VI. Tale of Conal Crovi, pp.128-138.

THERE was a king over England once, and he had three sons, and they went to France to get learning, and when they came back home they said to their father that they would go to see what order was in the kingdom since they went away; and that was the first place to which they went, to the house of a man of the king’s tenants, by the name of Conal Crobhi. 

Conal Crovi had every thing that was better than another waiting for them; meat of each meat, and draughts of each drink. When they were satisfied, and the time came for them to lie down, the king’s bis son said – 

“This is the rule that we have since we came home – The goodwife must wait on me, and the maid must wait on my middle brother, and the guidman’s daughter on my young brother.” 

(’Se so an riaghailt a th’ againne bho thàinig sinn dhachaidh, gu ‘m bi mise le bean an tighe nochd, agus mo bràthair meadhonach leis an t-searbhanta, ‘s mo bràthair òg le nighean fir an tighe.) 

But this did not please Conal Crovi at all, and he said – 

“I won’t say much about the maid and the daughter, but I am not willing to part from my wife, but I will go out and ask themselves about this matter;” 

(Mu ‘n nighean ‘s mu’n t-searbhanta cha ‘n abair mi mòran, ach cha ‘n-’eil mi toilichte dealachadh ri m’ bhean, ach thèid mise mach agus feòraichidh mi dhiubh fhèin mu thimchioll na chùis so;) 

and out he went, and he locked the door behind him, and he told his gillie that the three best horses that were in the stable were to be ready without delay; and he and his wife went on one, his gillie and his daughter on another, and his son and the maid on the third horse, and they went where the king was to tell the insult his set of sons had given them. 

The king’s watchful gillie was looking out whom he should see coming. He called out that he was seeing three double riders coming. Said the king,  

“Ha! hah! This is Conal Crovi coming, and he has my three sons under cess,1 but if they are, I will not be.” 

(Ha! hath! so Conal Cròbhi a’ tighinn, ‘s mo thriùir mhacsa fo chìs aige, ach ma tha iadsan, cha bhi mise.) 

When Conal Crovi came the king would not give him a hearing. Then Conal Crovi said, when he got no answer,  

“I will make thy kingdom worse than it is,” 

(Nì mise do rìoghachd na ‘s miosa na tha i,) 

and he went away, and he began robbing and lifting spoil. 

The king said that he would give any reward to any man that would make out the place where Conal Crovi was taking his dwelling. 

The king’s swift rider said, that if he could get a day and a year seeking for him, but if he took it he saw no sight of Conal Crovi. On his way home he sat on a pretty yellow brow, and he saw a thin smoke in the midst of the tribute wood. 

Conal Crovi had a watching gillie looking whom he should see coming. He went in and he said that he saw the likeness of the swift rider coming. 

“Ha, ha!” said Conal Crovi, “the poor man is sent away to exile as I went myself.” 

(Ha, ha, tha ‘n duine bochd air a chuir air falbh air fògradh mar chaidh mi féìn.) 

Conal Crovi had his hands spread waiting for him, and he got his choice of meat and drink, and warm water for his feet, and a soft bed for his limbs. He was but a short time lying when Conal Crovi cried, 

“Art thou asleep, swift rider?” 

(Am bheil thu ‘d chadal, mharcaich’ ghemeartaich?) 

“I am not,” said he. 

(Cha n’eil,) 

At the end of a while again he cried, 

“Art thou asleep?” 

(M bheil thu ‘n ad’ chadal?) 

He said he was not. He cried again the third time, but there was no answer. Then Conal Crovi cried, 

“On your soles! all within, this is no crouching time. The following will be on us presently.” 

(Air bhur bonn na tha stigh; cha ‘n am crùban a th’ ann, Bithidh an tòir oirnn an ceartair.) 

