Irish Mythology

Tales of Fionn mac Cumhaill: Bran and Sceolan

pre-12th century—present. Old Irish | Modern Irish, folklore.

Bran and Sceolan, although Fionn’s maternal nephews and with human minds, remained as dogs.

Fionn’s two favourite hunting dogs were named Bran and Sceolan and they accompanied him everywhere. They were no ordinary dogs either – although in a sense, perhaps, the whole point is that we should take them to be exactly that. The story is: Fionn’s aunt became the lover of one of his armed followers, but while she was living with this man, a former girlfriend of his, who was one of the Sidhe, came to visit her in a jealous rage and through a magic spell turned the poor woman into a bitch. In the fullness of time, since she had been pregnant when this catastrophe had struck her, Fionn’s aunt gave birth to two healthy dog pups, Bran and Sceolan.

Fionn’s aunt was ultimately turned back into her old, human self. Bran and Sceolan however, although Fionn’s maternal nephews and with human minds, remained as dogs and true to a maternal uncle’s duty, Fionn gave these dogs his love and a share of his home.

Story fragment recounted from: Gregory, Lady A., 1904. Gods and Fighting Men: The Story of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Fianna of Ireland, Arranged and put into English by Lady Gregory. John Murray, London. Reprinted, 1998. Irish Myths and Legends. Running Press Book Publishers, Philadelphia, USA. Part Two: The Fianna. Book I: Finn, Son of Cumhal. Chapter 3: Birth of Bran, pp 173–175.

See for yourself

Tuatha de Danaan - Wikipedia

Fionn mac Cumhaill - Wikipedia

Gods and Fighting Men – ancient tales of Ireland put into English by Lady Augusta Gregory. 1904. Project Gutenberg.

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