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) .

‘A wonder of a morning,’ [Note:  Rhetoric.] a wonder of a time, when hosts will be confused, kings will be turned, necks will break, the sun will grow red, three hosts will be routed by the track of a host about Conchobar.  They will strive for their women, they will chase their flocks in fight on the morning, heroes will be smitten, dogs will be checked (?), horses will be pressed (?), ——­ ——­, ——­ will drip, from the assemblies of great peoples.’

Therewith they awoke through their sleep (?).  The Nemain threw the host into confusion there; a hundred men of them died.  There is silence there then; when they heard Cormac Condlongas again (or it is Ailill Mac Matae in the camp who sang this): 

‘The time of Ailill.  Great his truce, the truce of Cuillend,’ etc. [Note:  Rhetoric.]


While these things were being done, the Connaughtman determined to send messengers by the counsel of Ailill and Medb and Fergus, to look at the Ulstermen, to see whether they had reached the plain.  It is there that Ailill said: 

‘Go, O Mac Roth,’ said Ailill, ’and look for us whether the men are all(?) in the plain of Meath in which we are.  If they have not come, I have carried off their spoil and their cows; let them give battle to me, if it suits them.  I will not await them here any longer.’

Then Mac Roth went to look at and to watch the plain.  He came back to Ailill and Medb and Fergus The first time then that Mac Roth looked from the circuit of Sliab Fuait, he saw that all the wild beast came out of the wood, so that they were all in the plain.

‘The second time,’ said Mac Roth, ’that I surveyed the plain, I saw a heavy mist that filled the glens and the valleys, so that it made the hills between them like islands in lakes.  Then there appeared to me sparks of fire out of this great mist:  there appeared to me a variegation of every different colour in the world.  I saw then lightning and din and thunder and a great wind that almost took my hair from my head, and threw me on my back; and yet the wind of the day was not great.’

‘What is it yonder, O Fergus?’ said Ailill.  ‘Say what it means.’ [Note:  Literally, ‘is like.’]

‘That is not hard; this is what it means,’ said Fergus:  ’This is the Ulstermen after coming out of their sickness.  It is they who have come into the wood.  The throng and the greatness and the violence of the heroes, it is that which has shaken the wood; it is before them that the wild beasts have fled into the plain.  The heavy mist that you saw, which filled the valleys, was the breath of those warriors, which filled the glens so that it made the hills between them like islands in lakes.  The lightning and the sparks of fire and the many colours that you saw, O Mac Roth,’ said Fergus, ’are the eyes of the warriors from their heads which have shone to you like sparks of fire. 

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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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