Re Deep Secret -- Fairytales

Ania theania at freeuk.com
Sun Mar 10 19:31:42 EST 2002


> > Kern is afaik a fantasy name, not one picked from the real world.
>
> According to babynames.com, Kern is a Celtic/Gaelic name meaning dark
haired
> child.  I haven't read any Dalemark for ages, but I seem to remember Hern
> being blond...
>
> Jenny
> --
I believe that Kern is not a real name at all. It is, however, a word
meaning ' (Irish) mercenary soldier, footsoldier'. Sometimes it is spelt
kerne. The Irish for it - and the origin - is ceithearnach, i.e. a member of
a ceithern, 'warband'.
Kernes were lightly armed with a sword or 'peece' (pistol), and three
javelins. There are old illustrations (incl. one by Durer) of kernes, and
both Stanihurst and Spenser write about kernes.
I cannot see how Kern could mean what babynames.com says it means. Unless
they somehow linked it with Ciaran/Kieran, which IIRC comes fr. ciar,
meaning dark.
My credentials? My PhD is an edition of an Early Modern |Irish tale An
Ceithearnach Caol Riabhach, or 'the thin grizzled (?) kerne' (the exact
translation of the title has given scholars a bit of a headache).
(AAARGH! the deadline approacheth! I now have 8 weeks to finish the darn
thing!)
Ania

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