The Cattle Raid of Cualnge
The Meeting of Cuchulainn and Findabair
'Let an offer go to him,' said Ailill, 'that Findabair will be given to him on condition that he keeps away from the hosts.'
Mane Athramail goes to him. He goes first to Loeg.
'Whose man are you?' said he.
Loeg does not speak to him. Mane spoke to him thrice in this way.
'Cuchulainn's man,' said he, 'and do not disturb me, lest I strike your head off.'
'This man is fierce,' said Mane, turning from him. He goes then to speak to Cuchulainn. Now Cuchulainn had taken off his tunic, and the snow was round
him up to his waist as he sat, and the snow melted round him a cubit for the greatness of the heat of the hero.
Mane said to him in the same way thrice, 'whose man was he?'
'Conchobar's man, and do not disturb me. If you disturb me any longer, I will strike your head from you as the head is taken from a blackbird.'
'It is not easy,' said Mane, 'to speak to these two.'
Mane goes from them then and tells his tale to Ailill and Medb.
'Let Lugaid go to him,' said Ailill, 'and offer to him the maiden.'
Lugaid goes then and tells Cuchulainn that.
'O friend Lugaid,' said Cuchulainn, 'this is a snare.'
'It is the king's word that has said it,' said Lugaid; 'there will be no snare therefrom.'
'Let it be done so,' said Cuchulainn.
Lugaid went from him therewith, and tells Ailill and Medb that answer.
'Let the fool go in my form,' said Ailill, 'and a king's crown on his head, and let him stand at a distance from Cuchulainn lest he recognise him, and let the maiden go with him, and let him betroth her to him, and let them depart quickly in this way; and it is likely that you will play a trick on him thus, so that he will not hinder you, till he comes with the Ulstermen to the battle.'
Then the fool goes to him, and the maiden also; and it was from a distance he spoke to Cuchulainn. Cuchulainn goes to meet them. It happened that he recognised by the man's speech that he was a fool. He threw a sling stone that was in his hand at him,
so that it sprang into his head and brought his brains out. Then he comes to the maiden, cuts her two tresses off, and thrusts a stone through her mantle and through her tunic, and thrusts a stone pillar through the middle of the fool. There are their two pillars there: the pillar of Findabair, and the fool's pillar.
Cuchulainn left them thus. A party was sent from Ailill and Medb to seek out their folk, for they thought they were long; they were seen in this position. All this was heard throughout the camp. There was no truce for them with Cuchulainn afterwards.
^62:1 Or 'female stealers.' (O'Davoren.)