When Garna Sgiathlais had finished his tale, he said to Conall, "Now, thou man that art yonder, I should like to have thy tale, thy name, thy land, and what is the reason of thy journey to Lochlann." And Conall said--"My name is Conall Guilbeannach, son of the king of Eirinn." And he told his own tale. 1
The sister of the king of Lochlann was listening; she grew sorrowful, and the drops rained from her eyes when she understood that Conall had another sweetheart. She arose, and she left the room, and she was heavy and sad. Duanach followed her to console her, and put her in order as best he might. She took a ring from her finger, and she sent it to Conall by Duanach.
Conall turned Duanach back with it to herself again. He said that he had a ring from another on his finger already, since he had got no gift (tabhartas) to give it to her, as eiric. 2
She sent Duanach back again with the ring to Conall,
and she asked him to wear it for her. Conall took the ring and put it upon his finger.]
"Thou must go with me," said Conall to Garna Sgiathlais, "in search of that woman Breast of Light."
"It is easier for me to bear death than to go to meet that man any more."
"Thou wilt find death where thou art, then," said Conall.
"It is certain that if I am to suffer death where I am that I will go with thee," said the slender black man.]
"The young king of Lochlann said that he would go too." Said Conall,
"Who will be a guide to us to take us the shortest way?"
Said Duanach--"I will make a guide for you" (ni mise iull duibh).
Conall and his warriors made ready. The king of Lochlann's sister wished Duanach to stay with her till the rest should come back, but Duanach would not stay.]
Away went Conall, and he rigged a ship, and when the ship was rigged he took with him the slender black man, Duanach acha Draodh, the king of Lochlann, and the Amhus Ormanach; they sailed, and crew enough with them, and they reached the realm of the Sorcha. 1]
When they reached, Duanach went into the house of Mac-a-Moir, and he said--"Hospitality from thee, A Mhic-a-Mhoir."
"Thou shalt have that, A Dhraoth aoith."
"Champions to fight from thee, great warrior."
"Thou shalt have that, thou Druid."
"A sight of Breast of Light," said Duanach.
"Thou shalt have that, Druid," said Mac-a-Moir.
Duanach got a sight of Breast of Light, and he told her that Conall had come with his warriors to take her from Mac-a-Moir, and Breast of Light was pleased, for she was tired of being kept there.
Duanach came out, and he told it to Conall, and the next day Conall came to the landmark of Mac-a-Moir. He clashed his shield--"Yielding or battle upon the field."
"Yielding thou gettest not in this town," said Mac-a Moir; "though it were but speech it was a mark to Mac-a-Moir to come out to try a combat with Conall." 1]
"I should go up to seek the thing I want," said Conall.
"Well, indeed, thou shalt not. There promised to fall first none but me," said the slender black man. I will go up before thee, and I will come to thee with word how the place is up before thee."
The slender black man went up, and he shouted battle or combat, or else Breast of Light, daughter of the King of Laidhean, to be sent out. That he should have battle and combat, but not Breast of Light, daughter of the King of Laidhean. 2
They stood, Conall, the young King of Lochlann, and Garna Sgiathlais, opposite to the house of Mac-a Moir, and they clashed their shields for battle. Mac-a-Moir
sent out the three best warriors that were in his realm to battle with them. They drew their slender gray swords, and they went to meet each other, but
the combat did not last long till the three heroes were slain.
On the next day Mac-a-Moir sent the Ridire Leidire,
the knight, the mangler, his brother, out to try a combat with any one of Conall's warriors who had the heart to try against him.
"Who will go to battle with this hero of exploits to-day?" said Conall.
"Myself," said Garna Sgiathlais," because of how his brother threw me into the nest of the dreagan."
They went to meet each other; they drew their slender gray swords, and the two battled with each other; but long before the sun went west, the Ridire Leidire was slain.
Garna Sgiathlais took off the head, and he opened the mouth, and he cut the tongue out, and he split the tongue, and he struck it three slaps against himself; and he said to Mac-a-Moir--
"There, that is for thee, for how thou didst cast me into the dreagan's nest."
At night Duanach went into the house of Mac-a-Moir, and he said--
"Hospitality from thee, Vic-a-Voir."
"Thou shalt get that, thou Druid."
"Warriors to combat Conall to-morrow, Vic-a-Voir." Thou shalt get that, thou Druid."
"A sight of Breast of Light," said Duanach.
"Thou shalt get that, thou Druid," said Mac-a-Moir.
Duanach got a sight of Breast of Light, and he told her each thing as it was going on outside of the dun, and she was sorrowful that so much blood was being spilt for her; and Duanach came out, and he gave the tale of Breast of Light to Conall.
On the next day Mac-a-Moir himself came out to try a combat with any one who had the heart to go to try him.
"Who will go to battle with the hero of exploits today?" said Conall.
"Myself," said Garna Sgiathlais, "for the day that he cast me down the rock to the dreagan's nest."
They came in front of each other; they drew their slender gray swords, and they kindled a fire of fists with their swords, from the rising of the sun till she was going west; but at last it went with Mac-a-Moir to
level Garna Sgiathlais, to bind him and fetter him and he took him with him, and he cast him into a den of lions that he kept for pastime for himself, and--Mac-a-Moir would not come out again till the end of two, days.
When the night came Duanach went into the house of Mac-a-Moir, and he said--
"Hospitality from thee, Vic-a-Voir."
"Thou shalt get that, thou Druid."
"A sight of Breast of Light," said Duanach.
"Thou shalt not get that," said Mac-a-Moir; and then Breast of Light was put into a dark chamber, where she could not hear voice of friend, and where she could not see light of sun.
When the battle-day of Mac-a-Moir came, he came out, and he clashed his shield. 1
"Who will go to battle with the hero of exploits today?" said Conall.
"Myself," said the Young King of Lochlann. 2
They came in front of each other; they drew their hard thin swords, and they went to battle with each other. But long before the sun went west, the young King of Lochlann was levelled, bound, and fettered, and taken away, and cast into the den of lions, where Garna Sgiathlais was; and Mac-a-Moir would not come out any more to hold battle till the end or five days-
Duanach went in every night of these to seek food, and he got it; and on a night of these nights he asked for warriors to hold battle against Conall.
"Thou shalt get that, thou Druid," said Mac-a-Moir. A hundred full heroes were sot in order before the great house on the next day.
It seemed strange to Conall to see the host going into order at the front of the big house; and he asked if there was any knowing what was the meaning of that host going into order, in ranks, at the front of the big house this day.
Said Duanach, "I thought thou wert finding the time long here, not doing anything, and I asked for warriors to combat with thee."
"I have no wish myself to be slaying men without knowing why; and, besides, how should I contend against a hundred full heroes, and I alone?" said Conall.
"So many as thou dost not slay with thy sword I will kill with my tongue," said Duanach. 1
They went to meet Conall.]
The smooth lad looked from one to two; and where they were thickest, there they were thinnest; and where they were thinnest, there were none at all there.]
He struck them under, and over, through, and throughout; and those who were thinnest, were most ill scattered; and as many as were dead of them were lying down; and as many as were hurt, they sat; and the rest that were alive of them ran away. 2
And when the five days of delay that Mac-a-Moir had were gone past, Conall went to the fence of his house.
Mac-a-Moir had a bell on the top of his house, and he was a warrior, any one who could strike a blow on the bell; and when a blow was struck on the bell, unless Mac-a-Moir should come out, then he was a dastard (cladhaire). Then when Mac-a-Moir was eating his breakfast, Conall went up upon the top of the house, and he struck a blow on the bell, and he drove the tongue out of the bell; and the tongue fell down through the house, and down through the board at which Mac-a-Moir was taking his food; and Mac-a-Moir said, "Ha, ha! comrade, it was easier to hold battle against thee on the day of Bein Eidinn than on this day." 1
Mac-a-Moir came out to hold battle. Conall clashed
his shield, and he said, "Yielding, or battle on the field."
