V. Conall Cra Bhuidhe, pp.105-118.

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CONALL CRA BHUIDHE was a sturdy tenant in Eirinn: he had four sons. There was at that time a king over every fifth of Eirinn. It fell out for the children of the king that was near Conall, that they themselves and the children of Conall came to blows. The children of Conall got the upper hand, and they killed the king’s big son. The king sent a message for Conall, and he said to him –

“Oh, Conall! what made thy sons go to spring on my sons till my big son was killed by thy children? But I see that though I follow thee revengefully, I shall not be much the better for it, and I will now set a thing before thee, and if thou wilt do it, I will not follow thee with revenge. If thou thyself, and thy sons, will get for me the brown horse of the king of Lochlann, thou shalt get the souls of thy sons.”

(A Chonaill, dé thug do d’ mhicsa dol a leum air mo mhicsa gus an do mharbhadh mo mhac mòr le d’ chloinnsa? Ach tha mi faicinn ged a leanuinn le dioghaltas thu nach mòr is fheàirde mi e, agus cuiridh mi nis ma d’ choinneamh ni, agus ma ni thu e cha lean mi le dioghaltas thu. Ma gheobh thu féin agus do mhic dòmhsa each donn rìgh Lochlann, gheobh thu anamanna do mhac.)

“Why,” said Conall, “should not I do the pleasure of the king, though there should be no souls of my sons in dread at all. Hard is the matter thou requirest of me, but I will lose my own life, and the life of my sons, or else I will do the pleasure of the king.”

(Carson nach déanainnsa toil an rìgh ged nach biodh anamanna mo mhac air a sgàth idir. Is cruaidh an gnothach a tha thu ‘g iarraidh orm, ach caillidh mi mo bheatha féin agus beatha mo mhac air neo ni mi toil an rìgh.)

After these words Conall left the king, and he went home: when he got home he was under much trouble and perplexity. When he went to lie down he told his wife the thing the king had set before him. His wife took much sorrow that he was obliged to part from herself, while she knew not if she should see him more.

“Oh, Conall,” said she, “why didst not thou let the king do his own pleasure to thy sons, rather than be going now, while I know not if ever I shall see thee more?”

(A Chonaill. Carson nach do leig thu leis an rìgh a thoil féin a dhèanadh ri d’ mhic, seach a bhi folbh a nis ‘s gun fhios’am am faic mi tuillidh thu?)

When he rose on the morrow, he set himself and his four sons in order, and they took their journey towards Locklann, and they made no stop but (were) tearing ocean till they reached it. When they reached Lochlann they did not know what they should do. Said the old man to his sons –

“stop ye, and we will seek out the house of the king’s miller.”

(Stadadh sibhse, agus iarraidh sinn a mach tigh muillear an rìgh.)

When they went into the house of the king’s miller, the man asked them to stop there for the night. Conall told the miller that his own children and the children of the king had fallen out, and that hsi children had killed the king’s son, and there was nothing that would please the king but that he should get the brown horse of the king of Lochlann.
“If thou wilt do me a kindness, and wilt put me in a way to get him, for certain I will pay thee for it.”

(Ma ni thusa rủn orm ‘s gun cuir thu air dòigh mi gum faigh mi e, gu diongalta paighidh mi air a shon thu.)

“The thing is silly that thou art come to seek,” said the miller; “for the king has laid his mind on him so greatly that thou wilt not get  him in any way unless thou steal him; but if thou thyself canst make out a way, I will hide thy secret.”

(‘S amaideach an ni a thàinig thu ‘dh’ iarraidh, chionn tha ‘n rìgh air leagail inntinn air cho mòr ‘s nach fhaigh thu air dòigh sam bith e mar an goid thu e; ach ma ni thu féin dòigh a mach ceilidh mise rủn ort.)

“This, I am thinking,” said Conall, “since thou art working every day for the king, that thou and thy gillies should put myself and my sons into five sacks of bran.”

(‘S e tha mi smaointeachadh, o’n a tha thu ‘g obair h-uile latha do ‘n rìgh, gun cuireadh thu féin ‘s do ghillean mi féin ‘s mo mhic ann an còig saic pruinn.)

“The plan that came into thy head is not bad,” said the miller.

(Cha dona ‘n seòl a thàinig a’d’ cheann.)

The miller spoke to his gillies, and he said to them to do this, and they put them in five sacks. The king’s gillies came to seek the baran, and they took the five sacks with them, and they emptied them before the horses. The servants locked the door, and they went away.

When they rose to lay hand on the brown horse, said Conal,

“You shall not do that. It is hard to get out of this; let us make for ourselves five hiding holes, so that if they perceive us we may go in hiding.”

(Cha dèan sibh sin. Tha e doirbh faotainn as a’ so; deanamaid dhuinn féin còig tuill fhalaich, air alt ‘s ma mhòthachas iad duinn gun d’theid sinn am falach.)

They made the holes, then they laid hands on the horse. The horse was pretty well unbroken, and he set to making a terrible noise through the stable. The king perceived him. He heard the noise.

“It must be that that was  my brown horse,” said he to his gillies; “try what is wrong with him.”

(‘S éigin gur h-e siod an t-each donn agamsa, feuchaibh de tha ceàrr air.)

The servants went out, and when Conall and his sons perceived them coming they went into the hiding holes. The servants looked amonst the horses, and they did not find anything wrong; and they returned and they told this to the king, and the king said to them that if nothing was wrong that they should go to their places of rest. When the gillies had time to be gone, Conall and his sons laid the next hand on the horse. If the noise was great that he made before, the noise he made now was seven times greater. The king sent a message for his gillies again, and said for certain there was something troubling the brown horse.

