The Tain Bo Culaigne

The Combat Of Cûr With Cuchulain

   The men of Erin discussed among themselves who of them would be fit to attack Cuchulain. And what they all said was that Cûr ('the Hero') son of Da Loth should be the one to attack him. For thus it stood with Cûr: No joy was it to be his bedfellow or to live with him. And they said: "Even should it be Cûr that falls, a trouble and care would be removed from the hosts. Should it be Cuchulain, it would be so much the better."
   Cûr was summoned to Medb's tent. "For what do they want me?" Cûr asked. "To engage with Cuchulain," replied Medb. "Little ye rate our worth. Nay, but it is wonderful how ye regard it. Too tender is the youth with whom ye compare me. Had I known I was sent against him I would not have come myself. I would have lads enough of his age from amongst my people to go meet him on a ford."
   "Indeed, it is easy to talk so," quoth Cormac Conlongas son of Conchobar. "It would be well worth while for thyself if by thee fell Cuchulain." "Howbeit," said Cûr, "since on myself it falls, make ye ready a journey for me at morn's early hour on the morrow, for a pleasure I will make of the way to this fight, a-going to meet Cuchulain. It is not this will detain you, namely the killing of yonder wildling, Cuchulain!"
   Then early on the morrow morn arose Cûr macDa Loth. A cart-load of arms was taken along with him wherewith to engage with Cuchulain, and he began to ply his weapons, seeking to kill Cuchulain. Now Cuchulain had gone early that day to practice his feats of valour and prowess. These are the names of them all:

the Apple-feat,
and the Edge-feat,
and the Level Shield-feat,
and the Little Dart-feat,
and the Rope-feat,
and the Body-feat,
and the Feat of Catt,
and the Hero's Salmon-leap,
and the Pole-cast,
and the Leap over a Blow (?),
and the Folding of a noble Chariot-fighter,
and the Gae Bulga ('the Barbed Spear')
and the Vantage (?) of Swiftness,
and the Wheel-feat,
and the Rimfeat,'
nd the Over-Breath-feat,
and the Breaking of a Sword,
and the Champion's Cry,
and the Measured Stroke,
and the Side Stroke,
and the Running up a Lance and Standing Erect on its Point, and Binding of the Noble Hero (around spear points).
   Now this is the reason Cuchulain was wont to practice early every morning each of those feats with the agility of a single hand, as best a wild-cat may, in order that they might not depart from him through forgetfulness or lack of remembrance.
   And macDa Loth waited beside his shield until the third part of the day, plying his weapons, seeking the chance to kill Cuchulain. It was then Laeg spake to Cuchulain, "Hark! Cucuc. Attend to the warrior that seeks to kill thee."
   Then it was that Cuchulain glanced at him and then it was that he raised and threw the eight apples on high and cast the ninth apple a throw's length from him at Cûr macDa Loth, so that it struck on the disk of his shield between the edge and the body of the shield, so that it carried the size of an apple of his brains out through the back of his head. Thus fell Cûr macDa Loth also at the hand of Cuchulain.
   "If your engagements and pledges bind you now," said Fergus, "another warrior ye must send to him yonder on the ford; else, do ye keep to your camp and your quarters here till the bright hour of sunrise on the morrow, for Cûr son of Da Loth is fallen." "Considering why we have come," said Medb, "it is the same to us even though we remain in those same tents."
   They remained in that camp till Cûr son of Da Loth had fallen, and Loth son of Da Bro and Srub Darè son of Feradach [and Morc] son of Tri Aigneach. These then fell in single combat with Cuchulain. But it is tedious to recount one by one the cunning and valour of each man of them.