Cuchulainn and Senbecc, grandson of Ebrecc

Comracc Conchulaind re Senbecc hua n-Ebricc a Segais in so
Trinity College, MS 1317
Version B

Trans. E. J. Gwynn



Senbecc grandson of Ebrecc, from the side, came from the plain of Segais seeking imbas [ supernatural enlightenment], and Cuchulainn encountered him upon the River Boyne. Cuchulainn captured him, and he explained that he had come looking for the fruit of the nuts of a fair-bearing hazel. There are nine fair-bearing hazels from whose nuts he got imbas: it used to drop into the wells, so that the stream bears the imbas into the Boyne. Then Senbecc sang to him some of his lore, and a song:

I am not a lad, I am not a man,
I am not a child in learning.
The mysteries of God have made me gifted.
I am Abcan, a sage of learning, a poet from Segais.
Senbecc is my name, Ebrecc's grandson from the side.

(These are the names of the nine hazels: Sall, Fall, Fuball, Finnam, Fonnam, Fofuigell, Cru, Crinam, Cruanbla.)

Then Senbecc offered great rewards to Cuchulainn for letting him go free, and Cuchulainn would not grant it. Then he stretched out his hand to his harp. He played him a wailing-strain, so that he was wailing and lamenting; he played him a laughing-strain so that he was laughing; and finally he played him a sleeping-strain so that he cast him into slumber. Then Senbecc escaped down the Boyne in a bronze boat.



Sources : E. J. Gwynn, Eriu 13



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