In Gaelic mythology, Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba were the three Sons of Tuireann.
In Oidheadh Chlainne Tuireann (The Tragedy of the Sons of Tuireann), the three set out to kill their father's enemy Cian. Cian is the father of Lugh, one of the greatest of the Tuatha Dé Danann. Cian shapeshifts into a pig to disguise himself, but the brothers shapeshift into dogs and hound him. They kill him, dismember his body and try to cover up their crime. In recompense, Lugh makes them quest all around the known world fetching magical weapons, which Lugh plans to use at the Second Battle of Magh Tuireadh. They succeed in obtaining all that Lugh demanded, but return to Ireland badly wounded, pleading for Lugh to heal them; but he refuses.
In at least one version of this tale, Brian is the clever and subtle one, while his brothers Iuchar and Iucharba are bumbling and easily overawed by Brian. This tale of the Sons of Tuireann has sometimes been likened to an Irish Argonautica.
The preparations for the war are said to have lasted seven years. Meanwhile, upon earth, Lugh was sending messengers all over Erin to assemble the Tuatha Dé
Danann. Upon this errand went Lugh's father
Cian, who seems to have been a kind of lesser solar
deity, son of Diancecht, the god of medicine. As
Cian was going over the plain of Muirthemne, he
saw three armed warriors approaching him, and,
when they got nearer, he recognized them as the
three sons of Tuirenn, son of Ogma, whose names
were Brian, luchar, and lucharba. Between these
three and Cian, with his brothers Cethé and Cu,
there was, for some reason, a private enmity. Cian
saw that he was now at a disadvantage. "If my
brothers were with me," he said to himself, "what a
fight we would make ; but, as I am alone, it will be
best for me to conceal myself" Looking round, he
saw a herd of pigs feeding on the plain. Like all
the gods, he had the faculty of shape-shifting; so,
striking himself with a magic wand, he changed himself into a pig, joined the herd, and began feeding
But he had been seen by the sons of Tuirenn. "What has become of the warrior who was walking on the plain a moment ago?" said Brian to his brothers. "We saw him then," they replied, "but we do not know where he is now." "Then you have not used the proper vigilance which is needed in time of war," said the elder brother. "However, I know what has become of him. He has struck himself with a druidical wand, and changed himself into a pig, and there he is, in that herd, rooting up the ground, just like all the other pigs. I can also tell you who he is. His name is Cian, and you know that he is no friend of ours."
"It is a pity that he has taken refuge among the pigs," they replied, "for they belong to some one of the Tuatha Dé Danann, and, even If we were to kill them all, Cian might still escape us."
Again Brian reproached his brothers. "You are very ignorant," he said, "if you cannot distinguish a magical beast from a natural beast. However, I will show you." And thereupon he struck his two brothers with his own wand of shape-changing, and turned them into two swift, slender hounds, and set them upon the pigs.
The magic hounds soon found the magic pig, and drove it out of the herd on to the open plain. Then Brian threw his spear, and hit it. The wounded pig came to a stop. "It was an evil deed of yours, casting that spear," it cried, in a human voice, "for I am not a pig, but Cian, son of Diancecht. So give me quarter."
luchar and lucharba would have granted it, and let him go; but their fiercer brother swore that Cian should be put an end to, even if he came back to life seven times. So Cian tried a fresh ruse. "Give me leave", he asked, " only to return to my own shape before you slay me." "Gladly," replied Brian, "for I would much rather kill a man than a pig."
So Cian spoke the befitting spell, cast off his pig's disguise, and stood before them in his own shape. "You will be obliged to spare my life now," he said. "We will not," replied Brian. "Then it will be the worst day's work for all of you that you ever did in your lives," he answered; "for, if you had killed me in the shape of a pig, you would only have had to pay the value of a pig, but if you kill me now, I tell you that there never has been, and there never will be, anyone killed in this world for whose death a greater blood-fine will be exacted than for mine."
But the sons of Tuirenn would not listen to him. They slew him, and pounded his body with stones until it was a crushed mass. Six times they tried to bury him, and the earth cast him back in horror; but, the seventh time, the mould held him, and they put stones upon him to keep him down. They left him buried there, and went to Tara.
Meanwhile Lugh had been expecting his father's return. As he did not come, he determined to go and look for him. He traced him to the Plain of Muirthemne, and there he was at fault. But the indignant earth itself, which had witnessed the murder, spoke to Lugh, and told him everything. So Lugh dug up his father's corpse, and made certain how he had come to his death; then he mourned over him, and laid him back in the earth, and heaped a barrow over him, and set up a pillar with his name on it in "ogam".
He went back to Tara, and entered the great hall. It was filled with the people of the goddess Danu, and among them Lugh saw the three sons of Tuirenn. So he shook the "chiefs' chain", with which the Gaels used to ask for a hearing in an assembly, and when all were silent, he said:
"People of the goddess Danu, I ask you a question. What would be the vengeance that any of you would take upon one who had murdered his father."
A great astonishment fell upon them, and Nuada, their king, said: "Surely it is not your father that has been murdered?"
"It is," replied Lugh. "And I am looking at those who murdered him; and they know how they did it better than I do."
"Then Nuada declared that nothing short of hewing the murderer of his father limb from limb would satisfy him, and all the others said the same, including the sons of Tuirenn.
"The very ones who did the deed say that," cried Lugh. "Then let them not leave the hall till they have settled with me about the blood-fine to be paid for it."
"If it was I who had killed your father," said the king, "I should think myself lucky if you were willing to accept a fine instead of vengeance."
The sons of Tuirenn took counsel together in whispers. luchar and lucharba were in favour of admitting their guilt, but Brian was afraid that, if they confessed, Lugh would withdraw his offer to accept a fine, and would demand their deaths. So he stood out, and said that, though it was not they who had killed Cian, yet, sooner than remain under Lugh's anger, as he suspected them, they would pay the same fine as if they had.
"Certainly you shall pay the fine," said Lugh, "and I will tell you what it shall be. It is this: three apples; and a pig's-skin; and a spear; and two horses and a chariot; and seven pigs; and a hound-whelp; and a cooking-spit; and three shouts on a hill : that is the fine, and, if you think it is too much, I will remit some of it, but, if you do not think it is too much, then pay it."
"If it were a hundred times that," replied Brian, "we should not think it too much. Indeed, it seems so little that I fear there must be some treachery concealed in it."
"I do not think it too little," replied Lugh. "Give me your pledge before the people of the goddess Danu that you will pay it faithfully, and I will give you mine that I will ask no more."
So the sons of Tuirenn bound themselves before the Tuatha Dé Danann to pay the fine to Lugh.
When they had sworn, and given sureties, Lugh turned to them again. "I will now", he said, "explain to you the nature of the fine you have pledged yourselves to pay me, so that you may know whether it is too little or not." And, with foreboding hearts, the sons of Tuirenn set themselves to listen.
