Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Táin Bó Cúalnge from the Book of Leinster (Author: [unknown])

section 3

This is the route of the Táin and the beginning of the hosting together with the names of the roads on which the men of the four great provinces of Ireland travelled into the land of Ulster:

To Mag Cruinn, by way of Tuaim Móna, by Turloch Teóra Crích, by Cúl Sílinne, by Dubfid, by Badbna, by Coltan, across the river Shannon, by Glúine Gabur, by Mag Trega, by northern Tethba, by southern Tethba, by Cúil, by Ochain, by Uata northwards, by Tiarthechta eastwards, by Ord, by Slass, across the river Inneoin, by Carn, across Meath, by Ortrach, by Findglassa Asail, by Drong, by Delt, by Duelt, by Deland, by Selach, by Slabra, by Slechta which was cleared by swords for Medb and Ailill's passage, by cuil Siblinne, by Dub, by Ochan, by Catha, by Cromma, by Tromma, by Fodromma, by Sláine by Gort Sláine, by Druimm Licci, by Áth n-Gabla, by Ardachad, by Feoraind, by Findabair, by Aisse, by Airne, by Aurthaile, by Druimm Salaind, by Druimm Caín, by Druimm Caimthechta, by Druimm mac n-Dega, by Eódond Bec, by Eódond Mór, by Meide in Togmaill, by Meide ind Eoin, by Baile, by Aile, by Dall Scena, by Ball Scena, by Ros Mór, by Scúap, by Timscúap, by Cend Ferna, by Ammag, by Fid Mór in Crannach Cúailnge, by Druimm Caín to Slige Midlúachra.

After the first day's march on which the hosts went, they spent that night in Cúil Silinne and Ailill mac Rosa's tent was pitched for him. The tent of Fergus mac Róich was on his right hand. Cormac Cond Longas mac Conchobuir was beside Fergus. Íth mac Etgaíth


{line 301-334}was next, then Fiachu mac Fir Aba, then Goibnend mac Lurgnig. Such was the placing of Ailill's tent on his right during that hosting, and thus were the thirty hundred men of Ulster at his right hand so that the confidential talk and discourse and the choicest portions of food and drink might be nearer to them. Medb Chrúachan was on Ailill's left with Findabair beside her. Then came Flidais Fholtchaín, the wife of Ailill Find, who had slept with Fergus on Táin Bó Cúailnge, and it was she who every seventh night on that hosting quenched with milk the thirst of all the men of Ireland, king and queen and prince, poet and learner. Medb was the last of the hosts that day for she had been seeking foreknowledge and prophecy and tidings, that she might learn who was loath and who was eager to go on the expedition. Medb did not permit her chariot to be let down or her horses to be unyoked until she had made a circuit of the encampment.

Then Medb's horses were unyoked and her chariots were let down and she sat beside Ailill mac Mágach. And Ailill asked Medb to find out who was eager and who reluctant or loath to go on the hosting. ‘It is useless for any to set out on it except for the one band namely, the division of the Gailioin’ said Medb. ‘What good service do they do that they are praised above all others?’ said Ailill. ‘There is reason to praise them’ said Medb. ‘When the others began to pitch their camp, these had already finished making their bothies and open tents. When the others had finished their bothies and open tents, these had finished preparing food and drink. When the others had finished preparing food and drink, these had finished eating their meal. When the others had finished their meal, these were asleep. Even as their slaves and servants surpassed the slaves and servants of the men of Ireland, so their warriors and champions will surpass those of the men of Ireland on this occasion on the hosting’. ‘All the better do we deem that’ said Ailill, ‘for it is with us they march and it is for us they fight’. ‘It is not with us they will go nor for us they will fight’. ‘Let them stay at home then’ said Ailill. ‘They shall not stay’ said Medb. ‘What shall they do then’ said Findabair, ‘if they do not go forth nor yet stay at home?’ ‘Death and destruction and slaughter I desire for them’ said Medb. ‘Woe betide him who speaks thus’ said Ailill, ‘because of their having pitched their tents and set up their stronghold quickly and promptly’. ‘By the truth of my conscience’ said Fergus, ‘only he who inflicts death on me shall


