Open main menu

Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/324

This page needs to be proofread.


3IO The European Sky -God.

a golden cover, as broad as the king's face, equally thick as the bason.' In another MS. cited by Lady Charlotte Guest the payment is said to be of gold throughout : ' a golden rod as long as himself, of the thickness of his little finger, and a golden tablet, as broad as his face, and as thick as a husbandman's nail.' This silver rod with three knobs, or golden rod as the case may be, reminds us forcibly of Conchobar's silver wand with three golden apples on it^ and of Cor- mac's silver branch with nine (or three) golden apples.^ We shall not be far wrong, if we suppose that the silver rod and the golden bason are analogous to the silver branch and the golden cup of the Irish king.^

At Glastonbury, as elsewhere,* the apple-tree may have been a substitute for an oak. For Professor Rhys points out that Malmesbury's Glasteing, i.e. Glastenig or Glastenic^ ' is clearly derived from the glasten, which in Breton meant " oak " : cf. Cornish glastanen, " an oak." ' ^ On this showing, Glasteing, the eponymous founder of Glaston- bury, who built his town round the apple-tree, was himself called ' He of the Oaks.' Professor Rhys further makes it probable that another name of Glastonbury, used from motives of piety, was Loyt coyt, the ' Grey Trees.' "^ If

1 Folk-lore xvii. i6o.

"^ lb. xvii. 152. '^' lb. xvii. 159 ff., 169 ff.

  • Folk-lore xwu. 57, 61, 153, 159, 170.

^ Rhys Arthurian Legend p. 333 n. 2. The Celtic glasto-, the root of glasten sxiA glastanen, was a colour-word denoting 'green,' 'blue,' 'grey' (Holder Alt-celtischer Sprachschatz s.v. glasto-). Hence 2\%o glastum, ' woad.' Smce vitrnui, the Latin for 'woad,' also meant 'glass,' and since Glastenic would readily suggest 'glass,' the belief arose that Glastonbury was somehow connected with glass. Malmesbury states that another ancient name for the place was Ynesuuitrin, ' Insula Vitrea.' See O. Schrader Reallexikon der indogermanischen Altertumskunde Strassburg 1901 s.v. 'Waid,' and Rhys Arthurian Legend pp. 330, 333.

^ Id. ib. quoting from Cod. Harl. 3859 fol. 19415 the gloss unti' st.' glastenic. qui tiene7jq; nocat^ loytjcoyt, which he emends into 'unde sunt glastenic qui uenerabiliterque uocantur loyt coyt.'