"The three apples that I have demanded,"he began, "are three apples from the Garden of the Hesperides, in the east of the world. You will know them by three signs. They are the size of the head of a month-old child, they are of the colour of burnished gold, and they taste of honey. Wounds are healed and diseases cured by eating them, and they do not diminish in any way by being eaten. Whoever casts one of them hits anything he wishes, and then it comes back into his hand. I will accept no other apples instead of these. Their owners keep them perpetually guarded because of a prophecy that three young warriors from the west of the world will come to take them by force, and, brave as you may be, I do not think that you will ever get them.
"The pigs-skin that I have demanded is the pigs-skin of Tuis, King of Greece. It has two virtues: its touch perfectly cures all wounded or sick persons if only there is any life still left in them; and every stream of water through which it passes is turned into wine for nine days. I do not think that you will get it from the King of Greece, either with his consent or without it.
"And can you guess what spear it is that I have demanded?" asked Lugh. "We cannot,"they said. "It is the poisoned spear of Pisear, King of Persia; it is irresistible in battle; it is so fiery that its blade must always be held under water, lest it destroy the city in which it is kept. You will find it very difficult to obtain.
"And the two horses and the chariot are the two wonderful horses of Dobhar, King of Sicily, which run equally well over land and sea; there are no other horses in the world like them, and no other vehicle equal to the chariot.
"And the seven pigs are the pigs of Easal, King of the Golden Pillars; though they may be killed every night, they are found alive again the next day, and every person that eats part of them can never be afflicted with any disease.
"And the hound-whelp I claim is the hound-whelp of the King of loruaidhe; her name is Failinis; every wild beast she sees she catches at once. It will not be easy for you to secure her.
"The cooking-spit which you must get for me is one of the cooking-spits of the women of the Island of Fianchuivé, which is at the bottom of the sea, between Erin and Alba.
"You have also pledged yourselves to give three shouts upon a hill. The hill upon which they must be given is the hill called Cnoc Miodhchaoin in the north of Lochlann. Miodhchaoin and his sons do not allow shouts to be given on that hill ; besides this, it was they who gave my father his military education, and, even if I were to forgive you, they would not ; so that, though you achieve all the other adventures, I think that you will fail in this one.
" Now you know what sort of a fine it is that you have bargained to pay me," said Lugh.
And fear and astonishment fell upon the sons of Tuirenn.
This tale is evidently the work of some ancient Irish story-teller who wished to compile from various sources a more or less complete account of how the Gaelic gods obtained their legendary possessions. The spear of Pisear, King of Persia, is obviously the same weapon as the lance of Lugh, which another tradition describes as having been brought by the Tuatha Dé Danann from their original home in the city of Gorias; Failinis, the whelp of the King of loruaidhe, is Lugh's "hound of mightiest deeds", which was irresistible in battle, and which turned any running water it bathed in into wine, a property here transferred to the magic pig's-skin of King Tuis: the seven swine of the King of the Golden Pillars must be the same undying porkers from whose flesh Manannán mac Lir made the "Feast of Age " which preserved the eternal youth of the gods; it was with horses and chariot that ran along the surface of the sea that Manannán used to journey to and fro between Erin and the Celtic Elysium in the West; the apples that grew in the Garden of the Hesperides were surely of the same celestial growth as those that fed the inhabitants of that immortal country; while the cooking- spit reminds us of three such implements at Tara, made by Goibniu and associated with the names of the Dagda and the Morrigú.
The burden of collecting all these treasures was placed upon the shoulders of the three sons of Tuirenn.
They consulted together, and agreed that they could never hope to succeed unless they had Manannán's magic horse, "Splendid Mane", and Manannán's magic coracle, "Wave -sweeper". But both these had been lent by Manannán to Lugh himself So the sons of Tuirenn were obliged to humble themselves to beg them from Lugh. The sun-god would not lend them the horse, for fear of making their task too easy, but he let them have the boat, because he knew how much the spear of Pisear and the horses of Dobhar would be needed in the coming war with the Fomors. They bade farewell to their father, and went down to the shore and put out to sea, taking their sister with them.
"Which portion of the fine shall we seek first?" said the others to Brian. "We will seek them in the order in which they were demanded," he replied. So they directed the magic boat to sail to the Garden of the Hesperides, and presently they arrived there.
They landed at a harbour, and held a council of war. It was decided that their best chance of obtaining three of the apples would be by taking the shapes of hawks. Thus they would have strength enough in their claws to carry the apples away, together with sufficient quickness upon the wing to hope to escape the arrows, darts, and sling-stones which would be shot and hurled at them by the warders of the garden.
They swooped down upon the orchard from above. It was done so swiftly that they carried off the three apples, unhit either by shaft or stone. But their difficulties were not yet over. The king of the country had three daughters who were well skilled in witchcraft. By sorcery they changed themselves into three ospreys, and pursued the three hawks. But the sons of Tuirenn reached the shore first, and, changing themselves into swans, dived into the sea. They came up close to their coracle, and got into it, and sailed swiftly away with the spoil.
Thus their first quest was finished, and they voyaged on to Greece, to seek the pig's-skin of King Tuis. No one could go without some excuse into a king's court, so they decided to disguise themselves as poets, and to tell the door-keeper that they were professional bards from Erin, seeking largess at the hands of kings. The porter let them into the great hall, where the poets of Greece were singing before the king.
When those had all finished, Brian rose, and asked permission to show his art. This was accorded; and he sang:
"O Tuis, we conceal not thy fame.
We praise thee as the oak above the kings;
The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness!
This is the reward which I ask for it.
"A stormy host and raging sea
Are a dangerous power, should one oppose it.
The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness!
This is the reward I ask, O Tuis."
"That is a good poem," said the king, "only I do not understand it."
"I will explain it," said Brian. "'We praise thee as the oak above the kings'; this means that, as the oak excels all other trees, so do you excel all other kings in nobility and generosity. 'The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness;' that is a pig's-skin which you have, O Tuis, and which I should like to receive as the reward of my poem. 'A stormy host and raging sea are a dangerous power, should one oppose it'; this means to say, that we are not used to going without anything on which we have set our hearts, O Tuis."
"I should have liked your poem better," replied the king, "if my pig's-skin had not been mentioned in it. It was not a wise thing for you to have done, O poet. But I will measure three fills of red gold out of the skin, and you shall have those."
"May all good be thine, O King!" answered Brian. "I knew that I should get a noble reward."
So the king sent for the pig's-skin to measure out the gold with. But, as soon as Brian saw it, he seized it with his left hand, and slew the man who was holding it, and luchar and lucharba also hacked about them ; and they cut their way down to the boat, leaving the King of Greece among the dead behind them.
"And now we will go and get King Pisear's spear," said Brian. So, leaving Greece, they sailed in their coracle to Persia.
Their plan of disguising themselves as poets had served them so well that they decided to make use of it again. So they went into the King of Persia's hall in the same way as they had entered that of the King of Greece. Brian first listened to the poets of Persia singing ; then he sang his own song:
"Small the esteem of any spear with Pisear;
The battles of foes are broken;
No oppression to Pisear;
Everyone whom he wounds.
"A yew-tree, the finest of the wood.
It is called King without opposition.
May that splendid shaft drive on
Yon crowd into their wounds of death."