{line 335-368}inflict death on those men’. ‘Not to me should you say that, Fergus’, said Medb, ‘for my army is numerous enough to slay and kill you with the thirty hundred Leinstermen surrounding you. For I have the seven Maines with their seven divisions of thirty hundred and the sons of Mága with their division and Ailill with his division, and I myself have my household guard. Our numbers are sufficient to slay and kill you with the division of the Leinstermen around you’. ‘It is not fitting to speak thus to me’ said Fergus, ‘for I have here the seven underkings of the Munstermen with their seven divisions. Here too is a division of the best among the noble warriors of Ulster. Here are the finest of the noble warriors of the men of Ireland, the division of the Gailioin. I myself am bond and surety and guarantee for them since they came from their own lands, and me shall they uphold in this day of battle. Furthermore’ said Fergus, ‘those men shall not be
[gap: text untranslated/extent: 8 words]
. I shall disperse yon division of the Gailioin amongst the men of Ireland so that not five of them shall be together in one place’. ‘I care not’ said Medb, ‘in what way they are, provided only that they are not in the close battle array in which they now are’. Then Fergus dispersed that division among the men of Ireland so that no five men of them were together in one spot.

Thereafter the hosts set out upon their march. It was difficult for them to attend to that mighty army, which set forth on that journey, with the many tribes and the many families and the many thousands whom they brought with them that they might see each other and know each other and that each might be with his familiars and his friends and his kin on the hosting. They said too in what manner it was fitting to go on that hosting. They said that they should go thus: with every troop around their king, with every band around their leader, every group around their chief, and every king and royal heir of the men of Ireland on his own mound apart. They discussed too who ought to guide them between the two provinces, and they said that it should be Fergus, because the hosting was a hostile hosting for him, for he had been seven years in the kingship of Ulster, and when the sons of Usnech had been slain in despite of his guarantee and surety, he had come from there, ‘and he has been seventeen years in exile and in enmity away from Ulster’. Therefore it would be fitting that he should go before all to guide them. Then Fergus went before all to guide them, but a feeling of affection for the Ulsterman seized him and he led the troops astray to the north and to the south, and messengers went from him with warnings to the Ulstermen


{line 369-403}and he began to delay and hold back the army. Medb perceived this, and she reproached him and chanted the lay:


O Fergus, what do we say of this? What manner of path is this which we go? Past every tribe we wander north and south.


O Medb, why are you perturbed? This is not anything which resembles treachery. O woman, the land I traverse belongs to the men of Ulster.


Ailill, the splendid, with his army, fears that you will betray him

"fears ... him", following LU, ST

. Hitherto you have not given your mind to leading us on the right path.


Not to the disadvantage of the host did I go on each wandering road in turn, but to try and avoid thereafter Cú Chulainn mac Sualtaim.


It is wrong of you to betray our host, O Fergus mac Rosa Rúaid, for much wealth did you get here in your exile, O Fergus.

‘I shall not be in front of the army any longer.’ said Fergus, ‘but seek some one else to lead them’. Yet Fergus took his position in the van of the army.

The four great provinces of Ireland were on Cúil Silinne that night. A sharp premonition of the arrival of Cú Chula inn came to Fergus and he told the men of Ireland to be on their guard, for there would come upon them he who was the slashing lion and the doom of enemies and the foe of armies, the supporting leader and the slaughtering of a great host, the hand bestowing gifts and the flaming torch, to wit, Cú Chulainn the son of Sualtaim. And Fergus was thus prophesying the coming of Cú Chulainn, and he made the lay and Medb answered him:


It is well for you to keep watch and ward with many weapons and many warriors. He whom we fear will come, the great and valiant one form Muirtheimne.


{line 404-444}


Kindly is that of you—a counsel of battle—O valiant Mac Róig. Men and arms I have here on the spot to answer Cú Chulainn.


Men and arms are expended in the fray, O Medb from Mag Aí, against the rider of Liath Macha, every night and every day.


I have here in reserve warriors to fight and to plunder, thirty hundred hostage chiefs, the warriors of the Gailioin.

Warriors from fair Crúachu, heroes from clear- robed Lúachair, four provinces of fair Gaels—all these will defend me from that one man.


He who has troops in Bairrche and Banna will draw blood across the shafts of spears. Into the mire and sand he will cast that division of the Gailioin.

As swift as the swallow and as speedy as the harsh wind—thus is my fair dear Cú in mutual slaughter above the breath of his foes.


O Fergus, famed in song, let this message go from you to Cú Chulainn, that it were prudent for him to be silent for he shall be harshly checked in Crúachu.


Valiantly will men be despoiled in the land of Badb's daughter. The Hound of the Smith—with shedding of gore—will overthrow companies of goodly heroes(?).

