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Title: Gods and Fighting Men
Author: Gregory, Lady, 1852-1932
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Gods and Fighting Men" ***

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My Friends, those I know and those I do not know, I am glad in the year
of the birth of your Society to have this book to offer you.

It has given great courage to many workers here--working to build up
broken walls--to know you have such friendly thoughts of them in your
minds. A few of you have already come to see us, and we begin to hope
that one day the steamers across the Atlantic will not go out full, but
come back full, until some of you find your real home is here, and say
as some of us say, like Finn to the woman of enchantments--

[Illustration: Irish Gaelic]

"We would not give up our own country--Ireland--if we were to get the
whole world as an estate, and the Country of the Young along with it."




A few months ago I was on the bare Hill of Allen, "wide Almhuin of
Leinster," where Finn and the Fianna lived, according to the stories,
although there are no earthen mounds there like those that mark the
sites of old buildings on so many hills. A hot sun beat down upon
flowering gorse and flowerless heather; and on every side except the
east, where there were green trees and distant hills, one saw a level
horizon and brown boglands with a few green places and here and there
the glitter of water. One could imagine that had it been twilight and
not early afternoon, and had there been vapours drifting and frothing
where there were now but shadows of clouds, it would have set stirring
in one, as few places even in Ireland can, a thought that is peculiar to
Celtic romance, as I think, a thought of a mystery coming not as with
Gothic nations out of the pressure of darkness, but out of great spaces
and windy light. The hill of Teamhair, or Tara, as it is now called,
with its green mounds and its partly wooded sides, and its more gradual
slope set among fat grazing lands, with great trees in the hedgerows,
had brought before one imaginations, not of heroes who were in their
youth for hundreds of years, or of women who came to them in the
likeness of hunted fawns, but of kings that lived brief and politic
lives, and of the five white roads that carried their armies to the
lesser kingdoms of Ireland, or brought to the great fair that had given
Teamhair its sovereignty, all that sought justice or pleasure or had
goods to barter.


It is certain that we must not confuse these kings, as did the mediæval
chroniclers, with those half-divine kings of Almhuin. The chroniclers,
perhaps because they loved tradition too well to cast out utterly much
that they dreaded as Christians, and perhaps because popular imagination
had begun the mixture, have mixed one with another ingeniously, making
Finn the head of a kind of Militia under Cormac MacArt, who is supposed
to have reigned at Teamhair in the second century, and making Grania,
who travels to enchanted houses under the cloak of Angus, god of Love,
and keeps her troubling beauty longer than did Helen hers, Cormac's
daughter, and giving the stories of the Fianna, although the impossible
has thrust its proud finger into them all, a curious air of precise
history. It is only when one separates the stories from that mediæval
pedantry, as in this book, that one recognises one of the oldest worlds
that man has imagined, an older world certainly than one finds in the
stories of Cuchulain, who lived, according to the chroniclers, about the
time of the birth of Christ. They are far better known, and one may be
certain of the antiquity of incidents that are known in one form or
another to every Gaelic-speaking countryman in Ireland or in the
Highlands of Scotland. Sometimes a labourer digging near to a cromlech,
or Bed of Diarmuid and Crania as it is called, will tell one a tradition
that seems older and more barbaric than any description of their
adventures or of themselves in written text or story that has taken form
in the mouths of professed story-tellers. Finn and the Fianna found
welcome among the court poets later than did Cuchulain; and one finds
memories of Danish invasions and standing armies mixed with the
imaginations of hunters and solitary fighters among great woods. One
never hears of Cuchulain delighting in the hunt or in woodland things;
and one imagines that the story-teller would have thought it unworthy in
so great a man, who lived a well-ordered, elaborate life, and had his
chariot and his chariot-driver and his barley-fed horses to delight in.
If he is in the woods before dawn one is not told that he cannot know
the leaves of the hazel from the leaves of the oak; and when Emer
laments him no wild creature comes into her thoughts but the cuckoo that
cries over cultivated fields. His story must have come out of a time
when the wild wood was giving way to pasture and tillage, and men had no
longer a reason to consider every cry of the birds or change of the
night. Finn, who was always in the woods, whose battles were but hours
amid years of hunting, delighted in the "cackling of ducks from the Lake
of the Three Narrows; the scolding talk of the blackbird of Doire an
Cairn; the bellowing of the ox from the Valley of the Berries; the
whistle of the eagle from the Valley of Victories or from the rough
branches of the Ridge of the Stream; the grouse of the heather of
Cruachan; the call of the otter of Druim re Coir." When sorrow comes
upon the queens of the stories, they have sympathy for the wild birds
and beasts that are like themselves: "Credhe wife of Cael came with the
others and went looking through the bodies for her comely comrade, and
crying as she went. And as she was searching she saw a crane of the
meadows and her two nestlings, and the cunning beast the fox watching
the nestlings; and when the crane covered one of the birds to save it,
he would make a rush at the other bird, the way she had to stretch
herself out over the birds; and she would sooner have got her own death
by the fox than the nestlings to be killed by him. And Credhe was
looking at that, and she said: 'It is no wonder I to have such love for
my comely sweetheart, and the bird in that distress about her


One often hears of a horse that shivers with terror, or of a dog that
howls at something a man's eyes cannot see, and men who live primitive
lives where instinct does the work of reason are fully conscious of many
things that we cannot perceive at all. As life becomes more orderly,
more deliberate, the supernatural world sinks farther away. Although the
gods come to Cuchulain, and although he is the son of one of the
greatest of them, their country and his are far apart, and they come to
him as god to mortal; but Finn is their equal. He is continually in
their houses; he meets with Bodb Dearg, and Angus, and Manannan, now as
friend with friend, now as with an enemy he overcomes in battle; and
when he has need of their help his messenger can say: "There is not a
king's son or a prince, or a leader of the Fianna of Ireland, without
having a wife or a mother or a foster-mother or a sweetheart of the
Tuatha de Danaan." When the Fianna are broken up at last, after hundreds
of years of hunting, it is doubtful that he dies at all, and certain
that he comes again in some other shape, and Oisin, his son, is made
king over a divine country. The birds and beasts that cross his path in
the woods have been fighting men or great enchanters or fair women, and
in a moment can take some beautiful or terrible shape. One thinks of him
and of his people as great-bodied men with large movements, that seem,
as it were, flowing out of some deep below the narrow stream of personal
impulse, men that have broad brows and quiet eyes full of confidence in
a good luck that proves every day afresh that they are a portion of the
strength of things. They are hardly so much individual men as portions
of universal nature, like the clouds that shape themselves and re-shape
themselves momentarily, or like a bird between two boughs, or like the
gods that have given the apples and the nuts; and yet this but brings
them the nearer to us, for we can remake them in our image when we will,
and the woods are the more beautiful for the thought. Do we not always
fancy hunters to be something like this, and is not that why we think
them poetical when we meet them of a sudden, as in these lines in

                              "An old hunter
    Talking with gods; or a nigh-crested chief
    Sailing with troops of friends to Tenedos"


One must not expect in these stories the epic lineaments, the many
incidents, woven into one great event of, let us say, the story of the
War for the Brown Bull of Cuailgne, or that of the last gathering at
Muirthemne. Even Diarmuid and Grania, which is a long story, has nothing
of the clear outlines of Deirdre, and is indeed but a succession of
detached episodes. The men who imagined the Fianna had the imagination
of children, and as soon as they had invented one wonder, heaped another
on top of it. Children--or, at any rate, it is so I remember my own
childhood--do not understand large design, and they delight in little
shut-in places where they can play at houses more than in great expanses
where a country-side takes, as it were, the impression of a thought. The
wild creatures and the green things are more to them than to us, for
they creep towards our light by little holes and crevices. When they
imagine a country for themselves, it is always a country where one can
wander without aim, and where one can never know from one place what
another will be like, or know from the one day's adventure what may meet
one with to-morrow's sun. I have wished to become a child again that I
might find this book, that not only tells one of such a country, but is
fuller than any other book that tells of heroic life, of the childhood
that is in all folk-lore, dearer to me than all the books of the western

Children play at being great and wonderful people, at the ambitions
they will put away for one reason or another before they grow into
ordinary men and women. Mankind as a whole had a like dream once;
everybody and nobody built up the dream bit by bit, and the ancient
story-tellers are there to make us remember what mankind would have been
like, had not fear and the failing will and the laws of nature tripped
up its heels. The Fianna and their like are themselves so full of power,
and they are set in a world so fluctuating and dream-like, that nothing
can hold them from being all that the heart desires.

I have read in a fabulous book that Adam had but to imagine a bird, and
it was born into life, and that he created all things out of himself by
nothing more important than an unflagging fancy; and heroes who can make
a ship out of a shaving have but little less of the divine prerogatives.
They have no speculative thoughts to wander through eternity and waste
heroic blood; but how could that be otherwise, for it is at all times
the proud angels who sit thinking upon the hill-side and not the people
of Eden. One morning we meet them hunting a stag that is "as joyful as
the leaves of a tree in summer-time"; and whatever they do, whether they
listen to the harp or follow an enchanter over-sea, they do for the sake
of joy, their joy in one another, or their joy in pride and movement;
and even their battles are fought more because of their delight in a
good fighter than because of any gain that is in victory. They live
always as if they were playing a game; and so far as they have any
deliberate purpose at all, it is that they may become great gentlemen
and be worthy of the songs of poets. It has been said, and I think the
Japanese were the first to say it, that the four essential virtues are
to be generous among the weak, and truthful among one's friends, and
brave among one's enemies, and courteous at all times; and if we
understand by courtesy not merely the gentleness the story-tellers have
celebrated, but a delight in courtly things, in beautiful clothing and
in beautiful verse, one understands that it was no formal succession of
trials that bound the Fianna to one another. Only the Table Round, that
is indeed, as it seems, a rivulet from the same river, is bound in a
like fellowship, and there the four heroic virtues are troubled by the
abstract virtues of the cloister. Every now and then some noble knight
builds himself a cell upon the hill-side, or leaves kind women and
joyful knights to seek the vision of the Grail in lonely adventures. But
when Oisin or some kingly forerunner--Bran, son of Febal, or the
like--rides or sails in an enchanted ship to some divine country, he but
looks for a more delighted companionship, or to be in love with faces
that will never fade. No thought of any life greater than that of love,
and the companionship of those that have drawn their swords upon the
darkness of the world, ever troubles their delight in one another as it
troubles Iseult amid her love, or Arthur amid his battles. It is one of
the ailments of our speculation that thought, when it is not the
planning of something, or the doing of something or some memory of a
plain circumstance separates us from one another because it makes us
always more unlike, and because no thought passes through another's ear
unchanged. Companionship can only be perfect when it is founded on
things, for things are always the same under the hand, and at last one
comes to hear with envy of the voices of boys lighting a lantern to
ensnare moths, or of the maids chattering in the kitchen about the fox
that carried off a turkey before breakfast. This book is full of
fellowship untroubled like theirs, and made noble by a courtesy that has
gone perhaps out of the world. I do not know in literature better
friends and lovers. When one of the Fianna finds Osgar dying the proud
death of a young man, and asks is it well with him, he is answered, "I
am as you would have me be." The very heroism of the Fianna is indeed
but their pride and joy in one another, their good fellowship. Goll, old
and savage, and letting himself die of hunger in a cave because he is
angry and sorry, can speak lovely words to the wife whose help he
refuses. "'It is best as it is,' he said, 'and I never took the advice
of a woman east or west, and I never will take it. And oh, sweet-voiced
queen,' he said, 'what ails you to be fretting after me? and remember
now your silver and your gold, and your silks ... and do not be crying
tears after me, queen with the white hands,' he said, 'but remember your
constant lover Aodh, son of the best woman of the world, that came from
Spain asking for you, and that I fought on Corcar-an-Dearg; and go to
him now,' he said, 'for it is bad when a woman is without a good man.'"


They have no asceticism, but they are more visionary than any ascetic,
and their invisible life is but the life about them made more perfect
and more lasting, and the invisible people are their own images in the
water. Their gods may have been much besides this, for we know them from
fragments of mythology picked out with trouble from a fantastic history
running backward to Adam and Eve, and many things that may have seemed
wicked to the monks who imagined that history, may have been altered or
left out; but this they must have been essentially, for the old stories
are confirmed by apparitions among the country-people to-day. The Men of
Dea fought against the mis-shapen Fomor, as Finn fights against the
Cat-Heads and the Dog-Heads; and when they are overcome at last by men,
they make themselves houses in the hearts of hills that are like the
houses of men. When they call men to their houses and to their country
Under-Wave they promise them all that they have upon earth, only in
greater abundance. The god Midhir sings to Queen Etain in one of the
most beautiful of the stories: "The young never grow old; the fields and
the flowers are as pleasant to be looking at as the blackbird's eggs;
warm streams of mead and wine flow through that country; there is no
care or no sorrow on any person; we see others, but we ourselves are not
seen." These gods are indeed more wise and beautiful than men; but men,
when they are great men, are stronger than they are, for men are, as it
were, the foaming tide-line of their sea. One remembers the Druid who
answered, when some one asked him who made the world, "The Druids made
it." All was indeed but one life flowing everywhere, and taking one
quality here, another there. It sometimes seems to one as if there is a
kind of day and night of religion, and that a period when the influences
are those that shape the world is followed by a period when the greater
power is in influences that would lure the soul out of the world, out of
the body. When Oisin is speaking with S. Patrick of the friends and the
life he has outlived, he can but cry out constantly against a religion
that has no meaning for him. He laments, and the country-people have
remembered his words for centuries: "I will cry my fill, but not for
God, but because Finn and the Fianna are not living."


Old writers had an admirable symbolism that attributed certain energies
to the influence of the sun, and certain others to the lunar influence.
To lunar influence belong all thoughts and emotions that were created by
the community, by the common people, by nobody knows who, and to the sun
all that came from the high disciplined or individual kingly mind. I
myself imagine a marriage of the sun and moon in the arts I take most
pleasure in; and now bride and bridegroom but exchange, as it were, full
cups of gold and silver, and now they are one in a mystical embrace.
From the moon come the folk-songs imagined by reapers and spinners out
of the common impulse of their labour, and made not by putting words
together, but by mixing verses and phrases, and the folk-tales made by
the capricious mixing of incidents known to everybody in new ways, as
one deals out cards, never getting the same hand twice over. When one
hears some fine story, one never knows whether it has not been hazard
that put the last touch of adventure. Such poetry, as it seems to me,
desires an infinity of wonder or emotion, for where there is no
individual mind there is no measurer-out, no marker-in of limits. The
poor fisher has no possession of the world and no responsibility for it;
and if he dreams of a love-gift better than the brown shawl that seems
too common for poetry, why should he not dream of a glove made from the
skin of a bird, or shoes made from the skin of a fish, or a coat made
from the glittering garment of the salmon? Was it not Aeschylus who said
he but served up fragments from the banquet of Homer?--but Homer himself
found the great banquet on an earthen floor and under a broken roof. We
do not know who at the foundation of the world made the banquet for the
first time, or who put the pack of cards into rough hands; but we do
know that, unless those that have made many inventions are about to
change the nature of poetry, we may have to go where Homer went if we
are to sing a new song. Is it because all that is under the moon thirsts
to escape out of bounds, to lose itself in some unbounded tidal stream,
that the songs of the folk are mournful, and that the story of the
Fianna, whenever the queens lament for their lovers, reminds us of songs
that are still sung in country-places? Their grief, even when it is to
be brief like Grania's, goes up into the waste places of the sky. But
in supreme art or in supreme life there is the influence of the sun too,
and the sun brings with it, as old writers tell us, not merely
discipline but joy; for its discipline is not of the kind the multitudes
impose upon us by their weight and pressure, but the expression of the
individual soul turning itself into a pure fire and imposing its own
pattern, its own music, upon the heaviness and the dumbness that is in
others and in itself. When we have drunk the cold cup of the moon's
intoxication, we thirst for something beyond ourselves, and the mind
flows outward to a natural immensity; but if we have drunk from the hot
cup of the sun, our own fullness awakens, we desire little, for wherever
one goes one's heart goes too; and if any ask what music is the
sweetest, we can but answer, as Finn answered, "what happens." And yet
the songs and stories that have come from either influence are a part,
neither less than the other, of the pleasure that is the bride-bed of


Gaelic-speaking Ireland, because its art has been made, not by the
artist choosing his material from wherever he has a mind to, but by
adding a little to something which it has taken generations to invent,
has always had a popular literature. One cannot say how much that
literature has done for the vigour of the race, for one cannot count the
hands its praise of kings and high-hearted queens made hot upon the
sword-hilt, or the amorous eyes it made lustful for strength and beauty.
One remembers indeed that when the farming people and the labourers of
the towns made their last attempt to cast out England by force of arms
they named themselves after the companions of Finn. Even when Gaelic has
gone, and the poetry with it, something of the habit of mind remains in
ways of speech and thought and "come-all-ye"s and poetical saying; nor
is it only among the poor that the old thought has been for strength or
weakness. Surely these old stories, whether of Finn or Cuchulain, helped
to sing the old Irish and the old Norman-Irish aristocracy to their end.
They heard their hereditary poets and story-tellers, and they took to
horse and died fighting against Elizabeth or against Cromwell; and when
an English-speaking aristocracy had their place, it listened to no
poetry indeed, but it felt about it in the popular mind an exacting and
ancient tribunal, and began a play that had for spectators men and women
that loved the high wasteful virtues. I do not think that their own
mixed blood or the habit of their time need take all, or nearly all,
credit or discredit for the impulse that made our modern gentlemen fight
duels over pocket-handkerchiefs, and set out to play ball against the
gates of Jerusalem for a wager, and scatter money before the public eye;
and at last, after an epoch of such eloquence the world has hardly seen
its like, lose their public spirit and their high heart and grow
querulous and selfish as men do who have played life out not heartily
but with noise and tumult. Had they understood the people and the game a
little better, they might have created an aristocracy in an age that has
lost the meaning of the word. When one reads of the Fianna, or of
Cuchulain, or of some great hero, one remembers that the fine life is
always a part played finely before fine spectators. There also one
notices the hot cup and the cold cup of intoxication; and when the fine
spectators have ended, surely the fine players grow weary, and
aristocratic life is ended. When O'Connell covered with a dark glove the
hand that had killed a man in the duelling field, he played his part;
and when Alexander stayed his army marching to the conquest of the world
that he might contemplate the beauty of a plane-tree, he played his
part. When Osgar complained as he lay dying, of the keening of the women
and the old fighting men, he too played his part; "No man ever knew any
heart in me," he said, "but a heart of twisted horn, and it covered with
iron; but the howling of the dogs beside me," he said, "and the keening
of the old fighting men and the crying of the women one after another,
those are the things that are vexing me." If we would create a great
community--and what other game is so worth the labour?--we must recreate
the old foundations of life, not as they existed in that splendid
misunderstanding of the eighteenth century, but as they must always
exist when the finest minds and Ned the beggar and Seaghan the fool
think about the same thing, although they may not think the same thought
about it.


When I asked the little boy who had shown me the pathway up the Hill of
Allen if he knew stories of Finn and Oisin, he said he did not, but that
he had often heard his grandfather telling them to his mother in Irish.
He did not know Irish, but he was learning it at school, and all the
little boys he knew were learning it. In a little while he will know
enough stories of Finn and Oisin to tell them to his children some day.
It is the owners of the land whose children might never have known what
would give them so much happiness. But now they can read this book to
their children, and it will make Slieve-na-man, Allen, and Benbulben,
the great mountain that showed itself before me every day through all my
childhood and was yet unpeopled, and half the country-sides of south and
west, as populous with memories as are Dundealgan and Emain Macha and
Muirthemne; and after a while somebody may even take them to some famous
place and say, "This land where your fathers lived proudly and finely
should be dear and dear and again dear"; and perhaps when many names
have grown musical to their ears, a more imaginative love will have
taught them a better service.


I need say nothing about the translation and arrangement of this book
except that it is worthy to be put beside "Cuchulain of Muirthemne."
Such books should not be commended by written words but by spoken words,
were that possible, for the written words commending a book, wherein
something is done supremely well, remain, to sound in the ears of a
later generation, like the foolish sound of church bells from the tower
of a church when every pew is full.




  Book I. The Coming of the Tuatha de Danaan

    Chap.    I. The Fight with the Firbolgs
            II. The Reign of Bres

  Book II. Lugh of the Long Hand

    Chap.    I. The Coming of Lugh
            II. The Sons of Tuireann
           III. The Great Battle of Magh Tuireadh
            IV. The Hidden House of Lugh

  Book III. The Coming of the Gael

    Chap.    I. The Landing
            II. The Battle of Tailltin

  Book IV. The Ever-Living Living Ones

    Chap.    I. Bodb Dearg
            II. The Dagda
           III. Angus Og
            IV. The Morrigu
             V. Aine
            VI. Aoibhell
           VII. Midhir and Etain
          VIII. Manannan
            IX. Manannan at play
             X. His Call to Bran
            XI. His Three Calls to Cormac
           XII. Cliodna's Wave
          XIII. His Call to Connla
           XIV. Tadg in Manannan's Islands
        XV. Laegaire in the Happy Plain

  Book V. The Fate of The Children of Lir


  Book I. Finn, Son of Cumhal

    Chap.   I. The Coming of Finn
           II. Finn's Household
          III. Birth of Bran
           IV. Oisin's Mother
            V. The Best Men of the Fianna

  Book II. Finn's Helpers

    Chap.   I. The Lad of the Skins
           II. Black, Brown, and Grey
          III. The Hound
           IV. Red Ridge

  Book III. The Battle of the White Strand

    Chap.    I. The Enemies of Ireland
            II. Cael and Credhe
           III. Conn Crither
            IV. Glas, Son of Dremen
             V. The Help of the Men of Dea
            VI. The March of the Fianna
           VII. The First Fighters
          VIII. The King of Ulster's Son
            IX. The High King's Son
             X. The King of Lochlann and his Sons
            XI. Labran's Journey
           XII. The Great Fight
          XIII. Credhe's Lament

  Book IV. Huntings and Enchantments

    Chap.     I. The King of Britain's Son
             II. The Cave of Ceiscoran
            III. Donn, Son of Midhir
             IV. The Hospitality of Cuanna's House
              V. Cat-Heads and Dog-Heads
             VI. Lomna's Head
            VII. Ilbrec of Ess Ruadh
           VIII. The Cave of Cruachan
             IX. The Wedding at Ceann Slieve
              X. The Shadowy One
             XI. Finn's Madness
            XII. The Red Woman
           XIII. Finn and the Phantoms
            XIV. The Pigs of Angus
             XV. The Hunt of Slieve Cuilinn

  Book V. Oisin's Children

  Book VI. Diarmuid

    Chap.     I. Birth of Diarmuid
             II. How Diarmuid got his Love-Spot
            III. The Daughter of King Under-Wave
             IV. The Hard Servant
              V. The House of the Quicken Trees

  Book VII. Diarmuid and Grania

    Chap.     I. The Flight from Teamhair
             II. The Pursuit
            III. The Green Champions
             IV. The Wood of Dubhros
              V. The Quarrel
             VI. The Wanderers
            VII. Fighting and Peace
           VIII. The Boar of Beinn Gulbain

  Book VIII. Cnoc-an-Air

    Chap.    I. Tailc, Son of Treon
            II. Meargach's Wife
           III. Ailne's Revenge

  Book IX. The Wearing Away of the Fianna

    Chap.    I. The Quarrel with the Sons of Morna
            II. Death of Goll
           III. The Battle of Gabhra

  Book X. The End of the Fianna

    Chap.    I. Death of Bran
            II. The Call of Oisin
           III. The Last of the Great Men

  Book XI. Oisin and Patrick

    Chap.    I. Oisin's Story
            II. Oisin in Patrick's House
           III. The Arguments
            IV. Oisin's Laments





It was in a mist the Tuatha de Danaan, the people of the gods of Dana,
or as some called them, the Men of Dea, came through the air and the
high air to Ireland.

It was from the north they came; and in the place they came from they
had four cities, where they fought their battle for learning: great
Falias, and shining Gorias, and Finias, and rich Murias that lay to the
south. And in those cities they had four wise men to teach their young
men skill and knowledge and perfect wisdom: Senias in Murias; and Arias,
the fair-haired poet, in Finias; and Urias of the noble nature in
Gorias; and Morias in Falias itself. And they brought from those four
cities their four treasures: a Stone of Virtue from Falias, that was
called the Lia Fail, the Stone of Destiny; and from Gorias they brought
a Sword; and from Finias a Spear of Victory; and from Murias the fourth
treasure, the Cauldron that no company ever went away from unsatisfied.

It was Nuada was king of the Tuatha de Danaan at that time, but
Manannan, son of Lir, was greater again. And of the others that were
chief among them were Ogma, brother to the king, that taught them
writing, and Diancecht, that understood healing, and Neit, a god of
battle, and Credenus the Craftsman, and Goibniu the Smith. And the
greatest among their women were Badb, a battle goddess; and Macha, whose
mast-feeding was the heads of men killed in battle; and the Morrigu,
the Crow of Battle; and Eire and Fodla and Banba, daughters of the
Dagda, that all three gave their names to Ireland afterwards; and Eadon,
the nurse of poets; and Brigit, that was a woman of poetry, and poets
worshipped her, for her sway was very great and very noble. And she was
a woman of healing along with that, and a woman of smith's work, and it
was she first made the whistle for calling one to another through the
night. And the one side of her face was ugly, but the other side was
very comely. And the meaning of her name was Breo-saighit, a fiery
arrow. And among the other women there were many shadow-forms and great
queens; but Dana, that was called the Mother of the Gods, was beyond
them all.

And the three things they put above all others were the plough and the
sun and the hazel-tree, so that it was said in the time to come that
Ireland was divided between those three, Coll the hazel, and Cecht the
plough, and Grian the sun.

And they had a well below the sea where the nine hazels of wisdom were
growing; that is, the hazels of inspiration and of the knowledge of
poetry. And their leaves and their blossoms would break out in the same
hour, and would fall on the well in a shower that raised a purple wave.
And then the five salmon that were waiting there would eat the nuts, and
their colour would come out in the red spots of their skin, and any
person that would eat one of those salmon would know all wisdom and all
poetry. And there were seven streams of wisdom that sprang from that
well and turned back to it again; and the people of many arts have all
drank from that well.

It was on the first day of Beltaine, that is called now May Day, the
Tuatha de Danaan came, and it was to the north-west of Connacht they
landed. But the Firbolgs, the Men of the Bag, that were in Ireland
before them, and that had come from the South, saw nothing but a mist,
and it lying on the hills.

Eochaid, son of Erc, was king of the Firbolgs at that time, and
messengers came to him at Teamhair, and told him there was a new race of
people come into Ireland, but whether from the earth or the skies or on
the wind was not known, and that they had settled themselves at Magh

They thought there would be wonder on Eochaid when he heard that news;
but there was no wonder on him, for a dream had come to him in the
night, and when he asked his Druids the meaning of the dream, it is what
they said, that it would not be long till there would be a strong enemy
coming against him.

Then King Eochaid took counsel with his chief advisers, and it is what
they agreed, to send a good champion of their own to see the strangers
and to speak with them. So they chose out Sreng, that was a great
fighting man, and he rose up and took his strong red-brown shield, and
his two thick-handled spears, and his sword, and his head-covering, and
his thick iron club, and he set out from Teamhair, and went on towards
the place the strangers were, at Magh Rein.

But before he reached it, the watchers of the Tuatha de Danaan got sight
of him, and they sent out one of their own champions, Bres, with his
shield and his sword and his two spears, to meet him and to talk with

So the two champions went one towards the other slowly, and keeping a
good watch on one another, and wondering at one another's arms, till
they came near enough for talking; and then they stopped, and each put
his shield before his body and struck it hard into the ground, and they
looked at one another over the rim. Bres was the first to speak, and
when Sreng heard it was Irish he was talking, his own tongue, he was
less uneasy, and they drew nearer, and asked questions as to one
another's family and race.

And after a while they put their shields away, and it was what Sreng
said, that he had raised his in dread of the thin, sharp spears Bres had
in his hand. And Bres said he himself was in dread of the thick-handled
spears he saw with Sreng, and he asked were all the arms of the Firbolgs
of the same sort. And Sreng took off the tyings of his spears to show
them better, and Bres wondered at them, being so strong and so heavy,
and so sharp at the sides though they had no points. And Sreng told him
the name of those spears was Craisech, and that they would break through
shields and crush flesh and bones, so that their thrust was death or
wounds that never healed. And then he looked at the sharp, thin,
hard-pointed spears that were with Bres. And in the end they made an
exchange of spears, the way the fighters on each side would see the
weapons the others were used to. And it is the message Bres sent to the
Firbolgs, that if they would give up one half of Ireland, his people
would be content to take it in peace; but if they would not give up that
much, there should be a battle. And he and Sreng said to one another
that whatever might happen in the future, they themselves would be

Sreng went back then to Teamhair and gave the message and showed the
spear; and it is what he advised his people, to share the country and
not to go into battle with a people that had weapons so much better than
their own. But Eochaid and his chief men consulted together, and they
said in the end: "We will not give up the half of the country to these
strangers; for if we do," they said, "they will soon take the whole."

Now as to the Men of Dea, when Bres went back to them, and showed them
the heavy spear, and told them of the strong, fierce man he had got it
from, and how sturdy he was and well armed, they thought it likely there
would soon be a battle. And they went back from where they were to a
better place, farther west in Connacht, and there they settled
themselves, and made walls and ditches on the plain of Magh Nia, where
they had the great mountain, Belgata, in their rear. And while they were
moving there and putting up their walls, three queens of them, Badb and
Macha and the Morrigu, went to Teamhair where the Firbolgs were making
their plans. And by the power of their enchantments they brought mists
and clouds of darkness over the whole place, and they sent showers of
fire and of blood over the people, the way they could not see or speak
with one another through the length of three days. But at the end of
that time, the three Druids of the Firbolgs, Cesarn and Gnathach and
Ingnathach, broke the enchantment.

The Firbolgs gathered their men together then, and they came with their
eleven battalions and took their stand at the eastern end of the plain
of Magh Nia.

And Nuada, king of the Men of Dea, sent his poets to make the same offer
he made before, to be content with the half of the country if it was
given up to him. King Eochaid bade the poets to ask an answer of his
chief men that were gathered there; and when they heard the offer they
would not consent. So the messengers asked them when would they begin
the battle. "We must have a delay," they said; "for we want time to put
our spears and our armour in order, and to brighten our helmets and to
sharpen our swords, and to have spears made like the ones you have. And
as to yourselves," they said, "you will be wanting to have spears like
our Craisechs made for you." So they agreed then to make a delay of a
quarter of a year for preparation.

It was on a Midsummer day they began the battle. Three times nine
hurlers of the Tuatha de Danaan went out against three times nine
hurlers of the Firbolgs, and they were beaten, and every one of them was
killed. And the king, Eochaid, sent a messenger to ask would they have
the battle every day or every second day. And it is what Nuada answered
that they would have it every day, but there should be just the same
number of men fighting on each side. Eochaid agreed to that, but he was
not well pleased, for there were more men of the Firbolgs than of the
Men of Dea.

So the battle went on for four days, and there were great feats done on
each side, and a great many champions came to their death. But for those
that were alive at evening, the physicians on each side used to make a
bath of healing, with every sort of healing plant or herb in it, the way
they would be strong and sound for the next day's fight.

And on the fourth day the Men of Dea got the upper hand, and the
Firbolgs were driven back. And a great thirst came on Eochaid, their
king, in the battle, and he went off the field looking for a drink, and
three fifties of his men protecting him; but three fifties of the Tuatha
de Danaan followed after them till they came to the strand that is
called Traigh Eothaile, and they had a fierce fight there, and at the
last King Eochaid fell, and they buried him there, and they raised a
great heap of stones over his grave.

And when there were but three hundred men left of the eleven battalions
of the Firbolgs, and Sreng at the head of them, Nuada offered them
peace, and their choice among the five provinces of Ireland. And Sreng
said they would take Connacht; and he and his people lived there and
their children after them. It is of them Ferdiad came afterwards that
made such a good fight against Cuchulain, and Erc, son of Cairbre, that
gave him his death. And that battle, that was the first fought in
Ireland by the Men of Dea, was called by some the first battle of Magh

And the Tuatha de Danaan took possession of Teamhair, that was sometimes
called Druim Cain, the Beautiful Ridge, and Liathdruim, the Grey Ridge,
and Druim na Descan, the Ridge of the Outlook, all those names were
given to Teamhair. And from that time it was above all other places, for
its king was the High King over all Ireland. The king's rath lay to the
north, and the Hill of the Hostages to the north-east of the High Seat,
and the Green of Teamhair to the west of the Hill of the Hostages. And
to the north-east, in the Hill of the Sidhe, was a well called Nemnach,
and out of it there flowed a stream called Nith, and on that stream the
first mill was built in Ireland.

And to the north of the Hill of the Hostages was the stone, the Lia
Fail, and it used to roar under the feet of every king that would take
possession of Ireland. And the Wall of the Three Whispers was near the
House of the Women that had seven doors to the east, and seven doors to
the west; and it is in that house the feasts of Teamhair used to be
held. And there was the Great House of a Thousand Soldiers, and near it,
to the south, the little Hill of the Woman Soldiers.


But if Nuada won the battle, he lost his own arm in it, that was struck
off by Sreng; and by that loss there came troubles and vexation on his

For it was a law with the Tuatha de Danaan that no man that was not
perfect in shape should be king. And after Nuada had lost the battle he
was put out of the kingship on that account.

And the king they chose in his place was Bres, that was the most
beautiful of all their young men, so that if a person wanted to praise
any beautiful thing, whether it was a plain, or a dun, or ale, or a
flame, or a woman, or a man, or a horse, it is what he would say, "It is
as beautiful as Bres." And he was the son of a woman of the Tuatha de
Danaan, but who his father was no one knew but herself.

But in spite of Bres being so beautiful, his reign brought no great good
luck to his people; for the Fomor, whose dwelling-place was beyond the
sea, or as some say below the sea westward, began putting tribute on
them, the way they would get them under their own rule.

It was a long time before that the Fomor came first to Ireland; dreadful
they were to look at, and maimed, having but one foot or one hand, and
they under the leadership of a giant and his mother. There never came to
Ireland an army more horrible or more dreadful than that army of the
Fomor. And they were friendly with the Firbolgs and content to leave
Ireland to them, but there was jealousy between them and the Men of Dea.

And it was a hard tax they put on them, a third part of their corn they
asked, and a third part of their milk, and a third part of their
children, so that there was not smoke rising from a roof in Ireland but
was under tribute to them. And Bres made no stand against them, but let
them get their way.

And as to Bres himself, he put a tax on every house in Ireland of the
milk of hornless dun cows, or of the milk of cows of some other single
colour, enough for a hundred men. And one time, to deceive him, Nechtan
singed all the cows of Ireland in a fire of fern, and then he smeared
them with the ashes of flax seed, the way they were all dark brown. He
did that by the advice of the Druid Findgoll, son of Findemas. And
another time they made three hundred cows of wood with dark brown pails
in place of udders, and the pails were filled with black bog stuff. Then
Bres came to look at the cows, and to see them milked before him, and
Cian, father of Lugh, was there. And when they were milked it was the
bog stuff that was squeezed out; and Bres took a drink of it thinking it
to be milk, and he was not the better of it for a long time.

And there was another thing against Bres; he was no way open-handed, and
the chief men of the Tuatha de Danaan grumbled against him, for their
knives were never greased in his house, and however often they might
visit him there was no smell of ale on their breath. And there was no
sort of pleasure or merriment in his house, and no call for their poets,
or singers, or harpers, or pipers, or horn-blowers, or jugglers, or
fools. And as to the trials of strength they were used to see between
their champions, the only use their strength was put to now was to be
doing work for the king. Ogma himself, the shining poet, was under
orders to bring firing to the palace every day for the whole army from
the Islands of Mod; and he so weak for want of food that the sea would
sweep away two-thirds of his bundle every day. And as to the Dagda, he
was put to build raths, for he was a good builder, and he made a trench
round Rath Brese. And he used often to be tired at the work, and one
time he nearly gave in altogether for want of food, and this is the way
that happened. He used to meet in the house an idle blind man, Cridenbel
his name was, that had a sharp tongue, and that coveted the Dagda's
share of food, for he thought his own to be small beside it. So he said
to him: "For the sake of your good name let the three best bits of your
share be given to me." And the Dagda gave in to that every night; but he
was the worse of it, for what the blind man called a bit would be the
size of a good pig, and with his three bits he would take a full third
of the whole.

But one day, as the Dagda was in the trench, he saw his son, Angus Og,
coming to him. "That is a good meeting," said Angus; "but what is on
you, for you have no good appearance to-day?" "There is a reason for
that," said the Dagda, "for every evening, Cridenbel, the blind man,
makes a demand for the three best bits of my share of food, and takes
them from me." "I will give you an advice," said Angus. He put his hand
in his bag then, and took out three pieces of gold and gave them to him.

"Put these pieces of gold into the three bits you will give this evening
to Cridenbel," he said, "and they will be the best bits in the dish, and
the gold will turn within him the way he will die."

So in the evening the Dagda did that; and no sooner had Cridenbel
swallowed down the gold than he died. Some of the people said then to
the king: "The Dagda has killed Cridenbel, giving him some deadly herb."
The king believed that, and there was anger on him against the Dagda,
and he gave orders he should be put to death. But the Dagda said: "You
are not giving the right judgment of a prince." And he told all that had
happened, and how Cridenbel used to say, "Give me the three best bits
before you, for my own share is not good to-night." "And on this
night," he said, "the three pieces of gold were the best things before
me, and I gave them to him, and he died."

The king gave orders then to have the body cut open. And they found the
gold inside it, and they knew it was the truth the Dagda had told.

And Angus came to him again the next day, and he said: "Your work will
soon be done, and when you are given your wages, take nothing they may
offer you till the cattle of Ireland are brought before you, and choose
out a heifer then, black and black-maned, that I will tell you the signs

So when the Dagda had brought his work to an end, and they asked him
what reward he wanted, he did as Angus had bidden him. And that seemed
folly to Bres; he thought the Dagda would have asked more than a heifer
of him.

There came a day at last when a poet came to look for hospitality at the
king's house, Corpre, son of Etain, poet of the Tuatha de Danaan. And it
is how he was treated, he was put in a little dark narrow house where
there was no fire, or furniture, or bed; and for a feast three small
cakes, and they dry, were brought to him on a little dish. When he rose
up on the morrow he was no way thankful, and as he was going across the
green, it is what he said: "Without food ready on a dish; without milk
enough for a calf to grow on; without shelter; without light in the
darkness of night; without enough to pay a story-teller; may that be the
prosperity of Bres."

And from that day there was no good luck with Bres, but it is going down
he was for ever after. And that was the first satire ever made in

Now as to Nuada: after his arm being struck off, he was in his sickness
for a while, and then Diancecht, the healer, made an arm of silver for
him, with movement in every finger of it, and put it on him. And from
that he was called Nuada Argat-lamh, of the Silver Hand, for ever after.

Now Miach, son of Diancecht, was a better hand at healing than his
father, and had done many things. He met a young man, having but one
eye, at Teamhair one time, and the young man said: "If you are a good
physician you will put an eye in the place of the eye I lost." "I could
put the eye of that cat in your lap in its place," said Miach. "I would
like that well," said the young man. So Miach put the cat's eye in his
head; but he would as soon have been without it after, for when he
wanted to sleep and take his rest, it is then the eye would start at the
squeaking of the mice, or the flight of the birds, or the movement of
the rushes; and when he was wanting to watch an army or a gathering, it
is then it was sure to be in a deep sleep.

And Miach was not satisfied with what his father had done to the king,
and he took Nuada's own hand that had been struck off, and brought it to
him and set it in its place, and he said: "Joint to joint, and sinew to
sinew." Three days and three nights he was with the king; the first day
he put the hand against his side, and the second day against his breast,
till it was covered with skin, and the third day he put bulrushes that
were blackened in the fire on it, and at the end of that time the king
was healed.

But Diancecht was vexed when he saw his son doing a better cure than
himself, and he threw his sword at his head, that it cut the flesh, but
the lad healed the wound by means of his skill. Then Diancecht threw it
a second time, that it reached the bone, but the lad was able to cure
the wound. Then he struck him the third time and the fourth, till he cut
out the brain, for he knew no physician could cure him after that blow;
and Miach died, and he buried him.

And herbs grew up from his grave, to the number of his joints and
sinews, three hundred and sixty-five. And Airmed, his sister, came and
spread out her cloak and laid out the herbs in it, according to their
virtue. But Diancecht saw her doing that, and he came and mixed up the
herbs, so that no one knows all their right powers to this day.

Then when the Tuatha de Danaan saw Nuada as well as he was before, they
gathered together to Teamhair, where Bres was, and they bade him give up
the kingship, for he had held it long enough. So he had to give it up,
though he was not very willing, and Nuada was put back in the kingship

There was great vexation on Bres then, and he searched his mind to know
how could he be avenged on those that had put him out, and how he could
gather an army against them; and he went to his mother, Eri, daughter of
Delbaith, and bade her tell him what his race was.

"I know that well," she said; and she told him then that his father was
a king of the Fomor, Elathan, son of Dalbaech, and that he came to her
one time over a level sea in some great vessel that seemed to be of
silver, but she could not see its shape, and he himself having the
appearance of a young man with yellow hair, and his clothes sewed with
gold, and five rings of gold about his neck. And she that had refused
the love of all the young men of her own people, gave him her love, and
she cried when he left her. And he gave her a ring from his hand, and
bade her give it only to the man whose finger it would fit, and he went
away then the same way as he had come.

And she brought out the ring then to Bres, and he put it round his
middle finger, and it fitted him well. And they went then together to
the hill where she was the time she saw the silver vessel coming, and
down to the strand, and she and Bres and his people set out for the
country of the Fomor.

And when they came to that country they found a great plain with many
gatherings of people on it, and they went to the gathering that looked
the best, and the people asked where did they come from, and they said
they were come from Ireland. "Have you hounds with you?" they asked them
then, for it was the custom at that time, when strangers came to a
gathering, to give them some friendly challenge. "We have hounds," said
Bres. So the hounds were matched against one another, and the hounds of
the Tuatha de Danaan were better than the hounds of the Fomor. "Have you
horses for a race?" they asked then. "We have," said Bres. And the
horses of the Tuatha de Danaan beat the horses of the Fomor.

Then they asked was any one among them a good hand with the sword, and
they said Bres was the best. But when he put his hand to his sword,
Elathan, his father, that was among them, knew the ring, and he asked
who was this young man. Then his mother answered him and told the whole
story, and that Bres was his own son.

There was sorrow on his father then, and he said: "What was it drove you
out of the country you were king over?" And Bres said: "Nothing drove me
out but my own injustice and my own hardness; I took away their
treasures from the people, and their jewels, and their food itself. And
there were never taxes put on them before I was their king."

"That is bad," said his father; "it is of their prosperity you had a
right to think more than of your own kingship. And their good-will
would be better than their curses," he said; "and what is it you are
come to look for here?" "I am come to look for fighting men," said Bres,
"that I may take Ireland by force." "You have no right to get it by
injustice when you could not keep it by justice," said his father. "What
advice have you for me then?" said Bres.

And Elathan bade him go to the chief king of the Fomor, Balor of the
Evil Eye, to see what advice and what help would he give him.



Now as to Nuada of the Silver Hand, he was holding a great feast at
Teamhair one time, after he was back in the kingship. And there were two
door-keepers at Teamhair, Gamal, son of Figal, and Camel, son of
Riagall. And a young man came to the door where one of them was, and
bade him bring him in to the king. "Who are you yourself?" said the
door-keeper. "I am Lugh, son of Cian of the Tuatha de Danaan, and of
Ethlinn, daughter of Balor, King of the Fomor," he said; "and I am
foster-son of Taillte, daughter of the King of the Great Plain, and of
Echaid the Rough, son of Duach." "What are you skilled in?" said the
door-keeper; "for no one without an art comes into Teamhair." "Question
me," said Lugh; "I am a carpenter." "We do not want you; we have a
carpenter ourselves, Luchtar, son of Luachaid." "Then I am a smith." "We
have a smith ourselves, Colum Cuaillemech of the Three New Ways." "Then
I am a champion." "That is no use to us; we have a champion before,
Ogma, brother to the king." "Question me again," he said; "I am a
harper." "That is no use to us; we have a harper ourselves, Abhean, son
of Bicelmos, that the Men of the Three Gods brought from the hills." "I
am-a poet," he said then, "and a teller of tales." "That is no use to
us; we have a teller of tales ourselves, Ere, son of Ethaman." "And I am
a magician." "That is no use to us; we have plenty of magicians and
people of power." "I am a physician," he said. "That is no use; we have
Diancecht-for our physician." "Let me be a cup-bearer," he said. "We do
not want you; we have nine cup-bearers ourselves." "I am a good worker
in brass." "We have a worker in brass ourselves, that is Credne Cerd."

Then Lugh said: "Go and ask the king if he has any one man that can do
all these things, and if he has, I will not ask to come into Teamhair."
The door-keeper went into the king's house then and told him all that.
"There is a young man at the door," he said, "and his name should be the
Ildánach, the Master of all Arts, for all the things the people of your
house can do, he himself is able to do every one of them." "Try him with
the chess-boards," said Nuada. So the chess-boards were brought out, and
every game that was played, Lugh won it. And when Nuada was told that,
he said: "Let him in, for the like of him never came into Teamhair

Then the door-keeper let him pass, and he came into the king's house and
sat down in the seat of knowledge. And there was a great flag-stone
there that could hardly be moved by four times twenty yoke of oxen, and
Ogma took it up and hurled it out through the house, so that it lay on
the outside of Teamhair, as a challenge to Lugh. But Lugh hurled it back
again that it lay in the middle of the king's house. He played the harp
for them then, and he had them laughing and crying, till he put them
asleep at the end with a sleepy tune. And when Nuada saw all the things
Lugh could do, he began to think that by his help the country might get
free of the taxes and the tyranny put on it by the Fomor. And it is what
he did, he came down from his throne, and he put Lugh on it in his
place, for the length of thirteen days, the way they might all listen to
the advice he would give.

This now is the story of the birth of Lugh. The time the Fomor used to
be coming to Ireland, Balor of the Strong Blows, or, as some called
him, of the Evil Eye, was living on the Island of the Tower of Glass.
There was danger for ships that went near that island, for the Fomor
would come out and take them. And some say the sons of Nemed in the old
time, before the Firbolgs were in Ireland, passed near it in their
ships, and what they saw was a tower of glass in the middle of the sea,
and on the tower something that had the appearance of men, and they went
against it with Druid spells to attack it. And the Fomor worked against
them with Druid spells of their own; and the sons of Nemed attacked the
tower, and it vanished, and they thought it was destroyed. But a great
wave rose over them then, and all their ships went down and all that
were in them.

And the tower was there as it was before, and Balor living in it. And it
is the reason he was called "of the Evil Eye," there was a power of
death in one of his eyes, so that no person could look at it and live.
It is the way it got that power, he was passing one time by a house
where his father's Druids were making spells of death, and the window
being open he looked in, and the smoke of the poisonous spells was
rising up, and it went into his eye. And from that time he had to keep
it closed unless he wanted to be the death of some enemy, and then the
men that were with him would lift the eyelid with a ring of ivory.

Now a Druid foretold one time that it was by his own grandson he would
get his death. And he had at that time but one child, a daughter whose
name was Ethlinn; and when he heard what the Druid said, he shut her up
in the tower on the island. And he put twelve women with her to take
charge of her and to guard her, and he bade them never to let her see a
man or hear the name of a man.

So Ethlinn was brought up in the tower, and she grew to be very
beautiful; and sometimes she would see men passing in the currachs, and
sometimes she would see a man in her dreams. But when she would speak of
that to the women, they would give her no answer.

So there was no fear on Balor, and he went on with war and robbery as he
was used, seizing every ship that passed by, and sometimes going over to
Ireland to do destruction there.

Now it chanced at that time there were three brothers of the Tuatha de
Danaan living together in a place that was called Druim na Teine, the
Ridge of the Fire, Goibniu and Samthainn and Cian. Cian was a lord of
land, and Goibniu was the smith that had such a great name. Now Cian had
a wonderful cow, the Glas Gaibhnenn, and her milk never failed. And
every one that heard of her coveted her, and many had tried to steal her
away, so that she had to be watched night and day.

And one time Cian was wanting some swords made, and he went to Goibniu's
forge, and he brought the Glas Gaibhnenn with him, holding her by a
halter. When he came to the forge his two brothers were there together,
for Samthainn had brought some steel to have weapons made for himself;
and Cian bade Samthainn to hold the halter while he went into the forge
to speak with Goibniu.

Now Balor had set his mind for a long time on the Glas Gaibhnenn, but he
had never been able to get near her up to this time. And he was watching
not far off, and when he saw Samthainn holding the cow, he put on the
appearance of a little boy, having red hair, and came up to him and told
him he heard his two brothers that were in the forge saying to one
another that they would use all his steel for their own swords, and make
his of iron. "By my word," said Samthainn, "they will not deceive me so
easily. Let you hold the cow, little lad," he said, "and I will go in to
them." With that he rushed into the forge, and great anger on him. And
no sooner did Balor get the halter in his hand than he set out, dragging
the Glas along with him, to the strand, and across the sea to his own

When Cian saw his brother coming in he rushed out, and there he saw
Balor and the Glas out in the sea. And he had nothing to do then but to
reproach his brother, and to wander about as if his wits had left him,
not knowing what way to get his cow back from Balor. At last he went to
a Druid to ask an advice from him; and it is what the Druid told him,
that so long as Balor lived, the cow would never be brought back, for no
one would go within reach of his Evil Eye.

Cian went then to a woman-Druid, Birog of the Mountain, for her help.
And she dressed him in a woman's clothes, and brought him across the sea
in a blast of wind, to the tower where Ethlinn was. Then she called to
the women in the tower, and asked them for shelter for a high queen she
was after saving from some hardship, and the women in the tower did not
like to refuse a woman of the Tuatha de Danaan, and they let her and her
comrade in. Then Birog by her enchantments put them all into a deep
sleep, and Cian went to speak with Ethlinn. And when she saw him she
said that was the face she had seen in her dreams. So she gave him her
love; but after a while he was brought away again on a blast of wind.

And when her time came, Ethlinn gave birth to a son. And when Balor knew
that, he bade his people put the child in a cloth and fasten it with a
pin, and throw him into a current of the sea. And as they were carrying
the child across an arm of the sea, the pin dropped out, and the child
slipped from the cloth into the water, and they thought he was drowned.
But he was brought away by Birog of the Mountain, and she brought him to
his father Cian; and he gave him to be fostered by Taillte, daughter of
the King of the Great Plain. It is thus Lugh was born and reared.

And some say Balor came and struck the head off Cian on a white stone,
that has the blood marks on it to this day; but it is likely it was some
other man he struck the head off, for it was by the sons of Tuireann
that Cian came to his death.

And after Lugh had come to Teamhair, and made his mind up to join with
his father's people against the Fomor, he put his mind to the work; and
he went to a quiet place in Grellach Dollaid, with Nuada and the Dagda,
and with Ogma; and Goibniu and Diancecht were called to them there. A
full year they stopped there, making their plans together in secret, the
way the Fomor would not know they were going to rise against them till
such time as all would be ready, and till they would know what their
strength was. And it is from that council the place got the name
afterwards of "The Whisper of the Men of Dea."

And they broke up the council, and agreed to meet again that day three
years, and every one of them went his own way, and Lugh went back to his
own friends, the sons of Manannan.

And it was a good while after that, Nuada was holding a great assembly
of the people on the Hill of Uisnech, on the west side of Teamhair. And
they were not long there before they saw an armed troop coming towards
them from the east, over the plain; and there was a young man in front
of the troop, in command over the rest, and the brightness of his face
was like the setting sun, so that they were not able to look at him
because of its brightness.

And when he came nearer they knew it was Lugh Lamh-Fada, of the Long
Hand, that had come back to them, and along with him were the Riders of
the Sidhe from the Land of Promise, and his own foster-brothers, the
sons of Manannan, Sgoith Gleigeil, the White Flower, and Goitne
Gorm-Shuileach, the Blue-eyed Spear, and Sine Sindearg, of the Red Ring,
and Donall Donn-Ruadh, of the Red-brown Hair. And it is the way Lugh
was, he had Manannan's horse, the Aonbharr, of the One Mane, under him,
that was as swift as the naked cold wind of spring, and the sea was the
same as dry land to her, and the rider was never killed off her back.
And he had Manannan's breast-plate on him, that kept whoever was wearing
it from wounds, and a helmet on his head with two beautiful precious
stones set in the front of it and one at the back, and when he took it
off, his forehead was like the sun on a dry summer day. And he had
Manannan's sword, the Freagarthach, the Answerer, at his side, and no
one that was wounded by it would ever get away alive; and when that
sword was bared in a battle, no man that saw it coming against him had
any more strength than a woman in child-birth.

And the troop came to where the King of Ireland was with the Tuatha de
Danaan, and they welcomed one another.

And they were not long there till they saw a surly, slovenly troop
coming towards them, nine times nine of the messengers of the Fomor,
that were coming to ask rent and taxes from the men of Ireland; and the
names of the four that were the hardest and the most cruel were Eine and
Eathfaigh and Coron and Compar; and there was such great dread of these
four on the Tuatha de Danaan, that not one of them would so much as
punish his own son or his foster-son without leave from them.

They came up then to where the King of Ireland was with the Riders of
the Sidhe, and the king and all the Tuatha de Danaan stood up before
them. And Lugh of the Long Hand said: "Why do you rise up before that
surly, slovenly troop, when you did not rise up before us?"

"It is needful for us to do it," said the king; "for if there was but a
child of us sitting before them, they would not think that too small a
cause for killing him." "By my word," said Lugh, "there is a great
desire coming on me to kill themselves." "That is a thing would bring
harm on us," said the king, "for we would meet our own death and
destruction through it." "It is too long a time you have been under this
oppression," said Lugh. And with that he started up and made an attack
on the Fomor, killing and wounding them, till he had made an end of
eight nines of them, but he let the last nine go under the protection of
Nuada the king. "And I would kill you along with the others," he said,
"but I would sooner see you go with messages to your own country than my
own people, for fear they might get any ill-treatment."

So the nine went back then till they came to Lochlann, where the men of
the Fomor were, and they told them the story from beginning to end, and
how a young well-featured lad had come into Ireland and had killed all
the tax-gatherers but themselves, "and it is the reason he let us off,"
they said, "that we might tell you the story ourselves."

"Do you know who is the young man?" said Balor of the Evil Eye then.

"I know well," said Ceithlenn, his wife; "he is the son of your
daughter and mine. And it was foretold," she said, "that from the time
he would come into Ireland, we would never have power there again for

Then the chief men of the Fomor went into a council, Eab, son of Neid,
and Seanchab, grandson of Neid, and Sital Salmhor, and Liath, son of
Lobais, and the nine poets of the Fomor that had learning and the gift
of foreknowledge, and Lobais the Druid, and Balor himself and his twelve
white-mouthed sons, and Ceithlenn of the Crooked Teeth, his queen.

And it was just at that time Bres and his father Elathan were come to
ask help of the Fomor, and Bres said: "I myself will go to Ireland, and
seven great battalions of the Riders of the Fomor along with me, and I
will give battle to this Ildánach, this master of all arts, and I will
strike his head off and bring it here to you, to the green of Berbhe."
"It would be a fitting thing for you to do," said they all. "Let my
ships be made ready for me," said Bres, "and let food and provisions be
put in them."

So they made no delay, but went and got the ships ready, and they put
plenty of food and drink in them, and the two swift Luaths were sent out
to gather the army to Bres. And when they were all gathered, they made
ready their armour and their weapons, and they set out for Ireland.

And Balor the king followed them to the harbour, and he said: "Give
battle to that Ildánach, and strike off his head; and tie that island
that is called Ireland to the back of your ships, and let the destroying
water take its place, and put it on the north side of Lochlann, and not
one of the Men of Dea will follow it there to the end of life and time."

Then they pushed out their ships and put up their painted sails, and
went out from the harbour on the untilled country, on the ridges of the
wide-lying sea, and they never turned from their course till they came
to the harbour of Eas Dara. And from that they sent out an army through
West Connacht and destroyed it altogether, through and through. And the
King of Connacht at that time was Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda.


And Lugh of the Long Hand was at that time at Teamhair with the King of
Ireland, and it was showed to him that the Fomor were after landing at
Eas Dara. And when he knew that, he made ready Manannan's horse, the
Aonbharr, at the time of the battle of the day and night; and he went
where Nuada the king was, and told him how the Fomor had landed at Eas
Dara and had spoiled Bodb Dearg's country; "and it is what I want," he
said, "to get help from you to give battle to them." But Nuada was not
minded to avenge the destruction that was done on Bodb Dearg and not on
himself, and Lugh was not well pleased with his answer, and he went
riding out of Teamhair westward. And presently he saw three armed men
coming towards him, his own father Cian, with his brothers Cu and
Ceithen, that were the three sons of Cainte, and they saluted him. "What
is the cause of your early rising?" they said. "It is good cause I have
for it," said Lugh, "for the Fomor are come into Ireland and have robbed
Bodb Dearg; and what help will you give me against them?" he said.

"Each one of us will keep off a hundred from you in the battle," said
they. "That is a good help," said Lugh; "but there is a help I would
sooner have from you than that: to gather the Riders of the Sidhe to me
from every place where they are."

So Cu and Ceithen went towards the south, and Cian set out northward,
and he did not stop till he reached the Plain of Muirthemne. And as he
was going across the plain he saw three armed men before him, that were
the three sons of Tuireann, son of Ogma. And it is the way it was
between the three sons of Tuireann and the three sons of Cainte, they
were in hatred and enmity towards one another, so that whenever they met
there was sure to be fighting among them.

Then Cian said: "If my two brothers had been here it is a brave fight we
would make; but since they are not, it is best for me to fall back."
Then he saw a great herd of pigs near him, and he struck himself with a
Druid rod that put on him the shape of a pig of the herd, and he began
rooting up the ground like the rest.

Then Brian, one of the sons of Tuireann, said to his brothers: "Did you
see that armed man that was walking the plain a while ago?" "We did see
him," said they. "Do you know what was it took him away?" said Brian.
"We do not know that," said they. "It is a pity you not to be keeping a
better watch over the plains of the open country in time of war," said
Brian; "and I know well what happened him, for he struck himself with
his Druid rod into the shape of a pig of these pigs, and he is rooting
up the ground now like any one of them; and whoever he is, he is no
friend to us." "That is bad for us," said the other two, "for the pigs
belong to some one of the Tuatha de Danaan, and even if we kill them
all, the Druid pig might chance to escape us in the end."

"It is badly you got your learning in the city of learning," said Brian,
"when you cannot tell an enchanted beast from a natural beast." And
while he was saying that, he struck his two brothers with his Druid
rod, and he turned them into two thin, fast hounds, and they began to
yelp sharply on the track of the enchanted pig.

And it was not long before the pig fell out from among the others, and
not one of the others made away but only itself, and it made for a wood,
and at the edge of the wood Brian gave a cast of his spear that went
through its body. And the pig cried out, and it said: "It is a bad thing
you have done to have made a cast at me when you knew me." "It seems to
me you have the talk of a man," said Brian. "I was a man indeed," said
he; "I am Cian, son of Cainte, and give me your protection now." "I
swear by the gods of the air," said Brian, "that if the life came back
seven times to you, I would take it from you every time." "If that is
so," said Cian, "give me one request: let me go into my own shape
again." "We will do that," said Brian, "for it is easier to me to kill a
man than a pig."

So Cian took his own shape then, and he said: "Give me mercy now." "We
will not give it," said Brian. "Well, I have got the better of you for
all that," said Cian; "for if it was in the shape of a pig you had killed
me there would only be the blood money for a pig on me; but as it is in
my own shape you will kill me, there never was and never will be any
person killed for whose sake a heavier fine will be paid than for
myself. And the arms I am killed with," he said, "it is they will tell
the deed to my son."

"It is not with weapons you will be killed, but with the stones lying on
the ground," said Brian. And with that they pelted him with stones,
fiercely and roughly, till all that was left of him was a poor,
miserable, broken heap; and they buried him the depth of a man's body in
the earth, and the earth would not receive that murder from them, but
cast it up again. Brian said it should go into the earth again, and they
put it in the second time, and the second time the earth would not take
it. And six times the sons of Tuireann buried the body, and six times it
was cast up again; but the seventh time it was put underground the earth
kept it. And then they went on to join Lugh of the Long Hand for the

Now as to Lugh; upon parting with his father he went forward from
Teamhair westward, to the hills that were called afterwards Gairech and
Ilgairech, and to the ford of the Shannon that is now called Athluain,
and to Bearna nah-Eadargana, the Gap of Separation, and over Magh Luirg,
the Plain of Following, and to Corr Slieve na Seaghsa, the Round
Mountain of the Poet's Spring, and to the head of Sean-Slieve, and
through the place of the bright-faced Corann, and from that to Magh Mor
an Aonaigh, the Great Plain of the Fair, where the Fomor were, and the
spoils of Connacht with them.

It is then Bres, son of Elathan, rose up and said: "It is a wonder to me
the sun to be rising in the west to-day, and it rising in the east every
other day." "It would be better for us it to be the sun," said the
Druids. "What else is it?" said he. "It is the shining of the face of
Lugh, son of Ethlinn," said they.

Lugh came up to them then and saluted them. "Why do you come like a
friend to us?" said they. "There is good cause for that," he said, "for
there is but one half of me of the Tuatha de Danaan, and the other half
of yourselves. And give me back now the milch cows of the men of
Ireland," he said. "May early good luck not come to you till you get
either a dry or a milch cow here," said a man of them, and anger on him.

But Lugh stopped near them for three days and three nights, and at the
end of that time the Riders of the Sidhe came to him. And Bodb Dearg,
son of the Dagda, came with twenty-nine hundred men, and he said:

"What is the cause of your delay in giving battle?"

"Waiting for you I was," said Lugh.

Then the kings and chief men of the men of Ireland took their armour on
them, and they raised the points of their spears over their heads, and
they made close fences of their shields. And they attacked their enemies
on Magh Mor an Aonaigh, and their enemies answered them, and they threw
their whining spears at one another, and when their spears were broken
they drew their swords from their blue-bordered sheaths and began to
strike at one another, and thickets of brown flames rose above them from
the bitterness of their many-edged weapons.

And Lugh saw the battle pen where Bres, son of Elathan, was, and he made
a fierce attack on him and on the men that were guarding him, till he
had made an end of two hundred of them.

When Bres saw that, he gave himself up to Lugh's protection. "Give me my
life this time," he said, "and I will bring the whole race of the Fomor
to fight it out with you in a great battle; and I bind myself to that,
by the sun and the moon, the sea and the land," he said.

On that Lugh gave him his life, and then the Druids that were with him
asked his protection for themselves. "By my word," said Lugh, "if the
whole race of the Fomor went under my protection they would not be
destroyed by me." So then Bres and the Druids set out for their own

Now as to Lugh and the sons of Tuireann. After the battle of Magh Mor an
Aonaigh, he met two of his kinsmen and asked them did they see his
father in the fight. "We did not," said they. "I am sure he is not
living," said Lugh; "and I give my word," he said, "there will no food
or drink go into my mouth till I get knowledge by what death my father

Then he set out, and the Riders of the Sidhe after him, till they came
to the place where he and his father parted from one another, and from
that to the place where his father went into the shape of a pig when he
saw the sons of Tuireann.

And when Lugh came to that place the earth spoke to him, and it said:
"It is in great danger your father was here, Lugh, when he saw the sons
of Tuireann before him, and it is into the shape of a pig he had to go,
but it is in his own shape they killed him."

Then Lugh told that to his people, and he found the spot where his
father was buried, and he bade them dig there, the way he would know by
what death the sons of Tuireann had made an end of him.

Then they raised the body out of the grave and looked at it, and it was
all one bed of wounds. And Lugh said: "It was the death of an enemy the
sons of Tuireann gave my dear father." And he gave him three kisses, and
it is what he said: "It is bad the way I am myself after this death, for
I can hear nothing with my ears, and I can see nothing with my eyes, and
there is not a living pulse in my heart, with grief after my father. And
you gods I worship," he said, "it is a pity I not to have come here the
time this thing was done. And it is a great thing that has been done
here," he said, "the people of the gods of Dana to have done treachery
on one another, and it is long they will be under loss by it and be
weakened by it. And Ireland will never be free from trouble from this
out, east and west," he said.

Then they put Cian under the earth again, and after that there was
keening made over his grave, and a stone was raised on it, and his name
was written in Ogham, And Lugh said: "This hill will take its name from
Cian, although he himself is stripped and broken. And it was the sons of
Tuireann did this thing," he said, "and there will grief and anguish
fall on them from it, and on their children after them. And it is no
lying story I am telling you," he said; "and it is a pity the way I am,
and my heart is broken in my breast since Cian, the brave man, is not

Then he bade his people to go before him to Teamhair, "But do not tell
the story till I tell it myself," he said.

And when Lugh came to Teamhair he sat in the high seat of the king, and
he looked about him and he saw the three sons of Tuireann. And those
were the three that were beyond all others at Teamhair at that time for
quickness and skill, for a good hand in battle, for beauty and an
honourable name.

Then Lugh bade his people to shake the chain of silence, and they did
so, and they all listened. And Lugh said: "What are your minds fixed on
at this time, Men of Dea?" "On yourself indeed," said they. "I have a
question to ask of you," he said. "What is the vengeance each one of you
would take on the man that would kill your father?"

There was great wonder on them when they heard that, and one of the
chief men among them said: "Tell us was it your own father that was
killed?" "It was indeed," said Lugh; "and I see now in this house," he
said, "the men that killed him, and they know themselves what way they
killed him better than I know it." Then the king said: "It is not a
death of one day only I would give the man that had killed my father, if
he was in my power, but to cut off one of his limbs from day to day till
I would make an end of him." All the chief men said the same, and the
sons of Tuireann like the rest.

"There are making that answer," said Lugh, "the three men that killed my
father; and let them pay the fine for him now, since you are all
together in the one place. And if they will not," he said, "I will not
break the protection of the king's house, but they must make no attempt
to quit this house till they have settled with me."

"If it was I myself had killed your father," said the king, "I would be
well content you to take a fine from me for him."

"It is at us Lugh is saying all this," said the sons of Tuireann among
themselves. "Let us acknowledge the killing of his father to him," said
Iuchar and Iucharba. "I am in dread," said Brian, "that it is wanting an
acknowledgment from us he is, in the presence of all the rest, and that
he will not let us off with a fine afterwards." "It is best to
acknowledge it," said the others; "and let you speak it out since you
are the eldest."

Then Brian, son of Tuireann, said: "It is at us you are speaking, Lugh,
for you are thinking we went against the sons of Cainte before now; and
we did not kill your father," he said, "but we will pay the fine for him
the same as if we did kill him." "I will take a fine from you that you
do not think of," said Lugh, "and I will say here what it is, and if it
is too much for you, I will let you off a share of it." "Let us hear it
from you," said they. "Here it is," said Lugh; "three apples, and the
skin of a pig, and a spear, and two horses, and a chariot, and seven
pigs, and a dog's whelp, and a cooking-spit, and three shouts on a hill.
That is the fine I am asking," he said; "and if it is too much for you,
a part of it will be taken off you presently, and if you do not think it
too much, then pay it"

"It is not too much," said Brian, "or a hundred times of it would not be
too much. And we think it likely," he said, "because of its smallness
that you have some treachery towards us behind it." "I do not think it
too little of a fine," said Lugh; "and I give you the guarantee of the
Tuatha de Danaan I will ask no other thing, and I will be faithful to
you, and let you give the same pledge to me." "It is a pity you to ask
that," said Brian, "for our own pledge is as good as any pledge in the
world." "Your own pledge is not enough," said Lugh, "for it is often the
like of you promised to pay a fine in this way, and would try to back
out of it after."

So then the sons of Tuireann bound themselves by the King of Ireland,
and by Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda, and by the chief men of the Tuatha
de Danaan, that they would pay that fine to Lugh.

"It would be well for me now," said Lugh, "to give you better knowledge
of the fine." "It would be well indeed," said they.

"This is the way of it then," said Lugh. "The three apples I asked of
you are the three apples from the Garden in the East of the World, and
no other apples will do but these, for they are the most beautiful and
have most virtue in them of the apples of the whole world. And it is
what they are like, they are of the colour of burned gold, and they are
the size of the head of a child a month old, and there is the taste of
honey on them, and they do not leave the pain of wounds or the vexation
of sickness on any one that eats them, and they do not lessen by being
eaten for ever. And the skin I asked of you," he said, "is the pig skin
of Tuis, King of Greece, and it heals all the wounds and all the
sickness of the world, and whatever danger a man may be in, if it can
but overtake the life in him, it will cure him; and it is the way it was
with that pig, every stream of water it would go through would be turned
into wine to the end of nine days after, and every wound it touched was
healed; and it is what the Druids of Greece said, that it is not in
itself this virtue was, but in the skin, and they skinned it, and the
skin is there ever since. And I think, too, it will not be easy for you
to get it, with or without leave."

"And do you know what is the spear I am asking of you?" he said. "We do
not," said they. "It is a very deadly spear belonging to the King of
Persia, the Luin it is called, and every choice thing is done by it, and
its head is kept steeped in a vessel of water, the way it will not burn
down the place where it is, and it will be hard to get it. And do you
know what two horses and what chariot I am asking of you? They are the
chariot and the two wonderful horses of Dobar, King of Siogair, and the
sea is the same as land to them, and there are no faster horses than
themselves, and there is no chariot equal to that one in shape and in

"And do you know what are the seven pigs I asked of you? They are the
pigs of Easal, King of the Golden Pillars; and though they are killed
every night, they are found alive again the next day, and there will be
no disease or no sickness on any person that will eat a share of them.

"And the whelp I asked of you is Fail-Inis, the whelp belonging to the
King of Ioruaidh, the Cold Country. And all the wild beasts of the world
would fall down at the sight of her, and she is more beautiful than the
sun in his fiery wheels, and it will be hard to get her.

"And the cooking-spit I asked of you is a spit of the spits of the women
of Inis Cenn-fhinne, the Island of Caer of the Fair Hair. And the three
shouts you are to give on a hill must be given on the Hill of Miochaoin
in the north of Lochlann. And Miochaoin and his sons are under bonds not
to allow any shouts to be given on that hill; and it was with them my
father got his learning, and if I would forgive you his death, they
would not forgive you. And if you get through all your other voyages
before you reach to them, it is my opinion they themselves will avenge
him on you. And that is the fine I have asked of you," said Lugh.

There was silence and darkness on the sons of Tuireann when they heard
that. And they went to where their father was, and told him the fine
that had been put on them. "It is bad news that is," said Tuireann; "and
it is to your death and your destruction you will be going, looking for
those things. But for all that, if Lugh himself had a mind to help you,
you could work out the fine, and all the men of the world could not do
it but by the power of Manannan or of Lugh. Go then and ask the loan of
Manannan's horse, the Aonbharr, from Lugh, and if he has any wish to get
the fine, he will give it to you; but if he does not wish it he will say
the horse is not his, and that he would not give the loan of a loan. Ask
him then for the loan of Manannan's curragh, the Scuabtuinne, the
Sweeper of the Waves. And he will give that, for he is under bonds not
to refuse a second request, and the curragh is better for you than the
horse," he said.

So the sons of Tuireann went to where Lugh was, and they saluted him,
and they said they could not bring him the fine without his own help,
and for that reason it would be well for them to get a loan of the
Aonbharr. "I have that horse only on loan myself," said Lugh, "and I
will not give a loan of a loan."

"If that is so, give us the loan of Manannan's curragh," said Brian. "I
will give that," said Lugh. "What place is it?" said they. "At Brugh na
Boinn," said Lugh.

Then they went back again to where Tuireann was, and his daughter Ethne,
their sister, with him, and they told him they had got the curragh. "It
is not much the better you will be for it," said Tuireann, "although
Lugh would like well to get every part of this fine he could make use of
before the battle with the Fomor. But he would like yourselves to come
to your death looking for it."

Then they went away, and they left Tuireann sorrowful and lamenting, and
Ethne went with them to where the curragh was. And Brian got into it,
and he said: "There is place but for one other person along with me
here." And he began to find fault with its narrowness. "You ought not to
be faulting the curragh," said Ethne; "and O my dear brother," she said,
"it was a bad thing you did, to kill the father of Lugh of the Long
Hand; and whatever harm may come to you from it, it is but just." "Do
not say that, Ethne," they said, "for we are in good heart, and we will
do brave deeds. And we would sooner be killed a hundred times over,"
they said, "than to meet with the death of cowards." "My grief," said
Ethne, "there is nothing more sorrowful than this, to see you driven out
from your own country."

Then the three pushed out their curragh from the beautiful clear-bayed
shore of Ireland. "What course shall we take first?" said they. "We will
go look for the apples," said Brian, "as they were the first thing we
were bade bring. And so we ask of you, curragh of Manannan that is under
us, to sail to the Garden in the East of the World."

And the curragh did not neglect that order, but it sailed forward over
the green-sided waves and deep places till it came to its harbour in the
east of the world.

And then Brian asked his brothers: "What way have you a mind to get into
the garden? for I think," he said, "the king's champions and the
fighting men of the country are always guarding it, and the king himself
is chief over them." "What should we do," said his brothers, "but to
make straight at them and attack them, and bring away the apples or fall
ourselves, since we cannot escape from these dangers that are before us
without meeting our death in some place." "It would be better," said
Brian, "the story of our bravery and our craftiness to be told and to
live after us, than folly and cowardice to be told of us. And what is
best for us to do now," he said, "is to go in the shape of swift hawks
into the garden, and the watchers have but their light spears to throw
at us, and let you take good care to keep out of their reach; and after
they have thrown them all, make a quick flight to the apples and let
each of you bring away an apple of them in your claws, and I will bring
away the third."

They said that was a good advice, and Brian struck himself and the
others with his Druid rod, and changed them into beautiful hawks. And
they flew towards the garden, and the watchers took notice of them and
shouted on every side of them, and threw showers of spears and darts,
but the hawks kept out of their reach as Brian had bade them, till all
the spears were spent, and then they swept down bravely on the apples,
and brought them away with them, without so much as a wound.

And the news went through the city and the whole district, and the king
had three wise, crafty daughters, and they put themselves into the shape
of three ospreys, and they followed the hawks to the sea, and sent
flashes of lightning before them and after them, that scorched them

"It is a pity the way we are now," said the sons of Tuireann, "for we
will be burned through and through with this lightning if we do not get
some relief." "If I can give you relief I will do it," said Brian. With
that he struck himself and his brothers with the Druid rod, and they
were turned into three swans, and they went down quickly into the sea,
and the ospreys went away from them then, and the sons of Tuireann went
into their boat.

After that they consulted together, and it is what they agreed, to go to
Greece and to bring away the skin of the pig, with or without leave. So
they went forward till they came near to the court of the King of

"What appearance should we put on us going in here?" said Brian. "What
appearance should we go in with but our own?" said the others. "That is
not what I think best," said Brian; "but to go in with the appearance of
poets from Ireland, the way the high people of Greece will hold us in
respect and in honour." "It would be hard for us to do that," they said,
"and we without a poem, and it is little we know how to make one."

However, they put the poet's tie on their hair, and they knocked at the
door of the court, and the door-keeper asked who was in it. "We are
poets of Ireland," said Brian, "and we are come with a poem to the

The door-keeper went in and told the king that there were poets from
Ireland at the door. "Let them in," said the king, "for it is in search
of a good man they came so far from their own country." And the king
gave orders that everything should be well set out in the court, the way
they would say they had seen no place so grand in all their travels.

The sons of Tuireann were let in then, having the appearance of poets,
and they fell to drinking and pleasure without delay; and they thought
they had never seen, and there was not in the world, a court so good as
that or so large a household, or a place where they had met with better

Then the king's poets got up to give out their poems and songs. And then
Brian, son of Tuireann, bade his brothers to say a poem for the king.
"We have no poem," said they; "and do not ask any poem of us, but the
one we know before, and that is to take what we want by the strength of
our hand if we are the strongest, or to fall by those that are against
us if they are the strongest." "That is not a good way to make a poem,"
said Brian. And with that he rose up himself and asked a hearing. And
they all listened to him, and it is what he said:

"O Tuis, we do not hide your fame; we praise you as the oak among kings;
the skin of a pig, bounty without hardness, this is the reward I ask for

"The war of a neighbour against an ear; the fair ear of his neighbour
will be against him; he who gives us what he owns, his court will not be
the scarcer for it.

"A raging army and a sudden sea are a danger to whoever goes against
them. The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness, this is the reward I
ask, O Tuis."

"That is a good poem," said the king; "but I do not know a word of its
meaning." "I will tell you its meaning," said Brian. "'O Tuis, we do not
hide your fame; we praise you as the oak above the kings.' That is, as
the oak is beyond the kingly trees of the wood, so are you beyond the
kings of the world for open-handedness and for grandeur.

"'The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness.' That is, the skin of a
pig you own is what I would wish to get from you as a reward for my

"'The war of a neighbour against an ear, the fair ear of his neighbour
will be against him.' That is, you and I will be by the ears about the
skin, unless I get it with your consent.

"And that is the meaning of the poem," said Brian.

"I would praise your poem," said the king, "if there was not so much
about my pig-skin in it; and you have no good sense, man of poetry," he
said, "to be asking that thing of me, and I would not give it to all
the poets and the learned men and the great men of the world, since they
could not take it away without my consent. But I will give you three
times the full of the skin of gold as the price of your poem," he said.

"May good be with you, king," said Brian, "and I know well it was no
easy thing I was asking, but I knew I would get a good ransom for it.
And I am that covetous," he said, "I will not be satisfied without
seeing the gold measured myself into the skin."

The king sent his servants with them then to the treasure-house to
measure the gold. "Measure out the full of it to my brothers first,"
said Brian, "and then give good measure to myself, since it was I made
the poem."

But when the skin was brought out, Brian made a quick sudden snatch at
it with his left hand, and drew his sword and made a stroke at the man
nearest him, and made two halves of him. And then he kept a hold of the
skin and put it about himself, and the three of them rushed out of the
court, cutting down every armed man before them, so that not one escaped
death or wounding. And then Brian went to where the king himself was,
and the king made no delay in attacking him, and they made a hard fight
of it, and at the end the King of Greece fell by the hand of Brian, son
of Tuireann.

The three brothers rested for a while after that, and then they said
they would go and look for some other part of the fine. "We will go to
Pisear, King of Persia," said Brian, "and ask him for the spear."

So they went into their boat, and they left the blue streams of the
coast of Greece, and they said: "We are well off when we have the apples
and the skin." And they stopped nowhere till they came to the borders of

"Let us go to the court with the appearance of poets," said Brian, "the
same as we went to the King of Greece." "We are content to do that,"
said the others, "as all turned out so well the last time we took to
poetry; not that it is easy for us to take to a calling that does not
belong to us."

So they put the poet's tie on their hair, and they were as well treated
as they were at the other court; and when the time came for poems Brian
rose up, and it is what he said:

"It is little any spear looks to Pisear; the battles of enemies are
broken, it is not too much for Pisear to wound every one of them.

"A yew, the most beautiful of the wood, it is called a king, it is not
bulky. May the spear drive on the whole crowd to their wounds of death."

"That is a good poem," said the king, "but I do not understand why my
own spear is brought into it, O Man of Poetry from Ireland."

"It is because it is that spear of your own I would wish to get as the
reward of my poem," said Brian. "It is little sense you have to be
asking that of me," said the king; "and the people of my court never
showed greater respect for poetry than now, when they did not put you to
death on the spot."

When Brian heard that talk from the king, he thought of the apple that
was in his hand, and he made a straight cast and hit him in the
forehead, so that his brains were put out at the back of his head, and
he bared the sword and made an attack on the people about him. And the
other two did not fail to do the same, and they gave him their help
bravely till they had made an end of all they met of the people of the
court. And then they found the spear, and its head in a cauldron of
water, the way it would not set fire to the place.

And after a while they said it was time for them to go and look for the
rest of the great fine that was on them, and they asked one another what
way should they go. "We will go to the King of the Island of Siogair,"
said Brian, "for it is with him are the two horses and the chariot the
Ildánach asked of us."

They went forward then and brought the spear with them, and it is proud
the three champions were after all they had done. And they went on till
they were come to the court of the King of Siogair.

"It is what we will do this time," said Brian, "we will go in with the
appearance of paid soldiers from Ireland, and we will make friends with
the king, the way we will get to know in what place the horses and the
chariot are kept." And when they had settled on that they went forward
to the lawn before the king's house.

The king and the chief men that were with him rose up and came through
the fair that was going on there, and they saluted the king, and he
asked who were they. "We are trained fighting men from Ireland," they
said, "and we are earning wages from the kings of the world." "Is it
your wish to stop with me for a while?" said the king. "That is what we
are wanting," said they. So then they made an agreement and took service
with him.

They stopped in the court a fortnight and a month, and they never saw
the horses through that time. Then Brian said: "This is a bad way we are
in, to have no more news of the horses now than the first day we came to
the place." "What is best for us to do now?" said his brothers. "Let us
do this," said Brian, "let us take our arms and gather our things
together, and go to the king and tell him we will leave the country and
this part of the world unless he will show us those horses."

So they went to the king that very day, and he asked them what did they
mean by getting themselves ready for a journey. "You will hear that,
high king," said Brian; "it is because trained fighting men from
Ireland, like ourselves, have always trust put in them by the kings they
guard, and we are used to be told the secrets and the whispers of any
person we are with, and that is not the way you have treated us since we
came to you. For you have two horses and a chariot that are the best in
the world, as we have been told, and we have not been given a sight of
them yet." "It would be a pity you to go on that account," said the
king, "when I would have showed them to you the first day, if I had
known you had a wish to see them. And if you have a mind to see them
now," he said, "you may see them; for I think there never came soldiers
from Ireland to this place that were thought more of by myself and by my
people than yourselves."

He sent for the horses then, and they were yoked to the chariot, and
their going was as fast as the cold spring wind, and the sea was the
same as the land to them.

And Brian was watching the horses closely, and on a sudden he took hold
of the chariot and took the chariot driver out and dashed him against
the nearest rock, and made a leap into his place himself, and made a
cast of the Persian spear at the king, that went through his heart. And
then he and his brothers scattered the people before them, and brought
away the chariot.

"We will go now to Easal, the King of the Golden Pillars," said Brian,
"to look for the seven pigs the Ildánach bade us bring him."

They sailed on then without delay or drawback to that high country. And
it is the way the people of that country were, watching their harbours
for fear of the sons of Tuireann, for the story of them had been told
in all parts, how they had been sent out of Ireland by force, and how
they were bringing away with them all the gifted treasures of the whole

Easal came to the edge of the harbour to meet them, and he asked was it
true what he heard, that the king of every country they had gone to had
fallen by them. Brian said it was true, whatever he might wish to do to
them for it. "What was it made you do that?" said Easal. Brian told him
then it was the oppression and the hard sentence of another had put them
to it; and he told him all that had happened, and how they had put down
all that offered to stand against them until that time.

"What did you come to this country now for?" said the king. "For the
pigs belonging to yourself," said Brian; "for to bring them away with us
is a part of the fine." "What way do you think to get them?" said the
king. "If we get them with good-will," said Brian, "we are ready to take
them thankfully; and if we do not, we are ready to do battle with
yourself and your people on the head of them, that you may fall by us,
and we may bring away the pigs in spite of you." "If that is to be the
end of it," said the king, "it would be a pity to bring my people into a
battle." "It would be a pity indeed," said Brian.

Then the king whispered and took advice with his people about the
matter, and it is what they agreed, to give up the pigs of their own
free will to the sons of Tuireann, since they could not see that any one
had been able to stand against them up to that time.

Then the sons of Tuireann gave their thanks to Easal, and there was
wonder on them to have got the pigs like that, when they had to fight
for every other part of the fine. And more than that, they had left a
share of their blood in every other place till then.

Easal brought them to his own house that night, and they were served
with food, and drink, and good beds, and all they could wish for. And
they rose up on the morrow and came into the king's presence, and the
pigs were given to them. "It is well you have done by us, giving us
these pigs," said Brian, "for we did not get any share of the fine
without fighting but these alone." And he made a poem for the king then,
praising him, and putting a great name on him for what he had done.

"What journey are you going to make now, sons of Tuireann?" said Easal.
"We are going," they said, "to the country of Ioruaidh, on account of a
whelp that is there." "Give me one request," said Easal, "and that is to
bring me with you to the King of Ioruaidh, for a daughter of mine is his
wife, and I would wish to persuade him to give you the whelp without a
battle." "That will please us well," they said.

So the king's ship was made ready, and we have no knowledge of what
happened till they came to the delightful, wonderful coast of Ioruaidh.
The people and the armies were watching the harbours and landing-places
before them, and they knew them at once and shouted at them.

Then Easal went on shore peaceably, and he went to where his son-in-law,
the king, was, and told him the story of the sons of Tuireann from
beginning to end. "What has brought them to this country?" said the King
of Ioruaidh. "To ask for the hound you have," said Easal. "It was a bad
thought you had coming with them to ask it," said the king, "for the
gods have not given that much luck to any three champions in the world,
that they would get my hound by force or by good-will." "It would be
better for you to let them have the hound," said Easal, "since they have
put down so many of the kings of the world."

But all he could say was only idleness to the king. So he went then to
where the sons of Tuireann were, and gave them the whole account. And
when they heard the king's answer, they made no delay, but put quick
hands on their arms, and offered to give battle to the army of Ioruaidh.
And when they met, there was a brave battle fought on both sides. And as
for the sons of Tuireann, they began to kill and to strike at the men of
Ioruaidh till they parted from one another in the fight, so that Iuchar
and Iucharba chanced to be on one side, and Brian by himself on the
other side. It was a gap of danger and a breaking of ranks was before
Brian in every path he took, till he came to the King of Ioruaidh in the
battle pen where he was. And then the two brave champions began a fierce
fight together, and they did not spare one another in it. And at the
last Brian overcame the king, and bound him, and brought him through the
middle of the army, till he came to the place where Easal was, and it is
what he said: "There is your son-in-law for you, and I swear by my hand
of valour, I would think it easier to kill him three times than to bring
him to you once like this."

So then the whelp was given to the sons of Tuireann, and the king was
unbound, and peace was made between them. And when they had brought all
this to an end, they bade farewell to Easal and to all the rest.

Now as to Lugh of the Long Hand, it was showed to him that the sons of
Tuireann had got all the things that were wanting to him against the
battle with the Fomor; and on that he sent a Druid spell after them to
put forgetfulness on them of the rest of the fine that they had not got.
And he put a great desire and longing on them to go back to Ireland; so
they forgot that a part of the fine was wanting to them, and they turned
back again toward home.

And it is the place where Lugh was at the time, at a gathering of the
people for a fair on the green outside Teamhair, and the King of Ireland
along with him. And it was made known to Lugh that the sons of Tuireann
were landed at Brugh na Boinn. And he went into the city of Teamhair,
and shut the gate after him, and he put on Manannan's smooth armour, and
the cloak, of the daughters of Flidais, and he took his own arms in his

And the sons of Tuireann came where the king was, and they were made
welcome by him and by the Tuatha de Danaan. And the king asked them did
they get the fine. "We did get it," said they; "and where is Lugh till
we give it to him?" "He was here a while ago," said the king. And the
whole fair was searched for him, but he was not found.

"I know the place where he is," said Brian; "for it has been made known
to him that we are come to Ireland, and these deadly arms with us, and
he is gone into Teamhair to avoid us."

Messengers were sent to him then, and it is the answer he gave them that
he would not come, but that the fine should be given to the king.

So the sons of Tuireann did that, and when the king had taken the fine
they all went to the palace in Teamhair; and Lugh came out on the lawn
and the fine was given to him, and it is what he said: "There is a good
payment here for any one that ever was killed or that ever will be
killed. But there is something wanting to it yet that it is not lawful
to leave out. And where is the cooking-spit?" he said; "and where are
the three shouts on the hill that you did not give yet?"

