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

section 16

‘Go, friend Láeg’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘and speak with Lugaid in the camp of the men of Ireland, and find out whether anything has happened to Fer Báeth or not

The matter here added is a translation of the text in ST lines 1943-2040, to supply what is lost in a whole-page lacuna in LL.

and ask him who will come against me tomorrow’. Láeg goes forward to Lugaid's tent. Lugaid welcomed him. ‘I trust that welcome’ said Láeg. ‘You may trust it’ said Lugaid. ‘I have come to speak with you on behalf of your fosterbrother that you may tell me if Fer Báeth reached the camp’. ‘He did’ said Lugaid, ‘and a blessing on the hand that smote him for he fell dead in the glen a short time


{line 1914-1950} ago’. ‘Tell me who will come tomorrow to fight against Cú Chulainn’. ‘They are asking a brother of mine to oppose him, a foolish youth, proud and arrogant, but a strong smiter and a victorious fighter. And the reason he is sent to fight him is that he may fall by Cú Chulainn and that I might then go to avenge his death on Cú Chulainn, but I shall never do that. Láiríne mac Í Blaitmic is my brother's name. I shall go to speak with Cú Chulainn about that’ said Lugaid. His two horses were harnessed for Lugaid and his chariot was yoked to them. He came to meet Cú Chulainn and a conversation took place between them. Then said Lugaid: ‘They are urging a brother of mine to come and fight with you, a foolish youth, rough, uncouth, but strong and stubborn, and he is sent to fight you so that when he falls by you, I may go to avenge his death on you, but I shall never do so. And by the friendship that is between us both, do not kill my brother. Yet I swear, that even if you all but kill him. I grant you leave to do so, for it is in despite of me that he goes against you’. Then Cú Chulainn went back and Lugaid went to the camp.

Then Láiríne mac Nóis was summoned to the tent of Ailill and Medb and Finnabair was placed beside him. It was she who used to serve him goblets and she who used to kiss him at every drink and she who used to hand him his food. ‘Not to all and sundry does Medb give the liquor that is served to Fer Báeth or to Láiríne’ said Finnabair. ‘She brought only fifty wagon-loads of it to the camp’. ‘Whom do you mean?’ asked Ailill. ‘I mean that man yonder’ said she. ‘Who is he?’ asked Ailill. ‘Often you paid attention to something that was not certain. It were more fitting for you to bestow attention on the couple who are best in wealth and honour and dignity of all those in Ireland, namely, Finnabair and Láiríne mac Nóis’. ‘That is how I see them’ said Ailill. Then in his joy Láiríne flung himself about so that the seams of the flockbeds under him burst and the green before the camp was strewn with their feathers.

Láiríne longed for the full light of day that he might attack Cú Chulainn. He came in the early morning on the morrow and brought with him a wagon-load of weapons, and he came on to the ford to encounter Cú Chulainn. The mighty warriors in the camp did not think it worth their while to go and watch Láiríne's fight, but the women and boys and girls scoffed and jeered at his fight. Cú Chulainn came to the ford to encounter Láiríne, but he scorned to bring any weapons and came unarmed to meet him. He struck all Láiríne's weapons out of his hand as one might deprive


{line 1951-1985} a little boy of his playthings. Then Cú Chulainn ground and squeezed in between his hands, chastised him and clasped him, crushed him and shook him and forced all his excrement out of him until a mist arose on all sides in the place where he was. And after that he cast him from him, from the bed of the ford across the camp to the entrance of his brother's tent. However Láiríne never after rose without complaint and he never ate without pain, and from that time forth he was never without abdominal weakness and constriction of the chest and cramps and diarrhoea. He was indeed the only man who survived battle with Cú Chulainn on the Foray of Cúailnge. Yet the after-effects of those complaints affected him so that he died later.

That is the Fight of Láiríne on the Foray of Cúailnge.