After that lay: the army of the four great provinces of Ireland came eastwards over Móin Coltna that day and there met them eight score deer. The army spread out and surrounded them and killed them so that none escaped. Yet though the division of the Gailioin were dispersed, only five deer fell to the men of Ireland. The one division of the Gailioin carried of the rest of the eight score deer.

It was on the same day that Cú Chulainn mac Sualtaim and Sualtach Sídech, his father, arrived and their horses grazed around the pillar-stone at Ard Cuillenn. Sualtaim's steeds cropped the grass down to the soil north of the pillar-stone, Cú Chulainn's steeds


{line 445-81}cropped the grass down to the soil and the bedrock to the south of the pillar-stone. ‘Well, father Sualtaim’ said Cú Chulainn ‘I have a premonition that the army is at hand, so go for me with warnings to the Ulstermen that they stay not on the open plains but go to the woods and waste places and deep valleys of the province to evade the men of Ireland’. ‘And you, my fosterling, what will you do?’ ‘I must go southwards to Tara to keep a tryst with the handmaiden of Feidilmid Noíchruthach with my own surety until morning’. ‘Woe to him who goes thus’, said Sualtaim ‘and leaves the Ulstermen to be trampled underfoot by their enemies and by outlanders for the sake of going to a tryst with any women’. ‘I must go however, for unless I do, men's contracts will be falsified and women's words be verified’.

Sualtaim went with warnings to the Ulstermen. Cú Chulainn went into the wood and cut a prime oak sapling, whole and entire, with one stroke and, standing on one leg and using but one hand and one eye, he twisted it into a ring and put an ogam inscription on the peg of the ring and put the ring around the narrow part of the standing-stone at Ard Cuillenn. He forced the ring down until it reached the thick part of the stone. After that Cú Chulainn went to his tryst.

As for the men of Ireland, they came to the pillar-stone at Ard Cuillenn and began to survey the unknown province of Ulster. Now two men of Medb's household were always in the van at every encampment and hosting, at every ford and every river and every pass. And this they did so that no stain might come to the princes' garments in the crowd or crush of host or army. These were the two sons of Nera mac Nuatair meic Tacáin, the two sons of the steward of Crúachu. Err and Innell were their names, and Fráech and Fochnam the names of their charioteers.

The nobles of Ireland came to the pillar stone and began to survey the grazing which the horses had made around the stone and to gaze at the barbaric ring which the royal hero had left around the stone. And Ailill took the ring in his hand and gave it to Fergus and Fergus read out the ogam inscription that was in the peg of the ring and told the men of Ireland what the inscription meant.

And as he began to tell them he made the lay:


¶1] This is a ring. What is its meaning for us? What is its secret message? And how many put it here? Was it one man oft many?


{line 482-520}

¶2] If ye go past it tonight and do not stay in camp beside it, the Hound who mangles all flesh will come upon you. Shame to you if ye flout it.

¶3] If ye go on your way from it, it brings ruin on the host. Find out, O druids, why the ring was made.

¶4] It was the swift cutting(?) of a hero. A hero cast it. It is a snare for enemies. One man—the sustainer of lords, a man of battle (?)—cast it there with one hand.

¶5] It gave a pledge (?) with the harsh rage of the Smith's Hound from the Cráebrúad. It is a champion's bond, not the bond of a madman. That is the inscription on the ring.

¶6] Its object is to cause anxiety to the four provinces of Ireland—and many combats. That is all I know of the reason why the ring was made.

After that lay: Fergus said: ‘I swear to you that if ye flout that ring and the royal hero who it and do not spend a night here in encampment until one of you make a similar ring, standing on one foot and using one eye and one hand as he did, even though that hero be hidden underground or in a locked house, he will slay and wound you before the hour of rising on the morrow, if ye flout it’. ‘It is not that indeed that we would wish’ said Medb, ‘that anyone should wound us or shed our blood after we have come to this unknown province, the province of Ulster. More pleasing to us that we should wound another and spill his blood’. ‘We shall not set this ring at naught’ said Ailill, ‘and we shall not flout the royal hero who wrought it, but we shall take shelter in this great wood in the south until morning. Let our encampment be made there’. Then the hosts advanced and with their swords they hewed down the wood to make a path for their chariots, so that Slechta is still the name of that spot where is Partraige Beca south-west of Cenannas na Ríg near Cúil Sibrilli.

