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> Irish Celtic History II, The Cattle-Raid of Cooley(Tįin Bó Cśalng
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gandolf3339 
Posted: 18-Dec-2008, 08:08 AM
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11. The Slaying Of Nathcrantail


Then arose a huge warrior of Medb's people, Nathcrantail by name, and he came to attack Cuchulain. He did not deign to bring along arms but thrice nine spits of holly after being sharpened, burnt and hardened in fire. And there before him on the pond was Cuchulain, and there was no shelter whatever.

[And there were nine darts, and none of them was to miss Cuchulain.] And he straightway cast [the first] dart at Cuchulain. Cuchulain sprang from the middle of the ground till he came on the tip of the dart. And again Nathcrantail threw a second dart. Nathcrantail threw a third dart and Cuchulain sprang on the point of the second dart and so on till he was on the point of the last dart.

It was then that the flock of birds which Cuchulain pursued on the plain flew away. Cuchulain chased them even as any bird of the air, pursuing the birds that they might not escape him but that they might leave behind a portion of food for the night. For this is what sustained and served Cuchulain, fish and fowl and game on the Cualnge Cow-spoil.

Something more remains to be told: Nathcrantail deemed full surely that Cuchulain went from him in rout of defeat and flight. And he went his way till he came to the door of the tent of Ailill and Medb and he lifted up his loud voice of a warrior: "That famous Cuchulain that ye so talk of ran and fled in defeat before me when he came to me in the morning." "We knew," spake Medb, "it would be even so when able warriors and goodly youths met him, that this beardless imp would not hold out; for when a mighty warrior, Nathcrantail to wit, came upon him, he withstood him not but before him he ran away!"

And Fergus heard that, and Fergus was sore angered that any one should boast that Cuchulain had fled. And Fergus addressed himself to Fiachu, Feraba's son, that he should go to rebuke Cuchulain. "And tell him it is an honour for him to oppose the hosts for as long or as short a space as he does deeds of valour upon them, but that it were fitter for him to hide himself than to fly before any one of their warriors."

Thereupon Fiachu went to address Cuchulain. Cuchulain bade him welcome. "I trow that welcome to be truly meant, but it is for counsel with thee I am come from thy fosterer Fergus. And he has said, 'It would be a glory for thee to oppose the hosts for as long or as short a space as thou doest valiantly with them; but it would be fitter for thee to hide thyself than to fly before any one of their warriors!"

"How now, who makes that boast among ye?" Cuchulain asked. "Nathcrantail, of a surety," Fiachu answered. "How may this be? Dost not know, thou and Fergus and the nobles of Ulster, that I slay no charioteers nor heralds nor unarmed people? And he bore no arms but a spit of wood. And I would not slay Nathcrantail until he had arms. And do thou tell him, let him come here early in the morning, and I will not fly before him!"

And it seemed long to Nathcrantail till day with its light came for him to attack Cuchulain. He set out early on the morrow to attack Cuchulain. Cuchulain arose early and came to his place of meeting and his wrath bided with him on that day. And he threw his cloak around him, so that it passed over the pillar-stone near by, and snapped the pillar-stone off from the ground between himself and his cloak. And he was aware of naught because of the measure of anger that had come on and rage in him.

Then, too, came Nathcrantail, and he spake, "Where is this Cuchulain?" shouted Nathcrantail. "Why, over yonder near the pillar-stone before thee," answered Cormac Conlongas son of Conchobar. "Not such was the shape wherein he appeared to me yesterday," said Nathcrantail. "Repel yon warrior," quoth Cormac, "and it will be the same for thee as if thou repellest Cuchulain!"

Soon came Nathcrantail to seek Cuchulain and he made a wide sweep with his sword at Cuchulain. The sword encountered the pillar of stone that was between Cuchulain and his cloak, and the sword broke atwain on the pillar-stone. Then Cuchulain sprang from the ground and alighted on the top of the boss of Nathcrantail's shield and dealt him a side stroke over the upper edge of the shield, so that he struck off his head from his trunk. He raised his hand quickly again and gave him another blow on the top of the trunk so that he cleft him in twain down to the ground. Thus fell Nathcrantail slain by Cuchulain. Whereupon Cuchulain spoke the verse:

"Now that Nathcrantail has fallen,
There will be increase of strife!'
Would that Medb had battle now
And the third part of the host!"

