The Cattle Raid of Cualnge

The Death of Orlam

They go forth then over Iraird Culend in the morning. Cuchulainn went forward; he overtook the charioteer of Orlam, son of Ailill and Medb, in Tamlacht Orlaim, a little to the north of Disert Lochait,

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cutting wood there. (According to another version, it is the shaft of Cuchulainn's chariot that had broken, and it is to cut a shaft that he had gone when he met Orlam's charioteer. It is the charioteer who cut the shafts according to this version.)

'It is over-bold, what' the Ulstermen are doing, if it is they who are yonder,' said Cuchulainn, 'while the host is behind them.' He goes to the charioteer to reprove him; he thought that he was of Ulster, and he saw the man cutting wood, that is the chariot-shaft.

'What are you doing here?' said Cuchulainn.

'Cutting chariot-shafts,' said the charioteer. 'We have broken our chariots hunting the wild deer Cuchulainn yonder. Help me,' said the charioteer. 'Look only whether you are to select the shafts, or to strip them.'

'It will be to strip them indeed,' said Cuchulainn.

Then Cuchulainn stripped the shafts through his fingers in the presence of the other, so that he cleared them both of bark and knots.

'This cannot be your proper work that I put on you,' said the charioteer; he was greatly afraid. 'Whence are you?' said Cuchulainn.

'The charioteer of Orlam, son of Ailill and Medb,' said he. 'And you?' said the charioteer.

'My name is Cuchulainn,' said he.

'Alas!' said the charioteer.

'Fear nothing,' said Cuchulainn. 'Where is your master?' said he.

'He is in the trench yonder,' said the charioteer.

'Go forth then with me,' said Cuchulainn, 'for I do not kill charioteers at all.'

Cuchulainn goes to Orlam, kills him, cuts his head

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off, and shakes his head before the host. Then he puts the head on the charioteer's back, and said to him:

'Take that with you,' said Cuchulainn, 'and go to the camp thus. If you do not of go thus, a stone will come to you from my sling.'

When he got near the camp, he took the head from his back, and told his adventures to Ailill and Medb.

'This is not like taking birds,' said she.

And he said, 'Unless I brought it on my back to the camp, he would break my head with a stone.'

The Death of the Meic Garach

Then the Meic Garach waited on their ford. These are their names: Lon and Ualu and Diliu; and Mes-Ler, and Mes-Laech, and Mes-Lethan were their three charioteers. They thought it too much what Cuchulainn had done: to slay two foster-sons of the king, and his son, and to shake the head before the host. They would slay Cuchulainn in return for him, and would themselves remove this annoyance from the host. They cut three aspen wands for their charioteers, that the six of them should pursue combat against him. He killed them all then, because they had broken fair-play towards him.

Orlam's charioteer was then between Ailill and Medb. Cuchulainn hurled a stone at him, [*1] so that his head broke, and his brains came over his ears; Fertedil was his name. (Thus it is not true that Cuchulainn did not kill charioteers; howbeit, he did not kill them without fault.)


^38:1 Apparently because the charioteer had not carried Orlam's head into the camp on his back. Or an alternative version.

The Cattle Raid of Cualnge

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