"Yielding thou gettest not in this town," said Mac-a-Moir. Though it was but speech, it was a sign for Mac-a-Moir to come out, to try a battle with Conall.
They drew their slender gray swords, and they kindled a fire of fists, from the rising of the sun till the evening, when she would be going west; without knowing with which of them the victory would be.
Duanach was singing "iolla" to them, and he said, "You are long enough at this play; throw from you your swords, and try it another way." They threw from them their swords, and they put their soft white fists in each other's breasts, and they wrestled, but they did not take long at the wrestling, till Conall give the panting of his heart to Mac-a-Moir on the hard stones of the causeway. "Stretch hither my sword," said Conall, "until I reap the head off him."
"I will not stretch it," said Duanach. It is better for thee that thou shouldst have his head for thyself as it is, than five hundred heads that thou mightest take out with strife," said Duanach; "take a pledge of him that be will be faithful to thee."
Conall made him promise that he would be faithful to Conall Guilbeanach, son of the King of Eirinn, whether the matter should come under right or unright; and that the realm of Scorcha should be under cess to the realm of Eirinn; and Mac-a-Moir gave these pledges to Conall, and he bound himself with words, and with weighty vows. Conall let him aloft; they caught hold of each other's hands, and they made peace with great friendship, and they were quiet. 1
Then the first thing that Conall did was to go to the den of lions, to see if his two comrades were alive, and they were; for it is as left with the lions that they will not touch, and that they will not do any hurt to kings, or to the clan of kings. 1
And Conall took Garna Sgiathlais and the young King of Lochlann out of the lion's den, and he loosed each bond and fetter that was upon them, and they were free and whole.
The next thing that Conall did was to take Breast of Light out of the dark place in which she was, and she was pleased and joyful coming out.
Mac-a-Moir gave a bidding to Conall, and to Breast of Light, to the King of Iospainde, and the young King of Lochlann, to come into his house to take a feast. They went there. They raised music, and they hid sorrow; word was sent for a priest, and Conall was wedded to Breast of Light, and they made a wedding that lasted for the six days of the week, and the last day was no worse than the first,]
But there was much envy (farnaite) with the young
[paragraph continues] King of Lochlann, Garna Sgiathlais, and Mac-a-Moir at Conall, to see him married to one so beautiful, modest, and learned, and that they themselves should be wifeless, and they thought her like was not to be found. Each one of them was as anxious as the rest that her like should be his as a wife, and they left it to Breast of Light to say who was the other one that would come nearest to herself in look, learning, and modesty. She said that there was Aillidh, daughter of the King of Greece, but it was by mighty deeds that she would be got (sar ghaisge).
The three kings made it up that they would go to seek Aillidh, daughter of the King of Greece. Breast of Light was unwilling that Conall should go with the rest, but the rest would not go without him, and when she saw that she consented.
It was left to Conall to say which of them was to get Aillidh, and Conall said, "Since the King of Lochlann was the first king who had come under cess to him, that he was the first for whom he would get a wife." Duanach wished to go with them, but Conall left him to be a king, and to take care of Breast of Light till be should come back.
Away went Conall, young son of the King of Eirinn, Mac-a-Moir, son of the King of Sorcha, and Garna Sgiathlais, King of the Hispainde, to get Aillee (Beauty), daughter of the King of the Grayke (Greece),--for the young King of Lochlann to wife, and they reached Greece. 1
An old man met them that was their guide. He gave them a tale about the realm of Greece, the desire of the hosts, the battle; the form of the arms, and the customs of the country (miann sloidh, feachd; 's rian nan arm, agus cleachdanan na ducha), and he told them the tale of the King of Greece, and how his daughter was kept in the dun, and that no one at all was to get Beauty, daughter of the King of Greece, to marry, but one who could bring her out by great valour; and the old man told them about the wall that was for a bulwark (daingneach) round about the dun, how many heroes and soldiers there were in the inside of the ramparts; and besides, that there was no way to get Beauty but by strong battle, brave deeds, and ruse (feachd làdir, sàr ghaisge, agus seoltachd). Conall went, and the three other kings, aloft up a mountain that was above the dun of the big town of the kin so that they might see what was going on below beneath them. They lighted upon hunting bothys (bothain sheilg) in the mountain, and
they went in into them, and they were there all night, and on the next day they found old clothes in the hunting huts.
Conall put on some of the old clothes which they found, to go in the semblance of a poor lad, to try if he could get to the inside of the gates (cachlaidhean) of the dun of the king's town, and he said to the other kings if they should hear on the third day a hunting cry, or any terror (faoghaid na fuathas), that they should run swiftly to help him. He went, and he reached one of the gates (geata) of the dungeon (daingneach), and he was as a shy boy, ill-looking, without the look of a man, without the port of a lad, or a dress of armour (mar bhallach moitire mi sgiamhach, gun aogosg duine gun dreach gille, na culaidh armachd).
He reached the gate-keeper (fear gleidh a gheata), but that one would not let him in. He asked him what he sought, and Conall said that he had come to see if he could get teaching in feats of arms, nimbleness, and soldier-craft (ionnsach an iomairt arm, luth chleas, 's gaisge). The gate-keeper sent word for the ruler of the fort (fear riaghladh an duin), and he came and he asked Conall whence he was. Conall said that he had come from the neighbourhood (iomal) that was farthest off of the realm. The high ruler asked him what customs the people of that place had, and if they tried to do any feats?
Conall said that they used to try casting the stone of force (clach neart), and hurling the hammer. 1
The high ruler asked Conall to come in, and he Set some to try putting the stone against Conall. Conall could throw the stone further than any of them, and they saw that he had no want of strength if there were enough of courage in him.
A stick sword was given him, and they were teaching him swordsmanship, and Conall was coming on well. But it was little they knew about the teaching that Conall had got from the Gruagach of Beinn Eidinn before then. Conall made himself acquainted with the keeper of the arms, and he was exceedingly anxious to get a sight of their arms-house, but the armourer said that could not be done, for fear of the high ruler of the dun. But on the morning of the third day, when the governor was eating his breakfast, the armourer said to Conall, that if he were able enough now, that he might act a sight of the armoury before the high man who ruled the dun should come out from his morning meal.
Conall went with him swiftly, and the man who was keeping the arms opened the armoury (taisg airm). Conall went in and he looked amongst the arms, and he spied great glaives at the furthest off end of the armoury. He went where they were, and he began to try them, he would raise them in his hand, and brandish them, and some he would shake out of their hilts (ceana bhairt), and others he would break. The man who had the care of the arms began to shout to him that he should come out, but Conall was pretending that he heard him not. Conall would look at the swords, and
some were rusted, and some were not. At last he found a sword that pleased him. 1
He was going the way of the door of the arms-house with it, and the man who had the care of the arms was begging him to put it from him, but Conall gave him no heed, and the man who had charge of the armoury said--
"If the high governor of the dun comes he will take the head off me for letting thee in."
When Conall was at the door the governor came in, and he desired Conall to put away that sword. If he knew the name of the man who had had that sword that he would not be long putting it from him that; his name was Mor ghaisge na mor ghleadh. Great valour of the great tricks.
"You may give it that name still," said Conall.
The high governor said that he would drive the head off the man who had the care of the arms for letting Conall into the armoury, and off Conall for taking the sword out.
"Take thou care that it is not thine own head that will be down first, comrade."
The high governor called for his men. Conall struck the head off the high Governor, and he gave a hunting whistle (fead fhaoghaid), and the people gathered with their arms about Conall.
He struck them, under them, over them, through and throughout them; where they were thickest there they were thinnest; where they were thinnest they were most scattered.
