The Violent Deaths of Goll and Garb

Aided Guill Maic Carbada Ocus Aided Gairb Glinne Rige.
Book of Leinster

Trans. Whitley Stokes



The following account of two of Cuchulainn's exploits and his subsequent dealings with his uncle King Conor, is now published for the first time in extenso, though prof. Atkinson has given a précis of the whole story in the Book of Leinster, Contents, pp. 27-28, and prof. Zimmer has printed paragraphs 9-21, with a German translation1, in Steinmeyer's Zeitschrift XXXII, pp. 208-216. The text is taken from the oldest copy, that, namely, in the Book of Leinstcer, a ms. of the twelfth century, pp. 707b -111b of the lithographie facsimile2. I have added the more important of the various readings of the only other vellum copy known, that, namely, in pp. 29-37 of Kilbride ms. XL, a codex in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, for a loan of which I am indebted to the courtesy of the curators and the librarian, Mr J. T. Clark. It has been described by Dr Kuno Meyer in the Celtic Magazine for March 1887.

The text abounds in rare words, some of which I cannot explain. For many I have found belegstellen in the Tain bo Cualnge, the two oldest copies of which strongly resemble, in vocabulary and grammar, the story now published : for a few I have found explanations in P. O'Connell's ms. dictinnary.



1. The tabus and many burdens which lay on Cuchulainn, on the famous stripling of the Red Branch, on the son of King Conor's sister, on the bright-mantled one of Linè3, on the guardian of the kine of Bregia.

2. These were his tabus : to name himself to a single warrior : to swerve a foot from bis path before a fight with one man; to refuse a duel: to enter an assembly without leave: to go with one warrior to an assembly : to sleep among women without men beside them. A tabu of his was to consort with a woman. A tabu of his was that the sun should rise upon him in Emain Macha : it was he, on the contrary, that should rise before it4.

3. Once upon a time he rose in Emain at daybreak, before the sun. He exclaimed to his charioteer : « Well, O my master Laeg! » « I know what is in thy mind », said Laeg: « What is that? » said Cuchulainn. To harness the horses and yoke the chariot. « 'Tis so indeed », saith Cuchulainn. « Since so it is », quoth Laeg, « there is no reproach to thy valour. The chariot is yoked, the horses are harnessed. Come then to thy chariot ».

4. Cuchulainn advanced. What is the object of the early rising ? » asked Conor. « 'Tis long, O my dear master Conor, since I went to make a circuit in Murthemne5, and we deem it very good to go today. Let not the waiting for thee be long, my son, » says Conor, « for unto us, when thou art away, every treasure and every good thing seems unprofitable. »

5. Afterwards Cuchulainn went to his chariot, Into his firm, rushing chariot he leaped. Into the horses Laeg drove the goad, and he plied the whip towards road and wayfaring. On they went to Athis(?) Murthemni.

6. « Well, O Laeg », says Cuchulainn, « this height is delightful ». « Good reason for that », says Laeg, « foi from this the sea is clear ». And he spake the words and made a lay :


Laeg.
Delightful is the height here thus
in the town of the plain of Murthemne
Strong, fruitful ***
*** both land and clear sea.

Cuchulainn.
Unless we stay here thus
watching the plain of Murthemne,
'Tis one of our tabus without reproach
to go to Emain without a combat

Laeg.
I have not seen thee going out of Emain —
chariots were filled —
To return to it again
without a trophy.

Cuchulainn.
So therefore we stay here.
O Laeg, O son of Riangabra,
That we may take with us — feast with valour ! —
a bloody trophy to Emain.

Laeg.
No hurt to me, thou tierce hero,
(more) than to thee, O Cuchulainn,
My wish, moreover,
is (to be) only where I may behold thee.

'Tis therefore — a valorous cause —
my steeds have stretched over Cruachu's plain6
Whence fifty heads have come with me to Emain
together with an iron head.

Therefore — cause without falsehood —
good was the combat of one day.
Thou hast brought without disgrâce, (a hundred deeds)
much delight unto Emain.


7. « Well, O Laeg, unharness the horses and unyoke the chariot that I may sleep my time ot sleep. For one of any tabus is to go to Emain without a combat.»

8. Laeg unyoked the chariot and loosened the horses, and spread under Cuchulainn the skins ot the chariot, and put over him a purple, bordered tunic, and under his head a downy head-pillow ; and Cuchulainn slept his time of sleep. Laeg was watching and guarding him.

