The Salmon of Knowledge

This week for my series of Myths and Legends I have decided to look at a wonderful story introduced to me by my friend Hazey who lives in Ireland, thanks Hazey.

There was once a water well surrounded by 9 Hazel trees, one day the 9 trees dropped 1 hazelnut each into the well where they were washed into a nearby river and were consumed by an ordinary Salmon, by this act the salmon gained the worlds knowledge and the first person to eat the salmon would in turn gain the knowledge. News of the legendary salmon spread and many people went out to try and catch the fish but after 7 years it was caught by a poet called Finn Eces. Finn was eager to gain the knowledge of the world by eating the salmon but wanted to do the job properly so he gave the fish to his servant Fionn telling him to cook the salmon but what ever happens he must not eat it.

Fionn being a loyal servant did as he was told, slowly turning the fish so that it was cooked all the way through, just to check if it was done he pushed his thumb onto the fish to check it was ready but instead he got burnt on some searing hot fish fat, Fionn quickly sucked on his thumb to ease the pain, Little did he know that all of the knowledge of the world had been concentrated into that small drop of oil and Fionn now possessed the knowledge.  

When Finn was presented with the fish to eat he could see a spark of knowledge in Fionn’s eyes, He asked what had happened and when he realised that Fionn now possessed the knowledge Finn allowed Fionn to eat the rest of the fish. From that moment on Fionn could draw up the knowledge of the world by merely biting his thumb, he eventually became leader of a warrior group called the Fianna and became one of the most famed mythical heroes of Irish History.If you are in Belfast then you can see a ceramic sculpture of the Salmon of Knowledge on Donegall Quay.

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