Tuesday, July 26, 2005


UI's Celtic Mythology - Cuchulainn

Yesterday I wrote about Cuchulainn's early years so today I will go into some detail on his exploits in battle.

Even though the druid Cathbad, Cuchulainn's grandfather, warned that anyone going to battle for the first time on a certain day was destined for a short life, Cuchulainn could not wait to deal with Ulster's enemies and he soon took up arms against three semi-divine warriors named Foill, Fannell and Tuachell, as well as their numerous followers, all of whom he killed. In this combat Cuchulainn displayed for the first time the dreadful shape of his battle-frenzy. His body trembled violently; his heels and calves appeared in front; one eye receded into his head, the other stood out huge and red on his cheek; a man's head could fit into his jaw; his hair bristled like hawthorn, with a drop of blood at the end of each single hair; and from the top of his head arose a thick column of dark blood like the mast of a ship. Returning to Emain Macha in his chariot, "graced with the bleeding heads of his enemies", and with the battle-frenzy still upon him, Cuchulainn was only stopped from circling the defences and screaming for a fight through a ploy of the Ulster queen Mughain. She led out of Emain Macha some hundred and fifty naked women carrying vats of cold water. An embarassed or amazed Cuchulainn was swiftly womanhandled into the vats. The first one burst its sides. The second boiled furiously, but the last vat became only very hot. Thus was the young hero tamed after his first taste of blood.

Tomorrow I will detail Cuchulainn's efforts to attain Emer's hand in marriage.


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