"That is a good poem, O man of Erin," said the king, *'but why is my spear mentioned in it?"
"The meaning is this," replied Brian: "I should like to receive that spear as a reward for my poem."
"You make a rash request," said the king. "If I spare your life after having heard it, it will be a sufficient reward for your poem."
Brian had one of the magic apples in his hand, and he remembered its boomerang-like quality. He hurled it full in the King of Persia's face, dashing out his brains. The Persians flew to arms, but the three sons of Tuirenn conquered them, and made them yield up the spear.
They had now to travel to Sicily, to obtain the horses and chariot of King Dobhar. But they were afraid to go as poets this time, for fear the fame of their deeds might have got abroad. They therefore decided to pretend to be mercenary soldiers from Erin, and offer the King of Sicily their service. This, they thought, would be the easiest way of finding out where the horses and the chariot were kept. So they went and stood on the green before the royal court.
When the King of Sicily heard that there had come mercenaries from Erin, seeking wages from the kings of the world, he invited them to take service with him. They agreed; but, though they stayed with him a fortnight and a month, they never saw the horses, or even found out where they were kept. So they went to the king, and announced that they wished to leave him.
"Why?" he asked, for he did not want them to go.
"We will tell you, O King!" replied Brian. " It is because we have not been honoured with your confidence, as we have been accustomed with other kings. You have two horses and a chariot, the best in the world, and we have not even been allowed to see them."
"I would have shown them to you on the first day if you had asked me," said the king; "and you shall see them at once, for I have seldom had warriors with me so good as you are, and I do not wish you to leave me."
So he sent for the steeds, and had them yoked to the chariot, and the sons of Tuirenn were witnesses of their marvellous speed, and how they could run equally well over land or water.
Brian made a sign to his brothers, and they watched their opportunity carefully, and, as the chariot passed close beside them, Brian leaped into it, hurling its driver over the side. Then, turning the horses, he struck King Dobhar with Pisear s spear, and killed him. He took his two brothers up into the chariot and they drove away.
By the time the sons of Tuirenn reached the country of Easal, King of the Pillars of Gold, rumour had gone before them. The king came down to the harbour to meet them, and asked them if it were really true that so many kings had fallen at their hands. They replied that it was true, but that they had no quarrel with any of them; only they must obtain at all costs the fine demanded by Lugh. Then Easal asked them why they had come to his land, and they told him that they needed his seven pigs to add to the tribute. So Easal thought it better to give them up, and to make friends with the three sons of Tuirenn, than to fight with such warriors. The sons of Tuirenn were very glad at this, for they were growing weary of battles.
It happened that the King of loruaidhe, who had the hound-whelp that Lugh had demanded, was the husband of King Easal's daughter. Therefore King Easal did not wish that there should be fighting between him and the three sons of Tuirenn. He proposed to Brian and his brothers that he should sail with them to loruaidhe, and try to persuade the king of the country to give up the hound-whelp peacefully. They consented, and all set foot safely on the "delightful, wonderful shores of loruaidhe", as the manuscript calls them. But King Easal's son-in-law would not listen to reason. He assembled his warriors, and fought; but the sons of Tuirenn defeated them, and compelled their king to yield up the hound-whelp as the ransom for his life.
All these quests had been upon the earth, but the next was harder. No coracle, not even Manannán's "Wave-sweeper", could penetrate to the Island of Fianchuivé, in the depths of the sea that severs Erin from Alba. So Brian left his brothers, and put on his "water-dress, with his transparency of glass upon his head" — evidently an ancient Irish anticipation of the modern diver's dress. Thus equipped, he explored the bottom of the sea for fourteen days before he found the island. But when at last he reached it, and entered the hall of its queen, she and her sea-maidens were so amazed at Brian's hardihood in having penetrated to their kingdom that they presented him with the cooking-spit, and sent him back safe.
By this time, Lugh had found out by his magic arts that the sons of Tuirenn had obtained all the treasures he had demanded as the blood-fine. He desired to get them safely into his own custody before his victims went to give their three shouts upon Miodhchaoin's Hill. He therefore wove a druidical spell round them, so that they forgot the rest of their task altogether, and sailed back to Erin. They searched for Lugh, to give him the things, but he had gone away, leaving word that they were to be handed over to Nuada, the Tuatha Dé Danann king. As soon as they were in safe-keeping, Lugh came back to Tara and found the sons of Tuirenn there. And he said to them:
"Do you not know that it is unlawful to keep back any part of a blood-fine.? So have you given those three shouts upon Miodhchaoin's Hill?"
Then the magic mist of forgetfulness fell from them, and they remembered. Sorrowfully they went back to complete their task.
Miodhchaoin himself was watching for them, and, when he saw them land, he came down to the beach. Brian attacked him, and they fought with the swiftness of two bears and the ferocity of two lions until Miodhchaoin fell.
Then Miodhchaoin's three sons — Core, Conn, and Aedh — came out to avenge their father, and they drove their spears through the bodies of the three sons of Tuirenn. But the three sons of Tuirenn also drove their spears through the bodies of the three sons of Miodhchaoin.
The three sons of Miodhchaoin were killed, and the three sons of Tuirenn were so sorely wounded that birds might have flown through their bodies from one side to the other. Nevertheless Brian was still able to stand upright, and he held his two brothers, one in each hand, and kept them on their feet, and, all together, they gave three faint, feeble shouts.
Their coracle bore them, still living, to Erin. They sent their father Tuirenn as a suppliant to Lugh, begging him to lend them the magic pig's-skin to heal their wounds.
But Lugh would not, for he had counted upon their fight with the sons of Miodhchaoin to avenge his father Cian s death. So the children of Tuirenn resigned themselves to die, and their father made a farewell song over them and over himself, and died with them.
Thus ends that famous tale — "The Fate of the Sons of Tuirenn ", known as one of the "Three Sorrowful Stories of Erin".
The other two are "The Fate of the Children of Lêr" and "The Fate of the Sons of Usnach".
And Lugh of the Long Hand was at that time at Teamhair with the King of Ireland, and it was showed to him that the Fomor were after landing at Eas Dara. And when he knew that, he made ready Manannan's horse, the Aonbharr, at the time of the battle of the day and night; and he went where Nuada the king was, and told him how the Fomor had landed at Eas Dara and had spoiled Bodb Dearg's country; "and it is what I want," he said, "to get help from you to give battle to them." But Nuada was not minded to avenge the destruction that was done on Bodb Dearg and not on himself, and Lugh was not well pleased with his answer, and he went riding out of Teamhair westward. And presently he saw three armed men coming towards him, his own father Cian, with his brothers Cu and Ceithen, that were the three sons of Cainte, and they saluted him. "What is the cause of your early rising?" they said. "It is good cause I have for it," said Lugh, "for the Fomor are come into Ireland and have robbed Bodb Dearg; and what help will you give me against them?" he said.
"Each one of us will keep off a hundred from you in the battle," said they. "That is a good help," said Lugh; "but there is a help I would sooner have from you than that: to gather the Riders of the Sidhe to me from every place where they are."