The king came out, and he said to Conall, "Thou man that came on us a-new; hold on thy hand, and thy blade. 1
The three other kings came to the gate, but they were not getting in. Conall ran to the gate, and he struck it a kick, and he drove it into splinters. Then came the King of Lochlann, and the King of Light, and the King of the Hispainde, in with their arms. The people of Greece fled back, and the King of Greece said--
"Oubh bhoubh ouv vouv!" "What a wonderful turn has come on the matters! It was in the prophecies that a son of a king of Eirinn would come, and that he would lay the realm of Greece under cess, and instead of that is an awkward fellow of an ill-looking boy, that came and put the realm under cess." 2
Said Conall, with a high voice, Thou King of Greece, take not thou each man according to his seeming. 3 I am Conall Guilbeinich, son of the King of Eirinn, but it is not to put the realm of Greece under cess I am come, but to take out Beauty, thy daughter.
Said the King of Greece, "Thou shalt have Beauty, my daughter, and two-thirds of my realm while I myself am alive, and the whole after my death."
Conall asked that Aillidh should be brought out, and she came, and she was right willing to wed Conall, but Conall told her he was married already to Breast of
[paragraph continues] Light, daughter of the King of Laidhean; and the King of Greece said--
"If thou hast got Breast of Light, it is no wonder though thou shouldst not take my daughter."
Conall told Beauty that she had her two choices, to take the King of Lochlann, or be without a husband; and she preferred to marry the young King of Lochlann.
And word was sent for a priest; and Aillidh, daughter of the King of Greece, was wedded to the young King of Lochlann, and they made a wedding that lasted for the six days of the week, and the last day was no worse than the first day.
And when they were at the wedding, they asked Aillidh, the bride of Lochlann's King, who was the next one that was nearest to her in beauty and comeliness, virtue and learning. And she said that there was Cuimir, 1 daughter of the King of Na Frainge (the Franks, France).
Conall. asked Garna Sgiathlais if we were willing to take that one as a wife, and he said that he was. Conall asked Aillidh where Cuimir was dwelling, and Beauty told that she was in the great royal house, and that there was a great fortress wall about the great house, and that there was a lion on either side of the gate, that was in through the wall, and that there was the house of the Tamhaisg, the best warriors that the King of France had, a little further on; and the Tamhaisg were proud and merciless to any over whom they might gain victory. 2
The valiant kings made ready to go to France, but
[paragraph continues] Aillidh was not willing to part with her new married husband, but the other warriors would not part from him; he must needs go with them, till they should put an end to all the valorous deeds they had to do, before they could get wives for Garda Sgiathlais, King of Hispania, and Mac-a-Moir, son of the King of Scorcha.
The four valorous kings put each matter in order in Greece as best they might, and they left Beauty in the care of her father till the King of Lochlann should come back. They went to France and when they reached France they took a tale from each traveller that met them by the way, and so they got guidance to the great royal house, and when they reached the gate, that was without in the fortress wall, there was a great lion at either side of the gate, but that put neither fear nor sorrow upon them, 1 because it is as a charge left with lions that they will not injure kings, or the clan of kings. And Conall went on past the lions, and no one of them stirred his head at him. He reached on forward to where the Tamhasgan were, and they began gnashing their teeth, 2 making ready to spring upon him. He took sure notice of them, for the thick-knobbiest one and the thin-shankiest of them. He compassed them, under them, over them, through and throughout them; and he seized on the two shanks of the thin-shankiest one amongst them, and he was driving out the brains of the rest, with the knob of that one, and the brains of that one with the knobs of the rest, till the part that was thickest of them was thinnest, and the lot that was thinnest they were the most ill scattered.
The King of France came out, and he said to Conall.
"Thou man that hast come on us from a strange
land, withhold thy blade and thine hand; slay not my warriors wholly; these are the Tamhaisg, the best warriors I have to guard the great royal house; but they are but as reeds in the front of a meadow before thee. How camest thou past the lions?"
"Thou and thy lions!" said Conall I will go down past thy lions, and I will come up past thy lions, and they will not touch me; and I will bring up three other warriors, that are down here, and the lions will not touch them."
Garna Sgiathlais Mac-a-Moir and the King of Lochlann came up past the lions, kings were they, and a clan from kings all together, and the lions did not stir their tongues against them.
The King of France asked whence they were, and Conall told that he was Conall Guilbeanach, son of the King of Eirinn, and he shewed the young King of Lochlann, and Mac-a-Moir, son of the King of Sorcha, and Garna Sgiathlais, king of Hispania; and he told him that it was not to disturb France they had come, 1 but to take out Cuimir, daughter of the King of France, to be wife to Garna Sgiathlais King of Hispania.
Said the King of France, "He shall get that."
Cuimir was brought out, and the matter was hidden, and it was Conall she would rather take, for it was he that had done the bravest deeds; but Conall told her that he was wedded already to Breast of Light, daughter of the King of Laidhean, and that the young King of Lochlann was wedded to Aillidh daughter of the King of Greece, and that it was Garna Sgiathlais, King of Hispania, she was to have. Cuimir was willing to take the King of Hispania, so that she might be a queen in
a realm that was near the realm of her father. Word was sent for a priest, and the wedding was done, and they made a wedding that lasted for the six days of the week, and the last day was no worse than the first day.
When they were at the wedding they were talking about who they should get for a wife for Mac-a-Moir; and they left it to be said by Cuimir, the young Queen of Spain. Who was the one that was fittest, in her esteem, to be a wife to Mac-a-Moir. And she said that there was Deo Greine nighean righ an Eilean Uaine. 1 They asked her if that one was to be got. She said that she was not, but by exceeding valour; that there was a fortress wall round about the dun of the king, and that it discomfited the heroes; that Deo Greine would be in a turret that was on the top of the dun, and that none but a valiant warrior could get her; but if Mac-a-Moir should get her, that he had no cause to regret that he was the last of the kings who had got a wife.
Mac-a-Moir was longing to begone in pursuit of Deo Greine, and the rest were as willing and well pleased as himself. 2 When they were at the feast, the King of France was setting a ship in order for them. Cuimir, daughter of the King of France, was not willing to let
her new married husband, Garna Sgiathlais, away with the rest, but when the rest saw that, they would not go without him. When Cuimir understood that, she agreed to let him go with them.
The King of France set his slender ship in order for them, with a crew of disciplined, active, strong, hardy men, and the four honourable kings went on board, and the Frenchmen sailed with them to the shore of the Green Island. 1
They brought the ship to port, 2 and they put Mac-a-Moir and the three gallant kings who were with him on shore, and they themselves sailed back, home to France.
They went on forwards to the dun of the town of the King of the Green Island, taking a tale from each traveller and journeyer that might fall in with them. They got on till they reached the fortress gate of the dun of the king's town. Conall. struck at the gate, and the gate-keeper asked what they sought. Conall answered that they came to seek Sunbeam, daughter of the King of the Green Isle, to be wife to one of them. Word was sent for the high Governor of the dun, and he came, and he asked them who they were, and what they sought. Conall. told him that they were kings, and they had come to seek Sunbeam as a wife to one of them. The high Governor said that they should not get her but by exceeding valour; that they must hold a battle against the warriors of the dun, and gain victory over them.
Conall asked who was the sturdy hero that would go first to battle against the warriors of the dun.
"Myself," said Mac-a-Moir. "If I am to get the daughter of the King of the Green Island as a wife, I will shew that I am worthy to have her."
They were asked in, and they went.
Warriors were got to combat Mac-a-Moir, son of the King of Sorcha. They drew their blades, and Conall, and Garna Sgiatlais, and the young King of Lochlann were singing iolla to them. But they had not taken long of the contest, when Mac-a-Moir struck the head off the champion of the Green Isle.
Said Mac-a-Moir to the Governor, "Pick up the champion's head, and get me another one."
Another was got; but they had not taken long at the combat when Mac-a-Moir struck the head off that one too. He asked for another, and another was got, but it was not long till the head went off that one in like manner.
