Thanks Bernard. That's really interesting. The Celtic traditions are so rich you couldn't get on top of it all.
In respect of prophesies of Christ and the devil, I'd just say the idea of St. Brigit as a cailleach (veiled woman/hag/woman of the woods) found both in Cogitosus and the Book of Kells is a profoundly ethical one, and the complementary St. Brigit the dragon a very, very friendly dragon.
Bernard Morgan wrote:
> From Éigse, Volume 5, Issue 1:
> “A peculiar allegorical tale is recounted in the Leabhar Breac, and at
> greater length in the Book of Lismore.22 The tale concerns a game, which,
> we are told, the youths of Rome were wont to play every Halloween. It was
> a board game (fidchell) with the figure of a hag at one end and the
> figure of a girl at the other. The hag releases a dragon towards the
> girl, and the girl releases a lamb towards the dragon so that the lamb
> overcomes the dragon. The hag, thereupon, releases a lion towards the
> girl who releases a ram which conquers the lion. The game is alleged to
> have been invented by Sybil as prophecy of Christ and the devil. Whether
> the writer of the tale has any real board game in mind is open to doubt,
> and if he had it is not the normal fidchell. Besides we are explicitly
> told that it was a game played by the youths of Rome.”
> My understanding of Scottish folklore is that Cailleach and Bride
> represent seasons of Winter and Summer. Does Cailleach and Brigit have
> the same seasonal meaning in Ireland?
> (The writer Caitlín Matthews sees the Hag as Cailleach and Maiden as
> Brigit. And I am wondering if the board game spoken of is a
> representation of the folk tradition of summer having to battle and
> defeat winter.)
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