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gandolf3339 
Posted: 18-Dec-2008, 08:10 AM
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12. The Finding of The Bull


Thereafter on the morrow Medb proceeded with a third of the host of the men of Erin about her, till she reached Dun Sobairche in the north. And Cuchulain pressed heavily on Medb that day. [Medb went on to Cuib to seek the bull and Cuchulain pursued her.] There it is that Cuchulain slew all those we have mentioned in Cuib. Cuchulain killed Fer Taidle, whence cometh Taidle; and as they went northwards he killed the macBuachalla ('the Herdsman's sons') at their cairn, whence cometh Carn macBuachalla; and he killed Luasce on the slopes, whence Lettre Luasc ('the Watery Slopes of Luasc'); and he slew Bobulge in his marsh, whence Grellach ('the Trampled Place') of Bubulge; and he slew Murthemne on his hill, whence Delga ('the Points') of Murthemne.

It was afterwards then that Cuchulain turned back from the north to Mag Murthemni, to protect and defend his own borders and land, for dearer to him was his own land and inheritance and belongings than the land and territory and belongings of another.

It was then too that he came upon the Fir Crandce ('the men of Crannach'); to wit, the two Artinne and the two sons of Lecc, the two sons of Durcride, the two sons of Gabul, and Drucht and Delt and Dathen, Tae and Tualang and Turscur, and Torc Glaisse and Glass and Glassne, which are the same as the twenty men of Fochard. Cuchulain surprised them as they were pitching camp in advance of all other, so that they fell by his hand.

Then it was that Buide ('the Yellow') son of Ban Thai ('the White') from the country of Ailill and Medb, and belonging to the special followers of Medb, met Cuchulain. Four and twenty a warriors [was their strength.] A blue mantle enwrapping each man, the Brown Bull of Cualnge plunging and careering before them after he had been brought from Glenn na Samaisce ('Heifers' Glen') to Sliab Culinn, and fifty of his heifers with him.

"Whence bring ye the drove, ye men?" Cuchulain asks. "From yonder mountain," Buide answers. "What is thine own name?" said Cuchulain. "One that neither loves thee nor fears thee," Buide made answer; "Buide son of Ban Thai am I, from the country of Ailill and Medb." "Lo, here for thee this short spear," said Cuchulain, and he casts the spear at him. It struck the shield over his belly, so that it shattered three ribs in his farther side after piercing his heart in his bosom. And Buide son of Ban Thai fell on the ford. So that thence is Ath Buidi ('Athboy') in Crich Roiss ('the land of Ross').

For as long or as short a space as they were engaged in this work of exchanging their two short spears--for it was not in a moment they had accomplished it--the Brown Bull of Cualnge was carried away in quick course and career to the camp as swiftly as any bull can be brought to a camp. From this accordingly came the greatest shame and grief and madness that was brought on Cuchulain on that hosting.

As regards Medb: every ford whereon she stopped, Ath Medba ('Medb's Ford') is its name. Every place wherein she pitched her tent, Pupall Medba ('Medb's Tent') is its name. Every spot she rested her horselash, Bili Medba ('Medb's Tree') is its name.

On this circuit Medb offered battle one night to Findmor ('the Fair-large') wife of Celtchar at the gate of Dun Sobairche; and she slew Findmor and laid waste Dun Sobairche.

Then came the warriors of four of the five grand provinces of Erin at the end of a long fortnight to camp and station, together with Medb and Ailill and the company that were bringing the bull.


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 19-Dec-2008, 12:06 PM
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12a. The Death Of Forgemen


And the bull's cowherd would not allow them to carry off the Brown Bull of Cualnge, so that they urged on the bull, beating shafts on shields, till they drove him into a narrow gap, and the herd trampled the cowherd's body thirty feet into the ground, so that they made fragments and shreds of his body. Forgemen was his name. This then is the Death of Forgemen on the Cattle-prey of Cualnge.
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gandolf3339 
Posted: 19-Dec-2008, 12:07 PM
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12b. Here Is Narrated The Slaying of Redg The Satirist


When the men of Erin had come together in one place, both Medb and Ailill and the force that was bringing the bull to the camp and enclosure, they all declared Cuchulain would be no more valiant than another, were it not for the wonderful little trick he possessed, the spearlet of Cuchulain. Accordingly the men of Erin despatched from them Redg, Medb's satirist, to demand the spearlet.

So Redg came forward to where Cuchulain was and asked for the spearlet, but Cuchulain did not give him the spearlet at once; he did not deem it good and proper to yield it. Redg declared he would deprive Cuchulain of his honour unless he got the spearlet. Thereupon Cuchulain hurled the spearlet at him, so that it struck him in the nape of the neck and fell out through his mouth on the ground. And the only words Redg uttered were these, "This precious gift is readily ours," and his soul separated from his body at the ford. Therefrom that ford is ever since called Ath Solom Shet ('Ford of the Ready Treasure'). And the copper of the spearlet was thrown into the river. Hence is Uman-Sruth ('Copperstream') ever after.