The King of the Green Isle was taking sport at them, and he said--
"I see, my hero, that thou wouldst slay my men altogether, one after another, if thou hadst chance of arms. I am not for spilling more blood; I will try it another way.
My daughter is in a turret, that is at the top of the dun, and the man that can take her out shall get two-thirds of my realm while I live, and the whole of my realm when I die; I am but an old man, and it is not likely that I will be long alive now, at all events. 1
The way was shewn them to the turret, in which was the king's daughter, at the top of the dun.
"Who is the first man that will try to take the king's daughter out of the turret?" said Conall.
"Myself," said Mac-a-Moir.
The turret was aloft, on the top of three carraghan ard, lofty pillars.
Mac-a-Moir went, and he did his very best, but he could not get aloft; he thrust the pillars hither and thither; he tried every way he knew, but it discomfited him.
"Who will try it again?" said Conall.
"Myself," said the young King of Lochlann. He went, and tried as well as he could, but he could not level one of the posts that was beneath the turret, but it beat him.
Said the King of the Green Isle, "I perceive, my men, that it will not go with you to take my daughter out of the turret. Many a man has striven to take her out, but it went with none of them, and I see that it will not go with you any more; you may be off home."
"Well, then, if it does not go with us to bring her out, it is a great disgrace to us," said Conall.
He went and he struck a kick on one of the posts that was keeping the turret aloft, and the post broke, and the turret fell, but Conall caught it between his hands before it reached the ground, A door opened, the Sunbeam came out, the daughter of the King of the Green Isle, and she clasped her two arms about the neck of Conall, and Conall put his two arms about Sunbeam, and he bore her into the great house, and he said to the King of the Green Isle, "Thy daughter is won."
Sunbeam was very willing to stick to Conall, but Conall told her that he was married already to Breast
of Light, daughter of the King of Laidheann, and the King of Lochlann was wedded to Beauty, daughter of the King of Greece, and that Garna Sgiathlais, King of Hispania, was married to Comely, daughter of the King of France, and that Great Hero, son of the King of the Light, was the only one of them that was unmarried.
The King of the Green Isle was pleased when he understood that they were honourable kings altogether, and that his daughter had been taken out with honour; and he said that he would give two-thirds of his realm while he was alive, and the whole after his death, to the one that his daughter should have, and that he was an old man, and that he would not be long alive altogether. Every one of them was married but Mac-a-Moir, and he was the most unblemished amongst them. Though Mac-a-Moir was not so handsome as the rest, he was a stately, comely, personable man; and Sunbeam said that he was the husband she would have, and word was sent for a priest, and Sunbeam, the daughter of the King of the Green Island, was wedded to Mac-a-Moir, son of the King of Light, and they made a wedding that lasted for the six days of the week, and the last day was no worse than the first day, and if there were better there were, and if not let them be.
When the other heroes found that Mac-a-Moir was married, they were in great haste to go home to see their own wives. 1
The King of the Green Isle set in order a great high masted white-sailed ship. There was a pilot in her prow, and a steersman in the stern, and men managing
the rigging-ropes in the middle. Each meat and each drink as seemly for kings was put on board. 1
When each thing was ready, and each matter arranged as it ought to be, Conall, son of the King of Eirinn, Garna Sgiathlais, King of Hispania, and the King of Lochlann left a blessing with the King of the Green Isle, with Mac-a-Moir, and Deo Greine, and they went on board of the ship. The shipmen sailed with the ship, and they sailed to realm of Sorcha, with Conall, the son of the King of Eirinn. 2 Conall reached the dun of the big town of Sorcha, came to Breast of Light and Duanach, without their having hopes of him, and they rejoiced with great joy to see him. Conall and Breast of Light were a while merry, and joyously, and fondly about each other, and Duanach was blithely and cheerily with them, 3 and when Conall had spent a while cheerily joyously with Breast of Light and Duanach, he began to think it long that he was not hearing from the realm of Iubhar how the fight was coming on between his mother's brother and the Turks, 4 or if his father or brothers were yet alive. He thought that he would go to the realm of the Iubhar to see.
[paragraph continues] He wished to leave Duanach, as he was before, to take care of Breast of Light and the realm, but Duanach would not stay. If Conall would go the realm of Iubhar, Duanach would go with him. Breast of Light wished Conall to go first to Eirinn to see if each thing were right in Eirinn, but his own counsel was best with Conall, and he wished Duanach to stay. But this is what Duanach said, "If thou goest, Conall, to the realm of Iubhar thou wilt fight, and I will be needful enough for thee."
And so it was agreed that Conall should take Duanach as a servant and counsellor.
Breast of Light, and Conall, and Duanach, went away. 1]
Then he took with him the woman on board of the ship, and when he and his men were returning he was running out of provisions. There was an island here which they called Eilean na h-Otolia. The man who was over the island was (so) that if he was for giving food it could be got for money, and if he were not he had three big dogs, and he would let them out, and they would kill them all.
Said the slender dark man to Conall, "I would rather myself thou wouldst stay out of it, than go into it."
"I myself would not rather stay than go, I will go and I will get it; but if you see that he is not willing to give it to me, you will leave me the front, and you will stay behind me, if so be that he hounds the dogs at us," said Conall.
He went up to the house, and he asked if he could get food. He said that they should not, that plenty were asking for it who were more likely to get it than he.
He let out the dogs. Every one of the company stood at the back of Conall, and he himself went to the front, he caught a napkin and put it about his fist. Each one as he came, he was seeing his liver down through his mouth, from the rage that he had towards the men. He thrust his hand into the mouths of the dogs, one after another, and he took the heart and the liver out of them, and he killed them.
"Come now and you shall get food," said the man who was over the island.
"Thou mayest give that now, but I will not give thee one 'sgillinn' for it; unless thou thyself hadst been a 'Trusdar,' a stingy filthy wretch, thou hadst got payment; but since thou wert so dirty, thou shalt not get payment, and we shall get meat in spite of thee."
"That is easy enough for you now," said he. "But hast thou heard how it has befallen the King of Eirinn and the King of Laidhean; they were fighting the Turk?"
"Well then I have heard how it has befallen these doubtless; the battle went with the Turk, and all the company that the King of Eirinn, and the King of Laidhean had, have been slain; and the Great Turk has the King of Eirinn, and the King of Laidhean bound back to back, under cats, and dogs, and men's spittle, and with shame and insult on themselves and on their hosts, that came to give battle and could not do it."
"That story is sad for me to hear, but though it is, keep thou this woman for me till I come back from these men."
"Well, then," said he, "I will not keep her, I have no way of keeping her. The thing that I had myself for that, thou thyself hast put me in want of it."
"Unless thou hadst been such a Trusdar of a man as
thou wert, I had not put thee in want of it, but thou must keep this woman, or else there will not be much of the world for thee, after letting her go," said Conall.]
He went and he left the woman, and when they reached the realm of Iubhar the fighting was going on, Conall and Duanach did not go to the house of the king but to a hostelry. They got their supper that night and they went to bed. On the next morning Conall's waking was to hear shouts of hosts and clash of armour; 1 heroes starting, commanders arraying soldiers to go to give a day of battle to the Turks. Conall arose and Duanach, they put on them their army and their armour of battle, and they went to the fight on the side of the people of the Iubhar. The fighting began and Conall was mowing down the Turks as though it were a man who was cutting down sow-thistles. There was one big man amongst the Turks, and he was mowing down the people of the Iubhar in the same way. It was not going with any one to slay him, and they thought that no arms could touch him. He and Conall met each other in the fight. They tried their nimble feats upon each other, and Conall slew the big Turk. When the Turks saw that their champion was slain they fled; and the people of the Iubhar followed the rout, 2 and they thought that they had not left many of the Turks alive. In the night the people of Iubhar returned back, and they thought they would have peace on the next day and no one of them could understand who he was, the hero that had slain the big Turk, that had done them so much skaith. 3
As on the other days Conall and Duanach went to the hostelry where they were the former night, they got food and bed, and they thought, by the number of Turks that had been killed, that the war was at an end, and they went to sleep.