“Go and look well about him. “

(Folbhaibh agus amhaircibh gu math timchioll air.)

The servants went out, and they went to their hiding holes. The servants rummaged well, and did not find a thing. they returned and they told this.

“That is marvellous for me,” said the king: “go you to lie down again, and if I perceive it again I will go out myself.”

(‘Tha sin iongantach leamsa. Theirigeadh sibse ‘laidhe rithisd, ‘s ma mhòthachas mis’ a rithisd e, théid mi féin a mach.)

When Conall and his sons perceived that the gillies were gone, they laid hands again on the horse, and one of them caught him, and if the noise that the horse made on the two former times was great, he made more this time.

“Be this from me,” said the king; “it must be that some one is troubling my brown horse.”

(Bhuam so, ‘s éigin gu ‘bheil nitheigin a’ cur dragh air an each dhonn agamsa.)

He sounded the bell hastily, and when his waiting man came to him, he said to him to set the stable gillies on foot that something was wrong with the horse. The gillies came, and the king went with them. When Conall and his sons perceived the following coming they went to the hiding holes. The king was a wary man, and he saw where the horses were making a noise.

“Be clever,” said the king, “there are men within the stable, and let us get them somehow.”

(Bithibh tapaidh, tha daoine a stigh ‘s an stàbull, ‘s faigheamaid iad air alteigin.)

The king followed the tracks of the men, and he found them. Every man was acquainted with Conall, for he was a valued tenant by the king of Eirinn, and when the king brought them up out of the holes he said,

“Oh! Conall art thou here?”

(U! Chonaill a’ bheil thu ‘n so?)

“I am, O king, without question, and necessity made me come. I am under thy pardon, and under thine honour, and under thy grace.”

(Tha, rìgh, mi ‘n so gun cheist, ‘s thug an eigin orm tighinn ann. Tha mi fo d’ mhathas agus fo d’ onair agus fo d’ ghras.)

He told how it happened to him, and that he had to get the brown horse for the king of Eirinn, or that his son was to be put to death.

“I knew that I should not get him by asking, and I was going to steal him.”

(Bha fhios’am nach fhaighinn e le iarraidh, ‘s bha mi ‘dol g’ a ghoid.)

“Yes, Conall, it is well enough, but come in,” said the king.

(Seadh, a Chonaill, tha e glé mhath, ach thig a stigh.)

He desired his look-out men to set a watch on the sons of Conall, and to give them meat. And a double watch was set that night on the sons of Conall.
“Now, O Conall,” said the king, “wert thou ever in a harder place than to be seeing thy lot of sons hanged tomorrow? But thou didst set it to my goodness and to my grace, and that it was necessity brought it on thee, and I must not hang thee. Tell me any case in which thou wert as hard as this, and if thou tellest that, thou shalt get the soul of thy youngest son with thee.”

(Nis, a Chonaill, an robh thu ‘n àite riabh na bu chruaidhe na ‘bhith ‘faicinn do chuid mac ‘gan crochadh am màireach; ach chuir thusa gum’ mhathas agus gum’ ghras e, ‘s gur e ‘n éigin a thug ort e, ‘s cha ‘n fhaod mi thusa a chrochadh. Innis domh càs ‘sam bith ‘san robh thu cho cruaidh ris a’ so, ‘s ma dh’ innseas thu sin gheobh thu anam do mhic is òige leat.)

“I will tell a case as hard in which I was,” said Conall.

(Innsidh mi cas cho cruaidh anns’ an robh mi.)

“I was a young lad, and my father had much land, and he had parks of year-old cows, and one of them had just calved, and my father told me to bring her home. I took with me a laddie, and we found the cow, and we took her with us. There fell a shower of snow. We went into the herd’s bothy, and we took the cow and the calf in with us, and we were letting the shower pass from us. What came in but one cat and ten, and one great one-eyed fox-coloured cat as head bard1 over them. When they came in, in very deed I myself had no liking for their company.

(Bha mi ann am ghill’ òg, ‘s bha mòran fearainn aig m’ athair, ‘s bha paircean bhiorach aige, ‘s bha te dhiu an deigh breith. Thuirt mo mhathair rium a toirt dhachaidh. Dh’ fholbh mi agus thug mi leam balachan, agus fhuair sinn a’ bhò, ‘s thug sinn leinn i. Shil fras shneachda; chaidh sinn a stigh do bhothag àiridh, ‘s bha sinn a’ leigeil dhinn na froise; dé ‘thàinig a stigh ach aona chat deug ‘s cat mor ruagh cam na cheannabhard orra. Nur a thàinig iad a stigh, gu dearbh, cha robh tlachd sam bith agam féin d’ an cuideachd.)

‘Strike up with you,’ said the head bard, ‘why should we be still? Sing a cronan to Conall Cra-Bhui.’

(Suas sibh, carson a bhiodh sibh ‘nar tàmh? Seinnibh crònan do Chonall Crà-bhuidhe.)

“I was amazed that my name was known to the cats themselves. When they had sung the cronan, said the head bard,

(Bha iongantas orm gum’ b’ aithne do na cait féin m’ ainm. Nur a sheinn iad an crònan, urs’ an ceannabhard,)

‘Now, O Conall, pay the reward of the cronan that the cats have sung to thee.’

(Nis, a Chonaill, pàigh duais a’ chrònain a sheinn na cait duit.)

” ‘Well then,’ said I myself, ‘I have no reward whatsoever for you, unless you should go down and take that calf.’

