crane bag

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[Ir. corrbolg].

The celebrated bag of Irish tradition was made by Manannán mac Lir and contained many treasures. Aífe (3) is transformed into a crane by a jealous rival, luchra; she subsequently spends 200 years in the household of Manannán mac Lir. When she dies, he uses her skin to hold things precious to him. These included his knife and shirt, the king of Scotland's shears, the king of Lochlainn's helmet, the bones of Assal's swine, and the girdle of the great whale's back. At high tide the treasures are visible in the sea, but at ebb tide they vanish. Modern commentators have speculated that the bag contained the letters of the ogham alphabet used in writing before the introduction of Christianity. The ogham ciphers may have been suggested by the legs of flying cranes. The bag has many owners, including Lug Lámfhota and Liath Luachra (1), from whom it is obtained by Fionn mac Cumhaill.

Subjects: Religion.

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