The Tain Bo Culaigne
The Finding of The Bull
Thereafter on the morrow
Medb proceeded with a third of the host of the men
of Erin about her, till she reached Dun Sobairche in the north. And Cuchulain
pressed heavily on Medb that day. [Medb went on to Cuib to seek the bull and
Cuchulain pursued her.] There it is that Cuchulain slew all those we have
mentioned in Cuib. Cuchulain killed Fer Taidle, whence cometh Taidle; and as
they went northwards he killed the macBuachalla ('the Herdsman's sons') at their
cairn, whence cometh Carn macBuachalla; and he killed Luasce on the slopes,
whence Lettre Luasc ('the Watery Slopes of Luasc'); and he slew Bobulge in his
marsh, whence Grellach ('the Trampled Place') of Bubulge; and he slew Murthemne
on his hill, whence Delga ('the Points') of Murthemne.
It was afterwards then that Cuchulain turned back from the north to Mag
Murthemni, to protect and defend his own borders and land, for dearer to him was
his own land and inheritance and belongings than the land and territory and
belongings of another.
It was then too that he came upon the Fir Crandce ('the men of Crannach'); to
wit, the two Artinne and the two sons of Lecc, the two sons of Durcride, the two
sons of Gabul, and Drucht and Delt and Dathen, Tae and Tualang and Turscur, and
Torc Glaisse and Glass and Glassne, which are the same as the twenty men of
Fochard. Cuchulain surprised them as they were pitching camp in advance of all
other, so that they fell by his hand.
Then it was that Buide ('the Yellow') son of Ban Thai ('the White') from the
country of Ailill and Medb, and belonging to the special followers of Medb, met
Cuchulain. Four and twenty a warriors [was their strength.] A blue mantle
enwrapping each man, the Brown Bull of Cualnge plunging and careering before
them after he had been brought from Glenn na Samaisce ('Heifers' Glen') to Sliab
Culinn, and fifty of his heifers with him.
"Whence bring ye the drove, ye men?" Cuchulain asks. "From yonder mountain,"
Buide answers. "What is thine own name?" said Cuchulain. "One that neither loves
thee nor fears thee," Buide made answer; "Buide son of Ban Thai am I, from the
country of Ailill and Medb." "Lo, here for thee this short spear," said
Cuchulain, and he casts the spear at him. It struck the shield over his belly,
so that it shattered three ribs in his farther side after piercing his heart in
his bosom. And Buide son of Ban Thai fell on the ford. So that thence is Ath
Buidi ('Athboy') in Crich Roiss ('the land of Ross').
For as long or as short a space as they were engaged in this work of
exchanging their two short spears--for it was not in a moment they had
accomplished it--the Brown Bull of Cualnge was carried away in quick course and
career to the camp as swiftly as any bull can be brought to a camp. From this
accordingly came the greatest shame and grief and madness that was brought on
Cuchulain on that hosting.
As regards Medb: every ford whereon she stopped, Ath Medba ('Medb's Ford') is
its name. Every place wherein she pitched her tent, Pupall Medba ('Medb's Tent')
is its name. Every spot she rested her horselash, Bili Medba ('Medb's Tree') is
On this circuit Medb offered battle one night to Findmor ('the Fair-large')
wife of Celtchar at the gate of Dun Sobairche; and she slew Findmor and laid
waste Dun Sobairche.
Then came the warriors of four of the five grand provinces of Erin at the end
of a long fortnight to camp and station, together with Medb and Ailill and the
company that were bringing the bull.
The Death Of Forgemen
And the bull's cowherd
would not allow them to carry off the Brown Bull of
Cualnge, so that they urged on the bull, beating shafts on shields, till they
drove him into a narrow gap, and the herd trampled the cowherd's body thirty
feet into the ground, so that they made fragments and shreds of his body.
Forgemen was his name. This then is the Death of Forgemen on the Cattle-prey of