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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Tech Duinn

 For many people Donn is seen as the first ancestor and ultimately the God of the dead in Irish paganism. There is a lot of folk belief behind this and I've previously written about Donn elsewhere but today I thought it might be interesting to take a look at two passages in Old Irish which mention Donn and the story of how Tech Duinn got it's name

Tech nDuinn
Teach nDuind, cidh diatá? Ní ansa. In tan dolotar meic Miled aniar don Erinn, asbert a n-druí fríu: ‘Fear raghas isin crand siúil’, for se, ‘Ocus madh é chanus ar tus dichedla for Tuathaib Dei, maighfidh in cath forro, ocus lindi íarsin co brath a tír: ocus bebais in fer cuirfes in m-bricht.’
Fochres crandchor forro, ocus tachraidh do Dhonn taidhecht isin seól. Dogníther íarom samlaid, ocus luidh Dond isin seól, ocus canaidh tinchetla fríu, ocus doluidh sís iarsin, ocus asbert: ‘Tonga na deo’ ol sé, ‘cona didhemthar cert no cóir duib festa.’
 Canaid-seom dano di thír tinchedla forro-som dia fregra. Iar mallachadh Duinn íarom do Thuaith De dofáinic crith-ghalar fo chétóir isin luing. 
Asbert Amarghen: ‘Bidh marb Dond’, for se, ‘ocus ní seghdha dund congbail im athgabail an ghalair. Ar día ructhar Dond i tír, bíaidh an galar-sa co brath a n-Erinn.’
 Asbert Dond: ‘Berar mo choland-sa’, for sé, ‘a n-oen na n-ínnsi, ocus dobéra mo chinél bendachtain form co brath.’
 Ticc íarom ainbhtine doibh tria thinchedlaibh na n-drúadh, ocus báiter an bárc a m-bái Dond.
 ‘Berar a choland isin carraic n-aird thall’, ol Aimhirghen: conidh de dogarar Teach nDuind. ‘Ticfad a munnter an maighin sin’, ol Amhirghen.
 Is aire sin adellad na h-anmanda peccacha co teach nDuind ría techt a n-ifearn, do reír na ngennti, cédus, co tabraid a m-bendachtain for anmain Duinn. Madh anum fírén imorro fir aithrighe is di chéin adcí-sidhe, ocus ní berar fordul. As i sin tra cédfaidh na ngénnti. Conid desin dogarar Tech nDuind.
 - Gwynn 1906 Metrical Dindshenchas

The House of Donn
 The house of Donn, what origin? Not difficult. When the sons of Mil came from the west to Ireland, their Druid said to them, "A man must go up that mast*", said he, "and then chant his best druidic chants on the Tuatha De, this will rout the battle on them, and after that time  this will be our land forever: and the man will die who casts the spell." 
They set a casting of lots on them, and it was cast to Donn to go** to the sail. Afterwards it was done thus, and Donn moved to the sail, and chanted Druidic spells against them, and returned down after, and said: "I swear by the Gods" said he, "we will be without granting justice or recompense to you henceforth." 
They chanted also from the land Druidic spells against them in response. Then they cursed Donn and afterwards the Tuatha De brought a shaking-sickness immediately on the ship. 
Said Amergin, "Donn shall die", said he, "and not lucky his keeping on account of taking back the illness***. If we carry Donn to the land, the sickness will be in Ireland forever."
 Said Donn, "Take my body", said he, "to one of the islands, and my people will give blessing on me forever."
Afterwards through the spell casting of the Druids a storm was brought on them, and the ship of Donn was sunk. 
"Take his body there to that high rock yonder", said Amergin: it will be called Tech Duinn^. "His people will go to that place there", said Amergin. 
And for that burden the souls of sinners visit Tech Duinn before they go to Hell, according to the heathens^^, indeed, to give their blessings on the soul of Donn. Nevertheless righteous souls, that is penitent men, they see it from a distance, and do not take a detour there. That is then the opinion of the heathens. So it is called Tech Duinn.


Lebor Gabala Erenn:
 Atbert Dond. "Dobersa" ar se "fo gin gai ocus chlaidib innossa na fail i nHerind."
 Ocus deligis in gaeth friu in luing i mbai Dond & Herech da mac Miled & in luing i mbaí Bress & Búas & Buagne. Coro baitte ocna Dumachaib oc Taig Duind. Duma cach fir and. 

The Book of Invasions of Ireland:
Donn said, "I will bring" said he, "under edge of spear and sword now the land of Ireland."
And separated the wind against him [and] the ship of Donn and Herech, two sons of Mil, and the ship of Bress and Búas and Buagne. They were thrown; they drown close to Dumachaib at Tech Duinn. The grave-mound of every man is there.

Comparing the two we can see that the Lebor Gabala Erenn version has a very different tone - Donn is an aggressor who not only wants to conquer Ireland but to kill everything there; because of his bloodlust the wind itself rises up against him and capsizes his ship and he along with several others are drowned. In the Metrical Dindshenchas version on the other hand we are told that Donn was chosen by throwing lots to sacrifice himself in order to break the power of the Tuatha De Danann so that the Sons of Mil could succeed in their invasion. Because of this he was cursed by the Tuatha De and died, but his burial on a "high rock" on an island created a blessing or perhaps we should say created a situation where the souls of the newly dead were obligated to go to Donn's House and bless him. Even the obviously Christianized aspects at the end of the story are telling in that they reveal the pagan belief that the dead were required to "visit" Tech Duinn before moving on elsewhere; even the so-called "righteous men" (one may assume Christian souls) had to see it, if not go into it. The Metrical Dindshenchas version strongly supports a view of Donn as a God of the dead, and his house as a place where souls go after death. 




* crand siúil, literally "sail tree"
** interestingly taidhecht, a form of techt, also means "act of dying"; both fit in this context
*** in other words, if Donn, or his body, was kept on the boat or brought to Ireland the illness would remain.
^ Tech Duinn is literally "house of Donn"
^^ genti, a Latin loanword from gentis, literally "Gentiles" in the sense of non-Jews, extrapolated out to include non-Christians. In texts this can be rendered Gentiles, pagans, or heathens and was often used in particular to refer to the Norse. Given the common usage in the annals of "dubgenti" and finngenti" for Danes and Norwegians I have chosen to go with "heathens" in this translation, however it should be understood to mean non-Christians generally. 

Copyright Morgan Daimler

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Read All the Things!

