Fionn Mac Cumhaill (8)

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  • Teideal (Title): Fionn Mac Cumhaill (8).
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 840123.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): none.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): story.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): unavailable.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 07/02/1984.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): evening class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): unavailable.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

Fionn Mac Cumhail and the Giant

As he was walking by the shore one day, he saw a man coming that he thought looked like a mountain, he was so big. He was coming across the water towards him, wearing a pair of boots that were as big as two canoes.

Fionn ran for home; but before he went home he sought out Goll Mac Morna, the strongest and biggest of the Fianna Éireann – but still small compared with the giant – and asked him to look after a huge bull. When the giant landed, it was like thunder with the ground shaking. He came up to Goll Mac Morna, telling him that he was looking for Fionn, to fight him. Goll told him that Fionn and the Fianna Éireann were all away, and that he had stayed behind to look after the cattle. The giant liked the look of the bull, and told Goll he wanted it for supper; but Goll said Fionn would be displeased to give it to him. The giant and Goll then each siezed the bull by the horns – the bull had three horns and two tails – and ended up splitting the animal down the middle. The giant thought to himself: If this is what the boy who looks after the cattle is capable of, what am I doing here?

Meanwhile, when he reached home, Fionn told his wife to make it look as if he were a baby in a cradle. They dug a hole in the floor under the cradle, and Fionn got into the hole, with his head sticking up through the cradle to make it look as if he were in the cradle. When the giant came to the door, he had to go down on his knees in order to get in. Once he had come in and sat down, he noticed a big gust of wind coming in the doorway, and told Fionn’s wife to shut the door. ‘I can’t,’ she said, ‘but if Fionn were here, he’d shift the house around so that the door was facing the other way.’ The giant then obligingly shifted the house; meanwhile Fionn is getting more and more scared, hearing this.

The giant then requested something to eat. Fionn’s wife baked his some bread, and in the middle of it she baked an iron griddle. When it was ready to eat, she placed it before him, apologising that it was a bit soft. The giant ate the bread, but broke every tooth in his head doing so; and he thought to himself, ‘This must be some crowd, if they eat this sort of thing every day.’

At length, the giant looked into the cradle and saw the baby – as he thought – in the cradle. He started playing with the baby, when the baby – Fionn Mac Cumhaill – opened his mouth and took four of the giant’s fingers off. This was too much for the giant, who left in haste, with Fionn after him. As the giant headed out to sea, Fionn reached down, lifted a huge lump of earth in his hands, and flung it after the retreating giant, hitting him in the back and sinking him under the sea. Today, that lump of earth is still there – it’s the Isle of Man. Every seven years, there’s a tremor – sort of an earthquake – that is the giant trying to get up.