Irish Mythology

The Tuatha de Danaan

pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.

Balor put on the appearance of a little boy with red hair.

In the days when the Tuatha de Danaan lived openly and freely in Ireland, Balor. the King of the Fomorians, lived over the sea on an Isle of the Tower of Glass. Balor was very envious of a cow that Cian of the Tuatha de Danaan owned, a beast whose udders were always full, however much milk was taken from them. So Balor made a journey to Ireland in order to steal it.

One day the cow was being held outside a smithy while Cian was inside at work with his brother Goibniu. Balor put on the appearance of a little boy, having red hair, walked over to the man who was holding the cow and told him that his two brothers inside were hatching a plot to defraud him. This third brother rushed into the workshop leaving the cow standing where she was. A few moments later, realising that they might all have been duped, they rushed out again only to find that the cow had disappeared.

Cian sought advice from a lady-druid about how to recover the cow. She gave him some women’s clothes to wear and carried him across with her to the Isle of the Tower of Glass in a blast of wind.

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 One: The Gods. Book II: Lugh of the Long Hand. Chapter 1: The Coming of Lugh, pp 38–45.


Tuatha de Danaan – Wikipedia

Balor – Wikipedia

Gods and Fighting Men – ancient tales of Ireland put into English by Lady Augusta Gregory. 1904. Project Gutenberg.


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