I recently read Wonder Tales from Scottish Myth and Legend by Donald
Alexander Mackenzie (1917). In his introduction, Mackenzie suggests that the
book contains retellings of older tales preserved by traditional storytellers.
The book begins by relating the seasonal tale of Beira, the goddess of winter
who keeps the beautiful Bride hidden in captivity. Beiraís son Angus the Ever
Young, lives on the Green Isle, where age never touches him, and is in love
with Bride. Angus and Bride love each other in dreams, and finally meet and
marry, bringing Spring into the world. Beira, the hag of winter, then flees to
Skye until she renews her power at the Well of Youth on the Green Island and
returns to Scotland and eventually ages again and brings back the winter.
Iím curious if anyone has any info about Mackenzieís sources. I recognize
several motifs from other Gaelic tales (Angus Og, Brid the maiden of spring, the
Green Island, etc.) and I know some of the other tales in the book (such as
Thomas the Rhymer, of course), but can anyone point me to older versions of
these tales of Beira, Angus and Bride, or evidence of survival in traditional
storytelling repertoires? Or are these tales Mackenzie's imaginative reworkings
of older material, similar to Celtic Wonder Tales by Ella Young (1910)?
I appreciate any insights anyone might have.
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