How the Dagda Got His Magic Staff
Yellow Book of Lecan, col. 789-790
‘Aed Abaid Essa Ruaid misi .i. dagdia druidechta Tuath De Danann 7 in Ruad Rofhessa Eochaid Ollathair mo tri hanmanna.’
Ocus is amlaid ro bai-sium 7 mac dó aigi fora muin .i. Cermad Minbeoil, 7 adrochairsium a comrag 7 a comlonn la Lug mac Cein la hairdri Erenn, do-chuaidh in Dagda a muinighin a fhessa 7 a fhireolais dus1 in ticfad anam ina mac, conad airi sin tucad mir 7 tuis 7 lossa ma corp Cermada, 7 tuargaibsium Cermatfora muin, 7 siris an doman fa Cermut2, 7 ro-siacht in doman mor soir.
Dorecmaingedar triar dósom ag imdecht na conairi 7 na sligead 7 seoid a n-athar accu. Fiarfaigid in Dagdai scela dib, 7 adubradar: ‘Tri meic aenathar 7 aenmathar sind, 7 seoid ar n-athar acainn aga roind.’
‘Cred agaib ?’ bar in Dagdai.
‘Lene lorc 7 lumann,’ bar iadsan.
‘Cred na buada fuilet forro sin?’ bar in Dagdai.
‘An lorg mór sa adchi,’ ar se, ‘cenn ailgen aqi 7 cenn ainbthean. Indara cend ag marbad na mbeo, 7 in cenn ele ag tathbeougud na marb.’
‘Cred in lene 7 in lumann,’ ar in Dagdai, '7 cred a mbuada?’
‘Ante gabus uime in lumann, a roga crotha 7 delba denma, 7 a roga datha, gen bhes ulme. In lene tra, gach cness imma ragha, gan cess gan galor do denum di.’
‘Taile in lorg am laimsea,’ bar in Dagdai. Ocus tucsad ar iasacht in lorg do, 7 ro fhuirmesdarsum in lorg fo tri orro, 7 adrocradar a triur laiss, 7 ro thunius dar in cenn ailgen fora mac, 7 adracht na nertlainti 7 forurim Cermad a laim for [a] aigid 7 adracht 7 ro sill for in triur marb ro boi ina fhadnaisi.
‘Cuich in triur marb sa filet at fiadnasi’? ar Cermad. ‘Triar dorala damsa,’ bar in Dagdai. ‘7 seoida n-athar acu ga comroind. Tucsadar iasacht dun lurig damsa, 7 ro marbusa iad dun dara cind, 7 do thathbheoaiges tussu dun cind ele.’
‘Dursan in gnim sin,’ an Cermad, ‘in ni dia tainic mo bheougudsa gan a tathbeougudsum de.’
Fuirmis in Dagda forrosan in luirg, 7 adractadar na nertslainti3 ‘ an triar brathar.
‘Nach fedabair bar marbad,’ ar se, ‘do bar Iuirg fesin?’
‘Rofedamar,’ ar siad, ‘7 ro imris baegal (?) oruind.’
‘Agamsa ata eolus bar luirgi,’ an in Dagdai4, ‘7 tugus bar tri hanmana daib, 7 tabraidsi iasacht na luirgi damsa co hErind.’
‘Cred is chuir no is tennta duinn fris immar lurig do thorachtain duinn?’
‘Grian 7 esga, muir 7 tir, acht co marbursa mo naimdi di 7 gu tathbeoaider5 mu chairdh’ Ocus tuccad dosum iasacht na luirgi fan coma sin.
‘Cindus roindfimid nada set fil againd ?' ar siat.
‘Dias agaib fana sedaib aenfer gan ni, nogo ria tim chell chugi.'
Is ann sin tucsom in luirg sin i nErind 7 a mac, 7 ro niarb a naimdi di, 7 do thathbeoaig a chairdi, 7 do gabastair rigi nErenn a los na luirgi sin.
