The Coming of Cuculain eBook

Standish James O'Grady
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about The Coming of Cuculain.
social pastimes of the age; and to drink and be merry in hall, but always without intoxication; and to respect their plighted word and be ever loyal to their captains; to reverence women, remembering always those who bore them and suckled when they were themselves helpless and of no account; to be kind to the feeble and unwarlike; and, in short, all that it became brave men to feel and to think and to do in war and in peace.  Also there were those who taught them the history of their ancestors, the great names of the Clanna Rury, and to distinguish between those who had done well and those who had not done so well, and the few who had done ill.  And these their several instructors appointed by Concobar Mac Nessa and the council of his wise men were famous captains of the Ultonians, and approved bards and historians.  And over all the high king of Ulster, Concobar Mac Nessa, was chief and president, not in name only but in fact, being well aware of all the instructors and all the instructed, and who was doing well and exhibiting heroic traits, and who was doing ill, tending downwards to the vast and slavish multitude whose office was to labour and to serve and in no respect to bear rule, which is for ever the office of the multitude in whose souls no god has kindled the divine fire by which the lamp of the sun, and the candles of the stars, and the glory and prosperity of nations are sustained and fed.  Such, and so supervised, was the Royal School of Emain Macha in the days when Concobar Mac Nessa was King, and when Fergus Mac Roy Champion, and when the son of Sualtam, not yet known by his rightful name, was a pupil of the same and under tutors and governors like the rest, though his fond mother would have evaded the law, for she loved him dearly, and feared for him the rude companionship and the stern discipline, the early rising and the strong labours of the great school.

CHAPTER VI

THE SMITH’S SUPPER PARTY

  “Bearing on shoulders immense
    Atlantean the weight,
   Well nigh not to be borne,
    Of the too vast orb of her fate.”

Matthew Arnold.

One day, in the forenoon, a man came to Emain Macha.  He was grim and swarthy, with great hands and arms.  He made no reverence to Concobar or to any of the Ultonians, but standing stark before them, spake thus, not fluently:—­“My master, Culain, high smith of all Ulster, bids thee to supper this night, O Concobar; and he wills thee to know that because he has not wide territories, and flocks, and herds, and tribute-paying peoples, only the implements of his industry, his anvils and hammers and tongs, and the slender profits of his labour, he feareth to feast all the Red Branch, who are by report mighty to eat and to drink; he would not for all Ireland bring famine upon his own industrious youths, his journeymen and his apprentices.  Come therefore with a choice selection of thy knights, choosing those

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The Coming of Cuculain from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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