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The Religion of the Ancient Celts

Page: 54

Merlin, or Myrddin, appears in the romances as a great magician who is finally overcome by the Lady of the Lake, and is in Geoffrey son of a mysterious invisible personage who visits a woman, and, finally taking human shape, begets Merlin. As a son who never had a father he is chosen as the foundation sacrifice for Vortigern's tower by his magicians, but he confutes them and shows why the tower can never be built, namely, because of the dragons in the pool beneath it. Then follow his prophecies regarding the dragons and the future of the country, and the story of his removal of the Giant's Dance, or Stonehenge, from Ireland to its present site—an ætiological myth explaining the origin of the great {122} stone circle. His description of how the giants used the water with which they washed the stones for the cure of sickness or wounds, probably points to some ritual for healing in connection with these megaliths. Finally, we hear of his transformation of the lovelorn Uther and of his confidant Ulfin, as well as of himself.

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