  Those of you who enjoy my translation efforts, don't worry I have some interesting bits about Tech Duinn and Donn coming out tomorrow, but today I wanted to shift back a bit into a more discussion style blog.
    I've noticed a trend lately of people asking for opinions about books and getting some strangely territorial responses. What I mean by that is responses which seem to assume there is one - and only one - book worth getting on a particular subject. It can get very Highlander-esque ("There can be only one!") with people advocating for one book and putting down others like there was some sort of epic prize to be won.
my son with volume 1 of Air n-Aithesc a peer reviewed CR journal. He has good taste in reading material

   First of all, book recommendations will always be highly personal. The book one person loves another person may not be able to finish. So there is that, and we should never forget that a recommendation is really just an opinion about what someone liked. In some cases it isn't even about whether the book is good or bad, just whether it resonated with that person. My preferences tend to extremes - either dry and academic or highly engaging and experiential; some people may like one or the other but many people don't like either. Just like I like chocolate ice cream, but someone else might not; that doesn't mean chocolate ice cream is bad per se.
   Secondly, what a person wants to get out of the book and their own background matters. If someone who is coming from a very neo-pagan background asks me for a book recommendation on Celtic paganism my response will be different than if someone who is coming from a CR approach asks the same question. Context mattes.
   Speaking of context. There's this strange idea that I've seen floating around that if a book is too "Wiccan*" or "New age**" it is somehow flawed or inferior. Let's get something straight here if you are neopagan or worshiping in a neopagan dynamic then there is nothing wrong with books written to cater to that market. While I may be one of the first people to jump on bad scholarship, modern pagan practice is not synonymous with a lack of knowledge of the subject. I have read some very good neopagan books and while that may not be my personal spiritual approach that doesn't detract from the quality of the book itself. I have also read some really awful books and articles written by people claiming a reconstructionist or polytheist approach, so its not as if we can or should assume that neopagan equals poor quality and recon equals good quality. It would be really awesome if we, as a wider community, could cut out the more-pagan-than-thou-better-scholarship-than-thou attitudes. It isn't a competition.
Variety is your friend

   Thirdly, it is entirely possible to recommend a book without putting down every other similar book. It doesn't have to be about how much you loved that one book because everything else ever written about the subject is garbage. I have never seen any subject where there is only one good book in existence on the topic. Also it is possible to recommend a book that you don't like - I do it all the time when I recommend Hutton's 'Blood and Mistletoe' which I can't personally stand but which I admit is a good basic survey of what we do and don't know about the Druids.
   Now in fairness, yes I have written book reviews and publicly said that people should avoid certain books *coughWittacough* for a variety of reasons. And if you have a really valid reason to tell someone not to read something - that it's plagiarism, that it's a disaster of inaccurate info mislabeled, that it has dangerous advice in it - then just be really clear on why you think people shouldn't read it. The reason really should be a lot more than just I didn't like it, or it didn't do anything for me personally.
    In the end it is a truism that we learn from all the sources, good, bad, and blah. Everything we read, every experience we have, contributes to our overall understanding. The key is to keep an open mind and always by willing to re-assess and change your view if you find out a source you liked wasn't accurate, or new information on a subject emerges.
   So read all the things. All of them.
   Ipsa scientia potestas est.

*obviously not referencing British Trad Wicca, but being used as a general term for Wiccan style neopaganism
** also not referencing actual New age material, but apparently being used as a pejorative.

Copyright Morgan Daimler

Thursday, July 23, 2015

How the Dagda Got his Magic Staff

‘Aed Abaid Essa Ruaid misi .i. dagdia druidechta Tuath De Danann ocus in Ruad Rofhessa Eochaid Ollathair mo tri hanmanna.’
Ocus is amlaid ro bai-sium ocus mac dó aigi fora muin .i. Cermad Minbeoil, ocus adrochairsium a comrag ocus a comlonn la Lug mac Cein la hairdri Erenn, do-chuaidh in Dagda a muinighin a fhessa ocus a fhireolais dus in ticfad anam ina mac, conad airi sin tucad mir ocus tuis ocus lossa ma corp Cermada, ocus tuargaibsium Cermatfora muin, ocus siris an doman fa Cermut, ocus ro-siacht in doman mor soir.
Dorecmaingedar triar dósom ag imdecht na conairi ocus na sligead ocus seoid a n-athar accu. Fiarfaigid in Dagdai scela dib, ocus adubradar: ‘Tri meic aenathar ocus aenmathar sind, ocus seoid ar n-athar acainn aga roind.’
‘Cred agaib ?’ bar in Dagdai.
‘Lene lorc ocus lumann,’ bar iadsan.
‘Cred na buada fuilet forro sin?’ bar in Dagdai.
‘An lorg mór sa adchi,’ ar se, ‘cenn ailgen aqi ocus cenn ainbthean. Indara cend ag marbad na mbeo, ocus in cenn ele ag tathbeougud na marb.’
‘Cred in lene ocus in lumann,’ ar in Dagdai, 'ocus cred a mbuada?’
‘Ante gabus uime in lumann, a roga crotha ocus delba denma, ocus a roga datha, gen bhes ulme. In lene tra, gach cness imma ragha, gan cess gan galor do denum di.’
‘Taile in lorg am laimsea,’ bar in Dagdai. Ocus tucsad ar iasacht in lorg do, ocus ro fhuirmesdarsum in lorg fo tri orro, ocus adrocradar a triur laiss, ocus ro thunius dar in cenn ailgen fora mac, ocus adracht na nertlainti ocus forurim Cermad a laim for a aigid ocus adracht ocus ro sill for in triur marb ro boi ina fhadnaisi.
‘Cuich in triur marb sa filet at fiadnasi’? ar Cermad.
‘Triar dorala damsa,’ bar in Dagdai. ‘ocus seoida n-athar acu ga comroind. Tucsadar iasacht dun lurig damsa, ocus ro marbusa iad dun dara cind, ocus do thathbheoaiges tussu dun cind ele.’
‘Dursan in gnim sin,’ an Cermad, ‘in ni dia tainic mo bheougudsa gan a tathbeougudsum de.’
Fuirmis in Dagda forrosan in luirg, ocus adractadar na nertslainti an triar brathar.
‘Nach fedabair bar marbad,’ ar se, ‘do bar luirg fesin?’
‘Rofedamar,’ ar siad, ‘ocus ro imris baegal oruind.’
‘Agamsa ata eolus bar luirgi,’ an in Dagdai, ‘ocus tugus bar tri hanmana daib, ocus tabraidsi iasacht na luirgi damsa co hErind.’
‘Cred is chuir no is tennta duinn fris immar lurig do thorachtain duinn?’
‘Grian ocus esga, muir ocus tir, acht co marbursa mo naimdi di ocus gu tathbeoaider mu chairdh’ Ocus tuccad dosum iasacht na luirgi fan coma sin.
‘Cindus roindfimid nada set fil againd ?' ar siat.
‘Dias agaib fana sedaib aenfer gan ni, nogo ria tim chell chugi.'
Is ann sin tucsom in luirg sin i nErind ocus a mac, ocus ro niarb a naimdi di, ocus do thathbeoaig a chairdi, ocus do gabastair rigi nErenn a los na luirgi sin.
‘Arai sin,’ ar se. ‘is mac dun Dagdai sin misi ocus gach a raibi do draidecht d’ fhisidecht aigi, ata agamsa, ocus gach an fhogluim d’eolus ag an tsluag ut, ata agamsa sin, ocus racaid misi leatsu, a macaim, do thoigi in tsegaind7 ut guro impaidher a ranna ocus a faebra,’ et reliqua.
Buach ingen Dairi Duind, ben Loga meic Eithlenn, is ma gnais dochuaidh Cermad mac in Dagdai, conad inn ro marbad Cermad la Lug.

