The Fenian Cycle

The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne

Part 8 and last Part- the Boar of Benn Gulban

Upon a certain day Grainne spoke to Diarmuid and what she said was, that it was a shame for them, seeing the number of their people and the greatness of their household, and that their expenditure was untold, that the two best men in Erin had never been in their house, that is, Cormac the High-King of Erin and Finn mac Cumail. "Wherefore sayest thou so, O Graine, " said Diarmuid, "when they are enemies to me?"

" I would fain," said Grainne, "give them a feast, that so thou mightiest win their love."

"I permit that," said Diarmuid.

"Then," said Grainne, "send word and messengers to thy daughter to bid her to prepare another feast, so that we may take the king of Erin and Finn mac Cumaill to her house; and how do we

but there she might get a fitting husband?" Thereupon two great feasts were prepared by Grainne and by her daughter or the length of a year, and at the end of that space and season word and messengers were sent for the king of Erin, and for Finn mac Cumaill, and for the seven battalions of the standing fian, and for the chiefs of Erin likewise, and they were for a year and a day enjoying that feast.

Now on the last day of the year Diarmuid was in Rath Grainne asleep; and Diarmuid heard the voice of a hound in his sleep in the night, and that caused Diarmuid to stir out of his sleep, so that Grainne caught him and threw her two arms about him and asked him what he had seen. "It is the voice of a hound I have heard," said Diarmuid, "and I marvel to hear it in the night."

"Mayest thou be kept safely," said Grainne, "for it is the Tuatha De Danann that are doing that to thee to spite Angus of the Brug, and lay thee down on thy bed again. " Nevertheless no slumber or sleep fell upon Diarmuid then, but again the voice of the hound roused him, and he was fain to go to seek the hound. Grainne caught him and laid him down the second time , and told him it was not meet for him to go look for a hound because of hearing its voice in the night. Diarmuid laid him upon his couch, and a heaviness of slumber and of sweet sleep fell upon him, and the third time the voice of the hound awoke him.

The day came then with its full light, and he said, "I will go to seek the hound whose voice I have heard, since it is day."

"Well then," said Grainne, "take with thee the Moraltach, that is the sword of Manannan, and the Gae Derg."

"I will not, " said Diarmuid, "but I will take the Begalthach and the Gae Buide with me in my hand, and my hound Mac an Cuil by a chain in my other hand."

Then Diarmuid went forth from Rath Grainne, and made no halt nor stopping until he reached the summit of Benn Gulban, and he found Finn before him there without anyone with him or in his company. Diarmuid gave him no greetings, but asked him whether it was he that was holding that chase. Finn said that it was not he, but that a company of the fian had risen out after midnight, " and one of our hounds, being loose by our side, came across the track of a wild pig, but they have not hitherto been able to overtake him. Now it is the wild boar of Benn Gulban that the hound has met, and the fian do but foolishly in following him; for oftentimes ere now he has escaped them, and thirty warriors of the fian were slain by him this morning. He is even now coming up against the mountain towards us, with the fian fleeing before him, and let us leave this hill to him." Diarmuid said that he would not leave the hill through fear of him.

' It is not meet for thee to do thus, " said Finn, " for thou art under taboos never to hunt a pig."

"Wherefore were those taboos laid upon me? " said Diarmuid. "That I will tell thee," said Finn.

" on a certain day I chanced to be in Almu in Leinster , with the seven battalions of the standing fian about me, Bran Beg O'Buideain came in and asked me whether I remembered not that it was one of my taboos not to be ten nights one after the other in Almu without being out of it for a single night; now those taboos had not been laid upon any man of the fian but upon myself alone. The fian went into the great hall that night, and no man staid by me but thy father and a small number of the bards and learned men of the fian, with our staghounds and our other dogs. Then I asked of them that were with me where we should go to be entertained that night. Thy father, that is , Donn O'Donncuda, said that he would give me entertainment for that night, for if thou remember, O Finn, said Donn, "when I was outlawed and banished by thee and from the fian, Croenuit the daughter of Currac of Liffe became pregnant by me, and bore a smooth beautiful man-child of that heavy pregnancy , and Angus of the Brug took that son from me to foster him. Croenuit bore another son after that to Roc mac Dicain, and Roc asked me to take that son to foster him, seeing that Angus had my son, and he said that he would provide a sufficient meal for nine men at the house of Angus every evening. I said that I thought it not fitting to take the commoner's son and I sent to Angus praying him to receive that son to foster him. Angus received the commoner's son, and there was not a time thenceforth that Roc did not send a nine men's meal to the house of Angus for me. Howbeit, I have not seen him for a year, and we shall, as many as there are here of us get entertainment for this night there."

