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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 17, 1906.djvu/56

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46 The European Sky-God.

the milk of all the cows of the Tuatha De Danann : he at first demanded the produce of any cows that happened to be brown and hairless ; but, when this was granted, he wanted to pass all the cattle in Munster between two fires, and then claim the milk of all the singed beasts.^ The contemplated action of Bres can hardly be dissociated from the ritual of May i, and points to the belief that the divine king owned or protected all the cattle of the land. Again, at the second battle of Mag- Tured the Tuatha De Danann spared the life of Bres, when he guaranteed that their cows should be always in milk, promised them a wheat-harvest every month, and finally disclosed to them the secret that Tuesday was the right day for ploughing, sowing and reaping.^ Similarly Nudd Hael, son of Senullt, had a herd of 20,001 cows.^ And of St. Neot it is told that, when the oxen of his Monastery in Cornwall were stolen by night, many stags from the neighbouring woodlands tamely offered their necks to the yoke, and ever afterwards showed a white mark where they had been pressed by the collar^: also that a trembling doe, flying from a huntsman, found shelter at the feet of the saint, who was chanting as usual in his fountain.^ Finally, the idea of liberality, so prominent in the case of Nudos Liberalis and Nudd Hael, probably attached to the other divine kings of the Celtic area. Evidence of this will be shortly forthcoming : for the moment note that the Tuatha De Danann deposed Bres after a seven years' reign precisely because he was illiberal and ungenerous.^ In short

^D'Arbois Cycle mythologiqtie p. 169 f.. Squire Mythology of the B^-itish Islands p. 79,

2 D'Arbois L'epopde celtique p. 442 ff. , Squire Mythology of the British Islands p. 115 f,

^ Supra p. 36,

^Gorham op. cit. p. 36 f, ^Gorham ib. p. 35 f.

^U'Arbois V epopee celtique p. 413 ff., Squire Mythology of the British Islands p. 79 ff.