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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/174

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1 62 The Eu7'opea7i Sky -God.

Conn recorded above,^ proves that sunrise was regarded as a daily recurring crisis for the Irish king. The seven privileges that he enjoyed were, says O'Lothchain, ' To be supplied with the fish of the river Boyne to eat ; the deer of Ltiibnech ; the fruit of Manann (the present Isle of Man) ; the heath-fruit of Bri-Leith ; the cresses of the river Brosnach ; the water of the well of Tlachtga ; the hares of Naas. It was on the calends of August all these were brought to the king of Temair (Tara). And by way of blessing on the king, it was said that the year in which he eat of these did not count in his age, and he defeated his foes on all sides.' Now the fish of the Boyne may have stood for the divine and omniscient salmon that inhabited the well beneath Manannan's hazels:- the fruit of Manann is suggestive of Manannan's apples : Bri-Leath in county Longford was the seat of Midir, a fairy king of the Tuatha De Danann •? Tlachtga was the centre from which fresh fire was distributed at Samain :* and Naas in county Kildare was known as Lis Logha or Lis Luighdhech because it had been founded by Lug the sun-god,^ who on becoming king of Erin held his court there.® In short, it looks as though the seven privileges of the Irish king were mostly, if not entirely, solar in character — an inference strengthened by the fact that the offerings in question were brought to him at Tara on August I, i.e. on Lugnasad the festival of Lug.'^ The king thus fed on solar fare was, like those that sojourned in the Elysian palace, for the time being untouched by decay or defeat.

'^ Supra p. 157. "^Folk-lore xvii. 31, 39, supi-a p. 152.

^O'Curry Manners and Customs ii. 193, iii. 163. On its ' heath-fruit ' or ' whorts ' see ib. i. p. ccclxxviii.

^ Folk-lore xvii. 30. ^ O'Curry Manusc7-ipt Alaterials p. 478.

^ Id. Manners and Customs ii. 148. Nas, now Naas, was the ancient residence of the kings of Leinster {id. ib. iii. 25, 132).

D'Arbois Cycle mythologique p. 138 f.