Folklore

Braden [Bradán] is derived from an Irish Gaelic word meaning “salmon.” Salmon, of course, Swim Against the Stream.

Bradán feasa is the ‘Salmon of Knowledge’ in Irish folklore.

The Salmon of Knowledge

According to Celtic legend, an ordinary salmon ate nine hazelnuts that fell into the well of wisdom. By this act, the salmon gained the world’s knowledge. The first person to eat of its flesh would, in turn, gain this knowledge.

The poet Finegas spent seven years searching for the salmon unsuccessfully. Until he brought his student Fionn mac Cumhail — or Finn MacCool — with him on his journey.

After catching the salmon, Finegas handed it to Finn to prepare. Finn cooked the salmon, turning it over and over, but when he touched the fish to see if it was cooked, he burnt his finger on a drop of hot cooking fish fat. Finn sucked on his burned finger to ease the pain.

When Finn brought the cooked meal to Finegas, his master saw that the boy’s eyes shone with a previously unseen wisdom. Finegas asked Finn if he had eaten any of the salmon. Answering no, the boy explained what had happened. Finegas realized that Finn had received the wisdom of the salmon, so he gave him the rest of the fish to eat.

Finn ate the salmon and in so doing gained all the knowledge of the world. The deep knowledge and wisdom gained from the Salmon of Knowledge allowed Finn to become the leader of the Fianna, the famed heroes of Irish myth.