(Mata, cha ‘n ‘eil duais agamsa dhuibh mar an d’ théid sibh sios agus an laogh sin a ghabhail.)

“No sooner said I the word than the two cats and ten went down to attack the calf, and, in very deed, he did not last them long.

(Cha bu luaithe thuirt mi ‘m facal na ghabh an da chat deug a sìos an dàil an laoigh, ‘s gu dearbh cha do sheas e fada dhaibh.)

‘Play up with you, why should you be silent? Make a cronan to Conall Cra-Bhui,’ said the head bard.

(Suas sibh, carson a bhiodh sibh ‘nar tosd seinnibh crònan do Chonall Crà-bhuidhe.)

“Certainly I had no liking at all for the cronan, but up came the one cat and ten, and if they did not sing me a cronan then and there!

(Gu diongalta cha robh tlachd ‘sam bith agam féin d’an crònan, ach a nios a ghabh an t-aon chat deug, ‘s mar an do sheinn iad dòmhsa crònan an sin agus an sin!)

‘Pay them now their reward,’ said the great fox-coloured cat.

(Paigh a nis ‘nan duais iad.)

‘I am tired myself of yourselves and your rewards,’ said I. ‘I have no reward for you unless you take that cow down there.’

(Tha mi féin sgith dhibh féin ‘s de ‘r duais. Cha ‘n ‘eil duais agamsa dhuibh mar an gabh sibh am mart sin shios.)

“They betook themselves to the cow, and indeed she did not stand them out for long.

(Thug iad thun a mhairt, ‘s gu dearbh cha do sheas I fada dhaibh.)

‘Why will you be silent? Go up and sing a cronan to Conall Cra-Bhui,’ said the head bard.

(Carson a bhios sibh ‘nur tosd? theirigibh suas agus seinnibh crònan do Chonall Crà-bhuidhe.)

“And surely, oh, king, I had no care for them or for their cronan, for I began to see that they were not good comrades. When they had sung me the cronan they betook themselves down where the head bard was.

(Gu cinnteach a rìgh cha robh amhuil agam dhaibh féin no d’ an crònan, chionn bha mi faicinn nach bu chompanaich mhath iad. Nur a sheinn iad dòmhsa ‘n crònan thug iad a sìos orra far an robh an ceannard.)

‘Pay now their reward,’ said the head bard;

(Pàidh a nis an duais.)

“and for sure, oh, king, I had no reward for them; and I said to them,

(‘S gu cinnteach a rìgh cha robh duais agamsa dhaibh, ‘s thuirt mi riu,)

‘I have no reward for you, unless you will take that laddie with you and make use of him.’

(Cha ‘n ‘eil duais agamsa dhuibh mar an d’ thoir sibh am balach sin leibh, ‘s feum a dhèanadh dheth.) 

“When the boy heard this he took himself out, and the cats after him. And surely, oh, king, there was ‘striongan’ and catterwauling between them. When they took themselves out, I took out at a turf window that was at the back of the house. I took myself off as hard as I might into the wood. I was swift enough and strong at that time; and when I felt the rustling ‘toirm’ of the cats after me I climbed into as high a tree as I saw in the place, and (one) that was close in the top; and I hid myself as well as I might. The cats began to search for me through the wood, and they were not finding me; and when they were tired, each one said to the other that they would turn back.

(Nur a chual am balach so thug e ‘mach air, ‘s thug na cait as a dheigh; ‘s gu cinnteach a rìgh bha striongan eatorra. Nur a chaidh iad a mach ghabh mise mach air uinneag sgroth a bha air taobh củil an tighe. Thug mi as cho cruaidh ‘s a dh’ fhaodainn a stigh do ‘n choille. Bha mi gle luath, làidir ‘san am sin. Agus nur a mhothaich mi toirm nan cat a’ m’ dhéigh streap mi ann an craoibh cho àrd ‘s a chunnaic mi ‘san àite agus a bha dủmhaill anns a bhàrr, ’s dh’ fhalaich mi mi féin cho math ‘s a dh’ fhaodainn. Thòisich na cait air m’iarraidh feadh na coille, ‘s cha robh iad ‘gam’ fhaotainn, agus nur a bha iad sgìth thuirt gach fear r’a chéile gun tilleadh iad.)

‘But,’ said the one-eyed fox-coloured cat that was commander-in-chief over them, ‘you saw him not with your two eyes, and though I have but one eye, there’s the rascal up  in the top of the tree.’

(Cha ‘n fhaca sibhs’ e le ‘ur da shủil, ‘s gun agams’ ach an aon sủil. Siod an slaightire shuas am bàrr na craoibhe!)

“When he said that, one of them went up in the tree, and as he was coming where I was, I drew a weapon that I had and I killed him.

(Nur a thuirt e sin chaidh fear dhiu suas ‘sa chraoibh, ‘s nur a bha e tigh’n far an robh mi tharruinn mi arm a bh’ agam, agus mharbh mi e.)

‘Be this from me!’ said the one-eyed one – ‘I must not be losing my company thus; gather round the root of the tree and dig about it, and let down that extortioner to earth.’

(Bhuarn so, cha ‘n’ fhaod mise ‘bhi call mo chuideachd mur so. Cruinnichibh ma bhun na craoibhe, agus cladhachaibh timchioll urra, agus leagaibh an nuas an rògaire gu talamh.)

