na h-eich 's leadair na h-eich e na bu mhotha 's
na bu mhotha. "Dé 'thug ort an starsach a chuir an ordugh mar sud?" "Chionn
gu bheil d' anam innte. " "Tha mi 'g aithneachadh na 'm bitheadh flos agad
far am bheil m' anam gun gabhadh tủ củram dheth." "Ghabhadh," ars' ise.
"Cha-n' ann an sin a tha m' anam, ars' esan. Tha leac mhòr fo 'n starsaich,
tha molt fo 'n leachd, tha lach 'am broinn a mhuilt, agus tha ubh am
broinn na lacha, agus 's ann anns an ubh a tha m' anam. 'N uair a dh'
fholbh am farnhair an la'r na mhàireach thog iad an leac, 's a mach a thug
am molt. Na 'm bitheadh agamsa củ seang na coill'uaine, cha b’ fhad 'a
bhitheadh e 'toirt a' mhuilt a m' ionnsuidh. Thainig củ seang na coill'
uaine ugus am molt 'n a bheul. 'N uair a dh'fhosgail iad am molt, a mach a
bha 'n lach air iteagach leis na lachan eile. Na'm bitheadh agamsa seobhag
liath na creige glaise, cha b'fhada'bhitheadh i 'toirt na lach a
m’ionnsuidh. Thàinig seobhag liath na creige glaise 's an lach 'n a beul.
'N uair a sgoilt lad an lach a thoirt an uibhe a 'broinn mach a ghabh an
t-ubh ann an doimhneachd a chuain. Na'm bitheadh agamsa doran donn na h-amhann,
cha b’fhada bhitheadh i 'toirt a m' ionnsuidh an uibhe. Thàinig an doran
dorm 's an t-ubh na beul, 's rug a bhanrigh air an ubh 's phronn i eadar a
da laimh e. Bha 'm famhair a tighirm anns an athamanachd, 's 'n uair a
phronn ise 'n t-ubh thuit e sìos marbh, 's cha do charaich e as a sin
fhathasd. Thug iad mòran leo de dh 'òr 's de dh' airgeid. Chuir iad
oidhche shunndach seachad aig doran donn na h-abhann, oidhch' aig: seobhag
liath na creige glaise, agus oidhch' aig củ seang na coill' uaine. Thàinig
iad dachaidh 's chuir iad an òrdugh cuirm chridheil, 's bha iad gu sona,
toilichte 'n a dhéigh sin.
2. I have another version of this tale,
written by Hector Urquhart, told by John Campbell, living at Strath
Gairloch, Ross-shire, received June 27, 1859. It is very well told. It
varies a little from the Islay version, but the resemblance is so close,
that to print it entire would be repetition. It contains many
characteristic phrases which the other has not got, so I give this
abstract. The Gaelic is as it came to me.
THE "SGEULACHD" OF THE WIDOW’S SON. -
There was once a widow's son, and he was often stalking (SEALG). On a day
of days and he stalking, he "sits" at the back of a knoll, before the sun
and behind the wind (RI AGHAIDH GREINE'S RI CUL NA GAOITHE), and there
came the way a youth, like a picture (OGANACH DEALBHANACH), riding a blue
filly (FAILORE GORM), and he sits beside him.
They played at cards, and the widow's
son won, and when evening came the youth said, "What is the stake of thy
gaming?" (CE DHE BUIDH DO CHLUICHE?) and he said, "the blue filly under
thee." He took her home, and she changed into the finest woman that man
ever saw. Next day he went stalking, and on coming home in the mouth of
night (AM BEUL NA OIDHCHE), he learned that the big giant had taken away
his sweetheart - CHA NEEL COMAS AiR AS EISE ACH NA BO MHISE BO TREASA CHA
MHEALLADH EISE FAD I. "There is no help for it," said he, "but were I the
stronger, he would not allure her far."
DH’ERICH MAC NA BANNTRICH. The widow's
son arose, 's CHAIDH E NA CHRIOSIBH IALLA S' NA IALLA GAISGICH, and he
went into his belts of thongs and his thongs of warrior, ‘S DH’FHALBH E LE
CEUMANIBH GU TUISLEAG DOMH MHEANMNACH, and he went With leaping strides,
cheerful to me (or? Doimhainneachd - of deepness) S' DHEANADH E MiLE
THORAN NA SLEIBH LEIS NA H UILLE CEUM A DHEANADH E, and he would make a
thousand knolls of the hill with every step he made, ‘S B' FHEAR DHA
NAMHAID A SHEACHANADH NA TACHAIRT AN LATHA SIN RIS, and his foe had better
avoid him than meet that day with him. He saw a little hut "in the mouth
of night," and though far away, not long to reach it, AIR A THUBHADH LE
ITEAGAN GARBHA NAN EUN A MUIGH S LE ITEAGAN MINE NAN EUN A STEACH,
thatched with coarse feathers of the birds without, and with fine feathers
of the birds within, AGUS RUITHAG AN T UBHAL BHON DARNA CEAN DHON A CHIN
EILE LE CHO COMHRAD S'A BHA E, and the apple would run from one end to the
other end, so even it was. He went in and found no man, but two great
fires on the fire place (CHAGAILT) on the floor. SUIL DA DUG E, glance
that he gave he saw a falcon coming in with a heath hen in her claws, and
the next glance it was, GILLE BRIAGH BUDH, a braw yellow lad, who spoke as
in the Islay version, entertained him and told him in the morning to call
on SEABHAG SUIL GHORM GHLENNA FEIST - the blue eyed falcon of Glen Feist.