9. Not long was Laeg observing sea and land when he saw a huge boat bounding toward the shore. As big as one of the chief mountains was the prow of that boat, and huger he deemed the poop. Far huger than the branch of a straight oak above a forest's foliage seemed to him the hero that sat on the forepart of the boat. Two oars ot twice molten iron in his two hands, cutting the sea about him here and there. He would cleave(?) the monsters of the main about him with the strokes(?) of the mighty oars (so that they flew) up into heaven's heights, and they would fall back again the same way to him and he on the middle of the boat. Then he would loudly laugh at them his mocking deceitful laugh, so that a vessel with three tiers of oars and its crew of nine would pass over his maw, and his liver and *** were visible, flying over the junction of his gullet and his neck. Like the mouth of a wooden beaker was one of his two eyes outside his head, but a crane would hardly get the other eye from the top of his cheek. Like the tether of an unbroken ox was every sedgy hair, tossed and rough, which stretched through the *** of his hard head against the piercing (?) of the wind.

10. So then Laeg was describing him and surveying him on high, and he made the lay :


« Over a clear sea I behold a boat
which makes for the lands of Erin.
Vast, meseems, is the vessel's height
over the wide main. A single hero is sitting therein,
greater than the warriors of the Gael and the Foreigners :
he cuts the sea, at the same time up from him to heaven's clouds.
One eye is in his head, — clear way ! —
as big as a heifer's caldron.
The other eye — hugeness of deeds ! —
no crane will reach out of his skull.
In the waist of the vessel he hath a shield,
with its covering of black leather,
whereon would fit well, I tell no lie —
four troops of ten men.
A claymore on his right side,
thirty feet in its measurement :
woe is him to whom he deals its blow
when his heroic wrath shall reach him.
Let us arise, let us leave the field,
O Cuchulainn of the trophies!
so that the fierce hero may not attack us,
because it is not *** to fight him ».


Cuchulainn.
« Now I swear by my pointed(?) shield,
O Laeg son of Riangabra,
that I will not leave the field
till I know whether I am his match in fight ».

Laeg.
«If the Ulaid were together around thee,
O son of Dechtire7,
the hero whom I see in the boat
would make them seem like men doomed to death ».


11. « Well, O Laeg », [saith Cuchulainn,] « approach yon hero, and question him about his territory, his kindred, his name and his fatherland, and what place he is seeking ».

12. So Laeg went towards him and halted on the bank opposite to him. « Whence hast thou come, thou great hero ? » quoth Laeg.
Thereat he spake not to Laeg.
« Whence hast thou come, thou great hero in the boat ? » says Laeg.
Still he spake not.
Laeg said the third time : « Whence hast thou come, thou great hero ? What are thy name and thy fatherland ? How far has thy journey been ? »

13. « I will declare my name to thee, for I see that thou hast the form of a charioteer; and only for that I would not. »

14. « Do so then », says Laeg, « for this is what we ask of thee ».
« Goll son of Carbad, son of the king of the northern Germany of the world. Three brothers are we, namely Goll and Cromm and Rig. And we cast lots concerning the three islands, that is, the island of Britain, the island of Denmark, and Erin. And my lot was the first to come out. It fell upon Erin ».
« I swear by my gods, » quoth Laeg, « it is a first lot with fruit of a last lot. »

15. « Good, O gillie ! » saith Goll, « to whom dost thou belong ? »
« To yon hero on the hill amid the plain in front of thee ».
« Who is sitting on yon hill ? » says Goll.
« That, » says Laeg, « is Cuchulainn son of Sualtam, of the men of Erin ».
« We have heard of that little hero, » saith Goll. « Tell him to come and accept my covenant and wage, and that I will leave with him instead of me the governorship of Erin. Unless he choose that, namely, to be under my covenant and wage, let him go forth out of Erin ».

16. Laeg went to Cuchulainn and Cuchulainn asks him; « Who is yon ? » « Goll son of Carbad », and Laeg related all that hath been aforesaid down to « let him go forth out of Erin ».
« Well, O Laeg, approach him again, and tell him not to land, on this occasion, in any haven of the havens of Erin, and so long as I live in Erin not to come to the Ulaid's territory ».

