Sacred Texts  Sagas and Legends  Celtic  Index  Previous  Next 


The faithful Boghmin lovingly executed her trust, and, assisted by the sage woman Fiecal, reared up the son of Cumhail in a cavern on 'the side' of Slieve Bloom (Blama). She called him Deimne, and he gave evidence' of his noble race at an early age. When a youth, his foster-mother ventured with him as far as Tarn, at the celebration of games by youths not yet qualified for the rank of Curai. He so distinguished himself, that the King cried out in admiration, "What is the name of this Paustha Fion (fine youth)?" "I thank you, O Con of the Hundred Fights," answered his nurse, "for having conferred a name on him. Fion he is, and Fion he shall remain." "By your royal hand," said one of the Conacht laochs, "that is the son of Cumhail, son of Trenmor: let him be secured." But the word was too late. Boghmin, seizing her boy, and flinging him on her shoulders, had passed through the assembly before anything could be done, and the fleet runner, not yet having lost the cunning of her limbs, soon put sufficient distance between her charge and his enemies.

The next exploit performed by our youth was the acquisition of supernatural knowledge, by tasting the salmon that was intended for the Druid Fion.

This sage, not content with his own acquired wisdom, was determined on securing the "salmon of knowledge," whose taste would make him cognizant of everything passing in Erinn at any time. He stationed himself at a ford on the Boyne, and employed all his pupils, among whom was Fion (then called Deimne) catching salmon, broiling them, and serving them up. They had strict charge not to let any of the cooked fish touch--their tongues or lips. One day Fion, seeing a blister on the side of the fish that was then in the pan, pressed it down with his thumb, and getting a smart burn, he applied it (the thumb) to his lips, and at once found himself aware of what was passing in the courts of Tara, of Naas, and Emania. He at once ran to the Druid and told him what had happened.

"How can this be?" said the disappointed Druid. "I know by my art that the salmon of knowledge was to be tasted by a Fion. I am Fion, and you, are Deimne." "Ay, but I am Fion also, thus named by Con of the Hundred Battles himself." "Well, well, I see fate is against me. Keep yourself out of the power of the Ard-Righ for a time. When the opportunity arrives, acquaint him with your newly-acquired faculty, and he will be only too happy to make you chief commander of the Fiarina."

Next: Fion's First Marriage