And when the sons of Tuireann heard that there came clouds of weakness
on them. And they left the place and went to their father's house that
night, and they told him all they had done, and the way Lugh had treated

There was grief and darkness on Tuireann then, and they spent the night
together. And on the morrow they went to their ship, and Ethne, their
sister, with them, and she was crying and lamenting, and it is what she

"It is a pity, Brian of my life, it is not to Teamhair your going is,
after all the troubles you have had before this, even if I could not
follow you.

"O Salmon of the dumb Boinn, O Salmon of the Lifé River, since I cannot
keep you here I am loath to part from you.

"O Rider of the Wave of Tuaidh, the man that stands best in the fight,
if you come back again, I think it will not be pleasing to your enemy.

"Is there pity with you for the sons of Tuireann leaning now on their
green shields? Their going is a cause for pity, my mind is filled up
with it.

"You to be to-night at Beinn Edair till the heavy coming of the morning,
you who have taken forfeits from brave men, it is you have increased our

"It is a pity your journey is from Teamhair, and from the pleasant
plains, and from great Uisnech of Midhe; there is nothing so pitiful as

After that complaint they went out on the rough waves of the green sea;
and they were a quarter of a year on the sea without getting any news of
the island.

Then Brian put on his water dress and he made a leap, and he was a long
time walking in the sea looking for the Island of the Fair-Haired Women,
and he found it in the end. And he went looking for the court, and when
he came to it, all he found was a troop of women doing needlework and
embroidering borders. And among all the other things they had with them,
there was the cooking-spit.

And when Brian saw it, he took it up in his hand and he was going to
bring it with him to the door. And all the women began laughing when
they saw him doing that, and it is what they said: "It is a brave deed
you put your hand to; for even if your brothers were along with you, the
least of the three times fifty women of us would not let the spit go
with you or with them. But for all that," they said, "take a spit of the
spits with you, since you had the daring to try and take it in spite of

Brian bade them farewell then, and went to look for the boat. And his
brothers thought it was too long he was away from them, and just as they
were going to leave the place they were, they saw him coming towards
them, and that raised their courage greatly.

And he went into the boat, and they went on to look for the Hill of
Miochaoin. And when they came there, Miochaoin, that was the guardian of
the hill, came towards them; and when Brian saw him he attacked him, and
the fight of those two champions was like the fight of two lions, till
Miochaoin fell at the last.

And after Miochaoin had fallen, his three sons came out to fight with
the three sons of Tuireann. And if any one ever came from the east of
the world to look at any fight, it is to see the fight of these
champions he had a right to come, for the greatness of their blows and
the courage of their minds. The names of the sons of Miochaoin were Core
and Conn and Aedh, and they drove their three spears through the bodies
of the sons of Tuireann, and that did not discourage them at all and
they put their own three spears through the bodies of the sons of
Miochaoin, so that they fell into the clouds and the faintness of death.

And then Brian said: "What way are you now, my dear brothers?" "We are
near our death," said they. "Let us rise up," he said, "and give three
shouts upon the hill, for I see the signs of death coming on us." "We
are not able to do that," said they. Then Brian rose up and raised each
of them with one hand, and he shedding blood heavily all the time,
until they gave the three shouts.

After that Brian brought them with him to the boat, and they were
travelling the sea for a long time, but at last Brian said: "I see Beinn
Edair and our father's dun, and Teamhair of the Kings." "We would have
our fill of health if we could see that," said the others; "and for the
love of your good name, brother," they said, "raise up our heads on your
breast till we see Ireland again, and life or death will be the same to
us after that. And O Brian," they said, "Flame of Valour without
treachery, we would sooner death to bring ourselves away, than to see
you with wounds upon your body, and with no physician to heal you."

Then they came to Beinn Edair, and from that they went on to their
father's house, and Brian said to Tuireann: "Go, dear father, to
Teamhair, and give this spit to Lugh, and bring the skin that has
healing in it for our relief. Ask it from him for the sake of
friendship," he said, "for we are of the one blood, and let him not give
hardness for hardness. And O dear father," he said, "do not be long on
your journey, or you will not find us alive before you."

Then Tuireann went to Teamhair, and he found Lugh of the Long Hand
before him, and he gave him the spit, and he asked the skin of him to
heal his children, and Lugh said he would not give it And Tuireann came
back to them and told them he had not got the skin. And Brian said:
"Bring me with you to Lugh, to see would I get it from him."

So they went to Lugh, and Brian asked the skin of him. And Lugh said he
would not give it, and that if they would give him the breadth of the
earth in gold for it, he would not take it from them, unless he was sure
their death would come on them in satisfaction for the deed they had

When Brian heard that, he went to the place his two brothers were, and
he lay down between them, and his life went out from him, and out from
the other two at the same time.

And their father cried and lamented over his three beautiful sons, that
had the making of a king of Ireland in each of them, and his strength
left him and he died; and they were buried in the one grave.


And it was not long after Lugh had got the fine from the sons of
Tuireann that the Fomor came and landed at Scetne.

The whole host of the Fomor were come this time, and their king, Balor,
of the Strong Blows and of the Evil Eye, along with them; and Bres, and
Indech, son of De Domnann, a king of the Fomor, and Elathan, son of
Lobos, and Goll and Ingol, and Octriallach, son of Indech, and Elathan,
son of Delbaeth.

Then Lugh sent the Dagda to spy out the Fomor, and to delay them till
such time as the men of Ireland would come to the battle.

So the Dagda went to their camp, and he asked them for a delay, and they
said he might have that. And then to make sport of him, the Fomor made
broth for him, for he had a great love for broth. So they filled the
king's cauldron with four times twenty gallons of new milk, and the same
of meal and fat, and they put in goats and sheep and pigs along with
that, and boiled all together, and then they poured it all out into a
great hole in the ground. And they called him to it then, and told him
he should eat his fill, the way the Fomor would not be reproached for
want of hospitality the way Bres was. "We will make an end of you if
you leave any part of it after you," said Indech, son of De Domnann.

So the Dagda took the ladle, and it big enough for a man and a woman to
lie in the bowl of it, and he took out bits with it, the half of a
salted pig, and a quarter of lard a bit would be. "If the broth tastes
as well as the bits taste, this is good food," he said. And he went on
putting the full of the ladle into his mouth till the hole was empty;
and when all was gone he put down his hand and scraped up all that was
left among the earth and the gravel.

Sleep came on him then after eating the broth, and the Fomor were
laughing at him, for his belly was the size of the cauldron of a great
house. But he rose up after a while, and, heavy as he was, he made his
way home; and indeed his dress was no way sightly, a cape to the hollow
of the elbows, and a brown coat, long in the breast and short behind,
and on his feet brogues of horse hide, with the hair outside, and in his
hand a wheeled fork it would take eight men to carry, so that the track
he left after him was deep enough for the boundary ditch of a province.
And on his way he saw the Battle-Crow, the Morrigu, washing herself in
the river Unius of Connacht, and one of her two feet at Ullad Echne, to
the south of the water, and the other at Loscuinn, to the north of the
water, and her hair hanging in nine loosened locks. And she said to the
Dagda, that she would bring the heart's blood of Indech, son of De
Domnann, that had threatened him, to the men of Ireland.

And while he was away Lugh had called together the Druids, and smiths,
and physicians, and law-makers, and chariot-drivers of Ireland, to make
plans for the battle.

And he asked the great magician Mathgen what could he do to help them.
"It is what I can do," said Mathgen, "through my power I can throw down
all the mountains of Ireland on the Fomor, until their tops will be
rolling on the ground. And the twelve chief mountains of Ireland will
bring you their help," he said, "and will fight for you: Slieve Leag and
Denda Ulad, and Bennai Boirche and Bri Ruri, and Slieve Bladma and
Slieve Snechtae, and Slieve Mis and Blai-Slieve, and Nemthann and Slieve
Macca Belgodon, and Segois and Cruachan Aigle."

Then he asked the cup-bearers what help they could give. "We will put a
strong thirst on the Fomor," they said, "and then we will bring the
twelve chief lochs of Ireland before them, and however great their
thirst may be, they will find no water in them: Derc-Loch, Loch
Luimnech, Loch Orbsen, Loch Righ, Loch Mescdhae, Loch Cuan, Loch Laeig,
Loch Echach, Loch Febail, Loch Decket, Loch Riach, Mor-Loch. And we will
go," they said, "to the twelve chief rivers of Ireland: the Buas, the
Boinn, the Banna, the Nem, the Laoi, the Sionnan, the Muaid, the
Sligech, the Samair, the Fionn, the Ruirtech, the Siuir; and they will
all be hidden away from the Fomor the way they will not find a drop in
them. But as for the men of Ireland," they said, "there will be drink
for them if they were to be in the battle to the end of seven years."

And Figol, son of Mamos, the Druid, was asked then what he would do, and
he said: "It is what I will do, I will cause three showers of fire to
pour on the faces of the army of the Fomor, and I will take from them
two-thirds of their bravery and their strength, and I will put sickness
on their bodies, and on the bodies of their horses. But as to the men of
Ireland," he said, "every breath they breathe will be an increase of
strength and of bravery to them; and if they are seven years in the
battle they will never be any way tired."

Then Lugh asked his two witches, Bechulle and Dianan: "What power can
you bring to the battle?" "It is easy to say that," they said. "We will
put enchantment on the trees and the stones and the sods of the earth,
till they become an armed host against the Fomor, and put terror on them
and put them to the rout."

Then Lugh asked Carpre, the poet, son of Etain, what could he do. "It is
not hard to say that," said Carpre. "I will make a satire on them at
sunrise, and the wind from the north, and I on a hill-top and my back to
a thorn-tree, and a stone and a thorn in my hand. And with that satire,"
he said, "I will put shame on them and enchantment, the way they will
not be able to stand against fighting men."

Then he asked Goibniu the Smith what would he be able to do. "I will do
this," he said. "If the men of Ireland stop in the battle to the end of
seven years, for every sword that is broken and for every spear that is
lost from its shaft, I will put a new one in its place. And no
spear-point that will be made by my hand," he said, "will ever miss its
mark; and no man it touches will ever taste life again. And that is more
than Dolb, the smith of the Fomor, can do," he said.

"And you, Credne," Lugh said then to his worker in brass, "what help can
you give to our men in the battle?" "It is not hard to tell that," said
Credne, "rivets for their spears and hilts for their swords and bosses
and rims for their shields, I will supply them all."

"And you, Luchta," he said then to his carpenter, "what will you do?" "I
will give them all they want of shields and of spear shafts," said

Then he asked Diancecht, the physician, what would he do, and it is what
he said: "Every man that will be wounded there, unless his head is
struck off, or his brain or his marrow cut through, I will make him
whole and sound again for the battle of the morrow."

Then the Dagda said: "Those great things you are boasting you will do,
I will do them all with only myself." "It is you are the good god!" said
they, and they all gave a great shout of laughter.

Then Lugh spoke to the whole army and put strength in them, so that each
one had the spirit in him of a king or a great lord.

Then when the delay was at an end, the Fomor and the men of Ireland came
on towards one another till they came to the plain of Magh Tuireadh.
That now was not the same Magh Tuireadh where the first battle was
fought, but it was to the north, near Ess Dara.

And then the two armies threatened one another. "The men of Ireland are
daring enough to offer battle to us," said Bres to Indech, son of De
Domnann. "I give my word," said Indech, "it is in small pieces their
bones will be, if they do not give in to us and pay their tribute."

Now the Men of Dea had determined not to let Lugh go into the battle,
because of the loss his death would be to them; and they left nine of
their men keeping a watch on him.

And on the first day none of the kings or princes went into the battle,
but only the common fighting men, and they fierce and proud enough.

And the battle went on like that from day to day with no great advantage
to one or the other side. But there was wonder on the Fomor on account
of one thing. Such of their own weapons as were broken or blunted in the
fight lay there as they were, and such of their own men as were killed
showed no sign of life on the morrow; but it was not so with the Tuatha
de Danaan, for if their men were killed or their weapons were broken
to-day, they were as good as before on the morrow.

And this is the way that happened. The well of Slaine lay to the west
of Magh Tuireadh to the east of Loch Arboch. And Diancecht and his son
Octruil and his daughter Airmed used to be singing spells over the well
and to be putting herbs in it; and the men that were wounded to death in
the battle would be brought to the well and put into it as dead men, and
they would come out of it whole and sound, through the power of the
spells. And not only were they healed, but there was such fire put into
them that they would be quicker in the fight than they were before.

And as to the arms, it is the way they were made new every day. Goibniu
the Smith used to be in the forge making swords and spears, and he would
make a spear-head by three turns, and then Luchta the Carpenter would
make the shaft by three cuts, and the third cut was a finish, and would
set it in the ring of the spear. And when the spear-heads were stuck in
the side of the forge, he would throw the shaft and the rings the way
they would go into the spear-head and want no more setting. And then
Credne the Brazier would make the rivets by three turns and would cast
the rings of the spears to them, and with that they were ready and were
set together.

And all this went against the Fomor, and they sent one of their young
men to spy about the camp and to see could he find out how these things
were done. It was Ruadan, son of Bres and of Brigit daughter of the
Dagda they sent, for he was a son and grandson of the Tuatha de Danaan.
So he went and saw all that was done, and came back to the Fomor.

And when they heard his story it is what they thought, that Goibniu the
Smith was the man that hindered them most. And they sent Ruadan back
again, and bade him make an end of him.

So he went back again to the forge, and he asked Goibniu would he give
him a spear-head. And then he asked rivets of Credne, and a shaft of
the carpenter, and all was given to him as he asked. And there was a
woman there, Cron, mother to Fianlug, grinding the spears.

And after the spear being given to Ruadan, he turned and threw it at
Goibniu, that it wounded him. But Goibniu pulled it out and made a cast
of it at Ruadan, that it went through him and he died; and Bres, his
father, and the army of the Fomor, saw him die. And then Brigit came and
keened her son with shrieking and with crying.

And as to Goibniu, he went into the well and was healed. But after that
Octriallach, son of Indech, called to the Fomor and bade each man of
them bring a stone of the stones of Drinnes and throw them into the well
of Slane. And they did that till the well was dried up, and a cairn
raised over it, that is called Octriallach's Cairn.

And it was while Goibniu was making spear-heads for the battle of Magh
Tuireadh, a charge was brought against his wife. And it was seen that it
was heavy news to him, and that jealousy came on him. And it is what he
did, there was a spear-shaft in his hand when he heard the story, Nes
its name was; and he sang spells over the spear-shaft, and any one that
was struck with that spear afterwards, it would burn him up like fire.

And at last the day of the great battle came, and the Fomor came out of
their camp and stood in strong ranks. And there was not a leader or a
fighting man of them was without good armour to his skin, and a helmet
on his head, a broad spear in his right hand, a heavy sword in his belt,
a strong shield on his shoulder. And to attack the army of the Fomor
that day was to strike the head against a rock, or to go up fighting
against a fire.

And the Men of Dea rose up and left Lugh and his nine comrades keeping
him, and they went on to the battle; and Midhir was with them, and Bodb
Dearg and Diancecht. And Badb and Macha and the Morrigu called out that
they would go along with them.

And it was a hard battle was fought, and for a while it was going
against the Tuatha de Danaan; and Nuada of the Silver Hand, their King,
and Macha, daughter of Emmass, fell by Balor, King of the Fomor. And
Cass-mail fell by Octriallach, and the Dagda got a dreadful wound from a
casting spear that was thrown by Ceithlenn, wife of Balor.

But when the battle was going on, Lugh broke away from those that were
keeping him, and rushed out to the front of the Men of Dea. And then
there was a fierce battle fought, and Lugh was heartening the men of
Ireland to fight well, the way they would not be in bonds any longer.
For it was better for them, he said, to die protecting their own country
than to live under bonds and under tribute any longer. And he sang a
song of courage to them, and the hosts gave a great shout as they went
into battle, and then they met together, and each of them began to
attack the other.

And there was great slaughter, and laying low in graves, and many comely
men fell there in the stall of death. Pride and shame were there side by
side, and hardness and red anger, and there was red blood on the white
skin of young fighting men. And the dashing of spear against shield, and
sword against sword, and the shouting of the fighters, and the whistling
of casting spears and the rattling of scabbards was like harsh thunder
through the battle. And many slipped in the blood that was under their
feet, and they fell, striking their heads one against another; and the
river carried away bodies of friends and enemies together.

Then Lugh and Balor met in the battle, and Lugh called out reproaches to
him; and there was anger on Balor, and he said to the men that were with
him: "Lift up my eyelid till I see this chatterer that is talking to
me." Then they raised Balor's eyelid, but Lugh made a cast of his red
spear at him, that brought the eye out through the back of his head, so
that it was towards his own army it fell, and three times nine of the
Fomor died when they looked at it. And if Lugh had not put out that eye
when he did, the whole of Ireland would have been burned in one flash.
And after this, Lugh struck his head off.

And as for Indech, son of De Domnann, he fell and was crushed in the
battle, and blood burst from his mouth, and he called out for Leat Glas,
his poet, as he lay there, but he was not able to help him. And then the
Morrigu came into the battle, and she was heartening the Tuatha de
Danaan to fight the battle well; and, as she had promised the Dagda, she
took the full of her two hands of Indech's blood, and gave it to the
armies that were waiting at the ford of Unius; and it was called the
Ford of Destruction from that day.

And after that it was not a battle any more, but a rout, and the Fomor
were beaten back to the sea. And Lugh and his comrades were following
them, and they came up with Bres, son of Elathan, and no guard with him,
and he said: "It is better for you to spare my life than to kill me. And
if you spare me now," he said, "the cows of Ireland will never go dry."
"I will ask an advice about that from our wise men," said Lugh. So he
told Maeltine Mor-Brethach, of the Great Judgments, what Bres was after
saying. But Maeltine said: "Do not spare him for that, for he has no
power over their offspring, though he has power so long as they are

Then Bres said: "If you spare me, the men of Ireland will reap a harvest
of corn every quarter." But Maeltine said: "The spring is for ploughing
and sowing, and the beginning of summer for the strength of corn, and
the beginning of autumn for its ripeness, and the winter for using it."

"That does not save you," said Lugh then to Bres. But then to make an
excuse for sparing him, Lugh said: "Tell us what is the best way for the
men of Ireland to plough and to sow and to reap."

"Let their ploughing be on a Tuesday, and their casting seed into the
field on a Tuesday, and their reaping on a Tuesday," said Bres. So Lugh
said that would do, and he let him go free after that.

It was in this battle Ogma found Orna, the sword of Tethra, a king of
the Fomor, and he took it from its sheath and cleaned it. And when the
sword was taken out of the sheath, it told all the deeds that had been
done by it, for there used to be that power in swords.

And Lugh and the Dagda and Ogma followed after the Fomor, for they had
brought away the Dagda's harp with them, that was called Uaitne. And
they came to a feasting-house, and in it they found Bres and his father
Elathan, and there was the harp hanging on the wall. And it was in that
harp the Dagda had bound the music, so that it would not sound till he
would call to it. And sometimes it was called Dur-da-Bla, the Oak of Two
Blossoms, and sometimes Coir-cethar-chuin, the Four-Angled Music.

And when he saw it hanging on the wall it is what he said: "Come summer,
come winter, from the mouth of harps and bags and pipes." Then the harp
sprang from the wall, and came to the Dagda, and it killed nine men on
its way.

And then he played for them the three things harpers understand, the
sleepy tune, and the laughing tune, and the crying tune. And when he
played the crying tune, their tearful women cried, and then he played
the laughing tune, till their women and children laughed; and then he
played the sleepy tune, and all the hosts fell asleep. And through that
sleep the three went away through the Fomor that would have been glad to
harm them. And when all was over, the Dagda brought out the heifer he
had got as wages from Bres at the time he was making his dun. And she
called to her calf, and at the sound of her call all the cattle of
Ireland the Fomor had brought away as tribute, were back in their fields

And Cé, the Druid of Nuada of the Silver Hand, was wounded in the
battle, and he went southward till he came to Carn Corrslebe. And there
he sat down to rest, tired with his wounds and with the fear that was on
him, and the journey. And he saw a smooth plain before him, and it full
of flowers, and a great desire came on him to reach to that plain, and
he went on till he came to it, and there he died. And when his grave was
made there, a lake burst out over it and over the whole plain, and it
was given the name of Loch Cé. And there were but four men of the Fomor
left in Ireland after the battle, and they used to be going through the
country, spoiling corn and milk and fruit, and whatever came from the
sea, till they were driven out one Samhain night by the Morrigu and by
Angus Og, that the Fomor might never be over Ireland again.

And after the battle was won, and the bodies were cleared away, the
Morrigu gave out the news of the great victory to the hosts and to the
royal heights of Ireland and to its chief rivers and its invers, and it
is what she said: "Peace up to the skies, the skies down to earth, the
earth under the skies; strength to every one."

And as to the number of men that fell in the battle, it will not be
known till we number the stars of the sky, or flakes of snow, or the dew
on the grass, or grass under the feet of cattle, or the horses of the
Son of Lir in a stormy sea.

And Lugh was made king over the Men of Dea then, and it was at Nas he
had his court.

And while he was king, his foster-mother Taillte, daughter of Magh Mor,
the Great Plain, died. And before her death she bade her husband Duach
the Dark, he that built the Fort of the Hostages in Teamhair, to clear
away the wood of Cuan, the way there could be a gathering of the people
around her grave. So he called to the men of Ireland to cut down the
wood with their wide-bladed knives and bill-hooks and hatchets, and
within a month the whole wood was cut down.

And Lugh buried her in the plain of Midhe, and raised a mound over her,
that is to be seen to this day. And he ordered fires to be kindled, and
keening to be made, and games and sports to be held in the summer of
every year out of respect to her. And the place they were held got its
name from her, that is Taillten.

And as to Lugh's own mother, that was tall beautiful Ethlinn, she came
to Teamhair after the battle of Magh Tuireadh, and he gave her in
marriage to Tadg, son of Nuada. And the children that were born to them
were Muirne, mother of Finn, the Head of the Fianna of Ireland, and
Tuiren, that was mother of Bran.


And after Lugh had held the kingship for a long time, the Dagda was made
king in his place.

And Lugh went away out of Ireland, and some said he died at Uisnech, the
place where the five provinces meet, and the first place there was ever
a fire kindled in Ireland. It was by Mide, son of Brath, it was kindled,
for the sons of Nemed, and it was burning through six years, and it was
from that fire every chief fire was kindled in Ireland.

But Lugh was seen again in Ireland at the time Conchubar and the Men of
the Red Branch went following white birds southward to the Boinn at the
time of Cuchulain's birth. And it was he came and kept watch over
Cuchulain in his three days' sleep at the time of the War for the Bull
of Cuailgne.

And after that again he was seen by Conn of the Hundred Battles, and
this is the way that happened.

Conn was in Teamhair one time, and he went up in the early morning to
the Rath of the Kings at the rising of the sun, and his three Druids
with him, Maol and Bloc and Bhuice; and his three poets, Ethain and Corb
and Cesarn. And the reason he had for going up there with them every
day, was to look about on every side, the way if any men of the Sidhe
would come into Ireland they would not come unknown to him. And on this
day he chanced to stand upon a stone that was in the rath, and the stone
screamed under his feet, that it was heard all over Teamhair and as far
as Bregia.

Then Conn asked his chief Druid how the stone came there, and what it
screamed for. And the Druid said he would not answer that till the end
of fifty-three days. And at the end of that time, Conn asked him again,
and it is what the Druid said: "The Lia Fail is the name of the stone;
it is out of Falias it was brought, and it is in Teamhair it was set up,
and in Teamhair it will stay for ever. And as long as there is a king in
Teamhair it is here will be the gathering place for games, and if there
is no king to come to the last day of the gathering, there will be
hardness in that year. And when the stone screamed under your feet," he
said, "the number of the screams it gave was a foretelling of the number
of kings of your race that would come after you. But it is not I myself
will name them for you," he said.

And while they were in the same place, there came a great mist about
them and a darkness, so that they could not know what way they were
going, and they heard the noise of a rider coming towards them. "It
would be a great grief to us," said Conn, "to be brought away into a
strange country." Then the rider threw three spears at them, and every
one came faster than the other. "It is the wounding of a king indeed,"
said the Druids, "any one to cast at Conn of Teamhair."

The rider stopped casting his spears on that, and he came to them and
bade Conn welcome, and asked him to come to his house. They went on then
till they came to a beautiful plain, and there they saw a king's rath,
and a golden tree at its door, and inside the rath a grand house with a
roof of white bronze. So they went into the house, and the rider that
had come to meet them was there before them, in his royal seat, and
there had never been seen a man like him in Teamhair for comeliness or
for beauty, or the wonder of his face.

And there was a young woman in the house, having a band of gold on her
head, and a silver vessel with hoops of gold beside her, and it full of
red ale, and a golden bowl on its edge, and a golden cup at its mouth.
She said then to the master of the house: "Who am I to serve drink to?"
"Serve it to Conn of the Hundred Battles," he said, "for he will gain a
hundred battles before he dies." And after that he bade her to pour out
the ale for Art of the Three Shouts, the son of Conn; and after that he
went through the names of all the kings of Ireland that would come after
Conn, and he told what would be the length of their lifetime. And the
young woman left the vessel with Conn, and the cup and the bowl, and she
gave him along with that the rib of an ox and of a hog; twenty-four feet
was the length of the ox-rib.

And the master of the house told them the young woman was the Kingship
of Ireland for ever. "And as for myself," he said, "I am Lugh of the
Long Hand, son of Ethlinn."



It is not known, now, for what length of time the Tuatha de Danaan had
the sway over Ireland, and it is likely it was a long time they had it,
but they were put from it at last.

It was at Inver Slane, to the north of Leinster, the sons of Gaedhal of
the Shining Armour, the Very Gentle, that were called afterwards the
Sons of the Gael, made their first attempt to land in Ireland to avenge
Ith, one of their race that had come there one time and had met with his

It is under the leadership of the sons of Miled they were, and it was
from the south they came, and their Druids had told them there was no
country for them to settle in till they would come to that island in the
west. "And if you do not get possession of it yourselves," they said,
"your children will get possession of it."

But when the Tuatha de Danaan saw the ships coming, they flocked to the
shore, and by their enchantments they cast such a cloud over the whole
island that the sons of Miled were confused, and all they could see was
some large thing that had the appearance of a pig.

And when they were hindered from landing there by enchantments, they
went sailing along the coast till at last they were able to make a
landing at Inver Sceine in the west of Munster.

From that they marched in good order as far as Slieve Mis. And there
they were met by a queen of the Tuatha de Danaan, and a train of
beautiful women attending on her, and her Druids and wise men following
her. Amergin, one of the sons of Miled, spoke to her then, and asked her
name, and she said it was Banba, wife of Mac Cuill, Son of the Hazel.

They went on then till they came to Slieve Eibhline, and there another
queen of the Tuatha de Danaan met them, and her women and her Druids
after her, and they asked her name, and she said it was Fodhla, wife of
Mac Cecht, Son of the Plough.

They went on then till they came to the hill of Uisnech, and there they
saw another woman coming towards them. And there was wonder on them
while they were looking at her, for in the one moment she would be a
wide-eyed most beautiful queen, and in another she would be a
sharp-beaked, grey-white crow. She came on to where Eremon, one of the
sons of Miled, was, and sat down before him, and he asked her who was
she, and she said: "I am Eriu, wife of Mac Greine, Son of the Sun."

And the names of those three queens were often given to Ireland in the
after time.

The Sons of the Gael went on after that to Teamhair, where the three
sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth, son of the Dagda, that had the kingship
between them at that time held their court. And these three were
quarrelling with one another about the division of the treasures their
father had left, and the quarrel was so hot it seemed likely it would
come to a battle in the end.

And the Sons of the Gael wondered to see them quarrelling about such
things, and they having so fruitful an island, where the air was so
wholesome, and the sun not too strong, or the cold too bitter, and where
there was such a plenty of honey and acorns, and of milk, and of fish,
and of corn, and room enough for them all.

Great grandeur they were living in, and their Druids about them, at the
palace of Teamhair. And Amergin went to them, and it is what he said,
that they must give up the kingship there and then, or they must leave
it to the chance of a battle. And he said he asked this in revenge for
the death of Ith, of the race of the Gael, that had come to their court
before that time, and that had been killed by treachery.

When the sons of Cermait Honey-Mouth heard Amergin saying such fierce
words, there was wonder on them, and it is what they said, that they
were not willing to fight at that time, for their army was not ready.
"But let you make an offer to us," they said, "for we see well you have
good judgment and knowledge. But if you make an offer that is not fair,"
they said, "we will destroy you with our enchantments."

At that Amergin bade the men that were with him to go back to Inver
Sceine, and to hurry again into their ships with the rest of the Sons of
the Gael, and to go out the length of nine waves from the shore. And
then he made his offer to the Tuatha de Danaan, that if they could
hinder his men from landing on their island, he and all his ships would
go back again to their own country, and would never make any attempt to
come again; but that if the Sons of the Gael could land on the coast in
spite of them, then the Tuatha de Danaan should give up the kingship and
be under their sway.

The Tuatha de Danaan were well pleased with that offer, for they thought
that by the powers of their enchantments over the winds and the sea, and
by their arts, they would be well able to keep them from ever setting
foot in the country again.

So the Sons of the Gael did as Amergin bade them and they went back into
their ship and drew up their anchors, and moved out to the length of
nine waves from the shore. And as soon as the Men of Dea saw they had
left the land, they took to their enchantments and spells, and they
raised a great wind that scattered the ships of the Gael, and drove them
from one another. But Amergin knew it was not a natural storm was in
it, and Arranan, son of Miled, knew that as well, and he went up in the
mast of his ship to look about him. But a great blast of wind came
against him, and he fell back into the ship and died on the moment. And
there was great confusion on the Gael, for the ships were tossed to and
fro, and had like to be lost. And the ship that Donn, son of Miled, was
in command of was parted from the others by the dint of the storm, and
was broken in pieces, and he himself and all with him were drowned,
four-and-twenty men and women in all. And Ir, son of Miled, came to his
death in the same way, and his body was cast on the shore, and it was
buried in a small island that is now called Sceilg Michill. A brave man
Ir was, leading the Sons of the Gael to the front of every battle, and
their help and their shelter in battle, and his enemies were in dread of
his name.

And Heremon, another of the sons of Miled, with his share of the ships,
was driven to the left of the island, and it is hardly he got safe to
land. And the place where he landed was called Inver Colpa, because
Colpa of the Sword, another of the sons of Miled, was drowned there, and
he trying to get to land. Five of the sons of Miled in all were
destroyed by the storm and the winds the Men of Dea had raised by their
enchantments, and there were but three of them left, Heber, and Heremon,
and Amergin.

And one of them, Donn, before he was swept into the sea, called out: "It
is treachery our knowledgeable men are doing on us, not to put down this
wind." "There is no treachery," said Amergin, his brother. And he rose
up then before them, and whatever enchantment he did on the winds and
the sea, he said these words along with it:

"That they that are tossing in the great wide food-giving sea may reach
now to the land.

"That they may find a place upon its plains, its mountains, and its
valleys; in its forests that are full of nuts and of all fruits; on its
rivers and its streams, on its lakes and its great waters.

"That we may have our gatherings and our races in this land; that there
may be a king of our own in Teamhair; that it may be the possession of
our many kings.

"That the sons of Miled may be seen in this land, that their ships and
their boats may find a place there.

"This land that is now under darkness, it is for it we are asking; let
our chief men, let their learned wives, ask that we may come to the
noble woman, great Eriu."

After he had said this, the wind went down and the sea was quiet again
on the moment.

And those that were left of the sons of Miled and of the Sons of the
Gael landed then at Inver Sceine.

And Amergin was the first to put his foot on land, and when he stood on
the shore of Ireland, it is what he said:

    "I am the wind on the sea;
     I am the wave of the sea;
     I am the bull of seven battles;
     I am the eagle on the rock;
     I am a flash from the sun;
     I am the most beautiful of plants;
     I am a strong wild boar;
     I am a salmon in the water;
     I am a lake in the plain;
     I am the word of knowledge;
     I am the head of the spear in battle;
     I am the god that puts fire in the head;
     Who spreads light in the gathering on the hills?
     Who can tell the ages of the moon?
     Who can tell the place where the sun rests?"


And three days after the landing of the Gael, they were attacked by
Eriu, wife of Mac Greine, Son of the Sun, and she having a good share of
men with her. And they fought a hard battle, and many were killed on
both sides. And this was the first battle fought between the Sons of the
Gael and the Men of Dea for the kingship of Ireland.

It was in that battle Fais, wife of Un, was killed in a valley at the
foot of the mountain, and it was called after her, the Valley of Fais.
And Scota, wife of Miled, got her death in the battle, and she was
buried in a valley on the north side of the mountain near the sea. But
the Sons of the Gael lost no more than three hundred men, and they beat
back the Men of Dea and killed a thousand of them. And Eriu was beaten
back to Tailltin, and as many of her men as she could hold together; and
when she came there she told the people how she had been worsted in the
battle, and the best of her men had got their death. But the Gael
stopped on the battle-field, and buried their dead, and they gave a
great burial to two of their Druids, Aer and Eithis, that were killed in
the fight.

And after they had rested for a while, they went on to Inver Colpa in
Leinster, and Heremon and his men joined them there. And then they sent
messengers to the three kings of Ireland, the three sons of Cermait
Honey-Mouth, and bade them to come out and fight a battle that would
settle the ownership of the country once for all.

So they came out, and the best of the fighters of the Tuatha de Danaan
with them, to Tailltin. And there they attacked one another, and the
Sons of the Gael remembered the death of Ith, and there was great anger
on them, and they fell on the Men of Dea to avenge him, and there was a
fierce battle fought. And for a while neither side got the better of the
other, but at the last the Gael broke through the army of the Men of Dea
and put them to the rout, with great slaughter, and drove them out of
the place. And their three kings were killed in the rout, and the three
queens of Ireland, Eriu and Fodhla and Banba. And when the Tuatha de
Danaan saw their leaders were dead they fell back in great disorder, and
the Sons of the Gael followed after them. But in following them they
lost two of their best leaders, Cuailgne, son of Breagan, at Slieve
Cuailgne, and Fuad, his brother, at Slieve Fuad. But they were no way
daunted by that, but followed the Men of Dea so hotly that they were
never able to bring their army together again, but had to own themselves
beaten, and to give up the country to the Gael.

And the leaders, the sons of Miled, divided the provinces of Ireland
between them. Heber took the two provinces of Munster, and he gave a
share of it to Amergin; and Heremon got Leinster and Connacht for his
share, and Ulster was divided between Eimhir, son of Ir, son of Miled,
and some others of their chief men. And it was of the sons of Eimhir,
that were called the Children of Rudraighe, and that lived in Emain
Macha for nine hundred years, some of the best men of Ireland came;
Fergus, son of Rogh, was of them, and Conall Cearnach, of the Red Branch
of Ulster.

And from the sons of Ith, the first of the Gael to get his death in
Ireland, there came in the after time Fathadh Canaan, that got the sway
over the whole world from the rising to the setting sun, and that took
hostages of the streams and the birds and the languages.

And it is what the poets of Ireland used to be saying, that every brave
man, good at fighting, and every man that could do great deeds and not
be making much talk about them, was of the Sons of the Gael; and that
every skilled man that had music and that did enchantments secretly,
was of the Tuatha de Danaan. But they put a bad name on the Firbolgs and
the men of Domnand and the Gaileoin, for lies and for big talk and
injustice. But for all that there were good fighters among them, and
Ferdiad, that made so good a stand against Cuchulain, in the war for the
Bull of Cuailgne was one of them. And the Gaileoin fought well in the
same war; but the men of Ireland had no great liking for them, and their
Druids drove them out of the country afterwards.



But as to the Tuatha de Danaan after they were beaten, they would not go
under the sway of the sons of Miled, but they went away by themselves.
And because Manannan, son of Lir, understood all enchantments, they left
it to him to find places for them where they would be safe from their
enemies. So he chose out the most beautiful of the hills and valleys of
Ireland for them to settle in; and he put hidden walls about them, that
no man could see through, but they themselves could see through them and
pass through them.

And he made the Feast of Age for them, and what they drank at it was the
ale of Goibniu the Smith, that kept whoever tasted it from age and from
sickness and from death. And for food at the feast he gave them his own
swine, that though they were killed and eaten one day, would be alive
and fit for eating again the next day, and that would go on in that way
for ever.

And after a while they said: "It would be better for us one king to be
over us, than to be scattered the way we are through the whole of

Now the men among them that had the best chance of getting the kingship
at that time were Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda; and Ilbrech of Ess
Ruadh; and Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh, the Hill of the White Field, on
Slieve Fuad; and Midhir the Proud of Bri Leith, and Angus Og, son of the
Dagda; but he did not covet the kingship at all, but would sooner be
left as he was. Then all the chief men but those five went into council
together, and it is what they agreed, to give the kingship to Bodb
Dearg, for the sake of his father, for his own sake, and because he was
the eldest among the children of the Dagda.

It was in Sidhe Femen Bodb Dearg had his house, and he put great
enchantments about it. Cliach, the Harper of the King of the Three
Rosses in Connacht, went one time to ask one of his daughters in
marriage, and he stayed outside the place through the whole length of a
year, playing his harp, and able to get no nearer to Bodb or to his
daughter. And he went on playing till a lake burst up under his feet,
the lake that is on the top of a mountain, Loch Bel Sead.

It was Bodb's swineherd went to Da Derga's Inn, and his squealing pig
along with him, the night Conaire, the High King of Ireland, met with
his death; and it was said that whatever feast that swineherd would go
to, there would blood be shed before it was over.

And Bodb had three sons, Angus, and Artrach, and Aedh. And they used
often to be living among men in the time of the Fianna afterwards.
Artrach had a house with seven doors, and a free welcome for all that
came, and the king's son of Ireland, and of Alban, used to be coming to
Angus to learn the throwing of spears and darts; and troops of poets
from Alban and from Ireland used to be with Aedh, that was the comeliest
of Bodb's sons, so that his place used to be called "The Rath of Aedh of
the Poets." And indeed it was a beautiful rath at that time, with
golden-yellow apples in it and crimson-pointed nuts of the wood. But
after the passing away of the Fianna, the three brothers went back to
the Tuatha de Danaan.

And Bodb Dearg was not always in his own place, but sometimes he was
with Angus at Brugh na Boinn.

Three sons of Lugaidh Menn, King of Ireland, Eochaid, and Fiacha, and
Ruide, went there one time, for their father refused them any land till
they would win it for themselves. And when he said that, they rose with
the ready rising of one man, and went and sat down on the green of Brugh
na Boinn, and fasted there on the Tuatha de Danaan, to see if they
could win some good thing from them.

And they were not long there till they saw a young man, quiet and with
pleasant looks, coming towards them, and he wished them good health, and
they answered him the same way. "Where are you come from?" they asked
him then. "From the rath beyond, with the many lights," he said. "And I
am Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda," he said, "and come in with me now to
the rath."

So they went in, and supper was made ready for them, but they did not
use it. Bodb Dearg asked them then why was it they were using nothing.
"It is because our father has refused land to us," said they; "and there
are in Ireland but the two races, the Sons of the Gael and the Men of
Dea, and when the one failed us we are come to the other."

Then the Men of Dea consulted together. And the chief among them was
Midhir of the Yellow Hair, and it is what he said: "Let us give a wife
to every one of these three men, for it is from a wife that good or bad
fortune comes."

So they agreed to that, and Midhir's three daughters, Doirenn, and Aife,
and Aillbhe, were given to them. Then Midhir asked Bodb to say what
marriage portion should be given to them. "I will tell you that," said
Bodb. "We are three times fifty sons of kings in this hill; let every
king's son give three times fifty ounces of red gold. And I myself," he
said, "will give them along with that, three times fifty suits of
clothing of all colours." "I will give them a gift," said a young man of
the Tuatha de Danaan, from Rachlainn in the sea. "A horn I will give
them, and a vat. And there is nothing wanting but to fill the vat with
pure water, and it will turn into mead, fit to drink, and strong enough
to make drunken. And into the horn," he said, "you have but to put salt
water from the sea, and it will turn into wine on the moment." "A gift
to them from me," said Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh, "three times fifty
swords, and three times fifty well-riveted long spears." "A gift from
me," said Angus Og, son of the Dagda, "a rath and a good town with high
walls, and with bright sunny houses, and with wide houses, in whatever
place it will please them between Rath Chobtaige and Teamhair." "A gift
to them from me," said Aine, daughter of Modharn, "a woman-cook that I
have, and there is _geasa_ on her not to refuse food to any; and
according as she serves it out, her store fills up of itself again."
"Another gift to them from me," said Bodb Dearg, "a good musician that I
have, Fertuinne, son of Trogain; and although there were women in the
sharpest pains of childbirth, and brave men wounded early in the day, in
a place where there were saws going through wood, they would sleep at
the sweetness of the music he makes. And whatever house he may be in,
the people of the whole country round will hear him."

So they stopped in Brugh na Boinne three days and three nights, and when
they left it, Angus bade them bring away from the oak-wood three
apple-trees, one in full bloom, and one shedding its blossom, and the
third covered with ripe fruit.

They went then to their own dun that was given them, and it is a good
place they had there, and a troop of young men, and great troops of
horses and of greyhounds; and they had three sorts of music that comely
kings liked to be listening to, the music of harps and of lutes, and the
chanting of Trogain's son; and there were three great sounds, the
tramping on the green, and the uproar of racing, and the lowing of
cattle; and three other sounds, the grunting of good pigs with the fat
thick on them, and the voices of the crowd on the green lawn, and the
noise of men drinking inside the house. And as to Eochaid, it was said
of him that he never took a step backwards in flight, and his house was
never without music or drinking of ale. And it was said of Fiacha that
there was no man of his time braver than himself, and that he never said
a word too much. And as to Ruide, he never refused any one, and never
asked anything at all of any man.

And when their lifetime was over, they went back to the Tuatha de
Danaan, for they belonged to them through their wives, and there they
have stopped ever since.

And Bodb Dearg had a daughter, Scathniamh, the Flower of Brightness,
that gave her love to Caoilte in the time of the Fianna; and they were
forced to part from one another, and they never met again till the time
Caoilte was, old and withered, and one of the last that was left of the
Fianna. And she came to him out of the cave of Cruachan, and asked him
for the bride-price he had promised her, and that she was never able to
come and ask for till then. And Caoilte went to a cairn that was near
and that was full up of gold, that was wages earned by Conan Maol and
hidden there, and he gave the gold to Bodb Dearg's daughter. And the
people that were there wondered to see the girl so young and comely, and
Caoilte so grey and bent and withered. "There is no wonder in that,"
said Caoilte, "for I am of the sons of Miled that wither and fade away,
but she is of the Tuatha de Danaan that never change and that never


And it was at Brugh na Boinne the Dagda, the Red Man of all Knowledge,
had his house. And the most noticeable things in it were the Hall of the
Morrigu, and the Bed of the Dagda, and the Birthplace of Cermait
Honey-Mouth, and the Prison of the Grey of Macha that was Cuchulain's
horse afterwards. And there was a little hill by the house that was
called the Comb and the Casket of the Dagda's wife; and another that was
called the Hill of Dabilla, that was the little hound belonging to
Boann. And the Valley of the Mata was there, the Sea-Turtle that could
suck down a man in armour.

And it is likely the Dagda put up his cooking oven there, that Druimne,
son of Luchair, made for him at Teamhair. And it is the way it was, the
axle and the wheel were of wood, and the body was iron, and there were
twice nine wheels in its axle, that it might turn the faster; and it was
as quick as the quickness of a stream in turning, and there were three
times nine spits from it, and three times nine pots. And it used to lie
down with the cinders and to rise to the height of the roof with the

The Dagda himself made a great vat one time for Ainge, his daughter, but
she was not well satisfied with it, for it would not stop from dripping
while the sea was in flood, though it would not lose a drop during the
ebb-tide. And she gathered a bundle of twigs to make a new vat for
herself, but Gaible, son of Nuada of the Silver Hand, stole it from her
and hurled it away. And in the place where it fell a beautiful wood grew
up, that was called Gaible's Wood.

And the Dagda had his household at Brugh na Boinne, and his steward was
Dichu, and Len Linfiaclach was the smith of the Brugh. It was he lived
in the lake, making the bright vessels of Fand, daughter of Flidhais;
and every evening when he left off work he would make a cast of the
anvil eastward to Indeoin na Dese, the Anvil of the Dese, as far as the
Grave End. Three showers it used to cast, a shower of fire, and a shower
of water, and a shower of precious stones of pure purple.

But Tuirbe, father of Goibniu the Smith, used to throw better again, for
he would make a cast of his axe from Tulach na Bela, the Hill of the
Axe, in the face of the flood tide, and he would put his order on the
sea, and it would not come over the axe.

And Corann was the best of the harpers of the household; he was harper
to the Dagda's son, Diancecht. And one time he called with his harp to
Cailcheir, one of the swine of Debrann. And it ran northward with all
the strength of its legs, and the champions of Connacht were following
after it with all their strength of running, and their hounds with them,
till they got as far as Ceis Corain, and they gave it up there, all
except Niall that went on the track of the swine till he found it in the
oak-wood of Tarba, and then it made away over the plain of Ai, and
through a lake. And Niall and his hound were drowned in following it
through the lake. And the Dagda gave Corann a great tract of land for
doing his harping so well.

But however great a house the Dagda had, Angus got it away from him in
the end, through the help of Manannan, son of Lir. For Manannan bade him
to ask his father for it for the length of a day and a night, and that
he by his art would take away his power of refusing. So Angus asked for
the Brugh, and his father gave it to him for a day and a night. But when
he asked it back again, it is what Angus said, that it had been given to
him for ever, for the whole of life and time is made up of a day and a
night, one following after the other.

So when the Dagda heard that he went away and his people and his
household with him, for Manannan had put an enchantment on them all.

But Dichu the Steward was away at the time, and his wife and his son,
for they were gone out to get provisions for a feast for Manannan and
his friends. And when he came back and knew his master was gone, he took
service with Angus.

And Angus stopped in Brugh na Boinne, and some say he is there to this
day, with the hidden walls about him, drinking Goibniu's ale and eating
the pigs that never fail.

As to the Dagda, he took no revenge, though he had the name of being
revengeful and quick in his temper. And some say it was at Teamhair he
made his dwelling-place after that, but wherever it was, a great
misfortune came on him.

It chanced one time Corrgenn, a great man of Connacht, came to visit
him, and his wife along with him. And while they were there, Corrgenn
got it in his mind that there was something that was not right going on
between his wife and Aedh, one of the sons of the Dagda. And great
jealousy and anger came on him, and he struck at the young man and
killed him before his father's face.

Every one thought the Dagda would take Corrgenn's life then and there in
revenge for his son's life. But he would not do that, for he said if his
son was guilty, there was no blame to be put on Corrgenn for doing what
he did. So he spared his life for that time, but if he did, Corrgenn did
not gain much by it. For the punishment he put on him was to take the
dead body of the young man on his back, and never to lay it down till he
would find a stone that would be its very fit in length and in breadth,
and that would make a gravestone for him; and when he had found that, he
could bury him in the nearest hill.

So Corrgenn had no choice but to go, and he set out with his load; but
he had a long way to travel before he could find a stone that would fit,
and it is where he found one at last, on the shore of Loch Feabhail. So
then he left the body up on the nearest hill, and he went down and
raised the stone and brought it up and dug a grave and buried the
Dagda's son. And it is many an Ochone! he gave when he was putting the
stone over him, and when he had that done he was spent, and he dropped
dead there and then.

And the Dagda brought his two builders, Garbhan and Imheall, to the
place, and he bade them build a rath there round the grave. It was
Garbhan cut the stones and shaped them, and Imheall set them all round
the house till the work was finished, and then he closed the top of the
house with a slab. And the place was called the Hill of Aileac, that is,
the Hill of Sighs and of a Stone, for it was tears of blood the Dagda
shed on account of the death of his son.


And as to Angus Og, son of the Dagda, sometimes he would come from Brugh
na Boinn and let himself be seen upon the earth.

It was a long time after the coming of the Gael that he was seen by
Cormac, King of Teamhair, and this is the account he gave of him.

He was by himself one day in his Hall of Judgment, for he used to be
often reading the laws and thinking how he could best carry them out.
And on a sudden he saw a stranger, a very comely young man, at the end
of the hall; and he knew on the moment it was Angus Og, for he had often
heard his people talking of him, but he himself used to be saying he did
not believe there was any such person at all. And when his people came
back to the hall, he told them how he had seen Angus himself, and had
talked with him, and Angus had told him his name, and had foretold what
would happen him in the future. "And he was a beautiful young man," he
said, "with high looks, and his appearance was more beautiful than all
beauty, and there were ornaments of gold on his dress; in his hand he
held a silver harp with strings of red gold, and the sound of its
strings was sweeter than all music under the sky; and over the harp were
two birds that seemed to be playing on it. He sat beside me pleasantly
and played his sweet music to me, and in the end he foretold things that
put drunkenness on my wits."

The birds, now, that used to be with Angus were four of his kisses that
turned into birds and that used to be coming about the young men of
Ireland, and crying after them. "Come, come," two of them would say, and
"I go, I go," the other two would say, and it was hard to get free of
them. But as to Angus, even when he was in his young youth, he used to
be called the Frightener, or the Disturber; for the plough teams of the
world, and every sort of cattle that is used by men, would make away in
terror before him.

And one time he appeared in the shape of a land-holder to two men, Ribh
and Eocho, that were looking for a place to settle in. The first place
they chose was near Bregia on a plain that was belonging to Angus; and
it was then he came to them, leading his horse in his hand, and told
them they should not stop there. And they said they could not carry away
their goods without horses. Then he gave them his horse, and bade them
to put all they had a mind to on that horse and he would carry it, and
so he did. But the next place they chose was Magh Find, the Fine Plain,
that was the playing ground of Angus and of Midhir. And that time Midhir
came to them in the same way and gave them a horse to put their goods
on, and he went on with them as far as Magh Dairbthenn.

And there were many women loved Angus, and there was one Enghi, daughter
of Elcmair, loved him though she had not seen him. And she went one time
looking for him to the gathering for games between Cletech and Sidhe in
Broga; and the bright troops of the Sidhe used to come to that gathering
every Samhain evening, bringing a moderate share of food with them, that
is, a nut. And the sons of Derc came from the north, out of Sidhe
Findabrach, and they went round about the young men and women without
their knowledge and they brought away Elcmair's daughter. There were
great lamentations made then, and the name the place got was Cnoguba,
the Nut Lamentation, from the crying there was at that gathering.

And Derbrenn, Eochaid Fedlech's daughter, was another that was loved by
Angus, and she had six fosterlings, three boys and three girls. But the
mother of the boys, Dalb Garb, the Rough, put a spell on them she made
from a gathering of the nuts of Caill Ochuid, that turned them into

And Angus gave them into the care of Buichet, the Hospitaller of
Leinster, and they stopped a year with him. But at the end of that time
there came a longing On Buichet's wife to eat a bit of the flesh of one
of them. So she gathered a hundred armed men and a hundred hounds to
take them. But the pigs made away, and went to Brugh na Boinn, to Angus,
and he bade them welcome, and they asked him to give them his help. But
he said he could not do that till they had shaken the Tree of Tarbga,
and eaten the salmon of Inver Umaill.

So they went to Glascarn, and stopped a year in hiding with Derbrenn.
And then they shook the Tree of Tarbga, and they went on towards Inver
Umaill. But Maeve gathered the men of Connacht to hunt them, and they
all fell but one, and their heads were put in a mound, and it got the
name of Duma Selga, the Mound of the Hunting.

And it was in the time of Maeve of Cruachan that Angus set his love on
Caer Ormaith, of the Province of Connacht, and brought her away to Brugh
na Boinn.


As to the Morrigu, the Great Queen, the Crow of Battle, where she lived
after the coming of the Gael is not known, but before that time it was
in Teamhair she lived. And she had a great cooking-spit there, that held
three sorts of food on it at the one time: a piece of raw meat, and a
piece of dressed meat, and a piece of butter. And the raw was dressed,
and the dressed was not burned, and the butter did not melt, and the
three together on the spit.

Nine men that were outlaws went to her one time and asked for a spit to
be made for themselves. And they brought it away with them, and it had
nine ribs in it, and every one of the outlaws would carry a rib in his
hand wherever he would go, till they would all meet together at the
close of day. And if they wanted the spit to be high, it could be raised
to a man's height, and at another time it would not be more than the
height of a fist over the fire, without breaking and without lessening.

And Mechi, the son the Morrigu had, was killed by Mac Cecht on Magh
Mechi, that till that time had been called Magh Fertaige. Three hearts
he had, and it is the way they were, they had the shapes of three
serpents through them. And if Mechi had not met with his death, those
serpents in him would have grown, and what they left alive in Ireland
would have wasted away. And Mac Cecht burned the three hearts on Magh
Luathad, the Plain of Ashes, and he threw the ashes into the stream; and
the rushing water of the stream stopped and boiled up, and every
creature in it died.

And the Morrigu used often to be meddling in Ireland in Cuchulain's
time, stirring up wars and quarrels. It was she came and roused up
Cuchulain one time when he was but a lad, and was near giving in to some
enchantment that was used against him. "There is not the making of a
hero in you," she said to him, "and you lying there under the feet of
shadows." And with that Cuchulain rose up and struck off the head of a
shadow that was standing over him, with his hurling stick. And the time
Conchubar was sending out Finched to rouse up the men of Ulster at the
time of the war for the Bull of Cuailgne, he bade him to go to that
terrible fury, the Morrigu, to get help for Cuchulain. And she had a
dispute with Cuchulain one time he met her, and she bringing away a cow
from the Hill of Cruachan; and another time she helped Talchinem, a
Druid of the household of Conaire Mor, to bring away a bull his wife had
set her mind on. And indeed she was much given to meddling with cattle,
and one time she brought away a cow from Odras, that was of the
household of the cow-chief of Cormac Hua Cuined, and that was going
after her husband with cattle. And the Morrigu brought the cow away with
her to the Cave of Cruachan, and the Hill of the Sidhe. And Odras
followed her there till sleep fell on her in the oak-wood of Falga; and
the Morrigu awoke her and sang spells over her, and made of her a pool
of water that went to the river that flows to the west of Slieve Buane.

And in the battle of Magh Rath, she fluttered over Congal Claen in the
shape of a bird, till he did not know friend from foe. And after that
again at the battle of Cluantarbh, she was flying over the head of
Murchadh, son of Brian; for she had many shapes, and it was in the shape
of a crow she would sometimes fight her battles.

And if it was not the Morrigu, it was Badb that showed herself in the
battle of Dunbolg, where the men of Ireland were fighting under Aedh,
son of Niall; and Brigit was seen in the same battle on the side of the
men of Leinster.


And as to Aine, that some said was a daughter of Manannan, but some said
was the Morrigu herself, there was a stone belonging to her that was
called Cathair Aine. And if any one would sit on that stone he would be
in danger of losing his wits, and any one that would sit on it three
times would lose them for ever. And people whose wits were astray would
make their way to it, and mad dogs would come from all parts of the
country, and would flock around it, and then they would go into the sea
to Aine's place there. But those that did cures by herbs said she had
power over the whole body; and she used to give gifts of poetry and of
music, and she often gave her love to men, and they called her the
Leanan Sidhe, the Sweet-heart of the Sidhe.

And it was no safe thing to offend Aine, for she was very revengeful.
Oilioll Oluim, a king of Ireland, killed her brother one time, and it is
what she did, she made a great yew-tree by enchantment beside the river
Maigh in Luimnech, and she put a little man in it, playing sweet music
on a harp. And Oilioll's son was passing the river with his
step-brother, and they saw the tree and heard the sweet music from it.
And first they quarrelled as to which of them would have the little
harper, and then they quarrelled about the tree, and they asked a
judgment from Oilioll, and he gave it for his own son. And it was the
bad feeling about that judgment that led to the battle of Magh
Mucruimhe, and Oilioll and his seven sons were killed there, and so Aine
got her revenge.


And Aoibhell, another woman of the Sidhe, made her dwelling-place in
Craig Liath, and at the time of the battle of Cluantarbh she set her
love on a young man of Munster, Dubhlaing ua Artigan, that had been sent
away in disgrace by the King of Ireland. But before the battle he came
back to join with Murchadh, the king's son, and to fight for the Gael.
And Aoibhell came to stop him; and when he would not stop with her she
put a Druid covering about him, the way no one could see him.

And he went where Murchadh was fighting, and he made a great attack on
the enemies of Ireland, and struck them down on every side. And Murchadh
looked around him, and he said; "It seems to me I hear the sound of the
blows of Dubhlaing ua Artigan, but I do not see himself." Then Dubhlaing
threw off the Druid covering that was about him, and he said: "I will
not keep this covering upon me when you cannot see me through it. And
come now across the plain to where Aoibhell is," he said, "for she can
give us news of the battle."

So they went where she was, and she bade them both to quit the battle,
for they would lose their lives in it. But Murchadh said to her, "I will
tell you a little true story," he said; "that fear for my own body will
never make me change my face. And if we fall," he said, "the strangers
will fall with us; and it is many a man will fall by my own hand, and
the Gael will be sharing their strong places." "Stop with me,
Dubhlaing," she said then, "and you will have two hundred years of happy
life with myself." "I will not give up Murchadh," he said, "or my own
good name, for silver or gold." And there was anger on Aoibhell when he
said that, and she said: "Murchadh will fall, and you yourself will
fall, and your proud blood will be on the plain to-morrow." And they
went back into the battle, and got their death there.

And it was Aoibhell gave a golden harp to the son of Meardha the time
he was getting his learning at the school of the Sidhe in Connacht and
that he heard his father had got his death by the King of Lochlann. And
whoever heard the playing of that harp would not live long after it. And
Meardha's son went where the three sons of the King of Lochlann were,
and played on his harp for them, and they died.

It was that harp Cuchulain heard the time his enemies were gathering
against him at Muirthemne, and he knew by it that his life was near its


And Midhir took a hill for himself, and his wife Fuamach was with him
there, and his daughter, Bri. And Leith, son of Celtchar of Cualu, was
the most beautiful among the young men of the Sidhe of Ireland at that
time, and he loved Bri, Midhir's daughter. And Bri went out with her
young girls to meet him one time at the Grave of the Daughters beside
Teamhair. And Leith came and his young men along with him till he was on
the Hill of the After Repentance. And they could not come nearer to one
another because of the slingers on Midhir's hill that were answering one
another till their spears were as many as a swarm of bees on a day of
beauty. And Cochlan, Leith's servant, got a sharp wound from them and he

Then the girl turned back to Midhir's hill, and her heart broke in her
and she died. And Leith said: "Although I am not let come to this girl,
I will leave my name with her." And the hill was called Bri Leith from
that time.

After a while Midhir took Etain Echraide to be his wife. And there was
great jealousy on Fuamach, the wife he had before, when she saw the
love that Midhir gave to Etain, and she called to the Druid, Bresal
Etarlaim to help her, and he put spells on Etain the way Fuamach was
able to drive her away.

And when she was driven out of Bri Leith, Angus Og, son of the Dagda,
took her into his keeping; and when Midhir asked her back, he would not
give her up, but he brought her about with him to every place he went.
And wherever they rested, he made a sunny house for her, and put
sweet-smelling flowers in it, and he made invisible walls about it, that
no one could see through and that could not be seen.

But when news came to Fuamach that Etain was so well cared by Angus,
anger and jealousy came on her again, and she searched her mind for a
way to destroy Etain altogether.

And it is what she did, she persuaded Midhir and Angus to go out and
meet one another and to make peace, for there had been a quarrel between
them ever since the time Etain was sent away. And when Angus was away
from Brugh na Boinn, Fuamach went and found Etain there, in her sunny
house. And she turned her with Druid spells into a fly, and then she
sent a blast of wind into the house, that swept her away through the

But as to Midhir and Angus, they waited a while for Fuamach to come and
join them. And when she did not come they were uneasy in their minds,
and Angus hurried back to Brugh na Boinn. And when he found the sunny
house empty, he went in search of Fuamach, and it was along with
Etarlaim, the Druid, he found her, and he struck her head off there and

And for seven years Etain was blown to and fro through Ireland in great
misery. And at last she came to the house of Etar, of Inver Cechmaine,
where there was a feast going on, and she fell from a beam of the roof
into the golden cup that was beside Etar's wife. And Etar's wife drank
her down with the wine, and at the end of nine months she was born again
as Etar's daughter.

And she had the same name as before, Etain; and she was reared as a
king's daughter, and there were fifty young girls, daughters of princes,
brought up with her to keep her company.

And it happened one day Etain and all the rest of the young girls were
out bathing in the bay at Inver Cechmaine, and they saw from the water a
man, with very high looks, coming towards them over the plain, and he
riding a bay horse with mane and tail curled. A long green cloak he had
on him, and a shirt woven with threads of red gold, and a brooch of gold
that reached across to his shoulders on each side. And he had on his
back a shield of silver with a rim of gold and a boss of gold, and in
his hand a sharp-pointed spear covered with rings of gold from heel to
socket. Fair yellow hair he had, coming over his forehead, and it bound
with a golden band to keep it from loosening.

And when he came near them he got down from his horse, and sat down on
the bank, and it is what he said:

"It is here Etain is to-day, at the Mound of Fair Women. It is among
little children is her life on the strand of Inver Cechmaine.

"It is she healed the eye of the king from the well of Loch da Lig; it
is she was swallowed in a heavy drink by the wife of Etar.

"Many great battles will happen for your sake to Echaid of Midhe;
destruction will fall upon the Sidhe, and war on thousands of men."

And when he had said that, he vanished, and no one knew where he went.
And they did not know the man that had come to them was Midhir of Bri

And when Etain was grown to be a beautiful young woman, she was seen by
Eochaid Feidlech, High King of Ireland, and this is the way that

He was going one time over the fair green of Bri Leith, and he saw at
the side of a well a woman, with a bright comb of gold and silver, and
she washing in a silver basin having four golden birds on it, and little
bright purple stones set in the rim of the basin. A beautiful purple
cloak she had, and silver fringes to it, and a gold brooch; and she had
on her a dress of green silk with a long hood, embroidered in red gold,
and wonderful clasps of gold and silver on her breasts and on her
shoulder. The sunlight was falling on her, so that the gold and the
green silk were shining out. Two plaits of hair she had, four locks in
each plait, and a bead at the point of every lock, and the colour of her
hair was like yellow flags in summer, or like red gold after it is

There she was, letting down her hair to wash it, and her arms out
through the sleeve-holes of her shift. Her soft hands were as white as
the snow of a single night, and her eyes as blue as any blue flower, and
her lips as red as the berries of the rowan-tree, and her body as white
as the foam of a wave. The bright light of the moon was in her face, the
highness of pride in her eyebrows, a dimple of delight in each of her
cheeks, the light of wooing in her eyes, and when she walked she had a
step that was steady and even like the walk of a queen.

And Eochaid sent his people to bring her to him, and he asked her name,
and she told him her name was Etain, daughter of Etar, King of the
Riders of the Sidhe. And Eochaid gave her his love, and he paid the
bride-price, and brought her home to Teamhair as his wife, and there was
a great welcome before her there.

And after a while there was a great feast made at Teamhair, and all the
chief men of Ireland came to it, and it lasted from the fortnight before
Samhain to the fortnight after it. And King Eochaid's brother Ailell,
that was afterwards called Ailell Anglonach, of the Only Fault, came to
the feast. And when he saw his brother's wife Etain, he fell in love
with her on the moment, and all through the length of the feast he was
not content unless he could be looking at her. And a woman, the daughter
of Luchta Lamdearg, of the Red Hand, took notice of it, and she said:
"What far thing are you looking at, Ailell? It is what I think, that to
be looking the way you are doing is a sign of love." Then Ailell checked
himself, and did not look towards Etain any more.

But when the feast was at an end, and the gathering broken up, great
desire and envy came on Ailell, so that he fell sick, and they brought
him to a house in Teffia. And he stopped there through the length of a
year, and he was wasting away, but he told no one the cause of his
sickness. And at the end of the year, Eochaid came to visit his brother,
and he passed his hand over his breast, and Ailell let a groan. "What
way are you?" said Eochaid then. "Are you getting any easier, for you
must not let this illness come to a bad end." "By my word," said Ailell,
"it is not easier I am, but worse and worse every day and every night."
"What is it ails you?" said Eochaid. "And what is it that is coming
against you." "By my word, I cannot tell you that," said Ailell. "I will
bring one here that will know the cause of your sickness," said the

With that he sent Fachtna, his own physician, to Ailell; and when he
came he passed his hand over Ailell's heart, and at that he groaned
again. "This sickness will not be your death," said Fachtna then; "and I
know well what it comes from. It is either from the pains of jealousy,
or from love you have given, and that you have not found a way out of."
But there was shame on Ailell, and he would not confess to the physician
that what he said was right. So Fachtna went away then and left him.

As to King Eochaid, he went away to visit all the provinces of Ireland
that were under his kingship, and he left Etain after him, and it is
what he said: "Good Etain," he said, "take tender care of Ailell so long
as he is living; and if he should die from us, make a sodded grave for
him, and raise a pillar stone over it, and write his name on it in
Ogham." And with that he went away on his journey.

One day, now, Etain went into the house where Ailell was lying in his
sickness, and they talked together, and then she made a little song for
him, and it is what she said:

"What is it ails you, young man, for it is a long time you are wasted
with this sickness, and it is not the hardness of the weather has
stopped your light footstep."

And Ailell answered her in the same way, and he said: "I have good cause
for my hurt; the music of my own harp does not please me; there is no
sort of food is pleasant to me, and so I am wasted away." Then Etain
said: "Tell me what is it ails you, for I am a woman that is wise. Tell
me is there anything that would cure you, the way I may help you to it?"
And Ailell answered her: "O kind, beautiful woman, it is not good to
tell a secret to a woman, but sometimes it may be known through the
eyes." And Etain said: "Though it is bad to tell a secret, yet it ought
to be told now, or how can help be given to you?" And Ailell answered:
"My blessing on you, fair-haired Etain. It is not fit I am to be spoken
with; my wits have been no good help to me; my body is a rebel to me.
All Ireland knows, O king's wife, there is sickness in my head and in my
body." And Etain said: "If there is a woman of the fair-faced women of
Ireland tormenting you this way, she must come to you here if it
pleases you; and it is I myself will woo her for you," she said.

Then Ailell said to her: "Woman, it would be easy for you yourself to
put my sickness from me. And my desire," he said, "is a desire that is
as long as a year; but it is love given to an echo, the spending of
grief on a wave, a lonely fight with a shadow, that is what my love and
my desire have been to me."

And it is then Etain knew what was the sickness that was on him, and it
was a heavy trouble to her.

But she came to him every day to tend him, and to make ready his food,
and to pour water over his hands, and all she could do she did for him,
for it was a grief to her, he to wither away and to be lost for her
sake. And at last one day she said to him: "Rise up, Ailell, son of a
king, man of high deeds, and I will do your healing."

Then he put his arms about her, and she kissed him, and she said: "Come
at the morning of to-morrow at the break of day to the house outside the
dun, and I will give you all your desire."

That night Ailell lay without sleep until the morning was at hand. And
at the very time he should have risen to go to her, it was at that time
his sleep settled down upon him, and he slept on till the full light of

But Etain went to the house outside the dun, and she was not long there
when she saw a man coming towards her having the appearance of Ailell,
sick and tired and worn. But when he came near and she looked closely at
him, she saw it was not Ailell that was in it. Then he went away, and
after she had waited a while, she herself went back into the dun.

And it was then Ailell awoke, and when he knew the morning had passed
by, he would sooner have had death than life, and he fretted greatly.
And Etain came in then, and he told her what had happened him. And she
said: "Come to-morrow to the same place."

But the same thing happened the next day. And when it happened on the
third day, and the same man came to meet Etain, she said to him: "It is
not you at all I come to meet here, and why is it that you come to meet
me? And as to him I came to meet," she said, "indeed it is not for gain
or through lightness I bade him come to me, but to heal him of the
sickness he is lying under for my sake." Then the man said: "It would be
more fitting for you to come to meet me than any other one. For in the
time long ago," he said, "I was your first husband, and your first man."
"What is it you are saying," she said, "and who are you yourself?" "It
is easy to tell that," he said; "I am Midhir of Bri Leith." "And what
parted us if I was your wife?" said Etain. "It was through Fuamach's
sharp jealousy and through the spells of Bresal Etarlaim, the Druid, we
were parted. And will you come away with me now?" he said. But Etain
said: "It is not for a man whose kindred is unknown I will give up the
High King of Ireland." And Midhir said: "Surely it was I myself put that
great desire for you on Ailell, and it was I hindered him from going to
meet you, the way you might keep your good name."

And when she went back to Ailell's house, she found his sickness was
gone from him, and his desire. And she told him all that had happened,
and he said: "It has turned out well for us both: I am well of my
sickness and your good name is not lessened." "We give thanks to our
gods for that," said Etain, "for we are well pleased to have it so."

And just at that time Eochaid came back from his journey, and they told
him the whole story, and he was thankful to his wife for the kindness
she had showed to Ailell.

It was a good while after that, there was a great fair held at Teamhair,
and Etain was out on the green looking at the games and the races. And
she saw a rider coming towards her, but no one could see him but
herself; and when he came near she saw he had the same appearance as
the man that came and spoke with her and her young girls the time they
were out in the sea at Inver Cechmaine. And when he came up to her he
began to sing words to her that no one could hear but herself. And it is
what he said:

"O beautiful woman, will you come with me to the wonderful country that
is mine? It is pleasant to be looking at the people there, beautiful
people without any blemish; their hair is of the colour of the
flag-flower, their fair body is as white as snow, the colour of the
foxglove is on every cheek. The young never grow old there; the fields
and the flowers are as pleasant to be looking at as the blackbird's
eggs; warm, sweet streams of mead and of wine flow through that country;
there is no care and no sorrow on any person; we see others, but we
ourselves are not seen.

"Though the plains of Ireland are beautiful, it is little you would
think of them after our great plain; though the ale of Ireland is heady,
the ale of the great country is still more heady. O beautiful woman, if
you come to my proud people it is the flesh of pigs newly killed I will
give you for food; it is ale and new milk I will give you for drink; it
is feasting you will have with me there; it is a crown of gold you will
have upon your hair, O beautiful woman!

"And will you come there with me, Etain?" he said. But Etain said she
would not leave Eochaid the High King. "Will you come if Eochaid gives
you leave?" Midhir said then. "I will do that," said Etain.

One day, after that time, Eochaid the High King was looking out from his
palace at Teamhair, and he saw a strange man coming across the plain.
Yellow hair he had, and eyes blue and shining like the flame of a
candle, and a purple dress on him, and in his hand a five-pronged spear
and a shield having gold knobs on it.

He came up to the king, and the king bade him welcome. "Who are you
yourself?" he said; "and what are you come for, for you are a stranger
to me?" "If I am a stranger to you, you are no stranger to me, for I
have known you this long time," said the strange man. "What is your
name?" said the king. "It is nothing very great," said he; "I am called
Midhir of Bri Leith." "What is it brings you here?" said Eochaid. "I am
come to play a game of chess with you," said the stranger. "Are you a
good player?" said the king. "A trial will tell you that," said Midhir.
"The chessboard is in the queen's house, and she is in her sleep at this
time," said Eochaid. "That is no matter," said Midhir, "for I have with
me a chess-board as good as your own." And with that he brought out his
chessboard, and it made of silver, and precious stones shining in every
corner of it. And then he brought out the chessmen, and they made of
gold, from a bag that was of shining gold threads.

"Let us play now," said Midhir. "I will not play without a stake," said
the king. "What stake shall We play for?" said Midhir. "We can settle
that after the game is over," said the king.

They played together then, and Midhir was beaten, and it is what the
king asked of him, fifty brown horses to be given to him. And then they
played the second time, and Midhir was beaten again, and this time the
king gave him four hard things to do: to make a road over Moin Lamraide,
and to clear Midhe of stones, and to cover the district of Tethra with
rushes, and the district of Darbrech with trees.

So Midhir brought his people from Bri Leith to do those things, and it
is bard work they had doing them. And Eochaid used to be out watching
them, and he took notice that when the men of the Sidhe yoked their
oxen, it was by the neck and the shoulder they used to yoke them, and
not by the forehead and the head. And it was after Eochaid taught his
people to yoke them that way, he was given the name of Eochaid Airem,
that is, of the Plough.

And when all was done, Midhir came to Eochaid again, looking thin and
wasted enough with the dint of the hard work he had been doing, and he
asked Eochaid to play the third game with him. Eochaid agreed, and it
was settled as before, the stake to be settled by the winner. It was
Midhir won the game that time, and when the king asked him what he
wanted, "It is Etain, your wife, I want," said he. "I will not give her
to you," said the king. "All I will ask then," said Midhir, "is to put
my arms about her and to kiss her once." "You may do that," said the
king, "if you will wait to the end of a month." So Midhir agreed to
that, and went away for that time.

At the end of the month he came back again, and stood in the great hall
at Teamhair, and no one had ever seen him look so comely as he did that
night. And Eochaid had all his best fighting men gathered in the hall,
and he shut all the doors of the palace when he saw Midhir come in, for
fear he would try to bring away Etain by force.

"I am come to be paid what is due to me," said Midhir. "I have not been
thinking of it up to this time," said Eochaid, and there was anger on
him. "You promised me Etain, your wife," said Midhir. The redness of
shame came on Etain when she heard that, but Midhir said: "Let there be
no shame on you, Etain, for it is through the length of a year I have
been asking your love, and I have offered you every sort of treasure and
riches, and you refused to come to me till such a time as your husband
would give you leave." "It is true I said that," said Etain, "I will go
if Eochaid gives me up to you." "I will not give you up," said Eochaid;
"I will let him do no more than put his arms about you in this place, as
was promised him." "I will do that," said Midhir.

With that he took his sword in his left hand, and he took Etain in his
right arm and kissed her. All the armed men in the house made a rush at
him then, but he rose up through the roof bringing Etain with him, and
when they rushed out of the house to follow him, all they could see was
two swans high up in the air, linked together by a chain of gold.

There was great anger on Eochaid then, and he went and searched all
through Ireland, but there were no tidings of them to be had, for they
were in the houses of the Sidhe.

It was to the Brugh of Angus on the Boinn they went first, and after
they had stopped there a while they went to a hill of the Sidhe in
Connacht. And there was a serving-maid with Etain at that time, Cruachan
Croderg her name was, and she said to Midhir: "Is this your own place we
are in?" "It is not," said Midhir; "my own place is nearer to the rising
of the sun." She was not well pleased to stop there when she heard that,
and Midhir said to quiet her: "It is your own name will be put on this
place from this out." And the hill was called the Hill of Cruachan from
that time.

Then they went to Bri Leith; and Etain's daughter Esa came to them
there, and she brought a hundred of every sort of cattle with her, and
Midhir fostered her for seven years. And all through that time Eochaid
the High King was making a search for them.

But at last Codal of the Withered Breast took four rods of yew and wrote
Oghams on them, and through them and through his enchantments he found
out that Etain was with Midhir in Bri Leith.

So Eochaid went there, and made an attack on the place, and he was for
nine years besieging it, and Midhir was driving him away. And then his
people began digging through the hill; and when they were getting near
to where Etain was, Midhir sent three times twenty beautiful women,
having all of them the appearance of Etain, and he bade the king choose
her out from among them. And the first he chose was his own daughter
Esa. But then Etain called to him, and he knew her, and he brought her
home to Teamhair.

And Eochaid gave his daughter Esa her choice of a place for herself. And
she chose it, and made a rath there, that got the name of Rath Esa. And
from it she could see three notable places, the Hill of the Sidhe in
Broga, and the Hill of the Hostages in Teamhair, and Dun Crimthain on
Beinn Edair.

But there was great anger on Midhir and his people because of their hill
being attacked and dug into. And it was in revenge for that insult they
brought Conaire, High King of Ireland, that was grandson of Eochaid and
of Etain, to his death afterwards at Da Derga's Inn.


Now as to Manannan the Proud, son of Lir, after he had made places for
the rest of the Tuatha de Danaan to live in, he went away out of Ireland
himself. And some said he was dead, and that he got his death by Uillenn
Faebarderg, of the Red Edge, in battle. And it is what they said, that
the battle was fought at Magh Cuilenn, and that Manannan was buried
standing on his feet, and no sooner was he buried than a great lake
burst up under his feet in the place that was a red bog till that time.
And the lake got the name of Loch Orbson, from one of the names of
Manannan. And it was said that red Badb was glad and many women were
sorry at that battle.

But he had many places of living, and he was often heard of in Ireland
after. It was he sent a messenger to Etain, mother of Conaire the High
King, the time she was hidden in the cowherd's house. And it was he
brought up Deirdre's children in Emhain of the Apple Trees, and it was
said of that place, "a house of peace is the hill of the Sidhe of
Emhain." And it was he taught Diarmuid of the Fianna the use of weapons,
and it was he taught Cuchulain the use of the Gae Bulg, and some say it
was he was Deirdre's father, and that he brought Conchubar, king of
Ulster, to the place she was hidden, and he running with the appearance
of a hare before the hounds of the men of Ulster to bring them there.

And it is what they say, that the time Conchubar had brought the sons of
Usnach to Emain Macha, and could not come at them to kill them because
of their bravery, it was to Manannan he went for help. And Manannan said
he would give him no help, for he had told him at the time he brought
Deirdre away that she would be the cause of the breaking up of his
kingdom, and he took her away in spite of him. But Conchubar asked him
to put blindness for a while on the sons of Usnach, or the whole army
would be destroyed with their blows. So after a while he consented to
that. And when the sons of Usnach came out again against the army of
Ulster, the blindness came on them, and it was at one another they
struck, not seeing who was near them, and it was by one another's hands
they fell. But more say Manannan had no hand in it, and that it was
Cathbad, the Druid, put a sea about them and brought them to their death
by his enchantments.

And some say Culain, the Smith, that gave his name to Cuchulain
afterwards, was Manannan himself, for he had many shapes.

Anyway, before Culain came to Ulster, he was living in the Island of
Falga, that was one of Manannan's places. And one time before Conchubar
came into the kingdom, he went to ask advice of a Druid, and the Druid
bade him to go to the Island of Falga and to ask Culain, the smith he
would find there, to make arms for him. So Conchubar did so, and the
smith promised to make a sword and spear and shield for him.

And while he was working at them Conchubar went out one morning early to
walk on the strand, and there he saw a sea-woman asleep on the shore.
And he put bonds on her in her sleep, the way she would not make her
escape. But when she awoke and saw what had happened, she asked him to
set her free. "And I am Tiabhal," she said, "one of the queens of the
sea. And bid Culain," she said, "that is making your shield for you, to
put my likeness on it and my name about it. And whenever you will go
into a battle with that shield the strength of your enemies will lessen,
and your own strength and the strength of your people will increase."

So Conchubar let her go, and bade the smith do as she had told him. And
when he went back to Ireland he got the victory wherever he brought that

And he sent for Culain then, and offered him a place on the plains of
Muirthemne. And whether he was or was not Manannan, it is likely he gave
Cuchulain good teaching the time he stopped with him there after killing
his great dog.

Manannan had good hounds one time, but they went hunting after a pig
that was destroying the whole country, and making a desert of it. And
they followed it till they came to a lake, and there it turned on them,
and no hound of them escaped alive, but they were all drowned or maimed.
And the pig made for an island then, that got the name of Muc-inis, the
Pigs Island afterwards; and the lake got the name of Loch Conn, the
Lake of the Hounds.

And it was through Manannan the wave of Tuaig, one of the three great
waves of Ireland, got its name, and this is the way that happened.

There was a young girl of the name of Tuag, a fosterling of Conaire the
High King, was reared in Teamhair, and a great company of the daughters
of the kings of Ireland were put about her to protect her, the way she
would be kept for a king's asking. But Manannan sent Fer Ferdiad, of the
Tuatha de Danaan, that was a pupil of his own and a Druid, in the shape
of a woman of his own household, and he went where Tuag was, and sang a
sleep-spell over her, and brought her away to Inver Glas. And there he
laid her down while he went looking for a boat, that he might bring her
away in her sleep to the Land of the Ever-Living Women. But a wave of
the flood-tide came over the girl, and she was drowned, and Manannan
killed Fer Ferdiad in his anger.

And one time Manannan's cows came up out of the sea at Baile Cronin,
three of them, a red, and a white, and a black, and the people that were
there saw them standing on the strand for a while, as if thinking, and
then they all walked up together, side by side, from the strand. And at
that time there were no roads in Ireland, and there was great wonder on
the people when they saw a good wide road ready before the three cows to
walk on. And when they got about a mile from the sea they parted; the
white cow went to the north-west, towards Luimnech, and the red cow went
to the south-west, and on round the coast of Ireland, and the black cow
went to the north-east, towards Lis Mor, in the district of Portlairge,
and a road opened before each of them, that is to be seen to this day.

And some say it was Manannan went to Finn and the Fianna in the form of
the Gilla Decair, the Bad Servant, and brought them away to
Land-under-Wave. Anyway, he used often to go hunting with them on Cnoc
Aine, and sometimes he came to their help.


And it was he went playing tricks through Ireland a long time after that
again, the time he got the name of O'Donnell's Kern. And it is the way
it happened, Aodh Dubh O'Donnell was holding a feast one time in
Bel-atha Senaig, and his people were boasting of the goodness of his
house and of his musicians.

And while they were talking, they saw a clown coming towards them, old
striped clothes he had, and puddle water splashing in his shoes, and his
sword sticking out naked behind him, and his ears through the old cloak
that was over his head, and in his hand he had three spears of hollywood
scorched and blackened.

He wished O'Donnell good health, and O'Donnell did the same to him, and
asked where did he come from. "It is where I am," he said, "I slept last
night at Dun Monaidhe, of the King of Alban; I am a day in Ile, a day in
Cionn-tire, a day in Rachlainn, a day in the Watchman's Seat in Slieve
Fuad; a pleasant, rambling, wandering man I am, and it is with yourself
I am now, O'Donnell," he said. "Let the gate-keeper be brought to me,"
said O'Donnell. And when the gate-keeper came, he asked was it he let in
this man, and the gate-keeper said he did not, and that he never saw him
before. "Let him off, O'Donnell," said the stranger, "for it was as easy
for me to come in, as it will be to me to go out again." There was
wonder on them all then, any man to have come into the house without
passing the gate.

The musicians began playing their music then, and all the best musicians
of the country were there at the time, and they played very sweet tunes
on their harps. But the strange man called out: "By my word, O'Donnell,
there was never a noise of hammers beating on iron in any bad place was
so bad to listen to as this noise your people are making."

With that he took a harp, and he made music that would put women in
their pains and wounded men after a battle into a sweet sleep, and it is
what O'Donnell said: "Since I first heard talk of the music of the Sidhe
that is played in the hills and under the earth below us, I never heard
better music than your own. And it is a very sweet player you are," he
said. "One day I am sweet, another day I am sour," said the clown.

Then O'Donnell bade his people to bring him up to sit near himself. "I
have no mind to do that," he said; "I would sooner be as I am, an ugly
clown, making sport for high-up people." Then O'Donnell sent him down
clothes, a hat and a striped shirt and a coat, but he would not have
them. "I have no mind," he said, "to let high-up people be making a
boast of giving them to me."

They were afraid then he might go from them, and they put twenty armed
horsemen and twenty men on foot to hold him back from leaving the house,
and as many more outside at the gate, for they knew him not to be a man
of this world. "What are these men for?" said he. "They are to keep you
here," said O'Donnell. "By my word, it is not with you I will be eating
my supper to-morrow," he said, "but at Cnoc Aine, where Seaghan, Son of
the Earl is, in Desmumain." "If I find you giving one stir out of
yourself, between this and morning, I will knock you into a round lump
there on the ground," said O'Donnell.

But at that the stranger took up the harp again, and he made the same
sweet music as before. And when they were all listening to him, he
called out to the men outside: "Here I am coming, and watch me well now
or you will lose me." When the men that were watching the gate heard
that, they lifted up their axes to strike at him, but in their haste it
was at one another they struck, till they were all lying stretched in
blood. Then the clown said to the gate-keeper: "Let you ask twenty cows
and a hundred of free land of O'Donnell as a fee for bringing his people
back to life. And take this herb," he said, "and rub it in the mouth of
each man of them, and he will rise up whole and well again." So the
gate-keeper did that, and he got the cows and the land from O'Donnell,
and he brought all the people to life again.

Now at that time Seaghan, Son of the Earl, was holding a gathering on
the green in front of his dun, and he saw the same man coming towards
him, and dressed in the same way, and the water splashing in his shoes.
But when he asked who was he, he gave himself the name of a very learned
man, Duartane O'Duartane, and he said it was by Ess Ruadh he was come,
and by Ceiscorainn and from that to Corrslieve, and to Magh Lorg of the
Dagda, and into the district of Hy'Conaill Gabhra, "till I came to
yourself," he said, "by Cruachan of Magh Ai." So they brought him into
the house, and gave him wine for drinking and water for washing his
feet, and he slept till the rising of the sun on the morrow. And at that
time Seaghan, Son of the Earl, came to visit him, and he said: "It is a
long sleep you had, and there is no wonder in that, and your journey so
long yesterday. But I often heard of your learning in books and of your
skill on the harp, and I would like to hear you this morning," he said.
"I am good in those arts indeed," said the stranger. So they brought him
a book, but he could not read a word of it, and then they brought him a
harp, and he could not play any tune. "It is likely your reading and
your music are gone from you," said Seaghan; and he made a little rann
on him, saying it was a strange thing Duartane O'Duartane that had such
a great name not to be able to read a line of a book, or even to
remember one. But when the stranger heard how he was being mocked at, he
took up the book, and read from the top to the bottom of the page very
well and in a sweet-sounding voice. And after that he took the harp and
played and sang the same way he did at O'Donnell's house the day before.
"It is a very sweet man of learning you are," said Seaghan. "One day I
am sweet, another day I am sour," said the stranger.

They walked out together then on Cnoc Aine, but while they were talking
there, the stranger was gone all of a minute, and Seaghan, Son of the
Earl, could not see where he went.

And after that he went on, and he reached Sligach just at the time
O'Conchubar was setting out with the men of Connacht to avenge the
Connacht hag's basket on the hag of Munster. And this time he gave
himself the name of the Gilla Decair, the Bad Servant. And he joined
with the men of Connacht, and they went over the Sionnan westward into
Munster, and there they hunted and drove every creature that could be
made travel, cattle and horses and flocks, into one place, till they got
the hornless bull of the Munster hag and her two speckled cows, and
O'Conchubar brought them away to give to the Connacht hag in
satisfaction for her basket.

But the men of Munster made an attack on them as they were going back;
and the Gilla Decair asked O'Conchubar would he sooner have the cows
driven, or have the Munster men checked, and he said he would sooner
have the Munster men checked. So the Gilla Decair turned on them, and
with his bow and twenty-four arrows he kept them back till O'Conchubar
and his people were safe out of their reach in Connacht.

But he took some offence then, on account of O'Conchubar taking the
first drink himself when they came to his house, and not giving it to
him, that had done so much, and he took his leave and went from them on
the moment.

After that he went to where Tadg O'Cealaigh was, and having his old
striped clothes and his old shoes as before. And when they asked him
what art he had, he said: "I am good at tricks. And if you will give me
five marks I will show you a trick," he said. "I will give that," said

With that the stranger put three rushes on the palm of his hand. "I will
blow away the middle rush now," he said, "and the other two will stop as
they are." So they told him to do that, and he put the tops of two of
his fingers on the two outside rushes, and blew the middle one away.
"There is a trick now for you, Tadg O'Cealaigh," he said then. "By my
word, that is not a bad trick," said O'Cealaigh. But one of his men
said: "That there may be no good luck with him that did it. And give me
the half of that money now, Tadg," he said, "and I will do the same
trick for you myself." "I will give you the half of what I got if you
will do it," said the stranger. So the other put the rushes on his hand,
but if he did, when he tried to do the trick, his two finger-tips went
through the palm of his hand. "Ob-Ob-Ob!" said the stranger, "that is
not the way I did the trick. But as you have lost the money," he said,
"I will heal you again."

"I could do another trick for you," he said; "I could wag the ear on
one side of my head and the ear on the other side would stay still." "Do
it then," said O'Cealaigh. So the man of tricks took hold of one of his
ears and wagged it up and down. "That is a good trick indeed," said
O'Cealaigh. "I will show you another one now," he said.

