The Tain Bo Culaigne
The Combat Of Lethan And Cuchulain
There came also Lethan ('the Broad')
to his ford on the Nith in the land of
Conalle Murthemni, to fight with Cuchulain. He came upon him at the ford. Ath
Carpait ('Chariot-ford') is the name of the ford where they fought, for their
chariots were broken in the combat on the ford.
It is there that Mulcha, Lethan's charioteer, fell on the shoulder of the
hill between the two fords. Hence it is called Guala Mulchi ('Mulcha's
Shoulder') ever since. It is there, too, that Cuchulain and Lethan met, and
Lethan fell at Cuchulain's hands and he smote his head from his neck on the ford
and left it therewith, that is, he left the head with the trunk. Wherefore the
name of the ford of the Nith was called Ath Lethain ('Lethain's Ford') ever
since in the district of Conalle Murthemni.
Then came unto them the Crutti Cainbili ('the Tuneful Harpers'), from Ess
Ruaid in the north to amuse them. They opined it was to spy upon them they were
come from Ulster. When they came within sight of the camp of the men of Erin,
fear, terror, and dread possessed them, and the hosts pursued them as never men
pursued, far and wide, till they escaped them in the shapes of deer near the
standing stones at Lia Mor ('Great Stone') in the north. For though they were
known as the 'Mellifluous Harpers' they were druids, men of great cunning and
great power of augury and magic.