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INTRODUCTION

This tale is given by the same two manuscripts that give the Tain bo Dartada and the Tain bo Regamon; namely the Yellow Book of Lecan, and Egerton 1782. The text of both is given by Windisch, Irische Texte,

  1. pp. 239-254; he gives a translation of the version in the Yellow Book, with a few insertions from the Egerton MS., where the version in Y.B.L. is apparently corrupt: Miss Hull gives an English translation of Windisch's rendering, in the Cuchullin Saga, pages 103 to 107. The prose version given here is a little closer to the Irish than Miss Hull's, and differs very little from that of Windisch. The song sung by the Morrigan to Cuchulain is given in the Irish of both versions by Windisch; he gives no rendering, as it is difficult and corrupt: I can make nothing of it, except that it is a jeering account of the War of Cualgne.

The title Tain bo Regamna is not connected with anything in the tale, as given; Windisch conjectures "Tain bo Morrigna," the Driving of the Cow of the Great Queen (Morrigan); as the woman is called at the end of the Egerton version. The Morrigan, one of the three goddesses of war, was the chief of them: they were Morrigan, Badb, and Macha. She is also the wife of the Dagda, the chief god of the pagan Irish. The Yellow Book version calls her Badb in this tale, but the account in the Tain bo Cualnge (Leabhar na h-Uidhri facsimile, pp. 74 and 77), where the prophecies are fulfilled, agrees with the Egerton version in calling the woman of this tale the Morrigan or the Great Queen.




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