Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/458

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442 The European Sky- God.

Dr. Joyce compares Diarmuid with Adonis ; ^ for the former, like the latter, was slain by a monstrous boar.^ But this need not conflict with our inference, since Servius long ago remarked that Virbius was related to Diana as Adonis to Aphrodite ^ — a point of fundamental significance, as Dr. Frazer has recently shown.^ The statement that each successive assailant was transformed into Diarmuid, and therefore beheaded, may contain a last trace of the belief that every would-be defender of the sacred tree in turn posed as the sky-god incarnate and in that capacity was ultimately done to death.

A variant of the same legend, collected by Mr. Leland L. Duncan^ at Kiltubbrid in the neighbouring county Leitrim, adds details of considerable interest :

The fairies of the land beat the fairies of the lake at a hurling-match, and celebrated their victory by feasting and dancing in Doolas Woods. The food that they ate was berries much resembling the mountain-ash. When they left the fairy-lands their king made them promise not to lose a berry ; for, if they did, a tree of many branches would spring up, and if an old woman of eighty ate one of those berries she would become as youthful as though she were sixteen, and if a little maid ate one she would become a flower of beauty. Despite the king's command a little fairy drank too freely of the mountain-dew and lost a berry, which at once grew into a tree of many branches. The fairy-king was about to marry a fairy-queen, who sent to Doolas Woods for butterflies' wings to make herself and her maids of honour clothes for the occasion. The heralds, whom she sent, found the beautiful fairy-tree surrounded by birds and bees. The queen told the king, who discovered the culprit, a fairy-fiddler and -piper called Pinkeen, and despatched him to the giant-lands to find a giant strong enough to guard the fairy-tree and to sleep in its branches at night. Pinkeen,

^ P. W. Joyce A Social History of Ancient Ireland i. 532.

^Transactions of the Ossianic Society for 18^^ iii. 171 ff., Lady Gregory Gods and Fighting Men p. 389 ff., P. W. Joyce Old Celtic Romances London 1894 p. 334 ff.

^ Serv. in Verg. Aen. 5. 95, 7. 84, 761.

  • J. G. Frazer Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship London 1905

p. 25 ff.

^Folk-lore vii. 321 ff.