THE SICK-BED OF CUCHULAIN
TRANSCRIBED FROM THE LOST YELLOW BOOK OF SLANE
By Maelmuiri mac Ceileachair into the Leabhar na h-Uidhri in the Eleventh Century
EVERY year the men of Ulster were accustomed to hold festival together; and the time when they held it was for three days before Samhain, the Summer-End, and for three days after that day, and upon Samhain itself. And the time that is spoken of is that when the men of Ulster were in the Plain of Murthemne, and there they used to keep that festival every year; nor was there an thing in the world that they would do at that time except sports, and marketings, and splendours, and pomps, and feasting and eating; and it is from that custom of theirs that the Festival of the Samhain has descended, that is now held throughout the whole of Ireland.
Now once upon a time the men of Ulster held festival upon the Murthemne Plain, and the reason that this festival was held was that every man of them should then give account of the combats he had made and of his valour every Summer-End. It was their custom to hold that festival in order to give account of these combats, and the manner in which they gave that account was this: Each man used to cut off the tip of the tongue of a foe whom he had killed, and he bore it with him in a pouch. Moreover, in order to make more great the numbers of their contests, some used to bring with them the tips of the tongues of beasts, and each man publicly declared the fights he had fought, one man of them after the other. And they did this also--they laid their swords over their thighs when they declared the strifes, and their own swords used to turn against them when the strife that they declared was false; nor was this to be wondered at, for at that time it was customary for demon beings to scream from the weapons of men, so that for this cause their weapons might be the more able to guard them.
To that festival then came all the men of Ulster except two alone, and these two were Fergus the son of Róg, and Conall the Victorious. "Let the festival be held!" cried the men of Ulster. "Nay," said Cuchulain, "it shall not be held until Conall and Fergus come," and this he said because Fergus was the foster-father of Cuchulain, and Conall was his comrade. Then said Sencha: "Let us for the present engage in games of chess; and let the Druids sing, and let the jugglers play their feats;" and it was done as he had said.
Now while they were thus employed a flock of birds came down and hovered over the lake; never was seen in Ireland more beautiful birds than these. And a longing that these birds should be given to them seized upon the women who were there; and each of them began to boast of the prowess of her husband at bird-catching. "How I wish," said Ethne Aitencaithrech, Conor's wife, "that I could have two of those birds, one of them upon each of my two shoulders." "It is what we all long for," said the women; and "If any should have this boon, I should be the first one to have it," said Ethne Inguba, the wife of Cuchulain.
"What are we to do now?" said the women. "'Tis easy to answer you," said Leborcham, the daughter of Oa and Adarc; "I will go now with a message from you, and will seek for Cuchulain." She then went to Cuchulain, and "The women of Ulster would be well pleased," she said, "if yonder birds were given to them by thy hand." And Cuchulain made for his sword to unsheathe it against her: "Cannot the lasses of Ulster find any other but us," he said, "to give them their bird-hunt to-day?" "'Tis not seemly for thee to rage thus against them," said Leborcham, "for it is on thy account that the women of Ulster have assumed one of their three blemishes, even the blemish of blindness." For there were three blemishes that the women of Ulster assumed, that of crookedness of gait, and that of a stammering in their speech, and that of blindness. Each of the women who loved Conall the Victorious had assumed a crookedness of gait; each woman who loved Cuscraid Mend, the Stammerer of Macha, Conor's son, stammered in her speech; each woman in like manner who loved Cuchulain had assumed a blindness of her eyes, in order to resemble Cuchulain; for he, when his mind was angry within him, was accustomed to draw in the one of his eyes so far that a crane could not reach it in his head, and would thrust out the other so that it was great as a cauldron in which a calf is cooked.
"Yoke for us the chariot, O Laeg!" said Cuchulain. And Laeg yoked the chariot at that, and Cuchulain went into the chariot, and he cast his sword at the birds with a cast like the cast of a boomerang, so that they with their claws and wings flapped against the water. And they seized upon all the birds, and they gave them and distributed them among the women; nor was there any one of the women, except Ethne alone, who had not a pair of those birds. Then Cuchulain returned to his wife; and "Thou art enraged," said he to her. "I am in no way enraged," answered Ethne, "for I deem it as being by me that the distribution was made. And thou hast done what was fitting," she said, "for there is not one of these woman but loves thee; none in whom thou hast no share; but for myself none hath any share in me except thou alone." "Be not angry," said Cuchulain, "if in the future any birds come to the Plain of Murthemne or to the Boyne, the two birds that are the most beautiful among those that come shall be thine."
