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The Breton version of the Palace in the Rath

In the Breton mythology the Irish fairies are replaced by the korils (night dancers), who assemble on the heaths and execute rondes till daybreak. Any inattentive mortal crossing their territory is seized on, and obliged to caper all night, and at sunrise is at the point of death with fatigue. Benead Guilcher, the hero of a story similar to the Lusmore of the Legends of the South of Ireland, returning with his wife from his labours at the plough, was on the point of being seized on, when they observed his paddle (fork in the original) in his hand, and so were obliged to relinquish their prey, singing at the same time,--

"Lez-hi, lez-hon,
Bác'h an arér zo gant hon;
Lez-hon, lez-hi,
Bác'h arér zo gant hi."

"Let him go, let her go,
Fork of plough has he;
Let her go, let him go,
Fork of plough have they."

But the bold Benead, through curiosity and a wish to get rid of his hump, voluntarily joined the dance on another night, having first made them solemnly promise on the cross not to work him beyond his strength. They at once recommenced dance and song,--the whole chant limited to three words--

"Di-Lun, Di-Meurs, Di-Mercher."
"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday."

"With submission to you, gentlemen," said Guilcher, "your song is of the shortest. You stop too soon in the week. I think I could improve it."

"Do so, do so," cried they all, and he chanted--

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday."

They were so pleased, that when he requested beauty of face and form, they took him up, and pitched him from one to the other; and when he had gone the round, his hump was away, and a handsome face given him.

He did not reveal his adventure in full till he was obliged by another humpback, who exercised the office of usurer, and to whom poor Benead owed eight crowns. He tried his fortune among the little korils, and promised to further improve the melody. But he was a stutterer, and could only get out--

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
And Su-Su-Sunday too--
And Su-Sunday too--
Su-Sunday too."

They stopped him in vehement anger, and bade him name his wish.

Gi-gi-give me," said he, "what Guilcher left."

"We will," said they, and down came the additional hump.

Being now most furious with Guilcher, he reduced him to the point of selling off all the little he possessed. So in this strait he once more repaired to the dwarfs.

They went on with the song, enlarged by the Sunday, but Guilcher tiring of the bald melody, added a line, and completed their bliss.

"Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday,
Thursday, Friday, Saturday,
With Sunday, as 'tis meet,
And so the week's complete."

Guilcher revealing his misery, they all flung their purses to him, and home he went in joy. Alas! when the contents were turned out on the table, they were found to consist of dry leaves, sand, and horse-hair. The frightened wife ran to the bénitier, and luckily finding some holy water there, sprinkled it on themselves and the table; and lo, a pile of gold and jewels sparkled before them! In Ireland the reverse would have taken place.


The Breton version is more complete than the Irish one. The korils explained to Guilcher that they had been doomed to perpetual night-dancing, with an imperfect melody, till some mortal should have the courage to join them, and complete the strain. After Guilcher had lengthened it, they were in hopes of the usurer finishing it, and hence their anger with him.

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