14B. The Colloquy of the Morrigan and Cuchulain

By Mythopedia Staff
Translated by Joseph Dunn1914

Then Cuchulain saw draw near him a young woman, with a dress of every colour about her and her appearance was most surpassing. “Who art thou?” Cuchulain asked.

“Daughter of Buan (‘the Eternal’), the king,” she answered. “I am come to thee ; I have loved thee for the high tales they tell of thee and have brought my treasures and cattle with me.” “Not good is the time thou hast come. Is not our condition weakened through hunger? Not easy then would it be for me to foregather with a woman the while I am engaged in this struggle.” “Herein I will come to thy help.” “Not for the love of a woman did I take this in hand.”

“This then shall be thy lot,” said she, “when I come against thee what time thou art contending with men: In the shape of an eel I will come beneath thy feet in the ford; so shalt thou fall.” “More likely that, methinks, than daughter of a king! I will seize thee,” said he, “in the fork of my toes till thy ribs are broken, and thou shalt remain in such sorry plight till there come my sentence of blessing on thee.”

“In the shape of a grey she-wolf will I drive the cattle on to the ford against thee.” “I will cast a stone from my sling at thee, so shall it smash thine eye in thy head” (said he), “and thou wilt so remain maimed till my sentence of blessing come on thee.” “I will attack thee,” said she, “in the shape of a hornless red heifer at the head of the cattle, so that they will overwhelm thee on the waters and fords and pools and thou wilt not see me before thee.” “I will,” replied he, “fling a stone at thee that will break thy leg under thee, and thou wilt thus be lamed till my sentence of blessing come on thee.” Therewith she went from him.

Táin Bó Cúailnge
English translation by Joseph Dunn (1914)
Cover: Táin Bó Cúailnge trans. Joseph Dunn (1914)