Celts: Kings and Druids
"If I break faith with you,
Sky fall upon me,
Sea drown me,
Earth rise up
and swallow me." - Celtic
This great Celtic oath calls the very
elements to witness. The Celts held a
concept of deity. They regarded "the
Elements" as the most powerful manifestations of the gods, not to be
trifled with. This great oath is a most solemn pledge to the
elements to destroy those who do not
keep their word.
Gaulish commander Brennus attacked Delphi and
plundered it of its gold, he was
said to have laughed aloud at seeing the temple there, at the way in which the
Greeks depicted the gods in human
representational form. No doubt, to his Celtic mind, this custom seemed
childishly immature, if not barbarously irreverent, for the gods could not be
bounded by wood, metal or stone. How
was it possible for a god, who could shapeshift into myriads of forms,
animal, human and
divine, to appear in only one
The state of the
land was always a reflection of
the kingly rule. If the king was in
harmony with his obligations, then the
land flourished. If the king
neglected his obligations or duty, the
land became a wasteland. The soil no
longer grew crops, the rains came at the wrong times, unseasonable cold and hot
waves, omens in the sky, all pointed to poor stewardship on the part of the
king who directed the activities of the people. This theme, so familiar from
the later Grail legends, arises from many Celtic stories. They date from a time
when the king was sacred: neither human nor divine, but sanctioned by the
elements, the manifestations of the gods of
the land, and by his relationship
with the Goddess of the Land, or Sovereignty.
"Good is his reign. Since he assumed the kingship, no cloud
has veiled the sun for the space of a day from the middle of
spring to the middle of
autumn. Not a dewdrop has
fallen from grass till midday."
There are seven recognized proofs of a
king who has put his own desires before the needs of his subjects.
proofs of unworthiness in a king are given as follows:
truth, without law, defeat in battle, famine during his reign, dryness of cows,
ruination of fruit, dearth of crops.'
When the king has broken his
obligation to the Goddess of the Land, then the very
elements of the
land forsake him - 'the suspension of
amity between a king and the country', was considered the most grievous
rupture. The sacred union of the king and the
land is a major feature of Celtic
kingship incorporated into the rites of king-making.
obligations of the
king are frequently symbolized by the
empowering objects he guards. For example Gwyddno Garanhir possessed a
unlimited food-producing hamper." - Caitlin Matthews
word druid (Irish drui, Welsh
derwydd) is derived from the Sanskrit: veda - to
see or know, combined with the
Oak: Gaulish dervo, Irish
dour, Welsh derw. The words
for wood and wisdom are very close: Irish
fid and fios mean tree
and knowledge; Welsh gwydd and
gwyddon mean tree and
This close connection suggests that we
should think of the druid as a knower of the
tree' or 'the
tree-sage', which would give us a
closer feel of what the druid really was -
a seer of great
knowledge, whose closeness to the natural world put him or her in the position of a walker of
the thinspace between the collective subconscious of
mankind and the unseen collective
consciousness of Nature.
The druids, sons and daughters of
the Oak, were distinct by reason of
their gifts. Male and female druids were gifted people who exhibited excellence
in various arts (talents or skills) while maintaining
shamanic roles. Druids were
the repositories of wisdom/knowledge. Druids, who searched for
deeper understanding in the
patterns revealed throughout Nature, used that
wisdom/knowledge to note the right
spring sowing or the
prognosis of an injured limb.
Some druids specialized in branches of
judges, seers or
fáithi, teachers, poets, satirists and battle strategists as well
as advisers to kings. A druid was a man or woman of natural
wisdom whose advice was sought on all
matters of daily life, one who perhaps also fulfilled a
craft, one who was married and had a
family, one who brought the people
together for common celebrations and whose word was law.
In the druid we see the earliest
form of tribal leadership - which was
spiritual rather than temporal.
The distinctions between king and druid
are sometimes blurred in Celtic tradition. For though the king is the assumed
leader of his people, it is the druid who really rules, for his or her word is
Rome banned the Druidic arts or crafts after sacking of the
Druid's centre at Anglesey in AD 64.
The function of the seer or
fáithi, to divine the affairs of humans through a close
observation of Nature, is
one still very much associated with people of Celtic extraction, many of whom
possess the second sight'.
There was a famous and
king over Erin, by the
name of Eochaid Feidlech.
upon a time he came over the fair green of
Brl Leith, and he saw at the edge of a well a woman with a bright comb of
silver adorned with
gold, washing in a
silver basin wherein were four
birds and little, bright
gems of purple carbuncle in the rims of
A mantle she had, curly and purple, a
beautiful cloak, and in the mantle
silver fringes arranged, and a
brooch of fairest gold. A kirtle she
wore, long, hooded, of green silk, with
red embroidery of gold.
