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.

[3]Albeit gladness, joy and happiness was the part of the men of Ulster for that, sorrow, grief and unhappiness was the part of the men of Erin, for they knew that the little lad that had done those deeds in the time of his boyhood, it would be no wonder if he should do great deeds of valour in the time of his manhood.[3]

    [3-3] H. 2. 17.

These, accordingly, are some of the youthful exploits of Cuchulain on the Raid for the Kine of Cualnge, and the Prologue of the Tale, and the Names of the Roads and the March of the Host up to this Point.

The Story proper is this which follows now.

* * * * *

[Page 80]



“Let us fare forth now,” quoth Ailill.  Thereafter they reached Mag Mucceda (’the plain of the Swineherd.’) Cuchulain lopped off an oak that was before him in that place and set an ogam-writing on its side.  This is what was on it:  ’That no one should pass by till a chariot-warrior with a chariot should overleap it.’

    [1-1] LU. and YBL. 733-766.

They pitch there their tents and proceed to leap over the oak in their chariots.  Thereat thirty horses fall and thirty chariots are broken.  Now, Belach Ane (’the Pass of Sport’) is the name of that place forever.

They bide there till morning.  Fraech [2]son of Fidach[2] was summoned to them.  “Help us, O Fraech,” spake Medb; “deliver us from the strait we are in.  Rise up for us to meet Cuchulain, if perchance thou wilt fight him.”

    [2-2] YBL. 741.

Betimes in the morning, with nine men Fraech went out from thence till he arrived at Ath Fuait, when he saw the youth Cuchulain bathing in the river.  “Bide here,” spake Fraech to his people, “till I fight with yonder man; he is not good in the water,” said he.  He doffs his clothes and goes into the water to meet him.  “Come not before me,” cried Cuchulain; “it shall be thy death and it would grieve me to kill thee.”  “Nay, but I will go,” answered Fraech, “so that we come together in the water, and it behoves thee to engage with me.”  “Settle that as seemeth thee good,” Cuchulain made answer.  “Each of us with his arms round the other,” said Fraech.  They fall to wrestling for a long time in the water and Fraech is thrust under.  Cuchulain brings him above again.  “This time,” spake Cuchulain, “wilt thou acknowledge that I saved thee?” “I will not,” Fraech answered.  Cuchulain thrusts him under again, so that Fraech is destroyed.

He is placed on the ground.  His people bear the body [10]with them[10] to the camp.  Ath Fraeich (’Fraech’s Ford’) is the name of that ford for ever.  All the army keen [2]their[2] Fraech, till they see a troop of women, in green tunics standing over the corpse of Fraech son of Fidach.  These women bear him into the fairy dwelling.  Sid Fraeich (’Fraech’s Mound’) is the name of the Elfmound ever since.

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