17. He went back the same way and declares his message. « Good forsooth, O Goll, yon hero on the hill hath said to thee : « Bring not thy boat near to any port of the ports of Erin so long as he shall be alive, and in especial bring it not near to Ulaid ».

18. Thereat Goll gave a manly shove to his boat so that it should go over nine landing-planks on the dry land. Laeg came broken and routed to Cuchulainn. Cuchulainn went to attack Goll. Each of them began undertaking to slay the other. Goll moved his hands most quickly, seized Cuchulainn over his weapons (and) twisted him between his hand and his side towards his boat.

19. « Well thou sirite, thou bewitched one, thou softedge ! » says Laeg, « he has gone over thee as a cow goes over a calf. He has wearied thee as birthpangs weary women. He has twined round thee as ivy twines round trees. He has cleft8 thee as an axe cleaves9 an oak. He has dashed thee down as a fish is dashed down on sand. He has poured thee out as foam is poured out of a pool of water. 'Tis a little boy's litiud to his stool that that hero hath made of thee. There is none that from this day asks for thy valour or counts thee among Erin's good warriors. Get thee from my presence. That man is no more than a match for me ».

20. Cuchulainn started and passed over nine ridges away from Goll. He got from Goll neither advance nor attendance(?) from the sod whereon he stood. (Then) Cuchulainn leaped like any bird out of the air and sat on the rim of Goll's shield. With his elbow Goll caused a shaking under the shield, so that Cuchulainn was flung faraway from him. The second time Cuchulainn leaped on the rim of the same shield and unsheathed his sword, the Hardhead Steeling, which would take alike stone and tree and bone10. Then he gave a blow to Goll, and cut off his head at the joining of his neck, and he dealt him a second blow on his neck so that his two sections (?) came to the earth. Then Cuchulainn delivered the third blow, and made two pieces of him and left him thus, and spake the words and uttered the lay :

21. « This is Goll's head which thou seest in my hand,
O Laeg, O sagest son of Riangabra, Goll who came here,
troops of quarrels — to contend for the isle ofErin.
He said to me, a clear saying, Goll son of the king of Germany,
unless I should be his without blame,
that I should not bide in vast Erin.
I answered the hero, the wrathlul, foolish man,
that though I should dwell here for ever
I would not accept his wages.
Because of that we fought, I and great Goll of the plain.
Goll fell on the strand,
and this is his head which thou seest in my hand. »


22. « Well, O Laeg », says Cuchulainn, « drive a goad into the horses and ply a rod upon them ».
« Whither away now ? » says Laeg.
«To great Emain Macha », says Cuchulainn.
« It thou wouldst do as I wish, we should not go from Dundalk11 and from Forgall's daughter12 ».
« What ails thee, O Laeg ? hast thou not heard what my master Conor said today at daybreak ? »
« Little does Conor love thee, save that thou mayst be wrestling and fighting on behalf of his province. He is willing that thou shouldst go : he is willing that thou shouldst not go ».
« If what thou sayest be true », quoth Cuchulainn, « I will be an exile beyond the territory of Ulaid for a year, and the Ulaid shall have no profit of me. But if it be false, thou thyself shalt be banished from me, and thou shalt not be servant of mine, for I deem it no honour to kill my charioteer ».

23. It is not Cuchulainn's dealings that are to be related here at présent, but the dealings of Conall son of Gleo Glas out of Cualnge. A hundreded hospitalier was he. At daydawn he proceeded, to Emain Macha, with thrice fifty charioteers, some in yellow mantles, others in red mantles, others in green, others in blue, others in purple, others in black. There sat Conor, on the ruba of the royal earthwork outside Emain, with Ulaid's nobles around him, on Emain's place of presidency.

24. « Welcome, welcome », says Conchobar, « O Conall son of Gleo Glas ! »
« That is what we have come for », saith Conall.
« Thou hast it so », saith Conor.
« Nay », says Conall, « but a great and beautiful banquet has been gathered by me for thee ».
« I will partake of it », says Conor. « What number of us shall go ? »
« The Ulaid, men and women, boys, girls, as thou shalt ask », says Conall. « For if the Ulaid, both living and dead, were in one stead, enough to maintain them for a full year ve could get with me at Dun Colptha in Cualnge13 ».

