Táin Bó Cúailnge

7C. A Separate Version as far as the Slaying of Orlam

About this Edition

  • Translated By
    Publishing Date
    • Joseph Dunn

“Let us fare forth now,” quoth Ailill. Thereafter they reached Mag Mucceda (‘the plain of the Swineherd.’) Cuchulain lopped off an oak that was before him in that place and set an ogam-writing on its side. This is what was on it: ‘That no one should pass by till a chariot-warrior with a chariot should overleap it.’

They pitch there their tents and proceed to leap over the oak in their chariots. Thereat thirty horses fall and thirty chariots are broken. Now, Belach Anè (‘the Pass of Sport’) is the name of that place forever.

They bide there till morning. Fraech son of Fidach was summoned to them. “Help us, O Fraech,” spake Medb; “deliver us from the strait we are in. Rise up for us to meet Cuchulain, if perchance thou wilt fight him.”

Betimes in the morning, with nine men Fraech went out from thence till he arrived at Ath Fuait, when he saw the youth Cuchulain bathing in the river. “Bide here,” spake Fraech to his people, “till I fight with yonder man; he is not good in the water,” said he. He doffs his clothes and goes into the water to meet him. “Come not before me,” cried Cuchulain; “it shall be thy death and it would grieve me to kill thee.” “Nay, but I will go,” answered Fraech, “so that we come together in the water, and it behoves thee to engage with me.” “Settle that as seemeth thee good,” Cuchulain made answer. “Each of us with his arms round the other,” said Fraech. They fall to wrestling for a long time in the water and Fraech is thrust under. Cuchulain brings him above again. “This time,” spake Cuchulain, “wilt thou acknowledge that I saved thee?” “I will not,” Fraech answered. Cuchulain thrusts him under again, so that Fraech is destroyed. He is placed on the ground. His people bear the body with them to the camp. Ath Fraeich (‘Fraech’s Ford’) is the name of that ford for ever. All the army keen their Fraech, till they see a troop of women, in green tunics standing over the corpse of Fraech son of Fidach. These women bear him into the fairy dwelling. Sid Fraeich (‘Fraech’s Mound’) is the name of the Elfmound ever since.

Fergus leaps over the oak-stump in his own chariot and knocks off its head. According to another version, they proceed till they reach Ath Meislir. Cuchulain destroys six of them there, namely, Meislir et reliqua, the six Dungals of Irrus.

They go thence to Fornocht. Medb had a whelp named Baiscnè. Cuchulain made a cast at him, so that he struck off his head. Now, Druim (‘Ridge’) is the name of that place ever after.

According to another version, however, it is there that the youth who was in the chariot by the side of Medb and the pet bird were slain by the casts, but, according to this version, that happened after the slaying of Orlam.