Next day it was the same, and he came, AIR CIARADH DON FHEISGAR, at the
turning-dun of the evening, to a second hut, thatched like the other, S'
BHA SNATHNEAN BEAG SUARACH SIODA CUMAIL DION A DHROMA RIS, and there was a
little sorry silken thread, keeping the thatch of its back on. DOBHRAN
DONN, otter brown, come in with a salmon, and became a man, and spoke as
the other, and told him in the morning to call on DOBHRAN DONN SRUTH ANT'
SHUIL - Brown otter of sail stream. The third day was the same, the hut
was the same, but that there were two great fires on each fire place, and
there came in MADADH MOR, big dog, with a hare by the throat, who became
the finest man, AIR AN DUG E ROSK RIAMH, he ever turned face to; who said
as the others did - "It was late when the big giant went past with thy
sweetheart on his shoulder." At parting he told him to call on MADADH GLAS
DRIOMAN T-SHLEIBHE - grey dog of mountain back in time of need. That night
he saw, TiGH MOR GEAL AN AN GLEANN FADA FAISICH, a big white house in a
long desert glen, and saw his sweetheart with a golden comb in her hand,
and she would take a while at combing her hair, and a while at weeping,
and when she saw him she said - "My pity, what brought thee here? the
giant will kill thee." "Two shares of fear on him, and the smallest share
on me," said the widow's son.
She had laid it as crosses and as spells
on the giant, not to come near her for a day and a year, and they were
together in the giant's house till evening.
She hid him, and had a long talk with
the giant when he came home, who was wheedled, as in the other story, into
telling first that his life (BETHA) was in (CARN GLAS UD THAILL) yonder
grey cairn. The lady was addressed as NiGHINN RIGH CHOIGE MUGH - O
daughter of king of COIGE MUGH, which kingdom is not within my
The giant came home, and found the grey
cairn dressed out and ornamented, and after a deal of persuasion, gave out
that his life was in SEANN STOC DARRICH - an old oak stump on the bank of
yonder river. So the next day that was dressed out, and when he came home
he said, "Do thou make the stock braw, BRIAGH, every day. On the third day
they split the oak stump with an axe, and a hare leaped out. "There now is
the giant’s life away," said the king's daughter, "and he will come
without delay and kill thee, and not spare me." Grey dog of mountain back
was called, and brought the hare, and a salmon leaped out into the river.
Brown otter of sail stream brought the salmon, and a heath hen sprang out.
Blue eyed falcon of Glen Feist brought the bird, and the giant came
roaring - "King's daughter, let me have my life and thou shalt have the
little chest of gold and the little chest of silver that is in yonder grey
cairn." The widow's son answered, "I will have that, and I will have
this;" and he seized the axe, and the stock fell, and the giant was dead.
And the widow's son and the daughter of King Coige Mugh, in Erin, staid in
the house and the land of the giant, and their race was there when I was
The warrior's dress of thongs is
remarkable, and something like it is described in another tale. There is a
curious picture at Taymouth of a man, supposed to be the Regent Murray, in
a Highland dress, which may be the dress described. The upper part is
composed of strips of some ornamental material, which might be stamped
gilded leather; the rest of the dress is a linen shirt, with ruffles, and
a plaid wrapped about the body in the form of a modem kilt, and belted
plaid; he wears stockings and shoes of a peculiar pattern: the headdress
is a bonnet with an ostrich plume; the arms, a dirk and a long ornamented
There is another picture at Dytchley, in
Oxfordshire, which represents an ancestor of Lord Dillon in an Irish
costume. The dress consists solely of a very short garment like a shirt,
coloured, and very much ornamented with tags, which might be leather. The
gentleman is armed with a spear, and the dress is probably a masquerade
representation of a real Irish dress of some period.
I would here remark that the personages
and places in all these tales are like the actors in a play and the
scenes. The incidents vary but little, but the kings and their countries
vary with every version, though there is a preference for Erin, Ireland;
Lochlain, Scandinavia, or rather Denmark and Norway; and Greuge, the
3. I have a third version of this
written by MacLean, told by Donald MacPhie, in South Uist. The old man was
very proud of it, and said it was "the HARDEST" story that the transcriber
had ever heard. He told me the same.
