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.

“Another time the Ulstermen were in their ‘Pains.’  Now, there was no ‘Pains’ amongst us,” Fergus continued, “in women or boys, nor in any one outside the borders of Ulster, nor in Cuchulain and his father. [1]It was for this reason no one dared shed the blood of the men of Ulster, for that the ‘Pains’ fell on the one that wounded them.[1] There came thrice nine men from the Isles of Faiche.  They pass over our rear fort, the whiles we are in our ‘Pains.’  The women scream in the fort.  The youths are in the play-field.  They come at the cry.  When the boys catch sight of the swarthy men, they all take to flight save Cuchulain alone.  He hurls the hand-stones and his playing-staff at them.  He slays nine of them and they leave fifty wounds on him and proceed thence on their journey.[3]

    [1-1] LU., edition of Strachan and O’Keeffe, page 19, note 23.

    [3-3] LU., and YBL. 413-481; see page 50.

[W.947.] “A youngster did that deed,” Fergus continued, “at the close of five years after his birth, when he overthrew the sons of champions and warriors at the very door of their liss and dun.  No need is there of wonder or surprise, [2]if he should do great deeds,[2] if he should come to the confines of the land, if he should cut off the four-pronged fork, if he should slay one man or two men or three men or four men, when there are seventeen full years of him now on the Cattle-lifting of Cualnge.” [4]"In sooth, then, we know that youth,” spoke out Conall Cernach (’the Victorious’), “and it is all the better we should know him, for he is a fosterling of our own."[4]

    [2-2] Eg. 1782.

    [4-4] LU. and YBL. 484-485.

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[Page 54]



[W.956.] Then it was that Cormac Conlongas son of Conchobar spake:  “Again that little lad performed a second deed in the following year.”  “What deed was that?” asked Ailill.

[1]"A goodly smith there was in the land of Ulster, Culann the Smith, by name.[1] He made ready a feast for Conchobar and set out for Emain to invite him.  He made known to him that only a few should come with him, that he should bring none but a true guest along, forasmuch as it was not a domain or lands of his own that he had, but [2]the fruit of his two hands,[2] his sledges and anvils, his fists and his tongs.  Conchobar replied that only a few would go to him.

    [1-1] Stowe.

    [2-2] LU and YBL 489.

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