The Cattle Raid of Caulnge

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 Death of the Squirrel

Cuchulainn threatened in Methe, that wherever he should see Ailill or Medb afterwards he would throw a stone from his sling at them. He did this then: he threw a stone from his sling, so that he killed the squirrel that was on Medb's shoulder south of the ford: hence is Methe Togmaill. And he killed the bird that was on Ailill's shoulder north of the ford: hence is Methe n-Eoin. (Or it is on Medb's shoulder that both squirrel and bird were together, and it is their heads that were struck from them by the casts.)

Reoin was drowned in his lake. Hence is Loch Reoin.

'That other is not far from you,' said Ailill to the Manes.

They arose and looked round. When they sat down again, Cuchulainn struck one of them, so that his head broke.

'It was well that you went for that: your boasting was not fitting,' said Maenen the fool. 'I would have taken his head off.'

Cuchulainn threw a stone at him, so that his head broke. It is thus then that these were killed: Orlam in the first place on his hill; the Meic Garach on their ford; Fertedil in his ------; Maenan in his hill.

'I swear by the god by whom my people swear,' said Ailill, 'that man who shall make a mock of Cuchulainn here, I will make two halves of him.'

'Go forth for us both day and night,' said Ailill, 'till we reach Cualnge. That man will kill two-thirds of the host in this way.'

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It is there that the harpers of the Cainbili [*1] from Ossory came to them to amuse them. They thought it was from the Ulstermen to spy on them. They set to hunting them, till they went before them in the forms of deer into the stones at Liac Mor on the north. For they were wizards with great cunning.


^40:1 Reference obscure. They were wizards of some sort.

The Death of Lethan

Lethan came on to his ford on the Nith(?) in Conaille. He waited himself to meet Cuchulainn. It vexed him what Cuchulainn had done. Cuchulainn cuts off his head and left it, hence it is Ath Lethan on the Nith. And their chariots broke in the battle on the ford by him; hence it is Ath Carpat. Mulcha, Lethan's charioteer, fell on the shoulder of the hill that is between them; hence is Gulo Mulchai. While the hosts were going over Mag Breg, he struck (?) their ------ still. [*2]

Yet that was the Morrigan in the form of a bird on the pillar in Temair Cuailnge; and she spoke to the Bull:

'Does the Black know,' etc. [*3]

Then the Bull went, and fifty heifers with him, to

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[paragraph continues] Sliab Culind; and his keeper, Forgemen by name, went after him. He threw off the three fifties of boys who used always to play on him, and he killed two-thirds of his boys, and dug a trench in Tir Marcceni in Cualnge before he went.


^40:2 Something; apparently missing here. The passage in LL is as follows: 'It is the same day that the Morrigan, daughter of Ernmas, came from the Sid, so that she was on the pillar in Temair Cuailnge, taking a warning to the Dun of Cualnge before the men of Ireland, and she began to speak to him, and "Good, O wretched one, O Dun of Cualnge," said the Morrigan, "keep watch, for the men of Ireland have reached thee, and they will take thee to their camp unless thou keepest watch"; and she began to take a warning to him thus, and uttered her words on high.' (The Rhetoric follows as in LU.)

^40:3 A Rhetoric.

The Death of Lochu

Cuchulainn killed no one from the Saile ind Orthi (?) in the Conaille territory, until they reached Cualnge. Cuchulainn was then in Cuince; he threatened then that when he saw Medb he would throw a stone at her head. This was not easy to him, for it is thus that Medb went and half the host about her, with their shelter of shields over her head.

Then a waiting-woman of Medb's, Lochu by name, went to get water, and a great troop of women with her. Cuchulainn thought it was Medb. He threw two stones from Cuince, so that he slew her in her plain (?). Hence is Ath Rede Locha in Cualnge.

From Findabair Cuailnge the hosts divided, and they set the country on fire. They collect all there were of women, and boys, and maidens, and cattle, in Cualnge together, so that they were all in Findabair.

'You have not gone well,' said Medb; 'I do not see the Bull with you.'

'He is not in the province at all,' said every one.

Lothar the cowherd is summoned to Medb.

'Where is the Bull?' said she. 'Have you an idea?'

'I have great fear to tell it,' said the herd. 'The night,' said he, 'when the Ulstermen went into their weakness, he went with three twenties of heifers

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with him, so that he is at the Black Corrie of Glenn Gatt.'

'Go,' said Medb, 'and carry a withe [*1] between each two of you.'

They do this: hence this glen is called Glenn Gatt. Then they bring the Bull to Findabair. The place where he saw the herd, Lothar, he attacked him, so that he brought his entrails out on his horns; and he attacked the camp with his three fifties of heifers, so that fifty warriors were killed. And that is the death of Lothar on the Foray.

Then the Bull went from them out of the camp, and they knew not where he had gone from them; and they were ashamed. Medb asked the herd if he had an idea where the Bull was.

'I think he would be in the secret places of Sliab Culind.'

Then they returned thus after ravaging Cualnge, and did not find the Bull there. The river Cronn rose against them to the tops of the trees; and they spent the night by it. And Medb told part of her following to go across.

A wonderful warrior went next day, Ualu his name. He took a great stone on his back to go across the water; the stream drove him backwards with the stone on his back. His grave and his stone are on the road at the stream: Lia Ualand is its name.

They went round the river Cronn to the source, and they would have gone between the source and the mountain, only that they could not get leave from Medb; she preferred to go across the mountain, that their track might remain there for ever, for an insult

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to the Ulstermen. They waited there three days and three nights, till they dug the earth in front of them, the Bernas Bo Cuailnge.

It is there that Cuchulainn killed Crond and Coemdele and ------. [*1] A hundred warriors died ------ [*1] with Roan and Roae, the two historians of the Foray. A hundred and forty-four, kings died by him at the same stream. They came then over the Bernas Bo Cuailnge with the cattle and stock of Cualnge, and spent the night in Glenn Dail Imda in Cualnge. Botha is the name of this place, because they made huts over them there. They come next day to Colptha. They try to cross it through heedlessness. It rose against them then, and it carries a hundred charioteers of them to the sea; this is the name of the land in which they were drowned, Cluain Carptech.

They go round Colptha then to its source, to Belat Alioin, and spent the night at Liasa Liac; that is the name of this place, because they made sheds over their calves there between Cualnge and Conaille. They came over Glenn Gatlaig, and Glass Gatlaig rose against them. Sechaire was its name before; Glass Gatlaig thenceforth, because it was in withes they brought their calves; and they slept at Druim Fene in Conaille. (Those then are the wanderings from Cualnge to Machaire according to this version.)


^42:1 Ir. gatt, a withe.

^43:1 Obscure.

The Cattle Raid of Cualnge

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