"I an Donnn went our way after that," said Finn, "to the house of Angus of the Brug, and thou wast there that night O Diarmuid, and Angus showed thee great fondness. The son of the steward was thy companion that night, and not greater was the fondness that Angus showed the son of the steward, and thy father suffered great derision of that. It was no long time after that that there arose a quarrel between tow of my stag hounds about some broken meat that was thrown them, and the women and the lesser people of the place fled before them and the others rose to separate them. The son of the steward went between thy father's knees, flying before the stag hounds, and he gave the child a mighty, powerful, strong squeeze of his two knees, so hat he slew him upon the spot, and he cast him under the feet of the stag hounds. The steward came and found his son dead, and he uttered a long very pitiful cry. Then he came before me, and what he said was:" there is not in this house tonight a man that hath got out of this uproar worse than myself, for I had no children but one son only, and he has been slain; and how shall I get a recompense from thee, O Finn?" I told him to examine his son, and if he found the trace of a stagehand's tooth or nail upon him that I would myself give him a fine for him. The child was examined, and no trace of a stag hound's tooth or nail was found on him. Then the steward laid me under the fearful perilous taboos of Drum Fruidecta that I should show him who had slain his son. I asked for a chessboard and water to be brought to me, and I washed my hands and put my thumb under my tooth of divination, so that true and exact divination was shown me, namely, that thy father had slain the son of the steward between his two knees. I offered a fin myself when that was shown to me, but the steward refused that; so that I was forced to tell him that it was thy father that had slain his son. The steward said that the was not in the house a man for whom it was more easy to give a fine than thy father, for that he himself had a son therein, and that he would not take any fine whatever except that thou shouldst be placed between his tow legs and his two knees, and that the would forgive the death of his son if he let thee from him safe. Angus became angry with the steward at that speech, and thy father thought to take off his head, until I separated them. Then came the steward again with a magic wand of sorcery, and struck his son with that wand so that he made of him a cropped green pig, having neither ears nor tail, and he said, "I conjure thee that thou have the same length of life as Diarmuid O' Duibne, and that it be by thee that he shall fall at last. " Then the wild boar rose and stood, and rushed out by the open door. When Angus heard those spells laid upon thee, he conjured thee never to hunt a swine; and that wild boar is the wild boar of Benn Gulban, and it is not beet for thee to await him upon this hill.."

" I knew not of those conjuration's hitherto, " said Diarmuid, "nor will I leave this hill through fear of him before he comes to me, and do thou leave me thy hound Bran beside Mac an Cuil."

"I will not," said Finn, "for oftentimes this wild boar has escaped him before." Finn went his way after that, and left Diarmuid alone and solitary upon the summit of the hill.

"By my word," said Diarmuid, "it is to slay me that thou hast made this hunt, O Finn; and if it be here I am fated to die I have no power now to shun it."