Heavy snow fell on them that night. So deep it was that it reached to the shoulders of men, to the flanks of horses and to the shafts of chariots, so that the provinces of Ireland were all one level plain with the snow. but not tents or bothies or pavilions were set up that night. No preparation of food or drink was made. No meal or repast was consumed. None of the men of Ireland knew


{line 521-556}whether it was friend or foe who was next to him until the bright hour of sunrise on the morrow. It is certain that the men of Ireland had never experienced a night in encampment which held more discomfort and hardship for them than that night at Cúil Sibrilli. The four great provinces of Ireland came forth early on the morrow with the rising of the sun across the glistening snow, and they went forward from that district to another.

As for Cú Chulainn, however, he did not rise early until he ate a repast and meal and washed and bathed on that day. He told his charioteer to harness the horses and yoke his chariot. The charioteer harnessed the horses and yoked the chariot, and Cú Chulainn went into his chariot and they followed the track of the army. They found the trail of the men of Ireland going past them from one district to another. ‘Alas, my friend Láeg’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘would that we had not gone to our tryst with a woman last night. The least that one who is guarding a border can do is to give a warning cry or shout or alarm or tell who goes the road. We failed to announce it. The men of Ireland have gone past us into Ulster’. ‘I foretold for you, Cú Chulainn’ said Láeg, ‘that if you went to your tryst, such a disgrace would come upon you’. ‘Go, Láeg, I pray you, on the track of the army and make an estimate of them, and find out for us in what number the men of Ireland went past us’. Láeg came to the track of the host and came in front of the track and to one side of it and went to the rear of it. ‘You are confused in your reckoning, my friend Láeg’ said Cú Chulainn. ‘I am indeed’ said Láeg. ‘Come into the chariot and I shall make an estimate of them’. The charioteer came into the chariot. Cú Chulainn went on the track of the host and made an estimate of their numbers and came to one side and went to the rear. ‘You are confused in your reckoning, little Cú’ said Láeg. ‘I am not’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘for I know in what number the hosts went past us, namely, eighteen divisions, but the eighteenth division was dispersed among the men of Ireland’.—Now Cú Chulainn possessed many and various gifts: the gift of beauty, the gift of form, the gift of build, the gift of swimming, the gift of horsemanship, the gift of playing fidchell, the gift of playing brandub, the gift of battle, the gift of fighting, the gift of conflict, the gift of sight, the gift of speech, the gift of counsel, the gift of fowling(?), the gift of laying waste (?), the gift of plundering in a strange border.

‘Good, my friend Láeg, harness the chariot for us and ply the goad for us on the horses. Drive on the chariot and turn your left-hand board to the hosts to see can we overtake them in the van or in the


{line 557-592}rear or in the middle. For I shall not live if a friend or foe among the men of Ireland fall not by my hand tonight’. Then the charioteer plied the goad on the horses. He turned his left board to the hosts and came to Taurloch Caille Móre north of Cnogba na Ríg which is called Áth n-Gabla. Then Cú Chulainn went into the wood and descended from his chariot and cut a forked pole of four prongs, whole and entire, with one stroke. He pointed it and charred it and put an ogam inscription on its side and cast it out of the back of his chariot from the tip of one hand so that two thirds of it went into the ground and but one third of it was above ground. Then it was that the two lads mentioned, the two sons of Nera mac Nuatair meic Tacáin, came upon him engaged in that task, and they vied with one another as to which of them would first wound him and first behead him. Cú Chulainn attacked them and cut off their four heads from them and from their charioteer and impaled a head of each man of them on a prong of the pole. And Cú Chulainn sent the horses of that band back by the same road to meet the men of Ireland, with their reins lying loose and the headless trunks red with gore and the bodies of the warriors dripping blood down on to the framework of the chariots. For he did not deem it honourable or seemly to take the horses or garments or arms from the bodies of those he killed. Then the hosts saw the horses of the band who had gone in advance of them and the headless bodies and the corpses of the warriors dripping blood down on the framework of the chariots. The van of the army waited for the rear, and all were thrown into panic.

