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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/323

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The European Sky -God. 309

doubted that he had one apple-tree of peculiar sanctity resembling that of the Irish tales. Nor is this a matter of mere conjecture. William of Malmesbury in his account of the founding of Glastonbury^ relates how a certain Glasteing passed through the midlands following his sow till he found it suckling its young under an apple-tree close to Glastonbury' church. Hence, he says, the apples of that tree are called Ealdcyrcejies epple, that is ' apples of the Old Church,' while the sow, which had eight legs, was known as ealdcyre [sic] suge, ' The sow of the Old Church.' Glasteing settled there and his descendants peopled the place.

Whether the British king had a branch of the Elysian apple-tree comparable with the branches borne by Bran, Cormac, and Conchobar, we cannot say. But in the Welsh tale of Branwen the daughter of Llyr, Bendigeid Vran, son of Llyr and king of Britain, sought to com- pensate Matholwch, king of Ireland, for an insult done to him by offering him ' a staff of silver, as large and as tall as himself, and a plate of gold of the breadth of his face.' - Lady Charlotte Guest ad loc. ^ compares the Laws of Hywel Dda, where the fine for insult to a king is fixed at a ' hundred cows on account of every cantrev in the kingdom, and a silver rod with three knobs at the top, that shall reach from the ground to the king's face, when he sits in his chair, and as thick as his ring-finger; and a golden bason, which shall hold fully as much as the king drinks, of the thickness of a husbandman's nail, who shall have followed husbandry for seven years, and

^William of Malmesbury De Antiqtiitatc Glastoniensis Ecdesiae, cited by Rhys Arthurian Legend p. 332 n. I from Gale Hisioria Britamiiae etc. Oxford 1691 p. 295, states that he took this narrative ' de antiquis Britonum libris.'

^ The Mabinogion trans. Lady Charlotte Guest, publ. J. M. Dent, London, p. 36.

'^Ib. p. 303.