25. Said Conor: « Let your horses, O Ulaid, be harnessed and your chariots be yoked ». The horses ot the Ulaid were harnessed and their chariots were yoked. The nobles ol Ulaid came, a vast multitude of a fifth of Ireland, sons of kings and princes, of soldiers and young lords; and the nimble, ruddy gillies of the province, and the youths, and dear curly-headed women ot the province of Ulaid : damsels and maidens and striplings : companies and trains: musicians and minstrels : makers of the songs and poems and eulogies of Ulaid : historians and judges and messengers and jugglers and servants and fools and criers. Thus they advanced out of Emain at the same time.

26. All the Ulaid came round Conor on the one path. Then said Conall : « I give thee thy choice of two paths, O king of a fifth of Erin ».
« What are those two paths? » asked Conor.
« A path smooth but long, or a path short but rough ».
« The path short but rough », says Conor: « it has almost passed the shoulder of the day ».
« There is nothing rough in it », says Conoall, « excepting Garb (« rough ») of Glenn Rige ».
« 'Tis not into Glenn Rige that the hosts are going », says Conor, « but into Sliab Fuait14 right ahead. We never quit my path for Garb of Glenn Rige », says Conor.

27. Garb did not perceive that the hosts were going past him till at last he heard the rumbling of the chariots. Garb went through the rearguard of the hosts and severed fifty heroes out of their chariots. He pressed them together in deadly wounds and fatal death-blows to the *** of the rear of the army.

28. Conor repaired to the house of Conall son of Gleo Glas, to Dun Colptha in Cualnge. The hosts and the multitudes were attended according to arts and ranks and laws and nobility and good manners with what *** of truly good wines. High uplifted houses were strewn with reeds and fresh rushes and with downy mattresses, and with everything that was usual to be served to Ulaid's nobles in the wide-wombed, mouth-opened hostel of Conall son of Gleo Glass on that night.

29. « Well, O king of a fifth of Erin, O Conor, hath anyone of thy household delayed after thee tonight ?»
Says Conor : « None of those whom I left in Emain hath delayed. But why that (question)?» says Conor.
« In order that we may let loose this hound that protects the half-cantred, even Conbél. He it is that watches for us against foreign bands and troops ».
Thereafter Conbél was let loose.

30. The best of food and ale was then given to the hosts, and after that preparations for bathing clean were made by them. Wet *** of washing and bathing. His May cotton-grass was plucked and woven(?) for each warrior separately. The hero's war-axe Conall put apart for each warrior. The serfs and the doorkeepers were then set to watch the city. Their ale and their food were displayed to the Ulaid in the place of a single stead. Inebriating, mirthful-fair mead was dealt to the hosts out of quaighs, out of horns, out of cup-vessels.

31. Tis not the proceedings of the hosts that are to be related here at présent ; but they remained a-drinking and enjoying themselves.

32. As to Cuchulainn, however; « Well, O Laeg, » [says he,] « put Goll's head into the chariot, and drive a goad into the horses, and get thee on to Emain ». Forward they went. Like a mering were the two dykes which the iron wheels of Cuchulainn's chariot made, on that day, of the sides of the road. Like flocks ot dark birds pouring over a vast plain were all the blocks and round sods and turves of the earth, which the horses would cast away behind them against the piercing[?] of the wind. Like a flock of swans pouring over a vast plain wats he foam which they flung before them over the muzzles of their bridles. Like the smoke from a royal hostel was the dust and the breath and the dense vapour because of the vehemence of the driving which Laeg son of Riangabra on that day gave Cuchulainn's two horses.

33. In that wise he fared onward to the green of Emain. « Well, O Laeg », saith Cuchulainn, « meseems that this Emain there is deserted tonight ».
« Why dost thou deem so ? » asks Laeg.
« Because », says Cuchulainn, « I hear no call nor cries therein. I hear therein no calls of messengers, nor hubbub(?) of a host, nor *** of a journey. I hear therein no sound of music or minstrelsy. Fasten the securing reins of thy horses that I may go and learn what deadly plague has fallen on the hosts ».

34. Laeg fastens the horses and Cuchulainn entered Emain. The first hero who met him in Emain was Suanan Salcenn, Conor's spencer, for his own spencer never left Emain.
« Well, O Suanan, whither have the hosts gone ? »
« To the house of Conall son of Gleo Glas in Cualnge », says Suanan.
« Has Conor spoken to thee about me ? » asked Cuchulainn.
« We heard not », Suanan replied.
« 'Tis true what Laeg alleged, that Conor hath no love for me. So I swear that Emain shall not be as I have found it. I will surround it with a fringe of fire. None shall escape from it, nor shall there be one to survive the slaughter ».

