Gods and Fighting Men
And Aoibhell, another woman of the Sidhe, made her dwelling-place in Craig
Liath, and at the time of the battle of Cluantarbh she set her love on a young
man of Munster, Dubhlaing ua Artigan, that had been sent away in disgrace by the
King of Ireland. But before the battle he came back to join with Murchadh, the
king's son, and to fight for the GaeI. And Aoibhell came to stop him; and when
he would not stop with her she put a Druid covering about him, the way no
one could see him.
And he went where Murchadh was fighting, and he made a great attack on
the enemies of Ireland, and struck them down on every side. And Murchadh looked
around him, and he said: "It seems to me I hear the sound of the blows of
Dubhlaing ua Artigan, but I do not see himself." Then Dubhlaing threw off the
Druid covering that was about him, and he said: 'I will not keep this covering
upon me when you cannot see me through it. And come now across the plain to
where Aoibbell is," he said, "for she can give us news of the battle."
So they went where she was, and she bade them both to quit the battle, for
they would lose their lives in it. But Murchadh said to her, "I will tell you a
little true story," he said; "that fear for my own body will never make me
change my face. And if we fall," he said, "the strangers will fall with us; and
it is many a man will fall by my own hand, and the Gael will be sharing their
strong places." "Stop with me, Dubhlaing," she said then, "and you will have two
hundred years of happy life with myself." "I will not give up Murchadh," he
said, "or my own good name, for silver or gold." And there was anger on Aoibhell
when he said that, and she said: "Murchadh will fall, and you yourself will
fall, and your proud blood will be on the plain tomorrow." And they went back
into the battle, and got their death there.
And it was Aoibhell gave a golden harp to the son of Meardha the time he was
getting his learning at the school of the Sidhe in Connacht and that he heard
his father had got his death by the King of Lochlann. And whoever heard the
playing of that harp would not live long after it. And Meardha's son went where
the three sons of the King of Lochlann were, and played on his harp for them,
and they died.
It was that harp Cuchulain heard the time his enemies were gathering against
him at Muirthemne, and he knew by it that his life was near its end.