The Tain Bo Culaigne
The Head-Place Of Ferchu
Ferchu Longsech (the Exile), although of the Connachtmen, was engaged in
battle and plunder with Ailill and Medb. From the day these came to the
kingship, there never was a time that he fared to their camp or took part in
their expeditions or shared in their straits or their needs or their hardships,
but he was ever at their heels, pillaging and plundering their borders and land.
At that time he sojourned in the eastern part of Mag Ai. Twelve men was his
muster. He learned that a single man checked and stopped four of the five grand
provinces of Erin from Monday at Summer's end till the beginning of Spring,
slaying a man on the ford every one of those days and a hundred warriors every
night. He weighed his plan privily with his people. "What better plan could we
devise?" quoth he, "than to go and attack yonder man that checketh and stoppeth
four of the five grand provinces of Erin, and bring his head and his weapons
with us to Ailill and Medb? However great the injuries and wrongs we have done
to Ailill and Medb, we shall obtain our peace therefor, if only that man fall by
Now this was the resolve they took, and they proceeded to where Cuchulain
was. And when they came, it was not fair fight nor combat with one they
vouchsafed him, but at one and the same time the twelve men fell upon him.
Cuchulain turned on them, and straightway he smote off their twelve heads. And
he set up twelve stones in the earth for them, and he put the head of each one
of them on its stone and he likewise put Ferchu Longsech's head on its stone.
Hence Cinnit Ferchon Longsig is henceforth the name of the place where Ferchu
Longsech left his head, to wit, Cenn-aitt Ferchon ('the Head-place of Ferchu').
Medb despatched Mann son of Muresc son of
Darè, of the Dommandach, to fight
with Cuchulain. Own brothers were he and Daman, Ferdiad's father. A man, rough,
inordinate in eating and sleeping was this Mann. An ill-tongued foul-mouthed man
like Dubthach Doel ('Black-tongue') of Ulster. A man, stout, mighty, with
strength of limb like Munremur ('Thick-neck') son of Gerrcend ('Short-head'). A
fiery champion like Triscoth, the strong man of Conchobar's household. "I will
go," said he "and unarmed, and I will grind him between my hands, for I consider
it no honour nor credit to use arms against a beardless madcap such as he."
Therewith he went to attack Cuchulain. There he was, himself and his
charioteer on the ford watching the host. "A lone warrior approacheth us here,"
cried Laeg to Cuchulain. "What manner of man?" asked Cuchulain. "A dark, black
man, strong, bull-like, and he unarmed." "Let him go by thee," said Cuchulain.
At that he comes nigh them. "To fight with thee am I come," Mann announced.
Therewith they fell to wrestling for a long time, and thrice Mann threw
Cuchulain, till the charioteer incited Cuchulain. "Were it the champion's
portion thou wast contending for in Emain," spake Laeg, "thou wouldst be all
powerful over the young bloods in Emain!" At these words the hero's wrath and
warrior's rage returned to Cuchulain, so that he overcame Mann at the
pillar-stone and he fell to pieces in morsels. Hence cometh Mandachta ('the
Plain of Mann's death').