The King of the Iubhar had never seen Conall before; but it seemed to him, by the look of his face, 1 that he was of the people of Eirinn. They went to rest that night full of joy, thinking that the Turks would not bring any more trouble upon them. But no matter. What they got in the morning was, the tale of horror that the Turks were coming forward as numerous as they ever were. They had for it but that they must arise, and put men in their harness, to go to give a day of battle to the Turks again; and Conall's morning waking was to hear the shout of the chiefs calling out their soldiers to give a day of combat to the Turks. 2
Conall sprang out of his bed and he put on his array and armour, 3 and he went with the host of the Iubhar to battle against the Turks. When the two hosts met each other, Conall saw the big Turk that he had slain the day before coming forward that day again, and mowing down the people of the Iubhar as he used to do.
Conall was mowing down the Turks till he and the, big Turk met each other, and tried their agile valour upon each other that day again; and the big Turk was killed again that day by Conall. When the Turks saw that their champion had been slain, they fled, and the people of Iubhar followed the rout, and killed so many
of the Turks, that it seemed to them there were not many of them to the fore, and they returned joyfully, cheerily, thinking that there was an end of the war. When Conall returned to the hostelry, he ate his supper and lay down to sleep.
It seemed to the King of Iubhar, that the man who had done the great feats of valour was his sister's son Conall, and he went to inquire about him. He heard that it was in the hostelry that the gallant man was dwelling, and the king reached the inn.
Duanach knew him, and the king asked Duanach if his master were in.
"He is," said Duanach, "but he is in his sleep, and I will not wake him."
"I am anxious to see him," said the king.
"If thou choosest thyself to go to wake him," said Duanach, "thou mayest, but I will not wake him."
"What is thy country?" said the king.
"It is," said Duanach, the country from which my master came."
"What is the country 1 whence came thy master?"
"That," said Duanach, "is the realm whence came the King of Eirinn."
"What is his name?" said the king.
"It is," said Duanach, "Conall Guilbeanach Mac do Righ Eirinn."
"Tell Conall, when he wakes, that his mother's brother came to visit him, and that he wishes to see him at the house of the King of Iubhar to-morrow."
"I will do that," said Duanach. 2
On the next day the Turks were coming on to drive the battle as they used, against the host of Iubhar; and it was rustling of plumes, and shouting of hosts, 1 that awoke Conall. Then there were chiefs setting soldiers in order to go to bold battle against the Turks. Conall arose and put on his armour, and as soon as he could, and he went with the people of Iubhar to the battle. Conall saw the big Turk coming opposite to him the third time; and Conall killed the big Turk the third time, and the rout went over the Turks. The people of Iubhar followed them, and they slew the Turks with a great battle; 2 and when no more of the Turks were to be seen., the host of Iubhar returned.
It seemed to Conall that there was something that was to be understood going on in the field of battle in the night; and he ordered Duanach to go to the hostelry to take his sleep, and that he himself would stay to watch the slain. 3 Duanach went a little way from Conall, and he stayed to watch Conall.
When the night grew dark there came a great Turkish Carlin, and she had a white glaive of light with which she could see seven miles behind her and seven miles before her; and she had a flask of balsam 4 carrying it.
And when she would reach a corpse, she would put three drops of the balsam in his mouth; she would strike
three slaps on their hurdies, and she would say, "Get up, and go home; thy kail will be cold," 1 and they would rise and go.
She was going from one to one, and bringing them alive,, and they would be ready to come to fight again on the next day. At last she came where Conall was himself; she put three drops of balsam into his mouth, and hit him three slaps, and she said, "Get up, and go home, thy kail will be cold."
Conall sprang up suddenly, and she knew that he was not of the dead Turks, by his sudden rising, and she fled. Conall stretched out after her; she threw away the flask of balsam that she had, and the white glaive of light, but Conall ran till he was up with her; he gave a stroke of his sword, and he made two halves of her. He turned back, and he found the white glaive of light, but he could not find the flask of balsam. He was seeking it back and forwards, and hither and thither, and at last he saw Duanach, and he shouted.
"Is that thou?" Duanach.
"It is I," said Duanach; "and it well for thee that I am here."
"Hast thou got the flask of balsam?" said Conall.
"I have," said Duanach.
Duanach took the flask of balsam where Conall was, and Conall gave the white glaive of light to Duanach to lead the Turks who had been brought alive out of the field, and Conall went to sleep since he could do no more good till he should sleep; and he put the flask of balsam under his head, and he slept. Duanach went away with the sword, and he led the Turks out of the field; he led them through mosses and bogs, and when
he found that they were in a dangerous place he would put the sword out of sight, and the Turks could not see, and they would fall into holes, and they would go down into marshes (criathraichean), and into well-eyes (suiltean-cruthaich), and they would be drowned. And again, he would bring the sword in sight, and the sword would shine, and the Turks that had not been drowned would follow, and Duanach would lead them through places where there were many scaurs, and Duanach would put a covering on the white glaive of light, and darkness would come, and many of the Turks would fall amongst the scaurs; and when they were out of that peril Duanach would bring the white glaive of light into sight to let them see, and he would lead them amongst crags; and he would hide the sword, and the Turks would lose their way, and they would go over the crags. It was thus that Duanach followed on till be had put an end to all the Turks by leading them over crags, and through scaurs, and amongst bogs. Then Duanach turned back to where Conall was, and be staid near him till he had got his sleep over. When Conall awoke, Duanach told him how he had done with the Turks, and Conall was pleased that the war was over. 1]
Then Conall brought the people that were slain to life with the balsam. He went about the field, and he found one of his brothers there levelled, and he said to Garna Sgiathlais, "Come thou and take this one with thee, and take care of him till I come back." He looked, and he searched about, and he found another
of his brothers, and he put him on the back of the King of Lochlann, and he asked him to take him with him. 1]
Then he asked what death the Great Turk was threatening for his father and the King of Laidheann. They said that he was threatening to bang them to an oaken beam that was within, and to thrust two iron darts through the bodies of each one of them. "The very death with which he threatened you I will give to him," said Conall.
He seized the Great Turk and he hanged him, and he thrust the darts through his body, and he did the very same to another great noble. 2]
The King of Eirinn was right well pleased, and that day they had peace. The King of Eirinn took Conall before the King of the Iubhar. The King made great rejoicings at seeing Conall, and because Conall had give peace to the realm of the Iubhar. No less would suffice the brother of Conall's mother than that Conall should be crowned King of the realm of Iubhar. The nobles of the realm (flathan na Rioghachd) were gathered, a great feast was made, and Conall was crowned King over the Iubhair; but though he was he did not stay in that realm. He was in haste to see Breast of Light.]
[paragraph continues] King of Laidheann and they sailed to the island (na h-Otolia). They took Breast of Light on board out of that realm and they put the young King of Lochlann on shore in a fitting place for going to Greece, and Garna Sgiathlais on shore in France.]
They had a hearty feast, with joy and solace; they raised music, and laid down lament, and each one was
content, they never saw such rejoicing before; and when the people thought the time fitting to go home, each one went to his own place, and there was peace and quiet in Eirinn.
Conall and Breast of Light thought that they would go to the realm of Laidheann to see her father. They made ready a ship, they went on board, and they sailed: they reached the realm of Laidheann, and the king had no hope or expectation of them at the time, but he saluted them, and made them welcome.]
And Conall and Breast of Light stayed in the realm of Laidheann till they had their first son, and they were happy and pleased together, but that she had had a cut slicing tongue at odd times, as happed to many of the women, and sure am I that Duanoch Achaidh Draodh stuck to Conall, and that his counsel was ever truly wise and truly moderate.]