With that he took from his bag a thread of silk, and gave a cast of it
up into the air, that it was made fast to a cloud. And then he took a
hare out of the same bag, and it ran up the thread; and then took out a
little dog and laid it on after the hare, and it followed yelping on its
track; and after that again he brought out a little serving-boy and bade
him to follow dog and hare up the thread. Then out of another bag he had
with him he brought out a beautiful, well-dressed young woman, and bade
her to follow after the hound and the boy, and to take care and not let
the hare be torn by the dog. She went up then quickly after them, and it
was a delight to Tadg O'Cealaigh to be looking at them and to be
listening to the sound of the hunt going on in the air.

All was quiet then for a long time, and then the man of tricks said: "I
am afraid there is some bad work going on up there." "What is that?"
said O'Cealaigh. "I am thinking," said he, "the hound might be eating
the hare, and the serving-boy courting the girl." "It is likely enough
they are," said O'Cealaigh. With that the stranger drew in the thread,
and it is what he found, the boy making love to the girl and the hound
chewing the bones of the hare. There was great anger on the man of
tricks when he saw that, and he took his sword and struck the head off
the boy. "I do not like a thing of that sort to be done in my presence,"
said Tadg O'Cealaigh. "If it did not please you, I can set all right
again," said the stranger. And with that he took up the head and made a
cast of it at the body, and it joined to it, and the young man stood
up, but if he did his face was turned backwards. "It would be better for
him to be dead than to be living like that," said O'Cealaigh. When the
man of tricks heard that, he took hold of the boy and twisted his head
straight, and he was as well as before.

And with that the man of tricks vanished, and no one saw where was he

That is the way Manannan used to be going round Ireland, doing tricks
and wonders. And no one could keep him in any place, and if he was put
on a gallows itself, he would be found safe in the house after, and some
other man on the gallows in his place. But he did no harm, and those
that would be put to death by him, he would bring them to life again
with a herb out of his bag.

And all the food he would use would be a vessel of sour milk and a few
crab-apples. And there never was any music sweeter than the music he
used to be playing.


And there were some that went to Manannan's country beyond the sea, and
that gave an account of it afterwards.

One time Bran, son of Febal, was out by himself near his dun, and he
heard music behind him. And it kept always after him, and at last he
fell asleep with the sweetness of the sound. And when he awoke from his
sleep he saw beside him a branch of silver, and it having white
blossoms, and the whiteness of the silver was the same as the whiteness
of the blossoms.

And he brought the branch in his hand into the royal house, and when all
his people were with him they saw a woman with strange clothing standing
in the house.

And she began to make a song for Bran, and all the people were looking
at her and listening to her, and it is what she said:

"I bring a branch of the apple-tree from Emhain, from the far island
around which are the shining horses of the Son of Lir. A delight of the
eyes is the plain where the hosts hold their games; curragh racing
against chariot in the White Silver Plain to the south.

"There are feet of white bronze under it, shining through life and time;
a comely level land through the length of the world's age, and many
blossoms falling on it.

"There is an old tree there with blossoms, and birds calling from among
them; every colour is shining there, delight is common, and music, in
the Gentle-Voiced Plain, in the Silver Cloud Plain to the south.

"Keening is not used, or treachery, in the tilled familiar land; there
is nothing hard or rough, but sweet music striking on the ear.

"To be without grief, without sorrow, without death, without any
sickness, without weakness; that is the sign of Emhain; it is not common
wonder that is.

"There is nothing to liken its mists to, the sea washes the wave against
the land; brightness falls from its hair.

"There are riches, there are treasures of every colour in the Gentle
Land, the Bountiful Land. Sweet music to be listening to; the best of
wine to drink.

"Golden chariots in the Plain of the Sea, rising up to the sun with the
tide; silver chariots and bronze chariots on the Plain of Sports.

"Gold-yellow horses on the strand, and crimson horses, and others with
wool on their backs, blue like the colour of the sky.

"It is a day of lasting weather, silver is dropping on the land; a pure
white cliff on the edge of the sea, getting its warmth from the sun.

"The host race over the Plain of Sports; it is beautiful and not weak
their game is; death or the ebbing of the tide will not come to them in
the Many-Coloured Land.

"There will come at sunrise a fair man, lighting up the level lands; he
rides upon the plain that is beaten by the waves, he stirs the sea till
it is like blood.

"An army will come over the clear sea, rowing to the stone that is in
sight, that a hundred sounds of music come from.

"It sings a song to the army; it is not sad through the length of time;
it increases music with hundreds singing together; they do not look for
death or the ebb-tide.

"There are three times fifty far islands in the ocean to the west of us,
and every one of them twice or three times more than Ireland.

"It is not to all of you I am speaking, though I have made all these
wonders known. Let Bran listen from the crowd of the world to all the
wisdom that has been told him.

"Do not fall upon a bed of sloth; do not be overcome by drunkenness; set
out on your voyage over the clear sea, and you may chance to come to the
Land of Women."

With that the woman went from them, and they did not know where she
went. And she brought away her branch with her, for it leaped into her
hand from Bran's hand, and he had not the strength to hold it.

Then on the morrow Bran set out upon the sea, and three companies of
nine along with him; and one of his foster-brothers and comrades was set
over each company of nine.

And when they had been rowing for two days and two nights, they saw a
man coming towards them in a chariot, over the sea. And the man made
himself known to them, and he said that he was Manannan, son of Lir.

And then Manannan spoke to him in a song, and it is what he said:

"It is what Bran thinks, he is going in his curragh over the wonderful,
beautiful clear sea; but to me, from far off in my chariot, it is a
flowery plain he is riding on.

"What is a clear sea to the good boat Bran is in, is a happy plain with
many flowers to me in my two-wheeled chariot.

"It is what Bran sees, many waves beating across the clear sea; it is
what I myself see, red flowers without any fault.

"The sea-horses are bright in summer-time, as far as Bran's eyes can
reach; there is a wood of beautiful acorns under the head of your little

"A wood with blossom and with fruit, that has the smell of wine; a wood
without fault, without withering, with leaves of the colour of gold.

"Let Bran row on steadily, it is not far to the Land of Women; before
the setting of the sun you will reach Emhain, of many-coloured

With that Bran went from him; and after a while he saw an island, and he
rowed around it, and there was a crowd on it, wondering at them, and
laughing; and they were all looking at Bran and at his people, but they
would not stop to talk with them, but went on giving out gusts of
laughter. Bran put one of his men on the island then, but he joined with
the others, and began to stare the same way as the men of the island.
And Bran went on rowing round about the island; and whenever they went
past his own man, his comrades would speak to him, but he would not
answer them, but would only stare and wonder at them. So they went away
and left him on that island that is called the Island of Joy.

It was not long after that they reached to the Land of Women. And they
saw the chief one of the women at the landing-place, and it is what she
said: "Come hither to land, Bran, son of Febal, it is welcome your
coming is." But Bran did not dare to go on shore. Then the woman threw a
ball of thread straight to him, and he caught it in his hand, and it
held fast to his palm, and the woman kept the thread in her own hand,
and she pulled the curragh to the landing-place.

On that they went into a grand house, where there was a bed for every
couple, three times nine beds. And the food that was put on every dish
never came to an end, and they had every sort of food and of drink they
wished for.

And it seemed to them they were only a year there when the desire of
home took hold on one of them, Nechtan, son of Collbrain, and his
kinsmen were begging and praying Bran to go back with him to Ireland.
The woman said there would be repentance on them if they went; but in
spite of that they set out in the end. And the woman said to them not to
touch the land when they would come to Ireland, and she bade them to
visit and to bring with them the man they left in the Island of Joy.

So they went on towards Ireland till they came to a place called Srub
Bruin. And there were people on the strand that asked them who they were
that were coming over the sea. And Bran said: "I am Bran, son of Febal."
But the people said: "We know of no such man, though the voyage of Bran
is in our very old stories."

Then Nechtan, son of Collbrain, made a leap out of the curragh, and no
sooner did he touch the shore of Ireland than he was a heap of ashes,
the same as if he had been in the earth through hundreds of years.

And then Bran told the whole story of his wanderings to the people,
from the beginning. And after that he bade them farewell, and his
wanderings from that time are not known.


And another that went to Manannan's country was Cormac, grandson of
Conn, King of Teamhair, and this is the way it happened. He was by
himself in Teamhair one time, and he saw an armed man coming towards
him, quiet, with high looks, and having grey hair; a shirt ribbed with
gold thread next his skin, broad shoes of white bronze between his feet
and the ground, a shining branch, having nine apples of red gold, on his
shoulder. And it is delightful the sound of that branch was, and no one
on earth would keep in mind any want, or trouble, or tiredness, when
that branch was shaken for him; and whatever trouble there might be on
him, he would forget it at the sound.

Then Cormac and the armed man saluted one another, and Cormac asked
where did he come from. "I come," he said, "from a country where there
is nothing but truth, and where there is neither age nor withering away,
nor heaviness, nor sadness, nor jealousy nor envy, nor pride." "That is
not so with us," said Cormac, "and I would be well pleased to have your
friendship," he said. "I am well pleased to give it," said the stranger.
"Give me your branch along with it," said Cormac. "I will give it," said
the stranger, "if you will give me the three gifts I ask in return." "I
will give them to you indeed," said Cormac.

Then the strange man left the branch and went away, and Cormac did not
know where was he gone to.

He went back then into the royal house, and there was wonder on all the
people when they saw the branch. And he shook it at them, and it put
them all asleep from that day to the same time on the morrow.

At the end of a year the strange man came back again, and he asked for
the first of his three requests. "You will get it," said Cormac. "I will
take your daughter, Aille, to-day," said the stranger.

So he brought away the girl with him, and the women of Ireland gave
three loud cries after the king's daughter. But Cormac shook the branch
at them, until it put away sorrow from them, and put them all into their

That day month the stranger came again, and he brought Cormac's son,
Carpre Lifecar, away with him. There was crying and lamenting without
end in Teamhair after the boy, and on that night no one ate or slept,
and they were all under grief and very downhearted. But when Cormac
shook the branch their sorrow went from them.

Then the stranger came the third time, and Cormac asked him what did he
want. "It is your wife, Ethne, I am asking this time," he said. And he
went away then, bringing Ethne, the queen, along with him.

But Cormac would not bear that, and he went after them, and all his
people were following him. But in the middle of the Plain of the Wall, a
thick mist came on them, and when it was gone, Cormac found himself
alone on a great plain. And he saw a great dun in the middle of the
plain, with a wall of bronze around it, and in the dun a house of white
silver, and it half thatched with the white wings of birds. And there
was a great troop of the Riders of the Sidhe all about the house, and
their arms full of white birds' wings for thatching. But as soon as they
would put on the thatch, a blast of wind would come and carry it away

Then he saw a man kindling a fire, and he used to throw a thick
oak-tree upon it. And when he would come back with a second tree, the
first one would be burned out. "I will be looking at you no longer,"
Cormac said then, "for there is no one here to tell me your story, and I
think I could find good sense in your meanings if I understood them," he

Then he went on to where there was another dun, very large and royal,
and another wall of bronze around it, and four houses within it. And he
went in and saw a great king's house, having beams of bronze and walls
of silver, and its thatch of the wings of white birds. And then he saw
on the green a shining well, and five streams flowing from it, and the
armies drinking water in turn, and the nine lasting purple hazels of
Buan growing over it. And they were dropping their nuts into the water,
and the five salmon would catch them and send their husks floating down
the streams. And the sound of the flowing of those streams is sweeter
than any music that men sing.

Then he went into the palace, and he found there waiting for him a man
and a woman, very tall, and having clothes of many colours. The man was
beautiful as to shape, and his face wonderful to look at; and as to the
young woman that was with him, she was the loveliest of all the women of
the world, and she having yellow hair and a golden helmet. And there was
a bath there, and heated stones going in and out of the water of
themselves, and Cormac bathed himself in it.

"Rise up, man of the house," the woman said after that, "for this is a
comely traveller is come to us; and if you have one kind of food or meat
better than another, let it be brought in." The man rose up then and he
said: "I have but seven pigs, but I could feed the whole world with
them, for the pig that is killed and eaten to-day, you will find it
alive again to-morrow."

Another man came into the house then, having an axe in his right hand,
and a log in his left hand, and a pig behind him.

"It is time to make ready," said the man of the house, "for we have a
high guest with us to-day."

Then the man struck the pig and killed it, and he cut the logs and made
a fire and put the pig on it in a cauldron. "It is time for you to turn
it," said the master of the house after a while. "There would be no use
doing that," said the man, "for never and never will the pig be boiled
until a truth is told for every quarter of it." "Then let you tell yours
first," said the master of the house. "One day," said the man, "I found
another man's cows in my land, and I brought them with me into a cattle
pound. The owner of the cows followed me, and he said he would give me a
reward to let the cows go free. So I gave them back to him, and he gave
me an axe, and when a pig is to be killed, it is with the axe it is
killed, and the log is cut with it, and there is enough wood to boil the
pig, and enough for the palace besides. And that is not all, for the log
is found whole again in the morning. And from that time till now, that
is the way they are."

"It is true indeed that story is," said the man of the house.

They turned the pig in the cauldron then, and but one quarter of it was
found to be cooked. "Let us tell another true story," they said. "I will
tell one," said the master of the house. "Ploughing time had come, and
when we had a mind to plough that field outside, it is the way we found
it, ploughed, and harrowed, and sowed with wheat. When we had a mind to
reap it, the wheat was found in the haggard, all in one thatched rick.
We have been using it from that day to this, and it is no bigger and no

Then they turned the pig, and another quarter was found to be ready. "It
is my turn now," said the woman. "I have seven cows," she said, "and
seven sheep. And the milk of the seven cows would satisfy the whole of
the men of the world, if they were in the plain drinking it, and it is
enough for all the people of the Land of Promise, and it is from the
wool of the seven sheep all the clothes they wear are made." And at that
story the third quarter of the pig was boiled.

"If these stories are true," said Cormac to the man of the house, "you
are Manannan, and this is Manannan's wife; for no one on the whole ridge
of the world owns these treasures but himself. It was to the Land of
Promise he went to look for that woman, and he got those seven cows with

They said to Cormac that it was his turn now. So Cormac told them how
his wife, and his son, and his daughter, had been brought away from him,
and how he himself had followed them till he came to that place.

And with that the whole pig was boiled, and they cut it up, and Cormac's
share was put before him. "I never used a meal yet," said he, "having
two persons only in my company." The man of the house began singing to
him then, and put him asleep. And when he awoke, he saw fifty armed men,
and his son, and his wife, and his daughter, along with them. There was
great gladness and courage on him then, and ale and food were given out
to them all. And there was a gold cup put in the hand of the master of
the house, and Cormac was wondering at it, for the number of the shapes
on it, and for the strangeness of the work. "There is a stranger thing
yet about it," the man said; "let three lying words be spoken under it,
and it will break into three, and then let three true words be spoken
under it, and it will be as good as before." So he said three lying
words under it, and it broke in three pieces. "It is best to speak truth
now under it," he said, "and to mend it. And I give my word, Cormac," he
said, "that until to-day neither your wife or your daughter has seen the
face of a man since they were brought away from you out of Teamhair, and
that your son has never seen the face of a woman." And with that the cup
was whole again on the moment. "Bring away your wife and your children
with you now," he said, "and this cup along with them, the way you will
have it for judging between truth and untruth. And I will leave the
branch with you for music and delight, but on the day of your death they
will be taken from you again." "And I myself," he said, "am Manannan, son
of Lir, King of the Land of Promise, and I brought you here by
enchantments that you might be with me to-night in friendship.

"And the Riders you saw thatching the house," he said, "are the men of
art and poets, and all that look for a fortune in Ireland, putting
together cattle and riches. For when they go out, all that they leave in
their houses goes to nothing, and so they go on for ever.

"And the man you saw kindling the fire," he said, "is a young lord that
is more liberal than he can afford, and every one else is served while
he is getting the feast ready, and every one else profiting by it.

"And the well you saw is the Well of Knowledge, and the streams are the
five streams through which all knowledge goes. And no one will have
knowledge who does not drink a draught out of the well itself or out of
the streams. And the people of many arts are those who drink from them

And on the morning of the morrow, when Cormac rose up, he found himself
on the green of Teamhair, and his wife, and his son, and his daughter,
along with him, and he having his branch and his cup. And it was given
the name of Cormac's Cup, and it used to judge between truth and
falsehood among the Gael. But it was not left in Ireland after the night
of Cormac's death, as Manannan had foretold him.


And it was in the time of the Fianna of Ireland that Ciabhan of the
Curling Hair, the king of Ulster's son, went to Manannan's country.

Ciabhan now was the most beautiful of the young men of the world at that
time, and he was as far beyond all other kings' sons as the moon is
beyond the stars. And Finn liked him well, but the rest of the Fianna
got to be tired of him because there was not a woman of their women, wed
or unwed, but gave him her love. And Finn had to send him away at the
last, for he was in dread of the men of the Fianna because of the
greatness of their jealousy.

So Ciabhan went on till he came to the Strand of the Cairn, that is
called now the Strand of the Strong Man, between Dun Sobairce and the
sea. And there he saw a curragh, and it having a narrow stern of copper.
And Ciabhan got into the curragh, and his people said: "Is it to leave
Ireland you have a mind, Ciabhan?" "It is indeed," he said, "for in
Ireland I get neither shelter or protection." He bade farewell to his
people then, and he left them very sorrowful after him, for to part with
him was like the parting of life from the body.

And Ciabhan went on in the curragh, and great white shouting waves rose
up about him, every one of them the size of a mountain; and the
beautiful speckled salmon that are used to stop in the sand and the
shingle rose up to the sides of the curragh, till great dread came on
Ciabhan, and he said: "By my word, if it was on land I was I could make
a better fight for myself"

And he was in this danger till he saw a rider coming towards him on a
dark grey horse having a golden bridle, and he would be under the sea
for the length of nine waves, and he would rise with the tenth wave, and
no wet on him at all. And he said: "What reward would you give to
whoever would bring you out of this great danger?" "Is there anything in
my hand worth offering you?" said Ciabhan. "There is," said the rider,
"that you would give your service to whoever would give you his help."
Ciabhan agreed to that, and he put his hand into the rider's hand.

With that the rider drew him on to the horse, and the curragh came on
beside them till they reached to the shore of Tir Tairngaire, the Land
of Promise. They got off the horse there, and came to Loch Luchra, the
Lake of the Dwarfs, and to Manannan's city, and a feast was after being
made ready there, and comely serving-boys were going round with smooth
horns, and playing on sweet-sounding harps till the whole house was
filled with the music.

Then there came in clowns, long-snouted, long-heeled, lean and bald and
red, that used to be doing tricks in Manannan's house. And one of these
tricks was, a man of them to take nine straight willow rods, and to
throw them up to the rafters of the house, and to catch them again as
they came down, and he standing on one leg, and having but one hand
free. And they thought no one could do that trick but themselves, and
they were used to ask strangers to do it, the way they could see them

So this night when one of them had done the trick, he came up to
Ciabhan, that was beyond all the Men of Dea or the Sons of the Gael that
were in the house, in shape and in walk and in name, and he put the nine
rods in his hand. And Ciabhan stood up and he did the feat before them
all, the same as if he had never learned to do any other thing.

Now Gebann, that was a chief Druid in Manannan's country, had a
daughter, Cliodna of the Fair Hair, that had never given her love to any
man. But when she saw Ciabhan she gave him her love, and she agreed to
go away with him on the morrow.

And they went down to the landing-place and got into a curragh, and they
went on till they came to Teite's Strand in the southern part of
Ireland. It was from Teite Brec the Freckled the strand got its name,
that went there one time for a wave game, and three times fifty young
girls with her, and they were all drowned in that place.

And as to Ciabhan, he came on shore, and went looking for deer, as was
right, under the thick branches of the wood; and he left the young girl
in the boat on the strand.

But the people of Manannan's house came after them, having forty ships.
And Iuchnu, that was in the curragh with Cliodna, did treachery, and he
played music to her till she lay down in the boat and fell asleep. And
then a great wave came up on the strand and swept her away.

And the wave got its name from Cliodna of the Fair Hair, that will be
long remembered.


And it is likely it was Manannan sent his messenger for Connla of the
Red Hair the time he went away out of Ireland, for it is to his country
Connla was brought; and this is the way he got the call.

It chanced one day he was with his father Conn, King of Teamhair, on the
Hill of Uisnach, and he saw a woman having wonderful clothing coming
towards him. "Where is it you come from?" he asked her. "I come," she
said, "from Tir-nam-Beo, the Land of the Ever-Living Ones, where no
death comes. We use feasts that are lasting," she said, "and we do every
kind thing without quarrelling, and we are called the people of the
Sidhe." "Who are you speaking to, boy?" said Conn to him then, for no
one saw the strange woman but only Connla. "He is speaking to a high
woman that death or old age will never come to," she said. "I am asking
him to come to Magh Mell, the Pleasant Plain where the triumphant king
is living, and there he will be a king for ever without sorrow or fret.
Come with me, Connla of the Red Hair," she said, "of the fair freckled
neck and of the ruddy cheek; come with me, and your body will not wither
from its youth and its comeliness for ever."

They could all hear the woman's words then, though they could not see
her, and it is what Conn said to Coran his Druid: "Help me, Coran, you
that sing spells of the great arts. There is an attack made on me that
is beyond my wisdom and beyond my power, I never knew so strong an
attack since the first day I was a king. There is an unseen figure
fighting with me; she is using her strength against me to bring away my
beautiful son; the call of a woman is bringing him away from the hands
of the king."

Then Coran, the Druid, began singing spells against the woman of the
Sidhe, the way no one would hear her voice, and Connla could not see her
any more. But when she was being driven away by the spells of the Druid,
she threw an apple to Connla.

And through the length of a month from that time, Connla used no other
food nor drink but that apple, for he thought no other food or drink
worth the using. And for all he ate of it, the apple grew no smaller,
but was whole all the while. And there was great trouble on Connla on
account of the woman he had seen.

And at the end of a month Connla was at his father's side in Magh
Archomnim, and he saw the same woman coming towards him, and it is what
she said: "It is a high place indeed Connla has among dying people, and
death before him. But the Ever-Living Living Ones," she said, "are
asking you to take the sway over the people of Tethra, for they are
looking at you every day in the gatherings of your country among your
dear friends."

When Conn, the king, heard her voice, he said to his people: "Call
Coran, the Druid to me, for I hear the sound of the woman's voice
again." But on that she said: "O Conn, fighter of a hundred, it is
little love and little respect the wonderful tribes of Traig Mor, the
Great Strand, have for Druids; and where its law comes, it scatters the
spells on their lips."

Then Conn looked to his son Connla to see what he would say, and Connla
said: "My own people are dearer to me than any other thing, yet sorrow
has taken hold of me because of this woman." Then the woman spoke to him
again, and it is what she said: "Come now into my shining ship, if you
will come to the Plain of Victory. There is another country it would not
be worse for you to look for; though the bright sun is going down, we
shall reach to that country before night. That is the country that
delights the mind of every one that turns to me. There is no living race
in it but women and girls only."

And when the woman had ended her song, Connla made a leap from his
people into the shining boat, and they saw him sailing away from them
far off and as if in a mist, as far as their eyes could see. It is away
across the sea they went, and they have never come back again, and only
the gods know where was it they went.


And another that went to the Land of the Ever-Living Ones, but that came
back again, was Tadg, son of Cian, son of Olioll; and this is the way
that happened.

It was one time Tadg was going his next heir's round, into the west of
Munster, and his two brothers, Airnelach and Eoghan, along with him. And
Cathmann, son of Tabarn, that was king of the beautiful country of
Fresen that lay to the south-east of the Great Plain, was searching the
sea for what he could find just at that time, and nine of his ships with
him. And they landed at Beire do Bhunadas, to the west of Munster, and
the country had no stir in it, and so they slipped ashore, and no one
took notice of them till all were surrounded, both men and cattle. And
Tadg's wife Liban, daughter of Conchubar Abratrudh of the Red Brows, and
his two brothers, and a great many of the people of Munster, were taken
by the foreigners and brought away to the coasts of Fresen. And Cathmann
took Liban to be his own wife, and he put hardship on Tadg's two
brothers: Eoghan he put to work a common ferry across a channel of the
coast, and Airnelach to cut firing and to keep up fires for all the
people; and all the food they got was barley seed and muddy water.

And as to Tadg himself, it was only by his courage and the use of his
sword he made his escape, but there was great grief and discouragement
on him, his wife and his brothers to have been brought away. But he had
forty of his fighting men left that had each killed a man of the
foreigners, and they had brought one in alive. And this man told them
news of the country he came from. And when Tadg heard that, he made a
plan in his own head, and he gave orders for a curragh to be built that
would be fit for a long voyage. Very strong it was, and forty ox-hides
on it of hard red leather, that was after being soaked in bark. And it
was well fitted with masts, and oars, and pitch, and everything that was
wanting. And they put every sort of meat, and drink, and of clothes in
it, that would last them through the length of a year.

When all was ready, and the curragh out in the tide, Tadg said to his
people: "Let us set out now on the high sea, looking for our own people
that are away from us this long time."

They set out then over the stormy, heavy flood, till at last they saw no
land before them or behind them, but only the hillsides of the great
sea. And farther on again they heard the singing of a great flock of
unknown birds; and pleasant white-bellied salmon were leaping about the
curragh on every side, and seals, very big and dark, were coming after
them, breaking through the shining wash of the oars; and great whales
after them again, so that the young men liked to be looking at them, for
they were not used to see the like before.

They went on rowing through twenty days and twenty nights, and at the
end of that time they got sight of a high land, having a smooth coast.
And when they reached it they all landed, and they pulled up the curragh
and lit their fires, and food was given out to them, and they were not
long making an end of it. They made beds for themselves then on the
beautiful green grass, and enjoyed their sleep till the rising of the
sun on the morrow.

Tadg rose up then and put on his arms, and went out, and thirty of his
men along with him, to search the whole island.

They went all through it, but they found no living thing on it, man or
beast, but only flocks of sheep. And the size of the sheep was past all
telling, as big as horses they were, and the whole island was filled
with their wool. And there was one great flock beyond all the others,
all of very big rams, and one of them was biggest of all, nine horns he
had, and he charged on Tadg's chief men, attacking them and butting at

There was vexation on them then, and they attacked him again, and there
was a struggle between them. And at the first the ram broke through five
of their shields. But Tadg took his spear that there was no escape from,
and made a lucky cast at the ram and killed him. And they brought the
ram to the curragh and made it ready for the young men to eat, and they
stopped three nights on the island, and every night it was a sheep they
had for their food. And they gathered a good share of the wool and put
it in the curragh because of the wonder and the beauty of it. And they
found the bones of very big men on the island, but whether they died of
sickness or were killed by the rams they did not know.

They left that island then and went forward till they found two strange
islands where there were great flocks of wonderful birds, like
blackbirds, and some of them the size of eagles or of cranes, and they
red with green heads on them, and the eggs they had were blue and pure
crimson. And some of the men began eating the eggs, and on the moment
feathers began to grow out on them. But they went bathing after that,
and the feathers dropped off them again as quick as they came.

It was the foreigner they had with them gave them the course up to this
time, for he had been on the same track before. But now they went on
through the length of six weeks and never saw land, and he said then,
"We are astray on the great ocean that has no boundaries." Then the wind
with its sharp voice began to rise, and there was a noise like the
tramping of feet in the sea, and it rose up into great mountains hard to
climb, and there was great fear on Tadg's people, for they had never
seen the like. But he began to stir them up and to rouse them, and he
bade them to meet the sea like men. "Do bravery," he said, "young men of
Munster, and fight for your lives against the waves that are rising up
and coming at the sides of the curragh." Tadg took one side of the
curragh then and his men took the other side, and he was able to pull it
round against the whole twenty-nine of them, and to bale it out and keep
it dry along with that. And after a while they got a fair wind and put
up their sail, the way less water came into the curragh, and then the
sea went down and lay flat and calm, and there were strange birds of
many shapes singing around them in every part. They saw land before them
then, with a good coast, and with that courage and gladness came on

And when they came nearer to the land they found a beautiful inver, a
river's mouth, with green hills about it, and the bottom of it sandy and
as bright as silver, and red-speckled salmon in it, and pleasant woods
with purple tree-tops edging the stream. "It is a beautiful country
this is," said Tadg, "and it would be happy for him that would be always
in it; and let you pull up the ship now," he said, "and dry it out."

A score of them went forward then into the country, and a score stopped
to mind the curragh. And for all the cold and discouragement and bad
weather they had gone through, they felt no wish at all for food or for
fire, but the sweet smell of the crimson branches in the place they were
come to satisfied them. They went on through the wood, and after a while
they came to an apple garden having red apples in it, and leafy
oak-trees, and hazels yellow with nuts. "It is a wonder to me," said
Tadg, "to find summer here, and it winter time in our own country."

It was a delightful place they were in, but they went on into another
wood, very sweet smelling, and round purple berries in it, every one of
them bigger than a man's head, and beautiful shining birds eating the
berries, strange birds they were, having white bodies and purple heads
and golden beaks. And while they were eating the berries they were
singing sweet music, that would have put sick men and wounded men into
their sleep.

Tadg and his men went farther on again till they came to a great smooth
flowery plain with a dew of honey over it, and three steep hills on the
plain, having a very strong dun on every one of them. And when they got
to the nearest hill they found a white-bodied woman, the best of the
women of the whole world, and it is what she said: "Your coming is
welcome, Tadg, son of Cian, and there will be food and provision for you
as you want it."

"I am glad of that welcome," said Tadg; "and tell me now, woman of sweet
words," he said, "what is that royal dun on the hill, having walls of
white marble around it?" "That is the dun of the royal line of the kings
of Ireland, from Heremon, son of Miled, to Conn of the Hundred Battles,
that was the last to go into it." "What is the name of this country?"
Tadg said then. "It is Inislocha, the Lake Island," she said, "and there
are two kings over it, Rudrach and Dergcroche, sons of Bodb." And then
she told Tadg the whole story of Ireland, to the time of the coming of
the Sons of the Gael. "That is well," said Tadg then, "and you have good
knowledge and learning. And tell me now," he said, "who is living in
that middle dun that has the colour of gold?" "It is not myself will
tell you that," she said, "but go on to it yourself and you will get
knowledge of it." And with that she went from them into the dun of white

Tadg and his men went on then till they came to the middle dun, and
there they found a queen of beautiful shape, and she wearing a golden
dress. "Health to you, Tadg," she said. "I thank you for that," said
Tadg. "It is a long time your coming on this journey was foretold," she
said. "What is your name?" he asked then. "I am Cesair," she said, "the
first that ever reached Ireland. But since I and the men that were with
me came out of that dark, unquiet land, we are living for ever in this

"Tell me, woman," said Tadg, "who is it lives in that dun having a wall
of gold about it?" "It is not hard to tell that," she said, "every king,
and every chief man, and every noble person that was in a high place of
all those that had power in Ireland, it is in that dun beyond they are;
Parthalon and Nemed, Firbolgs and Tuatha de Danaan." "It is good
knowledge and learning you have," said Tadg. "Indeed I have good
knowledge of the history of the world," she said, "and this island," she
said, "is the fourth paradise of the world; and as to the others, they
are Inis Daleb to the south, and Inis Ercandra to the north, and Adam's
Paradise in the east of the world." "Who is there living in that dun
with the silver walls?" said Tadg then. "I will not tell you that,
although I have knowledge of it," said the woman; "but go to the
beautiful hill where it is, and you will get knowledge of it."

They went on then to the third hill, and on the top of the hill was a
very beautiful resting-place, and two sweethearts there, a boy and a
girl, comely and gentle. Smooth hair they had, shining like gold, and
beautiful green clothes of the one sort, and any one would think them to
have had the same father and mother. Gold chains they had around their
necks, and bands of gold above those again. And Tadg spoke to them: "O
bright, comely children," he said, "it is a pleasant place you have
here." And they answered him back, and they were praising his courage
and his strength and his wisdom, and they gave him their blessing.

And it is how the young man was, he had a sweet-smelling apple, having
the colour of gold, in his hand, and he would eat a third part of it,
and with all he would eat, it would never be less. And that was the food
that nourished the two of them, and neither age or sorrow could touch
them when once they had tasted it.

"Who are you yourself?" Tadg asked him then. "I am son to Conn of the
Hundred Battles," he said. "Is it Connla you are?" said Tadg. "I am
indeed," said the young man, "and it is this girl of many shapes that
brought me here." And the girl said: "I have given him my love and my
affection, and it is because of that I brought him to this place, the
way we might be looking at one another for ever, and beyond that we have
never gone."

"That is a beautiful thing and a strange thing," said Tadg, "and a thing
to wonder at. And who is there in that grand dun with the silver
walls?" he said. "There is no one at all in it," said the girl. "What is
the reason of that?" said Tadg. "It is for the kings that are to rule
Ireland yet," she said; "and there will be a place in it for yourself,
Tadg. And come now," she said, "till you see it."

The lovers went on to the dun, and it is hardly the green grass was bent
under their white feet. And Tadg and his people went along with them.

They came then to the great wonderful house that was ready for the
company of the kings; it is a pleasant house that was, and any one would
like to be in it. Walls of white bronze it had, set with crystal and
with carbuncles, that were shining through the night as well as through
the day.

Tadg looked out from the house then, and he saw to one side of him a
great sheltering apple-tree, and blossoms and ripe fruit on it. "What is
that apple tree beyond?" said Tadg. "It is the fruit of that tree is
food for the host in this house," said the woman. "And it was an apple
of that apple-tree brought Connla here to me; a good tree it is, with
its white-blossomed branches, and its golden apples that would satisfy
the whole house."

And then Connla and the young girl left them, and they saw coming
towards them a troop of beautiful women. And there was one among them
was most beautiful of all, and when she was come to them she said: "A
welcome to you, Tadg." "I thank you for that welcome," said Tadg; "and
tell me," he said, "who are you yourself?" "I am Cliodna of the Fair
Hair," she said, "daughter of Gebann, son of Treon, of the Tuatha de
Danaan, a sweetheart of Ciabhan of the Curling Hair; and it is from me
Cliodna's wave on the coast of Munster got its name; and I am a long
time now in this island, and it is the apples of that tree you saw that
we use for food." And Tadg was well pleased to be listening to her talk,
but after a while he said: "It is best for us to go on now to look for
our people." "We will be well pleased if you stop longer with us," said
the woman.

And while she was saying those words they saw three beautiful birds
coming to them, one of them blue and his head crimson, and one was
crimson and his head green, and the third was speckled and his head the
colour of gold, and they lit on the great apple-tree, and every bird of
them ate an apple, and they sang sweet music then, that would put sick
men into their sleep.

"Those birds will go with you," Cliodna said then; "they will give you
guidance on your way, and they will make music for you, and there will
be neither sorrow or sadness on you, by land or by sea, till you come to
Ireland. And bring away this beautiful green cup with you," she said,
"for there is power in it, and if you do but pour water into it, it will
be turned to wine on the moment. And do not let it out of your hand,"
she said, "but keep it with you; for at whatever time it will escape
from you, your death will not be far away. And it is where you will meet
your death, in the green valley at the side of the Boinn; and it is a
wandering wild deer will give you a wound, and after that, it is
strangers will put an end to you. And I myself will bury your body, and
there will be a hill over it, and the name it will get is Croidhe Essu."

They went out of the shining house then, and Cliodna of the Fair Hair
went with them to the place they had left their ship, and she bade their
comrades a kindly welcome; and she asked them how long had they been in
that country. "It seems to us," they said, "we are not in it but one day
only." "You are in it through the whole length of a year," said she,
"and through all that time you used neither food nor drink. But however
long you would stop here," she said, "cold or hunger would never come on
you." "It would be a good thing to live this way always," said Tadg's
people when they heard that. But he himself said: "It is best for us to
go on and to look for our people. And we must leave this country,
although it is displeasing to us to leave it."

Then Cliodna and Tadg bade farewell to one another, and she gave her
blessing to him and to his people. And they set out then over the ridges
of the sea; and they were downhearted after leaving that country until
the birds began to sing for them, and then their courage rose up, and
they were glad and light-hearted.

And when they looked back they could not see the island they had come
from, because of a Druid mist that came on it and hid it from them.

Then by the leading of the birds they came to the country of Fresen, and
they were in a deep sleep through the whole voyage. And then they
attacked the foreigners and got the better of them, and Tadg killed
Cathmann, the king, after a hard fight; and Liban his wife made no
delay, and came to meet her husband and her sweetheart, and it is glad
she was to see him.

And after they had rested a while they faced the sea again, and Tadg and
his wife Liban, and his two brothers, and a great many other treasures
along with them, and they came home to Ireland safely at the last.


And another that went to visit Magh Mell, the Happy Plain, was Laegaire,
son of the King of Connacht, Crimthan Cass.

He was out one day with the king, his father, near Loch na-n Ean, the
Lake of Birds, and the men of Connacht with them, and they saw a man
coming to them through the mist. Long golden-yellow hair he had, and it
streaming after him, and at his belt a gold-hilted sword, and in his
hand two five-barbed darts, a gold-rimmed shield on his back, a
five-folded crimson cloak about his shoulders.

"Give a welcome to the man that is coming towards you," said Laegaire,
that had the best name of all the men of Connacht, to his people. And to
the stranger he said: "A welcome to the champion we do not know."

"I am thankful to you all," said he.

"What is it you are come for, and where are you going?" said Laegaire

"I am come to look for the help of fighting men," said the stranger.
"And my name," he said, "is Fiachna, son of Betach, of the men of the
Sidhe; and it is what ails me, my wife was taken from my pillow and
brought away by Eochaid, son of Sal. And we fought together, and I
killed him, and now she is gone to a brother's son of his, Goll, son of
Dalbh, king of a people of Magh Mell. Seven battles I gave him, but they
all went against me; and on this very day there is another to be fought,
and I am come to ask help. And to every one that deserves it, I will
give a good reward of gold and of silver for that help."

And it is what he said:

"The most beautiful of plains is the Plain of the Two Mists; it is not
far from this; it is a host of the men of the Sidhe full of courage are
stirring up pools of blood upon it.

"We have drawn red blood from the bodies of high nobles; many women are
keening them with cries and with tears.

"The men of the host in good order go out ahead of their beautiful king;
they march among blue spears, white troops of fighters with curled hair.

"They scatter the troops of their enemies, they destroy every country
they make an attack on; they are beautiful in battle, a host with high
looks, rushing, avenging.

"It is no wonder they to have such strength: every one of them is the
son of a king and a queen; manes of hair they have of the colour of

"Their bodies smooth and comely; their eyes blue and far-seeing; their
teeth bright like crystal, within their thin red lips.

"White shields they have in their hands, with patterns on them of white
silver; blue shining swords, red horns set with gold.

"They are good at killing men in battle; good at song-making, good at

"The most beautiful of plains is the Plain of the Two Mists; the men of
the Sidhe are stirring up pools of blood on it; it is not far from this

"It would be a shameful thing not to give our help to this man," said

Fiachna, son of Betach, went down into the lake then, for it was out of
it he had come, and Laegaire went down into it after him, and fifty
fighting men along with him.

They saw a strong place before them then, and a company of armed men,
and Goll, son of Dalbh, at the head of them.

"That is well," said Laegaire, "I and my fifty men will go out against
this troop." "I will answer you," said Goll, son of Dalbh.

The two fifties attacked one another then, and Goll fell, but Laegaire
and his fifty escaped with their lives and made a great slaughter of
their enemies, that not one of them made his escape.

"Where is the woman now?" said Laegaire. "She is within the dun of Magh
Mell, and a troop of armed men keeping guard about it," said Fiachna.
"Let you stop here, and I and my fifty will go there," said Laegaire.

So he and his men went on to the dun, and Laegaire called out to the men
that were about it: "Your king has got his death, your chief men have
fallen, let the woman come out, and I will give you your own lives." The
men agreed to that, and they brought the woman out. And when she came
out she made this complaint:

"It is a sorrowful day that swords are reddened for the sake of the dear
dead body of Goll, son of Dalbh. It was he that loved me, it was himself
I loved, it is little Laegaire Liban cares for that.

"Weapons were hacked and were split by Goll; it is to Fiachna, son of
Betach, I must go; it is Goll son of Dalbh, I loved."

And that complaint got the name of "The Lament of the Daughter of
Eochaid the Dumb."

Laegaire went back with her then till he put her hand in Fiachna's hand.
And that night Fiachna's daughter, Deorgreine, a Tear of the Sun, was
given to Laegaire as his wife, and fifty other women were given to his
fifty fighting men, and they stopped with them there to the end of a

And at the end of that time, Laegaire said: "Let us go and ask news of
our own country." "If you have a mind to go," said Fiachna, "bring
horses with you; but whatever happens," he said, "do not get off from

So they set out then; and when they got back to Ireland, they found a
great gathering of the whole of the men of Connacht that were keening

And when the men of Connacht saw them coming they rose up to meet them,
and to bid them welcome. But Laegaire called out: "Do not come to us,
for it is to bid you farewell we are here." "Do not go from us again,"
said Crimthan, his father, "and I will give you the sway over the three
Connachts, their silver and their gold, their horses and their bridles,
and their beautiful women, if you will not go from us."

And it is what Laegaire said: "In the place we are gone to, the armies
move from kingdom to kingdom, they listen to the sweet-sounding music of
the Sidhe, they drink from shining cups, we talk with those we love, it
is beer that falls instead of rain.

"We have brought from the dun of the Pleasant Plain thirty cauldrons,
thirty drinking horns; we have brought the complaint that was sung by
the Sea, by the daughter of Eochaid the Dumb.

"There is a wife for every man of the fifty; my own wife to me is the
Tear of the Sun; I am made master of a blue sword; I would not give for
all your whole kingdom one night of the nights of the Sidhe."

With that Laegaire turned from them, and went back to the kingdom. And
he was made king there along with Fiachna, son of Betach, and his
daughter, and he did not come out of it yet.


Now at the time when the Tuatha de Danaan chose a king for themselves
after the battle of Tailltin, and Lir heard the kingship was given to
Bodb Dearg, it did not please him, and he left the gathering without
leave and with no word to any one; for he thought it was he himself had
a right to be made king. But if he went away himself, Bodb was given the
kingship none the less, for not one of the five begrudged it to him but
only Lir, And it is what they determined, to follow after Lir, and to
burn down his house, and to attack himself with spear and sword, on
account of his not giving obedience to the king they had chosen. "We
will not do that," said Bodb Dearg, "for that man would defend any place
he is in; and besides that," he said, "I am none the less king over the
Tuatha de Danaan, although he does not submit to me."

All went on like that for a good while, but at last a great misfortune
came on Lir, for his wife died from him after a sickness of three
nights. And that came very hard on Lir, and there was heaviness on his
mind after her. And there was great talk of the death of that woman in
her own time.

And the news of it was told all through Ireland, and it came to the
house of Bodb, and the best of the Men of Dea were with him at that
time. And Bodb said: "If Lir had a mind for it," he said, "my help and
my friendship would be good for him now, since his wife is not living to
him. For I have here with me the three young girls of the best shape,
and the best appearance, and the best name in all Ireland, Aobh, Aoife,
and Ailbhe, the three daughters of Oilell of Aran, my own three
nurselings." The Men of Dea said then it was a good thought he had, and
that what he said was true.

Messages and messengers were sent then from Bodb Dearg to the place Lir
was, to say that if he had a mind to join with the Son of the Dagda and
to acknowledge his lordship, he would give him a foster-child of his
foster-children. And Lir thought well of the offer, and he set out on
the morrow with fifty chariots from Sidhe Fionnachaidh; and he went by
every short way till he came to Bodb's dwelling-place at Loch Dearg, and
there was a welcome before him there, and all the people were merry and
pleasant before him, and he and his people got good attendance that

And the three daughters of Oilell of Aran were sitting on the one seat
with Bodb Dearg's wife, the queen of the Tuatha de Danaan, that was
their foster-mother. And Bodb said: "You may have your choice of the
three young girls, Lir." "I cannot say," said Lir, "which one of them is
my choice, but whichever of them is the eldest, she is the noblest, and
it is best for me to take her." "If that is so," said Bodb, "it is Aobh
is the eldest, and she will be given to you, if it is your wish." "It is
my wish," he said. And he took Aobh for his wife that night, and he
stopped there for a fortnight, and then he brought her away to his own
house, till he would make a great wedding-feast.

And in the course of time Aobh brought forth two children, a daughter
and a son, Fionnuala and Aodh their names were. And after a while she
was brought to bed again, and this time she gave birth to two sons, and
they called them Fiachra and Conn. And she herself died at their birth.
And that weighed very heavy on Lir, and only for the way his mind was
set on his four children he would have gone near to die of grief.

The news came to Bodb Dearg's place, and all the people gave out three
loud, high cries, keening their nursling. And after they had keened her
it is what Bodb Dearg said: "It is a fret to us our daughter to have
died, for her own sake and for the sake of the good man we gave her to,
for we are thankful for his friendship and his faithfulness. However,"
he said, "our friendship with one another will not be broken, for I will
give him for a wife her sister Aoife."

When Lir heard that, he came for the girl and married her, and brought
her home to his house. And there was honour and affection with Aoife for
her sister's children; and indeed no person at all could see those four
children without giving them the heart's love.

And Bodb Dearg used often to be going to Lir's house for the sake of
those children; and he used to bring them to his own place for a good
length of time, and then he would let them go back to their own place
again. And the Men of Dea were at that time using the Feast of Age in
every hill of the Sidhe in turn; and when they came to Lir's hill those
four children were their joy and delight, for the beauty of their
appearance; and it is where they used to sleep, in beds in sight of
their father Lir. And he used to rise up at the break of every morning,
and to lie down among his children.

But it is what came of all this, that a fire of jealousy was kindled in
Aoife, and she got to have a dislike and a hatred of her sister's

Then she let on to have a sickness, that lasted through nearly the
length of a year. And the end of that time she did a deed of jealousy
and cruel treachery against the children of Lir.

And one day she got her chariot yoked, and she took the four children
in it, and they went forward towards the house of Bodb Dearg; but
Fionnuala had no mind to go with her, for she knew by her she had some
plan for their death or their destruction, and she had seen in a dream
that there was treachery against them in Aoife's mind. But all the same
she was not able to escape from what was before her.

And when they were on their way Aoife said to her people: "Let you kill
now," she said, "the four children of Lir, for whose sake their father
has given up my love, and I will give you your own choice of a reward
out of all the good things of the world." "We will not do that indeed,"
said they; "and it is a bad deed you have thought of, and harm will come
to you out of it."

And when they would not do as she bade them, she took out a sword
herself to put an end to the children with; but she being a woman and
with no good courage, and with no great strength in her mind, she was
not able to do it.

They went on then west to Loch Dairbhreach, the Lake of the Oaks, and
the horses were stopped there. And Aoife bade the children of Lir to go
out and bathe in the lake, and they did as she bade them. And as soon as
Aoife saw them out in the lake she struck them with a Druid rod, and put
on them the shape of four swans, white and beautiful. And it is what she
said: "Out with you, children of the king, your luck is taken away from
you for ever; it is sorrowful the story will be to your friends; it is
with flocks of birds your cries will be heard for ever."

And Fionnuala said: "Witch, we know now what your name is, you have
struck us down with no hope of relief; but although you put us from wave
to wave, there are times when we will touch the land. We shall get help
when we are seen; help, and all that is best for us; even though we
have to sleep upon the lake, it is our minds will be going abroad

And then the four children of Lir turned towards Aoife, and it is what
Fionnuala said: "It is a bad deed you have done, Aoife, and it is a bad
fulfilling of friendship, you to destroy us without cause; and vengeance
for it will come upon you, and you will fall in satisfaction for it, for
your power for our destruction is not greater than the power of our
friends to avenge it on you; and put some bounds now," she said, "to the
time this enchantment is to stop on us." "I will do that," said Aoife,
"and it is worse for you, you to have asked it of me. And the bounds I
set to your time are this, till the Woman from the South and the Man
from the North will come together. And since you ask to hear it of me,"
she said, "no friends and no power that you have will be able to bring
you out of these shapes you are in through the length of your lives,
until you have been three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach, and three
hundred years on Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban, and three
hundred years at Irrus Domnann and Inis Gluaire; and these are to be
your journeys from this out," she said.

But then repentance came on Aoife, and she said: "Since there is no
other help for me to give you now, you may keep your own speech; and you
will be singing sweet music of the Sidhe, that would put the men of the
earth to sleep, and there will be no music in the world equal to it; and
your own sense and your own nobility will stay with you, the way it will
not weigh so heavy on you to be in the shape of birds. And go away out
of my sight now, children of Lir," she said, "with your white faces,
with your stammering Irish. It is a great curse on tender lads, they to
be driven out on the rough wind. Nine hundred years to be on the water,
it is a long time for any one to be in pain; it is I put this on you
through treachery, it is best for you to do as I tell you now.

"Lir, that got victory with so many a good cast, his heart is a kernel
of death in him now; the groaning of the great hero is a sickness to me,
though it is I that have well earned his anger."

And then the horses were caught for Aoife, and the chariot yoked for
her, and she went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a
welcome before her from the chief people of the place. And the son of
the Dagda asked her why she did not bring the children of Lir with her.
"I will tell you that," she said. "It is because Lir has no liking for
you, and he will not trust you with his children, for fear you might
keep them from him altogether."

"I wonder at that," said Bodb Dearg, "for those children are dearer to
me than my own children." And he thought in his own mind it was deceit
the woman was doing on him, and it is what he did, he sent messengers to
the north to Sidhe Fionnachaidh. And Lir asked them what did they come
for. "On the head of your children," said they. "Are they not gone to
you along with Aoife?" he said. "They are not," said they; "and Aoife
said it was yourself would not let them come."

It is downhearted and sorrowful Lir was at that news, for he understood
well it was Aoife had destroyed or made an end of his children. And
early in the morning of the morrow his horses were caught, and he set
out on the road to the south-west. And when he was as far as the shore
of Loch Dairbhreach, the four children saw the horses coming towards
them, and it is what Fionnuala said: "A welcome to the troop of horses I
see coming near to the lake; the people they are bringing are strong,
there is sadness on them; it is us they are following, it is for us they
are looking; let us move over to the shore, Aodh, Fiachra, and comely
Conn. Those that are coming can be no others in the world but only Lir
and his household."

Then Lir came to the edge of the lake, and he took notice of the swans
having the voice of living people, and he asked them why was it they had
that voice.

"I will tell you that, Lir," said Fionnuala. "We are your own four
children, that are after being destroyed by your wife, and by the sister
of our own mother, through the dint of her jealousy." "Is there any way
to put you into your own shapes again?" said Lir. "There is no way,"
said Fionnuala, "for all the men of the world could not help us till we
have gone through our time, and that will not be," she said, "till the
end of nine hundred years."

When Lir and his people heard that, they gave out three great heavy
shouts of grief and sorrow and crying.

"Is there a mind with you," said Lir, "to come to us on the land, since
you have your own sense and your memory yet?" "We have not the power,"
said Fionnuala, "to live with any person at all from this time; but we
have our own language, the Irish, and we have the power to sing sweet
music, and it is enough to satisfy the whole race of men to be listening
to that music. And let you stop here to-night," she said, "and we will
be making music for you."

So Lir and his people stopped there listening to the music of the swans,
and they slept there quietly that night. And Lir rose up early on the
morning of the morrow and he made this complaint:--

"It is time to go out from this place. I do not sleep though I am in my
lying down. To be parted from my dear children, it is that is tormenting
my heart.

"It is a bad net I put over you, bringing Aoife, daughter of Oilell of
Aran, to the house. I would never have followed that advice if I had
known what it would bring upon me.

"O Fionnuala, and comely Conn, O Aodh, O Fiachra of the beautiful arms;
it is not ready I am to go away from you, from the border of the harbour
where you are."

Then Lir went on to the palace of Bodb Dearg, and there was a welcome
before him there; and he got a reproach from Bodb Dearg for not bringing
his children along with him. "My grief!" said Lir. "It is not I that
would not bring my children along with me; it was Aoife there beyond,
your own foster-child and the sister of their mother, that put them in
the shape of four white swans on Loch Dairbhreach, in the sight of the
whole of the men of Ireland; but they have their sense with them yet,
and their reason, and their voice, and their Irish."

Bodb Dearg gave a great start when he heard that, and he knew what Lir
said was true, and he gave a very sharp reproach to Aoife, and he said:
"This treachery will be worse for yourself in the end, Aoife, than to
the children of Lir. And what shape would you yourself think worst of
being in?" he said.

"I would think worst of being a witch of the air," she said. "It is into
that shape I will put you now," said Bodb. And with that he struck her
with a Druid wand, and she was turned into a witch of the air there and
then, and she went away on the wind in that shape, and she is in it yet,
and will be in it to the end of life and time.

As to Bodb Dearg and the Tuatha de Danaan they came to the shore of Loch
Dairbhreach, and they made their camp there to be listening to the music
of the swans.

And the Sons of the Gael used to be coming no less than the Men of Dea
to hear them from every part of Ireland, for there never was any music
or any delight heard in Ireland to compare with that music of the swans.
And they used to be telling stories, and to be talking with the men of
Ireland every day, and with their teachers and their fellow-pupils and
their friends. And every night they used to sing very sweet music of the
Sidhe; and every one that heard that music would sleep sound and quiet
whatever trouble or long sickness might be on him; for every one that
heard the music of the birds, it is happy and contented he would be
after it.

These two gatherings now of the Tuatha de Danaan and of the Sons of the
Gael stopped there around Loch Dairbhreach through the length of three
hundred years. And it is then Fionnuala said to her brothers: "Do you
know," she said, "we have spent all we have to spend of our time here,
but this one night only."

And there was great sorrow on the sons of Lir when they heard that, for
they thought it the same as to be living people again, to be talking
with their friends and their companions on Loch Dairbhreach, in
comparison with going on the cold, fretful sea of the Maoil in the

And they came early on the morrow to speak with their father and with
their foster-father, and they bade them farewell, and Fionnuala made
this complaint:--

"Farewell to you, Bodb Dearg, the man with whom all knowledge is in
pledge. And farewell to our father along with you, Lir of the Hill of
the White Field.

"The time is come, as I think, for us to part from you, O pleasant
company; my grief it is not on a visit we are going to you.

"From this day out, O friends of our heart, our comrades, it is on the
tormented course of the Maoil we will be, without the voice of any
person near us.

"Three hundred years there, and three hundred years in the bay of the
men of Domnann, it is a pity for the four comely children of Lir, the
salt waves of the sea to be their covering by night.

"O three brothers, with the ruddy faces gone from you, let them all
leave the lake now, the great troop that loved us, it is sorrowful our
parting is."

After that complaint they took to flight, lightly, airily, till they
came to Sruth na Maoile between Ireland and Alban. And that was a grief
to the men of Ireland, and they gave out an order no swan was to be
killed from that out, whatever chance there might be of killing one, all
through Ireland.

It was a bad dwelling-place for the children of Lir they to be on Sruth
na Maoile. When they saw the wide coast about them, they were filled
with cold and with sorrow, and they thought nothing of all they had gone
through before, in comparison to what they were going through on that

Now one night while they were there a great storm came on them, and it
is what Fionnuala said: "My dear brothers," she said, "it is a pity for
us not to be making ready for this night, for it is certain the storm
will separate us from one another. And let us," she said, "settle on
some place where we can meet afterwards, if we are driven from one
another in the night."

"Let us settle," said the others, "to meet one another at Carraig na
Ron, the Rock of the Seals, for we all have knowledge of it."

And when midnight came, the wind came on them with it, and the noise of
the waves increased, and the lightning was flashing, and a rough storm
came sweeping down, the way the children of Lir were scattered over the
great sea, and the wideness of it set them astray, so that no one of
them could know what way the others went. But after that storm a great
quiet came on the sea, and Fionnuala was alone on Sruth na Maoile; and
when she took notice that her brothers were wanting she was lamenting
after them greatly, and she made this complaint:--

"It is a pity for me to be alive in the state I am; it is frozen to my
sides my wings are; it is little that the wind has not broken my heart
in my body, with the loss of Aodh.

"To be three hundred years on Loch Dairbhreach without going into my own
shape, it is worse to me the time I am on Sruth na Maoile.

"The three I loved, Och! the three I loved, that slept under the shelter
of my feathers; till the dead come back to the living I will see them no
more for ever.

"It is a pity I to stay after Fiachra, and after Aodh, and after comely
Conn, and with no account of them; my grief I to be here to face every
hardship this night."

She stopped all night there upon the Rock of the Seals until the rising
of the sun, looking out over the sea on every side till at last she saw
Conn coming to her, his feathers wet through and his head hanging, and
her heart gave him a great welcome; and then Fiachra came wet and
perished and worn out, and he could not say a word they could understand
with the dint of the cold and the hardship he had gone through. And
Fionnuala put him under her wings, and she said: "We would be well off
now if Aodh would but come to us."

It was not long after that, they saw Aodh coming, his head dry and his
feathers beautiful, and Fionnuala gave him a great welcome, and she put
him in under the feathers of her breast, and Fiachra under her right
wing and Conn under her left wing, the way she could put her feathers
over them all. "And Och! my brothers," she said, "this was a bad night
to us, and it is many of its like are before us from this out."

They stayed there a long time after that, suffering cold and misery on
the Maoil, till at last a night came on them they had never known the
like of before, for frost and snow and wind and cold. And they were
crying and lamenting the hardship of their life, and the cold of the
night and the greatness of the snow and the hardness of the wind. And
after they had suffered cold to the end of a year, a worse night again
came on them, in the middle of winter. And they were on Carraig na Ron,
and the water froze about them, and as they rested on the rock, their
feet and their wings and their feathers froze to the rock, the way they
were not able to move from it. And they made such a hard struggle to get
away, that they left the skin of their feet and their feathers and the
tops of their wings on the rock after them.

"My grief, children of Lir," said Fionnuala, "it is bad our state is
now, for we cannot bear the salt water to touch us, and there are bonds
on us not to leave it; and if the salt water goes into our sores," she
said, "we will get our death." And she made this complaint:--

"It is keening we are to-night; without feathers to cover our bodies; it
is cold the rough, uneven rocks are under our bare feet.

"It is bad our stepmother was to us the time she played enchantments on
us, sending us out like swans upon the sea.

"Our washing place is on the ridge of the bay, in the foam of flying
manes of the sea; our share of the ale feast is the salt water of the
blue tide.

"One daughter and three sons; it is in the clefts of the rocks we are;
it is on the hard rocks we are, it is a pity the way we are."

However, they came on to the course of the Maoil again, and the salt
water was sharp and rough and bitter to them, but if it was itself, they
were not able to avoid it or to get shelter from it. And they were there
by the shore under that hardship till such time as their feathers grew
again, and their wings, and till their sores were entirely healed. And
then they used to go every day to the shore of Ireland or of Alban, but
they had to come back to Sruth na Maoile every night.

Now they came one day to the mouth of the Banna, to the north of
Ireland, and they saw a troop of riders, beautiful, of the one colour,
with well-trained pure white horses under them, and they travelling the
road straight from the south-west.

"Do you know who those riders are, sons of Lir?" said Fionnuala.

"We do not," they said; "but it is likely they might be some troop of
the Sons of the Gael, or of the Tuatha de Danaan."

They moved over closer to the shore then, that they might know who they
were, and when the riders saw them they came to meet them until they
were able to hold talk together.

And the chief men among them were two sons of Bodb Dearg, Aodh
Aithfhiosach, of the quick wits, and Fergus Fithchiollach, of the chess,
and a third part of the Riders of the Sidhe along with them, and it was
for the swans they had been looking for a long while before that, and
when they came together they wished one another a kind and loving

And the children of Lir asked for news of all the Men of Dea, and above
all of Lir, and Bodb Dearg and their people.

"They are well, and they are in the one place together," said they, "in
your father's house at Sidhe Fionnachaidh, using the Feast of Age
pleasantly and happily, and with no uneasiness on them, only for being
without yourselves, and without knowledge of what happened you from the
day you left Loch Dairbhreach."

"That has not been the way with us," said Fionnuala, "for we have gone
through great hardship and uneasiness and misery on the tides of the sea
until this day."

And she made this complaint:--

"There is delight to-night with the household of Lir! Plenty of ale with
them and of wine, although it is in a cold dwelling-place this night are
the four children of the king.

"It is without a spot our bedclothes are, our bodies covered over with
curved feathers; but it is often we were dressed in purple, and we
drinking pleasant mead.

"It is what our food is and our drink, the white sand and the bitter
water of the sea; it is often we drank mead of hazel-nuts from round
four-lipped drinking cups.

"It is what our beds are, bare rocks out of the power of the waves; it
is often there used to be spread out for us beds of the breast-feathers
of birds.

"Though it is our work now to be swimming through the frost and through
the noise of the waves, it is often a company of the sons of kings were
riding after us to the Hill of Bodb.

"It is what wasted my strength, to be going and coming over the current
of the Maoil the way I never was used to, and never to be in the
sunshine on the soft grass.

"Fiachra's bed and Conn's bed is to come under the cover of my wings on
the sea. Aodh has his place under the feathers of my breast, the four of
us side by side.

"The teaching of Manannan without deceit, the talk of Bodb Dearg on the
pleasant ridge; the voice of Angus, his sweet kisses; it is by their
side I used to be without grief."

After that the riders went on to Lir's house, and they told the chief
men of the Tuatha de Danaan all the birds had gone through, and the
state they were in. "We have no power over them," the chief men said,
"but we are glad they are living yet, for they will get help in the end
of time."

As to the children of Lir, they went back towards their old place in the
Maoil, and they stopped there till the time they had to spend in it was
spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to leave this
place. And it is to Irrus Domnann we must go now," she said, "after our
three hundred years here. And indeed there will be no rest for us there,
or any standing ground, or any shelter from the storms. But since it is
time for us to go, let us set out on the cold wind, the way we will not
go astray."

So they set out in that way, and left Sruth na Maoile behind them, and
went to the point of Irrus Domnann, and there they stopped, and it is a
life of misery and a cold life they led there. And one time the sea
froze about them that they could not move at all, and the brothers were
lamenting, and Fionnuala was comforting them, for she knew there would
help come to them in the end.

And they stayed at Irrus Domnann till the time they had to spend there
was spent. And then Fionnuala said: "The time is come for us to go back
to Sidhe Fionnachaidh, where our father is with his household and with
all our own people."

"It pleases us well to hear that," they said.

So they set out flying through the air lightly till they came to Sidhe
Fionnachaidh; and it is how they found the place, empty before them, and
nothing in it but green hillocks and thickets of nettles, without a
house, without a fire, without a hearthstone. And the four pressed close
to one another then, and they gave out three sorrowful cries, and
Fionnuala made this complaint:--

"It is a wonder to me this place is, and it without a house, without a
dwelling-place. To see it the way it is now, Ochone! it is bitterness to
my heart.

"Without dogs, without hounds for hunting, without women, without great
kings; we never knew it to be like this when our father was in it.

"Without horns, without cups, without drinking in the lighted house;
without young men, without riders; the way it is to-night is a
foretelling of sorrow.

"The people of the place to be as they are now, Ochone! it is grief to
my heart! It is plain to my mind to-night the lord of the house is not

"Och, house where we used to see music and playing and the gathering of
people! I think it a great change to see it lonely the way it is

"The greatness of the hardships we have gone through going from one wave
to another of the sea, we never heard of the like of them coming on any
other person.

"It is seldom this place had its part with grass and bushes; the man is
not living that would know us, it would be a wonder to him to see us

However, the children of Lir stopped that night in their father's place
and their grandfather's, where they had been reared, and they were
singing very sweet music of the Sidhe. And they rose up early on the
morning of the morrow and went to Inis Gluaire, and all the birds of the
country gathered near them on Loch na-n Ean, the Lake of the Birds. And
they used to go out to feed every day to the far parts of the country,
to Inis Geadh and to Accuill, the place Donn, son of Miled, and his
people that were drowned were buried, and to all the western islands of
Connacht, and they used to go back to Inis Gluaire every night.

It was about that time it happened them to meet with a young man of good
race, and his name was Aibric; and he often took notice of the birds,
and their singing was sweet to him and he loved them greatly, and they
loved him. And it is this young man that told the whole story of all
that had happened them, and put it in order.

And the story he told of what happened them in the end is this.

It was after the faith of Christ and blessed Patrick came into Ireland,
that Saint Mochaomhog came to Inis Gluaire. And the first night he came
to the island, the children of Lir heard the voice of his bell, ringing
near them. And the brothers started up with fright when they heard it
"We do not know," they said, "what is that weak, unpleasing voice we

"That is the voice of the bell of Mochaomhog," said Fionnuala; "and it
is through that bell," she said, "you will be set free from pain and
from misery."

They listened to that music of the bell till the matins were done, and
then they began to sing the low, sweet music of the Sidhe.

And Mochaomhog was listening to them, and he prayed to God to show him
who was singing that music, and it was showed to him that the children
of Lir were singing it. And on the morning of the morrow he went forward
to the Lake of the Birds, and he saw the swans before him on the lake,
and he went down to them at the brink of the shore. "Are you the
children of Lir?" he said.

"We are indeed," said they.

"I give thanks to God for that," said he, "for it is for your sakes I am
come to this island beyond any other island, and let you come to land
now," he said, "and give your trust to me, that you may do good deeds
and part from your sins."

They came to the land after that, and they put trust in Mochaomhog, and
he brought them to his own dwelling-place, and they used to be hearing
Mass with him. And he got a good smith and bade him make chains of
bright silver for them, and he put a chain between Aodh and Fionnuala,
and a chain between Conn and Fiachra. And the four of them were raising
his heart and gladdening his mind, and no danger and no distress that
was on the swans before put any trouble on them now.

Now the king of Connacht at that time was Lairgnen, son of Colman, son
of Cobthach, and Deoch, daughter of Finghin, was his wife. And that was
the coming together of the Man from the North and the Woman from the
South, that Aoife had spoken of.

And the woman heard talk of the birds, and a great desire came on her to
get them, and she bade Lairgnen to bring them to her, and he said he
would ask them of Mochaomhog.

And she gave her word she would not stop another night with him unless
he would bring them to her. And she set out from the house there and
then. And Lairgnen sent messengers after her to bring her back, and they
did not overtake her till she was at Cill Dun. She went back home with
them then, and Lairgnen sent messengers to ask the birds of Mochaomhog,
and he did not get them.

There was great anger on Lairgnen then, and he went himself to the place
Mochaomhog was, and he asked was it true he had refused him the birds.
"It is true indeed," said he. At that Lairgnen rose up, and he took hold
of the swans, and pulled them off the altar, two birds in each hand, to
bring them away to Deoch. But no sooner had he laid his hand on them
than their bird skins fell off, and what was in their place was three
lean, withered old men and a thin withered old woman, without blood or

And Lairgnen gave a great start at that, and he went out from the
place. It is then Fionnuala said to Mochaomhog: "Come and baptize us
now, for it is short till our death comes; and it is certain you do not
think worse of parting with us than we do of parting with you. And make
our grave afterwards," she said, "and lay Conn at my right side and
Fiachra on my left side, and Aodh before my face, between my two arms.
And pray to the God of Heaven," she said, "that you may be able to
baptize us."

The children of Lir were baptized then, and they died and were buried as
Fionnuala had desired; Fiachra and Conn one at each side of her, and
Aodh before her face. And a stone was put over them, and their names
were written in Ogham, and they were keened there, and heaven was gained
for their souls.

And that is the fate of the children of Lir so far.




At the time Finn was born his father Cumhal, of the sons of Baiscne,
Head of the Fianna of Ireland, had been killed in battle by the sons of
Morna that were fighting with him for the leadership. And his mother,
that was beautiful long-haired Muirne, daughter of Tadg, son of Nuada of
the Tuatha de Danaan and of Ethlinn, mother of Lugh of the Long Hand,
did not dare to keep him with her; and two women, Bodhmall, the woman
Druid, and Liath Luachra, came and brought him away to care him.

It was to the woods of Slieve Bladhma they brought him, and they nursed
him secretly, because of his father's enemies, the sons of Morna, and
they kept him there a long time.

And Muirne, his mother, took another husband that was king of Carraighe;
but at the end of six years she came to see Finn, going through every
lonely place till she came to the wood, and there she found the little
hunting cabin, and the boy asleep in it, and she lifted him up in her
arms and kissed him, and she sang a little sleepy song to him; and then
she said farewell to the women, and she went away again.

And the two women went on caring him till he came to sensible years; and
one day when he went out he saw a wild duck on the lake with her clutch,
and he made a cast at her that cut the wings off her that she could not
fly, and he brought her back to the cabin, and that was his first hunt.

And they gave him good training in running and leaping and swimming. One
of them would run round a tree, and she having a thorn switch, and Finn
after her with another switch, and each one trying to hit at the other;
and they would leave him in a field, and hares along with him, and would
bid him not to let the hares quit the field, but to keep before them
whichever way they would go; and to teach him swimming they would throw
him into the water and let him make his way out.

But after a while he went away with a troop of poets, to hide from the
sons of Morna, and they hid him in the mountain of Crotta Cliach; but
there was a robber in Leinster at that time, Fiacuil, son of Codhna, and
he came where the poets were in Fidh Gaible and killed them all. But he
spared the child and brought him to his own house, that was in a cold
marsh. But the two women, Bodhmall and Liath, came looking for him after
a while, and Fiacuil gave him up to them, and they brought him back to
the same place he was before.

He grew up there, straight and strong and fair-haired and beautiful. And
one day he was out in Slieve Bladhma, and the two women along with him,
and they saw before them a herd of the wild deer of the mountain. "It is
a pity," said the old women, "we not to be able to get a deer of those
deer." "I will get one for you," said Finn; and with that he followed
after them, and caught two stags of them and brought them home to the
hunting cabin. And after that he used to be hunting for them every day.
But at last they said to him: "It is best for you to leave us now, for
the sons of Morna are watching again to kill you."

So he went away then by himself, and never stopped till he came to Magh
Lifé, and there he saw young lads swimming in a lake, and they called to
him to swim against them. So he went into the lake, and he beat them at
swimming. "Fair he is and well shaped," they said when they saw him
swimming, and it was from that time he got the name of Finn, that is,
Fair. But they got to be jealous of his strength, and he went away and
left them.

He went on then till he came to Loch Lein, and he took service there
with the King of Finntraigh; and there was no hunter like him, and the
king said: "If Cumhal had left a son, you would be that son."

He went from that king after, and he went into Carraighe, and there he
took service with the king, that had taken his mother Muirne for his
wife. And one day they were playing chess together, and he won seven
games one after another. "Who are you at all?" said the king then. "I am
a son of a countryman of the Luigne of Teamhair," said Finn. "That is
not so," said the king, "but you are the son that Muirne my wife bore to
Cumhal. And do not stop here any longer," he said, "that you may not be
killed under my protection."

From that he went into Connacht looking for his father's brother,
Crimall, son of Trenmor; and as he was going on his way he heard the
crying of a lone woman. He went to her, and looked at her, and tears of
blood were on her face. "Your face is red with blood, woman," he said.
"I have reason for it," said she, "for my only son is after being killed
by a great fighting man that came on us." And Finn followed after the
big champion and fought with him and killed him. And the man he killed
was the same man that had given Cumhal his first wound in the battle
where he got his death, and had brought away his treasure-bag with him.

Now as to that treasure-bag, it is of a crane skin it was made, that was
one time the skin of Aoife, the beautiful sweetheart of Ilbrec, son of
Manannan, that was put into the shape of a crane through jealousy. And
it was in Manannan's house it used to be, and there were treasures kept
in it, Manannan's shirt and his knife, and the belt and the smith's hook
of Goibniu, and the shears of the King of Alban, and the helmet of the
King of Lochlann, and a belt of the skin of a great fish, and the bones
of Asal's pig that had been brought to Ireland by the sons of Tuireann.
All those treasures would be in the bag at full tide, but at the ebbing
of the tide it would be empty. And it went from Manannan to Lugh, son of
Ethlinn, and after that to Cumhal, that was husband to Muirne, Ethlinn's

And Finn took the bag and brought it with him till he found Crimall,
that was now an old man, living in a lonely place, and some of the old
men of the Fianna were with him, and used to go hunting for him. And
Finn gave him the bag, and told him his whole story.

And then he said farewell to Crimall, and went on to learn poetry from
Finegas, a poet that was living at the Boinn, for the poets thought it
was always on the brink of water poetry was revealed to them. And he did
not give him his own name, but he took the name of Deimne. Seven years,
now, Finegas had stopped at the Boinn, watching the salmon, for it was
in the prophecy that he would eat the salmon of knowledge that would
come there, and that he would have all knowledge after. And when at the
last the salmon of knowledge came, he brought it to where Finn was, and
bade him to roast it, but he bade him not to eat any of it. And when
Finn brought him the salmon after a while he said: "Did you eat any of
it at all, boy?" "I did not," said Finn; "but I burned my thumb putting
down a blister that rose on the skin, and after doing that, I put my
thumb in my mouth." "What is your name, boy?" said Finegas. "Deimne,"
said he. "It is not, but it is Finn your name is, and it is to you and
not to myself the salmon was given in the prophecy." With that he gave
Finn the whole of the salmon, and from that time Finn had the knowledge
that came from the nuts of the nine hazels of wisdom that grow beside
the well that is below the sea.

And besides the wisdom he got then, there was a second wisdom came to
him another time, and this is the way it happened. There was a well of
the moon belonging to Beag, son of Buan, of the Tuatha de Danaan, and
whoever would drink out of it would get wisdom, and after a second drink
he would get the gift of foretelling. And the three daughters of Beag,
son of Buan, had charge of the well, and they would not part with a
vessel of it for anything less than red gold. And one day Finn chanced
to be hunting in the rushes near the well, and the three women ran out
to hinder him from coming to it, and one of them that had a vessel of
the water in her hand, threw it at him to stop him, and a share of the
water went into his mouth. And from that out he had all the knowledge
that the water of that well could give.

And he learned the three ways of poetry; and this is the poem he made to
show he had got his learning well:--

"It is the month of May is the pleasant time; its face is beautiful; the
blackbird sings his full song, the living wood is his holding, the
cuckoos are singing and ever singing; there is a welcome before the
brightness of the summer.

"Summer is lessening the rivers, the swift horses are looking for the
pool; the heath spreads out its long hair, the weak white bog-down
grows. A wildness comes on the heart of the deer; the sad restless sea
is asleep.

"Bees with their little strength carry a load reaped from the flowers;
the cattle go up muddy to the mountains; the ant has a good full feast.

"The harp of the woods is playing music; there is colour on the hills,
and a haze on the full lakes, and entire peace upon every sail.

"The corncrake is speaking, a loud-voiced poet; the high lonely
waterfall is singing a welcome to the warm pool, the talking of the
rushes has begun.

"The light swallows are darting; the loudness of music is around the
hill; the fat soft mast is budding; there is grass on the trembling

"The bog is as dark as the feathers of the raven; the cuckoo makes a
loud welcome; the speckled salmon is leaping; as strong is the leaping
of the swift fighting man.

"The man is gaining; the girl is in her comely growing power; every wood
is without fault from the top to the ground, and every wide good plain.

"It is pleasant is the colour of the time; rough winter is gone; every
plentiful wood is white; summer is a joyful peace.

"A flock of birds pitches in the meadow; there are sounds in the green
fields, there is in them a clear rushing stream.

"There is a hot desire on you for the racing of horses; twisted holly
makes a leash for the hound; a bright spear has been shot into the
earth, and the flag-flower is golden under it.

"A weak lasting little bird is singing at the top of his voice; the lark
is singing clear tidings; May without fault, of beautiful colours.

"I have another story for you; the ox is lowing, the winter is creeping
in, the summer is gone. High and cold the wind, low the sun, cries are
about us; the sea is quarrelling.

"The ferns are reddened and their shape is hidden; the cry of the wild
goose is heard; the cold has caught the wings of the birds; it is the
time of ice-frost, hard, unhappy."

And after that, Finn being but a young lad yet, made himself ready and
went up at Samhain time to the gathering of the High King at Teamhair.
And it was the law at that gathering, no one to raise a quarrel or
bring out any grudge against another through the whole of the time it
lasted. And the king and his chief men, and Goll, son of Morna, that was
now Head of the Fianna, and Caoilte, son of Ronan, and Conan, son of
Morna, of the sharp words, were sitting at a feast in the great house of
the Middle Court; and the young lad came in and took his place among
them, and none of them knew who he was.

The High King looked at him then, and the horn of meetings was brought
to him, and he put it into the boy's hand, and asked him who was he.

"I am Finn, son of Cumhal," he said, "son of the man that used to be
head over the Fianna, and king of Ireland; and I am come now to get your
friendship, and to give you my service."

"You are son of a friend, boy," said the king, "and son of a man I

Then Finn rose up and made his agreement of service and of faithfulness
to the king; and the king took him by the hand and put him sitting
beside his own son, and they gave themselves to drinking and to pleasure
for a while.

Every year, now, at Samhain time, for nine years, there had come a man
of the Tuatha de Danaan out of Sidhe Finnachaidh in the north, and had
burned up Teamhair. Aillen, son of Midhna, his name was, and it is the
way he used to come, playing music of the Sidhe, and all the people that
heard it would fall asleep. And when they were all in their sleep, he
would let a flame of fire out of his mouth, and would blow the flame
till all Teamhair was burned.

The king rose up at the feast after a while, and his smooth horn in his
hand, and it is what he said: "If I could find among you, men of
Ireland, any man that would keep Teamhair till the break of day
to-morrow without being burned by Aillen, son of Midhna, I would give
him whatever inheritance is right for him to have, whether it be much or

But the men of Ireland made no answer, for they knew well that at the
sound of the sweet pitiful music made by that comely man of the Sidhe,
even women in their pains and men that were wounded would fall asleep.

It is then Finn rose up and spoke to the King of Ireland. "Who will be
your sureties that you will fulfil this?" he said. "The kings of the
provinces of Ireland," said the king, "and Cithruadh with his Druids."
So they gave their pledges, and Finn took in hand to keep Teamhair safe
till the breaking of day on the morrow.

Now there was a fighting man among the followers of the King of Ireland,
Fiacha, son of Conga, that Cumhal, Finn's father, used to have a great
liking for, and he said to Finn: "Well, boy," he said, "what reward
would you give me if I would bring you a deadly spear, that no false
cast was ever made with?" "What reward are you asking of me?" said Finn.
"Whatever your right hand wins at any time, the third of it to be mine,"
said Fiacha, "and a third of your trust and your friendship to be mine."
"I will give you that," said Finn. Then Fiacha brought him
the spear, unknown to the sons of Morna or to any other person, and he
said: "When you will hear the music of the Sidhe, let you strip the
covering off the head of the spear and put it to your forehead, and the
power of the spear will not let sleep come upon you."

Then Finn rose up before all the men of Ireland, and he made a round of
the whole of Teamhair. And it was not long till he heard the sorrowful
music, and he stripped the covering from the head of the spear, and he
held the power of it to his forehead. And Aillen went on playing his
little harp, till he had put every one in their sleep as he was used;
and then he let a flame of fire out from his mouth to burn Teamhair.
And Finn held up his fringed crimson cloak against the flame, and it
fell down through the air and went into the ground, bringing the
four-folded cloak with it deep into the earth.

And when Aillen saw his spells were destroyed, he went back to Sidhe
Finnachaidh on the top of Slieve Fuad; but Finn followed after him
there, and as Aillen was going in at the door he made a cast of the
spear that went through his heart. And he struck his head off then, and
brought it back to Teamhair, and fixed it on a crooked pole and left it
there till the rising of the sun over the heights and invers of the

And Aillen's mother came to where his body was lying, and there was
great grief on her, and she made this complaint:--

"Ochone! Aillen is fallen, chief of the Sidhe of Beinn Boirche; the slow
clouds of death are come on him. Och! he was pleasant, Och! he was kind.
Aillen, son of Midhna of Slieve Fuad.

"Nine times he burned Teamhair. It is a great name he was always looking
for, Ochone, Ochone, Aillen!"

And at the breaking of day, the king and all the men of Ireland came out
upon the lawn at Teamhair where Finn was. "King," said Finn, "there is
the head of the man that burned Teamhair, and the pipe and the harp that
made his music. And it is what I think," he said, "that Teamhair and all
that is in it is saved."

Then they all came together into the place of counsel, and it is what
they agreed, the headship of the Fianna of Ireland to be given to Finn.
And the king said to Goll, son of Morna: "Well, Goll," he said, "is it
your choice to quit Ireland or to put your hand in Finn's hand?" "By my
word, I will give Finn my hand," said Goll.

And when the charms that used to bring good luck had done their work,
the chief men of the Fianna rose up and struck their hands in Finn's
hand, and Goll, son of Morna, was the first to give him his hand the way
there would be less shame on the rest for doing it.

And Finn kept the headship of the Fianna until the end; and the place he
lived in was Almhuin of Leinster, where the white dun was made by Nuada
of the Tuatha de Danaan, that was as white as if all the lime in Ireland
was put on it, and that got its name from the great herd of cattle that
died fighting one time around the well, and that left their horns there,
speckled horns and white.

And as to Finn himself, he was a king and a seer and a poet; a Druid and
a knowledgeable man; and everything he said was sweet-sounding to his
people. And a better fighting man than Finn never struck his hand into a
king's hand, and whatever any one ever said of him, he was three times
better. And of his justice it used to be said, that if his enemy and his
own son had come before him to be judged, it is a fair judgment he would
have given between them. And as to his generosity it used to be said, he
never denied any man as long as he had a mouth to eat with, and legs to
bring away what he gave him; and he left no woman without her
bride-price, and no man without his pay; and he never promised at night
what he would not fulfil on the morrow, and he never promised in the day
what he would not fulfil at night, and he never forsook his right-hand
friend. And if he was quiet in peace he was angry in battle, and Oisin
his son and Osgar his son's son followed him in that. There was a young
man of Ulster came and claimed kinship with them one time, saying they
were of the one blood. "If that is so," said Oisin, "it is from the men
of Ulster we took the madness and the angry heart we have in battle."
"That is so indeed," said Finn.


And the number of the Fianna of Ireland at that time was seven score and
ten chief men, every one of them having three times nine righting men
under him. And every man of them was bound to three things, to take no
cattle by oppression, not to refuse any man, as to cattle or riches; no
one of them to fall back before nine fighting men. And there was no man
taken into the Fianna until his tribe and his kindred would give
securities for him, that even if they themselves were all killed he
would not look for satisfaction for their death. But if he himself would
harm others, that harm was not to be avenged on his people. And there
was no man taken into the Fianna till he knew the twelve books of
poetry. And before any man was taken, he would be put into a deep hole
in the ground up to his middle, and he having his shield and a hazel rod
in his hand. And nine men would go the length of ten furrows from him
and would cast their spears at him at the one time. And if he got a
wound from one of them, he was not thought fit to join with the Fianna.
And after that again, his hair would be fastened up, and he put to run
through the woods of Ireland, and the Fianna following after him to try
could they wound him, and only the length of a branch between themselves
and himself when they started. And if they came up with him and wounded
him, he was not let join them; or if his spears had trembled in his
hand, or if a branch of a tree had undone the plaiting of his hair, or
if he had cracked a dry stick under his foot, and he running. And they
would not take him among them till he had made a leap over a stick the
height of himself, and till he had stooped under one the height of his
knee, and till he had taken a thorn out from his foot with his nail,
and he running his fastest. But if he had done all these things, he was
of Finn's people.

It was good wages Finn and the Fianna got at that time; in every
district a townland, in every house the fostering of a pup or a whelp
from Samhain to Beltaine, and a great many things along with that. But
good as the pay was, the hardships and the dangers they went through for
it were greater. For they had to hinder the strangers and robbers from
beyond the seas, and every bad thing, from coming into Ireland. And they
had hard work enough in doing that.

And besides the fighting men, Finn had with him his five Druids, the
best that ever came into the west, Cainnelsciath, of the Shining Shield,
one of them was, that used to bring down knowledge from the clouds in
the sky before Finn, and that could foretell battles. And he had his
five wonderful physicians, four of them belonging to Ireland, and one
that came over the sea from the east. And he had his five high poets and
his twelve musicians, that had among them Daighre, son of Morna, and
Suanach, son of Senshenn, that was Finn's teller of old stories, the
sweetest that ever took a harp in his hand in Ireland or in Alban. And
he had his three cup-bearers and his six door-keepers and his
horn-players and the stewards of his house and his huntsman, Comhrag of
the five hundred hounds, and his serving-men that were under
Garbhcronan, of the Rough Buzzing; and a great troop of others along
with them.

And there were fifty of the best sewing-women in Ireland brought
together in a rath on Magh Feman, under the charge of a daughter of the
King of Britain, and they used to be making clothing for the Fianna
through the whole of the year. And three of them, that were a king's
daughters, used to be making music for the rest on a little silver
harp; and there was a very great candlestick of stone in the middle of
the rath, for they were not willing to kindle a fire more than three
times in the year for fear the smoke and the ashes might harm the

And of all his musicians the one Finn thought most of was Cnu Deireoil,
the Little Nut, that came to him from the Sidhe.

It was at Slieve-nam-ban, for hunting, Finn was the time he came to him.
Sitting down he was on the turf-built grave that is there; and when he
looked around him he saw a small little man about four feet in height
standing on the grass. Light yellow hair he had, hanging down to his
waist, and he playing music on his harp. And the music he was making had
no fault in it at all, and it is much that the whole of the Fianna did
not fall asleep with the sweetness of its sound. He came up then, and
put his hand in Finn's hand. "Where do you come from, little one,
yourself and your sweet music?" said Finn. "I am come," he said, "out of
the place of the Sidhe in Slieve-nam-ban, where ale is drunk and made;
and it is to be in your company for a while I am come here." "You will
get good rewards from me, and riches and red gold," said Finn, "and my
full friendship, for I like you well." "That is the best luck ever came
to you, Finn," said all the rest of the Fianna, for they were well
pleased to have him in their company. And they gave him the name of the
Little Nut; and he was good in speaking, and he had so good a memory he
never forgot anything he heard east or west; and there was no one but
must listen to his music, and all the Fianna liked him well. And there
were some said he was a son of Lugh Lamh-Fada, of the Long Hand.

And the five musicians of the Fianna were brought to him, to learn the
music of the Sidhe he had brought from that other place; for there was
never any music heard on earth but his was better. These were the three
best things Finn ever got, Bran and Sceolan that were without fault, and
the Little Nut from the House of the Sidhe in Slieve-nam-ban.


This, now, is the story of the birth of Bran.

Finn's mother, Muirne, came one time to Almhuin, and she brought with
her Tuiren, her sister. And Iollan Eachtach, a chief man of the Fianna
of Ulster, was at Almhuin at the time, and he gave his love to Tuiren,
and asked her in marriage, and brought her to his own house. But before
they went, Finn made him gave his word he would bring her back safe and
sound if ever he asked for her, and he bade him find sureties for
himself among the chief men of the Fianna. And Iollan did that, and the
sureties he got were Caoilte and Goll and Lugaidh Lamha, and it was
Lugaidh gave her into the hand of Iollan Eachtach.

But before Iollan made that marriage, he had a sweetheart of the Sidhe,
Uchtdealb of the Fair Breast; and there came great jealousy on her when
she knew he had taken a wife. And she took the appearance of Finn's
woman-messenger, and she came to the house where Tuiren was, and she
said: "Finn sends health and long life to you, queen, and he bids you to
make a great feast; and come with me now," she said, "till I speak a few
words with you, for there is hurry on me."

So Tuiren went out with her, and when they were away from the house the
woman of the Sidhe took out her dark Druid rod from under her cloak and
gave her a blow of it that changed her into a hound, the most beautiful
that was ever seen. And then she went on, bringing the hound with her,
to the house of Fergus Fionnliath, king of the harbour of Gallimh. And
it is the way Fergus was, he was the most unfriendly man to dogs in the
whole world, and he would not let one stop in the same house with him.
But it is what Uchtdealb said to him: "Finn wishes you life and health,
Fergus, and he says to you to take good care of his hound till he comes
himself; and mind her well," she said, "for she is with young, and do
not let her go hunting when her time is near, or Finn will be no way
thankful to you." "I wonder at that message," said Fergus, "for Finn
knows well there is not in the world a man has less liking for dogs than
myself. But for all that," he said, "I will not refuse Finn the first
time he sent a hound to me."

And when he brought the hound out to try her, she was the best he ever
knew, and she never saw the wild creature she would not run down; and
Fergus took a great liking for hounds from that out.