The watchman of Conal Crovi was shouting that he was seeing the king’s three sons coming, and a great company along with them. He had of arms but one black rusty sword. Conal Crovi began at them, and he did not leave a man alive there but the king’s three sons, and he tied them and took them in, and he laid on them the binding of the three smalls, straitly and painfully and he threw them into the peat corner, and he said to his wife to make meat speedily, that he was going to do a work whose like he never did before. 

“What is that, my man?” said she. 

(Gu dè sin a dhuine?) 

“Going to take the heads off the king’s three sons.” 

(Dol a thoirt nan ceann do triùir mhac an rìgh.) 

He brought up the big one and set his head on the block, and he raised the axe. 

“Don’t, don’t,” said he, “and I will take with thee in right or unright for ever.” 

(Na deàn!, na deàn, ‘s gabhaidh mi leat fhéin an còir ‘s an eucoir gu bràth.) 

Then he took the middle one, he set his head on the block and he raised the axe. 

“Don’t, don’t,” said he, “and I will take with thee in right or unright for ever.” 

(Na deàn!, na deàn, ‘s gabhaidh mi leat fhéin an còir ‘s an eucoir gu bràth.) 

Then he brought up the young one, and he did the very same to him. 

“Don’t, don’t,” said he, “and I will take with thee in right or unright for ever.” 

(Na deàn!, na deàn, ‘s gabhaidh mi leat fhéin an còir ‘s an eucoir gu bràth.) 

Then he went, himself and the king’s three sons, where the king was. 

The watching gillies of the king were looking out when they should see the company coming with the head of Conal Crovi. then one called out that he was seeing the likeness of the king’s three sons coming, and Conal Crovi before them. 

“Ha, ha!” said the king, “Conal Crovi is coming, and he has my three sons under cess, but if they are I won’t be.” 

(Ha, ha! tha Conal Cròbhi a’ tighinn ‘s mo thriùir mhac aige fo chìs, ach ma tha iadsan, cha bhi mise.) 

He would give no answer to Conal Crovi, but that he should be hanged on a gallows in the early morning of the morrow’s day. 

Now, the gallows was set up and Conal Crovi was about to be hanged, but the king’s big son cried, 

“I will go in his place.” 

(Thèid mise na àite.) 

The king’s middle son cried, 

“I will go in his place;” 

(Thèid mise na àite.) 

and the king’s young son cried, 

“I will go in his place.” 

(Thèid mise na àite.) 

Then the king took contempt for his set of sons. Then said Conal Crovi, 

“We will make a big ship, and we will go steal the three black white-faced stallions that the king of Eirinn has, and we will make the kingdom of Sasunn as rich as it ever was.” 

(Nì sinn long mhòr agus thèid sinn a ghoid nan trì òigeach bhlàra, dhubha a tha aig rìgh Eirinn, ‘s nì sinn rìoghachd Shasuinn co beartach sa bha i riamh.) 

When the ship was ready, her prow went to sea and her stern to shore, and they hoisted the chequered flapping sails against the tall tough masts; there was no mast unbent, nor sail untorn, and the brown buckies of the strand were “glagid”ing on her floor. They reached the “Paileas” of the King of Eirinn. They went into the stable, but when Conal Crovi would lay a hand on the black white-faced stallions, the stallions would let out a screech. The King of Eirinn cried, 

“Be out lads; some one is troubling the stallions.” 

(Bithibh a mach, fhearaibh, tha cuideiginn a cur dragh air na h-òigeich.) 

They went out and they tried down and up, but they saw no man. There was an old hogshead in the lower end of the stable, and Conal Crovi and the king’s three sons were hiding themselves in the hogshead. When they went out Conal laid hands on the stallion and the stallion let out a screech, and so they did three times, and at the third turn, one of those who were in the party said, that they did not look in the hogshead. Then they returned and they found the king’s three sons and Conal in it. they were taken in to the king. 

“Ha, ha, thou hoary wretch,” said the king, “many a mischief thou didst before thou thoughtest to come and steal my three black stallions.” 