Marvelous clasps of
silver in the kirtle on her
breasts and her shoulders and spaulds on
The sun kept
shining upon her, so that the glistening of
the gold against the
sun from the green
silk was manifest to men. On her head were
two golden tresses, in each of which was
a plait of four locks, with a bead at the point of each lock. The hue of mat
hair seemed to them like the flower of the iris in summer, or
like red gold after the
she was, undoing her
hair to wash it, with her arms out through the
sleeve-holes of her smock. White as the snow of one
night were the two
hands, soft and even, and
red as foxglove were the two clear
Dark as the back of a stag-beetle the two
eyebrows. Like a shower of pearls were the
teeth in her head. Green
as an olive were the eyes.
Red as rowan berries the
Very high, smooth and soft-white the shoulders.
Clear white and lengthy the
fingers. Long were the
hands. White as the foam of
a wave was the flank, slender, long, tender, smooth, soft as wool. Polished and
warm, sleek and white were the two
thighs. Round and small,
hard and white the two knees. Short and white and
rule straight the two shins. Justly straight and
beautiful the two
heels. If a
measure were put on the
feet it would hardly have
found them unequal, unless the flesh of the
coverings should grow upon them.
radiance of the
moon was in
her noble face: the
loftiness of pride in her smooth eyebrows:
the light of wooing in each of her regal
eyes. A dimple of delight in
each of her cheeks, with a dappling in them, at one
time, of purple spots with redness of a
calf's blood , and at another with the bright lustre of
Soft womanly dignity in
her voice ; a step steady and
slow she had: a queenly gait was hers.
Verily, of the world's
women 'twas she was the dearest and loveliest and just Etain that the eyes of men
had ever beheld. It seemed to King
Eochaid and his followers that she was
from the elfmounds.
Of her was said: "Shapely are all till compared
with Etain, dear are all till compared with Etain."
A longing for her
straightway seized the King; so he sent
forward a man of his people to detain her.
King asked tidings of her and said,
while announcing himself: "Shall I have an hour of dalliance with
"Tis for that we have come hither under thy safeguard," quoth
"Query, whence art thou and
whence hast thou come?" says Eochaid.
"Easy to say," quoth she. "Etain
am I, daughter of Etar,
King of the cavalcade from the
elfmounds. I have been here for
twenty years since I was born in
an elfmound. The men of the elfmound, both Kings and
nobles, have been wooing me: but nought
was gotten from me, because ever since I was able to
speak, I have
loved thee and given thee a
love for the
high tales about thee and thy splendour.
And though I had never seen thee, I knew
thee at once from thy description: it is thou, then, I have reached."
"No 'seeking of an ill friend
afar' shall be thine," says Eochaid. "Thou shalt have welcome, and for thee
every other woman shall be left by me, and with thee alone will I
live so long as thou hast honour."
"My proper bride-price to me!" she says, "and afterwards my
"Thou shalt have
both," says Eochaid.
Four men in chariots were on the plain of Liffey at
their game, Conaire himself and his three foster brothers. Then his fosterers
went to him that he might go to the bullfeast. The bullfeaster then in his
sleep, at the end of the
night beheld a man stark naked passing
along the road of Tara, with a stone in his sling.
"I will go in the
morning after you," quoth
Conaire left his foster brothers at their game, and turned
his chariot and his charioteer until he
was in Dublin. There he saw great white-speckled
birds, of unusual size and color and
Conaire pursues them until
his horses were tired. The birds would
go a spear cast before him, and would not go any further.
alighted and takes his sling for them out of the
chariot. Conaire goes after them until
he was at the sea. The birds betake
themselves to the wave. Conaire went to them and overcame them.
birds quit their birdskins, and turn
upon him with spears and swords. One of them
protects him, and addressed him,
saying: "I am Nemglan. King of thy
Father's birds; and thou hast been forbidden to cast at
birds for here there is no one that
should not be dear to thee because of his father or mother."
today," says Conaire, "I knew not
"Go to Tara tonight," says Nemglan; "'tis fittest for thee. A
bullfeast is, there, and through it thou shalt be
king. A man stark naked, who shall go
at the end of the night along one of
the roads of Tara, having a stone and a sling -'tis he that shall be
So in this wise Conaire
fared forth; and on each of the four roads whereby men go to Tara there were
three kings awaiting him, and they had
raiment for him, since it had been foretold that he would come stark-naked.
Then he was seen from the road on which his fosterers were, and they put royal
raiment about him, and placed him in a
chariot, and he bound his pledges.
