Scél in dá lenab ‘The story of the two children’

  • Irish
  • prose
  • minor Irish prose tales
A short medieval Irish story, being an adaptation of the legend known the ‘Jew of Bourges’, which is itself a localised version of the ‘legend of the two infants’. Two children, one Christian and the other Jewish, are visiting a Christian temple together, in the course of which the Jewish boy learns about Jesus, the Crucifixion and the Virgin Mary, and partakes of consecrated bread. When the latter comes home, he is castigated for this by his father, who throws his son into a burning furnace. A miracle is witnessed the following day, when the child proves to be alive and well again, having received Mary’s protection, and declares himself to be a fosterson of hers. The boy’s parents convert to Christianity. Like many of the French versions of this narrative, the Irish story is set in France.
f. 111va–vb
“So faded as to be in parts illegible” (Stokes)
London, British Library, MS Egerton 136
f. 56
p. 44b
Copy from Egerton 136
Maynooth, Russell Library, MS R 73
Version edited by Paul Walsh
Cambridge, University Library, MS Additional 4138
ff. 41.4–42 m
Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 73
pp. 123–125
Dublin, National Library of Ireland, MS G 362
pp. 98–100
ff. 1vb.28–2ra.23
beg. ‘Feacht naen darbadar da leanab a Frangaibh a cumund’
  • Irish
prose (primary)


minor Irish prose tales (foscéla)Irish narrative literature
minor Irish prose tales (foscéla)
id. 33994

Relatively short prose tales in Irish. In learned discourse from the Middle Irish period and later, a distinction is sometimes made between the longer prím-scél and the shorter fo-scél. See eDIL s.v. ‘foscél’ for some references. In the first two volumes of BILL (1913 and 1942), Best included separate headings for ‘Minor tales’.



conversion of Jews to Christianityyet to be classified
conversion of Jews to Christianity
id. 29237
miracles performed after a saint’s lifetimemiracles
miracles performed after a saint’s lifetime
id. 26231
Mary [mother of Jesus]Mary ... mother of Jesus
(s. i BC–i AD)
Virgin Mary
No short description available
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Primary sources Text editions and/or modern translations – in whole or in part – along with publications containing additions and corrections, if known. Diplomatic editions, facsimiles and digital image reproductions of the manuscripts are not always listed here but may be found in entries for the relevant manuscripts. For historical purposes, early editions, transcriptions and translations are not excluded, even if their reliability does not meet modern standards.

[ed.] Stokes, Whitley [ed. and tr.], Lives of saints from the Book of Lismore, Anecdota Oxoniensia, Mediaeval and Modern Series, 5, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1890.
CELT: <link> Internet Archive: <link> Internet Archive: <link>, <link> Internet Archive: <link>
xx–xxii Based on the Book of Lismore, with variants from the Paris MS (footnotes). direct link
[ed.] [tr.] Gaidoz, Henri, “L’enfant juif”, Mélusine: recueil de mythologie, littérature populaire, traditions et usages 4 (1888, 1889): 39–40 (cols).
Gallica: <link>
Based on the Paris MS.
[ed.] Walsh, Paul, “Scél in dá lenab”, in: Cuallacht Chuilm Cille (ed.), Éigse suadh is seanchaidh, Dublin: Gill, 1909. 42–43 (edition).
Tionscnaimh.fng.ie – Edited text from pp. 42-43: <link>
Basd on the O'Renehan MS 73. An English translation is found in Irisleabhar Muighe Nuadhad (1908/1909): 80-81.
Dennis Groenewegen
Page created
July 2016, last updated: June 2023