According to MacPhie and others, Conall was the king's son, by a girl, who was daughter of a mysterious old man, and he was a comrade of the Finne, and lived underground; he is a magician always. Conall, at the end, puts a ring on the Queen's finger, it tightens, and forces her to confess that her sons are not the king's children, and Conall reigns as the king's only son. This incident ends several long Gaelic stories of the same stamp as this long-winded history of Conall Gulban, which has the name of being the best of its kind.
JUNE, 1861.--MacNair tells me that his authority, Livingston, was an old tailor, not the shoemaker mentioned by Dewar; and he adds, that several passages in which his story seems to vary from MacNeill's, are, mistakes made by the scribe.
There were three champions on board when they sailed from Lochlann, and two sailed to the realm of the Turk, so that all my authorities agree.
The Gaelic passage, page 293, is one of those which often give a clue to other stories and traditions; which are clearly old, easily remembered, and hard to explain. Wishing to get all I could out of it, I asked several men to translate the passage and the names, and to give any reason for the epithets. The variety in these translations will perhaps be the best excuse which I can give for my own shortcomings, so I give a few examples.
First, Scribe who wrote down what he heard according to my special request:--"Duncan MacBrian and Murdoch MacBrian, Passionate, and White Belly; Dearg's men from Mull, and Fortress men from Lorn; the King of Eirinn's valiant band, and the great chieftains of the realm, altogether all that were with him at the time (at the wars)."
This gives the sound "derag" as the proper name "Dearg," which "translators" made "Dergo," and which means Red; and it localizes an Ossianic hero in Mull. It gives "chrònaig" (genitive of cronag), the value of "fortress," and suggests the wattled forts found in lakes and mosses, which are, I believe, called cranogues by the learned in such matters. This is the simple country translation of an intelligent man, and it throws light upon the traditions and antiquities of his country.
Second, from a gentleman who for a quarter of a century has been occupied about Gaelic books and translations; a native Highlander, who is an authority in Gaelic writings, and lives in a city, but who had nothing to guide him but the words before him:--"Duncan, son of Brian; Murdoch, son of Brian; Thadeus and Whitebelly, ruddy men from Mull, swarthy men from Lorn, a valiant band from the King of Ireland, and all the nobles of the kingdom, as many as were with (or adhered to) him at the time."
The same authority informs me that there is a place in Lorn called Cill a chronaig, and another in Mull called Derbhaig.
This simply translates the Gaelic names into their modern English equivalents; Taoig into Thadeus, Murcha into Murdoch, Donacha into Duncan, and so on. It gives the passage reasonably, and as it were historically or geographically; and it differs from the others in the meaning of "chronaig," which it renders "swarthy," from cron, brown; and this is the usual method of translating doubtful Gaelic into English:--freely. I also had translated the passage freely. I was uncertain of the meaning of "Taoig," but as it is the genitive of Taog, a fit of passion, I gave it that meaning rather than assume that it meant Teague, Thaddy, or Thadeus; names which had some meaning once. It is established that a sound like Donacha shall mean Duncan and Muracha Murdoch, so I too followed the stream; but I should have done better to translate the names, for every Gaelic proper name has a meaning, which may be dimly seen in Gaelic, but is utterly lost in its English equivalent. The passage fully translated, as I understand it by the help of my peasant authorities and Armstrong's dictionary, would run thus--"Donacha'" 1 Brown of battle; "Mac," son of the judge (or ruler, or king; the man of words of authority. "Brian," 2 Breean, Brethon, Bren). "Muracha," 3 wall of battle; "Mac," son of Brian the ruler; Fury and Whitebelly; the men of the red, from "Muile," the bluff; Wattlefort, or boat-men from the grounds or settlements (from lar, a floor, the ground, etc.; or lathar, an assembly, from Larne, a loch in Ireland; or Latharna, a district of Argyll, now Englished "Lorne"). The camp-winnowing, or blind-valiant, or brave-blinding (chrò or chrodha-dhallan-da, from crò, a circle or fold, or enclosure, or cattle. Or from crodha, active, valiant, etc.; and dallan, a blind man, also a large fan for winnowing; from DALL, because of the blinding dust) hand of
the king of the western island or islands (of which Ireland is one, and Great Britain another), and the great good ones of the kingdom altogether, as much as were with him in the time.
Dewar understands "gabhail iola" to mean "taking notice of without joining in what was going on." The first word is the only one used for singing or reciting a tune, a song or story; and it has the meaning of taking, and many other meanings besides. The second is not in dictionaries, and I did not know it; but iuladh and ioladh have nearly the same sound as iolla, and mean fun, sport; Iolach is a shout, mirth; Iùlach, guiding, directing; and from the context I believe the words to mean sometimes, that the lookers on were enjoying the fight, "taking sport;" and at others, that they were shouting or Singing to the combatants. Singing "iolla," a loud-directing or guiding song, such as the words of Duanach to Conall. If I am right, this is a new Gaelic word; if I am wrong I cannot help it, but this will, I hope, excuse mistakes in my translations, for it shews that authorities may differ, and that dictionaries are bad guides. It will also shew the object which I had in view in generally translating as closely as I could, in utter disregard of English composition, rather than freely and according to precedent.
Dewar translates "Dos, a sounding horn;" and for "feet following," he gives "rapid pursuit, toir chas." He says, "There is an Irish poem about Conall Ghulbain coming to war against the Fiands; he killed many of them, at last Oscar fought him, and it was doubtful for a long time which of them would have victory; at last Oscar struck Conall's head off and threw it off the battle-field. Music was got to cheer Oscar from his weariness, but the music that was best with Fionn was what happened. It is evident that this tale was composed a long time after the Fiand's time." Dewar does not himself understand Irish of some kinds, for I tested him with an Irish blind fiddler whose dialect I could only partially understand myself. I know nothing more about this poem; unless it be "Conull Ghulbuinn," published by MacCallum, 1816, which is Gaelic taken down in Scotland (162 lines). In this, "Conull" is slain by "Oscar."
254:1 Here the heads of all that has gone before are given in the original.
254:2 This gives eiric the meaning of a forfeit or fine.
255:1 According to MacNair there were but two champions on board.
256:1 Geill na comhrag air an fhaiche. Geill cha 'n fhaighe tu anns a bhaile so orsa, Mac-a-Moir, Ga d' b' e bu chainnte s' a bu chomhra do Mhac-a-Moir a tighian a mach dh' feuchahinn comhrag ri Conall; as written by Dewar.
256:2 The Barra version (MacNeill's) here varies considerably from the Cowall version (MacNair's). There is more incident in the latter, which I have followed; but the language of the former is more curious. It is wilder altogether, and savours more of an old Bardic composition. It is, in fact, the version of a practised narrator, who cannot read. All the fights, are described by both the men in nearly the same words; but each has a different set p. 257 of phrases, though sometimes they are very like each other. When these are rapidly given, the effect is that of a kind of chant; something which, with music, would almost be a rude chorus; and might be so uttered as to express the battle.
The Barra battles are thus arranged, and they have that kind p. 257 of symmetry which pervades Gaelic popular tales, as they exist in the islands.
1st, The slender, dark man, who, according to MacNair, is the King of Spain, says that he will not let Conall go first on shore, because he has promised to be the first to fall. He lands, and strikes his shield. Five hundred Lughghaisgeach, and as many Treunghasgeach are sent out; he slays them all, and lies down amongst them.
2d, Conall, in the ship, says that he has fled, and offers again to go himself; but the Amhas Ormanach has sworn to fall first, and he goes. He finds the dead hosts, and thinks the plague is in the place, and keeps to windward; but his comrade is alive, and tells him that he must do as much as he has done; so he clashes his shield, and there come 500 lughghaisgeach, 500 treunghaisgeach, and 500 langhaisgeach (a larger number, and the last of higher rank, full heroes)--these he slays, and lies down.
3d, The scene on board is repeated, and the King of Lochlann goes, and repeats the scene on shore; slays 1500, and lies down. To complete the symmetry, the first should have killed 500; the second, 1000; and the third, 1500.