So Cu and Ceithen went towards the south, and Cian set out northward, and he did not stop till he reached the Plain of Muirthemne. And as he was going across the plain he saw three armed men before him, that were the three sons of Tuireann, son of Ogma. And it is the way it was between the three sons of Tuireann and the three sons of Cainte, they were in hatred and enmity towards one another, so that whenever they met there was sure to be fighting among them.
Then Cian said: "If my two brothers had been here it is a brave fight we would make; but since they are not, it is best for me to fall back." Then he saw a great herd of pigs near him, and he struck himself with a Druid rod that put on him the shape of a pig of the herd, and he began rooting up the ground like the rest.
Then Brian, one of the sons of Tuireann, said to his brothers: "Did you see that armed man that was walking the plain a while ago?" "We did see him," said they. "Do you know what was it took him away?" said Brian. "We do not know that," said they. "It is a pity you not to be keeping a better watch over the plains of the open country in time of war," said Brian; "and I know well what happened him, for he struck himself with his Druid rod into the shape of a pig of these pigs, and he is rooting up the ground now like any one of them; and whoever he is, he is no friend to us." "That is bad for us," said the other two, "for the pigs belong to some one of the Tuatha de Danaan, and even if we kill them all, the Druid pig might chance to escape us in the end."
"It is badly you got your learning in the city of learning," said Brian, "when you cannot tell an enchanted beast from a natural beast." And while he was saying that, he struck his two brothers with his Druid rod, and he turned them into two thin, fast hounds, and they began to yelp sharply on the track of the enchanted pig.
And it was not long before the pig fell out from among the others, and not one of the others made away but only itself, and it made for a wood, and at the edge of the wood Brian gave a cast of his spear that went through its body. And the pig cried out, and it said: "It is a bad thing you have done to have made a cast at me when you knew me." "It seems to me you have the talk of a man," said Brian. "I was a man indeed," said he; "I am Cian, son of Cainte, and give me your protection now." "I swear by the gods of the air," said Brian, "that if the life came back seven times to you, I would take it from you every time." "If that is so," said Cian, "give me one request: let me go into my own shape again." "We will do that," said Brian, "for it is easier to me to kill a man than a pig."
So Cian took his own shape then, and he said: "Give me mercy now." "We will not give it," said Brian. "Well, I have got the better of you for all that," said Cian; "for if it was in the shape of a pig you had killed me there would only be the blood money for a pig on me; but as it is in my own shape you will kill me, there never was and never will be any person killed for whose sake a heavier fine will be paid than for myself. And the arms I am killed with," he said, "it is they will tell the deed to my son."
"It is not with weapons you will be killed, but with the stones lying on the ground," said Brian. And with that they pelted him with stones, fiercely and roughly, till all that was left of him was a poor, miserable, broken heap; and they buried him the depth of a man's body in the earth, and the earth would not receive that murder from them, but cast it up again. Brian said it should go into the earth again, and they put it in the second time, and the second time the earth would not take it. And six times the sons of Tuireann buried the body, and six times it was cast up again; but the seventh time it was put underground the earth kept it. And then they went on to join Lugh of the Long Hand for the battle.
Now as to Lugh; upon parting with his father he went forward from Teamhair westward, to the hills that were called afterwards Gairech and Ilgairech, and to the ford of the Shannon that is now called Athluain, and to Bearna nah-Eadargana, the Gap of Separation, and over Magh Luirg, the Plain of Following, and to Corr Slieve na Seaghsa, the Round Mountain of the Poet's Spring, and to the head of Sean-Slieve, and through the place of the bright-faced Corann, and from that to Magh Mor an Aonaigh, the Great Plain of the Fair, where the Fomor were, and the spoils of Connacht with them.
It is then Bres, son of Elathan, rose up and said: "It is a wonder to me the sun to be rising in the west to-day, and it rising in the east every other day." "It would be better for us it to be the sun," said the Druids. "What else is it?" said he. "It is the shining of the face of Lugh, son of Ethlinn," said they.
Lugh came up to them then and saluted them. "Why do you come like a friend to us?" said they. "There is good cause for that," he said, "for there is but one half of me of the Tuatha de Danaan, and the other half of yourselves. And give me back now the milch cows of the men of Ireland," he said. "May early good luck not come to you till you get either a dry or a milch cow here," said a man of them, and anger on him.
But Lugh stopped near them for three days and three nights, and at the end of that time the Riders of the Sidhe came to him. And Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda, came with twenty-nine hundred men, and he said:
"What is the cause of your delay in giving battle?"
"Waiting for you I was," said Lugh.
Then the kings and chief men of the men of Ireland took their armour on them, and they raised the points of their spears over their heads, and they made close fences of their shields. And they attacked their enemies on Magh Mor an Aonaigh, and their enemies answered them, and they threw their whining spears at one another, and when their spears were broken they drew their swords from their blue-bordered sheaths and began to strike at one another, and thickets of brown flames rose above them from the bitterness of their many-edged weapons.
And Lugh saw the battle pen where Bres, son of Elathan, was, and he made a fierce attack on him and on the men that were guarding him, till he had made an end of two hundred of them.
When Bres saw that, he gave himself up to Lugh's protection. "Give me my life this time," he said, "and I will bring the whole race of the Fomor to fight it out with you in a great battle; and I bind myself to that, by the sun and the moon, the sea and the land," he said.
On that Lugh gave him his life, and then the Druids that were with him asked his protection for themselves. "By my word," said Lugh, "if the whole race of the Fomor went under my protection they would not be destroyed by me." So then Bres and the Druids set out for their own country.
Now as to Lugh and the sons of Tuireann. After the battle of Magh Mor an Aonaigh, he met two of his kinsmen and asked them did they see his father in the fight. "We did not," said they. "I am sure he is not living," said Lugh; "and I give my word," he said, "there will no food or drink go into my mouth till I get knowledge by what death my father died."
Then he set out, and the Riders of the Sidhe after him, till they came to the place where he and his father parted from one another, and from that to the place where his father went into the shape of a pig when he saw the sons of Tuireann.
And when Lugh came to that place the earth spoke to him, and it said: "It is in great danger your father was here, Lugh, when he saw the sons of Tuireann before him, and it is into the shape of a pig he had to go, but it is in his own shape they killed him."
Then Lugh told that to his people, and he found the spot where his father was buried, and he bade them dig there, the way he would know by what death the sons of Tuireann had made an end of him.
Then they raised the body out of the grave and looked at it, and it was all one bed of wounds. And Lugh said: "It was the death of an enemy the sons of Tuireann gave my dear father." And he gave him three kisses, and it is what he said: "It is bad the way I am myself after this death, for I can hear nothing with my ears, and I can see nothing with my eyes, and there is not a living pulse in my heart, with grief after my father. And you gods I worship," he said, "it is a pity I not to have come here the time this thing was done. And it is a great thing that has been done here," he said, "the people of the gods of Dana to have done treachery on one another, and it is long they will be under loss by it and be weakened by it. And Ireland will never be free from trouble from this out, east and west," he said.
