CELT document G303012

Finn and the Man in the Tree


The first four volumes of the Ancient Laws of Ireland published under the auspices of the Brehon Laws Commissioners have repeatedly been made the subject of severe but just criticism. Among other things, the urgent necessity of a collation of the printed text with the original manuscripts from which O'Donovan and O'Curry made their transcripts has often been pointed out. Such a collation I hope will soon be undertaken  p.345 by members of the School of Irish Learning founded in Dublin, and the results laid before the public. But far more than this would be necesary if the student is to be supplied with a critical edition of the various texts contained in the four voulmes. O'Donovan and O'Curry selected certain manuscript versions without consulting and comparing, except in a few instances, other copies which often furnish better readings, supply gaps, or contain additional matter of importance. Perhaps now that the first volume is out of print, the Commissioners may see their way to entrust a new edition of the Senchas Mór based upon all existing copies to a scholar of recognised standing. To show by example what important additions to our knowledge may be expected from such an edition I print here an interesting story of the Finn cycle taken from the version of the Senchas Mór contained in the vellum codex H. 3. 18. It is given as an example of the practice of incantation called imbas forosnai, and has, so far as I am aware, not been preserved elsewhere.


Edited by Kuno Meyer


H. 3. 18, p. 361 b


 361bFo chosmailius dorigne Finn hūa Baiscne. In tan būi in fian oc Badamair for brū Siūire dodechaidh Cūldub mac hūi Birgge a sīd ar Femun ut Scotti dicunt co mbert a fulacht nūadaib. Co teōra aidchi amin degēni friu. Isin tres fecht iarum norat Finn co luid riam i sīd ar Femun. Fortngaib Finn la techt isa sīd co torchair allda anall. A ndosreng fris a lāim fritninnle in ben asin tsīd ⁊ escra fliuch ina lāim iar ndāil isin ūair riam ⁊ doinsort a comlaid frisa sīd co ndruid Finn a mēr itir in comlaid ⁊ in ursain. Gabais iarom a mér ina bēolu. A  p.346 donic as afrithisi foopairt dicetal. Fortnosmen an imbas condebert: “Tair Femen fuigial formuig meis mui muic cetson sirchrand sirlūath laith find sra aulad Cūlduib chanmae.”


Cinn ree iarom dobertatar mnā braite a Dūn Iascaich a tīr na nDēsea. Dobreth ingen ālainn lēo. Atecoboride menma Find in ben dō. Focairdd sī menmain for in gilla būi lēo .i. Dercc Corra mac hūi Daigre. Ar ba hē a abras-side. Cēin fonnuithea fulacht lēo lēim ⁊ dolēim  362ain gilla tarsin n-indiu. Tre sin didiu carais an ingen ē ⁊ asbert fris laa n-aill ara tīsed cuice i lighe. Nī foēt sōn Dercc Corra dēag Finn. Atagegai domnid 1 dō. Cotsāid fri Finn ⁊ asbert: “Fortaprom ar ēcin!” Asbert iarum Finn fris: “Ēirgg es”, ol sē, “de m' inchaib ⁊ rotbia essomon trī laithi ⁊ teōra n-aidchi ⁊ fomcialta-sa ō suidhiu inund!”


Luid didiu Derc Corra for loinges ⁊ arfoēt caill ⁊ imtighed for luirgnib oss n-allta (si uerum est) ar a ētrumai. Laa n-aill didiu do Find isin caill oc a cuingidh-som co n-aca Find in fer i n-ūachtar in craind ⁊ lon for a gūalainn ndeis ⁊ find-lestar n-uma for a lāimh clī, osē co n-usce ⁊ hē brecc bedcach and ⁊ dam allaith fo bun in craind ⁊ ba hē abras ind fir teinm cnō ⁊ dobered leth n-airne na cnō don lun nobīth for a gūalaind ndeis, no-ithed feisin al-leth n-aill ⁊ doicsed a uball asin lestar n-uma būi for a lāimh clī ⁊ norandad i ndē ⁊ docuireth a leth don dam allaid būi fo bun in craind. No-ithad som iarom  p.348 [] in leth n-aill ⁊ no-ibed loim fair den uisce asin lestur huma būi for a lāim co mbo comōl dō frisin n-iich ⁊ a n-oss ⁊ in lon. Friscomarcar didiu a muinter do Finn cia bo hē hisin crunn, ar nīnathgēntar som dāigh celtair dīclithe būi imbe.