The wild boar then came up the face of he mountain with the fian after him. Diarmuid slipped Mac an Cuill from his leash against him, and that profited him nothing for he did not await the wild boar but fled before him. Diarmuid said, " Woe to him that heeds not the counsel of a good wife, for Grainne bade me at early morn today take with me the Moralltach and the Gae Derg." Then Diarmuid put his small white colored ruddy nailed finger into the silken string of the Gae Buide, and made a careful cast at the pig, so that he smote him in the fair middle of his face and his forehead' nevertheless he cut not a single bristle upon him, nor did he give him wound or scratch. Diarmuid's courage was lessened at that, and thereupon he drew the Begalltach from the sheath in which it was kept, and struck a heavy stroke thereof upon the wild boar's back stoutly and bravely, yet he cut not a single bristle upon him, but made two pieces of his sword. Then the wild boar made a fearless spring upon Diarmuid, so that he tripped him and made him fall headlong, and when he rose up again it happened that one of his legs was on either side of the wild boar, and his face looking backward toward the hinder part of the wild boar. The wild boar fled down the fall of the hill and was unable to put off Diarmuid during that space. After that he fled away until he reached Es Ruad (the Red Waterfall) of Mac Badairn, and having reached the red stream he gave three nimble leaps across the fall hither and thither, yet he could not put off Diarmuid during hat space; and he came back by the same path until he reached up the height of the mountain again.And when he had reached the top of the hill he put Diarmuid from his back; and when he was fallen to the earth the wild boar made an eager exceeding mighty spring upon him, and ripped out his bowels and his entrails so that they fell about his legs. Howbeit, as the boar was leaving the hill, Diarmuid made a triumphant cast of the hilt of the sword that chanced to be still in his hand, so that he dashed out the boar's brains and left him dead without life. Therefore Rath n h-Amrann (Rath of the Marvel) is the name of he place that is on the top of the mountain from that time to this.

It was no long time after that when Finn and the fian of Erin came up, and the agonies of death and of instant dissolution were then coming upon Diarmuid. " It likes me well to see thee in that plight, O Diarmuid," said Finn; "and I grieve that all the women of Erin are not now gazing upon thee: for thy excellent beauty is turned to ugliness, and thy choice form to deformity."

"Nevertheless it is in thy power to heal me , O Finn," said Diarmuid, "if it were thy pleasure to do so."

"How should I heal thee?" said Finn.

"Easily," said Diarmuid; " for when though didst get the noble precious gift of divining at the Boyne, it was granted thee that to whomsoever thou should give a drink from the palms of thy hands he should after that be young, fresh, and sound from any sickness he might have at that time."

"Thou hast not deserved it of me that I should give thee that drink" said Finn

"That is not true, " said Diarmuid, "well have I deserved it of thee; for when thou wentest to the house of Derc the son of Donnartad, and the chiefs and great nobles of Erin with thee, to enjoy a banquet and feast, Cairbre Liffecair son of Cormac son of Art, and the men of Mag Breg, and of Mide, and of Cerna, and the stout mighty pillars of Tara came around the stronghold against thee, and uttered three shouts loudly about thee, and threw fire and firebrands into it. Thereupon thou didst rise and stand, and wouldst fain have gone out; but I bade thee stay within enjoying drinking and pleasure, and that I would myself go out to avenge it upon them Then I went out and quenched the flames ,ad mad three deadly courses about the stronghold, so that I slew fifty at each course, and came in having no cut nor wound after them. And thou wast cheerful, joyous, and of good courage before me that night, O Finn," said Diarmuid; " and had it been that night that I asked thee for a drink, thou wouldst have given it to me, and thou wouldst not have done so more justly that night than now."

"That is not true," said Finn; "thou hast ill deserved of me that I should give thee a d rink or do the any good thing; for the night that thou wentest with me to Tara thou didst bear away Grainne from me in the presence of all the men of Erin when thou wast thyself my guard over her in Tara that night."