Then they put Cian under the earth again, and after that there was keening made over his grave, and a stone was raised on it, and his name was written in Ogham, And Lugh said: "This hill will take its name from Cian, although he himself is stripped and broken. And it was the sons of Tuireann did this thing," he said, "and there will grief and anguish fall on them from it, and on their children after them. And it is no lying story I am telling you," he said; "and it is a pity the way I am, and my heart is broken in my breast since Cian, the brave man, is not living."
Then he bade his people to go before him to Teamhair, "But do not tell the story till I tell it myself," he said.
And when Lugh came to Teamhair he sat in the high seat of the king, and he looked about him and he saw the three sons of Tuireann. And those were the three that were beyond all others at Teamhair at that time for quickness and skill, for a good hand in battle, for beauty and an honourable name.
Then Lugh bade his people to shake the chain of silence, and they did so, and they all listened. And Lugh said: "What are your minds fixed on at this time, Men of Dea?" "On yourself indeed," said they. "I have a question to ask of you," he said. "What is the vengeance each one of you would take on the man that would kill your father?"
There was great wonder on them when they heard that, and one of the chief men among them said: "Tell us was it your own father that was killed?" "It was indeed," said Lugh; "and I see now in this house," he said, "the men that killed him, and they know themselves what way they killed him better than I know it." Then the king said: "It is not a death of one day only I would give the man that had killed my father, if he was in my power, but to cut off one of his limbs from day to day till I would make an end of him." All the chief men said the same, and the sons of Tuireann like the rest.
"There are making that answer," said Lugh, "the three men that killed my father; and let them pay the fine for him now, since you are all together in the one place. And if they will not," he said, "I will not break the protection of the king's house, but they must make no attempt to quit this house till they have settled with me."
"If it was I myself had killed your father," said the king, "I would be well content you to take a fine from me for him."
"It is at us Lugh is saying all this," said the sons of Tuireann among themselves. "Let us acknowledge the killing of his father to him," said Iuchar and Iucharba. "I am in dread," said Brian, "that it is wanting an acknowledgment from us he is, in the presence of all the rest, and that he will not let us off with a fine afterwards." "It is best to acknowledge it," said the others; "and let you speak it out since you are the eldest."
Then Brian, son of Tuireann, said: "It is at us you are speaking, Lugh, for you are thinking we went against the sons of Cainte before now; and we did not kill your father," he said, "but we will pay the fine for him the same as if we did kill him." "I will take a fine from you that you do not think of," said Lugh, "and I will say here what it is, and if it is too much for you, I will let you off a share of it." "Let us hear it from you," said they. "Here it is," said Lugh; "three apples, and the skin of a pig, and a spear, and two horses, and a chariot, and seven pigs, and a dog's whelp, and a cooking-spit, and three shouts on a hill. That is the fine I am asking," he said; "and if it is too much for you, a part of it will be taken off you presently, and if you do not think it too much, then pay it"
"It is not too much," said Brian, "or a hundred times of it would not be too much. And we think it likely," he said, "because of its smallness that you have some treachery towards us behind it." "I do not think it too little of a fine," said Lugh; "and I give you the guarantee of the Tuatha de Danaan I will ask no other thing, and I will be faithful to you, and let you give the same pledge to me." "It is a pity you to ask that," said Brian, "for our own pledge is as good as any pledge in the world." "Your own pledge is not enough," said Lugh, "for it is often the like of you promised to pay a fine in this way, and would try to back out of it after."
So then the sons of Tuireann bound themselves by the King of Ireland, and by Bodb Dearg, son of the Dagda, and by the chief men of the Tuatha de Danaan, that they would pay that fine to Lugh.
"It would be well for me now," said Lugh, "to give you better knowledge of the fine." "It would be well indeed," said they.
"This is the way of it then," said Lugh. "The three apples I asked of you are the three apples from the Garden in the East of the World, and no other apples will do but these, for they are the most beautiful and have most virtue in them of the apples of the whole world. And it is what they are like, they are of the colour of burned gold, and they are the size of the head of a child a month old, and there is the taste of honey on them, and they do not leave the pain of wounds or the vexation of sickness on any one that eats them, and they do not lessen by being eaten for ever. And the skin I asked of you," he said, "is the pig skin of Tuis, King of Greece, and it heals all the wounds and all the sickness of the world, and whatever danger a man may be in, if it can but overtake the life in him, it will cure him; and it is the way it was with that pig, every stream of water it would go through would be turned into wine to the end of nine days after, and every wound it touched was healed; and it is what the Druids of Greece said, that it is not in itself this virtue was, but in the skin, and they skinned it, and the skin is there ever since. And I think, too, it will not be easy for you to get it, with or without leave."
"And do you know what is the spear I am asking of you?" he said. "We do not," said they. "It is a very deadly spear belonging to the King of Persia, the Luin it is called, and every choice thing is done by it, and its head is kept steeped in a vessel of water, the way it will not burn down the place where it is, and it will be hard to get it. And do you know what two horses and what chariot I am asking of you? They are the chariot and the two wonderful horses of Dobar, King of Siogair, and the sea is the same as land to them, and there are no faster horses than themselves, and there is no chariot equal to that one in shape and in strength.
"And do you know what are the seven pigs I asked of you? They are the pigs of Easal, King of the Golden Pillars; and though they are killed every night, they are found alive again the next day, and there will be no disease or no sickness on any person that will eat a share of them.
"And the whelp I asked of you is Fail-Inis, the whelp belonging to the King of Ioruaidh, the Cold Country. And all the wild beasts of the world would fall down at the sight of her, and she is more beautiful than the sun in his fiery wheels, and it will be hard to get her.
"And the cooking-spit I asked of you is a spit of the spits of the women of Inis Cenn-fhinne, the Island of Caer of the Fair Hair. And the three shouts you are to give on a hill must be given on the Hill of Miochaoin in the north of Lochlann. And Miochaoin and his sons are under bonds not to allow any shouts to be given on that hill; and it was with them my father got his learning, and if I would forgive you his death, they would not forgive you. And if you get through all your other voyages before you reach to them, it is my opinion they themselves will avenge him on you. And that is the fine I have asked of you," said Lugh.
There was silence and darkness on the sons of Tuireann when they heard that. And they went to where their father was, and told him the fine that had been put on them. "It is bad news that is," said Tuireann; "and it is to your death and your destruction you will be going, looking for those things. But for all that, if Lugh himself had a mind to help you, you could work out the fine, and all the men of the world could not do it but by the power of Manannan or of Lugh. Go then and ask the loan of Manannan's horse, the Aonbharr, from Lugh, and if he has any wish to get the fine, he will give it to you; but if he does not wish it he will say the horse is not his, and that he would not give the loan of a loan. Ask him then for the loan of Manannan's curragh, the Scuabtuinne, the Sweeper of the Waves. And he will give that, for he is under bonds not to refuse a second request, and the curragh is better for you than the horse," he said.
So the sons of Tuireann went to where Lugh was, and they saluted him, and they said they could not bring him the fine without his own help, and for that reason it would be well for them to get a loan of the Aonbharr. "I have that horse only on loan myself," said Lugh, "and I will not give a loan of a loan."
