[From Folklore of the Isle of Man, A.W.Moore, 1891]
THE reliable history of a country may be said to date from the
period when its written records begin. Before that time, there is an
epoch during which the place of history is usually supplied by tales
of imaginary personages, whose doings are calculated to gratify the
national pride. An unfailing characteristic of such an epoch is the
personification of the race in an eponym, who is its supposed
ancestor and founder. Thus, in the Isle of Man, we have the famous
magician and navigator Manannan Mac Lir in this capacity, and there
are various other mythical personages connected with the Island, all
of whom appear in ancient Irish tales, though nothing can be
discovered with regard to them from purely native sources of early
date. In fact, the Isle of Man was so intimately associated with
Ireland till the coming of the Northmen, that it is not likely that
it would have any early myths distinct from those in Ireland. It is,
therefore, to the early Irish legends that we have to refer for any
mention of the Isle of Man, and they tell us that it was considered
to be a sort of Fairy-land to which the Irish gods and heroes
occasionally resorted. In the legends of the heroic period in
Ireland, we find the deities and heroes called Lug, Cuchulainn,
Curoi, and Culann connected with Man as well as Manannan; while, in
the later or Ossianic Cycle of legends, we have Finn and his son
Oisin, who in the only really early native legend, are made to
associate with the Scandinavian Oree. But of all these deities, the
most important in Man is Manannan, about whom many tales have
accumulated. To understand his place in the Legendary
History of Ireland we must bear in mind that, according to the
Leabkar Gabhala, or Book of Invasions (a compilation of the
late 10th or early 11th century), there were five conquests of
Ireland, the first by Parthol or Bartholemew, and his followers; the
second by Nemed and his followers; the third by the Firbolg; the
fourth by the Tuatba Dé Danann; the fifth by the Milesians. It
is with the fourth body of invaders, the Tuatha Dé Danann, who
conquered the Firboig, that Manannan is connected. In the legendary
and romantic literature of Ireland the Tuatha Dé Danann are
celebrated as magicians. By the Milesians and their descendants they
were regarded as belonging to the spirit world, and, in the
imagination of the people, they became Fairies, who were supposed to
lie in splendid palaces in the interior of green hills. There can be
little doubt that the Tuatha Dé Danann represent the Olympus
of the ancient Irish, that hierarchy of divine beings which the Celts
possessed as well as other Aryan people. In this hierarchy Manannan
occupied the position of god of the sea. But as early as the 9th and
10th centuries of our era he had suffered the change known as
euhemerisation, from an immortal he had become a mortal. It is thus
we meet him in one of the oldest monuments of Irish literature, the
so-called glossary of Cormac, King-bishop of Cashel, killed in 903
:-" Manannan Mac Lir, a celebrated merchant who was in the Isle of
Man. He was the best pilot that was in the west of Europe. He used to
know, by studying the heavens, the period which would be the fine
weather and the bad weather, and when each of these two times would
change. Inde Scoti et Brittones eum deum vocaverunt maris, et inde
filium maris esse dixerunt, i.e., Maclir-, 'son of sea.'
Et de nomine Manannan the Isle of Man dictus
est."1 This theory of the Isle of Man being
named after Manannan, when so called, has been shown to be highly
improbable by Professor Rhys, who thinks that "Manannan gave his
original name corresponding to Mann and its congeners to the
Island, making it Manavia insula. . . . for which we have in
Welsh and Irish respectively Manaw and Manann. Then
from these names of the Island the god derives his in its attested
forms of Manawydan and Manannan, which would seem to mark an epoch
when he had become famous in connection with the Isle of
To Cormac's account, O'Donovan has added the following note :-"He was the son of Allot, one of the Tuatha Dé Danann chieftains. He was otherwise called Orbsen, whence Loch Orbsen, now Lough Corrib. He is still vividly remembered in the mountainous district of Derry and Donegal, and is said to have an enchanted castle in Lough Foyle. According to the traditions in the Isle of Man and the Eastern counties of Leinster, this first man of Man rolled on three legs like a wheel through the mist."
