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.

    [2-2] H. 1. 13.

Then came two women lampoonists from the camp and quarters of the men of Erin; [3]their names,[3] Fethan and Collach, to wit; and they stood with a feint of weeping and wailing over Cuchulain, telling him of the defeat of Ulster and the death of Conchobar and the fall of Fergus in combat.

    [3-3] Stowe.

[4]Now Conchobar proceeded with his troops till he pitched camp nearby his companions.  Conchobar asked a truce of Ailill till sunrise on the morrow, and Ailill granted it for the men of Erin and the exiles, and Conchobar granted it for the men of Ulster, and thereupon Conchobar’s tents were pitched.  In this way the ground was bare between them, and the Ulstermen came thither at sunset.[4]

    [4-4] YBL. 50a, 11.

* * * * *

[Page 345]

XXVI

[1]THE DECISION OF THE BATTLE[1]

[W.5727.] It was on that night that the Morrigan,[a] daughter of Ernmas, came, and she was engaged in fomenting strife and sowing dissension between the two camps on either side, and she spoke these words [2]in the twilight between the two encampments[2]:—­

“Ravens shall pick The necks of men!  Blood shall gush [3]In combat wild![3] Skins shall be hacked; Crazed with spoils! [4]Men’s sides pierced[4] In battle brave, Luibnech near!  Warriors’ storm; Mien of braves; Cruachan’s men! [5]Upon them comes[5] Ruin complete!  Lines shall be strewn Under foot; Their race die out!  Then Ulster hail:  To Erna[b] woe!  To Ulster woe:  [6]Then Erna hail![6] (This she said in Erna’s ear.) Naught inglorious shall they do Who them await!”

    [1-1] YBL. 41a, 7.

    [a] The Irish goddess of war.

    [2-2] YBL. 50a, 18-19.

    [3-3] YBL. 50a, 19.

    [4-4] YBL. 50a, 21.

    [5-5] Translating from YBL. 50a, 23; LL. appears to be corrupt.

    [b] The Munstermen in Ailill’s army.

    [6-6] YBL. 50a, 26.

[1]Now Cuchulain was at Fedain Collna near by.  Food was brought to him that night by the purveyors, and they were used to come to converse with him by day.  He killed not any of the men of Erin to the left of Ferdiad’s Ford.[1] [W.5756.] It was then that Cuchulain spake to Laeg son of Riangabair.  “It would surely be unworthy of thee, O Laeg my master,” said Cuchulain, “if between the two battle-lines there should happen anything to-day whereof thou hadst no tidings for me.”  “Whatsoever I shall learn, O Cucucuc,” answered Laeg, “will be told thee.  But, see yonder a little flock coming forth on the plain from the western camp and station now. [LL.fo.101a.] Behold a band of henchmen after them to check and to stay them.  Behold also a company of henchmen emerging from the eastern camp and station to seize them.”  “Surely, that is so!” exclaimed Cuchulain.  “That bodes a mighty

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