(Ha! ha! a bhéist liath, ‘s iomadh cron a rinn thu, mu ‘n do smaoinich thu tighinn a ghoid nan òigeich dhubh agamsa.) 

The binding of the three smalls, straitly and painfully, was put on Conal Crovi, and he was thrown into the peat corner, and the king’s three sons were taken up a stair. When the men who were above had filled themselves full of meat and drink, it was then that the king thought of sending word down for Conal Crovi to tell a tale. ‘Twas no run for the king’s big son, but a leap down to fetch him. Said the king, 

“Come up here, thou hoary wretch, and tell us a tale.” 

(Thig a nìos an so, a bhéist liath, ‘s innis dhuinn sgeulachd.) 

“I will tell that,” said he, “if I get the worth of its telling; and it is not my own head nor the head of one of the company.” 

(Innsidh mi sin, ma gheibh mi fiach innseadh, ‘s cha ‘n e mo cheann fhéin na ceann aon do ‘n chuideachd.) 

“Thou wilt get that,” said the king, “Tost! hush! over there, and let us hear the tale of Conal Crovi”:- 

(Gheibh thu sin. Tosd! thall an sin, ‘s éisdibh ri sgeulachd Chonail Chrobhi,) 

“As a young lad I was fishing on a day beside a river, and a great ship came past me. they said to me would I go as ‘pilot’ to go to Rome. I said that I would do it; and of every place as we reached it, they would ask was that Rome? and I would say that it was not, and I did not know where in the great world Rome was. 

(‘Nam’ ghill’ òg bha mi ‘g iasgach latha aig taobh aibhne, ‘s thàinig long mhòr seachad orm; thuirt iad rium ‘an gabhainn a’ m’ philot gu dhol an Ròimh; thuirt mi gu ‘n dèanainn e, agus na h-uil’ aite, do ‘n ruigeamaid, dh’ fheòraicheadh iad, am b’e siud an Ròimh? ‘s theirinn-sa nach b’i, ‘s cha robh fios agam, c’ait’ air an t-saoghal mhòr an robh an Ròimh.) 

“We came at last to an island that was there, we went on shore, and I went to take a walk about the island, and when I returned back the ship was gone. There I was, left by myself, and I did not know what to do. I was going past a house that was there, and I saw a woman crying. I asked what woe was on her; she told me that the heiress of this island had died six weeks ago, and that they were waiting for a brother of hers who was away from the town, but that she was to be buried this day. 

(Thàinig sinn mu dheireadh gu h-eilean a bha ‘n sin. Chaidh sinn air tìr agus chaidh mise a ghabhail sràid feadh an eilein, agus dur a thill mi air m’ ais, bha ‘n long air falbh. Bha mi ‘n sin air m’ fhàgail leam fhéìn, ‘s cha robh fios agam de a dhèanainn. Bha mi ’dol seachad air taigh a bha ‘n sin, ‘s chunnaic mi bean ri caoineadh. Dh’ fheòraich mi dhi de ‘m bròn a bha orra? Thuirt i rium ‘gu ‘n do bhàsaich ban-oighre an eilean so bho cheann sèa seachduinnean agus gu ‘n robh i ri tìodhlacadh an latha so.) 

“They were gathering to the burying, and I was amongst them when they put her down in the grave; they put a bag of gold under her head, and a bag of silver under her feet. I said to myself, that were better mine; that it was of no use at all to her. When the night came I turned back to the grave.2 When I had dug up the grave, and when I was coming up with the gold and silver I caught hold of the stone that was on the mouth of the grave, the stone fell down and I was there along with the dead carlin. By thy hand, oh, King of Eirinn! and by my hand, though free, if I was not in a harder case along with the carlin than I am here under thy compassion, with a hope to get off.” 

