Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/157

This page needs to be proofread.


The European Sky -God. 145

He rides upon the fair sea-washed plain, He stirs the ocean till it is blood.

A host will come across the clear sea, To the land they show their rowing ; Then they row to the conspicuous stone, Frum which arise a hundred strains.^

It sings a strain unto the host

Through long ages, it is not sad,

Its music swells with choruses of hundreds —

They look for neither decay nor death.'

These and other verses of a like tenor she sang, ending with an appeal to Bran that he should go in search of so fair a country without delay. Then she vanished ; and with her went the silver branch, which leapt from Bran's hand to hers, nor could he hold it back. Next day Bran set out with thirty followers ; and two days later they met Manannan himself crossing the sea in his chariot. He too urged Bran to press forward, and told him that before sunset he should reach Emhain. On the way thither Bran passed the Island of Joy, where one of his men was put ashore and would not return on ship-board. Shortly afterwards they reached Emhain, and found it peopled with women. The queen of the place proved to be the unknown woman that had summoned Bran at the first. She and her attendants entertained him and his company in a grand house, which had accommodation for every couple. Here they stayed, enjoying one per- petual feast. At length, when they had been there, as they supposed, for a year, they returned to Ireland, taking with them their comrade from the Island of Joy. At Srub Brain they learnt that they had in reality been absent for hundreds of years. Nechtan mac CoUbrain, who sprang ashore, at once became a heap of ashes. Bran, warned by Nechtan's fate, continued his wanderings without touching land.

^ Infra p. 157 n. 3. K