"Let us ask for a sword-truce from Cuchulain," says Ailill. "Let Lugaid go to him," one and all answer. Then Lugaid goes to parley with him. "How now do I stand with the host?" Cuchulain asks. "Disgraceful indeed is the thing thou hast demanded of them," Lugaid answers, "even this, that thou shouldst have thy women and maidens and half of thy kine. But more grievous than all do they hold it that they themselves should be killed and thou provisioned."

Every day there fell a man by Cuchulain till the end of a week. Then faith is broken with Cuchulain. Twenty are despatched at one time to attack him and he destroys them all. "Go to him, O Fergus," says Ailill, "that he may vouchsafe us a change of place." A while after this they proceed to Cronech. These are they that fell in single combat with him in that place, to wit: the two Roth, the two Luan, two women-thieves, ten fools, ten cup-bearers, the ten Fergus, the six Fedelm, the six Fiachu. Now these were all killed by him in single combat.

When their tents were pitched by them in Cronech they discussed what they had best do with Cuchulain. "I know," quoth Medb, "what is best here. Let someone go to him from us for a swordpact from him in respect of the host, and he shall have half the cattle that are here." This message they bring to him. "I will do it," said Cuchulain, "provided the bond is not broken by you tomorrow."


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 22-Dec-2008, 03:56 PM
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12c. Here Is Told The Meeting of Cuchulain And Finnabair


"Let a message be sent to him," said Ailill, "that Finnabair my daughter will be bestowed on him, and for him to keep away from the hosts." Manč Athramail ('Fatherlike') goes to him. But first he addresses himself to Laeg. "Whose man art thou?" spake Manč. Now Laeg made no answer. Thrice Manč addressed him in this same wise. "Cuchulain's man," Laeg answers, "and provoke me not, lest it happen I strike thy head off thee!" "This man is mad," quoth Manč as he leaves him.

Then he goes to accost Cuchulain. It was there Cuchulain had doffed his tunic, and the deep snow was around him where he sat, up to his belt, and the snow had melted a cubit around him for the greatness of the heat of the hero. And Manč addressed him three times in like manner, whose man he was?" Conchobar's man, and do not provoke me. For if thou provokes me any longer I will strike thy head off thee as one strikes off the head of a blackbird!" "No easy thing," quoth Manč, "to speak to these two." Thereupon Manč leaves them and tells his tale to Ailill and Medb.

"Let Lugaid go to him," said Ailill, "and offer him the girl." Thereupon Lugaid goes and repeats this to Cuchulain. "O master Lugaid," quoth Cuchulain, "it is a snare!" "It is the word of a king; he hath said it," Lugaid answered; "there can be no snare in it." "So be it," said Cuchulain. Forthwith Lugaid leaves him and takes that answer to Ailill and Medb. "Let the fool go forth in my form," said Ailill, "and the king's crown on his head, and let him stand some way off from Cuchulain lest he know him; and let the girl go with him and let the fool promise her to him, and let them depart quickly in this wise. And methinks ye will play a trick on him thus, so that he will not stop you any further till he comes with the Ulstermen to the battle."

Then the fool goes to him and the girl along with him, and from afar he addresses Cuchulain. The Hound comes to meet him. It happened he knew by the man's speech that he was a fool. A clingstone that was in his hand he threw at him so that it entered his head and bore out his brains. He comes up to the maiden, cuts off her two tresses and thrusts a stone through her cloak and her tunic, and plants a standing-stone through the middle of the fool. Their two pillar-stones are there, even the pillar-stone of Finnabair and the pillar-stone of the fool.

Cuchulain left them in this plight. A party was sent out from Ailill and Medb to search for their people, for it was long they thought they were gone, when they saw them in this wise. This thing was noised abroad by all the host in the camp. Thereafter there was no truce for them with Cuchulain.


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 22-Dec-2008, 03:58 PM
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12d. Here The Combat of Munremar and Curoi


While the hosts were there in the evening they perceived that one stone fell on them coming from the east and another from the west to meet it. The stones met one another in the air and kept falling between Fergus' camp, the camp of Ailill and the camp of Nera. This sport and play continued from that hour till the same hour on the next day, and the hosts spent the time sitting down, with their shields over their heads to protect them from the blocks of stones, till the plain was full of the boulders, whence cometh Mag Clochair ('the Stony Plain').

Now it happened it was Curoi macDarč did this. He had come to bring help to his people and had taken his stand in Cotal to fight against Munremar son of Gerrcend. The latter had come from Emain Macha to succour Cuchulain and had taken his stand on Ard ('the Height') of Roch. Curoi knew there was not in the host a man to compete with Munremar. These then it was who carried on this sport between them. The army prayed them to cease. Whereupon Munremar and Curoi made peace, and Curoi withdrew to his house and Munremar to Emain Macha and Munremar came not again till the day of the battle. As for Curoi, he came not till the combat of Ferdiad.