“On this they gathered about her (the tree), and they dug about her root, and the first branching root they cut, she gave a shiver to fall, and I myself gave a shout, and it was not to be wondered at. There was in the neighbourhood of the wood a priest, and he had ten men with him delving, and he said,

(Chruinnich iad an so timchioll urra, agus chladhaich iad ma ‘bun, agus a chiad fhreumh a gheàrr iad thug i uileann urra gu tuiteam, ‘s thug mi féin glaodh asam ‘s cha bioghnadh e. Bha ann an iomall na coille sagairt agus deich daoin’ aig a ruamhar.)

‘There is a shout of extremity and I must not be without replying to it.’

(Tha n’ siod glaodh sòraichte cha n ‘fhaod mise gun a fhreagairt.)

“And the wisest of the men said,

(Thuirt fear a bu ghlice de na daoine,)

‘Let it alone till we hear it again.’

(Leigeamaid dà gus an cluinn sin a rithisd e.)

“The cats began, and they began wildly, and they broke the next root; and I myself gave the next shout, and in very deed it was not weak.

(Thòisich na cait ‘s thòisich iad gu fiadhaich, ‘s bhrisd iad an ath fhreumh, ‘s thug mi féin an ath ghlaodh asam, ‘s gu dearbh cha robh e fann.)

‘Certainly,’ said the priest, ‘it is a man in extremity – let us move.’

(Gu cinnteach, ‘s duine ‘na éigin a th’ ann; gluaisemaid.)

“They were setting themselves in order for moving. And the cats arose on the tree, and they broke the third root, and the tree fell on her elbow. I gave the third shout. The stalwart men hasted, and when they saw how the cats served the tree, they began at them with the spades; and they themselves and the cats began at each other, till they were killed altogether – the men and the cats. And surely, oh king, I did not move till I saw the last one of them falling. I came home. And there’s for thee the hardest case in which I ever was; and it seems to me that tearing by the cats were harder than hanging to-morrow by the king of Lochlann.”

(Bha iad a’ cuir an òrdugh gu gluasad, ‘s dh’ éiridh na cait air a craoibh gus an do bhrisd iad an treas freumhach, ‘s thuit a craobh air a h-uileann. Thug mi ‘n treas glaodh asam. Dheifirich na daoine foghainteach, ‘s nur a chunnaic iad an dìol a bh’ aig na cait air a chraoibh; thòisich iad urra leis na spàdan, ‘s thòisich iad féin ‘s na cait air a cheile, gus an do mharbhadh gu léir iad, na daoin’ agus na cait; agus gu cinnteach a rìgh cha do charaich mise gus am faca mi ‘n t-aon ma dheireadh a’ tuiteam diu. Thainig mi dachaidh, agus sin agad an cas an cruaidhe ‘n robh mise riabh, ‘s air leam gum bu chruaidhe ‘bhith gam’ leòbadh aig na cait na bhith ‘ga m’ chrochadh aig rìgh Lochlann a màireach.)

“Od! Conall,” said the king, “thou art full of words. Thou hast freed the soul of thy son with thy tale; and if thou tellest me a harder case than thy three sons to be hanged tomorrow, thou wilt get thy second youngest son with thee, and then thou wilt have two sons.”

(Od a Chonaill, ‘s briatharach thu; shaor thu anam do mhic le d’ naigheachd, agus ma dh’ innseas thu dhomh càs is cruaidhe na do thri mic a bhi ‘gan crochadh a màireach gheobh thu do dharna mac is òige leat ‘s bidh an sin da mhac agad.)

“Well then,” said Conall, “on condition that thou dost that, I was in a harder case than to be in thy power in prison to-night.”

(Mata, air chủmhnant gun dèan thu sin, bha mi ‘n cas a bu chruaidhe na ‘bhi’ agadsa ‘nochd am prìosan.)

“Let’s hear,” said the king. –

(Cluinneam e.)

“I was there,” said Conall, “as a young lad, and I went out hunting, and my father’s land was beside the sea, and it was rough with rocks, caves, and geos.2 When I was going on the top of the shore, I saw as if there were a smoke coming up between two rocks, and I began to look what might be the meaning of the smoke coming up there. When I was looking, what should I do but fall; and the place was so full of manure, that neither bone nor skin was broken. I knew not how I should get out of this. I was not looking before me, but I was looking over head the way I came – and the day will never come that I could get up there. It was a terrible for me to be there till I should die. I heard a great clattering ‘tuarneileis’ coming, and what was there but a great giant and two dozen of goats with him, and a buck at their head. And when the giant had tied the goats, he came up and said to me,

(Bha mi ‘n sìod, am ghill’ òg ‘s chaidh mi mach a shealgaireachd, ‘s bha crìoch m’ athar taobh na fairge, ‘s bha i garbh le creagan, uamhachan, agus geothachan. Nur a bha mi folbh aig bràigh a’ cladaich chunnaic mi mar gum biodh toit a’ tighinn a nìos eadar da chreag, ‘s thug mi làmh air amharc de bu chiall do’n toit a bhi tighinn a nìos an sìod. Nur a bha mi ‘g amharc dé rinn mi ach tuiteam sìos, ‘s bha ‘n t-àite cho làn do leasachadh ‘s nach do bhrisdeadh cnàimh na craicionn. Cha robh fios’am dé mur a gheobhainn a mach as an so. Cha robh mi ‘g amharc romham ach bha mi ‘g amharc as mo chionn an rathad a thàinig mi, ‘s cha d’ thig an lath’ a gheobhainn suas an sin. Bha e uamhasach leam a bhi ‘n sin gus am bàsachainn. Chuala mi tuairneileis mhòr a’ tighinn, ‘s de bha ‘n sin ach famhair mòr, ‘s da dhusan gobhar leis, agus boc air an ceann, ‘s nur a cheangail am famhair na gobhair thàinig e nìos ‘s thuirt e rium,)

‘Hao O! Conall, its long since my knife is rusting in my pouch waiting for thy tender flesh.’