35. Two things there were that always restrained Cuchulainn, to wit, shewing him women's breasts and bosoms15, and idle staves and songs which were sung in his presence. Now fear seized Suanan and he sang a stave :


« My welcome, O hardy Cuchulainn,
grandson of red-sworded Cathbad !
Joy to thee here besides,
every single night and day !
Welcome on thyself, with scores of lords,
and welcome for Conor.
Welcome for Dechter16, greatness of graces,
and welcome for Sualtach17.
Be not travelling by night cold, wet, pitchdark,
O Cuchulainn with hundreds of sports,
stay thou here and welcome ! »


36. Howbeit Cuchulainn did not fulfil what he promised, namely to burn Emain; but he came back out of it. « Well, Laeg », saith he, « drive a goad into the horses, and let us get on to the house of Conall son of Gleo Glas in Cualnge, for thither it is that the hosts and Conor have fared ».
« If thou wouldst do as I wish », says the servant, « we should not quit Emain tonight. Tis the end of the day. Bowed are the treetops. Low the *** of woods. Deer have lain down in lairs(?). Soiled are the chariots' frames. Motion is sluggish with *** Tis not a time for driving horses ».
« Thou dost not forbid me ? » says Cuchulainn.
« No », says the servant : « I give thee thy choice of two paths — a path long and smooth or a path short and rough ».
« The short, rough one ! » says Cuchulainn.
« There is nothing rough in it », says Laeg, « save Garb («Rough») of Glenn Rige ».
« I do not leave my path for a single hero », says Cuchulainn.

37. Cuchulainn went forward on his road, till he heard in the glen that lay nearest to him (namely in Glenn Rige), the butchery of those of the host of Ulaid whom Garb had cut off before him. At the (sound of) the butchery Cuchulainn went, and to him and Garb of Glenn Rige happened a combat. Each of them began to wound and slaughter the other with the smoothhard spears. Cuchulainn was oppressed (?) by the mutual striking or by the mutual thrusting. So he flung his spear away, and grasped Garb's arm and gave it such a hard shake that he tore it out of his shoulder together with the shoulder-blade. Then Garb of Glenn Rige shouted his yell of defeat.

38. « Is there any one alive here ? » says Laeg.
« I am alive », says Cuchulainn, « and reach me my sword ».
Laeg gives him the sword. Cuchulainn unsheathes the Hard-headed Steeling, and gave a stroke to Garb and cut off his two heads on his single neck, and delivered a return-stroke on his neck, so that his two gabait cliss came at once on the ground, and he gave him the third blow which made two pieces of him.

39. « Well », says Laeg, « what kind of fight was it ? » « So long as I live », says Cuchulainn, « it will come against me ; » and he made the lay :

« Garb of Glenn,
evil his form and his sense.
A multitude has fallen by him :
he was not given up to neglect.

He inflicted fifty wounds on my skin,
on my left side and on my right.
Of them on the firm earth there is none
for which I do not leave a spearpoint.

We encountered, a saying without guile —
after we entered the glen.
So long as I live it will come against me ;
not gentle was our hard fight.

Laeg : I said to thee without guile,
before thou didst enter the glen
I know what thou shouldst suffer
from thy combat with Garb of Glenn Rige.


40. « Put the two heads, O Laeg, into the chariot, and drive a goad into the horses, and let us get on to the house of Conall son of Gleo Glas in Cualnge ».
« True it shall be », says Laeg.
So they went forward by toilsome roads, till they came to the river near Conall's house, which is called Abann Cholpthai in Cualnge.
« Great is the river! » says Cuchulainn. « Reach me a shaft of my chariot that I may try the ford before the horses ».

41. Conall's hound, Conbél, heard the noise of the water against the warrior's shoulders. It opened its maw and uttered its watchdog's bay, so that a boat with three banks of oars would pass over that maw of it. Then Cuchulainn thrust the shaft and his hand into its mouth, and seizes its liver, and twists it round the dog's head as lathranna staible are twisted. And he made broken bits of its bones in its hide, and flung it from him from Abann Cholpthai in Cualnge to Belut. Wherefore « Belut » is the name of the stone whereon Conbél, the hound of Conall son of Gleo Glas, fell.