A little while after this they saw two birds flying over the lake, linked together by a chain of red gold. They sang a gentle song, and a sleep fell upon all the men who were there; and Cuchulain rose up to pursue the birds. "If thou wilt hearken to me," said Laeg, and so also said Ethne, "thou shalt not go against them; behind those birds is some especial power. Other birds may be taken by thee at some future day." "Is it possible that such claim as this should be made upon me?" said Cuchulain. "Place a stone in my sling, O Laeg!" Laeg thereon took a stone, and he placed it in the sling, and Cuchulain launched the stone at the birds, but the cast missed. "Alas!" said he. He took another stone, and he launched this also at the birds, but the stone flew past them. "Wretched that I am," he cried, "since the very first day that I assumed arms, I have never missed a cast until this day!" And he cast his spear at them, and the spear went through the shield of the wing of one of the birds, and the birds flew away, and went beneath the lake.
After this Cuchulain departed, and he rested his back against a stone pillar, and his soul was angry within him, and a sleep fell upon him. Then saw he two women come to him; the one of them had a green mantle upon her, and upon the other was a purple mantle folded in five folds. And the woman in the green mantle approached him, and she laughed a laugh at him, and she gave him a stroke with a horsewhip. And then the other approached him, and she also laughed at him, and she struck him in the like manner; and for a long time were they thus, each of them in turn coming to him and striking him until he was all but dead; and then they departed from him.
Now the men of Ulster perceived the state in which Cuchulain was in; and they cried out that he should be awakened; but "Nay," said Fergus, "ye shall not move him, for he seeth a vision;" and a little after that Cuchulain came from his sleep. "What hath happened to thee?" said the men of Ulster; but he had no power to bid greeting to them. "Let me be carried," he said, "to the sick-bed that is in Tete Brecc; neither to Dun Imrith, nor yet to Dun Delga." "Wilt thou not be carried to Dun Delga to seek for Emer?" said Laeg. "Nay," said he, "my word is for Tete Brecc;" and thereon they bore him from that place, and he was in Tete Brecc until the end of one year, and during all that time he had speech with no one.
Now upon a certain day before the next Summer-End, at the end of a year, when the men of Ulster were in the house where Cuchulain was, Fergus being at the side-wall, and Conall Cernach at his head, and Lugaid Red-Stripes at his pillow, and Ethne Inguba at his feet; when they were there in this manner, a man came to them, and he seated himself near the entrance of the chamber in which Cuchulain lay. "What hath brought thee here?" said Conall the Victorious. "No hard question to answer," said the man. "If the man who lies yonder were in health, he would be a good protection to all of Ulster; in the weakness and the sickness in which he now is, so much the more great is the protection that they have from him. I have no fear of any of you," he said, "for it is to give to this man a greeting that I come." "Welcome to thee, then, and fear nothing," said the men of Ulster; and the man rose to his feet, and he sang them these staves:
Ah! Cuchulain, who art under sickness still,
Liban, she at swift Labra's right hand who sits,
[1. Pronounced something like Croogh.]
"'If Cuchulain would come to me,' Fand thus told,
"'And if now in my land, as my friend, had been
"'In the Plains of Murthemne, to south that spread,
"Who art thou, then, thyself?" said the men of Ulster. I am Angus, the son of Aed Abra," he answered; and the man then left them, nor did any of them know whence it was he had come, nor whither he went.
Then Cuchulain sat up, and he spoke to them. "Fortunate indeed is this!" said the men of Ulster; "tell us what it is that hath happened to thee." "Upon Samhain night last year," he said, "I indeed saw a vision;" and he told them of all he had seen. "What should now be done, Father Conor?" said Cuchulain. "This hast thou to do," answered Conor, "rise, and go until thou comest to the pillar where thou wert before."
Then Cuchulain went forth until he came to the pillar, and then saw he the woman in the green mantle come to him. "This is good, O Cuchulain!" said she. "'Tis no good thing in my thought," said Cuchulain. "Wherefore camest thou to me last year?" he said. "It was indeed to do no injury to thee that we came," said the woman, "but to seek for thy friendship. I have come to greet thee," she said, "from Fand, the daughter of Aed Abra; her husband, Manannan the Son of the Sea, hath released her, and she hath thereon set her love on thee. My own name is Liban, and I have brought to thee a message from my spouse, Labraid the Swift, the Sword-Wielder,
[1. Pronounced Sooltam.]
that he will give thee the woman in exchange for one day's service to him in battle against Senach the Unearthly, and against Eochaid Juil, and against Yeogan the Stream." "I am in no fit state," he said, "to contend with men to-day." "That will last but a little while," she said; "thou shalt be whole, and all that thou hast lost of thy strength shall be increased to thee. Labraid shall bestow on thee that boon, for he is the best of all warriors that are in the world."
