Dragon from 2 sources

Subforum for Welsh language studies and posts.
Post Reply
Posts: 144
Joined: 07 May 2006, 06:04
Gender: Male
Location: Australia

Dragon from 2 sources

Post by chimera » 05 Jul 2007, 09:13

The dragon legend seems to go back before "Pendragon's" time and the Roman dragon banners. Greek writers recorded legend about the dragon daughter of Brettanos of Gaul._ Diodorus 2.43 5.24  Herodotus 4.5,8.
This is confirmed by the legend of Conall Cernach, who appears to have the same /cern/ ("horn") name as  "Cernunnos". The Cernach writings seem to be late, in 8th cent., as they refer to Saxon-land and Lombards ("Long Beards").  However, the snake-dragon is on the Gundestrup Cauldron, held by Cernunos, and the French guivre/wyvern legend says that the snake gave birth to people, as the Greeks wrote about Kelto dragon. The Cernach snake captured cattle which the hero seized from her, as the Greeks also wrote. Here is the Cernach legend, translated by A H Leahy. David Nott 1906. -sacred texts.com Feb 2001.

"It shall not be lucky for you truly," she says, "the going up to the multitude of the woman; more troublesome to you than everything," she says, "is the serpent which is at guarding of the Liss." "She is not my country-name (?)," says Fraech, "she is not constant in my estimation; thou art constant in my estimation; we know thou wilt not lead us astray, since it is from the men of Ulster thou art." "Whence are ye from the men of Ulster?" she says. "This is Conall Cernach here, the bravest hero with the men of Ulster," says Fraech. She flings two hands around the throat of Conall Cernach. "The destruction has come in this expedition," she says, "since he has come to us; for it is to him the destruction of this dun has been prophesied. I shall go out to my house,"[1] she says, "I shall not be at the milking of the cows. I shall leave the Liss opened; it is I who close it every night.[2] I shall say it is for drink the calves were sucking. Come thou into the dun, when they are sleeping; only trouble. some to you is the serpent which is at the dun; several tribes are let loose from it."

[1. "To my house" is in the Egerton MS. only.

2. "Every night" is in the Egerton MS. only.]

{p. 65}

To that woman they went, nor their names from her hid;
And they greeted her; welcome in kindness she bid:
"What hath moved you," she said, "from your country to go?"
{680} "On this journey," said Conall, "our guide hath been woe:
All the cattle that feed in these pastures are ours,
And from us went the lady that's kept in yon towers."
"'Tis ill-luck," said the woman, "that waits on your way,
All the men of this hold doth that lady obey;
Ye shall find, amid dangers, your danger most great
In the serpent who guardeth the Liss at the gate."

"For that lady," said Fraech, "she is none of my
She is fickle, no trust from me yet did she win:
But on thee we rely, thou art trusty, we know;
{690} Never yet to an Ulsterman Ulster was foe."

"Is it men out of Ulster," she said, "I have met?"
"And is Conall," said Fraech, "thus unknown to you yet?
Of all heroes from Ulster the battle who faced
Conall Cernach is foremost." His neck she embraced,
And she cried, with her arms around Conall: "Of old
Of the conquering Conall our prophets have told;
And 'tis ruin and doom to this hold that you bring;
For that Conall shall sack it, all prophecies sing."

"Hear my rede," she told him: "When at fall of day
{700} Come the kine for milking, I abroad will stay;
I the castle portal every eve should close:
Ye shall find it opened, free for tread of foes:
I will say the weakling calves awhile I keep;
'Tis for milk, I'll tell them: come then while they sleep;
Come, their castle enter, all its wealth to spoil;
Only rests that serpent, he our plans may foil:
Him it rests to vanquish, he will try you most;
Surely from that serpent swarms a serpent host!"

{p. 66}

"We will go truly," says Conall. They attack the Liss; the serpent darts leap into the girdle of Conall Cernach, and they plunder the dun at once. They save off then the woman and the three sons, and they carry away whatever was the best of the gems of the dun, and Conall lets the serpent out of his girdle, and neither of them did harm to the other. And they came to the territory of the people of the Picts, until they saw three cows of their cows in it. They drove off to the Fort of Ollach mac Briuin (now Dunolly near Oban) with them, until they were at Ard Uan Echach (high-foaming Echach). It is there the gillie of Conall met his death at the driving of the cows, that is Bicne son of Loegaire; it is from this is (the name of) Inver Bicne (the Bicne estuary) at Benchor. They brought their cows over it thither. It is there they flung their horns from them, so that it is thence is (the name of) Tracht Benchoir (the Strand of Horn casting, perhaps the modern Bangor?).

Fraech goes away then to his territory after, and his wife, and his sons, and his cows with him, until he goes with Ailill and Medb for the Spoil of the Cows from Cualnge.

{p. 67}

"Trust us well," answered Conall, "that raid will we do!
{710} And the castle they sought, and the snake at them flew:
For it darted on Conall, and twined round his waist;
Yet the whole of that castle they plundered in haste,
And the woman was freed, and her sons with her three
And away from her prison she went with them free:
And of all of the jewels amassed in that dun
The most costly and beauteous the conquerors won.

Then the serpent from Conall was loosed, from his belt
It crept safely, no harm from that serpent he felt:
And they travelled back north to the Pictish domains,
{720} And a three of their cattle they found on the plains;
And, where Olla Mae Briuin[1] his hold had of yore,
By Dunolly their cattle they drove to the shore."(end quote).
Thus the Irish, Gauls (and Scythians) had the same snake-and-cattle legend, from different writers during 1400 years. The snakes in various sculptures of Cernunnos give further support to the validity of the myth . This indicates that Druids in fact taught this legend.

Post Reply

Return to “Welsh”