This is but another version of No. III. “The Hoodie;” but it has certain magic gifts which I have not found in any other Gaelic story; and the little dog who goes to the skies, and is about to marry the daughter of the king, and is transformed into a man at home, may turn out to be a Celtic divinity. When so little is known of Celtic mythology, anything may be of use. The raven, the crow, and the serpent, have appeared as transformed beings of superior power. Now, the little dog appears, and there are mystic dogs elsewhere in Gaelic stories, and in other Celtic countries. In the Isle of Man is the well-known “Modey dhu,” black dog which used to haunt Peel Castle, and frightened a soldier to death.
In a curious book, written to prove Gaelic to be the original language (History of the Celtic Language, by L. MacLean, 1840), there is a great deal of speculation as to the Farnese Globe; and the dog-star in particular is supposed to have been worshipped by the Druids. Without entering into such a wide field, it is worth notice that “Anubis,” the dog-star, was son of Osiris and Nephthys, had the nature of a dog, and was represented with the head of one. He was a celestial double deity, and watched the tropics. The servant lad who told this story; and the old woman, MacKerrol, from whom he learned it, are not likely persons to have heard of Anubis, or the Farnese Globe; so anything got from them may be taken at its value, whatever that may be. The opinion that Celts came from the East by way of Phœnicia, has been held by many, and some one may wish to follow the trail of the little dog; so I give his history as it came to me, rather than fuse it into one story with the Hoodie, as I was at first tempted to do before the plan of this work was decided on.
The beginning of this tale is the Gaelic “Once upon a time.”
Bha siod ann roimhe so.
Was yonder in it ere this.
TRIUR is a collective noun of number for three, and answers to leash; or to pair, brace, dozen, for two; twelve.
STEUD is clearly the same word as steed. It is commonly used in these stories, and I have never heard it used in conversation. It is feminine, like FALAIRE, the other word commonly used for a horse in stories and poetry; and hardly ever in ordinary speech.
Many words are derived from steud, and I do not think that it is imported.