"Pray Cuchulain," said Medb and Ailill, "that he suffer us to change our place." This then was granted to them and the change was made.

The 'Pains' of the Ulstermen left them then. When now they awoke from their 'Pains,' bands of them came continually upon the host to restrain it again.


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 22-Dec-2008, 03:59 PM
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12e. The Slaughter of The Boy-Troop


Now the youths of Ulster discussed the matter among themselves in Emain Macha. "Alas for us," said they, "that our friend Cuchulain has no one to succour him!" "I would ask then," spake Fiachu Fulech ('the Bloody') son of Ferfebč and own brother to Fiachu Fialdana ('the Generous-daring') son of Ferfebč, "shall I have a company from you to go to him with help?"

Thrice fifty youths accompany him with their play-clubs, and that was a third of the boy-troop of Ulster. The army saw them drawing near them over the plain. "A great army approaches us over the plain," spake Ailill. Fergus goes to espy them. "Some of the youths of Ulster are they," said he, "and it is to succour Cuchulain they come." "Let a troop go to meet them," said Ailill, "unknown to Cuchulain; for if they unite with him ye will never overcome them." Thrice fifty warriors went out to meet them. They fell at one another's hands, so that not one of them got off alive of the number of the youths of Lia Toll. Hence is Lia ('the Stone') of Fiachu son of Ferfebč, for it is there that he fell.

"Take counsel," quoth Ailill; "inquire of Cuchulain about letting you go from hence, for ye will not go past him by force, now that his flame of valour has risen." For it was usual with him, when his hero's flame arose in him, that his feet would turn back on him and his buttocks before him, and the knobs of his calves would come on his shins, and one eye would be in his head and the other one out of his head. A man's head would have gone into his mouth. There was not a hair on him that was not as sharp as the thorn of the hew, and a drop of blood was on each single hair. He would recognize neither comrades nor friends. Alike he would strike them before and behind. Therefrom it was that the men of Connacht gave Cuchulain the name Riastartha ('the Contorted One').


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 22-Dec-2008, 04:00 PM
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12f. The Slaughter of The King's Bodyguard


"Let us ask for a sword-truce from Cuchulain," said Ailill and Medb. Lugaid goes to him and Cuchulain accords the truce. "Put a man for me on the ford to-morrow," said Cuchulain. There happened to be with Medb six royal hirelings, to wit: six princes of the Gans of Deda, the three Dubs ('the Blacks') of Imlech, and the three Dergs ('the Reds') of Sruthair, by name. "Why should it not be for us," quoth they, "to go and attack Cuchulain?" So the next day they went and Cuchulain put an end to the six of them.
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gandolf3339 
Posted: 29-Dec-2008, 09:21 AM
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13. The Combat Of Cūr With Cuchulain


The men of Erin discussed among themselves who of them would be fit to attack Cuchulain. And what they all said was that Cūr ('the Hero') son of Da Loth should be the one to attack him. For thus it stood with Cūr: No joy was it to be his bedfellow or to live with him. And they said: "Even should it be Cūr that falls, a trouble and care would be removed from the hosts. Should it be Cuchulain, it would be so much the better."

Cūr was summoned to Medb's tent. "For what do they want me?" Cūr asked. "To engage with Cuchulain," replied Medb. "Little ye rate our worth. Nay, but it is wonderful how ye regard it. Too tender is the youth with whom ye compare me. Had I known I was sent against him I would not have come myself. I would have lads enough of his age from amongst my people to go meet him on a ford."

"Indeed, it is easy to talk so," quoth Cormac Conlongas son of Conchobar. "It would be well worth while for thyself if by thee fell Cuchulain." "Howbeit," said Cūr, "since on myself it falls, make ye ready a journey for me at morn's early hour on the morrow, for a pleasure I will make of the way to this fight, a-going to meet Cuchulain. It is not this will detain you, namely the killing of yonder wildling, Cuchulain!"

Then early on the morrow morn arose Cūr macDa Loth. A cart-load of arms was taken along with him wherewith to engage with Cuchulain, and he began to ply his weapons, seeking to kill Cuchulain. Now Cuchulain had gone early that day to practice his feats of valour and prowess. These are the names of them all:

the Apple-feat,
and the Edge-feat,
and the Level Shield-feat,
and the Little Dart-feat,
and the Rope-feat,
and the Body-feat,
and the Feat of Catt,
and the Hero's Salmon-leap,
and the Pole-cast,
and the Leap over a Blow (?),
and the Folding of a noble Chariot-fighter,
and the Gae Bulga ('the Barbed Spear')
and the Vantage (?) of Swiftness,
and the Wheel-feat,
and the Rimfeat,'
nd the Over-Breath-feat,
and the Breaking of a Sword,
and the Champion's Cry,
and the Measured Stroke,
and the Side Stroke,
and the Running up a Lance and Standing Erect on its Point, and Binding of the Noble Hero (around spear points).

