Tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill: Oisin's Mother
pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.
'I am the deer that followed you home this afternoon, for I knew that it was only in your stronghold that the magic could not reach.'
Fionn and his favourite hounds, Bran and Sceolan were hunting once in the woods and forests of Ireland when they and all the other dogs began to chase a young deer. They ran after the creature until only Bran and Sceolan were able to maintain the chase. Fionn followed quickly behind, and when he caught up he was amazed to see them licking the deer and rolling about with it in the grass and defending it from the other dogs. When they began to make their way home, the young deer followed, and it accompanied them right into Fionn's stronghold.
That evening a beautiful woman appeared before Fionn.
'Who are you?' he asked.
'My name is Sadbh,' she answered. 'I am the deer that followed you home this afternoon, for I knew that it was only in your stronghold that the magic could not reach. I had been turned into a deer by a jealous druid.'
And it was by Sadbh that Fionn's son Oisin was born.
Story fragment recounted from: Gregory, Lady A., 1904. Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, Arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory. John Murray, London. Reprinted, 1998. Irish Myths and Legends. Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia, USA. Part Two: The Fianna. Book I: Finn, Son of Cumhal. Chapter 4: Oisin's Mother, pp 175–178.