And when her time came near, they did not let her go hunting any more,
and she gave birth to two whelps.

And as to Finn, when he heard his mother's sister was not living with
Iollan Eachtach, he called to him for the fulfilment of the pledge that
was given to the Fianna. And Iollan asked time to go looking for Tuiren,
and he gave his word that if he did not find her, he would give himself
up in satisfaction for her. So they agreed to that, and Iollan went to
the hill where Uchtdealb was, his sweetheart of the Sidhe, and told her
the way things were with him, and the promise he had made to give
himself up to the Fianna. "If that is so," said she, "and if you will
give me your pledge to keep me as your sweetheart to the end of your
life, I will free you from that danger." So Iollan gave her his promise,
and she went to the house of Fergus Fionnliath, and she brought Tuiren
away and put her own shape on her again, and gave her up to Finn. And
Finn gave her to Lugaidh Lamha that asked her in marriage.

And as to the two whelps, they stopped always with Finn, and the names
he gave them were Bran and Sceolan.


It happened one time Finn and his men were coming back from the hunting,
a beautiful fawn started up before them, and they followed after it, men
and dogs, till at last they were all tired and fell back, all but Finn
himself and Bran and Sceolan. And suddenly as they were going through a
valley, the fawn stopped and lay down on the smooth grass, and Bran and
Sceolan came up with it, and they did not harm it at all, but went
playing about it, licking its neck and its face.

There was wonder on Finn when he saw that, and he went on home to
Almhuin, and the fawn followed after him playing with the hounds, and it
came with them into the house at Almhuin. And when Finn was alone late
that evening, a beautiful young woman having a rich dress came before
him, and she told him it was she herself was the fawn he was after
hunting that day. "And it is for refusing the love of Fear Doirche, the
Dark Druid of the Men of Dea," she said, "I was put in this shape. And
through the length of three years," she said, "I have lived the life of
a wild deer in a far part of Ireland, and I am hunted like a wild deer.
And a serving-man of the Dark Druid took pity on me," she said, "and he
said that if I was once within the dun of the Fianna of Ireland, the
Druid would have no more power over me. So I made away, and I never
stopped through the whole length of a day till I came into the district
of Almhuin. And I never stopped then till there was no one after me but
only Bran and Sceolan, that have human wits; and I was safe with them,
for they knew my nature to be like their own."

Then Finn gave her his love, and took her as his wife, and she stopped
in Almhuin. And so great was his love for her, he gave up his hunting
and all the things he used to take pleasure in, and gave his mind to no
other thing but herself.

But at last the men of Lochlann came against Ireland, and their ships
were in the bay below Beinn Edair, and they landed there.

And Finn and the battalions of the Fianna went out against them, and
drove them back. And at the end of seven days Finn came back home, and
he went quickly over the plain of Almhuin, thinking to see Sadbh his
wife looking out from the dun, but there was no sign of her. And when he
came to the dun, all his people came out to meet him, but they had a
very downcast look. "Where is the flower of Almhuin, beautiful gentle
Sadbh?" he asked them. And it is what they said: "While you were away
fighting, your likeness, and the likeness of Bran and of Sceolan
appeared before the dun, and we thought we heard the sweet call of the
Dord Fiann. And Sadbh, that was so good and so beautiful, came out of
the house," they said, "and she went out of the gates, and she would not
listen to us, and we could not stop her." "Let me go meet my love," she
said, "my husband, the father of the child that is not born." And with
that she went running out towards the shadow of yourself that was before
her, and that had its arms stretched out to her. But no sooner did she
touch it than she gave a great cry, and the shadow lifted up a hazel
rod, and on the moment it was a fawn was standing on the grass. Three
times she turned and made for the gate of the dun, but the two hounds
the shadow had with him went after her and took her by the throat and
dragged her back to him. "And by your hand of valour, Finn," they said,
"we ourselves made no delay till we went out on the plain after her. But
it is our grief, they had all vanished, and there was not to be seen
woman, or fawn or Druid, but we could hear the quick tread of feet on
the hard plain, and the howling of dogs. And if you would ask every one
of us in what quarter he heard those sounds, he would tell you a
different one."

When Finn heard that, he said no word at all, but he struck his breast
over and over again with his shut hands. And he went then to his own
inside room, and his people saw him no more for that day, or till the
sun rose over Magh Lifé on the morrow.

And through the length of seven years from that time, whenever he was
not out fighting against the enemies of Ireland, he went searching and
ever searching in every far corner for beautiful Sadbh. And there was
great trouble on him all the time, unless he might throw it off for a
while in hunting or in battle. And through all that time he never
brought out to any hunting but the five hounds he had most trust in,
Bran and Sceolan and Lomaire and Brod and Lomluath, the way there would
be no danger for Sadbh if ever he came on her track.

But after the end of seven years, Finn and some of his chief men were
hunting on the sides of Beinn Gulbain, and they heard a great outcry
among the hounds, that were gone into some narrow place. And when they
followed them there, they saw the five hounds of Finn in a ring, and
they keeping back the other hounds, and in the middle of the ring was a
young boy, with high looks, and he naked and having long hair. And he
was no way daunted by the noise of the hounds, and did not look at them
at all, but at the men that were coming up. And as soon as the fight was
stopped Bran and Sceolan went up to the little lad, and whined and
licked him, that any one would think they had forgotten their master.
Finn and the others came up to him then, and put their hands on his
head, and made much of him. And they brought him to their own hunting
cabin, and he ate and drank with them, and before long he lost his
wildness and was the same as themselves. And as to Bran and Sceolan,
they were never tired playing about him.

And it is what Finn thought, there was some look of Sadbh in his face,
and that it might be he was her son, and he kept him always beside him.
And little by little when the boy had learned their talk, he told them
all he could remember. He used to be with a deer he loved very much, he
said, and that cared and sheltered him, and it was in a wide place they
used to be, having hills and valleys and streams and woods in it, but
that was shut in with high cliffs on every side, that there was no way
of escape from it. And he used to be eating fruits and roots in the
summer, and in the winter there was food left for him in the shelter of
a cave. And a dark-looking man used to be coming to the place, and
sometimes he would speak to the deer softly and gently, and sometimes
with a loud angry voice. But whatever way he spoke, she would always
draw away from him with the appearance of great dread on her, and the
man would go away in great anger. And the last time he saw the deer, his
mother, the dark man was speaking to her for a long time, from softness
to anger. And at the end he struck her with a hazel rod, and with that
she was forced to follow him, and she looking back all the while at the
child, and crying after him that any one would pity her. And he tried
hard to follow after her, and made every attempt, and cried out with
grief and rage, but he had no power to move, and when he could hear his
mother no more he fell on the grass and his wits went from him. And when
he awoke it is on the side of the hill he was, where the hounds found
him. And he searched a long time for the place where he was brought up,
but he could not find it.

And the name the Fianna gave him was Oisin, and it is he was their maker
of poems, and their good fighter afterwards.


And while Oisin was in his young youth, Finn had other good men along
with him, and the best of them were Goll, son of Morna, and Caoilte, son
of Ronan, and Lugaidh's Son.

As to Goll, that was of Connacht, he was very tall and light-haired, and
some say he was the strongest of all the Fianna. Finn made a poem in
praise of him one time when some stranger was asking what sort he was,
saying how hardy he was and brave in battle, and as strong as a hound or
as the waves, and with all that so kind and so gentle, and open-handed
and sweet-voiced, and faithful to his friends.

And the chessboard he had was called the Solustairtech, the Shining
Thing, and some of the chessmen were made of gold, and some of them of
silver, and each one of them was as big as the fist of the biggest man
of the Fianna; and after the death of Goll it was buried in Slieve

And as to Caoilte, that was a grey thin man, he was the best runner of
them all. And he did a good many great deeds; a big man of the Fomor he
killed one time, and he killed a five-headed giant in a wheeling door,
and another time he made an end of an enchanted boar that no one else
could get near, and he killed a grey stag that had got away from the
Fianna through twenty-seven years. And another time he brought Finn out
of Teamhair, where he was kept by force by the High King, because of
some rebellion the Fianna had stirred up. And when Caoilte heard Finn
had been brought away to Teamhair, he went out to avenge him. And the
first he killed was Cuireach, a king of Leinster that had a great name,
and he brought his head up to the hill that is above Buadhmaic. And
after that he made a great rout through Ireland, bringing sorrow into
every house for the sake of Finn, killing a man in every place, and
killing the calves with the cows.

And every door the red wind from the east blew on, he would throw it
open, and go in and destroy all before him, setting fire to the fields,
and giving the wife of one man to another.

And when he came to Teamhair, he came to the palace, and took the
clothes off the door-keeper, and he left his own sword that was worn
thin in the king's sheath, and took the king's sword that had great
power in it. And he went into the palace then in the disguise of a
servant, to see how he could best free Finn.

And when evening came Caoilte held the candle at the king's feast in the
great hall, and after a while the king said: "You will wonder at what I
tell you, Finn, that the two eyes of Caoilte are in my candlestick." "Do
not say that," said Finn, "and do not put reproach on my people although
I myself am your prisoner; for as to Caoilte," he said, "that is not the
way with him, for it is a high mind he has, and he only does high
deeds, and he would not stand serving with a candle for all the gold of
the whole world."

After that Caoilte was serving the King of Ireland with drink, and when
he was standing beside him he gave out a high sorrowful lament. "There
is the smell of Caoilte's skin on that lament," said the king. And when
Caoilte saw he knew him he spoke out and he said: "Tell me what way I
can get freedom for my master." "There is no way to get freedom for him
but by doing one thing," said the king, "and that is a thing you can
never do. If you can bring me together a couple of all the wild
creatures of Ireland," he said, "I will give up your master to you

When Caoilte heard him say that he made no delay, but he set out from
Teamhair, and went through the whole of Ireland to do that work for the
sake of Finn. It is with the flocks of birds he began, though they were
scattered in every part, and from them he went on to the beasts. And he
gathered together two of every sort, two ravens from Fiodh da Bheann;
two wild ducks from Loch na Seillein; two foxes from Slieve Cuilinn; two
wild oxen from Burren; two swans from blue Dobhran; two owls from the
wood of Faradhruim; two polecats from the branchy wood on the side of
Druim da Raoin, the Ridge of the Victories; two gulls from the strand of
Loch Leith; four woodpeckers from white Brosna; two plovers from
Carraigh Dhain; two thrushes from Leith Lomard; two wrens from Dun
Aoibh; two herons from Corrain Cleibh; two eagles from Carraig of the
stones; two hawks from Fiodh Chonnach; two sows from Loch Meilghe; two
water-hens from Loch Erne; two moor-hens from Monadh Maith; two
sparrow-hawks from Dubhloch; two stonechats from Magh Cuillean; two
tomtits from Magh Tuallainn; two swallows from Sean Abhla; two
cormorants from Ath Cliath; two wolves from Broit Cliathach; two
blackbirds from the Strand of the Two Women; two roebucks from Luachair
Ire; two pigeons from Ceas Chuir; two nightingales from Leiter Ruadh;
two starlings from green-sided Teamhair; two rabbits from Sith Dubh
Donn; two wild pigs from Cluaidh Chuir; two cuckoos from Drom Daibh; two
lapwings from Leanain na Furraich; two woodcocks from Craobh Ruadh; two
hawks from the Bright Mountain; two grey mice from Luimneach; two otters
from the Boinn; two larks from the Great Bog; two bats from the Cave of
the Nuts; two badgers from the province of Ulster; two landrail from the
banks of the Sionnan; two wagtails from Port Lairrge; two curlews from
the harbour of Gallimh; two hares from Muirthemne; two deer from Sith
Buidhe; two peacocks from Magh Mell; two cormorants from Ath Cliath; two
eels from Duth Dur; two goldfinches from Slieve na-n Eun; two birds of
slaughter from Magh Bhuilg; two bright swallows from Granard; two
redbreasts from the Great Wood; two rock-cod from Cala Chairge; two
sea-pigs from the great sea; two wrens from Mios an Chuil; two salmon
from Eas Mhic Muirne; two clean deer from Gleann na Smoil; two cows from
Magh Mor; two cats from the Cave of Cruachan; two sheep from bright
Sidhe Diobhlain; two pigs of the pigs of the son of Lir; a ram and a
crimson sheep from Innis.

And along with all these he brought ten hounds of the hounds of the
Fianna, and a horse and a mare of the beautiful horses of Manannan.

And when Caoilte had gathered all these, he brought them to the one
place. But when he tried to keep them together, they scattered here and
there from him; the raven went away southward, and that vexed him
greatly, but he overtook it again in Gleann da Bheann, beside Loch
Lurcan. And then his wild duck went away from him, and it was not easy
to get it again, but he followed it through every stream to grey Accuill
till he took it by the neck and brought it back, and it no way willing.

And indeed through the length of his life Caoilte remembered well all he
went through that time with the birds, big and little, travelling over
hills and ditches and striving to bring them with him, that he might set
Finn his master free.

And when he came to Teamhair he had more to go through yet, for the king
would not let him bring them in before morning, but gave him a house
having nine doors in it to put them up in for the night. And no sooner
were they put in than they raised a loud screech all together, for a
little ray of light was coming to them through fifty openings, and they
were trying to make their escape. And if they were not easy in the
house, Caoilte was not easy outside it, watching every door till the
rising of the sun on the morrow.

And when he brought out his troop, the name the people gave them was
"Caoilte's Rabble," and there was no wonder at all in that.

But all the profit the King of Ireland got from them was to see them
together for that one time. For no sooner did Finn get his freedom than
the whole of them scattered here and there, and no two of them went by
the same road out of Teamhair.

And that was one of the best things Caoilte, son of Ronan, ever did. And
another time he ran from the wave of Cliodna in the south to the wave of
Rudraige in the north. And Colla his son was a very good runner too, and
one time he ran a race backwards against the three battalions of the
Fianna for a chessboard. And he won the race, but if he did, he went
backward over Beinn Edair into the sea.

And very good hearing Caoilte had. One time he heard the King of the
Luigne of Connacht at his hunting, and Blathmec that was with him said,
"What is that hunt, Caoilte?" "A hunt of three packs of hounds," he
said, "and three sorts of wild creatures before them. The first hunt,"
he said, "is after stags and large deer and the second hunt is after
swift small hares, and the third is a furious hunt after heavy boars."
"And what is the fourth hunt, Caoilte?" said Blathmec. "It is the
hunting of heavy-sided, low-bellied badgers." And then they heard coming
after the hunt the shouts of the lads and of the readiest of the men and
the serving-men that were best at carrying burdens. And Blathmec went
out to see the hunting, and just as Caoilte had told him, that was the
way it was.

And he understood the use of herbs, and one time he met with two women
that were very downhearted because their husbands had gone from them to
take other wives. And Caoilte gave them Druid herbs, and they put them
in the water of a bath and washed in it, and the love of their husbands
came back to them, and they sent away the new wives they had taken.

And as to Lugaidh's Son, that was of Finn's blood, and another of the
best men of the Fianna, he was put into Finn's arms as a child, and he
was reared up by Duban's daughter, that had reared eight hundred
fighting men of the Fianna, till his twelfth year, and then she gave him
all he wanted of arms and of armour, and he went to Chorraig Conluain
and the mountains of Slieve Bladhma, where Finn and the Fianna were at
that time.

And Finn gave him a very gentle welcome, and he struck his hand in
Finn's hand, and made his agreement of service with him. And he stopped
through the length of a year with the Fianna; but he was someway
sluggish through all that time, so that under his leading not more than
nine of the Fianna got to kill so much as a boar or a deer. And along
with that, he used to beat both his servants and his hounds.

And at last the three battalions of the Fianna went to where Finn was,
at the Point of the Fianna on the edge of Loch Lein, and they made their
complaint against Lugaidh's Son, and it is what they said: "Make your
choice now, will you have us with you, or will you have Lugaidh's Son by

Then Lugaidh's Son came to Finn, and Finn asked him, "What is it has put
the whole of the Fianna against you?" "By my word," said the lad, "I do
not know the reason, unless it might be they do not like me to be doing
my feats and casting my spears among them."

Then Finn gave him an advice, and it is what he said: "If you have a
mind to be a good champion, be quiet in a great man's house; be surly in
the narrow pass. Do not beat your hound without a cause; do not bring a
charge against your wife without having knowledge of her guilt; do not
hurt a fool in fighting, for he is without his wits. Do not find fault
with high-up persons; do not stand up to take part in a quarrel; have no
dealings with a bad man or a foolish man. Let two-thirds of your
gentleness be showed to women and to little children that are creeping
on the floor, and to men of learning that make the poems, and do not be
rough with the common people. Do not give your reverence to all; do not
be ready to have one bed with your companions. Do not threaten or speak
big words, for it is a shameful thing to speak stiffly unless you can
carry it out afterwards. Do not forsake your lord so long as you live;
do not give up any man that puts himself under your protection for all
the treasures of the world. Do not speak against others to their lord,
that is not work for a good man. Do not be a bearer of lying stories, or
a tale-bearer that is always chattering. Do not be talking too much; do
not find fault hastily; however brave you may be, do not raise factions
against you. Do not be going to drinking-houses, or finding fault with
old men; do not meddle with low people; this is right conduct I am
telling you. Do not refuse to share your meat; do not have a niggard for
your friend; do not force yourself on a great man or give him occasion
to speak against you. Hold fast to your arms till the hard fight is well
ended. Do not give up your opportunity, but with that follow after

That was good advice Finn gave, and he was well able to do that; for it
was said of him that he had all the wisdom of a little child that is
busy about the house, and the mother herself not understanding what he
is doing; and that is the time she has most pride in him.

And as to Lugaidh's Son, that advice stayed always with him, and he
changed his ways, and after a while he got a great name among the poets
of Ireland and of Alban, and whenever they would praise Finn in their
poems, they would praise him as well.

And Aoife, daughter of the King of Lochlann, that was married to Mal,
son of Aiel, King of Alban, heard the great praise the poets were giving
to Lugaidh's Son, and she set her love on him for the sake of those

And one time Mal her husband and his young men went hunting to
Slieve-mor-Monaidh in the north of Alban. And when he was gone Aoife
made a plan in her sunny house where she was, to go over to Ireland,
herself and her nine foster-sisters. And they set out and went over the
manes of the sea till they came to Beinn Edair, and there they landed.

And it chanced on that day there was a hunting going on, from Slieve
Bladhma to Beinn Edair. And Finn was in his hunting seat, and his
fosterling, brown-haired Duibhruinn, beside him. And the little lad was
looking about him on every side, and he saw a ship coming to the
strand, and a queen with modest looks in the ship, and nine women along
with her. They landed then, and they came up to where Finn was, bringing
every sort of present with them, and Aoife sat down beside him. And Finn
asked news of her, and she told him the whole story, and how she had
given her love to Lugaidh's Son, and was come over the sea looking for
him; and Finn made her welcome.

And when the hunting was over, the chief men of the Fianna came back to
where Finn was, and every one asked who was the queen that was with him.
And Finn told them her name, and what it was brought her to Ireland. "We
welcome her that made that journey," said they all; "for there is not in
Ireland or in Alban a better man than the man she is come looking for,
unless Finn himself."

And as to Lugaidh's Son, it was on the far side of Slieve Bladhma he was
hunting that day, and he was the last to come in. And he went into
Finn's tent, and when he saw the woman beside him he questioned Finn the
same as the others had done, and Finn told him the whole story. "And it
is to you she is come," he said; "and here she is to you out of my hand,
and all the war and the battles she brings with her; but it will not
fall heavier on you," he said, "than on the rest of the Fianna."

And she was with Lugaidh's Son a month and a year without being asked
for. But one day the three battalions of the Fianna were on the Hill of
the Poet in Leinster, and they saw three armed battalions equal to
themselves coming, against them, and they asked who was bringing them.
"It is Mal, son of Aiel, is bringing them," said Finn, "to avenge his
wife on the Fianna. And it is a good time they are come," he said, "when
we are gathered together at the one spot."

Then the two armies went towards one another, and Mal, son of Aiel,
took hold of his arms, and three times he broke through the Fianna, and
every time a hundred fell by him. And in the middle of the battle he and
Lugaidh's Son met, and they fought against one another with spear and
sword. And whether the fight was short or long, it was Mal fell by
Lugaidh's Son at the last.

And Aoife stood on a hill near by, as long as the battle lasted. And
from that out she belonged to Lugaidh's Son, and was a mother of
children to him.



Besides all the men Finn had in his household, there were some that
would come and join him from one place or another. One time a young man
wearing a dress of skins came to Finn's house at Almhuin, and his wife
along with him, and he asked to take service with Finn.

And in the morning, as they were going to their hunting, the Lad of the
Skins said to Finn: "Let me have no one with me but myself, and let me
go into one part of the country by myself, and you yourself with all
your men go to another part." "Is it on the dry ridges you will go,"
said Finn, "or is it in the deep bogs and marshes, where there is danger
of drowning?" "I will go in the deep boggy places," said he.

So they all went out from Almhuin, Finn and the Fianna to one part, and
the Lad of the Skins to another part, and they hunted through the day.
And when they came back at evening, the Lad of the Skins had killed more
than Finn and all his men together.

When Finn saw that, he was glad to have so good a servant. But Conan
said to him: "The Lad of the Skins will destroy ourselves and the whole
of the Fianna of Ireland unless you will find some way to rid yourself
of him." "I never had a good man with me yet, Conan," said Finn, "but
you wanted me to put him away; and how could I put away a man like
that?" he said. "The way to put him away," said Conan, "is to send him
to the King of the Floods to take from him the great cauldron that is
never without meat, but that has always enough in it to feed the whole
world. And let him bring that cauldron back here with him to Almhuin,"
he said.

So Finn called to the Lad of the Skins, and he said: "Go from me now to
the King of the Floods and get the great cauldron that is never empty
from him, and bring it here to me." "So long as I am in your service I
must do your work," said the Lad of the Skins. With that he set out,
leaping over the hills and valleys till he came to the shore of the sea.
And then he took up two sticks and put one of them across the other, and
a great ship rose out of the two sticks. The Lad of the Skins went into
the ship then, and put up the sails and set out over the sea, and he
heard nothing but the whistling of eels in the sea and the calling of
gulls in the air till he came to the house of the King of the Floods.
And at that time there were hundreds of ships waiting near the shore;
and he left his ship outside them all, and then he stepped from ship to
ship till he stood on land.

There was a great feast going on at that time in the king's house, and
the Lad of the Skins went up to the door, but he could get no farther
because of the crowd. So he stood outside the door for a while, and no
one looked at him, and he called out at last: "This is a hospitable
house indeed, and these are mannerly ways, not to ask a stranger if
there is hunger on him or thirst." "That is true," said the king; "and
give the cauldron of plenty now to this stranger," he said, "till he
eats his fill."

So his people did that, and no sooner did the Lad of the Skins get a
hold of the cauldron than he made away to the ship and put it safe into
it. But when he had done that he said: "There is no use in taking the
pot by my swiftness, if I do not take it by my strength." And with that
he turned and went to land again. And the whole of the men of the army
of the King of the Floods were ready to fight; but if they were, so was
the Lad of the Skins, and he went through them and over them all till
the whole place was quiet.

He went back to his ship then and raised the sails and set out again
for Ireland, and the ship went rushing back to the place where he made
it. And when he came there, he gave a touch of his hand to the ship, and
there was nothing left of it but the two sticks he made it from, and
they lying on the strand before him, and the cauldron of plenty with
them. And he took up the cauldron on his back, and brought it to Finn,
son of Cumhal, at Almhuin. And Finn gave him his thanks for the work he
had done.

One day, now, Finn was washing himself at the well, and a voice spoke
out of the water, and it said: "You must give back the cauldron, Finn,
to the King of the Floods, or you must give him battle in place of it."

Finn told that to the Lad of the Skins, but the answer he got from him
was that his time was up, and that he could not serve on time that was
past. "But if you want me to go with you," he said, "let you watch my
wife, that is Manannan's daughter, through the night; and in the middle
of the night, when she will be combing her hair, any request you make of
her, she cannot refuse it. And the request you will make is that she
will let me go with you to the King of the Floods, to bring the cauldron
to his house and to bring it back again."

So Finn watched Manannan's daughter through the night, and when he saw
her combing her hair, he made his request of her. "I have no power to
refuse you," she said; "but you must promise me one thing, to bring my
husband back to me, alive or dead. And if he is alive," she said, "put
up a grey-green flag on the ship coming back; but if he is dead, put up
a red flag."

So Finn promised to do that, and he himself and the Lad of the Skins set
out together for the dun of the King of the Floods, bringing the
cauldron with them.

No sooner did the king see them than he gave word to all his armies to
make ready. But the Lad of the Skins made for them and overthrew them,
and he went into the king's dun, and Finn with him, and they overcame
him and brought away again the cauldron that was never empty.

But as they were going back to Ireland, they saw a great ship coming
towards them. And when the Lad of the Skins looked at the ship, he said:
"I think it is an old enemy of my own is in that ship, that is trying to
bring me to my death, because of my wife that refused him her love." And
when the ship came alongside, the man that was in it called out: "I know
you well, and it is not by your dress I know you, son of the King of the
Hills." And with that he made a leap on to the ship, and the two fought
a great battle together, and they took every shape; they began young
like two little boys, and fought till they were two old men; they fought
from being two young pups until they were two old dogs; from being two
young horses till they were two old horses. And then they began to fight
in the shape of birds, and it is in that shape they killed one another
at the last. And Finn threw the one bird into the water, but the other,
that was the Lad of the Skins, he brought with him in the ship. And when
he came in sight of Ireland, he raised a red flag as he had promised the

And when he came to the strand, she was there before him, and when she
saw Finn, she said: "It is dead you have brought him back to me." And
Finn gave her the bird, and she asked was that what she was to get in
the place of her husband. And she was crying over the bird, and she
brought it into a little boat with her, and she bade Finn to push out
the boat to sea.

And he pushed it out, and it was driven by wind and waves till at last
she saw two birds flying, having a dead one between them. And the two
living birds let down the dead one on an island; and it was not long
till it rose up living, and the three went away together.

And when Manannan's daughter saw that, she said: "There might be some
cure for my man on the island, the way there was for that dead bird."

And the sea brought the boat to the island, and she went searching
around, but all she could find was a tree having green leaves. "It might
be in these leaves the cure is," she said; and she took some of the
leaves and brought them to where the Lad of the Skins was, and put them
about him. And on that moment he stood up as well and as sound as ever
he was.

They went back then to Ireland, and they came to Almhuin at midnight,
and the Lad of the Skins knocked at the door, and he said: "Put me out
my wages." "There is no man, living or dead, has wages on me but the Lad
of the Skins," said Finn; "and I would sooner see him here to-night," he
said, "than the wages of three men." "If that is so, rise up and you
will see him," said he.

So Finn rose up and saw him, and gave him a great welcome, and paid him
his wages.

And after that he went away and his wife with him to wherever his own
country was; but there were some said he was gone to the country of his
wife's father, Manannan, Son of the Sea.


Finn was hunting one time near Teamhair of the Kings, and he saw three
strange men coming towards him, and he asked what were their names.
"Dubh and Dun and Glasan, Black, Brown, and Grey, are our names," they
said, "and we are come to find Finn, son of Cumhal, Head of the Fianna,
and to take service with him."

So Finn took them into his service, and when evening came he said: "Let
each one of you watch through a third part of the night." And there was
a trunk of a tree there, and he bade them make three equal parts of it,
and he gave a part to each of the three men, and he said: "When each one
of you begins his watch, let him set fire to his own log, and as long as
the wood burns let him watch."

Then they drew lots, and the lot fell to Dubh to go on the first watch.
So he set fire to his log, and he went out around the place, and Bran
with him. He went farther and farther till at last he saw a bright
light, and when he came to the place where it was, he saw a large house.
He went inside, and there was a great company of very strange-looking
men in it, and they drinking out of a single cup. One of the men, that
seemed to be the highest, gave the cup to the man nearest him; and after
he had drunk his fill he passed it on to the next, and so on to the
last. And while it was going round, he said: "This is the great cup that
was taken from Finn, son of Cumhal, a hundred years ago, and however
many men may be together, every man of them can drink his fill from it,
of whatever sort of drink he has a mind for."

Dubh was sitting near the door, on the edge of the crowd, and when the
cup came to him he took a drink from it, and then he slipped away in the
dark, bringing it with him. And when he came to the place where Finn
was, his log was burned out.

Then it was the turn of Dun to go out, for the second lot had fallen on
him, and he put a light to his log, and went out, and Bran with him.

He walked on through the night till he saw a fire that was shining from
a large house, and when he went in he saw a crowd of men, and they
fighting. And a very old man that was in a high place above the rest
called out: "Stop fighting now, for I have a better gift for you than
the one you lost to-night." And with that he drew a knife out of his
belt and held it up, and said: "This is the wonderful knife, the small
knife of division, that was stolen from Finn, son of Cumhal, a hundred
years ago; and you have but to cut on a bone with that knife and you
will get your fill of the best meat in the world." Then he gave the
knife to the man nearest him, and a bare bone with it, and the man began
to cut, and there came off the bone slices of the best meat in the

The knife and the bone were sent round then from man to man till they
came to Dun, and as soon as he had the knife in his hand he slipped out
unknown and hurried back, and he had just got to the well where Finn
was, when his part of the log burned out.

Then Glasan lighted his log and went out on his watch till he came to
the house, the same way the others did. And he looked in and he saw the
floor full of dead bodies, and he thought to himself: "There must be
some great wonder here. And if I lie down on the floor and put some of
the bodies over me," he said, "I will be able to see all that happens."

So he lay down and pulled some of the bodies over him, and he was not
long there till he saw an old hag coming into the house, having one leg
and one arm and one upper tooth, that was long enough to serve her in
place of a crutch. And when she came inside the door she took up the
first dead body she met with, and threw it aside, for it was lean. And
as she went on, she took two bites out of every fat body she met with,
and threw away every lean one.

She had her fill of flesh and blood before she came to Glasan, and she
dropped down on the floor and fell asleep, and Glasan thought that every
breath she drew would bring down the roof on his head. He rose up then
and looked at her, and wondered at the bulk of her body. And at last he
drew his sword and hit her a slash that killed her; but if he did, three
young men leaped out of her body. And Glasan made a stroke that killed
the first of them, and Bran killed the second, but the third made his

Glasan made his way back then, and just when he got to where Finn was,
his log of wood was burned out, and the day was beginning to break.

And when Finn rose up in the morning he asked news of the three
watchers, and they gave him the cup and the knife and told him all they
had seen, and he gave great praise to Dubh and to Dun; but to Glasan he
said: "It might have been as well for you to have left that old hag
alone, for I am in dread the third young man may bring trouble on us

It happened at the end of twenty-one years, Finn and the Fianna were at
their hunting in the hills, and they saw a Red-Haired Man coming
towards them, and he spoke to no one, but came and stood before Finn.
"What is it you are looking for?" said Finn. "I am looking for a master
for the next twenty-one years," he said. "What wages are you asking?"
said Finn. "No wages at all, but only if I die before the twenty-one
years are up, to bury me on Inis Caol, the Narrow Island." "I will do
that for you," said Finn.

So the Red-Haired Man served Finn well through the length of twenty
years. But in the twenty-first year he began to waste and to wither
away, and he died.

And when he was dead, the Fianna were no way inclined to go to Inis Caol
to bury him. But Finn said he would break his word for no man, and that
he himself would bring his body there. And he took an old white horse
that had been turned loose on the hills, and that had got younger and
not older since it was put out, and he put the body of the Red-Haired
Man on its back, and let it take its own way, and he himself followed
it, and twelve men of the Fianna.

And when they came to Inis Caol they saw no trace of the horse or of the
body. And there was an open house on the island, and they went in. And
there were seats for every man of them inside, and they sat down to rest
for a while.

But when they tried to rise up it failed them to do it, for there was
enchantment on them. And they saw the Red-Haired Man standing before
them in that moment.

"The time is come now," he said, "for me to get satisfaction from you
for the death of my mother and my two brothers that were killed by
Glasan in the house of the dead bodies." He began to make an attack on
them then, and he would have made an end of them all, but Finn took
hold of the Dord Fiann, and blew a great blast on it.

And before the Red-Haired Man was able to kill more than three of them,
Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, that had heard the sound of the Dord
Fiann, came into the house and made an end of him, and put an end to the
enchantment. And Finn, with the nine that were left of the Fianna, came
back again to Almhuin.


One day the three battalions of the Fianna came to Magh Femen, and there
they saw three young men waiting for them, having a hound with them; and
there was not a colour in the world but was on that hound, and it was
bigger than any other hound.

"Where do you come from, young men?" said Finn. "Out of the greater
Iruath in the east," said they; "and our names are Dubh, the Dark, and
Agh, the Battle, and Ilar, the Eagle." "What is it you came for?" "To
enter into service, and your friendship," said they. "What good will it
do us, you to be with us?" said Finn. "We are three," said they, "and
you can make a different use of each one of us." "What uses are those?"
said Finn. "I will do the watching for all the Fianna of Ireland and of
Alban," said one of them. "I will take the weight of every fight and
every battle that will come to them, the way they can keep themselves in
quiet," said the second. "I will meet every troublesome thing that might
come to my master," said the third; "and let all the wants of the world
be told to me and I will satisfy them. And I have a pipe with me," he
said; "and all the men of the world would sleep at the sound of it, and
they in their sickness. And as to the hound," he said, "as long as there
are deer in Ireland he will get provision for the Fianna every second
night. And I myself," he said, "will get it on the other nights." "What
will you ask of us to be with us like that?" said Finn. "We will ask
three things," they said: "no one to come near to the place where we
have our lodging after the fall of night; nothing to be given out to us,
but we to provide for ourselves; and the worst places to be given to us
in the hunting." "Tell me by your oath now," said Finn, "why is it you
will let no one see you after nightfall?" "We have a reason," said they;
"but do not ask it of us, whether we are short or long on the one path
with you. But we will tell you this much," they said, "every third
night, one of us three is dead and the other two are watching him, and
we have no mind for any one to be looking at us."

So Finn promised that; but if he did there were some of the Fianna were
not well pleased because of the ways of those three men, living as they
did by themselves, and having a wall of fire about them, and they would
have made an end of them but for Finn protecting them.

About that time there came seven men of poetry belonging to the people
of Cithruadh, asking the fee for a poem, three times fifty ounces of
gold and the same of silver to bring back to Cithruadh at Teamhair.
"Whatever way we get it, we must find some way to get that," said a man
of the Fianna. Then the three young men from Iruath said: "Well, men of
learning," they said, "would you sooner get the fee for your poem
to-night or to-morrow?" "To-morrow will be time enough," said they.

And the three young men went to the place where the hound had his bed a
little way off from the rath, and the hound threw out of his mouth
before them the three times fifty ounces of gold and three times fifty
of silver, and they gave them to the men of poetry, and they went away.

Another time Finn said: "What can the three battalions of the Fianna do
to-night, having no water?" And one of the men of Iruath said: "How many
drinking-horns are with you?" "Three hundred and twelve," said Caoilte.
"Give me the horns into my hand," said the young man, "and whatever you
will find in them after that, you may drink it." He filled the horns
then with beer and they drank it, and he did that a second and a third
time; and with the third time of filling they were talkative and their
wits confused. "This is a wonderful mending of the feast," said Finn.
And they gave the place where all that happened the name of the Little
Rath of Wonders.

And one time after that again there came to Finn three bald red clowns,
holding three red hounds in their hands, and three deadly spears. And
there was poison on their clothes and on their hands and their feet, and
on everything they touched. And Finn asked them who were they. And they
said they were three sons of Uar, son of Indast of the Tuatha de Danaan;
and it was by a man of the Fianna, Caoilte son of Ronan, their father
was killed in the battle of the Tuatha de Danaan on Slieve nan Ean, the
Mountain of Birds, in the east. "And let Caoilte son of Ronan give us
the blood-fine for him now," they said. "What are your names?" said
Finn. "Aincel and Digbail and Espaid; Ill-wishing and Harm and Want are
our names. And what answer do you give us now, Finn?" they said. "No one
before me ever gave a blood-fine for a man killed in battle, and I will
not give it," said Finn. "We will do revenge and robbery on you so,"
said they. "What revenge is that?" said Finn. "It is what I will do,"
said Aincel, "if I meet with two or three or four of the Fianna, I will
take their feet and their hands from them." "It is what I will do,"
said Digbail, "I will not leave a day without loss of a hound or a
serving-boy or a fighting man to the Fianna of Ireland." "And I myself
will be always leaving them in want of people, or of a hand, or of an
eye," said Espaid. "Without we get some help against them," said
Caoilte, "there will not be one of us living at the end of a year."
"Well," said Finn, "we will make a dun and stop here for a while, for I
will not be going through Ireland and these men following after me, till
I find who are the strongest, themselves or ourselves."

So the Fianna made little raths for themselves all about Slieve Mis, and
they stopped there through a month and a quarter and a year. And through
all that time the three red bald-headed men were doing every sort of
hurt and harm upon them.

But the three sons of the King of Iruath came to speak with Finn, and it
is what they said: "It is our wish, Finn, to send the hound that is with
us to go around you three times in every day, and however many may be
trying to hurt or to rob you, they will not have power to do it after
that. But let there be neither fire nor arms nor any other dog in the
house he goes into," they said. "I will let none of these things go into
the one house with him," said Finn, "and he will go safe back to you."
So every day the hound would be sent to Finn, having his chain of ridges
of red gold around his neck, and he would go three times around Finn,
and three times he would put his tongue upon him. And to the people that
were nearest to the hound when he came into the house it would seem like
as if a vat of mead was being strained, and to others there would come
the sweet smell of an apple garden.

And every harm and sickness the three sons of Uar would bring on the
Fianna, the three sons of the King of Iruath would take it off them
with their herbs and their help and their healing.

And after a while the High King of Ireland came to Slieve Mis with a
great, troop of his men, to join with Finn and the Fianna. And they told
the High King the whole story, and how the sons of Uar were destroying
them, and the three sons of the King of Iruath were helping them against
them. "Why would not the men that can do all that find some good spell
that would drive the sons of Uar out of Ireland?" said the High King.

With that Caoilte went looking for the three young men from Iruath and
brought them to the High King. "These are comely men," said the High
King, "good in their shape and having a good name. And could you find
any charm, my sons," he said, "that will drive out these three enemies
that are destroying the Fianna of Ireland?" "We would do that if we
could find those men near us," said they; "and it is where they are
now," they said, "at Daire's Cairn at the end of the raths." "Where are
Garb-Cronan, the Rough Buzzing One, and Saltran of the Long Heel?" said
Finn. "Here we are, King of the Fianna," said they. "Go out to those men
beyond, and tell them I will give according to the judgment of the King
of Ireland in satisfaction for their father." The messengers went out
then and brought them in, and they sat down on the bank of the rath.

Then the High King said: "Rise up, Dubh, son of the King of Iruath, and
command these sons of Uar with a spell to quit Ireland." And Dubh rose
up, and he said: "Go out through the strength of this spell and this
charm, you three enemies of the Fianna, one-eyed, lame-thighed,
left-handed, of the bad race. And go out on the deep bitter sea," he
said, "and let each one of you strike a blow of his sword on the head
of his brothers. For it is long enough you are doing harm and
destruction on the King of the Fianna, Finn, son of Cumhal."

With that the hound sent a blast of wind under them that brought them
out into the fierce green sea, and each of them struck a blow on the
head of the others. And that was the last that was seen of the three
destroying sons of Uar, Aincel and Digbail and Espaid.

But after the time of the Fianna, there came three times in the one
year, into West Munster, three flocks of birds from the western sea
having beaks of bone and fiery breath, and the wind from their wings was
as cold as a wind of spring. And the first time they came was at reaping
time, and every one of them brought away an ear of corn from the field.
And the next time they came they did not leave apple on tree, or nut on
bush, or berry on the rowan; and the third time they spared no live
thing they could lift from the ground, young bird or fawn or silly
little child. And the first day they came was the same day of the year
the three sons of Uar were put out in the sea.

And when Caoilte, that was one of the last of the Fianna, and that was
living yet, heard of them, he remembered the sons of Uar, and he made a
spell that drove them out into the sea again, and they perished there by
one another.

It was about the length of a year the three sons of the King of Iruath
stopped with Finn. And at the end of that time Donn and Dubhan, two sons
of the King of Ulster, came out of the north to Munster. And one night
they kept watch for the Fianna, and three times they made a round of the
camp. And it is the way the young men from Iruath used to be, in a place
by themselves apart from the Fianna, and their hound in the middle
between them; and at the fall of night there used a wall of fire to be
around them, the way no one could look at them.

And the third time the sons of the King of Ulster made the round of the
camp, they saw the fiery wall, and Donn said: "It is a wonder the way
those three young men are through the length of a year now, and their
hound along with them, and no one getting leave to look at them."

With that he himself and his brother took their arms in their hands, and
went inside the wall of fire, and they began looking at the three men
and at the hound. And the great hound they used to see every day at the
hunting was at this time no bigger than a lap-dog that would be with a
queen or a high person. And one of the young men was watching over the
dog, and his sword in his hand, and another of them was holding a vessel
of white silver to the mouth of the dog; and any drink any one of the
three would ask for, the dog would put it out of his mouth into the

Then one of the young men said to the hound: "Well, noble one and brave
one and just one, take notice of the treachery that is done to you by
Finn." When the dog heard that he turned to the King of Ulster's sons,
and there rose a dark Druid wind that blew away the shields from their
shoulders and the swords from their sides into the wall of fire. And
then the three men came out and made an end of them; and when that was
done the dog came and breathed on them, and they turned to ashes on the
moment, and there was never blood or flesh or bone of them found after.

And the three battalions of the Fianna divided themselves into companies
of nine, and went searching through every part of Ireland for the King
of Ulster's two sons.

And as to Finn, he went to Teamhair Luachra, and no one with him but the
serving-lads and the followers of the army. And the companies of nine
that were looking for the King of Ulster's sons came back to him there
in the one night; but they brought no word of them, if they were dead or

But as to the three sons of the King of Iruath and the hound that was
with them, they were seen no more by Finn and the Fianna.


There was another young man came and served Finn for a while; out of
Connacht he came, and he was very daring, and the Red Ridge was the name
they gave him. And he all but went from Finn one time, because of his
wages that were too long in coming to him. And the three battalions of
the Fianna came trying to quiet him, but he would not stay for them. And
at the last Finn himself came, for it is a power he had, if he would
make but three verses he would quiet any one. And it is what he said:
"Daring Red Ridge," he said, "good in battle, if you go from me to-day
with your great name it is a good parting for us. But once at Rath Cro,"
he said, "I gave you three times fifty ounces in the one day; and at Cam
Ruidhe I gave you the full of my cup of silver and of yellow gold. And
do you remember," he said, "the time we were at Rath Ai, when we found
the two women, and when we ate the nuts, myself and yourself were there

And after that the young man said no more about going from him.

And another helper came to Finn one time he was fighting at a ford, and
all his weapons were used or worn with the dint of the fight. And there
came to him a daughter of Mongan of the Sidhe, bringing him a flat stone
having a chain of gold to it. And he took the stone and did great deeds
with it. And after the fight the stone fell into the ford, that got the
name of Ath Liag Finn.

And that stone will never be found till the Woman of the Waves will find
it, and will bring it to land on a Sunday morning; and on that day seven
years the world will come to an end.



Of all the great battles the Fianna fought to keep the foreigners out of
Ireland, the greatest was the one that was fought at Finntraigh the
White Strand, in Munster; and this is the whole story of it, and of the
way the Fianna came to have so great a name.

One time the enemies of Ireland gathered together under Daire Donn, High
King of the Great World, thinking to take Ireland and to put it under

The King of Greece was of them, and the King of France, and the King of
the Eastern World, and Lughman of the Broad Arms, King of the Saxons,
and Fiacha of the Long Hair, King of the Gairean, and Tor the son of
Breogan, King of the Great Plain, and Sligech, son of the King of the
Men of Cepda, and Comur of the Crooked Sword, King of the Men of the
Dog-Heads, and Caitchenn, King of the Men of the Cat-Heads, and Caisel
of the Feathers, King of Lochlann, and Madan of the Bent Neck, son of
the King of the Marshes, and three kings from the rising of the sun in
the east, and Ogarmach, daughter of the King of Greece, the best
woman-warrior that ever came into the world, and a great many other
kings and great lords.

The King of the World asked then: "Who is there can give me knowledge of
the harbours of Ireland?" "I will do that for you, and I will bring you
to a good harbour," said Glas, son of Bremen, that had been put out of
Ireland by Finn for doing some treachery.

Then the armies set out in their ships, and they were not gone far when
the wind rose and the waves, and they could hear nothing but the wild
playing of the sea-women, and the screams of frightened birds, and the
breaking of ropes and of sails. But after a while, when the wind found
no weakness in the heroes, it rose from them and went up into its own
high place. And then the sea grew quiet and the waves grew tame and the
harbours friendly, and they stopped for a while at an island that was
called the Green Rock. But the King of the World said then: "It is not a
harbour like this you promised me, Glas, son of Dremen, but a shore of
white sand where my armies could have their fairs and their gatherings
the time they would not be fighting." "I know a harbour of that sort in
the west of Ireland," said Glas, "the Harbour of the White Strand in
Corca Duibhne." So they went into their ships again, and went on over
the sea towards Ireland.


Now as to Finn, when it was shown to him that the enemies of Ireland
were coming, he called together the seven battalions of the Fianna. And
the place where they gathered was on the hill that was called
Fionntulach, the White Hill, in Munster. They often stopped on that hill
for a while, and spear-shafts with spells on them were brought to them
there, and they had every sort of thing for food, beautiful
blackberries, haws of the hawthorn, nuts of the hazels of Cenntire,
tender twigs of the bramble bush, sprigs of wholesome gentian,
watercress at the beginning of summer. And there would be brought to
their cooking-pots birds out of the oak-woods, and squirrels from
Berramain, and speckled eggs from the cliffs, and salmon out of
Luimnech, and eels of the Sionnan, and woodcocks of Fidhrinne, and
otters from the hidden places of the Doile, and fish from the coasts of
Buie and Beare, and dulse from the bays of Cleire.

And as they were going to set out southwards, they saw one of their
young men, Gael, grandson of Nemhnain, coming towards them. "Where are
you come from, Cael?" Finn asked him. "From Brugh na Boinne," said he.
"What were you asking there?" said Finn. "I was asking to speak with
Muirenn, daughter of Derg, that was my own nurse," said he. "For what
cause?" said Finn. "It was about a high marriage and a woman of the
Sidhe that was showed to me in a dream; Credhe it was I saw, daughter of
the King of Ciarraighe Luachra." "Do you know this, Cael," said Finn,
"that she is the greatest deceiver of all the women of Ireland; and
there is hardly a precious thing in Ireland but she has coaxed it away
to her own great dun." "Do you know what she asks of every man that
comes asking for her?" said Cael. "I know it," said Finn; "she will let
no one come unless he is able to make a poem setting out the report of
her bowls and her horns and her cups, her grand vessels and all her
palaces." "I have all that ready," said Cael; "it was given to me by my
nurse, Muirenn, daughter of Derg."

They gave up the battle then for that time, and they went on over every
hilly place and every stony place till they came to Loch Cuire in the
west; and they came to the door of the hill of the Sidhe and knocked at
it with the shafts of their long gold-socketted spears. And there came
young girls having yellow hair to the windows of the sunny houses; and
Credhe herself, having three times fifty women with her, came out to
speak with them. "It is to ask you in marriage we are come," said Finn.
"Who is it is asking for me?" said she. "It is Cael, the hundred-killer,
grandson of Nemhnain, son of the King of Leinster in the east." "I have
heard talk of him, but I have never seen him," said Credhe. "And has he
any poem for me?" she said. "I have that," said Cael, and he rose up
then and sang his poem:

"A journey I have to make, and it is no easy journey, to the house of
Credhe against the breast of the mountain, at the Paps of Dana; it is
there I must be going through hardships for the length of seven days. It
is pleasant her house is, with men and boys and women, with Druids and
musicians, with cup-bearer and door-keeper, with horse-boy that does not
leave his work, with distributer to share food; and Credhe of the Fair
Hair having command over them all.

"It would be delightful to me in her dun, with coverings and with down,
if she has but a mind to listen to me.

"A bowl she has with juice of berries in it to make her eyebrows black;
crystal vats of fermenting grain; beautiful cups and vessels. Her house
is of the colour of lime; there are rushes for beds, and many silken
coverings and blue cloaks; red gold is there, and bright drinking-horns.
Her sunny house is beside Loch Cuire, made of silver and yellow gold;
its ridge is thatched without any fault, with the crimson wings of
birds. The doorposts are green, the lintel is of silver taken in battle.
Credhe's chair on the left is the delight of delights, covered with gold
of Elga; at the foot of the pleasant bed it is, the bed that was made of
precious stones by Tuile in the east. Another bed there is on the right,
of gold and silver, it is made without any fault, curtains it has of the
colour of the foxglove, hanging on rods of copper.

"The people of her house, it is they have delight, their cloaks are not
faded white, they are not worn smooth; their hair is fair and curling.
Wounded men in their blood would sleep hearing the birds of the Sidhe
singing in the eaves of the sunny house.

"If I have any thanks to give to Credhe, for whom the cuckoo calls, she
will get better praise than this; if this love-service I have done is
pleasing to her, let her not delay, let her say, 'Your coming is
welcome to me.'

"A hundred feet there are in her house, from one corner to another;
twenty feet fully measured is the width of her great door; her roof has
its thatch of the wings of blue and yellow birds, the border of her well
is of crystals and carbuncles.

"There is a vat there of royal bronze; the juice of pleasant malt is
running from it; over the vat is an apple-tree with its heavy fruit;
when Credhe's horn is filled from the vat, four apples fall into it

"She that owns all these things both at low water and at flood, Credhe
from the Hill of the Three Peaks, she is beyond all the women of Ireland
by the length of a spear-cast.

"Here is this song for her, it is no sudden bride-gift it is, no hurried
asking; I bring it to Credhe of the beautiful shape, that my coming may
be very bright to her."

Then Credhe took him for her husband, and the wedding-feast was made,
and the whole of the Fianna stopped there through seven days, at
drinking and pleasure, and having every good thing.


Finn now, when he had turned from his road to go to Credhe's house, had
sent out watchmen to every landing-place to give warning when the ships
of the strangers would be in sight. And the man that was keeping watch
at the White Strand was Conn Crither, son of Bran, from Teamhair

And after he had been a long time watching, he was one night west from
the Round Hill of the Fianna that is called Cruachan Adrann, and there
he fell asleep. And while he was in his sleep the ships came; and what
roused him was the noise of the breaking of shields and the clashing of
swords and of spears, and the cries of women and children and of dogs
and horses that were under flames, and that the strangers were making an
attack on.

Conn Crither started up when he heard that, and he said: "It is great
trouble has come on the people through my sleep; and I will not stay
living after this," he said, "for Finn and the Fianna of Ireland to see
me, but I will rush into the middle of the strangers," he said, "and
they will fall by me till I fall by them."

He put on his suit of battle then and ran down towards the strand. And
on the way he saw three women dressed in battle clothes before him, and
fast as he ran he could not overtake them. He took his spear then to
make a cast of it at the woman was nearest him, but she stopped on the
moment, and she said: "Hold your hand and do not harm us, for we are not
come to harm you but to help you." "Who are you yourselves?" said Conn
Crither. "We are three sisters," she said, "and we are come from Tir nan
Og, the Country of the Young, and we have all three given you our love,
and no one of us loves you less than the other, and it is to give you
our help we are come." "What way will you help me?" said Conn. "We will
give you good help," she said, "for we will make Druid armies about you
from stalks of grass and from the tops of the watercress, and they will
cry out to the strangers and will strike their arms from their hands,
and take from them their strength and their eyesight. And we will put a
Druid mist about you now," she said, "that will hide you from the armies
of the strangers, and they will not see you when you make an attack on
them. And we have a well of healing at the foot of Slieve Iolair, the
Eagle's Mountain," she said, "and its waters will cure every wound made
in battle. And after bathing in that well you will be as whole and as
sound as the day you were born. And bring whatever man you like best
with you," she said, "and we will heal him along with you."

Conn Crither gave them his thanks for that, and he hurried on to the
strand. And it was at that time the armies of the King of the Great
Plain were taking spoils from Traigh Moduirn in the north to Finntraighe
in the south. And Conn Crither came on them, and the Druid army with
him, and he took their spoils from them, and the Druid army took their
sight and their strength from them, and they were routed, and they made
away to where the King of the Great Plain was, and Conn Crither
followed, killing and destroying. "Stop with me, king-hero," said the
King of the Great Plain, "that I may fight with you on account of my
people, since there is not one of them that turns to stand against you."

So the two set their banners in the earth and attacked one another, and
fought a good part of the day until Conn Crither struck off the king's
head. And he lifted up the head, and he was boasting of what he had
done. "By my word," he said, "I will not let myself be parted from this
body till some of the Fianna, few or many, will come to me."


The King of the World heard that, and he said: "It is a big word that
man is saying," he said; "and rise up now, Glas, son of Dremen, and see
which of the Fianna of Ireland it is that is saying it."

Glas left the ship then, and he went to where Conn

Crither was, and he asked who was he. "I am Conn Crither, son of Bran,
from Teamhair Luachra," said he. "If that is so," said Glas, "you are of
the one blood with myself, for I am Glas, son of Bremen from Teamhair
Luachra." "It is not right for you to come fighting against me from
those foreigners, so," said Conn. "It is a pity indeed," said Glas; "and
but for Finn and the Fianna driving me from them, I would not fight
against you or against one of themselves for all the treasures of the
whole world." "Do not say that," said Conn, "for I swear by my hand of
valour," he said, "if you had killed Finn's own son and the sons of his
people along with him, you need not be in dread of him if only you came
under his word and his protection." "I think indeed the day is come for
me to fight beside you," said Glas, "and I will go back and tell that to
the King of the World."

He went back then to where the king was, and the king asked him which of
the men of the Fianna was in it. "It is a kinsman of my own is in it,
High King," said Glas; "and it is weak my heart is, he to be alone, and
I have a great desire to go and help him." "If you go," said the King of
the World, "it is what I ask you, to come and to tell me every day how
many of the Fianna of Ireland have fallen by me; and if a few of my own
men should fall," he said, "come and tell me who it was they fell by."
"It is what I ask you," said Glas, "not to let your armies land till the
Fianna come to us, but to let one man only come to fight with each of us
until that time," he said.

So two of the strangers were sent against them that day, and they got
their death by Glas and by Conn Crither. Then they asked to have two men
sent against each of them, and that was done; and three times nine fell
by them before night. And Conn Crither was covered with wounds after
the day, and he said to Glas: "Three women came to me from the Country
of the Young, and they promised to put me in a well of healing for my
wounds. And let you watch the harbour to-night," he said, "and I will go
look for them." So he went to them, and they bathed him in the well of
healing, and he was whole of his wounds.

And as to Glas, son of Dremen, he went down to the harbour, and he said:
"O King of the World," he said, "there is a friend of mine in the ships,
Madan of the Bent Neck, son of the King of the Marshes; and it is what
he said in the great world in the east, that he himself would be enough
to take Ireland for you, and that he would bring it under tribute to you
by one way or another. And I ask you to let him come alone against me
to-night, till we see which of us will fight best for Ireland."

So Madan came to the land, and the two attacked one another, and made a
very hard fight; but as it was not in the prophecy that Glas would find
his death there, it was the son of the King of the Marshes that got his
death by him.

And not long after that Conn Crither came back to Glas, and he gave Glas
great praise for all he had done.


Then Taistellach that was one of Finn's messengers came to the White
Strand asking news; and Conn bade him go back to where Finn was and tell
him the way things were. But Taistellach would not go until he had
wetted his sword in the blood of one of the enemies of Ireland, the same
as the others had done. And he sent a challenge to the ships, and
Coimhleathan, a champion that was very big and tall, came and fought
with him on the strand, and took him in his arms to bring him back
living to the ship of the High King; but Taistellach struck his head off
in the sea and brought it back to land.

"Victory and blessing be with you!" said Conn Crither. "And go now
to-night," he said, "to the house of Bran, son of Febal my father at
Teamhair Luachra, and bid him to gather all the Tuatha de Danaan to help
us; and go on to-morrow to the Fianna of Ireland." So Taistellach went
on to Bran's house, and he told him the whole story and gave him the

Then Bran, son of Febal, went out to gather the Tuatha de Danaan, and he
went to Dun Sesnain in Ui Conall Gabra, where they were holding a feast
at that time. And there he found three of the best young men of the
Tuatha de Danaan, Ilbrec the Many Coloured, son of Manannan, and
Nemanach the Pearly, son of Angus Og, and Sigmall, grandson of Midhir,
and they made him welcome and bade him to stop with them. "There is a
greater thing than this for you to do, Men of Dea," said Bran; and he
told them the whole story, and the way Conn Crither his son was. "Stop
with me to-night," said Sesnan, "and my son Dolb will go to Bodb Dearg,
son of the Dagda, and gather in the Tuatha de Danaan to us."

So he stopped there, and Dolb, son of Sesnan, went to Sidhe Bean Finn
above Magh Femen, and Bodb Dearg was there at that time, and Dolb gave
him his message. "Young man," said Bodb Dearg, "we are no way bound to
help the men of Ireland out of that strait." "Do not say that," said
Dolb, "for there is not a king's son or a prince or a leader of the
Fianna of Ireland without having a wife or a mother or a foster-mother
or a sweetheart of the Tuatha de Danaan; and it is good help they have
given you every time you were in want of it." "I give my word," said
Bodb Dearg, "it is right to give a good answer to so good a messenger."
With that he sent word to the Tuatha de Danaan in every place where they
were, and they gathered to him. And from that they went on to Dun
Sesnain, and they stopped there through the night And they rose up in
the morning and put on their shirts of the dearest silk and their
embroidered coats of rejoicing, and they took their green shields and
their swords and their spears. And their leaders at that time besides
Bodb Dearg were Midhir of Bri Leith, and Lir of Sidhe Finnachaidh, and
Abarthach, son of Ildathach, and Ilbrec, son of Manannan, and Fionnbhar
of Magh Suil, and Argat Lamh, the Silver Hand, from the Sionnan, and the
Man of Sweet Speech from the Boinn.

And the whole army of them came into Ciarraighe Luachra, and to
red-haired Slieve Mis, and from that to the harbour of the White Strand.
"O Men of Dea," said Abarthach then, "let a high mind and high courage
rise within you now in the face of the battle. For the doings of every
one among you," he said, "will be told till the end of the world; and
let you fulfil now the big words you have spoken in the
drinking-houses." "Rise up, Glas, son of Dremen," said Bodb Dearg then,
"and tell out to the King of the World that I am come to do battle."
Glas went then to the King of the World. "Are those the Fianna of
Ireland I see?" said the king. "They are not," said Glas, "but another
part of the men of Ireland that do not dare to be on the face of the
earth, but that live in hidden houses under the earth, and it is to give
warning of battle from them I am come." "Who will answer the Tuatha de
Danaan for me?" said the King of the World. "We will go against them,"
said two of the kings that were with him, Comur Cromchenn, King of the
Men of the Dog-Heads, and Caitchenn, King of the Men of the Cat-Heads.
And they had five red-armed battalions with them, and they went to the
shore like great red waves. "Who is there to match with the King of the
Dog-Heads for me?" said Bodb Dearg. "I will go against him," said Lir of
Sidhe Finnachaidh, "though I heard there is not in the world a man with
stronger hands than himself." "Who will be a match for the King of the
Cat-Heads?" said Bodb Dearg. "I will be a match for him," said
Abarthach, son of Ildathach.

So Lir and the King of the Dog-Heads attacked one another, and they made
a hard fight; but after a while Lir was getting the worst of it. "It is
a pity the way Lir is," said Bodb Dearg; "and let some of you rise up
and help him," he said. Then Ilbrec, son of Manannan, went to his help;
but if he did, he got a wound himself and could do nothing. Then Sigmal,
grandson of Midhir, went to his help, and after him the five sons of
Finnaistucan, and others of the Men of Dea, but they were all driven off
by the King of the Dog-Heads. But at that time Abarthach had made an end
of the King of the Cat-Heads, and he rose on his spear, and made a leap,
and came down between Lir and his enemy. "Leave off now and look on at
the fight," he said to Lir, "and leave it to me and the foreigner." With
that he took his sword in his left hand and made a thrust with his spear
in through the king's armour. And as the king was raising up his shield,
he struck at him with the sword that was in his left hand, and cut off
both his legs at the knees, and the king let fall his shield then, and
Abarthach struck off his head. And the two kings being dead, their
people broke away and ran, but the Men of Dea followed them and made an
end of them all; but if they did, they lost a good many of their own


Ana Finn and the Fianna were at the house of Credhe yet, and they saw
Taistellach coming towards them. It was the custom, now, with Finn when
he sent any one looking for news, that it was to himself it was to be
told first, the way that if he got bad news he would let on not to mind
it; and if it was good news he got, he would have the satisfaction of
telling it himself. So Taistellach told him how the foreigners were come
to the harbour of the White Strand.

Then Finn turned to his chief men, and he said: "Fianna of Ireland,
there never came harm or danger to Ireland to be put aside this great
danger that is come against us now. And you get great tribute and great
service from the chief men of Ireland," he said, "and if you take that
from them it is right for you to defend them now."

And the Fianna all said they would not go back one step from the defence
of Ireland. And as to Credhe, she gave every one of them a battle dress,
and they were taking leave of her, and Finn said: "Let the woman come
along with us till we know is it good or bad the end of this journey
will be." So she came with them, bringing a great herd of cattle; and
through the whole length of the battle, that lasted a year and a day,
she had new milk for them, and it was to her house the wounded were
brought for healing.

Then the Fianna set out, and they went to the borders of Ciarraighe
Luachra and across by the shores of the Bannlid with their left hand to
Slieve Mis, and they made shelters for themselves that night, and
kindled fires.

But Caoilte and Oisin and Lugaidh's Son said to one another they would
go on to the harbour, the way they would have time to redden their hands
in the blood of the foreigners before the rest of the Fianna would come.

And at that time the King of the World bade some of his chief men to go
on shore and to bring him back some spoils. So they went to land and
they gave out a great shout, and the people of the ships gave out a
great shout at the same time. "I swear by the oath my people swear by,"
said Caoilte, "I have gone round the whole world, but I never heard so
many voices together in the one place." And with that he himself and
Oisin and Lugaidh's Son made an attack on the strangers, and struck
great blows at them. And when Conn Crither and Glas, son of Bremen,
heard the noise of those blows, they knew they were struck by some of
the Fianna of Ireland, and they came and joined with them, and did great
destruction on the strangers, till there was not one left of all that
had come to land.


And in the morning they saw Finn and all his people coming to the rath
that is above the harbour. "My father Finn," said Oisin than, "let us
fight now with the whole of the foreigners altogether." "That is not my
advice," said Finn, "for the number of their armies is too great for us,
and we could not stand against them. But we will send out every day,"
he said, "some son of a king or of a leader against some king of the
kings of the world that is equal in blood to ourselves. And let none of
you redden your arms," he said, "but against a king or a chief man at
first, for when a king is fallen, his people will be more inclined to
give way. And who will give out a challenge of battle from me now?" he
said. "I will do that," said the son of Cuban, leader of the Fianna of
Munster. "Do not go, my son," said Finn, "for it is not showed to me
that you will have good luck in the battle, and I never sent out any man
to fight without I knew he would come back safe to me." "Do not say
that," said Cuban's son, "for I would not for the treasure of the whole
world go back from a fight on account of a bad foretelling. And as it is
my own country they have done their robbery in first," he said, "I will
defend it for you." "It is sorrowful I am for that," said Finn, "for
whichever of the kings of the world will meet you to-day, yourself and
himself will fall together."

Then Glas, son of Dremen, gave out a challenge of fight from Cuban's
son, and the King of Greece answered it. And the two fought hand to
hand, and the King of Greece made a great cast of his thick spear at
Cuban's son, that went through his body and broke his back in two. But
he did not take that blow as a gift, but he paid for it with a strong
cast of his own golden spear that went through the ringed armour of the
King of Greece. And those two fell together, sole to sole, and lip to
lip. "There is grief on me, Cuban's son to have fallen," said Finn, "for
no one ever went from his house unsatisfied; and a man that I would not
keep, or the High King of Ireland would not keep for a week, he would
keep him in his house through the length of a year. And let Follamain,
his son, be called to me now," he said, "and I will give him his
father's name and place."

They stopped there then till the next morning. "Who will go and fight
to-day?" said Finn then. "I will do that," said Goll Garb, son of the
King of Alban and of the daughter of Goll, son of Morna.

So he put on his battle dress, and there came against him the three
kings from the rising of the sun in the east, and their three battalions
with them. And Goll Garb rushed among their men, and wounded and maimed
and destroyed them, and blinded their eyes for ever, so that their wits
went from them, and they called to him to stop his deadly sword for a
while. So he did that; and it is what they agreed to take their three
kings and to give them over to Goll Garb that he might stop doing
destruction with his sword.

"Who will go out and fight to-day?" said Finn, on the morning of the
morrow. "I will go," said Oisin, "and the chief men of the sons of
Baiscne with me; for we get the best share of all the pleasant things of
Ireland, and we should be first to defend her." "I will answer that
challenge," said the King of France, "for it is against Finn I am come
to Ireland, on account of my wife that he brought away from me; and
these men will fall by me now," he said, "and Finn himself at the last;
for when the branches of a tree are cut off, it is not hard to cut down
the tree itself."

So the King of France and Oisin met one another at the eastern end of
the strand, and they struck their banners of soft silk into the green
hill, and bared their swords and made a quick attack on one another. And
at one time the king struck such a great blow that he knocked a groan
out of Oisin. But for all that he was worsted in the end, and great fear
came on him, like the fear of a hundred horses at the sound of thunder,
and he ran from Oisin, and he rose like a swallow, that his feet never
touched the earth at all; and he never stopped till he came to Gleann
na-n Gealt, the Valley of Wild Men. And ever since that time, people
that have lost their wits make for that valley; and every mad person in
Ireland, if he had his way, would go there within twenty-four hours.

And there rose great cries of lamentation from the armies of the World
when they saw him going from them, and the Fianna of Ireland raised
great shouts of joy.

And when the night was coming on, it is what Finn said: "It is sad and
gloomy the King of the World is to-night; and it is likely he will make
an attack on us. And which of you will keep watch over the harbour
through the night?" he said. "I will," said Oisin, "with the same number
that was fighting along with me to-day; for it is not too much for you
to fight for the Fianna of Ireland through a day and a night," he said.

So they went down to the harbour, and it was just at that time the King
of the World was saying, "It seems to me, men of the World, that our
luck of battle was not good to-day. And let a share of you rise up now,"
he said, "and make an attack on the Fianna of Ireland." Then there rose
up the nine sons of Garb, King of the Sea of Icht, that were smiths, and
sixteen hundred of their people along with them, and they all went on
shore but Dolar Durba that was the eldest of them. And the sons of
Baiscne were ready for them, and they fought a great battle till the
early light of the morrow. And not one of them was left alive on either
side that could hold a weapon but only Oisin and one of the sons of
Garb. And they made rushes at one another, and threw their swords out of
their hands, and closed their arms about one another, and wrestled
together, so that it was worth coming from the east to the west of the
world to see the fight of those two. Then the foreigner gave a sudden
great fall to Oisin, to bring him into the sea, for he was a great
swimmer, and he thought to get the better of him there. And Oisin
thought it would not be worthy of him to refuse any man his place of
fighting. So they went into the water together, and they were trying to
drown one another till they came to the sand and the gravel of the clear
sea. And it was a torment to the heart of the Fianna, Oisin to be in
that strait. "Rise up, Fergus of the Sweet Lips," said Finn then, "and
go praise my son and encourage him." So Fergus went down to the edge of
the sea, and he said: "It is a good fight you are making, Oisin, and
there are many to see it, for the armies of the whole world are looking
at you, and the Fianna of Ireland. And show now," he said, "your ways
and your greatness, for you never went into any place but some woman of
high beauty or some king's daughter set her love on you." Then Oisin's
courage increased, and anger came on him and he linked his hands behind
the back of the foreigner and put him down on the sand under the sea
with his face upwards, and did not let him rise till the life was gone
from him. And he brought the body to shore then, and struck off his head
and brought it to the Fianna.

But there was great grief and anger on Dolar Durba, the eldest of the
sons of Garb, that had stopped in the ship, and he made a great oath
that he would have satisfaction for his brothers. And he went to the
High King, and he said: "I will go alone to the strand, and I will kill
a hundred men every day till I have made an end of the whole of the
armies of Ireland; and if any one of your own men comes to interfere
with me," he said, "I will kill him along with them."

The next morning Finn asked who would lead the battle that day. "I
will," said Dubhan, son of Donn. "Do not," said Finn, "but let some
other one go."

But Dubhan went to the strand, and a hundred men along with him; and
there was no one there before him but Dolar Durba, and he said he was
there to fight with the whole of them. And Dubhan's men gave a great
shout of laughter when they heard that; but Dolar Durba rushed on them,
and he made an end of the whole hundred, without a man of them being
able to put a scratch on him. And then he took a hurling stick and a
ball, and he threw up the ball and kept it in the air with the hurl from
the west to the east of the strand without letting it touch the ground
at all. And then he put the ball on his right foot and kicked it high
into the air, and when it was coming down he gave it a kick of his left
foot and kept it in the air like that, and he rushing like a blast of
March wind from one end of the strand to the other. And when he had done
that he walked up and down on the strand making great boasts, and
challenging the men of Ireland to do the like of those feats. And every
day he killed a hundred of the men that were sent against him.


Now it chanced at that time that news of the great battle that was going
on reached to the court of the King of Ulster. And the king's son, that
was only twelve years of age, and that was the comeliest of all the
young men of Ireland, said to his father: "Let me go to help Finn, son
of Cumhal, and his men." "You are not old enough, or strong enough, boy;
your bones are too soft," said the king. And when the boy went on
asking, his father shut him up in some close place, and put twelve
young men, his foster-brothers, in charge of him.

There was great anger on the young lad then, and he said to his
foster-brothers: "It is through courage and daring my father won a great
name for himself in his young youth, and why does he keep me from
winning a name for myself? And let you help me now," he said, "and I
will be a friend to you for ever." And he went on talking to them and
persuading them till he got round them all, and they agreed to go with
him to join Finn and the Fianna. And when the king was asleep, they went
into the house where the arms were kept, and every lad of them brought
away with him a shield and a sword and a helmet and two spears and two
greyhound whelps. And they went across Ess Ruadh in the north, and
through Connacht of many tribes, and through Caille an Chosanma, the
Woods of Defence, that were called the choice of every king and the true
honour of every poet, and into Ciarraighe, and so on to the White

And when they came there Dolar Durba was on the strand, boasting before
the men of Ireland. And Oisin was rising up to go against him, for he
said he would sooner die fighting with him than see the destruction he
was doing every day on his people. And all the wise men and the fighting
men and the poets and the musicians of the Fianna gave a great cry of
sorrow when they heard Oisin saying that.

And the King of Ulster's son went to Finn and stood before him and
saluted him, and Finn asked who was he, and where did he come from. "I
am the son of the King of Ulster," he said; "and I am come here, myself
and my twelve foster-brothers, to give you what help we can." "I give
you a welcome," said Finn.

Just then they heard the voice of Dolar Durba, very loud and boastful.
"Who is that I hear?" said the king's son. "It is a man of the
foreigners asking for a hundred of my men to go and meet him," said

Now, when the twelve foster-brothers heard that, they said no word but
went down to the strand, unknown to the king's son and to Finn.

"You are not a grown man," said Conan; "and neither yourself or your
comrades are fit to face any fighting man at all." "I never saw the
Fianna of Ireland till this day," said the young lad; "but I know well
that you are Conan Maol, that never says a good word of any man. And you
will see now," he said, "if I am in dread of that man on the strand, or
of any man in the world, for I will go out against him by myself."

But Finn kept him back and was talking with him; but then Conan began
again, and he said: "It is many men Dolar Durba has made an end of, and
there was not a man of all those that could not have killed a hundred of
the like of you every day."

When the king's son heard that, there was great anger on him, and he
leaped up, and just then Dolar Durba gave a great shout on the strand.
"What is he giving, that shout for?" said the king's son. "He is shouting
for more men to come against him," said Conan, "for he is just after
killing your twelve comrades." "That is a sorrowful story," said the
king's son.

And with that he took hold of his arms, and no one could hold him or
hinder him, and he rushed down to the strand where Dolar Durba was. And
all the armies of the strangers gave a great shout of laughter, for they
thought all Finn's men had been made an end of, when he sent a young lad
like that against their best champion. And when the boy heard that, his
courage grew the greater, and he fell on Dolar Durba and gave him many
wounds before he knew he was attacked at all. And they fought a very
hard fight together, till their shields and their swords were broken in
pieces. And that did not stop the battle, but they grappled together
and fought and wrestled that way, till the tide went over them and
drowned them both. And when the sea went over them the armies on each
side gave out a great sorrowful cry.

And after the ebb-tide on the morrow, the two bodies were found cold and
quiet, each one held fast by the other. But Dolar Durba was beneath the
king's son, so they knew it was the young lad was the best and had got
the victory. And they buried him, and put a flag-stone over his grave,
and keened him there.


Then Finn said he would send a challenge himself to Daire Bonn, the King
of the Great World. But Caoilte asked leave to do that day's fighting
himself. And Finn said he would agree to that if he could find enough of
men to go with him. And he himself gave him a hundred men, and Oisin did
the same, and so on with the rest. And he gave out his challenge, and it
was the son of the King of the Great Plain that answered it. And while
they were in the heat of the fight, a fleet of ships came into the
harbour, and Finn thought they were come to help the foreigners. But
Oisin looked at them, and he said: "It is seldom your knowledge fails
you, Finn, but those are friends of our own: Fiachra, son of the King of
the Fianna of the Bretons, and Duaban Donn, son of the King of
Tuathmumain with his own people."

And when those that were in the ships came on shore, they saw Caoilte's
banner going down before the son of the King of the Great Plain. And
they all went hurrying on to his help, and between them they made an
end of the king's son and of all his people.

"Who will keep watch to-night?" said Finn then. "We will," said the nine
Garbhs of the Fianna, of Slieve Mis, and Slieve Cua, and Slieve Clair,
and Slieve Crot, and Slieve Muice, and Slieve Fuad, and Slieve Atha
Moir, and Dun Sobairce and Dundealgan.

And they were not long watching till they saw the King of the Men of
Dregan coming towards them, and they fought a fierce battle; and at the
end of the night there were left standing but three of the Garbhs, and
the King of the Men of Dregan. And they fought till their wits were gone
from them; and those four fell together, sole against sole, and lip
against lip.

And the fight went on from day to day, and from week to week, and there
were great losses on both sides. And when Fergus of the Sweet Lips saw
that so many of the Fianna were fallen, he asked no leave but went to
Teamhair of the Kings, where the High King of Ireland was, and he told
him the way it was with Finn and his people. "That is good," said the
High King, "Finn to be in that strait; for there is no labouring man
dares touch a pig or a deer or a salmon if he finds it dead before him
on account of the Fianna; and there is no man but is in dread to go from
one place to another without leave from Finn, or to take a wife till he
knows if she has a sweetheart among the Fianna of Ireland. And it is
often Finn has given bad judgments against us," he said, "and it would
be better for us the foreigners to gain the day than himself."

Then Fergus went out to the lawn where the High King's son was playing
at ball. "It is no good help you are giving to Ireland," said Fergus
then, "to be playing a game without lasting profit, and strangers taking
away your country from you." And he was urging him and blaming him, and
great shame came on the young man, and he threw away the stick and went
through the people of Teamhair and brought together all the young men, a
thousand and twenty of them that were in it. And they asked no leave and
no advice from the High King, but they set out and went on till they
came to Finntraigh. And Fergus went to where Finn was, and told him the
son of the High King of Ireland was come with him; and all the Fianna
rose up before the young man and bade him welcome. And Finn said: "Young
man," he said, "we would sooner see you coming at a time when there
would be musicians and singers and poets and high-up women to make
pleasure for you than at the time we are in the straits of battle the
way we are now." "It is not for playing I am come," said the young man,
"but to give you my service in battle." "I never brought a lad new to
the work into the breast of battle," said Finn, "for it is often a lad
coming like that finds his death, and I would not wish him to fall
through me." "I give my word," said the young man, "I will do battle
with them on my own account if I may not do it on yours." Then Fergus of
the Fair Lips went out to give a challenge of battle from the son of the
High King of Ireland to the King of the World.

"Who will answer the King of Ireland's son for me?" said the King of the
World. "I will go against him," said Sligech, King of the Men of Cepda;
and he went on shore, and his three red battalions with him. And the
High King's son went against them, and his comrades were near him, and
they were saying to him: "Take a good heart now into the fight, for the
Fianna will be no better pleased if it goes well with you than if it
goes well with the foreigner." And when the High King's son heard that,
he made a rush through the army of the foreigners, and began killing and
overthrowing them, till their chief men were all made an end of. Then
Sligech their king came to meet him, very angry and destroying, and
they struck at one another and made a great fight, but at the last the
King of Ireland's son got the upper hand, and he killed the King of the
Men of Cepda and struck off his head.


And the fighting went on from day to day, and at last Finn said to
Fergus of the Sweet Lips: "Go out, Fergus, and see how many of the
Fianna are left for the fight to-day." And Fergus counted them, and he
said: "There is one battalion only of the Fianna left in good order; but
there are some of the men of it," he said, "are able to fight against
three, and some that are able to fight against nine or thirty or a
hundred." "If that is so," said Finn, "rise up and go to where the King
of the World is, and bid him to come out to the great battle."

So Fergus went to the King of the World, and it is the way he was, on
his bed listening to the music of harps and pipes. "King of the World,"
said Fergus, "it is long you are in that sleep; and that is no shame for
you," he said, "for it will be your last sleep. And the whole of the
Fianna are gone out to their place of battle," he said, "and let you go
out and answer them." "In my opinion," said the King of the World,
"there is not a man of them is able to fight against me; and how many
are there left of the Fianna of Ireland?" "One battalion only that is in
good order," said Fergus. "And how many of the armies of the World are
there left?" he said. "Thirty battalions came with me to Ireland; and
there are twenty of them fallen by the Fianna, and what is left of them
is ten red battalions in good order. And there are eight good fighters
of them," he said, "that would put down the men of the whole world if
they were against me; that is, myself, and Conmail my son, and Ogarmach,
the daughter of the King of Greece, that is the best hand in battle of
the whole world after myself, and Finnachta of the Teeth, the chief of
my household, and the King of Lochlann, Caisel Clumach of the Feathers,
and his three sons, Tocha, and Forne of the Broad Shoulders, and Mongach
of the Sea."

"I swear by the oath of my people," said the King of Lochlann then, "if
any man of the armies goes out against the Fianna before myself and my
three sons, we will not go at all, for we would not get the satisfaction
we are used to, unless our swords get their fill of blood." "I will go
out against them alone," said Forne, the youngest son of the King of
Lochlann. With that he put on his battle suit, and he went among the
Fianna of Ireland, and a red-edged sword in each of his hands. And he
destroyed those of their young men that were sent against him, and he
made the strand narrow with their bodies.

And Finn saw that, and it was torment to his heart, and danger of death
and loss of wits to him, and he was encouraging the men of Ireland
against Forne. And Fergus of the True Lips stood up, and it is what he
said: "Fianna of Ireland," he said, "it is a pity the way you are under
hardship and you defending Ireland. And one man is taking her from you
to-day," he said, "and you are like no other thing but a flock of little
birds looking for shelter in a bush from a hawk that is after them. And
it is going into the shelter of Finn and Oisin and Caoilte you are," he
said; "and not one of you is better than another, and none of you sets
his face against the foreigner." "By my oath," said Oisin, "all that is
true, and no one of us tries to do better than another keeping him off."
"There is not one of you is better than another," said Fergus. Then
Oisin gave out a great shout against the King of Lochlann's son. "Stop
here with me, king's son," he said, "until I fight with you for the
Fianna." "I give my word it is short the delay will be," said Forne.

Then he himself and Oisin made an attack on one another, and it seemed
for a while that the battle was going against Oisin. "By my word, Man of
Poetry," said Finn then to Fergus of the True Lips, "it is a pity the
way you sent my son against the foreigner. And rise up and praise him
and hearten him now," he said. So Fergus went down to where the fight
was, and he said: "There is great shame on the Fianna, Oisin, seeing you
so low in this fight; and there is many a foot messenger and many a
horsemen from the daughters of the kings and princes of Ireland looking
at you now," he said. And great courage rose in Oisin then, and he drove
his spear through the body of Forne, the King of Lochlann's son. And he
himself came back to the Fianna of Ireland.

Then the armies of the World gave out a great cry, keening Forne; and
there was anger and not fear on his brothers, for they thought it no
right thing he to have fallen by a man of the Fianna. And Tocha, the
second son of the King of Lochlann, went on shore to avenge his brother.
And he went straight into the middle of the Fianna, and gave his sword
good feeding on their bodies, till they broke away before him and made
no stand till Lugaidh's Son turned round against him. And those two
fought a great fight, till their swords were bent and their spears
crumbled away, and they lost their golden shields. And at the last
Lugaidh's Son made a stroke of his sword that cut through the
foreigner's sword, and then he made another stroke that cut his heart
in two halves. And he came back high and proud to the Fianna.

Then the third son of the King of Lochlann, Mongach of the Sea, rose up,
and all the armies rose up along with him. "Stop here, Men of the
World," he said, "for it is not you but myself that has to go and ask
satisfaction for the bodies of my brothers." So he went on shore; and it
is the way he was, with a strong iron flail in his hand having seven
balls of pure iron on it, and fifty iron chains, and fifty apples on
every chain, and fifty deadly thorns on every apple. And he made a rush
through the Fianna to break them up entirely and to tear them into
strings, and they gave way before him. And great shame came on Fidach,
son of the King of the Bretons, and he said: "Come here and praise me,
Fergus of the True Lips, till I go out and fight with the foreigner."
"It is easy to praise you, son," said Fergus, and he was praising him
for a long time.

Then the two looked at one another and used fierce, proud words. And
then Mongach of the Sea raised his iron flail and made a great blow at
the King of the Bretons' son. But he made a quick leap to one side and
gave him a blow of his sword that cut off his two hands at the joint;
and he did not stop at that, but made a blow at his middle that cut him
into two halves. But as he fell, an apple of the flail with its deadly
thorns went into Fidach's comely mouth and through his brain, and it was
foot to foot those two fell, and lip to lip.

And the next that came to fight on the strand was the King of Lochlann
himself, Caisel of the Feathers. And he came to the battle having his
shield on his arm; and it is the way the shield was, that was made for
him by the smith of the Fomor, there were red flames coming from it; and
if it was put under the sea itself, not one of its flames would stop
blazing. And when he had that shield on his arm no man could come near

And there was never such destruction done on the men of Ireland as on
that day, for the flames of fire that he sent from his shield went
through the bodies of men till they blazed up like a splinter of oak
that was after hanging through the length of a year in the smoke of a
chimney; and any one that would touch the man that was burning would
catch fire himself. And every other harm that ever came into Ireland
before was small beside this.

Then Finn said: "Lift up your hands, Fianna of Ireland, and give three
shouts of blessing to whoever will hinder this foreigner." And the
Fianna gave those three shouts; and the King of Lochlann gave a great
laugh when he heard them. And Druimderg, grandson of the Head of the
Fianna of Ulster, was near him, and he had with him a deadly spear, the
Croderg, the Red-Socketed, that came down from one to another of the
sons of Rudraighe. And he looked at the King of Lochlann, and he could
see no part of him without armour but his mouth that was opened wide,
and he laughing at the Fianna. Then Druimderg made a cast with the
Croderg that hit him in the open mouth, and he fell, and his shield fell
along with its master, and its flame went out. And Druimderg struck the
head from his body, and made great boasts of the things he had done.


It is then Fergus of the True Lips set out again and went through the
length of Ireland till he came to the house of Tadg, son of Nuada, that
was grandfather to Finn.

And there was great grief on Muirne, Finn's mother, and on Labran of the
Long Hand her brother, and on all her people, when they knew the great
danger he was in. And Tadg asked his wife who did she think would escape
with their lives from the great fighting at the White Strand. "It is a
pity the way they are there," said she; "for if all the living men of
the world were on one side, Daire Donn, the King of the World, would put
them all down; for there are no weapons in the world that will ever be
reddened on him. And on the night he was born, the smith of the Fomor
made a shield and a sword, and it is in the prophecy that he will fall
by no other arms but those. And it is to the King of the Country of the
Fair Men he gave them to keep, and it is with him they are now." "If
that is so," said Tadg, "you might be able to get help for Finn, son of
Cumhal, the only son of your daughter. And bid Labran Lamfada to go and
ask those weapons of him," he said. "Do not be asking me," said she, "to
go against Daire Donn that was brought up in my father's house." But
after they had talked for a while, they went out on the lawn, and they
sent Labran looking for the weapons in the shape of a great eagle.

And he went on from sea to sea, till at noon on the morrow he came to
the dun of the King of the Country of the Fair Men; and he went in his
own shape to the dun and saluted the king, and the king bade him
welcome, and asked him to stop with him for a while. "There is a thing I
want more than that," said Labran, "for the wife of a champion of the
Fianna has given me her love, and I cannot get her without fighting for
her; and it is the loan of that sword and that shield you have in your
keeping I am come asking now," he said.

There were seven rooms, now, in the king's house that opened into one
another, and on the first door was one lock, and on the second two
locks, and so on to the door of the last room that had seven locks; and
it was in that the sword and the shield that were made by the smith of
the Fomor were kept. And they were brought out and were given to Labran,
and stalks of luck were put with them, and they were bound together with
shield straps.

Then Labran of the Long Hand went back across the seas again, and he
reached his father's dun between the crowing of the cock and the full
light of day; and the weakness of death came on him. "It is a good
message you are after doing, my son," said Tadg, "and no one ever went
that far in so short a time as yourself." "It is little profit that is
to me," said Labran, "for I am not able to bring them to Finn in time
for the fight to-morrow."

But just at that time one of Tadg's people saw Aedh, son of Aebinn, that
was as quick as the wind over a plain till the middle of every day, and
after that, there was no man quicker than he was. "You are come at a
good time," said Tadg. And with that he gave him the sword and the
shield to bring to Finn for the battle.

So Aedh, son of Aebinn, went with the swiftness of a hare or of a fawn
or a swallow, till at the rising of the day on the morrow he came to the
White Strand. And just at that time Fergus of the True Lips was rousing
up the Fianna for the great fight, and it is what he said: "Fianna of
Ireland," he said, "if there was the length of seven days in one day,
you would have work to fill it now; for there never was and there never
will be done in Ireland a day's work like the work of to-day."

Then the Fianna of Ireland rose up, and they saw Aedh, son of Aebinn,
coming towards them with his quick running, and Finn asked news from
him. "It is from the dun of Tadg, son of Nuada, I am come," he said,
"and it is to yourself I am sent, to ask how it is you did not redden
your weapons yet upon the King of the World." "I swear by the oath of my
people," said Finn, "if I do not redden my weapons on him, I will crush
his body within his armour." "I have here for you, King of the Fianna,"
said Aedh then, "the deadly weapons that will bring him to his death;
and it was Labran of the Long Hand got them for you through his Druid
arts." He put them in Finn's hand then, and Finn took the coverings off
them, and there rose from them flashes of fire and deadly bubbles; and
not one of the Fianna could stay looking at them, but it put great
courage into them to know they were with Finn. "Rise up now," said Finn
to Fergus of the True Lips, "and go where the King of the World is, and
bid him to come out to the place of the great fight."


Then the King of the World came to the strand, and all his armies with
him; and all that were left of the Fianna went out against them, and
they were like thick woods meeting one another, and they made great
strokes, and there were swords crashing against bones, and bodies that
were hacked, and eyes that were blinded, and many a mother was left
without her son, and many a comely wife without her comrade.

Then the creatures of the high air answered to the battle, foretelling
the destruction that would be done that day; and the sea chattered of
the losses, and the waves gave heavy shouts keening them, and the
water-beasts roared to one another, and the rough hills creaked with the
danger of the battle, and the woods trembled mourning the heroes, and
the grey stones cried out at their deeds, and the wind sobbed telling
them, and the earth shook, foretelling the slaughter; and the cries of
the grey armies put a blue cloak over the sun, and the clouds were dark;
and the hounds and the whelps and the crows, and the witches of the
valley, and the powers of the air, and the wolves of the forests, howled
from every quarter and on every side of the armies, urging them against
one another.