The folk of Tara said to him:
"It appears to us that our bullfeast and our spell of
truth are a failure, if it be only a young, beardless lad
that we have visioned therein."
"That is of no moment," quoth
he. "For a young, generous king like me
to be a king is no disgrace, since the
binding of Tara's pledges is mine by right of father and grandsire."
says the host. They made him king of
Erin upon him.
And he said: "I will enquire
of wise men that I myself may be wise."
Then he uttered all
this as he had been taught by the man at the wave, who said this to him: "Thy reign will be
subject to a restriction, but the bird reign
will be noble, and this
shall be thy tabu.
Thou shalt not go righthandwise round Tara and
lefthandwise round Bregia.
beasts of Cerna must not be hunted by thee.
And thou shalt not go out every ninth
night beyond Tara.
not sleep in a house from which
firelight is manifest outside, after
sunset, and in which light is manifest from
And three Reds shall
not go before thee to Red's house.
And no rapine shall be wrought in
And after sunset a company of one woman or one man shall not
enter the house in which thou art.
"What is this?" asked
"Easy to say," his humans answer. "Easy to
know that the
king's law has broken down therein, since the country
has begun to burn."
"Whither shall we betake ourselves?" says Conaire.
Northeast," says his humans.
So then they went righthandwise round Tara,
and lefthandwise round Bregia, and the evil
beasts of Cerna were hunted by him. But he saw
it not till the chase had ended.
They that made of the
world that smoky mist of magic were elves, and they did
so because Conaire's tabus had been violated.
"Judgment goes with
good times," says Conaire. "I had a friend in this country, if only we knew
the way to his house!"
his name?" asked Mac cecht.
Derga of Leinster," answered Conaire.
"He came unto me to seek a gift from
me, and he did not come with a refusal. I gave him a hundred
kine of the drove. I gave him a hundred fatted
swine. I gave him a hundred mantles made of
close cloth. I gave him a hundred blue-colored
weapons of battle. I gave him ten red, gilded brooches. I gave him ten vats good and
brown. I gave him ten thralls. I gave him ten querns. I gave him thrice nine
hounds all-white in their
silver chains. I gave him a
hundred race horses in the herds of
deer. There would be no abatement in his case
though he should come again. He would make return. It is strange if he is surly
to me tonight when reaching his abode."
When Conaire after this was
journeying along the Road of Cualu, he marked before him three horsemen riding
towards the house. Three red frocks had they, and three red mantles: three red
bucklers they bore, and three red spears were in their hands: three red
steeds they bestrode, and three red heads of
hair were on them. Red were they all, both body and hair and raiment, both
steeds and men.
"Who is it that fares
before us?" asked Conaire. "It was a tabu of mine for those three to go before
me - the three Reds to the house of Red.
Conaire sends his son to hail
They reply to his hail, "Lo, my son,
great the news. Weary are the
steeds we ride. We ride the
steeds of Donn Tetscorach from the elfmounds.
Though we are alive we are
dead. Great are the
life; sating of ravens; feeding of crows, strife of
wetting of sword-edge,
shields with broken bosses in hours after
sundown. Lo, my son!"
"All my tabus have seized me tonight," says
Conaire, "since those Three Reds are the banished folks."
forward to the house and took their seats therein, and fastened their red
steeds to the door of the house.
Tis then the man of the black, cropt
hair, with his one hand and one eye and one foot, overtook them. Rough cropt
hair upon him. Though a sackful of wild apples were hung on his crown, not an
apple would fall on the
ground, but each of them would stick on
his hair. Though his snout were hung on a branch they would remain together.
Long and thick as an outer yoke was
each of his two shins. Each of his buttocks was the size of a cheese on a
withe. A forked pole of iron black-pointed was in his hand. A
swine, black-bristled, singed, was on his back,
squealing continually, and a woman big-mouthed, huge,
dark, sorry, hideous, was behind him.
Though her snout were hung on a branch, the branch would support it. Her lower
lip would reach her knee.
He starts forward to meet Conaire, and made
So he goes towards the house, with his great, big-mouthed
wife behind him, and his
swine short-bristled, black, singed, squealing
continually, on his back.
Now plunder was taken by the
sons of Donn Desa, and five hundred there
were in the body of their marauders, besides
what underlings were with them. This, too, was a tabu of Conaire's.
was one of Conaire's tabus, and that plunder should be taken in Ireland
during his reign was another
tabu of his.
There was a good
warrior in the north country, "Wain
over withered sticks," this was his name. Why he was so called was because he
used to go over his opponent even as a wain would go over withered sticks. Now
plunder was taken by him, and
there were five hundred in the body of their
marauders alone, besides underlings.