We can follow the process of euhemerisation in later texts. Thus, according to the Book of Fermoy, a MS. of the 14th to the 15th century, "he was a pagan, a lawgiver among the Tuatha Dé Danann, and a necromancer possessed of power to envelope himself and others in a mist, so that they could not be seen by their enemies." The Book of Lecan (14th century) mentions a Manannan whom it calls "son of Athgus, King of Manain (Man) and the islands of the Galls" (the Western Isles), who came with a great fleet to pillage and devastate the Ultonians, to avenge the children of Uisnech," These children of Uisnech, when compelled to fly "from Erinn," had sailed eastwards. and conquered "what was from the Isle of Man northwards of Albain," and after having killed Gnathal, King of the country, were induced to return to Ireland under a pledge of safety from Conchobar, King of Ulster. The sons of Gnathal, who also sought the protection of Conchobar, "killed the sons of Uisnech," in consequence of which Gaiar, the grandson of Uisnech, banished Conchobar to the islands of Orc and Cat (the Orkneys and Caithness), and Gaiar having reigned over Ulster for a year, went into Scotland with Manannan, and died there. The 15th century version of a story called "The exile of the children of Uisnech" tells us that Gaiar was assisted against Conchobar by Manannan, who was the fourth of his name and dynasty who had ruled in Man.
O'Flaherty speaks of him in his Ogygia as follows: "The merchant Orbsen was remarkable for carrying on a commercial intercourse between Ireland and Britain. He was commonly called Mananan Mac Lir, that, is, Mananan, on account of his intercourse with the Isle of Man; and Mac Lir, i.e., sprung from the sea, because he was an expert diver; besides, he understood the dangerous parts of harbours; and, from his prescience of the change of weather, always avoided tempests.3
The same author, in his West Connaught, states that Orbsen's proper name was Manannan, and that Lough Orbsen was called from him, because when his grave was being dug the lake broke forth; and he says that, at the adjacent Magh Vim, "Uillin, grandchild of Nuadh (silver-hand), King of Ireland twelve hundred years before Christ's birth, overthrew in battle, and had the killing of Orbsen Mac Alloid, commonly called Mananan (the Mankish man), Mac Lir (son of the sea) for- his skill in seafaring."4
Keating, in his General History of Ireland, written early in the 17th century, gives Manannan's genealogy as follows:
"Mananan, the son of Alladh, the son of Elathan, son of Dalboeth, an immediate descendant of Nemedius, the pro genitor of the Tuatha de Danans in Ireland ; that weird and mystic colony who never, through the lapse of ages, have relinquished their dominion over the superstitions of the peasantry of Ireland; but who are still believed to rule the spirit or fairy land of Erin; to reign paramount in the us, the cave, the mine to occupy genii palaces in the deepest recesses of the mountains, and under the deep water of our lakes."
But supplementing this pseudo-historical account of Manannan, we find numerous romantic references to him at all stages of Irish literature. Thus, the "Sick-bed of Cuchulainn," a tale which goes back, substantially, to the fifth century of our era, although we only possess it in transcripts of the i ith century, relates that Manannan became jealous of Cuchulainn, with whom his wife Fand had fallen in love. He shook a cloak of invisibility of forgetfulness between the two and carried off Fand with himself to fairy-land, whereupon Cuchulainn returned to his own wife.
Professor Rhys remarks of him that "In Irish literature he appears mostly as King of the Fairies in the Land of Promise, a mysterious country in the lochs or the sea. His character seems to have been a most contradictory one - many tricky actions are ascribed to him, while he was very strict about other people's morality. At his court no one's food would get cooked if, while it was on the fire, any one told an untrue story, and he is said to have banished three men from fairy-land to the Irish court of Tara for lying or acting unjustly.
In the Welsh Mabinogi, bearing the name of Manan counterpart, Manawydan, the latter is not much associated with the sea, excepting, perhaps, his sojourn . . . in the lonely Isle of Gresholm. It makes him, however, take to agriculture, especially the growing of wheat. . . . He is also called one of the three Golden Cordwainers of Britain, owing to his having engaged successively in the making of saddles, shields, and shoes. . . . The sinister aspect of Manannan is scarcely reflected by Manawydan, who is represented as gentle, scrupulously just, and always a peacemaker; neither is he described as a magician; but he is made to baffle utterly one of the greatest wizards known to Welsh literature." It would appear also that he was connected with the other world, and he figures as one of the three landless monarchs of Britain. He had, however, a huge prison in the shape of a bee-hive, the walls of which consisted of human bones. King Arthur was once incarcerated there for three months.5
The Gaelic Manannan is represented in Brythonic (Welsh) literature by Manawydan, but it is uncertain if there really was a Brythonic sea-god corresponding to the Gaelic one, or if the Welsh tales are not simply literary adaptations of Irish ones. Professor Rhys favours the former view.