Now this is the reason Cuchulain was wont to practice early every morning each of those feats with the agility of a single hand, as best a wild-cat may, in order that they might not depart from him through forgetfulness or lack of remembrance.

And macDa Loth waited beside his shield until the third part of the day, plying his weapons, seeking the chance to kill Cuchulain. It was then Laeg spake to Cuchulain, "Hark! Cucuc. Attend to the warrior that seeks to kill thee."

Then it was that Cuchulain glanced at him and then it was that he raised and threw the eight apples on high and cast the ninth apple a throw's length from him at Cūr macDa Loth, so that it struck on the disk of his shield between the edge and the body of the shield, so that it carried the size of an apple of his brains out through the back of his head. Thus fell Cūr macDa Loth also at the hand of Cuchulain.

"If your engagements and pledges bind you now," said Fergus, "another warrior ye must send to him yonder on the ford; else, do ye keep to your camp and your quarters here till the bright hour of sunrise on the morrow, for Cūr son of Da Loth is fallen." "Considering why we have come," said Medb, "it is the same to us even though we remain in those same tents."

They remained in that camp till Cūr son of Da Loth had fallen, and Loth son of Da Bro and Srub Darč son of Feradach [and Morc] son of Tri Aigneach. These then fell in single combat with Cuchulain. But it is tedious to recount one by one the cunning and valour of each man of them.


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gandolf3339 
Posted: 29-Dec-2008, 09:23 AM
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14. The Slaying Of Ferbaeth ('The Witless')


Then it was that Cuchulain said to his charioteer, namely to Laeg: "Betake thee thither, O master Laeg," said Cuchulain, "to the camp of the men of Erin, and bear a greeting from me to my comrades and foster-brothers and age-mates. Bear a greeting to Ferdiad son of Daman, and to Ferdet son of Daman, and to Brass son of Ferb, and to Lugaid son of Nos, and to Lugaid son of Solamach, to Ferbaeth son of Baetan, and to Ferbaeth son of Ferbend, and a particular greeting withal to mine own foster-brother, to Lugaid son of Nos, for that he is the one man that still has friendliness and friendship with me now on the hosting. And bear him a blessing. Let it be asked diligently of him that he may tell thee who will come to attack me on the morrow."

Then Laeg went his way to the camp of the men of Erin and brought the aforementioned greetings to the comrades and foster-brothers of Cuchulain. And he also went into the tent of Lugaid son of Nos. Lugaid bade him welcome. "I take that welcome to be truly meant," said Laeg. "'Tis truly meant for thee," replied Lugaid. "To converse with thee am I come from Cuchulain," said Laeg, "and I bring these greetings truly and earnestly from him to the end that thou tell me who comes to fight with Cuchulain to-day."

"The curse of his fellowship and brotherhood and of his friendship and affection be upon that man," said Laeg. "Even his own real foster-brother himself, Ferbaeth son of Ferbend. He was invited into the tent of Medb a while since. The daughter Finnabair was set by his side. It is she who fills up the drinking-horns for him; it is she who gives him a kiss with every drink that he takes; it is she who serveth the food to him. Not for every one with Medb is the ale that is poured out for Ferbaeth till he is drunk. Only fifty wagon-loads of it have been brought to the camp."

Then Laeg retraced his steps to Cuchulain, with heavy head, sorrowful, downcast, heaving sighs. "With heavy head, sorrowful, downcast and sighing, my master Laeg comes to meet me," said Cuchulain. "It must be that one of my brothers-in-arms comes to attack me." For he regarded as worse a man of the same training in arms as himself than aught other warrior. "Hail now, O Laeg my friend," cried Cuchulain; "who comes to attack me to-day?"

"The curse of his fellowship and brotherhood, of his friendship and affection be upon him; even thine own real foster-brother himself, namely Ferbaeth son of Ferbend. A while ago he was summoned into the tent of Medb. The maiden was set by his side; it is she who fills up the drinking-horns for him; it is she who gives him a kiss with every drink; it is she who serveth his food. Not for every one with Medb is the ale that is poured out for Ferbaeth. Only fifty wagon-loads of it have been brought to the camp."

Ferbaeth by no means waited till morn but he went straightway to the glen that night to recant his friendship with Cuchulain. And Cuchulain called to mind the friendship and fellowship and brotherhood that had been between them; and Ferbaeth would not consent to forego the fight.

