I forwarded Dennis's original post to the members of a seminar on medieval
Irish literature I attended last summer because we read "Aided Lugdach ocus
Derbforgaille" in a translation by Patrick Ford, the seminar director.
Yesterday I received an e-mail from Pat saying, in part:
> Now dear friends, as you all well know, that phrase is translated by PKF
as 'the woman from whom it reaches > through (the snow into the ground), it
is she who has the best equipment.' The word congaib 'equipment' in the >
Dictionary of the Irish Language cites our text and queries, 'in sensu
obscoeno?' And the answer is . . ..
----- Original Message -----
From: "Dennis King" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Monday, December 09, 2002 9:51 PM
Subject: Re: dark fairy tales
> John wrote:
> >> What do you make of the DIL item (c) s.v. "congab",
> >> which takes the plural, "congaib" to mean "equipment,
> >> weapons, trappings", and by extension "pudenda"?
> Correction: the English translation is plural, but
> "congaib" is not plural itself, rather the common
> variant of the fem. sg. noun "congab".
> >> Thus "isí as ferr congaibh úan" = "she is the one who
> >> has the best "equipment" of us" ?
> > This bit sounds more like adolescent male banter to me.
> > Is this piece a satire?
> Not at all. Quite the contrary. It's a short tale of
> spite, brutality, death and bloody retribution.
> As for "congaib" in the sense of genitalia, DIL gives
> one late example in which that meaning seems clear:
> "robhean a chongaibh ferda as" = castrated him