Tuesday, September 06, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Iubdan

Iubdan was a ruler of tiny people. According to Irish mythology, King Iubdan liked to boast alot; to put a stop to this annoying habit his court poet told him that Ulster was a land of giants. He even made King Iubdan and his wife, Queen Bebo, travel there in secret and try the porridge of the king of Ulster, Fergus Mac Leda. Unfortunately, Iubdan fell into the porridge and, along with his wife, was taken prisoner by Fergus. No ransom offer proved acceptable to the king of Ulster, although the tiny people offered him an abundance of corn. So they went on to the offensive: milk became scarce, rivers and wells were made foul and polluted, mills burned and during the nights the hair of men and women was entirely cut off. After a year and a day of this harassment Fergus Mac Leda eventually agreed to release Iubdan and Bebo, but only on the condition that in return he was given the king's most valuable possession, a pair of magic shoes. Whoever wore these shoes was able to travel across the surface of water as if walking on dry land, and when Fergus Mac Leda put them on they grew to fit his feet exactly. Echoes of the tiny people in this myth can be found in Jonathan Swift's novel, Gulliver's Travels.

I must admit I never came across this particular myth as a youngster but I think it is certainly one of the better ones.


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