Finn mac Cool

Irish - A warrior, leader of the Fianna. Son of Cumaill and Murna. In some accounts, his father is called Umhall (a variant of Cumaill) and his brother was Tulcha while others say that, when he was born, he was thrown into the sea and emerged with an eel in each hand. When Cumaill was killed by Goll mac Morna, Cumaill's wife, fearing for the life of his son, hid herself in the hills until the child, Demna, was born. She then handed him over to her sister (or sister-in-law) Murna and the warrior-maid Liath Luachra who reared the boy in the wild. When Goll heard of him, he set the Connaught Fianna to hunt the boy down and kill him. Demna fled and soon gathered a band of warriors and found the survivors of the Battle of Knock in which his father had been killed. He then sought out the druid Finegas who tutored him. Finegas caught the Salmon of Knowledge and cooked it. When Finn accidentally touched the fish and sucked his thumb, he acquired supernatural knowledge and the power to change his shape. Thereafter, putting his thumb in his mouth enabled Finn to foretell the future and heal the sick. Another version of how Finn acquired supernatural knowledge occurs in the story of Culdub. He killed Lia, the treasurer of the Fianna and gave his bag of money to the survivors of the Battle of Knock, including his uncle Crimmal, and won the captaincy of the Fianna by killing the demon Aillen who set fire to the palace at Tara every year, killing it with the magic spear given to him by Fiacha. While Finn was hunting in Scotland, the king of Dublin landed from his ship and asked for Finn's help. Two (or seven) of his children, on the night they were born, had been seized by a huge hand which came down the chimney. His wife was now at the point of birth once again and he was afraid that they would lose another child in the same way. Finn and some of his men sailed to the king's home and, when the hand appeared, one of them seized it and tore off the arm of the giant who nevertheless seized the baby with his other hand. They tracked the giant over the sea to his tower and rescued not only the baby but several children the giant had previously stolen and two young hounds. When the giant pursued them, one of the men shot him through the only vulnerable part of his body - a mole on his left hand - and killed him. As a reward, Finn claimed the brindle whelp which he called Bran, leaving the other, Sceolan with the grateful parents. Finn was later captured by Lochlanners who left him bound in a glen where Sceolan, now gone wild, roamed. By showing the hound the golden leash he used for Bran, Finn tamed the ravaging hound and, when he was rescued by the Fianna, took Sceolan with him. On another occasion, a very ugly man called Gilla Dacar, who had a broken-down mare, took service with Finn but left when the Fianna mocked him. Some who had climbed on to the horse's back were unable to dismount and were carried off to sea. Finn searched for them and found an island where he and his men entered a cave, emerging into the land under the sea, Tir-fa-Tonn. Here they helped a prince, Abharthach, who had previously appeared as Gilla Dacar, to rout the forces of his brother who had deprived Abharthach of his half-share of the kingdom. One day when hunting, he and his men captured a hind which they took back to their fortress and which then turned into the maiden Saba who had been changed into a hind by The Dark Druid whose love she had rejected. She married Finn and stayed with him until he was called away to fight the Northmen. While Finn was away, the druid appeared in the form of Finn and turned Saba back into a hind. Finn searched for Saba for years but never found her. He once followed a hind (who was really the girl Milucra in disguise) to an enchanted island. Here she turned Finn into an old, grey-haired man because she knew that he would never marry her and she wanted to ensure that he would never marry her sister, Aine, of whom she was jealous. He was restored to his youth by Aine who gave him a drink when the Fianna dug down into the fairy mound where she lived. He refused a drink which would have restored his fair hair and remained grey-haired for the rest of his life. Years later, in another hunt, Finn found Oisin, 'little fawn', his son by Saba. Another version of how he became grey-haired says that he was inveigled into diving into a lake to retrieve a bracelet dropped by the daughter of Cuilleann and was transformed into an old man. Cuilleann gave him a drink which restored his youth but left him with grey hair. He lived for some time with Ailbe, daughter of Cormac mac Airt, who had answered a set of riddles he put to her. He was betrothed to Grania but, at the betrothal feast, she fell for the charms of Dermot and eloped with him. Although Finn and Dermot were later apparently reconciled, Finn never forgave Dermot and when Dermot was mortally wounded by the boar on Ben Bulben, Finn refused to give him the drink of water that would have saved his life. He later married Grania. Other women in his life included a number of mortal women such as Ailbe, Bearrach, Cruithne, Daolach, Lendebair, Luchar, Maighnis, Manissa, Scoithfhionn and Smirnat and some from the Otherworld, including Aine, Blai Dheirg (Saba) and Scathach. He fathered a number of children including sons Aedh Beag, Caoince, Daire Dearg, Fergus, Feobhar, Iollann, Oisin and Raighne and daughters Aoi, Caon, Grian, Lugaid and Samhair. A woman named Mair fell in love with Finn and sent him some magical nuts which would have put him in her power had he eaten them. Finn merely buried them. One of Finn's men, Cairbre, slept with a woman who was Finn's lover at that time and the jester, Lomhna, told Finn when he saw them together. Cairbre killed Lomhna and Finn followed the murderer to his cottage and killed him. When another of his women fell in love with his servant, Derg Colla, he sent him into exile. Another woman he seized was called Badhamair and when she was beheaded by Cuirreach Life, Finn killed him too. As a result, Finn came into conflict with Fodhadh Canainne, Cuirreach's half-brother. Finn also tracked down and killed Fearchas who had slain Lugaid mac Con. On one occasion, a being from the Otherworld made off with a pig that Finn and his men were roasting but Finn retrieved it when he followed this being, Culdubh, and killed him with a spear-cast. It is said that Finn recruited magicians and warrior-maidens from all parts of the world to save Leinster from a flood by sucking up the waters. He spared the life of Midac, son of Colga the king of Lochlan, who was the only survivor of the battle with the Fianna when Colga invaded Ireland, and he gave the young man land at the mouth of the Shannon. Years later, Midac brought an invasion force of his compatriots to Ireland and they trapped Finn and some of his men in the Hostel of the Quicken Trees where only the heroism of Fiachna, Innsa, Fotla and Dermot saved them from death. In a Scottish story, the giant Cucullin crossed the Giant's Causeway to find and challenge Finn who bit off the giant's middle finger, the source of all his strength, whereupon he crumbled to dust. In this story, Finn's wife was called Oona. He is said to have been 230 years old when he died and is reputed to have built the Giant's Causeway as stepping stones across to Scotland. The accounts of his end vary considerably. One version says that he was killed by a man referred to as Black Arcan or by Aichleach during a rebellion among the Fianna. Another says that, in the Battle of Gabhra, the five sons of Uigreann, who had been killed by Finn, each threw a spear so that each could claim a part in his death. Some say he was drowned when he tried to jump across the River Boyne and still others say that, like King Arthur, Finn is merely sleeping, waiting for a call to serve his country again. Others say that he was reincarnated as Mongan. Also commonly identified as Finn mac Cool, Fair One, Fair One, Find, Find, Finn mac Cumhail, Finn mac Cumhail, Fionn mac Cumaill, Fionn mac Cumaill, Fionn mac Cumal, Fionn mac Cumal, Mac Cool, Mac Cool, Demna, Demna, Deimne, Demhne, Demne, De(i)mne, Finn mac Cumhal, Finn mac Cumhal, Fionn mac Cuma(il)l, Fionn mac Cuma(il)l, Fionn mac Cumhail, Fionn mac Cumhail, Manx Fin, Manx Fin, Scottish Fingal, Scottish Fingal, Welsh Gwion, Welsh Gwion, Noidhiu, Noidhiu, Noidiu, Noindhiu or Noine.

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