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INTRODUCTION


The tale of "Mac Datho's Boar" seems to deal with events that precede the principal events of the Heroic Period; most of the characters named in it appear as the chief actors in other romances; Conor and Ailill are as usual the leaders of Ulster and Connaught, but the king of Leinster is Mesroda Mac Datho, not his brother Mesgegra, who appears in the "Siege of Howth" (see Hull, Cuchullin Saga, p. 87), and the Ulster champion is not Cuchulain, but his elder comrade, Conall Cernach.

The text followed is that of the Book of Leinster as printed by Windisch in Irische Texte, vol. i.; the later Harleian manuscript's readings given by Windisch have been taken in a few cases where the Leinster text seems untranslatable. There is a slightly different version, given by Kuno Meyer in the Anecdota Oxoniensia, taken from Rawlinson, B. 512, a fifteenth-century manuscript, but the text is substantially that of the Leinster version, and does not give, as in the case of the tale of Etain, a different view of the story. The verse passages differ in the two versions; two verse passages on pages 37 and 46 have been inserted from the Rawlinson manuscript, otherwise the rendering follows the Leinster text.

The style of the tale is more barbaric than that of the other romances, but is relieved by touches of humour; the only supernatural touch occurs in one of the variations of the Rawlinson manuscript. Some of the chief variations en in this manuscript are pointed out in the notes; the respectful men on of Curoi mac Dari, who seems to have been a Munster hero, overshadowed in the accepted versions by the superior glory of Ulster, may be noted; also the remark that Ferloga did not get his cepoc, which seems to have been inserted by a later band of a critic who disapproved of the frivolity of the original author, or was jealous for the honour of the Ulster ladies.




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