Buadh’s Logo – The Salmon of Knowledge
I am fortunate to hail from the north coast of Ireland – a land full of myths and legends from which we can learn valuable life lessons. The Giant’s Causeway takes its name from the legendary giant Finn MacCool, who made the Causeway in an epic battle with the Scottish giant, Benandonner… but that’s another story for another day! The Salmon of Knowledge (Bradan an Eòlais) is the firm’s logo. I love our rich Celtic mythology and the story of the Salmon of Knowledge is one of my favourites, which explains how Finn MacCool became so wise.
The Salmon of Knowledge ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the Well of Wisdom, giving it the wisdom of the world. It was rumoured that whosoever ate the salmon would also receive this knowledge. The salmon escaped the Well and lived in the River Boyne where many tried in vain to catch it. Finnegas, an aged and venerable scholar and poet, was one such fisherman. He patiently watched and waited by the river for a chance to catch the legendary fish. One afternoon while teaching his student Finn MacCool , he saw a huge salmon in the river and knew that it must be the legendary salmon and waged an epic battle to land it in his net. The exhausted Finnegas gave the salmon to his student for him to cook while he recovered from his efforts. In order for Finnegas to fulfill the legend, he ordered Finn not to eat any of it.
However, in the cooking of the fish, Finn burnt his thumb with some hot fat from the salmon and sucked it to soothe the burn. On presenting the still whole cooked salmon, Finnegas noticed a change in Finn and asked if he had eaten any of the salmon. Finn explained what had transpired and although he had not eaten any of the salmon, the knowledge of the world had been transferred to Finn. Finnegas guessed that it was Finn’s destiny to gain this knowledge and was happy for him. Finn MacCool grew up to become a wise poet and warrior – the leader of the Fianna, the greatest band of warriors Ireland has ever known.
What are the Life Lessons from the story of the Salmon of Knowledge?
Goals in life are challenging.
If challenges were easy, you wouldn’t strive for them and feel the benefit of being stretched. Finnegas showed patience waiting to catch the salmon and physically struggled to land it – imagine his elation at finally bringing the salmon ashore!
Sometimes it’s not your goal that counts, but helping others achieve theirs.
Finnegas was already a renowned and venerable scholar, while Finn was his apprentice. Who would gain more from the salmon’s knowledge? Finn loyally followed Finnegas’ orders and had not eaten the salmon, but was granted the knowledge in any case. Perhaps it was always Finn’s destiny to receive the gift of knowledge from the salmon? In any case, Finnegas was happy that Finn was blessed with the wisdom.