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

section 17

Then Lóch Mór mac Mo Febis was summoned to the tent of Ailill and Medb. ‘What would ye with me?’ asked Lóch. ‘That you should fight with Cú Chulainn’ answered Medb. ‘I shall not go on such an errand for I deem it no honour to attack a youthful, beardless stripling, and I do not intend that as an insult to him, but I have the man to attack him, namely, Long mac Emonis, and he will accept reward from you’. Long was summoned to the tent of Ailill and Medb, and Medb promised him great rewards, to wit, the clothing of twelve men in garments of every colour, a chariot worth four times seven cumala, Finnabair as his wedded wife, and entertainment at all times in Crúachu with wine served to him. Then Long came to meet Cú Chulainn and Cú Chulainn killed him.

Medb told her women-folk to go and speak to Cú Chulainn and tell him to put on a false beard of blackberry juice. The women came forward towards Cú Chulainn and told him to put on a false beard. ‘For no great warrior in the camp thinks it worth his while to go and fight with you while you are beardless’. After that Cú Chulainn put on a beard of blackberry juice and came on to the hillock above the men of Ireland and displayed that beard to all of them in general.

Lóch mac Mo Febis saw this and said. ‘That is a beard on Cú Chulainn’. ‘That is what I see’ said Medb. She promised the same rewards to Lóch for checking Cú Chulainn. ‘I shall go and attack him’ said Lóch.

Lóch came to attack Cú Chulainn and they met on the ford where Long had fallen. ‘Come forward to the upper ford’ said


{line 1986-2015} Lóch. ‘for we shall not fight on this one’. For he held unclean the ford at which his brother had fallen. Then they met on the upper ford.

It was at that time that the Morrígan daughter of Ernmas from the fairy-mounds came to destroy Cú Chulainn, for she had vowed on the Foray of Regamain that she would come and destroy Cú Chulainn when he was fighting with a mighty warrior on the Foray of Cúailnge. So the Morrígan came there in the guise of a white, red-eared heifer accompanied by fifty heifers, each pair linked together with a chain of white bronze. The womenfolk put Cú Chulainn under tabus and prohibitions not to let the Morrígan go from him without checking and destroying her. Cú Chulainn made a cast at the Morrígan and shattered one of her eyes. Then the Morrígan appeared in the form of a slippery, black eel swimming downstream, and went into the pool and coiled herself around Cú Chulainn's legs. While Cú Chulainn was disentangling himself from her, Lóch dealt him a wound crosswise through his chest. Then the Morrígan came in the guise of a shaggy, russet-coloured she-wolf. While Cú Chulainn was warding her off, Lóch wounded him. Thereupon Cú Chulainn was filled with rage and wounded Lóch with the ga bulga and pierced his heart in his breast. ‘Grant me a favour now, Cú Chulainn’ said Lóch. ‘What favour do you ask?’ ‘No favour of quarter do I ask nor do I make a cowardly request’ said Lóch. ‘Retreat a step from me so that I may fall facing the east and not to the west towards the men of Ireland, lest one of them say that I fled in rout before you, for I have fallen by the ga bulga’. ‘I shall retreat’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘for it is a warrior's request you make’. And Cú Chulainn retreated a step from him. Hence the ford has since then been known as Áth Traiged at the end of Tír Mór.