ElThne Ingubai In some stories the wife of Cchulainn

Elatha In Irish tales, the mystical Fomorian king who mated with Ériu of the Tuatha De Danann to produce Bres. Despite his family ties to the two warring factions, Bres failed to make peace between the two peoples.

ELCMAR The alias of the Tuatha De Danann king Nuadu when he was serving as foster father to Angus Óg, the god of youth.

ELDER A tree that, like the alder, seems to bleed when cut. The elder was thought to contain spirits of fertility.

ELEN A Welsh heroine from the Mabinogion. She used magic to build highways. Her soldiers used the roads to assemble and to defend the land from threats.

Elffin An unlucky Welsh fisherman who found and raised the infant Taliesin. On Calan Mai, the luckiest day of the year, Elffin was unable to catch even a single fish. Instead, he plucked Taliesin from his nets. Elffin raised the boy as his foster son, not knowing that Taliesin was destined to be a powerful poet and magician. After he found the charmed boy, Elffin's luck finally changed. But many years later, he grew boastful. He claimed that his wife was the fairest woman in the kingdom, his horse the fastest animal, and his poet the most skilled orator. This angered the king, who locked him up in silver chains. The king tried to besmirch the virtuous reputation of Elffin's wife. But Taliesin came to his foster father's rescue. He proved that Elffin's wife was indeed virtuous and that his horses were the fastest in the kingdom. Taliesin himself performed at court, besting all of the other poets there. He even produced a magical cauldron filled with gold. The king was forced to release Elffin from his chains.

Elin Gow An Irish smith who owned a magical cow. The cow gave so much milk that no one who owned it ever went hungry. In some versions of the tale, the giant Formorian king Balor stole the cow from Elin, but Cian got it back for him. In this version, it was while questing for the cow that Cian met Balor's daughter, Eithne, who later gave birth to the hero Lugh Lamfhota.

ELM A sacred tree that was protected by the Celts. As with other sacred trees, it was considered unlucky to cut down an elm tree.

Emain Ablach The mythical island home of the sea god Manannan mac Lir in Irish tradition. It was said to be off the coast of Scotland or Ireland. This Otherworld is also called the Isle of Apples and it may be the inspiration for the Avalon of later tales. Emain Ablach is described as a joyous place, where sorrow, illness, and death are unknown and the land is eternally drenched in warm sunlight. In some versions of "The Voyage of Bran" the hero's destination is Emain Ablach rather than the Land of Women.

Emain Macha In the Ulster Cycle, the mythical capital of the Irish province of Ulster. It was the royal seat of Conchobar mac Nessa. It is named for Macha (3), who was forced to run a race while pregnant and suffering the pains of labor.

EMER Daughter of Forgall and wife of Cúchulainn. When Cúchulainn asked Forgall for Emer's hand, Forgall suggested that he needed more training. Forgall sent Cúchulainn to train with the terrible sorceress Scathach, in hopes that she would kill him.

After learning the art of war from her, Cuchulainn returned, yet Forgall still turned him away. Furious, the hero took Emer and her sister Fial from their father's house by force, along with a supply of gold and silver. Forgall was killed in the melee.

The Only Jealousy of Emer Cuchulainn was not faithful to Emer. In fact, the hero had several romances with other women. Emer managed to put all of these affairs out of her mind, however, until Cuchulainn met Fand. Although Fand was already married to the sea god Manannan mac Lir, she and the Ulster hero were smitten with each other. They spent many days together, until Emer discovered the affair.

The furious Emer plotted to kill Fand. She found the lovers' secret meeting place and waited in hiding for the perfect moment to leap out and attack her rival. But when Emer overheard Cuchulainn and Fand, she found herself moved by their talk. It was clear to her that they were deeply in love. Emer stepped out of her hiding spot and offered to give up Cuchulainn so that he might live happily with Fand forever.

Greatly moved by Emer's sacrifice, Fand, too, offered to give up Cuchulainn forever. The women were no longer concerned with who would keep Cuchulainn's love. Instead, they were arguing over who would forsake it.

Fand's husband, Manannan, who had been watching the drama develop, knew there could be no happy ending to the quarrel. He stepped into the love triangle and, with a shake of his magic cloak, cast a spell that caused Fand and Cuchulainn to forget each other forever.

EOCHAID (1) A one-eyed Irish sun god who carried a lightning bolt for a sword. (See also sun gods and sun goddesses.)

Eochaid (2) Legendary high king of Ireland's Tara. Eochaid married the divine beauty ETAiN, not knowing she had already married Midir, king of the Otherworld 2,000 years earlier. Midir came for Etain and spirited her away, but Eochaid and his men rescued her and brought her back home again.

EOCHAID MAC EiRC King of the Fir Bolg. His reign was marked by favorable conditions and crops. During the battle of Mag Tuired (see Oath Maige TUired), he was overcome by thirst. The druids of the Tuatha De Danann hid all sources of water from his eyes. He and 50 of his men were slain while wandering in search of water.

EOCHAID MAC LuCHTA King of Munster. He had only one eye and ruled during the time of Conchobar mac Nessa. Eochaid mac Luchta may be connected with Eochaid (1), the one-eyed sun god.

Epona An important and popular Celtic horse goddess who was revered as a symbol of power and of the earth's fertility. She was worshipped in many dif-

Relief Goddess Pregnant

A Greek fourth-century stone relief of the horse goddess Epona. (Photo by Quartier Latin/Used under a Creative Commons license)

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