42. On went Cuchulainn to the gate of the city. « Tell them to open before thee, O Laeg; but say not that I am here : say only an ordinary youth ot the youths of Emain ».

43. Laeg advanced to the gate of the city.
« Open, ye doorwards !
« Who demands the opening ? »
« A youth of the youths of Emain is here », answered Laeg.
« One that hath not hitherto come to this banquet and hath not been remembered as to food or ale, is not of (such) noble birth in Emain that we should open before him if he come here ».
« Say not so, ye slaves ! Fierce and loveless is the boy that is here ».
« We pledge our word », say the doorwards, « that the youth to whom the Ulaid (assembled) in one stead have given grief and disgrace and insult, shall not enter the city till sunrise tomorrow, so that each will recognise the other ».

44. Cuchulainn heard that answer and he lifted to his shoulder a pillar-stone that stood on the green — one third thereof in the ground and two thirds above it — and hurled it athwart the porch, breaching the fortress, and killing thrice fifty slaves who were waiting on the hosts; and no one escaped to boast of the slaughter.

45. He unsheathed his sword and went in over the hosts having with him his sword all-bare. Then a foul-tongued ill-conditioned man named Bricriu, son of Carbad Oll of Ulster, perceived him and made the stave :


« Cuchulainn here, with ranks of valours,
ye beautiful warriors of Ulaid !
a naked sword in his white right hand —
no hour for drinking together (is this), arise !

Conall. Whoso brings a bare weapon
unto me into my strong-mead-house,
him neither kings (wonderful work !) shall protect,
nor sons of kings, nor crown-princes.

Cuchulainn. The hero in whose hand is the weapon,
I declare it thro' mutual boasting,
if every troop here should contend(?)
asks thee for no safeguard.
I will give thee a good buffet,
O foolish sour-worded Bricriu !
that will reach thee readily
unless thou check thine evil tongue.
I am under the brave safeguard of Cú na Cerda
from the Red Branch. Though I say —
a saying without guile —
I do not fear that I shall be killed.
I know what will result therefrom,
O Bricriu that art in confusion :
ye will be killed together,
thou and thy safeguard.

Briccriu : Woe to him that uttered his big word,
unless he fulfil it at once.
If he go back of it
'twill be said that he is a laughing-stock.
Arise, ye splendid Ulaid !
and perform your promises,
exalt your fame — quatrains have been filled —
and kill Cuchulainn ! »


46. « Where are the strong-soldiers of my house ? » says Conor — « Senoll the Solitary, Bruchur from Bruachairne, Sescnén son of Fordub, Mani Roughhand ».
« Where are my sons », says Fergus, « Buinne the Fair and Illann of the many children ? »
« Where are Uisnech's sons, Nóisi and Anle and Ardán. »
« Well », says Conall, « where are my brothers ? Arise ye and help Cuchulainn ! »

47. The hosts arise. There was wrath hithe rand wrath thither in that place, storm and tempest. The thunderous wound-noise of the hosts was heard afar. Then Sencha rose up and shook the Branch of Peace over the hosts, so that they became peaceful like the children of one father and one mother. Their shields were placed in order on their pegs, their swords on their cushions, and their spears on their racks. Every one came into his drinking-place. Cuchulainn placed his sword into its sheath. He took a wand of white silver and therewith gave a blow on the crown of Conor's head from the root of his long hair to the hollow of his poil. « If I liked », says Cuchulainn, « tis the sword I would have given (thee) — and thou hast not hosts enow to protect thee — wert thou not [my] fosterer and my mother's brother ».

48. (Then) came Conall Cernach and Fergus. They gave kisses to Cuchulainn and took him with them to the champion' s seat. Finally Conor sent him a messenger with a beaker of mead on a vessel of pure-white silver, with « life and heahh » from the king.

49. Laeg came forth before the hosts and sharpened (?) two stakes, and put Goll's head on one of them and Garb of Glenn Rige's two heads on the other.