"The guilt of that was not mine, O Finn.." said Diarmuid, "but Grainne put a taboo upon me, and I would not have failed to keep my bonds for the gold of the world, and nothing, O Finn is true of all that thou sayest, for thou wouldst own that I have well deserved of thee that thou shouldst give me a drink, if thou didst remember the night that Midach son of Colgan made the feast of Bruiden Chaorthalnn (the Hostel of the Quicken Tree). He had a stronghold upon land ,and a stronghold upon wave (upon an island) and he brought the king of the world and the three kings of Innis Tuile to the stronghold hat he had upon the wave, with intent to take thy head from thee. The feast was being given in the stronghold that he had on land, and he sent and bade thee and the seven battalions of the standing fian to go and enjoy the feast in Bruiden Chaorthainn. Now thou wentist and certain o the chiefs of the fian together with thee, to enjoy that banquet in Bruiden Chaorthainn, and Midach caused some of the mould of Innis Tuyile to be placed under the, so that thy feet and thy hands clove to the ground; and when the king of the world heard that thou wast thus bound down, he sent a chief of an hundred to seek thy head. Then thou didst put they thumb under thy tooth of divination, and knowledge and enlightenment was shewn thee. At that very time I came after thee to Bruiden Chaorthainn, and thou didst know me as I came to the stronghold, and didst make known to me that the king of the world and the three kings of Innis Tuile were in the stronghold of the island upon the Shannon, and that it would not be long ere some one would come from them to seek thy head and take it to the king of the world. When I heard that, I took the protection of thy body and of thy life upon me till the dawning of the day on the morrow, and I went to the ford which was by the stronghold to defend it.

"I had not been long by the ford before there came a chief of an hundred to me of the people of the king of the world, and we fought together; and I took his head from him, and made slaughter of his people, and brought the head even to the stronghold of the island where the king of the world was enjoying drinking and pleasure with the three kings of Innis Tuile by him. I took their heads from them, and put them in the hollow of my shield, and brought in my left hand the jeweled golden-chased goblet, full of old mead, pleasant to drink, which was before the king. Then I wrought sharply with my sword around me, and came by virtue of my fortune and of my valor to Bruiden Chaorthainn, and brought those heads with me. I gave thee the goblet in token of victory, and rubbed the blood of those three kings on thee and on the fian, as many of them as were bound, so that I restored to thee thy power over thy hands and the motion of thy feet; and hid I asked a drink of thee that night, O Finn, I would have got it! Many is the straight, moreover, that hath overtaken thee and the fian of Erin from the first day that I came among, you, in which I have periled my body and my life for thy sake; and therefore thou shouldst not do me this foul treachery. Moreover, many a brave warrior and valiant hero of great prowess hath fallen by thee, nor is there an end of them yet; and shortly there will come a dire disaster upon the fian which will not leave them many descendants. Nor is it for thee that I grieve, O Finn; but for Oisin, and for Oscar, and for the rest of my faithful, fond comrades. And as for thee, O Oisin, thou shat be left to lament after the fian, and thou shalt sorely lack me yet, O Finn."

Then said Oscar, "O Finn, though I am more nearly akin to thee than to Diarmuid O' Duibne, I will not allow thee to withhold the drink from Diarmuid; and I swear, moreover, that were any other prince in the world to do Diarmuid O' Duibne such treachery, there should only escape whichever of us should have the strongest hand, and bring him a drink without delay."

"I know no well whatever upon this mountain," said Finn

"That is not true," said Diarmuid; "for but nine paces from thee is the best well of pure water in the world."
(editors note: the special powers of mountains, springs and special places is a special dimension of celtic reality they relate well to the dimension of the hunt when stories such as these would help the listener to master the environment)

After that Finn went to the well, and raised the full of his two hands of the water; but he had not reached more than half way to Diarmuid when he let the water run down through his hands and he said he could not bring the water. "I swear,"said Diarmuid, "That of thine own will thou didst let it from thee." Finn went for the water the second time, and he had not come more than the same distance when he let it through his hands, having thought upon Grainne. Then Diarmuid hove a piteous sigh of anguish when he saw that. "I swear upon my arms," said Oscar, "that if thou bring not the water speedily, O Finn, there shall not leave this hill but either thou or I." Finn returned to the well the third time because of that speech which Oscar had made to him, and brought the water to Diarmuid, and as he came up the life parted from the body of Diarmuid.

Then that company of the fian of Erin that were present raised three great exceeding loud shouts, wailing for Diarmuid, and Oscar looked fiercely and wrathfully upon Finn and said, "that it was a great pity that Diarmuid should be dead than it would have been had Finn perished, and that the fian had lost their mainstay in battle by means of him."

