> Even without any direct verbal correspondences, the sinking of a
> 'boat-like' bowl in a vat which then makes 'sea-like' waves could easily
> have been seen as an evil omen. Consider the following extract from p
> 37 of Opie and Tatem's 'Dictionary of Superstitions' (from British
> "BOWL upturned
> 1869 N & Q 4th ser. IV 131 [Scarborough, Yorks.] No sailor will set out
> on a voyage if he finds his earthenware basin turned upside down in the
> morning when he is about to have breakfast. ... 1916 N & Q 12th ser. I
> 154. ... An overturned bowl - how could anything ... foreshadow more
> plainly an upturned boat?"
Here's the full text leading up to the prophecy, in case you
guys can extract any more meaning from it. (I quite like the
foreboding image of a "sunken boat"!)
Cechaing Conchobar iarsin ar ammusin dunaid. Is andsin dana
ro sudiged dabach umai thall istaig diarba chomainm Ol Gualai
iarsin. Ocus ro bas oc a línad dond fhín. Dorochair dana a
escra féig finnargait alláim in daleman isin dabaig, co ro
dóirt a trí tonna dar borddaib di.
(... And it was being filled with wine. Then his bright
whitesilver serving vessel ("escra") fell from the hand of
the cupbearer into the vat, so that it poured three waves
over the edges of it.)
> I wonder if the three waves might have some significance as a portent as
> well? A legal commentary on injuries describes the symptoms of the most
> serious injury (crólige báis; deadly bed-wound) as consisting of 'na trí
> tonna' (the three waves). These turn out to be three waves of blood:
> blood from the wound, blood in the urine, and blood vomited up from the
Excellent! The "trí tonna" of "crólige báis" could well have
resonated in this. At the very least, the number three would
have signaled that this was no mere random mishap.
Getting back to the puzzling proverb, "Is broth in(d) airdig sin",
I just checked LEIA and found that Vendryes allows two entries
for the "cup" word, as opposed to DIL's single "airdech":
airdig, "coupe à boire" et aussi "contenu d'une coupe, boisson"
airedech, f. "vase à boire"
Following Micheál's suggestion about modern "bruth farraige",
I gave some more thought to older and newer meanings of "bruth".
The sense of "violent heat" gives rise to extended meanings
that include "boiling up, bubbling up, erupting (as a rash or
measles), fermenting". The last one interests me in this
context. I don't think that medieval beer was as effervescent
as the modern product, but it still may have had a tendancy
to froth up and overflow the cup if poured too quickly.
So... could "is broth/bruth in airdig sin" refer literally to
such an overflow? "That is a foaming up in a cup"? The next
step would be to posit a folk belief that such a foaming up
was an omen of upset or trouble or strife.
BTW, DIL does indicate s.v. "3 broth" that "broth" can stand