How the Dagda Got His Magic Staff

"I am Aed Abaid Essa Ruaid that is the good god of sorcery of the Tuatha De Danann and Ruad Rofhessa, Eochaid Ollathair are my three names*."
  And thus he was and with one of his son's on his back that is Cermad Minbeoil**, who had fallen in his combat and his battle with Lug son of Cein the high king of Ireland, the Dagda put his trust in his knowledge and his experience to see if he could bring the soul [back] in his son, so that around the body of Cermad where placed myrrh and frankincense and many herbs, and he took Cermad on his back, and he wandered the world with Cermad, and went towards the great world in the east.
  He happened upon a trio together on account of journeying the path and the course with the treasures of their father with them. The Dagda asked their story, and they answered: "We are three sons of one father and one mother, and the treasures of our father are shared among us."
  "What do you have?" said the Dagda.
  "A shirt, staff and shield***," they said.
  "What is the value that is on them?" said the Dagda.
  "The great staff that you see," said one, "a gentle end here and a violent end. One end kills the living, and the other end restores to life the dead."
  "What of the shirt and shield," said the Dagda, "and what are their values?'
  "He that takes on himself the shield, his choice of shape and pure form, and his choice of coloring, while it is on him. The shirt then, every surface that's chosen, without debility without sickness happening to him who wears it."
  "Give the staff to my hand," said the Dagda. and they gave the staff to him, and he arranged the staff on the three, and the trio fell by it, and then he put the gentle end on his son, and he bound the full strength and stability on Cermad; his hands to his face he rises, and he gazes on the dead trio there before him.
  "Who are the three dead here before me?" said Cermad.
   "Three who I met," said the Dagda. "and the treasures of their father where with them for dividing. They gave the loan of the staff to me, and I killed them with the second end, and restored you to life with the other end."
   "Misfortune in doing that," said Cermad, "when that which restored me to life did not restore them to life as well."
   The Dagda settled the staff on them, and the three brothers arose in strong health.
   "Do you know you were dead," said he, "by your staff itself?"
   "We know," said they, "and we dispute being slain off guard."
    "I have knowledge of the staff," said the Dagda, "and have given you three your lives; give the loan of the staff to me to go to Ireland."
   "What guarantees or trust for us that the staff will come to us?"
    "Sun and moon, sea and land, only that it kills my enemies and brings to life my friends." And they gave to him the loan of the staff to remain with him with that concession.
     "How shall we divide the treasures we have left?" they said.
     "The treasures to remain with the two, one man without any, until his time is yielded to him."
    Then he took the staff to Ireland and his son, and killed his enemies, and brought to life his friends, and he took the kingship of Ireland with the ends of that staff.

"On account of this," said he. "a son of the Dagda am I and each magic and wizardy that he had, I have, and every wisdom and knowledge from the host, I have, and I declare I will go with you, my boy, to houses of champions yonder sharp commanding portions and his sharp-blades," etc.,.

Buach daughter of Dairi Duind, wife of Lugh son of Eithlenn, had intercourse with Cermad son of the Dagda, and so Cermad was slain by  Lug.


* Dagda - good god
 Ruad Rofhessa - Red of great knowledge
 Eochaid Ollathair - horseman great-father, with oll - "great" meaning large or immense rather than exceptionally good

** "Minbeoil" means either small mouth or gentle mouth, depending on whether there is a fada over the i in min or not. I personally favor mín, gentle, docile, courteous, although self-restrained may be a bit odd as an epithet for a deity who slept with the high king's wife....
I will say - for those five or six of you following my translation adventures at home - I find it interesting if it is minbeoil (small mouthed) that begbeoil, also meaning small mouthed, is one of the Morrigan's given names in the Tain Bo Regamna...


*** in the original the three items alliterate "lene, lorg, ocus lomann" the first can be understood as a tunic or shirt, the second as a staff or stick, so going with shirt and staff we can keep a bit of the alliteration, but lomann is usually understood as cloak, however there are references in the Metrical Dindshenchas where it is translated as "shield", and I have gone with this translation as it then preserves the alliteration that the original Old Irish possessed. 

Copyright Morgan Daimler

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Four Jewels of the Tuatha De Danann


Tuath De Danand na Set soim
Ceithri cathracha i r-robadar Tuatha De Danand ic foglaim fheasa ocus druidechta, uair is fis ocus druidecht ocus diabaldanacht ro fhogain doib. it e-seo anmanna na cathrach .i. Failias, ocus Findias, ocus Goirias, ocus Murias. Ocus is a Failias tucad in Lia Fail, fil i Temraig, no gesed fo cech rig no gebead h-Erind . A Gorias tucad in claidheb bai ic Nuadaid. A Findias tucad sleg Loga. A Murias tucadcoire in Dagda.

Ceithri fiseda badar isna cathrachaib sin .i. Fessus bai h-i Failias, Esrus bai ic Gorias, Uscias bai a Findias, Semias bai a Murias. Is aco sin rofoglaimsed Tuatha De Danand fis ocus eolus. Sleg Loga, ni gebthea cath fria na fris inti a m-bid laim. Claidheb Nuadad, ni thernad neach ara n-dergad
[gap: extent: 2 characters]. O da berthea asa thindtig bodba, ni gebti fris inti a m-bid laim. Coiri in Dagda, ni teigead dam dimdach uad . An Lia Fail, fil i Temraig, ni labrad acht fa rig Erenn.

Ad-beraid, imorro, aroile do seanchaidib conid a n-dluim ciach tistais Tuatha De Danann i n-Erind. Ocus ni h-ead on, acht a longaib namorloinges tangadar, ocus ro loiscsed a longa uili iar tuidecht i n-Erind. Ocus is don dluim ciach bai dib side, at-dubradar aroile conid a n-dluim chiach tangadar. Ocus ni h-ead iar fir . Ar is iad so da fhochaind ara r' loiscsead a longa na r' fhagbaidis fine Fomra iad do fodail forro, ocus na ro thisad Lug do cosnum rigi fri Nuagaid. Conid doib do chan in seanchaid:

Tuath De Danand na set soim.
Cait a fuaradar fogloim?
Do rangadar suigecht slan
A n-druigecht , a n-diabaldan.
Iardanel find, faith co feib,
Mac Nemid, mac Agnomain ,
D'ar mac baeth Beothach bertach,
Ba loech leothach, lanfhertach.
Clanna Beothaich, — beoda a m-blad —
Rangadar sluag niath nertmar,
Iar snim is iar toirrsi truim,
Lin a loingsi co Lochluinn.
Ceithri cathracha,— clu cert —
Gabsad a rem co ronert.
Do curdis comlann co cas
Is d'foglaim a fireolas.
Failias ocus Goiriasglan,
Findias, Murias na morgal,
O maitea madmann amach,
Anmanna na n-ardchathrach.

Morfis ocus Erus ard,
Uscias is Semiath sirgarg,
Re n-garmand, — luag a leasa —
Anmann suad a s-sarfeasa .
Morfis fili a Failias fen,
Esrus a Gorias, germen,
Semiath a Murias, dind dias,
Uscias fili find Findias.
Ceithri h-aisceda leo anall,
D'uaislib Tuaithi De Danand:
Claideb, cloch, coiri cumal,
Sleag ri h-aidid ardcurad.
Lia Fail a Failias anall,
Gesed fo rigaib Erend.
Claideb lama Loga luidh
A Goirias, — roga rocruid.
A Findias tar fairrgi i fad
Tucad sleg nemneach Nuadat.
A Murias, main adbol oll,
Coiri in Dagda na n-ardglond.
Ri Nime, Ri na fer fand,
Ro-m-aince, Rig na rigrand,
Fear ca fuil fulang na fuath,
Ocus cumang na caemtuath.

Tuata.

