The King of Ireland's Son rose in the morning but he was in pain and weariness on account of his wounded foot. He ate the cresses and drank the water that the Glashan gave him, and he started off for the Castle of the King of the Mist. "'Tis only an old woman I shall have to deal with to-day," he said, "and then I shall awaken Fedelma, my love."
He passed through the first gate and the first court-yard, through the second gate and the second court-yard, through the third gate and the third courtyard. The fourth gate was closed, and as he went towards it, it opened slowly, and the King of the Land of Mist stood there--as high, as stone-faced, and as scornful as before, and in his hand he had a weighty gray sword.
They fought as they fought the day before. But the guard the King of Ireland's Son made against the sword of the King of the Land of Mist was weaker than before, because of the pain and weariness that came from his wound. But still he kept the Sword of Light before him and the Sword of the King of the Land of Mist could not pass it. They fought until it was afternoon. The heart in his body seemed turned to a jet of blood that would gush forth. His eyes were straining themselves out of their sockets. His arms could hardly bear up his sword. He fell down upon one knee, but he was able to hold the sword so that it guarded his head.
Then the image of Fedelma appeared before him. He sprang up and his arms regained their power. His heart became steady in his breast. And as he made an attack upon the King of the Land of Mist, he saw that the blade in his hand was broken and worn because of its strokes against the Sword of Light.
They fought with blades that seemed to kindle each other into sparks and flashes of light. They fought until the blade in the hand of the King of the Land of Mist was worn to a hand breadth above the hilt. He drew back towards the gate of the fifth courtyard. The King of Ireland's Son sprang at him and thrust the Sword of Light through his breast. Down on the stones before the fifth gate of his Castle fell the King of the Land of Mist.
The King of Ireland's Son stepped over the body and went towards the fifth gate. Then he remembered what the Glashan had said, "His life is in his head." He went back to where the King of the Land of Mist had fallen. With a clean sweep of his sword he cut the head off the body.
Then out of the mist that was all around three ravens came. With beak and claws they laid hold of the head and lifted it up. They fluttered heavily away, keeping near the ground.
With his sword in his hand the King of Ireland's Son chased the ravens. He followed them through the fourth courtyard, the third courtyard, the second and the first. They flew off the rock on which the Castle was built and disappeared in the mist.
He knew he would have to watch by the body of the King of the Land of Mist, so that the head might not be placed upon it. He sat down before the fifth gate. Pain and weariness, hunger and thirst oppressed him.
He longed for something that would allay his hunger and thirst. But he knew that he could not go to the river to get refreshment of water and cresses from the Glashan. Something fell beside him in the courtyard. It was a beautiful, bright-colored apple. He went to pick it up, but it rolled away towards the third courtyard. He followed it. Then, as he looked back he saw that the ravens had lighted near the body of the King of the Land of Mist, holding the head in their beaks and claws. He ran back and the ravens lifted the head up again and flew away.
He watched for another long time, and his hunger and his thirst made him long for the bright-colored apple he had seen.
Another apple fell down. He went to pick it up and it rolled away. But now the King of Ireland's Son thought of nothing hut that bright-colored apple. He followed it as it rolled.
It roiled through the third courtyard, and the second and the first. It rolled out of the first gate and on to the rock upon which the Castle was built. It rolled off the rock. The King of Ireland's Son sprang down and he saw the apple become a raven's head and beak.
He climbed up the rock and ran back. And when he came into the first courtyard he saw that the three ravens had come back again. They had brought the head to the body, and body and head were now joined. The King of the Land of Mist stood up again, and his head was turned towards his left shoulder. He went to the sixth gate and took up a sword that was beside it.