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[FN#56] Y.B.L. adds, "Through wizardry was all that thing: it was recited (?) how great a thing had appeared, and he told his dream to his people."


Then King Eocho arises, and prepares himself (for the journey): they depart with this equipment to Cruachan Ai:[FN#57] and the people were well-nigh overcome with their consequence and appearance: their troop was great, goodly, splendid, compact: [fifty heroes, all with that appearance that has just been related.

"How is that man named?" said Ailill. "Not hard, Eocho Bec, the king of Cliu." They entered the Liss (outer court), and the royal house; welcome was given to them, he remained there three days and three nights at the feasting.]


[FN#57] Egerton here gives "Ailill and Medb made them welcome;" it omits the long passage in square brackets.


"Wherefore have I have been invited to come?" said Eocho to Ailill: "To learn if I can obtain a gift from thee," said Ailill; "for a heavy need weighs upon me, even the sustenance of the men of Ireland for the bringing of the cattle from Cualgne."

"What manner of gift is it that thou desirest?" said Eocho. "Nothing less than a gift of milking-kine," said Ailill. "There is no superfluity of these in my land," said Eocho; "I have forty fosterlings, sons of the kings of Munster, to bring them up (to manhood); they are here in my company, there are forty cows to supply the needs of these, to supply my own needs are seven times twenty milch-cows [there are fifty men for this cause watching over them].

"Let me have from thee," said Ailill, "one cow from each farmer who is under thy lordship as my share; moreover I will yield thee assistance if at any time thou art oppressed by superior might." "Thus let it be as thou sayest," said Eocho; "moreover, they shall come to thee this very day."

For three days and three nights they were hospitably entertained by Ailill and Medb, and then they departed homewards, till they met the sons of Glaschu, who came from Irross Donnan (the peninsula of Donnan, now Mayo); the number of those who met them was seven times twenty men, and they set themselves to attack each other, and to strive with each other in combat, and [at the island of O'Conchada (Inse Ua Conchada)] they fought together. In that place fell the forty sons of kings round Eocho Bec, and that news was spread abroad over all the land of Ireland, so that four times twenty kings' sons, of the youths of Munster, died, sorrowing for the deaths of these princes.

On another night, as Ailill lay in his sleep, upon his bed, he saw some thing, a young man and a woman, the fairest that could be found in Ireland. "Who are ye?" said Ailill. "Victory and Defeat are our names," she said. "Victory indeed is welcome to me, but not so Defeat," said Ailill. "Victory shall be thine in each form!" said she. ["What is the next thing after this that awaits us?" said Ailill. "Not hard to tell thee," said she] "let men march out from thy palace in the morning, that thou mayest win for thyself the cattle of Dartaid, the daughter of Eocho. Forty is the number of her milch-cows, it is thine own son, Orlam mac Ailill, whom she loves. Let Orlam prepare for his journey with a stately troop of valiant men, also forty sons of those kings who dwell in the land of Connaught; and by me shall be given to them the same equipment that the other youths had who fell in yon fight, bridles and garments and brooches; [early in the morning shall count of the treasure be made, and now we go to our own land," said she].

Then they depart from him, and forthwith they go to [Corp[FN#58] Liath (the Gray),] who was the son of Tassach. His castle was on the bank of the river Nemain, upon the northern side, he was a champion of renown for the guarding of the men of Munster; longer than his hand is the evil he hath wrought. To this man also they appeared, and "What are your names?" said he: "Tecmall and Coscrad (Gathering of Hosts, and Destruction)," said they. "Gathering of Hosts is indeed good," said Corp Liath, "an evil thing is destruction": "There will be no destruction for thee, and thou shalt destroy the sons of kings and nobles": "And what," said Corp Liath, "is the next thing to be done?"


[FN#58] The Egerton MS. gives the name, Corb Cliach.


"That is easy to say," they said;[FN#59] "each son of a king and a queen, and each heir of a king that is in Connaught, is now coming upon you to bear off cows from your country, for that the sons of your kings and queens have fallen by the hand of the men of Connaught. To-morrow morning, at the ninth hour they will come, and small is their troop; so if valiant warriors go thither to meet them, the honour of Munster shall be preserved; if indeed thine adventure shall meet with success."



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Map of Ireland