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

  • Irish
  • prose
  • minor Irish prose tales, translations and adaptations
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.
  • Irish
prose (primary)



 conversion of Jews to Christianity  miracles performed after a saint’s lifetime
Mary [mother of Jesus]Mary ... mother of Jesus
(s. i BC / s. i)
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, Gaelic Revival Collection, 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.