(Bha iad a’ cruinneachadh gus an tìodhlacadh, ‘s bha mise ‘nam measg, ‘s ‘nuair a chuir iad sìos anns an uaigh i, chuir iad poc’ òir fuidh ‘ceann, ‘s poc’ airgid fuidh casan. Thuirt mise rium fhéim, gu ‘m b’fheàrr sud agam fhéin, nach robh e gu feum sam bith dh’ ise. ‘Nuair a thàinig an oidhche thill mi air m’ ais gus an uaigh. An uair a chladhaich mi ‘n uaigh, ‘s a bha mi tighinn a nìos leis an òr ‘s leis an airgiod, rug mi air a chlach a bha air beul na h-uaighe. Thuit a chlach a nuas, ‘s bha mise còmhladh ris a chailleach mharbh an sin. Air do làimhsa, a rìgh Eirinn, ‘s air mo làimh-sa, ge saor e, mur robh mi ni bu chruaidh còmhladh ris a chaillich na tha mi ‘n so fo t’iochd-sa, ‘s dùil ri dol as agam.) 

“Ha! ha! thou hoary wretch, thou camest out of that, but thou wilt not go out of this.” 

(Ha! Ha! a bhéist liath, thàinig thu as an sin, ach cha téid thu as an so.) 

“Give me now the worth of my ursgeul,” said Conal. 

(Thoir dhomh a nis fiach m’ ursgeul,) 

“What is that?” said the king. 

(Gu de sin,) 

“It is that the big son of the King of Sasunn, and the big daughter of the King of Eirinn, should be married to each other, and one of the black white-faced stallions a tocher for them.” 

(Tha mac mòr rìgh Shasuinn, agus nighean mhòr rìgh Eirinn a bhi air am pòsadh ri ‘chéile, agus fear do na h-òigeich bhlàra, dhubha na thocharadh.) 

“Thou shalt get that,” said the king. 

(Gheibh thu sin.) 

Conal Crovi was seized, the binding of the three smalls laid on him straitly and painfully, and he was thrown into the peat corner; and a wedding of twenty days and twenty nights was made for the young couple. When they were tired then of eating and drinking, the king said that it were better to send for the hoary wretch, and that he should tell them how he had got out of the grave. 

‘Twas no run, but a leap for the king’s middle son to go to fetch him; he was sure he would get a marriage for himself as he had got for his brother. He went down and he brought him up. 

Said the king,  

“Come up and tell to us how thou gottest out of the grave.” 

(Thig a nìos ‘s innis dhuinn cionnas a fhuair thu as an uaigh.) 

“I will tell that,” said Conal Crovi, “if I get the worth of telling it; and it is not my own head, nor the head of one that is in the company.” 

(Innsidh mi sin, ma gheibh mi fiach innseadh, ‘s cha ‘n e mo cheann féin, na ceann h-aon a tha sa chuideachd.) 

“Thou shalt get that,” said the king. 

(Gheibh thu sin,) 

“I was there till the day. The brother of the heiress came home, and he must see a sight of his sister; and when they were digging the grave I cried out, ‘oh! catch me by the hand;’ and the man that would not wait for his bow he would not wait for his sword, as they called that the worst one was there; and I was as swift as one of themselves. Then I was there about the island, not knowing what side I should go. Then I came across three young lads, and they were casting lots. I asked them what they were doing thus. They said, 

(Bha mise an sin gus an latha. Thàinig bràthair na ban-oighre dhachaigh, ‘s dh’ fheumadh e sealladh d’a phiuthar fhaicinn agus dar a bha iad a cladhach na h-uaighe, ghlaodh mise, ‘o! beir air làimh orm;’; ‘S am fear nach fanadh ri ‘bhogha cha ‘n fhanadh ri ‘chlaidheamh, ‘s iad a glaodhaich gu ‘n robh am fear bu mhiosa an siud, ‘s bha mise cho luath ri h-aon aca fhéin. Bha mi ‘n sin air feadh an eilean gu ‘n fhios dé ‘n taobh a rachainn. Thàinig mi ‘n sin tarsuinn air triùir ghillean òga, ‘s iad a cuir chrann. Dh’ fheòraich mi dhiubh, de a bha iad a dèanamh mar siud. Thuirt iad,) 

‘what was my business what they were doing?’ 

