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) .

‘Take the right way of fighting with me,’ said Nadcrantail.

‘You shall have it if only we know it,’ said Cuchulainn.

‘I will throw a cast at you,’ said Nadcrantail, ’and do not avoid it.’

‘I will not avoid it except on high,’ said Cuchulainn.

Nadcrantail throws a cast at him; Cuchulainn leaps on high before it.

‘You do ill to avoid my cast,’ said Nadcrantail.

‘Avoid my throw then on high,’ said Cuchulainn.

Cuchulainn throws the spear at him, but it was on high, so that from above it alighted in his crown, and it went through him to the ground.

‘Alas! it is you are the best warrior in Ireland!’ said Nadcrantail.  ’I have twenty-four sons in the camp.  I will go and tell them what hidden treasures I have, and I will come that you may behead me, for I shall die if the spear is taken out of my head.’

‘Good,’ said Cuchulainn.  ‘You will come back.’

Nadcrantail goes to the camp then.  Every one comes to meet him.

‘Where is the madman’s head?’ said every one.

’Wait, O heroes, till I tell my tale to my sons, and go back that I may fight with Cuchulainn.’

He goes thence to seek Cuchulainn, and throws his sword at Cuchulainn.  Cuchulainn leaps on high, so that it struck the pillar, and the sword broke in two.  Then Cuchulainn went mad as he had done against the boys in Emain, and he springs on his shield therewith, and struck his head off.  He strikes him again on the neck down to the navel.  His four quarters fall to the ground.  Then Cuchulainn said this: 

’If Nadcrantail has fallen,
It will be an increase to the strife. 
Alas! that I cannot fight at this time
With Medb with a third of the host.’


It is then that Medb went with a third of the host with her to Cuib to seek the Bull; and Cuchulainn went after her.  Now on the road of Midluachair she had gone to harry Ulster and Cruthne as far as Dun Sobairche.  Cuchulainn saw something:  Bude Mac Bain from Sliab Culinn with the Bull, and fifteen heifers round him; and his force was sixty men of Ailill’s household, with a cloak folded round every man.  Cuchulainn comes to them.

‘Whence have you brought the cattle?’ said Cuchulainn.

‘From the mountain yonder,’ said the man.’

‘Where are their cow-herds?’ said Cuchulainn.

‘He is as we found him,’ said the man.

Cuchulainn made three leaps after them to seek speech with them as far as the ford.  It is there he said to the leader: 

‘What is your name?’ said he.

‘One who fears you not(?) and loves you not; Bude Mac Bain,’ said he.

‘This spear at Bude!’ said Cuchulainn.  He hurls at him the javelin, so that it went through his armpits, and one of the livers broke in two before the spear.  He kills him on his ford; hence is Ath Bude.  The Bull is brought into the camp then.  They considered then that it would not be difficult to deal with Cuchulainn, provided his javelin were got from him.

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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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