"If that is so, give us the loan of Manannan's curragh," said Brian. "I will give that," said Lugh. "What place is it?" said they. "At Brugh na Boinn," said Lugh.
Then they went back again to where Tuireann was, and his daughter Ethne, their sister, with him, and they told him they had got the curragh. "It is not much the better you will be for it," said Tuireann, "although Lugh would like well to get every part of this fine he could make use of before the battle with the Fomor. But he would like yourselves to come to your death looking for it."
Then they went away, and they left Tuireann sorrowful and lamenting, and Ethne went with them to where the curragh was. And Brian got into it, and he said: "There is place but for one other person along with me here." And he began to find fault with its narrowness. "You ought not to be faulting the curragh," said Ethne; "and O my dear brother," she said, "it was a bad thing you did, to kill the father of Lugh of the Long Hand; and whatever harm may come to you from it, it is but just." "Do not say that, Ethne," they said, "for we are in good heart, and we will do brave deeds. And we would sooner be killed a hundred times over," they said, "than to meet with the death of cowards." "My grief," said Ethne, "there is nothing more sorrowful than this, to see you driven out from your own country."
Then the three pushed out their curragh from the beautiful clear-bayed shore of Ireland. "What course shall we take first?" said they. "We will go look for the apples," said Brian, "as they were the first thing we were bade bring. And so we ask of you, curragh of Manannan that is under us, to sail to the Garden in the East of the World."
And the curragh did not neglect that order, but it sailed forward over the green-sided waves and deep places till it came to its harbour in the east of the world.
And then Brian asked his brothers: "What way have you a mind to get into the garden? for I think," he said, "the king's champions and the fighting men of the country are always guarding it, and the king himself is chief over them." "What should we do," said his brothers, "but to make straight at them and attack them, and bring away the apples or fall ourselves, since we cannot escape from these dangers that are before us without meeting our death in some place." "It would be better," said Brian, "the story of our bravery and our craftiness to be told and to live after us, than folly and cowardice to be told of us. And what is best for us to do now," he said, "is to go in the shape of swift hawks into the garden, and the watchers have but their light spears to throw at us, and let you take good care to keep out of their reach; and after they have thrown them all, make a quick flight to the apples and let each of you bring away an apple of them in your claws, and I will bring away the third."
They said that was a good advice, and Brian struck himself and the others with his Druid rod, and changed them into beautiful hawks. And they flew towards the garden, and the watchers took notice of them and shouted on every side of them, and threw showers of spears and darts, but the hawks kept out of their reach as Brian had bade them, till all the spears were spent, and then they swept down bravely on the apples, and brought them away with them, without so much as a wound.
And the news went through the city and the whole district, and the king had three wise, crafty daughters, and they put themselves into the shape of three ospreys, and they followed the hawks to the sea, and sent flashes of lightning before them and after them, that scorched them greatly.
"It is a pity the way we are now," said the sons of Tuireann, "for we will be burned through and through with this lightning if we do not get some relief." "If I can give you relief I will do it," said Brian. With that he struck himself and his brothers with the Druid rod, and they were turned into three swans, and they went down quickly into the sea, and the ospreys went away from them then, and the sons of Tuireann went into their boat.
After that they consulted together, and it is what they agreed, to go to Greece and to bring away the skin of the pig, with or without leave. So they went forward till they came near to the court of the King of Greece.
"What appearance should we put on us going in here?" said Brian. "What appearance should we go in with but our own?" said the others. "That is not what I think best," said Brian; "but to go in with the appearance of poets from Ireland, the way the high people of Greece will hold us in respect and in honour." "It would be hard for us to do that," they said, "and we without a poem, and it is little we know how to make one."
However, they put the poet's tie on their hair, and they knocked at the door of the court, and the door-keeper asked who was in it. "We are poets of Ireland," said Brian, "and we are come with a poem to the king."
The door-keeper went in and told the king that there were poets from Ireland at the door. "Let them in," said the king, "for it is in search of a good man they came so far from their own country." And the king gave orders that everything should be well set out in the court, the way they would say they had seen no place so grand in all their travels.
The sons of Tuireann were let in then, having the appearance of poets, and they fell to drinking and pleasure without delay; and they thought they had never seen, and there was not in the world, a court so good as that or so large a household, or a place where they had met with better treatment.
Then the king's poets got up to give out their poems and songs. And then Brian, son of Tuireann, bade his brothers to say a poem for the king. "We have no poem," said they; "and do not ask any poem of us, but the one we know before, and that is to take what we want by the strength of our hand if we are the strongest, or to fall by those that are against us if they are the strongest." "That is not a good way to make a poem," said Brian. And with that he rose up himself and asked a hearing. And they all listened to him, and it is what he said:
"O Tuis, we do not hide your fame; we praise you as the oak among kings; the skin of a pig, bounty without hardness, this is the reward I ask for it.
"The war of a neighbour against an ear; the fair ear of his neighbour will be against him; he who gives us what he owns, his court will not be the scarcer for it.
"A raging army and a sudden sea are a danger to whoever goes against them. The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness, this is the reward I ask, O Tuis."
"That is a good poem," said the king; "but I do not know a word of its meaning." "I will tell you its meaning," said Brian. "'O Tuis, we do not hide your fame; we praise you as the oak above the kings.' That is, as the oak is beyond the kingly trees of the wood, so are you beyond the kings of the world for open-handedness and for grandeur.
"'The skin of a pig, bounty without hardness.' That is, the skin of a pig you own is what I would wish to get from you as a reward for my poem.
"'The war of a neighbour against an ear, the fair ear of his neighbour will be against him.' That is, you and I will be by the ears about the skin, unless I get it with your consent.
"And that is the meaning of the poem," said Brian.
"I would praise your poem," said the king, "if there was not so much about my pig-skin in it; and you have no good sense, man of poetry," he said, "to be asking that thing of me, and I would not give it to all the poets and the learned men and the great men of the world, since they could not take it away without my consent. But I will give you three times the full of the skin of gold as the price of your poem," he said.
"May good be with you, king," said Brian, "and I know well it was no easy thing I was asking, but I knew I would get a good ransom for it. And I am that covetous," he said, "I will not be satisfied without seeing the gold measured myself into the skin."
The king sent his servants with them then to the treasure-house to measure the gold. "Measure out the full of it to my brothers first," said Brian, "and then give good measure to myself, since it was I made the poem."
But when the skin was brought out, Brian made a quick sudden snatch at it with his left hand, and drew his sword and made a stroke at the man nearest him, and made two halves of him. And then he kept a hold of the skin and put it about himself, and the three of them rushed out of the court, cutting down every armed man before them, so that not one escaped death or wounding. And then Brian went to where the king himself was, and the king made no delay in attacking him, and they made a hard fight of it, and at the end the King of Greece fell by the hand of Brian, son of Tuireann.
The three brothers rested for a while after that, and then they said they would go and look for some other part of the fine. "We will go to Pisear, King of Persia," said Brian, "and ask him for the spear."
