49. An Dórnán Slat.

Bhí fear ann agus bhí cúigear nú seisear mac aige agus bhídís coitianta ag bruíon agus ag achrann agus ag troid le chéile, i dtreó go raibh an duine bocht ciapaithe acu.

Ghlaeigh sé chuige orthu lá agus thaispeáin sé dórnán slat dóibh agus é ceangailte le gad. Duairt sé leó, an té ’ fhéadfadh an dórnán do bhriseadh ’na dhá leath treasna, go bhfágfadh sé a chuid aige, ag dul chun báis do.

Do rug duine acu ar an ndórnán. Do lúb sé é agus do chas sé é, ach do theip air é ’ bhriseadh. Do rug duine eile acu air agus chuir sé ar a ghlúin chuige é, agus do lúb sé é, ach do theip air é ’ bhriseadh. Do rug an tríú duine air agus chuir sé féna chois ar an dtalamh é, ach má chuir do theip air é ’ bhriseadh. Do theip sé orthu go léir.

Ansan do rug an t-athair ar an ndórnán agus do scor sé an gad agus do bhris sé gach slat fé leith.

“Féach, a chlann ó,” ar seisean. “Is cuma sibhse nú an dórnán slat san. A fhaid a bhí an gad ar an ndórnán agus na slata dlúite ar a chéile níorbh fhéidir iad do bhriseadh. Ach nuair a scoradh an gad agus do scaradh na slata lena chéile ní raibh aon bhac ar éinne iad do bhriseadh ’na gceann is ’na gceann. Sin é an údhálta agaibhse. An fhaid a chuirfidh sibh le chéile ní fhéadfaidh éinne an lámh uachtair d’fháil oraibh, ach má thagann fuath agus mioscais eadraibh, agus má thugann sibh druím lámha lena chéile, gheóbhfar an lámh uachtair láithreach oraibh.”

An Múineadh.

“Is maoldhualga gan bhráthair, ach is mairg a bhíonn gan driotháir.”


bráthair: “brother; cousin, kinsman”. This word contrasts with driotháir, “brother”, originally spelt dearbh-bhráthair, and is used for more derived meanings, e.g. religious brothers, or, as here, cousins or more distant relatives (the foclóirín to the early edition of Aesop shows the meaning here is “cousin”, although the example quoted would bear the meaning of “friend, associate”).
dórnán: “fistful, handle; a small bundle of something”.
druím: “back”, or droim in the CO. PUL uses drom for the actual back of a person or an animal, but druím for more derived usages (druím lámha, “the back of a hand”; druím na talún, “the face of the earth”). Druím lámha a thabhairt le duine, “to abandon or abjure someone”.
faid: “length”, fad. A fhaid, “as long as”. Is there a difference between a fhaid and an fhaid?
gad: “withe”, a supple willow twig used to bind things together.
lámh: “hand”. Note that the nominative singular (and genitive plural) is pronounced /lɑ:v/ with the genitive singular (lámha) and the nominative plural (lámha) both pronounced /lɑ:/. PUL explained in his Notes on Irish Words and Usages that the genitive of this word should be lámha and not láimhe, and he generally adheres to this usage. The dative singular (láimh) and the dative plural (lámhaibh) are both pronounced /lɑ:vʹ/. PUL was insistent that this word had a nasal vowel, and thus was audibly distinct from , “day”, but such nasalisation is not a feature of modern-day WM Irish.
maoldhualga: “bare of connections; i.e., lacking relatives and people to care for you”. PUL eschews any connection with gualainn, “shoulder”, (the proverb quoted is normally cited as is maol guala gan bhráthair and not is maoldhualga gan bhráthair), arguing that dualga is a noun related to dualgas, “a natural right”, meaning “the care and attention due from relatives to each other”.
is maoldhualga gan bhráthair, ach is mairg a bhíonn gan driotháir: “we all need people to rely on, but woe betide him who has no brothers”. See is maol gualainn gan bhráthair, under maol in Ó Dónaill’s dictionary, “it is not good to stand alone”. Dinneen has is maol guala gan bhráthair, “defenceless is he who has no comrade”. See the entry for maoldhualga.
scoraim, scor: “to unloosen”, or scoirim, scor in the CO. PUL used the spelling sgur and sguradh here in the original, but the spelling sguireadh is found in PUL’s Niamh. Ó Dónaill’s dictionary claims scoirim means “to unharness, unyoke”, but scoraim means “to cut meat”. Further research required here.
údhálta: “the exact same way or condition”, pronounced /u:’ɑ:lhə/. Ó Dónaill’s dictionary has an entry for urdhálta, but crossreferenced to dála (i.e., dálta).


About dj1969

at the conservative end of the libertarian spectrum
This entry was posted in Aesop a Tháinig go hÉirinn, Contents. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to 49. An Dórnán Slat.

  1. B. Flynn says:

    It would seem to me that maol-ghuailneach as an adjective expresses a mere observation of the fact that the shoulders are bare. However, maol-ghualga looks more like a past-participle form,
    -deprived of guailnidhthe/guaillithe (supporters, companions). Guailighthe would likely be the usual past participle, but aren’t p.p. variations of common occurence.

  2. B. Flynn says:

    Unless “gualga” is a sort of noun-equivalent (with medial “l” depalatized)of “guailidheacht”(support or carrying on people’s shoulders)to match the noun “mairg”. Is maol-ghualidheacht (ghualga/ghualdha-cht??) do’n te (with accent) a bhionn gan bhrathair, ach is mairg do’n te a bhionn gan driothair. “Mairg a bhionn” is elliptical the same as “Woe is him” in English. Another possibility is that “gualga” is meant to be the plural of “guala” i.e. “guailne”
    pronounced “guaille” with the “l”s depalatized, with the second “g” a misprint, and with this plural form having the meaning of “guailidheacht”– shoulders with the abstract meaning of shouldering. Sorry about the rambling.

  3. admin says:

    It’s definitely an adjective. I think PUL may have noted gualdha, “pertaining to coal” and thought it was connect to guala, “shoulder”…

  4. B. Flynn says:

    Another possibility would be pluralizing “gualainn” as “gualainne” and the “n” dropped before the slight “g” sound formed by palatized “nn”- similar to “tarraig(c)” instead of “tarraing”.
    In other words, instead of changing the velar “l” of “guala” to a palatal in the plural and using
    syncope (guailne), he keeps the “l” as a velar and the “g” quality is produced because the “nn” is clearly intervocalic with no possibility of syncope because the “l” remains velar. Just a thought.

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