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[Ir., fool; cf. ScG amadan, OIr. ammatán].

A figure in Irish and Scottish Gaelic folklore who may assume both benevolent and malevolent roles. Amadán Mór, the Great Fool, is the Perceval-like hero of several Irish folk narratives and a sometime leader of the fairy host in narrative and poetry. Amadán na bruidhne, the fool of the fairy mounds or palaces, is greatly feared because he may administer the fairy stroke, causing paralysis, crippling, or death; he is most active in June. There does not appear to be a connection between the folk figure and the colloquial use of Amadán in spoken Irish and English.

See EACHTRA AN AMADÁIN MHÓIR. A Scottish ballad version is ‘Laoidh an Amadain Mhóir’, in Alexander Cameron (ed.), Reliquiae Celtique (Inverness, 1892), 289–94. Additionally, Sheila J. McHugh postulates links between the Amadán Mór and Arthurian narrative in ‘Sir Perceyvelle’: Its Irish Connections (Ann Arbor, Mich., 1946).

Subjects: Religion.

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