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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/327

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The Etcj^opeaji Sky -God.

J'O

Once more, Llevv passes at death into the form of an eagle haunting an oak. With this transformation of the king into a bird we are aheady famihar from Greek, ItaHan, and Irish sources.^ Sundry other examples of it occur in Welsh, Breton, and Cornish legends, i.e. in all the subdivisions of the British Celts. In Cornwall it is beheved that King Arthur is still living in the form of a raven, having been changed into that bird by magic, but that some day he will become a king once more."^ Here too, as in the case of Llew, metamorphosis into a bird precedes re-incarnation as a man. Later Welsh literature gives us a dialogue between Arthur and his nephew Eliwlod, son of Madog, in which Eliwlod — again like Llew — appears as an eagle seated among the branches of an oak.^ Similarly a Breton ballad,* at least as old as the end of the fourteenth century, tells how Bran, grandson of a yet greater Bran, in the form of a crow (for Bran means ' crow ' in the Breton language, as it does also in Welsh ^) haunts an oak on the battlefield of Kerloan, where a famous fight was fought in the tenth century between the Norsemen and the Bretons under Ewen the Great. Part of this ballad is translated by Mr. Tom Taylor :

' On the battlefield of Kerloan There grows a tree looks o'er the Ian' ;

There grows an oak in the place of stour, Where the Saxons fled from Ewen-Vor.

Upon this oak, when the moon shines bright, The birds they gather from the night.

^ Id. XV. 385 ff., xvi. 312, xvii. 165.

"^ Notes and Queries, 1st Series, viii. 61S, cited by Mr. Gomme in The Archaeological Hevieiv 1889 iii. 226. See also R. Bosworth Smith Bird Life and Bird Loi-e London 1905 p. 147 f.

^Rhys Arthurian Legend p. 56 n. 2, Celtic Folklore ii. 610.

^T. Taylor Ballads and Songs of Brittany London 1865 p. 51 ff., M. Maclean The Liter attire of the Celts London 1902 p. 248.

^Folk-lore xvii. 166.