Is de dobert Finn a hordain ina bēolo. Addonich as eisib 2 afrithisi fortnosna a imbus ⁊ dichan dicetal co n?eipert: “Con fri lon lethcno contethain cotith in dithraib Dercc Corra comōl fri hich ni ba filliud fabaill a uball fīn mblais cona fricarbaith mac ūi co dedail Daigre.” “Dercc Corra mac hūi Daigre”, ol sē, “fil isan crund”.

Document details

The TEI Header

File description

Title statement

Title (uniform): Finn and the Man in the Tree

Title (extended): [H. 3. 18, p. 361 b]

Author: unknown

Editor: Kuno Meyer

Responsibility statement

Electronic edition compiled by: Beatrix Färber and Ruth Murphy, Ruth Murphy, and Hilary Lavelle

Proof corrections by: Ruth Murphy, and Hilary Lavelle

Funded by: The HEA via the LDT Project and PRTLI 4

Edition statement

1. First draft, revised and corrected.

Extent: 1320 words

Publication statement

Publisher: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts: a project of University College, Cork

Address: College Road, Cork, Ireland

Date: 2009

Distributor: CELT online at University College, Cork, Ireland.

CELT document ID: G303012

Availability: Available with prior consent of the CELT project for purposes of academic research and teaching only.

Source description

Manuscript source

  • Dublin, Trinity College Library, H 3 18, a vellum of the 16th century.

The edition used in the digital edition

‘Finn and the Man in the Tree’ (1904). In: Revue Celtique‍ 25. Ed. by Kuno Meyer, pp. 344–349.

You can add this reference to your bibliographic database by copying or downloading the following:

  editor 	 = {Kuno Meyer},
  title 	 = {Finn and the Man in the Tree},
  journal 	 = {Revue Celtique},
  number 	 = {25},
  address 	 = {Paris},
  publisher 	 = {Émile Bouillon},
  date 	 = {1904},
  pages 	 = {344–349}


Encoding description

Project description: CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts

Sampling declarations

The electronic text covers pages 344–348. The English translation is available in a separate file.

Editorial declarations

Correction: Text has been proof-read three times.

Normalization: The electronic text represents the edited text including footnotes. The ae-ligatures have been rendered ae. Expansions are marked ex; text supplied by the editor is marked sup resp="KM"; footnoted editorial corrections take the form of corr sic="" resp="KM" Missing portions of text are indicated by gap. When displayed in HTML format (due to its constraints) both expansions and supplied text appear in italics. When in doubt, users are asked to consult the SGML/XML master file to identify the markup.

Quotation: Quotations are rendered q.

Hyphenation: When a hyphenated word (hard or soft) crosses a page-break, the page-break is marked after the completion of the hyphenated word (and punctuation).

Segmentation: div0=the tale.

Interpretation: Names of persons (given names) and places are not tagged.

Reference declaration

A canonical reference to a location in this text should be made using “story”, eg story 1.

Profile description

Creation: By an unknown Irish scribe 1000-1200?

Language usage

  • The text is in Middle Irish. (ga)
  • Some words are in Latin. (la)
  • Introduction and some words in the notes are in English. (en)

Keywords: saga; prose; medieval; Finn Cycle; imbas forosnai

Revision description

(Most recent first)

  1. 2009-05-22: File proofed (3); introduction and content of footnotes added; names marked up. Header created; file parsed; SGML and HTML files created. (ed. Beatrix Färber)
  2. 2008-08-26: Text proof-read (2); structural and content markup added. (ed. Ruth Murphy)
  3. 2006-08: Text proof-read (1). (ed. Hilary Lavelle)
  4. 2006: Text scanned and basic XML markup applied. (text capture Data capture company)

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page of the print edition

folio of the manuscript

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T303012: Finn and the Man in the Tree (in English Translation)

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  1. perhaps doinnid. 🢀

  2. There is a horizontal stroke through the stem of the first s= asereisib (as ar éisib)? 🢀


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