[from Manx Notes & Queries, 1904]
FINN MAC COOIL.
The preservation of the following Ossianic legend will add to the traditional treasures of the Island. It is of the soil and bears the native stamp. It has some similarity with Finn Mac Cooil and the Scotch Giant, given by Kennedy in his Legendary Fictions of the Irish Celts (pp. 179-181). Mac Cooil lives there a great fort in the Bog of Alher, and one day the great Scotch giant of Far Rua, is coming over the big stepping stones that lead from Ireland to Scotland (the Giant's Causeway) to have a fight with him. He had heard of the great Mac Cooil, he says, and wants to see who is the best man. "Oh, ho!" says Finn, "I hear that the Far Rua is three feet taller than me, and I'm three foot taller than the tallest man in Ireland. I must speak to Grainne, the vanithee etc.
Our Manx Finn Mac Cooil dwells at the Sound, and the big giant, who lives on South Barrille, and thought himself the strongest man in the Island, healing of one of Mac Cooil's great feats, comes over to the Sound one day, to have a wrestle with him to see which of them is the stronger. Finn's nimble brain is quite a match for the Goliath of Man, and his ruses, and daring challenges are quite delightful ; the poor, credulous, and simple minded giant gets so panic-struck that he makes off as fast as he can back to his mountains, of course to the great relief of Finn:
" I heard a story about Finn Mac Cooil They say he lived at the Sound, and there are ruins of three houses on the Burrow Ned. I suppose they were his dwelling-house and stable and barn. I heard them say that he was a very strong man, and he was coming along the road and cattle to some men trying to get s horse out of a ditch, and they could not get him out. When Mac Cooil came up he told them to leave the horse for him, and he took the horse by the tail and drew it up on the road, and nine men could not do it.
There was a giant that lived on South Barrule and he was very powerful, and thought himself the strongest man in the Island. When he heard of Finn -Mac Cooil taking a horse out of a ditch by the tail, he came to the Sound one day to have a wrestle with Finn to see which of them was strongest.
And Finn was outside the house, when he saw the giant coming across the fields. There was no highway to the Sound in those days. (I remember when the Sound road was made myself.) So Finn went in the house when he seen the giant coming, he lay down in the cradle, and told his mother not to tell the giant who he was. The giant came in and asked if Mr Mac Cooil was at home. His mother said he was not at home at present, but she expected him soon. So the giant, thought to have a walk in the field while waiting for Mac Cooil to come home, but he had a look in the cradle and asked the old woman who was in the cradle. 'Finn Mac Cooil's eldest son,' said the mother. 'He have a very strong beard for a young chap,' said the giant, and he went out to have a walk in the fields.
Finn got out at the back door, and was in the, field with the cows when the giant came to him. `Who are you ?' said the giant to Finn. ' I am Mr Mac Cooil's cowboy,' said Finn. So the giant began to question him abort his master: how big he was, and how much beef could he eat at a meal. He told him a great yarn about Finn, how strong he was and what wonders he bad done, and that he could eat a cow at a meal. He intended to frighten the giant and to get him away, but the giant did not mean to go away that soft, without having a wrestle with Finn. So he thought he would take away one of the cows to try if he could eat the whole of it; and he took hold of the cow by a horn, and intended to pull the cow after him, but Finn took hold of the other horn, and they pulled the horns off the cow. The giant thought then that Mac Cooil must be a great man when his cowboy was so strong
Then he left the cowboy and went walking, and Finn went home to the house and told his mother that the giant was to lodge at their house that night, and she was to make two cakes of oatmeal for their supper, to make his cake pretty soft, he said, and to put the griddle in the middle of the giant's cake,
So the mother did as he told her, and when the giant came back from his ramble in the fields, Finn went to meet him and told him he was Finn Mac Cooil, that he had just got home off his journey, and that he would have to wait until the morning to try their strength, as he was tired and wanted a night of rest. So the giant was agreeable to wait till the morning. Then Finn invited him to supper, and Finn's mother laid out the supper for them. I don't think it was tea, for there was no tea in Europe in Finn's day. I suppose it would be bread and milk. So they sat down to supper, and Finn was albe to chew his cake easy enough, but the giant could not get his teeth through it, and he thought it was a wonderful thing that Finn could chew his cake so easy and he could not chew it at all. 'Mac Cooil,' thought he,' must be stronger than myself. He is a wonderful man. I think it would be better to make the best of my way home again, but that would be cowardly in a big man like myself to be afraid of a little man like Mac Cooil, So I will lodge here for the night and have a go at him in the morning.' So the old lady made a shakedown for the giant in the barn.
When the morning came it was very warm, and Finn said they would have a wrestle after breakfast; but the poor giant could eat no breakfast, and be refused to take anything for fear of Mac Cooil seeing that he could not chew his bread. W lien Finn was ready, he said to the giant that the day was very warm and that they had better take a swim to freshen them before the wrestle. ` With all my heart,' said the giant.
Then Finn said to his mother : 'Put all the bread in the house in my wallet, and a small crock of butter, and a cheese or two.' The giant stood by wondering. He said at last: `And what would Mac Cooil be after doing with all that ?' `For provision for its while we are swimming,' said Mac Cooil, 'for we may be hungry; a long swim sharpens my appetite.' ' I thought we were only going to swim in a river or pond,' said the giant. 'Ah, no ! ' said Finn, ' we are going to swim in the sea, as there is plenty of room for a race. I often go as far as Wales.' The giant said no more, but got out of the house as fast as possible, and got home again fast as he could. And Mac Cooil got clear of him, for he was afraid to come again, that be would not be shamed."
*From an old man in the Sound, who got it from his grandfather.
OLAVE GODDARDSON AND THE SWORD MACABDIN.