(de mo ghnothuchsa de bha iad a dèanamh?) 

‘Hud! hud’ said I myself, ‘you will tell me what you are doing.’ 

(Hud! Hud! innsidh sibh dhomh dé tha sibh a dèanamh.) 

‘Well, then,’ said they, ‘a great giant took away our sister. We are casting lots which of us shall go down to seek her.’ 

(Mata, thug famhair mòr air falbh ar piuthar ‘s tha sin a cuir chrann feuch co againn a théid sìos do ‘n toll so g’a h-iarraidh.) 

“They let me down in a creel. There was the very prettiest woman I ever saw, and she was winding golden thread off a silver windle. 

(Leig iad sìos mi ann an cliabh. Bha an sin an aon bhoirionnach bu bhòidhche a chunnaic mi riamh, ‘s i tochras snàth òir far eachan airgid.) 

‘Oh!’ said she to myself, ‘how didst thou come here?’ 

(O! de mar thàinig thusa an so?) 

‘I came down here to seek thee; thy three brothers are waiting for thee at the mouth of the hole, and you will send down the creel to-morrow to fetch me. If I be living, ‘tis well, and if I be not, there’s no help for it.’ 

(Thàinig mise a nuas gu d’ iarraidh; tha do thriùir bhràithrean a feitheamh ort aig beul an tuill, agus cuiridh sibh a nuas an cliabh am màireach gu m’ iarraidh-sa. Ma bhitheas mi beò ‘s maith, ‘s mar bi cha ‘n ‘eil atharrach air.) 

“I was but a short time there when I heard thunder and noise coming with the giant. I did not know where I should go to hide myself; but I saw a heap of gold and silver on the other side of the giant’s cave. I thought there was no place whatsoever that was better for me to hide in than amidst the gold. The giant came with a dead carlin trailing to each of his shoe-ties. He looked down, and he looked up, and when he did not see her before him, he let out a great howl of crying, and he gave the carlins a little singe through the fire and he ate them. Then the giant did not know what would best keep wearying from him, but he thought that he would go and count his lot of gold and silver; then he was but a short time when he set his hand on my own head. 

(Cha robh mi ach goirid an sin a nuair a chuala mi stairum ‘s stararaich a tighinn aig an fhamhair. Cha robh fios agam càite an rachainn am falach; ach chunnaic mi dùn òir ‘s airgid an taobh thall uamh an fhamhair. Smaoinich mi nach robh àite air bith a b’ fheàrr dhomh dol am folach na ‘measg an òir. Thàinig am famhair a stigh, ‘s cailleach mharbh slaodadh ris gach barrall bròig’ aige. Sheall e shìos ‘s sheall e shuas, ‘s dar nach fac e is’ air thoiseach air, leig e burrall mòr caoinidh as. Thug e dathadh air na cailleachan roimh ‘n ghealbhan’s dh’ ith e iad. Cha robh fhios aig an fhamhair an so de ‘n rud a b’ fheàrr a chumadh fhadal deth, ach smaointich e gu ‘n rachadh e a chunntas a chuid òir a’s airgid. Cha robh e ach goirid an sin ‘nuair a chuir e làmh air mo cheann fhéìn.) 

‘Wretch!’ said the giant, ‘many a bad thing didst thou ever before thou thoughtest to come to take away the pretty woman that I had; I have no need of thee to-night, but ‘tis thou shalt polish my teeth early to-morrow.’ 

(A bhéist! ‘s ioma droch rud a rinn thu riamh mu ‘n do smaoinich thu tighinn an so a thoirt air falbh a’ bhoirinnaich bhòidheach a bh’ agam-sa. Cha ‘n ‘eil feum agamsa ort an nochd, ach ‘s tu ghlanas m’ fhiaclan moch am màireach.) 

