Ceirean, Cirein-cròin or cionarain-crò was a large sea monster in Scottish Gaelic folklore. An old saying claims that it was so large that it fed on seven whales: Local folklores say this huge animal can disguise himself as a small, silver fish when fisherman come in contact with it. Other accounts state the reason for the disguise was to attract its next meal; when the fisherman would catch it in its small silver fish form, once aboard it changed back to the monster and ate him.
|Seachd sgadain, sath bradain;||Seven herrings, a salmon's fill;|
|Seachd bradain, sath ròin;||Seven salmon, a seal's fill;|
|Seachd ròin, sath mial-mòr-mara||Seven seals, a large whale's fill||(Mial here is archaic; killer whales eat seals, but baleen whales do not.)|
|Seachd mial, sath Cirein-cròin||Seven whales, a cirein-cròin's fill|
According to Forbes, "[In another saying] cionarain-cro here is substituted, as Avill be seen, for the cirein-croin in the former saving, and ranks second to the "great sea animal."
"It is not known what this monster animal was, though it may well have been one of these "Giant fish-destroyers," so ably, inler-alia, described by Dr Carmichael M'Intosh, which waged war in sea and on land against all and sundry as well as against each other, viz., the gigantic Deinosaurs,[sic] some of which, notably the Atlantosaurus, reached to one hundred feet in length with a height of thirty feet, and proportionately awful of aspect."
- Forbes, Alexander Gaelic names of beasts (mammalia), birds, fishes, insects, reptiles, etc. (1905); available here
- This article incorporates text from "Dwelly's [Scottish] Gaelic Dictionary" (1911). (Cirein-cròin, ceirean)
- Forbes p7; Dwelly
- Forbes, p385
- Forbes, pp61, 226, 384, 385; Dwelly
- Forbes, p384
- Forbes, p61
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