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

poem/story 120


¶1] I know the occasion from which Lecht Heile is truly named; the princess among princesses met a captive's death, through the words of Raitte, suddenly,

¶2] When Fergal, loyal and honourable chieftain, fared forth on soldier-service to stern Cruachan, to Ailill red-sworded king of Connacht.

¶3] Two sisters had they both for wives, Heile and Medb, mighty in deeds, daughters of the High King of Erin, serene despite the rude violence that made prize of them.

¶4] Herc, son of Eochu, lord of harbours, came southward out of the land of Brega, following Fergal of the spears, without conflict in deadly battle.

¶5] He tasted neither food nor victual, neither refreshment nor repast, with any man of the land or soil, among the raisers of mighty oxen.

¶6] His sister was summoned to join him, not for battle, nor for harm, nor of purpose to eat the woodland venison: he longed for sight of her.

¶7] They found their living manfully, sharing hardships in the thickets, eating the venison from the woods and the oak groves in hiding.

¶8] Raitte sent word to right glorious Fergal—a harsh errand!—that Heile, mistress of gold and of horses, had found a shapely neighbour for mate.


¶9] ‘Let them prepare for her a hill-fire,’ said Fergal, unjustly: ‘let her be cast into it to her death, that her punishment maybe sore.’

¶10] So was it done in full, by the ruffian soldiery: woe for the violent fate that was then contrived for the High King of Erin's daughter.

¶11] Thereof perished Fergal, with his numberless feats of valour, of grief for her, when he came eastward thence to noble Caillin Fergaile.

¶12] Doel was their mother's name, who bore to Eochu both Herc and Heile: there is one here that knows well what death removed them from the knowledge of all.