Medb and Fergus and the Maines and the sons of Mágu came up. For this is how Medb was wont to travel; with nine chariots for herself alone, two chariots before her, two behind, two on each side and her chariot between them in the very middle. And the reason she used to do that was so that the clods of earth cast up by the horses' hooves or the foam dripping from the bridle-bits or the dust raised by the mighty army might not reach her and that no darkening might come to the golden diadem of the queen. ‘What is this?’ said Medb. ‘Not hard to say’ they all answered. ‘These are the horses of the band that went in advance of us and their headless bodies in their chariots’. They held counsel, and they decided that was the track of a multitude and the approach of a great army and that it was the men of Ulster who came to them thus. And this is what they decided on: to send Cormac Conn Longes to find out who was at the ford, for it the Ulstermen were there, they would not kill the son of their own king. Then Cormac Conn


{line 593- 629}Longes mac Conchobuir came with thirty hundred armed men to find out who was at the ford. And when he got there he saw only the forked pole in the middle of the ford with four heads on it dripping blood down the stem of the pole into the current of the stream and the hoof-marks of the two horses, and the track of a single charioteer and of a single warrior leading eastwards out of the ford.

The nobles of Ireland came to the ford and they all fell to examining the forked pole. They marvelled and wondered who had wrought the slaughter. ‘What name have ye for this ford until now, Fergus?’ said Ailill. ‘Áth n-Grena’ said Fergus, ‘and Áth n-Gabla shall be its name forever now from this forked pole’.

And he recited the lay:


¶1] Áth n-Grena will change its name because of the deed performed by the strong, fierce Hound. There is here a four- pronged forked branch to bring fear on the men of Ireland.

¶2] On two if its prongs are the heads of Fraech and Fochnam—presage of battle! On its other two points are the heads of Err and Innell.

¶3] What inscription is that on its side? Tell us, O druids fair. And who wrote that inscription on it? How many drove it into the ground?

¶4] Yon forked branch with fearful strength that you see there, O Fergus, one man cut-and hail to him!—with one perfect stroke of his sword.

¶5] He pointed it and swung it back behind him—no easy exploit—and then flung it down that one of you might pluck it out of the ground.

¶6] Áth n-Grena was its name hitherto. All will remember it. Ath n-Gabla will be its name forever from that forked branch which you see in the ford.

After the lay: Ailill said: ‘I marvel and wonder, Fergus, who would have cut the forked pole and slain so swiftly the four who


{line 630-664}went before us’. ‘Rather should you marvel and wonder at him who cut, whole and entire, the forked pole that you see with one stroke, who sharpened and pointed it and made a cast of it from the back of his chariot with the tip of one hand so that it went two third of its length into the ground and only one third is above it, and no hole was dug for it with his sword but it was driven in through the stony ground. It is tabu for the men of Ireland to go into the bed of this ford until one of you pluck out the pole with the tip of one hand even as he drove it in just now’. ‘You are of our army, Fergus’ said Medb, ‘so bring us the forked pole from the bed of the ford’. ‘Let me have a chariot’ said Fergus. A chariot was brought to Fergus, and he gave a tug to the forked pole and made fragments and small pieces of the chariot. ‘Let a chariot be brought to me’ said Fergus again. A chariot is brought to Fergus and he gave a strong pull to the forked pole and made fragments and small pieces of the chariot. ‘Bring me a chariot’. said Fergus. He tugged the pole with all his strength and shattered the chariot into pieces. As for the seventeen chariots of the Connachtmen, Fergus broke them all to fragments and small pieces and yet he could not draw the pole from the bed of the ford. ‘Give over, Fergus’ said Medb, ‘do not break any more of my people's chariots, for had you not been on this hosting now, we should already have reached the Ulstermen and had our share of booty and herds. We know why you are acting thus: it is to hold back and delay the host until such time as the Ulstermen recover from their debility and give us battle, the battle of the Táin’. ‘Let a chariot be brought to me at once’ said Fergus. Then his own chariot was brought to Fergus, and Fergus gave a strong wrench to the forked pole and neither wheel nor pole nor shaft of the chariot creaked or groaned. As was the strength and bravery with which it was driven in by him who had driven it in, so was the might and valour with which the warrior drew it out—Fergus, the gap-breaker of a hundred, the sledge hammer of smiting, the destructive stone of enemies, the leader of resistance, the enemy of multitudes, the destroyer of a mighty army, the blazing torch, the commander of a great battle. He drew it up with the tip of one hand until it reached the top of his shoulder and he put the forked pole in Ailill's hand. And Ailill looked at it. ‘The fork seems all the more perfect to me’ said Ailill, ‘in that it is a single cutting I see on it from top to bottom’. ‘All the more perfect indeed’ said Fergus, and he began to praise the forked pole and made this lay about it:


{line 665-701}


¶1] Here is the famous forked pole beside which harsh Cú Chulainn stood, and on which he left—to spite some one of you—the four heads of strangers.

