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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

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