The connection of Manannan with the Isle of Man probably arose in this way. lt was the practice of the earliest Irish to represent their divinities as living in Islands to which, under exceptional circumstances, mortals might sail. It is uncertain if this conception of the Island home of divinities is really older or not than that which figures them as dwelling in the hollow hills. All one can say is that we find it earlier in the Irish texts. It has been well studied by Professor Zimmer in his admirable essay on the Brendan voyage,6 in which he shows that a number of texts which have come down to us are still completely pagan in concep tion,, and reflect a belief which must still have been officially dominant in parts of Ireland as late as the sixth century. Unofficially these beliefs linger in the traditions respecting Hy Breasil. But, as a rule, the Gaelic peasant figures "Faery" as inside a hill, or under the water, and probably this belief is the older of the two.
Manannan MacLir is an actor in so many of the ancient Irish heroic tales that it is impossible, with a due regard to space, to give more than outline of a few of them as we have done. The magic powers of his sword are frequently mentioned, e.g., in the curious tale of Diarmait and Grainne. Those interested in such matters will find in Vol. III.of the Ossianic Society's Publications a marvellous romance of the adventures of Cormac MacArt in the fairy palace of Manannan in Man; but enough will have been given to exhibit Manannan in his various attributes as King, warrior, trader, navigator, and magician; and to show that his connection with the Isle of Man was supposed to have begun after he and his Tuatha dé Dananns were defeated by the Milesians, when he was chosen by the warriors as their leader, and that he and they were supposed to have taken refuge in the Western Isles and Man, whose inhabitants acknowledged him as their ruler.
From purely local sources we glean the following information about Manannan; but it must be remembered that in its present form it is all of comparatively recent origin, as the "Supposed True Chronicle of Man," and "The Traditionary Ballad," both probably date from the sixteenth century, though doubtless founded on older traditions. The former tells us that "he was the first man that had Mann, or ever was ruler of Mann, and the land was named after him," and that "he reigned many years, and was a Paynim, and kept, by necro mancy, the Land of Man under mists, and if he dreaded any enemies, he would make of one man to seem an hundred by his art magick, and he never had any form of the comons; but each one to bring a certain quantity of green rushes on Midsummer Eve - some to a place called Warfield (now South Barrule), and some to a place called Man,7 and yet is so called. And long after St. Patrick disturbed him, the said Manannan, and put Christian folks into the said land."8 The ballad gives practically the same account. More recent tradition has endowed him with the stature of a giant, who by his strength and ferocity became the terror of the whole Island. It is said that he used to transport himself with great ease across the gorge between Peel Castle and Contrary Head. On one occasion, either for amusement or in a fit of rage, he lifted a large block of granite from the Castle rock, and though it was several tons in weight, he hurled it with the greatest ease against the slope of the opposite hill, about three miles distant, where it is seen to this day, having, as an evidence of the truth of the story, the print of his hand on it. His grave is said to be the green mound, thirty yards long, outside the walls of Peel Castle.
The connection of Lug (an Irish divinity, corresponding partly to Hermes, partly to Apollo) with Manannan and Man, is said to have been a close one, as will be seen from the following account of him; and, as will be shown later, his cult had spread to Man as well as to other Celtic lands (see "August I." chap. vi). Lug is thus described: "Like to the setting sun was the splendour of his countenance and his forehead; and they were not able to look in his face from the greatness of its splendour. And he was Lugh Lanch-fada,9 and (his army was) the Fairy Cavalcade from the land of Promise, and his own foster brothers, the sons of Manannan.10" He is said to have been brought up at the Court of Manannan, here called the Land of Promise, which in many of the ancient tales is identified with Man. Lug was famous for his mighty blows, and his spear became one of the treasures of the Tutha Dé Danaun. When he fought against the sons of Turenn and imposed upon them the impossible eric-fine of procuring certain fabulous weapons, he rode Enbarr of the flowing mane, Manannan's steed, who was "as swift as the clear, cold wind of spring," and travelled with equal ease on land and sea. He wore Manannan's coat of mail, through, or above and below which no one could be wounded; also his breast-plate, which no weapon could pierce. His helmet had two glittering precious stones set in front, and one behind, and Manannan's sword, called "The Answerer," hung at his side. From the wound of this sword no one ever recovered, and those who were opposed to it in the battle-field were so terrified by looking at it, that their strength left them. He was accompanied by his foster brothers, and by the Fairy Host, as already mentioned. The sons of Turenn were told that they could not obtain the eric-fine without the help either of Lug or Manannan, and they were advised to ask Lug for the loan of Manannan's steed, and if he refused, for his canoe, the "Wave Sweeper."
