The Tain Bo Culaigne
The Account of The Brown Bull of Cualnge
It was not long before the men of Erin, as they were there early on the
morrow, saw coming over Cruachan from the west the Brown Bull of Cualnge with
the Whitehorned of Ai in torn fragments hanging about his ears and horns. The
men of Erin arose, and they knew not which of the bulls it was. "Come, ye men!"
cried Fergus "leave him alone if it be the Whitehorned that is there and if it
be the Brown of Cualnge, leave him his trophy with him!"
Then it was that the seven Manè arose to take vengeance on the Brown Bull of
Cualnge for his violence and his valour. "Whither go yonder men?" asked Fergus.
"They go to kill the Brown of Cualnge," said all, "because of his evil deeds."
"I pledge my word," shouted Fergus: "what has already been done in regard to the
bulls is a small thing in compare with that which will now take place."
Then the Brown Bull of Cualnge gave forth the three chiefest bellowings of
his throat in boast of his triumph and fear of Fergus held back the men of Erin
from attacking the Brown Bull of Cualuge.
Then went the Brown Bull of Cualnge. He turned his right side towards
Cruachan, and he left there a heap (crúach) of the liver of the Whitehorned, so
that thence is named Cruachan Ai.
Next he came to the river Finnglas ('Whitewater'), and he drank a draught
from the river, and, so long as he drank the draught he let not one drop of the
river flow by him. Then he raised his head, and the shoulder-blades (lethe) of
the Whitehorned fell from him in that place. Hence, Sruthair Finnlethe is the
name given to it.
He pursued his way to the brink of Ath Mor ('the Great Ford'); and he left
behind the loin (lúan) of the Whitehorned in that place, so that thence cometh
He continued eastwards into the land of Meath to Ath Truim. And he left
behind there the liver (tromm) of the Whitehorned.
He raised his head haughtily and shook the remains of the Whitehorned from
him over Erin. He sent its hind leg (lárac) away from him to Port Large. He sent
its ribs (clíathac) from him to Dublin, which is called Ath Cliath.
He turned his face northwards then, and he knew the land of Cualnge, and he
went his way towards it. In that place were women and youths and children
lamenting the Brown Bull of Cualnge. They saw the Brown of Cualnge's forehead
approaching them. "The forehead (taul) of a bull cometh towards us!" they
shouted. Hence is Taul Tairb ever since.
Then turned the Brown of Cualnge on the women and youths and children of the
land of Cualnge, and he effected a great slaughter amongst them. He turned his
back to the hill then and his heart broke in his breast, even as a nut breaks.
Such, then, is the account and the fate of the Brown Bull of Cualnge and the end
of the Tain.