Saturday, July 02, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Calatin

Calatin, in Irish mythology, was a mishapen druid of Fomorii origin who was said to have studied sorcery for seventeen years. Queen Medb of Connacht dispatched Calatin along with his numerous sons to fight the Ulster hero Cuchulainn. All of them had their left hands and right feet missing, but they never missed with their poisoned spears, and Cuchulainn only succeeded in beating them with the assistance of a Connacht warrior who disapproved of such a one-sided contest. The destruction of the male Calatins did not spell the end of Cuchulainn's troubles, however, for not long afterwards Calatin's wife gave birth to three daughters, who were blinded in one eye, like the Germanic god Odin, so as to learn the magic arts.
Soon the three Calatin sisters became powerful witches, and they deceived Cuchulainn with their spells, and so assured Queen Medb's invasion of Ulster. When Cuchulainn rode out in his chariot against the invaders, he came across three hideous women cooking a dog next to the road. Either because the dog was his namesake, or because it would have been discourteous to refuse a piece of the cooked meat, Cuchulainn stopped and took hold of the dog's shoulder. As a result, his own hand and shoulder withered. Gravely weakened, he still advanced with his faithful charioteer Laeg.


This tale is quite noteworthy as the withering of Cuchulainn's hand and shoulder would play a key part in the Ulster champion's eventual death at the hands of Queen Medb of Connacht's invading army.


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