It was then Conan, son of Morna, brought to mind that himself and his
kindred had done great harm to the sons of Baiscne, and he had a wish to
do some good thing for them on account of that, and he raised up his
sword and did great deeds.

And Finn was over the battle, encouraging the Fianna; and the King of
the World was on the other side encouraging the foreigners. "Rise up
now, Fergus," said Finn, "and praise Conan for me that his courage may
be the greater, for it is good work he is doing on my enemies." So
Fergus went where Conan was, and at that time he was heated with the
dust of the fight, and he was gone outside to let the wind go about him.

"It is well you remember the old quarrel between the sons of Morna and
the sons of Baiscne, Conan," said Fergus; "and you would be ready to go
to your own death if it would bring harm on the sons of Baiscne," he
said. "For the love of your good name, Man of Poetry," said Conan, "do
not be speaking against me without cause, and I will do good work on the
foreigners when I get to the battle again." "By my word," said Fergus,
"that would be a good thing for you to do." He sang a verse of praise
for him then, and Conan went back into the battle, and his deeds were
not worse this time than they were before. And Fergus went back to where
Finn was.

"Who is best in the battle now?" said Finn. "Duban, son of Cas, a
champion of your own people," said Fergus, "for he never gives but the
one stroke to any man, and no man escapes with his life from that
stroke, and three times nine and eighty men have fallen by him up to
this time." And Duban Donn, great-grandson of the King of Tuathmumhain,
was there listening to him, and it is what he said: "By my oath,
Fergus," he said, "all you are saying is true, for there is not a son of
a king or of a lord is better in the battle than Duban, son of Cas; and
I will go to my own death if I do not go beyond him." With that he went
rushing through the battle like flames over a high hill that is thick
with furze. Nine times he made a round of the battle, and he killed nine
times nine in every round.

"Who is best in the battle now?" said Finn, after a while. "It is Duban
Donn that is after going from us," said Fergus. "For there has been no
one ahead of him since he was in his seventh year, and there is no one
ahead of him now." "Rise up and praise him that his courage may be the
greater," said Finn. "It is right to praise him," said Fergus, "and the
foreigners running before him on every side as they would run from a
heavy drenching of the sea." So Fergus praised him for a while, and he
went back then to Finn.

"Who is best in the battle now?" said Finn. "It is Osgar is best in it
now," said Fergus, "and he is fighting alone against two hundred Franks
and two hundred of the men of Gairian, and the King of the Men of
Gairian himself. And all these are beating at his shield," he said, "and
not one of them has given him a wound but he gave him a wound back for
it." "What way is Caoilte, son of Ronan?" said Finn. "He is in no great
strait after the red slaughter he has made," said Fergus. "Go to him
then," said Finn, "and bid him to keep off a share of the foreigners
from Osgar." So Fergus went to him. "Caoilte," he said, "it is great
danger your friend Osgar is in under the blows of the foreigners, and
let you rise up and give him some help," he said.

Caoilte went then to the place where Osgar was, and he gave a straight
blow of his sword at the man who was nearest him, that made two halves
of him. Osgar raised his head then and looked at him. "It is likely,
Caoilte," he said, "you did not dare redden your sword on any one till
you struck down a man that was before my sword. And it is a shame for
you," he said, "all the men of the great world and the Fianna of Ireland
to be in the one battle, and you not able to make out a fight for
yourself without coming to take a share of my share of the battle. And I
give my oath," he said, "I would be glad to see you put down in your bed
of blood on account of that thing." Caoilte's mind changed when he heard
that, and he turned again to the army of the foreigners with the redness
of anger on his white face; and eighty fighting men fell in that rout.

"What way is the battle now?" said Finn. "It is a pity," said Fergus,
"there never came and there never will come any one that can tell the
way it is now. For by my word," he said, "the tree-tops of the thickest
forest in the whole of the western world are not closer together than
the armies are now. For the bosses of their shields are in one another's
hands. And there is fire coming from the edges of their swords," he
said, "and blood is raining down like a shower on a day of harvest; and
there were never so many leaves torn by the wind from a great forest as
there are locks of long golden hair, and of black curled hair, cut off
by sharp weapons, blowing into the clouds at this time. And there is no
person could tell one man from another, now," he said, "unless it might
be by their voices." With that he went into the very middle of the fight
to praise and to hearten the men of the Fianna.

"Who is first in the battle now, Fergus?" said Finn, when he came back
to him. "By my oath, it is no friend of your own is first in it," said
Fergus, "for it is Daire Donn, the King of the World; and it is for you
he is searching through the battle," he said, "and three times fifty of
his own people were with him. But two of the men of your Fianna fell on
them," he said, "Cairell the Battle Striker, and Aelchinn of Cruachan,
and made an end of them. But they were not able to wound the King of the
World," he said, "but the two of them fell together by him."

Then the King of the World came towards Finn, and there was no one near
him but Arcallach of the Black Axe, the first that ever brought a wide
axe into Ireland. "I give my word," said Arcallach, "I would never let
Finn go before me into any battle." He rose up then and made a terrible
great blow of his axe at the king, that went through his royal crown to
the hair of his head, but that did not take a drop of blood out of him,
for the edge of the axe turned and there went balls of fire over the
plain from that blow. And the King of the World struck back at
Arcallach, and made two halves of him.

Then Finn and the King of the World turned on one another. And when the
king saw the sword and the shield in Finn's hand, he knew those were the
weapons that were to bring him to his death, and great dread came on
him, and his comeliness left him, and his fingers were shaking, and his
feet were unsteady, and the sight of his eyes was weakened.

And then the two fought a great fight, striking at one another like two
days of judgment for the possession of the world.

But the king, that had never met with a wound before, began to be
greatly weakened in the fight. And Finn gave great strokes that broke
his shield and his sword, and that cut off his left foot, and at the
last he struck off his head. But if he did, he himself fell into a faint
of weakness with the dint of the wounds he had got.

Then Finnachta of the Teeth, the first man of the household of the King
of the World, took hold of the royal crown of the king, and brought it
where Conmail his son was, and put it on his head.

"That this may bring you success in many battles, my son," he said. And
he gave him his father's weapons along with it; and the young man went
through the battle looking for Finn, and three fifties of the men of the
Fianna fell by him. Then Goll Garbh the Rough, son of the King of Alban,
saw him and attacked him, and they fought a hard fight. But the King of
Albain's son gave him a blow under the shelter of the shield, in his
left side, that made an end of him.

Finnachta of the Teeth saw that, and he made another rush at the royal
crown, and brought it to where Ogarmach was, the daughter of the King of
Greece. "Put on that crown, Ogarmach," he said, "as it is in the
prophecy the world will be owned by a woman; and it will never be owned
by any woman higher than yourself," he said.

She went then to look for Finn in the battle, and Fergus of the True
Lips saw her, and he went where Finn was. "O King of the Fianna," he
said then, "bring to mind the good fight you made against the King of
the World and all your victories before that; for it is a great danger
is coming to you now," he said, "and that is Ogarmach, daughter of the
King of Greece."

With that the woman-fighter came towards him. "O Finn," she said, "it is
little satisfaction you are to me for all the kings and lords that have
fallen by you and by your people; but for all that," she said, "there is
nothing better for me to get than your own self and whatever is left of
your people." "You will not get that," said Finn, "for I will lay your
head in its bed of blood the same as I did to every other one." Then
those two attacked one another like as if there had risen to smother
one another the flooded wave of Cliodna, and the seeking wave of Tuaigh,
and the big brave wave of Rudraighe. And though the woman-warrior fought
for a long time, a blow from Finn reached to her at last and cut through
the royal crown, and with a second blow he struck her head off. And then
he fell himself in his bed of blood, and was the same as dead, but that
he rose again.

And the armies of the World and the Fianna of Ireland were fallen side
by side there, and there were none left fit to stand but Cael, son of
Crimthan of the Harbours, and the chief man of the household of the King
of the World, Finnachta of the Teeth. And Finnachta went among the dead
bodies and lifted up the body of the King of the World and brought it
with him to his ship, and he said: "Fianna of Ireland," he said,
"although it is bad this battle was for the armies of the World, it was
worse for yourselves; and I am going back to tell that in the East of
the World," he said. Finn heard him saying that, and he lying on the
ground in his blood, and the best men of the sons of Baiscne about him,
and he said: "It is a pity I not to have found death before I heard the
foreigner saying those words. And nothing I myself have done, or the
Fianna of Ireland, is worth anything since there is left a man of the
foreigners alive to go back into the great world again to tell that
story. And is there any one left living near me?" he said. "I am," said
Fergus of the True Lips. "What way is the battle now?" said Finn. "It is
a pity the way it is," said Fergus, "for, by my word," he said, "since
the armies met together to-day, no man of the foreigners or of the men
of Ireland took a step backward from one another till they all fell foot
to foot, and sole to sole. And there is not so much as a blade of grass
or a grain of sand to be seen," he said, "with the bodies of fighting
men that are stretched on them; and there is no man of the two armies
that is not stretched in that bed of blood, but only the chief man of
the household of the King of the World, and your own foster-son, Cael,
son of Crimthan of the Harbours." "Rise up and go to him," said Finn. So
Fergus went where Cael was, and asked what way was he. "It is a pity the
way I am," said Cael, "for I swear by my word that if my helmet and my
armour were taken from me, there is no part of my body but would fall
from the other; and by my oath," he said, "it is worse to me to see that
man beyond going away alive than I myself to be the way I am. And I
leave my blessing to you, Fergus," he said; "and take me on your back to
the sea till I swim after the foreigner, and it is glad I would be the
foreigner to fall by me before the life goes out from my body." Fergus
lifted him up then and brought him to the sea, and put him swimming
after the foreigner. And Finnachta waited for him to reach the ship, for
he thought he was one of his own people. And Cael raised himself up when
he came beside the ship, and Finnachta stretched out his hand to him.
And Cael took hold of it at the wrist, and clasped his fingers round it,
and gave a very strong pull at him, that brought him over the side. Then
their hands shut across one another's bodies, and they went down to the
sand and the gravel of the clear sea.


Then there came the women and the musicians and the singers and the
physicians of the Fianna of Ireland to search out the kings and the
princes of the Fianna, and to bury them; and every one that might be
healed was brought to a place of healing.

And Credhe, wife of Cael, came with the others, and went looking
through the bodies for her comely comrade, and crying as she went. And
as she was searching, she saw a crane of the meadows and her two
nestlings, and the cunning beast the fox watching the nestlings; and
when the crane covered one of the birds to save it, he would make a rush
at the other bird, the way she had to stretch herself out over the
birds; and she would sooner have got her own death by the fox than her
nestlings to be killed by him. And Credhe was looking at that, and she
said: "It is no wonder I to have such love for my comely sweetheart, and
the bird in that distress about her nestlings."

Then she heard a stag in Druim Ruighlenn above the harbour, that was
making great lamentations for his hind from place to place, for they had
been nine years together, and had lived in the wood at the foot of the
harbour, Fidh Leis, and Finn had killed the hind, and the stag was
nineteen days without tasting grass or water, lamenting after the hind.
"It is no shame for me," said Credhe, "I to die for grief after Cael,
since the stag is shortening his life sorrowing after the hind."

Then she met with Fergus of the True Lips. "Have you news of Cael for
me, Fergus?" she said. "I have news," said Fergus, "for he and the last
man that was left of the foreigners, Finnachta Fiaclach, are after
drowning one another in the sea."

And at that time the waves had put Cael back on the strand, and the
women and the men of the Fianna that were looking for him raised him up,
and brought him to the south of the White Strand.

And Credhe came to where he was, and she keened him and cried over him,
and she made this complaint:--

"The harbour roars, O the harbour roars, over the rushing race of the
Headland of the Two Storms, the drowning of the hero of the Lake of the
Two Dogs, that is what the waves are keening on the strand.

"Sweet-voiced is the crane, O sweet-voiced is the crane in the marshes
of the Ridge of the Two Strong Men; it is she cannot save her nestlings,
the wild dog of two colours is taking her little ones.

"Pitiful the cry, pitiful the cry the thrush is making in the Pleasant
Ridge, sorrowful is the cry of the blackbird in Leiter Laeig.

"Sorrowful the call, O sorrowful the call of the deer in the Ridge of
Two Lights; the doe is lying dead in Druim Silenn, the mighty stag cries
after her.

"Sorrowful to me, O sorrowful to me the death of the hero that lay
beside me; the son of the woman of the Wood of the Two Thickets, to be
with a bunch of grass under his head.

"Sore to me, O sore to me Cael to be a dead man beside me, the waves to
have gone over his white body; it is his pleasantness that has put my
wits astray.

"A woeful shout, O a woeful shout the waves are making on the strand;
they that took hold of comely Cael, a pity it is he went to meet them.

"A woeful crash, O a woeful crash the waves are making on the strand to
the north, breaking against the smooth rock, crying after Cael now he is

"A sorrowful fight, O a sorrowful fight, the sea is making with the
strand to the north; my beauty is lessened; the end of my life is

"A song of grief, O a song of grief is made by the waves of Tulcha Leis;
all I had is gone since this story came to me. Since the son of
Crimthann is drowned I will love no one after him for ever; many a king
fell by his hand; his shield never cried out in the battle."

After she had made that complaint, Credhe laid herself down beside Cael
and died for grief after him. And they were put in the one grave, and
it was Caoilte raised the stone over them.

And after that great battle of the White Strand, that lasted a year and
a day, there was many a sword and shield left broken, and many a dead
body lying on the ground, and many a fighting man left with a foolish
smile on his face.

And the great name that was on the armies of the World went from them to
the Fianna of Ireland; and they took the ships and the gold and the
silver and all the spoils of the armies of the World. And from that time
the Fianna had charge of the whole of Ireland, to keep it from the Fomor
and from any that might come against it.

And they never lost power from that time until the time of their last
battle, the sorrowful battle of Gabhra.



Arthur, son of the King of Britain, came one time to take service with
Finn, and three times nine men along with him. And they went hunting one
day on Beinn Edair, and Finn took his place on the Cairn of the Fianna
between the hill and the sea, and Arthur took his stand between the hunt
and the sea, the way the deer would not escape by swimming.

And while Arthur was there he took notice of three of Finn's hounds,
Bran, and Sceolan and Adhnuall, and he made a plan in his mind to go
away across the sea, himself and his three nines, bringing those three
hounds along with him. So he did that, and he himself and his men
brought away the hounds and crossed the sea, and the place where they
landed was Inver Mara Gamiach on the coast of Britain. And after they
landed, they went to the mountain of Lodan, son of Lir, to hunt on it.

And as to the Fianna, after their hunting was done they gathered
together on the hill; and as the custom was, all Finn's hounds were
counted. Three hundred full-grown hounds he had, and two hundred whelps;
and it is what the poets used to say, that to be counting them was like
counting the branches on a tree.

Now on this day when they were counted, Bran and Sceolan and Adhnuall
were missing; and that was told to Finn. He bade his people to search
again through the three battalions of the Fianna, but search as they
would, the hounds were not to be found.

Then Finn sent for a long-shaped basin of pale gold, and water in it,
and he put his face in the water, and his hand over his face, and it was
showed him what had happened, and he said: "The King of Britain's son
has brought away the hound. And let nine men be chosen out to follow
after them," he said. So nine men were chosen out, Diarmuid, grandson of
Duibhne; Goll, son of Morna; Oisin, son of Finn; Faolan, the friend of
the hounds, son of a woman that had come over the sea to give her love
to Finn; Ferdoman, son of Bodb Dearg; two sons of Finn, Raighne Wide Eye
and Cainche the Crimson-Red; Glas, son of Enchered Bera, with Caoilte
and Lugaidh's Son. And their nine put their helmets on their heads, and
took their long spears in their hands, and they felt sure they were a
match for any four hundred men from the east to the west of the world.

They set out then, till they came to the mountain of Lodan, son of Lir;
and they were not long there till they heard talk of men that were
hunting in that place.

Arthur of Britain and his people were sitting on a hunting mound just at
that time, and the nine men of the Fianna made an attack on them and
killed all of them but Arthur, that Goll, son of Morna, put his two arms
about and saved from death. Then they turned to go back to Ireland,
bringing Arthur with them, and the three hounds. And as they were going,
Goll chanced to look around him and he saw a dark-grey horse, having a
bridle with fittings of worked gold. And then he looked to the left and
saw a bay mare that was not easy to get hold of, and it having a bridle
of silver rings and a golden bit. And Goll took hold of the two, and he
gave them into Oisin's hand, and he gave them on to Diarmuid.

They went back to Finn then, bringing his three hounds with them, and
the King of Britain's son as a prisoner; and Arthur made bonds with
Finn, and was his follower till he died.

And as to the horse and the mare, they gave them to Finn; and the mare
bred eight times, at every birth eight foals, and it is of that seed
came all the horses of the fair Fianna of the Gael, for they had used
no horses up to that time.

And that was not the only time Finn was robbed of some of his hounds.
For there was a daughter of Roman was woman-Druid to the Tuatha de
Danaan, and she set her love on Finn. But Finn said, so long as there
was another woman to be found in the world, he would not marry a witch.
And one time, three times fifty of Finn's hounds passed by the hill
where she was; and she breathed on the hounds and shut them up in the
hill, and they never came out again. It was to spite Finn she did that,
and the place got the name of Duma na Conn, the Mound of the Hounds.

And as to Adhnuall, one of the hounds Finn thought most of, and that was
brought back from the King of Britain's son, this is the way he came to
his death afterwards.

There was a great fight one time between the Fianna and Macoon, son of
Macnia, at some place in the province of Leinster, and a great many of
the Fianna were killed. And the hound Adhnuall went wandering northward
from the battle and went astray; and three times he went round the whole
of Ireland, and then he came back to the place of the battle, and to a
hill where three young men of the Fianna that had fallen there were
buried after their death, and three daughters of a King of Alban that
had died for love of them. And when Adhnuall came to that hill, he gave
three loud howls and he stretched himself out and died.


Finn called for a great hunt one time on the plains of Magh Chonaill and
in the forest parts of Cairbre of the Nuts. And he himself went up to
the top of Ceiscoran, and his two dogs Bran and Sceolan with him.

And the Fianna were shouting through the whole country where they were
hunting, the way the deer were roused in their wild places and the
badgers in their holes, and foxes in their wanderings, and birds on the

And Conaran, son of Imidd, of the Tuatha de Danaan, had the sway in
Ceiscoran at that time, and when he heard the shouting and the cry of
the hounds all around, he bade his three daughters that had a great
share of enchantments, to do vengeance on Finn for his hunting.

The three women went then to the opening of a cave that was in the
hills, and there they sat down together, and they put three strong
enchanted hanks of yarn on crooked holly-sticks, and began to reel them
off outside the cave.

They were not long there till Finn and Conan came towards them, and saw
the three ugly old hags at their work, their coarse hair tossed, their
eyes red and bleary, their teeth sharp and crooked, their arms very
long, their nails like the tips of cows' horns, and the three spindles
in their hands.

Finn and Conan passed through the hanks of yarn to get a better look at
the hags. And no sooner had they done that, than a deadly trembling came
on them and a weakness, and the bold hags took hold of them and put them
in tight bonds.

Two other men of the Fianna came up then, and the sons of Menhann along
with them, and they went through the spindles to where Finn and Conan
were, and their strength went from them in the same way, and the hags
tied them fast and carried them into the cave.

They were not long there till Caoilte and Lugaidh's Son came to the
place, and along with them the best men of the sons of Baiscne. The sons
of Morna came as well, and no sooner did they see the hanks than their
strength and their bravery went out of them the same as it went from the

And in the end the whole number of them, gentle and simple, were put in
bonds by the hags, and brought into the cave. And there began at the
mouth of the cave a great outcry of hounds calling for their masters
that had left them there. And there was lying on the hillside a great
heap of deer, and wild pigs, and hares, and badgers, dead and torn, that
were brought as far as that by the hunters that were tied up now in the

Then the three women came in, having swords in their hands, to the place
where they were lying, to make an end of them. But first they looked out
to see was there ever another man of the Fianna to bring in and to make
an end of with the rest.

And they saw coming towards them a very tall man that was Goll, son of
Morna, the Flame of Battle. And when the three hags saw him they went to
meet him, and they fought a hard battle with him. And great anger came
on Goll, and he made great strokes at the witches, and at the last he
raised up his sword, and with one blow he cut the two that were nearest
him through and through.

And then the oldest of the three women wound her arms about Goll, and he
beheading the two others, and he turned to face her and they wrestled
together, till at last Goll gave her a great twist and threw her on the
ground. He tied her fast then with the straps of a shield, and took his
sword to make an end of her. But the hag said: "O champion that was
never worsted, strong man that never went back in battle, I put my body
and my life under the protection of your bravery. And it is better for
you," she said, "to get Finn and the Fianna safe and whole than to have
my blood; and I swear by the gods my people swear by," she said, "I will
give them back to you again."

With that Goll set her free, and they went together into the hill where
the Fianna were lying. And Goll said: "Loose off the fastenings first
from Fergus of the True Lips and from the other learned men of the
Fianna; and after that from Finn, and Oisin, and the twenty-nine sons of
Morna, and from all the rest."

She took off the fastenings then, and the Fianna made no delay, but rose
up and went out and sat down on the side of the hill. And Fergus of the
Sweet Lips looked at Goll, son of Morna, and made great praises of him,
and of all that he had done.


One time the Fianna were at their hunting at the island of Toraig to the
north of Ireland, and they roused a fawn that was very wild and
beautiful, and it made for the coast, and Finn and six of his men
followed after it through the whole country, till they came to
Slieve-nam-Ban. And there the fawn put down its head and vanished into
the earth, and none of them knew where was it gone to.

A heavy snow began to fall then that bent down the tops of the trees
like a willow-gad, and the courage and the strength went from the Fianna
with the dint of the bad weather, and Finn said to Caoilte: "Is there
any place we can find shelter to-night?" Caoilte made himself supple
then, and went over the elbow of the hill southward.

And when he looked around him he saw a house full of light, with cups
and horns and bowls of different sorts in it. He stood a good while
before the door of the house, that he knew to be a house of the Sidhe,
thinking would it be best go in and get news of it, or to go back to
Finn and the few men that were with him. And he made up his mind to go
into the house, and there he sat down on a shining chair in the middle
of the floor; and he looked around him, and he saw, on the one side,
eight-and-twenty armed men, each of them having a well-shaped woman
beside him. And on the other side he saw six nice young girls,
yellow-haired, having shaggy gowns from their shoulders. And in the
middle there was another young girl sitting in a chair, and a harp in
her hand, and she playing on it and singing. And every time she stopped,
a man of them would give her a horn to drink from, and she would give it
back to him again, and they were all making mirth around her.

She spoke to Caoilte then. "Caoilte, my life," she said, "give us leave
to attend on you now." "Do not," said Caoilte, "for there is a better
man than myself outside, Finn, son of Cumhal, and he has a mind to eat
in this house to-night." "Rise up, Caoilte, and go for Finn," said a man
of the house then; "for he never refused any man in his own house, and
he will get no refusal from us."

Caoilte went back then to Finn, and when Finn saw him he said: "It is
long you are away from us, Caoilte, for from the time I took arms in my
hands I never had a night that put so much hardship on me as this one."

The six of them went then into the lighted house and their shields and
their arms with them. And they sat down on the edge of a seat, and a
girl having yellow hair came and brought them to a shining seat in the
middle of the house, and the newest of every food, and the oldest of
every drink was put before them. And when the sharpness of their hunger
and their thirst was lessened, Finn said: "Which of you can I question?"
"Question whoever you have a mind to," said the tallest of the men that
was near him. "Who are you yourself then?" said Finn, "for I did not
think there were so many champions in Ireland, and I not knowing them."

"Those eight-and-twenty armed men you see beyond," said the tall man,
"had the one father and mother with myself; and we are the sons of
Midhir of the Yellow Hair, and our mother is Fionnchaem, the fair,
beautiful daughter of the King of the Sidhe of Monaid in the east. And
at one time the Tuatha de Danaan had a gathering, and gave the kingship
to Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda, at his bright hospitable place, and he
began to ask hostages of myself and of my brothers; but we said that
till all the rest of the Men of Dea had given them, we would not give
them. Bodb Dearg said then to our father: 'Unless you will put away your
sons, we will wall up your dwelling-place on you.' So the
eight-and-twenty brothers of us came out to look for a place for
ourselves; and we searched all Ireland till we found this secret hidden
place, and we are here ever since. And my own name," he said, "is Donn,
son of Midhir. And we had every one of us ten hundred armed men
belonging to himself, but they are all worn away now, and only the
eight-and-twenty of us left." "What is it is wearing you away?" said
Finn. "The Men of Dea," said Donn, "that come three times in every year
to give battle to us on the green outside." "What is the long new grave
we saw on the green outside?" said Finn. "It is the grave of Diangalach,
a man of enchantments of the Men of Dea; and that is the greatest loss
came on them yet," said Donn; "and it was I myself killed him," he
said. "What loss came next to that?" said Finn. "All the Tuatha de
Danaan had of jewels and riches and treasures, horns and vessels and
cups of pale gold, we took from them at the one time." "What was the
third greatest loss they had?" said Finn. "It was Fethnaid, daughter of
Feclach, the woman-harper of the Tuatha de Danaan, their music and the
delight of their minds," said Donn.

"And to-morrow," he said, "they will be coming to make an attack on us,
and there is no one but myself and my brothers left; and we knew we
would be in danger, and that we could make no stand against them. And we
sent that bare-headed girl beyond to Toraig in the North in the shape of
a foolish fawn, and you followed her here. It is that girl washing
herself, and having a green cloak about her, went looking for you.

"And the empty side of the house," he said, "belonged to our people that
the Men of Dea have killed."

They spent that night in drinking and in pleasure. And when they rose up
in the morning of the morrow, Donn, son of Midhir, said to Finn, "Come
out with me now on the lawn till you see the place where we fight the
battles every year." They went out then and they looked at the graves
and the flag-stones, and Donn said: "It is as far as this the Men of Dea
come to meet us." "Which of them come here?" said Finn.

"Bodb Dearg with his seven sons," said Donn; "and Angus Og, son of the
Dagda, with his seven sons; and Finnbharr of Cnoc Medha with his
seventeen sons; Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh with his twenty-seven sons and
their sons; Tadg, son of Nuada, out of the beautiful hill of Almhuin;
Donn of the Island and Donn of the Vat; the two called Glas from the
district of Osraige; Dobhran Dubthaire from the hill of Liamhain of the
Smooth Shirt; Aedh of the Island of Rachrainn in the north; Ferai and
Aillinn and Lir and Fainnle, sons of Eogobal, from Cnoc Aine in Munster;
Cian and Coban and Conn, three sons of the King of Sidhe Monaid in
Alban; Aedh Minbhreac of Ess Ruadh with his seven sons; the children of
the Morrigu, the Great Queen, her six-and-twenty women warriors, the two
Luaths from Magh Life; Derg and Drecan out of the hill of Beinn Edair in
the east; Bodb Dearg himself with his great household, ten hundred ten
score and ten. Those are the chief leaders of the Tuatha de Danaan that
come to destroy our hill every year."

Finn went back into the hill then, and told all that to his people.

"My people," he said, "it is in great need and under great oppression
the sons of Midhir are, and it is into great danger we are come
ourselves. And unless we make a good fight now," he said, "it is likely
we will never see the Fianna again."

"Good Finn," every one of them said then, "did you ever see any
drawing-back in any of us that you give us that warning?" "I give my
word," said Finn, "if I would go through the whole world having only
this many of the Fianna of Ireland along with me, I would not know fear
nor fright. And good Donn," he said, "is it by day or by night the Men
of Dea come against you?" "It is at the fall of night they come," said
Donn, "the way they can do us the most harm."

So they waited till night came on, and then Finn said: "Let one of you
go out now on the green to keep watch for us, the way the Men of Dea
will not come on us without word or warning."

And the man they set to watch was not gone far when he saw five strong
battalions of the Men of Dea coming towards him. He went back then to
the hill and he said: "It is what I think, that the troops that are come
against us this time and are standing now around the grave of the Man
of Enchantments are a match for any other fighting men."

Finn called to his people then, and he said: "These are good fighters
are come against you, having strong red spears. And let you all do well
now in the battle. And it is what you have to do," he said, "to keep the
little troop of brothers, the sons of Midhir, safe in the fight; for it
would be a treachery to friendship any harm to come on them, and we
after joining them; and myself and Caoilte are the oldest among you, and
leave the rest of the battle to us."

Then from the covering time of evening to the edge of the morning they
fought the battle. And the loss of the Tuatha de Danaan was no less a
number than ten hundred ten score and ten men. Then Bodb Dearg and
Midhir and Fionnbhar said to one another: "What are we to do with all
these? And let Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh give us an advice," they said,
"since he is the oldest of us." And Lir said: "It is what I advise, let
every one carry away his friends and his fosterlings, his sons and his
brothers, to his own place. And as for us that stop here," he said, "let
a wall of fire be made about us on the one side, and a wall of water on
the other side." Then the Men of Dea put up a great heap of stones, and
brought away their dead; and of all the great slaughter that Finn and
his men and the sons of Midhir had made, there was not left enough for a
crow to perch upon.

And as to Finn and his men, they went back into the hill, hurt and
wounded and worn-out.

And they stopped in the hill with the sons of Midhir through the whole
length of a year, and three times in the year the Men of Dea made an
attack on the hill, and a battle was fought.

And Conn, son of Midhir, was killed in one of the battles; and as to the
Fianna, there were so many wounds on them that the clothing was held
off from their bodies with bent hazel sticks, and they lying in their
beds, and two of them were like to die. And Finn and Caoilte and
Lugaidh's Son went out on the green, and Caoilte said: "It was a bad
journey we made coming to this hill, to leave two of our comrades after
us." "It is a pity for whoever will face the Fianna of Ireland," said
Lugaidh's Son, "and he after leaving his comrades after him." "Whoever
will go back and leave them, it will not be myself," said Finn. Then
Bonn, son of Midhir, came to them. "Good Donn," said Finn, "have you
knowledge of any physician that can cure our men?" "I only know one
physician could do that," said Donn; "a physician the Tuatha de Danaan
have with them. And unless a wounded man has the marrow of his back cut
through, he will get relief from that physician, the way he will be
sound at the end of nine days." "How can we bring that man here," said
Finn, "for those he is with are no good friends to us?" "He goes out
every morning at break of day," said Donn, "to gather healing herbs
while the dew is on them." "Find some one, Donn," said Caoilte, "that
will show me that physician, and, living or dead, I will bring him with

Then Aedh and Flann, two of the sons of Midhir, rose up. "Come with us,
Caoilte," they said, and they went on before him to a green lawn with
the dew on it; and when they came to it they saw a strong young man
armed and having a cloak of the wool of the seven sheep of the Land of
Promise, and it full of herbs of healing he was after gathering for the
Men of Dea that were wounded in the battle. "Who is that man?" said
Caoilte. "That is the man we came looking for," said Aedh. "And mind him
well now," he said, "that he will not make his escape from us back to
his own people."

They ran at him together then, and Caoilte took him by the shoulders
and they brought him away with them to the ford of the Slaine in the
great plain of Leinster, where the most of the Fianna were at that time;
and a Druid mist rose up about them that they could not be seen.

And they went up on a little hill over the ford, and they saw before
them four young men having crimson fringed cloaks and swords with gold
hilts, and four good hunting hounds along with them. And the young man
could not see them because of the mist, but Caoilte saw they were his
own two sons, Colla and Faolan, and two other young men of the Fianna,
and he could hear them talking together, and saying it was a year now
that Finn, son of Cumhal, was gone from them. "And what will the Fianna
of Ireland do from this out," said one of them, "without their lord and
their leader?" "There is nothing for them to do," said another, "but to
go to Teamhair and to break up there, or to find another leader for
themselves." And there was heavy sorrow on them for the loss of their
lord; and it was grief to Caoilte to be looking at them.

And he and the two sons of Midhir went back then by the Lake of the Two
Birds to Slieve-nam Ban, and they went into the hill.

And Finn and Donn gave a great welcome to Luibra, the physician, and
they showed him their two comrades that were lying in their wounds.
"Those men are brothers to me," said Donn, "and tell me how can they be
cured?" Luibra looked then at their wounds, and he said: "They can be
cured if I get a good reward." "You will get that indeed," said Caoilte;
"and tell me now," he said, "how long will it take to cure them?" "It
will take nine days," said Luibra. "It is a good reward you will get,"
said Caoilte, "and this is what it is, your own life to be left to you.
But if these young men are not healed," he said, "it is my own hand will
strike off your head."

And within nine days the physician had done a cure on them, and they
were as well and as sound as before.

And it was after that time the High King sent a messenger to bring the
Fianna to the Feast of Teamhair. And they all gathered to it, men and
women, boys and heroes and musicians. And Goll, son of Morna, was
sitting at the feast beside the king. "It is a great loss you have had,
Fianna of Ireland," said the king, "losing your lord and your leader,
Finn, son of Cumhal." "It is a great loss indeed," said Goll.

"There has no greater loss fallen on Ireland since the loss of Lugh, son
of Ethne," said the king. "What orders will you give to the Fianna now,
king?" said Goll. "To yourself, Goll," said the king, "I will give the
right of hunting over all Ireland till we know if the loss of Finn is
lasting." "I will not take Finn's place," said Goll, "till he has been
wanting to us through the length of three years, and till no person in
Ireland has any hope of seeing him again."

Then Ailbe of the Freckled Face said to the king: "What should these
seventeen queens belonging to Finn's household do?" "Let a safe, secret
sunny house be given to every one of them," said the king; "and let her
stop there and her women with her, and let provision be given to her for
a month and a quarter and a year till we have knowledge if Finn is alive
or dead."

Then the king stood up, and a smooth drinking-horn in his hand, and he
said: "It would be a good thing, men of Ireland, if any one among you
could get us news of Finn in hills or in secret places, or in rivers or
invers, or in any house of the Sidhe in Ireland or in Alban."

With that Berngal, the cow-owner from the borders of Slieve Fuad, that
was divider to the King of Ireland, said: "The day Finn came out from
the north, following after a deer of the Sidhe, and his five comrades
with him, he put a sharp spear having a shining head in my hand, and a
hound's collar along with it, and he bade me to keep them till he would
meet me again in the same place." Berngal showed the spear and the
collar then to the king and to Goll, and they looked at them and the
king said: "It is a great loss to the men of Ireland the man is that
owned this collar and this spear. And were his hounds along with him?"
he said. "They were," said Berngal; "Bran and Sceolan were with Finn,
and Breac and Lainbhui with Caoilte, and Conuall and Comrith with
Lugaidh's Son."

The High King called then for Fergus of the True Lips, and he said: "Do
you know how long is Finn away from us?" "I know that well," said
Fergus; "it is a month and a quarter and a year since we lost him. And
indeed it is a great loss he is to the Fianna of Ireland," he
said, "himself and the men that were with him." "It is a great loss
indeed," said the king, "and I have no hope at all of finding those six
that were the best men of Ireland or of Alban."

And then he called to Cithruadh, the Druid, and he said: "It is much
riches and many treasures Finn gave you, and tell us now is he living or
is he dead?" "He is living," said Cithruadh then. "But as to where he
is, I will give no news of that," he said, "for he himself would not
like me to give news of it." There was great joy among them when they
heard that, for everything Cithruadh had ever foretold had come true.
"Tell us when will he come back?" said the king. "Before the Feast of
Teamhair is over," said the Druid, "you will see the Leader of the
Fianna drinking at it."

And as to Finn and his men, they stopped in the House of the Two Birds
till they had taken hostages for Donn, son of Midhir, from the Tuatha de
Danaan. And on the last day of the Feast of Teamhair they came back to
their people again.

And from that time out the Fianna of Ireland had not more dealings with
the people living in houses than they had with the People of the Gods of


It happened one day Finn and Oisin and Caoilte and Diarmuid and
Lugaidh's Son went up on the top of Cairn Feargall, and their five
hounds with them, Bran and Sceolan, Sear Dubh, Luath Luachar and
Adhnuall. And they were not long there till they saw a giant coming
towards them, very tall and rough and having an iron fork on his back
and a squealing pig between the prongs of the fork. And there was a
beautiful eager young girl behind the giant, shoving him on before her.
"Let some one go speak with those people," said Finn. So Diarmuid went
towards them, but they turned away before he came to them. Then Finn and
the rest rose up and went after them, but before they came to the giant
and the girl, a dark Druid mist rose up that hid the road. And when the
mist cleared away, Finn and the rest looked about them, and they saw a
good light-roofed house at the edge of a ford near at hand. They went on
to the house, and there was a green lawn before it, and in the lawn two
wells, and on the edge of one well there was a rough iron vessel, and on
the edge of the other a copper vessel. They went into the house then,
and they found there a very old white-haired man, standing to the right
hand of the door, and the beautiful young girl they saw before, sitting
near him, and the great rough giant beside the fire, and he boiling a
pig. And on the other side of the fire there was an old countryman,
having dark-grey hair and twelve eyes in his head, and his twelve eyes
were twelve sons of battle. And there was a ram in the house having a
white belly and a very black head, and dark-blue horns and green feet.
And there was a hag in the end of the house and a worn grey gown on her,
and there was no one in the house but those.

And the man at the door gave them a welcome, and then the five of them
sat down on the floor of the house, and their hounds along with them.

"Let great respect be shown to Finn, son of Cumhal, and to his people,"
said the man at the door. "It is the way I am," said the giant, "to be
asking always and getting nothing." But for all that he rose up and
showed respect to Finn.

Presently there came a great thirst on Finn, and no one took notice of
it but Caoilte, and he began complaining greatly. "Why are you
complaining, Caoilte?" said the man at the door; "you have but to go out
and get a drink for Finn at whichever of the wells you will choose."
Caoilte went out then, and he brought the full of the copper vessel to
Finn, and Finn took a drink from it, and there was the taste of honey on
it while he was drinking, and the taste of gall on it after, so that
fierce windy pains and signs of death came on him, and his appearance
changed, that he would hardly be known. And Caoilte made greater
complaints than he did before on account of the way he was, till the man
at the door bade him to go out and to bring him a drink from the other
well. So Caoilte did that, and brought in the full of the iron vessel.
And Finn never went through such great hardship in any battle as he did
drinking that draught, from the bitterness of it; but no sooner did he
drink it than his own colour and appearance came back to him and he was
as well as before, and his people were very glad when they saw that.

Then the man of the house asked was the pig ready that was in the
cauldron. "It is ready," said the giant; "and leave the dividing of it
to me," he said. "What way will you divide it?" said the man of the
house. "I will give one hind quarter to Finn and his dogs," said the
giant, "and the other hind quarter to Finn's four comrades; and the fore
quarter to myself, and the chine and the rump to the old man there by
the fire and the hag in the corner; and the entrails to yourself and to
the young girl that is beside you." "I give my word," said the man of
the house, "you have shared it well." "I give my word," said the ram,
"it is a bad division to me, for you have forgotten my share in it."
With that he took hold of the quarter that was before the Fianna, and
brought it into a corner and began to eat it. On that the four of them
attacked him with their swords, but with all the hard strokes they gave
they could not harm him at all, for the swords slipped from his back the
same as they would from a rock. "On my word it is a pity for any one
that has the like of you for comrades," said the man with the twelve
eyes, "and you letting a sheep bring away your food from you." With that
he went up to the ram and took him by the feet and threw him out from
the door that he fell on his back, and they saw him no more.

It was not long after that, the hag rose up and threw her pale grey gown
over Finn's four comrades, and they turned to four old men, weak and
withered, their heads hanging. When Finn saw that there came great dread
on him, and the man at the door saw it, and he bade him to come over to
him, and to put his head in his breast and to sleep. Finn did that, and
the hag took her covering off the four men, the way that when Finn awoke
they were in their own shape again, and it is well pleased he was to see

"Is there wonder on you, Finn?" said the man at the door, "at the ways
of this house?" "I never wondered more at anything I ever saw," said
Finn. "I will tell you the meaning of them, so," said the man. "As to
the giant you saw first," he said, "having the squealing pig in the
prongs of his fork, Sluggishness is his name; and the girl here beside
me that was shoving him along is Liveliness, for liveliness pushes on
sluggishness, and liveliness goes farther in the winking of an eye than
the foot can travel in a year. The old man there beyond with the twelve
bright eyes betokens the World, and he is stronger than any other, and
he showed that when he made nothing of the ram. The ram you saw betokens
the Desires of Men. The hag is Old Age, and her gown withered up your
four comrades. And the two wells you drank the two draughts out of," he
said, "betoken Lying and Truth; for it is sweet to people to be telling
a lie, but it is bitter in the end. And as to myself," he said, "Cuanna
from Innistuil is my name, and it is not here I am used to be, but I
took a very great love for you, Finn, because of your wisdom and your
great name, and so I put these things in your way that I might see you.
And the hospitality of Cuanna's house to Finn will be the name of this
story to the end of the world. And let you and your men come together
now," he said, "and sleep till morning."

So they did that, and when they awoke in the morning, it is where they
were, on the top of Cairn Feargall, and their dogs and their arms beside


Nine of the Fianna set out one time, looking for a pup they wanted, and
they searched through many places before they found it. All through Magh
Leine they searched, and through the Valley of the Swords, and through
the storm of Druim Cleibh, and it is pleasant the Plain of the Life
looked after it; but not a pup could they find. Then they went searching
through Durlass of the generous men, and great Teamhair and Dun Dobhran
and Ceanntsaile, men and dogs searching the whole of Ireland, but not a
pup could they find.

And while they were going from place to place, and their people with
them, they saw the three armies of the sons of the King of Ruadhleath
coming towards them. Cat-headed one army was, and the one alongside of
it was Dog-headed, and the men of the third army were White-backed.

And when the Fianna saw them coming, Finn held up his shining spear, and
light-hearted Caoilte gave out a great shout that was heard in Almhuin,
and in Magh Leine, and in Teamhair, and in Dun Reithlein. And that shout
was answered by Goll, son of Morna, and by Faolan, Finn's son that was
with him, and by the Stutterers from Burren, and by the two sons of
Maith Breac, and by Iolunn of the Sharp Edge, and by Cael of the Sharp
Sword, that never gave his ear to tale-bearers.

It is pleasant the sound was then of the spears and the armies and of
the silken banners that were raised up in the gusty wind of the morning.
And as to the banners, Finn's banner, the Dealb-Greine, the Sun-Shape,
had the likeness of the sun on it; and Coil's banner was the Fulang
Duaraidh, that was the first and last to move in a battle; and Faolan's
banner was the Coinneal Catha, the Candle of Battle; and Oisin's banner
was the Donn Nimhe, the Dark Deadly One; and Caoilte's was the Lamh
Dearg, the Red Hand; and Osgar's was the Sguab Gabhaidh that had a Broom
of rowan branches on it, and the only thing asked when the fight was at
the hottest was where that Broom was; and merry Diarmuid's banner was
the Liath Loinneach, the Shining Grey; and the Craobh Fuileach, the
Bloody Branch, was the banner of Lugaidh's Son. And as to Conan, it is a
briar he had on his banner, because he was always for quarrels and for
trouble. And it used to be said of him he never saw a man frown without
striking him, or a door left open without going in through it.

And when the Fianna had raised their banners they attacked the three
armies; and first of all they killed the whole of the Cat-Heads, and
then they took the Dog-Heads in hand and made an end of them, and of the
White-Backs along with them.

And after that they went to a little hill to the south, having a double
dun on it, and it is there they found a hound they were able to get a
pup from.

And by that time they had searched through the whole of Ireland, and
they did not find in the whole of it a hundred men that could match
their nine.

And as well as their banners, some of the Fianna had swords that had
names to them, Mac an Luin, Son of the Waves, that belonged to Finn; and
Ceard-nan Gallan, the Smith of the Branches, that was Oisin's; and
Caoilte's Cruadh-Chosgarach, the Hard Destroying One; and Diarmuid's
Liomhadoir, the Burnisher; and Osgar's Cosgarach Mhor, the Great
Triumphant One.

And it is the way they got those swords: there came one time to where
Finn and Caoilte and some others of the Fianna were, a young man, very
big and ugly, having but one foot and one eye; a cloak of black skins he
had over his shoulders, and in his hand a blunt ploughshare that was
turning to red. And he told them he was Lon, son of Liobhan, one of the
three smiths of the King of Lochlann. And whether he thought to go away
from the Fianna, or to bring them to his smithy, he started running, and
they followed after him all through Ireland, to Slieve-na-Righ, and to
Luimnech, and to Ath Luain, and by the right side of Cruachan of
Connacht, and to Ess Ruadh and to Beinn Edair, and so to the sea.

And wherever it was they found the smithy, they went into it, and there
they found four smiths working, and every one of them having seven
hands. And Finn and Caoilte and the rest stopped there watching them
till the swords were made, and they brought them away with them then,
and it is good use they made of them afterwards.

And besides his sword, Mac an Luin, Finn had a shield was called Sgiath
Gailbhinn, the Storm Shield; and when it called out it could be heard
all through Ireland.

And whether or not it was the Storm Shield, Finn had a wonderful shield
that he did great deeds with, and the story of it is this:

At the time of the battle of the Great Battle of Magh Tuireadh, Lugh,
after he had struck the head off Balor of the Evil Eye, hung it in the
fork of a hazel-tree. And the tree split, and the leaves fell from it
with the dint of the poison that dropped from the head. And through the
length of fifty years that tree was a dwelling-place of crows and of
ravens. And at the end of that time Manannan, son of Lir, was passing
by, and he took notice of the tree that it was split and withered, and
he bade his men to dig it up. And when they began to dig, a mist of
poison rose up from the roots, and nine of the men got their death from
it, and another nine after them, and the third nine were blinded. And
Luchtaine the Carpenter made a shield of the wood of that hazel for
Manannan. And after a while Manannan gave it, and a set of chessmen
along with it, to Tadg, son of Nuada; and from him it came to his
grandson, Finn, son of Muirne and of Cumhal.


FINN took a wife one time of the Luigne of Midhe. And at the same time
there was in his household one Lomna, a fool.

Finn now went into Tethra, hunting with the Fianna, but Lomna stopped at
the house. And after a while he saw Coirpre, a man of the Luigne, go in
secretly to where Finn's wife was.

And when the woman knew he had seen that, she begged and prayed of Lomna
to hide it from Finn. And Lomna agreed to that, but it preyed on him to
have a hand in doing treachery on Finn. And after a while he took a
four-square rod and wrote an Ogham on it, and these were the words he
wrote:--"An alder stake in a paling of silver; deadly night-shade in a
bunch of cresses; a husband of a lewd woman; a fool among the
well-taught Fianna; heather on bare Ualann of Luigne."

Finn saw the message, and there was anger on him against the woman; and
she knew well it was from Lomna he had heard the story, and she sent a
message to Coirpre bidding him to come and kill the fool.

So Coirpre came and struck his head off, and brought it away with him.

And when Finn came back in the evening he saw the body, and it without a
head. "Let us know whose body is this," said the Fianna. And then Finn
did the divination of rhymes, and it is what he said: "It is the body of
Lomna; it is not by a wild boar he was killed; it is not by a fall he
was killed; it is not in his bed he died; it is by his enemies he died;
it is not a secret to the Luigne the way he died. And let out the hounds
now on their track," he said.

So they let out the hounds, and put them on the track of Coirpre, and
Finn followed them, and they came to a house, and Coirpre in it, and
three times nine of his men and he cooking fish on a spit; and Lomna's
head was on a spike beside the fire.

And the first of the fish that was cooked Coirpre divided between his
men, but he put no bit into the mouth of the head. And then he made a
second division in the same way. Now that was against the law of the
Fianna, and the head spoke, and it said: "A speckled white-bellied
salmon that grows from a small fish under the sea; you have shared a
share that is not right; the Fianna will avenge it upon you, Coirpre."
"Put the head outside," said Coirpre, "for that is an evil word for us."
Then the head said from outside: "It is in many pieces you will be; it
is great fires will be lighted by Finn in Luigne."

And as it said that, Finn came in, and he made an end of Coirpre, and of
his men.


One time Caoilte was hunting on Beinn Gulbain, and he went on to Ess
Ruadh. And when he came near the hill of the Sidhe that is there, he saw
a young man waiting for him, having a crimson fringed cloak about him,
and on his breast a silver brooch, and a white shield, ornamented with
linked beasts of red gold, and his hair rolled in a ball at the back,
and covered with a golden cup. And he had heavy green weapons, and he
was holding two hounds in a silver chain.

And when Caoilte came up to him he gave him three loving kisses, and sat
down beside him on the grass. "Who are you, young champion?" said
Caoilte. "I am Derg, son of Eoghan of the people of Usnach," he said,
"and foster-brother of your own." Caoilte knew him then, and he said:
"And what is your life with your mother's people, the Tuatha de Danaan
in Sidhe Aedha?" "There is nothing wanting to us there of food or of
clothing," said the young man. "But for all that," he said, "I would
sooner live the life of the worst treated of the serving-boys of the
Fianna than the life I am living in the hill of the Sidhe." "Lonely as
you are at your hunting to-day," said Caoilte, "it is often I saw you
coming to the Valley of the Three Waters in the south, where the Siuir
and the Beoir and the Berba come together, with a great company about
you; fifteen hundred young men, fifteen hundred serving-boys, and
fifteen hundred women." "That was so," said Derg; "and although myself
and my gentle hound are living in the hill of the Sidhe, my mind is
always on the Fianna. And I remember well the time," he said, "when you
yourself won the race against Finn's lasting black horse. And come now
into the hill," he said, "for the darkness of the night is coming on."

So he brought Caoilte into the hill with him, and they were set down in
their right places.

It was at that time, now, there was great war between Lir of Sidhe
Fionnachaidh and Ilbrec of Ess Ruadh. There used a bird with an iron
beak and a tail of fire to come every evening to a golden window of
Ilbrec's house, and there he would shake himself till he would not leave
sword on pillow, or shield on peg, or spear in rack, but they would come
down on the heads of the people of the house; and whatever they would
throw at the bird, it is on the heads of some of themselves it would
fall. And the night Caoilte came in, the hall was made ready for a
feast, and the bird came in again, and did the same destruction as
before, and nothing they threw at him would touch him at all. "Is it
long the bird has been doing this?" said Caoilte. "Through the length of
a year now," said Derg, "since we went to war with Sidhe Fionnachaidh."

Then Caoilte put his hand within the rim of his shield, and he took out
of it a copper rod he had, and he made a cast of it at the bird, that
brought it down on the floor of the hall. "Did any one ever make a
better cast than that?" said Ilbrec. "By my word," said Caoilte, "there
is no one of us in the Fianna has any right to boast against another."
Then Ilbrec took down a sharp spear, having thirty rivets of gold in it,
from its place, and he said: "That is the Spear of Fiacha, son of
Congha, and it is with that Finn made an end of Aillen, son of Midhna,
that used to burn Teamhair. And keep it beside you now, Caoilte," he
said, "till we see will Lir come to avenge his bird on us."

Then they took up their horns and their cups, and they were at drinking
and pleasure, and Ilbrec said: "Well, Caoilte," he said, "if Lir comes
to avenge his bird on us, who will you put in command of the battle?" "I
will give the command to Derg there beyond," said he. "Will you take it
in hand, Derg?" said the people of the hill. "I will take it," said
Derg, "with its loss and its gain."

So that is how they spent the night, and it was not long in the morning
till they heard blowing of horns, and rattling of chariots, and clashing
of shields, and the uproar of a great army that came all about the hill.
They sent some of their people out then to see were there many in it,
and they saw three brave armies of the one size. "It would be a great
vexation to me," said Aedh Nimbrec, the Speckled, then, "we to get our
death and Lir's people to take the hill." "Did you never hear, Aedh,"
said Caoilte, "that the wild boar escapes sometimes from both hounds and
from wolves, and the stag in the same way goes away from the hounds with
a sudden start; and what man is it you are most in dread of in the
battle?" he said. "The man that is the best fighter of all the Men of
Dea," said they all, "and that is Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh." "The
thing I have done in every battle I will not give up to-day," said
Caoilte, "to meet the best man that is in it hand to hand." "The two
that are next to him in fighting," they said then, "are Donn and Dubh."
"I will put down those two," said Derg.

Then the host of the Sidhe went out to the battle, and the armies
attacked one another with wide green spears and with little casting
spears, and with great stones; and the fight went on from the rising of
the day till midday. And then Caoilte and Lir met with one another, and
they made a very fierce fight, and at the last Lir of Sidhe Fionnachaidh
fell by the hand of Caoilte.

Then the two good champions Dubh and Donn, sons of Eirrge, determined to
go on with the battle, and it is how they fought, Dubh in the front of
the whole army, and Donn behind all, guarding the rear. But Derg saw
that, and he put his finger into the thong of his spear and made a cast
at the one that was nearest him, and it broke his back and went on into
the body of the other, so that the one cast made an end of the two. And
that ended the battle, and all that was left of the great army of Lir
went wearing away to the north. And there was great rejoicing in the
hill at Ess Ruadh, and Ilbrec took the spoils of the beaten army for his
people, and to Caoilte he gave the enchanted spear of Fiacha, together
with nine rich cloaks and nine long swords with hilts and guards of
gold, and nine hounds for hunting. And they said farewell to one
another, and Caoilte left his blessing to the people of the hill, and he
brought their thanks with him. And as hard as the battle had been, it
was harder again for Derg to part from his comrade, and the day he was
parted from Finn and from all the Fianna was no sadder to him than this

It was a long time after that Caoilte went again to the hill of Ilbrec
at Ess Ruadh, and this is the way it happened.

It was in a battle at Beinn Edair in the east that Mane, son of the King
of Lochlann, made a cast at him in the middle of the battle with a
deadly spear. And he heard the whistling of the spear, and it rushing to
him; and he lifted his shield to protect his head and his body, but that
did not save him, for it struck into his thigh, and left its poison in
it, so that he had to go in search of healing. And it is where he went,
to the hill of the Sidhe at Ess Ruadh, to ask help of Bebind, daughter
of Elcmar of Brugh na Boinne, that had the drink of healing of the
Tuatha de Danaan, and all that was left of the ale of Goibniu that she
used to be giving out to them.

And Caoilte called to Cascorach the Musician, son of Caincenn, and bade
him bring his harp and come along with him. And they stopped for a night
in the hill of the Sidhe of Druim Nemed in Luigne of Connacht, and from
that they went forward by Ess Dara, the Fall of the Oaks, and Druim
Dearg na Feinne, the Red Ridge of the Fianna, and Ath Daim Glas, the
Ford of the Grey Stag, and to Beinn Gulbain, and northward into the
plain of Ceitne, where the Men of Dea used to pay their tribute to the
Fomor; and up to the Footstep of Ess Ruadh, and the High Place of the
Boys, where the boys of the Tuatha de Danaan used to be playing their
hurling. And Aedh of Ess Ruadh and Ilbrec of Ess Ruadh were at the door
of the hill, and they gave Caoilte a true welcome. "I am glad of that
welcome," said Caoilte. And then Bebind, daughter of Elcmar of Brugh na
Boinne, came out, and three times fifty comely women about her, and she
sat down on the green grass and gave three loving kisses to the three,
to Caoilte and to Cascorach and to Fermaise, that had come with them out
of the hill of the Sidhe in Luigne of Connacht. And all the people of
the hill welcomed them, and they said: "It is little your friendship
would be worth if you would not come to help us and we in need of help."
"It was not for bravery I was bade come," said Cascorach; "but when the
right time comes I will make music for you if you have a mind to hear
it." "It is not for deeds of bravery we are come," said Fermaise, "but
we will give you our help if you are in need of it." Then Caoilte told
them the cause of his journey. "We will heal you well," said they. And
then they all went into the hill and stayed there three days and three
nights at drinking and pleasure.

And indeed it was good help Caoilte and Cascorach gave them after that.
For there was a woman-warrior used to come every year with the ships of
the men of Lochlann to make an attack on the Tuatha de Danaan. And she
had been reared by a woman that knew all enchantments, and there was no
precious thing in all the hills of the Sidhe but she had knowledge of
it, and would bring it away. And just at this time there came a
messenger to the door of the hill with news that the harbour was full of
ships, and that a great army had landed, and the woman-warrior along
with it.

And it was Cascorach the Musician went out against her, having a shield
he got the loan of from Donn, son of Midhir; and she used high words
when she saw so young a man coming to fight with her, and he alone. But
he made an end of her for all her high talk, and left her lying on the
strand with the sea foam washing up to her.

And as to Caoilte, he went out in a chariot belonging to Midhir of the
Yellow Hair, son of the Dagda, and a spear was given him that was called
Ben-badb, the War-Woman, and he made a cast of the spear that struck the
King of Lochlann, that he fell in the middle of his army, and the life
went from him. And Fermaise went looking for the king's brother, Eolus,
that was the comeliest of all the men of the world; and he knew him by
the band of gold around his head, and his green armour, and his red
shield, and he killed him with a cast of a five-pronged spear. And when
the men of Lochlann saw their three leaders were gone, they went into
their ships and back to their own country. And there was great joy
through the whole country, both among the men of Ireland and the Tuatha
de Danaan, the men of Lochlann to have been driven away by the deeds of
Caoilte and Fermaise and Cascorach.

And that was not all they did, for it was at that time there came three
flocks of beautiful red birds from Slieve Fuad in the north, and began
eating the green grass before the hill of the Sidhe. "What birds are
those?" said Caoilte. "Three flocks they are that come and destroy the
green every year, eating it down to the bare flag-stones, till they
leave us no place for our races," said Ilbrec. Then Caoilte and his
comrades took up three stones and threw them at the flocks and drove
them away. "Power and blessings to you," said the people of the Sidhe
then, "that is a good work you have done. And there is another thing you
can do for us," they said, "for there are three ravens come to us every
year out of the north, and the time the young lads of the hill are
playing their hurling, each one of the ravens carries off a boy of them.
And it is to-morrow the hurling will be," they said.

So when the full light of day was come on the morrow, the whole of the
Tuatha de Danaan went out to look at the hurling; and to every six men
of them was given a chess-board, and a board for some other game to
every five, and to every ten men a little harp, and a harp to every
hundred men, and pipes that were sharp and powerful to every nine.

Then they saw the three ravens from the north coming over the sea, and
they pitched on the great tree of power that was on the green, and they
gave three gloomy screeches, that if such a thing could be, would have
brought the dead out of the earth or the hair off the head of the
listeners; and as it was, they took the courage out of the whole

Then Cascorach, son of Caincenn, took a man of the chessmen and made a
cast at one of the ravens that struck his beak and his throat, and made
an end of him; and Fermaise killed the second of them, and Caoilte the
third of them in the same way.

"Let my cure be done now," said Caoilte, "for I have paid my fee for it,
and it is time." "You have paid it indeed," said Ilbrec. "And where is
Bebind, daughter of Elcmar?" he said. "I am here," said she.

"Bring Caoilte, son of Ronan, with you into some hidden place," he said,
"and do his cure, and let him be well served, for he has driven every
danger from the Men of Dea and from the Sons of the Gael. And let
Cascorach make music for him, and let Fermaise, son of Eogabil, be
watching him and guarding him and attending him."

So Elcmar's daughter went to the House of Arms, and her two sons with
her, and a bed of healing was made ready for Caoilte, and a bowl of pale
gold was brought to her, and it full of water. And she took a crystal
vessel and put herbs into it, and she bruised them and put them in the
water, and gave the bowl to Caoilte, and he drank a great drink out of
it, that made him cast up the poison of the spear that was in him. Five
drinks of it he took, and after that she gave him new milk to drink; but
with the dint of the reaching he was left without strength through the
length of three days and three nights.

"Caoilte, my life," she said then, "in my opinion you have got relief."
"I have got it indeed," he said, "but that the weakness of my head is
troubling me." "The washing of Flann, daughter of Flidais, will be done
for you now," she said, "and the head that washing is done for will
never be troubled with pain, or baldness, or weakness of sight." So that
cure was done to him for a while; and the people of the hill divided
themselves into three parts; the one part of their best men and great
nobles, and another of their young men, and another of their women and
poets, to be visiting him and making mirth with him as long as he would
be on his bed of healing. And everything that was best from their
hunting, it was to him they would bring it.

And one day, when Elcmar's daughter and her two sons and Cascorach and
Fermaise were with Caoilte, there was heard a sound of music coming
towards them from the waters of Ess Ruadh, and any one would leave the
music of the whole world for that music. And they put their harps on the
corners of the pillars and went out, and there was wonder on Caoilte
that they left him. And he took notice that his strength and the
strength of his hands was not come to him yet, and he said: "It is many
a rough battle and many a hard fight I went into, and now there is not
enough strength in me so much as to go out along with the rest," and he
cried tears down.

And the others came back to him then, and he asked news of them. "What
was that sound of music we heard?" he said. "It was Uaine out of the
hill of the Sidhe, at the Wave of Cliodna in the south," said they; "and
with her the birds of the Land of Promise; and she is musician to the
whole of that country. And every year she goes to visit one of the hills
of the Sidhe, and it is our turn this time." Then the woman from the
Land of Promise came into the house, and the birds came in along with
her, and they pitched on the pillars and the beams, and thirty of them
came in where Caoilte was, began singing together. And Cascorach took
his harp, and whatever he would play, the birds would sing to it. "It is
much music I have heard," said Caoilte, "but music so good as that I
never heard before."

And after that Caoilte asked to have the healing of his thigh done, and
the daughter of Elcmar gave herself to that, and all that was bad was
sucked from the wound by her serving people till it was healed. And
Caoilte stopped on where he was for three nights after that.

And then the people of the hill rose up and went into the stream to
swim. And Caoilte said: "What ails me now not to go swim, since my
health has come back to me?" And with that he went into the water. And
afterwards they went back into the hill, and there was a great feast
made that night.

And Caoilte bade them farewell after that, and Cascorach, but Fermaise
stopped with them for a while. And the people of the hill gave good
gifts to Caoilte; a fringed crimson cloak of wool from the seven sheep
of the Land of Promise; and a fish-hook that was called Aicil mac Mogha,
and that could not be set in any river or inver but it would take fish;
and along with that they gave him a drink of remembrance, and after that
drink there would be no place he ever saw, or no battle or fight he ever
was in, but it would stay in his memory. "That is a good help from
kinsmen and from friends," said Caoilte.

Then Caoilte and Cascorach went out from the hill, and the people of it
made a great lamentation after them.


CAOLITE was one time at Cruachan of Connacht, and Cascorach was with
him, and there he saw sitting on a heap of stones a man with very rough
grey hair, having a dark brown cloak fastened with a pin of bronze, and
a long stick of white hazel in his hand; and there was a herd of cattle
before him in a fenced field.

Caoilte asked news of him. "I am steward to the King of Ireland," said
the old man, "and it is from him I hold this land. And we have great
troubles on us in this district," he said. "What troubles are those?"
said Caoilte. "I have many herds of cattle," he said, "and every year at
Samhain time, a woman comes out of the hill of the Sidhe of Cruachan and
brings away nine of the best out of every herd. And as to my name, I am
Bairnech, son of Carbh of Collamair of Bregia."

"Who was the best man that ever came out of Collamair?" said Caoilte. "I
know, and the men of Ireland and of Alban know," said he, "it was
Caoilte, son of Ronan. And do you know where is that man now?" he said.
"I myself am that man and your own kinsman," said Caoilte.

When Bairnech heard that, he gave him a great welcome, and Caoilte gave
him three kisses. "It seems to me that to-night is Samhain night," said
Caoilte. "If that is so, it is to-night the woman will come to rob us,"
said Bernech. "Let me go to-night to the door of the hill of the Sidhe,"
said Cascorach. "You may do that, and bring your arms with you," said

So Cascorach went then, and it was not long till he saw the girl going
past him out of the hill of Cruachan, having a beautiful cloak of one
colour about her; a gown of yellow silk tied up with a knot between her
thighs, two spears in her hands, and she not in dread of anything before
her or after her.

Then Cascorach blew a blast against her, and put his finger into the
thong of his spear, and made a cast at the girl that went through her,
and that is the way she was made an end of by Cascorach of the Music.

And then Bernech said to Caoilte: "Caoilte," he said, "do you know the
other oppression that is on me in this place?" "What oppression is
that?" said Caoilte. "Three she-wolves that come out of the Cave of
Cruachan every year and destroy our sheep and our wethers, and we can do
nothing against them, and they go back into the cave again. And it will
be a good friend that will rid us of them," he said. "Well, Cascorach,"
said Caoilte, "do you know what are the three wolves that are robbing
this man?" "I know well," said Cascorach, "they are the three daughters
of Airetach, of the last of the people of oppression of the Cave of
Cruachan, and it is easier for them to do their robbery as wolves than
as women." "And will they come near to any one?" said Caoilte. "They
will only come near to one sort," said Cascorach; "if they see the
world's men having harps for music, they will come near to them." "And
how would it be for me," he said, "to go to-morrow to the cairn beyond,
and to bring my harp with me?"

So in the morning he rose up and went to the cairn and stopped on it,
playing his harp till the coming of the mists of the evening. And while
he was there he saw the three wolves coming towards him, and they lay
down before him, listening to the music. But Cascerach found no way to
make an attack on them, and they went back into the cave at the end of
the day.

Cascorach went back then to Caoilte and told him what had happened. "Go
up to-morrow to the same place," said Caoilte, "and say to them it would
be better for them to be in the shape of women for listening to music
than in the shape of wolves."

So on the morrow Cascorach went out to the same cairn, and set his
people about it, and the wolves came there and stretched themselves to
listen to the music. And Cascorach was saying to them: "If you were ever
women," he said, "it would be better for you to be listening to the
music as women than as wolves." And they heard that, and they threw off
the dark trailing coverings that were about them, for they liked well
the sweet music of the Sidhe.

And when Caoilte saw them there side by side, and elbow by elbow, he
made a cast of his spear, and it went through the three women, that they
were like a skein of thread drawn together on the spear. And that is the
way he made an end of the strange, unknown three. And that place got the
name of the Valley of the Shapes of the Wolves.


Finn and the Fianna made a great hunting one time on the hill of Torc
that is over Loch Lein and Feara Mor. And they went on with their
hunting till they came to pleasant green Slieve Echtge, and from that it
spread over other green-topped hills, and through thick tangled woods,
and rough red-headed hills, and over the wide plains of the country. And
every chief man among them chose the place that was to his liking, and
the gap of danger he was used to before. And the shouts they gave in the
turns of the hunt were heard in the woods all around, so that they
started the deer in the wood, and sent the foxes wandering, and the
little red beasts climbing rocks, and badgers from their holes, and
birds flying, and fawns running their best. Then they let out their
angry small-headed hounds and set them hunting. And it is red the hands
of the Fianna were that day, and it is proud they were of their hounds
that were torn and wounded before evening.

It happened that day no one stopped with Finn but only Diorraing, son of
Domhar. "Well, Diorraing," said Finn, "let you watch for me while I go
asleep, for it is early I rose to-day, and it is an early rising a man
makes when he cannot see the shadow of his five fingers between himself
and the light of day, or know the leaves of the hazel from the leaves of
the oak." With that he fell into a quiet sleep that lasted till the
yellow light of the evening. And the rest of the Fianna, not knowing
where he was gone, gave over the hunt.

And the time was long to Diorraing while Finn was asleep, and he roused
him and told him the Fianna must have given up the hunt, for he could
not hear a cry or a whistle from them. "The end of day is come," said
Finn then, "and we will not follow them to-night. And go now to the
wood," he said, "and bring timber and dead branches for a shelter, and I
will go looking for food for the night." So Diorraing went to the wood,
but he was not gone far till he saw a fine well-lighted house of the
Sidhe before him on the edge of the wood near at hand, and he went back
to Finn with the news. "Let us go to it," said Finn, "for we ought not
to be working in this place, and people living so near at hand." They
went then to the door of the house and knocked at it, and the
door-keeper came to it. "Whose house is this?" said Diorraing. "It
belongs to Conan of Ceann Slieve," said the door-keeper. "Tell him,"
said Diorraing, "there are two of the Fianna of the Gael at the door."

The door-keeper went in then and told Conan there were two men of the
Fianna at the door. "The one of them," he said, "is young and strong,
and quiet and fair-haired, and more beautiful than the rest of the men
of the world, and he has in his hand a small-headed, white-breasted
hound, having a collar of rubbed gold and a chain of old silver. And the
other of them," he said, "is brown and ruddy and white-toothed, and he
is leading a yellow-spotted hound by a chain of bright bronze." "It is
well you have made your report of them," said Conan, "and I know them by
it; for the man you spoke of first is Finn, son of Cumhal, Head of the
Fianna of Ireland, and Bran in his hand; and the other is Diorraing, and
Sceolan in his hand. And go now quickly and let them in," he said.

Finn and Diorraing were brought in then, and they got good attendance,
and their arms were taken from them, and a grand feast was made ready
that pleased them well. And the wife of Conan was at the one side of
Finn, and his daughter, Finndealbh, of the Fair Shape, was at his other
side. And they had a great deal of talk together, and at last, seeing
her so beautiful, the colour of gold on her curled hair, and her eyes as
blue as flowers, and a soft four-cornered cloak fastened at her breast
with a silver pin, he asked her of Conan for his wife. "Leave asking
that, Finn," said Conan, "for your own courage is not greater than the
courage of the man she is promised to." "Who is that?" said Finn. "He is
Fatha, son of the King of Ess Ruadh," said Conan. "Your wounds and your
danger on yourself," said Diorraing; "and it would be right," he said,
"that stammering tongue that gave out those words to be tied and to be
shortened for ever, and a drink of death to be given to you; for if the
whole of the Men of Dea," he said, "could be put into the one body, Finn
would be better than them all." "Leave off, Diorraing," said Finn, "for
it is not fighting I am here, but asking a wife, and I will get her
whether the Men of Dea think good or bad of it." "I will not be making a
quarrel with you," said Conan, "but I put you under bonds as a true
hero to answer me everything I am going to ask you." "I will do that,"
said Finn.

With that Conan put questions to Finn as to his birth and his rearing,
and the deeds he had done since he came to the Fianna, and Finn gave
full answers to them all. And at last he said: "Let us go on with this
no longer, but if you have musicians with you, let them be brought to us
now; for it is not my custom," he said, "to be for a single night
without music." "Tell me this first," said Conan, "who was it made the
Dord Fiann, the Mutterer of the Fianna, and when was it made?" "I will
tell you the truth of that," said Finn; "it was made in Ireland by the
three sons of Cearmait Honey-Mouth; and nine men used to be sounding it,
and since it came to me I have fifty men sounding it." "And tell me
this," said Conan, "what is the music pleased you best of all you ever
heard?" "I will tell you that," said Finn; "the time the seven
battalions of the Fianna are gathered in the one place and raise their
spear-shafts over their heads, and the sharp whining of the clear, cold
wind goes through them, that is very sweet to me. And when the
drinking-hall is set out in Almhuin, and the cup-bearers give out the
bright cups to the chief men of the Fianna, that is very sweet to me;
and it is sweet to me to be listening to the voice of the sea-gull and
the heron, and the noise of the waves of Traig Liath, the song of the
three sons of Meardha, the whistle of Lugaidh's Son, and the voice of
the cuckoo in the beginning of summer, and the grunting of the pigs on
the Plain of Eithne, and the shouting of laughter in Doire." And it is
what he said: "The Dord in the green-topped woods, the lasting wash of
the waves against the shore, the noise of the waves at Traig Liath
meeting with the river of the White Trout; the three men that came to
the Fianna, a man of them gentle and a man of them rough, another man of
them ploughing the clouds, they were sweeter than any other thing.

"The grey mane of the sea, the time a man cannot follow its track; the
swell that brings the fish to the land, it is sleep-music, its sound is

"Feargall, son of Fionn, a man that was ready-handed, it is long his
leap was, it is well marked his track is; he never gave a story that did
not do away with secrets; it is his voice was music of sleep to me."

And when Finn had answered all the questions so well, Conan said he
would give him his daughter, and that he would have a wedding-feast
ready at the end of a month.

They spent the rest of the night then in sleep; but Finn saw a dreadful
vision through his sleep that made him start three times from his bed.
"What makes you start from your bed, Finn?" said Diorraing. "It was the
Tuatha de Danaan I saw," said he, "taking up a quarrel against me, and
making a great slaughter of the Fianna."

Now as to the Fianna, they rested at Fotharladh of Moghna that night,
and they were downhearted, having no tidings of Finn. And early on the
morrow two of them, Bran Beag and Bran Mor, rose up and went to
Mac-an-Reith, son of the Ram, that had the gift of true knowledge, and
they asked him where did Finn spend the night. And Mac-an-Reith was
someway unwilling to tell them, but at the last he said it was at the
house of Conan of Ceann Slieve.

The two Brans went on then to Conan's house, and Finn made them welcome;
but they blamed him when they heard he was taking a wife, and none of
his people with him. "Bid all the Fianna to come to the feast at the end
of a month," said Conan then. So Finn and Diorraing and the two Brans
went back to where the Fianna were and told them all that had happened,
and they went on to Almhuin.

And when they were in the drinking-hall at Almhuin that night, they saw
the son of the King of Ireland coming to where they were. "It is a pity
the king's son to have come," said Finn; "for he will not be satisfied
without ordering everything in the hall in his own way." "We will not
take his orders," said Oisin, "but we will leave the half of the hall to
him, and keep the other half ourselves."

So they did that; but it happened that in the half of the house that was
given up to the King of Ireland's son, there were sitting two of the Men
of Dea, Failbhe Mor and Failbhe Beag; and it is what they said, that it
is because they were in that side of the hall it was given up. "It is a
pity," said Failbhe Beag, "this shame and this great insult to have been
put on us to-night; and it is likely Finn has a mind to do more than
that again to us," he said, "for he is going to bring away the woman
that is promised to the third best man of the Tuatha de Danaan, and
against the will of her father and mother." And these two went away
early in the morning to Fionnbhar of Magh Feabhail, and told him of the
insults Finn and the Fianna of Ireland had a mind to put on the Tuatha
de Danaan.

And when Fionnbhar that was king over the Tuatha de Danaan heard that,
he sent out messengers through the length of Ireland to gather them all
to him. And there came six good battalions to him on the edge of Loch
Derg Dheirc at the end of a month; and it was the same day Conan had the
wedding-feast made ready for Finn and his people.

And Finn was at Teamhair Luachra at that time, and when he heard the
feast was ready, he set out to go to it. And it chanced that the most of
the men he had with him at that time were of the sons of Morna. And when
they were on their way, Finn said to Goll, "O Goll," he said, "I never
felt any fear till now going to a feast. And there are but few of my
people with me," he said; "and I know there is no good thing before me,
but the Men of Dea are going to raise a quarrel against me and to kill
my people." "I will defend you against anything they may do," said Goll.

They went on then to Conan's house, and there was a welcome before them,
and they were brought into the drinking-hall, and Finn was put in the
place beside the door, and Goll on his right and Finndeilb, of the Fair
Shape, on his left, and all the rest in the places they were used to.

And as to Fionnbhar of Magh Feabhail and the Tuatha de Danaan, they put
a Druid mist about themselves and went on, hidden and armed, in sixteen
battalions, to the lawn before Conan's house. "It is little profit we
have being here," they said then, "and Goll being with Finn against us."
"Goll will not protect him this time," said Ethne, the woman-Druid, "for
I will entice Finn out of the house, however well he is watched."

She went on to the house then, and took her stand before Finn outside.
"Who is that before me?" she said then. "It is I myself," said Finn. "I
put you under the bonds a true hero never broke," she said, "to come out
to me here." When Finn heard that, he made no delay and went out to her;
and for all there were so many in the house, not one of them took notice
of him going, only Caoilte, and he followed him out. And at the same
time the Tuatha de Danaan let out a flock of blackbirds having fiery
beaks, that pitched on the breasts of all the people in the house, and
burned them and destroyed them, till the young lads and the women and
children of the place ran out on all sides, and the woman of the house,
Conan's wife, was drowned in the river outside the dun.

But as to Ethne, the woman-Druid, she asked Finn would he run against
her. "For it is to run a race against you I called you out," she said.
"What length of a race?" said Finn. "From Doire da Torc, the Wood of the
Two Boars, to Ath Mor, the Great Ford," she said. So they set out, but
Finn got first over the ford. And Caoilte was following after them, and
Finn was urging him, and he said: "It is ashamed of your running you
should be, Caoilte, a woman to be going past you." On that Caoilte made
a leap forward, and when he was in front of the witch he turned about
and gave a blow of his sword that made two equal halves of her.

"Power and good luck to you, Caoilte!" said Finn; "for though it is many
a good blow you have struck, you never struck a better one than this."

They went back then to the lawn before Conan's dun, and there they found
the whole company of the Tuatha de Danaan, that had put the Druid mist
off them. "It seems to me, Caoilte," said Finn, "that we are come into
the middle of our enemies."

With that they turned their backs to one another, and they were attacked
on all sides till groans of weakness from the unequal fight were forced
from Finn. And when Goll, that was in the house, heard that, he said:
"It is a pity the Tuatha de Danaan to have enticed Finn and Caoilte away
from us; and let us go to their help and make no delay," he said.

Then he rushed out, and all that were there of the Fianna with him, and
Conan of Ceann Slieve and his sons. And great anger came on Goll, that
he looked like a tall mountain under his grey shield in the battle. And
he broke through the Tuatha de Danaan till he reached to Fionnbhar their
leader, and they attacked one another, cutting and wounding, till at the
last Fionnbhar of Magh Feabhail fell by the strokes of Goll. And a great
many others fell in that battle, and there never was a harder battle
fought in Ireland, for there was no man on one side or the other had a
mind to go back one step before whoever he was fighting against. For
they were the two hardest fighting troops to be found in the four parts
of the world, the strong, hardy Fianna of the Gael, and the beautiful
Men of Dea; and they went near to being all destroyed in that battle.

But after a while they saw the rest of the Fianna that were not in the
battle coming from all parts of Ireland. And when the Tuatha de Danaan
saw them coming, they put the Druid mist about themselves again and made
away. And clouds of weakness came on Finn himself, and on them that were
with him, with the dint of the fight. And there were many men of the
Fianna lost in that battle; and as to the rest, it is a long time they
stopped in Almhuin of Leinster, till their wounds were entirely healed.


And indeed Finn had no great luck in going to look for a wife that time;
and he had no better luck another time he asked a wife from among the
Sidhe. And this is the way that happened.

It was on the mountain of Bearnas Mor he was hunting, and a great wild
pig turned on the hounds of the Fianna and killed the most of them, but
Bran made an attack on it then and got the best of it. And the pig began
to scream, and with that a very tall man came out of the hill and he
asked Finn to let the pig go free. And when he agreed to that, the man
brought them into the hill of the Sidhe at Glandeirgdeis; and when they
came to the door of the house he struck the pig with his Druid rod, and
on the moment it changed into a beautiful young woman, and the name he
called her by was Scathach, the Shadowy One.

And he made a great feast for the Fianna, and Finn asked the young girl
in marriage, and the tall man, her father, said he would give her to him
on that very night.

But when night came on, Scathach asked the loan of a harp, and it was
brought to her. One string it had of iron, and one of bronze, and one of
silver. And when the iron string would be played, it would set all the
hosts of the world crying and ever crying; and when the bright bronze
string would be played, it would set them all laughing from the one day
to the same hour on the morrow; and when the silver string would be
played, all the men of the whole world would fall into a long sleep.

And it is the sleepy silver string the Shadowy One played upon, till
Finn and Bran and all his people were in their heavy sleep.

And when they awoke at the rising of the sun on the morrow, it is
outside on the mountain of Bearnas they were, where they first saw the
wild pig.


One time Finn and the Fianna were come to a ford of the Slaine, and they
sat down for a while. And as they were sitting there they saw on the
round rock up over the ford a young woman, having a dress of silk and a
green cloak about her, and a golden brooch in the cloak, and the golden
crown that is the sign of a queen on her head. "Fianna of Ireland," she
said, "let one of you come now and speak with me."

Then Sciathbreac, of the Speckled Shield, went towards her. "Who is it
you are wanting?" he said, "Finn, son of Cumhal," said she. Finn went
over then to talk with her. "Who are you?" he said, "and what is it you
are wanting?" "I am Daireann, daughter of Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda,"
she said; "and I am come to be your wife if you will give me the
bride-gift I ask." "What bride-gift is that?" said Finn. "It is your
promise," said she, "I to be your only wife through the length of a
year, and to have the half of your time after that." "I will not give
that promise," said Finn, "to any woman of the world, and I will not
give it to you," he said.

On that the young woman took a cup of white silver from under a
covering, and filled it with strong drink, and she gave it to Finn.
"What is this?" said Finn. "It is very strong mead," said she. Now there
were bonds on Finn not to refuse anything belonging to a feast, so he
took the cup and drank what was in it, and on the moment he was like one
gone mad. And he turned his face towards the Fianna, and every harm and
every fault and every misfortune in battle that he knew against any one
of them, he sprang it on them, through the mad drunkenness the young
woman had put on him.

Then the chief men of the Fianna of Ireland rose up and left the place
to him, every one of them setting out for his own country, till there
was no one left upon the hill but Finn and Caoilte. And Caoilte rose up
and followed after them, and he said: "Fianna of Ireland," he said, "do
not leave your lord and your leader through the arts and the tricks of a
woman of the Sidhe." Thirteen times he went after them, bringing them
back to the hill in that way. And with the end of the day and the fall
of night the bitterness went from Finn's tongue; and by the time Caoilte
had brought back the whole of the Fianna, his sense and his memory were
come back to him, and he would sooner have fallen on his sword and got
his death, than have stayed living.

And that was the hardest day's work Caoilte ever did, unless the day he
brought the flock of beasts and birds to Teamhair, to ransom Finn from
the High King of Ireland.

Another time Maer, wife of Bersa of Berramain, fell in love with Finn,
and she made nine nuts of Segair with love charms, and sent them to
Finn, and bade him eat them. "I will not," said Finn; "for they are not
nuts of knowledge, but nuts of ignorance; and it is not known what they
are, unless they might be an enchantment for drinking love." So he
buried them a foot deep in the earth.


One time the Fianna were in Almhuin with no great work to do, and there
came a very misty morning, and Finn was in dread that sluggishness would
come on his men, and he rose up, and he said: "Make yourselves ready,
and we will go hunting to Gleann-na-Smol."

They all said the day was too misty to go hunting; but there was no use
in talking: they had to do as Finn bade them. So they made themselves
ready and went on towards Gleann-na-Smol; and they were not gone far
when the mist lifted and the sun came shining out.

And when they were on the edge of a little wood, they saw a strange
beast coming towards them with the quickness of the wind, and a Red
Woman on its track. Narrow feet the beast had, and a head like the head
of a boar, and long horns on it; but the rest of it was like a deer, and
there was a shining moon on each of its sides.

Finn stopped, and he said: "Fianna of Ireland," he said, "did you ever
see a beast like that one until now?" "We never did indeed," said they;
"and it would be right for us to let out the hounds after it." "Wait a
while," said Finn, "till I speak with the Red Woman; but do not let the
beast go past you," he said. They thought to keep back the beast then,
going before it; but they were hardly able to hinder it at all, and it
went away through them.

And when the Red Woman was come up to them, Finn asked her what was the
name of the beast she was following. "I do not know that," she said,
"though I am on its track since I left the borders of Loch Dearg a month
ago, and I never lost sight of it since then; and the two moons that are
on its two sides shine through the country all around in the night time.
And I must follow it till it falls," she said, "or I will lose my own
life and the lives of my three sons that are the best fighting men in
the whole world." "We will take the beast for you if you have a mind,"
said Finn. "Do not try to do that," she said, "for I myself am swifter
than you are, and I cannot come up with it." "We will not let it go till
we know what sort of a beast is it," said Finn. "If you yourself or your
share of men go after it, I will bind you hand and foot," said she. "It
is too stiff your talk is," said Finn. "And do you not know," he said,
"I am Finn, son of Cumhal; and there are fourscore fighting men along
with me that were never beaten yet." "It is little heed I give to
yourself or your share of men," said the Red Woman; "and if my three
sons were here, they would stand up against you." "Indeed it will be a
bad day," said Finn, "when the threat of a woman will put fear on myself
or on the Fianna of Ireland." With that he sounded his horn, and he
said: "Let us all follow now, men and dogs, after that beast that we

He had no sooner said that word than the woman made a great water-worm
of herself, and made an attack on Finn, and she would have killed him
then and there but for Bran being with him. Bran took a grip of the worm
and shook it, and then it wound itself round Bran's body, and would
have crushed the life out of her, but Finn thrust his sharp sword into
its throat. "Keep back your hand," said the worm then, "and you will not
have the curse of a lonely woman upon you." "It is what I think," said
Finn, "that you would not leave me my life if you could take it from me;
but go out of my sight now," he said, "and that I may never see you

Then she made herself into a Red Woman again, and went away into the

All the Fianna were gone on the track of the beast while Finn was
talking and fighting with the Red Woman; and he did not know in what
place they were, but he went following after them, himself and Bran. It
was late in the evening when he came up with a share of them, and they
still on the track of the beast. The darkness of the night was coming
on, but the two moons in the sides of the beast gave a bright light, and
they never lost it from sight. They followed it on always; and about
midnight they were pressing on it, and it began to scatter blood after
it, and it was not long till Finn and his men were red from head to
foot. But that did not hinder them, and they followed him on till they
saw him going in at the foot of Cnoc-na-righ at the breaking of day.

When they came to the foot of the hill the Red Woman was standing there
before them. "You did not take the beast," she said. "We did not take
it, but we know where it is," said Finn.

She took a Druid rod then, and she struck a blow on the side of the
hill, and on the moment a great door opened, and they heard sweet music
coming from within. "Come in now," said the Red Woman, "till you see the
wonderful beast." "Our clothing is not clean," said Finn, "and we would
not like to go in among a company the way we are," he said.

She put a horn to her mouth and blew it, and on the moment there came
ten young men to her. "Bring water for washing," she said, "and four
times twenty suits of clothes, and a beautiful suit and a crown of
shining stones for Finn, son of Cumhal." The young men went away then,
and they came back at the end of a minute with water and with clothing.

When the Fianna were washed and dressed, the Red Woman brought them into
a great hall, where there was the brightness of the sun and of the moon
on every side. From that she brought them into another great room; and
although Finn and his men had seen many grand things up to that time,
they had never seen any sight so grand as what they saw in this place.
There was a king sitting in a golden chair, having clothes of gold and
of green, and his chief people were sitting around him, and his
musicians were playing. And no one could know what colour were the
dresses of the musicians, for every colour of the rainbow was in them.
And there was a great table in the middle of the room, having every sort
of thing on it, one better than another.

The king rose up and gave a welcome to Finn and to his men, and he bade
them to sit down at the table; and they ate and drank their fill, and
that was wanting to them after the hunt they had made. And then the Red
Woman rose up, and she said: "King of the Hill, if it is your will, Finn
and his men have a mind to see the wonderful beast, for they spent a
long time following after it, and that is what brought them here."

The king struck a blow then on his golden chair, and a door opened
behind him, and the beast came through it and stood before the king. And
it stooped down before him, and it said: "I am going on towards my own
country now; and there is not in the world a runner so good as myself,
and the sea is the same to me as the land. And let whoever can come up
with me come now," it said, "for I am going."

With that the beast went out from the hill as quick as a blast of wind,
and all the people that were in it went following after it. It was not
long till Finn and his men were before the rest, in the front of the
hunt, gaining on the beast.

And about midday Bran made the beast turn, and then she forced it to
turn a second time, and it began to put out cries, and it was not long
until its strength began to flag; and at last, just at the setting of
the sun, it fell dead, and Bran was at its side when it fell.