(Haobh a Chonaill ‘s fhada mo chorc a’ meirgeadh ann a’ m’ phòca a feitheamh air t-fheòil mhaoth.)

‘Och!’ said I, ‘it’s not much thou wilt be bettered by me, though thou should’st tear me asunder; I will make but one meal for thee. But I see that thou art one-eyed. I am a good leech, and I will give thee the sight of the other eye.’

(Oh! Cha mhòr is fheàird thu mise ged a reubas thu mi as a’ chéile, cha dean mi ach aon trath dhuit; ach tha mi faicinn gu ‘bheil thu air aon sủil, ‘s léigh math mise ‘s bheir mi sealladh na shủil eile dhuit.)

“The giant went and he drew the great caldron on the site of the fire. I myself was telling him how he should heat the water, so that I should give its sight to the other eye. I got heather and I made a rubber of it, and I set him upright in the caldron. I began at the eye that was well, pretending to him that I would give its sight to the other one, till I left them as bad as each other; and surely it was easier to spoil the one that was well than to give sight to the other.

“When he ‘saw’ that he could not see a glimpse, and when I myself said to him that I would get out in spite of him, he gave that spring out of the water, and he stood in the mouth of the cave, and he said that he would have revenge for the sight of his eye. I had but to stay there crouched the length of the night, holding in my breath in such a way that he might not feel where I was.

“When he felt the birds calling in the morning, and knew that the day was, he said –

(Dh’ fhoIbh am famhair ‘s tharrainn e ‘m brothadair mor air làrach a ghealbhain, ‘s bha mi féin aig ionnsachadh dha démur a theòigheadh e ‘n t-uisge, chum gun d’ thugainn a sealladh do ‘n t-suil eile. Fhuair mi fraoch, ‘s rinn mi rubair dheth ‘s chuir mi ‘na sheasamh anns a’ brothadair e. Thòisich mi air an t-sủil a bha gu math, a’ cur mar fhiachaibh air gun d’ thugainn a sealladh do ‘n te eile gus an d’ fhag mi cho dona r’a chèil’ iad; agus gu cinnteach b’ fhasa ‘n te a bha gu math a mhilleadh na sealladh a thoirt do ‘n te eile.
Nur a chunnaic e nach bu leur dha leus, ‘s a thuirt mi féin ris gum faighinn a mach gun taing dha, thug e ‘n leum sin as an uisge ‘s sheas e ann am beul na h-uamha, ‘s thuirt e gum biodh dìoghladh aig airson sealladh a shuil. Cha robh agam ach fantainn ann am pilleag an sin fad na h-oidhche, ‘cumail m’ anail a stigh air dhòigh ‘s nach mòthchadh e càit’ an robh mi. Nur a mhothaich e na h-eòin a’ gairm anns a mhaidinn, ‘s a dh’ aithnich e gun robh an lath’ ann.)

‘Art thou sleeping? Awake and let out my lot of goats.’

(Bheil thu ‘d chadal? Dủisg agus leid a mach mo chuid ghobhar.)

“I killed the buck.

(Mharbh mi ‘m boc.)

“He cried, ‘I will not believe that thou art not killing my buck.’

(Cha chreid mi nach ‘eil thu marbhadh mo bhuic.)

‘I am not,’ said I, ‘but the ropes are so tight that I take long to loose them.’

(Cha n’ eil, ach tha na ròpaichean cho teann ‘s gun d’ thoir mi fad’ air am fuasgladh.)

“I let out one of the goats, and he was caressing her, and he said to her,

(Leig mi mach te de na gobhair, ‘s bha e ga crìodachadh.)

‘There thou art thou shaggy, hairy white goat, and thou seest me, but I see thee not.’

(Tha thus’ an sin a ghobhar, bhàn, riobagach, roineach, ‘s chi thusa mise, ach cha ‘n fhaic mis’ thusa.)

“I was letting them out by the way of one and one, as I flayed the buck, and before the last one was out I had him flayed bag wise. Then I went and I put my legs in place of his legs, and my hands in place of his fore legs, and my head in place of his head, and the horns on top of my head, so that the brute might think that it was the buck. I went out. When I was going out the giant laid his hand on me, and he said,

(Bha mi ‘gan cuir a mach a lìon ‘s té ‘s té ‘s a feannadh a bhuic ‘s ma’n robh ‘n te ma dheireadh dhiu ‘mach bha feannadh-builg agam air. Dh’ fholbh mi ‘n so ‘s chuir mi mo chasan ann an àite ‘chasan-deiridh ‘s mo làmhan an àite ‘chasan-toisich, agus mo cheann an àite ‘chinn, ‘s na h-adhaircean air mullach mo chinn, air alt ‘s gun saoileadh a bhéisd gur e ‘m boc a bh’ ann. Chaidh mi ‘mach. Nur a bha mi ‘dol a mach chuir am famhair a làmh orm.)

‘There thou art thou pretty buck; thou seest me, but I see thee not.’

(Tha thus’ an sin a bhuic bhòidhich, chi thusa mise ach cha ‘n fhaic mis’ thusa.)

“When I myself got out, and I saw the world about me, surely, oh, king, joy was on me. When I was out and had shaken the skin off me, I said to the brute,

(Nur a fhuair mi féin a mach, ‘s a chunnaic mi ‘n saoghal ma ‘n cuairt orm, gu cinnteach a rìgh bha boch orm, nur a bha mi mach, ‘s a chrath mi dhiom an craicionn, thuirt mi ris a bhèisd,)

‘I am out now in spite of thee.’

