Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
The Metrical Dindshenchas (Author: [unknown])

poem 64

Carn Fráich

  1. Carn Fraich — what is the reason of the name?
    let it be asked of the learned:
    the Fraech from whom the goodly cairn is named,
    his weapon was not feeble in the fray.
  2. 5] I ask of you no petty matter,
    ye learned that dwell round the spot,
    what was the former name of the pointed cairn?

  3. I will name to you — 'tis true lore
    10] without contention or wrangling —
    the Fraech from whom the strong cairn is called
    in the plain yonder, excellent in might.
  4. Cnoc na Dala was its name aforetime,
    in the days of Medb great and glorious:
    15] it endured to old age thereafter
    with every man that dwelt there, past counting.
  5. Though many names belonged to the Hill in succession
    until the coming of Conn, who provoked envy,
    they all departed from it,
    20] and likewise every man to whom the Hill belonged.
  6. The foster-father of great Conn mac Felim
    was Conall of terraced Cruachu;
    though he dwelt in stone-built Cruachu,
    he was king over the tribes of Temair.

  7. p.359

  8. 25] Four boys, the rampart of a household, (?)
    had Conall in sloping Temair,
    they were reared in pointed Cruachu
    and among the tribes of Airer Umaill.
  9. Corc and Connla and gentle Cetgen
    30] and Fraech, vigorous youth;
    they were a kindred that was doughty in every battle,
    the vigorous spirited quartet.
  10. There grew a war betwixt Conn
    and Eogan of the proud exploits:
    35] Erin is divided share and share
    between the two lusty arrays.
  11. Before each defined his territory there
    arose variance between them,
    and each harried the other's kine:
    40] no hour was safe from raiding.
  12. Mighty Eogan Taidlech came
    to Cruachu of the dun ramparts,
    along with the captain of his stout household
    who severs the spear-point from the shaft (?).
  13. 45] The youth of Munster, long-haired,
    commit ravage in Cruachu,
    even Eogan and manly Fraech,
    two flaming lion-like heroes.
  14. Conall and his strong clan,
    50] and the lusty arrays of his horsemen,
    overtook the spoilers of Cruachu, field of wounds,
    with the relay horses of the warriors.

  15. p.361

  16. Fraech son of curly-haired Conall
    wounded Eogan mild of nature:
    55] there was Eogan robbed of his kine
    by reason of the forays of the noble clans.
  17. Fraech, lordly of nature,
    the King of Spain's son, famed for horses,
    defended his shield at the spear's point,
    60] by the might of his right hand, as is fitting.
  18. The son of Conall, dealer of wounds, answered him,
    Fraech of the even-balanced nature:
    the two Fraechs from Europe's plains
    were the two champions of the chiefs of the mighty ridings.
  19. 65] The armies sit down by their spears
    to behold the young warriors,
    and to watch the pair of untried heroes
    contending in doughty deeds.
  20. This was the end of the fierce conflict —
    70] the son of red-speared Conall is slain:
    there followed a slaughter of the Munstermen of the plains:
    the spoils left by the nobles decked the victors.
  21. The children of Conall, sore wounded,
    part from each other in the battle,
    75] and it is a chilly reward — alas!
    to be without the great hero at Medraige.
  22. They raise on the shafts of their spears
    the vigorous sons of great chieftains:
    they bear away from stone-built Cruachu
    80] the Salmon of the tribes of Temair.

  23. p.363

  24. "Let him be laid in this cairn by my side,"
    said Conall, the highborn chief:
    "his name shall be on the fair cairn
    to designate it there among men of lore."
  25. 85] Carn Fraich it is ever since, from that Fraech
    (whoever it be that inquires thereof),
    even the son of Conall, never hard about cattle:
    I praise its people joyously.
  26. Some tell another tale
    90] concerning Carn Fraich of the princely house:
    how it was called from glorious Fidach's son,
    the stripling who crushed a mighty band.
  27. They have settled that the round cairn is named
    from Fraech, buoyant of soul,
    95] and that it was in the time of Medb long since,
    who stirred his spirit against the foemen.
  28. By the hand of Cuchulainn, famed for goodly feats,
    the slender youth surely perished,
    in a river-fight (though it be a reproach)
    100] he fell by the hand of the strong Hound.
  29. By the edge of festive Sliab Fuait
    at the Ford of Omna, great at mead
    was drowned the son of the champion Fidach,
    whose hand made no senseless havoc.
  30. 105] After his drowning in the brimming stream
    his head was severed and his war-cry silenced:
    the army leaned on their spears,
    while the great king (Ailill?) judged the fight.

  31. p.365

  32. All that army make a pause
    110] round the head awhile;
    they utter round the head a cry of mourning;
    it had been better for them to avenge it.
  33. Before Medb quitted the field,
    she saw a strange sight drawing nigh,
    115] women-folk, sweet-voiced, famous long after,
    their beauty reflected in the stream's shining waters.
  34. The blooming women-folk bear
    the body away with them to the peaceful elf-mound:
    they utter wailing and vehement grief;
    120] immoderate was their general woe.
  35. Sid Fraich is so christened by men
    from Fidach's son of the gilded spear:
    at his Sid — 'twas a goodly brood —
    befell the warrior's destruction, 'tis right pitiful.
  36. 125] In such wise came his death yonder of yore,
    to Fraech son of Fidach from Umall
    at the Tain Bo Cualnge, with its forays:
    heavy the sorrow of it for his household.

  37. p.367