There was a
valiant trio of the men
of Cualu of Leinster, namely, the three Red Hounds of Cualu, called Cethach and
Clothach and Conall. Now rapine was wrought by them, and twelve score were in
the body of their marauders, and they had a
troop of madmen.
In Conaire's reign a
third of the men of Ireland were reavers. He was of sufficient strength and
power to drive them out of the
land of Erin so as to transfer their
marauding to the other side (Great Britain),
but after this transfer they returned to their country.
When they had
reached the shoulder of the sea, they meet Ingcel the One-eyed and Eiccel and
Tulchinne, three great-grandsons of Conmac of Britain, on the raging of the
A man ungentle, huge,
fearful, uncouth was Ingcel.
A single eye in his head, as broad as an
oxhide, as black as a chafer, with seven pupils therein. Thirteen hundred
were in the body of his marauders. The marauders of the men of Erin were more
numerous than they.
They go for a sea
encounter on the main.
"Ye should not do this," says Ingcel: "do not
break the truth of men (fair play) upon us,
for ye are more in number than I."
"Nought but a combat on
equal terms shall befall thee," say
the reavers of Erin.
"There is somewhat better for you," quoth Ingcel.
"Let us make peace since ye have been cast
out of the land of Erin, and we have
been cast out of the land of Alba and
Britain. Let us make an agreement between us. Come ye and wreak your rapine in
my country, and I will go with you and wreak my rapine in your country
"Who will go on shore to listen? Let some one go," says Ingcel, "who
should have there the three gifts, namely, gift of
hearing, gift of
far sight, and gift of
"I", says Mane
Honeyworded, "have the gift of hearing."
"And I," says Mane
Unslow, "have the gift of far sight and of
"Tis well for you to
go thus," say the reavers: "good is that
Then nine men go on till they were on the Hill of Howth, to know
what they might hear and
"What deemest thou," says
Ingcel, "of that man's reign in the
land of Erin?"
"Good is his
reign," replied Fer rogain. "Since he became
king, no cloud has veiled the sun for the
space of a
day from the middle of
spring to the middle of
autumn. And not a dewdrop
fell from grass till
midday, and wind would not
touch a beast's tail until nones. And in his
reign, from year's end to year's end, no
wolf has attacked aught
save one bullcalf of each byre; and to maintain this
rule there are seven
wolves in hostageship at the sidewall in his
house, and behind this a further security, even Mac-locc, and tis he
that pleads for them in Conaire's house."
reign are the three crowns on Erin, namely,
crown of corn-ears, and crown of
flowers, and crown of
oak mast. In his reign, too,
each man deems the other's voice as melodious as the strings of lutes, because of
the excellence of the law and the
peace and the goodwill prevailing throughout
Erin. May God not bring that man there tonight! Sad is the shortness of his
"This was my luck," says
Ingcel, "that he should be there, and there should be one
Destruction for another. It was
no more grievous to me than it
was to my father and
my mother and my seven
brothers, and the
king, whom I gave up to you before
coming on the transfer of the rapine."
"Tis true, tis true!" say the
evildoers who were along with the reavers.
The reavers make a start from the Strand of Fuirbthe, and bring a stone
for each man to make a cairn; for
this was the distinction which at first the Fians made between a "Destruction" and a "Rout," A pillar-stone they used to plant when
there would be a Rout. A cairn, however, they
used to make when there would be a Destruction.
time, then, they
made a cairn, for it was a
Destruction. Far from the house
was this, that they might not be heard or seen therefrom. For two
causes they built their cairn, namely, first, since this was a
custom in marauding, and, secondly, that they
might find out their losses at the Hostel.
Everyone that would come
safe from it would take his stone from the cairn: thus the stones of those that
were slain would be left, and thence they would know their losses. And this is
what men skilled in story recount,
that for every stone in Cairn Lecca there was one of the
at the Hostel.
Ingcel went to reconnoitre the Hostel with one of the
seven pupils of the single eye which stood
out of his forehead, to fit his eye into the house in order to
king and the youths who were around him
therein. And Ingcel saw them through the wheels of the chariots.
was perceived from the house. He made a
start from it after being perceived. He
went till he reached the reavers in the stead wherein they were.
circle of them was set around another to
hear the tidings - the chiefs of
the reavers being in the very center of the circles. There were Fer ger and Fer gel and
Fer rogel and Fer rogain and Lomna the Buffoon, and Ingcel, of the
seven pupils of the single eye, in the
centre of the circles. And Fer rogain went
to question Ingcel.
