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

section 14

The men of Ireland debated as to which of them should attack Cú Chulainn, and they all agreed that Cúr mac Da Lóth would be the right man to attack him. For such was Cúr that it was not pleasant to be his bedfellow or to be intimate with him, and they said that if it were Cúr who fell, it would mean a lightening of oppression for the hosts, and that if it were Cú Chulainn, it would be still better. Cúr was summoned to Medb's tent. ‘What do they want of me?’ asked Cúr. ‘To attack Cú Chulainn’ said Medb. ‘Ye think little of our valour, ye think it wonderful, when ye match me with a tender stripling such as he! Had I myself known why I was summoned. I should not have come for that. I should think it enough that a lad of his own age from among my household should go to oppose him on the ford’. ‘Nay, it is foolish (?) to say that’ said Cormac Cond Longas mac Conchobuir. ‘It would be a fine thing for you yourself were Cú Chulainn to fall by you’. ‘Make ye ready a journey for me in the early morning tomorrow for I am glad to go. It is not the killing of yonder deer, Cú Chulainn, that will cause you any delay’. Early on the morrow, then, Cúr mac Da Lóth arose. A cartload of arms was brought by him to attack Cú Chulainn and he began to try and kill him. Early on that day Cú Chulainn betook himself to his feats. These are all their names:

uballchless, fóenchless, cless cletínech, tetchless, corpchless, cless cait, ích n-errid, cor n-delend, leim dar neim, filliud eirred náir, gai bulga, baí brassi, rothchless, cles for análaib, brúud gine, sían curad, beim co fommus, táthbeim, reim fri fogaist, dírgud cretti fora rind, fornaidm níad.

It is impossible to translate most of these with any certainty as to the meaning.

Cú Chulainn used to practice each of these feats early every morning, in one hand, as swiftly as a cat makes for cream (?), that he might not forget or disremember them. Mac Da Lóth remained for a third of the day behind the boss of his shield, endeavouring to wound Cú Chulainn. Then said Láeg to Cú Chulainn: ‘Good now, little Cú, answer the warrior who seeks to kill you’. Then Cú Chulainn looked at him and raised up and cast aloft the eight balls, and he made a cast of the ninth


{line 1846-1880} ball at Cúr mac Da Lóth so that it landed on the flat of his shield and the flat of his forehead and took a portion of brain the size of the ball out through the back of his head. Thus Cúr mac Da Lóth fell by the hand of Cú Chulainn.

‘If your securities and guarantees now bind you’ said Fergus, ‘send another warrior to meet yon man at the ford, or else remain here in your camp until the bright hour of sunrise tomorrow, for Cúr mac Da Lóth has fallen’. ‘Considering why we have come’ said Medb, ‘it is all the same to us if we remain in the same tents’. They remained in that encampment until there had fallen Cúr mac Da Lóth and Lath mac Da Bro and Srub Daire mac Fedaig and Mac Teora n-Aignech. Those men fell by Cú Chulainn in single combat. But it is tedious to relate the prowess of each man separately.