“The brute was tired, and he slept after eating the carlins; I saw a great flesh stake beside the fire. I put the iron spit in the very middle of the fire till it was red. The giant was in his heavy sleep, and his mouth open, and he was snoring and blowing. I took the red spit out of the fire and I put it down in the giant’s mouth; he took a sudden spring to the further side of the cave, and he struck the end of the spit against the wall, and it went right out through him. I caught the giant’s big sword, and with one stroke I struck the head off him. On the morrow’s day the creel came down to fetch myself; but I thought I would fill it with the gold and silver of the giant; and when it was in the midst of the hole, with the weight of the gold and silver, the tie broke. I fell down amidst stones, and bushes, and brambles; and by thy hand. oh, King of Eirinn! and by my hand, though free, I was in a harder case than I am to-night, under thy clemency, with the hope of getting out.” 

(Bha a bhéist sgìth ‘s chaidil e ‘n déigh na caillich itheadh. Chunnaic mi bior mòr feòla ri taobh a ghealbhain. Chuir mi ‘n teismeadhoin an teine am bior iaruinn, gus an robh e dearg. Bha ‘m famhair ‘na throm chadal, ‘s a bheul fosgailte, ‘s e ‘rùchdail ‘s a sèideil. Thug mi ‘m bior dearg as an teine, ‘s chuir mi sìos am beul an fhamhair e. Thug e grad leum gu taobh thall na h-uaimh, ‘s bhuail e ceann a bhior ris a’ ’bhalla ‘s chaidh e mach roi ‘n cheann eile. Rug mi air claidheamh mòr an fhamhair, agus le aon bheum chuir mi ‘n ceann dheth. Air an latha màireach, thàinig an cliabh a nuas gum m’ iarraidh fhéìn. Ach smaoinich mi gu ‘n lìonainn an cliabh do dh’ òr ‘s do dh’ airgiod an fhamhair, ‘s dar a bha e ‘m meadhon an tuill, le cudthrom an òir ‘s an airgid, bhris an iris, thuit mi nuas a measg chlachan, ‘s phris, ‘s dhris, ‘s air do làimhsa, a rìgh Eirinn, ‘s air mo làimhs ge saor e, bha mi ‘n càs bu chruaidhe na tha mi nochd fo t’iochdsa ‘s dùil agam ri dol as.) 

“Ah! thou hoary wretch, thou camest out of that, but thou wilt not go out of this,” said the king. 

(Ah! a bhéist liath, thàinig thu as an sin, ach cha téid thu as an so,) 

“Give me now the worth of my ursgeul.” 

(Thoir dhomh a nis fiach m’ ursgeul,) 

“What’s that?” said the king. 

(De sin?) 

“It is the middle son of the King of Sasunn, and the middle daughter of the King of Eirinn to be married to each other, and one of the black white-faced stallions as tocher.” 

(Tha mac meadhonach righ Shasuinn ‘s nighean mheadhonach rìgh Eirinn a bhi air am pòsadh ri ‘chéile ‘s fear do na h-òigeich bhlàra, dhubha mar thochradh.) 

“That will happen,” said the king. 

(Tachraidhh sin,) 

Conal Crovi was caught and bound with three slender ends, and tossed into the peat corner; and a wedding of twenty nights and twenty days was made for the young couple, there and then. 

When they were tired of eating and drinking, the king said they had better bring Conal Crovi up, til he should tell how he got up out of the giant’s cave. ‘Twas no run, but a spring for the king’s young son to go down to fetch him; he was sure he would get a “match” for him, as he got for the rest. 

“Come up here, thou hoary wretch,” said the king, “and tell us how thou gottest out of the giant’s cave.” 

(Thig a nìos an so, a bhéist liath, ‘s innis duinn ciamar a fhuair thu a uaigh an fhamhair.) 

“I will tell that if I get the worth of telling; and it is not my own head, nor the head of one in the company.” 

