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) .

‘It is a “goodly help of necessity,"’ said Cuchulainn.

The adventures of the Ulstermen are not followed up here now.  As for the men of Ireland, Badb and Net’s wife and Nemain [Note:  Nemain was the wife of Net, the war-god, according to Cormac.] called upon them that night on Garach and Irgarach, so that a hundred warriors of them died for terror; that was not the most peaceful of nights for them.


Ailill Mac Matae sang that night before the battle, and said:  ‘Arise, arise,’ etc [Note:  Here follows a list of names.]

As for Cuchulainn, this is what is told here now.

’Look for us, O my friend, O Loeg, how the Ulstermen are fighting the battle now.’

‘Like men,’ said the charioteer.

’Though I were to go with my chariot, and Oen the charioteer of Conall Cernach with his chariot, so that we should go from one wing to the other along the dense mass, neither hoofs nor tyres shall go through it.’

‘That is the stuff for a great battle,’ said Cuchulainn.  ’Nothing must be done in the battle,’ said Cuchulainn to his charioteer, ‘that we shall not know from you.’

‘That will be true, so far as I can,’ said the charioteer.  ’The place where the warriors are now from the west,’ said the charioteer, ’they make a breach in the battle eastwards.  Their first defence from the east, they make a breach in the battle westwards.’

‘Alas! that I am not whole!’ said Cuchulainn; ’my breach would be manifest like the rest.’

Then came the men of the bodyguard to the ford of the hosting.  Fine the way in which the fightingmen came to the battle on Garach and Irgarach.  Then came the nine chariot-men of the champions of Iruath, three before them on foot.  Not more slowly did they come than the chariot-men.  Medb did not let them into the battle, for dragging Ailill out of the battle if it is him they should defeat, or for killing Conchobar if it is he who should be defeated.

Then his charioteer told Cuchulainn that Ailill and Medb were asking Fergus to go into the battle; and they said to him that it was only right for him to do it, for they had done him much kindness on his exile.

‘If I had my sword indeed,’ said Fergus, ’the heads of men over shields would be more numerous with me than hailstones in the mire to which come the horses of a king after they have broken into the land (?).’

Then Fergus made this oath:  ’I swear, etc., there would be broken by me cheeks of men from their necks, necks of men with their (lower) arms, arms of men with their elbows, elbows of men with their arms, arms of men with their fists, fists of men with their fingers, fingers of men with their nails, [nails] of men with their skull-roofs, skull-roofs of men with their middle, middle of men with their thighs, thighs of men with their knees, knees of men with their calves, calves of men with their feet, feet of men with their toes, toes of men with their nails.  I would make their necks whizz (?) ——­ as a bee would move to and fro on a day of beauty (?).’

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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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