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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/446

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430 The European Sky -God.

blast from his fire-breathing mouth. Conn the Hundred- fighter, king of Ireland, at the Feast of Tara asked the assembled warriors for a man to defend the town against Aillen that night. None volunteered save Finn, then a lad of ten years only. Thanks to the spear of Fiacha, son of Congha, Finn kept awake at his watch, baffled the attack of Aillen, beheaded him, and fixed his head upon a pole. For this valiant deed Finn was made king of the Fianna, Goll, son of Morna,^ their previous king, being the first to recognise his claim. So, just as Cuchulain became king of the warriors of Ireland by defending Curoi's duji against the night attack of an assailant bearing branches of oak, Finn was promoted to the kingship by defending a dun against the night attack of an assailant bearing torches or breathing out fire. The analogy is not without significance.

Argyllshire lore gives a different account of the matter : '-^

' Fionn went for service to the Clanna Molum ; his mother gave him a bag of apples and three pins. When he entered the palace they said to him, " Food of apples, youth, we would fain get from you." He had left the bag at the door, and told them to bring it in themselves and take their pleasure. One after the other of the Clanna Molum went out, and not one could move the bag. At last Goll said : "The shadow of evil and evil wishes be upon you that would not bring it in, though seven times its own weight of earth were sticking to it." He went out himself, broke three of his ribs, and came in roaring. Fionn then went out and took it in on the point of a twig, and this was the first terror he struck into Clanna Molum. Then the palace took fire, and was burning at its two ends, and in the very middle. Fionn stuck his three wires, one in the middle and one at each end, and the fire went out. This was the second terror. His father's men had fled to the cave on the shore ... his first action in obtaining superiority over them and evincing that "he was a worthy son of a worthy father," was by bringing a bag of apples which he left, and which by en- chantment or secret sleight could not be lifted off the ground. One after another of the men in the cave was sent to bring the bag in, but they

1 Another name for Morna was Daire Dearg ('Oak the Red'): see The Boyish Exploits of Finn in Transactions of the Ossianic Society for i8j6 iv. 291, Revue cellique v. 195 ff. (text only).

"- Rev. J. G. Campbell The Fians p. 22 f.