Lug, the great warrior of the Tuatha Dé Danann, has his counterpart among the Ultonians in Ci'ichulainn, who is said to have been the son ot Lug, or Lug re-born. It is only in the story of "The Isle of Falga," given below, that he is mentioned in connection with the Isle of Man, though there were formerly songs sung about him, and there is a tradition to the effect that he was called "King of the Mists," like Manannan. His adver sary, Céroi Mac Daire, was a great magician. The following tale gives an account of their rivalry for the fair daughter of the king of Man.
The Isle of Falga is variously supposed to have been the Isle of Man, or Insi Gall, i.e., the Western Isles. Cuchulainn and the heroes of Ulster once on a time resolved to go on a plundering expedition to the Isle of the Men of Falga, a fairy land ruled by Mider as its King. Culroi, who was a great magician, insinuated himself among the raiders in disguise, and by means of his arts he succeeded in leading the Ultonians into Mider's stronghold, after they had repeatedly failed in their attempts. He did this on the condition that he was to have of the plunder the jewel that pleased him best. They brought away from Mider's castle Mider's daughter, Bláthnat, as she was a damsel of exceeding beauty; also Mider's three cows and his cauldron, which were objects of special value and virtues. When they came to the division of the spoils, the mean-looking man in grey, who had led the victorious assault, said that the jewel he chose was Bláthnat, whom he took to himself.
Cuchulainn complained that he had deceived them, as he had only specified a jewel, which he insisted on interpreting in no metaphorical sense; but, by means of his magic, the man in grey managed to carry the girl away unobserved. Cuchulainn pursued, and the dispute came to be settled by a duel on the spot, in which Cuchulainn was so thoroughly vanquished that Curoi left him on the field bound hand and foot, after having cut off his long hair, which forced Cuchulainn to hide himself for a whole year in the wilds of Ulster, while Curoi carried away to his stronghold of Caher Conree both Bláthnat and her father's cows and cauldron. Later it would appear that Cuchulainn got the better of Curoi, and took Bláthnat away from him, for Bláthnat proved a faithless wife to Curoi and plotted with Cuchulainn to kill him. At the time fixed upon by her, namely, November eve, Ctichulainn and his followers stationed them selves at the bottom of the hill, watching the stream that came down past Ct'iroi's fort; nor had they to wait long before they observed its waters turning white: it was the signal given by Bhlthnat, for she had agreed to empty the milk of Mider's three cows from Mider's cauldron into the stream, which has ever since been called the Finnghlais, or White Brook. The sequel was that Cdchuhsinn entered Cdroi's fort unopposed, and slew its owner, who happened to be asleep with his head on Bldthnat's lap. . Ctichulainn took away Bldthnat, with the famous cows and cauldron ; but he was not long to have possession of his new wife, for Ciiroi's poet and harper, called Ferceirtne, resolved to avenge his master; so he paid a visit to Ciichulainn and Bl~thnat in Ulster, where he was gladly received by them; but one day, when the Ultonian nobles happened to be at a spot bordering on a high clifi Ferceirtne suddenly clasped his arms round Bhlthnat, and flinging himself over the cliff they died together.11 This old story has been embodied in a poem, called "Blanid,"12 by Robert D. Joyce, of which the following, lines describing the combat between Curoi and Cuchullin are perhaps the best
"I come to win back thy misgotten prize,
Mine own beloved, the bloom-bright Maid of Man !"
"Thou com'st to dye this grass with ruddy dyes
Of thy best blood,' cried Curoi, "and to ban
All knighthood with thy word forsworn!
Her eyes Shall see the fight, so let him take who can !
La! there she stands, with her fear-whitened face;
Look thy last on her now, and take thy place!"
Meanwhile, as one who on a wreck doth stand,
That the wide wallowing waves toss to and fro,
And sees the saving boat put from the land,
Now high, now in the sea-trough sunken low,
Trembling tween fear and hope, each lily hand
Pressed on her heart, as if to hide her woe,
And pale as one who had forsaken life,
Young Blanid stood to watch the coming strife.
* * * *
Then sprang they to their feet, and warily
Looked in each other's eyes with look of hate,
And crossed their jarring swords, and with bent knee
Fought a long time, their burning ire to sate,
Till like a storm-uprooted stately tree
Cuhullin fell, and Curoi stood elate,
Eyeing him as the hunter eyes the hoar,
That fighting falls, but yet may rise once more.
