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.

    “Five-score heroes of the hosts,
    These I reckon are in graves. 
    While their women—­fair their hue—­
    Spend the night bewailing them!"[7]

    [7-7] H. 1. 13.

* * * * *

[Page 363]



[W.6121.] As regards Medb, it is related here:  [2]She suffered not the hosts to disperse forthwith,[2] but she gathered the men of Erin and led them forth to Cruachan to behold the battle of the bulls [3]and in what manner they would part from one another.  For during the while the battle was being fought, the Brown Bull of Cualnge with fifty heifers in his company had been brought to Cruachan.[3]

    [1-1] YBL. 41a, 8.

    [2-2] H. 1. 13.

    [3-3] H. 1. 13 and Add.

As regards the Brown Bull of Cualnge, it is now recounted in this place:  When he saw the beautiful, strange land, he sent forth his three bellowing calls aloud.  And Finnbennach Ai (’the Whitehorned of Ai’) heard him.  Now no male beast durst [4]send forth[4] a low that was louder than a moo in compare with him within the four fords of all Ai, Ath Moga and Ath Coltna, Ath Slissen and Ath Bercha.  And [5]the Whitehorned[5] lifted his head with fierce anger [6]at the bellowing of the Brown of Cualnge,[6] and he hastened to Cruachan to look for the Brown Bull of Cualnge.

    [4-4] H. 1. 13 and Add.

    [5-5] H. 1. 13 and Add.

    [6-6] H. 1. 13 and Add.

It was then the men of Erin debated who would be [7]fitted[7] to witness [8]the fight[8] of the bulls.  They all agreed that it should be Bricriu son of Carbad [9]that were fitted for that office.[9] For, a year before this tale of the Cualnge Cattle-raid, Bricriu had gone from the one province into the other to make a request of Fergus.  And Fergus had retained [W.6134.] him with him waiting for his treasures and goods.  And a quarrel arose between him and Fergus at a game of chess.[a] And he spake evil words to Fergus.  Fergus smote him with his fist and with the chess-man that was in his hand, so that he drave the chess-man into his head and broke a bone in his head.  Whilst the men of Erin were on the foray of the Tain, all that time Bricriu was being cured at Cruachan.  And the day they returned from the expedition was the day Bricriu rose. [1]He came with the rest to witness the battle of the bulls.[1] [2]And this is why they selected Bricriu,[2] for that Bricriu was no fairer to his friend than to his foe. [3]"Come, ye men of Erin!” cried Bricriu; “permit me to judge the fight of the bulls,[3] [4]for it is I shall most truly recount their tale and their deeds afterwards."[4] And he was brought [5]before the men of Erin[5] to a gap whence to view the bulls.

    [7-7] H. 1. 13 and Add.

    [8-8] H. 1. 13 and Add.

    [9-9] H. 1. 13 and Add.

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