Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])
- Loch Riach who was Riach to whom it belongs?
commonly famous for its hue:
know ye who was Riach
who scatters the battle, surrounded by shields?
- 5] Four kings there were in the plain
who drove steeds, it was not for long:
Caimell and cruel Etar,
Casta and Riach of the bright cheeks.
- A noble daughter had fair Caimell,
10] cruel Etar had a daughter too,
Celbil Fair-lips, womanly the name,
and Land Half-red that was her name among the host.
- Casta woos one it was no famous action:
Riach woos in his turn:
15] the women are refused them
at the meeting that led to their undoing.
- Then the men of the South declared
battle, as all know, against the men of the North;
thence came their destruction
20] alas for the cause that brought it to pass!
- They set the battle in this wise,
even in the form of lofty warlike stags:
none escaped from the battle, with its treacherous leaders18
save one of the four, after their undoing.
- 25] Fair Caimell is slain in the battle,
and cruel Etar is slain:
Casta is slain there beside him;
both their armies are slain together.
- None escaped after their undoing
30] out of the battle it was no famous action
save only fierce mountainous Riach,
whose name clave to the lake to designate it.
- At the spot where their heads were brought
in the glen beside Druim Sam,
35] a spring rises there, to reward search:
it boils over wall and plain.
- Riach builds a house over it:
great enough, I ween, was its evil power:
he put a door across the mouth thereof:
40] strong though it was, it availed not.
- Once on a time, when the water was not sealed up,
and he was away in the house meanwhile,
the well boiled up mightily
that was the history of the men's drowning.
- 45] A thousand men who were in the keep
it drowned speedily, 'tis certain;
and it drowned Riach of the victories:
they lie all together in the lake.
- In the place where the dead men rotted
50] under the waters of Ler, with their numerous wounds,
the colour of each man's blood in turn
is the colour that the lake acquired.
- All the sheep in Erin were plunged therein
every seventh year, it was a lasting custom:
55] white they were when they entered the lake,
famously red they stepped forth.
- The Sheep's Thorn, that stands above it
overshadowing the spot, excellent of colour,
and the Ford of the fair Sheep
60] are named from this, both of them, it is a grace.
- Fot, from whom in truth Mag Fot is named,
was famous on the Road of the Kings:
this Fot, comely was his host
was bailiff in charge of the lake.
- 65] Mess Alluda and noble Ruathar
went early side by side
to dye their sheep crimson therein,
and the lake drowned them beneath its waters.