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.

At that moment it was that Dare macFiachna’s chief steward came into the house and with him a man with drink and another with food, and he heard the foolish words of the runners; and anger came upon him, and he set down their food and drink for them and he neither said to them, “Eat,” nor did he say, “Eat not.”

Straightway he went into the house where was Dare macFiachna and said:  “Was it thou that hast given that notable jewel to the messengers, the Brown Bull of Cualnge?” “Yea, it was I,” Dare made answer.  “Verily, it was not the part of a king to give him.  For it is true what they say:  Unless thou hadst bestowed him of thine own free will, so wouldst thou yield him in despite of thee by the host of Ailill and Medb and by the great cunning of Fergus macRoig.”  “I swear by the gods whom I worship,” [W.143.] [1]spoke Dare,[1] “they shall in no wise take by foul means what they cannot take by fair!”

    [1-1] Stowe and Add.

There they abide till morning.  Betimes on the morrow the runners arise and proceed to the house where is Dare.  “Acquaint us, lord, how we may reach the place where the Brown Bull of Cualnge is kept.”  “Nay then,” saith Dare; “but were it my wont to deal foully with messengers or with travelling folk or with them that go by the road, not one of you would depart alive!” “How sayest thou?” quoth macRoth.  “Great cause there is,” replied Dare; “ye said, unless I yielded in good sort, I should yield to the might of Ailill’s host and Medb’s and the great cunning of Fergus.”

“Even so,” said macRoth, “whatever the runners drunken with thine ale and thy viands have said, ’tis not for thee to heed nor mind, nor yet to be charged on Ailill and on Medb.”  “For all that, macRoth, this time I will not give my bull, if ever I can help it!”

Back then the messengers go till they arrive at Cruachan, the stronghold of Connacht.  Medb asks their tidings, and macRoth makes known the same:  that they had not brought his bull from Dare.  “And the reason?” demanded Medb.  MacRoth recounts to her how the dispute arose.  “There is no need to polish knots over such affairs as that, macRoth; for it was known,” said Medb, “if the Brown Bull of Cualnge would not be given with their will, he would be taken in their despite, and taken he shall be!”

[2]To this point is recounted the Occasion of the Tain.[2]

    [2-2] Stowe and Add.

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[W.161.] [2]A mighty host was now assembled by the men of Connacht, that is, by Ailill and Medb, and they sent word to the three other provinces, and[2] messengers were despatched from Medb to the Mane that they should gather in Cruachan, the seven Mane with their seven divisions; to wit:  Mane “Motherlike,” Mane “Fatherlike,” and Mane “All-comprehending”, [3]’twas he that possessed the form of his mother and of his father and the dignity of them both;[3] Mane “Mildly-submissive,” and Mane “Greatly-submissive,” Mane “Boastful” [4]and Mane “the Dumb."[4]

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