"Where is it that Labraid dwelleth?" asked Cuchulain.
"In Mag Mell, the Plain of Delight," said Liban; "and now I desire to go to another land," said she.
"Let Laeg go with thee," said Cuchulain, "that he may learn of the land from which thou hast come." "Let him come, then," said Liban.
They departed after that, and they went forward until they came to a place where Fand was. And Liban turned to seek for Laeg, and she set him upon her shoulder. "Thou wouldest never go hence, O Laeg!" said Liban, "wert thou not under a woman's protection." "'Tis not a thing that I have most been accustomed to up to this time," said Laeg, "to be under a woman's guard." "Shame, and everlasting shame," said Liban, "that Cuchulain is not where thou art." "It were well for me," answered Laeg, "if it were indeed he who is here."
They passed on then, and went forward until they came opposite to the shore of an island, and there they saw a skiff of bronze lying upon the lake before them. They entered into the skiff, and they crossed over to the island, and came to the palace door, and there they saw the man, and he came towards them. And thus spoke Liban to the man whom they saw there:
Say where He, the Hand-on-Sword,
[1. Pronounced, nearly, Yeo-hay Yool.
2. Pronounced Maw Mel].
And the man replied to her, and spoke thus:
Labra, who of speed is son,
They entered then into the palace, and they saw there thrice fifty couches within the palace, and three times fifty women upon the couches, and the women all bade Laeg welcome, and it was in these words that they addressed him:
Hail! for the guide,
"What wilt thou do now?" said Liban; "wilt thou go on without a delay, and hold speech with Fand?"
"I will go," he answered, "if I may know the place where she is."
Fand is the daughter of Aed Abra; Aed means fire, and he is the fire of the eye: that is, of the eye's pupil: Fand moreover is the name of the tear that runs from the eye; it was on account of the clearness of her beauty that she was so named, for there is nothing else in the world except a tear to which her beauty could be likened.
Now, while they were thus in that place, they heard the rattle of Labraid's chariot as he approached the island. "The spirit of Labraid is gloomy to-day," said Liban, "I will go and greet him." And she went out, and she bade welcome to Labraid, and she spoke as follows:
[1. Pronounced, nearly, Feega.
2. Irish metre approximately imitated in these stanzas.]
Hail! the man who holdeth sword, the swift in fight!
Labraid made no reply to her, and the lady spoke again thus:
Welcome! swift Labra,
Labraid still made no answer, and she sang another lay thus:
Labra! all hail!
Thou speakest not rightly, O lady," said Labraid; and he then spoke to her thus:
O my wife! naught of boasting or pride is in me;
"Let now thy mind be appeased," said the lady Liban to him. "Laeg, the charioteer of Cuchulain, is here; and Cuchulain hath sent word to thee that he will come to join thy hosts."
Then Labraid bade welcome to Laeg, and he said to him: "Welcome, O Laeg! for the sake of the lady with whom thou comest, and for the sake of him from whom thou hast come. Do thou now go to thine own land, O Laeg!" said Labraid, "and Liban shall accompany thee."
Then Laeg returned to Emain, and he gave news of what he had seen to Cuchulain, and to all others beside; and Cuchulain rose up, and he passed his hand over his face, and he greeted Laeg brightly, and his mind was strengthened within him for the news that the lad had brought him.
[At this point occurs the break in the story indicated in the preface, and the description of the Bull-Feast at which Lugaid Red-Stripes is elected king over all Ireland; also the exhortation that Cuchulain, supposed to be lying on his sick-bed, gives to Lugaid as to the duties of a king. After this insertion, which has no real connection with the story, the story itself proceeds, but from another point, for the thread is taken up at the place where Cuchulain has indeed awaked from his trance, but is still on his sick-bed; the message of Angus appears to have been given, but Cuchulain does not seem to have met Liban for the second time, nor to have sent Laeg to inquire. Ethne has disappeared as an actor from the scene; her place is taken by Emer, Cuchulain's real wife; and the whole style of the romance so alters for the better that, even if it were not for the want of agreement of the two versions, we could see that we have here two tales founded upon the same legend but by two different hands, the end of the first and the beginning of the second alike missing, and the gap filled in by the story of the election of Lugaid.]
