Táin Bó Cúailnge

8D. The Slaying of Lochè

About this Edition

  • Translated By
    Publishing Date
    • Joseph Dunn

The warriors of four of the five grand provinces of Erin bided their time in Rede Lochè in Cualnge and pitched camp and took quarters therein for that night. Medb bade her fair handmaiden from amongst her attendants to go for her to the river for water for drinking and washing. Lochè was the name of the maiden. Thereupon Lochè went, and fifty women in her train and the queen’s diadem of gold on her head.

And Cuchulain espied them and he put a stone on his sling and cast a stone from his staff-sling at her, so that he broke the diadem of gold in three pieces and killed the maiden on her plain. Thence is Redè Lochè (‘the Plain of Lochè’) in Cualnge. For Cuchulain had thought, for want of acquaintance and knowledge, that it was Medb that was there.

From Finnabair of Cualnge the hosts divided and set the country on fire. They gathered all their women and boys and girls and cattle in Cualnge together so that they all were in Finnabair. “Ye have not fared well,” quoth Medb; “I see not the bull amongst you.” “He is not in the land at all,” replied every one. They summoned Lothar, the cowherd, to Medb. “Where, thinkest thou, is the bull?” she asked. “I have great fear to tell,” said the cowherd. “The night,” said he, “that the Ulstermen fell into their ‘Pains,’ the Donn went and three score heifers along with him; and he is at Dubcaire Glinni Gat (‘the Black Corrie of the Osier-glen’).” “Rise,” said Medb, “and take a withy between each two of you.” And they do accordingly. Hence is the name, Glenn Gatt, of that glen.

Then they led the bull to Finnabair. In the place where the bull saw Lothar, the cowherd, he attacked him, and soon he carried his entrails out on his horns and together with his thrice fifty heifers he attacked the camp, so that fifty warriors perished. Hence this is the Tragical Death of Lothar on the Táin and the Finding of the Bull according to this version.

Thereafter the bull went from them away from the camp and they knew not whither he had gone from them and they were ashamed. Medb asked the cowherd if he might know where the bull was. “I trow he is in the wilds of Sliab Culinn.” Then they turned back ravaging Cualnge and they found not the bull there.