Finit
(http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/G300008/index.html)

The Four Treasures of the Tuatha De Danann
The Tuatha De Danann were in four cities learning wisdom and Druidism, a time of learning and magic and diabolic arts on them. These were the names of the cities that is Failias, and Findias, and Goirias, and Murias. And out of Failias was brought the Lia Fail, taken to Tara, it cried out under every king who would take Ireland . Out of Gorias was brought the sword that was Nuada's. Out of Findias was brought the spear of Lugh. Out of Murias was brought the cauldron of the Dagda.

Four magicians there were in these cities that is Fessus was in Failias, Esrus was at Gorias, Uscias was in Findias, Semias was in Murias. The Tuatha De Danann learned from them wisdom and knowledge. The spear of Lugh, no battle could be sustained against whoever had it in his hand. The sword of Nuada, none escapes who is reddened by it. When taken from its attacking sheath, no conquest against whoever had it in his hand. The cauldron of the Dagda, no company went displeased from it. And the Lia Fail, in Tara, didn't speak but under a king of Ireland.

It's told, however, otherwise by historians that with gushes of mists went the Tuatha De Danann in Ireland. This was not so, but they came in many ships, and they burned all their ships after they came in Ireland. And from this gushing mist that rose from them, some said it was in mist they came. This was not true. These are the two reasons they burned their ships: the group of Fomorians would not find them and raid upon them, and Lug could not come opposing the kingship against Nuada. About them the historian said this:

Tuatha De Danann of the valuable treasures.
Where did they attain wisdom?
They drew in complete
Their Druidism, their diabolism.
Fair Iardanel, prophet of distinction,
Son of Nemed, son of Agnomain ,
His reckless son was active Beothach ,
who was a warrior of wounding, full of miracles.
 Beothach's children, — fortunate their triumphs —
A host of capable warriors came,
After battle and after sad weariness,
With all their ships to Lochluinn.
Four cities,— deserved their fame —
Held primacy with great strength.
Always warriors in contention with sorrow
They were studying truth and knowledge.
Failias and pure Goirias,
Findias, Murias of great valour,
From which battles retreat outwards,
The names of the high cities.

Morfis and lofty Erus,
Uscias and Semiath always fierce,
To call them, — a source of value —
Their names, exceedingly wise,
Morfis was the poet of Failias itself,
Esrus out of Gorias, sharp-mouthed,
Semiath out of Murias, pleasant points,
Uscias the poet of fair Findias.
Four gifts with them from beyond,
The noble Tuatha De Danann:
Sword, stone, champion's cauldron,
King's spear violent death of great heroes.
Stone of Fal from Falias thither.
It cries out under kings of Ireland.
The sword moves to Lugh's hand
Out of Goirias, — a choice of wealth.
Out of Findias across the wide ocean
Was brought the deadly spear of Nuada.
Out of Murias, a vast, great treasure,
The Cauldron of the Dagda of heroic deeds.
King of heaven, King of helpless men,
May he protect me, King of kingly portions,
Man whose blood holds out against specters,
and strength of the noble people.

Tuatha.

The end.


Copyright Morgan Daimler

Thursday, July 9, 2015

The Dindshenchas of Emain Macha

An Dindshenchas de Emain Macha
Cid diatá Eomuin Machae? Ni hanse. Bui righi n-Erenn hi comflaithius etir Ruad mac m-Bodhuirn & Cimbaeth mac Finntain & Dithorbae mac Dimain. Secht m-bliedna do cech oe hi flaith h-Erenn. Imcloeth beus hi cinn hsecht m-bliada na. Ocus is amlaid do-faspenta a righe do flaith nod-gebed beus: ‘Ind flaith si do-asselbtur duit a taspenad uait a n-ógi .i. dom-biur duit cen gái cen ethech cen imarbae cen anfir flatha. Glinne aurut friss .i. secht n-octhigerna & secht righ (no druith) & secht file .i. na h-oigthigirn dot fognam, na druith dot ressadh & dott imdergadh, na filid dott aorad tre m-bricht co rabuit i talmain ria nomaide’. Is amlaid sin tra do-aissilbith ind flaith co m-betiss immurgu na torthae iarna coir lasna flaithi. Is aire dognidiss in sin.
Marb iar suidhiu Dithorba mac Demain, co n-gabsat a mec a forba flatha .i. Baeth & Brass & Betach & Uallach & Borbchass coic maic Dithorbai maic Demain. Do-rochair lobra dano for Ruad mac m-Boduirn, diata Ess Ruaid isin tuaiscert. Ni farcuib side cloinn inge aoninginnamma. Macha a h-ainm-sidhe. O ssniastar side in flaith {MS page 69} a comarbus a h-athar nissnarroet Cimbaeth i comflaithius. ‘Do-ber-sa dam-sa illau catha’, ol sissi. Do-gnither son & feguir cath eturru & memaid for Cimbaeth. Gebaid si in flaith co cend secht m-bliadan. Tanic do Chimbaeth aimserá na flatha. 

‘Ni bera’, ol in ingen, ‘conidruca ar ecin’.
 Fechuir cadh ann eturrua. Memaid for Cimbaeth. Geabuid si danoflaithius co cenn secht m-bliadan. Tanic co maccuib Dithorbae in sel flatha. Feruid si cadh friu. Maidid rempe-si. Do meil si dano flaithius Dithorbai. Luid Cimbaeth cuice-si co m-bu he a fer & gaibid sí righi n-Erenn. Lottar maic Dithorbae for fogail & ba trom in chaladfhogal. Cech mac uilc robai ind-Eire do-choid chuca. In baile hi fuacartais nofhoglatiss ann. Ro-hearbad dano h-uadi-si naonbur cech tuaithe for a n-iarair ocus do rimarta geill cecha feine di-si dar cenn na n-drochmac batar forsan b-fogail. Con-dahualgnigset a feine ar a tuidecht dia m-bailib, co na rabadar maic Dithorbai acht a n-aonur .i. a coic. Maoite a fogal-sum anacumauc asennud. Luid si iarum feisin for a n-iarair indhi Macha a h-aonar ocus facbais Cimbaeth ina suidiu & indleatha taos secuil impi-si & ceirt impi & ballan mor ina laim & lauidi fo h-Erinn for a n-iarir, co ro-tuarascfat adi i m-Buirind Connacht. Al-luide ina n-diaid isin dithrub con[...] arnic iman tenid. Suidid accu ocon tene & at-luidestar comruc friu nacha teostaiss co in a h-aenur. 
‘Can do-dechad, a banscal?’ ol in oig. 
‘Is do cein & fhogus on’, ol sisi. 
Do-berat biad di & doim-gairett dul chuice. 
‘Nato’, ol sisi. ‘Caillech amnachtach truagh, ni coir mu t-saurugad.’ 
‘Con-ricfa fri firu anocht, a chaillech’, ol seat. ‘Cia raghas chuice a tosaig?’
 ‘Misi’, ol in sindsir .i. ol Baeth. Luid side focetoir. Do-bert a sliasait dar a braguit. 
‘Fe amai!’ ol se, ‘marb amin ben ocaib.’ 
‘At fer trogh’, ol Brass. Luid side don cennu. Do-ber si dano a cois tar suide. Ticc a ceile. Fo-rurmed [...] dano. Tecuit uile & at-raig forru & ataig lomain forra .i. [...] uile ocus imatacht reimpi co rainic Eamuin [...] dia marbad. 
‘Nato’, ol sisi. ‘Oc saighid a cirt robatar. Is anbfir a marbad. Do-berthar immurgu fo daoire di foghnum dam-sa.’ 
‘Cissi daoire do-berthar forru? Is anfir a [...] daorad [...]
 ‘Is fior’, ol si. ‘Claidid dano in raith immácuairt.’ Suidid forro & eo gairid ina laim & do fóruinn impi toraind na ratha & ro cechladar maic Dithorba inn raith .i. int eo argait ro boi do-rat dar a muin oc torainn na ratha. Conid de sin ata Eamuin Macha inghine Ruaidhi & rl. Finit. 