Finn then said, "Let us leave this hill, for fear that Angus of the Brug and the Tuatha De Danann might catch us; and though we have no part in the slaying of Diarmuid, he would none the more readily believe us."

"I swear," said Oscar, "had I known that it was with intent to kill Diarmuid that thou madest the hunt of Benn Gulban, that thou wouldst never have made it. " Then Finn and the fian of Erin went their way from the hill, Finn holding Diarmuid's stag hound that is Mac an Cuill, but Oisin, and Oscar, and Cailte, and the son of Lugaid returned, and threw their four mantles about Diarmuid, and after that they went their way after Finn.

It is not told how they fared until they reached Rath Grainne. Grainne was before them out upon the ramparts of the stronghold, and she saw Finn and the fian of Erin coming to her. Then said Grainne, "that if Diarmuid were alive it was not by Finn that Mac an Cuill would be held coming to this place." Now Grainne was at that time heavy and pregnant, and she fell out over the ramparts of the stronghold, and brought forth three dead sons upon the spot. When Oisin saw Grainne in that plight he sent away Finn and the Fian of Erin; and as Finn and the fian of Erin were leaving the place Grainne lifted up her head and asked Finn to leave her Mac an Cuill. He said that he would not give him to her, and that he thought it not too much he himself should inherit so much of Diarmuid; but when Oisin heard that he took the stag hound from the hand of Finn, gave him to Grainne, and then followed his people.

Then Grainne felt sure of the death of Diarmuid and she uttered a long exceedingly piteous cry, so that it was heard in the distant parts of the stronghold; and her women and the rest of her people came to her, and asked her what had thrown her into that excessive grief. Grainne told them how Diarmuid had perished by the wild boar of Benn Gulban, by means of the hunt that Finn mac Cumaill had made. "And truly my very heart is grieved,"said Grainne, "that I am not myself able to fight with Finn, for were I so I would not have suffered him to leave this place in safety." Having heard of the death of Diarmuid, they too uttered three loud fearful, vehement cries together with Grainne, so that those loud shouts were heard in the clouds of heaven, and in the wastes of the firmament; and then Grainne bade the five hundred that she had for her household to go to Benn Gulban,and bring her the body of Diarmuid.

At that very time and season it was shown to Angus that Diarmuid was dead upon Benn Gulban, for he had had no watch over him the night before, and he proceeded, on the wings of the pure-cold wind, so that he reached Benn Gulban at the same time with the people of Grainne; and when Grainne's household recognized Angus they held out the rough side of their shields in token of peace, and Angus knew them. Then when they were met together upon Benn Gulban, they and the people of Angus raised three exceeding great terrible cries over the body of Diarmuid, so that they were heard in the clouds of heaven, and in the wastes of the firmament of the air, and in the provinces of Erin likewise.

Then Angus spoke and what he said was:" I have never been for one night, since I took thee with me to the Brug of the Boyne, at the age of nine months, that I did not watch thee and carefully keep thee against thy foes, until last night, O Diarmuid! And alas for the treachery that Finn hath done thee, for all that thou wast at peace with him." And he sang the following lay:

Alas, O Diarmuid O'Duibne,
O thou of the white teeth, thou bright and fair one;
Alas for thine own blood upon thy spear,
The blood of thy body hath been shed.
Alas for the deadly flashing tusk of the boar,
Thou hast been sharply, sorely, violently lopped off;
Through the malicious, fickle, treacherous one.
Numbing venom hath entered his wounds,
At rath Finn he met his death;
The Boar of Benn Gulban with fierceness,
Hath laid low Diarmuid the bright-faced.
Raise ye fairy shouts without gainsaying,
Let Diarmuid of the bright weapons be lifted by you;
To the smooth Brug of the everlasting rocks-
Surely it is we that feel great pity.

After that lay Angus asked the household of Grainne wherefore they were come to that spot. They said Grainne hath sent them for the body of Diarmuid to bring it to her to Rath Grainne. Angus said that he would not let them take Diarmuid's body but that he would himself bear it to the Brug upon the Boyne; "and since I cannot restore him to life I will send a soul into him, so that he may talk to me each day." After that Angus caused the body to be borne upon a gilded bier, with his (Diarmuid's) javelins over him pointed upwards, and he went to the Brug of the Boyne.