4th, Conall says he was wrong to trust his matter to any other, and goes himself, followed by Duanachd acha Draodh, repeats the scene on shore, and is told by his comrades that the King of Sorcha has none alive now, but his "beag chuideache," small company, and that he will rather come out than send them. They will not interfere unless Conall flees.
So far, then, the whole goes on increasing to the grand climax--which is the drawing of the great foe, the victory of the hero, the death of the villain, and a happy wedding; and this is no solitary instance of such an artificial arrangement, but is the principle on which a whole class of similar tales are arranged. From this symmetry, and the rhythmical jingle which pervades the language, I feel convinced that the island versions are the oldest, and that the mainland versions, though better preserved p. 259 as to incident, have lost somewhat of their original shape. There is as much difference in the stories, as there is in the manners of mainlanders and islanders, and that difference is very much greater than is generally known.
Mae-a-Mor Mae Righ Sorcha comes out to answer Conall "and the step of Conall was back, and not forwards;" but Duanach stands behind, and urges him with the words given above, perhaps. words which have really been spoken by bards in real fights--and Conall casts up the sword of his foe to the skies, "he leaped on his back, and struck off his head." Then the head was aiming straight at the trunk; but Conall, by the advice of Duanach, put the iron on the neck, and the head played "gliong" on the sword, and sprang up again to the skies. Then Duanach shouted, "step on one side; the head is aiming at thee;" and he did so, and the head went seven feet into the earth with the force that it had; and here the narrator remarked, "was not that a head I did not Conall escape well!"
Then Conall took the lady from the Castle, and the narrator exclaimed triumphantly, "Was he the dastard of Eirinn now!" The hero and his three comrades, and the rescued lady get into their ship, and reach an island called Na h-Otolia.
Old MacPhie told this part better than I have ever beard a story told; it was exceedingly symmetrical, full of "ruithean" (runs), and very original.
Conall sails to the realm of the King of the Universe, and strikes his shield blow. Soldiers came out, and he slew them; nobles came out, and he knocked their brains out with one of their number; then came the king's son, and he bound his wrists and ankles to the small of his back. He promised to serve him, and they sailed on to some realm, and challenged. The house of the Tamhasg here came in, and Duanach appeared, but he was the son of the King of Lochlann, wounded, and a prisoner. He cured his wounds with white sugar, and another fight took place, nearly the same as the last. They go on with the new king and the half-starved wight, and sail to Sorcha.
Conall lands as a poor man, and learns that the lady is to be married to the king of Sorcha's son, so on the morrow he challenges. He hears men coming, and he says, "Look out; who comes; is that himself?" There came a company in a particular dress (I think the dresses were red, green, and blue), but I did not note it, and I forget. These, said he, are but the servants; go out and slay them. Then came the first of the nobles in another dress, and the same was repeated; then the last of the nobles in another dress. Then came the son of the King of Light himself, and then a fight indeed. Conall conquers, and is about to sail back to Eirinn, when an old man appears in a boat, and challenges. The warriors go one by one, and are slain, all but Conall; then he thinks for the third time of his grandfather, who appears and says, that old man was with me a student of the black art (then a lot of queer words, which I could not catch, and have never heard since), but he could beat him at one art, so they try, and the grandfather wins. After that Conall goes to Turkey, and rescues the King of Eirinn; and by the help of a magic ring he forces the queen-mother to confess that her two sons are not the king's children, and Conall reigns. It will be seen from these abstracts that the version which I have followed is much more reasonable than the common versions. For example--
The Colonsay version, which varies here from all the rest.
When they set off from Lochlann to take Breast of Light from the King of the universe, Conall remembers that his father told him that he might get aid in extremity from Righ na Iorramhaich (the King of the Boat--songsters?). That personage says, "I have twelve sons, and thou shalt get them. I have thirteen sons, but Cod is just married, and Cod has Counsel himself. Reach Cod."
The Counsellor Son, whose name may be translated "What," agrees to go if he has two-thirds of his counsel, till they come back, and away they go, with a kind of Rhyme-list, which is repeated several times.
Dh' fholbh an seo Conall Gulbairneach
S an t-Amhas Orannach Mac Righ barragh nan sgiath.
S am Macabh Mor Mac Righ na Sorcha
S tri Mic dheug righ na h-Iorramhaich
Cead a's Cod a's Michead.
Dabhan Mac Draodh a's Mac Righ Sigil
A dh'iarraidh Uchd soluisd, nighean Righ Laidhean.
Then went Conall Curlew,
And the Savage of Songs, son of the King of Splitting the Shields;
And the great warrior, son of the King of the Light;
And the thirteen sons of the King of the Boat-songsters;
Leave, and What, and Refusal.
Hook, son of Herald, and the King of Seegeel, *
To seek Breast of Light, daughter of the King of Leinster
Going past a castle, there cried out
The great man whose the castle was,
Co sibh a dh' uaislean nan tri rann?
Na ce ur n-ainmeannan?
Na 'ur n-eachdraidh a niotar?
Who are ye of the gentles of the three divisions? +
Or what are your names?
Or (who) will your histories make?
Conall Gulbeirneach gum b'e m airims' e
Mac Righ Eirinn bu mhor airm
A cheile comhraig fo leon
A shleaghan cha d' fhuir an t-ath-bheo p. 262
Conall Curlew, it is my name,
Son of Eirinn's King of Great Arms;
His battle spouse (adversary), under wounds
Of his spears, never got the next life.
They reached the house of the King of the Universe, and the herald went in, and there he found the most beautiful woman that ever was seen from the beginning of the universe to the end of eternity, with two drops of blood on every eye, weeping for Conall.
The herald repeats the list, and she says, "Every Draoth I ever saw was telling lies; if it were Conall he would come in." Accordingly Conall sprang in, and gave her (na tri poga milisde blasda,) the three sweet tasty kisses, and sprang out again.
The King of the Universe yields the lady without a struggle, comes home from his hunting, and asks them all to a feast, a "minister" was got, and they were married.
In the midst of the festivities, a shout was raised that the King of the Universe had fallen in combat with a monster on the strand. Conall got up to help, but Cod bade him sit still; and the king was seen in his chair.
This happened a second time; and the third Cod had no share of the counsel, so Conall took his own, and went out.
He found the monster and the King of the Universe dead, sole to sole; and there came a dove from the east, and she was stooping down to the monster with a leig (a pebble possessed of medicinal virtues, a chrystal, a talisman), which she had, and the creature was stirring and opening its eyes. He sprang, and took hold of the leig, and took it from the dove.
"Give me my leig," said the dove, "and I will bring thy father and brothers alive in the Tuirk."
"If thou wilt do but that, I will do it myself," said Conall. He seized the dove, and pulled his head off; and who came to meet him but Cod. Then Conall and Cod and Dubhan and the lady went to Turkey, and found out the graves of the king and p. 263 the rest, and brought them alive, and took them home; and the descendants of these people are still in Eirinn--
Said John Macgilvray, labourer, Colonsay, July 9, 1860.
256:* Stripe making siogail means streaked, striped.
256:+ This would seem to indicate a date earlier that the discovery of the 4th division, America.
264:1 There seems to be a regular system in this series of battles. The victor in the last battle now comes out and gives the challenge.
264:2 Here there, is a hole in the story. The King of Lochlann ought clearly to have some quarrel to avenge, but he has none; and the King of Spain had two fights for the same quarrel, which is entirely against regularity and order.
265:1 This is like a sly allusion to the romantic and untrue side of the tale, and to the poetical license of bards such as Duanach.
