The Tain Bo Culaigne
The Violation of the Agreement
Then it was that Medb despatched six men at one and the same time to attack
Cuchulain, to wit: Traig ('Foot') and Dorn ('Fist') and Dernu ('Palm'), Col
('Sin') and Accuis ('Curse') and Eraisè ('Heresy'), three druid-men and three
druid-women. Cuchulain attacked them, so that they fell at his hands.
Forasmuch as covenant and terms of single combat had been broken with
Cuchulain, Cuchulain took his sling in hand that day and began to shoot at the
host from Delga ('the Little Dart') in the south. Though numerous were the men
of Erin on that day, not one of them durst turn his face southwards towards
Cuchulain, whether dog, or horse, or man.
The Healing Of The Morrigan
Then it was that the Morrigan, daughter of
Ernmas, came from the fairy
dwellings, in the guise of an old hag, engaged in milking a tawny, three-teated
milch cow. And for this reason she came in this fashion, that she might have
redress from Cuchulain. For none whom Cuchulain ever wounded recovered there
from without himself aided in the healing.
Cuchulain, maddened with thirst, begged her for a milking. She gave him a
milking of one of the teats. "May this be a cure in time for me, old crone,"
quoth Cuchulain, and one of the queen's eyes became whole thereby. He begged the
milking of another teat. She milked the cow's second teat and gave it to him and
he said, "May she straightway be sound that gave it." [Then her head was healed
so that it was whole.] He begged a third drink of the hag. She gave him the
milking of the teat. "A blessing on thee of gods and of non-gods, O woman!" [And
her leg was made whole thereby.] Now these were their gods, the mighty folk: and
these were their non-gods, the folk of husbandry. And the queen was healed
Then Medb ordered out the hundred armed warriors of her body-guard at one and
the same time to assail Cuchulain. Cuchulain attacked them all, so that they
fell by his hand. "It is a dishonour for us that our people are slaughtered in
this wise," quoth Medb. "It is not the first destruction that has befallen us
from that same man," replied Ailill. Hence Cuilenn Cind Duni ('The Destruction
of the Head of the Dûn') is henceforth the name of the place where the were.
Hence Ath Cro ('Gory Ford') is the name of the ford where they were. And
fittingly, too, because of the abundance of gore and blood that went with the
flow of the river.