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.

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Here beginneth Tain Bo Cualnge

The Cualnge Cattle-raid

I

THE PILLOW-TALK

[W.1.] [LL.fo.53.] Once of a time, that Ailill and Medb had spread their royal bed in Cruachan, the stronghold of Connacht, such was the pillow-talk that befell betwixt them: 

Quoth Ailill:  “True is the saying, lady, ’She is a well-off woman that is a rich man’s wife.’” “Aye, that she is,” answered the wife; “but wherefore opin’st thou so?” “For this,” Ailill replied, “that thou art this day better off than the day that first I took thee.”  Then answered Medb:  “As well-off was I before I ever saw thee.”  “It was a wealth, forsooth, we never heard nor knew of,” Ailill said; “but a woman’s wealth was all thou hadst, and foes from lands next thine were used to carry off the spoil and booty that they took from thee.”  “Not so was I,” quoth Medb; “the High King of Erin himself was my sire, Eocho Fedlech (’the Enduring’) son of Finn, by name, who was son of Findoman, son of Finden, son of Findguin, son of Rogen Ruad (’the Red’), son of Rigen, son of Blathacht, son of Beothacht, son of Enna Agnech, son of Oengus Turbech.  Of daughters, had he six:  Derbriu, Ethne and Ele, Clothru, Mugain and Medb, myself, that was the noblest and seemliest of them.  ’Twas I was the goodliest of them in bounty [W.17.] and gift-giving, [1]in riches and treasures.[1] ’Twas I was best of them in battle and strife and combat.  ’Twas I that had fifteen hundred royal mercenaries of the sons of aliens exiled from their own land, and as many more of the sons of freemen of the land.  And there were ten men with every one of these hirelings, [2]and nine men with every hireling,[2] and eight men with every hireling, and seven men with every hireling, and six men with every hireling, and five men with every hireling, [3]and four men with every hireling,[3] and three men with every hireling, and two men with every hireling, and one hireling with every hireling.  These were as a standing household-guard,” continued Medb; “hence hath my father bestowed one of the five provinces of Erin upon me, even the province of Cruachan; wherefore ‘Medb of Cruachan’ am I called.  Men came from Finn son of Ross Ruad (’the Red’), king of Leinster, to seel me [4]for a wife, and I refused him;[4] and from Carbre Niafer (’the Champion’) son of Ross Ruad (’the Red’), king of Temair,[a] [5]to woo me, and I refused him;[5] and they came from Conchobar son of Fachtna Fathach (’the Mighty’), king of Ulster, [6]and I refused him in like wise.[6] They came from Eocho Bec (’the Small’), and I went not; for ’tis I that exacted a singular bride-gift, such as no woman before me had ever required of a man of the men of Erin, namely, a husband without avarice, without jealousy, without fear.  For should he be mean, the man with whom I should live,

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