As for Grainne's household, they returned back to Rath Grainne, and they told how Angus would not let them bring the body of Diarmuid, but that he himself had taken it to the Brug upon the Boyne; and Grainne said that she had no power over him. After wards Grainne sent word and messengers for her children to the district of Corca O'Duibne, where they were being reared and protected; now those children of Diarmuid had sons of warriors and of wealthy chieftains serving them, and each son of them owned a district. Now Donnchad the son of Diarmuid O'Duibne was the eldest son of them, and to him the other sons were subject; that is, Eochaid, Connla, Selbsercach, and Ollann the long-bearded, the son of Diarmuid, that is, the son of he daughter of the king of Leinster; and Grainne bore great love and affection to none of her own children than to Ollann. Those messengers thereupon went to the place where those youths were, and they told them the cause of their journey and of their coming from first to last; and as the youths were setting out with the full number of their household and of their gathering, their people of trust asked them what they should do since their lords were now going to encounter war and perilous adventure against Finn mac Cumaill and the fian of Erin. Donnchad the son of Diarmuid bade them abide in their own places, and that if they made peace with Finn their people need fear nothing; and if not, to choose which lord they would have, that is, to ride with Finn or to adhere to their own chiefs as they pleased.

And no tidings are told of them until they reached Rath Grainne, where Grainne gave them a a gentle welcome, and gave a kiss and a welcome to the son of the daughter of the king of Leinster; and they entered together into Rath Grainne, and sat at the sides of the royal stronghold according to their rank, and their patrimony, and according to the age of each one of them. There were given them mead mild and pleasant to drink, and well-prepared sweet ale, and strong fermented draughts in fair chased drinking horns, so that they became exhilarated and mirthful. And then Grainne spoke with an exceeding loud and clear voice, and what she said was: "O dear children, your father has been slain by Finn mac Cumaill against his bonds and covenants of peace with him; now you are bound to avenge that upon him well; and there is your portion of the inheritance of your father," said she, "that is, his arms, and his armor, and his various sharp weapons, and his feats of valor and bravery likewise. I will myself portion them out among you and may the getting of them bring you success in battle. And I myself will have the goblets and the drinking horns, and the beautiful golden -chased cups, and the kine and the cattle-herds undivided." And she sang this lay as follows:

Arise ye, O children of Diarmuid
Go forth and learn that I may see;
May your adventures be prosperous to you;
The tidings of a good man have come to you
The sword for Donnchaid,
The best son that Diarmuid had;
And let Eochaid have the Gae Derg;
They lead to every advantage.
Give his armor from me to Ollann,
Safe every body upon which it may be put;
And his shield to Connla,
To him that keeps the battalions firm.
The goblets and the drinking horns,
The cups and the bowls;
They are a woman's treasure without thanks;
I alone shall have them all.
Slay ye woman and children,
Through hatred to your foes;
Do no guile nor treachery,
Hasten ye and depart.

After that lay Grainne bade them depart, and learn carefully all practice of bravery and of valor till

they should have reached their full strength. And they were to spend a portion of their time with Bolcan, the smith of hell.

Then those good youths betook them to their journey, and they took farewell of Grainne and of her household, and left them wishes of life and health, and Grainne and her people sent the same with them: and they left not a warrior, a hero, nor a woman-warrior in the distant regions of the world, which whom they spent not a portion of their time, learning from hem until they attained fullness of strength; and they were three years with Bolcan.

When Finn was informed that those children of Diarmuid had departed upon that journey, he was filled with hatred and great fear of them; and forthwith called a muster of the seven battalions of the standing fian from every quarter where they were, and when they were come to one place Finn told them in a loud, clear voice the story of that journey, of the children of Diarmuid from first to last, and asked what he should do. "For it is with intent to rebel against me," said he, "that they are gone upon that journey."