(Innsidh mi sin, ma gheibh mi fiach innseadh, ‘s cha ‘n e mo cheann fhein no ceann h-aon do na ‘bheil sa chuideachd.) 

“Thou wilt get that,” said the king. “Tost! silence over there, and let us listen to the sgeulachd of Conal Crovi,” said the king. 

(Gheibh thu sin, Tosd! thall an sin, ‘s eisdeamaid ri sgeulachd Chonail Chròbhi,) 

“Well! I was there below wandering backwards and forwards; I was going past a house that was there, and I saw a woman there, and she had a child in one hand and a knife in the other hand, and she was lamenting and crying. I cried myself to her, 

(Uill! bha mise gu h-ìosal an sin, ’s mi spaisdeireachd air m’ ais ‘s air m’ aghaidh. Bha mi ’dol seachad air tigh a bha ‘n sin ’s chunnaic mi bean an sin, ‘s leanabh aice san darna laimh, ‘s sgian aice san làimh eile, ‘s i ’caoinneadh. Ghlaodh mi fhéin rithe,) 

‘Hold on thy hand, woman. what art thou going to do?’ 

(Cum air do làimh a bhean; de tha thu dol a dhèanamh mar sin?) 

‘Oh!’ said she, ‘I am here with three giants, and they ordered my pretty babe to be dead, and cooked for them, when they should come home to dinner.’ 

(O! tha mi aig tri famhairean an so, agus dh’ iarr iad orm, mo leanabh bòidheach a bhi marbh ‘s air a bhruich air an cionn ‘nuair a thigeadh iad dhachaidh gu ‘n dinneir.) 

‘I see,’ said I, ‘three hanged men on a gallows yonder, and we will take down one of them; I will go up in the place of one of them, and thou wilt make him ready in place of the babe.’ 

(Chi mi, triùir dhaoine crochta air croich thall an siud, bheir sinn a nuas fear dhiubh, agus thèid mise suas na àite, ‘s  deasaichidh to esan an àite do leinibh.) 

“And when the giants came home to dinner, one of them would say, 

(Agus a nuir a thàinig na famhairean dhachaidh gu ‘n dinneir, theireadh fear dhiubh,) 

‘This is the flesh of the babe;’ 

(‘S e so feòil an leanaibh;) 

and another would say, ‘It is not.’ 

(‘s theireadh fear eile, ‘cha ‘n e.) 

One of them said that he would go to fetch a steak out of one of those who were on the gallows, and that he would see whether it was the flesh of the babe he was eating. I myself was the first that met them; and by thy hand, oh, King of Eirinn, and by my hand, were it free, if I was not in a somewhat harder case, when the steak was coming out of me, than I am to-night under thy mercy, with a hope to get out.” 

(Thuirt fear dhiubh, gu ‘n rachadh e a thoirt staoig a fear do na bha air a chroich, agus gu ‘faiceadh e co dhiu ‘s e feòil an leanibh a bha iad ag itheadh. ‘S mi fhéìn a cheud fhear a thachair orra, ‘s air do làimh, a rìgh Eirinn, ‘s air mo làimhsa, ge saor e, mur robh mi ann an cruaidh-chàs ni bu mhò ‘nuair a bha ‘n staoig a tighinn asam, na tha mi nochd fo t’iochdsa ‘s dùil ri dol as agam.) 

“Thou hoary wretch, thou camest out of that, but thou wilt not come out of this,” said the king. 

(A bhéist liath, thàinig thu aas an sin, ach cha d’ thig thu as an so,) 

“Give me now the reward of my ursgeul?” 

(Thoir dhomh a nis duais m’ ursgeul,) 

“Thou wilt get that,” said the king. 

(Gheibh thu sin,) 

“My reward is, the young son of the King of Sasunn, and the young daughter of the King of Eirinn, to be married, and one of the black stallions as tocher.” 

(‘S e mo dhuais, mac òg rìgh Shasuinn, ‘s nighean òg rìgh Eirinn a bhi posda, ‘s fear do na h-òigeich dubha mar thochradh.) 

