Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem/story 9


  1. Here under a hard headstone lies a woman doomed to dark disastrous fate, without fame for happy fortune in return, whose name was Nothain the strong smiter.
  2. She was daughter to Conmaer, doer of deeds unlamented, that blue-clad dark-forked terror: her portion of food was provender for a hundred men, woodland fare in the forest.
  3. Conmaer fared, journeying to his goal, from Crích Berre of the combats, seeking the woman—forbidding was her fame—as far as Cruachan, home of warriors.
  4. Many a step fiercely he strode throughout the vast breadth of Erin: a year he wasted in misery, searching for his daughter.
  5. He found the woman tall and shaggy in a shrouded serried thicket: to the man who longed to see her she was a right horrid and hideous sight.
  6. They passed the length of the night, 'tis truth, the faultless man and brave woman, the two of them together, forspent at their parleying.

  7. p.29

  8. This was the first word she said, the woman who boasted not in flow of words: 'Are they alive, your folk and your own belongings noble of name?
  9. ‘My nurse, my lady mother, my sister, my brother hot of mood, and all my friends at Druim Cain, are they still with thee, O Conmaer?’
  10. ‘Of all thy friends,’ said dark Conmaer, ‘that thou sawest in thy western home, none is left in their strong habitations but myself, tall daughter mine!’
  11. Then spake the virtuous lady her quick answer, ill-boding: ‘Woe worth the cause! its issue shall be that Nothain shall not survive them.’
  12. ‘Thrice fifty years, tell it forth!—nothing short and nothing over—have I been sheltering from grove to grove, nor ever seen expanse of level land.’
  13. ‘Let me go with thee to-morrow to Mag nÁrach, variously beautiful,—my span of life lasts no longer—till thou set up my warrior-stone.’

  14. p.31

  15. Death seized her—it was no deed of glory—through the tale her father told: the woman lies, in darkness undeserved, under a hard headstone.
  16. This is the cause whereof comes the name ‘Lia Nothain’, beyond dispute: hence in our dwellings her name endures, though she is dead.
  17. Save me from sorrow and suffering, O King whitely fair, truly radiant! let me not be sorrowful in yon session hereafter, when I have praised every one that is here!