Oisin spoke, and what he said was: "The guilt of that is no man's but thine, and we will not go to make up for the deed that we have not done. Foul is the treachery that thou didst show towards Diarmuid, though at peace with him, when Cormac also would have given thee his other daughter, in order that thou mightiest bear Diarmuid no enmity nor malice. According as thou hast planted the oak so bend it thyself." Finn was grieved at those words of Oisin, nevertheless he could do nothing against him.

When Finn saw that Oisin, and Oscar, and all the Clan Baoiscne had abandoned him he considered within his own mind that he would be unable to crush that danger if he did not win over Grainne: and he went therefore to Rath Grainne without the knowledge of he fian of Erin and without bidding them farewell, and greeted her craftily, and cunningly, and with sweet words. Grainne neither heeded nor hardened to him, but told him to leave her sight, and straightway assailed him with her keen, sharp pointed tongue. However, Finn left not plying her with sweet words and with gentle loving discourse, until he brought her to his own will; and he had the desire of his heart and soul of her. After that Finn and Grainne went their ways, and no tidings are told of them until they reached the fian of Erin; and when the fian saw Finn and Grainne coming towards them in that manner, they gave one shout of derision and mockery at her, so that Grainne bowed her head through shame. "We trow, O Finn," said Oisin "that thou wilt keep Grainne well from henceforth."

As for the children of Diarmuid, after having spent seven years in learning all that beseems a warrior, they came out of the far regions of the great world, and it is not told how they fared until they reached Rath Grainne. When they had heard how Grainne had fled with Finn mac Cumaill without taking leave of them or of the king of Erin , they said hat they could do nothing. After that they went to Almu of Leinster to seek Finn and the fian, and they proclaimed battle against Finn. "Rise, O Diorruing and ask them how many they require," said Finn. Diorruing went and asked them "We require a hundred men against each of us, or single combat," said they . Finn sent a hundred to fight with them, and when they had reached the battle field those youths rushed under them, through them, and over them and made three heaps of them, namely, a heap of their heads, a heap of their bodies, and a heap of heir arms and armor. "Our hosts will not last," said Finn, "if a hundred be slain each day. What shall we do concerning those youths, O Grainne?"

"I will go to them," said Grainne, " to try whether I may be able to make peace between you. "

"I should be well pleased at that," said Finn, "and I would give them and their posterity freedom for ever, and their father's place among the fian, and bonds and securities for the fulfillment thereof to them for ever and ever."

Grainne went to meet them, gave them a welcome, and made them those offers. At last Grainne made peace between them, and the bonds and securities were given to them, and they got their father's place among the fian form Finn mac Cumaill. After that a banquet and feast was prepared for them, so hat they became exhilarated and mirthful. And Finn and Grainne stayed by one another until they died.
 (editor's note- the uniting of Finn and Grainne is of some interest. Grainne represented mortal nobility and Finn as we know inhabited the lands and spaces outside of civilization and had a natural connection to wild animals. Diarmuid however, was one of Finn's men- a member of the Fian. Could it be that the unity of nobility and of the natural outsider was only possible by way of the sacrifice of a warrior? This section of the story is a later addition but it is unclear if it has earlier roots.)
Thus, then endith  the Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne.
from the Editor:
Please take a moment to take this story from the screen or the printed page and give at least a portion of it future life by telling it to another. Thanks!


O' Grady,Standish,Hahyes,ed., trans.,Transactions of the Ossianic Society,(Dublin),III (1855/57),40-211.

Ni Sh`eaghda,Nessa,Ed., trans.,,T`oruigheacht Dhiarmada agus Ghr`ainne ,Irish Texts Society. XLVIII) (Dublin,1967).

Best, Richard I. Bibliography of Irish Philogy,I 102-103 (Dublin 1913).

Cross, Tom Peete, and Clark Harris Slover Ancient Irish Tales, Barnes and Noble, Inc.,1969 


Directory of This Irish Studies Page 

Literature and Verse Resources for Irish Gaelic Folklore and Seasonal Celebrations Drink and the Pub A lake of Links
Music and Song Humor Ireland-The Island Feedback History