(Tha mi mach a nis gun taing duit.)

‘Aha!’ said he, ‘hast thou done this to me? Since thou were so stalwart that thou hast got out, I will give thee a ring that I have here, and keep the ring, and it will do thee good.’

(Aha! An d’rinn thu so orm? O ‘n a bha thu cho foghainteach ‘s gun d’ fhuair thu mach, bheir mi dhuit fàinn’ a th’ agam an so, ‘s gléidh am fàinne ‘s ni e feum dhuit.)

‘I will not take the ring from thee,’ said I, ‘but throw it, and I will take it with me.’

(Cha ghabh mi ‘m fàinne uait, ach tilg e, ‘s bheir mi leam e.)

“He threw the ring on the flat ground, I went myself and I lifted the ring, and I put it on my finger. When he said me then.

(Thilg e ‘m fàinn’ air a bhlàr, chaidh mi fein ‘s thog mi ‘m fàinne, ‘s chuir mi air mo mheur e.)

‘Is the ring fitting thee?’

(A’ bheil am fàinne freagairt duit?)

“I said to him, ‘It is.’


“He said, ‘Where art thou ring?’

(Ca’ ‘bheil thu fhàinne?)

“And the ring said, ‘I am here.’

(Tha mi ‘n so.)

“The brute went and he betook himself towards where the ring was speaking, and now I saw that I was in a harder case than ever I was. I drew a dirk. I cut the finger off from me, and I threw it from me as far as I could out on the loch, and there was a great depth in the place.

(Dh’ fholbh a’ bhèisd ‘s thug e ionnsuidh air far an robh ‘m fàinne bruidhinn, agus chunnaic mi ‘n so gun robh mi ‘n càs na bu chruaidhe na bha mi riabh. Tharruinn mi biodag; ghearr mi dhìom a’ mheur; ‘s thilg mi uam i cho fhada ‘s a b‘ urrainn mi’ mach air an loch, ‘s bha dhòimhneachd mhòr ‘s an àite.)

“He shouted, ‘Where art thou, ring?’

(Càit’ a’ bheil thu, fhàinne?)

“And the ring said, ‘I am here.’

(Tha mi ‘n so.)

“though it was on the ground of ocean. He gave a spring after the ring, and out he went in the sea. And I was as pleased here when I saw him drowning, as though thou shouldst let my own life and the life of my two sons with me, and not lay any more trouble on me. 

(Thug e leum as déigh an fhàinne, ‘s a mach a ghabh e anns an fhairge ‘s bha mi cho toilichte an so nur a chunnaic mi e ‘ga bhathadh, ‘s ged a leigeadh thusa mo bheatha fein agus beatha mo mhac leam gun mìr dragh a chuir orm.) 

“When the giant was drowned I went in, and I took with me all he had of gold and silver, and I went home, and surely great joy was on my people when I arrived. And as a sign for thee, look thou, the finger is off me.”

(Nur a bhàthadh am famhair chaidh mi stigh ‘s thug mi leam na bh’ aige ‘dh’ òr ‘s do dh’ airgiod, ‘s chaidh mi dhachaidh, ‘s gu cinnteach bha toilinntinn mhòr air mo mhuinntir nur a riànig mi ‘s mar chomharra dhuit fhaic thu ‘mheur dhìom.)

“Yes, indeed, Conall, thou art wordy and wise,” said the king. “I see thy finger is off. Thou hast freed thy two sons, but tell me a case in which thou ever wert that is harder than to be looking on thy two sons being hanged tomorrow, and thou wilt get the soul of thy second eldest son with thee.”

(Seadh a Chonaill ‘s briathrach seòlt’ thu, tha mi faicinn do mheur dhìot. Shaor thu do dha mhac a nis ach innis domh càs is cruaidhe an robh thu riabh na bhi’g amharc air do dha mhac ‘gan crochadh a màireach ‘s gheobh thu anam do dharna mic is sine leat.)

“Then went my father,” said Conall, “and he got me a wife, and I was married. I went to hunt. I was going beside the sea, and I saw an island over in the midst of the loch, and I came there where a boat was with a rope before her and a rope behind her, and many precious things within her. I looked myself on the boat to see how I might get part of them. I put in the one foot, and the other foot was on the ground, and when I raised my head what was it but the boat over in the middle of the loch, and she never stopped till she reached the island. When I went out of the boat the boat returned where she was before. I did not know now what I should do. The place was without meat or clothing, without the appearance of a house on it. I raised out on the top of a hill. I came to glen; I saw in it, at the bottom of a chasm, a woman who had got a child, and the child was naked on her knee, and a knife in her hand. She would attempt to put the knife in the throat of the babe, and the babe would begin to laugh in her face, and she would begin to cry, and she would throw the knife behind her. I thought to myself that I was near my foe and far from my friends, and I called to the woman,

