Thursday, March 17, 2011

Leprechauns, mermaids, were the descendants of Cain, according to medieval Irish text

A medieval scholar has uncovered an Irish account of the murder of Abel by Cain that explains how the descendants of Cain were turned into mermaids and leprechauns. This short account was found in a fifteenth-century Irish legal text, but the story itself seems to date from between the 10th and 12th centuries.

The text and a translation were published in a paper by Simon Rodway, “Mermaids, leprechauns and Fomorians: a middle Irish account of the descendants of Cain,” which can be found in the 2010 issue of Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies. Dr. Rodway, who teaches at Aberystwyth University in Wales, researches medieval Welsh and Irish texts.

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