The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 368 pages of information about The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Tin B Calnge.

Now in this, Cuchulain spoke truth.  When the young warrior was come up to Cuchulain he bespoke him and condoled with him [2]for the greatness of his toil and the length of time he had passed without sleep.[2] [3]"This is brave of thee, O Cuchulain,” quoth he.  “It is not much, at all,” replied Cuchulain.  “But I will bring thee help,” said the young warrior.  “Who then art thou?” asked Cuchulain.  “Thy father from Faery am I, even Lug son of Ethliu.”  “Yea, heavy are the bloody wounds upon me; let thy healing be speedy."[3] “Sleep then awhile, O Cuchulain,” said the young warrior, “thy heavy fit of sleep by Ferta in Lerga (’the Gravemound on the Slopes’) till the end of three days and three nights and I will oppose the hosts during that time.” [4]He examined each wound so that it became clean.  Then he sang him the ‘men’s low strain’ till Cuchulain fell asleep withal.  It was then Lug recited[4] [5]the Spell-chant of Lug.[5]

    [2-2] Stowe.

    [3-3] LU. 1803-1807, and, similarly, Eg. 93 and H. 2. 17.

    [4-4] LU. 1810-1811.

    [5-5] LU. fo. 78a, in the margin; also in H. 2. 17. and Eg. 93.

Accordingly Cuchulain slept his heavy fit of sleep at ’the Gravemound on the Slopes’ till the end of three days and three nights.  And well he might sleep.  Yet as great as was his sleep, even so great was his weariness.  For from the Monday before Samain[a] (’Summer-end’) even to the Wednesday after Spring-beginning,[b] Cuchulain slept not for all that space, except for a brief snatch after mid-day, leaning against his spear, and his head on his [W.2475.] fist, and his fist clasping his spear, and his spear on his knee, [LL.fo.76b.] but hewing and cutting, slaying and destroying four of the five grand provinces of Erin during that time.

    [a] Hallowtide, the first of November and the beginning of winter.

    [b] I.e.  Candlemas.  Stowe contains a Christian addition:  ’to the feast
    of Brigit;’ that is, the first of February.

Then it was that the warrior [1]from Faery[1] laid plants from the fairy-rath and healing herbs and put a healing charm into the cuts and stabs, into the sores and gaping wounds of Cuchulain, so that Cuchulain recovered during his sleep without ever perceiving it.

    [1-1] LU. 1826.

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[Page 184]

XVIIa

THE SLAUGHTER OF THE YOUTHS OF ULSTER[a]

[W.2482.] That was the time the youths came out of the north from Emain Macha [1]to the help of Cuchulain.[1] Thrice fifty boys of the sons of the kings of Ulster, accompanying Follomain, Conchobar’s son, and three battles they offered to the hosts, so that thrice their number fell and the youths also fell, save Conchobar’s son Follomain.  Follomain vowed that never till the very day of doom and of life would he return to

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The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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