265:2 Sheall an gille min o h-aon go dha 's far am bo tiughe end 's an a bo tainn' eud 's far am bo tainn' end cha robh gin idir p. 266 ann,]
Mr. Fraser, Inverness.--Thoisich è air an arm Lochlannach a sgathadh air an darna ceann gus an deach e mach air a cheann eille. Far am bu tiuch eud, san a bu tainn end, 's far am bu tainn eud san a bu luaidh shiulach eud; far am bo luaidh shiulach eud, san bo luaidh a mharbhadh eud; gus nach d' fhag e ceann air con, ach aon fhear chloain ruaidh.
He began at slicing at one end of the army of Lochlann till he went out at the other end; where they were thickest they were thinnest; where they were thinnest they were swiftest; where they were swiftest they were soonest slain, till he left no head upon hound, but on one gleed old man.
266:1 Compare the battle chain of the giants in No. 58, vol. iii. In old romances there is always a horn, or some other instrument. for making a noise, hung up at the door of the castle, for the challenger's special convenience. Compare St. Patrick's bell.
267:1 According to the Barra version, the Amhas Ormanach here went home to his own country; and as he does not appear again, p. 267 it is to be hoped that he went home to his wife, the Princess of Norway.
268:1 Oir tha e mar fhagail aig na leomhainn nach buin iad agus nach dean iad dolaidh air bith air Righrean na air clann Righre. (As written by Dewar.)
Here, according to Macgilvray, Conall acquired a talisman from a mysterious pigeon, and fell in with a monster which slew and was slain by the King of the Universe. (See ante).
269:1 This, at first sight, appears utterly extravagant, if only from the distances, but the story is not more improbable than similar romances in other languages. It is far less improbable in Gaelic than it would be in French or German. A glance at the story of Burnt Njal will she w that in the eleventh century locomotion was p. 270 not the difficulty for the Western Islanders; for example, Audun, an Icelander, before 1066, and within two years, sailed from Iceland to Norway, and thence to Greenland, back to Norway, and thence to Denmark, to give the king a white bear. He made a pilgrimage to Rome, and returned to Denmark and Norway again, and went home to Iceland with a big ship, having conversed on equal terms with the Kings of Denmark and Norway, and this story is believed to be true. The countrymen of Audun fought in Ireland in 1814, and got the worst of it, and one who was at the battle went to Rome, and returned to Iceland. In short, supposing this to be a romance of that period, nothing is more in accordance with probability than that a lot of warriors should set out in search of kingdoms and princesses along the sea-coast of Europe, and that their adventures should be woven in with the romances of the Western Islands of Scotland, which the Norsemen possessed.
271:1 I myself once tried a match with a small Greek shepherd in a sheep-skin capote, in a glen near the top of Mount Parnassus. He had guided me there, and we were waiting in hopes a mist would clear away. To keep ourselves warm we fell to at putting the stone, leaping, and hop-skip-and-jump. Such games prevailed p. 272 in ancient Greece long ago, as they still do in the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland. The hitch in romances is in the language. Heroes must have been great linguists, but even that hitch is here met, for the old Irish king was educated in Italy and Greece.
273:1 This incident is told in Uist of a man whose grave is shewn there still. The "armoury" is a "barrel," but it is the same incident told as a fact. I believe it to be a bit of popular lore of unknown antiquity, for it is common in stories.
274:1 Fhir a thainaig oirnn as ur cum air do laimh 'us do lann.
274:2 This is the idea which, in No. 58, has expanded into another shape. The King of Greece and the first giant were clearly once the same personages.
274:3 This is the very foundation of all popular tales; the most despised is the most worthy.
275:1 Well formed, neat, trim. Carbad cuimeir Chuchullin.
275:2 "Gu borb aniochdmhor ri feadhainn air bith air am faighe iad buaigh.
276:1 Eagal na smuairean.
276:2 A casadh am fiacall.
277:1 A chungais-each na Frainge.
278:1 Sunbeam or breath, daughter of the King of the Green Island. Who this mythical personage may be, I cannot make out. The Green Island occurs continually, and is the land of wonders, beyond the sea. I have surmised that it might mean America. That the Son of Light should marry the daughter of the mythical Green Isle in the west, where the sun sets, seems all right, and the warriors are working westwards. I had imagined that Sorcha might possibly be same as Sarkland of Icelandic Sagas, but that is identified with Africa, Saracen land, and would not fit this story, here, at all events.
278:2 Togarach aighearach.
279:1 Chuir Righ na Frainge a chaol loingeas air doigh air an son, le sgioba do dhaoine foghluinte, easgaidh, ladir, cruadalach; is chaidh na ceithir righrean uramach air bord.
279:2 Calla. Compare Calais.
280:1 This is a very common saying amongst old Highlanders, here put into the mouth of the king. Cha Veil annam ach sean duine an nis, 's cha'n 'eil a coltach gu' m bi mi fada beo a nis co dhiubh.
282:1 Here I omit a recapitulation of the wives, and their countries.
283:1 Long ard-chranach bhreidgheal air doigh. Bha iull na toiseach, fear-stiurr aig a deireadh, 's fir iomairt na' m ball beart na buillsgain. Chaidh, gach bidh, 's dibh, mur bu clubbraidh do righre a chuir air bord.
283:2 MacNair here sends the two kings home, but, according to MacNeill and the rest, Conall and two comrades sailed to the realm of the Turk. So I leave out a paragraph.
283:3 Gu aighearach aobhach speiseil ma cheile 's Duanach gu sunndach sodanach comhla riu.
283:4 If Iubhar were a corruption for Jewry, then the geography would be right, and this might be a romance found on something to do with wars in the Mediterranean.
284:1 This is shortened.
286:1 Oighich sluaidh 'a gleadhraich arm, clisg air gaisgich cumandairean a cuir an ordugh shaighdearan, gu dol a thobhairt latha blair do na Turcaich.
286:2 An ruaig.
287:1 Fiamh a gnuis might, mean terror of his countenance.
287:2 Eigh nan ceaunairdean, a gairm a mach nan saighdearn, gus, latha comhrag a thoirt do na Turcaich.
287:3 Eididh a's armachd.
288:1 Co i an duthaich. Who she the country?
288:2 This is a good instance of the strange jumble of ideas which are found in popular tales. Here is Conall, the hero of romance, lodging at an inn, supping and going to bed like a Highland drover p. 289 while the king walks down in the evening, and calls and leaves a message with a gille, to invite the warrior to the palace, exactly as a hospitable Highland farmer often does when he hears of a stranger at the country inn, and asks him to his house. According to MacNair, this was the King of Eirinn, but as he was a prisoner or slain according to the others, I have substituted the uncle for the father.
289:1 Is b'e fuaim dhos, is eidhich sluaigh.
289:3 Na àh-raice.
289:4 Buideal lan iocshlaint.
290:1 Eirich 's rach dachaidh bithidh do chàl fuar.
291:1 Here there is a hole in MacNair's version. No use is made of the balsam. It is evident that it ought to be used, and so I follow MacNeill and the Colonsay version.
292:1 These were the Amhas Ormanach, and the slender black man, King of Spain, according to MacNeill.
292:2 MacPhie's version agrees.
293:1 Donacha MacBhrian, Muracha MacBhrian Taoig a's Tarragheal fir dhearg o Mhuile fir chronaigea Latharna Buidheann chròdhalanda righ Eirinn. Agus mor maithean na rioghachd gu. leir mhead a's a bha leis diubh san am.
I am not sure of the whole of this translation; the spelling of the scribes being somewhat independent of rules, these quaint old passages are not easily rendered. Cronnag, means a kind of basket. Crannag has the meaning of a boat, and this may mean the corracle meu of Lorne. Their passage from Eirinn was early enough to have been made in such vessels, and the name may have stuck to them.
294:1 Gu sonadh aiteasach.
The first might also mean Brownfield. The second might be Murach-a-chath, able of battle; or Murcach, murky, gloomy. The third means "a word, a composition, a warrant, an author;" and it is close to Breith, a judge, to judge; and to the word Brethan, which is applied to a code of Irish laws, and suggests Bren, holy, and our old school acquaintance Brennus.