Another mythic Irish figure connected with the Isle of Man is Culann, the smith, who in this capacity may be compared with Hephoestus, or Vulcan. Culann was, however, also a Divine and Prophet. He was the possessor of a terrible hound, which was slain by the youthful Setanta; who was in consequence called Cu-Chulainn, i.e., Culann's hound. Culann is said to have lived for a time in the Isle of Man, where he manufactured sword, spear, and shield of such transcendent excellence for Conchobar, that he was invited by him to dwell in his realm. The story about this may perhaps be found of sufficicnt interest to be related at length :- Conchobar, who had not yet become King of Ulster, but was an ambitious young man seeking to gain a kingdom, consulted the famous oracle at Clogher as to how he might best attain his end. The oracle advised him to proceed to the Isle of Man and get Culann to make these weapons for him. Conchobar did so, and prevailed on Culann to begin his task; but, while awaiting its completion, he sauntered one morning along the shore, and in the course of his walk met with a mermaid fast asleep on the beach. He promptly bound the syren, but she, on waking and perceiving what had happened, besought him to liberate her; and to induce him to yield to her petition, she informed him that she was Teeval, the Princess of the Ocean; and promised that if he caused Culann to form her representation on the shield surrounded with this inscription, 'Teeval, Princess·of the Ocean,' it would possess such extraordinary powers that when ever he was about engaging his enemy in battle, and looked upon her figure on the shield, read the legend, and invoked her name, his enemies would diminish in strength, while he and his people would acquire a proportionate increase in theirs. Conchobar had the shield made according to the advice of Teeval, and, on his return to Ireland, such extraordinary success attended his arms, that he won the kingdom of Ulster. Culann accepted Conchobar's offer, referred to above, and settled on the plain of Murthemne, which was fabled to have been formerly situated beneath the sea. It was here that he was visited by Conchobar, accompanied by his Court and Cuchulainn.
Of the later legends, which form a cycle entirely distinct from that of the heroic age, Finn, the son of Cumall (Finn MacCumaill), is the chief hero. He is said to have been the chief of a band of mercenaries, or robbers, called Fianns, and to have flourished in the second part of the third century. If this were so, he lived on the very threshold of the historical period in Ireland. Ossin, his son, was a famous warrior and a great poet. in both of which roles he only reproduced the character of his father, who was not merely celebrated as a warrior and huntsman, but especially as a poet and diviner, as already stated. Finn is connected with the Scandinavian Orree in a Manx heroic poem, and if, as has recently been conjectured,13 Finn is identical with Kettle Finn, a Norseman who yielded great influence in Ireland and Man about the middle of the ninth century, the connection is a very natural one. The poem referred to above is undoubtedly the oldest known poetical composition in the Manx language. We append it, together with some interesting notes by Deemster Peter John Heywood, who died in 1790. It is not known by whom the spirited English translation was made. With the exception of lines 9 and 10, which rendered literally are-
"Full threescore whelps, and not one less,
With three old dames to look after them,"
it is fairly close to the original.
HIE Fin as Oshin magh dy helg,
Lesh three feed cailleeyn dy yeeaghyn moo,
FIN and Oshin went out to hunt,
+Chorus after every line.
+Not in the Manx
Caetera desunt.- But the Catastrophe is said to be that they tore him Limb from Limb with wild horses. The tearing criminals asunder with Horses fastened to each limb is the punishment in the old Statutes of the Isle of Mann to be inflicted on those who should presume to draw a weapon, or strike, or violate the peace within the verge of the Court of Tynwald, or any Court held by the King of Mann, or his Governor.
We have a tradition, that Mann for about a century was governed by a Norwegian race of kings called Orrys. According to the Supposed True Chronicle: "Then there came a Son of the King of Denmark; he conquered the Land, and was the first that was called King Orrye, &c, After him remained Twelve of the Stock, that were called King Orryees inso much that the last (named Reginald) had no Son but one Daughter, named Mary, to whom the right descended, which Mary was Queen of Mann & Countess of Straherne, who, taking with her all her Charters, fled to the King of England, Edward the 1st in the 20th year of his reign, being in St. John's Tower in Scotland, otherwise catted Perthe in Anno Dom., in 1292, for Alexander King of Scots arrived at Ranoldsway, near Castletown, and took possession of the Land of Mann." (See the Manx Statute Book, p. 1st.) See also the Ancient Chronicle of the Kings of Man in Camden's Brittannia Edition, 1637, which says "1270, the 7th day of October, a Navy set out by Alexander King of Scots arrived at Rogatwath; and the next morning before Sun rising a Battaile was fought between the People of Man, and the Scots in which were slaine of the Manx men 537, whereupon a certain Versifier playd upon the number-
'L. decies Xter, et pente duo cecidere,
Mannica gens de te, damna futura cave.'