Now as to Cuchulain it has to be related thus: He called upon Laeg to come to him; and "Do thou go, O Laeg!" said Cuchulain, "to the place where Emer is; and say to her that women of the fairies have come upon me, and that they have destroyed my strength; and say also to her that it goeth better with me from hour to hour, and bid her to come and seek me;" and the young man Laeg then spoke these words in order to hearten the mind of Cuchulain:
It fits not heroes lying
Arise! no more be sickly!
Yet Labra's power hath sent his message plain:
And Laeg, after that heartening, departed; and he went on until he came to the place where Emer was; and he told her of the state of Cuchulain: "Ill hath it been what thou hast done, O youth!" she said; "for although thou art known as one who dost wander in the lands where the fairies dwell; yet no virtue of healing hast thou found there and brought for the cure of thy lord. Shame upon the men of Ulster!" she said, "for they have not sought to do a great deed, and to heal him. Yet, had Conor thus been fettered; had it been Fergus who had lost his sleep, had it been Conall the Victorious to whom wounds had been dealt, Cuchulain would have saved them." And she then sang a song, and in this fashion she sang it:
Laeg! who oft the fairy hill
Ulster, though for bounties famed,
Yet, if sleep on Fergus fell,
Aye, had Conall come from wars,
Were it Laegaire war had pressed,
Had thus crafty Celthar slept,
Furbaid, girt by heroes strong,
[1. The metre of these verses is that of the Irish.
2. Pronounced Leary.]
All the elves of Troom seem dead;
Ah! on me thy sickness swerves,
Ah! 'tis blood my heart that stains,
He in Emain still delays;
Month-long, year-long watch I keep;
And, after that she had sung that song, Emer went forward to Emain that she might seek for Cuchulain; and she seated herself in the chamber where Cuchulain was, and thus she addressed him: "Shame upon thee!" she said, "to lie thus prostrate for a woman's love! well may this long sickbed of thine cause thee to ail!" And it was in this fashion that she addressed him, and she chanted this lay:
Stand up, O thou hero of Ulster!
[1. Spelt Truim.
2 Pronounced Reen-gabra.]
See the Ulstermen's clear shining shoulders!
See their chiefs, and the strength that adorns them,
The clear winter but now is beginning;
This long slumber is ill; it decays thee:
Wake! 'tis joy for the sodden, this slumber;
And Cuchulain at her word stood up; and he passed his hand over his face, and he cast all his heaviness and his weariness away from him, and then he arose, and went on his way before him until he came to the enclosure that he sought; and in that enclosure Liban appeared to him. And Liban spoke to him, and she strove to lead him into the fairy hill; but "What place is that in which Labraid dwelleth?" said Cuchulain. It is easy for me to tell thee!" she said:
Labra's home's a pure lake, whither
Hundreds his skilled arm repelleth;
Head of wolf, for gore that thirsteth,
Trust of friend he aye requiteth,
Chiefs at Echaid Juil's name tremble;
More than all strife-seekers noted,
Labra, swift Sword-Wielder, gaineth
The chains on the necks of the coursers he rides,
[1. Pronounced, apparently, Ech-ay, the ch like the sound in "loch."]
"I will not go thither at a woman's call," said Cuchulain. "Let Laeg then go," said the lady, "and let him bring to thee tidings of all that is there." "Let him depart, then," said Cuchulain; and Laeg rose up and departed with Liban, and they came to the Plain of Speech, and to the Tree of Triumphs, and over the festal plain of Emain, and over the festal plain of Fidga, and in that place was Aed Abra, and with him his daughters.