THE ROOM OF CORMAC'S NINE
"There I saw three men to the west of Cormac, and three to the
east of him, and three in front of the same man. Thou wouldst deem that the
nine of them had one mother and one
father. They are of the same age, equally goodly, equally beautiful, all alike. Thin rods of
gold in their mantles. Bent
shields of bronze they bear.
Ribbed javelins above them. An ivory-hilted
sword in the hand of each. An unique
feat they have, to wit, each of them takes his sword's point between his two fingers, and they
twirl the swords round their fingers, and the
swords afterwards extend themselves by
THE ROOM OF THE PICTS
"I saw another room there, with a huge trio in
it: three brown, big men: three round heads of hair on them, even,
equally long at nape and forehead.
Three short black cowls about them reaching to their elbows: long hoods were on
the cowls. Three black, huge swords
they had, and three black shields they bore, with three
dark broad green
javelins above them.
Thick as the spit of a caldron was the shaft of
THE ROOM OF THE PIPERS
"There I beheld a room with
nine men in it. Hair fair and yellow was on them: they all are
beautiful. Mantles speckled with colour
they wore, and above them were nine bagpipes, tuned, ornamented. Enough
light in the palace were the ornament on these nine tuned,
ornamented bagpipes that the sight was
THE ROOM OF CONAlRE'S MAJORDOMO
"There I saw a room with one
man in it. Rough cropt hair upon him. Though a sack of crab-apples be hung on
his head, not one of them would fall on
the floor, but every apple would stick on his hair. His ugly
wife was over him in the house. Every
quarrel therein about seat or bed comes to his
decision. Should a needle drop in
the house, its fall would be
heard when he
speaks. Above him is a huge black
tree, like a mill shaft, with its paddles and its cap and its
THE ROOM OF MAC CECHT, CONAIRE'S BATTLE-WARRIOR
"There I beheld another
room with a trio in it, three half-furious nobles: the biggest of them in the middle,
very noisy. . . rock bodied, angry, smiting, dealing strong blows, who beats
nine hundred in battle-conflict. A wooden shield,
dark, covered with iron, a boss thereon,
the depth of a caldron, fit to cook four oxen,
a hollow maw, a great boiling, with four swine
in its mid-maw great. A spear he hath, blue-red, hand-fitting, on its puissant
shaft. An iron point upon it, dark, red,
dripping. Four amply-measured feet between the two points of its edge. Thirty
amply-measured feet in his deadly-striking sword from
dark point to iron hilt. 'Tis a strong
countenance that I see. A swoon from horror almost befell me while staring
at those three. There is nothing stranger. Two hills by a
mountain covered of thorns of a white
thorn tree on a circular board. And
there appears to me somewhat like a slender stream of
water on which the
sun is shining, and its trickle down from it,
and a hide arranged behind it, and a palace
house-post shaped like a great lance above it. A good
weight of a plough-yoke is the shaft that is therein."
THE ROOM OF
CONAIRE'S THREE SONS, OBALL AND OBLIN AND
"There I beheld a room with a trio in it, to wit, three tender
striplings, wearing three silken mantles. In their mantles were three
gold brooches. Three
golden manes were on them. When they
undergo head-cleansing their golden mane
reaches the edge of their haunches. When they raise their eye it raises the
hair so that it is not lower than the tips of their ears, and it is as curly as
a ram's head. Everyone who is in the house spares them, voice and deed and
THE ROOM OF MUNREMAR
SON OF GERRCHENN AND BIRDERG
SON OF RUAN AND MAL
SON OF TELBAND
"I beheld a room there, with a trio in it. Three
brown, big men, with three brown heads of short hair. Thick calves they had. As
thick as a man's waist was each of
their limbs. Three brown and curled masses of hair upon them, with a thick
head: three cloaks, red and speckled, they wore: three black shields with clasps of
three five-barbed javelins; and each had in
hand an ivory-hilted sword. This is
the feat they perform with their swords: they throw them high up, and they
throw the scabbards after them, and the swords, before reaching the
ground, place themselves in the
scabbards. Then they throw the scabbards first, and, the swords after them, and
the scabbards meet the swords and place themselves round them before they reach
THE ROOM OF CONALL CERNACH
"There I beheld in a
decorated room the fairest man of Erin's heroes. He
wore a tufted purple cloak. White as snow was one of his cheeks, the other was
red and speckled like foxglove. Blue as
hyacinth was one of his eyes,
dark as a stag-beetle's back was the other. The bushy head
of fair golden hair upon him was as
large as a reaping-basket, and it touches the edge of his haunches. It is
as curly as a ram's head. If a sackful of
red-shelled nuts were spilt on the crown of
his head, not one of them would fall on
the floor, but remain on the hooks and plaits and daggers of their hair. A
sword in his hand; a
blood-red shield which has been speckled with rivets
of white bronze between plates of gold. A long, heavy, three-ridged
spear: as thick as an outer yoke is the shaft that is in it."