So they went into their boat, and they left the blue streams of the coast of Greece, and they said: "We are well off when we have the apples and the skin." And they stopped nowhere till they came to the borders of Persia.
"Let us go to the court with the appearance of poets," said Brian, "the same as we went to the King of Greece." "We are content to do that," said the others, "as all turned out so well the last time we took to poetry; not that it is easy for us to take to a calling that does not belong to us."
So they put the poet's tie on their hair, and they were as well treated as they were at the other court; and when the time came for poems Brian rose up, and it is what he said:
"It is little any spear looks to Pisear; the battles of enemies are broken, it is not too much for Pisear to wound every one of them.
"A yew, the most beautiful of the wood, it is called a king, it is not bulky. May the spear drive on the whole crowd to their wounds of death."
"That is a good poem," said the king, "but I do not understand why my own spear is brought into it, O Man of Poetry from Ireland."
"It is because it is that spear of your own I would wish to get as the reward of my poem," said Brian. "It is little sense you have to be asking that of me," said the king; "and the people of my court never showed greater respect for poetry than now, when they did not put you to death on the spot."
When Brian heard that talk from the king, he thought of the apple that was in his hand, and he made a straight cast and hit him in the forehead, so that his brains were put out at the back of his head, and he bared the sword and made an attack on the people about him. And the other two did not fail to do the same, and they gave him their help bravely till they had made an end of all they met of the people of the court. And then they found the spear, and its head in a cauldron of water, the way it would not set fire to the place.
And after a while they said it was time for them to go and look for the rest of the great fine that was on them, and they asked one another what way should they go. "We will go to the King of the Island of Siogair," said Brian, "for it is with him are the two horses and the chariot the Ildánach asked of us."
They went forward then and brought the spear with them, and it is proud the three champions were after all they had done. And they went on till they were come to the court of the King of Siogair.
"It is what we will do this time," said Brian, "we will go in with the appearance of paid soldiers from Ireland, and we will make friends with the king, the way we will get to know in what place the horses and the chariot are kept." And when they had settled on that they went forward to the lawn before the king's house.
The king and the chief men that were with him rose up and came through the fair that was going on there, and they saluted the king, and he asked who were they. "We are trained fighting men from Ireland," they said, "and we are earning wages from the kings of the world." "Is it your wish to stop with me for a while?" said the king. "That is what we are wanting," said they. So then they made an agreement and took service with him.
They stopped in the court a fortnight and a month, and they never saw the horses through that time. Then Brian said: "This is a bad way we are in, to have no more news of the horses now than the first day we came to the place." "What is best for us to do now?" said his brothers. "Let us do this," said Brian, "let us take our arms and gather our things together, and go to the king and tell him we will leave the country and this part of the world unless he will show us those horses."
So they went to the king that very day, and he asked them what did they mean by getting themselves ready for a journey. "You will hear that, high king," said Brian; "it is because trained fighting men from Ireland, like ourselves, have always trust put in them by the kings they guard, and we are used to be told the secrets and the whispers of any person we are with, and that is not the way you have treated us since we came to you. For you have two horses and a chariot that are the best in the world, as we have been told, and we have not been given a sight of them yet." "It would be a pity you to go on that account," said the king, "when I would have showed them to you the first day, if I had known you had a wish to see them. And if you have a mind to see them now," he said, "you may see them; for I think there never came soldiers from Ireland to this place that were thought more of by myself and by my people than yourselves."
He sent for the horses then, and they were yoked to the chariot, and their going was as fast as the cold spring wind, and the sea was the same as the land to them.
And Brian was watching the horses closely, and on a sudden he took hold of the chariot and took the chariot driver out and dashed him against the nearest rock, and made a leap into his place himself, and made a cast of the Persian spear at the king, that went through his heart. And then he and his brothers scattered the people before them, and brought away the chariot.
"We will go now to Easal, the King of the Golden Pillars," said Brian, "to look for the seven pigs the Ildánach bade us bring him."
They sailed on then without delay or drawback to that high country. And it is the way the people of that country were, watching their harbours for fear of the sons of Tuireann, for the story of them had been told in all parts, how they had been sent out of Ireland by force, and how they were bringing away with them all the gifted treasures of the whole world.
Easal came to the edge of the harbour to meet them, and he asked was it true what he heard, that the king of every country they had gone to had fallen by them. Brian said it was true, whatever he might wish to do to them for it. "What was it made you do that?" said Easal. Brian told him then it was the oppression and the hard sentence of another had put them to it; and he told him all that had happened, and how they had put down all that offered to stand against them until that time.
"What did you come to this country now for?" said the king. "For the pigs belonging to yourself," said Brian; "for to bring them away with us is a part of the fine." "What way do you think to get them?" said the king. "If we get them with good-will," said Brian, "we are ready to take them thankfully; and if we do not, we are ready to do battle with yourself and your people on the head of them, that you may fall by us, and we may bring away the pigs in spite of you." "If that is to be the end of it," said the king, "it would be a pity to bring my people into a battle." "It would be a pity indeed," said Brian.
Then the king whispered and took advice with his people about the matter, and it is what they agreed, to give up the pigs of their own free will to the sons of Tuireann, since they could not see that any one had been able to stand against them up to that time.
Then the sons of Tuireann gave their thanks to Easal, and there was wonder on them to have got the pigs like that, when they had to fight for every other part of the fine. And more than that, they had left a share of their blood in every other place till then.
Easal brought them to his own house that night, and they were served with food, and drink, and good beds, and all they could wish for. And they rose up on the morrow and came into the king's presence, and the pigs were given to them. "It is well you have done by us, giving us these pigs," said Brian, "for we did not get any share of the fine without fighting but these alone." And he made a poem for the king then, praising him, and putting a great name on him for what he had done.
"What journey are you going to make now, sons of Tuireann?" said Easal. "We are going," they said, "to the country of Ioruaidh, on account of a whelp that is there." "Give me one request," said Easal, "and that is to bring me with you to the King of Ioruaidh, for a daughter of mine is his wife, and I would wish to persuade him to give you the whelp without a battle." "That will please us well," they said.
So the king's ship was made ready, and we have no knowledge of what happened till they came to the delightful, wonderful coast of Ioruaidh. The people and the armies were watching the harbours and landing-places before them, and they knew them at once and shouted at them.
Then Easal went on shore peaceably, and he went to where his son-in-law, the king, was, and told him the story of the sons of Tuireann from beginning to end. "What has brought them to this country?" said the King of Ioruaidh. "To ask for the hound you have," said Easal. "It was a bad thought you had coming with them to ask it," said the king, "for the gods have not given that much luck to any three champions in the world, that they would get my hound by force or by good-will." "It would be better for you to let them have the hound," said Easal, "since they have put down so many of the kings of the world."