The story of Finn Mac Cooil, who lived at the Sound, and who was challenged by the Manx giant of Barrule, seems to shed additional light on the Ossianic Island legends, and assumes an interest even beyond the limits of Man. Before going more fully into it, and to make it easier to follow the thread of my subsequent excursions. I must reproduce the legend of Olave Goddardson and the Sword Macabuin, as reproduced in Moore's Manx Folklore, pp. 27-29:
According to tradition, there resided in Man, in the days of Olave Goddardson, a great Norman baron, named Kitter, who was so fond of the chase that he extirpated all the bisons and elks with which the Island abounded at the time of his arrival, to the utter dismay of the people, who dreading that he might likewise deprive them of the cattle, and even of their purrs in the mountains, had recourse to witchcraft to prevent such a disaster. When this Nimrod of the North had destroyed all the wild animals of the chase in Man, he one day extended his havoc to the red deer of the Calf, leaving at his castle, on the brow of Barrule, only the cook, whose name was Eaoch (which signifies a person who can cry aloud), to dress the provisions intended for his dinner. Eaoch happened to fall asleep at his work in the kitchen. The famous witch-wife Ada caused the fat accumulated at the lee side of the boiling pot to bubble over into the fire, which set the house in a blaze. The astonished cook immediately exerted his characteristic powers to such an extent that he alarmed the hunters is the Calf, a distance of nearly ten miles.
Kitter, hearing the cries of his cook, and seeing his castle in flames, made to the beach with all possible speed, and embarked in a small currach for Man, accompanied by nearly all his attendants. When about half way, the frail bark struck on a rock (which, from that circumstance, has since been called Kitterland), and all on board perished.
The fate of the great baron, and the destruction of his boat, caused the surviving Norwegians to believe that Eaoch the cook was to league with the witches of the Island, to extirpate the Norwegians then in Man; and on this charge he was brought to trial, and sentenced to suffer death. The unfortunate cook heard his doom pronounced with great composure; but claimed the privilege, at that time allowed to criminals in Norway, of choosing the place and manner of passing from time to eternity. This was readily granted by the king. " Then," said the cook, with a loud voice, " I wish my head to be laid across one of your majesty's legs, and there cut off by your majesty's sword Macabuin, which was made by Loan Maclibuin, the Dark Smith of Drontheim. '
It being generally known that the king's scimitar could sever even a mountain of granite if brought into immediate contact with its edge it was the wish of everyone present that he would not comply with the subtle artifice of such a low varlet as Eaoch the cook; but his majesty would not retract the permission so recentlly given, and therefore gave orders that the execution should take place in the manner desired.
Although the unflinching integrity of Olave was admired by his subjects, they sympathised deeply for the personal injury to which he exposed himself, rather than deviate from the path of rectitude. But Ada, the witch, was at hand: she ordered toads' skins, twigs of the rowan tree, and adders eggs, each to the number of nine times nine, to be placed between the king's leg and the cook's head, to which he assented.
All these things being properly adjusted, the great sword Macabuin, made by Loan Maclibuin the Dark Smith of Drontheim, was lifted with the greatest caution by one of the king's most trusty servants, and laid gently on the neck of the cook ; but ere its downward course could be stayed, it severed the head from the body of Eaoch, and cut all the preventives asunder except the last, thereby saving the king's leg from harm.
When the Dark Smith of Drontheim heard of the stratagem submitted to by Olave to thwart the efficacy of the sword Macabuin, he was so highly offended that he despatched his hammer-man, Hiallus-non-urd, who had only one leg having lost the other when assisting in making that great sword, to the Castle of Peel, to challenge Kind Olave or any of his people to walk with him to Dromtheim. Olave accepted the challenge, and set out to walk against the one-legged traveller from the Isle of Man to the smithy of Loan Maclibnuin, in Drontheim.
" They walked o'er the land and they sall'd o'er the sea."
And so equal was the -match that, when within sight of the smithy, Hiallus-ran-urd, who was first, called on Loan Maclibhun to open the door, and Olave called out to shut it. At that instant, pushing past he of the one leg, the king entered the smithy first, to the evident discomfiture of the swarthy smith and his assistant To show that he was not in the least fatigued Olave lifted a large forge hammer, and under pretence of assisting the smith, struck the anvil with such force that he clove it not only from top to bottom, but also the block upon which it rested.
Emergaid, the dauhter of Loan, seeing Olave perform such manly' prowess, fell so deeply in love with him that during the time her Father was replacing the block and the anvil, she found an opportunity of informing him that, her father was only replacing the studdy to finish a sword be was making, and that he had decoyed him to that place for the purpose of destruction, as it had been prophesied that the sword would be tempered in royal blood, and in revenge for the affront of the cook's death by the sword Macabuin. "Is not your father. the seventh son of old windy cap, King of Norway?" said Olave. " He is," replied Emergaid, as her father entered the smithy. "Then," cried the Kind of Man, as he drew the red steel from the fire, " the prophecy must be fulfilled." Emergaid was unable to stay his uplifted hand till he quenched the sword in the blood of her father, and afterwards pierced the heart of the one-legged hammerman, who he knew was in the plot of taking his life.
This tragical event was followed by one of a more agreeable nature. Olave, conscious that had it not been for the timely intervention of Emergaid, the sword of her father would indeed have been tempered in his blood, and knowing the irreparable loss which she had sustained at his hands, made her his queen, and from her were descended all succeeding kings of Man down to Magnus, the last of the race of Goddard Crovan the Conqueror.
THE LEGEND OF ORREE (=GORREE)*
The legend of Olave Goddardson, as recounted in my last note, is in reality a compound made up of a group of distinct sub-legends, which age, it seems, has thrown indiscriminately into a common ,rolling pot, but which, by analysis. can easily be decomposed into its various elements, and thus he compared with the traditional tales derived from other sources, and so restored.