OF CONAIRE HIMSELF
"There I beheld a room, more
beautifully decorated than the other rooms
of the house. A silver curtain
around it, and there were ornaments in the room, I beheld a trio in it. The
outer two of them were, both of them, fair, with their hair and eyelashes; and
they are as bright as snow. A very
lovely blush on the cheek of each of the twain. A tender lad in the midst
between them. The ardor and energy of a king has he and the counsel of a sage. The
mantle I saw around him is even as the mist of Mayday. Diverse are the hue and
semblance each moment shown upon it.
Lovelier is each hue than the other. In front of him in the mantle I beheld a
wheel of gold which reached from his
chin to his navel. The color of his
hair was like the sheen of smelted gold. Of all the
world's forms that I beheld, this is the most
I saw his
glaive down beside him. A forearm's
length of the sword was outside the scabbard. That forearm, a man down in the
front of the house could see a flesh worm by the shadow of the sword ! "
"Rise up, then, ye champions!" says Ingcel, "and get you on to the
With that the reavers march to the Hostel, and made a murmur
while!" says Conaire, "what is this?"
"Champions at the house," says Conal Cernach.
"There are warriors for them
here," answers Conaire.
will be needed tonight," Conall Cernach rejoins.
Then went Lomna Druth
before the host of reavers into the Hostel. The doorkeepers struck off his
head. Then the head was thrice flung into the Hostel, and thrice cast out of
it, as he himself had foretold.
Then Conaire himself sallies out of the
Hostel together with some of his humans, and they
fight a combat with the host of
reavers, and six hundred fell by Conaire before he could get to his arms.
Then the Hostel is thrice set on fire, and thrice
put out from thence: and it was granted that the
Destruction would never have been
wrought had not work of weapons been taken
Thereafter Conaire went to
seek his arms, and he dons his battle
dress, and falls to plying his weapons on the reavers, together with the band
that he had.
Then, after getting his arms, six hundred fell by him in
his first encounter. After this the reavers were
"I have told you," says Fer rogain son of Donn Desa, "that
if the champions of the men of Erin and Alba attack Conaire at the house, the
Destruction will not be wrought
unless Conaire's fury and valour be quelled."
"Short will his
time be," say the wizards along with the
reavers. This was the quelling they brought, a scantness of drink that seized
Thereafter Conaire entered the house, and asked for a drink.
"A drink to me, 0 master Mac cecht!" says Conaire.
Says Mac cecht: "This is not the order that I have hitherto had from
thee, to give thee a drink. There are spencers and cupbearers who bring drink
to thee. The order I have hitherto had from thee is to
protect thee when the champions of
the men of Erin and Alba may be attacking
thee around the Hostel. Thou wilt go safe from them, and no spear shall enter
thy body. Ask a drink of thy spencers and thy cupbearers."
asked a drink of his spencers and his cupbearers who were in the house.
"In the first place there is none," they say; "all the liquids that had
been in the house have been spilt on the fire."
The cupbears found no drink for
him in the Dodder (a river), and the Dodder had flowed through the house.
Then Conaire again asked for a drink. "A drink to me, 0 fosterer, 0 Mac
cecht! 'Tis equal to me what
death I shall go to, for anyhow I shall
Then Mac cecht gave a choice to the champions of valour of the
men of Erin who were in the house, whether they cared to
king or to
seek a drink for him. Conan Cernach
answered this in the house - and cruel
he deemed the contention, and afterwards he had always a feud with Mac cecht.
"Leave the defense of the king
to us," says Conall, "and go thou to seek the drink, for of thee it is
So then Mac cecht fared forth to
seek the drink, and he took Conaire's
son, Le fri flaith, under his armpit, and Conaire's
gold cup, in which an
ox with a bacon-pig would be boiled; and he bore his shield,
his two spears, his sword and he
carried the caldron spit, a spit of iron.
He burst forth upon them, and
in front of the Hostel he dealt nine blows of the iron spit, and at every blow nine reavers fell.
Then he makes a sloping feat of the shield and an edge feat of the sword about
his head, and he delivered a hostile attack upon them.
Six hundred fell
in his first encounter, and after cutting down hundreds he goes through the
Conall Cernach arises, and takes his weapons, and wends
over the door of the Hostel, and goes round the house. Three hundred fell by
him, and he hurls back the reavers over three ridges out from the Hostel, and
boasts of triumph over the
king, and returns,
wounded, into the Hostel.
