‘Over every one of them,’ said Fergus. ’You will not find before you a warrior who is harder to deal with, nor a point that is sharper or keener or swifter, nor a hero who is fiercer, nor a raven that is more flesh-loving, nor a match of his age that can equal him as far as a third; nor a lion that is fiercer, nor a fence(?) of battle, nor a hammer of destruction, nor a door of battle, nor judgment on hosts, nor preventing of a great host that is more worthy. You will not find there a man who would reach his age, and his growth, and his dress, and his terror, his speech, his splendour, his fame, his voice, his form, his power, his hardness, his accomplishment, his valour, his striking, his rage, his anger, his victory, his doom-giving, his violence, his estimation, his hero-triumph, his speed, his pride, his madness, with the feat of nine men on every point, like Cuchulainn!’
‘I don’t care for that,’ said Medb; ’he is in one body; he endures wounding; he is not above capturing. Therewith his age is that of a grown-up girl, and his manly deeds have not come yet.’
‘Not so,’ said Fergus. ’It would be no wonder if he were to do a good deed to-day; for even when he was younger his deeds were manly.’
HERE ARE HIS BOYISH DEEDS
‘He was brought up,’ said Fergus, ’by his mother and father at the —— in Mag Murthemne. The stories of the boys in Emain were related to him; for there are three fifties of boys there,’ said Fergus, ’at play. It is thus that Conchobar enjoys his sovereignty: a third of the day watching the boys; another third playing chess; [Note: Fidchill, usually so translated, but the exact nature of the game is uncertain.] another third drinking beer till sleep seizes him therefrom. Although we are in exile, there is not in Ireland a warrior who is more wonderful,’ said Fergus.
’Cuchulainn asked his mother then to let him go to the boys.
’"You shall not go,” said his mother, “until you have company of warriors.”
’"I deem it too long to wait for it,” said Cuchulainn. “Show me on which side Emain is.”
’"Northwards so,” said his mother; “and the journey is hard,” said she, “Sliab Fuait is between you.”
’"I will find it out,” said Cuchulainn.
’He goes forth then, and his shield of lath with him, and his toy-spear, and his playing-club, and his ball. He kept throwing his staff before him, so that he took it by the point before the end fell on the ground.
’He goes then to the boys without binding them to protect him. For no one used to go to them in their play-field till his protection was guaranteed. He did not know this.
’"The boy insults us,” said Follomon Mac Conchobair, “besides we know he is of the Ulstermen. ... Throw at him!”