There was catching of Conal Crovi, and binding him with the three slender ends, straitly and painfully, and throwing him down into the peat corner; and there was a wedding made, twenty nights and twenty days for the young pair. When they were tired eating and drinking, the king said that it were best to bring up that hoary wretch to tell how he came off the gallows. Then they brought myself up. 

“Come up hither, thou hoary wretch, and tell us how thou gottest off the gallows.” 

(Thig a nìos, a bhéist liath an so, ‘s innis dhuinn de mar fhuair thu bharr na croiche.) 

“I will tell that,” said I myself, “if I get a good reward.” 

(Innsidh mi sin, ma gheibh mi duais mhaith.) 

“Thou wilt get that,” said the king. 

(Gheibh thu sin,) 

“Well! when the giants took their dinner, they were tired and they fell asleep/ When I saw this, I came down, and the woman gave me a great flaming sword of light that one of the giants had; and I was not long throwing the heads off the giants. Then I myself, and the woman were here, not knowing how we should get up out of the giant’s cave. We went to the farther end of the cave, and then we followed a narrow road through a rock, till we came to light, and to the giant’s ‘biorlinn’ of ships.3 What should I think, but that I would turn back and load the biorlinn with the gold and silver of the giant; and just so I did. I went with the biorlinn under sail till I reached an island that I did not know. The ship, and the woman, and the babe were taken from me, and I was left there to come home as best I might. I got home once more to Sasunn, though I am here to-night.” 

(Uill! a nuair a ghabh na famhairean an dìnnear bha iad sgìth, ‘s thuit iad ‘nan cadal. ‘Nuair a chunnaic mise so, thàinig mi nuas ‘s thug a’ bhean dhomh claidheamh mòr, lasrach soluis a bha aig fear do na famhairean, ‘s cha robh mi fada a tilgeadh nan ceann do na famhairean. Bha mi fhéìn ‘s am boirionnach an so gun fhios againn cionnas a gheibheamaid a nìos a’ uamh an fhamhair. Dh’ fhalbh sinn gu ceann shìos na h-uaimh, ‘s lean sinn an sin rathad cumhang roi chreag gus an d’ thàinig sinn gu solus ‘s gu bior-linn luingeanach an fhamhair.3 Smuainich, mi fhéìn gum pillinn air m’ ais agus gu ‘n luchdaichinn a bhior-linn le òr ‘s le airgiod an fhamhair; agus mar so fhéìn rinn mi. Dh’ fhalbh mi leis a bior-linn fo sheòl gus an d’ thàinig mi gu h-eilean nach b’ aithne dhomh. Chaidh an long, ‘s am boirionach, ‘s an leanabh a thoirt uam, ‘s fagar mise an sin gu tighin dhachaigh mar a b’ fheàrr a dh’ fhaodainn. Fhuair mi dhachaigh aon uair eile do Shasunn, ged tha mi ‘n so a nochd.) 

Then a woman, who was lying in the chamber, cried out, 

“Oh, king, catch hold of this man; I was the woman that was there, and thou wert the babe.” 

(O a rìgh, beiribh air an duine so; Bu mhise am boirionach a bha ‘n sin, ‘s bu tusa an leanabh.) 

It was here that value was put on Conal Crovi; and the king gave him the biorlinn full of the giant’s gold and silver, and he made the kingdom of Sasunn as rich as it ever was before.

 

1  Cìs, cess, tax, subjection. 
2  The same word means cave and grave; the grave is dug because western graves are dug; but the tone falls on the mouth of the grave, probably because the story came from some country where graves were caves. There is an Italian story in which this incident occurs – Decameron of Boccacio. 
3  BIOR, a log; LINN a pool; LUINGEANACH, of ships; naval barge; or LUNN, handle of an oar, oared barge

2 thoughts on “VI. Tale of Conal Crovi, pp.128-138.

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