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David wrote:

>> The birds decide the highest flier will be king.  The eagle
>> seems to win, but the tiny wren has hitched a ride in the
>> eagle's tail feathers.  He emerges at the last moment "agus
>> chuaigh sé suas písín eile".
>
> This story is familiar to me from my childhood. But I do not know
> if it was taught to me from "folk-tradition" then, or came into the
> book of tales as a learned modern import from the English speaking
> world.

My gut instinct is that it is an international tale, but that
is just that.  The version I mentioned, from Eddie Bheairtle
Ó Conghaile, ends with the wren being made "king", but living
in fear of retribution from the other birds from then on: "ach
ní raibh aon lá riamh ó shin nár chaith sé bheith ag fanacht i
bhfolach trí scailpeanna na gclaíocha mar bhí na héin eile ag
faire ar é a mharú mar gheall ar an gcleas a d'imir sé."

I mentioned Cormac's etymology ("dreaan... no drui-en .i. en
doni faitsine") and Caroline's support for it to a friend in
Corca Dhuibhne, who replied:

> Tá sé seo go speisialta suimiúil sa mhéid is go nglaotar
> "an dreoilín mallaithe" air go minic, fiú gan aon tagairt
> do Lá an Dreoilín. Deirtear gurb í an chúis go maraítear
> í Lá an Dreoilín ná gur scéidh sí ar Stiofán, ach ní fheadar
> cé chomh críonna agus atá an traidisiún san, nó an amhlaidh
> a cumadh é chun an nós a mhíniú. Ach is dóigh liom ná
> téann nós an dreoilín siar ró-fhada ar fad, agus go bhfuil
> baint láidir aige le Comedia dell'Arte (sp?). Ach níl a fhios
> agam mar gheall air, go dáiríribh. Ach níl aon fheidhm
> leis an nós sa lá atá inniu ann ach spraoi agus craic agus
> leathscéal chun óil.

Dennis