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

section 32

‘Well then, Fíngin, seer-physician’ said Cethern mac Fintain, ‘what remedy and advice do you give me now?’ ‘What I say to you’ said Fíngin the seer-physician, ‘is that you should not exchange

translating ST

your great cows for yearlings this year, for if you do, it is not you who will enjoy them and they will not profit you.’ ‘That is the remedy and advice the other physicians gave me, and it is certain that it brought them no advantage or profit but they fell by me, and neither shall it bring advantage or profit to you for you will fall by me’. And Cethern gave him a strong, violent kick so that he landed between the two wheels of the chariot. ‘Wicked is that old man's (?) kick’ said Cú Chulainn. Whence the name of Úachtar Lúa in Crích Rois from that day until today.

Nevertheless Fíngin Fáithlíaig gave his choice to Cethern mac Fintain: either a long illness and afterwards help and succour, or else a temporary healing during three days and three nights that he might then exert all his strength against his enemies. Cethern chose a temporary healing of three days and three nights that he might himself exert all his strength against his enemies,


{line 3775-3881} for as he said, he would leave behind him no one he would better like to take vengeance for him than himself. So then Fíngin Fáithlíaig asked Cú Chulainn for a marrow-mash to cure and heal Cethern mac Fintain. Cú Chulainn proceeded to the encampment of the men of Ireland and brought from there all he found of their herds and flocks and droves, and made of them a mash, flesh and bones and hides all together. And Cethern was placed in the marrow-mash for the space of three days and three nights, and he began to soak up the marrow-mash which was about him. And the marrow entered into his wounds and gashes, his sores and many stabs. Then after three days and three nights he arose from the marrow-mash, and thus it was that he arose: with the board of his chariot pressed to his belly to prevent his entrails from falling out.

That was the time when his wife Finda daughter of Eochu came from the north, from Dún Da Benn, bringing him his sword. Cethern mac Fintain came towards the men of Ireland. However he gave a warning of his coming to Íthall, the physician of Ailill and Medb. Íthall had lain unconscious in a heavy swoon among the corpses of the other physicians for a long space of time. ‘O men of Ireland’ said the physician, ‘Cethern son of Fintan will come to attack you now that he has been cured and healed by Fíngin Fáithlíaig, so make ready to answer him’. Then the men of Ireland put Ailill's garments and his golden crown on the pillar-stone in Crích Rois that Cethern mac Fintain might first wreak his rage on it when he arrived. Cethern saw Ailill's garments and his golden crown on the pillar-stone, and for want of information he thought that it was Ailill himself who was there. He made a rush at it and drove the sword through the pillar-stone up to its hilt. ‘This is a trick’ said Cethern, ‘and against me it has been played, and I swear that until there be found among you some one to put on that royal dress and golden crown I see yonder, I shall not cease to smite and slaughter them’. Maine Andóe, the son of Ailill and Medb, heard this, and he put on the royal dress and golden crown and advanced through the midst of the men of Ireland. Cethern pursued him closely and made a cast of his shield at him, and the scalloped edge of the shield cut him in three to the ground together with chariot and charioteer and horses. Then the armies attacked Cethern on both sides and he fell at their hands in the spot where he was.

Those are the tales of Caladgleó Cethirn and Fuile Cethirn.