Let me now take up the thread again :-There lived in Man in the times of Olave Goddardson, our Manx tradition says, a great baron, named Kilter, who, was fond of the chase and extirpated all the bisons and elks in the Island. One day he extented his havoc to the red deer of the Calf, or Kitterland (Kitterland is, of course, Kittel or Kittel-land and so pronounced in common parlance by the Manx fisher-people I have come across with, and Kettel is the same as Fin Kettel and the name of a Norseman who yielded great influence in Ireland and Man about the middle of the ninth century) He left at his castle on the brow of Barrule his cook only, called Eaoch to dress provisions. This is, as we have seen in our legend of Finn Mac Cooill and the Giant of Barrule, no other than the giant of Barrule who again is to be equated with the Orree of the subsequent Manx legend of Fin as Oshin, to which I shall return. His witch-wife Ada, the legend continues, caused the fat to bubble over into the fire, which set the castle in a blaze (in Fin and Oshin it is Orree who sets the castle on fire). The cook alarms the hunters in the Calf a distance of nearly ten miles. Kitter, seeing, the castle in flames, made to the beach with all possible speed in a small currach, for Man, accompanied by nearly all his attendants. When about halfway the balk struck on a rock (since called Kitterland) and all perished. The fate of Kitter and the destruction of his boat caused the surviving Norwegians to believe that Eaoch (=Orree, the cook, the Barrule Giant) was in league with the Island witches (= the unthinking wives of the Fians who bound and jeered Gorree) to extirpate the Norwegians then in Man, and was brought, to trial and sentenced to suffer death He heard his doom with great composure, but claimed the privilege to choose the manner of his death. He said, "I wish my head lo be laid across one of your majesty's legs, and there cut off by your majesty's sword Macabuin (= Mac an Luinn), which was made by Loan Maclibuin, the Dark Smith of Drontheim." It being generally known that the King's scimitar could sever even a mountain ot granite if brought into immediate contact vrid! its edge, it was the wish of everyone present that he would not comply with the subtle artifice of such a low vaglet as Eaoch (= Orree. who was considered the weakest and lowest of the Fians and held in contempt by the women) ; but he would not retract the permission given, and gave orders to have the execution in the manner desired. But Ada, the witch. was at hand ; she ordered toads' skins, twigs of the rowan tree, and adders' eggs, each to the number of nine times nine, to be placed between the king's leg and the cook's head, to which he assented. All these things being properly adjusted, the great sword Macabuin was lifted and gently laid on the neck of the cook, but ere its downward course could be stayed it severed the head from the body of Eaoch, and cut all the preventives asunder except the last, thereby saving the king's leg from harm.
In the legend of Fin as Oshin, which was rescued from a Manx woman in the year 1762 by Deemster Heywood, the full details and cause of the destruction of the castle, due to the revenge of Orree (or Gorree) are particularly attended to, and this poem presents an important and precious supplement to the later legend of Olave Goddardson. I must, therefore reproduce it for a proper comparison with the Gaelic parallels which will form my next note.
*I may mention already at this point that both Orree and Gorree are identical surnames in Manx, and indifferently used.
HIE Fin as Oshin magh dy helg,
FIN and Oshin went out to hunt, (1)
(1) cp: Kitter going to hunt on the Calf
(2)Orree=the Barrule giant=the cook, setting fire to the castle.
THE DESTRUCTION OF THE CASTLE OF THE FIANS BY ORREE (= GORREE), AND THE CONSEQUENT DESTRUCTION OF THE WHOLE TRIBE. '
In my last I have given the Manx version, and now proceed to the traditions derived from and current in the Highlands and the Isles.
In Hugh Miller's legend (1), the castle is on he summit of Knock Ferril, near Dingwall, forming the remains of one of the vitrified forts, constructed, as tradition says, by a gigantic tribe of Fians for the protection of their wives and children, when engaged in hunting. Garry, not much more than 15 feet in height, falling behind the hunting party, returned to the castle ; he was no favourite with the women, and the butt of their many teasing jokes. On seeing that he had fallen osleep, they fastened his long hair wall pegs to the grass, and awakened him with their shouts and laughter. Infuriated, he wrenched up his head, leaving half his locks behind him. He set fire to the stronghold. into which they had rushed for shelter. The flames rose till they mounted over the roof, but Garry held fast the door until all was silent, when he fled into the remote highlands toward the west. The males of the tribe, who were meanwlïile engaged in hunting on the pact of the Northern Sutor, alarmed by the vast column of smoke, came pressing on to the Firth of Cromarty and, leaping across on their hunting spears. they hurried home. They arrived too late; wild with rage they tracked him into a nameless glen, known ever since as Glen Garry, and tore him to pieces. And, as all the women of the tribe perished in the flames, the race of the Fians died out.
In the Argyleshire version (2), the Fians leave big Garry, the son of Morna, behind them to find out what secret means of nourishment the women had-they lived on the leaves of trees, the roots of heather, and the tops of hazel. While watching, he fell asleep beside an old log, or the seven sticks of wood, which, like tether-pins, they drove into the ground, tying seven plies of his hair to the sticks.
Then they raised the war-cry of the Fians. It was heard over five-fifths of Ireland, and Garry, on hearing it, leapt up, leaving the seven plies of hair sticking to the log. He set the dwelling of Brugh Farola on fire. The Fians seeing the smoke and the dwelling blazing high, leapt across the Sound that separated Skye from the mainland. He was caught in the cave and put to death, and allowed to choose the manner of his own death.
In the Islay legend (3), it is Farabhuil where the wives of the Feinns (Fians) lived, at the foot; of Farabhein, in Ardnamurachan, and Conan here takes the place of Carry (= Gorry, Orree, Finn Gorree). His strength lay in his hair, which was kept cropped to keep him weak, for, if it grew, every single hair gave him the strength of a single man, and he was so cross that if it would grow he would kill them all.-The story runs on in the same style as the preceding ones.-When the castle was seen in flames, the Feinns were on the other side of Caol Readhin (Kyle Pay) ; they leapt the strait, but one Mac an Reaidhinn, in the attempt, fell into it and was drowned, and since that day the name of Reaidhinn's Strait has stuck to it. The Feinns were in great fury against Conan, and he asked, as a favour, to have his head taken off with Mac an Luinne, the sword of Fionn Mac Dhuil, that would not leave a shred behind, and that his own son Garbh, (Carry) should smite him on the thigh of Finn. They put seven grey hides, and seven bundles of twisted twigs, and seven feet of marshy soil on Finn's thigh :
And quicker than dew upon a daisy
Were heads of arteries cut into Fionn's knee.
Fion died, and the whole Fian race suffered loss.
We have here an amplification of the Manx version of Fin and Oshin, first from Cromarty, and the Isle of Skye, and from Islay. The Cromarty and Skye parallels ran remarkably close to Fin and Oshin. The latter is complete in itself. In the Goddardson legend the Orree tradition forms the introductory part, and is joined on to the independent legend of the Lay of the Smithy and the Sword Mac an Luinn, of which more hereafter.