'L. ten times told, X thrice, with five beside and twaine,
Ware future harmes; Tread (sic) of thy Folke Mann were slaine.' "~
A verse from an old song and a proverbial saying contain the only other references to Finn in Manx tradition
In the following verse, Finn Mac Coole is associated with. Fairies and Demons
Finn Mac Coole, as onittey e
"Finn Mac Coole, and all his company,
The following quaint saying also relates to him
Ny three geayghyn s'feayrey dennee Fion Mac Cooit,
Geay henneu, as geay built, as geay fo ny shiauilt.
"The three coldest winds that came to Fion Mac Cooit, wind from haw, wind from a hole, and wind from under the sails."
There are only two Scandinavian tales remaining on record in Man. They are S:gurd Fafni's Bane and The Punishment of Loki. These tales have been preserved neither by tradition, nor by written record, but by having been carved on stone. Both are found on a stone in Kirk Andreas Church-yard, and the first only on a stone in Malew Church-yard. 17
We take the following abstract of the two tales, which are mythologico-historical lays in the Elder Edda, from an account of the Andreas stone given by Mr. G. F. Black in the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
"There was a king named Sigmund Vdlsungsson, who married Hiordis, a daughter of King Eylimi, for his second wife. Some time after his marriage Sigmund was attacked in his kingdom by King Lingvi Hundingsson and his brothers, and was mortally wounded through being opposed by a one- eyed man, with a broad-brimmed hat and blue cloak (Odin), who held his spear against the sword of Sigmund, which was shivered into fragments. At night, Hiordis came to the battle- stead and asked Sigmund whether he could be healed, but he did not wish to be healed, for his good fortune had forsaken him since Odin had broken his sword, of which he requested Hiordis to .collect the fragments, and give them to the son she would bear, who should become the greatest of the Vdlsung race. Hiordis was carried off by Alf, son of King Hiatprek of Denmark, who had just landed at the battle-stead with a band of Vikings, and-who married her after she gave birth to Sigmund's child. This child was named Sigurd * and grew up in Hialprek's court, under the care of the dwarf Regin, who taught him all the branches of knowledge known at that time. He also urged him to demand his father's treasure of Elailprek, but Sigurd only asked a horse of the king, who allowed him to choose one; and Odin, in the guise of an old man with a long beard, aided him to find out Grana, that was of Sleipnir'st race. Regin then counselled Sigurd to go in quest of Fafni's gold, of which he gave him the following account
"Hreidmar had three sons, Fafni the Dragon, Ottur, and Regin the dwarf-smith. Ottur could transform himself into an otter, under which form he was in the habit of catching fish in Andvari's waterfall, so called from a dwarf of that name.
One day as Ottur was sitting with his eyes shut eating a salmon, Odin, Hcenir, and Loki passed by; and Loki cast a stone at Ottur and killed him. The £sir (gods) then skinned him, and came well satisfied with their prize to Hreidmar's dwelling. Hreidmar caused them to be seized, and compelled them to redeem themselves with as much gold as would both fill and cover the otter's skin. To obtain the gold Loki borrowed R~in's* net, cast it into the waterfall, and caught in it the dwarf Andvari, who was accustomed to fish there under the form of a pike. The dwarf was compelled to give all his gold-hoard as the price of his liberty; but on Loki taking from him his last ring, with which he hoped to redeem his fortune, he foretold that it should prove the bane of all its possessors. With this gold the £sir covered the otter's skin; but on Hreidmar perceiving a hair of the beard still uncovered, Odin threw on it the ring of Andvari. Fafni afterwards slew his father Hreidmar, took possession of the gold, became one of the worst of serpents, and now watched over his treasures at Gnitaheid."
