The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (Tain Bo Cualnge) : An Old Irish Prose-Epic eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 157 pages of information about The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (Tain Bo Cualnge) .

’"Naked women to meet him!” said Conchobar.

’Then the women of Emain go to meet him with Mugain, the wife of Conchobar Mac Nessa, and bare their breasts before him.  “These are the warriors who will meet you to-day,” said Mugain.

’He covers his face; then the heroes of Emain seize him and throw him into a vessel of cold water.  That vessel bursts round him.  The second vessel into which he was thrown boiled with bubbles as big as the fist therefrom.  The third vessel into which he went, he warmed it so that its heat and its cold were rightly tempered.  Then he comes out; and the queen, Mugain, puts a blue mantle on him, and a silver brooch therein, and a hooded tunic; and he sits at Conchobar’s knee, and that was his couch always after that.  The man who did this in his seventh year,’ said Fiacha Mac Fir-Febe, ’it were not wonderful though he should rout an overwhelming force, and though he should exhaust (?) an equal force, when his seventeen years are complete to-day.’

(What follows is a separate version [Note:  The next episode, the Death of Fraech, is not given in LL.] to the death of Orlam.)

‘Let us go forth now,’ said Ailill.

Then they reached Mag Mucceda.  Cuchulainn cut an oak before them there, and wrote an ogam in its side.  It is this that was therein:  that no one should go past it till a warrior should leap it with one chariot.  They pitch their tents there, and come to leap over it in their chariots.  There fall thereat thirty horses, and thirty chariots are broken.  Belach n-Ane, that is the name of that place for ever.

The Death of Fraech

They are there till next morning; then Fraech is summoned to them.  ‘Help us, O Fraech,’ said Medb.  ’Remove from us the strait that is on us.  Go before Cuchulainn for us, if perchance you shall fight with him.’

He set out early in the morning with nine men, till he reached Ath Fuait.  He saw the warrior bathing in the river.

‘Wait here,’ said Fraech to his retinue, ’till I come to the man yonder; not good is the water,’ said he.

He took off his clothes, and goes into the water to him.

‘Do not come to me,’ said Cuchulainn.  ’You will die from it, and I should be sorry to kill you.’

‘I shall come indeed,’ said Fraech, ’that we may meet in the water; and let your play with me be fair.’

‘Settle it as you like,’ said Cuchulainn.

‘The hand of each of us round the other,’ said Fraech.

They set to wrestling for a long time on the water, and Fraech was submerged.  Cuchulainn lifted him up again.

‘This time,’ said Cuchulainn, ’will you yield and accept your life?’ [Note:  Lit. ‘will you acknowledge your saving?’]

‘I will not suffer it,’ said Fraech.

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The Cattle-Raid of Cualnge (Tain Bo Cualnge) : An Old Irish Prose-Epic from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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