Then Finn and his men came up, but in place of a beast it was a tall man
they saw lying dead before them. And the Red Woman came up at the same
time, and she said: "High King of the Fianna, that is the King of the
Firbolgs you have killed; and his people will put great troubles on this
country in the time to come, when you yourself, Finn, and your people
will be under the sod. And I myself am going now to the Country of the
Young," she said, "and I will bring you with me if you have a mind to
come." "We give you our thanks for that," said Finn, "but we would not
give up our own country if we were to get the whole world as an estate,
and the Country of the Young along with it." "That is well," said the
Red Woman; "but you are going home empty after your hunt." "It is likely
we will find a deer in Gleann-na-Smol," said Finn. "There is a fine deer
at the foot of that tree beyond," said the Red Woman, "and I will rouse
it for you." With that she gave a cry, and the deer started out and
away, and Finn and his men after it, and it never stopped till it came
to Gleann-na-Smol, but they could not come up with it. Then the Red
Woman came to them, and she said: "I think you are tired now with
following after the deer; and call your hounds off now," she said, "and
I will let out my own little dog after it." So Finn sounded a little
horn he had at his side, and on the moment the hounds came back to him.
And then the Red Woman brought out a little hound as white as the snow
of the mountains, and put it after the deer; and it was not long till it
had come up with the deer and killed it, and then it came back and made
a leap in under the cloak of the Red Woman. There was great wonder on
Finn; but before he could ask a question of the Red Woman, she was gone
out of sight. And as to the deer, Finn knew there was enchantment on it,
and so he left it there after him. And it is tired and empty the Fianna
were, going back to Almhuin that night.


Finn went to a gathering one time at Aonach Clochair, and a great many
of the men of Munster crowded to it. And the horses of the Fianna were
brought there, and the horses of the men of Munster, and they ran races
against one another.

And Fiachu, son of Eoghan, was in it; and when the games were over he
gave good presents to Finn, a lasting black horse that won the three
prizes of the gathering, and a chariot, and a horse for the
chariot-driver, and a spear, having a deadly spell, and weapons of
silver, and three comely hounds, Feirne and Derchaem and Dialath, having
collars of yellow gold and chains of white bronze.

And Finn rose up and gave his thanks to Fiachu, son of Eoghan, and he
and his people set out to the house of Cacher at Cluain-da-loch. And
they stopped three days feasting in Cacher's house, and then Finn gave
him the price of his feast and of his ale, fifty rings, and fifty horses
and fifty cows.

And he himself and the Fianna went on from that over Luachair to the
strand at Berramain. And Finn went trying his black horse on the strand,
and Caoilte and Oisin went racing against him; but it was only folly for
them to do that, for he gave a blow to his horse, and away with him to
Traigh Liath and over the Plain of Health to the Old Yew of the Old
Valley, and to the inver of the Flesc and the inver of the Lemain to
Loch Lein, till he came to the hill of Bairnech, and Caoilte and Oisin
after him.

"Night is coming on us," said Finn then; "and go look for some place
where we can sleep," he said. He looked round then at the rocks on his
left hand and he saw a house, and a fire shining out from it in the
valley below. "I never knew of a house in this valley," he said.

"It is best for us to go see it," said Caoilte, "for there are many
things we have no knowledge of."

The three went on then to the house, and they heard screams and crying
from it; and when they came to the house, the people of it were very
fierce and rough; and a big grey man took hold of their horses and
brought them in and shut the door of the house with iron hooks. "My
welcome to you, Finn of the great name," he said then; "it is a long
time you were in coming here."

They sat down then on the hard boards of a bed, and the grey man kindled
a fire, and he threw logs of elder-wood on it, till they went near being
smothered with the smoke. They saw a hag in the house then having three
heads on her lean neck; and there was on the other side a man without a
head, having one eye, and it in his breast. "Rise up, you that are in
the house, and make music for the King of the Fianna," said the grey man

With that nine bodies rose up out of the corner nearest the Fianna, and
nine heads rose up on the other side of the bed, and they raised nine
harsh screeches together, that no one would like to be listening to. And
then the hag answered to them, and the headless man answered; and if all
of that music was harsh, there was none of it that you would not wish to
hear sooner than the music of the one-eyed man. And the music that was
sung went near to breaking the bones of their heads; and indeed it is no
sweet music that was.

Then the big grey man rose up and took the axe that was for cutting
logs, and he began striking at the horses, flaying and destroying them.
Then there were brought fifty pointed spits of the rowan-tree, and he
put a piece of the horse's flesh on each one of the spits, and settled
them on the hearth. But when he took the spits from the fire and put
them before Finn, it is raw the flesh was on them yet. "Take your food
away," said Finn then, "for I have never eaten meat that was raw, and I
never will eat it because of being without food for one day." "If you
are come into our house to refuse our food," said the grey man, "we will
surely go against yourselves, Finn and Caoilte and Oisin."

With that all in the house made an attack on the three; and they were
driven back into the corner, and the fire was quenched, and the fight
went on through the whole night in the darkness, and but for Finn and
the way he fought, they would have been put down.

And when the sun rose and lighted up the house on the morrow, a mist
came into the head of each of the three, so that they fell as if dead on
the floor.

But after awhile they rose up again, and there was nothing to be seen of
the house or of the people of the house, but they had all vanished. And
their horses were there, and they took them and went on, very weak and
tired, for a long way, till they came to the strand of Berramain.

And those three that fought against them were the three Shapes out of
the Valley of the Yew Tree that came to avenge their sister, Cuillen of
the Wide Mouth.

Now as to Cuillen, she was a daughter of the King of Munster, and her
husband was the King of Ulster's son. And they had a son that was called
Fear Og, the Young Man; and there was hardly in Ireland a man so good as
himself in shape and in courage and in casting a spear. And one time he
joined in a game with the Fianna, and he did better than them all, and
Finn gave him a great reward. And after that he went out to a hunt they
made, and it was by him and by none of the Fianna the first blood was
got of pig or of deer. And when they came back, a heavy sickness fell on
the young man through the eyes and the envy of the Fianna, and it left
him without life at the end of nine days. And he was buried under a
green hill, and the shining stone he used to hold in his hand, and he
doing his feats, was put over his head.

And his mother, Cuillen, came to his grave keening him every day through
the length of a year. And one day she died there for grief after her
son, and they put her into the same green hill.

But as to Finn, he was afraid of no earthly thing, and he killed many
great serpents in Loch Cuilinn and Loch Neathach, and at Beinn Edair;
and Shadow-Shapes at Loch Lein and Drom Cleib and Loch Liath, and a
serpent and a cat in Ath Cliath.


Angus Og, son of the Dagda, made a feast one time at Brugh na Boinne for
Finn and the Fianna of the Gael. Ten hundred of them were in it, and
they wearing green clothing and crimson cloaks; and as to the people of
Angus' house, it is clothing of red silk they had.

And Finn was sitting beside Angus in the beautiful house, and it is
long since the like of those two were seen in Ireland. And any stranger
would wonder to see the way the golden cups were going from hand to

And Angus said out in a loud voice that every one could hear: "It is a
better life this is than to be hunting." There was anger on Finn then,
and he said: "It is a worse life than hunting to be here, without
hounds, without horses, without battalions, without the shouting of
armies." "Why are you talking like that, Finn?" said Angus, "for as to
the hounds you have," he said, "they would not kill so much as one pig."
"You have not yourself," said Finn, "and the whole host of the Tuatha de
Danaan have not a pig that ever went on dry land that Bran and Sceolan
would not kill." "I will send you a pig," said Angus, "that will go from
you and your hounds, and that will kill them in the end."

The steward of the house called out then in a loud voice: "Let every one
go now to his bed, before the lightness of drunkenness comes on you."
But Finn said to his people: "Let us make ready and leave this; for we
are but a few," he said, "among the Men of Dea." So they set out and
went westward till they came to Slieve Fuad where the Fianna were at
that time.

And through the whole length of a year after that, the Tuatha de Danaan
were boasting how they would get the better of the Fianna, and the
Fianna were thinking how they could do best in the hunt. And at the end
of that time Angus sent messengers to Finn, asking him with great
respect if he was ready to keep his word. And Finn said he was, and the
hounds were brought out, and he himself was holding Bran and Sceolan,
one in each hand, and Caoilte had Adhnuall, and Oisin had Ablach, and
merry Bran Beag had Lonn, and Diarmuid was holding Eachtach, and Osgar
was holding Mac an Truim, and Garraidh was held by Faolan, and Rith
Fada, of the Long Run, by hungry Conan.

And they were not long there with their hounds till they saw on the
plain to the east a terrible herd of great pigs, every one of them the
height of a deer. And there was one pig out in front of the rest was
blacker than a smith's coal, and the bristles on its head were like a
thicket of thorn-trees.

Then Caoilte let out Adhnuall, and she was the first to kill a pig of
the herd. And then Bran made away from the leash that Finn was holding,
and the pigs ran their best, but she came up with them, and took hold of
a pig of them. And at that Angus said: "O Bran, fosterling of
fair-haired Fergus, it is not a right thing you are doing, to kill my
own son." But when Bran heard that, her ways changed and it was like an
enemy she took hold of the pig, and did not let it go, and held her
breath back and kept it for the Fianna.

And it was over Slieve Cua the hunt went, and Slieve Crot, and from Magh
Cobha to Cruachan, and to Fionnabraic and to Finnias. And at evening
when the hunt was over, there was not one pig of the whole herd without
a hurt, and there were but a hundred and ten pigs left living. But if
the hunt brought destruction on Angus, it brought losses on the Fianna
as well, for there were ten hundred of their men missing besides
serving-lads and dogs.

"Let us go to Brugh na Boinne and get satisfaction for our people," said
Oisin then. "That is the advice of a man without sense," said Finn; "for
if we leave these pigs the way they are, they will come to life again.
And let us burn them," he said, "and throw their ashes in the sea."

Then the seven battalions of the Fianna made seven fires to every
battalion; but for all they could do, they could not set fire to one
pig. Then Bran, that had great sense and knowledge, went away, and she
came back bringing three logs along with her, but no one knows what wood
it was they came from. And when the logs were put on the fire they lit
up like a candle, and it is with them the pigs were burned; and after
that their ashes were thrown into the sea.

Then Oisin said again: "Let us go now to Brugh na Boinne and avenge the
death of our people." So the whole of the Fianna set out for Brugh na
Boinne, and every step they made could surely be heard through the whole
of the skies.

And Angus sent out messengers to where Finn was, offering any one thing
to him if he would spare his people. "I will take no gift at all from
you, Angus of the slender body," said Finn, "so long as there is a room
left in your house, north or east, without being burned." But Angus
said: "Although you think bad of the loss of your fine people that you
have the sway over, yet, O Finn, father of Oisin, it is sorrowful to me
the loss of my own good son is. For as to the black pig that came before
you on the plain," he said, "it was no common pig was in it, but my own
son. And there fell along with him," he said, "the son of the King of
the Narrow Sea, and the son of the King of the Sea of Gulls, and the son
of Ilbhrec, son of Manannan, and seven score of the comely sons of kings
and queens. And it is what destroyed my strength and my respect
entirely, they to have been burned away from me in a far place. And it
is a pity for you, sweet daring Bran," he said, "fosterling of Fergus of
the thirty woods and plains, that you did not do something worth praise
before killing your own foster-brother. And I will put a curse on you,
Bran," he said, "beyond every hound in Ireland, that you will never see
with your eyes any deer you may ever kill."

There was anger on Finn when he heard that, and he said: "If you put a
curse on Bran, Angus, there will not be a room left, east or west, in
the whole of your great house without being burned." "If you do that,"
said Angus, "I will put trees and stones in front of you in every
battle; and I will know what number of men you have in your armies," he
said, "looking at them through my ring."

Then Oisin, that was wise, said: "It is best for you to agree between
yourselves now; and let us be helpful to one another," he said, "and pay
whatever fines are due."

So they agreed to that, and they made peace, and gave children to be
fostered by one another: a son of Finn's to Angus, and son of Angus Og
to the Fianna.

But for all that, it is not very friendly to Finn Angus was afterwards,
at the time he was following after Diarmuid and Grania through the whole
length of Ireland.


Finn was one time out on the green of Almhuin, and he saw what had the
appearance of a grey fawn running across the plain. He called and
whistled to his hounds then, but neither hound nor man heard him or came
to him, but only Bran and Sceolan. He set them after the fawn, and near
as they kept to her, he himself kept nearer to them, till at last they
reached to Slieve Cuilinn in the province of Ulster.

But they were no sooner at the hill than the fawn vanished from them,
and they did not know where was she gone, and Finn went looking for her
eastward, and the two hounds went towards the west.

It was not long till Finn came to a lake, and there was sitting on the
brink of it a young girl, the most beautiful he had ever seen, having
hair of the colour of gold, and a skin as white as lime, and eyes like
the stars in time of frost; but she seemed to be some way sorrowful and
downhearted. Finn asked her did she see his hounds pass that way. "I did
not see them," she said; "and it is little I am thinking of your hounds
or your hunting, but of the cause of my own trouble." "What is it ails
you, woman of the white hands?" said Finn; "and is there any help I can
give you?" he said. "It is what I am fretting after," said she, "a ring
of red gold I lost off my finger in the lake. And I put you under bonds,
Finn of the Fianna," she said, "to bring it back to me out of the lake."

With that Finn stripped off his clothes and went into the lake at the
bidding of the woman, and he went three times round the whole lake and
did not leave any part of it without searching, till he brought back the
ring. He handed it up to her then out of the water, and no sooner had he
done that than she gave a leap into the water and vanished.

And when Finn came up on the bank of the lake, he could not so much as
reach to where his clothes were; for on the moment he, the head and the
leader of the Fianna of Ireland, was but a grey old man, weak and

Bran and Sceolan came up to him then, but they did not know him, and
they went on round the lake, searching after their master.

In Almhuin, now, when he was missed, Caoilte began asking after him.
"Where is Finn," he said, "of the gentle rule and of the spears?" But no
one knew where was he gone, and there was grief on the Fianna when they
could not find him. But it is what Conan said: "I never heard music
pleased me better than to hear the son of Cumhal is missing. And that he
may be so through the whole year," he said, "and I myself will be king
over you all." And downhearted as they were, it is hardly they could
keep from laughing when they heard Conan saying that.

Caoilte and the rest of the chief men of the Fianna set out then looking
for Finn, and they got word of him; and at last they came to Slieve
Cuilinn, and there they saw a withered old man sitting beside the lake,
and they thought him to be a fisherman. "Tell us, old man," said
Caoilte, "did you see a fawn go by, and two hounds after her, and a tall
fair-faced man along with them?" "I did see them," he said, "and it is
not long since they left me." "Tell us where are they now?" said
Caoilte. But Finn made no answer, for he had not the courage to say to
them that he himself was Finn their leader, being as he was an ailing,
downhearted old man, without leaping, without running, without walk,
grey and sorrowful.

Caoilte took out his sword from the sheath then, and he said: "It is
short till you will have knowledge of death unless you will tell us what
happened those three."

Then Finn told them the whole story; and when the seven battalions of
the Fianna heard him, and knew it was Finn that was in it, they gave
three loud sorrowful cries. And to the lake they gave the name of Loch
Doghra, the Lake of Sorrow.

But Conan of the sharp tongue began abusing Finn and all the Fianna by
turns. "You never gave me right praise for my deeds, Finn, son of
Cumhal," he said, "and you were always the enemy of the sons of Morna;
but we are living in spite of you," he said, "and I have but the one
fault to find with your shape, and that is, that it was not put on the
whole of the Fianna the same as on yourself." Caoilte made at him then;
"Bald, senseless Conan," he said, "I will break your mouth to the bone."
But Conan ran in then among the rest of the Fianna and asked protection
from them, and peace was made again.

And as to Finn, they asked him was there any cure to be found for him.
"There is," he said; "for I know well the enchantment was put on me by a
woman of the Sidhe, Miluchradh, daughter of Cuilinn, through jealousy of
her sister Aine. And bring me to the hill that belongs to Cuilinn of
Cuailgne," he said, "for he is the only one can give me my shape again."

They came around him then, and raised him up gently on their shields,
and brought him on their shoulders to the hill of the Sidhe in Cuailgne,
but no one came out to meet them. Then the seven battalions began
digging and rooting up the whole hill, and they went on digging through
the length of three nights and three days. And at the end of that time
Cuilinn of Cuailgne, that some say was Manannan, son of Lir, came out of
the hill, holding in his hand a vessel of red gold, and he gave the
vessel into Finn's hand. And no sooner did Finn drink what was in the
vessel than his own shape and his appearance came back to him. But only
his hair, that used to be so fair and so beautiful, like the hair of a
woman, never got its own colour again, for the lake that Cuilinn's
daughter had made for Finn would have turned all the men of the whole
world grey if they had gone into it.

And when Finn had drunk all that was in the vessel it slipped from his
hand into the earth, that was loosened with the digging, and he saw it
no more. But in the place where it went into the earth, a tree grew up,
and any one that would look at the branches of that tree in the morning,
fasting, would have knowledge of all that was to happen on that day.

That, now, is the way Finn came by his grey hair, through the jealousy
of Miluchradh of the Sidhe, because he had not given his love to her,
but to her sister Aine.


Now as to Oisin, that was so brave and so comely, and that could
overtake a deer at its greatest speed, and see a thistle thorn on the
darkest night, the wife he took was Eibhir of the plaited yellow hair,
that was the foreign sweetheart of the High King of Ireland.

It is beyond the sea she lived, in a very sunny place; and her father's
name was lunsa, and her sunny house was thatched with the feathers of
birds, and the doorposts were of gold, and the doors of ribbed grass.
And Oisin went there looking for her, and he fought for her against the
High King and against an army of the Firbolgs he had helping him; and he
got the better of them all, and brought away Eibhir of the yellow hair
to Ireland.

And he had a daughter that married the son of Oiliol, son of Eoghan, and
of Beara, daughter of the King of Spain. It was that Eoghan was driven
out of Ireland one time, and it is to Spain he went for safety. And
Beara, that was daughter of the King of Spain, was very shining and
beautiful, and her father had a mind to know who would be her husband,
and he sent for his Druid and asked the question of him. "I can tell you
that," said the Druid, "for the man that is to be her husband will come
to land in Spain this very night. And let your daughter go eastward to
the river Eibhear," he said, "and she will find a crimson-spotted salmon
in that river, having shining clothing on him from head to tail. And let
her strip that clothing off him," he said, "and make with it a shining
shirt for her husband."

So Beara went to the river Eibhear, and found the golden salmon as the
Druid had said, and she stripped him of his crimson clothing and made a
shining shirt of it.

And as to Eoghan, the waves of the shore put a welcome before him, and
he came the same night to the king's house. And the king gave him a
friendly welcome; and it is what all the people said, that there was
never seen a comelier man than Eoghan, or a woman more beautiful than
Beara, and that it was fitting for them to come together. And Eoghan's
own people said they would not be sorry for being sent away out of
Ireland, if only Eoghan could get her for his wife.

And after a while the king sent his Druid to ask Eoghan why he did not
ask for Beara. "I will tell you that," said Eoghan; "it would not be
fitting for me to be refused a wife, and I am but an exile in this
country, and I have brought no treasures or goods with me out of Ireland
for giving to learned men and to poets. But for all that," he said, "the
king's daughter is dear to me, and I think I have the friendship of the

The Druid went back with that message. "That is the answer of a king,"
said the King of Spain; "and bid my daughter to sit at Eoghan's right
hand," he said, "and I will give her to him this very night." And when
Beara, the king's daughter, heard that, she sent out her serving-maid to
bring the shirt she had made for Eoghan, and he put it on him over his
armour, and its shining was seen in every place; and it was from wearing
that shirt he got the name of Eoghan the Bright.

And Oiliol was the first son they had; it was he that had his ear bitten
off by Aine of the Sidhe in revenge for her brother, and it was his son
married Oisin's daughter afterwards.

And as to Osgar, that was Oisin's son, of all the young men of the
Fianna he was the best in battle. And when he was but a young child he
was made much of by the whole of the Fianna, and it is for him they used
to keep the marrow bones, and they did not like to put any hardship on
him. And he grew up tall and idle, and no one thought he would turn out
so strong as he did. And one day there was an attack made on a troop of
the Fianna, and all that were in it went out to fight, but they left
Osgar after them. And when he knew the fight was going on, he took a log
of wood that was the first thing he could find, and attacked the enemy
and made a great slaughter, and they gave way and ran before him. And
from that out there was no battle he did not go into; and he was said to
be the strongest of all the Fianna, though the people of Connacht said
that Goll was the strongest. And he and Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne,
were comrades and dear friends; and it was Diarmuid taught him feats of
arms and of skill, and chess-playing. And Oisin his father took great
pride in him, and his grandfather Finn. And one time Finn was holding a
feast at Almhuin, and he asked the chief men of the Fianna that were
there what was the music they thought the best. "To be playing at
games," said Conan, "that is the best music I ever heard;" for though
Conan was a good hand against an enemy, there never was a man had less
sense. "The music I like the best is to be talking with a woman," said
Diarmuid. "My music is the outcry of my hounds, and they putting a deer
to its last stand," said Lugaidh's Son. "The music of the woods is best
to me," said Oisin; "the sound of the wind and of the cuckoo and the
blackbird, and the sweet silence of the crane."

And then Osgar was asked, and he said: "The best music is the striking
of swords in a battle." And it is likely he took after Finn in that, for
in spite of all the sweet sounds he gave an account of the time he was
at Conan's house, at Ceann Slieve, it used to be said by the Fianna that
the music that was best with Finn was what happened.

This now is the way Osgar met with his wife.

One time Finn and his men came to Slieve Crot, and they saw a woman
waiting there before them, having a crimson fringed cloak, and a gold
brooch in it, and a band of yellow gold on her forehead. Finn asked her
name, and where she came from. "Etain of the Fair Hair is my name," she
said, "daughter of Aedh of the White Breast, of the hill of the Sidhe at
Beinn Edair, son of Angus Og." "What is it brought you here, girl?" said
Finn. "To ask a man of the Fianna of Ireland to run a race with me."
"What sort of a runner are you?" said Diarmuid. "I am a good runner,"
said the girl; "for it is the same to me if the ground is long or short
under my feet."

All of the Fianna that were there then set out to run with her, and they
ran to the height over Badhamair and on to Ath Cliath, and from that on
to the hill of the Sidhe at Beinn Edair.

And there was a good welcome before them, and they were brought meat and
wine for drinking, and water for washing their feet. And after a while
they saw a nice fair-haired girl in front of the vats, and a cup of
white silver in her hand, and she giving out drink to every one. "It
seems to me that is the girl came asking the Fianna to race against her
at Slieve Crot," said Finn. "It is not," said Aedh of the White Breast,
"for that is the slowest woman there is among us." "Who was it so?" said
Finn. "It was Be-mannair, daughter of Ainceol, woman-messenger of the
Tuatha de Danaan. And it is she that changes herself into all shapes;
and she will take the shape of a fly, and of a true lover, and every one
leaves their secret with her. And it was she outran you coming from the
east," he said, "and not this other girl that was drinking and making
merry here in the hall." "What is her name?" said Finn. "Etain of the
Fair Hair," he said; "a daughter of my own, and a darling of the Tuatha
de Danaan. And it is the way with her, she has a lover of the men of the
Fianna." "That is well," said Finn; "and who is that lover?" "It is
Osgar, son of Oisin," said Aedh; "and it is she herself sent her
messenger for you," he said, "in her own shape, to Slieve Crot in the
south. And the son of the High King of Ireland has offered a great
bride-price to the Men of Dea for her," he said, "three hundreds of the
land nearest to Bregia and to Midhe, and to put himself and his weight
of gold into a balance, and to give it all to her. But we did not take
it," he said, "since she had no mind or wish for it herself, and so we
made no dealing or agreement about her." "Well," said Finn, "and what
conditions will you ask of Osgar?" "Never to leave me for anything at
all but my own fault," said the girl. "I will make that agreement with
you indeed," said Osgar. "Give me sureties for it," said she; "give me
the sureties of Goll for the sons of Morna, and of Finn, son of Cumhal,
for the Fianna of Ireland."

So they gave those sureties, and the wedding-feast was made, and they
stopped there for twenty nights. And at the end of that time Osgar asked
Finn where would he bring his wife. "Bring her to wide Almhuin for the
first seven years," said Finn.

But a while after that, in a great battle at Beinn Edair, Osgar got so
heavy a wound that Finn and the Fianna were as if they had lost their
wits. And when Etain of the Fair Hair came to the bed where Osgar was
lying, and saw the way he was, and that the great kinglike shape he had
was gone from him, greyness and darkness came on her, and she raised
pitiful cries, and she went to her bed and her heart broke in her like a
nut; and she died of grief for her husband and her first love.

But it was not at that time Osgar got his death, but afterwards in the
battle of Gabhra.



Diarmuid, now, was son of Bonn, son of Duibhne of the Fianna, and his
mother was Crochnuit, that was near in blood to Finn. And at the time he
was born, Bonn was banished from the Fianna because of some quarrel they
had with him, and Angus Og took the child from him to rear him up at
Brugh na Boinne.

And after a while Crochnuit bore another son to Roc Diocain, that was
Head Steward to Angus. Roc Diocain went then to Donn, and asked would he
rear up his son for him, the way Angus was rearing Donn's son. But Donn
said he would not take the son of a common man into his house, and it
would be best for Angus to take him. So Angus took the child into Brugh
na Boinne, and he and Diarmuid were reared up together.

And one day Finn was on the great Hill at Almhuin of Leinster, and no
one with him but Donn and a few of the poets and learned men of the
Fianna, and their hounds and dogs, and Bran Beag came in and asked did
he remember there were bonds on him, not to stop in Almhuin for ten
nights together. Finn asked the people about him then where would he go
and be entertained for that night, and Donn said: "I will bring you to
the house of Angus, son of the Dagda, where my young son is being

So they went together to the house of Angus at Brugh na Boinne, and the
child Diarmuid was there, and it is great love Angus had for him. And
the Steward's son was with him that night, and the people of the
household made as much of him as Angus made of Diarmuid; and there was
great vexation on Donn when he saw that. It chanced after a while a
great fight rose between two of Finn's hounds about some broken meat
that was thrown to them; and the women and the common people of the
place ran from them, and the others rose up to part them from one
another. And in running away, the Steward's child ran between the knees
of Donn, and Donn gave the child a strong squeeze between his two knees
that killed him on the moment, and he threw him under the feet of the
hounds. And when the Steward came after that and found his son dead, he
gave a long very pitiful cry, and he said to Finn: "There is not a man
in the house to-night has suffered more than myself from this uproar,
for I had but one son only, and he has been killed; and what
satisfaction will I get from you for that, Finn?" he said. "Try can you
find the mark of a tooth or of a nail of one of the hounds on him," said
Finn, "and if you can, I will give you satisfaction for him."

So they looked at the child, and there was no scratch or mark of a tooth
on him at all. Then the Steward put Finn under the destroying bonds of
the Druid cave of Cruachan, to give him knowledge of who it was killed
his son. And Finn asked for a chess-board, and for water to be brought
to him, in a basin of pale gold, and he searched, and it was shown to
him truly that it was Donn had killed the Steward's son between his two
knees. When Finn knew that, he said he would take the fine on himself;
but the Steward would not consent to that, but forced him to tell who
was it had done him the wrong. And when he knew it was Donn had killed
the child, he said: "There is no man in the house it is easier to get
satisfaction from than from him, for his own son is here, and I have but
to put him between my two knees, and if I let him go from me safe, I
will forgive the death of my son." Angus was vexed at what the Steward
said, and as to Donn, he thought to strike his head off till Finn put
him back from him. Then the Steward came again, having a Druid rod with
him, and he struck his own son with the rod, and he made of him a wild
boar, without bristle or ear or tail, and he said: "I put you under
bonds to bring Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, to his death; and your
own life will be no longer than his life," he said. With that the wild
boar rose up and ran out of the open door; and he was called afterwards
the Boar of Slieve Guillion, and it was by him Diarmuid came to his
death at the last.

And when Diarmuid came to his full strength he was given a place among
the Fianna of Ireland; and all women loved him, and he did many great
deeds, fighting with the enemies of the Fianna and of Ireland; and one
time he fought a wild ox through the length of seven days and seven
nights on the top of the Mountain of Happiness.


Diarmuid and Conan and Goll and Osgar went one day hunting, and they
went so far they could not get home in the evening, and they spent the
first part of the night walking through the woods and pulling berries
and eating them. And when it was about midnight they saw a light, and
they went towards it, and they found a little house before them, and the
light shining from it. They went in then, and they saw an old man there,
and he bade them welcome, and he called them all by their names. And
they saw no one in the house but the old man and a young girl and a cat.
And the old man bade the girl to make food ready for the Fianna of
Ireland, for there was great hunger on them.

And when the food was ready and put on the table, there came a great
wether that was fastened up in the back of the house, and he rose up on
the table where they were eating, and when they saw that, they looked at
one another. "Rise up, Conan," said Goll, "and fasten that wether in
the place it was before." Conan rose up and took hold of it, but the
wether gave itself a shake that threw Conan under one of its feet. The
rest were looking at that, and Goll said: "Let you rise up, Diarmuid,
and fasten up the wether." So Diarmuid rose up and took hold of it, but
it gave itself a shake the same way as before; and when Diarmuid was
down it put one of its feet on him. Goll and Osgar looked at one another
then, and shame came on them, a wether to have done so much as that. And
Osgar got up, but the wether put him down under one of his feet, so that
it had now the three men under him. Then Goll rose up and took hold of
it and threw it down; but if he did, it rose up again in spite of him,
and put Goll under his fourth foot.

"It is a great shame," said the old man then, "the like of that to be
done to the Fianna of Ireland. And rise up now, cat," he said, "and tie
the wether in the place where he was." The cat rose up then and took
hold of the wether, and brought it over and tied it in its place at the
end of the house.

The men rose up then, but they had no mind to go on eating, for there
was shame on them at what the wether had done to them. "You may go on
eating," said the old man; "and when you are done I will show you that
now you are the bravest men of the world." So they ate their fill then,
and the old man spoke to them, and it is what he said: "Goll," he said,
"you are the bravest of all the men of the world, for you have wrestled
with the world and you threw it down. The strength of the world is in
the wether, but death will come to the world itself; and that is death,"
he said, showing them the cat.

They were talking together then, and they had their food eaten, and the
old man said their beds were ready for them that they could go to sleep.
The four of them went then into the one room, and when they were in
their beds the young girl came to sleep in the same room with them, and
the light of her beauty was shining on the walls like as if it was the
light of a candle.

And when Conan saw her he went over to the side of the bed where she

Now, it was Youth the young girl was, and when she saw Conan coming to
her: "Go back to your bed, Conan," she said; "I belonged to you once,
and I will never belong to you again." Conan went back to his bed then,
and Osgar had a mind to go over where she was. Then she said to him:
"Where are you going?" "I am going over to yourself for a while," said

"Go back again, Osgar," she said; "I belonged to you once, and I will
never belong to you again."

Then Diarmuid rose up to go to her: "Where are you going, Diarmuid?" she
said. "I am going over to yourself for a while," said he. "O Diarmuid,"
she said, "that cannot be; I belonged to you once, and I can never
belong to you again; but come over here to me, Diarmuid," she said, "and
I will put a love-spot on you, that no woman will ever see without
giving you her love." So Diarmuid went over to her, and she put her hand
on his forehead, and she left the love-spot there, and no woman that
ever saw him after that was able to refuse him her love.


One snowy night of winter the Fianna were come into the house after
their hunting. And about midnight they heard a knocking at the door, and
there came in a woman very wild and ugly, and her hair hanging to her
heels. She went to the place Finn was lying, and she asked him to let
her in under the border of his covering. But when he saw her so strange
and so ugly and so wild-looking he would not let her in. She gave a
great cry then, and she went to where Oisin was, and asked him to let
her shelter under the border of his covering. But Oisin refused her the
same way. Then she gave another great scream, and she went over where
Diarmuid was. "Let me in," she said, "under the border of your
covering." Diarmuid looked at her, and he said: "You are strange-looking
and wild and ugly, and your hair is down to your heels. But come in for
all that," he said.

So she came in under the border of his covering.

"O Diarmuid," she said then, "I have been travelling over sea and ocean
through the length of seven years, and in all that time I never got
shelter any night till this night. And let me to the warmth of the fire
now," she said. So Diarmuid brought her over to the fire, and all the
Fianna that were sitting there went away from it seeing her so ugly and
so dreadful to look at. And she was not long at the fire when she said:
"Let me go under the warmth of the covering with you now." "It is asking
too much you are," said Diarmuid; "first it was to come under the border
you asked, and then to come to the fire, and now it is under the
bed-covering with me you want to be. But for all that you may come," he

So she came in under the covering, and he turned a fold of it between
them. But it was not long till he looked at her, and what he saw was a
beautiful young woman beside him, and she asleep. He called to the
others then to come over, and he said: "Is not this the most beautiful
woman that ever was seen?" "She is that," they said, and they covered
her up and did not awaken her.

But after a while she stirred, and she said: "Are you awake, Diarmuid?"
"I am awake," he said. "Where would you like to see the best house
built that ever was built?" she said. "Up there on the hillside, if I
had my choice," said he, and with that he fell asleep.

And in the morning two men of the Fianna came in, and they said they
were after seeing a great house up on the hill, where there was not a
house before. "Rise up, Diarmuid," said the strange woman then; "do not
be lying there any longer, but go up to your house, and look out now and
see it," she said. So he looked out and he saw the great house that was
ready, and he said: "I will go to it, if you will come along with me."
"I will do that," she said, "if you will make me a promise not to say to
me three times what way I was when I came to you." "I will never say it
to you for ever," said Diarmuid.

They went up then to the house, and it was ready for them, with food and
servants; and everything they could wish for they had it. They stopped
there for three days, and when the three days were ended, she said: "You
are getting to be sorrowful because you are away from your comrades of
the Fianna." "I am not sorrowful indeed," said Diarmuid. "It will be
best for you to go to them; and your food and your drink will be no
worse when you come back than they are now," said she. "Who will take
care of my greyhound bitch and her three pups if I go?" said Diarmuid.
"There is no fear for them," said she.

So when he heard that, he took leave of her and went back to the Fianna,
and there was a great welcome before him. But for all that they were not
well pleased but were someway envious, Diarmuid to have got that grand
house and her love from the woman they themselves had turned away.

Now as to the woman, she was outside the house for a while after
Diarmuid going away, and she saw Finn, son of Cumhal, coming towards
her, and she bade him welcome. "You are vexed with me, Queen?" he said.
"I am not indeed," she said; "and come in now and take a drink of wine
from me." "I will go in if I get my request," said Finn. "What request
is there that you would not get?" said she. "It is what I am asking, one
of the pups of Diarmuid's greyhound bitch." "That is no great thing to
ask," she said; "and whichever one you choose of them you may bring it

So he got the pup, and he brought it away with him.

At the fall of night Diarmuid came back to the house, and the greyhound
met him at the door and gave a yell when she saw him, and he looked for
the pups, and one of them was gone. There was anger on him then, and he
said to the woman: "If you had brought to mind the way you were when I
let you in, and your hair hanging, you would not have let the pup be
brought away from me." "You ought not to say that, Diarmuid," said she.
"I ask your pardon for saying it," said Diarmuid. And they forgave one
another, and he spent the night in the house.

On the morrow Diarmuid went back again to his comrades, and the woman
stopped at the house, and after a while she saw Oisin coming towards
her. She gave him a welcome, and asked him into the house, and he said
he would come if he would get his request. And what he asked was another
of the pups of the greyhound.

So she gave him that, and he went away bringing the pup with him. And
when Diarmuid came back that night the greyhound met him, and she cried
out twice. And he knew that another of the pups was gone, and he said to
the greyhound, and the woman standing there: "If she had remembered the
way she was when she came to me, she would not have let the pup be
brought away."

The next day he went back again to the Fianna, and when he was gone, the
woman saw Caoilte coming towards her, and he would not come in to take a
drink from her till he had got the promise of one of the pups the same
as the others.

And when Diarmuid came back that night the greyhound met him and gave
three yells, the most terrible that ever were heard. There was great
anger on him then, when he saw all the pups gone, and he said the third
time: "If this woman remembered the way she was when I found her, and
her hair down to her heels, she would not have let the pup go." "O
Diarmuid, what is it you are after saying?" she said. He asked
forgiveness of her then, and he thought to go into the house, but it was
gone and the woman was gone on the moment, and it was on the bare ground
he awoke on the morrow. There was great sorrow on him then, and he said
he would search in every place till he would find her again.

So he set out through the lonely valleys, and the first thing he saw was
the greyhound lying dead, and he put her on his shoulder and would not
leave her because of the love he had for her. And after a while he met
with a cowherd, and he asked him did he see a woman going the way. "I
saw a woman early in the morning of yesterday, and she walking hard,"
said the cowherd. "What way was she going?" said Diarmuid. "Down that
path below to the strand, and I saw her no more after that," he said.

So he followed the path she took down to the strand till he could go no
farther, and then he saw a ship, and he leaned on the handle of his
spear and made a light leap on to the ship, and it went on till it came
to land, and then he got out and lay down on the side of a hill and fell
asleep, and when he awoke there was no ship to be seen. "It is a pity
for me to be here," he said, "for I see no way of getting from it

But after a while he saw a boat coming, and a man in the boat rowing it,
and he went down and got into the boat, and brought the greyhound with
him. And the boat went out over the sea, and then down below it; and
Diarmuid, when he went down, found himself on a plain. And he went
walking along it, and it was not long before he met with a drop of
blood. He took it up and put it in a napkin. "It is the greyhound lost
this," he said. And after a while he met with another drop of blood, and
then with a third, and he put them in the napkin. And after that again
he saw a woman, and she gathering rushes as if she had lost her wits.

He went towards her and asked her what news had she. "I cannot tell it
till I gather the rushes," she said. "Be telling it while you are
gathering them," said Diarmuid. "There is great haste on me," she said.
"What is this place where we are?" said Diarmuid. "It is
Land-under-Wave," said she. "And what use have you for the rushes when
they are gathered?" "The daughter of King Under-Wave is come home," she
said, "and she was for seven years under enchantment, and there is
sickness on her now, and all the physicians are gathered together and
none of them can do her any good, and a bed of rushes is what she finds
the wholesomest." "Will you show me where the king's daughter is?" said
Diarmuid. "I will do that," said the woman; "I will put you in the sheaf
of rushes, and I will put the rushes under you and over you, and I will
carry you to her on my back." "That is a thing you cannot do," said
Diarmuid. But she put the rushes about him, and lifted him on her back,
and when she got to the room she let down the bundle. "O come here to
me," said the daughter of King Under-Wave, and Diarmuid went over to
her, and they took one another's hands, and were very joyful at that
meeting. "Three parts of my sickness is gone from me now," she said
then; "but I am not well yet, and I never will be, for every time I
thought of you, Diarmuid, on my journey, I lost a drop of the blood of
my heart." "I have got those three drops here in this napkin," said
Diarmuid, "and take them now in a drink and you will be healed of your
sickness." "They would do nothing for me," she said, "since I have not
the one thing in the world that I want, and that is the thing I will
never get," she said. "What thing is that?" said Diarmuid. "It is the
thing you will never get, nor any man in the world," she said, "for it
is a long time they have failed to get it." "If it is in any place on
the whole ridge of the world I will get it," said Diarmuid. "It is three
draughts from the cup of the King of Magh an Ionganaidh, the Plain of
Wonder," she said, "and no man ever got it or ever will get it." "Tell
me where that cup is to be found," said Diarmuid, "for there are not as
many men as will keep it from me on the whole ridge of the world." "That
country is not far from the boundary of my father's country," she said;
"but there is a little river between, and you would be sailing on that
river in a ship, having the wind behind it, for a year and a day before
you would reach to the Plain of Wonder."

Diarmuid set out then, and he came to the little river, and he was a
good while walking beside it, and he saw no way to cross it. But at last
he saw a low-sized, reddish man that was standing in the middle of the
river. "You are in straits, Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne," he said;
"and come here and put your foot in the palm of my hand and I will bring
you through." Diarmuid did as he bade him, and put his foot in the red
man's palm, and he brought him across the river. "It is going to the
King of the Plain of Wonder you are," he said, "to bring away his cup
from him; and I myself will go with you."

They went on then till they came to the king's dun, and Diarmuid called
out that the cup should be sent out to him, or else champions to fight
with him should be sent out. It was not the cup was sent out, but twice
eight hundred fighting men; and in three hours there was not one of them
left to stand against him. Then twice nine hundred better fighters
again were sent out against him, and within four hours there was not one
of them left to stand against him. Then the king himself came out, and
he stood in the great door, and he said: "Where did the man come from
that has brought destruction on the whole of my kingdom?" "I will tell
you that," said he; "I am Diarmuid, a man of the Fianna of Ireland." "It
is a pity you not to have sent a messenger telling me that," said the
king, "and I would not have spent my men upon you; for seven years
before you were born it was put in the prophecy that you would come to
destroy them. And what is it you are asking now?" he said. "It is the
cup of healing from your own hand I am asking," said Diarmuid. "No man
ever got that cup from me but yourself," said the king, "but it is easy
for me to give it to you, whether or not there is healing in it."

Then the King of the Plain of Wonder gave Diarmuid the cup, and they
parted from one another; and Diarmuid went on till he came to the river,
and it was then he thought of the red man, that he had given no thought
to while he was at the king's house. But he was there before him, and
took his foot in the palm of his hand and brought him over the river. "I
know where it is you are going, Diarmuid," he said then; "it is to heal
the daughter of King Under-Wave that you have given your love to. And it
is to a well I will give you the signs of you should go," he said, "and
bring a share of the water of that well with you. And when you come
where the woman is, it is what you have to do, to put that water in the
cup, and one of the drops of blood in it, and she will drink it, and the
same with the second drop and the third, and her sickness will be gone
from her from that time. But there is another thing will be gone along
with it," he said, "and that is the love you have for her."

"That will not go from me," said Diarmuid. "It will go from you," said
the man; "and it will be best for you make no secret of it, for she will
know, and the king will know, that you think no more of her then than of
any other woman. And King Under-Wave will come to you," he said, "and
will offer you great riches for healing his daughter. But take nothing
from him," he said, "but ask only a ship to bring you home again to
Ireland. And do you know who am I myself?" he said. "I do not know,"
said Diarmuid. "I am the messenger from beyond the world," he said; "and
I came to your help because your own heart is hot to come to the help of

So Diarmuid did as he bade him, and he brought the water and the cup and
the drops of blood to the woman, and she drank them, and at the third
draught she was healed. And no sooner was she healed than the love he
had for her was gone, and he turned away from her. "O Diarmuid," she
said, "your love is gone from me." "O, it is gone indeed," said he.

Then there was music made in the whole place, and the lamenting was
stopped, because of the healing of the king's daughter. And as to
Diarmuid, he would take no reward and he would not stop there, but he
asked for a ship to bring him home to Ireland, to Finn and the Fianna.
And when he came where they were, there was a joyful welcome before him.


The Fianna went hunting one time in the two proud provinces of Munster.
They went out from Almhuin by the nearest paths till they came to the
Brosna river in Slieve Bladhma, and from there to the twelve mountains
of Eiblinne, and on to Aine Cliach, the harp of Aine.

They scattered themselves then and hunted through the borders of the
forest that is called Magh Breogain, through blind trackless places and
through broken lands, over beautiful level plains and the high hills of
Desmumum, under pleasant Slieve Crot and smooth Slieve na Muc, along the
level banks of the blue Siuir and over the green plain of Feman and the
rough plain of Eithne, and the dark woods of Belach Gabrain.

And Finn was at the side of a hill, and the chief men of the Fianna
along with him, to watch the hunting; for they liked to be listening to
the outcry of the hounds and the hurried cries of the boys, and the
noise and the whistling and the shouts of the strong men.

Finn asked then which of the men that were with him would go and keep
watch on the side of the hill where they were. And Finnbane, son of
Bresel, said he would go. And he went on to the top of the hill, where
he could see about him on all sides. And he was not long there till he
saw coming from the east a very big man, ugly and gloomy and deformed;
and it is how he was, a dark-coloured shield on his back, a wide sword
on his crooked left thigh, two spears on his shoulder, a torn loose
cloak over his limbs, that were as black as a quenched coal. A sulky
horse he had with him that had no good appearance, bony and thin as to
body, and weak in the legs, and he leading it with a rough iron halter;
and it was a great wonder the head was not pulled from the horse's body,
or the arms pulled out of his owner, with the sudden stands and stops
and the jerks it made. And the big man was striking blows on the horse
with an iron cudgel to try and knock some going out of him, and the
sound of the blows was like the breaking of strong waves.

And when Finnbane saw all that, he thought to himself it would not be
right to let the like of that stranger go up unknown to Finn and the
Fianna, and he ran back in haste to where they were and told them all he
had seen.

And when he had told his story, they saw the big man coming towards
them; but as short as he was from them he was long in coming, from the
badness of his walk and his going.

And when he came into Finn's presence he saluted him, and bowed his head
and bent his knee, making signs of humility.

Finn raised his hand over his head then, and asked news of him, and if
he was of the noble or of the mean blood of the great world. He answered
that he had no knowledge who he came from, but only that he was a man of
the Fomor, travelling in search of wages to the kings of the earth, "and
I heard," he said, "that Finn never refused wages to any man." "I never
did indeed," said Finn, "and I will not refuse you. But why is it," he
said, "you are without a boy to mind your horse?" "I have a good reason
for that," said the big man; "there is nothing in the world is worse to
me than a boy to be with me; for it is a hundred men's share of food,"
he said, "that serves me for one day, and it is little enough I think
it, and I would begrudge a boy to be sharing it with me." "What is the
name you have?" said Finn. "The name I have is the Gilla Decair, the
Hard Servant," said he. "Why did you get that name?" said Finn. "There
is a good reason for that," said the big man, "for there is nothing in
the world is harder to me than to do anything at all for my master, or
whatever person I am with. And tell me this, Conan, son of Morna," he
said, "who gets the best wages, a horseman or a man afoot?" "A horseman
gets twice as much," said Conan. "Then I call you to witness, Conan," he
said, "that I am a horseman, and that it was as a horseman I came to the
Fianna. And give me your guarantee now, Finn, son of Cumhal, and the
guarantee of the Fianna, and I will turn out my horse with your horses."
"Let him out then," said Finn.

The big man pulled off the iron halter then from his horse, and it made
off as hard as it could go, till it came where the horses of the Fianna
were; and it began to tear and to kick and to bite at them, killing and
maiming. "Take your horse out of that, big man," said Conan; "and by the
earth and the sky," he said, "only it was on the guarantee of Finn and
the Fianna you took the halter off him, I would let out his brains
through the windows of his head; and many as is the bad prize Finn has
found in Ireland," he said, "he never got one as bad as yourself." "And
I swear by earth and sky as well as yourself," said the big man, "I will
never bring him out of that; for I have no serving-boy to do it for me,
and it is not work for me to be leading my horse by the hand."

Conan, son of Morna, rose up then and took the halter and put it on the
horse, and led it back to where Finn was, and held it with his hand.
"You would never have done a horse-boy's service, Conan," said Finn, "to
any one of the Fianna, however far he might be beyond this Fomor. And if
you will do what I advise," he said, "you will get up on the horse now,
and search out with him all the hills and hollows and flowery plains of
Ireland, till his heart is broken in his body in payment for the way he
destroyed the horses of the Fianna."

Conan made a leap then on to the horse, and struck his heels hard into
him, but with all that the horse would not stir. "I know what ails him,"
said Finn, "he will not stir till he has the same weight of horsemen on
him as the weight of the big man."

On that thirteen men of the Fianna went up behind Conan, and the horse
lay down with them and rose up again. "I think that you are mocking at
my horse and at myself," said the big man; "and it is a pity for me to
be spending the rest of the year with you, after all the humbugging I
saw in you to-day, Finn. And I know well," he said, "that all I heard
about you was nothing but lies, and there was no cause for the great
name you have through the world. And I will quit you now, Finn," he

With that he went from them, slow and weak, dragging himself along till
he had put a little hill between himself and the Fianna. And as soon as
he was on the other side of it, he tucked up his cloak to his waist, and
away with him, as if with the quickness of a swallow or a deer, and the
rush of his going was like a blast of loud wind going over plains and
mountains in spring-time.

When the horse saw his master going from him, he could not bear with it,
but great as his load was he set out at full gallop following after him.
And when Finn and the Fianna saw the thirteen men behind Conan, son of
Morna, on the horse, and he starting off, they shouted with mocking

And when Conan found that he was not able to come down off the horse, he
screeched and shouted to them not to let him be brought away with the
big man they knew nothing of, and he began abusing and reproaching them.
"A cloud of death over water on you, Finn," he said, "and that some son
of a slave or a robber of the bad blood, one that is a worse son of a
father and mother even than yourself, may take all that might protect
your life, and your head along with that, unless you follow us to
whatever place or island the big man will carry us to, and unless you
bring us back to Ireland again."

Finn and the Fianna rose up then, and they followed the Gilla Decair
over every bald hill, and through every valley and every river, on to
pleasant Slieve Luachra, into the borders of Corca Duibhne; and the big
man, that was up on the horse then along with Conan and the rest, faced
towards the deep sea. And Liagan Luath of Luachar took hold of the
horse's tail with his two hands, thinking to drag him back by the hair
of it; but the horse gave a great tug, and away with him over the sea,
and Liagan along with him, holding on to his tail.

It was a heavy care to Finn, those fourteen men of his people to be
brought away from him, and he himself under bonds to bring them back.
"What can we do now?" Oisin asked him. "What should we do, but to follow
our people to whatever place or island the big man has brought them,
and, whatever way we do it, to bring them back to Ireland again." "What
can we do, having neither a ship or any kind of boat?" said Oisin. "We
have this," said Finn, "the Tuatha de Danaan left as a gift to the
children of the Gael, that whoever might have to leave Ireland for a
while, had but to go to Beinn Edair, and however many would go along
with him, they would find a ship that would hold them all." Finn looked
towards the sea then, and he saw two strong armed men coming towards
him. The first one had on his back a shield ribbed and of many colours,
having shapes of strange, wonderful beasts engraved on it, and a heavy
sword at his side, and two thick spears on his shoulders; a cloak of
lasting crimson about him, with a gold brooch on the breast; a band of
white bronze on his head, gold under each of his feet; and the other was
dressed in the same way. They made no delay till they came to where Finn
was, and they bowed their heads and bent their knees before him, and
Finn raised his hand over their heads, and bade them to give an account
of themselves. "We are sons of the King of the Eastern World," they
said, "and we are come to Ireland asking to be taken into the service of
Finn; for we heard there was not a man in all Ireland," they said,
"would be better than yourself to judge of the skill we have." "What is
your name, and what skill is that?" said Finn. "My name is Feradach,
the Very Brave," he said; "and I have a carpenter's axe and a sling, and
if there were so many as thirty hundred of the men of Ireland along with
me in one spot, with three blows of the axe on the sling-stick I could
get a ship that would hold them all. And I would ask no more help of
them," he said, "than to bow down their heads while I was striking those
three blows." "That is a good art," said Finn. "And tell me now," he
said, "what can the other man do?" "I can do this," he said, "I can
follow the track of the teal over nine ridges and nine furrows until I
come on her in her bed; and it is the same to me to do it on sea as on
land," he said. "That is a good art," said Finn; "and it would be a good
help to us if you would come following a track with us now." "What is
gone from you?" said one of the men. Finn told them then the whole story
of the Hard Servant.

Then Feradach, the Very Brave, struck three blows on his sling-stick
with the axe that he had, and the whole of the Fianna bowed their heads,
and on the moment the whole of the bay and of the harbour was filled
with ships and with fast boats. "What will we do with that many ships?"
said Finn. "We will do away with all you make no use of," he said.

Caoilte rose up then and let out three great shouts, and all the Fianna
of Ireland, in whatever places they were, heard them, and they thought
Finn and his people to be in some kind of danger from men from beyond
the sea.

They came then in small companies as they chanced to be, till they came
to the stepping-stones of the Cat's Head in the western part of Corca
Duibhne. And they asked news of Finn, what had happened that he called
them away from their hunting, and Finn told them all that had happened.
Then Finn and Oisin went into council together, and it is what they
agreed; that as but fifteen of his people were brought away from Finn,
he himself with fifteen others would go on their track; Oisin to be left
at the head of the Fianna to guard Ireland.

And they said farewell to one another, and a grand ship was made ready
for Finn and his people, and there was food put in it for using and gold
for giving away. The young men and the heroes took to their seats then,
and took hold of the oars, and they set out over the restless hills and
the dark valleys of the great sea.

And the sea rose up and bellowed, and there was madness on the broken
green waters; but to Finn and his people it was a call in the morning
and a sleepy time at night to be listening to the roaring and the
crooning that was ever and always about the sides of the ship.

They went on like that for three days and three nights, and saw no
country or island. But at the end of that time a man of them went up
into the head of the ship, and he saw out before them a great, rough
grey cliff. They went on towards it then, and they saw on the edge of
the cliff a high rock, round-shaped, having sides more slippery than an
eel's back. And they found the track of the Hard Servant as far as to
the foot of the rock.

Fergus of the True Lips said then to Diarmuid: "It is no brave thing you
are doing, Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, to hold back like this, for it
was with Manannan the Powerful, son of Lir, you were reared and got your
learning, in the Land of Promise and in the coasts of the harbours, and
with Angus Og, the Dagda's son. And are you without any share of their
skill and their daring now," he said, "that would bring Finn and his
people up this rock?"

Diarmuid's face reddened when he heard those words, and he took hold of
Manannan's staves of power that were with him, and he reddened again,
and he rose on the staves and gave a leap, and got a standing-place for
his two feet on the overhanging rock. He looked down from that on Finn
and his people, but whatever wish he had to bring them up to where he
was, he was not able to do it.

He left the rock behind him then, and he was not gone far when he saw a
wild tangled place before him, with thick woods that were of all he had
ever walked the most leafy and the fullest of the sounds of wind and
streams and birds, and of the humming of bees.

He went on walking the plain, and as he was looking about him, he saw a
great tree with many twigs and branches, and a rock beside it, and a
smooth-pointed drinking-horn on it, and a beautiful fresh well at its
foot. And there was a great drouth on Diarmuid after the sea-journey,
and he had a mind to drink a hornful of the water. But when he stooped
to it he heard a great noise coming towards him, and he knew then there
was enchantment in the water.

"I will drink my fill of it for all that," he said. And it was not long
after that till he saw a Man of Enchantments coming towards him armed,
having no friendly look. And it was in no friendly way he spoke to
Diarmuid when he came up to him, but he gave him great abuse. "It is no
right thing," he said, "to be walking through my thickets and to be
drinking up my share of water." With that they faced one another
angrily, and they fought till the end of the day.

The Enchanter thought it well to leave off fighting then, and he made a
leap into the bottom of the well away from him, but there was vexation
on Diarmuid to be left like that.

He looked around him then, and he saw a herd of deer coming through the
scrub, and he went towards them, and threw a spear that went through the
nearest stag and drove the bowels out of him. He kindled a fire then,
and he cut thin bits of the flesh and put them on spits of white hazel,
and that night he had his fill of meat and of the water of the well.

He rose up early on the morrow, and he found the Enchanter at the well
before him. "It seems to me, Grandson of Duibhne," he said, "that it is
not enough for you to be walking my scrub and my woods without killing
my deer as well." With that they started again, giving one another blow
for blow, thrust for thrust, and wound for wound till the end of the day
came on them. And Diarmuid killed another great deer that night, and in
the morning the fight began again. But in the evening, when the
Enchanter was making his leap into the well, Diarmuid threw his arms
about his neck, thinking to stop him, but it is what happened, he fell
in himself. And when he was at the bottom of the well the Enchanter left

Diarmuid went then following after the Enchanter, and he found before
him a beautiful wide flowery plain, and a comely royal city in the
plain, and on the green before the dun he saw a great army; and when
they saw Diarmuid following after the Enchanter, they left a way and a
royal road for the Enchanter to pass through till he got inside the dun.
And then they shut the gates, and the whole army turned on Diarmuid.

But that put no fear or cowardice on him, but he went through them and
over them like a hawk would go through little birds, or a wild dog
through a flock of sheep, killing all before him, till some of them made
away to the woods and wastes, and another share of them through the
gates of the dun, and they shut them, and the gates of the city after
them. And Diarmuid, all full of hurts and wounds after the hard fight,
lay down on the plain. A very strong daring champion came then and
kicked at him from behind, and at that Diarmuid roused himself up, and
put out his brave ready hand for his weapons.

"Wait a while, Grandson of Duibhne," the champion said then; "it is not
to do you any hurt or harm I am come, but to say to you it is a bad
sleeping-place for you to have, and it on your ill-wisher's lawn. And
come now with me," he said, "and I will give you a better

Diarmuid followed him then, and they went a long, long way from that,
till they came to a high-topped city, and three times fifty brave
champions in it, three times fifty modest women, and another young woman
on a bench, with blushes in her cheeks, and delicate hands, and having a
silken cloak about her, and a dress sewed with gold threads, and on her
head the flowing veil of a queen.

There was a good welcome before Diarmuid for his own sake and the sake
of his people, and he was put in a house of healing that was in the
city, and good herbs were put to his hurts till he was smooth and sound

And a feast was made then, and the tables and the benches were set, and
no high person was put in the place of the mean, or mean in the place of
the high, but every one in his own place, according to his nobility, or
his descent, or his art. Plenty of good food was brought to them then,
and well-tasting strong drinks, and they spent the first part of the
night in drinking, and the second part with music and delight and
rejoicing of the mind, and the third part in sound sleep that lasted
till the sun rose over the heavy sodded earth on the morrow.

Three days and three nights Diarmuid stopped in that city, and the best
feast he ever found was given to him all through. And at the end of that
time he asked what was the place he was in, and who was head of it. And
the champion that brought him there told him it was Land-Under-Wave, and
that the man that had fought with him was its king. "And he is an enemy
of the Red Hand to me," he said. "And as to myself," he said, "I was
one time getting wages from Finn, son of Cumhal, in Ireland, and I never
put a year over me that pleased me better. And tell me now," he said,
"what is the journey or the work that is before you?"

And Diarmuid told him the story of the Hard Servant then from beginning
to end.

Now, as to Finn and his people, when they thought Diarmuid was too long
away from them, they made ladders of the cords of the ship and put them
against the rock, looking for him.

And after a while they found the leavings of the meat he had eaten, for
Diarmuid never ate meat without leaving some after him.

Finn looked then on every side, and he saw a rider coming towards him
over the plain on a dark-coloured beautiful horse, having a bridle of
red gold. Finn saluted him when he came up, and the rider stooped his
head and gave Finn three kisses, and asked him to go with him. They went
on a long way till they came to a wide, large dwelling-place full of
arms, and a great troop of armed men on the green before the fort. Three
nights and three days Finn and his people stopped in the dun, and the
best feast they ever got was served out to them.

At the end of that time Finn asked what country was he in, and the man
that brought him there told him it was the land of Sorcha, and that he
himself was its king. "And I was with yourself one time, Finn, son of
Cumhal," he said, "taking your wages through the length of a year in

Then Finn and the King of Sorcha called a great gathering of the people
and a great meeting. And when it was going on they saw a woman-messenger
coming to them through the crowd, and the king asked news of her. "I
have news indeed," she said; "the whole of the bay and the harbour is
full of ships and of boats, and there are armies all through the country
robbing all before them." "I know well," said the king, "it is the High
King of Greece is in it, for he has a mind to put the entire world under
him, and to get hold of this country like every other." The King of
Sorcha looked at Finn then, and Finn understood it was help from him he
was asking, and it is what he said: "I take the protection of this
country on myself so long as I am in it." He and his people rose up
then, and the King of Sorcha along with them, and they went looking for
the strange army. And when they came up with it they made great
slaughter of its champions, and those they did not kill ran before them,
and made no better stand than a flock of frightened birds, till there
were hardly enough of them left to tell the story.

The High King spoke then, and it is what he said: "Who is it has done
this great slaughter of my people? And I never heard before," he said,
"any talk of the courage or of the doings of the men of Ireland either
at this time or in the old times. But from this out," he said, "I will
banish the Sons of the Gael for ever to the very ends of the earth."

But Finn and the King of Sorcha raised a green tent in view of the ships
of the Greeks.

The King of the Greeks called then for help against Finn and the King of
Sorcha, to get satisfaction for the shame that was put on his people.
And the sons of kings of the eastern and southern world came to his
help, but they could make no stand against Finn and Osgar and Oisin and
Goll, son of Morna. And at the last the King of Greece brought all his
people back home, the way no more of them would be put an end to.

And then Finn and the King of Sorcha called another great gathering. And
while it was going on, they saw coming towards them a great troop of
champions, bearing flags of many-coloured silk, and grey swords at
their sides and high spears reared up over their heads. And in the front
of them was Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne.

When Finn saw him, he sent Fergus of the True Lips to ask news of him,
and they told one another all that had happened.

And it would take too long to tell, and it would tire the hearers, how
Finn made the Hard Servant bring home his fifteen men that he had
brought away. And when he had brought them back to Ireland, the whole of
the Fianna were watching to see him ride away again, himself and his
long-legged horse. But while they were watching him, he vanished from
them, and all they could see was a mist, and it stretching out towards
the sea.

And that is the story of the Hard Servant, and of Diarmuid's adventures
on the island Under-Wave.


And it is often the Fianna would have been badly off without the help of
Diarmuid. It was he came to their help the time Miodac, the son of the
King of Lochlann, brought them into the enchanted House of the Quicken

It was by treachery he brought them in, giving himself out to be a poet,
and making poems for Finn to make out the meaning of. A verse he made
about a great army that he saw riding over the plains to victory, and
robbing all before it, and the riders of it having no horses but plants
and branches. "I understand that," said Finn, "it was an army of bees
you saw, that was gathering riches from the flowers as it went." And
another verse Miodac made was about a woman in Ireland that was swifter
than the swiftest horse. "I know that," said Finn, "that woman is the
River Boinn; and if she goes slow itself, she is swifter in the end than
the swiftest horse, for her going never stops." And other verses he made
about Angus' house at Brugh na Boinn, but Finn made them all out.

And after that he said he had a feast ready for them, and he bade them
go into his House of the Quicken Trees till he would bring it. And they
did that, and went in, and it was a beautiful house, having walls of
every colour, and foreign coverings of every colour on the floor, and a
fire that gave out a very pleasant smoke. And they sat down there, and
after a while Finn said: "It is a wonder such a beautiful house to be
here." "There is a greater wonder than that," said Goll; "that fire that
was so pleasant when we came in is giving out now the worst stench in
the world." "There is a greater wonder than that," said Glas; "the walls
that were of all colours are now but rough boards joined together."
"There is a greater wonder than that," said Fiacha; "where there were
seven high doors to the house there is now but one little door, and it
shut." "Indeed, there is a more wonderful thing than that," said Conan;
"for we sat down on beautiful coverings, and now there is nothing
between us and the bare ground, and it as cold as the snow of one
night." And he tried to rise up, but he could not stir, or any of the
rest of them, for there was enchantment that kept them where they were.

And it was the treachery of Miodac, and the spells of the Three Kings of
the Island of the Floods that had brought them into that danger. And
Finn knew by his divination that their enemies were gathering to make an
end of them, and he said to his people there was no use in making
complaints, but to sound the music of the Dord Fiann.

And some of the Fianna that were waiting for him not far off heard that
sorrowful music, and came fighting against Miodac and his armies, and
they fought well, but they could not stand against them. And at the last
it was Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, that made an end of Miodac that
was so treacherous, and of the Three Kings of the Island of the Floods,
and took the enchantment off the floor of the House of the Rowan Trees
with their blood.

And when he was freeing the Fianna, Conan called out, asking him to
bring him a share of the feast Miodac had made ready for his own
friends, for there was hunger on him. And when Diarmuid took no heed of
him, he said: "If it was a comely woman was speaking to you, Diarmuid,
you would not refuse to listen."

For if many women loved Diarmuid, there were many he himself gave his
love to; and if he was often called Diarmuid the brave, or the hardy, or
the comely, or the Hawk of Ess Ruadh, it is often he was called as well
the friend and the coaxer of women, Diarmuid-na-man.



Finn rose up one morning early in Almhuin of Leinster, and he sat out
alone on the green lawn without a boy or a servant being with him. And
Oisin followed him there, and Diorraing the Druid. "What is the cause of
your early rising, Finn?" said Oisin. "It is not without cause, indeed,
I rise early," said Finn, "for I am without a wife or a companion since
Maighneis, daughter of Black Garraidh, died from me; for quiet sleep is
not used to come to a man that is without a fitting wife." "Why would
you be like that?" said Oisin, "for there is not a woman in all green
Ireland you would throw a look on but we would bring her to you, willing
or unwilling." "I myself could find a wife would be fitting for you,"
said Diorraing. "Who is that?" said Finn. "It is Grania, daughter of the
High King of Ireland," said Diorraing; "and she is the woman of the best
make and shape and the best speech of the women of the whole world." "By
my word, Diorraing," said Finn, "there is strife and disagreement
between the High King and myself this long time, and it would not be
pleasing to me to get a refusal from him. And it is best for you two to
go together," he said, "and to ask his daughter for me in marriage; the
way that if he gives a refusal, it will be to you and not to myself he
will give it." "We will go," said Oisin, "even if it is little profit we
will get by it. And let no one at all know of our going," he said,
"until such time as we are come back again."

After that the two bade farewell to Finn, and set out, and it is not
told what they did till they came to Teamhair. The King of Ireland was
holding a gathering at that time on the green of Teamhair, and the chief
nobles of his people were with him. And there was a friendly welcome
given to Oisin and to Diorraing, and the king put off the gathering
till the next day, for he was sure it was some pressing thing had
brought these two men of the Fianna to Teamhair. And Oisin went aside
with him, and told him it was to ask his daughter Grania in marriage
they were come from Finn, Head of the Fianna of Ireland.

The king spoke, and it is what he said: "There is not a son of a king or
of a great prince, there is not a champion in Ireland my daughter has
not given a refusal to, and it is on me they all lay the blame of that.
And I will give you no answer at all," he said, "till you go to herself;
for it is better for you to get her own answer, than to be displeased
with me."

So they went together to the sunny house of the women, and the king sat
down at the head of the high seat beside Grania, and he said: "Here,
Grania, are two of the people of Finn, son of Cumhal, come to ask you as
a wife for him, and what answer have you a mind to give them?" And it is
what Grania said: "If he is a fitting son-in-law for you, why would he
not be a fitting husband for me?"

They were satisfied then, and there was a feast made for them that night
in Grania's sunny house, and the king settled for a meeting a fortnight
from that time between himself and Finn at Teamhair.

So Oisin and Diorraing went back again to Almhuin, and told Finn their
story from beginning to end. And as everything wears away, so did that
time of delay.

And then Finn gathered together the seven battalions of the Fianna from
every part where they were to Almhuin. And they set out in great bands
and troops till they came to Teamhair.

The king was out on the green before them, and the great people of the
men of Ireland, and there was a great welcome before Finn and the

But when Grania saw grey-haired Finn, she said: "It is a great wonder
it was not for Oisin Finn asked me, for he would be more fitting for me
than a man that is older than my father."

But they talked together for a while, and Finn was putting questions to
Grania, for she had the name of being very quick with answers. "What is
whiter than snow?" he said. "The truth," said Grania. "What is the best
colour?" said Finn. "The colour of childhood," said she. "What is hotter
than fire?" "The face of a hospitable man when he sees a stranger coming
in, and the house empty." "What has a taste more bitter than poison?"
"The reproach of an enemy." "What is best for a champion?" "His doings
to be high, and his pride to be low." "What is the best of jewels?" "A
knife." "What is sharper than a sword?" "The wit of a woman between two
men." "What is quicker than the wind?" said Finn then. "A woman's mind,"
said Grania. And indeed she was telling no lie when she said that. And
for all their talk together she had no liking for Finn, and she felt the
blood in her heart to be rising against him.

And the wedding-feast was made ready then, and they all went into the
king's feasting-house in the Middle Court. And the king sat down to take
his share of drinking and pleasure, and his wife at his left side, and
Grania beside her again; and Finn, son of Cumhal, at the right hand of
the king, and Oisin at the other side, and every other one according to
his nobility and his birth.

Then Daire of the poems stood up before Grania, and sang the songs and
good poems of her fathers to her. And there was sitting near to Grania a
knowledgeable man, a Druid of Finn's people, and it was not long until
they began to talk together. "Tell me now," said Grania, "who is that
man on the right hand of Oisin?" "That is Goll, son of Morna," said the
Druid, "the ready fighter." "Who is that beside Goll?" said Grania.
"Osgar, son of Oisin," said the Druid. "And who is that thin-legged man
beside Osgar?" "That is Caoilte, son of Ronan." "Who is that proud,
hasty man beside Caoilte?" "Lugaidh's Son of the Strong Hand." "Who is
that sweet-worded man," she said then, "with the dark hair, and cheeks
like the rowan berry, on the left side of Oisin, son of Finn?" "That is
Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne," said the Druid, "that is the best lover
of women in the whole world." "That is a good company," said Grania.

And after the feast had gone on a while, their own feast was made for
the dogs outside. And the dogs began to fight with one another, and the
noise was heard in the hall, and the chief men of the Fianna went to
drive them away from one another.

Now Diarmuid was used to keep his cap always over the love-spot the
woman had left on his forehead, for no woman could see that spot but she
would give him her love. And it chanced, while he was driving the dogs
apart, the cap fell from him, and Grania was looking cut at him as it
fell, and great love for him came on her there and then. And she called
her serving-maid to her, and bade her bring the great golden cup that
held drink for nine times nine men from the sunny house. And when the
serving-maid brought the cup, she filled it with wine that had
enchantment in it, and she said: "Give the cup first to Finn, and bid
him take a drink from it, and tell him it is I myself sent it to him."
So the serving-maid did that, and Finn took the cup and drank out of it,
and no sooner did he drink than he fell into a deep sleep. And then the
cup was given to the king, and the queen, and the sons of kings, and the
whole company, but only Oisin and Osgar and Caoilte and Diarmuid, and
Diorraing the Druid. And all that drank of it fell into the same heavy

And when they were all in their sleep, Grania rose up softly from the
seat where she was, and she turned her face to Diarmuid, and she said:
"Will you take my love, Diarmuid, son of Duibhne, and will you bring me
away out of this house to-night?"

"I will not," said Diarmuid; "I will not meddle with the woman that is
promised to Finn." "If that is so," said Grania, "I put you under Druid
bonds, to bring me out of this house to-night before the awaking of Finn
and of the King of Ireland from their sleep."

"It is under bad bonds you are putting me, Grania," said Diarmuid. "And
why is it," he said, "that you put them on me more than on the great men
and sons of kings that are in the Middle Court to-night? for there is
not one of them all but is as well worthy of a woman's love as myself."
"By my hand, Diarmuid, it is not without cause I laid those bonds on
you," said Grania; "for I was at the door a while ago when you were
parting the dogs," she said, "and my eyes fell on you, and I gave you
the love there and then that I never gave to any other, and never will
give for ever."

"It is a wonder you to give that love to me, and not to Finn," said
Diarmuid, "for there is not in Ireland a man is a better lover of a
woman than himself. And do you know this, Grania," he said, "the night
Finn is in Teamhair it is he himself is the keeper of its gates. And as
that is so, we cannot leave the town." "There is a side door of escape
at my sunny house," said Grania, "and we will go out by it." "It is a
thing I will never do," said Diarmuid, "to go out by any side door of
escape at all." "That may be so," said Grania, "but I heard it said that
every fighting man has leave to pass over the walls of any dun and of
any strong place at all by the shafts of his spears. And I will go out
through the door," she said, "and let you follow me like that."

With that she went out, and Diarmuid spoke to his people, and it is what
he said, "O Oisin, son of Finn, what must I do with these bonds that
are laid on me?" "You are not guilty if the bonds were laid on you,"
said Oisin; "and I tell you to follow Grania, and to keep yourself well
out of the hands of Finn." "Osgar, son of Oisin," he said then, "what
must I do with these bonds that are put on me?" "I tell you to follow
Grania," said Osgar, "for it is a pitiful man that would break his
bonds." "What advice do you give me, Caoilte?" said Diarmuid. "It is
what I say," said Caoilte, "that I myself have a fitting wife; and that
it would be better to me than all the riches of the world Grania to have
given me that love." "What advice do you give me, Diorraing?" "I tell
you to follow Grania," said Diorraing, "although you will get your death
by it, and that is bad to me." "Is that the advice you all give me?"
said Diarmuid. "It is," said Oisin, and all the rest with him. With that
Diarmuid stood up and stretched out his hand for his weapons, and he
said farewell to Oisin and the others, and every tear he shed was of the
size of a mountain berry. He went out then to the wall of the dun, and
he put the shafts of his two spears under him, and he rose with a light
leap and he came down on the grassy earth outside, and Grania met him
there. Then Diarmuid said: "It is a bad journey you are come on, Grania.
For it would be better for you to have Finn, son of Cumhal, as a lover
than myself, for I do not know any part or any western corner of Ireland
that will hide you. And if I do bring you with me," he said, "it is not
as a wife I will bring you, but I will keep my faith to Finn. And turn
back now to the town," he said, "and Finn will never get news of what
you are after doing." "It is certain I will not turn back," said Grania,
"and I will never part with you till death parts us." "If that is so,
let us go on, Grania," said Diarmuid.

They went on then, and they were not gone far out from the town when
Grania said: "I am getting tired, indeed." "It is a good time to be
tired," said Diarmuid, "and go now back again to your own house. For I
swear by the word of a true champion," he said, "I will never carry
yourself or any other woman to the end of life and time." "That is not
what you have to do," said Grania, "for my father's horses are in a
grass field by themselves, and chariots with them; and turn back now,
and bring two horses of them, and I will wait in this place till you
come to me again."

Diarmuid went back then for the horses, and we have no knowledge of
their journey till they reached to the ford on the Sionnan, that is
called now Ath-luain.

And Diarmuid said then to Grania: "It is easier to Finn to follow our
track, the horses being with us." "If that is so," said Grania: "leave
the horses here, and I will go on foot from this out."

Diarmuid went down to the river then, and he brought a horse with him
over the ford, and left the other horse the far side of the river. And
he himself and Grania went a good way with the stream westward, and they
went to land at the side of the province of Connacht. And wherever they
went, Diarmuid left unbroken bread after him, as a sign to Finn he had
kept his faith with him.

And from that they went on to Doire-da-Bhoth, the Wood of the Two Huts.
And Diarmuid cut down the wood round about them, and he made a fence
having seven doors of woven twigs, and he set out a bed of soft rushes
and of the tops of the birch-tree for Grania in the very middle of the


And as to Finn, son of Cumhal, I will tell out his story now.

All that were in Teamhair rose up early in the morning of the morrow,
and they found Diarmuid and Grania were wanting from them, and there
came a scorching jealousy and a weakness on Finn. He sent out his
trackers then on the plain, and bade them to follow Diarmuid and Grania.
And they followed the track as far as the ford on the Sionnan, and Finn
and the Fianna followed after them, but they were not able to carry the
track across the ford. And Finn gave them his word that unless they
would find the track again without delay, he would hang them on each
side of the ford.

Then the sons of Neamhuin went up against the stream, and they found a
horse on each side of it, and then they went on with the stream
westward, and they found the track going along the side of the Province
of Connacht, and Finn and the Fianna of Ireland followed it on. And Finn
said: "I know well where we will find Diarmuid and Grania now; it is in
Doire-da-Bhoth they are." Oisin and Osgar and Caoilte and Diorraing were
listening when Finn said those words. And Osgar spoke to the others, and
it is what he said: "There is danger they might be there, and it would
be right for us to give them some warning; and look now, Osgar, where is
Bran the hound, for Finn himself is no dearer to him than Diarmuid, and
bid him go now with a warning to him."

So Osgar told Bran, and Bran understood him well, and she went to the
rear of the whole troop the way Finn would not see her, and she followed
on the track of Diarmuid and Grania till she came to Doire-da-Bhoth, and
she put her head into Diarmuid's bosom, and he in his sleep.

Diarmuid started up out of his sleep then, and he awoke Grania, and said
to her: "Here is Bran, Finn's hound, and she is come with a warning to
tell us Finn himself is coming." "Let us take that warning, then," said
Grania, "and make your escape." "I will not take it," said Diarmuid,
"for if I cannot escape Finn, I would as soon he took me now as at any
other time." When Grania heard that, great fear came on her.

Bran went away from them then, and when Oisin saw her coming back, he
said: "I am in dread Bran found no chance to get to Diarmuid, and we
should send him some other warning. And look where is Fearghoin," he
said, "Caoilte's serving-man." Now it was the way with Fearghoin, every
shout he would give would be heard in the three nearest hundreds to him.
So they made him give out three shouts the way Diarmuid would hear him.
And Diarmuid heard him, and he said to Grania: "I hear Caoilte's
serving-man, and it is with Caoilte he is, and it is along with Finn
Caoilte is, and those shouts were sent as a warning to me." "Take that
warning," said Grania. "I will not take it," said Diarmuid, "for Finn
and the Fianna will come up with us before we leave the wood." And fear
and great dread came on Grania when she heard him say that.

As for Finn, he did not leave off following the track till he came to
Doire-da-Bhoth, and he sent the sons of Neamhuin to search through the
wood, and they saw Diarmuid, and the woman along with him. They came
back then where Finn was, and he asked them were Diarmuid and Grania in
the wood? "Diarmuid is in it," they said, "and there is some woman with
him, but we knew Diarmuid, and we do not know Grania." "May no good come
to the friends of Diarmuid for his sake," said Finn, "and he will not
quit that wood till he has given me satisfaction for everything he has
done to me."

"It is jealousy has put you astray, Finn," said Oisin; "you to think
Diarmuid would stop here on the plain of Maen Mhagh, and no close place
in it but Doire-da-Bhoth, and you following after him." "Saying that
will do you no good," said Finn, "for I knew well when I heard the three
shouts Caoilte's serving-man gave out, it was you sent them to Diarmuid
as a warning. And another thing," he said, "it was you sent my own
hound Bran to him. But none of those things you have done will serve
you, for he will not leave Doire-da-Bhoth till he gives me satisfaction
for everything he has done to me, and every disgrace he has put on me."
"It is great foolishness for you, Finn," said Osgar then, "to be
thinking Diarmuid would stop in the middle of this plain and you waiting
here to strike the head off him." "Who but himself cut the wood this
way," said Finn, "and made this close sheltered place with seven woven
narrow doors to it. And O Diarmuid," he said out then, "which of us is
the truth with, myself or Oisin?" "You never failed from your good
judgment, Finn," said Diarmuid, "and indeed I myself and Grania are
here." Then Finn called to his men to go around Diarmuid and Grania, and
to take them.

Now it was shown at this time to Angus Og, at Brugh na Boinne, the great
danger Diarmuid was in, that was his pupil at one time, and his dear
foster-son. He set out then with the clear cold wind, and did not stop
in any place till he came to Doire-da-Bhoth. And he went unknown to Finn
or the Fianna into the place where Diarmuid and Grania were, and he
spoke kind words to Diarmuid, and he said: "What is the thing you have
done, grandson of Duibhne?" "It is," said Diarmuid, "the daughter of the
King of Ireland that has made her escape with me from her father and
from Finn, and it is not by my will she came." "Let each of you come
under a border of my cloak, so," said Angus, "and I will bring you out
of the place where you are without knowledge of Finn or his people."
"Bring Grania with you," said Diarmuid, "but I will never go with you;
but if I am alive I will follow you before long. And if I do not," he
said, "give Grania to her father, and he will do well or ill to her."

With that Angus put Grania under the border of his cloak, and brought
her out unknown to Finn or the Fianna, and there is no news told of them
till they came to Ros-da-Shoileach, the Headland of the Two Sallows.

And as to Diarmuid, after Angus and Grania going from him, he stood up
as straight as a pillar and put on his armour and his arms, and after
that he went to a door of the seven doors he had made, and he asked who
was at it. "There is no enemy to you here," they said, "for there are
here Oisin and Osgar and the best men of the sons of Baiscne along with
us. And come out to us now, and no one will have the daring to do any
harm or hurt on you." "I will not go out to you," said Diarmuid, "till I
see at what door Finn himself is." He went then to another door of the
seven and asked who was at it. "Caoilte, son of Ronan, and the rest of
the sons of Ronan along with him; and come out to us now, and we will
give ourselves for your sake." "I will not go out to you," said
Diarmuid, "for I will not put you under Finn's anger for any well-doing
to myself." He went on to another door then and asked who was at it.
"There is Conan, son of Morna, and the rest of the sons of Morna along
with him; and it is enemies to Finn we are, and you are a great deal
more to us than he is, and you may come out and no one will dare lay a
hand on you." "I will not indeed," said Diarmuid, "for Finn would be
better pleased to see the death of every one of you than to let me
escape." He went then to another door and asked who was at it. "A friend
and a comrade of your own, Fionn, son of Cuadan, head of the Fianna of
Munster, and his men along with him; and we are of the one country and
the one soil, and we will give our bodies and our lives for your sake."
"I will not go out to you," said Diarmuid, "for I would not like Finn to
have a grudge against you for any good you did to me." He went then to
another door and asked who was at it. "It is Fionn, son of Glor, head
of the Fianna of Ulster, and his men along him; and come out now to us
and there is no one will dare hurt or harm you." "I will not go out to
you," said Diarmuid, "for you are a friend to me, and your father along
with you, and I would not like the unfriendliness of Finn to be put on
you for my sake." He went then to another door, and he asked who was at
it. "There is no friend of yours here," they said, "for there is here
Aodh Beag the Little from Eamhuin, and Aodh Fada the Long from Eamhuin,
and Caol Crodha the Fierce, and Goineach the Wounder, and Gothan the
White-fingered, and Aoife his daughter, and Cuadan the Tracker from
Eamhuin; and we are unfriendly people to you, and if you come out to us
we will not spare you at all, but will make an end of you." "It is a bad
troop is in it," said Diarmuid; "you of the lies and of the tracking and
of the one shoe, and it is not fear of your hands is upon me, but
because I am your enemy I will not go out."

He went then to the last of the seven doors and asked who was at it. "No
friend of yours," they said, "but it is Finn, son of Cumhal, and four
hundred paid fighting men along with him; and if you will come out to us
we will make opened marrow of you." "I give you my word, Finn," said
Diarmuid, "that the door you are at yourself is the first door I will
pass out of."

When Finn heard that, he warned his battalions on pain of lasting death
not to let Diarmuid past them unknown. But when Diarmuid heard what he
said, he rose on the staves of his spears and he went with a very high,
light leap on far beyond Finn and his people, without their knowledge.
He looked back at them then, and called out that he had gone past them,
and he put his shield on his back and went straight on towards the west,
and it was not long before he was out of sight of Finn and the Fianna.
Then when he did not see any one coming after him, he turned back to
where he saw Angus and Grania going out of the wood, and he followed on
their track till he came to Ros-da-Shoileach.

He found Angus and Grania there in a sheltered, well-lighted cabin, and
a great blazing fire kindled in it, and the half of a wild boar on
spits. Diarmuid greeted them, and the life of Grania all to went out of
her with joy before him.

Diarmuid told them his news from beginning to end, and they ate their
share that night, and they went to sleep till the coming of the day and
of the full light on the morrow. And Angus rose up early, and he said to
Diarmuid: "I am going from you now, grandson of Duibhne; and I leave
this advice with you," he said, "not to go into a tree with one trunk,
and you flying before Finn, and not to be going into a cave of the earth
that has but one door, and not to be going to an island of the sea that
has but one harbour. And in whatever place you cook your share of food,"
he said, "do not eat it there; and in whatever place you eat it, do not
lie down there; and in whatever place you lie down, do not rise up there
on the morrow." He said farewell to them after that, and went his way.


Then Diarmuid and Grania went along the right bank of the Sionnan
westward till they came to Garbh-abha-na-Fiann, the rough river of the
Fianna. And Diarmuid killed a salmon on the brink of the river, and put
it to the fire on a spit. Then he himself and Grania went across the
stream to eat it, as Angus bade them; and then they went westward to

They rose up early on the morrow, and they travelled straight westward
till they came to the marsh of Finnliath.

And on the marsh they met with a young man, having a good shape and
appearance, but without fitting dress or arms. Diarmuid greeted the
young man, and asked news of him. "A fighting lad I am, looking for a
master," he said, "and Muadhan is my name." "What would you do for me,
young man?" said Diarmuid. "I would be a servant to you in the day, and
watch for you in the night," he said. "I tell you to keep that young
man," said Grania, "for you cannot be always without people."

Then they made an agreement with him, and bound one another, and they
went on together westward till they reached the Carrthach river. And
then Muadhan bade Diarmuid and Grania to go up on his back till he would
carry them over the stream.

"That would be a big load for you," said Grania. But he put them upon
his back and carried them over. Then they went on till they came to the
Beith, and Muadhan brought them over on his back the same way. And they
went into a cave at the side of Currach Cinn Adhmuid, the Woody Headland
of the Bog, over Tonn Toime, and Muadhan made ready beds of soft rushes
and tops of the birch for them in the far end of the cave. And he went
himself into the scrub that was near, and took a straight long rod of a
quicken-tree, and he put a hair and a hook on the rod, and a holly berry
on the hook, and he went up the stream, and he took a salmon with the
first cast. Then he put on a second berry and killed another fish, and
he put on a third berry and killed the third fish. Then he put the hook
and the hair under his belt, and struck the rod into the earth, and he
brought the three salmon where Diarmuid and Grania were, and put them on
spits. When they were done, Muadhan said: "I give the dividing of the
fish to you, Diarmuid." "I would sooner you to divide it than myself,"
said Diarmuid. "I will give the dividing of the fish to you, so,
Grania," said he. "I am better satisfied you to divide it," said Grania.
"If it was you that divided the fish, Diarmuid," said Muadhan, "you
would have given the best share to Grania; and if it was Grania divided
it, she would have given you the best share; and as it is myself is
dividing it, let you have the biggest fish, Diarmuid, and let Grania
have the second biggest, and I myself will have the one is smallest."

They spent the night there, and Diarmuid and Grania slept in the far
part of the cave, and Muadhan kept watch for them until the rising of
the day and the full light of the morrow.

Diarmuid rose up early, and he bade Grania keep watch for Muadhan, and
that he himself would go and take a walk around the country. He went out
then, and he went up on a hill that was near, and he was looking about
him, east and west, north and south. He was not long there till he saw a
great fleet of ships coming from the west, straight to the bottom of the
hill where he was. And when they were come to land, nine times nine of
the chief men of the ships came on shore, and Diarmuid went down and
greeted them, and asked news of them, and to what country they belonged.

"Three kings we are of the Green Champions of Muir-na-locht," said they;
"and Finn, son of Cumhal, sent looking for us by cause of a thief of the
woods, and an enemy of his own that has gone hiding from him; and it is
to hinder him we are come. And we are twenty hundred good fighting men,
and every one of us is a match for a hundred, and besides that," he
said, "we have three deadly hounds with us; fire will not burn them, and
water will not drown them, and arms will not redden on them, and we will
lay them on his track, and it will be short till we get news of him.
And tell us who you are yourself?" they said, "and have you any word of
the grandson of Duibhne?" "I saw him yesterday," said Diarmuid; "and I
myself," he said, "am but a fighting man, walking the world by the
strength of my hand and by the hardness of my sword. And by my word," he
said, "you will know Diarmuid's hand when you will meet it." "Well, we
found no one up to this," said they. "What are your own names?" said
Diarmuid. "Dubh-chosach, the Black-footed, Fionn-chosach, the
Fair-footed, and Treun-chosach, the Strong-footed," they said.

"Is there wine in your ships?" said Diarmuid. "There is," said they. "If
you have a mind to bring out a tun of wine," said Diarmuid, "I will do a
trick for you." They sent men to get the tun, and when it came Diarmuid
took it between his two hands and drank a drink out of it, and the
others drank what was left of it. Diarmuid took up the tun after that,
and brought it to the top of the hill, and he went up himself on the
tun, and let it go down the steep of the hill till it was at the bottom.
And then he brought the tun up the hill again, and he himself on it
coming and going, and he did that trick three times before the
strangers. But they said he was a man had never seen a good trick when
he called that a trick; and with that a man of them went up on the tun,
but Diarmuid gave a stroke of his foot at it and the young man fell from
it before it began to move, and it rolled over him and crushed him, that
he died. And another man went on it, and another after him again, till
fifty of them were killed trying to do Diarmuid's trick, and as many of
them as were not killed went back to their ships that night.

