The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 487 pages of information about The Ancient Irish Epic Tale Táin Bó Cúalnge.

[W.2851.] The hosts of the four grand provinces of Erin pitched camp and entrenched themselves for that night at the pillar-stone in Crich Roiss (’the Borders of Ross’).  Then Medb called upon the men of Erin for one of them to contend and do battle with Cuchulain on the morrow.  And every one of them spake thus:  “It shall not be I! it shall not be I!” [2]cried each from his place.[2] “No victim is owing from my people, [3]and even if one were it would not be myself whom ye would send as a victim in his stead.[3] [4]I will not be the man to go in his place to fight with Cuchulain till the very day of doom and of life!"[4]

    [1-1] LU. fo. 82b, in the margin.

    [2-2] LU. and YBL. 2141.

    [3-3] Eg. 93 and H. 2. 17., LU. and YBL. 2142-2143.

    [4-4] Eg. 93 and H. 2. 17.

Thereupon Medb summoned Fergus to [5]go forth and[5] contend and fight with Cuchulain, [6]to drive him off from them on the ford[6] [7]at the early morning-hour[7] [8]on the morrow,[8] for that the men of Erin had failed her [9]to go and do battle with him.[9] “Ill would it befit me,” quoth Fergus, “to fight with a callow young lad without any beard, and mine own disciple, [10]the fosterling of Ulster,[10] [11]the foster-child that sat on Conchobar’s knee, the lad from Craeb Ruad (’Red Branch’)."[11] Howbeit Medb [W.2861.] murmured sore that Fergus foreswore her combat and battle. [1]They filled him with wine till he was heavily drunken and then they questioned him about going to the combat.[1] They bode the night in that place.  Early on the morrow Fergus arose, [2]since they importuned him urgently,[2] [3]and his horses were got ready for him and his chariot harnessed[3] and he fared forth to the place of combat where Cuchulain was.

    [5-5] Stowe and H. 2. 17.

    [6-6] Eg. 93 and H. 2. 17.

    [7-7] Eg. 93.

    [8-8] H. 2. 17 and Eg. 93.

    [9-9] Stowe.

    [10-10] H. 2. 17.

    [11-11] Eg. 93.

    [1-1] LU. and YBL. 2145-2146.

    [2-2] LU. and YBL. 2147.

    [3-3] Eg. 93.

[4]When now[4] Cuchulain saw him coming nigh, [5]this is what he said:[5] [6]"Welcome thine arrival and thy coming, O my master Fergus,” spoke Cuchulain.  “Truly given we esteem thy greeting,” Fergus answered.  “It is truly given for thee, O Fergus” said Cuchulain; “and thou shalt have a night’s lodging here this night.”  “Success and a blessing attend thee, O fosterling; not for hospitality from thee am I come, but to fight and do battle with thee."[6] “A vain surety [LL.fo.80a.] is the one wherewith my master Fergus comes to me; for no sword is in the sheath of the great staff he bears.”  It was true what he said.  A year before this tale,[a] [7]before the expedition of the Tain,[7] Ailill had found Fergus going to a tryst with Medb on the hillside in Cruachan and his

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