Then Fand bade welcome to Laeg, and "How is it," said she, "that Cuchulain hath not come with thee?" "It pleased him not," said Laeg, "to come at a woman's call; moreover, he desired to know whether it was indeed from thee that had come the message, and to have full knowledge of everything." "It was indeed from me that the message was sent," she said; "and let now Cuchulain come swiftly to seek us, for it is for to-day that the strife is set." Then Laeg went back to the place where he had left Cuchulain, and Liban with him; and "How appeareth this quest to thee, O Laeg?" said Cuchulain. And Laeg answering said, "In a happy hour shalt thou go," said he, "for the battle is set for to-day;" and it was in this manner that he spake, and he recited thus:
I went gaily through regions,
There sat yellow-haired Labra,
On my five-folded purple
In one house dwells white Failbe,
On the right, couches fifty,
For each couch copper frontings,
Near that house, to the westward,
On its east side are standing
From a tree in the fore-court
Sixty trees' swaying summits
Near a well by that palace
They who dwell there, find flowing
From the hall steps a lady
And so sweet, and so wondrous
"Who art thou?" said that lady,
Slowly, slowly I neared her;
Ah! long since, for thy healing,
Though I ruled all of Erin
"The quest then is a good one?" said Cuchulain. "It is goodly indeed," said Laeg, "and it is right that thou shouldest go to attain it, and all things in that land are good." And thus further also spoke Laeg, as he told of the loveliness of the fairy dwelling:
I saw a land of noble form and splendid,
We crossed the Plain of Speech, our steps arrested
Then Liban said, as we that mount sat under:
Great is the beauty of Aed Abra's daughters,
Though I confess, as from the wise ones hearing,
I saw the champions stand with arms for slaying,
Women of music at the feast were sitting,
I saw the folk of song; their strains rang sweetly,
I know the hill where Ethne took her station,
And Cuchulain, when he had heard that report, went on with Liban to that land, and he took his chariot with him. And they came to the Island of Labraid, and there Labraid and all the women that were there bade them welcome; and Fand gave an especial welcome to Cuchulain. "What is there now set for us to do?" said Cuchulain. "No hard matter to answer," said Labraid; "we must go forth and make a circuit about the army." They went out then, and they came to the army, and they let their eyes wander over it; and the host seemed to them to be innumerable. "Do thou arise, and go hence for the present," said Cuchulain to Labraid; and Labraid departed, and Cuchulain remained confronting the army. And there were two ravens there, who spake, and revealed Druid secrets, but the armies who heard them laughed. "It must surely be the madman from Ireland who is there," said the army; "it is he whom the ravens would make known to us;" and the armies chased them away so that they found no resting-place in that land.
Now at early morn Eochaid Juil went out in order to bathe his hands in the spring, and Cuchulain saw his shoulder through the hood of his tunic, and he hurled his spear at him, and he pierced him. And he by himself slew thirty-and-three of them, and then Senach the Unearthly assailed him, and a great fight was fought between them, and Cuchulain slew him; and after that Labraid approached, and he brake before him those armies.
Then Labraid entreated Cuchulain to stay his hand from the slaying; and "I fear now," said Laeg, "that the man will turn his wrath upon us; for he hath not found a war to suffice him. Go now," said Laeg, "and let there be brought three vats of cold water to cool his heat. The first vat into which he goeth shall boil over; after he hath gone into the second vat, none shall be able to bear the heat of it: after he hath gone into the third vat, its water shall have but a moderate heat."
And when the women saw Cuchulain's return, Fand sang thus:
Fidga's plain, where the feast assembles,
Blood-red canopies o'er him swinging
Steeds are bounding beneath the traces,
High in air, in his breath suspended,
[1. Pronounced, nearly, Fee-ga.]
Dimples four on each cheek are glowing,
Sevenfold light from his eyeballs flashes,
Well his excellence fame confesses,
Red his blade, it hath late been blooded;
O'er the slain in each slaughter striding,
From Murthemne he comes, we greet him,
Every tree, as a lordly token,
Liban moreover bade a welcome to Cuchulain, and she chanted as follows:
Hail to Cuchulain!
"Tell us now of the deeds thou hast done, O Cuchulain! cried Liban, and Cuchulain in this manner replied to her:
From my hand flew a dart, as I made my cast,
Whether greater or less was his might than mine
A great host on me closed, and on every side
And I went to the battle with all at length,
I heard Echaid Juil's groan, as he neared his end,
Now, after all these things had passed, Cuchulain slept with the lady, and he abode for a month in her company, and at the end of the month he came to bid her farewell. "Tell me," she said, "to what place I may go for our tryst, and I will be there;" and they made tryst at the strand that is known as the Strand of the Yew-Tree's Head.
Now word was brought to Emer of that tryst, and knives were whetted by Emer to slay the lady; and she came to the place of the tryst, and fifty women were with her. And there she found, Cuchulain and Laeg, and they were engaged in the chess-play, so that they perceived not the women's approach. But Fand marked it, and she cried out to Laeg: "Look now, O Laeg!" she said, "and mark that sight that I see." "What sight is that of which thou speakest?" said Laeg, and he looked and saw it, and thus it was that the lady, even Fand, addressed him:
Laeg! look behind thee!