Diarmuid went back then to where he left Grania; and Muadhan put the
hair and the hook on the rod till he killed three salmon; and they ate
their meal that night, and he kept watch for them the same way he did

Diarmuid went out early the next day again to the hill, and it was not
long till he saw the three strangers coming towards him, and he asked
them would they like to see any more tricks. They said they would sooner
get news of the grandson of Duibhne. "I saw a man that saw him
yesterday," said Diarmuid. And with that he put off his arms and his
clothes, all but the shirt that was next his skin, and he struck the
Crann Buidhe, the spear of Manannan, into the earth with the point
upwards. And then he rose with a leap and lit on the point of the spear
as light as a bird, and came down off it again without a wound on him.
Then a young man of the Green Champions said: "It is a man has never
seen feats that would call that a feat"; and he put off his clothing and
made a leap, and if he did he came down heavily on the point of the
spear, and it went through his heart, and he fell to the ground. The
next day Diarmuid came again, and he brought two forked poles out of the
wood and put them standing upright on the hill, and he put the sword of
Angus Og, the Mor-alltach, the Big-fierce one, between the two forks on
its edge. Then he raised himself lightly over it, and walked on the
sword three times from the hilt to the point, and he came down and asked
was there a man of them could do that feat.

"That is a foolish question," said a man of them then, "for there was
never any feat done in Ireland but a man of our own would do it." And
with that he rose up to walk on the sword; but it is what happened, he
came down heavily on it the way he was cut in two halves.

The rest of the champions bade him take away his sword then, before any
more of their people would fall by it; and they asked him had he any
word of the grandson of Duibhne. "I saw a man that saw him to-day," said
Diarmuid, "and I will go ask news of him to-night."

He went back then to where Grania was, and Muadhan killed three salmon
for their supper, and kept a watch for them through the night. And
Diarmuid rose up at the early break of day, and he put his battle
clothes on him, that no weapon could go through, and he took the sword
of Angus, that left no leavings after it, at his left side, and his two
thick-handled spears, the Gae Buidhe and the Gae Dearg, the Yellow and
the Red, that gave wounds there was no healing for. And then he wakened
Grania, and he bade her to keep watch for Muadhan, and he himself would
go out and take a look around.

When Grania saw him looking so brave, and dressed in his clothes of
anger and of battle, great fear took hold of her, and she asked what was
he going to do. "It is for fear of meeting my enemies I am like this,"
said he. That quieted Grania, and then Diarmuid went out to meet the
Green Champions.

They came to land then, and they asked had he news of the grandson of
Duibhne. "I saw him not long ago," said Diarmuid. "If that is so, let us
know where is he," said they, "till we bring his head to Finn, son of
Cumhal." "I would be keeping bad watch for him if I did that," said
Diarmuid, "for his life and his body are under the protection of my
valour, and by reason of that I will do no treachery on him." "Is that
true?" said they. "It is true indeed," said Diarmuid. "Let you yourself
quit this place, so," they said, "or we will bring your head to Finn
since you are an enemy to him." "It is in bonds I would be," said
Diarmuid, "the time I would leave my head with you." And with that he
drew his sword the Mor-alltach out of its sheath, and he made a fierce
blow at the head nearest him that put it in two halves. Then he made an
attack on the whole host of the Green Champions, and began to destroy
them, cutting through the beautiful shining armour of the men of
Muir-na-locht till there was hardly a man but got shortening of life and
the sorrow of death, or that could go back to give news of the fight,
but only the three kings and a few of their people that made their
escape back to their ships. Diarmuid turned back then without wound or
hurt on him, and he went to where Crania and Muadhan were. They bade him
welcome, and Grania asked him did he hear any news of Finn and the
Fianna of Ireland, and he said he did not, and they ate their food and
spent the night there.

He rose up again with the early light of the morrow and went back to the
hill, and when he got there he struck a great blow on his shield that
set the strand shaking with the sound. And Dubh-chosach heard it, and he
said he himself would go fight with Diarmuid, and he went on shore there
and then.

And he and Diarmuid threw the arms out of their hands and rushed on one
another like wrestlers, straining their arms and their sinews, knotting
their hands on one another's backs, fighting like bulls in madness, or
like two daring hawks on the edge of a cliff. But at the last Diarmuid
raised up Dubh-chosach on his shoulder and threw his body to the ground,
and bound him fast and firm on the spot. And Fionn-chosach and
Treun-chosach came one after the other to fight with him then, and he
put the same binding on them; and he said he would strike the heads off
them, only he thought it a worse punishment to leave them in those
bonds. "For there is no one can free you," he said. And he left them
there, worn out and sorrowful.

The next morning after that, Diarmuid told Grania the whole story of the
strangers from beginning to end, and of all he had done to them, and how
on the fifth day he had put their kings in bonds. "And they have three
fierce hounds in a chain ready to hunt me," he said. "Did you take the
heads off those three kings?" said Grania, "I did not," said Diarmuid,
"for there is no man of the heroes of Ireland can loosen those bonds but
four only, Oisin, son of Finn, and Osgar, son of Oisin, and Lugaidh's
Son of the Strong Hand, and Conan, son of Morna; and I know well," he
said, "none of those four will do it. But all the same, it is short till
Finn will get news of them, and it is best for us to be going from this
cave, or Finn and the three hounds might come on us."

After that they left the cave, and they went on till they came to the
bog of Finnliath. Grania began to fall behind them, and Muadhan put her
on his back and carried her till they came to the great Slieve Luachra.
Then Diarmuid sat down on the brink of the stream that was flowing
through the heart of the mountain, and Grania was washing her hands, and
she asked his knife from him to cut her nails with.

As to the strangers, as many of them as were alive yet, they came to the
hill where their three leaders were bound, and they thought to loose
them; but it is the way those bonds were, all they did by meddling with
them was to draw them tighter.

And they were not long there till they saw a woman coming towards them
with the quickness of a swallow or a weasel or a blast of wind over bare
mountain-tops. And she asked them who was it had done that great
slaughter on them. "Who are you that is asking that?" said they. "I am
the Woman of the Black Mountain, the woman-messenger of Finn, son of
Cumhal," she said; "and it is looking for you Finn sent me." "Indeed we
do not know who it was did this slaughter," they said, "but we will tell
you his appearance. A young man he was, having dark curling hair and
ruddy cheeks. And it is worse again to us," they said, "our three
leaders to be bound this way, and we not able to loose them." "What way
did that young man go from you?" said the woman. "It was late last
night he left us," they said, "and we do not know where is he gone." "I
give you my word," she said, "it was Diarmuid himself that was in it;
and take your hounds now and lay them on his track, and I will send Finn
and the Fianna of Ireland to you."

They left a woman-Druid then attending on the three champions that were
bound, and they brought their three hounds out of the ship and laid them
on Diarmuid's track, and followed them till they came to the opening of
the cave, and they went into the far part of it and found the beds where
Diarmuid and Crania had slept. Then they went on westward till they came
to the Carrthach river, and to the bog of Finnliath, and so on to the
great Slieve Luachra.

But Diarmuid did not know they were after him till he got sight of them
with their banners of soft silk and their three wicked hounds in the
front of the troop and three strong champions holding them in chains.
And when he saw them coming like that he was filled with great hatred of

There was one of them had a well-coloured green cloak on him, and he
came out far beyond the others, and Grania gave the knife back to
Diarmuid. "I think you have not much love for that young man of the
green cloak, Grania," said Diarmuid. "I have not indeed," said Grania;
"and it would be better if I had never given love to any man at all to
this day." Diarmuid put the knife in the sheath then, and went on; and
Muadhan put Grania on his back and carried her on into the mountain.

It was not long till a hound of the three hounds was loosed after
Diarmuid, and Muadhan said to him to follow Grania, and he himself would
check the hound. Then Muadhan turned back, and he took a whelp out of
his belt, and put it on the flat of his hand. And when the whelp saw the
hound rushing towards him, and its jaws open, he rose up and made a leap
from Muadhan's hand into the throat of the hound, and came out of its
side, bringing the heart with it, and he leaped back again to Muadhan's
hand, and left the hound dead after him.

Muadhan went on then after Diarmuid and Grania, and he took up Grania
again and carried her a bit of the way into the mountain. Then another
hound was loosened after them, and Diarmuid said to Muadhan: "I often
heard there is nothing can stand against weapons of Druid wounding, and
the throat of no beast can be made safe from them. And will you stand
now," he said, "till I put the Gae Dearg, the Red Spear, through that

Then Muadhan and Grania stopped to see the cast. And Diarmuid made a
cast at the hound, and the spear went through its body and brought out
its bowels; and he took up the spear again, and they went forward.

It was not long after that the third hound was loosed. And Grania said
then: "This is the one is fiercest of them, and there is great fear on
me, and mind yourself now, Diarmuid."

It was not long till the hound overtook them, and the place he overtook
them was Lic Dhubhain, the flag-stone of Dubhan, on Slieve Luachra. He
rose with a light leap over Diarmuid, as if he had a mind to seize on
Grania, but Diarmuid took him by the two hind legs, and struck a blow of
his carcase against the side of the rock was nearest, till he had let
out his brains through the openings of his head and of his ears. And
then Diarmuid took up his arms and his battle clothes, and put his
narrow-topped finger into the silken string of the Gae Dearg, and he
made a good cast at the young man of the green cloak that was at the
head of the troop that killed him. Then he made another cast at the
second man and killed him, and the third man in the same way. And as it
is not the custom to stand after leaders are fallen, the strangers when
they saw what had happened took to flight.

And Diarmuid followed after them, killing and scattering, so that unless
any man of them got away over the forests, or into the green earth, or
under the waters, there was not a man or messenger of them left to tell
the news, but only the Woman-messenger of the Black Mountain, that kept
moving around about when Diarmuid was putting down the strangers.

And it was not long till Finn saw her coming towards him where he was,
her legs failing, and her tongue muttering, and her eyes drooping, and
he asked news of her. "It is very bad news I have to tell you," she
said; "and it is what I think, that it is a person without a lord I am."
Then she told Finn the whole story from beginning to end, of the
destruction Diarmuid had done, and how the three deadly hounds had
fallen by him. "And it is hardly I myself got away," she said. "What
place did the grandson of Duibhne go to?" said Finn. "I do not know
that," she said.

And when Finn heard of the Kings of the Green Champions that were bound
by Diarmuid, he called his men to him, and they went by every short way
and every straight path till they reached the hill, and it was torment
to the heart of Finn to see the way they were. Then he said: "Oisin," he
said, "loosen those three kings for me." "I will not loosen them," said
Oisin, "for Diarmuid put bonds on me not to loosen any man he would
bind." "Loosen them, Osgar," said Finn then. "I give my word," said
Osgar, "it is more bonds I would wish to put on them sooner than to
loosen them." Neither would Conan help them, or Lugaidh's Son. And any
way, they were not long talking about it till the three kings died under
the hardness of the bonds that were on them.

Then Finn made three wide-sodded graves for them, and a flag-stone was
put over them, and another stone raised over that again, and their names
were written in branching Ogham, and it is tired and heavy-hearted Finn
was after that; and he and his people went back to Almhuin of Leinster.


And as to Diarmuid and Grania and Muadhan, they went on through Ui
Chonaill Gabhra, and left-hand ways to Ros-da-Shoileach, and Diarmuid
killed a wild deer that night, and they had their fill of meat and of
pure water, and they slept till the morning of the morrow. And Muadhan
rose up early, and spoke to Diarmuid, and it is what he said, that he
himself was going away. "It is not right for you to do that," said
Diarmuid, "for everything I promised you I fulfilled it, without any

But he could not hinder him, and Muadhan said farewell to them and left
them there and then, and it is sorrowful and downhearted Diarmuid and
Grania were after him.

After that they travelled on straight to the north, to Slieve Echtge,
and from that to the hundred of Ui Fiachrach; and when they got there
Grania was tired out, but she took courage and went on walking beside
Diarmuid till they came to the wood of Dubhros.

Now, there was a wonderful quicken-tree in that wood, and the way it
came to be there is this:

There rose a dispute one time between two women of the Tuatha de Danaan,
Aine and Aoife, daughters of Manannan, son of Lir, for Aoife had given
her love to Lugaidh's Son, and Aine had given her love to a man of her
own race, and each of them said her own man was a better hurler than the
other. And it came from that dispute that there was a great hurling
match settled between the Men of Dea and the Fianna of Ireland, and the
place it was to be played was on a beautiful plain near Loch Lein.

They all came together there, and the highest men and the most daring of
the Tuatha de Danaan were there, the three Garbhs of Slieve Mis, and the
three Mases of Slieve Luachra, and the three yellow-haired Murchadhs,
and the three Eochaidhs of Aine, and the three Fionns of the White
House, and the three Sgals of Brugh na Boinne, and the three Ronans of
Ath na Riogh, and the Suirgheach Suairc, the Pleasant Wooer from Lionan,
and the Man of Sweet Speech from the Boinn, and Ilbrec, the
Many-Coloured, son of Manannan, and Neamhanach, son of Angus Og, and
Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda, and Manannan, son of Lir.

They themselves and the Fianna were playing the match through the length
of three days and three nights, from Leamhain to the valley of the
Fleisg, that is called the Crooked Valley of the Fianna, and neither of
them winning a goal. And when the Tuatha de Danaan that were watching
the game on each side of Leamhain saw it was so hard for their hurlers
to win a goal against the Fianna, they thought it as well to go away
again without playing out the game.

Now the provision the Men of Dea had brought with them from the Land of
Promise was crimson nuts, and apples, and sweet-smelling rowan berries.
And as they were passing through the district of Ui Fiachrach by the
Muaidh, a berry of the rowan berries fell from them, and a tree grew up
from it. And there was virtue in its berries, and no sickness or disease
would ever come on any person that would eat them, and those that would
eat them would feel the liveliness of wine and the satisfaction of mead
in them, and any old person of a hundred years that would eat them would
go back to be young again, and any young girl that would eat them would
grow to be a flower of beauty.

And it happened one time after the tree was grown, there were messengers
of the Tuatha de Danaan going through the wood of Dubhros. And they
heard a great noise of birds and of bees, and they went where the noise
was, and they saw the beautiful Druid tree. They went back then and told
what they had seen, and all the chief men of the Tuatha de Danaan when
they heard it knew the tree must have grown from a berry of the Land of
the Ever-Living Living Ones. And they enquired among all their people,
till they knew it was a young man of them, that was a musician, had
dropped the berry.

And it is what they agreed, to send him in search of a man of Lochlann
that would guard the tree by day and sleep in it by night. And the women
of the Sidhe were very downhearted to see him going from them, for there
was no harper could play half so sweetly on his harp as he could play on
an ivy leaf.

He went on then till he came to Lochlann, and he sat down on a bank and
sleep came on him. And he slept till the rising of the sun on the
morrow; and when he awoke he saw a very big man coming towards him, that
asked him who was he. "I am a messenger from the Men of Dea," he said;
"and I am come looking for some very strong man that would be willing to
guard a Druid tree that is in the wood of Dubhros. And here are some of
the berries he will be eating from morning to night," he said.

And when the big man had tasted the berries, he said: "I will go and
guard all the trees of the wood to get those berries."

And his name was the Searbhan Lochlannach, the Surly One of Lochlann.
Very black and ugly he was, having crooked teeth, and one eye only in
the middle of his forehead. And he had a thick collar of iron around his
body, and it was in the prophecy that he would never die till there
would be three strokes of the iron club he had, struck upon himself. And
he slept in the tree by night and stopped near it in the daytime, and he
made a wilderness of the whole district about him, and none of the
Fianna dared go hunt there because of the dread of him that was on them.

But when Diarmuid came to the wood of Dubhros, he went into it to where
the Surly One was, and he made bonds of agreement with him, and got
leave from him to go hunting in the wood, so long as he would not touch
the berries of the tree. And he made a cabin then for himself and for
Grania in the wood.

As for Finn and his people, they were not long at Almhuin till they saw
fifty armed men coming towards them, and two that were taller and
handsomer than the rest in the front of them. Finn asked did any of his
people know them. "We do not know them," they said, "but maybe you
yourself know them, Finn." "I do not," he said; "but it seems to be they
are enemies to myself." The troop of armed men came up to them then and
they greeted him, and Finn asked news of them, and from what country
they came. "I am Aonghus, son of Art Og of the children of Morna," one
of them said, "and this is Aodh, son of Andela; and we are enemies of
your own, and our fathers were at the killing of your father, and they
themselves died for that deed. And it is to ask peace we are come now to
you," they said. "Where were you the time my father was killed?" "In our
mothers' wombs," said they; "and our mothers were two women of the
Tuatha de Danaan, and it is time for us now to get our father's place
among the Fianna." "I will give you that," said Finn, "but I must put a
fine on you first in satisfaction for my father's death." "We have
neither gold or silver or goods or cattle to give you, Finn," said they.
"Do not put a fine on them, Finn," said Oisin, "beyond the death of
their fathers for your father." "It is what I think," said Finn, "if any
one killed myself, Oisin, it would be easy to pay the fine you would
ask. And there will no one come among the Fianna," he said, "without
giving what I ask in satisfaction for my father's death." "What is it
you are asking of us?" said Aonghus, son of Art Og. "I am asking but the
head of a champion, or the full of a fist of the berries of the
quicken-tree at Dubhros." "I will give you a good advice, children of
Morna," said Oisin, "to go back to the place you were reared, and not to
ask peace of Finn through the length of your lives. For it is not an
easy thing Finn is asking of you; and do you know whose head he is
asking you to bring him?" "We do not," said they. "The head of Diarmuid,
grandson of Duibhne, is the head he is asking of you. And if you were
twenty hundred men in their full strength, Diarmuid would not let you
take that head." "And what are the berries Finn is asking of us?" they
said then. "There is nothing is harder for you to get than those
berries," said Oisin.

He told them then the whole story of the tree, and of the Searbhan, the
Surly One of Lochlann, that was put to mind it by the Tuatha de Danaan.
But Aodh, son of Andela, spoke then, and it is what he said, that he
would sooner get his death looking for those berries than to go home
again to his mother's country. And he said to Oisin to care his people
till he would come back again, and if anything should happen himself and
his brother in their journey, to send them back again to the Land of
Promise. And the two said farewell then to Oisin and to the chief men of
the Fianna, and they went forward till they reached Dubhros. And they
went along the wood till they found a track, and they followed it to
the door of the hunting-cabin where Diarmuid and Grania were.

Diarmuid heard them coming, and he put his hand on his weapons and asked
who was at the door. "We are of the children of Morna," they said,
"Aodh, son of Andela, and Aonghus, son of Art Og." "What brings you to
this wood?" said Diarmuid. "Finn, son of Cumhal, that put us looking for
your head, if you are Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne," said they. "I am
indeed," said Diarmuid. "If that is so," they said, "Finn will take
nothing from us but your head, or a fistful of the berries of the
quicken-tree of Dubhros as satisfaction for the death of his father."
"It is not easy for you to get either of those things," said Diarmuid,
"and it is a pity for any one to be under the power of that man. And
besides that," he said, "I know it was he himself made an end of your
fathers, and that was enough satisfaction for him to get; and if you do
bring him what he asks, it is likely he will not make peace with you in
the end." "Is it not enough for you," said Aodh, "to have brought his
wife away from Finn without speaking ill of him?" "It is not for the
sake of speaking ill of him I said that," said Diarmuid, "but to save
yourselves from the danger he has sent you into."

"What are those berries Finn is asking?" said Grania, "that they cannot
be got for him?"

Diarmuid told her then the whole story of the berry the Tuatha de Danaan
had lost, and of the tree that had sprung up from it, and of the man of
Lochlann that was keeping the tree. "And at the time Finn sent me hiding
here and became my enemy," he said, "I got leave from the Surly One to
hunt, but he bade me never to meddle with the berries. And now, sons of
Morna," he said, "there is your choice, to fight with me for my head, or
to go asking the berries of the Surly One." "I swear by the blood of my
people," said each of them, "I will fight with yourself first."

With that the two young men made ready for the fight. And it is what
they chose, to fight with the strength of their hands alone. And
Diarmuid put them down and bound the two of them there and then. "That
is a good fight you made," said Grania. "But, by my word," she said,
"although the children of Morna do not go looking for those berries, I
will not lie in a bed for ever till I get a share of them; and I will
not live if I do not get them," she said. "Do not make me break my peace
with the Surly One," said Diarmuid, "for he will not let me take them."
"Loose these tyings from us," said the two young men, "and we will go
with you, and we will give ourselves for your sake." "You must not come
with me," said Diarmuid; "for if you got the full of your eyes of that
terrible one, you would be more likely to die than to live." "Well, do
us this kindness," they said then; "loosen these bonds on us, and give
us time to go by ourselves and see the fight before you strike off our
heads." So Diarmuid did that for them.

Then Diarmuid went to the Surly One, and he chanced to be asleep before
him, and he gave him a stroke of his foot the way he lifted his head and
looked up at him, and he said: "Have you a mind to break our peace,
Grandson of Duibhne?" "That is not what I want," said Diarmuid; "but it
is Grania, daughter of the High King," he said, "has a desire to taste
those berries, and it is to ask a handful of them I am come." "I give my
word," said he, "if she is to die for it, she will never taste a berry
of those berries." "I would not do treachery on you," said Diarmuid;
"and so I tell you, willing or unwilling, I will take those berries from

When the Surly One heard that, he rose up on his feet and lifted his
club and struck three great blows on Diarmuid, that gave him some
little hurt in spite of his shield. But when Diarmuid saw him not
minding himself, he threw down his weapons, and made a great leap and
took hold of the club with his two hands. And when he had a hold of the
club he struck three great blows on him that put his brains out through
his head. And the two young men of the sons of Morna were looking at the
whole fight; and when they saw the Surly One was killed they came out.
And Diarmuid sat down, for he was spent with the dint of the fight, and
he bid the young men to bury the body under the thickets of the wood,
the way Grania would not see it. "And after that," he said, "let you go
back to her and bring her here." So they dragged away the body and
buried it, and they went then for Grania and brought her to Diarmuid.

"There are the berries you were asking, Grania," he said, "and you may
take what you like of them now." "I give my word," said Grania, "I will
not taste a berry of those berries but the one your own hand will pluck,
Diarmuid." Diarmuid rose up then and plucked the berries for Grania, and
for the children of Morna, and they ate their fill of them. And he said
then to the young men: "Take all you can of these berries, and bring
them with you to Finn, and tell him it was yourselves made an end of the
Surly One of Lochlann." "We give you our word," said they, "we begrudge
giving any of them to Finn."

But Diarmuid plucked a load of the berries for them, and they gave him
great thanks for all he had done; and they went back to where Finn was
with the Fianna. And Diarmuid and Grania went up into the top of the
tree where the bed of the Surly One was. And the berries below were but
bitter berries beside the ones above in the tree. And when the two young
men came to Finn, he asked news of them. "We have killed the Surly One
of Lochlann," they said; "and we have brought you berries from the
quicken-tree of Dubhros, in satisfaction for your father, that we may
get peace from you." They gave the berries then into Finn's hand, and he
knew them, and he said to the young men: "I give you my word," he said,
"it was Diarmuid himself plucked those berries, for I know the smell of
his hand on them; and I know well it was he killed the Surly One, and I
will go now and see is he himself alive at the quicken-tree."

After that he called for the seven battalions of the Fianna, and he set
out and went forward to Dubhros. And they followed the track of Diarmuid
to the foot of the quicken-tree, and they found the berries without
protection, so they ate their fill of them. And the great heat of the
day came on them, and Finn said they would stop where they were till the
heat would be past; "for I know well," he said, "Diarmuid is up in the
quicken-tree." "It is a great sign of jealousy in you, Finn," said
Oisin, "to think that Diarmuid would stop there up in the quicken-tree
and he knowing you are wanting to kill him."

Finn asked for a chess-board after that, and he said to Oisin: "I will
play a game with you now on this." They sat down then, Oisin and Osgar
and Lugaidh's Son and Diorraing on the one side of the board, and Finn
on the other side.

And they were playing that game with great skill and knowledge, and Finn
pressed Oisin so hard that he had no move to make but the one, and Finn
said: "There is one move would win the game for you, Oisin, and I defy
all that are with you to show you that move." Then Diarmuid said up in
the tree where he was, and no one heard him but Grania: "It is a pity
you be in straits, and without myself to show you that move." "It is
worse off you are yourself," said Grania, "to be in the bed of the
Surly One of Lochlann in the top of the quicken-tree, and the seven
battalions of the Fianna round about it to take your life."

But Diarmuid took a berry of the tree, and aimed at the one of the
chessmen that ought to be moved, and Oisin moved it and turned the game
against Finn by that move. It was not long before the game was going
against Oisin the second time, and when Diarmuid saw that he threw
another berry at the chessman it was right to move, and Oisin moved it
and turned the game against Finn in the same way. And the third time
Finn was getting the game from Oisin, and Diarmuid threw the third berry
on the man that would give the game to Oisin, and the Fianna gave a
great shout when the game was won. Finn spoke then, and it is what he
said: "It is no wonder you to win the game, Oisin, and you having the
help of Osgar, and the watchfulness of Diorraing, and the skill of
Lugaidh's Son, and the teaching of the grandson of Duibhne with you."
"That is a great sign of jealousy in you, Finn," said Osgar, "to think
Diarmuid would stop in this tree, and you so near him." "Which of us has
the truth, Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne," Finn said out then, "myself
or Osgar?" "You never lost your good judgment, Finn," said Diarmuid
then; "and I myself and Grania are here, in the bed of the Surly One of
Lochlann." Then Diarmuid rose up and gave three kisses to Grania in the
sight of Finn and the Fianna. And a scorching jealousy and a weakness
came on Finn when he saw that, and he said: "It was worse to me,
Diarmuid, the seven battalions of the Fianna to see what you did at
Teamhair, taking away Grania the night you were yourself my guard. But
for all that," he said, "you will give your head for the sake of those
three kisses."

With that Finn called to the four hundred paid fighting men that were
with him that they might make an end of Diarmuid; and he put their
hands into one another's hands around that quicken-tree, and bade them,
if they would not lose their lives, not to let Diarmuid pass out through
them. And he said that to whatever man would take Diarmuid, he would
give his arms and his armour, and a place among the Fianna of Ireland.

Then one of the Fianna, Garbh of Slieve Cua, said it was Diarmuid had
killed his own father, and he would avenge him now, and he went up the
quicken-tree to make an end of him.

Now, about that time it was made known to Angus Og, in Brugh na Boinne,
the danger Diarmuid was in, and he came to his help, unknown to the
Fianna. And when Garbh of Slieve Cua was coming up the tree, Diarmuid
gave him a kick of his foot, and he fell down among the hired men, and
they struck off his head, for Angus Og had put the appearance of
Diarmuid on him. But after he was killed, his own shape came on him
again, and the Fianna knew that it was Garbh was killed.

Then Garbh of Slieve Crot said it was Diarmuid had killed his father,
and he went up to avenge him, and the same thing happened. And in the
end all the nine Garbhs, of Slieve Guaire, and Slieve Muice, and Slieve
Mor, and Slieve Lugha, and Ath Fraoch, and Slieve Mis and Drom-mor, went
trying to take Diarmuid's life and lost their own lives, every one of
them having the shape and appearance of Diarmuid when he died. And Finn
was very sorry and discouraged when he saw that these nine men had come
to their death.

Then Angus said he would bring away Grania with him. "Do so," said
Diarmuid; "and if I am living at evening I will follow you." Then Angus
said farewell to Diarmuid, and he put his Druid cloak about Grania and
about himself, and they went away in the safety of the cloak, unknown to
Finn and the Fianna, till they came to Brugh na Boinne.

Then Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, spoke, and it is what he said: "I
will come down to you, Finn, and to the Fianna. And I will do death and
destruction on you and on your people, for I am certain your mind is
made up to give me no rest, but to bring me to my death in some place.
And I have nowhere to go from this danger," he said, "for I have no
friend or comrade under whose protection I could go in any far part of
the great world, for it is often I fought against the men of the great
world for love of you. For there never came battle or fight, danger or
trouble on you, but I would go into it for your sake and the sake of the
Fianna; and not only that, but I would fight before you and after you.
And I give my word, Finn," he said, "you will pay hard for me, and you
will not get me as a free gift." "It is the truth Diarmuid is speaking,"
said Osgar, "and give him forgiveness now, and peace." "I will not do
that," said Finn, "to the end of life and time; and he will not get
peace or rest for ever till I get satisfaction from him for every
reproach he has put on me." "It is a great shame and a great sign of
jealousy you to say that," said Osgar. "And I give the word of a true
champion," he said, "that unless the skies come down upon me, or the
earth opens under my feet, I will not let you or any one of the Fianna
of Ireland give him cut or wound; and I take his body and his life under
the protection of my valour, and I will keep him safe against all the
men of Ireland." "Those are big words you have, Osgar," said Goll then,
"to say you would bring a man away in spite of all the men of Ireland."
"It is not you will raise them up against me, Goll," said Osgar, "for
none of them would mind what you would say." "If that is what you are
saying, you champion of great fights," said Goll, "let us see now what
you can do." "You will have to go through with the fight you have taken
on yourself," said Corrioll, son of Goll, in a loud voice. And Osgar
answered him fiercely: "If I do I will shorten your bones, and your
father's bones along with them. And come down now, Diarmuid," he said,
"since Finn has no mind to leave you in peace, and I promise on my body
and my life there will no harm be done to you to-day."

Then Diarmuid stood up on a high bough of the boughs of the tree, and he
rose with a light leap by the shaft of his spear, and lit on the grass
far beyond Finn and the Fianna. And he himself and Osgar went towards
one another, in spite of the Fianna that went between them, and Diarmuid
struck down those that were in his way; and as to Osgar, the throwing of
his spears as he scattered the Fianna was like the sound of the wind
going through a valley, or water falling over flag-stones. And Conan,
that was always bitter, said: "Let the sons of Baiscne go on killing one
another." But Finn, when he saw Diarmuid was gone from him, bade them
put their weapons up, and turn back again to Almhuin.

And he sent those of his men that could be healed to places of healing,
and the nine Garbhs, and the others of his men that were killed, he put
into wide-sodded graves. And it is tired and downhearted and sorrowful
he was after that, and he made an oath he would take no great rest till
he would have avenged on Diarmuid all that he had done.


And as to Osgar and Diarmuid, they went on, and no cut or wound on them,
to where Angus and Grania were at Brugh na Boinne; and there was a good
welcome before them, and Diarmuid told them the whole story from
beginning to end, and it is much that Grania did not die then and there,
hearing all he had gone through.

And then she and Diarmuid set out again, and they went and stopped for
a while in a cave that was near the sea.

And one night while they were there a great storm came on, so that they
went into the far part of the cave. But bad as the night was, a man of
the Fomor, Ciach, the Fierce One, his name was, came over the western
ocean in a currach, with two oars, and he drew it into the cave for
shelter. And Diarmuid bade him welcome, and they sat down to play chess
together. And he got the best of the game, and what he asked as his
winnings was Grania to be his wife, and he put his arms about her as if
to bring her away. And Grania said: "I am this long time going with the
third best man of the Fianna, and he never came as near as that to me."

And Diarmuid took his sword to kill Ciach, and there was anger on Grania
when she saw that, and she had a knife in her hand and she struck it
into Diarmuid's thigh. And Diarmuid made an end of the Fomor, and he
said no word to Grania, but ran out and away through the storm.

And Grania went following after him, and calling to him, but there was
great anger on him and he would not answer her. And at last at the break
of day she overtook him, and after a while they heard the cry of a
heron, and she asked him what was it made the heron cry out.

"Tell me that," she said, "Grandson of Duibhne, to whom I gave my love."
And Diarmuid said: "O Grania, daughter of the High King, woman who never
took a step aright, it is because she was frozen to the rocks she gave
that cry." And Grania was asking forgiveness of him, and he was
reproaching her, and it is what he said: "O Grania of the beautiful
hair, though you are more beautiful than the green tree under blossom,
your love passes away as quickly as the cold cloud at break of day. And
you are asking a hard thing of me now," he said, "and it is a pity what
you said to me, Grania, for it was you brought me away from the house of
my lord, that I am banished from it to this day; and now I am troubled
through the night, fretting after its delight in every place.

"I am like a wild deer, or a beast that is astray, going ever and always
through the long valleys; there is great longing on me to see one of my
kindred from the host.

"I left my own people that were brighter than lime or snow; their heart
was full of generosity to me, like the sun that is high above us; but
now they follow me angrily, to every harbour and every strand.

"I lost my people by you, and my lord, and my large bright ships on
every sea; I lost my treasure and my gold; it is hunger you gave me
through your love.

"I lost my country and my kindred; my men that were used to serve me; I
lost quietness and affection; I lost the men of Ireland and the Fianna

"I lost delight and music; I lost my own right doing and my honour; I
lost the Fianna of Ireland, my great kinsmen, for the sake of the love
you gave me.

"O Grania, white as snow, it would have been a better choice for you to
have given hatred to me, or gentleness to the Head of the Fianna."

And Grania said: "O Diarmuid of the face like snow, or like the down of
the mountains, the sound of your voice was dearer to me than all the
riches of the leader of the Fianna.

"Your blue eye is dearer to me than his strength, and his gold and his
great hall; the love-spot on your forehead is better to me than honey in
streams; the time I first looked on it, it was more to me than the whole
host of the King of Ireland.

"My heart fell down there and then before your high beauty; when you
came beside me, it was like the whole of life in one day.

"O Diarmuid of the beautiful hands, take me now the same as before; it
was with me the fault was entirely; give me your promise not to leave

But Diarmuid said: "How can I take you again, you are a woman too fond
of words; one day you give up the Head of the Fianna, and the next day
myself, and no lie in it.

"It is you parted me from Finn, the way I fell under sorrow and grief;
and then you left me yourself, the time I was full of affection."

And Grania said: "Do not leave me now this way, and my love for you ever
growing like the fresh branches of the tree with the kind long heat of
the day."

But Diarmuid would not give in to her, and he said: "You are a woman
full of words, and it is you have put me under sorrow. I took you with
myself, and you struck at me for the sake of the man of the Fomor."

They came then to a place where there was a cave, and water running by
it, and they stopped to rest; and Grania said: "Have you a mind to eat
bread and meat now, Diarmuid?"

"I would eat it indeed if I had it," said Diarmuid.

"Give me a knife, so," she said, "till I cut it." "Look for the knife in
the sheath where you put it yourself," said Diarmuid.

She saw then that the knife was in his thigh where she had struck it,
for he would not draw it out himself. So she drew it out then; and that
was the greatest shame that ever came upon her.

They stopped then in the cave. And the next day when they went on again,
Diarmuid did not leave unbroken bread like he had left every other day
as a sign to Finn that he had kept his faith with him, but it was broken
bread he left after him.


And they went on wandering after that, all through Ireland, hiding from
Finn in every place, sleeping under the cromlechs, or with no shelter at
all, and there was no place they would dare to stop long in. And
wherever they went Finn would follow them, for he knew by his divination
where they went. But one time he made out they were on a mountain, for
he saw them with heather under them; and it was beside the sea they
were, asleep on heather that Diarmuid had brought down from the hills
for their bed; and so he went searching the hills and did not find them.

And Grania would be watching over Diarmuid while he slept, and she would
make a sleepy song for him, and it is what she would be saying:

"Sleep a little, a little little, for there is nothing at all to fear,
Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne; sleep here soundly, soundly, Diarmuid, to
whom I have given my love.

"It is I will keep watch for you, grandchild of shapely Duibhne; sleep a
little, a blessing on you, beside the well of the strong field; my lamb
from above the lake, from the banks of the strong streams.

"Let your sleep be like the sleep in the South, of Dedidach of the high
poets, the time he took away old Morann's daughter, for all Conall could
do against him.

"Let your sleep be like the sleep in the North, of fair comely
Fionnchadh of Ess Ruadh, the time he took Slaine with bravery as we
think, in spite of Failbhe of the Hard Head.

"Let your sleep be like the sleep in the West, of Aine, daughter of
Gailian, the time she went on a journey in the night with Dubhthach from
Doirinis, by the light of torches.

"Let your sleep be like the sleep in the East, of Deaghadh the proud,
the brave fighter, the time he took Coincheann, daughter of Binn, in
spite of fierce Decheall of Duibhreann.

"O heart of the valour of the lands to the west of Greece, my heart
will go near to breaking if I do not see you every day. The parting of
us two will be the parting of two children of the one house; it will be
the parting of life from the body, Diarmuid, hero of the bright lake of

And then to rouse him she would make another song, and it is what she
would say: "Caoinche will be loosed on your track; it is not slow the
running of Caoilte will be; do not let death reach to you, do not give
yourself to sleep for ever.

"The stag to the east is not asleep, he does not cease from bellowing;
though he is in the woods of the blackbirds, sleep is not in his mind;
the hornless doe is not asleep, crying after her speckled fawn; she is
going over the bushes, she does not sleep in her home.

"The cuckoo is not asleep, the thrush is not asleep, the tops of the
trees are a noisy place; the duck is not asleep, she is made ready for
good swimming; the bog lark is not asleep to-night on the high stormy
bogs; the sound of her clear voice is sweet; she is not sleeping between
the streams."

One time they were in a cave of Beinn Edair, and there was an old woman
befriending them and helping them to keep a watch. And one day she
chanced to go up to the top of Beinn Edair, and she saw an armed man
coming towards her, and she did now know him to be Finn; and when he was
come near she asked what was he looking for. "It is looking for a woman
I am come," he said, "and for a woman's love. And will you do all I will
ask you?" he said.

"I will do that," she said; for she thought it was her own love he was

"Tell me then," he said, "where is Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne?"

So she told him where he was hiding, and he bade her to keep him in the
cave till such time as he would come back with his men.

The old woman went back then, and it is what she did, she dipped her
cloak in the sea-water before she went into the cave; and Diarmuid asked
her why was her cloak so wet. "It is," she said, "that I never saw or
never heard of the like of this day for cold and for storms. There is
frost on every hillside," she said, "and there is not a smooth plain in
all Elga where there is not a long rushing river between every two
ridges. And there is not a deer or a crow in the whole of Ireland can
find a shelter in any place." And she was shaking the wet off her cloak,
and she was making a complaint against the cold, and it is what she

"Cold, cold, cold to-night is the wide plain of Lurg; the snow is higher
than the mountains, the deer cannot get at their share of food.

"Cold for ever; the storm is spread over all; every furrow on the
hillside is a river, every ford is a full pool, every full loch is a
great sea; every pool is a full loch; horses cannot go through the ford
of Ross any more than a man on his two feet.

"The fishes of Inisfail are going astray; there is no strand or no pen
against the waves; there are no dwellings in the country, there is no
bell heard, no crane is calling.

"The hounds of the wood of Cuan find no rest or no sleep in their
dwelling-place; the little wren cannot find shelter in her nest on the
slope of Lon.

"A sharp wind and cold ice have come on the little company of birds; the
blackbird cannot get a ridge to her liking or shelter for her side in
the woods of Cuan.

"It is steady our great pot hangs from its hook; it is broken the cabin
is on the slope of Lon; the snow has made the woods smooth, it is hard
to climb to the ridge of Bennait Bo.

"The ancient bird of Glen Ride gets grief from the bitter wind; it is
great is her misery and her pain, the ice will be in her mouth.

"Mind well not to rise up from coverings and from down, mind this well;
there would be no good sense in it. Ice is heaped up in every ford; it
is for that I am saying and ever saying 'Cold.'"

The old woman went out after that, and when she was gone, Grania took
hold of the cloak she had left there and she put her tongue to it, and
found the taste of salt water on it. "My grief, Diarmuid," she said
then, "the old woman has betrayed us. And rise up now," she said, "and
put your fighting suit upon you."

So Diarmuid did that, and he went out, and Grania along with him. And no
sooner were they outside than they saw Finn and the Fianna of Ireland
coming towards them. Then Diarmuid looked around him and he saw a little
boat at hand in the shelter of the harbour, and he himself and Grania
went into it. And there was a man before them in the boat having
beautiful clothes on him, and a wide embroidered golden-yellow cloak
over his shoulders behind. And they knew it was Angus was in it, that
had come again to help them to escape from Finn, and they went back with
him for a while to Brugh na Boinne, and Osgar came to them there.


And after a while Finn bade his people to make his ship ready, and to
put a store of food and of drink in it. They did that, and he himself
and a thousand of his men went into the ship; and they were nine days
between sailing and rowing till they came to harbour in the north of

They bound the ship to the posts of the harbour then, and Finn with five
of his people went to the dun of the King of Alban, and Finn struck a
blow with the hand-wood on the door, and the door-keeper asked who was
in it, and they told him it was Finn, son of Cumhal. "Let him in," said
the king.

Then Finn and his people went in, and the king made them welcome, and he
bade Finn to sit down in his own place, and they were given strong
pleasant drinks, and the king sent for the rest of Finn's people and
bade them welcome to the dun.

Then Finn told what it was brought him there, and that it was to ask
help and advice against the grandson of Duibhne he was come.

"And you have a right to give me your help," he said, "for it was he
that killed your father and your two brothers, and many of your best men
along with them."

"That is true," said the king; "and I will give you my own two sons and
a thousand men with each of them." Finn was glad when he heard that, and
he and his men took leave of the king and of his household, and left
wishes for life and health with them, and the king did the same by them.

And it was near Brugh na Boinne Finn and his people came to land, and
Finn sent messengers to the house of Angus to give out a challenge of
battle against Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne.

"What should I do about this, Osgar?" said Diarmuid.

"We will both go out and make a stand against them, and we will not let
a serving-man of them escape, but we will make an end of them all," said

So they rose up on the morning of the morrow and they put their suits of
battle on their comely bodies; and it would be a pity for those, be they
many or few, that would meet those two men, and their anger on them. And
they bound the rims of their shields together the way they would not be
parted from one another in the right. And the sons of the King of Alban
said that they themselves and their people would go first to meet them.
So they came to shore, and made a rush to meet Diarmuid and Osgar. But
the two fought so well that they beat them back and scattered them, and
made a great slaughter, and put great terror on them, so that at the
last there was not a man left to stand against them.

And after that, Finn went out again on the sea, and his people with him,
and there is no word of them till they came to the Land of Promise where
Finn's nurse was. And when she saw Finn coming she was very joyful
before him. And Finn told her the whole story from beginning to end, and
the cause of his quarrel with Diarmuid; and he said it was to ask an
advice from her he was come, and that it was not possible to put him
down by any strength of an army, unless enchantment would put him down.
"I will go with you," said the old woman, "and I will do enchantment on
him." Finn was very glad when he heard that, and he stopped there that
night, and they set out for Ireland on the morrow.

And when they came to Brugh na Boinne, the nurse put a Druid mist around
Finn and the Fianna, the way no one could know they were there. Now the
day before that, Osgar had parted from Diarmuid, and Diarmuid was out
hunting by himself. That was shown to the hag, and she took a drowned
leaf having a hole in it, like the quern of a mill, and she rose with
that by her enchantments on a blast of Druid wind over Diarmuid, and
began to aim at him through the hole with deadly spears, till she had
done him great harm, for all his arms and his clothing, and he could not
make away he was so hard pressed. And every danger he was ever in was
little beside that danger. And it is what he thought, that unless he
could strike the old woman through the hole that was in the leaf, she
would give him his death there and then. And he lay down on his back,
and the Gae Dearg, the Red Spear, in his hand, and he made a great cast
of the spear, that it went through the hole, and the hag fell dead on
the spot. And he struck off her head and brought it back with him to
Angus Og.

And the next morning early, Angus rose up, and he went where Finn was,
and he asked would he make peace with Diarmuid, and Finn said he would.
And then he went to the King of Ireland to ask peace for Diarmuid, and
he said he would agree to it.

And then he went back to where Diarmuid and Grania were, and asked him
would he make peace with the High King and with Finn. "I am willing,"
said Diarmuid, "if they will give the conditions I will ask." "What
conditions are those?" said Angus.

"The district my father had," said Diarmuid, "that is, the district of
Ui Duibhne, without right of hunting to Finn, and without rent or
tribute to the King of Ireland, and with that the district of Dumhais in
Leinster, for they are the best in Ireland, and the district of Ceis
Corainn from the King of Ireland as a marriage portion with his
daughter; and those are the conditions on which I will make peace with
them." "Would you be peaceable if you got those conditions?" said Angus.
"It would go easier with me to make peace if I got them," said Diarmuid.

Then Angus went with that news to where the King of Ireland was with
Finn. And they gave him all those conditions, and they forgave him all
he had done through the whole of the time he had been in his hiding,
that was sixteen years.

And the place Diarmuid and Grania settled in was Rath Grania, in the
district of Ceis Corainn, far away from Finn and from Teamhair. And
Grania bore him children there, four sons and one daughter. And they
lived there in peace, and the people used to be saying there was not a
man living at the same time was richer as to gold and to silver, as to
cattle and to sheep, than Diarmuid.


But at last one day Grania spoke to Diarmuid, and it is what she said,
that it was a shame on them, with all the people and the household they
had, and all their riches, the two best men in Ireland never to have
come to the house, the High King, her father, and Finn, son of Cumhal.
"Why do you say that, Grania," said Diarmuid, "and they being enemies to

"It is what I would wish," said Grania, "to give them a feast, the way
you would get their affection." "I give leave for that," said Diarmuid.

So Grania was making ready a great feast through the length of a year,
and messengers were sent for the High King of Ireland, and for Finn and
the seven battalions of the Fianna; and they came, and they were using
the feast from day to day through the length of a year.

And on the last night of the year, Diarmuid was in his sleep at Rath
Grania; and in the night he heard the voice of hounds through his sleep,
and he started up, and Grania caught him and put her two arms about him,
and asked what had startled him. "The voice of a hound I heard," said
he; "and it is a wonder to me to hear that in the night." "Safe keeping
on you," said Grania, "for it is the Tuatha de Danaan are doing that on
you, on account of Angus of Brugh na Boinn, and lie down on the bed
again." But for all that no sleep came to him, and he heard the voice of
the hound again, and he started up a second time to follow after it. But
Grania caught hold of him the second time and bade him to lie down, and
she said it was no fitting thing to go after the voice of a hound in the
night. So he lay down again, and he fell asleep, but the voice of the
hound awakened him the third time. And the day was come with its full
light that time, and he said: "I will go after the voice of the hound
now, since the day is here." "If that is so," said Grania, "bring the
Mor-alltach, the Great Fierce One, the sword of Manannan, with you, and
the Gae Dearg." "I will not," he said; "but I will take the
Beag-alltach, the Little Fierce One, and the Gae Buidhe in the one hand,
and the hound Mac an Chuill, the Son of the Hazel, in the other hand."

Then Diarmuid went out of Rath Grania, and made no delay till he came to
the top of Beinn Gulbain, and he found Finn before him there, without
any one at all in his company. Diarmuid gave him no greeting, but asked
him was it he was making that hunt. Finn said it was not a hunt he was
making, but that he and some of the Fianna had gone out after midnight;
"and one of our hounds that was loose beside us, came on the track of a
wild boar," he said, "and they were not able to bring him back yet. And
there is no use following that boar he is after," he said, "for it is
many a time the Fianna hunted him, and he went away from them every time
till now, and he has killed thirty of them this morning. And he is
coming up the mountain towards us," he said, "and let us leave this hill
to him now."

"I will not leave the hill through fear of him," said Diarmuid. "It
would be best for you, Diarmuid," said Finn, "for it is the earless
Green Boar of Beinn Gulbain is in it, and it is by him you will come to
your death, and Angus knew that well when he put bonds on you not to go
hunting pigs." "I never knew of those bonds," said Diarmuid; "but
however it is, I will not quit this through fear of him. And let you
leave Bran with me now," he said, "along with Mac an Chuill." "I will
not," said Finn, "for it is often he met this boar before and could do
nothing against him." He went away then and left Diarmuid alone on the
top of the hill. "I give my word," said Diarmuid, "you made this hunt
for my death, Finn; and if it is here I am to find my death," he said,
"I have no use in going aside from it now."

The boar came up the face of the mountain then, and the Fianna after
him. Diarmuid loosed Mac an Chuill from his leash then, but that did not
serve him, for he did not wait for the boar, but ran from him. "It is a
pity not to follow the advice of a good woman," said Diarmuid, "for
Grania bade me this morning to bring the Mor-alltach and the Gae Dearg
with me." Then he put his finger into the silken string of the Gae
Buidhe, and took a straight aim at the boar and hit him full in the
face; but if he did, the spear did not so much as give him a scratch.
Diarmuid was discouraged by that, but he drew the Beag-alltach, and made
a full stroke at the back of the boar, but neither did that make a wound
on him, but it made two halves of the sword. Then the boar made a brave
charge at Diarmuid, that cut the sod from under his feet and brought him
down; but Diarmuid caught hold of the boar on rising, and held on to
him, having one of his legs on each side of him, and his face to his
hinder parts. And the boar made away headlong down the hill, but he
could not rid himself of Diarmuid; and he went on after that to Ess
Ruadh, and when he came to the red stream he gave three high leaps over
it, backwards and forwards, but he could not put him from his back, and
he went back by the same path till he went up the height of the
mountain again. And at last on the top of the mountain he freed himself,
and Diarmuid fell on the ground. And then the boar made a rush at him,
and ripped him open, that his bowels came out about his feet. But if he
did, Diarmuid made a cast at him with the hilt of his sword that was in
his hand yet, and dashed out his brains, so that he fell dead there and
then. And Rath na h-Amhrann, the Rath of the Sword Hilt, is the name of
that place to this day.

It was not long till Finn and the Fianna of Ireland came to the place,
and the pains of death were coming on Diarmuid at that time. "It is well
pleased I am to see you that way, Diarmuid," said Finn; "and it is a
pity all the women of Ireland not to be looking at you now, for your
great beauty is turned to ugliness, and your comely shape to
uncomeliness." "For all that, you have power to heal me, Finn," said
Diarmuid, "if you had a mind to do it." "What way could I heal you?"
said Finn. "Easy enough," said Diarmuid, "for the time you were given
the great gift of knowledge at the Boinn, you got this gift with it,
that any one you would give a drink to out of the palms of your hands
would be young and well again from any sickness after it." "You are not
deserving of that drink from me," said Finn. "That is not true," said
Diarmuid; "it is well I deserve it from you; for the time you went to
the house of Dearc, son of Donnarthadh, and your chief men with you for
a feast, your enemies came round the house, and gave out three great
shouts against you, and threw fire and firebrands into it. And you rose
up and would have gone out, but I bade you to stop there at drinking and
pleasure, for that I myself would go out and put them down. And I went
out, and put out the flames, and made three red rushes round the house,
and I killed fifty in every rush, and I came in again without a wound.
And it is glad and merry and in good courage you were that night,
Finn," he said, "and if it was that night I had asked a drink of you,
you would have given it; and it would be right for you to give it to me
now." "That is not so," said Finn; "it is badly you have earned a drink
or any good thing from me; for the night you went to Teamhair with me,
you took Grania away from me in the presence of all the men of Ireland,
and you being my own guard over her that night."

"Do not blame me for that, Finn," said Diarmuid, "for what did I ever do
against you, east or west, but that one thing; and you know well Grania
put bonds on me, and I would not fail in my bonds for the gold of the
whole world. And you will know it is well I have earned a drink from
you, if you bring to mind the night the feast was made in the House of
the Quicken Tree, and how you and all your men were bound there till I
heard of it, and came fighting and joyful, and loosed you with my own
blood, and with the blood of the Three Kings of the Island of the
Floods; and if I had asked a drink of you that night, Finn, you would
not have refused it. And I was with you in the smiting of Lon, son of
Liobhan, and you are the man that should not forsake me beyond any other
man. And many is the strait has overtaken yourself and the Fianna of
Ireland since I came among you, and I was ready every time to put my
body and my life in danger for your sake, and you ought not to do this
unkindness on me now. And besides that," he said, "there has many a good
champion fallen through the things you yourself have done, and there is
not an end of them yet; and there will soon come great misfortunes on
the Fianna, and it is few of their seed will be left after them. And it
is not for yourself I am fretting, Finn," he said, "but for Oisin and
Osgar, and the rest of my dear comrades, and as for you, Oisin, you will
be left lamenting after the Fianna. And it is greatly you will feel the
want of me yet, Finn," he said; "and if the women of the Fianna knew I
was lying in my wounds on this ridge, it is sorrowful their faces would
be at this time."

And Osgar said then: "Although I am nearer in blood to you, Finn, than
to Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, I will not let you refuse him this
drink; and by my word," he said, "if any prince in the world would do
the same unkindness to Diarmuid that you have done, it is only the one
of us that has the strongest hand would escape alive. And give him a
drink now without delay," he said.

"I do not know of any well at all on this mountain," said Finn. "That is
not so," said Diarmuid, "for there is not nine footsteps from you the
well that has the best fresh water that can be found in the world."

Then Finn went to the well, and he took the full of his two hands of the
water. But when he was no more than half-way back, the thought of Grania
came on him, and he let the water slip through his hands, and he said he
was not able to bring it. "I give my word," said Diarmuid, "it was of
your own will you let it from you." Then Finn went back the second time
to get the water, but coming back he let it through his hands again at
the thought of Grania. And Diarmuid gave a pitiful sigh of anguish when
he saw that. "I swear by my sword and by my spear," said Osgar, "that if
you do not bring the water without any more delay, Finn, there will not
leave this hill but yourself or myself." Finn went back the third time
to the well after what Osgar said, and he brought the water to Diarmuid,
but as he reached him the life went out of his body. Then the whole
company of the Fianna that were there gave three great heavy shouts,
keening for Diarmuid.

And Osgar looked very fiercely at Finn, and it is what he said, that it
was a greater pity Diarmuid to be dead than if he himself had died. And
the Fianna of Ireland had lost their yoke of battle by him, he said.
"Let us leave this hill," said Finn then, "before Angus and the Tuatha
de Danaan come upon us, for although we have no share in the death of
Diarmuid, he would not believe the truth from us." "I give my word,"
said Osgar, "if I had thought it was against Diarmuid you made the hunt
of Beinn Gulbain, you would never have made it"

Then Finn and the Fianna went away from the hill, and Finn leading
Diarmuid's hound Mac an Chuill. But Oisin and Osgar and Caoilte and
Lugaidh's Son turned back again and put their four cloaks over Diarmuid,
and then they went after the rest of the Fianna.

And when they came to the Rath, Grania was out on the wall looking for
news of Diarmuid; and she saw Finn and the Fianna of Ireland coming
towards her. Then she said: "If Diarmuid was living, it is not led by
Finn that Mac an Chuill would be coming home." And she was at that time
heavy with child, and her strength went from her and she fell down from
the wall. And when Oisin saw the way she was he bade Finn and the others
to go on from her, but she lifted up her head and she asked Finn to
leave Mac an Chuill with her. And he said he would not, and that he did
not think it too much for him to inherit from Diarmuid, grandson of

When Oisin heard that, he snatched the hound out of Finn's hand and gave
it to Grania, and then he followed after his people.

Then when Grania was certain of Diarmuid's death she gave out a long
very pitiful cry that was heard through the whole place, and her women
and her people came to her, and asked what ailed her to give a cry like
that. And she told them how Diarmuid had come to his death by the Boar
of Beinn Gulbain in the hunt Finn had made. "And there is grief in my
very heart," she said, "I not to be able to fight myself with Finn, and
I would not have let him go safe out of this place."

When her people heard of the death of Diarmuid they gave three great
heavy cries in the same way, that were heard in the clouds and the waste
places of the sky. And then Grania bade the five hundred that she had
for household to go to Beinn Gulbain for the body of Diarmuid.

And when they were bringing it back, she went out to meet them, and they
put down the body of Diarmuid, and it is what she said:

"I am your wife, beautiful Diarmuid, the man I would do no hurt to; it
is sorrowful I am after you to-night.

"I am looking at the hawk and the hound my secret love used to be
hunting with; she that loved the three, let her be put in the grave with

"Let us be glad to-night, let us make all welcome to-night, let us be
open-handed to-night, since we are sitting by the body of a king.

"And O Diarmuid," she said, "it is a hard bed Finn has given you, to be
lying on the stones and to be wet with the rain. Ochone!" she said,
"your blue eyes to be without sight, you that were friendly and generous
and pursuing. O love! O Diarmuid! it is a pity it is he sent you to your

"You were a champion of the men of Ireland, their prop in the middle of
the fight; you were the head of every battle; your ways were glad and

"It is sorrowful I am, without mirth, without light, but only sadness
and grief and long dying; your harp used to be sweet to me, it wakened
my heart to gladness. Now my courage is fallen down, I not to hear you
but to be always remembering your ways. Och! my grief is going through

"A thousand curses on the day when Grania gave you her love, that put
Finn of the princes from his wits; it is a sorrowful story your death is

"Many heroes were great and strong about me in the beautiful plain;
their hands were good at wrestling and at battle; Ochone! that I did not
follow them.

"You were the man was best of the Fianna, beautiful Diarmuid, that
women loved. It is dark your dwelling-place is under the sod, it is
mournful and cold your bed is; it is pleasant your laugh was to-day; you
were my happiness, Diarmuid."

And she went back then into the Rath, and bade her people to bring the
body to her there.

Now just at this time, it was showed to Angus at Brugh na Boinne that
Diarmuid was dead on Beinn Gulbain, for he had kept no watch over him
the night before.

And he went on the cold wind towards Beinn Gulbain, and his people with
him, and on the way they met with Grania's people that were bringing the
body to the Rath.

And when they saw him they held out the wrong sides of their shields as
a sign of peace, and Angus knew them; and he and his people gave three
great terrible cries over the body of Diarmuid.

And Angus spoke then, and it is what he said: "I was never one night
since the time I brought you to Brugh na Boinne, being nine months old,
without keeping watch and protection over you till last night, Diarmuid,
grandson of Duibhne; and now your blood has been shed and you have been
cut off sharply, and the Boar of Beinn Gulbain has put you down,
Diarmuid of the bright face and the bright sword. And it is a pity Finn
to have done this treachery," he said, "and you at peace with him.

"And lift up his body now," he said, "and bring it to the Brugh in the
lasting rocks. And if I cannot bring him back to life," he said, "I will
put life into him the way he can be talking with me every day."

Then they put his body on a golden bier, and his spears over it pointed
upwards, and they went on till they came to Brugh na Boinne.

And Grania's people went to her and told her how Angus would not let
them bring the body into the Rath, but brought it away himself to Brugh
na Boinne. And Grania said she had no power over him.

And she sent out then for her four sons that were being reared in the
district of Corca Ui Duibhne. And when they came she gave them a loving
welcome, and they came into the Rath and sat down there according to
their age. And Grania spoke to them with a very loud, clear voice, and
it is what she said: "My dear children, your father has been killed by
Finn, son of Cumhal, against his own bond and agreement of peace, and
let you avenge it well upon him. And here is your share of the
inheritance of your father," she said, "his arms and his armour, and his
feats of valour and power; and I will share these arms among you
myself," she said, "and that they may bring you victory in every battle.
Here is the sword for Donnchadh," she said, "the best son Diarmuid had;
and the Gae Dearg for Eochaidh; and here is the armour for Ollann, for
it will keep the body it is put on in safety; and the shield for Connla.
And make no delay now," she said, "but go and learn every sort of skill
in fighting, till such time as you will come to your full strength to
avenge your father."

So they took leave of her then, and of their household.

And some of their people said: "What must we do now, since our lords
will be going into danger against Finn and the Fianna of Ireland?" And
Donnchadh, son of Diarmuid, bade them stop in their own places; "for if
we make peace with Finn," he said, "there need be no fear on you, and if
not, you can make your choice between ourselves and him." And with that
they set out on their journey.

But after a while Finn went secretly and unknown to the Fianna to the
place where Grania was, and he got to see her in spite of all her high
talk, and he spoke gently to her. And she would not listen to him, but
bade him to get out of her sight, and whatever hard thing her tongue
could say, she said it. But all the same, he went on giving her gentle
talk and loving words, till in the end he brought her to his own will.

And there is no news told of them, until such time as they came to where
the seven battalions of the Fianna were waiting for Finn. And when they
saw him coming, and Grania with him, like any new wife with her husband,
they gave a great shout of laughter and of mockery, and Grania bowed
down her head with shame, "By my word, Finn," said Oisin, "you will keep
a good watch on Grania from this out."

And some said the change had come on her because the mind of a woman
changes like the water of a running stream; but some said it was Finn
that had put enchantment on her.

And as to the sons of Diarmuid, they came back at the end of seven
years, after learning all that was to be learned of valour in the far
countries of the world. And when they came back to Rath Grania they were
told their mother was gone away with Finn, son of Cumhal, without
leaving any word for themselves or for the King of Ireland. And they
said if that was so, there was nothing for them to do. But after that
they said they would make an attack on Finn, and they went forward to
Almhuin, and they would take no offers, but made a great slaughter of
every troop that came out against them.

But at last Grania made an agreement of peace between themselves and
Finn, and they got their father's place among the Fianna; and that was
little good to them, for they lost their lives with the rest in the
battle of Gabhra. And as to Finn and Grania, they stopped with one
another to the end.



One time the Fianna were all gathered together doing feats and casting
stones. And after a while the Druid of Teamhair that was with them said:
"I am in dread, Finn of the Fianna, that there is some trouble near at
hand; and look now at those dark clouds of blood," he said, "that are
threatening us side by side overhead. And there is fear on me," he said,
"that there is some destruction coming on the Fianna."

Finn looked up then, and he saw the great cloud of blood, and he called
Osgar to look at it. "That need not knock a start from you," said Osgar,
"with all the strength there is in your arms, and in the men that are
with you." Then all the Fianna looked up at the cloud, and some of them
were glad and cheerful and some were downhearted.

Then the Druid bade Finn to call all his battalions together and to
divide them into two halves, that they could be watching for the coming
of the enemy.

So Finn sounded the Dord Fiann, and they answered with a shout, every
one hurrying to be the first. And Finn bade Osgar and Goll and Faolan to
keep watch through the night, and he bade Conan the Bald to stop in the
darkness of the cave of Liath Ard. "For it is you can shout loudest," he
said, "to warn us if you see the enemy coming." "That I may be pierced
through the middle of my body," said Conan, "if I will go watching for
troubles or for armies alone, without some more of the Fianna being with
me." "It is not fitting for you to refuse Finn," said Lugaidh's Son;
"and it is you can shout the loudest," he said, "if the enemies come
near the height." "Do not be speaking to me any more," said Conan, "for
I will not go there alone, through the length of my days, for Finn and
the whole of the Fianna." "Go then, Conan," said Osgar, "and Aodh Beag
will go with you, and you can bring dogs with you, Bran and Sceolan and
Fuaim and Fearagan; and let you go now without begrudging it," he said.

So Conan went then to Liath Ard, and Aodh Beag and Finn's hounds along
with him. And as to Finn, he lay down to sleep, and it was not long till
he saw through his sleep Aodh Beag his son, and he without his head. And
after that he saw Goll fighting with a very strong man. And he awoke
from his sleep, and called the Druid of the Fianna to him, and asked him
the meaning of what he saw. "I am in dread there is some destruction
coming on the Fianna," said the Druid; "but Aodh Beag will not be
wounded in the fight, or Goll," he said.

And it was not long till Finn heard a great shout, and he sounded the
Dord Fiann, and then he saw Conan running, and the hounds after him. And
Finn sounded the Dord Fiann again before Conan came up, and when he
came, Osgar asked him where was Aodh Beag. "He was at the door of the
cave when I left it," said Conan, "but I did not look behind me since
then," he said; "and it was not Aodh Beag was troubling me." "What was
troubling you then?" said Osgar. "Nothing troubles me but myself," said
Conan; "although I am well pleased at any good that comes to you," he

Osgar went then running hard, till he came to the cave, and there he
found Aodh Beag with no fear or trouble on him at all, stopping there
till he would hear the noise of the shields. And Osgar brought him back
to where the Fianna were, and they saw a great army coming as if in
search of them.

And a beautiful woman, having a crimson cloak, came to them over the
plain, and she spoke to Finn, and her voice was as sweet as music. And
Finn asked her who was she, and who did she come looking for. "I am the
daughter of Garraidh, son of Dolar Dian, the Fierce," she said; "and my
curse upon the King of Greece that bound me to the man that is
following after me, and that I am going from, Tailc, son of Treon."
"Tell me why are you shunning him, and I will protect you in spite of
him," said Finn. "It is not without reason I hate him," said she, "for
he has no good appearance, and his skin is of the colour of coal, and he
has the head and the tail of a cat. And I have walked the world three
times," she said, "and I did not leave a king or a great man without
asking help from him, and I never got it yet." "I will give you
protection," said Finn, "or the seven battalions of the Fianna will fall
for your sake."

With that they saw the big strange man, Tailc, son of Treon, coming
towards them, and he said no word at all of greeting to Finn, but he
called for a battle on account of his wife.

So a thousand of the Fianna went out to meet him and his men; and if
they did they all fell, and not one of them came back again. And then
another thousand of the best men of the Fianna, having blue and green
shields, went out under Caoilte, son of Ronan, and they were worsted by
Tailc and his people. And then Osgar asked leave of Finn to go out and
fight the big man. "I will give you leave," said Finn, "although I am
sure you will fall by him." So Osgar went out, and he himself and Tailc,
son of Treon, were fighting through the length of five days and five
nights without food or drink or sleep. And at the end of that time,
Osgar made an end of Tailc, and struck his head off. And when the Fianna
saw that, they gave a shout of lamentation for those they had lost of
the Fianna, and two shouts of joy for the death of Tailc.

And as to the young woman, when she saw all the slaughter that had been
done on account of her, shame reddened her face, and she fell dead there
and then. And to see her die like that, after all she had gone through,
preyed more on the Fianna than any other thing.


And while the Fianna were gathered yet on the hill where Tailc, son of
Treon, had been put down, they saw a very great champion coming towards
them, having an army behind him. He took no notice of any one more than
another, but he asked in a very rough voice where was Finn, the Head of
the Fianna. And Aodh Beag, that had a quiet heart, asked him who was he,
and what was he come for. "I will tell you nothing at all, child," said
the big man, "for it is short your years are, and I will tell nothing at
all to any one but Finn." So Aodh Beag brought him to where Finn was,
and Finn asked him his name. "Meargach of the Green Spears is my name,"
he said; "and arms were never reddened yet on my body, and no one ever
boasted of driving me backwards. And was it you, Finn," he said, "put
down Tailc, son of Treon?" "It was not by me he fell," said Finn, "but
by Osgar of the strong hand." "Was it not a great shame for you, Finn,"
said Meargach then, "to let the queen-woman that had such a great name
come to her death by the Fianna?" "It was not by myself or by any of the
Fianna she got her death," said Finn; "it was seeing the army lost that
brought her to her death. But if it is satisfaction for her death or the
death of Tailc you want," he said, "You can get it from a man of the
Fianna, or you can go quietly from this place." Then Meargach said he
would fight with any man they would bring against him, to avenge Tailc,
son of Treon.

And it was Osgar stood up against him, and they fought a very hard fight
through the length of three days, and at one time the Fianna thought it
was Osgar was worsted, and they gave a great sorrowful shout. But in the
end Osgar put down Meargach and struck his head off, and at that the
seven battalions of the Fianna gave a shout of victory, and the army of
Meargach keened him very sorrowfully. And after that, the two sons of
Meargach, Ciardan the Swift and Liagan the Nimble, came up and asked
who would come against them, hand to hand, that they might get
satisfaction for their father.

And it was Goll stood up against Ciardan, and it was not long till he
put him down; and Conan came out against Liagan, and Liagan mocked at
him and said: "It is foolishness your coming is, bald man!" But Conan
made a quick blow and struck his head off before the fight was begun at

And Faolan said that was a shameful thing to do, not to stand his ground
and make a fair fight. But Conan said: "If I could make an end of the
whole army by one blow, I would do it, and I would not be ashamed, and
the whole of the Fianna could not shelter them from me."

Then the two armies came towards each other, and they were making ready
for the attack. And they saw a beautiful golden-haired woman coming
towards them, and she crying and ever crying, and the battle was given
up on both sides, waiting for her to come; and the army of Meargach knew
it was their queen, Ailne of the Bright Face, and they raised a great
cry of grief; and the Fianna were looking at her, and said no word.

And she asked where was her husband, and where were her two sons. "High
Queen," said Finn then, "for all they were so complete and quick and
strong, the three you are asking for fell in fight."

And when the queen-woman heard that, she cried out aloud, and she went
to the place where her husband and her two sons were lying, and she
stood over their bodies, and her golden hair hanging, and she keened
them there. And her own people raised a sharp lamentation listening to
her, and the Fianna themselves were under grief.

And it is what she said: "O Meargach," she said, "of the sharp green
spears, it is many a fight and many a heavy battle your hard hand fought
in the gathering of the armies or alone.

"I never knew any wound to be on your body after them; and it is full
sure I am, it was not strength but treachery got the upper hand of you

"It is long your journey was from far off, from your own kind country to
Inisfail, to come to Finn and the Fianna, that put my three to death
through treachery.

"My grief! to have lost my husband, my head, by the treachery of the
Fianna; my two sons, my two men that were rough in the fight.

"My grief! my food and my drink; my grief! my teaching everywhere; my
grief! my journey from far off, and I to have lost my high heroes.

"My grief! my house thrown down; my grief! my shelter and my shield; my
grief! Meargach and Ciardan; my grief! Liagan of the wide chest.

"My grief! my protection and my shelter; my grief! my strength and my
power; my grief! there is darkness come from this thing; my grief
to-night you to be in your weakness.

"My grief! my gladness and my pleasure; my grief! my desire in every
place; my grief! my courage is gone and my strength; my grief from this
night out for ever.

"My grief! my guide and my going; my grief! my desire to the day of my
death; my grief! my store and my sway; my grief! my heroes that were

"My grief! my bed and my sleep; my grief! my journey and my coming; my
grief! my teacher and my share; my sorrowful grief! my three men.

"My grief! my beauty and my ornaments; my grief! my jewels and my
riches; my grief! my treasures and my goods; my grief! my three Candles
of Valour.

"My grief! my friends and my kindred; my grief! my people and my
friends. My grief! my father and my mother; my grief and my trouble! you
to be dead.

"My grief my portion and my welcome; my grief! my health at every time;
my grief! my increase and my light; my sore trouble, you to be without

"My grief! your spear and your sword; my grief! your gentleness and your
love; my grief! your country and your home; my grief! you to be parted
from my reach.

"My grief! my coasts and my harbours; my grief! my wealth and my
prosperity; my grief! my greatness and my kingdom; my grief and my
crying are until death.

"My grief! my luck altogether; my grief for you in time of battle; my
grief! my gathering of armies; my grief! my three proud lions.

"My grief! my games and my drinking; my grief! my music and my delight;
my grief! my sunny house and my women; my crying grief, you to be under

"My grief! my lands and my hunting; my grief! my three sure fighters;
Och! my grief! they are my sorrow, to fall far off by the Fianna.

"I knew by the great host of the Sidhe that were fighting over the dun,
giving battle to one another in the valleys of the air, that destruction
would put down my three.

"I knew by the noise of the voices of the Sidhe coming into my ears,
that a story of new sorrow was not far from me; it is your death it was

"I knew at the beginning of the day when my three good men went from me,
when I saw tears of blood on their cheeks, that they would not come back
to me as winners.

"I knew by the voice of the battle-crow over your dun every evening,
since you went from me comely and terrible, that misfortune and grief
were at hand.

"It is well I remember, my three strong ones, how often I used to be
telling you that if you would go to Ireland, I would not see the joy of
victory on your faces.

"I knew by the voice of the raven every morning since you went from me,
that your fall was sure and certain; that you would never come back to
your own country.

"I knew, my three great ones, by your forgetting the thongs of your
hounds, that you would not gain the day or escape from the treachery of
the Fianna.

"I knew, Candles of Valour, by the stream near the dun turning to blood
when you set out, that there would be treachery in Finn.

"I knew by the eagle coming every evening over the dun, that it would
not be long till I would hear a story of bad news of my three.

"I knew by the withering of the tree before the dun, that you would
never come back as conquerors from the treachery of Finn, son of

When Grania, now, heard what the woman was saying, there was anger on
her, and she said: "Do not be speaking against Finn or the Fianna,
Queen, for it was not by any treachery or any deceit your three men were
brought to their end."

But Ailne made her no answer and gave no heed to her, but she went on
with her complaint, and she crying and ever crying.

"I knew, looking after you the day you went out from the dun, by the
flight of the raven before you, there was no good sign of your coming
back again.

"I knew by Ciardan's hounds that were howling mournfully every evening,
that it would not be long till I would have bad news of you.

"I knew by my sleep that went from me, by my tears through every lasting
night, that there was no luck before you.

"I knew by the sorrowful vision that showed myself in danger, my head
and my hands cut off, that it was yourselves were without sway.

"I knew by the voice of Uaithnin, the hound that is dearest to Liagan,
howling early every morning, that death was certain for my three.

"I knew when I saw in a vision a lake of blood in the place of the dun,
that my three were put down by the deceit that was always with Finn."

"Do not be faulting Finn," said Grania then, "however vexed your heart
may be. And leave off now," she said, "speaking against the Fianna and
against himself; for if your men had stopped in their own country," she
said, "without coming to avenge the son of Treon, there would no harm
have happened them." "I would not put any reproach on the Fianna,
Grania," said Ailne, "if my three men had been put down in fair battle,
but they are not living to bear witness to me," she said; "and it is
likely they were put under Druid spells at the first, or they would
never have given in." "If they were living, Queen," said Grania, "they
would not be running down the Fianna, but they would tell you it was by
bravery and the strong hand they fell." "I do not believe you or the
Fianna when you say that," said Ailne; "for no one that came to meet
them ever got the sway over them by the right of the sword." "If you do
not believe what I am saying, beautiful Ailne," said Grania, "I tell
you more of your great army will fall by the Fianna, and that not by
treachery." "That is not so," said Ailne, "but I have good hopes that my
own army will do destruction on the Fianna, for the sake of the men that
are dead." "Well, Ailne," said Grania, "I know it is a far journey you
have come. And come now and eat and drink," she said, "with myself and
with the Fianna."

But Ailne would not do that, but she said it would not be fitting for
her to take food from people that did such deeds, and what she wanted
was satisfaction for the death of her husband and her two sons.

And first it was settled for two men of each side to go out against one
another; and then Ailne said that there should be thirty men on each
side, and then she said she would not be satisfied to go back to her own
country till she brought the head of Finn with her, or till the last of
his men had fallen. And there was a great battle fought in the end, and
it is seldom the Fianna fought so hard a battle as that.

And it would be too long to tell, and it would tire the hearers, how
many good men were killed on each side. But in the end Ailne of the
Bright Face was worsted, and she went back with what were left of her
men to their own country, and no one knew where they went.

And the hill in the west those battles were fought on got the name of
Cnoc-an-Air, the Hill of Slaughter.


One day Finn and his people were hunting on Slieve Fuad, and a stag
stood against them for a while and fought with his great rough horns,
and then he turned and ran, and the Fianna followed after him till they
came to the green hill of Liadhas, and from that to rocky Cairgin. And
there they lost him again for a while, till Sceolan started him again,
and he went back towards Slieve Fuad, and the Fianna after him.

But Finn and Daire of the Songs, that were together, went astray and
lost the rest of their people, and they did not know was it east or west
they were going.

Finn sounded the Dord Fiann then, and Daire played some sorrowful music
to let their people know where they were. But when the Fianna heard the
music, it seemed to be a long way off; and sometimes they thought it was
in the north it was, and sometimes in the east, and then it changed to
the west, the way they did not know in the wide world where was it
coming from.

And as to Finn and Daire, a Druid mist came about them, and they did not
know what way they were going.

And after a while they met with a young woman, comely and pleasant, and
they asked who was she, and what brought her there. "Glanluadh is my
name," she said, "and my husband is Lobharan; and we were travelling
over the plain together a while ago, and we heard the cry of hounds, and
he left me and went after the hunt, and I do not know where is he, or
what way did he go." "Come on then with us," said Finn, "and we will
take care of you, for we ourselves do not know what way the hunt is
gone, east or west." So they went on, and before long they came to a
hill, and they heard sleepy music of the Sidhe beside them. And after
that there came shouts and noises, and then the music began again, and
heavy sleep came on Finn and Daire. And when they awoke from their sleep
they saw a very large lighted house before them, and a stormy blue sea
around it. Then they saw a very big grey man coming through the waves,
and he took hold of Finn and of Daire, and all their strength went from
them, and he brought them across the waves and into the house, and he
shut the door of the house with iron hooks. "My welcome to you, Finn of
the great name," he said then in a very harsh voice; "it is long we are
waiting here for you."

They sat down then on the hard side of a bed, and the woman of the house
came to them, and they knew her to be Ailne, wife of Meargach. "It is
long I am looking for you, Finn," she said, "to get satisfaction for the
treachery you did on Meargach and on my two comely young sons, and on
Tailc, son of Treon, and all his people. And do you remember that,
Finn?" she said. "I remember well," said Finn, "that they fell by the
swords of the Fianna, not by treachery but in fighting." "It was by
treachery they fell," said the Grey Man then; "and it is our witness to
it, pleasant Ailne to be the way she is, and many a strong army under
grief on account of her." "What is Ailne to you, man of the rough
voice?" said Finn. "I am her own brother," said the man.

With that he put bonds on the three, Finn and Daire and Glanluadh, and
he put them down into some deep shut place.

They were very sorrowful then, and they stopped there to the end of five
days and five nights, without food, without drink, without music.

And Ailne went to see them then, and Finn said to her: "O Ailne," he
said, "bring to mind the time you come to Cnoc-an-Air, and the way the
Fianna treated you with generosity; and it is not fitting for you," he
said, "to keep us now under shame and weakness and in danger of death."
"I know well I got kind treatment from Grania," said Ailne in a
sorrowful voice; "but for all that, Finn," she said, "if all the Fianna
were in that prison along with you under hard bonds, it would please me
well, and I would not pity their case. And what is it set you following
after Finn," she said then to Glanluadh, "for that is not a fitting
thing for you to do, and his own kind wife living yet."

Then Glanluadh told her the whole story, and how she was walking the
plain with Lobharan her husband, and he followed the hunt, and the mist
came about her that she did not know east from west, and how she met
then with Finn that she never saw before that time. "If that is so,"
said Ailne, "it is not right for you to be under punishment without

She called then to her brother the Grey Man, and bade him take the
spells off Glanluadh. And when she was set free it is sorry she was to
leave Daire in bonds, and Finn. And when she had bidden them farewell
she went out with Ailne, and there was food brought to her, but a cloud
of weakness came on her of a sudden, that it was a pity to see the way
she was.

And when Ailne saw that, she brought out an enchanted cup of the Sidhe
and gave her a drink from it. And no sooner did Glanluadh drink from the
cup than her strength and her own appearance came back to her again; but
for all that, she was fretting after Finn and Daire in their bonds. "It
seems to me, Glanluadh, you are fretting after those two men," said
Ailne. "I am sorry indeed," said Glanluadh, "the like of those men to be
shut up without food or drink." "If it is pleasing to you to give them
food you may give it," said Ailne, "for I will not make an end of them
till I see can I get the rest of the Fianna into bonds along with them."
The two women brought food and drink then to Finn, and to Daire; and
Glanluadh gave her blessing to Finn, and she cried when she saw the way
he was; but as to Ailne, she had no pity at all for the King of the

Now as to the Grey Man, he heard them talking of the Fianna, and they
were saying that Daire had a great name for the sweetness of his music.
"I have a mind to hear that sweet music," said he. So he went to the
place where they were, and he bade Daire to let him hear what sort of
music he could make. "My music pleased the Fianna well," said Daire;
"but I think it likely it would not please you." "Play it for me now,
till I know if the report I heard of you is true," said the Grey Man.
"Indeed, I have no mind for music," said Daire, "being weak and
downhearted the way I am, through your spells that put down my courage."
"I will take my spells off you for so long as you play for me," said the
Grey Man. "I could never make music seeing Finn in bonds the way he is,"
said Daire; "for it is worse to me, he to be under trouble than myself."
"I will take the power of my spells off Finn till you play for me," said
the Grey Man.

He weakened the spells then, and gave them food and drink, and it
pleased him greatly the way Daire played the music, and he called to
Glanluadh and to Ailne to come and to listen to the sweetness of it. And
they were well pleased with it, and it is glad Glanluadh was, seeing
them not so discouraged as they were.

Now as to the Fianna, they were searching for Finn and for Daire in
every place they had ever stopped in. And when they came to this place
they could hear Daire's sweet music; and at first they were glad when
they heard it, and then when they knew the way he himself and Finn were,
they made an attack on Ailne's dun to release them.

But the Grey Man heard their shouts, and he put the full power of his
spells again on Finn and on Daire. And the Fianna heard the music as if
stammering, and then they heard a great noise like the loud roaring of
waves, and when they heard that, there was not one of them but fell into
a sleep and clouds of death, under those sorrowful spells.

And then the Grey Man and Ailne came out quietly from where they were,
and they brought the whole of the men of the Fianna that were there into
the dun. And they put hard bonds on them, and put them where Finn and
Daire were. And there was great grief on Finn and Daire when they saw
them, and they were all left there together for a while.

Then Glanluadh said to the Grey Man: "If Daire's music is pleasing to
you, let him play it to us now." "If you have a mind for music," said
the Grey Man, "Daire must play it for us, and for Finn and his army as

They went then to where they were, and bade Daire to play. "I could
never play sweet music," said Daire, "the time the Fianna are in any
trouble; for when they are in trouble, I myself am in trouble, and I
could not sound any sweet string," he said, "while there is trouble on
any man of them." The Grey Man weakened the spells then on them all, and
Daire played first the strings of sweetness, and of the noise of
shouting, and then he sang his own grief and the grief of all the
Fianna. And at that the Grey Man said it would not be long before he
would put the whole of the Fianna to death; and then Daire played a tune
of heavy shouts of lamentation. And then at Finn's bidding he played the
music of sweet strings for the Fianna.

They were kept, now, a long time in that prison, and they got very hard
treatment; and sometimes Ailne's brother would come in and strike the
heads off some of them, for none of them could rise up from the seats
they were sitting on through his enchantments. But one time he was going
to strike the bald head off Conan, and Conan made a great leap from the
seat; but if he did, he left strips of his skin hanging to it, that his
back was left bare. And then he came round the Grey Man with his pitiful
words: "Stop your hand now," he said, "for that is enough for this time;
and do not send me to my death yet awhile, and heal me of my wounds
first," he said, "before you make an end of me." And the reason he said
that was because he knew Ailne to have an enchanted cup in the dun, that
had cured Glanluadh.

And the Grey Man took pity on his case, and he brought him out and bade
Ailne to bring the cup to him and to cure his wounds. "I will not bring
it," said Ailne, "for it would be best give no time at all to him or to
the Fianna, but to make an end of them." "It is not to be saved from
death I am asking, bright-faced Ailne," said Conan, "but only not to go
to my death stripped bare the way I am." When Ailne heard that, she
brought a sheepskin and she put it on Conan's back, and it fitted and
grew to him, and covered his wounds. "I will not put you to death,
Conan," said the Grey Man then, "but you can stop with myself to the end
of your life." "You will never be without grief and danger and the fear
of treachery if you keep him with you," said Ailne; "for there is
treachery in his heart the same as there is in the rest of them." "There
is no fear of that," said her brother, "or I will make no delay until I
put the whole of the Fianna to death." And with that he brought Conan to
where the enchanted cup was, and he put it in his hand. And just at that
moment they heard Daire playing very sweet sorrowful music, and the Grey
Man went to listen to it, very quick and proud. And Conan followed him
there, and after a while the Grey Man asked him what did he do with the
enchanted cup. "I left it where I found it, full of power," said Conan.

The Grey Man hurried back then to the place where the treasures of the
dun were. But no sooner was he gone than Conan took out the cup that he
had hidden, and he gave a drink from it to Finn and to Osgar and to the
rest of the Fianna. And they that were withered and shaking, without
strength, without courage, got back their own appearance and their
strength again on the moment.

And when the Grey Man came back from looking for the cup, and saw what
had happened, he took his sword and made a stroke at Conan. But Conan
called to Osgar to defend him, and Osgar attacked the Grey Man, and it
was not long till he made him acquainted with death.

And when Ailne saw that, with the grief and the dread that came on her,
she fell dead then and there.

Then all the Fianna made a feast with what they found of food and of
drink, and they were very joyful and merry. But when they rose up in the
morning, there was no trace or tidings of the dun, but it was on the
bare grass they were lying.

But as to Conan, the sheepskin never left him; and the wool used to grow
on it every year, the same as it would on any other skin.



One time when the Fianna were gone here and there hunting, Black
Garraidh and Caoilte were sitting beside Finn, and they were talking of
the battle where Finn's father was killed. And Finn said then to
Garraidh: "Tell me now, since you were there yourself, what way was it
you brought my father Cumhal to his death?" "I will tell you that since
you ask me," said Garraidh; "it was my own hand and the hands of the
rest of the sons of Morna that made an end of him." "That is cold
friendship from my followers the sons of Morna," said Finn. "If it is
cold friendship," said Garraidh, "put away the liking you are letting on
to have for us, and show us the hatred you have for us all the while."
"If I were to lift my hand against you now, sons of Morna," said Finn,
"I would be well able for you all without the help of any man." "It was
by his arts Cumhal got the upper hand of us," said Garraidh; "and when
he got power over us," he said, "he banished us to every far country; a
share of us he sent to Alban, and a share of us to dark Lochlann, and a
share of us to bright Greece, parting us from one another; and for
sixteen years we were away from Ireland, and it was no small thing to us
to be without seeing one another through that time. And the first day we
came back to Ireland," he said, "we killed sixteen hundred men, and no
lie in it, and not a man of them but would be keened by a hundred. And
we took their duns after that," he said, "and we went on till we were
all around one house in Munster of the red walls. But so great was the
bravery of the man in that house, that was your father, that it was
easier to find him than to kill him. And we killed all that were of his
race out on the hill, and then we made a quick rush at the house where
Cumhal was, and every man of us made a wound on his body with his spear.
And I myself was in it, and it was I gave him the first wound. And
avenge it on me now, Finn, if you have a mind to," he said.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was not long after that, Finn gave a feast at Almhuin for all his
chief men, and there came to it two sons of the King of Alban, and sons
of the kings of the great world. And when they were all sitting at the
feast, the serving-men rose up and took drinking-horns worked by skilled
men, and having shining stones in them, and they poured out strong drink
for the champions; and it is then mirth rose up in their young men, and
courage in their fighting men, and kindness and gentleness in their
women, and knowledge and foreknowledge in their poets.

And then a crier rose up and shook a rough iron chain to silence the
clowns and the common lads and idlers, and then he shook a chain of old
silver to silence the high lords and chief men of the Fianna, and the
learned men, and they all listened and were silent.

And Fergus of the True Lips rose up and sang before Finn the songs and
the good poems of his forefathers; and Finn and Oisin and Lugaidh's Son
rewarded him with every good thing. And then he went on to Goll, son of
Morna, and told the fights and the destructions and the cattle-drivings
and the courtings of his fathers; and it is well-pleased and high-minded
the sons of Morna were, listening to that.

And Goll said then: "Where is my woman-messenger?" "I am here, King of
the Fianna," said she. "Have you brought me my hand-tribute from the men
of Lochlann?" "I have brought it surely," said she. And with that she
rose up and laid on the floor of the hall before Goll a load of pure
gold, the size of a good pig, and that would be a heavy load for a
strong man. And Goll loosened the covering that was about it, and he
gave Fergus a good reward from it as he was used to do; for there never
was a wise, sharp-worded poet, or a sweet harp-player, or any learned
man of Ireland or of Alban, but Goll would give him gold or silver or
some good thing.

And when Finn saw that, he said: "How long is it, Goll, you have this
rent on the men of Lochlann, and my own rent being on them always with
it, and one of my own men, Ciaran son of Latharne, and ten hundred men
of his household, guarding it and guarding my right of hunting?" And
Goll saw there was anger on Finn, and he said: "It is a long time, Finn,
I have that rent on the men of Lochlann, from the time your father put
war and quarrels on me, and the King of Ireland joined with him, and I
was made to quit Ireland by them. And I went into Britain," he said,
"and I took the country and killed the king himself and did destruction
on his people, but Cumhal put me out of it; and from that I went to
Fionnlochlann, and the king fell by me, and his household, and Cumhal
put me out of it; and I went from that to the country of the Saxons, and
the king and his household fell by me, and Cumhal put me out of it. But
I came back then to Ireland, and I fought a battle against your father,
and he fell by me there. And it was at that time I put this rent upon
the men of Lochlann. And, Finn," he said, "it is not a rent of the
strong hand you have put on them, but it is a tribute for having the
protection of the Fianna of Ireland, and I do not lessen that. And you
need not begrudge that tribute to me," he said, "for if I had more than
that again, it is to you and to the men of Ireland I would give it."