Condlongas sallies out, and his nine comrades with him, and they deliver their
onsets on the reavers. Nine enneads fall by Cormac and nine enneads by his
humans, and a man for each weapon and a man for each man. And Cormac boasts of
the death of a chief of the reavers. They succeed in escaping though they be
The trio of Picts sally
forth from the Hostel, and take to plying their weapons on the reavers. And nine enneads
fall by them, and they
chance to escape though they be
The nine pipers sally
forth and dash their warlike work on the reavers; and then they
succeed in escaping.
The folk of
the Hostel came forth in order, and fought their combats with the reavers, and
fell by them, as Fer rogain and Lomna Druth had said to Ingcel, to wit, that
the folk of every room would sally forth still and deliver their combat, and
after that escape.
So that none were left in the Hostel in Conaire's
company save Conall and Sencha and
Now from the vehement ardour and the greatness of the contest
which Conaire had fought, his great drouth of thirst attacked him, and he
perished of a consuming fever, for he got not his drink.
So when the
king died those three sally out of the
Hostel, and deliver a wily stroke of reaving on the reavers, and fare forth
from the Hostel, wounded, broken and maimed.
Touching Mac cecht, however,
he went his way till he reached the Well
of Casair, which was near him in Crlch Cualann; but of
water he found not therein the full of
his cup, that is, Conaire's gold cup
which he had brought in his hand.
morning he had gone round the
chief rivers of Erin, to wit, Bush, Boyne, Bann, Barrow, Neim, Luae, Laigdae,
Shannon, Suir, Sligo, Samair, Find, Ruirthech, Slaney, and in them he found not
the full of his cup of water.
Then before morning he
had travelled to the chief lakes of Erin, to wit, Lough Derg, Loch Luimnig,
Lough Foyle, Lough Mask, Lough Corrib, Loch Laig, Loch Cuan, Lough Neagh,
Morloch, and of water he found not,
therein the full of his cup of water.
He went his way till he reached
Uaran Garad on Magh Ai. It could not hide itself from him: so he brought
thereout the full of his cup of water,
and the boy fell under his covering.
After this he went on and reached Da Derga's Hostel before
When Mac cecht
went across the third ridge towards the house, tis there the two stood striking
off Conaire's head. Then Mac cecht strikes off the head of one of the two men
who were beheading Conaire. The other man then was fleeing forth with the
A pillar stone
chanced to be under Mac cecht's feet on the floor of the Hostel. He hurls it at
the man who had Conaire's head and drove it through his
spine, so that his back broke. After
this Mac cecht beheads him. Mac cecht then spilt the cup of
water into Conaire's gullet and neck.
Then said Conaire's head, after the water had been put into its neck and
"A good man Mac cecht! An
excellent man Mac cecht! A good
good within, He gives a drink, he saves a
king, he doth a deed. Well he ended the
champions I found. He sent a flagstone on the
warriors. Well he hewed by the door
of the Hostel. Good should I be to
far-renowned Mac cecht if I were alive. A
After this Mac cecht
followed the routed foe. Hardly a
fugitive escaped to tell the tidings to the
champions who had been at the house.
Where there had been five
thousand, only one set of five escaped, namely Ingcel, and his two brothers
Echell and Tulchinne, the "Yearling of the Reavers"- three great-grandsons of
Conmac, and the two Reds of Roiriu who had been the first to
went into Alba, and became king after
his father, since he had taken home
triumph over a
king of another country.
when Mac cecht was lying wounded on the
battlefield, at the end of the third day, he saw a woman passing by.
"Come hither, 0 woman!" says Mac cecht.
"I dare not go thus,"
says the woman, "for horror and
fear of thee."
"There was a
time when had this, 0 woman, even
me on some one. But now thou shouldst
fear nothing. I accept thee on the
truth of my honour and my safeguard."
woman goes to him.
not," says he, "whether it is a fly or a
gnat, or an ant
that nips me in the wound."
happened that it was a hairy wolf that was
there, as far as its two shoulders in the wound! The woman seized it by the tail, and
dragged it out of the wound, and it takes
the full of its jaws out of him.
"Truly," says the woman, "this is an
ant of ancient land."
Mac cecht "I swear to God what my people swear, I deemed it no bigger than a
fly, or a gnat,
or an ant."
And Mac cecht took the
wolf by the throat, and struck it a blow on the
forehead, and killed it with a single blow.
Then Le fri flaith, son of Conaire, died under Mac cecht's armpit, for
heat and sweat had
cecht, having cleansed the slaughter, at the end of the third
day, set forth, and he dragged Conaire
with him on his back, and buried him at Tara. Then Mac cecht departed into
Connaught, to his own country, that he might work his cure in Mag Brengair.