Sigurd then asked Regin to forge him a sword, and Regin forged one that could cleave an anvil, and cut through floating wool. Armed with this weapon Sigurd farcd forth, first to his maternal uncle Grip, who spaed his fortune. He then sailed with a large fleet collected for him by King Hialprek to avenge his father's death. During a storm they were hailed by an old man (Odin) from a cliff, whom they took on board. He told them his name was Hnikar, together with many other things. The storm abating, he stepped ashore and vanished. Hunding's son, with a large army, encountered Sigurd, but were all slain, and Sigurd returned with great honour. Sigurd now expressed a wish to slay the dragon Fafni, whose lair had been pointed out to him by Regin. After a hard fight Sigurd pierces the dragon through the body, but nevertheless it holds a long conversation with its slayer, in which it answers Sigurd's questions relative to the Norns and ~ but strives in vain to dissuade him from taking the gold.
After the death of Fafni, Regin cut out his heart, and told Sigurd to roast it for him while he took a sleep. Sigurd took the heart and roasted it on a spit, and when he thought it roasted entugh, and as the blood frothed from it, he touched it with his finger to see if it were quite done. He burned his finger, and put it in his mouth, and when Fafni's heart's blood touched his tongue, he understood the language of birds. He heard a bird telling its companions that Sigurd should himself eat the dragon's heart. A second bird said that Regin would deceive him; a third said that he ought to kill Regin; another one counsels that he should take the dragon's treasure. All these things Sigurd performs, and rides off with the treasure on Grana's back."
In the upper left-hand corner of what, for convenience, we may call the front of the stone, is carved the figure of Sigurd roasting the heart of Fafni. Only the upper part of Sigurd's body is now visible on the stone, the remainder being broken off. In his left hand Sigurd is represented holding a spit containing the heart of Fafni, which is divided into three gobbets, while at the same time he inserts the finger of his right hand into his mouth. The flames are represented by three small isosceles tijangles, one for each gobbet. Immediately above Sigurd's shoulders is shown the head and neck of one of the talking birds which warned him of Regin's intended treachery, and counselled him to forestall the deceiver by cutting off his head. The head of the bird is shown with the neck stretched forward, and the beak open as if addressing Sigurd.
The heaa and neck of Sigurd's horse Grana is also shown above that of the bird. The whole subject is thus referred to in Fafnismdl
The first bird* says:"There sits Sigurd sprinkled with blood
Fafni's heart at the fire he roasts.
Wise methinks were the ring-dispenser,
If he the glistening life-pulp ate."
Second bird."There lies Regin communing with himself;
He wilt beguile the youth who in him trusts:
In rage he brings evil words together,
he framer of evil will avenge his brother."
Third bird:"By the head shorter, let him the hoary sage22
Send hence to Hell; all the gold then can he
Possess atone, the mass that under Fafni lay."
Fourth bird:"He would, methinks, be prudent,
If he could have your friendly counsel, my sisters!
If he would bethink himself and Hugin gladden.
There I expect the wolf where his ears I see
Fifth bird:"Not so prudent is that tree of battle,
As I that warlike leader had supposed.
If he one brother lets depart,
Now he the other has of life bereft."
Sixth bird:He is most simple, if he longer spares
That people's pest. There lies Regin,
Who has betrayed him. He cannot guard against it"
Seventh bird:"By the head shorter let him
Make the ice-cold Jotun,
And of his rings deprive him; then of that treasure thou,
Which Fafni owned, sole lord wilt be."
Sigurd replies:Fate shall not so resentless be,
That Regin shall my death-word bear;
For the brothers both sh'sll speedily
Go hence to Hell."
In the lowest left-hand corner is shown the upper half of a human figure, holding a sword at arm's length. It no doubt represents Sigurd, but whether before or after slaying the dragon, it is impossible to say.
An historical connection with this tale of Sigurd Fafni's Bane has been ~suggested by Professor Browne, which, though not strictly in place in a book of this kind, is so interesting and suggestive that it may be brieflynarrated- Among the coins found when digging the foundations of the tower at Andreas Church was one,g either of Aulaf Sihtric's son, surnamed the Red, who was King of Northumbria 941-945, and King of Dublin till the battle of Tara in 980, or of Aulaf Godfrey's son, Sihtric's brother's son, who was King of Northumbria till 941. Now, the Sigurd of Sigurd Fafrii's Bane was the great-great-grandfather of these two Aulafs, and it is, therefore, a reasonable surmise that the crosses both at Andreas and Malew are memorials to the memory of one -of them. This is particularly interesting to historians as showing the connection of these Aulafs, probably that of Aulaf Sihtric's son with Man, and of equal interest to arch~eologists as demonstrating that these crosses are of much earlier date than has generally been supposed.