Then in anger, Cuchulain left him and drove the sole of his foot against a holly-spit, so that it pierced through flesh and bone and skin. Thereat Cuchulain gave a strong tug and drew the spit out from its roots. And Cuchulain threw the holly-spit over his shoulder after Ferbaeth, and he would care as much that it reached him or that it reached him not. The spit struck Ferbaeth in the nape of the neck, so that it passed out through his mouth in front and fell to the ground, and thus Ferbaeth fell.

"Now that was a good throw, Cucuc!" cried Fiachu son of Ferfebč, who was on the mound between the two camps, for he considered it a good throw to kill that warrior with a spit of holly. Hence it is that Focherd Murthemni ('the good Cast of Murthemne') is the name of the place where they were.


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Posted: 29-Dec-2008, 09:24 AM
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14a. The Combat Of Larinč MacNois


"Good, my master Laeg," said Cuchulain, "go for me to the camp of the men of Erin to hold converse with Lugaid and inquire for me if the cast I made a while ago reached Ferbaeth or did not reach, and if it did reach him, ask who comes to meet me to fight and do battle with me on the morrow."

Laeg proceeds to Lugaid's tent. Lugaid bids him welcome. "I take that welcome as truly meant," Laeg replied. "It is truly meant for thee," quoth Lugaid, "to hold converse with thee am I come from thine own foster-brother, that thou mayest tell me whether Ferbaeth was smitten." "He was," answered Lugaid, "and a blessing on the hand that smote him, for he fell dead in the glen a while ago."

"Tell me who comes to-morrow to combat Cuchulain?" "They are persuading a brother of mine own to go meet him, a foolish, haughty arrogant youth, yet dealing stout blows and stubborn. And it is to this end that he may fall at his hands, so that I myself must then go to avenge him. But I will not go there till the very day of doom. Larinč great-grandson of Blathmac is that brother. And I will go thither to speak with Cuchulain about him," said Lugaid.

Lugaid's two horses were taken and his chariot was yoked to them and he came to his tryst with Cuchulain, so that a parley was had between them. Then it was that Lugaid spake. "They are persuading a brother of mine to come fight thee on the morrow, to-wit, a foolish, dull, uncouth youth, dealing stout blows. And it is for this reason they are to send him to fight thee, that he may fall at thy hands, and to see if I myself will come to avenge him upon thee. But I will not, till the very day of doom. And by the fellowship that is between us. Slay not my brother."

"By my conscience, truly," cried Cuchulain, "the next thing to death will I inflict on him. "I give thee leave," said Lugaid; "it would please me well shouldst thou beat him sorely, for to my dishonour he comes to attack thee." Thereupon Cuchulain went back and Lugaid returned to the camp.

Then on the next day it was that Larinč son of Nos was summoned to the tent of Ailill and Medb, and Finnabair was placed by his side. It was she that filled up the drinking horns for him and gave him a kiss with each draught that he took and served him his food. "Not to every one with Medb is given the drink that is poured out for Ferbaeth or for Larinč," quoth Finnabair; "only the load of fifty wagons of it was brought to the camp."

["Yonder pair rejoiceth my heart," said Medb.] "Whom wouldst thou say?" [asked Ailill.] "The man yonder, in truth," said she. "What of him?" asked Ailill. "It is thy wont to set the mind on that which is far from the purpose (Medb answered). It were more becoming for thee to bestow thy thought on the couple in whom are united the greatest distinction and beauty to be found on any road in Erin, namely Finnabair and Larinč macNois." "I regard them as thou dost," answered Ailill. It was then that Larinč shook and tossed himself with joy, so that the sewings of the flock bed burst under him and the mead of the camp was speckled with its feathers.

Larinč longed for day with its full light to go to attack Cuchulain. At the early day-dawn on the morrow he came, and he brought a wagon-load of arms with him, and he came on to the ford to encounter Cuchulain. The mighty warriors of the camp and station considered it not a goodly enough sight to view the combat of Larinč; only the women and boys and girls went to scoff and to jeer at his battle.

Cuchulain went to meet him at the ford and he deemed it unbecoming to bring along arm, so he came to the encounter unarmed. Cuchulain knocked all of Larinč's weapons out of his hand as one might knock toys out of the hand of an infant. Cuchulain ground and bruised him between his arms, he lashed him and clasped him, he squeezed him and shook him, so that he spilled all the dirt out of him, so that an unclean, filthy wrack of cloud arose in the four airts wherein he was.

Then from the middle of the ford Cuchulain hurled Larinč far from him across through the camp till he fell at the door of the tent of his brother. Howbeit from that time forth he never stood up without a moan and as long as he lived s he never ate a meal without plaint, and never thenceforward was he free from weakness of the loins and oppression of the chest and without cramps and the frequent need which obliged him to go out. Still he is the only man that made escape after combat with Cuchulain on the Cualnge Cattle-raid. Nevertheless that maiming took effect upon him, so that it afterwards brought him his death. Such then is the Combat of Larinč on the Tįin Bó Cśalnge.