But all he could say was only idleness to the king. So he went then to where the sons of Tuireann were, and gave them the whole account. And when they heard the king's answer, they made no delay, but put quick hands on their arms, and offered to give battle to the army of Ioruaidh. And when they met, there was a brave battle fought on both sides. And as for the sons of Tuireann, they began to kill and to strike at the men of Ioruaidh till they parted from one another in the fight, so that Iuchar and Iucharba chanced to be on one side, and Brian by himself on the other side. It was a gap of danger and a breaking of ranks was before Brian in every path he took, till he came to the King of Ioruaidh in the battle pen where he was. And then the two brave champions began a fierce fight together, and they did not spare one another in it. And at the last Brian overcame the king, and bound him, and brought him through the middle of the army, till he came to the place where Easal was, and it is what he said: "There is your son-in-law for you, and I swear by my hand of valour, I would think it easier to kill him three times than to bring him to you once like this."
So then the whelp was given to the sons of Tuireann, and the king was unbound, and peace was made between them. And when they had brought all this to an end, they bade farewell to Easal and to all the rest.
Now as to Lugh of the Long Hand, it was showed to him that the sons of Tuireann had got all the things that were wanting to him against the battle with the Fomor; and on that he sent a Druid spell after them to put forgetfulness on them of the rest of the fine that they had not got. And he put a great desire and longing on them to go back to Ireland; so they forgot that a part of the fine was wanting to them, and they turned back again toward home.
And it is the place where Lugh was at the time, at a gathering of the people for a fair on the green outside Teamhair, and the King of Ireland along with him. And it was made known to Lugh that the sons of Tuireann were landed at Brugh na Boinn. And he went into the city of Teamhair, and shut the gate after him, and he put on Manannan's smooth armour, and the cloak, of the daughters of Flidais, and he took his own arms in his hand.
And the sons of Tuireann came where the king was, and they were made welcome by him and by the Tuatha de Danaan. And the king asked them did they get the fine. "We did get it," said they; "and where is Lugh till we give it to him?" "He was here a while ago," said the king. And the whole fair was searched for him, but he was not found.
"I know the place where he is," said Brian; "for it has been made known to him that we are come to Ireland, and these deadly arms with us, and he is gone into Teamhair to avoid us."
Messengers were sent to him then, and it is the answer he gave them that he would not come, but that the fine should be given to the king.
So the sons of Tuireann did that, and when the king had taken the fine they all went to the palace in Teamhair; and Lugh came out on the lawn and the fine was given to him, and it is what he said: "There is a good payment here for any one that ever was killed or that ever will be killed. But there is something wanting to it yet that it is not lawful to leave out. And where is the cooking-spit?" he said; "and where are the three shouts on the hill that you did not give yet?"
And when the sons of Tuireann heard that there came clouds of weakness on them. And they left the place and went to their father's house that night, and they told him all they had done, and the way Lugh had treated them.
There was grief and darkness on Tuireann then, and they spent the night together. And on the morrow they went to their ship, and Ethne, their sister, with them, and she was crying and lamenting, and it is what she said:
"It is a pity, Brian of my life, it is not to Teamhair your going is, after all the troubles you have had before this, even if I could not follow you.
"O Salmon of the dumb Boinn, O Salmon of the Lifé River, since I cannot keep you here I am loath to part from you.
"O Rider of the Wave of Tuaidh, the man that stands best in the fight, if you come back again, I think it will not be pleasing to your enemy.
"Is there pity with you for the sons of Tuireann leaning now on their green shields? Their going is a cause for pity, my mind is filled up with it.
"You to be to-night at Beinn Edair till the heavy coming of the morning, you who have taken forfeits from brave men, it is you have increased our grief.
"It is a pity your journey is from Teamhair, and from the pleasant plains, and from great Uisnech of Midhe; there is nothing so pitiful as this."
After that complaint they went out on the rough waves of the green sea; and they were a quarter of a year on the sea without getting any news of the island.
Then Brian put on his water dress and he made a leap, and he was a long time walking in the sea looking for the Island of the Fair-Haired Women, and he found it in the end. And he went looking for the court, and when he came to it, all he found was a troop of women doing needlework and embroidering borders. And among all the other things they had with them, there was the cooking-spit.
And when Brian saw it, he took it up in his hand and he was going to bring it with him to the door. And all the women began laughing when they saw him doing that, and it is what they said: "It is a brave deed you put your hand to; for even if your brothers were along with you, the least of the three times fifty women of us would not let the spit go with you or with them. But for all that," they said, "take a spit of the spits with you, since you had the daring to try and take it in spite of us."
Brian bade them farewell then, and went to look for the boat. And his brothers thought it was too long he was away from them, and just as they were going to leave the place they were, they saw him coming towards them, and that raised their courage greatly.
And he went into the boat, and they went on to look for the Hill of Miochaoin. And when they came there, Miochaoin, that was the guardian of the hill, came towards them; and when Brian saw him he attacked him, and the fight of those two champions was like the fight of two lions, till Miochaoin fell at the last.
And after Miochaoin had fallen, his three sons came out to fight with the three sons of Tuireann. And if any one ever came from the east of the world to look at any fight, it is to see the fight of these champions he had a right to come, for the greatness of their blows and the courage of their minds. The names of the sons of Miochaoin were Core and Conn and Aedh, and they drove their three spears through the bodies of the sons of Tuireann, and that did not discourage them at all and they put their own three spears through the bodies of the sons of Miochaoin, so that they fell into the clouds and the faintness of death.
And then Brian said: "What way are you now, my dear brothers?" "We are near our death," said they. "Let us rise up," he said, "and give three shouts upon the hill, for I see the signs of death coming on us." "We are not able to do that," said they. Then Brian rose up and raised each of them with one hand, and he shedding blood heavily all the time, until they gave the three shouts.
After that Brian brought them with him to the boat, and they were travelling the sea for a long time, but at last Brian said: "I see Beinn Edair and our father's dun, and Teamhair of the Kings." "We would have our fill of health if we could see that," said the others; "and for the love of your good name, brother," they said, "raise up our heads on your breast till we see Ireland again, and life or death will be the same to us after that. And O Brian," they said, "Flame of Valour without treachery, we would sooner death to bring ourselves away, than to see you with wounds upon your body, and with no physician to heal you."
Then they came to Beinn Edair, and from that they went on to their father's house, and Brian said to Tuireann: "Go, dear father, to Teamhair, and give this spit to Lugh, and bring the skin that has healing in it for our relief. Ask it from him for the sake of friendship," he said, "for we are of the one blood, and let him not give hardness for hardness. And O dear father," he said, "do not be long on your journey, or you will not find us alive before you."
Then Tuireann went to Teamhair, and he found Lugh of the Long Hand before him, and he gave him the spit, and he asked the skin of him to heal his children, and Lugh said he would not give it And Tuireann came back to them and told them he had not got the skin. And Brian said: "Bring me with you to Lugh, to see would I get it from him."
So they went to Lugh, and Brian asked the skin of him. And Lugh said he would not give it, and that if they would give him the breadth of the earth in gold for it, he would not take it from them, unless he was sure their death would come on them in satisfaction for the deed they had done.
When Brian heard that, he went to the place his two brothers were, and he lay down between them, and his life went out from him, and out from the other two at the same time.
And their father cried and lamented over his three beautiful sons, that had the making of a king of Ireland in each of them, and his strength left him and he died; and they were buried in the one grave.