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) .

[Cuchulainn:] ’Alas, O golden brooch, O Fer Diad! ——­, O fair strong striker!  Thy hand was victorious; our dear foster brotherhood, O delight of the eyes!  Thy shield with the rim of gold, thy sword was dear.  Thy ring of white silver round thy noble arm.  Thy chess-playing was worthy of a great man.  Thy cheek fair-purple; thy yellow curling hair was great, it was a fair treasure.  Thy soft folded girdle which used to be about thy side.  That thou shouldst fall at Cuchulainn’s hands was sad, O Calf!  Thy shield did not suffice which used to be for service.  Our combat with thee is not fitting, our horses and our tumult.  Fair was the great hero! every host used to be defeated and put under foot.  Alas, O golden brooch, O Fer Diad!’



While the things that we have related were done, Suallaith heard from Rath Sualtaim in Mag Murthemne the vexing of his son Cuchulainn against twelve sons of Gaile Dana [Note:  LL, ‘Twenty-seven sons of Calatin.’  In the story as related earlier in YBL it is ‘Gaile Dana with his twenty-seven sons.’] and his sister’s son.  It is then that Sualtaim said: 

’Is it heaven that bursts, or the sea over its boundaries, or earth that is destroyed, or the shout of my son against odds?’

Then he comes to his son.  Cuchulainn was displeased that he should come to him.

’Though he were slain, I should not have strength to avenge him.  Go to the Ulstermen,’ says Cuchulainn, ’and let them give battle to the warriors at once; if they do not give it, they will not be avenged for ever.’

When his father saw him, there was not in his chariot as much as the point of a rush would cover that was not pierced.  His left hand which the shield protected, twenty wounds were in it.

Sualtaim came over to Emain and shouted to the Ulstermen: 

‘Men are being slain, women carried off, cows driven away!’

His first shout was from the side of the court; his second from the side of the fortress; the third shout was on the mound of the hostages in Emain.  No one answered; it was the practice of the Ulstermen that none of them should speak except to Conchobar; and Conchobar did not speak before the three druids.

‘Who takes them, who steals them, who carries them off?’ said the druid.

Ailill Mac Mata carries them off and steals them and takes them, through the guidance of Fergus Mac Roich,’ said Sualtaim.  ’Your people have been enslaved as far as Dun Sobairce; their cows and their women and their cattle have been taken.  Cuchulainn did not let them into Mag Murthemne and into Crich Rois; three months of winter then, bent branches of hazel held together his dress upon him.  Dry wisps are on his wounds.  He has been wounded so that he has been parted joint from joint.’

‘Fitting,’ said the druid, ’were the death of the man who has spurred on the king.’

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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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