The Daughter of the King Under-Waves
From Roderick MacLean (tailor) Ken Tangval, Barra, who heard it frequently recited by old men in South Uist, about fifteen years ago. One of them was Angus Macintyre, Bornish, who was about eighty years old at the time. Written by H. MacLean, 1860. I have selected this, because it shews one of the Ossianic heroes in a very mythological character. I omit the Gaelic for want of room, and translate closely but more freely. John Francis Campbell 1890
THE Fhinn were once together, on the side of Beinn Eudainn, on a wild night, and there was pouring rain and falling snow from the north. About midnight a creature of uncouth appearance struck at the door of Fionn. Her hair was down to her heels, and she cried to him to let her in under the border of his covering. Fionn raised up a corner of the covering, and he gazed at her. Thou strange looking ugly creature, said he thy hair is down to thy heels, how shouldst thou ask me to let thee in?
She went away, and she gave a scream. She reached Oisean, and she asked him to let her in under the border of his covering. Oisean lifted a corner of his covering, and be saw her.
Thou strange, hideous creature, how canst thou ask me to let thee in? said he. [p. 422] Thy hair is down to thy heels. Thou shalt not come in.
She went away, and she gave a shriek.
She reached Diarmaid, and she cried aloud to him to let her in under the border of his covering.
Diarmaid lifted a fold of his covering, and he saw her. Thou art a strange, hideous creature. Thy hair is down to thy heels, but come in, said he. She came in under the border of his covering.
Oh, Diarmaid, said she, I have spent seven years travelling over ocean and sea, and of all that time I have not passed a night till this night, till thou hast let me in. Let me come in to the warmth of the fire.
Come up, said Diarmaid.
When she came up, the people of the Finn began to flee, so hideous was she.
Go to the further side, said Diarmaid, and let the creature come to the warmth of the fire.
They went to the one side, and they let her be at the fire, but she had not been long at the fire, when she sought to be under the warmth of the blanket together with himself.
Thou art growing too bold, said Diarmaid. First thou did'st ask to come under the border of the covering, then thou did'st seek to come to the fire, and now thou seekest leave to come under the blanket with me; but come.