Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/459

This page needs to be proofread.

The European Sky-God. 443

having crossed a high mountain and a great mist, met a giant named Sharving the Surly, gave him some of the berries, and asked him to guard the tree. He gladly consented, and, traversing the mist and the mountain, entered fairy-land with Pinkeen and was installed as guardian of the tree. All this time there were two kings contending in the same province. The rightful king was slain by the intruder, his son Moranna sent adrift on the sea, and his daughter Rosaline robbed of her beauty by means of a spell. One evening a robin, seeing Rosaline's grief, flew off to Doolas Woods to get her a berry from the fairy-tree. There she was met by her cousin, the robin of the wood, who told her that times had changed very much since she was there last, for that there was a great giant guarding the tree, that he slept every night in the branches, and that his breath was poison to birds and bees. ' "Every day," she says "there comes a warrior to give battle to the giant ; and the giant, when the warrior comes, bounds high in the air and plucks a branch off the tree and puts it under his belt ; and when he's exhausted fighting he takes a handful of the berries and eats them, and that revives his strength, and he strikes down the warrior with a mighty blow, for neither weapons, nor fire, nor water can kill him, but only three strokes of his own iron club. That iron club is girted to his waist with an iron band, and from the iron band there was a chain, and nothing can kill him but three strokes of his own club. Nothing in the world was as ugly as he, for there was only one eye in his forehead, which blazes like a coal, and no warrior was able to defeat him."' The robin of the wood further advised her cousin to wait for the morrow's attack and peck a berry from the branch while the giant was busy fighting his opponent. She did so and flew back with it to Rosaline, who on swallowing it became twice as beautiful as she had been at first. Just then a prince arrived at the king's castle and gave his name as the Prince of the Sunny Valleys. While he was being entertained, Moranna, the banished brother of Rosaline, returned and was proclaimed king instead of the usurper, who was put to death. The Prince of the Sunny Valleys carried off" Rosaline as his bride, and the robin with her.

The substantial identity of this folk-tale and the myth of Diarmuid at Dubhros is obvious. The quicken-tree of Dubhros reappears as the fairy-tree of Doolas Woods resembling the mountain-ash. Searbhan is Sharving the Surly. Diarmuid, the solar hero, and Grainne, daughter of King Cormac, become the Prince of the Sunny Valleys and Rosaline the king's daughter. Indeed, the old names still linger in the locality ; for at Kiltubbrid, where Mr. Duncan took down the tale, there is a cromlech called by the peasantry Leaba Dearmiid i