Kuno Meyer, The Dindshenchas of Emain Macha in Archiv für Celtische Lexikographie

The Story of the Name of Emain Macha
    Why the name of Emhain Macha? Not difficult. There were kings in Ireland who shared the sovereignty between them:  Ruad mac m-Bodhuirn and Cimbaeth mac Finntain and Dithorbae mac Dimain. Seven years to each one ruling Ireland. Well-known to this day that division of seven years. And it is thus a king announces he possesses his sovereignty: "The point of his sovereignty assigned a few requirements of his perfection, that is judging to you without lying, without perjury, without deceit, without unjust sovereignty.  A security with them against him that is seven young lords and seven kings (or druids) and seven poets, that is the the young lords to be in servitude, the druids to satirize him and to embarrass him, the poets to insult his battle prowess so that he is in earth before a period of nine days and nights". It is thus that it is throughout the parts of the world concerning sovereignty, later they are struck with correct sovereignty. A nobleman's making is in that.
    Then Dithorba mac Demain died, with his sons to take the completion of his sovereignty that is Baeth and Brass and Betach and Uallach and Borbchass the five sons of Dithorbai maic Demain. A sickness fell besides upon Ruad mac m-Boduirn, named Ess Ruaid in the north. Beside him consequently his family was a daughter, his only child. Macha was her name. She rose up therefore in sovereignty in succession of her father; unwilling was Cimbaeth to be in shared sovereignty. 
   "I will give battle", said she. 
   They make a return and fierce battle between them and Cimbaeth flees. She was then in sovereignty for seven years. After this time the sovereignty was to go to Cimbaeth
   "It was not appointed", said the maiden, "but granted in the compulsion of battle".
    Fierce battle there between them; defeat for Cimbaeth. She captures then his sovereignty period of seven years. The sovereignty went with the sons of Dithorbae in turn. She supplies battle against them. They flee before her. She then consumes the sovereignty of Dithorbai. Cimbaeth goes towards her with his possessions [and becomes] her husband and she takes possession of the rulership of Ireland. 
     The sons of Dithorbae go to raiding and hard living in a raiding-place. Each unlucky son who is in Ireland goes hence. They proclaim a settlement there. They trust no one as all people are seeking them and counting pledges against them from her and on behalf of the bad sons who are pillaging. In their pride they themselves battle when arriving in their own land where they are sons of Dithorbai, but they are alone and in secret. Their goods were wretched plunder in the end. 
    She goes afterwards herself searching for them; Macha, she alone, leaving Cimbaeth established she divides rye dough about herself and rags about her and great blemishes on her hands and sets out across Ireland seeking them. Beginning in the north-west for that reason in the region of Connacht. She went after that to a wilderness with [...] she finds their fire. They were in that place with a fire and move to fight  any who have gone there alone. 
   "What brings you, oh woman?" said the youths. 
   "I'm always without and in injured disgrace", said she. They give food to her and laugh, going towards her. 
   "By no means", said she. "A foolish, wretched old woman, it's not proper for you to violate me." 
   "Join with us against your fulfillment* tonight, oh old woman", said he. "Who will choose to begin with her?" 
   "Me", said the eldest, that is said Baeth. She goes freely. She brings him as a hostage with her two thighs. 
   "Woe, alas" said he, "deadly thus an exalted woman."
   "I'll go after the embarrassed man", said Brass. She goes to the place apart. Takes she then the feet of the aforementioned. He becomes her servant. For [...] then. She goes to each and overcomes them and impels ropes on them that is [...] each and binds in ropes until they reach Eamuin [...] for the purpose of killing.
    "By no means", said she. "is this advancing correctness. Their killing would be an injustice. Bring them together under unfreeness from service to me."
    "How long will unfreeness be carried on them?  It's an injustice his [...] servitude [...]
    ‘It's a surety'' said she. "They will dig then the circumference trench of the fort" 
She arranges them and calls her brooch to her hand and to the rocks about her outlines the fort and gives tidings to the sons of Dithorba of the fort, that is the silver brooch given, me thinks, from her neck which outlined the fort. Thus is it Eamuin Macha for the daughter of Ruaidhi. The end

*the implication here is that because they fed her a meal she owes them a forfeit, hence firu, "righteousness, truth" is given here as fulfillment although it could be read as well as "join with us against your righteousness"; the idea remains the same either way. 


Copyright Morgan Daimler

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Historic Love Magic: Not Just A Woman's Art

  Recently in a discussion the subject of laws against women using witchcraft to lure a man into marriage came up, and while it is an interesting topic it made me think that we tend to always look at love magic as something done by women to get a husband and not the other way around. In reality there is quite a bit of evidence in both Irish and Norse material to support men using magic to get a wife as well. So I thought, in the interest of fairness, it would be good to look at the other side of the love magic coin, that is men using magic against women in affairs of the heart.
   A brief skimming of the Strandagaldur (Icelandic Museum of Sorcery and Witchcraft) produces a  rune stave designed to help a man win a girl's affections; he must carve the symbol on cheese and then get her to eat it. That particular rune stave, according to the museum,  is from a centuries old grimoire of Icelandic magic. Additionally the Poetic Edda tells us of two runes that could be used to win and keep a woman's affection: 

"That sixteenth I know, if I seek me some maid:
to work my will with her:
the white-armed woman's heart I bewitch,
and toward me I turn her thoughts.
That seventeenth I know, if the slender maid's love
I have, and hold her to me:
Thus I sing to her that she hardly will
leave me for other man's love"
(Hollander, 1962). 
  There was also a practice of carving runic love spells on staves or sticks in order to win a girl; although there is some speculation that these may simply be love letters McLeod and Mees feel that the invocation of supernatural beings, such as trolls, places the staves solidly in the realm of love magic (McLeod & Mees, 2006). In Egil's Saga we see such a rune stave used with the intent to make a girl love a suitor, although instead it makes her sick. In another, more amusing, example a girl is given a drink with runes for love in it and apparently realizing this she gives the drink to a pig who then falls in love with the person who cast the spell (McLeod & Mees, 2006). In all of these cases the magic is intended to turn the woman's heart towards the man using the magic.
   If we look at the Irish material, specifically the Brehon Laws and Senchus Mar, we find laws against a man using "aipthi" (spoken or physical charms) to gain a wife. A quote from the Senchus Mar tells us:

"A Woman to Whom Her companion Gives a Charm when Soliciting Her, so That He Brings Her to Lust
i.e. when he is entreating her, it is then that he gives/utters the charms/spells to press his love upon her; i.e. bride price and éric-fine, according to the nature of the type of charm/spell; it was before entering the law of marriage that the charms/spells were given/uttered to her and it was in the law of marriage that they came to/against her (?) .... and the smacht-fine applicable to the marriage contract from him for it, and bride price and honour-price and body-fine to her; and separation from him; or éric-fine, according to the nature of the type of charm/spell and her choice to her whether it is mutual separation that she will do or it is in the law of marriage that she will be." (Borsje, 2012). 
    This is reinforced in the Brehon Laws where marriage through seduction by sorcery is listed as one of the acceptable reasons for a woman to divorce her husband (Kelly, 1988). It shows how seriously seduction by sorcery was taken that it was grounds for divorce for a woman, since the other reasons focused entirely on either failure of the man to provide her a child through assorted reasons or the man damaging her honor through slander or physical maiming. It also implies a belief that a man could effectively use magic charms or spells to seduce a girl into marriage against her own inclination. 
   In a tale which appears in various versions from the 8th through 12th centuries in Ireland we see a man going to Saint Brighid and requesting an "epaid" (the singular form of aipthi, a spoken spell or physical charm) that will make his wife love him (Borsje, 2012). The saint provides what he has requested, either by having him sprinkle his wife with blessed water or by having him sain the house and bed with it when the she is away, with the desired effect (Borsje, 2012). It is interesting to note that such actions and use of magic was clearly illegal in the law tracts, but in this case is included in the story of the life of a saint. The result of this holy love magic for the man is a wife who loves him so much she cannot bear being parted from his side (Borsje, 2012).  
  So you see, women were not the only ones who would resort to magic to ensnare a partner. Love makes fools of us all, as Thackeray has said, and it seems that despite the cultural image of the love-lorn woman using magic to get her man, historically men were also known to resort to spells and charms to gain the woman they wanted. In the Irish material at least this was consider prevalent and concerning enough to have laws against it, just as we see elsewhere pertaining to women, proving that both genders considered magic an option when it came to love. 

References
Hollander, L., (1962) The Poetic Edda 
McLeod, M., and Mees, B., (2006) Runic Amulets and Magic Objects
Borsje, J., (2012). Love Magic in Medieval Irish Penitentials, Law, and Literature
Kelly, F., (1988) A Guide to Early Irish Law

Copyright Morgan Daimler

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Aislinge Óenguso: Oengus's Dream

 My newest translation project, the text of the "Aislinge Oenguso". This was a fun and interesting text to do, but a bit time consuming. I did make a few changes in the English, choosing to take a looser approach to the literal translations in order to preserve the flow of the story, and keeping all verbs in the past tense. You may also note that in the text the goddess Boínn is referred to with the definitive article as "the Boínn"; this reflects the Irish material where she, like the Dagda, is given the definitive "the" before her name. This convention seems to have been lost in English but is clearly present in the original Irish of the story. 
  As usual I will give the Irish text first (in Sengoidelc) followed by my translation. The Old Irish can be found online here as well.

Aislinge Oenguso
Boí Óengus in n-aidchi n-aili inna chotlud. Co n-accae ní, in n-ingin cucci for crunn síuil dó. Is sí as áilldem ro boí i n-Ére. Luid Óengus do gabáil a l-lámae dia tabairt cucci inna imdai. Co n-accae ní; fo-sceinn úad opunn. Nícon fitir cia árluid h-úad. Boí and co arabárach. Nípo slán laiss a menmae. Do-génai galar n-dó in delb ad-condairc cen a h-accaldaim. Nícon luid biad inna béolu. Boí and do aidchi dano aithirriuch. Co n-accae timpán inna láim as bindem boíe. Sennid céol n- dó. Con-tuil friss. Bíid and co arabárach. Nícon ro-proindig dano arabárach.
    Blíadain lán dó os sí occa aithigid fon séol sin condid corastar i sergg. Nícon epert fri nech. F-a-ceird i sergg íarum ocus ní fitir nech cid ro m-boí. Do-ecmalldar legi Érenn. Nícon fetatar-som cid ro m-boí asendud. Ethae co Fíngen, liaig Conchobuir. Do-tét-side cucci. Ad-gninad-som i n-aigid in duini a n-galar no bíth for ocus ad-gninad din dieid no théiged din tig a l-lín no bíth co n-galar and.
   Atn-gládastar for leith.
   "Ate! nítat béodai do imthechta", ol Fíngen, "Sercc écmaise ro carais." 

   "Ad-rumadar mo galar form", ol Óengus.
   "Do-rochar i n-dochraidi ocus ní rolámar a epirt fri nech", ol Fíngen. 

    "Is fír deit", ol Óengus. "Do-m-ánaic ingen álaind in chrotha as áilldem i n-Ére co n-écusc derscaigthiu. Timpán inna l-láim, conid senned dam cach n-aidchi." 
   "Ní báe", ol Fíngen, "do-rogad duit cairdes frie; ocus foítter úait cossin m-Boinn, cot máthair, co tuidich dot accaldaim."
  Tíagair cuicce. Tic iarum in Boann. "Bíu oc frepaid ind fir-se", ol Fíngen, "d-an-ánaic galar n-ainchis". 

Ad-fíadot a scéla don Boinn.
    "Bíd a freccor céill dia máthair", ol Fíngen. "D-an-ánaic galar n-ainchis; ocus timchelltar h-úait Ériu uile, dús in n-étar h-úait ingen in chrotha so ad-condairc do macc".
 Bíid oc suidiu co cenn m-blíadnae. Nícon frith ní ba chosmail di. Is iar sin con-gairther Fíngen doib aithirriuch. 
"Nícon frith cobair isindísiu", ol Boann. 
As-bert Fíngen: "Foítter cossin n-Dagdae tuidecht do accaldaim a maicc".
    Tíagair cossin n-Dagdae. Ticc-side aithirriuch. "Cid diandom-chomgrad?’"