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15. The Slaying of Loch Son of Mofemis



It was then that Loch Mor son of Mofemis was summoned to the pavilion of Ailill and Medb. "What would ye of me?" asked Loch. "To have fight with Cuchulain," replied Medb. "I will not go on that errand, for I esteem it no honour nor becoming to attack a tender, young, smooth-chinned, beardless boy. And not to belittle him do I say it, but I have a doughty brother, the match of himself," said Loch, "a man to confront him, Long macEmonis, to wit, and he will rejoice to accept an offer from you."

Thereupon Long was summoned to the tent of Ailill and Medb, and Medb promised him great gifts, even livery for twelve men of cloth of every colour, and a chariot worth four a times seven bondmaids, and Finnabair to wife for him alone, and at all times entertainment in Cruachan, and that wine would be poured out for him. Long went to seek Cuchulain, and Cuchulain slew him.

Then Medb called upon her woman-bands to go speak with Cuchulain and to charge him to put a false beard on. The woman-troop went their way to Cuchulain and told him to put a false beard on: "For no brave warrior in the camp thinks it seemly to come fight with thee, and thou beardless," said they. Thereupon Cuchulain bedaubed himself a beard. And he came onto the knoll overlooking the men of Erin and made that beard manifest to them all.

Loch son of Mofemis saw it, and what he said was, "Why, that is a beard on Cuchulain!" "It is what I perceive," Medb answered. Medb promised the same great terms to Loch to put a check to Cuchulain.

"I will go forth and attack him," cried Loch. Loch went to attack Cuchulain; so they met on the ford where Long had fallen. "Let us move to the upper ford," said Loch, "for I will not fight on this ford," since he held it defiled, cursed and unclean, the ford whereon his brother had fallen. Thereafter they fought on the upper ford.

Then it was that the Morrigan daughter of Aed Ernmas came from the fairy dwellings to destroy Cuchulain. For she had threatened on the Cattle-raid of Regomaina that she would come to undo Cuchulain what time he would be in sore distress when engaged in battle and combat with a goodly warrior, with Loch, in the course of the Cattle-spoil of Cualnge. Thither then the Morrigan came in the shape of a white, hornless, red-eared heifer, with fifty heifers about her and a chain of silvered bronze between each two of the heifers. The women came with their strange sorcery, and constrained Cuchulain by geasa and by inviolable bonds to check the heifer for them lest she should escape from him without harm. Cuchulain made an unerring cast from his sling-stick at her, so that he shattered one of the Morrigan's eyes.

Then the Morrigan came thither in the shape of a slippery, black eel down the stream. Then she came on the linn and she coiled around the two feet of Cuchulain. While Cuchulain was busied freeing himself, Loch wounded him crosswise through the breast. [Then at this incitation Cuchulain arose, and with his left heel he smote the eel on the head, so that its ribs broke within it and he destroyed one half of its brains after smashing half of its head.]

The Morrigan next came in the form of a rough, grey-red bitch-wolf [and she bit Cuchulain in the arm and drove the cattle against him westwards, and Cuchulain made a cast of his little javelin at her, strongly, vehemently, so that it shattered one eye in her head.] During this space of time, whether long or short, while Cuchulain was engaged in freeing himself, Loch wounded him through the loins. Thereupon Cuchulain's anger arose within him and he wounded Loch with the Gae Bulga ('the Barbed-spear'), so that it passed through his heart in his breast.

"Grant me a boon now, O Cuchulain," said Loch. "What boon askest thou?" "'Tis no boon of quarter nor a prayer of cowardice that I make of thee," said Loch. "But fall back a step from me and permit me to rise, that it be on my face to the east I fall and not on my back to the west toward the warriors of Erin, to the end that no man of them shall say, if I fall on my back, it was in retreat or in flight I was before thee, for fallen I have by the Gae Bulga!" "That will I do," answered Cuchulain, "for 'tis a true warrior's prayer that thou makest." And Cuchulain stepped back. Hence cometh the name the ford bears ever since, namely Ath Traged (' Foot-ford ') in Cenn Tire Moir (' Great Headland').