(Dh’ fholbh an siod m’ athair, agus fhuair e dhomh bean, ‘s bha mi air mo phòsadh. Dh’ fholbh mi shealg. Bha mi folbh taobh na fairge ‘s chunnaic mi eilean thall am meadhon an loch, agus thainig mi far an robh bàta an sin, ‘s ropa roimpe ‘s ropa na deigh, ‘s mòran do nithean luachmhor an taobh a stigh dhi. Dh’ amhairc mi féin air a bhàta feuch dèmur a gheobhainn pairt diu. Chuir mi stigh an darna cas ‘s bha ‘chas eile air a ghrunnd, ‘s nur a thog mi mo cheann de ach a bha ‘m bàta nunn am meadhon an loch, ‘s cha do stad i gus an d’ ràinig i ‘n t-eilean. Nur a chaidh mi mach as a bhàta thill am bàta far an robh i roimhid. Cha robh fiosam an so de’ dhèanainn. Bha ‘n t-àite gun bhiadh, gun aodach, gun choltas tighe air. Thog mi mach aìr mullach cnoic. Thàinig mi gu gleann. Chunnaic mi ann an grunnd glomhais bean agus leanabh aice, ‘s an leanabh ruisgt’ air a glủinean, agus sgian aice ‘na Iàimh. Bheireadh i làmh air an sgian a chuir air muineal an lèinibh, ‘s thòiseachadh an leanabh air gàireachdaich na h-aodann, ‘s thòiseachadh ise air caoineadh, ‘s thilgeadh i ‘n sgian air a h-ais. Smaointich mi féin gun robh mi fagus do m’ naimhdean ‘s fad o m’ chairdean, ‘s ghlaoidh mi ris a bhoireannach,)

‘What art thou doing here?’

(De’ tha thu ‘deanadh an so?)

“And she said to me, ‘What brought thee here?’

(De thug thus’ an so?)

“I told her myself word upon word how I came.

(Dh’ innis mi féin di facal air an fhacal mar a thàinig mi.)

‘Well then,’ said she, ‘it was so I came also.’

(Mata, `s ann mar sin a thainig mise cuideachd.)

“She showed me to the place where I should come in where she was. I went in, and I said to her,

(Sheòl i mi gus an àite ‘n d’ thiginn a stigh far an robh i. Chaidh mi stigh, ‘s thuirt mi rithe,)

‘What was in fault that thou wert putting the knife on the neck of the child?’

(De bu choireach thu bhi’ cur na sgian air muineal a phàisde?)

‘It is that he must be cooked for the giant who is here, or else no more of my world will be before me.’

(Tha gu ‘feum mi e ‘bhi bruich airson an fhamhair a tha ‘n so, air no cha bhi tuillidh do m’ shaoghal romham.)

“I went up steps of stairs, and I saw a chamber full of stripped corpses. I took a lump out of the corpse that was whitest, and I tied a string to the child’s foot, and the string to the lump, and I put the lump in his mouth, and when it went in his throat he would give a stretch to his leg, and he would take it out of his throat, but with the length of the thread he could not take it out of his mouth. I cast the child into a basket of down, and I asked her to cook the corpse for the giant in place of the child.

(Chaidh mi suas ceumanna staighreach, ‘s chunnaic mi seòmar làn do chuirp rủisgte. Thug mi plaibean as a chorp a bu ghile, agus cheangail mi sreang ri cas a phàisde ‘s streang ris a phlaibean, ‘s chuir mi ‘m plaibean ‘na bheul, ‘s nur a bhiodh e’ dol’ na mhuineal bheireadh e sìneadh air a chois, ‘s bheireadh e as a mhuineal e, ach leis an fhad a bha ‘s an t-snàthainn cha b-urrainn e thoirt as a bheul. Thilg mi ‘m pàisd’ ann am baraille clòimhe, ‘s dh’ iarr mi urra ‘n corp a bhruich do ‘n fhamhair an àite’ phàisde.)

‘How can I do that?’ said she, ‘when he has count of the corpses?’

(Demur is urrainn mi sin a dheanadh, ‘s gu bheil cunndas aig air na cuirp?)

Do thou as I ask thee, and I will strip myself, and I will go amongst the corpses, and then he will have the same count,’ said I.

(Dean thusa mar a tha mise ‘g iarraidh ort, ‘s rủisgidh mise mi féin, ‘s theid mi ‘measg nan corp, ‘s bidh an cunndas aig an sin.)

“She did as I asked her. We put the corpse in the great caldron, but we could not put on the lid. When he was coming home I stripped myself, and I went amongst the corpses. He came home, and she served up the corpse on a great platter, and when he ate it he was complaining that he found it too tough for a child.

(Rinn i mar a dh’ iarr mi urra. Chuir sin an corp anns a bhrothadair mhòr, ach chu b-urrainn duinn am brod a chur air. Nur a bha esan a tigh’n dachaidh rủisg mise mi fein ‘s chaidh mi measg nan corp. Thàinig esan dachaidh, ’s a chuir ise ‘n corp air mias mhòr, ‘s nur a dh’ ith e e bha e a’ gearan gun robh e tuillidh is righinn leis do phàisde.)

‘I did as thou asked me,’ said she. ‘Thou hadst count of the corpses thyself, and go up now and count them.’

(Rinn mise mar a dh’ iarr thu. Bha cunndas agad féin air na cuirp, ‘s theirig suas a nis agus cunnd iad.)

“He counted them and he had them.

(Chunnd e iad ‘s bha iad aige.)

‘I see one of a white body there,’ said he. ‘I will lie down a while and I will have him when I wake.’

(Tha mi ‘faicinn fear corp geal an siod, ‘s théid mi ‘laidhe treis, ‘s bidh e agam nur a dhủisgeas mi.)

“When he rose he went up and gripped me, and I never was in such a case as when he was hauling me down the stair with my head after me. He threw me into the caldron, and he lifted the lid and he put the lid into the caldron. And now I was sure I would scald before I could get out of that. As fortune favoured me, the brute slept beside the caldron. There I was scalded by the bottom of the caldron. When she perceived that he was asleep, she set her mouth quietly to the hole that was in the lid, and she said to me

‘was I alive.’

