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[Ir. cana, cano, wolf-cub; poet of the fourth degree].

A historical figure, son of a Scottish king, known in chronicle as Cano mac Gartnáin (d. 688), whose story seems to anticipate that of Tristan in the Arthurian legends; in imaginative narrative his father's name is usually Gartnán. The story of his tragic love is found in Scéla Cano meic Gartnáin found in the Yellow Book of Lecan (14th cent.). Cano was in exile in Ireland when he was received in honour by one King Diarmait, whose daughter was already in love with him. After she had saved him from danger, he was travelling and visited the house of Marcán, whose young wife Créd also fell in love with Cano. At a feast she drugged all present except for Cano and herself and entreated his love. He refused to be her lover while he was still an exile, but as a pledge he gave her a stone which contained his life. Their attempts at a tryst were foiled by Créd's stepson Colcu. After a last attempt at Loch Créde was again frustrated by Colcu, Créd dashed her head against a stone. Cano died three days later after his return to Scotland.

Rudolf Thurneysen argues for the parallel with Tristan in Zeitschrift für celtische Philologie, 43 (1924), 385–404,but D. A. Binchy in a more recent edition disagrees, Scéla Cano Meic Gartnáin (Dublin, 1963).See also Myles Dillon, ‘The Wooing of Becfhola and the Stories of Cano, Son of Gartnán’, Modern Philology, 43 (1945), 11–17.

Subjects: Religion.

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