‘Arai sin,’ ar se. ‘is mac dun Dagdai sin misi 7 gach a raibi do draidecht d’ fhisidecht aigi, ata agamsa, 7 gach an fhogluim d’eolus ag an tsluag Ut, ata agamsa sin, 7 racaid misi leatsu, a macaim, do thoigi6 in tsegaind7 ut guro impaidher a ranna 7 a faebra,’ et reliqua.
Buach ingen Dairi Duind, ben Loga meic Eithlenn, is ma gnais dochuaidh Cermad mac in Dagdai, conad inn ro marbad Cermad la Lug.
‘I am Aed Abaid of Ess Rúaid, that is, the Good God of wizardry of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and the Rúad Rofhessa8, and Eochaid Ollathair are my three names.’
And thus he was, with Cermait Milbél, one of his sons, on his back, who had fallen in fight and combat by Lug, son of Cian, High King of Ireland. The Dagda betook himself to his knowledge and learning, and therefore frankincense and myrrh and herbs were put around the body of Cermait, and he lifted Cermait on his back, and bearing Cermait9 he searched the world, and came to the great eastern world.
He met three men going the road and the way with their father’s treasures. The Dagda asked news of them, and they said ‘We are three sons of one father and mother, and we are sharing our father’s treasures.’
‘What have ye?’ said the Dagda.
‘A shirt and a staff and a cloak,’ said they.
‘What virtues have these?’ said the Dagda.
‘This great staff that thou seest,’ said he, ‘has a smooth end and a rough end. One end slays the living, and the other end brings the dead to life.’
‘What are the shirt and the cloak,’ said the Dagda, ‘and what are their virtues?’
‘He who puts on the cloak has any shape and form and figure and any colour he chooses, as long as he wears it. As for the shirt, grief or sickness can touch no skin that it shall cover.’
‘Put the staff in my hand,’ said the Dagda. And they lent him the staff, and he put the staff upon them thrice, and they fell by him, and he pressed (?) the smooth end upon his son, and he arose in strength and health. Cermait put his hand on his face, and rose up and looked at the three dead men that were before him.
‘Who are these three dead men before thee?’ said Cermait.
‘Three that I met,’ said the Dagda, ‘sharing their father’s treasures. They lent me the staff, and I slew them with one end, and I brought thee to life with the other end.’
‘That is a sad deed,’ said Cermait, ‘that they should not be brought to life by that which caused me to live.’
The Dagda put the staff upon them, and the three brothers arose in health and strength.
‘Know ye not that ye have been slain,’ said he, ‘with your own staff?’
‘We know,’ said they, ‘and thou hast taken an unfair advantage of us.’
‘I have knowledge of your staff,’ said the Dagda, ‘and I have given you your three lives, and do ye lend me the staff (to take) to Ireland.’
‘What guarantees and bonds have we that our staff will come back to us?’
‘Sun and moon, land and sea, provided that I slay my foes with it and bring my friends to life.’ Under that condition a loan of the staff was given to him.
‘How shall we share the treasures we have?’ said they.
‘Two of you with the treasures and one without any, until his turn come round.’
Then he brought that staff to Ireland, and his son, and with it he slew his foes and brought his friends to life, and he took the kingship of Ireland by means of that staff.
‘Howbeit,’ said he, ‘I am a son of that Dagda, and all the wizardry and magic that he had, I have, and all the knowledge he learned from that host, I have it. And I will go with thee, youth, against that champion10 (?) that I may turn his points and edges,’ et reliqua.
Buach, daughter of Daire Donn, wife of Lug son of Eithliu, Cermait, the Dagda’s son lay with her, wherefore Cermait was slain by Lug.
1. fhireolusiis (?)MS
2. perhapse fa cumut.
3. The last three letters illegible.
4. Last two letters illegible.
5. final letter illegible.
6. read shoigid.
7. possibly tslogaid.
8. Ruad rofessa .i. nomen don Dagdu, 'lord of vast knowledge, a name for the Dagdae,' Stokes, Bodleian Cormac.
9. or 'searched the world throughout,' reading cumut.
10. Or perhaps 'host'
Bergin, Osborn. "How the Dagda Got His Magic Staff." Medieval Studies in Memory of Gertrude Schoepperle Loomis. NY: Columbia University Press, 1927.