(1) See: Scenes and Legends, the Traditional History of Cromarty, by Hughes Miller, 1829-1832 ; page 38 to 39.
(2) See : Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Argyleshire Series, No. IV., The Fians, by T. Gregorson Campbell, London, 1891 ; page 165; see also pages 12 and 13.
(3) Tales of the Western Highlands by Campbell, vol. III; page 108.
THE LAY OF THE SMITHY (DUAN NA CEARDACH).
We have seen from the first part of the legend of Olave Goddardson the doom that awa;ted Orree for the ruthless destruction of the castle of Barrule. The ballad of Brush Farola tells us that Garry was 'he son of Molum, and his head was severed with Finn's celebrated sword Mac an Lubin, which "never left a shred of the flesh of man."
The second part of our Manx legend alludes to the journey of Fionn to the smithy at Drontheiml, where he forged his magic sword. I will give now the Manx rendering, broken up as it is, which will be better understood from a, comparison with the Gaelic parallels :
When the dark smith of Dront.heim heard of the stratagem to thwart the efficiency of the sword Macabuin, he despatched his hammerman Hiallus nun urd (=Nial of the hammers), who had only one leg, having lost the other one in making the sword, to the castle of Peel to challenge King Olave, or any of his people, to walk to Drontheim. Olave (=Finn) accepted it and set out to walk against the one-legged traveller from the Isle of Man to the smithy of Loan Maclibhuin (=Lori Mao Liobhann).
They walked o'er the land, and they sailed o'er the sea."
So equal was the match that, when within sight of the smithy, Hiallus, who was first, called to Loan to open the door, and Olave called out to shut it. At that instant, pushb,g past Iliafus, Olave entered the smithy first, to the evident discomfiture of the swarthy stnith and his assistant. To show that he was not afraid, Olave lifted the large forge hammer, and under pretence of assisting the smith, struck the anvil with such force that he clove it through, and also the block on which it rested. Emergaid, the daughter of Loan (in the Gaelic version it is Finn's mother), seeing Olave perform such prowess, fell deeply in love with him, and during the time her father replaced the block and anvil, found means to tell him her father only replaced them to finish a sword he was making, that lie decoyed him to the place for destroying him, as it had been prophesied the sword would be tempered in royal blood in revenue for the affront of the cook's death by the sword Macabuin. "Is not your father the seventh son of the old windy cap, King of Norway?" said Olave; "lie is," replied Emergaid, as the father entered the smithy. "Then," Olave cried, as he drew the red steel from the fire, " the prophesy must be fulfilled." Enïergaid was unable to stay his uplifted hand till he quenched the sword in the blood of lieu father, and afterward, pierced the heart of the one-legged hanïtnerstnith who was in the plot.
Olave made her his queen, and from her descended all the succeeding kings of the Isle Man down to Magnus (1219), the last of the race of Goddard Crovan.
The prose tale from Gorteen Taoit, in Ile (1), as given by Campbell, runs as follows: -
On a day when Finn and leis set of men were out hunting in Haslainn, they saw coming to meet them an unhandsome man, with a shaggy eye in front of his face. He was running with might, and making right for Fionn MacDhuil. When he met these he asked them to follow him to the door of the smithy. Said Fionn: " Where stripling is the smithy? or shall we be the better for seeing it?" " My smithy," said the fairy smith, -is not to be found, and if I may, you shall not see it." Tlïe fairy smith and Daor Ghlas stretched out against the mountain breast, and they would but give the one step over each cold desrt glen; there could but scarce be seen a glimpse of their clothes on their hips. On nearing the door of the smithy the heroes neared each other. "A little opening," said the fairy smith." "Tear it before thee,"said Daor Ghlas. Then turned round the fairy smith, and he said : "Oh, king! that thou hast earned the name of Caoille (slenderness), Daor Ghlas shall not be thy name from this time." It was then that they began at Mac an Luinn, and when they were at it the daughter of the fairy smith came in to the smithy and she asked
"Who is the slender, grey, fearless man?"
The maiden fell into weighty question with Daor Ghlas and she gave him notice that her father would say to him when the sword was ready: "What did it want now?" and that he should say : " It wants one little thing yet," then that he should seize the sword and thrust it through her father's body to temper it.
MacPhail, Scanliste (*2) relates in addition:
That the arms required to be tempered in the blood of a living person; that the smith's daughter took a fancy to Fionn, who had a love spot which was Diarmaid's property), and that she told him unless he killed her father with the sword that her father would kill him This Fionn accordingly did.
In the Lay of the Smithy, from Portree, Skye (*3), and Breubhaig, Bara (*4), which I have combined for my purpose, Finn is accompanied by Osein, Osgar, and Daorglilas, and There was seen coming from the hill (plain)
A long, dark man upon one leg
In his black, dusky, black skin mantle,
With his dusky head-gear so rusty red.
Where, smith, is your dwelling? Smith
Lon Mac Liobbann is my right name,
I was a while at the smith's mystery
With the King of Lochlann, at Spaoili (also Meirbhe).
I am laying you under spells.
Since you are ambitious of seeing my smithy
To be in a dark, dark grey, sickly glen
To-night westward from the doors of my smithy.
Then they set them to their travel
One band of these was the blacksmith,
Another band of them Daorghlas,
Another company was Derg, son of Druin,
Fionn was after them alone.
The smith would only take one step
Over every dark grey desert glen,
And they could not see, hut with difficulty
A piece of his raiment over his haunches.
(Arrived now at the smithy)
" Open, open," said the smith
A little delay, said the smith;
"Shut not before me," quoth Daorghlas.
They found then bellows to blow,
The workshop was scarcely found out
Four men were found of the King of Meirbhe,
Hammers striking, and smithy tongs,
To every smith there were seven hands,
Seven pincers light and substantial,
And the seven hammers that ^rushed them.
And no worse would it suit with Daorghlas.
Daorghlas who watched at the workshop
'Tis a certain tale that they fell out.
He was as red as a coal of the oaktree
Was his appearance from his labour.