50. « Well, O Laeg », says Conor, « what head is yon great rough furzy head ? »
« The head of Goll son of Carbad », answered Laeg, « the son of the king of the northern Germany of the world, who encountered Cuchulainn at Ath Mór (« Big Ford ») in the plain of Murthemne ».
Says Atherne : « Not Ath Mór but Ath nGuill (« Goll's Ford ») shall be its name from today till Doom ». Wherefore hence is Ath nGuill below Dundalk.

51. « What two heads are yon two heads on the single neck ? » says Conor.
« Garb of Glenn Rige's two heads », replied Laeg. « I thank my Powers », saith Conor. « As we passed him he cut off fïfty of the rear of the hosts ».

52. « Welcome is thy advent, O Cuchulainn », says Conall son of Gleo Glas. « Thou hast whitened18 thy hands in the city which thou enteredst tonight ».
« What evil has he done ? » asked Conor.
« Thrice fifty slaves, who were waiting on the hosts, he killed this morning with one cast of the pillar-stone ».
« Hadst thou not a good hound ? » asked Laeg.
« Save the Brazier's Hound there was no better hound in Erin », says Conall son of Gleo Glas.
« I have one of his pups », says Conall Cernach, « and its father was no better. This pup shall be given thee, for Cuchulainn's honour ».
Said Conor: « Thrice fifty slaves shall be given by me for sake of Cuchulainn's honour ».

53. To the end of three fortnights they stayed there in the house of Conall son of Gleo Glas. The barren part of their guesting was on the first night, and it was not the last night19.

54. Thereafter the hosts came (back) to Emain. 'Tis then Cuchulainn said to Laeg : « Drive a goad into the horses and ply a rod upon them, and get thee on to the house of Eogan son of Durthacht, to the station of the men of Farney20, that we may leave the province for a year, so that no one of the province of Ulster may see our face for a year in the place where we have been insulted ».

55. « Well, my son », says Conor, « that shall not be true. The award of thine own mouth thou takest ».
« I will not accept mine own award », says Cuchulainn, « but the award which the judges and poets of the province will deliver ».

56. Ulaid's men ot art were brought separately, and this is the judgment they delivered : A scruple for every nose21 ; an ounce for every seat : a spirited (?) horse for every stud ; a scruple for every cow-shed : a pig of Mucram for every herd; a bondmaid for every city.

57. Cuchulainn remitted two thirds thereof to his fosterer, his lord and his mother's brother. The other third he gave for his (own) honour to the poets of the province, so that this adventure ot his might be enduring (in remembrance) like every adventure that had happened and that early rising like every early rising.

58. So far the Violent Death of Goll son of Carbad and the Violent Death of Garb of Glenn Risi.



Notes :


1. Some of the mistakes in this translation are corrected by Dr Kuno Meyer in the Revue Celtique, X, 363-964.

2. I possess a paper copy made by the late W. M. Hennessy, from the Book of Leinster itself, which enables one to correct with certainty some of the errors in the facsimile.

3. i.e. Magh Line in the présent county of Antrim. Cathbad prophesies of King Conor bidh righ ratha line he will be king of Raith Line. Rev. Celt., VI, 178, now called Rathmore, Four Masters, ed. O'Donovan, A.D. 558, note 1. The dat. sg. Liniu occurs in the Coir Amnann s. v. Bressal Bodibad.

4. See another tabu, infra §§ 6, 7.

5. A plain in the present county of Louth.

6. In the present county of Roscommon.

7. Or Dechter, king Conor's sister : see §1, supra.

8. Literally, pierced through.

9. Literally, pierces through.

10. See as to this sword Irische Texte, 3te Serie, 11 Heft, pp. 199, 218, 227.

11. Cuchulainn's chief residence.

12. Emer, Cuchulainn's wife.

13. Cualnge now Cooley is a district in the north of the present county of Louth. Dun Colptha seems Raith Cholptha, now Raholp, east of Downpatrick.

14. A mountain in the present county of Armagh.

15. See the Tain Bo Cualnge, LU. 63a.

16. Cucchulainn's mother, elsewhere Dechtire.

17. Cuchulainn's father, also called Sualtam.

18. He speaks ironically, meaning «reddened».

19. i.e. during 42 nights the feasting grew in splendour.

20. Fernmag — Verno-magos « Alder-plain », in the present county of Monaghan.

21. For other instances of a nose-tax (the Norse nef-gildi) see Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore, p. 348.



Sources : Whitley Stokes, Revue Celtique 14



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