I said I was. I put up my head, and the brute’s forefinger was so large, that my head went through easily. Everything was coming easily with me till I began to bring up my hips. I left the skin of my hips about the mouth of the hole, and I came out. When I got out of the caldron I knew not what to do; and she said to me that there was no weapon that would kill him but his own weapon. I began to draw his spear, and every breath that he would draw I would think I would be down his throat, and when his breath came out I was back again just as far. But with every ill that befell me I got the spear loosed from him. Then I was as one under a bundle of straw in a great wind, for I could not manage the spear. And it was fearful to look on the brute, who had but one eye in the midst of his face; and it was not agreeable for the like of me to attack him. I drew the dart as best as I could, and I set it in his eye. When he felt this he gave his head a lift, and he struck the other end of the dart on the top of the cave, and it went through to the back of his head. And he fell cold dead where he was; and thou mayest be sure, oh king, that joy was on me. I myself and the woman went out on clear ground, and we passed the night there. I went and got the boat with which I came, and she was no way lightened, and took the woman and the child over on dry land; and I returned home.”

(Nur a dh’ éiridh e chaidh e suas ‘s rug e orm, ‘s cha robh mi na leithid do chàs riamh, ‘s nur a bha e ‘gam shlaodhadh sios an staighir ‘s mo cheann as mo dhéigh. Thilg e anns a’ choire mi. Thog e ‘m brod, ‘s chuir e ‘m brod anns a choire. Bha mi ‘n so cinnteach gum bithinn sàglte ma ‘m faighinn as an siod. Mar bhuaidh fhortain dòmhsa chaidil a bhéisd taobh a choire. Bha mi ‘n sin ‘gam sgaltadh le màs a’ choire. Nur a mhothaich ise gun robh e ‘na chadal chuir i ‘beul gu réidh ris an toll  a bha ‘s a’ bhrod, ‘s thuirt i rium
‘an robh mi beò.’
Thuirt mi gun robh. Chuir mi suas mo cheann, ‘s bha corrag na beisde cho mòr ‘s gun deach mo cheann roimhe gu soirbh. Bha h-uile ni tigh’n leam gu soirbh gus an do thòisich mi air toirt a nios mo chruachan. Dh’ fhàg mi craicionn nan cruachan ma bheul an tuill, ‘s thàinig mi as. Nur a fhuair mi ‘mach as a choire cha robh fhios’am de’ dhèanainn, ‘s thuirt ise rium nach robh arm sam bith a mharbhadh e ach arm féin. Thòisich mi air tarruinn na sleagh, ‘s a’ h-uile tarruinn a bheireadh e air anail shaoilinn gum bithinn sìos ‘na mhuineal, ‘s nur a chuireadh e ‘mach anail bha mi cho fad’a rithisd air m’ ais. H-uile h-olc g’ an d’ fhuaireadh mi fhuair mi n t-sleagh fhuasgladh uaidh. Bha mi ‘n sin mar gum bithinn fo ultach cònlaich ann an gaoith mhòr, ‘s nach b-urrainn mi ‘n t-sleagh iomachar, ‘s b-oillteil a bhi ‘g amharc air a bhèisd, ‘s gun ach aon sủil an clàr aodainn, ‘s cha b-aobhach do m’ leithidsa dol ‘na dhàil. Tharruinn mi ‘n t-sleagh mar a b’fheàrr a b’urrainn mi, ‘s chuir mi ‘na shủil i. Nur a mhothaich e so thug e togail air a cheann, ‘s bhuail e ceann eile na sleagh ri driom na h-uamha, ‘s chaidh i roimhe gu củl a chinn ‘s thuit e fuar, marbh far an robh e, ‘s gu cinnteach dhuitse a rìgh bha boch ormsa. Chaidh mi fein ‘s am boireannach a mach air fearann glan, ‘s chuir sin seachad an oidhche an sin. Dh’ fholbh agus fhuair mi m bàta leis an d’ thàinig mi, agus cha robh iodramanachd sam bith urra, ‘s thug mi ‘bhean agus am pàisde nunn air talamh tioram, agus thill mi dhachaidh.)

The king’s mother was putting on a fire at this time, and listening to Conall telling the tale about the child.

“Is it thou,” said she, “that were there?”

(An tus’, bha ‘sin?)

“Well then,” said he, “’twas I.”

(Mata, ‘s mi.)

“Och! Och!” said she, “‘Twas I that was there, and the king is the child whose life thou didst save; and it is to thee that life thanks might be given.”

(Och! och! ‘s mise ‘bha ‘n sin, agus ‘s e ‘n rìgh am pàisde d’an do shàbhail thu ‘bheatha, agus ‘s ann ort a dh’ fhaodar buidheachas a bheatha thobhairt.)

Then they took great joy.

The king said, “Oh Conall, thou camest through great hardships. And now the brown horse is thine, and his sack full of the most precious things that are in my treasury.”

(A Chonaill, thàinig thu ro chisan mòr. Agus ‘s leat a nis an t-each donn, agus a shachd do na nitheannan is luachmhoire ‘th’ ann a’m’ ionmhas.)

They lay down that night, and if it was early that Conall rose, it was earlier than that that the queen was on foot making ready. He got the brown horse and his sack sull of gold and silver and stones of great price, and then Conall and his four sons went away, and they returned home to the Erin realm of gladness. He left the gold and silver in his house, and he went with the horse to the king. They were good friends evermore. He returned home to his wife, and they set in order a feast; and that was the feast, oh son and brother!

1  Or commander-in-chief.
2  Rifts or chasms, where the sea enters.

3 thoughts on “V. Conall Cra Bhuidhe, pp.105-118.

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