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Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race

Page: 123

Finn then struck his hand on his breast, but spoke no word, and he went to his own chamber. No man saw him for the rest of that day, nor for the day after. Then he came forth, and ordered the matters of the Fianna as of old, but for seven years thereafter he went searching for Saba through every remote glen and dark forest and cavern of Ireland, and he would take no hounds with him save Bran and Skolawn. But at last he renounced all hope of finding her again, and went hunting as of old.

[pg 269]

One day as he was following the chase on Ben Bulban, in Sligo, he heard the musical bay of the dogs change of a sudden to a fierce growling and yelping, as though they were in combat with some beast, and running hastily up he and his men beheld, under a great tree, a naked boy with long hair, and around him the hounds struggling to seize him, but Bran and Skolawn fighting with them and keeping them off. And the lad was tall and shapely, and as the heroes gathered round he gazed undauntedly on them, never heeding the rout of dogs at his feet. The Fians beat off the dogs and brought the lad home with them, and Finn was very silent and continually searched the lad's countenance with his eyes. In time the use of speech came to him, and the story that he told was this:

He had known no father, and no mother save a gentle hind, with whom he lived in a most green and pleasant valley shut in on every side by towering cliffs that could not be scaled or by deep chasms in the earth. In the summer he lived on fruits and suchlike, and in the winter store of provisions was laid for him in a cave. And there came to them sometimes a tall, dark-visaged man, who spoke to his mother, now tenderly, and now in loud menace, but she always shrank away in fear, and the man departed in anger. At last there came a day when the dark man spoke very long with his mother in all tones of entreaty and of tenderness and of rage, but she would still keep aloof and give no sign save of fear and abhorrence. Then at length the dark man drew near and smote her with a hazel wand; and with that he turned and went his way, but she this time followed him, still looking back at her son and piteously complaining. And he, when he strove to follow, found himself unable to move a limb; and crying out with rage and desolation he fell to the earth, and his senses left him.

[pg 270]

When he came to himself he was on the mountain-side on Ben Bulban, where he remained some days, searching for that green and hidden valley, which he never found again. And after a while the dogs found him; but of the hind his mother and of the Dark Druid there is no man knows the end.


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