After Loki had enraged the gods by his many treacheries, he was chased by them, and took refuge in the waterfall of Frarangr, where he was caught by the gods in a net under the form of a salmon. After his capture he changed to his human form, and as a punishment the gods caused him to be bound to a rock with the entrails of his own son Nan. After he was bound Skadi (a goddess, daughter of Thiassi and the wife of Nj6rd) took a venomous serpent and fastened it up over Loki's head. The venom dropped down from it on to Loki's face. Sigyn, Loki's wife, sat beside him, and held a basin under the serpent's head to catch the venom, and when the basin was full she took it away to empty it. Meanwhile the venom dropped on Loki, who shrank from it so violently that the whole earth trembled.
Of all the mythical personages mentioned in this chapter, the only one remaining in the Folk-Lore of the present day is Manannan, and even about him comparatively little is known. He is usually called Maninagk "the Manxman," and is supposed tz have been the first man in Man, which he protected ty a mist. If, however, his enemies succeeded in approaching in spite of this, he threw chips into the water, which became ships. His stronghold was Peel Castle, and he was able to make one man on its battlements appear as a thousand. Thus he routed his enemies. These, together with the notion that he went about on three legs at a great pace, are all the popular ideas about Manannan which still survive.
1 Cormac's Glossary. (O'Donovan's edition), p. 114.
2 Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, 1886, pp. 663-4.
3 Ogygia, p. 26, Dublin, 1793.
4 West Connaught, Irish Arch. Soc., Dublin, 1849, p. 54,
5 Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, 1886, pp. 665-7.
6 Zeitscbrift fur deut. Alt., 1889, Mr Alfred Nutt's Summary Folk-Lore June, 1890
7 This can scarcely mean the Island.
8 Manx Soc., Vol. XII., p. 6.
9. Long hands.
10 The Fate of the Sons of Turren, published by O'Curry. in the Atlantis. Vol iv. p. 160-3.
11 This tale is taken from Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 473-6, who quotes, .s his authorities, Book of Leinster, Keating and O'Cvrry.
12 Published by Roberts Brothers, Boston, U.S.A.
13 * See Mr Alfred Nutt's abstract of Professor Zimmer's theory of the Ossianic Saga in 'The Academy," of Feb. 14, 1891.
14 Orree beg-Young Orree-not from his size, but age ;-where there are two of the same family, Father and Son, of the same name, the younger is styled beg-i.e., the lesser. This Orree beg is supposed to have been a Scandinavian prince, prisoner on parole, with Fingat and like some modern gallants, to make love to both young ladies at the same time,-and thus they shew their resentment. He declines the bunting party, for an opportunity of intrigucing ~sic) with one or other of the ladies. Meantime he falls asleep in a grotto in the heat of the day; but when he awoke and found the indignity done to him, he resotves, in revenge, to burn Fingat's palace- takes his huge bill, an instrument like a hoe, with which they hack and grub up gorze and heath, or ting, &c., for firing- hies him to the forest, and made up eight large burthens, such as eight modern men could not heave from the ground, and with these he fired the house as above described.
15 Mollaght Mynney, is the bitterest curse in our language, that leaves neither root nor branch, like the Skeabthoan, the besom of destruction.
16 ["Ten L, thrice X, with five and two did fall, ye Manx beware of future evil's call," is the translation given by Munch in his edition of the Chronicle, Manx Society, Vol. xxii.. p. 3.- ED.1
17 Mr P. M. C. Kermode has the credit of being the discoverer of the former, and Canon G. F. Browne of the latter. Canon Browne, indeed, was the first to indicate the existence of this tale on any sculptured stone in the United Kingdom, he having identified it on a cross in Leeds Parish Church-yard and having pointed out its historical and archaeological significance.
18 The Sigurd here mentioned is the same person as the Siegfried of the Old High German Nibelungenlierl. The northern version, however, is the older, more mythical, and more simple of the two. A bold attempt has lately been made by Dr. G. Vigfusson to identify Sigurd with the noble Cheruscan youth Arminius.-Sigfried Arminius, pp. 1-21.
19 Sles~nir. "the slipper," was the eight-footed steed of Odin. Grana .(commonly Grani) means the "grey steed."
20 Rán was the goddess of the sea, and caught in her net all those who were drowned.
21 The original word is egða, which has been variously interpreted eagle. hawk, nuthatch, woodpecker, or magpie; Egðir is the poetical word for eagle.
22 The original word is þulr, the technical meaning of which is obscur In the Cleasby-Vigfusson Icelandic Dictione,y it is rendered "a sayer of saws, a wise man, a sage (a bard?)."