As often happens with aged reciters,
when he repeated it a second time slowly for transcribing, nearly all the
curious, "impassioned, and sentimental" language was left out. This is
MacLean's account, and it entirely agrees with my own experience of this
man, who is next thing to a professional reciter (see introduction). This
version is the most curious of the three. I hope some day to get it better
copied, so I do not abstract it now It is nearer the Ross-shire version
than the Islay story, and carries the scene to Greece from Ireland. The
reciter is 79, and says he learned it in his youth from an old man of the
name of John MacDonald, Aird a Mhachair.
The principle on which gaming is carried
on in this and in other tales is peculiar.
The stake is rather a ransom, for it is
always settled after the game is decided.
The game played is TAILEASG, which
Armstrong translates as sport, game, mirth, chess, backgammon, draughts.
This story resembles in some particulars
1. The Gaelic tale published by Dr.
MacLeod, printed page 30, Leobhar Nan Cnoc. 1834
2. The Sea Maiden, in present
collection, and the stories referred to in the notes.
3. The Giant who had no Heart in his
Body. Norse Tales. 1859.
4. The Seven Foals, where a horse
advises his rider. Norse Tales.
5. Dapplegrim, where the same occurs,
where there are two horses, and where the rider hides about the horses.
6. Fortunio, where the horse also
advises his rider.
7. This also resembles a part of the
"Arabian Nights," where the Calender is changed into a monkey, and the
princess fights a genius in various shapes.
8. "The Ball of Crystal," Grimm, where
the power of an enchanter is in a crystal ball, in an egg,
in a fiery bird, in a wild ox.
9. The Three Sisters, page 52, where a
little key is found in an egg, in a duck, in a bull.
This book is an English translation (1845) of Volks Märchen, by Musaeus,
1872. Said to have been published in English in 1790.
10. Another version of the Sea Maiden
recited to me in South Uist. The soul of the Sea Maiden was in an egg,
in a goose, in a ram, in a wild bull, and was got by
the help of an otter, a falcon, a wolf and a lion.
Lempriere - Ǽgyptus - Kneph or Knouphis
- A God represented as a ram. He was the soul of the world; his symbol a
circle, in the centre of which is a serpent with the head of a hawk, or a
globe with a serpent turned round it. Together with mind, the primitive
matter was given, both produced from the same great principle, existing in
it from all eternity, imperishable. The primitive matter was rude and
shapeless when the spirit imparted to it the power of motion, and gave it
the form of a sphere. This became the sphere or egg of the world
which Kneph let fall frorn his mouth, when he wished to form all
It is warmly contended by Irish writers
that the religion of the Celts, and the Celts themselves, came from
Phoenicia and Carthage.
If this story be mythological, here is
something like it.
We have the hawk, ram, and a
bird; and in the Inverary version we have a fish and the egg,
with the life of bird, beast, fish, and man in it.
There is a place called Lok
Maaien-ker, in Morbihan, Brittany, a long, dark, underground passage,
at the end of which are certain rudely sculptured stones. On one of these
is something which bears some faint resemblance to the snake, who appears
in the next tale.
There is one word in this tale, "SEANG,"
which is not given in dictionaries as a substantive. Sing, applied to an
Indian prince, means lion, and the beast here described might be one.
Seang, as an adjective, means thin, slim, slender, gaunt, and is the root
of Seangan, an ant.
In Prichard's "Celtic Nations," by
Latham, 1856, a Dacota word is quoted "SUNGKA," which originally
comprehended the idea of Dog, Fox, and Wolf.
The word GRUAGACH, which here means some
male personage, generally means a maiden. It also means "A female spectre
of the class of Brownies to which the Highland dairy-maids made frequent
libations of milk - rarely THE CHIEF OF A PLACE." Armstrong dic.
This word, which has not its common meaning, may help to trace the
language. The root is GRUAG, the hair of the head.
A Gruagach used to haunt Skipriess
Castle, and is still remembered there as a supernatural female who did odd
jobs about the house for the maids, and lived in the ruin.
"There was also a Gruagach in Kerrisdale,
in Gairloch, in Rossshire, once upon a titne."
This may be the same word as Groac’h
or Grac’h, a name given to the Druidesses, who had colleges in an
island near the coasts of Brittany (p. 155, vol.
i., Foyer Breton). The story given has
many incidents common to the Gaelic stories.
The sword of light is common in Gaelic
stories; and stripped of supernatural qualities, the whole thing seems
very like an account of some race contending with another, whose chief
wore long hair, who had horses and bright (? steel) swords, to which
extraordinary virtues were attributed, and who were at the same time beset
by savages who lived in caves, and were assisted by other savages
represented by creatures.