"Have no fear," said Cuchulain, "no foe shalt thou meet;
Moreover to Emer he said:
I avoid thee, O lady, as heroes
"Speak! and tell me, Cuchulain," cried Emer,
"Speak thou, Emer, and say," said Cuchulain,
And in steeds hath she wealth, and much cattle
"In good sooth," answered Emer, "the lady to whom thou dost cling is in no way better than am I myself! Yet fair seems all that's red; seems white what's new alone; and bright what's set o'erhead; and sour are things well known! Men worship what they lack; and what they have seems weak; in truth thou hast all the wisdom of the time! O youth!" she said, "once we dwelled in honour together, and we would so dwell again, if only I could find favour in thy sight!" and her grief weighed heavily upon her. "By my word," said Cuchulain, "thou dost find favour, and thou shalt find it so long as I am in life."
"Desert me, then!" cried Fand. "Nay," said Emer, "it is more fitting that I should be the deserted one." "Not so, indeed," said Fand. "It is I who must go, and danger rusheth upon me from afar." And an eagerness for lamentation seized upon Fand, and her soul was great within her, for it was shame to her to be deserted and straightway to return to her home; moreover the mighty love that she bare to Cuchulain was tumultuous in her, and in this fashion she lamented, and lamenting sang this song:
Mighty need compels me,
Sweeter were it resting
Emer! noble lady!
Oft in shelters hidden
Ah! no maid her longing
Fifty women hither,
Till the day I need them
Now upon this it was discerned by Manannan that Fand the daughter of Aed Abra was engaged in unequal warfare with the women of Ulster, and that she was like to be left by Cuchulain. And thereon Manannan came from the east to seek for the lady, and he was perceived by her, nor was there any other conscious of his presence saving Fand alone. And, when she saw Manannan, the lady was seized by great bitterness of mind and by grief, and being thus, she made this song:
Lo! the Son of the Sea-Folk from plains draws near
Yet to-day, although excellent sounds his cry,
When I dwelt in the bower of the Yeogan Stream,
When the comely Manannan to wed me came,
When the comely Manannan my lord was made,
Through the heather came bride-maids, in garments brave
Four times fifty our host; for no frenzied strife
Manannan draws near: over ocean he speeds,
He hath passed near us now, though his visage to view
But for me, this resolve in my spirit shall dwell,
I will go! in mine honour unsullied depart,
It is flight, this alone that befitteth my state,
I depart to my spouse; ne'er to strife with a foe
Then that lady rose behind Manannan as he passed, and Manannan greeted her: "O lady!" he said, "which wilt thou do? wilt thou depart with me, or abide here until Cuchulain comes to thee?" "By my troth," answered Fand, "either of the two of ye were a fitting spouse to adhere to; and neither of you two is better than the other; yet, Manannan, it is with thee that I go, nor will I wait for Cuchulain, for he hath betrayed me; and there is another matter, moreover, that weigheth with me, O thou noble prince!" said she, "and that is that thou hast no consort who is of worth equal to thine, but such a one hath Cuchulain already."
And Cuchulain saw the lady as she went from him to Manannan, and he cried out to Laeg: "What meaneth this that I see?" "'Tis no hard matter to answer thee," said Laeg. "Fand goeth away with Manannan the Son of the Sea, since she hath not been pleasing in thy sight!"
Then Cuchulain bounded three times high into the air, and he made three great leaps towards the south, and thus he came to Tara Luachra,[l] and there he abode for a long time, having no meat and no drink, dwelling upon the mountains, and sleeping upon the high-road that runneth through the midst of Luachra.
Then Emer went on to Emain, and there she sought out king Conor, and she told Conor of Cuchulain's state, and Conor sent out his learned men and the people of skill, and the Druids of Ulster, that they might seek for Cuchulain, and might bind him fast, and bring him with them to Emain. And Cuchulain strove to slay the people of skill, but they chanted wizard and fairy songs against him, and they bound fast his feet and his hands until he came a little to his senses. Then he begged for a drink at their hands, and the Druids gave him a drink of forgetfulness, so that afterwards he had no more remembrance of Fand nor of anything else that he had then done; and they also gave a drink of forgetfulness to Emer that she might forget her jealousy, for her state was in no way better than the state of Cuchulain. And Manannan shook his cloak between Cuchulain and Fand, so that they might never meet together again throughout eternity.