Outspoke one of the blacksmiths
Who is that dauntless, slender man
Who has spoiled for us our steel anvil ?
His name was Daorghlas till this hour.
The heroes then forge their swords, and Finn wrought his Mae an Lecinn.
[The remaining strophes are not essential for comparison with our Manx version, and need not be referred to. The final episode between Finn ana the smith's daughter, and Loan Maclibhuin's death, are not recorded in these two metrical versions.]
(1) Popular Tales of the Western Highlands, vol 3, p. 110.
('2) Ditto, pages 390 and 394.
(*3) Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, Vol. 4. Ossianie Ballads, Alfred Nutt, 1691.
(*4) Popular Tales of the Western Highlands, p. 579.
THE LAY OF THE SMITHY.
After having given the Manx and Gælic versions, it is also necessary to allude to the Irish Cuchnlainn* (=our Finn) legend. It refers to his visits to the other world in quest of a wife.
The maiden's name was Enter (in the Manx tale it is Emergaid), daughter of Forgall lflonach (Forgall the Tricky), who lived at a place called Luglochta Loga. In the Manx parallel he is Loan Mac Liobhann or Libliuin, the seventh son of the old windy cap, King of Norway, at his smithy in Drontheim ; while the Gmlic ballads call him variously the King of Lochlin or Lochlann in Gilvin (Sheilbinn) at Spaoili I? Upsata), of Meirbhe (Bheirbe, ?Bergen). Emer calls herself daughter of the co d-faced king, who is also stated to be the son of a sister of Tethra, King of the Fomori. Forgall discovers Cuchulaiun's inclinations for his daughter, and as he is against him, he resolves on his destruction. He therefore sets out in disguise to King Conchobar, his father's court. In the Manx tales he sends one of his hammermen, Hiallus nan urd; in the Gzelic versions it is Loan himself
A long dark man upon one leg,
In his black, dusky black skin mantle,
With his dusky head-gear so rusty reel,
One shaggy eye in his forehead.
He persuades him to have Cuchulainn trained by certain friends of his, from whom he expects him never to return alive. The first of these is living in Alban, and was called Domnall. Cuchulainn, having learned all he wanted, then leaves with his companions (=the Fians) and comes to an island to the east of it, where Scathach (=the shadowy) lived. To get to her court he first passes through many dangerous adventures, crossing, amongst others, a frightful plain ; one half of it was so cold that their feet would cleave to the ground, while the other half, grown with spear grass, cast them against their points. He crosses
then a perilous glen, which was a terrible gulf, connected from cliff to cliff by only a slender cord. In the Barra version:
They set themselves to their travel
O'er the fifth of Munster in their hurrying speed And on yellow glens about birch trees.
Hiallus or Loan, who accompanies him, in the Manx and Gxlic legends being a giant:
The blacksmith would cut but one step On each lonely glen through the desert, But scarcely his arms would reach to A tuck of his clothes on his haunches Ascending the ground of the corrie, Descending the pass of the edges.
Again, in the serial Barra ballad :
He set off like the wind of the Springtime
Out of the dark mountains of the high grounds. He would take but a single step
O'er each single cold glen of the desert.
At the end of his journey he was met by demons and phantoms, sent by Forgall to kill him. But he overcomes all these obstacles, and
was received by Scaf,hach with surprise. From her court he sets finally out to Luglochta Loga to carry away Emer, whom for a whole year be was unable to communicate with, owing to the close watch kept over her by his enchmen (the blacksmiths, Loan's hammermen). But he succeeds at last, and appears all of a sudden in the middle of the stronghold where he performs such marvels of valour (=Fiann and his companions' feats in the smithy) that Forgall lost his life, in leaping terror-stricken over his own walls. Then Cuchulainn makes his way out with Emer, etc. (In the Manx legend Fiann kills the king with his red hot sword, quenching it in his blood, and leaves then with Emergaid).
There is, however, another Icelandic story, found in a MS. of the 15th century, mentioned by Principal Rhys :
It relates how one of King Olaf's men landed in the fairy realm of Godmundr. His name was Thorsteinn. Godmundr tells the latter that he was on a dangerous journey to the court of a neighbouring king called Geirroedr, who claimed him as a tributary, and who had caused the death of Godurundr's father when he last went to Geirroedr's court to pay him his tribute. Thorstein asks to accompany him, but Godmundr being a giant, was amused at the small stature of Thorstein, though for a man he was a person of very powerful frame. He allows him, however, to accompany him, and rendered him valiant services in all his contests. Finally Thorstein (=the Fiann) killed Geirroedr (=Loan Mac Liobhann), and enables Godmundr to annex his kingdom ; he also found himself a wife there called Godrun (=Emergaid, Emer).
Although variating in detail and local colour, we notice the general central idea which runs alike through all these legends of the Lay of the Smithy, found both in Ireland, Man, the Isles and the Highlands, and Iceland.
In my next note I shall refer shortly to the Irish and Welsh parallels of the Gorry Legend, and then show their relative connection with the mythical Sun Hero underlying the same.
* See Celtic Heathendom, John Rhys, London, 1888, pages 448-455-456.
IRISH PARALLEL OF THE GORREE LEGEND.
It is given by Principal John Rhys in his Celtic Heathendom, pp. 98.99, he says :The story may briefly be summarised thus Finn and his men had set up their hunting booth in Tethby, Anglicized Teffia, a district in the modern counties of West Meath and Longford; and while Finn was busy with the chase Lomna, called Finn's fool, lurked about here where he came one day across Cairbre, champion of the Luigni, with the Luignian woman who was Finn's wife in that district. Sl-e entreated Lomna not to tell Finn what he had seen, but being unwilling to be a party to the disgracing of Finn, wrote an ogam, which Finn on his return did not fail to interpret. The result was that CairbreĽ coming again when Finn was away, cut off Lomna's head, and carried it away with him. Finn in the evening found a headless body in the booth, and was soon convinced that it was Lomna's ; so the hounds were lot loose, and Finn with his Fiann tracked the murderer and his party to an empty house, where they had been cooking fish on a stone, with Lomna's head on a spike by the fire. I will not extend the tale further, except adding that this decapitated head has the power of singing and prophesying, which may be comp ired to the Norse story of Mines head (which likewise had been struck off) which would converse with Woden and tell him many secrets ; and in the Welsh story of Brdn, whose head is cut off too, we find the same power of speech and prophecy. In the Irish tale all the actors are subverted, while the sequence which relates the wonderful virtue and power of the severed head is lost in the Manx and Highland tales, which close with the mere decapitation of Gorree. C.R.
