The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 228 pages of information about The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga.

A “boar of a fire” is kindled by the sons of Donn Desa to give warning to Conaire.  So that is the first warning-beacon that has been made in Erin, and from it to this day every warning-beacon is kindled.

This is what others recount:  that it was on the eve of samain (All-Saints-day) the destruction of the Hostel was wrought, and that from yonder beacon the beacon of samain is followed from that to this, and stones (are placed) in the samain-fire.

Then the reavers framed a counsel at the place where they had put the cairn.

“Well, then,” says Ingcel to the guides, “what is nearest to us here?”

“Easy to say:  the Hostel of Hua Derga, chief-hospitaller of Erin.”

“Good men indeed,” says Ingcel, “were likely to seek their fellows at that Hostel to-night.”

This, then, was the counsel of the reavers, to send one of them to see how things were there.

“Who will go there to espy the house?” say everyone.

“Who should go,” says Ingcel, “but I, for ’tis I that am entitled to dues.”

Ingcel went to reconnoitre the Hostel with one of the seven pupils of the single eye which stood out of his forehead, to fit his eye into the house in order to destroy the king and the youths who were around him therein.  And Ingcel saw them through the wheels of the chariots.

Then Ingcel was perceived from the house.  He made a start from it after being perceived.

He went till he reached the reavers in the stead wherein they were.  Each circle of them was set around another to hear the tidings—­the chiefs of the reavers being in the very centre of the circles.  There were Fer ger and Fer gel and Fer rogel and Fer rogain and Lomna the Buffoon, and Ingcel the One-eyed—­six in the centre of the circles.  And Fer rogain went to question Ingcel.

“How is that, O Ingcel?” asks Fer rogain.

“However it be,” answers Ingcel, “royal is the custom, hostful is the tumult:  kingly is the noise thereof.  Whether a king be there or not, I will take the house for what I have a right to.  Thence my turn of rapine cometh.”

“We have left it in thy hand, O Ingcel!” say Conaire’s fosterbrothers.  “But we should not wreak the Destruction till we know who may be therein.”

“Question, hast thou seen the house well, O Ingcel?” asks Fer rogain.

“Mine eye cast a rapid glance around it, and I will accept it for my dues as it stands.”

“Thou mayest well accept it, O Ingcel,” saith Fer rogain:  “the foster father of us all is there, Erin’s overking, Conaire, son of Eterscel.”

“Question, what sawest thou in the champion’s high seat of the house, facing the King, on the opposite side?”


“I saw there,” says Ingcel, “a man of noble countenance, large, with a clear and sparkling eye, an even set of teeth, a face narrow below, broad above.  Fair, flaxen, golden hair upon him, and a proper fillet around it.  A brooch of silver in his mantle, and in his hand a gold-hilted sword.  A shield with five golden circles upon it:  a five-barbed javelin in his hand.  A visage just, fair, ruddy he hath:  he is also beardless.  Modest-minded is that man!”

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The Harvard Classics, Volume 49, Epic and Saga from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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