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19B. Mann’s Fight

By Anonymous
Translated by Joseph Dunn1914

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’).

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