Myths and Legends of the Celtic Race

Page: 48

[pg 122]

Angus goes to Bōv, and, after being entertained by him three days, is brought to the lake shore, where he sees thrice fifty maidens walking in couples, each couple linked by a chain of gold, but one of them is taller than the rest by a head and shoulders. “That is she!” cries Angus. “Tell us by what name she is known.” Bōv answers that her name is Caer, daughter of Ethal Anubal, a prince of the Danaans of Connacht. Angus laments that he is not strong enough to carry her off from her companions, but, on Bōv's advice, betakes himself to Ailell and Maev, the mortal King and Queen of Connacht, for assistance. The Dagda and Angus then both repair to the palace of Ailell, who feasts them for a week, and then asks the cause of their coming. When it is declared he answers, “We have no authority over Ethal Anubal.” They send a message to him, however, asking for the hand of Caer for Angus, but Ethal refuses to give her up. In the end he is besieged by the combined forces of Ailell and the Dagda, and taken prisoner. When Caer is again demanded of him he declares that he cannot comply, “for she is more powerful than I.” He explains that she lives alternately in the form of a maiden and of a swan year and year about, “and on the first of November next,” he says, “you will see her with a hundred and fifty other swans at the Lake of the Dragon's Mouth.”

Angus goes there at the appointed time, and cries to her, “Oh, come and speak to me!” “Who calls me?” asks Caer. Angus explains who he is, and then finds himself transformed into a swan. This is an indication of consent, and he plunges in to join his love in the lake. After that they fly together to the palace on the Boyne, uttering as they go a music so divine that all hearers are lulled to sleep for three days and nights.

Angus is the special deity and friend of beautiful [pg 123] youths and maidens. Dermot of the Love-spot, a follower of Finn mac Cumhal, and lover of Grania, of whom we shall hear later, was bred up with Angus in the palace on the Boyne. He was the typical lover of Irish legend. When he was slain by the wild boar of Ben Bulben, Angus revives him and carries him off to share his immortality in his fairy palace.

Len of Killarney

Of Bōv the Red, brother of the Dagda, we have already heard. He had, it is said, a goldsmith named Len, who “gave their ancient name to the Lakes of Killarney, once known as Locha Lein, the Lakes of Len of the Many Hammers. Here by the lake he wrought, surrounded by rainbows and showers of fiery dew.”92


Lugh has already been described.93 He has more distinctly solar attributes than any other Celtic deity; and, as we know, his worship was spread widely over Continental Celtica. In the tale of the Quest of the Sons of Turenn we are told that Lugh approached the Fomorians from the west. Then Bres, son of Balor, arose and said: “I wonder that the sun is rising in the west to-day, and in the east every other day.” “Would it were so,” said his Druids. “Why, what else but the sun is it?” said Bres. “It is the radiance of the face of Lugh of the Long Arm,” they replied.