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INTRODUCTION


The two versions of this tale, given by Windisch in the Irische Texte,

  1. pp. 224-238, are from the same manuscripts as the two versions of the Raid of the Cattle of Dartaid; namely the Yellow Book of Lecan, and the Egerton MS. 1782. In the case of this tale, the Yellow Book version is more legible, and, being not only the older, but a little more full than the other version, Windisch has translated this text alone: the prose version, as given here, follows this manuscript, nearly as given by Windisch, with only one addition from the Egerton MS.; the omissions in the Egerton MS. are not mentioned, but one or two changes in words adopted from this MS. are mentioned in the foot-notes to the prose rendering.

The whole tone of the tale is very unlike the tragic character of those romances, which have been sometimes supposed to represent the general character of old Irish literature: there is not even a hint of the super-natural; the story contains no slaughter; the youthful raiders seem to be regarded as quite irresponsible persons, and the whole is an excellent example of an old Celtic: romance with what is to-day called a "good ending."




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