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[FN#124] Not is it better for thee that" is in Egerton alone.
[FN#125] See the introduction for the omission of the poem.
Then he saw that she had become a black bird upon a branch near to him.
"A dangerous[FN#126] (or magical) woman thou art," said Cuchulain:
"Henceforward," said the woman, "this clay-land shall be called dolluid
(of evil,)" and it has been the Grellach Dolluid ever since. "If only
I had known it was you," said Cuchulain, "not thus should we have
separated." "What thou hast done," said she, "shall be evil to thee
from it." "Thou hast no power against me," said Cuchulain. "I have
power indeed," said the woman; "it is at the guarding of thy death that
I am; and I shall be," said she. "I brought this cow out of the
fairy-mound of Cruachan, that she might breed by the Black Bull[FN#127]
of Cualnge, that is the Bull of Daire Mae Fiachna. It is up to that
time that thou art in life, so long as the calf which is in this cow's
body is a yearling; and it is this that shall lead to the Tain bo
Cualnge." "I shall myself be all the more glorious for that Tain,"
said Cuchulain: "I shall slay their warriors: I shall break their great
hosts: I shall be survivor of the Tain."
[FN#126] Windisch is doubtful about the meaning of this word. He gives
it as "dangerous" in his translation; it may also mean "magical,"
though he thinks not. In a note he says that the meaning "dangerous" is
[FN#127] In Egerton "the Dun of Cualnge."
"In what way canst thou do this?" said the woman, "for when thou art in
combat against a man of equal strength (to thee), equally rich in
victories, thine equal in feats, equally fierce, equally untiring,
equally noble, equally brave, equally great with thee, I will be an
eel, and I will draw a noose about thy feet in the ford, so that it
will be a great unequal war for thee." "I swear to the god that the
Ulstermen swear by," said Cuchulain, "I will break thee against a green
stone of the ford; and thou shalt have no healing from me, if thou
leavest me not." "I will in truth be a grey wolf against thee," said
she, "and I will strip a stripe[FN#128] from thee, from thy right
(hand) till it extends to thy left."
[FN#128] This word is left doubtful in Windisch's translation. The
word is breth in Y.B.L. and breit in Egerton. Breit may be a strip of
woollen material, or a strip of land; so the meaning of a strip of
flesh seems possible.
"I will beat thee from me," said he, "with the spear, till thy left or
thy right eye bursts from thy head, and thou shalt never have healing
from me, if thou leavest me not." "I shall in truth," she said, "be
for thee as a white heifer with red ears, and I will go into a lake
near to the ford in which thou art in combat against a man who is thine
equal in feats, and one hundred white, red-eared cows shall be behind
me and 'truth of men' shall on that day be tested; and they shall take
thy head from thee." "I will cast at thee with a cast of my sling,"
said Cuchulain, "so as to break either thy left or thy right leg from
under thee; and thou shalt have no help from me if thou leavest me not."
They[FN#129] separated, and Cuchulain went back again to Dun Imrid, and
the Morrigan with her cow to the fairy mound of Cruachan; so that this
tale is a prelude to the Tain bo Cualnge.
[FN#129] All this sentence up to "so that this tale" is from the
Egerton version. The Yellow Book of Lecan gives "The Badb thereon went
from him, and Cuchulain went to his own house, so that," &c.
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