World you kindly tell me in the enquiry or " Notes and queries " column of your Examiner if there are any notable interiors of churches in the Isle of Man, and also whether there are any ancient carved fonts? - EXPLORER.
THE GORRY SAGA.
I may now compare the leading features of the two stories, and first let me advert to Gorry.
In the Manx version, Kitter (=Kettel) on leaping the Sound is drowned, and Kitterland is named in memory of the occurrence; in Islay, Mac an Reaidhinn falls into the strait, and the Kyle is called Oaol it,adhin after him.
In the Manx tale, the destroyer of the Brugh on Barrule is little Orree or Gorree; in the ballad of Brugh Farola, it is big G arry, son of Morna ; in Cromarty, Garry is called a little fellow, although only 15 feet high. In Islay, it is Conan who sets fire to the Brugb, and he is executed by his own son Garbh (=terrible), and Conan is kept cropped (maol) like the Mod (=the bald man) of the Welsh Triad. He was the weakest of the Fions; he had but the strength of a man, but if his hair should get leave to grow, there was the strength of a man in him for every hair on his bead. I may here also mention Goll, the one-eyed son of Morna, leader of the Clanna Morna, and one of the principal foes of Finn-so small and dwarfish at birth, and so powerful in after-life.
In the Islay account, the chase being very scarce at the time, Finn sets Conan watching to find out why, however, their wives kept so lusty, fair and comely, and he finds their meat is boiled hazel tops, and their drink the "bree." In the Farola tale, they live on the leaves of trees, roots of heather, tops of hazel.
Garry was no favourite of the women, and while asleep (in the Islay version) they fasten his hair to two sticks, which they drive into the earth on either side of his head, and he left part of it and of the bide of his head on the sticks; in Farola they take seven sticks of wood and tie seven plies of his hair to them, and then raise the war cry of the Fions ; in Cromarty they fasten his long hair with pegs to ,grass, and he wrenches his head off, leaving half his looks behind him.
He then burns the Brugh and the wives who are inside; in Cromarty, he then flees to the west; in Farola, Finn puts his finger under his knowledge-tooth, and he is discovered hiding in a cave. He is executed by the magic sword, Mac an Luinn; but in Islay, it is Conan who has his head severed by Garbh ; in the other version, it is done by Finn himself.
In Islay, they lay first seven grey hides, seven faggots of firewood, and seven " tiruin " of grey bark over Finn's thigh for protection; in Skye, it is guarded by seven divots of lea ground of coarse fibre, but here, nevertheless, Finn is wounded in the act of striicing; in the Mana version they employ toad skins, twigs of the rowan tree, and adder eggs, each to the number of nine times nine, as a charfn.
In the Irish version, it is Lomma who has his head struck off, which thus brings it into relttion with the story of Brew, Uthr Ben, and Mimir's Head, all of which have the virtue to speak and prophesy.
THE SAGA OF THE DARK SMITH OF DRONTHEIM.
In the Manx version it is Nial of the hammers who sets out to the swarthy smith at Drontheim; be has only one leg, having lost the other one in making the sword, and he is accompanied by Olave Goddardson.
In Gortean Taoit it is the fairy smith himself and the Fiana; in Scanliste it is a long dark man upon one leg, in a black skin mantle and dusky rusty red headgear, with one shaggy eye on his forehead, accompanied by the Fians; in the Irish legend we have Cuchulainn and his companion ; in the Icelandic tale, Godmundr accompanied by Thorsteinn,
The dark man lays them under spells to be in a dark glen to-night, westward from the doors of his smithy.
In the Manx tale they walk " over the land and sail over the sea "; in Gortean Taoit they stretch out against the mountain breast, over a cold desert glen; in Skye and Barra they set off like the wind of the spring-time, out of the dark mountains of the high ground and passing over dark cold glens of tbc desert. In the Ir ish tale they first go to Alban and come to an island to the east of it, then to a frightful plain and a perilous gulf.
The fairy smith is a mighty strider who takes but a single step over each single glen. They find great difficulties to enter the smithy on arrival.
In the Mans tale it is the smithy of Lon Mac Liobhann, whose father is the seventh son of the old windy cap King of Norway; in the Irish version we meet Forgal, the coal-faced king, sister-son of Tethra, King of the Fomori, in Luglochta Loga; in the Icelandic pendant they travel the Kingdom of Geirroedr. In the
Mana tale the hero wins Emergaid ; in the Irish tale Emer, whom for a whole year he was unable to communicate with, owing to the close watch of the King's henchmen; in the Icelandic version be annexes Geirroedr's realm and takes Godrun to his wife.
KING GORREE, THE MYTHICAL KING OF MAN.
At this point I must say a few words about the mythical King Gorree, who plays such an important part in the early history of Man.
According to Manx tradition, in the beginning of the loth century Gorree, or Orry, a Dane, having conquered the Oreades and Hebrides, arrived on the shores of Man with a strong Øeet and landed at the Lhane River in the North of the Island, The Lhane and Kalhane were the two rivers which drained the lakes on the westward side of the Great Curragh, and with those lakes cut off the Headland of Jut-by, forming the Island called St. Patrick's Isle, or the Isle of St. Patrick, in Jurby.
The Manx received him at once, seemingly glad to place themselves under so powerful a leader. It is stated that when Orry landed he was asked whence he came, upon which, pointing to the milky way, he said: " That is the road to my country." Hence, to this day, the Manx name for the milky way is: Raad mooar Ree Gorree, or "thegreat road of King Gorree."* According to the Orkneyinga Sagst the vikings and sea kings derive their descent from
Fornijot, King of Finland and Kvenland had three sons
Hler (Aegir) Logi_ Kari
who ruled over seas ruled over fire ruled over wto was father of ', the father of Snow, whose c: were
Thorri Fiinn Drifa 3f who had I -
Norr Gorr daughter: Gol
who had the who held the Isles, for t
mainland, and was called a sea king, an
Norway was the mythical ancestor c
called after inga and sea kings. him.
