The Ballad of Manannan beg mac y Leirr

The Ballad of Manannan beg mac y Leirr

(Little Manannan, son of Leir)

Little Manannan was the son of Leirr,
he was the first that ever had her;
but as I can best conceive,
he himself was a heathen.

‘Twas not with his sword he kept her,
nor his arrows, nor his bow;
but when he would see the ships coming,
he hid her right round with a mist.

He’d set a man upon a hill
you’d think there were a hundred there;
and thus did wild Manannan guard
that island with all its beauty.

The rent each paid out of the land
was a bundle of green rushes;
and that was on them for a tax
throughout the country each John’s Eve.

Some went up with the rushes to
the great mountain at Barool;
others would leave the grass below,
with Manannan above Keamool.

In this way then they lived, I think
myself their tribute very small,
without care or anxiety,
Or labour to cause weariness.


(source: Manx Fairy Tales by Sophia Morrision (1911))

Bernadette Weyde

Bernadette Weyde

I'm a web designer, amateur historian and keen gardener and I enjoy bringing Manx history, folklore and poetry to a modern audience.


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