Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Gein Branduib maic Echach ocus Aedáin maic Gabráin (Author: [unknown])

The Birth of Brandub son of Eochu and of Aedán son of Gabrán here below.


Eochu and Fælán were two sons of Muredach, son of Oengus, son of Fedelmid, son of Énna, son of Labraid, son of Bresal Bélach, son of Fiachu Baccid, son of Catháir. Now this Fælán expelled Eochu from his land over the sea into Scotland, where he was with Gabrán son of Domongart, son of Fergus the Great, son of Ercc, son of Eochu the Stout-necked.


Eochu had his wife with him, even Feidelm, daughter of Fedelmid Findliath, son of Cobthach, son of Crimthand, son of Nathi, son of Fiachru. Then Eochu's wife was pregnant, and so was the wife of Gabrán. Eochu's wife was pregnant with a boy, Gabrán's wife with a girl. On the same night they are brought to bed, Eochu's wife with two sons, and Gabrán's wife with two daughters.


‘What hast thou brought forth?’ said Gabrán's wife. ‘I have here two sons’, said Eochu's wife. ‘And I have two daughters, as is not rare’, said Gabrán's wife. ‘Save me, and give me one boy, and take one girl from me. Thou shalt have my diadem of gold and my arm-ring, my brooch and my dress.’


‘Take that’, said Feidelm. And she put a grain of gold under his shoulderblade, and gave her son away and took the girl from her, so that each had a boy and a girl.


The boys are baptised first, and the two girls afterwards. And at the baptism the druid said: ‘Be ye not ashamed, oh women. These boys are twins, and the two girls are twins.’ And to the boys he gave the names Aed and Brandub.


Thereupon they were reared together in fostership until Eochu son of Muredach went to his country, and his son with him. And that son afterwards took the kingship of Leinster. Aedán however, took the kingship of Scotland.


Great was the pride and arrogance of Aedán. He went on a hosting into Ireland to contest the kingship of Ireland. For he had a claim to it from his grandfather Cairpre Longwrist, son of Conaire the Great, son of Etarscél, son of Eogan, son of Ailill Án, son of Hier, son of Dedad, son of Sen.


Thus did Aedán go, with (the men of) Scotland and Britons and Saxons to invade Ireland. And he came to Leinster


to demand hostages from Brandub. His mother was then living there. And she went to ask a truce of Aedán.


And she said: ‘Honour and luck to thee, O son of Gabrán! For thy father's and thy mother's sake it behoves us to rejoice at thy coming. And wilt thou come aside to converse with me?’ ‘Whence is the woman?’ said all. ‘That is Brandub's mother’, said Aedán. ‘And since my own mother is an old woman’, said Aedán, ‘we will go to converse with the other old woman.’


‘Is thy mother alive?’ said she. ‘Alive indeed’, said Aedán. ‘That is blessed (news) to us. God preserve her life!’1 said she. ‘What dost thou ask, old woman?’ ‘A truce with my son this time, for the sake of your kinship. For Eochaid son of Muredach is thy father, and I am thy mother, and Brandub is thy brother. For Gabrán's wife bore but daughters, and I bore but sons, and we exchanged a son and a daughter. And there is a token from me in thee, viz. a grain of gold, which was in the head of my writing-style, is under thy left shoulderblade.’ And the grain was cut out, and it filled its socket in the style.


Brandub went to converse with Aedán and they proceed to confirm their kinship. From that hour there were good will2 and mutual forbearance between them.


Others say that when Aedán was in Leinster he sent to Scotland for his mother, and that the two women told him how their kinship had happened and how they exchanged their children, a boy and a girl, each of them.


Kuno Meyer