Kari, from whom the sea kings Claim des evidently corresponds with the SCandinl Odinn or Woden, the storm and wind god, has also the eagle as his emblem; his h, receives the souls and takes them up the bow and the galaxy to the cloud waters. Celtic Gwydion comes under the same 1 he is the son of Don, whose residence is Gwydion (the fort of Gwydion), or the gal and Aneurin speaks of "the eagle of Gwy that hovers round the sky." He is suppos( preside in the air, or rather the starry rei His father, Don, dwells in Lhys Don (the c of Don) or the Cassiopeia, and his si Arianrod, has her residence in Caer Ariaf or the aurora borealis, whsle Gorree, Gwydion, has his abode in ille milky called in Manx: raad moor Ree Gorree; galaxy is the vinter gatan of the Swedes, C heol y gwynt -the street of the wind-oi Welsh.
Gwydion may be connected with the Side, whose residence, in Irish mythology, in Caer Sidi, whera neither disease nor old affects any one, and this land or home of gods is found again on Scandinavian gra in the Asgard, the realm of the Aesir, separated, and in another world, in Vanah( live the Wanes or Vanir. And compare this stage Finn Mac Cumaill (=the white s( the sky), and G wyn ab NAd (the white so j the mist). Gwydion is an enchanter of woe
ful power. Gwyn ab NAd is a king ofi other world, the god of death and darkness,.
its with his fierce hound the souls of those t are dying, in which he resembles again ydeu, the fierce hunter, who is seen, in folk
dashing and tearing along with his black 's and huntsmen in his wild chase. Gwyn tlgo the god of carnage, and king of the
gies. In close relation to Gwyn and Woden, less stands Finn with his hound Bran, and mighty hunters, all of them gifted with the ler of knowledge, and the prediction of the are, and who were great warriors, huntsmen, l especially poets and diviners.
* See Guide to the Isle of Man, by the Rev. Jos. G. Cumming, F.G.S., 1861.
t See vol. 3, pp. 1-3 and pp. 333-4.
In the legend of the Brugh of Barrule, agn Farola and Knock Ferril (Brugh is a rd applied to the dwelling of the Alf race), cry figures eminently as the great antagonist Finn and his sib. He belongs to the Clan-na >rna, the chief of which, Gall, the one-eyed, the principal foe of Finn, the head of the anna Baiscne. His name, big or little cry, or Garry (Gaelic: Garb'h), ranges in
legend from the extreme north-east side of atland, Cromarty, across Argyleshire, down Man on the west, or Scandic-Goidelic enact points. In Ardnamurachan alone, ~nan, Goll's grandson, takos his place, whose length consists in his long hair, which consequently is diligently cropped. We find a rallel in the Semitic Samson (a dark vinity), whom Dedilah deprives of his locks
in his sleep. The women of Brugh Farola Aen Gorry's seven plies of his hair to 7eu logs (-the seven economic seasons?) hen he wakes, jumping up, he leaves seven plies of his hair behind. Gorry is turbulent and rough companion (" Gar'bh," aelic-rough), and not on good terms with e clan with which, as a hostage, he has been ce,ived. He reminds us, in his position, of gnir and his companion Mimir, and Njordr, ho had been exchanged in like manner nongst the opposing Aesir and Vanir, after
e conclusion of their great war. The Vanir, ter on, cut off Mimir's head and sent it to linn; the same fate awaits Gorry, who is scapitate~d by Finn. The antagonistic Fenian ans, here represented by Finn and Gorry,
nseem, comparatively, to occupy the same und as the Alfir, inferior elementary T i
ties, who were divided into two classesthe "white" Alfir, or elfs of light, related to the Aesir and Vanir (compare " fiann "-white,
fair, s,plendent, and " vanum "-shining), and the "black" Alfir, or elús of darkness, who dwell in caves and sally out at night. Finn, on these lines, appears as a light divinity, and Gorry as a dark divinity, but both rivals are sprung from the same power-the sun. They are, naturally, constantly fighting against each other for supremacy, and encroach upon each other's realms. The whole picture resolves itself finally into an old nature myth. Their existence is closely bound up with the annual course of the sun, which, increasing and decreasing, ascending and descending, his rays shortening or lengthening, produces the seasons; their opposing forces produce darkness and light, vegetation or decay, life and death, night and day, heart and frost. The sun divinity (here Fiann,the fair, splendent),whose power has been gradually falling off, succumbs to the powers of his enemies (Gorry-the divinity of darkness), the powers of darkness and winter. The beginning of the winter is indicated by the difficulty of Finn and his hunters to procure game in the chase, and their wives eke out their life with leaves, roots of heather, and hazel tops.
When Gorry awakes, he regains the power over the summer, he destroys Finn's burgh ; which, blazing up, suddenly disappears. Gorry's power has begun, the sharp winter sets .in. The lamentations of the frantic women and the blaze recall Finn and his party from their hunt, and them hurry forward. Gorry flees and hides himself in a cave, or tries to gain the west (darkness). He is captured at last, and his head struck off by Finn with his magic flaming sword. Although, in revenge, Finn severs his head, he cannot completely destroy Gorry's power and vitality, for as we have seen in the case of Lomna, Bran, Mimir, and Uthr Ben, the decapitated head acquires unexpected new abilities : it speaks, sings, and prophesies. Mimic is the guardian of the Odrerir, the mead of the poets, which confers wisdom and knowledge, and he likewise guards the burn from -which all waters spring.
Gorry is executed on Finn's thighs, but although protected by an old wondrous charm, covered with earth, and sods, and wood, still Finn receives a severe wound, from which he recovers only slowly. The sun lies level with the earth and is protected with sod and mould, and recovers only slowly his strength and vigour when he climbs up again in the spring. Finn and his companions are all summer giants, and they hunt with their spears, the long sun rays; when on their last hunt, at the beginning of winter, their power is already beginning to fade, and on leaping across the strait one of them falls in and is drowned, the sunbeam fails to hold out in their passage.
