If in early times the spirit of vegetation was feminine, her representative would be a woman, probably slain at recurring festivals by the female worshippers. This would explain the slaying of one of their number at a festival by Namnite women. But when male spirits or gods superseded goddesses, the divine priest-king would take the place of the female representative. On the other hand, just as the goddess became the consort of the god, a female representative would continue as the divine bride in the ritual of the sacred marriage, the May Queen of later folk-custom. Sporadically, too, conservatism would retain female cults with female divine incarnations, as is seen by the presence of the May Queen alone in certain folk-survivals, and by many Celtic rituals from which men were excluded.
 O’Grady, ii. 228.
 Ibid. ii. 203. Cf. Caesar, vi. 14, “the immortal gods” of Gaul.
 Cf. Ch. XXIV.; O’Grady, ii. 110, 172; Nutt-Meyer, i. 42.
 Leahy, ii. 6.
 IT iii. 203; Trip. Life, 507; Annals of the Four Masters, A.D. 14; RC xxii. 28, 168. Chiefs as well as kings probably influenced fertility. A curious survival of this is found in the belief that herrings abounded in Dunvegan Loch when MacLeod arrived at his castle there, and in the desire of the people in Skye during the potato famine that his fairy banner should be waved.
 An echo of this may underlie the words attributed to King Ailill, “If I am slain, it will be the redemption of many” (O’Grady, ii. 416).