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Diarmuid was unhappily gifted with a ball seirce (beauty spot) on his shoulder, and Grainne, catching sight of it while sitting at the window of her Grianan (sunny chamber) while looking at him hurling, could no more avoid loving him than hapless Phaedra, her stepson Hippolytus. When she laid geasa on him to take her away, it was with much grief he obeyed her. It was deeply wronging his chief, but to disobey a lady's injunctions was out of the question. The close pursuit and the hairbreadth escapes were what might be expected, but Diarmuid's brother warriors, Oisin, Oscur, Caeilte the swift, MacLuacha, Fergus the poet, and the others carried out Fion's revengeful intents in a way very displeasing to the wrathful chief. They gave the fugitives every opportunity of escaping, for they were fully aware of Diarmuid's unwillingness at the outset. The peasants still point out their resting-places, marked by standing stones, and still called the "Beds of Diarmuid and Grainne." Of the hero's reception of Fion's auxiliaries here is a sample taken from the Ossianic Transactions, vol. iii.

"He drew near the warriors and began to slaughter them heroically and with swift valour. He went under them, over them, and through them as a hawk would go through small birds, or a wolf through a flock of weak sheep. Even 'thus it was that Diarmuid hewed crossways the glittering, very beautiful mail of the men of Lochlann, so that there went not from that spot a man to tell tidings without having the grievousness of death executed upon him."

Fion was at last obliged to make peace, and on one occasion he and Diarmuid went to hunt on Ben Gulban in Sligo in company. A youth slain several years before by Donn, Diarmuid's father, was changed at the moment of his death into a Druidic boar, and appointed to slay at some future time the son of his murderer, but Diarjnuid had got warning at the same time not to give chase to the magic beast. While Fion and he were conversing, the fatal animal came charging like thunder up the hill.

Diarmuid was at the time unprovided except with an inferior blade, but with this he struck the savage a mighty blow, which smashed the ill-tempered bronze in two, and his foot slipping, the beast tore his side open with his tusk. At the returning charge of the enchanted animal down hill, Diarmuid broke his skull with a strong cast of the hilt of the treacherous sword. His own life was now fast ebbing away, but it was in Fion's power to prevent his death by giving him, from a spring nine ridges away, a draught of water brought in the hollow of his joined palms. Oscur, Oisin, Caeilte, Fergus, and MacLuacha, had hurriedly arrived at the spot, and loudly and earnestly did the heroes urge Fion to haste, but he went about the unwelcome work so leisurely that when the water touched Diarmuid's lips, life had departed. Three shouts of indignation were raised by Oscur and the rest, and only for their binding vows of loyalty they would have slain their chief on the spot. In memory of the tragic deed, the place was thenceforward called the "Mound of the Sword hilt." Archaeologists find a similarity between this and the legend of. Venus, Adonis, and the boar.


In such importance were held fictional narrations in old times, that they were carefully classified. The following were the chief varieties:--Tales of battles, of voyages, of the taking of forts, of sieges, of deaths of heroes, of cattle-raids, of courtships, of adventures in caverns, of land and sea expeditions, of banquets, andof elopements. Then there were the mere imaginative tales in prose or verse, of which Fion or some of his friends were the heroes. The one that follows is a specimen of the class of stories relative to flights and pursuits; it is called

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