The colour combination most frequently mentioned in the sagas and hagiographies is that of the white cow with red ears. These beasts are always associated with Otherworldly events. Examples from mythology include those from the Táin Bó Cúalnge – the Cattle Raid of Cooley – when the Morrigan attacked Cú Chulainn in the guise of a white red-eared heifer, and from the Wooing of Étaín, when Midir, an Otherworld person, included fifty white red-eared cows in his stake during a game of chess. These mystical animals also appear in the Lives of the saints. Saint Brigid, as an infant, vomited all unclean food, but the problem was solved when her druid father provided milk from a white red-eared cow. In another story, a pious man’s calf was eaten by a wolf but Saint Finian ordered the wolf to fetch a calf to replace the one it had eaten. The wolf reappeared with a white red-eared calf.
Unknown. Possibilities include:
From the Irish caidhp bháis, meaning death cap (the hood put on someone before they were hanged to death, or the "Black cap" worn by English judges when pronouncing the death sentence).
From the Scots kye booties, meaning cow boots (the hobble put on cattle to prevent them from straying).
(Can we verify this etymology?) From the Hebrew כבש, (kbsh) meaning conquer or tread down.
(Can we verify this etymology?) From the Hebrew חבש, (khbsh) meaning to bind or to imprison.
(Can we verify this etymology?) Some connection with Turkish bosh meaning empty.
With humans binding heads and feet is or was practised, quite anciently too according to archaeologists' finds.
hvered wrote:With humans binding heads and feet is or was practised, quite anciently too according to archaeologists' finds.
The presenter of the Dark Ages programme on TV says the Huns practised head binding. Their elongated skulls are highly unusual but very similar to misshapen Peruvian skulls found by archaeologists (some people are convinced the aliens were here).
As far as Europeans were concerned the Huns came from somewhere far away, probably from the east, as they couldn't have crossed from the west now could they? It may be that Huns were in contact with the Peruvians via the Phoenicians, who seem to have got everywhere including Central America. It seems odd that these two peoples, on opposite sides of the Pacific, nevertheless had the same striking custom.
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