And deep distress possessed Cuchulain that day more than any other day for his being all alone on the Tįin. Thereupon Cuchulain enjoined upon Laeg his charioteer to go to the men of Ulster, that they should come to defend their drove. And weariness of heart and weakness overcame him, and he gave utterance to a lay:--

Rise, O Laeg, arouse the hosts,
Say for me in Emain strong:
I am worn each day in fight,
Full of wounds, and bathed in gore!
My right side and eke my left:
Hard to say which suffers worse;
Fingin's hand hath touched them not,
Stanching blood with strips of wood!
Bring this word to Conchobar dear,
I am weak, with wounded sides.
Greatly has he changed in mien,
Dechtirč's fond, rich-trooped son!
I alone these cattle guard,
Leave them not, yet hold them not.
Ill my plight, no hope for me,
Thus alone on many fords!
Showers of blood rain on my arms,
Full of hateful wounds am I.
No friend comes to help me here
Save my charioteer alone!
Few make music here for me,
Joy I've none in single horn.
When the mingled trumpets sound,
This is sweetest from the drone!
This old saying, ages old:--
Single log gives forth no flame;
Let there be a two or three,
Up the firebrands all will blaze!
One sole log burns not so well
As when one burns by its side.
Guile can be employed on one;
Single mill-stone doth not grind!
Hast not heard at every time,
One is duped?-- 'tis true of me.
That is why I cannot last
These long battles of the hosts!
However small a host may be,
It receives some thought and pains;
Take but this: its daily meat
On one fork is never cooked!
Thus alone I've faced the host
By the ford in broad Cantire;
Many came, both Loch and Badb,
As foretold in 'Regomain!'
Loch has mangled my two thighs;
Me the grey-red wolf hath bit;
Loch my sides has wounded sore
And the eel has dragged me down!
With my spear I kept her off;
I put out the she-wolf's eye;
and I broke her lower leg,
At the outset of the strife!
Then when Laeg sent Aifč's spear,
Down the stream-- like swarm of bees--
That sharp deadly spear I hurled,
Loch, Mobebuis' son, fell there!
Will not Ulster battle give
To Ailill and Eocho's lass,
While I linger here in pain,
Full of wounds and bathed in blood?
Tell the splendid Ulster chiefs
They shall come to guard their drove.
Maga's sons have seized their kine
And have portioned them all out!
Fight on fight-- though much I vowed,
I have kept my word in all.
For pure honour's sake I fight;
'Tis too much to fight alone!
Vultures joyful at the breach
In Ailill's and in Medb's camp.
Mournful cries of woe are heard;
On Murthemne's plain is grief!
Conchobar comes not out with help;
In the fight, no troops of his.
Should one leave him thus alone,
Hard 'twould be his rage to tell
Men have almost worn me out
In these single-handed fights;
Warrior's deeds I cannot do,
Now that I must fight alone!
This then is the Combat of Loch Mor ('the Great') son of Mofemis against Cuchulain on the Driving of the Kine of Cualnge.
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Sorry it has taken a wile to post more between the flu and work, I have mainly only been on-line to work, but I am starting to feel better so maybe I can get this posted
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16. The Violation of the Agreement


Then it was that Medb despatched six men at one and the same time to attack Cuchulain, to wit: Traig ('Foot') and Dorn ('Fist') and Dernu ('Palm'), Col ('Sin') and Accuis ('Curse') and Eraisč ('Heresy'), three druid-men and three druid-women. Cuchulain attacked them, so that they fell at his hands.

Forasmuch as covenant and terms of single combat had been broken with Cuchulain, Cuchulain took his sling in hand that day and began to shoot at the host from Delga ('the Little Dart') in the south. Though numerous were the men of Erin on that day, not one of them durst turn his face southwards towards Cuchulain, whether dog, or horse, or man.
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16a. The Healing Of The Morrigan


Then it was that the Morrigan, daughter of Ernmas, came from the fairy dwellings, in the guise of an old hag, engaged in milking a tawny, three-teated milch cow. And for this reason she came in this fashion, that she might have redress from Cuchulain. For none whom Cuchulain ever wounded recovered there from without himself aided in the healing.

Cuchulain, maddened with thirst, begged her for a milking. She gave him a milking of one of the teats. "May this be a cure in time for me, old crone," quoth Cuchulain, and one of the queen's eyes became whole thereby. He begged the milking of another teat. She milked the cow's second teat and gave it to him and he said, "May she straightway be sound that gave it." [Then her head was healed so that it was whole.] He begged a third drink of the hag. She gave him the milking of the teat. "A blessing on thee of gods and of non-gods, O woman!" [And her leg was made whole thereby.] Now these were their gods, the mighty folk: and these were their non-gods, the folk of husbandry. And the queen was healed forthwith.

Then Medb ordered out the hundred armed warriors of her body-guard at one and the same time to assail Cuchulain. Cuchulain attacked them all, so that they fell by his hand. "It is a dishonour for us that our people are slaughtered in this wise," quoth Medb. "It is not the first destruction that has befallen us from that same man," replied Ailill. Hence Cuilenn Cind Duni ('The Destruction of the Head of the Dūn') is henceforth the name of the place where the were. Hence Ath Cro ('Gory Ford') is the name of the ford where they were. And fittingly, too, because of the abundance of gore and blood that went with the flow of the river.

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