James Macpherson (1736 –1796), a Scottish writer, and poet, collected and translated a cycle of Scots Gaelic poems, The Works of Ossian, published first in 1760 then completely in 1765. The narrator and main character in these poems is Oisín, son of Finn or Fionn Mac Cumhaill, a character from Irish mythology. The name Fingal or Fionnghall means “white stranger”; Oisin Oisín means “young deer” (= cervo) or fawn (=fauno).
Whether (=se) they were really translated or are a pure invention of the Scottish writer, is still debated nowadays.
The legends narrates that Oisín’s mother Sadbh, turned into a deer by the druid Fear Doirche, is caught by Fionn in an hunting trip. He does not kill her, and she returns to human form. Fionn and Sadbh soon settle down (married) and she is soon pregnant (=aspetta un bambino). Unfortunately Fer Doirich turns her back into a deer and she returns to the wild. Only seven years later Fionn finds the child in Benbulbin, a large rock formation in the County of Sligo, Ireland.
Another legend is about a fairy woman (= fata) called Níamh Chinn Óir (Niamh of the Golden Hair or Head, one of the daughters of a god of the sea) who declares her love for Oisín and takes him away to Tir na nÓg (“the land of the young”, or “the land of promise”). From their union was born a son Oscar, and a daughter, Plor na mBan (“Flower of Women”). After what seems to him to be three years, Oisín decides to return to
, but 300 years have passed there. Niamh gives him her white horse, but he must never touch the ground, otherwise (= altrimenti) he would grow old and withered (= rugoso). Oisín returns home, but while he is trying to help some men building a road, he falls to the ground, and becomes an old man. In some versions of the story, before dying Oisín is visited by Saint Patrick and Oisín tells the saint what happened. Ireland
In the story Acallam na Senórach (Tales of the Elders, Racconto degli anziani), Oisín and his mate (=compagno) survive to the time of Saint Patrick and tell their stories and legends. This tale is the source of William
Yeats’s poem The Wanderings of Oisin.