   "Do airli do maicc", ol in Boann. "Is ferr duit a chobair. Is liach a dul immudu. At-tá i siurgg. Ro car seircc écmaise ocus ní roachar a chobair".
 "Cia torbae mo accaldam?" ol inDagdae. "Ní móo mo éolas in- dáthe-si".
   "Móo écin", ol Fíngen. "Is tú rí síde n-Érenn; ocus tíagar úaib co Bodb, ríg síde Muman, ocus is deilm a éolas la h-Érinn n-uili".
    Ethae co suide. Feraid-side fáilti friu. "Fo chen dúib", ol Bodb, "a muinter in Dagdai". 
   "Is ed do-roachtmar". 
   "Scéla lib?" ol Bodb. 
   "Atáat linni: Óengus macc in Dagdai i siurgg dá blíadnae." 
   "Cid táas?" ol Bodb. 
    "Ad-condairc ingin inna chotlud. Nícon fetammar i n-Ére cia h-airm i tá ind ingen ro char ocus ad-condairc. Timmarnad duit ón Dagdae co comtastar h-úait fond Érinn ingen in chrotha-sa ocus ind écuisc." 
    "Con- díastar", ol Bodb, "ocus étar dál blíadnae friumm co fessur fis scél".
   Do-lluid cinn blíadnae co tech m-Buidb co Síd Ar Femen.
    "To-imchiullus Érinn n-uili co fuar in n-ingen oc Loch Bél Dracon oc Crottaib Cliach", ol Bodb. 
    Tíagair úaidib dochum in Dagdai. Ferthair fáilte friu. "Scéla lib?" ol in Dagdae. 
    "Scéla maithi; fo-fríth ind ingen in chrotha-so as-rubartaid. Timmarnad duit ó Bodb. Táet ass Óengus linni a dochum dús in n-aithgne in n-ingin, conda accathar." 
     Brethae Óengus i carput co m-boí oc Síd Al Femen. Fled mór lassin ríg ara ciunn. Ferthae fáilte friss. Bátar trí láa ocus teora aidchi ocond fleid.
   "Tair ass trá", ol Bodb, "dús in n-aithgne in n-ingin conda aiccther."
  "Ci ad-da-gnoe, ní-s cumcaim-si a tabairt acht ad-n-da-cether namá."
   To-lotar íarum co m-bátar oc Loch. Co n-accatar inna tri cóecta ingen macdacht. Co n-accatar in n-ingin n-etarru. Ní tacmuictis inna h-ingena dí acht coticci a gualainn. Slabrad airgdide eter cach dí ingin. Muince airgdide imma brágait fadisin ocus slabrad di ór forloiscthiu. Is and as-bert Bodb: "In n-aithgén in n-ingen n-ucut?" 
   "Aithgén écin", olÓengus. 
    "Ní-m thá-sa cumacc deit", ol Bodb, "bas móo." 
   "Ní báe són", ol Óengus, "ém; óre as sí ad-condarc; ní cumcub a breith in fecht-so.Cuich ind ingen-sa, a Buidb?" ol Óengus.
   "Ro-fetar écin", ol in Bodb, "Caer Ibormeith, ingen Ethail Anbuail a s-Síd Úamain i crích Connacht".
    Do-comlat ass íarum Óengus ocus a muinter dochum a críche. Téit Bodb laiss co n-árlastar in n-Dagdae ocus in m-Boinn oc Bruig Maicc ind Óicc. Ad-fíadat a scéla doib ad-fídatar doib amail m-boíe eter cruth ocus écoscc amail ad-condarcatar. Ocus ad-fídatar a h-ainm ocus ainm a h-athar ocus a senathar.
   "Ní ségdae dúnn", ol in Dagdae, "ná cumcem do socht." 
   "Aní bad maith duit, a Dagdai", olBodb. "Eircc dochum n-Ailella ocus Medbae ar is leo bíid inna cóiciud ind ingen."
    Téit in Dagdae co m-boí i tírib Connacht, trí fichit carpat a lín. Ferthae fáilte friu lassin ríg ocus in rígnai. Bátar sechtmain láin oc fledugud íar sin im chormann doib. "Cid immu-b-rácht?" ol in rí.
   "At-tá ingen lat-su it ferunn’", ol in Dagdae, "ocus ro-s car mo macc-sa, ocus do-rónad galar dó. Do-dechad-sa cuccuib dús in-da-tartaid don macc." 
   "Cuich?" ol Ailill. 
    "Ingen Ethail Anbuail." 
    "Ní linni a cumacc", ol Ailill ocus Medb. "Dia cuimsimmis do-bérthae dó."
     "Ani for-maith -congairther rí in t-síde cuccuib", ol in Dagdae.
     Téit rechtaire Ailella cucci. "Timmarnad duit ó Ailill ocus Meidb dul dia n-accaldaim".
    "Ní reg-sa", ol sé. "Ní tibér mo ingin do macc in Dagdai". Fásagar co h-Ailill anísin. "Ní étar fair a thuidecht; ro-fitir aní dia con-garar." 
    "Ní báe’, ol Ailill, "do-rega-som ocus do-bértar cenna a laech laiss."
     Íar sin cot-éirig teglach n-Ailella ocus muinter in Dagdai dochum in t-síde. Inrethat a síd n-uile. Do-sm-berattrí fichtea cenn ass ocus in ríg co m-boí i Crúachnaib i n-ergabáil.
Is íarum as-bert Ailill fri h-Ethal n-Anbuail: "tabair do ingin do macc in Dagdai." 
   "Ni cumcaim", ol sé. "Is móo a cumachtae in- dó."
   "Ced cumachtae mór fil lee?" ol Ailill.
    "Ní anse; bíid i n-deilb éuin cach la blíadnai, in m-blíadnai n-aili i n-deilb duini." 
    "Ci-ssí blíadain m-bís i n-deilb éuin?" ol Ailill. 
    "Ní lemm-sa a mrath", ol a h-athair. 
   "Do chenn dít", ol Ailill, "mani-n-écis-ni."
    "Níba sia cucci dam-sa", ol sé. 
     "At-bérsa", ol sé; "is lérithir sin ro-n gabsaid occai. In t-samuin-se as nessam bieid i n-deilb éuin oc Loch Bél Dracon, ocus ad-cichsiter sain-éuin lee and, ocus bieit trí cóecait géise n-impe; ocus at-tá aurgnam lemm-sa doib." 
   "Ni báe lemm-sa iarum," ol in Dagdae, "óre ro-fetar a h-aicned do-s-uc-so".
    Do-gníther íarum cairdes leu .i. Ailill ocus Ethal ocus in Dagdae ocus soírthair Ethal ass. Celebraid in Dagdae doib. Ticc in Dagdae dia thig ocus ad-fét a scéla dia macc. "Eirc immon samuin as nessam co Loch Bél Dracon con-da-garae cuccut dind loch".
    Téit in Macc Óc co m-boí oc Loch Bél Dracon. Co n-accae trí cóecta én find forsind loch cona slabradaib airgdidib co caírchesaib órdaib imma cenna. Boí Óengus i n-deilb doínachta for brú ind locha. Con-gair in n-ingin cucci. "Tair dom accaldaim, a Chaer." 
    "Cia do-m-gair?" ol Caer. "Cotot-gair Óengus." 
    "Regait diandom fhoíme ar th' inchaib co tís a l-loch mofhrithisi." 
     "Fo-t-sisiur", ol sé.
      Téiti cucci. Fo-ceird-sium dí láim forrae. Con-tuilet i n-deilb dá géise co timchellsat a l-loch fo thrí conná bed ní bad meth n-enech dó-som. To-comlat ass i n-deilb dá én find co m-batar ocin Bruig Maicc in Óicc, ocus chechnatar cocetal cíuil co corastar inna dóini i súan trí láa ocus teora n-aidche. Anais laiss ind ingen íar sin.
    Is de sin ro boí cairdes in Maicc Óic ocus Ailella ocus Medbae. Is de sin do-cuaid Óengus, tricha cét, co Ailill ocus Meidb do tháin inna m-bó a Cúailnge.
    Conid ‘De Aislingiu Óenguso maicc in Dagdai’ ainm in scéuil sin isin Táin Bó Cúailnge. 

  (Shaw, 1934)


 Oengus's Dream

     Óengus was sleeping when he saw a desirable thing. He saw something, the girl appearing to him while he was in bed, and she the most desirable in Ireland. Óengus went to seize her hand to take her to him in his bed. Then he saw nothing; he jumped up from surprise. He did not know what she has flown from. He was there until the next day. Not healthy was he because of his thoughts. He became sick from seeking the figure he wanted to speak to. He did not take food in his mouth. M
oreover he saw her at night again. He saw her with a timpán in her hand that was melodious. She played music on it, to him, there with him until the next day. However she was not with him before his first meal the next day.
    A full year thus while she visited about his bed there so that he fell into a wasting sickness. He did not tell anyone. He exhibited a wasting sickness later and there was no one who knew what was with him. The healers of Ireland gathered together. They did not know what ailed him in the end. One was sent to Fíngen, healer of Conchobuir. He went towards him. He discovered in studying the man the sickness or wound on him and he discovered from the smoke or people going from the house there was a sickness there.
   He addressed him apart.
   "Indeed! Not active are your wanderings", said Fíngen, "You greatly love an absent beloved." 

