Táin Bó Cúailnge

23F. The Adventures of Curoi son of Darè

About this Edition

  • Translated By
    Publishing Date
    • Joseph Dunn

He was told that a single man was checking and stopping four of the five grand provinces of Erin during the three months of winter from Monday at Summer’s end till the beginning of Spring. And he felt it unworthy of himself and he deemed it too long that his people were without him. And it was then he set out to the host to fight and contend with Cuchulain. And when he was come to the place where Cuchulain was, he saw Cuchulain there moaning, full of wounds and pierced through with holes, and he felt it would not be honourable nor fair to fight and contend with him after the combat with Ferdiad. Because it would be said it was not that Cuchulain died of the sores and wounds which he would give him so much as of the wounds which Ferdiad had inflicted on him in the conflict before. Be that as it might, Cuchulain offered to engage with him in battle and combat.

Thereupon Curoi set forth for to seek the men of Erin and, when he was near at hand, he espied Amargin there and his left elbow under him to the west of Taltiu. Curoi reached the men of Erin from the north. His people equipped him with rocks and boulders and great clumps, and he began to hurl them right over against Amargin, so that Badb’s battle-stones collided in the clouds and in the air high above them, and every rock of them was shivered into an hundred stones.

“By the truth of thy valour, O Curoi,” cried Medb, “desist from thy throwing, for no real succour nor help comes to us therefrom, but ill is the succour and help that thence come to us.” “I pledge my word,” cried Curoi, “I will not cease till the very day of doom and of life, till first Amargin cease!” “I will cease,” said Amargin; “and do thou engage that thou wilt no more come to succour or give aid to the men of Erin.” Curoi consented to that and went his way to return to his land and people.

About this time the hosts went past Taltiu westwards. “It is not this was enjoined upon me,” quoth Amargin: “never again to cast at the hosts but rather that I should part from them.” And he went to the west of them and he turned them before him north-eastwards past Taltiu. And he began to pelt them for a long while and time so that he slaughtered more of them than can be numbered. This is one of the three incalculable things on the Táin, the number of those he slew. And his son Conall Cernach (‘the Victorious’) remained with him providing him with stones and spears.

Then it was also that the men of Erin said it would be no disgrace for Amargin to leave the camp and quarters, and that the hosts would retire a day’s march back to the north again, there to stop and stay, and for him to quit his feats of arms upon the hosts until such time as he would meet them on the day of the great battle when the four grand provinces of Erin would encounter at Garech and Ilgarech in the battle of the Raid for the Kine of Cualnge. Amargin accepted that offer, and the hosts proceeded a day’s march back to the northwards again. Wherefore the ‘Deer-stalking’ of Amargin in Taltiu the name of this tale.