Gods and Fighting Men

Glas Son of Dremen

   The King of the World heard that, and he said: "It is a big word that man is saying," he said, "and rise up now, Glas, son of Dremen, and see which of the Fianna of Ireland it is that is saying it."
   Glas left the ship then, and he went to where Conn Crither was, and he asked who was he. "I am Conn Crither, son of Bran, from Teamhair Luachra," said he. "If that is so," said Glas, "you are of the one blood with myself, for I am Glas, son of Dremen from Teamhair Luachra." "It is not right for you to come fighting against me from those foreigners, so," said Conn. "It is a pity indeed," said Glas; "and but for Finn and the Fianna driving me from them, I would not fight against you or against one of themselves for all the treasures of the whole world." "Do not say that," said Conn, "for I swear by my hand of valour," he said, "if you had killed Finn's own son and the sons of his people along with him, you need not be in dread of him if only you came under his word and his protection." "I think indeed the day is come for me to fight beside you," said Glas, "and I will go back and tell that to the King of the World."
   He went back then to where the king was, and the king asked him which of the men of the Fianna was in it. "It is a kinsman of my own is in it, High King," said Glas; "and it is weak my heart is, he to be alone, and I have a great desire to go and help him." "If you go," said the King of the World, "it is what I ask you, to come and to tell me every day how many of the Fianna of Ireland have fallen by me; and if a few of my own men should fall," he said, "come and tell me who it was they fell by." "It is what I ask you," said Glas, "not to let your armies land till the Fianna come to us, but to let one man only come to fight with each of us until that time," he said.
   So two of the strangers were sent against them that day, and they got their death by Glas and by Conn Crither. Then they asked to have two men sent against each of them, and that was done; and three times nine fell by them before night. And Conn Crither was covered with wounds after the day, and he said to Glas: "Three women came to me from the Country of the Young, and they promised to put me in a well of healing for my wounds. And let you watch the harbour to-night," he said, "and I will go look for them." So he went to them, and they bathed him in the well of healing, and he was whole of his wounds.
   And as to Glas, son of Dremen, he went down to the harbour, and he said: "O King of the World," he said, "there is a friend of mine in the ships, Madan of the Bent Neck, son of the King of the Marshes; and it is what he said in the great world in the east, that he himself would be enough to take Ireland for you, and that he would bring it under tribute to you by one way or another. And I ask you to let him come alone against me to-night, till we see which of us will fight best for Ireland."
   So Madan came to the land, and the two attacked one another, and made a very hard fight; but as it was not in the prophecy that Glas would find death there, it was the son of the King of the Marshes that got his death by him.
   And not long after that Conn Crither came back to Glas, and he gave Glas great praise for all he had done.


Deidre of the Sorrows, by John Duncan