¶2] It is certain that he would not retreat from the forked pole at the approach of one man, strong and fierce. Though the bright Hound has left it, blood remains on its hard bark.

¶3] Woe to him who will go eastward on the hosting to seek the cruel Donn Cúailnge. Heroes will be cut in pieces by the baneful sword of Cú Chulainn.

¶4] No easy gain will be his strong bull for whom a fight will be fought with keen weapons. When every skull has been tormented, all the tribes of Ireland will weep.

¶5] I have no more to say concerning the son of Deichtire, but men and women shall hear of this pole as it now stands.

After that lay: Ailill said: ‘Let us pitch our tents and pavilions, and let us prepare food and drink and let us make music and melody and let us eat and take food, for it is unlikely that the men of Ireland ever at any time experienced a night of encampment that held more hardship and distress for them than last night’. Their encampments were set up and their tents pitched. Food and drink was prepared by them, music and melody played, and they ate a meal. And Ailill asked Fergus a question: ‘I marvel and wonder as to who would come to us on the marches and slay so swiftly the four who went in advance. Is it likely that Conchobor mac Fachtna Fáthaig the high king of Ulster would come to us?’ ‘It is not likely indeed’ said Fergus, ‘for it is lamentable to revile him in his absence. There is nothing that he would not pledge for his honour's sake. For if it were he who had come, armies and hosts and the pick of the men of Ireland

Ulster, ST

who are with him would have come too, and even though the men of Ireland and the men of Scotland, the Britons and the Saxons were opposed to him in one place and one meeting and one muster, in one camp and on one hill, he would give them all battle, it is he who would win victory and it is not he who would be routed’. ‘Tell me, then, who was likely to have come to us? Was it perhaps Cuscraid Mend Macha


{line 702-733}mac Conchobuir from Inis Cuscraid?’ ‘It was not likely’ said Fergus, son of the high king. ‘There is nothing he would not stake for the sake of his honour, for if it were he who came, the sons of kings and royal princes who are with him in mercenary service would also come, and if there were before him in one spot and one Ireland and the men of Scotland, the Britons and the Saxons, he would give them all battle, it is he who would be victorious and it is not he who would be routed’. ‘Tell me, then, would Eogan mac Durthacht the King of Fernmag come to us?’ ‘It was not likely indeed for if it were he who came, the steady men of Fernmag would come with him and he would give battle etc’. ‘Tell me then who was likely to come to us. Was it Celchair mac Uthechair?’ ‘It was not likely indeed. It is shameful to revile him in his absence. He is the destructive stone of his enemies in the province, he is leader of resistance to all, he is the Ulstermen's doorway of battle, and if there were before him in one spot ut ante together with all the men of Ireland from west to east and from south to north, he would give them battle, he would be victorious and not he would be routed’.

‘Tell me, then, who would be likely to have come to us?’ ‘Nay who but the little lad, my fosterson and the fosterson of Conchobor. Cú Chulainn na Cerdda the Hound of Culann the Smith he is called’. ‘Yes indeed’ said Ailill. ‘I have heard you speak of that little lad once upon a time in Crúachu. What is the age of that boy now?’ ‘It is not his age that is most troublesome indeed’ said Fergus, ‘for the deeds of that boy were those of a man when he was younger than he is now’. ‘How so?’ said Medb. ‘Is there among the Ulstermen now his equal in age who is more redoubtable than he?’ ‘We do not find there a wolf more bloodthirsty nor a hero more fierce nor any of his contemporaries who could equal the third or the fourth part of Cú Chulainn's warlike deeds. You do not find there’ said Fergus, ‘a hero his equal nor a sledge-hammer of smiting nor doom of hosts nor a contest of valour who would be of more worth than Cú Chulainn. You do not find there one that could equal his age and his growth, his size and his splendour, his fearsomeness and his eloquence, his harshness, his feats of arms and his valour, his bearing, his attack and his assault, his destructiveness, his troublesomeness and his tumultuousness, his quickness, his speed and his violence, and his swift victory with the feat of nine men on each pointed weapon

"pointed weapon", following LU, ST

above him’. ‘We make but little account of him’ said


{line 734-765}Medb. ‘He has but one body. He shuns wounding who evades capture. His age is reckoned as but that of a nubile girl nor will that youthful beardless sprite ye speak of hold out against resolute men’. ‘We do not say so’ said Fergus, ‘for the deeds of that little boy were those of a man when he was younger than he now is’.