There was great anger on Finn then, and he said: "You tell me, Goll," he
said, "by your own story, that you came from the city of Beirbhe to
fight against my father, and that you killed him in the battle; and it
is a bold thing you to tell that to me." "By your own hand," said Goll,
"if you were to give me the same treatment your father gave me, I would
pay you the same way as I paid him." "It would be hard for you to do
that," said Finn, "for there are a hundred men in my household against
every man there is in your household." "That was the same with your
father," said Goll, "and I avenged my disgrace on him; and I would do
the same on yourself if you earned it," he said.

Then Cairell of the White Skin, son of Finn, said: "It is many a man of
Finn's household you have put down, Goll!" And Bald Conan when he heard
that said: "I swear by my arms, Goll was never without having a hundred
men in his household, every one of them able to get the better of
yourself." "And is it to them you belong, crooked-speaking, bare-headed
Conan?" said Cairell. "It is to them I belong, you black, feeble,
nail-scratching, rough-skinned Cairell; and I will make you know it was
Finn was in the wrong," said Conan.

With that Cairell rose up and gave a furious blow of his fist to Conan,
and Conan took it with no great patience, but gave him back a blow in
his teeth, and from that they went on to worse blows again. And the two
sons of Goll rose up to help Conan, and Osgar went to the help of
Cairell, and it was not long till many of the chief men of the Fianna
were fighting on the one side or the other, on the side of Finn or on
the side of the sons of Morna.

But then Fergus of the True Lips rose up, and the rest of the poets of
the Fianna along with him, and they sang their songs and their poems to
check and to quiet them. And they left off their fighting at the sound
of the poets' songs, and they let their weapons fall on the floor, and
the poets took them up, and made peace between the fighters; and they
put bonds on Finn and on Goll to keep the peace for a while, till they
could ask for a judgment from the High King of Ireland. And that was the
end for that time of the little quarrel at Almhuin.

But it broke out again, one time there was a falling out between Finn
and Goll as to the dividing of a pig of the pigs of Manannan. And at
Daire Tardha, the Oak Wood of Bulls, in the province of Connacht, there
was a great fight between Finn's men and the sons of Morna. And the sons
of Morna were worsted, and fifteen of their men were killed; and they
made their mind up that from that time they would set themselves against
any friends of Finn or of his people. And it was Conan the Bald gave
them that advice, for he was always bitter, and a maker of quarrels and
of mischief in every place.

And they kept to their word, and spared no one. There was a
yellow-haired queen that Finn loved, Berach Brec her name was, and she
was wise and comely and worthy of any good man, and she had her house
full of treasures, and never refused the asking of any. And any one that
came to her house at Samhain time might stay till Beltaine, and have his
choice then to go or to stay. And the sons of Morna had fostered her,
and they went where she was and bade her to give up Finn and she need be
in no dread of them. But she said she would not give up her kind lover
to please them; and she was going away from them to her ship, and Art,
son of Morna, made a cast of his spear that went through her body, that
she died, and her people brought her up from the strand and buried her.

And as to Goll, he took a little hound that Finn thought a great deal
of, Conbeg its name was, and he drowned it in the sea; and its body was
brought up to shore by a wave afterwards, and it was buried under a
little green hill by the Fianna. And Caoilte made a complaint over it,
and he said how swift the little hound was after deer, or wild pigs, and
how good at killing them, and that it was a pity it to have died, out on
the cold green waves. And about that time, nine women of the Tuatha de
Danaan came to meet with nine men of the Fianna, and the sons of Morna
saw them coming and made an end of them.

And when Caoilte met with Goll, he made a cast of his spear at him that
struck the golden helmet off his head and a piece of his flesh along
with it. But Goll took it very proudly, and put on the helmet again and
took up his weapons, and called out to his brothers that he was no way

And Finn went looking for the sons of Morna in every place to do
vengeance on them. They were doing robbery and destruction one time in
Slieve Echtge, that got its name from Echtge, daughter of Nuada of the
Silver Hand, and Finn and the Fianna were to the west, at Slieve Cairn
in the district of Corcomruadh. And Finn was in doubt if the sons of
Morna were gone southward into Munster or north into Connacht. So he
sent Aedan and Cahal, two sons of the King of Ulster, and two hundred
righting men with them, into the beautiful pleasant province of
Connacht, and every day they used to go looking for the sons of Morna
from place to place. But after a while the three battalions of the
Fianna that were in Corcomruadh saw the track of a troop of men, and
they thought it to be the track of the sons of Morna; and they closed
round them at night, and made an end of them all. But when the full
light came on the morrow, they knew them to be their own people, that
were with the King of Ulster's sons, and they gave three great heavy
cries, keening the friends they had killed in mistake.

And Caoilte and Oisin went to Rath Medba and brought a great stone and
put it over the king's sons, and it was called Lia an Imracail, the
Stone of the Mistake. And the place where Goll brought his men the time
he parted from Finn in anger got the name of Druimscarha, the Parting
Hill of Heroes.


And at last it chanced that Goll and Cairell, son of Finn, met with one
another, and said sharp words, and they fought in the sea near the
strand, and Cairell got his death by Goll. And there was great anger and
great grief on Finn, seeing his son, that was so strong and comely,
lying dead and grey, like a blighted branch.

And as to Goll, he went away to a cave that was in a point stretching
out into the sea; and he thought to stop there till Finn's anger would
have passed.

And Osgar knew where he was, and he went to see him, that had been his
comrade in so many battles. But Goll thought it was as an enemy he came,
and he made a cast of his spear at him, and though Osgar got no wound by
it, it struck his shield and crushed it. And Finn took notice of the way
the shield was, and when he knew that Goll had made a cast at Osgar
there was greater anger again on him. And he sent out his men and bade
them to watch every path and every gap that led to the cave where Goll
was, the way they would make an end of him.

And when Goll knew Finn to be watching for his life that way, he made no
attempt to escape, but stopped where he was, without food, without
drink, and he blinded with the sand that was blowing into his eyes.

And his wife came to a rock where she could speak with him, and she
called to him to come to her. "Come over to me," she said; "and it is a
pity you to be blinded where you are, on the rocks of the waste sea,
with no drink but the salt water, a man that was first in every fight.
And come now to be sleeping beside me," she said; "and in place of the
hard sea-water I will nourish you from my own breast, and it is I will
do your healing. And the gold of your hair is my desire for ever," she
said, "and do not stop withering there like an herb in the winter-time,
and my heart black with grief within me."

But Goll would not leave the spot where he was for all she could say.
"It is best as it is," he said, "and I never took the advice of a woman
east or west, and I never will take it. And O sweet-voiced queen," he
said, "what ails you to be fretting after me; and remember now your
silver and your gold, and your silks and stuffs, and remember the seven
hounds I gave you at Cruadh Ceirrge, and every one of them without
slackness till he has killed the deer. And do not be crying tears after
me, queen with the white hands," he said; "but remember your constant
lover, Aodh, the son of the best woman of the world, that came out from
Spain asking for you, and that I fought at Corcar-an-Deirg; and go to
him now," he said, "for it is bad when a woman is in want of a good

And he lay down on the rocks, and at the end of twelve days he died. And
his wife keened him there, and made a great lamentation for her husband
that had such a great name, and that was the second best of the Fianna
of Ireland.

And when Conan heard of the death of Goll his brother, there was great
anger on him, and he went to Garraidh, and asked him to go with him to
Finn to ask satisfaction for Goll. "I am not willing to go," said
Garraidh, "since we could get no satisfaction for the great son of
Morna." "Whether you have a mind to go or not, I will go," said Conan;
"and I will make an end of every man I meet with, for the sake of
yellow-haired Goll; I will have the life of Oisin, Finn's great son, and
of Osgar and of Caoilte and of Daire of the Songs; I will have no
forgiveness for them; we must show no respect for Finn, although we may
die in the fight, having no help from Goll. And let us take that work in
hand, and make no delay," he said; "for if Finn is there, his strength
will be there, until we put him under his flag-stone."

But it is not likely Garraidh went with him, and he after speaking such
foolish words.

And what happened Conan in the end is not known. But there is a cairn of
stones on a hill of Burren, near to Corcomruadh, and the people of
Connacht say it is there he is buried, and that there was a stone found
there one time, having on it in the old writing: "Conan the
swift-footed, the bare-footed." But the Munster people say it is on
their own side of Burren he is buried.


Now, with one thing and another, the High King of Ireland had got to be
someway bitter against Finn and the Fianna; and one time that he had a
gathering of his people he spoke out to them, and he bade them to
remember all the harm that had been done them through the Fianna, and
all their pride, and the tribute they asked. "And as to myself," he
said, "I would sooner die fighting the Fianna, if I could bring them
down along with me, than live with Ireland under them the way it is

All his people were of the same mind, and they said they would make no
delay, but would attack the Fianna and make an end of them. "And we will
have good days of joy and of feasting," they said, "when once Almhuin is
clear of them."

And the High King began to make plans against Finn; and he sent to all
the men of Ireland to come and help him. And when all was ready, he sent
and bade Osgar to come to a feast he was making at Teamhair.

And Osgar, that never was afraid before any enemy, set out for Teamhair,
and three hundred of his men with him. And on the way they saw a woman
of the Sidhe washing clothes at a river, and there was the colour of
blood on the water where she was washing them. And Osgar said to her:
"There is red on the clothes you are washing; and it is for the dead you
are washing them." And the woman answered him, and it is what she said:
"It is not long till the ravens will be croaking over your own head
after the battle." "Is there any weakness in our eyes," said Osgar,
"that a little story like that would set us crying? And do another
foretelling for us now," he said, "and tell us will any man of our
enemies fall by us before we ourselves are made an end of?"

"There will nine hundred fall by yourself," she said; "and the High
King himself will get his death-wound from you."

Osgar and his men went on then to the king's house at Teamhair, and they
got good treatment, and the feast was made ready, and they were three
days at pleasure and at drinking.

And on the last day of the drinking, the High King called out with a
loud voice, and he asked Osgar would he make an exchange of spears with
him. "Why do you ask that exchange," said Osgar, "when I myself and my
spear were often with yourself in time of battle? And you would not ask
it of me," he said, "if Finn and the Fianna were with me now." "I would
ask it from any fighting man among you," said the king, "and for rent
and tribute along with it." "Any gold or any treasure you might ask of
us, we would give it to you," said Osgar, "but it is not right for you
to ask my spear." There were very high words between them then, and they
threatened one another, and at the last the High King said: "I will put
my spear of the seven spells out through your body." "And I give my word
against that," said Osgar, "I will put my spear of the nine spells
between the meeting of your hair and your beard."

With that he and his men rose up and went out of Teamhair, and they
stopped to rest beside a river, and there they heard the sound of a very
sorrowful tune, that was like keening, played on a harp. And there was
great anger on Osgar when he heard that, and he rose up and took his
arms and roused his people, and they went on again to where Finn was.
And there came after them a messenger from the High King, and the
message he brought was this, that he never would pay tribute to the
Fianna or bear with them at all from that time.

And when Finn heard that, he sent a challenge of battle, and he gathered
together all the Fianna that were left to him. But as to the sons of
Morna, it was to the High King of Ireland they gathered.

And it was at the hill of Gabhra the two armies met, and there were
twenty men with the King of Ireland for every man that was with Finn.

And it is a very hard battle was fought that day, and there were great
deeds done on both sides; and there never was a greater battle fought in
Ireland than that one.

And as to Osgar, it would be hard to tell all he killed on that day;
five score of the Sons of the Gael, and five score fighting men from the
Country of Snow, and seven score of the Men of Green Swords that never
went a step backward, and four hundred from the Country of the Lion, and
five score of the sons of kings; and the shame was for the King of

But as to Osgar himself, that began the day so swift and so strong, at
the last he was like leaves on a strong wind, or like an aspen-tree that
is falling. But when he saw the High King near him, he made for him like
a wave breaking on the strand; and the king saw him coming, and shook
his greedy spear, and made a cast of it, and it went through his body
and brought him down on his right knee, and that was the first grief of
the Fianna. But Osgar himself was no way daunted, but he made a cast of
his spear of the nine spells that went into the High King at the meeting
of the hair and the beard, and gave him his death. And when the men
nearest to the High King saw that, they put the king's helmet up on a
pillar, the way his people would think he was living yet. But Osgar saw
it, and he lifted a thin bit of a slab-stone that was on the ground
beside him, and he made a cast of it that broke the helmet where it was;
and then he himself fell like a king.

And there fell in that battle the seven sons of Caoilte, and the son of
the King of Lochlann that had come to give them his help, and it would
be hard to count the number of the Fianna that fell in that battle.

And when it was ended, those that were left of them went looking for
their dead. And Caoilte stooped down over his seven brave sons, and
every living man of the Fianna stooped over his own dear friends. And it
was a lasting grief to see all that were stretched in that place, but
the Fianna would not have taken it to heart the way they did, but for
being as they were, a beaten race.

And as to Oisin, he went looking for Osgar, and it is the way he found
him, lying stretched, and resting on his left arm and his broken shield
beside him, and his sword in his hand yet, and his blood about him on
every side. And he put out his hand to Oisin, and Oisin took it and gave
out a very hard cry. And Osgar said: "It is glad I am to see you safe,
my father." And Oisin had no answer to give him. And just then Caoilte
came where they were, and he looked at Osgar. "What way are you now, my
darling?" he said. "The way you would like me to be," said Osgar.

Then Caoilte searched the wound, and when he saw how the spear had torn
its way through to the back, he cried out, and a cloud came over him and
his strength failed him. "O Osgar," he said, "you are parted from the
Fianna, and they themselves must be parted from battle from this out,"
he said, "and they must pay their tribute to the King of Ireland."

Then Caoilte and Oisin raised up Osgar on their shields and brought him
to a smooth green hill till they would take his dress off. And there was
not a hands-breadth of his white body that was without a wound.

And when the rest of the Fianna saw what way Osgar was, there was not a
man of them that keened his own son or his brother, but every one of
them came keening Osgar.

And after a while, at noonday, they saw Finn coming towards them, and
what was left of the Sun-banner raised on a spear-shaft. All of them
saluted Finn then, but he made no answer, and he came up to the hill
where Osgar was. And when Osgar saw him coming he saluted him, and he
said: "I have got my desire in death, Finn of the sharp arms." And Finn
said: "It is worse the way you were, my son, on the day of the battle at
Beinn Edair when the wild geese could swim on your breast, and it was my
hand that gave you healing." "There can no healing be done for me now
for ever," said Osgar, "since the King of Ireland put the spear of seven
spells through my body." And Finn said: "It is a pity it was not I
myself fell in sunny scarce Gabhra, and you going east and west at the
head of the Fianna." "And if it was yourself fell in the battle," said
Osgar, "you would not hear me keening after you; for no man ever knew
any heart in me," he said, "but a heart of twisted horn, and it covered
with iron. But the howling of the dogs beside me," he said, "and the
keening of the old righting men, and the crying of the women one after
another, those are the things that are vexing me." And Finn said: "Child
of my child, calf of my calf, white and slender, it is a pity the way
you are. And my heart is starting like a deer," he said, "and I am weak
after you and after the Fianna of Ireland. And misfortune has followed
us," he said; "and farewell now to battles and to a great name, and
farewell to taking tributes; for every good thing I ever had is gone
from me now," he said.

And when Osgar heard those words he stretched out his hands, and his
eyelids closed. And Finn turned away from the rest, and he cried tears
down; and he never shed a tear through the whole length of his lifetime
but only for Osgar and for Bran.

And all that were left of the Fianna gave three gorrowful cries after
Osgar, for there was not one of the Fianna beyond him, unless it might
be Finn or Oisin.

And it is many of the Fianna were left dead in Gabhra, and graves were
made for them. And as to Lugaidh's Son, that was so tall a man and so
good a fighter, they made a very wide grave for him, as was fitting for
a king. And the whole length of the rath at Gabhra, from end to end, it
is that was the grave of Osgar, son of Oisin, son of Finn.

And as to Finn himself, he never had peace or pleasure again from that



One day Finn was hunting, and Bran went following after a fawn. And they
were coming towards Finn, and the fawn called out, and it said: "If I go
into the sea below I will never come back again; and if I go up into the
air above me, it will not save me from Bran." For Bran would overtake
the wild geese, she was that swift.

"Go out through my legs," said Finn then. So the fawn did that, and Bran
followed her; and as Bran went under him, Finn squeezed his two knees on
her, that she died on the moment.

And there was great grief on him after that, and he cried tears down the
same as he did when Osgar died.

And some said it was Finn's mother the fawn was, and that it was to save
his mother he killed Bran. But that is not likely, for his mother was
beautiful Muirne, daughter of Tadg, son of Nuada of the Tuatha de
Danaan, and it was never heard that she was changed into a fawn. It is
more likely it was Oisin's mother was in it.

But some say Bran and Sceolan are still seen to start at night out of
the thicket on the hill of Almhuin.


One misty morning, what were left of the Fianna were gathered together
to Finn, and it is sorrowful and downhearted they were after the loss of
so many of their comrades.

And they went hunting near the borders of Loch Lein, where the bushes
were in blossom and the birds were singing; and they were waking up the
deer that were as joyful as the leaves of a tree in summer-time.

And it was not long till they saw coming towards them from the west a
beautiful young woman, riding on a very fast slender white horse. A
queen's crown she had on her head, and a dark cloak of silk down to the
ground, having stars of red gold on it; and her eyes were blue and as
clear as the dew on the grass, and a gold ring hanging down from every
golden lock of her hair; and her cheeks redder than the rose, and her
skin whiter than the swan upon the wave, and her lips as sweet as honey
that is mixed through red wine.

And in her hand she was holding a bridle having a golden bit, and there
was a saddle worked with red gold under her. And as to the horse, he had
a wide smooth cloak over him, and a silver crown on the back of his
head, and he was shod with shining gold.

She came to where Finn was, and she spoke with a very kind, gentle
voice, and she said: "It is long my journey was, King of the Fianna."
And Finn asked who was she, and what was her country and the cause of
her coming. "Niamh of the Golden Head is my name," she said; "and I have
a name beyond all the women of the world, for I am the daughter of the
King of the Country of the Young." "What was it brought you to us from
over the sea, Queen?" said Finn then. "Is it that your husband is gone
from you, or what is the trouble that is on you?" "My husband is not gone
from me," she said, "for I never went yet to any man. But O King of the
Fianna," she said, "I have given my love and my affection to your own
son, Oisin of the strong hands." "Why did you give your love to him
beyond all the troops of high princes that are under the sun?" said
Finn. "It was by reason of his great name, and of the report I heard of
his bravery and of his comeliness," she said. "And though there is many
a king's son and high prince gave me his love, I never consented to any
till I set my love on Oisin."

When Oisin heard what she was saying, there was not a limb of his body
that was not in love with beautiful Niamh; and he took her hand in his
hand, and he said: "A true welcome before you to this country, young
queen. It is you are the shining one," he said; "it is you are the
nicest and the comeliest; it is you are better to me than any other
woman; it is you are my star and my choice beyond the women of the
entire world." "I put on you the bonds of a true hero," said Niamh then,
"you to come away with me now to the Country of the Young." And it is
what she said:

"It is the country is most delightful of all that are under the sun; the
trees are stooping down with fruit and with leaves and with blossom.

"Honey and wine are plentiful there, and everything the eye has ever
seen; no wasting will come on you with the wasting away of time; you
will never see death or lessening.

"You will get feasts, playing and drinking; you will get sweet music on
the strings; you will get silver and gold and many jewels.

"You will get, and no lie in it, a hundred swords; a hundred cloaks of
the dearest silk; a hundred horses, the quickest in battle; a hundred
willing hounds.

"You will get the royal crown of the King of the Young that he never
gave to any one under the sun. It will be a shelter to you night and
day in every rough fight and in every battle.

"You will get a right suit of armour; a sword, gold-hilted, apt for
striking; no one that ever saw it got away alive from it.

"A hundred coats of armour and shirts of satin; a hundred cows and a
hundred calves; a hundred sheep having golden fleeces; a hundred jewels
that are not of this world.

"A hundred glad young girls shining like the sun, their voices sweeter
than the music of birds; a hundred armed men strong in battle, apt at
feats, waiting on you, if you will come with me to the Country of the

"You will get everything I have said to you, and delights beyond them,
that I have no leave to tell; you will get beauty, strength and power,
and I myself will be with you as a wife."

And after she had made that song, Oisin said: "O pleasant golden-haired
queen, you are my choice beyond the women of the world; and I will go
with you willingly," he said.

And with that he kissed Finn his father and bade him farewell, and he
bade farewell to the rest of the Fianna, and he went up then on the
horse with Niamh.

And the horse set out gladly, and when he came to the strand he shook
himself and he neighed three times, and then he made for the sea. And
when Finn and the Fianna saw Oisin facing the wide sea, they gave three
great sorrowful shouts. And as to Finn, he said: "It is my grief to see
you going from me; and I am without a hope," he said, "ever to see you
coming back to me again."


And indeed that was the last time Finn and Oisin and the rest of the
Fianna of Ireland were gathered together, for hunting, for battle, for
chess-playing, for drinking or for music; for they all wore away after
that, one after another.

As to Caoilte, that was old and had lost his sons, he used to be
fretting and lonesome after the old times. And one day that there was
very heavy snow on the ground, he made this complaint:--

"It is cold the winter is; the wind is risen; the fierce high-couraged
stag rises up; it is cold the whole mountain is to-night, yet the fierce
stag is calling. The deer of Slievecarn of the gatherings does not lay
his side to the ground; he no less than the stag of the top of cold
Echtge hears the music of the wolves.

"I, Caoilte, and brown-haired Diarmuid and pleasant light-footed Osgar,
we used to be listening to the music of the wolves through the end of
the cold night. It is well the brown deer sleeps with its hide to the
hollow, hidden as if in the earth, through the end of the cold night.

"To-day I am in my age, and I know but a few men; I used to shake my
spear bravely in the ice-cold morning. It is often I put silence on a
great army that is very cold to-night."

And after a while he went into a hill of the Sidhe to be healed of his
old wounds. And whether he came back from there or not is not known; and
there are some that say he used to be talking with Patrick of the Bells
the same time Oisin was with him. But that is not likely, or Oisin would
not have made complaints about his loneliness the way he did.

But a long time after that again, there was a king of Ireland making a
journey. And he and his people missed their way, and when night-time
came on, they were in a dark wood, and no path before them.

And there came to them a very tall man, that was shining like a burning
flame, and he took hold of the bridle of the king's horse, and led him
through the wood till they came to the right road. And the King of
Ireland asked him who was he, and first he said: "I am your
candlestick"; and then he said: "I was with Finn one time." And the king
knew it was Caoilte, son of Ronan, was in it.

And three times nine of the rest of the Fianna came out of the west one
time to Teamhair. And they took notice that now they were wanting their
full strength and their great name, no one took notice of them or came
to speak with them at all. And when they saw that, they lay down on the
side of the hill at Teamhair, and put their lips to the earth and died.

And for three days and a month and a year from the time of the
destruction of the Fianna of Ireland, Loch Dearg was under mists.

       *       *       *       *       *

And as to Finn, there are some say he died by the hand of a fisherman;
but it is likely that is not true, for that would be no death for so
great a man as Finn, son of Cumhal. And there are some say he never
died, but is alive in some place yet.

And one time a smith made his way into a cave he saw, that had a door to
it, and he made a key that opened it. And when he went in he saw a very
wide place, and very big men lying on the floor. And one that was bigger
than the rest was lying in the middle, and the Dord Fiann beside him;
and he knew it was Finn and the Fianna were in it.

And the smith took hold of the Dord Fiann, and it is hardly he could
lift it to his mouth, and he blew a very strong blast on it, and the
sound it made was so great, it is much the rocks did not come down on
him. And at the sound, the big men lying on the ground shook from head
to foot. He gave another blast then, and they all turned on their

And great dread came on him when he saw that, and he threw down the Dord
Fiann and ran from the caye and locked the door after him, and threw the
key into the lake. And he heard them crying after him, "You left us
worse than you found us." And the cave was not found again since that

But some say the day will come when the Dord Fiann will be sounded three
times, and that at the sound of it the Fianna will rise up as strong and
as well as ever they were. And there are some say Finn, son of Cumhal,
has been on the earth now and again since the old times, in the shape of
one of the heroes of Ireland.

And as to the great things he and his men did when they were together,
it is well they have been kept in mind through the poets of Ireland and
of Alban. And one night there were two men minding sheep in a valley,
and they were saying the poems of the Fianna while they were there. And
they saw two very tall shapes on the two hills on each side of the
valley, and one of the tall shapes said to the other: "Do you hear that
man down below? I was the second doorpost of battle at Gabhra, and that
man knows all about it better than myself."



As to Oisin, it was a long time after he was brought away by Niamh that
he came back again to Ireland. Some say it was hundreds of years he was
in the Country of the Young, and some say it was thousands of years he
was in it; but whatever time it was, it seemed short to him.

And whatever happened him through the time he was away, it is a withered
old man he was found after coming back to Ireland, and his white horse
going away from him, and he lying on the ground.

And it was S. Patrick had power at that time, and it was to him Oisin
was brought; and he kept him in his house, and used to be teaching him
and questioning him. And Oisin was no way pleased with the way Ireland
was then, but he used to be talking of the old times, and fretting after
the Fianna.

And Patrick bade him to tell what happened him the time he left Finn and
the Fianna and went away with Niamh. And it is the story Oisin
told:--"The time I went away with golden-haired Niamh, we turned our
backs to the land, and our faces westward, and the sea was going away
before us, and filling up in waves after us. And we saw wonderful things
on our journey," he said, "cities and courts and duns and lime-white
houses, and shining sunny-houses and palaces. And one time we saw beside
us a hornless deer running hard, and an eager white red-eared hound
following after it. And another time we saw a young girl on a horse and
having a golden apple in her right hand, and she going over the tops of
the waves; and there was following after her a young man riding a white
horse, and having a crimson cloak and a gold-hilted sword in his right

"Follow on with your story, pleasant Oisin," said Patrick, "for you did
not tell us yet what was the country you went to."

"The Country of the Young, the Country of Victory, it was," said Oisin.
"And O Patrick," he said, "there is no lie in that name; and if there
are grandeurs in your Heaven the same as there are there, I would give
my friendship to God.

"We turned our backs then to the dun," he said, "and the horse under us
was quicker than the spring wind on the backs of the mountains. And it
was not long till the sky darkened, and the wind rose in every part, and
the sea was as if on fire, and there was nothing to be seen of the sun.

"But after we were looking at the clouds and the stars for a while the
wind went down, and the storm, and the sun brightened. And we saw before
us a very delightful country under full blossom, and smooth plains in
it, and a king's dun that was very grand, and that had every colour in
it, and sunny-houses beside it, and palaces of shining stones, made by
skilled men. And we saw coming out to meet us three fifties of armed
men, very lively and handsome. And I asked Niamh was this the Country of
the Young, and she said it was. 'And indeed, Oisin,' she said, 'I told
you no lie about it, and you will see all I promised you before you for

"And there came out after that a hundred beautiful young girls, having
cloaks of silk worked with gold, and they gave me a welcome to their own
country. And after that there came a great shining army, and with it a
strong beautiful king, having a shirt of yellow silk and a golden cloak
over it, and a very bright crown on his head. And there was following
after him a young queen, and fifty young girls along with her.

"And when all were come to the one spot, the king took me by the hand,
and he said out before them all: 'A hundred thousand welcomes before
you, Oisin, son of Finn. And as to this country you are come to,' he
said, 'I will tell you news of it without a lie. It is long and lasting
your life will be in it, and you yourself will be young for ever. And
there is no delight the heart ever thought of,' he said, 'but it is
here against your coming. And you can believe my words, Oisin,' he said,
'for I myself am the King of the Country of the Young, and this is its
comely queen, and it was golden-headed Niamh our daughter that went over
the sea looking for you to be her husband for ever.' I gave thanks to
him then, and I stooped myself down before the queen, and we went
forward to the royal house, and all the high nobles came out to meet us,
both men and women, and there was a great feast made there through the
length of ten days and ten nights.

"And that is the way I married Niamh of the Golden Hair, and that is the
way I went to the Country of the Young, although it is sorrowful to me
to be telling it now, O Patrick from Rome," said Oisin.

"Follow on with your story, Oisin of the destroying arms," said Patrick,
"and tell me what way did you leave the Country of the Young, for it is
long to me till I hear that; and tell us now had you any children by
Niamh, and was it long you were in that place."

"Two beautiful children I had by Niamh," said Oisin, "two young sons and
a comely daughter. And Niamh gave the two sons the name of Finn and of
Osgar, and the name I gave to the daughter was The Flower.

"And I did not feel the time passing, and it was a long time I stopped
there," he said, "till the desire came on me to see Finn and my comrades
again. And I asked leave of the king and of Niamh to go back to Ireland.
'You will get leave from me,' said Niamh; 'but for all that,' she said,
'it is bad news you are giving me, for I am in dread you will never come
back here again through the length of your days.' But I bade her have no
fear, since the white horse would bring me safe back again from Ireland.
'Bear this in mind, Oisin,' she said then, 'if you once get off the
horse while you are away, or if you once put your foot to ground, you
will never come back here again. And O Oisin,' she said, 'I tell it to
you now for the third time, if you once get down from the horse, you
will be an old man, blind and withered, without liveliness, without
mirth, without running, without leaping. And it is a grief to me,
Oisin,' she said, 'you ever to go back to green Ireland; and it is not
now as it used to be, and you will not see Finn and his people, for
there is not now in the whole of Ireland but a Father of Orders and
armies of saints; and here is my kiss for you, pleasant Oisin,' she
said, 'for you will never come back any more to the Country of the

"And that is my story, Patrick, and I have told you no lie in it," said
Oisin. "And O Patrick," he said, "if I was the same the day I came here
as I was that day, I would have made an end of all your clerks, and
there would not be a head left on a neck after me."

"Go on with your story," said Patrick, "and you will get the same good
treatment from me you got from Finn, for the sound of your voice is
pleasing to me."

So Oisin went on with his story, and it is what he said: "I have nothing
to tell of my journey till I came back into green Ireland, and I looked
about me then on all sides, but there were no tidings to be got of Finn.
And it was not long till I saw a great troop of riders, men and women,
coming towards me from the west. And when they came near they wished me
good health; and there was wonder on them all when they looked at me,
seeing me so unlike themselves, and so big and so tall.

"I asked them then did they hear if Finn was still living, or any other
one of the Fianna, or what had happened them. 'We often heard of Finn
that lived long ago,' said they, 'and that there never was his equal for
strength or bravery or a great name; and there is many a book written
down,' they said, 'by the sweet poets of the Gael, about his doings and
the doings of the Fianna, and it would be hard for us to tell you all
of them. And we heard Finn had a son,' they said, 'that was beautiful
and shining, and that there came a young girl looking for him, and he
went away with her to the Country of the Young.'

"And when I knew by their talk that Finn was not living or any of the
Fianna, it is downhearted I was, and tired, and very sorrowful after
them. And I made no delay, but I turned my face and went on to Almhuin
of Leinster. And there was great wonder on me when I came there to see
no sign at all of Finn's great dun, and his great hall, and nothing in
the place where it was but weeds and nettles."

And there was grief on Oisin then, and he said: "Och, Patrick! Och,
ochone, my grief! It is a bad journey that was to me; and to be without
tidings of Finn or the Fianna has left me under pain through my

"Leave off fretting, Oisin," said Patrick, "and shed your tears to the
God of grace. Finn and the Fianna are slack enough now, and they will
get no help for ever." "It is a great pity that would be," said Oisin,
"Finn to be in pain for ever; and who was it gained the victory over
him, when his own hand had made an end of so many a hard fighter?"

"It is God gained the victory over Finn," said Patrick, "and not the
strong hand of an enemy; and as to the Fianna, they are condemned to
hell along with him, and tormented for ever."

"O Patrick," said Oisin, "show me the place where Finn and his people
are, and there is not a hell or a heaven there but I will put it down.
And if Osgar, my own son, is there," he said, "the hero that was bravest
in heavy battles, there is not in hell or in the Heaven of God a troop
so great that he could not destroy it."

"Let us leave off quarrelling on each side now," said Patrick; "and go
on, Oisin, with your story. What happened you after you knew the Fianna
to be at an end?"

"I will tell you that, Patrick," said Oisin. "I was turning to go away,
and I saw the stone trough that the Fianna used to be putting their
hands in, and it full of water. And when I saw it I had such a wish and
such a feeling for it that I forgot what I was told, and I got off the
horse. And in the minute all the years came on me, and I was lying on
the ground, and the horse took fright and went away and left me there,
an old man, weak and spent, without sight, without shape, without
comeliness, without strength or understanding, without respect.

"There, Patrick, is my story for you now," said Oisin, "and no lie in
it, of all that happened me going away and coming back again from the
Country of the Young."


And Oisin stopped on with S. Patrick, but he was not very well content
with the way he was treated. And one time he said: "They say I am
getting food, but God knows I am not, or drink; and I Oisin, son of
Finn, under a yoke, drawing stones." "It is my opinion you are getting
enough," said S. Patrick then, "and you getting a quarter of beef and a
churn of butter and a griddle of bread every day." "I often saw a
quarter of a blackbird bigger than your quarter of beef," said Oisin,
"and a rowan berry as big as your churn of butter, and an ivy leaf as
big as your griddle of bread." S, Patrick was vexed when he heard that,
and he said to Oisin that he had told a lie.

There was great anger on Oisin then, and he went where there was a
litter of pups, and he bade a serving-boy to nail up the hide of a
freshly killed bullock to the wall, and to throw the pups against it one
by one. And every one that he threw fell down from the hide till it came
to the last, and he held on to it with his teeth and his nails. "Rear
that one," said Oisin, "and drown all the rest."

Then he bade the boy to keep the pup in a dark place, and to care it
well, and never to let it taste blood or see the daylight. And at the
end of a year, Oisin was so well pleased with the pup, that he gave it
the name of Bran Og, young Bran.

And one day he called to the serving-boy to come on a journey with him,
and to bring the pup in a chain. And they set out and passed by
Slieve-nam-ban, where the witches of the Sidhe do be spinning with their
spinning-wheels; and then they turned eastward into Gleann-na-Smol. And
Oisin raised a rock that was there, and he bade the lad take from under
it three things, a great sounding horn of the Fianna, and a ball of iron
they had for throwing, and a very sharp sword. And when Oisin saw those
things, he took them in his hands, and he said: "My thousand farewells
to the day when you were put here!" He bade the lad to clean them well
then; and when he had done that, he bade him to sound a blast on the
horn. So the boy did that, and Oisin asked him did he see anything
strange. "I did not," said the boy. "Sound it again as loud as you can,"
said Oisin. "That is as hard as I can sound it, and I can see nothing
yet," said the boy when he had done that. Then Oisin took the horn
himself, and he put it to his mouth, and blew three great blasts on it.
"What do you see now?" he said. "I see three great clouds coming," he
said, "and they are settling down in the valley; and the first cloud is
a flight of very big birds, and the second cloud is a flight of birds
that are bigger again, and the third flight is of the biggest and the
blackest birds the world ever saw."

"What is the dog doing?" said Oisin. "The eyes are starting from his
head, and there is not a rib of hair on him but is standing up." "Let
him loose now," said Oisin.

The dog rushed down to the valley then, and he made an attack on one of
the birds, that was the biggest of all, and that had a shadow like a
cloud. And they fought a very fierce fight, but at last Bran Og made an
end of the big bird, and lapped its blood. But if he did, madness came
on him, and he came rushing back towards Oisin, his jaws open and his
eyes like fire. "There is dread on me, Oisin," said the boy, "for the
dog is making for us, mad and raging." "Take this iron ball and make a
cast at him when he comes near," said Oisin. "I am in dread to do that,"
said the boy. "Put it in my hand, and turn it towards him," said Oisin.
The boy did that, and Oisin made a cast of the ball that went into the
mouth and the throat of the dog, and choked him, and he fell down the
slope, twisting and foaming.

Then they went where the great bird was left dead, and Oisin bade the
lad to cut a quarter off it with the sword, and he did so. And then he
bade him cut open the body, and in it he found a rowan berry, the
biggest he had ever seen, and an ivy leaf that was bigger than the
biggest griddle.

So Oisin turned back then, and went to where S. Patrick was, and he
showed him the quarter of the bird that was bigger than any quarter of a
bullock, and the rowan berry that was bigger than a churning of butter,
and the leaf. "And you know now, Patrick of the Bells," he said, "that I
told no lie; and it is what kept us all through our lifetime," he said,
"truth that was in our hearts, and strength in our arms, and fulfilment
in our tongues."

"You told no lie indeed," said Patrick.

And when Oisin had no sight left at all, he used every night to put up
one of the serving-men on his shoulders, and to bring him out to see how
were the cattle doing. And one night the servants had no mind to go, and
they agreed together to tell him it was a very bad night.

And it is what the first of them said; "It is outside there is a heavy
sound with the heavy water dropping from the tops of trees; the sound of
the waves is not to be heard for the loud splashing of the rain." And
then the next one said: "The trees of the wood are shivering, and the
birch is turning black; the snow is killing the birds; that is the story
outside." And the third said: "It is to the east they have turned their
face, the white snow and the dark rain; it is what is making the plain
so cold is the snow that is dripping and getting hard."

But there was a serving-girl in the house, and she said: "Rise up,
Oisin, and go out to the white-headed cows, since the cold wind is
plucking the trees from the hills."

Oisin went out then, and the serving-man on his shoulders; but it is
what the serving-man did, he brought a vessel of water and a birch broom
with him, and he was dashing water in Oisin's face, the way he would
think it was rain. But when they came to the pen where the cattle were,
Oisin found the night was quiet, and after that he asked no more news of
the weather from the servants.


And S. Patrick took in hand to convert Oisin, and to bring him to
baptism; but it was no easy work he had to do, and everything he would
say, Oisin would have an answer for it. And it is the way they used to
be talking and arguing with one another, as it was put down afterwards
by the poets of Ireland:--

PATRICK. "Oisin, it is long your sleep is. Rise up and listen to the
Psalm. Your strength and your readiness are gone from you, though you
used to be going into rough fights and battles."

OLSIN. "My readiness and my strength are gone from me since Finn has no
armies living; I have no liking for clerks, their music is not sweet to
me after his."

PATRICK. "You never heard music so good from the beginning of the world
to this day; it is well you would serve an army on a hill, you that are
old and silly and grey."

OLSIN. "I used to serve an army on a hill, Patrick of the closed-up
mind; it is a pity you to be faulting me; there was never shame put on
me till now.

"I have heard music was sweeter than your music, however much you are
praising your clerks: the song of the blackbird in Leiter Laoi, and the
sound of the Dord Fiann; the very sweet thrush of the Valley of the
Shadow, or the sound of the boats striking the strand. The cry of the
hounds was better to me than the noise of your schools, Patrick.

"Little Nut, little Nut of my heart, the little dwarf that was with
Finn, when he would make tunes and songs he would put us all into deep

"The twelve hounds that belonged to Finn, the time they would be let
loose facing out from the Siuir, their cry was sweeter than harps and
than pipes.

"I have a little story about Finn; we were but fifteen men; we took the
King of the Saxons of the feats, and we won a battle against the King of

"We fought nine battles in Spain, and nine times twenty battles in
Ireland; from Lochlann and from the eastern world there was a share of
gold coming to Finn.

"My grief! I to be stopping after him, and without delight in games or
in music; to be withering away after my comrades; my grief it is to be
living. I and the clerks of the Mass books are two that can never agree.

"If Finn and the Fianna were living, I would leave the clerks and the
bells; I would follow the deer through the valleys, I would like to be
close on his track.

"Ask Heaven of God, Patrick, for Finn of the Fianna and his race; make
prayers for the great man; you never heard of his like."

PATRICK. "I will not ask Heaven for Finn, man of good wit that my anger
is rising against, since his delight was to be living in valleys with
the noise of hunts."

OISIN. "If you had been in company with the Fianna, Patrick of the
joyless clerks and of the bells, you would not be attending on schools
or giving heed to God."

PATRICK. "I would not part from the Son of God for all that have lived
east or west; O Oisin, O shaking poet, there will harm come on you in
satisfaction for the priests."

OISIN. "It was a delight to Finn the cry of his hounds on the mountains,
the wild dogs leaving their harbours, the pride of his armies, those
were his delights."

PATRICK. "There was many a thing Finn took delight in, and there is not
much heed given to it after him; Finn and his hounds are not living now,
and you yourself will not always be living, Oisin."

OISIN. "There is a greater story of Finn than of us, or of any that have
lived in our time; all that are gone and all that are living, Finn was
better to give out gold than themselves."

PATRICK. "All the gold you and Finn used to be giving out, it is little
it does for you now; he is in Hell in bonds because he did treachery and

OISIN. "It is little I believe of your truth, man from Rome with the
white books, Finn the open-handed head of the Fianna to be in the hands
of devils or demons."

PATRICK. "Finn is in bonds in Hell, the pleasant man that gave out
gold; in satisfaction for his disrespect to God, he is under grief in
the house of pain."

OISIN. "If the sons of Morna were within it, or the strong men of the
sons of Baiscne, they would take Finn out of it, or they would have the
house for themselves."

PATRICK. "If the five provinces of Ireland were within it, or the strong
seven battalions of the Fianna, they would not be able to bring Finn out
of it, however great their strength might be."

OISIN. "If Faolan and Goll were living, and brown-haired Diarmuid and
brave Osgar, Finn of the Fianna could not be held in any house that was
made by God or devils."

PATRICK. "If Faolan and Goll were living, and all the Fianna that ever
were, they could not bring out Finn from the house where he is in pain."

OISIN. "What did Finn do against God but to be attending on schools and
on armies? Giving gold through a great part of his time, and for another
while trying his hounds."

PATRICK. "In payment for thinking of his hounds and for serving the
schools of the poets, and because he gave no heed to God, Finn of the
Fianna is held down."

OISIN. "You say, Patrick of the Psalms, that the Fianna could not take
out Finn, or the five provinces of Ireland along with them.

"I have a little story about Finn. We were but fifteen men when we took
the King of Britain of the feasts by the strength of our spears and our
own strength.

"We took Magnus the great, the son of the King of Lochlann of the
speckled ships; we came back no way sorry or tired, we put our rent on
far places.

"O Patrick, the story is pitiful, the King of the Fianna to be under
locks; a heart without envy, without hatred, a heart hard in earning

"It is an injustice, God to be unwilling to give food and riches; Finn
never refused strong or poor, although cold Hell is now his

"It is what Finn had a mind for, to be listening to the sound of Druim
Dearg; to sleep at the stream of Ess Ruadh, to be hunting the deer of
Gallimh of the bays.

"The cries of the blackbird of Leiter Laoi, the wave of Rudraighe
beating the strand, the bellowing of the ox of Magh Maoin, the lowing of
the calf of Gleann da Mhail.

"The noise of the hunt on Slieve Crot, the sound of the fawns round
Slieve Cua, the scream of the sea-gulls there beyond on Iorrus, the
screech of the crows over the battle.

"The waves vexing the breasts of the boats, the howling of the hounds at
Druim Lis; the voice of Bran on Cnoc-an-Air, the outcry of the streams
about Slieve Mis.

"The call of Osgar going to the hunt; the voice of the hounds on the
road of the Fianna, to be listening to them and to the poets, that was
always his desire.

"A desire of the desires of Osgar was to listen to the striking of
shields; to be hacking at bones in a battle, it is what he had a mind
for always.

"We went westward one time to hunt at Formaid of the Fianna, to see the
first running of our hounds.

"It was Finn was holding Bran, and it is with myself Sceolan was;
Diarmuid of the Women had Fearan, and Osgar had lucky Adhnuall.

"Conan the Bald had Searc; Caoilte, son of Ronan, had Daol; Lugaidh's
Son and Goll were holding Fuaim and Fothran.

"That was the first day we loosed out a share of our hounds to a
hunting; and Och! Patrick, of all that were in it, there is not one left
living but myself.

"O Patrick, it is a pity the way I am now, a spent old man without
sway, without quickness, without strength, going to Mass at the altar.

"Without the great deer of Slieve Luchra; without the hares of Slieve
Cuilinn; without going into fights with Finn; without listening to the

"Without battles, without taking of spoils; without playing at nimble
feats; without going courting or hunting, two trades that were my

PATRICK. "Leave off, old man, leave your foolishness; let what you have
done be enough for you from this out. Think on the pains that are before
you; the Fianna are gone, and you yourself will be going."

OISIN. "If I go, may yourself not be left after me, Patrick of the
hindering heart; if Conan, the least of the Fianna, were living, your
buzzing would not be left long to you."

"Or if this was the day I gave ten hundred cows to the headless woman
that came to the Valley of the Two Oxen; the birds of the air brought
away the ring I gave her, I never knew where she went herself from me."

PATRICK. "That is little to trouble you, Oisin; it was but for a while
she was with you; it is better for you to be as you are than to be among
them again."

OISIN. "O Son of Calphurn of the friendly talk, it is a pity for him
that gives respect to clerks and bells; I and Caoilte my friend, we were
not poor when we were together.

"The music that put Finn to his sleep was the cackling of the ducks from
the lake of the Three Narrows; the scolding talk of the blackbird of
Doire an Cairn, the bellowing of the ox from the Valley of the Berries.

"The whistle of the eagle from the Valley of Victories, or from the
rough branches of the ridge by the stream; the grouse of the heather of
Cruachan; the call of the otter of Druim-re-Coir.

"The song of the blackbird of Doire an Cairn indeed I never heard
sweeter music, if I could be under its nest.

"My grief that I ever took baptism; it is little credit I got by it,
being without food, without drink, doing fasting and praying."

PATRICK. "In my opinion it did not harm you, old man; you will get nine
score cakes of bread, wine and meat to put a taste on it; it is bad talk
you are giving."

OISIN. "This mouth that is talking with you, may it never confess to a
priest, if I would not sooner have the leavings of Finn's house than a
share of your own meals."

PATRICK. "He got but what he gathered from the banks, or whatever he
could kill on the rough hills; he got hell at the last because of his

OISIN. "That was not the way with us at all, but our fill of wine and of
meat; justice and a right beginning at the feasts, sweet drinks and
every one drinking them.

"It is fretting after Diarmuid and Goll I am, and after Fergus of the
True Lips, the time you will not let me be speaking of them, O new
Patrick from Rome."

PATRICK. "We would give you leave to be speaking of them, but first you
should give heed to God. Since you are now at the end of your days,
leave your foolishness, weak old man."

OISIN. "O Patrick, tell me as a secret, since it is you have the best
knowledge, will my dog or my hound be let in with me to the court of the
King of Grace?"

PATRICK. "Old man in your foolishness that I cannot put any bounds to,
your dog or your hound will not be let in with you to the court of the
King of Power."

OISIN. "If I had acquaintance with God, and my hound to be at hand, I
would make whoever gave food to myself give a share to my hound as well.

"One strong champion that was with the Fianna of Ireland would be better
than the Lord of Piety, and than you yourself, Patrick."

PATRICK. "O Oisin of the sharp blades, it is mad words you are saying.
God is better for one day than the whole of the Fianna of Ireland."

OISIN. "Though I am now without sway and my life is spent to the end, do
not put abuse, Patrick, on the great men of the sons of Baiscne.

"If I had Conan with me, the man that used to be running down the
Fianna, it is he would break your head within among your clerks and your

PATRICK. "It is a silly thing, old man, to be talking always of the
Fianna; remember your end is come, and take the Son of God to help you."

OISIN. "I used to sleep out on the mountain under the grey dew; I was
never used to go to bed without food, while there was a deer on the hill

PATRICK. "You are astray at the end of your life between the straight
way and the crooked. Keep out from the crooked path of pains, and the
angels of God will come beneath your head."

OISIN. "If myself and open-handed Fergus and Diarmuid were together now
on this spot, we would go in every path we ever went in, and ask no
leave of the priests."

PATRICK. "Leave off, Oisin; do not be speaking against the priests that
are telling the word of God in every place. Unless you leave off your
daring talk, it is great pain you will have in the end."

OISIN. "When myself and the leader of the Fianna were looking for a boar
in a valley, it was worse to me not to see it than all your clerks to be
without their heads."

PATRICK. "It is pitiful seeing you without sense; that is worse to you
than your blindness; if you were to get sight within you, it is great
your desire would be for Heaven."

OISIN. "It is little good it would be to me to be sitting in that city,
without Caoilte, without Osgar, without my father being with me.

"The leap of the buck would be better to me, or the sight of badgers
between two valleys, than all your mouth is promising me, and all the
delights I could get in Heaven."

PATRICK. "Your thoughts are foolish, they will come to nothing; your
pleasure and your mirth are gone. Unless you will take my advice
to-night, you will not get leave on this side or that."

OISIN. "If myself and the Fianna were on the top of a hill to-day
drawing our spear-heads, we would have our choice of being here or there
in spite of books and priests and bells."

PATRICK. "You were like the smoke of a wisp, or like a stream in a
valley, or like a whirling wind on the top of a hill, every tribe of you
that ever lived."

OISIN. "If I was in company with the people of strong arms, the way I
was at Bearna da Coill, I would sooner be looking at them than at this
troop of the crooked croziers.

"If I had Scolb Sceine with me, or Osgar, that was smart in battles, I
would not be without meat to-night at the sound of the bell of the seven

PATRICK. "Oisin, since your wits are gone from you be glad at what I
say; it is certain to me you will leave the Fianna and that you will
receive the God of the stars."

OISIN. "There is wonder on me at your hasty talk, priest that has
travelled in every part, to say that I would part from the Fianna, a
generous people, never niggardly."

PATRICK. "If you saw the people of God, the way they are settled at
feasts, every good thing is more plentiful with them than with Finn's
people, however great their name was.

"Finn and the Fianna are lying now very sorrowful on the flag-stone of
pain; take the Son of God in their place; make your repentance and do
not lose Heaven."

OISIN. "I do not believe your talk now. O Patrick of the crooked staves,
Finn and the Fianna to be there within, unless they find pleasure being
in it."

PATRICK. "Make right repentance now, before you know when your end is
coming; God is better for one hour than the whole of the Fianna of

OISIN. "That is a daring answer to make to me, Patrick of the crooked
crozier; your crozier would be in little bits if I had Osgar with me

"If my son Osgar and God were hand to hand on the Hill of the Fianna, if
I saw my son put down, I would say that God was a strong man.

"How could it be that God or his priests could be better men than Finn,
the King of the Fianna, a generous man without crookedness.

"If there was a place above or below better than the Heaven of God, it
is there Finn would go, and all that are with him of his people.

"You say that a generous man never goes to the hell of pain; there was
not one among the Fianna that was not generous to all.

"Ask of God, Patrick, does He remember when the Fianna were alive, or
has He seen east or west any man better than themselves in their

"The Fianna used not to be saying treachery; we never had the name of
telling lies. By truth and the strength of our hands we came safe out of
every battle.

"There never sat a priest in a church, though you think it sweet to be
singing psalms, was better to his word than the Fianna, or more generous
than Finn himself.

"If my comrades were living to-night, I would take no pleasure in your
crooning in the church; as they are not living now, the rough voice of
the bells has deafened me.

"Och! in the place of battles and heavy fights, where I used to have my
place and to take my pleasure, the crozier of Patrick being carried, and
his clerks at their quarrelling.

"Och! slothful, cheerless Conan, it is great abuse I used to be giving
you; why do you not come to see me now? you would get leave for making
fun and reviling through the whole of the niggardly clerks.

"Och! where are the strong men gone that they do not come together to
help me! O Osgar of the sharp sword of victory, come and free your
father from his bonds!

"Where is the strong son of Lugaidh? Och! Diarmuid of all the women!
Och! Caoilte, son of Ronan, think of our love, and travel to me!"

PATRICK. "Stop your talk, you withered, witless old man; it is my King
that made the Heavens, it is He that gives blossom to the trees, it is
He made the moon and the sun, the fields and the grass."

OISIN. "It was not in shaping fields and grass that my king took his
delight, but in overthrowing fighting men, and defending countries, and
bringing his name into every part.

"In courting, in playing, in hunting, in baring his banner at the first
of a fight; in playing at chess, at swimming, in looking around him at
the drinking-hall.

"O Patrick, where was your God when the two came over the sea that
brought away the queen of Lochlann of the Ships? Where was He when Dearg
came, the son of the King of Lochlann of the golden shields? Why did not
the King of Heaven protect them from the blows of the big man?

"Or when Tailc, son of Treon, came, the man that did great slaughter on
the Fianna; it was not by God that champion fell, but by Osgar, in the
sight of all.

"Many a battle and many a victory was gained by the Fianna of Ireland; I
never heard any great deed was done by the King of Saints, or that He
ever reddened His hand.

"It would be a great shame for God not to take the locks of pain off
Finn; if God Himself were in bonds, my king would fight for His sake.

"Finn left no one in pain or in danger without freeing him by silver or
gold, or by fighting till he got the victory.

"For the strength of your love, Patrick, do not forsake the great men;
bring in the Fianna unknown to the King of Heaven.

"It is a good claim I have on your God, to be among his clerks the way I
am; without food, without clothing, without music, without giving
rewards to poets.

"Without the cry of the hounds or the horns, without guarding coasts,
without courting generous women; for all that I have suffered by the
want of food, I forgive the King of Heaven in my will."

Oisin said: "My story is sorrowful. The sound of your voice is not
pleasant to me. I will cry my fill, but not for God, but because Finn
and the Fianna are not living."


And Oisin used to be making laments, and sometimes he would be making
praises of the old times and of Finn; and these are some of them that
are remembered yet:--

     I saw the household of Finn; it was not the household of a soft
     race; I had a vision of that man yesterday.

     I saw the household of the High King, he with the brown,
     sweet-voiced son; I never saw a better man.

     I saw the household of Finn; no one saw it as I saw it; I saw Finn
     with the sword, Mac an Luin. Och! it was sorrowful to see it.

     I cannot tell out every harm that is on my head; free us from our
     trouble for ever; I have seen the household of Finn.

It is a week from yesterday I last saw Finn; I never saw a braver man. A
king of heavy blows; my law, my adviser, my sense and my wisdom, prince
and poet, braver than kings, King of the Fianna, brave in all countries;
golden salmon of the sea, clean hawk of the air, rightly taught,
avoiding lies; strong in his doings, a right judge, ready in courage, a
high messenger in bravery and in music.

His skin lime-white, his hair golden; ready to work, gentle to women.
His great green vessels full of rough sharp wine, it is rich the king
was, the head of his people.

Seven sides Finn's house had, and seven score shields on every side.
Fifty fighting men he had about him having woollen cloaks; ten bright
drinking-cups in his hall; ten blue vessels, ten golden horns.

It is a good household Finn had, without grudging, without lust, without
vain boasting, without chattering, without any slur on any one of the

Finn never refused any man; he never put away any one that came to his
house. If the brown leaves falling in the woods were gold, if the white
waves were silver, Finn would have given away the whole of it.

Blackbird of Doire an Chairn, your voice is sweet; I never heard on any
height of the world music was sweeter than your voice, and you at the
foot of your nest.

The music is sweetest in the world, it is a pity not to be listening to
it for a while, O son of Calphurn of the sweet bells, and you would
overtake your nones again.

If you knew the story of the bird the way I know it, you would be crying
lasting tears, and you would give no heed to your God for a while.

In the country of Lochlann of the blue streams, Finn, son of Cumhal, of
the red-gold cups, found that bird you hear now; I will tell you its
story truly.

Doire an Chairn, that wood there to the west, where the Fianna used to
be delaying, it is there they put the blackbird, in the beauty of the
pleasant trees.

The stag of the heather of quiet Cruachan, the sorrowful croak from the
ridge of the Two Lakes; the voice of the eagle of the Valley of the
Shapes, the voice of the cuckoo on the Hill of Brambles.

The voice of the hounds in the pleasant valley; the scream of the eagle
on the edge of the wood; the early outcry of the hounds going over the
Strand of the Red Stones.

The time Finn lived and the Fianna, it was sweet to them to be listening
to the whistle of the blackbird; the voice of the bells would not have
been sweet to them.

There was no one of the Fianna without his fine silken shirt and his
soft coat, without bright armour, without shining stones on his head,
two spears in his hand, and a shield that brought victory.

If you were to search the world you would not find a harder man, best of
blood, best in battle; no one got the upper hand of him. When he went
out trying his white hound, which of us could be put beside Finn?

One time we went hunting on Slieve-nam-ban; the sun was beautiful
overhead, the voice of the hounds went east and west, from hill to hill.
Finn and Bran sat for a while on the hill, every man was jealous for the
hunt. We let out three thousand hounds from their golden chains; every
hound of them brought down two deer.

Patrick of the true crozier, did you ever see, east or west, a greater
hunt than that hunt of Finn and the Fianna? O son of Calphurn of the
bells, that day was better to me than to be listening to your
lamentations in the church.

       *       *       *       *       *

There is no strength in my hands to-night, there is no power within me;
it is no wonder I to be sorowful, being thrown down in the sorrow of old

Everything is a grief to me beyond any other man on the face of the
earth, to be dragging stones along to the church and the hill of the

I have a little story of our people. One time Finn had a mind to make a
dun on the bald hill of Cuailgne, and he put it on the Fianna of Ireland
to bring stones for building it; a third on the sons of Morna, a third
on myself, and a third on the sons of Baiscne.

I gave an answer to Finn, son of Cumhal; I said I would be under his
sway no longer, and that I would obey him no more.

When Finn heard that, he was silent a long time, the man without a He,
without fear. And he said to me then: "You yourself will be dragging
stones before your death comes to you."

I rose up then with anger on me, and there followed me the fourth of the
brave battalions of the Fianna. I gave my own judgments, there were many
of the Fianna with me.

Now my strength is gone from me, I that was adviser to the Fianna; my
whole body is tired to-night, my hands, my feet, and my head, tired,
tired, tired.

It is bad the way I am after Finn of the Fianna; since he is gone away,
every good is behind me.

Without great people, without mannerly ways; it is sorrowful I am after
our king that is gone.

I am a shaking tree, my leaves gone from me; an empty nut, a horse
without a bridle; a people without a dwelling-place, I Oisin, son of

       *       *       *       *       *

It is long the clouds are over me to-night! it is long last night was;
although this day is long, yesterday was longer again to me; every day
that comes is long to me!

That is not the way I used to be, without fighting, without battles,
without learning feats, without young girls, without music, without
harps, without bruising bones, without great deeds; without increase of
learning, without generosity, without drinking at feasts, without
courting, without hunting, the two trades I was used to; without going
out to battle, Ochone! the want of them is sorrowful to me.

No hunting of deer or stag, it is not like that I would wish to be; no
leashes for our hounds, no hounds; it is long the clouds are over me

Without rising up to do bravery as we were used, without playing as we
had a mind; without swimming of our fighting men in the lake; it is long
the clouds are over me to-night!

There is no one at all in the world the way I am; it is a pity the way I
am; an old man dragging stones; it is long the clouds are over me

I am the last of the Fianna, great Oisin, son of Finn, listening to the
voice of bells; it is long the clouds are over me to-night!



The Irish text of the greater number of the stories in this book has
been published, and from this text I have worked, making my own
translation as far as my scholarship goes, and when it fails, taking the
meaning given by better scholars. In some cases the Irish text has not
been printed, and I have had to work by comparing and piecing together
various translations. I have had to put a connecting sentence of my own
here and there, and I have fused different versions together, and
condensed many passages, and I have left out many, using the choice that
is a perpetual refusing, in trying to get some clear outline of the
doings of the heroes.

I have found it more natural to tell the stories in the manner of the
thatched houses, where I have heard so many legends of Finn and his
friends, and Oisin and Patrick, and the Ever-Living Ones, and the
Country of the Young, rather than in the manner of the slated houses,
where I have not heard them.

Four years ago, Dr Atkinson, a Professor of Trinity College, Dublin, in
his evidence before the Commission of Intermediate Education, said of
the old literature of Ireland:--"It has scarcely been touched by the
movements of the great literatures; it is the untrained popular feeling.
Therefore it is almost intolerably low in tone--I do not mean naughty,
but low; and every now and then, when the circumstance occasions it, it
goes down lower than low ... If I read the books in the Greek, the Latin
or the French course, in almost every one of them there is something
with an ideal ring about it--something that I can read with positive
pleasure--something that has what the child might take with him as a
[Greek: ktêma eis dei]--a perpetual treasure; but if I read the Irish
books, I see nothing ideal in them, and my astonishment is that through
the whole range of Irish literature that I have read (and I have read
an enormous range of it), the smallness of the element of idealism is
most noticeable ... And as there is very little idealism there is very
little imagination ... The Irish tales as a rule are devoid of it

Dr Atkinson is an Englishman, but unfortunately not only
fellow-professors in Trinity but undergraduates there have been
influenced by his opinion, that Irish literature is a thing to be
despised. I do not quote his words to draw attention to a battle that is
still being fought, but to explain my own object in working, as I have
worked ever since that evidence was given, to make a part of Irish
literature accessible to many, especially among my young countrymen, who
have not opportunity to read the translations of the chief scholars,
scattered here and there in learned periodicals, or patience and time to
disentangle overlapping and contradictory versions, that they may judge
for themselves as to its "lowness" and "want of imagination," and the
other well-known charges brought against it before the same Commission.

I believe that those who have once learned to care for the story of
Cuchulain of Muirthemne, and of Finn and Lugh and Etain, and to
recognise the enduring belief in an invisible world and an immortal life
behind the visible and the mortal, will not be content with my
redaction, but will go, first to the fuller versions of the best
scholars, and then to the manuscripts themselves. I believe the forty
students of old Irish lately called together by Professor Kuno Meyer
will not rest satisfied until they have explored the scores and scores
of uncatalogued and untranslated manuscripts in Trinity College Library,
and that the enthusiasm which the Gaelic League has given birth to will
lead to much fine scholarship.

A day or two ago I had a letter from one of the best Greek scholars and
translators in England, who says of my "Cuchulain": "It opened up a
great world of beautiful legend which, though accounting myself as an
Irishman, I had never known at all. I am sending out copies to Irish
friends in Australia who, I am sure, will receive the same sort of
impression, almost an impression of pride in the beauty of the Irish
mind, as I received myself." And President Roosevelt wrote to me a
little time ago that after he had read "Cuchulain of Muirthemne," he had
sent for all the other translations from the Irish he could get, to take
on his journey to the Western States.

I give these appreciative words not, I think, from vanity, for they are
not for me but for my material, to show the effect our old literature
has on those who come fresh to it, and that they do not complain of its
"want of imagination." I am, of course, very proud and glad in having
had the opportunity of helping to make it known, and the task has been
pleasant, although toil-some. Just now, indeed, on the 6th October, I am
tired enough, and I think with sympathy of the old Highland piper, who
complained that he was "withered with yelping the seven Fenian


Mr Alfred Nutt says in _Ossian and the Ossianic Literature,_ No. 3 of
his excellent series of sixpenny pamphlets, _Popular Studies in
Mythology, Romance, and Folklore_:--

"The body of Gaelic literature connected with the name of Ossian is of
very considerable extent and of respectable antiquity. The oldest texts,
prose for the most part, but also in verse, are preserved in Irish MSS.
of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, and go back to a period from one
hundred and fifty to two hundred and fifty years older at least. The
bulk of Ossianic literature is, however, of later date as far as the
form under which it has come down to us is concerned. A number of
important texts, prose for the most part, are preserved in MSS. of the
fourteenth century, but were probably redacted in the thirteenth and
twelfth centuries. But by far the largest mass consists of narrative
poems, as a rule dramatic in structure. These have come down to us in
MSS. written in Scotland from the end of the fifteenth to the middle of
the seventeenth century, in Ireland from the sixteenth down to the
middle of the nineteenth century. The Gaelic-speaking peasantry, alike
in Ireland and Scotland, have preserved orally a large number of these
ballads, as also a great mass of prose narratives, the heroes of which
are Ossian and his comrades.

"Were all Ossianic texts preserved in MSS. older than the present
century to be printed, they would fill some eight to ten thousand octavo
pages. The mere bulk of the literature, even if we allow for
considerable repetition of incident, arrests attention. If we further
recall that for the last five hundred years this body of romance has
formed the chief imaginative recreation of Gaeldom, alike in Ireland and
Scotland, and that a peasantry unable to read or write has yet preserved
it almost entire, its claims to consideration and study will appear

He then goes on to discuss how far the incidents in the stories can be
accepted as they were accepted by Irish historical writers of the
eleventh century as authentic history:--

"Fortunately there is little need for me to discuss the credibility or
otherwise of the historic records concerning Finn, his family, and his
band of warriors. They may be accepted or rejected according to
individual bent of mind without really modifying our view of the
literature. For when we turn to the romances, whether in prose or verse,
we find that, although the history is professedly the same as that of
the Annals, firstly, we are transported to a world entirely romantic, in
which divine and semi-divine beings, ungainly monsters and giants, play a
prominent part, in which men and women change shapes with animals, in
which the lives of the heroes are miraculously prolonged--in short, we
find ourselves in a land of Faery; secondly, we find that the historic
conditions in which the heroes are represented as living do not, for the
most part, answer to anything we know or can surmise of the third
century. For Finn and his warriors are perpetually on the watch to guard
Ireland against the attacks of over-sea raiders, styled Lochlannac by
the narrators, and by them undoubtedly thought of as Norsemen. But the
latter, as is well known, only came to Ireland at the close of the
eighth century, and the heroic period of their invasions extended for
about a century, from 825 to 925; to be followed by a period of
comparative settlement during the tenth century, until at the opening of
the eleventh century the battle of Clontarf, fought by Brian, the great
South Irish chieftain, marked the break-up of the separate Teutonic
organisations and the absorption of the Teutons into the fabric of Irish
life. In these pages then we may disregard the otherwise interesting
question of historic credibility in the Ossianic romances: firstly,
because they have their being in a land unaffected by fact; secondly,
because if they ever did reflect the history of the third century the
reflection was distorted in after-times, and a pseudo-history based upon
events of the ninth and tenth centuries was substituted for it. What the
historian seeks for in legend is far more a picture of the society in
which it took rise than a record of the events which it commemorates."

In a later part of the pamphlet Mr Nutt discusses such questions as
whether we may look for examples of third-century customs in the
stories, what part of the stories first found their way into writing,
whether the Oisin and Patrick dialogues were written under the influence
of actual Pagan feeling persisting from Pagan times, or whether "a
change came over the feeling of Gaeldom during the fourteenth and
fifteenth centuries," when the Oisin and Patrick dialogues in their
present form began to be written. His final summing-up is that
"well-nigh the same stories that were told of Finn and his warrior
braves by the Gael of the eleventh century are told in well-nigh the
same way by his descendant to-day." Mr Nutt does not enquire how long
the stories may have been told before the first story was written down.
Larminie, however, whose early death was the first great loss of our
intellectual movement, pushes them backward for untold ages in the
introduction to his _West Irish Folk Tales and Romances_. He builds up a
detailed and careful argument, for which I must refer readers to his
book, to prove that the Scottish Highlands and Ireland have received
their folk-lore both from "Aryan and Non-Aryan sources," and that in the
Highlands there is more non-Aryan influence and more non-Aryan blood
than in Ireland. He argues that nothing is more improbable than that all
folk-tales are Aryan, as has sometimes been supposed, and sums up as

"They bear the stamp of the genius of more than one race. The pure and
placid but often cold imagination of the Aryan has been at work on some.
In others we trace the more picturesque fancy, the fierceness and
sensuality, the greater sense of artistic elegance belonging to races
whom the Aryan, in spite of his occasional faults of hardness and
coarseness, has, on the whole, left behind him. But as the greatest
results in the realm of the highest art have always been achieved in the
case of certain blends of Aryan with other blood, I should hardly deem
it extravagant if it were asserted that in the humbler regions of the
folk-tale we might trace the working of the same law. The process which
has gone on may in part have been as follows:--Every race which has
acquired very definite characteristics must have been for a long time
isolated. The Aryans during their period of isolation probably developed
many of their folk-germs into their larger myths, owing to the greater
constructiveness of their imagination, and thus, in a way, they used up
part of their material. Afterwards, when they became blended with other
races less advanced, they acquired fresh material to work on. We have in
Ireland an instance to hand, of which a brief discussion may help to
illustrate the whole race theory.

"The larger Irish legendary literature divides itself into three
cycles--the divine, the heroic, the Fenian. Of these three the last is
so well-known orally in Scotland that it has been a matter of dispute to
which country it really belongs. It belongs, in fact, to both. Here,
however, comes in a strange contrast with the other cycles. The first
is, so far as I am aware, wholly unknown in Scotland, the second
comparatively unknown. What is the explanation? Professor Zimmer not
having established his late-historical view as regards Finn, and the
general opinion among scholars having tended of recent years towards the
mythical view, we want to know why there is so much more community in
one case than in the other. Mr O'Grady long since seeing this
difficulty, and then believing Finn to be historical, was induced to
place the latter in point of time before Cuchulain and his compeers. But
this view is of course inadmissible when Finn is seen not to be
historical at all. There remains but one explanation. The various bodies
of legend in question are, so far as Ireland is concerned, only earlier
or later, as they came into the island with the various races to which
they belonged. The wider prevalence, then, of the Finn Saga would
indicate that it belonged to an early race occupying both Ireland and
Scotland. Then entered the Aryan Gael, and for him henceforth, as the
ruler of the island, his own gods and heroes were sung by his own bards.
His legends became the subject of what I may call the court poetry, the
aristocratic literature. When he conquered Scotland, he took with him
his own gods and heroes; but in the latter country the bardic system
never became established, and hence we find but feeble echoes of the
heroic cycle among the mountains of the North. That this is the
explanation is shown by what took place in Ireland. Here the heroic
cycle has been handed down in remembrance almost solely by the bardic
literature. The popular memory retains but few traces of it. Its
essentially aristocratic character is shown by the fact that the people
have all but forgotten it, if they ever knew it. But the Fenian cycle
has not been forgotten. Prevailing everywhere, still cherished by the
conquered peoples, it held its ground in Scotland and Ireland alike,
forcing its way in the latter country even into the written literature,
and so securing a twofold lease of existence ... The Fenian cycle, in a
word, is non-Aryan folk-literature partially subjected to Aryan

The whole problem is extremely complex, and several other writers have
written upon it. Mr Borlase, for instance, has argued in his big book on
the Dolmens that the cromlechs, and presumably the Diarmuid and Crania
legend, is connected with old religious rites of an erotic nature coming
down from a very primitive state of society.

I have come to my own conclusion not so much because of any weight of
argument, as because I found it impossible to arrange the stories in a
coherent form so long as I considered them a part of history. I tried to
work on the foundation of the Annalists, and fit the Fianna into a
definite historical epoch, but the whole story seemed trivial and
incoherent until I began to think of them as almost contemporaneous with
the battle of Magh Tuireadh, which even the Annalists put back into
mythical ages. In this I have only followed some of the story-tellers,
who have made the mother of Lugh of the Long Hand the grandmother of
Finn, and given him a shield soaked with the blood of Balor. I cannot
think of any of the stories as having had a modern origin, or that the
century in which each was written down gives any evidence as to its age.
"How Diarmuid got his Love-Spot," for instance, which was taken down
only a few years ago from some old man's recitation by Dr Hyde, may well
be as old as "Finn and the Phantoms," which is in one of the earliest
manuscripts. It seems to me that one cannot choose any definite period
either from the vast living mass of folk-lore in the country or from the
written text, and that there is as good evidence of Finn being of the
blood of the gods as of his being, as some of the people tell me, "the
son of an O'Shaughnessy who lived at Kiltartan Cross."

Dr Douglas Hyde, although he placed the Fenian after the Cuchulain cycle
in his _History of Irish Literature_, has allowed me to print this

"While believing in the real objective existence of the Fenians as a
body of Janissaries who actually lived, ruled, and hunted in King
Cormac's time, I think it equally certain that hundreds of stories,
traits, and legends far older and more primitive than any to which they
themselves could have given rise, have clustered about them. There is
probably as large a bulk of primitive mythology to be found in the Finn
legend as in that of the Red Branch itself. The story of the Fenians was
a kind of nucleus to which a vast amount of the flotsam and jetsam of a
far older period attached itself, and has thus been preserved."

As I found it impossible to give that historical date to the stories, I,
while not adding in anything to support my theory, left out such names
as those of Cormac and Art, and such more or less historical personages,
substituting "the High King." And in the "Battle of the White Strand," I
left out the name of Caelur, Tadg's wife, because I had already followed
another chronicler in giving him Ethlinn for a wife. In the earlier part
I have given back to Angus Og the name of "The Disturber," which had, as
I believe, strayed from him to the Saint of the same name.


The following is a list of the authorities I have been chiefly helped by
in putting these stories together and in translation of the text. But I
cannot make it quite accurate, for I have sometimes transferred a mere
phrase, sometimes a whole passage from one story to another, where it
seemed to fit better. I have sometimes, in the second part of the book,
used stories preserved in the Scottish Gaelic, as will be seen by my
references. I am obliged to write these notes away from libraries, and
cannot verify them, but I think they are fairly correct.


  O'Curry, _Manners and Customs of the Ancient Irish_;
  _MSS. Materials_;
  De Jubainville, _Cycle Mythologique_;
  Hennessy, _Chronicum Scotorum_;
  Atkinson, _Book of Leinster_;
  _Annals of the Four Masters_;
  Nennius, _Hist, Brit._ (Irish Version);
  Zimmer, _Glossae Hibernacae_;
  Whitley Stokes, _Three Irish Glossaries_;
  _Revue Celtique_ and _Irische Texte_;
  Nutt, _Voyage of Bran_;
  _Proceedings Ossianic Societ_;
  O'Beirne Crowe, _Amra Columcille_;
  Dean of Lismore's Book;
  Windisch, _Irische Texte_;
  Hennessy and others in _Revue Celtique_;
  _Kilkenny Archaeological Journal_;
  Keatinge's _History_;
  Curtin's _Folk Tales_;
  _Proceedings Royal Irish Academy_, MSS. Series;
  Dr Sigerson, _Bards of Gael and Gall_;
  Miscellanies, _Celtic Society_.



I have used many of the above, and for separate stories, I may
give these authorities:--

  O'Curry, _Manners and Customs_;
  Whitley Stokes, _Dinnsenchus_;
  Müller, _Revue Celtique_;
  Nutt, _Voyage of Bran_;
  De Jubainville, _Epopée Celtique_;
  Standish Hayes O'Grady, MS. lent me by him.

  S. Hayes O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_.

  Professor Kuno Meyer in Nutt's _Voyage of Bran_;
  S. Hayes O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_;
  De Jubainville, _Cycle Mythologique_.

  Whitley Stokes, _Irische Texte_.

  S. Hayes O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_;
  Whitley Stokes, _Dinnsenchus_.

  O'Beirne Crowe, _Kilkenny Arch. Journal_;
  Windisch, _Irische Texte_.

  S. Hayes O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_.

  S.H. O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_;
  Kuno Meyer in Nutt's _Voyage of Bran_.

  O'Curry, _Atlantis_.


  _Proceedings Ossianic Society_;
  Kuno Meyer, _Four Songs of Summer and Winter_;
  _Revue Celtique_;
  S. Hayes O'Grady, _Silva Gaedelica_;
  Curtin's _Folk Tales_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.

  Kennedy, _Legendary Fictions Irish Celts_;
  Mac Innis;
  _Leabhar na Feinne_.

  Dean of Lismore's Book;
  _Silva Gaedelica;
  Leabhar na Feinne_.

  _Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition_;
  Larminie's _Folk Tales_;
  Curtin's _Tales_.

 _Silva Gaedelica_;
 Whitley Stokes, _Dinnsenchus_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  Kuno Meyer, _Anec. Oxonienses_;
  Hanmer's _Chronicle_;
  Dean of Lismore;
  Curtin's _Tales_;
  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.

  Dean of Lismore;
  _Leabhar na Feinne_;
  Campbell's _Popular Tales of the Western Highlands_.

  O'Curry, _Orc. Treith_, O'Donovan, ed. Stokes.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  Stokes, _Irische Texts._

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.


  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  Hyde, _Sgealuidhe Gaedhealach_.

  Kuno Meyer, _Revue Celtique_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.

  _Leabhar na Feinne_;
  Campbell's _Popular Tales of the Western Highlands_;
  Stokes, _Irische Texte_;
  Dean of Lismore;
  _Celtic Magazine_;
  _Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition_.

  _Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grania_
      (Society for Preservation of the Irish Language);
  Campbell's _Popular Tales_.

  Hyde, _Sgealuidhe Gaedhealach_.

  Campbell's _Popular Tales_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_.

  MSS. in Royal Irish Academy, and in Dr Hyde's possession.

  Text Published by S. Hayes O'Grady,
      _Proc. Ossianic Society_,
      and re-edited by N. O'Duffey for
      Society for Preservation of the Irish Language;
   Kuno Meyer, _Revue Celtique_, and _Four Songs_;
   _Leabhar na Feinne_;
   Campbell's _Popular Tales_;
   _Kilkenny Arch. Journal_;
   _Folk Lore_, vol. vii., 1896;
   Dean of Lismore;
   Nutt, _Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_.

  _Silva Gaedelica_;
  Dean of Lismore;
  _Leabhar na Feinne_;
  Campbell's _Popular Tales_;
  _Proc. Ossianic Society_;
  _Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition_;
  Stokes, _Irische Texte_.

  Hyde, _Sgealuidhe Gaedhealach_;
  _Proc. Ossianic Society_;
  _Silva Gaedelica_;
  Miss Brooke's _Reliques_;
  _Annals of the Four Masters_;
  _Celtic Magazine_.

  _Proc. Ossianic Society_;
  Dean of Lismore;
  _Kilkenny Arch, fournal_;
  Curtin's _Tales_.

I have taken Grania's sleepy song, and the description of Finn's shield
and of Cumhal's treasure-bag, and the fact of Finn's descent from
Ethlinn, from _Duanaire Finn_, now being edited for the Irish Texts
Society by Mr John MacNeill, the proofs of which I have been kindly
allowed to see. And I have used sometimes parts of stories, or comments
on them gathered directly from the people, who have kept these heroes so
much in mind. The story of Caoilte coming to the help of the King of
Ireland in a dark wood is the only one I have given without either a
literary or a folk ancestry. It was heard or read by Mr Yeats, he cannot
remember where, but he had, with it in his mind, written of "Caoilte's
burning hair" in one of his poems.

I and my readers owe special thanks to those good workers in the
discovery of Irish literature, Professor Kuno Meyer and Mr Whitley
Stokes, translators of so many manuscripts; and to my friend and kinsman
Standish Hayes O'Grady, for what I have taken from that wonderful
treasure-house, his _Silva Gaedelica_.


This is the approximate pronunciation of some of the more difficult

Adhnuall             Ai-noo-al.
Ailbhe.              Alva.
Almhuin              All-oon, _or_ Alvin.
Aobh                 Aev, _or_ Eev.
Aodh                 Ae (rhyming to "day").
Aoibhill             Evill.
Aoife                Eefa.

Badb                 Bibe.
    or Bealtaine     Bal-tinna.
Bladhma              Bly-ma.
Bodb Dearg           Bove Darrig.

Caoilte              Cweeltia.
Cam Ruidhe           Corn Rwee.
Ciabhan              Kee-a-van.
Cliodna              Cleevna.
Coincheann           Kun-Kann.
Crann Buidhe         Cran bwee.
Credhe               Crae-a.
Cumhal               Coo-al.

Deaghadh             D'ya-a.
Dubhthach            Duffach.
Duibhreann           Dhiv-ran.
Duibhrium            Dhiv-rinn.
Dun                  Doon.

Eimher               Aevir.
Emhain               Avvin.
Eochaid              Eohee.
Eoghan               Owen.

Fionnchad            Finn-ach-a.
Fodhla               Fóla.
Fodla                Fola.

Gallimh              Gol-yiv.
Glas Gaibhnenn       Glos Gov-nan.

Leith Laeig          Leh Laeg.
Loch Dairbhreach     Loch Darvragh.
Lugaidh              Loo-ee, _or_ Lewy.
Lugh                 Loo.

Magh an Ionganaidh   Moy-in-eean-ee.
Magh Cuillean        Moy Cullin.
Magh Feabhail        Moy Fowl.
Magh Macraimhe       Moy Mucrivva.
Magh Mell            Moy Mal.
Magh Rein            Moy Raen.
Magh Tuireadh        Moytirra.
Manannan             Mananaun.
Midhe                Mee.
Midhna               Mec-na.
Mochaomhog           Mo-cwecv-og.
Muadhan              Moo-aun.
Murchadh             Murachu.

Nemhnain             Now-nin.
Niamh                Nee-av.

Og                   Og.

Rath Medba,
    or Meadhbha      Ra Maev-a.
Rudraighe            Rury.

Samhain              Sow-in.
Scathniamh           Scau-nee-av.
Sceolan              Skolaun.
Searbhan             Sharavaun.
Sidhe                Shee.
Slieve Echtge        Sleev Acht-ga.

Tadg                 Teig.
Teamhair             T'yower, _or_ Tavvir.
Tuatha de Danaan     Too-a-ha dae Donnan.
Tuathmumhain         Too-moon.

I have not followed a fixed rule as to the spelling of Irish names; I
have taken the spelling I give from various good authorities, but they
vary so much that, complete accuracy not being easy, I sometimes look to
custom and convenience. I use, for instance, "Slieve" for "Sliabh,"
because it comes so often, and a mispronunciation would spoil so many
names. I have treated "Inbhir" (a river mouth) in the same way, spelling
it "Inver," and even adopting it as an English word, because it is so
useful. The forty scholars of the New School of Old Irish will do us
good service if they work at the question both of spelling and of
pronunciation of the old names and settle them as far as is possible.


Accuill                Achill, Co. Mayo.
Aine Cliach            Cnoc Aine, Co. Limerick.
Almhuin                Near Kildare.
Ath Cliath             Dublin.
Athluain               Athlone.
Ath na Riogh           Athenry.
Badhamain              Cahir, Co. Tipperary.
Baile Cronin           Barony of Imokilty, Co. Cork.
Banna                  The Bann.
Beare                  Berehaven.
Bearna na Eadargana    Roscommon.
Bearnas Mor            Co. Donegal.
Beinn Gulbain          Benbulban, Co. Sligo.
Beire do Bhunadas      Berehaven.
Bel-atha Senaig        Ballyshannon.
Belgata                In Connemara.
Benna Boirde           Source of the Bann and Mourne Mountains.
Berramain              Near Tralee.
Bhas                   River Bush.
Boinn                  River Boyne.
Bri Leith              Co. Longford.

Cairbre                Carbury.
Cairgin                Three miles south of Londonderry.
Carrthach River        River Carra, near Dunkerrin Mountains.
Ceanntaile             Kinsale.
Ceiscorainn            Co. Sligo.
Cill Dolun             Killaloe, Co. Clare.
Cliodna's Wave         At Glandore, Co. Cork.
Cluantarbh             Clontarf.
Cnoc Aine              Co. Limerick.
Cnoc-an-Air            Co. Kerry.
Cnoc na righ           Co. Sligo.
Corca Duibhne          Corcaguiny, Co. Kerry.
Corrslieve             Carlow Mountains.
Crotta Cliach          Galtee Mountains.
Cruachan               Co. Roscommon.
Cruachan Aigle         Croagh Patrick.

Doire a Cairn          Derrycarn, Co. Meath.
Doire-da-Bhoth         In Slieve Echtge.
Druim Cleibh           Co. Sligo.
Druim Lis              Near Loch Gill.
Druimscarha            Near River Arighis, Co. Cork.
Dun Sobairce           Dunsevenh, Co. Antrim.
Durlas                 Thurles.

Ess Dara               Near Sligo.
Ess Ruadh              Assaroe, Co. Donegal.
Fidh Gaible            Fergill, Co. Sligo.
Finntraighe            Ventry.
Fionn                  The Finn.
Fionnabraic            Kilfenna, Co. Clare.
Fionntutach            Co. Limerick.
Fleisge                Co. Kerry.

Gabhra                 Near Tara.
Gaibh atha na Fiann    River Leamhar, flows from Killarney.
Gairech and Ilgairech  Hills near Mullingar.
Gallimh                Galway.
Gleann na Caor         Co. Cork.
Gullach Dollairb       Barony of Rathconrath.

Hill of Bairnech       Near Killarney.
Hill of Uisnech        Co. Westmeath.

Inver Cechmaine        East coast of Ulster.
Inver Colpa            Drogheda.
Inver Slane            N.E. of Leinster.
Irrus Domnann          Erris, Co. Mayo.
Island of Toraig       Tory Island, Co. Donegal.

Laoi                   River Lee.
Leith Laoi             Leitrim.
Linn Feic              Near Slaney.
Loch Bel Sead          Co. Tipperary.
Loch Cé                Co. Roscommon.
Loch Dairbhreach       Loch Derryvaragh, Co. Westmeath.
Loch Deirg Dheirc      Loch Derg on the Shannon.
Loch Eirne             Loch Erne.
Loch Feabhail          Loch Foyle.
Loch Lein              Killarney.
Loch Orbson            Loch Corrib.
Loch na-n Ean          In Co. Roscommon.
Lough Neatach          Loch Neagh.
Luimneach              Limerick.

Maev Mhagh             Plain about Loughrea.
Magh Cobha             Iveagh, Co. Down.
Magh Cuilenn           Moycullen, Co. Galway.
Magh Femen             Co. Tipperary.
Magh Larg              Co. Roscommon.
Magh Leine             King's County.
Magh Luirg             Co. Roscommon.
Magh Maini             Co. Wexford.
Magh Mucraimhe         Near Athenry.
Magh Nia               Same as Magh Tuireadh.
Magh Rein              Co. Leitrim.
Magh Tuireadh          Moytura near Sligo, scene of great
                          battle, and Moytura, near
                          Cong, scene of first battle.
March of Finnliath     River Lee, near Tralee.
Midhe                  Meath, west of Ardagh.
Mis Geadh              In Bay of Erris.
Muaid                  River Moy.
Muc-inis               Muckinish, off Connemara.

Nas                    Naas.
Nem                    The Nem.

Oenach Clochan         Morristown, Co. Limerick.
Osraige                Ossory.

Paps of Dana           Co. Kerry.
Portlairge             Waterford.

River Maigh            Co. Limerick.
Ros da Shioleach       Limerick.
Ruirlech               Liffey.

Samair                 R. Cumhair, runs through Bruff.
Sionnan                River Shannon.
Siuir                  River Suir, Co. Tipperary.
Siuir and Beoir        Suir and Nore and Barrow.
   and Berba
Slieve Baisne          Co. Roscommon.
Slieve Bladmai         Slieve Bloom.
Slieve Buane           Slieve Banne, Co. Roscommon.
Slieve Conaill         Border of Leitrim and Donegal.
Slieve Crot            Co. Tipperary.
Slieve Cua             Co. Waterford.
Slieve Cua
   and Slieve Crot     In Galtee Mountains.
Slieve Cuailgne        Co. Louth.
Slieve Echtge          Co. Galway.
Slieve Fuad            Co. Armagh.
Slieve Guaire          Co. Cavan.
Slieve Luchra          Co. Kerry.
Slieve Lugha           Co. Mayo.
Slieve Mis             Co. Kerry.
Slieve Muice           Co. Tipperary.
Slieve-nam-Ban         Co. Tipperary
Sligach                Sligo.
Srub Bruin             In West Kerry.
Sruth na Maoile        Mull of Cantire.

Tailltin               Telltown.
Teamhair               Tara, Co. Meath.
Teunhair Luchra        Near Castle Island, Co. Kerry.
The Beith              River Behy, Barony of Dunkerrin.
The Beoir              The Berba.
The Islands of Mod     In Clew Bay.
The Lemain             River Laune, Co. Kerry.
The Muaidh             River Moy, Co. Sligo.
Tonn Toime             Toines, near Killarney.
Traigh Eothaile        Near Ballisodare.
Tuathmumain            Thomond.

Ui Chonaill Gabhra       Co. Limerick.
Ui Fiachraih, Fiachraig  Co. Mayo.

Wave of Rudraighe      Bay of Dundrum.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Gods and Fighting Men" ***

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