Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Irish version of the Historia Britonum of Nennius (Author: unknown)

Historia 17


And afterwards Gortigern invited to him twelve Druids, that he might know from them what was proper to be done. The Druids said to him, ‘Seek the borders of the island of Britain, and thou shalt find a strong fortress to defend thyself against the foreigners to whom thou hast given up thy country and thy kingdom, for thine enemies will slay thee, and will seize upon thy country and lands after thee.’ Gortigern, with his hosts and with


his Druids, traversed all the south of the island of Britain, until they arrived at Guined, and they searched all the mountain of Herer, and there found a Dinn over the sea, and a very strong locality fit to build on; and his Druids said to him, ‘Build here thy fortress,’ said they, ‘for nothing shall ever prevail against it.’ Builders were then brought thither, and they collected materials for the fortress, both stone and wood, but all these materials were carried away in one night; and materials were thus gathered thrice, and were thrice carried away. And he asked of his Druids, ‘Whence is this evil?’ said he. And the Druids said, ‘Seek a son whose father is unknown, kill him, and let his blood be sprinkled upon the Dun, for by this means only it can be built.’

Messengers were sent by him throughout the island of Britain to seek for a son without a father; and they searched as far as Magh Eillite, in the territory of Glevisic, where they found boys a-hurling; and there happened a dispute between two of the boys, so that one said to the other, ‘O man without a father, thou hast no good at all.’ The messengers asked, ‘Whose son is the lad to whom this is said?’ Those on the hurling green said, ‘We know not,’


said they, ‘his mother is here,’ said they. They asked of his mother whose son the lad was. The mother answered, ‘I know not,’ said she, ‘that he hath a father, and I know not how he happened to be conceived in my womb at all.’ So the messengers took the boy with them to Gortigern, and told him how they had found him.