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Story about Fionn and the six servants and a vocabulary note, 1865

Identifier: Coll-97/CW113/21

Scope and Contents

Story about Fionn and the six servants probably continued from the story about Fionn and Gille Glas (Coll-97/CW113/14). Fionn was feeling very sad about Gille Glas, when an old man appeared and told Fionn that they would eat dinner together the next night and disappeared again. Fionn is very angry and insulted by this. Then he is approached by six different men each asking to be hired and so Fionn asks them what sort of work they are good at. The six men are in turn a good sea-captain, bowman, catcher, thief, climber of high castles and seer, and Fionn hires them. He asks the seer where the old man went to and is told that he went to an island which no one has found their way to, so Fionn and his servants set off to find the island. When they arrive at the old man's door the table is set for dinner. The old man asks Fionn for assistance and Fionn promises to help with his life as a blood price. The old man explains that his wife has been pregnant three times and that on every occasion the household has been put to sleep by music and then a big beast enters and takes the baby away. His wife is pregnant again and the old man asks Fionn to stop the same thing happening again. As the old man's wife gave birth, music filled the house and everyone started to fall asleep. When he saw the midwife's eyes drooping and that she was holding the baby, he ordered a bodkin to be heated on the fire. Fionn asked the catcher to take a heated bodkin and he took one as well and that way they kept awake. The music stopped and a large hand came down the chimney hole and took hold of the baby. Fionn ordered the catcher to grab the hand but on the first attempt it got away, on the second attempt he got the hand inside in front of everyone, on the third time he got its ankle and on the third attempt he got up to its shoulder. The beast went away and no one knows what happened to it. A vocabulary note explains 'fathlios' as 'a hole on the house top to let out the smoke'. The story has the name James MacDonald written in pencil after it although it is not clear what the connection between this man and the story is.


  • Creation: 1865

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This material is unrestricted.


From the Series: 86 folios ; 20.3 x 16.5 cm

Physical Location


Physical Location

folio 58v, line 1 to folio 61v, line 15


Lox, Harlinda, 'Sechse kommen durch die Welt', Enzyklopädie des Märchens, 12, pp. 470-476.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Edinburgh Library Heritage Collections Repository

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