Wherefore the name clave to the
plain from Mac cecht's misery, that is, Mag Bren-guir.
Cernach escaped from the Hostel, and thrice fifty spears had gone through the arm which upheld his
shield. He fared forth till he reached his father's house, with half his shield in his
hand, and his sword, and the
fragments of his two spears.
Then he found his father before his garth in Taltiu.
"Swift are the
wolves that have hunted thee, my son," saith
"Tis this that has wounded us, thou old hero, an evil
warriors," Conall Cernach replied.
"Hast thou then news of Da
Derga's Hostel?" asked Amorgin. "Is thy lord alive?"
"He is not
alive," says Conall.
"I swear to God what the great
tribes of Ulaid swear, it is cowardly for
the man who went thereout alive, having left
his lord with his foes in death."
"My wounds are not white, thou old
hero," says Conall. He shows him his shield-arm,
whereon were thrice fifty wounds; this is
what was inflicted upon it. The shield that
guarded it is what saved it. But the right arm had been played upon, as far as
two thirds thereof, since the shield had not been guarding it. That arm was
mangled and maimed and wounded and
pierced, save that the sinews kept it
to the body without
"That arm fought
tonight, my son," says Amorgein.
"True is that, thou old hero," says Conall Cernach.
"Many there are
unto whom it gave drinks of death
tonight in front of the Hostel."
Now as to the reavers, every one of
them that escaped from the Hostel went to the cairn which they had built on the
night before last, and they brought
thereout a stone for each man not mortally wounded. So this is what they
lost by death at the Hostel, a man for every
stone that is (now) in Cairn Lecca.
back to stacks
This web site is not a commercial web site and
is presented for educational purposes only.
This website defines a new
perspective with which to engage reality to which its author adheres. The
author feels that the falsification of reality outside personal experience has
created a populace unable to discern propaganda from reality and that this has
been done purposefully by an international corporate cartel through their
agents who wish to foist a corrupt version of reality on the human race.
Religious intolerance occurs when any group refuses to tolerate religious
practices, religious beliefs or persons due to their religious ideology. This
web site marks the founding of a system of philosophy named The Truth of the
Way of Life - a rational gnostic mystery religion based on reason which
requires no leap of faith, accepts no tithes, has no supreme leader, no church
buildings and in which each and every individual is encouraged to develop a
personal relation with the Creator and Sustainer through the pursuit of the
knowledge of reality in the hope of curing the spiritual corruption that has
enveloped the human spirit. The tenets of The Truth of the Way of Life are
spelled out in detail on this web site by the author. Violent acts against
individuals due to their religious beliefs in America is considered a
This web site in no way condones violence. To the
contrary the intent here is to reduce the violence that is already occurring
due to the international corporate cartels desire to control the human race.
The international corporate cartel already controls the world central banking
system, mass media worldwide, the global industrial military entertainment
complex and is responsible for the collapse of morals, the elevation of
self-centered behavior and the destruction of global ecosystems. Civilization
is based on cooperation. Cooperation does not occur at the point of a
American social mores and values have declined precipitously over
the last century as the corrupt international cartel has garnered more and more
power. This power rests in the ability to deceive the populace in general
through mass media by pressing emotional buttons which have been preprogrammed
into the population through prior mass media psychological operations. The
results have been the destruction of the family and the destruction of social
structures that do not adhere to the corrupt international elites vision of a
perfect world. Through distraction and coercion the direction of thought of the
bulk of the population has been directed toward solutions proposed by the
corrupt international elite that further consolidates their power and which
further their purposes.
All views and opinions presented on this web
site are the views and opinions of individual human men and women that, through
their writings, showed the capacity for intelligent, reasonable, rational,
insightful and unpopular thought. All factual information presented on this web
site is believed to be true and accurate and is presented as originally
presented in print media which may or may not have originally presented the
facts truthfully. Opinion and thoughts have been adapted, edited, corrected,
redacted, combined, added to, re-edited and re-corrected as nearly all opinion
and thought has been throughout time but has been done so in the spirit of the
original writer with the intent of making his or her thoughts and opinions
clearer and relevant to the reader in the present time.
Fair Use Notice
This site may contain copyrighted material the use of which has
not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making
such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of criminal
justice, human rights, political, economic, democratic,
scientific, and social justice
issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted
material as provided for in section 107 of the United States Copyright Law. In
accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is
distributed without profit to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for
research and educational purposes. For more information see:
www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted
material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you
must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
© Lawrence Turner
All Rights Reserved