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Standish James O'Grady
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about The Coming of Cuculain.

When Conall’s messengers related the reason of their coming, Fingin cried to his young men, “Harness me my horses and yoke my chariot.  There are few,” he said, “in Erin for whom I would leave my own house, but that youth is one of them.  His father Amargin was well known to me.  He was a warrior grim and dour exceedingly, and he ever said concerning the boy, ’This hound’s whelp that I have gotten is too fine and sleek to hold bloody gaps or hunt down a noble prey.  He will be a women’s playmate and not a peer amongst Heroes.’  And that fear was ever upon him till the day when Conall came red out of the Valley of the Thrush, and his track thence to Rath-Amargin was one straight path of blood, and he with his shield-arm hacked to the bone, his sword-arm swollen and bursting, and the flame of his valour burning bright in his splendid eyes.  Then, for the first time, the old man smiled upon him, and he said, ‘That arm, my son, has done a man’s work to-day.’”

CHAPTER XV

ACROSS THE MEARINGS AND AWAY

“Say, rushed the bold eagle exultingly forth. 
From his home, in the dark rolling clouds of the North?”

Campbell.

As for the boys, they proceeded joyfully after that pleasant skirmish and friendly encounter, both on account of the discomfiture of him who was reckoned the prime champion of the Ultonians, and because they were at large in Erin, with no one to direct them, or to whom they should render an account; and their happiness, too, was increased by the mettle, power and gallant action of the steeds, and by the clanking of the harness and the brazen chains, and the ringing of the weapons of war, and the roar of the revolving wheels, and owing to the velocity of their motion and the rushing of the wind upon their temples and through their hair.

Then Cuculain stood up in the chariot, and surveyed the land on all sides, and said—­

“What is that great, firm-based, indestructible mountain upon our left hand, one of a noble range which, rising from the green plain, runs eastward.  The last peak there is the mountain of which I speak, whose foot is in the Ictian sea and whose head neighbours the firmament.”

And Laeg said, “Men call it Slieve Modurn, after a giant of the elder time, when men were mightier and greater than they are now.  He was of the children of Brogan, uncle of Milesius, and his brothers were Fuad and Eadar and Breagh, and all these being very great men are commemorated in the names of noble mountains and sea-dividing promontories.”

“Guide thither the horses,” said Cuculain.  “It is right that those who take the road against an enemy should first spy out the land, choosing judiciously their point of onset, and Slieve Modurn yonder commands a most brave prospect.”

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