The Wooing of Treblann

Tochmarc Treblainne
Book of Fermoy

English trans. : Erik Stohellou © 2011

Of this narrative, edited by Kuno Meyer in Volume 13 of the Zeitschrift für celtische Philology, there is only one full translation, that of Rachel Jennings, published in 1997, Emania 16, A translation of the Tochmarc Treblainne. The following is the simplified version given by Rudolf Thurneysen in Die irische Helden- und Königsage 1921.

1. Fraech, son of Fidach Foltruad (red hair) from Sid Fidaig and Loch Fidaig and Dun Coistinne, the noble youth of Domnannaig was so beautiful and brave, that the fili praised him everywhere, and that on the basis of these reports many princesses had fallen in love with him. His mistresses were so numerous that it was difficult to choose and he took twelve years of his household without being wed. Added to this, Boann warned Be-Binn, her mother, her son should marry any woman, or in the same year he would die. In addition, he should take care not to fight with Cuchulainn, or swimming in black water between Samain and Beltaine and give his weapons as a pledge.

But fell in love with him Treblann, daughter of Fraech, son of Aengus from Sid in Broga, the foster daughter of the king of Temair, Coirpre Nia-Fer mac Rosa. Because the nobles of the Maic Miled fostered the children of the neighboring elven princes, so that they do not damaged the corn, the milk, and the prosperity.

2. When the king heard the love of Treblann, he had her brought to him in the "house of whispers" and suggested that, failing Fraech, they could get another husband. Then she returned to her Grianan (originally "upper room") and shed bitter tears back. Then she called her messenger Laigech Lamfota (Longarm) and sent him to Cruachan to report Fraech that Coirpre refused him, but that she was willing to go away with him. Laigech first met people of Cruachan at the ball game, they wanted first, because he appeared in an inconspicuous garment, wearing a gray coat, a dark tunic and a wand in hand, throw their balls on him. But since he asked after Fraech and wanted to be recognized as a messenger, he was brought to Cruachan. When he reported to Fraech what had happened, he made known to Coirpre that in exchange for the maiden he would provide the same forces on the battlefield and that he would come with 400 chariot over Temair, but he sent word to Treblann to be ready.

3. The messenger, on his return, went to the Grianan of Treblann and he said her everything; he also portrayed - in a poem - the beauty of Fraech. With the consent of his mistress, he brought to Coirpre Fraech's proposal. Fraech then told to Medb, Ailill and Fergus the offense of Coirpre and they called for revenge. His friends promised to accompany him, there was Laigsech Lennmar (great cloak), son of Conall Cernach, Aengus mac Aenlaime Gaib, Connra mac Tinne, Dorchu mac Tinne, Monga Milech and and the young men of Gamanraid. They took messenger's wands (flesca) to Glenn Flesca said, "to send forth to meet the young woman" and went away, well equipped and well bathed, first to Liathdruim where Cet greeted them that night, then to Mag na n-Dumach in a place called Mag Caille, where they found Amairgin meals, and even the night away until Ath Cathail Druim-fri-Fid, from there they sent messengers to Treblann with instructions to come the next day at Tulach na Carpat (chariot Hill). The messengers met Treblann in her Grianan, and she "recognized the wand" and listened to their stories - in verse. The next morning she got ready with the excellence of a fairy, and went to Tulach na Carpat. Similarly, Fraech was well equipped and had been shining his armor, so that from afar the maiden noticed him at his glory. The messengers who accompanied her compared Fraech to the most outstanding heroes: Cuchulainn, Conall and Fiamain. So they met and greeted each other.

4. When Coirpre Nia-Fer learned that Treblainn fled with Fraech, he gathered an army and, full of anger, wanted revenge on Fraech. But his son Erc prevailed that then their union would be carried out, and went with only 400 young men on chariots against Fraech in the hope of being able to old the maiden. The battle lasted all day. As he was defeated, Erc sent messengers to Temair for help. But Laigsech (Loigsech) Cennmor pointed that arrangements of fair fight would be broken. On his advice Fraech and his comrades returned home with the maiden, and the troops found nothing bt their slain people.

5. In Cruachan, Fraech reported his victory to Medb and Fergus, took leave and returned with Treblann in its own territory. There he learned from his his mother that, meanwhile, his son and his three cows had crossed the Alps. Despite the advice of his mother, who promised her new cows, he explained that he had committed with Ailill and Medb to provide his cattle to the Tain Bo Cuailnge. He gave Treblann and its Cloch comsoegail ("living stone" or "stone of equal life", see below) to Donn, son of Eochaid Ollathair, and made his way to bring his cattle back.

6. When Coirpre Nia-Fer learned this, he charged Midir of Bri Leith, to destroy Fraech. Triath mac Faebuir, one of the young men of the troupe Midir, and thirty chariots went with Midir on the island where lived Donn, and introduced himself as a suitor of Treblainn. "It's claim to the wife of a living," said Donn. But Midir claimed that Conall (Cernach) and Fraech had been killed by the Lombards in their journey to the Alps. "We can see that," said Treblann, in this case the Cloch comsoegail of Fraech would be broken. The box in which it was kept was brought forward. But Midir uttered a word on his spear, and hit the box, then the stone seemed broken. Sighing, Treblainn left home, went to Ferta na h-Ingine (tumulus of the maiden) and she died of grief because of the death of her husband.

7. Fraech had gone through many lands, found his cattle and his sons, had arrived with Conall Cernach to Dun Sobairche (on the north coast of Ireland). Then, they remained one month and one week, he went to Cuailnge and met Laigech, the messenger of Treblann. He told in poetic form, the events that happened during his nine months and a week away, he learned from him that his wife had died through the guilt of Midir. So he sent his booty to Cruachan, took his way with nine men in front of Bri Leith, and he told Nechtan that Midir had sent him, he wanted three things: see the blood of Midir on his weapons, fine for his wife and the promise that she would be back. Nechtan must first ensure that Midir would come the next day to fight a duel. In Bri Leith, there was no one who wants to face Fraech, until the promise of great riches Airmger mac Acarnamat incentive to go there, by spells he took shape and appearance of Midir. But Boann had heard the news, she brought a bricht neime (literally "out poison") to Fraech, in which his weapons had to be bathed, and a protective clothing. The next day Fraech and Airmger fought a long time, until the latter finally died. Midir then sent Nechtan to Fraech, this time with fine for his wife, fifty horses of the same color, [fifty] chariots of the value of a Cumal, fifty white shields, fifty green coats with silver bracelets, fifty swords with handles of gold, fifty excellent spears. Similarly, Treblann, accompanied by eight maidens of the same appearance, returned to him. So they parted in peace.

It was Treblann even that brought Fraech, when he had found death by Cuchulainn, in the Sid.

Copyright 2011 Erik Stohellou

Sources : Rudolf Thurneysen, Die irische Helden- und Königsage, 1921