   "You have judged my sickness on me", said Óengus.
   "Falling in this unseemliness and greatly burdened you told no one", said Fíngen. 

    "It's truth to you*", said Óengus. "A beautiful maiden comes in the most desirable form in Ireland with an excellent appearance. A timpán in her hand, playing for me each night." 
   "No matter", said Fíngen, "Friendship for her was chosen to you; and let you send for the Boínn, your mother, to come to speak to you."
  Someone was sent to her. Then came the Boínn. 

"I am healing this man", said Fíngen, "to whom came a serious sickness". 
Then they told the story to the Boínn.
    "Now will his attending be by his mother", said Fíngen. "To him came a serious sickness; and you must travel around all Ireland, to see if you can obtain a maiden in the form seen by your son".
 She did this until the end of a year. Nothing was found similar to her. After that Fíngen gathered them together. 
   "Nothing of help in this matter was found", said Boínn. 
   Fíngen spoke: "Send someone to the Daghda that he may help his son".
    Someone was sent to the Daghda. Then came the aforementioned. "Why have I been called?’"

   "To advise your son", said the Boínn. "It is better to you to help him. His manner is sorrowful. He is in a wasting sickness. He loves an absent love and no help has been reached".
   "What use calling me?" said the Daghda. "Not greater my knowledge than yours".
   "Greater certainly", said Fíngen. "You are the king of the sidhe* of Ireland; and  let someone go from you to Bodb, king of the sídhe of Muman, and the fame of his knowledge is in all Ireland".
    Someone is sent. He welcomes them. "A nod to you*", said Bodb, "people of the Daghda". 
   "It is reached". 
   "What story with you?" said Bodb. 
   "This way with us: Óengus son of the Daghda in a wasting sickness for two years." 
   "How is this?" said Bodb. 
    "He saw a maiden in his sleep. We do not know in Ireland where is the maiden who he loved and saw. You are ordered by the Daghda to seek through Ireland a maiden in this form and this likeness." 
    "It will be searched", said Bodb, "and obtain for me a meeting at the end of a year to know the story".
   He came after a year to the house of Bodb at Síd Al Femen.
    "I made a circuit of all Ireland until I found the maiden at Loch Bél Dracon at Crottaib Cliach", said Bodb. 
    Someone was sent by them to the Daghda. They were welcomed by them. "News with you?" said the Daghda.
    "Good news; the girl of this appearance that you sought is found. You have been summoned by Bodb. Bring out Óengus with us to see if he recognizes the maiden, when he sees her."
    Óengus was carried in a chariot until he was at Síd Al Femen. A great feast was for them with the king at the head. He was welcomed. They were three days and three nights at the feast.
   "Come out of it then", said Bodb, "to see if you recognize the maiden when you see her. Who you may recognize, no power have I to give her to you except you may see her only."
   They came later until they were at the Loch. They saw there girls of marriageable age in three groups of fifty. They saw the maiden among them. The girls didn't reach only as far as her shoulders. A silver chain was between each two girls. A silver collar around her throat itself and a chain of gold shining on her. And there spoke Bodb: "Do you recognize the maiden yonder?" 
   "I recognize her certainly", said Óengus. 
    "I have no more power for you", said Bodb, "a great measure." 
   "That is no matter", said Óengus, "indeed; because it is she I saw; I have no power to bring her forth on the journey. Who is the maiden, oh Bodb?" said Óengus.
   "I know certainly", said Bodb, "Caer Ibormeith, daughter of Ethail Anbuail from Sídhe Úamain in the district of Connacht".
    Óengus and his people departed then to the region. He brought Bodb with him to speak to the Daghda and the Boínn at Bruig Maicc ind Óicc*. He told his story to them relating to them her form between shape and appearance as they had seen. And told her name and her father's name and her grandfather.
   "Not fortunate to us", said the Daghda, "no control have we over your gloom." 
   "There is some good to you, oh Daghda", said Bodb. "Go to Ailill and Medb because the maiden is near them in their region."
    the Daghda  goes so he is in the land of Connacht, three twenties [60] of chariots in his company. Welcome was given to them by the king and queen. They were a complete week drinking and feasting  after that there with them. 

   "Why have you come?" said the king.
   "There is a maiden in your country’", said the Daghda, "and my son has loved her, and been in a sickness. We have come hence to find out if you can give her to our son." 
   "Who?" said Ailill. 
    "The daughter of Ethail Anbuail." 
    "The power is not with us", said Ailill and Medb. "If we were able to we would obtain her for him."
     "It is best to call the king of the sídhe to you", said the Dagda.
     Ailill's steward goes to him. "A command to you from Ailill and Medb to go speak with them".
    "I will not go", he says. "I will not give my daughter to the Dagda's son". 
     Notice was given to Ailill of this. "Not great his arrival; he knows why he was commanded" 
    "No matter", said Ailill, "He will go and the heads of his warriors will be brought with him."
     Then arose  Ailill's household and the people of the Daghda to go to the sídhe. They laid waste to the entire sídhe. They carried off three-twenties [60] of heads out of it and the king with them to Crúachan in captivity.
   Afterward Ailill said to Ethal n-Anbuail: "Give your daughter to the Dagda's son." 
   "I have not the power", said he. "Her power is greater than mine."
   "What greater power is with her?" said Ailill.
    "Not hard; she is in the form of a bird each other year, in the second year in the form of a person." 
    "What year is she in the form of a bird?" said Ailill. 
    "She will not be betrayed by me", said her father. 
   "Your head from you", said Ailill, "Unless you tell us."
    "I will no longer hold it with me", he said. "I will tell", he said; "you are diligently engaged in seeking her. The Samhain near this she will be in the form of a bird at Loch Bél Dracon, You will see special birds with her there and there will be three fifties (150) of swans about her; and I have feasting preparations with me for them." 
   "No matter to me then" said the Daghda, "because you know her essence you can fulfill this".
    Later a friendship was made by them, that is Ailill and Ethal and the Daghda, and a surety was given to Ethal. The Daghda took his leave of them. The Daghda
 went to his house and related the story to his son. "Go around Samhain near to Loch Bél Dracon and you can call to her from the lake".
    The Macc Óc went there by Loch Bél Dracon. He saw three fifties (150) of white birds on the lake with silver chains with golden ringlets on their heads. Óengus was in the form of a person by the edge of the lake. He called the maiden towards him "Come and speak to me, oh Chaer." 
    "Who calls to me?" said Caer. 
    "Óengus calls to you." 
    "Give your word on your reputation I may return back to the lake." 
     "I accept", said he.
      She went towards him. He put two arms on her. They slept in the form of two swans and then surrounding the lake for three rounds so there was no failure of his honor to him. They went out in the form of two white birds until they were at Bruig Maicc in Óicc, and singing a song musically threw the people into a magical sleep for three days and three nights. The maiden abided with him there afterwards.
    Then there was friendship between the Maicc Óic and Ailill and Medb. This is the explanation of Óengus's thirty hundred [3,000], with Ailill and Medb at the cattle raid of Cúailnge.
    So that ‘The Dream of Oengus son of the Daghda’ is the  name of this story in the Táin Bó Cúailnge


*more colloquially "you are right"
*sidhe, later sí, ie fairy hills or fairies
*fo chen, seems to be an idiomatic expression, similar to mo chen, indicating a nod or bow, probably a welcome or greeting. 
*Bruig Maicc ind Oicc - Newgrange


Copyright Morgan Daimler