Another primitive idea breaks out in the Gorry legend. It is as if Gorry and Finn were conceived to be two distinct sun divinities of lesser and greater power. The dark god (Gorry) is constantly kept cropped, and not allowed to strengthen; the sunbeams, his hair, are tied dawn; it ruffles him, but he has to submit to his fate. Here we see another indication of the winter sun ; he runs to the west, when pursued, or to a cave--the darkness must be his realm.
We come now to Finn's visit to the dark smith of Drontbeim, the King of Lochlann, or Forgall-the coal-faced king of the Pomori, in Luglochta Loga, of the Irish legend,* where Cuchulainn apparently takes the place of our hero Finn. Bath Forgall and the dark smith of Drontheiln are intent onFinn's destruction. Finn sets out with his men, accompanied and conducted by a long, dank man, wrapped in a black, dusky skin mantle and dusky headgear; one shaggy eye in his forehead. We seem to recognise here Odinn, who is pictured in folklore as a cooled, one-eyed, tall old man, clad in a dark mantle, his hat slouched deep over his face. He is a mighty traveller and strider, and Finn and his followers can hardly keep pace with him. They are setting out of the dark mountains, under his spell, to the west, and have to pass over
horrid plains, odld desert glens, and come to a perilous gulf, only spanned by a slender cord 'the bridge of dread; and after untold perils and adventures, they at last arrive at their destination. Here Finn forces an entrance, and forges his famous sword with which be kills the dark smith of Drontbeim, or the coalfaced Forgall, and brings away his lovely .daughter, thence returning hone to his country.
We are here reminded of Odinn's ride to Niflheim (the mist world), where also he passes through the dark glens till ho ,comes to the border-river Gjoll and, the golden bridge, guarded by the maiden Modgudr. Lochlann, before it,came to mean the home of the Norsemen, denoted in Irish mythology a mysterious country in the Joebs or the waves of the sera, or the under world.
Thus we see Finn, Cuchulainn, Arthur descend, ing into Hades; great Odinn guides Finn in his perilous journey, and Finn, in his quality as a solar hero (it is the summer sun), where he invades the realm of the .d'ar'k and ferocious god of the under-world slays him with the magic sword which he forges in the smithy; he also carries away the dark king's rosy daughter, Emergaid (the Dawn), of course, only after first having killed him. She rises after the night is gone.
Against Finn and the dark smith we may put, as a parallel, Siegfried and Wieland, What Finn is to the Go~Øolic people of Scotland, Man, and Ireland, is Arthur to the Cyrnric people of Wales. The Gorry legend, to put it short, represents the dark power, and the Finn legend the light power. Both are solar heroes.*In the Brugh of Farolae legend he is called the son of Molum (from (Z) moel - bald, crop-eared).
There isa visible stratification to be noticed in the growth of the Fenian stories, which in the earliest form are built on a few mythical heroes, such for instance as embodied in the stories of Finn and Gorree. I pointed out the close relation existing between the Vanir and the Fianna, or early Fenians. The chief point to be kept constantly in view in considering the ultimate development of these stories is their pervading antagonism, the deep hostility to each other, the white and black badge, if I may say so, which distinguishes the contending champions. The early traditions did not die away and burst into fresh flame and national meaning when the Goidelic people were brought into keen clash with another foreign race, the early Norse invaders, who fiercely overran Scotland, Ireland, and Man, slaying and sacking. These were the historical men of Lochlann or Norway, the great antagonists of the Goidelic stock. Many of the Vikings of the first invasion of the 8th century came from Hardanger Fiord ; they were the Finngheinte or Findgaill (fair strangers), men, to the Celtic eye, of gigantic form and strength: foInori (Gaelic-fomha~ir ; Manx-faowr), like the mythological Fianna, and ,dubbed by the Goidels white men, inconsequence of the invaders+ fair complexion. Their murderous mutual strife is only a repetition of the inimical Clanna Morna and Baiscne, headed by Finn and Goll as leaders.
We find already Kitter or Caittil Find introduced in the early legend of the Brugh of Barrule, towards the ond of the 9th century. Gorree, the mythical King of Man, apphits early in the 10th century. Finn and orry are to be met again in a duplicate legend, referring to the time of O~lave Goddardson (-01ave
Gudrodar), who ruled Man in 1111; all the national ,attri'butes of Gorree, as legislator and regenerator of the Manx race, are conferred later again on the historical Gudrod Crowan (1095), called Manninagh, the founder of the House of Man. The pre-historic Gorree, as we have seen, claimed a divine descent he, like King Arthur, may have been ahistorical personage, confounded with the mythical Gorree, who is said to have been a, Diane who conquered the Orcades and Hebrides and Man. What is of interest is to notice GoTTee, as the antagonist of Finn: he occurs both in the Crom~arty, Argyleshire. and Manx legends. He and Finnodderee = Fin Gudrodar (represented as the mighty giant) are found together on the summit of Barrane; fram here also Gudrot Crowan, who dwelled here in a great castle, flung the great granite boulder after his termagent wife, and he slumbers on in the Devil's Den. Gorree and Gudrod are rolled into one. The Devil's Den reminds us of the cave of the legendary .Gorree.
To sum up: the later and histoztioal development or second stage of the Fenian stories is largely leavened and coloured with Norse elements, and the immediate outcome of the life and death strife existing between the contending two races, as we clearly see from the Manx legends where distinct Norse figures, of both vikings and kings are introduced. And, furthermore, we hear the distinct mention of Drontheim, to which Olave Goddardson sets out from Peel to face the dark blacksmith evidently a proof that the expansion of the legends from the 9th to 12th Century is due, at this point, to the existing close inter-relation and contact of the Scandio-Goidelic races, while the broad framework rests on pre historic Goidelic elements with mythological solar heroes, such as we meet in Finn and Goll and Gorey. The latest product-romantic talesform a luxuriant after-math, not unlike what we find in the subsequent treatment of the Arthurian legend.
* See `' Celtic Heathendom," J. Rhys : Dp. 448-51, 456-7, 466-7 (chapter, "The Sun Hero").
Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received