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The Battle of Magh Ai Lake

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In times far remote, and while Crimthan Cas reigned, the princes and heroes of Connaught held a great provincial assembly on a certain occasion, and near a lake situated in the beautiful plain of Magh Ai, and within the present county of Roscommon.  Suddenly the magnates and people assembled beheld a stranger come up towards them from out of the lough.  He wore a crimson mantle, a gold-bordered shield, and a golden-hilted sword.

When Laeghaire Liban, son to Crimthan Cas saw this unexpected visitor approach, the prince arose, welcomed him, and then asked about his name and the object of his visit.  The stranger answered, that his name was Fiachna Mac Reatach, that he was one of the Sidhe, or Fairy-men.  He had come hither, he said, to claim assistance against another fairy chief, named Eochaidh Mac Sail.  This latter had forcibly carried off Fiachna's wife, and the abductor now meditated an invasion of his territories.  On that very day, a challenge had been sent to Fiachna, and he now asked the Conacian heroes to assist him, promising rewards of gold and silver to any brave combatants, who volunteered in his quarrel.  After this announcement, the fairy chieftain courteously saluted the Prince of Connaught, and then departed towards the lake, into which he plunged, and instantly disappeared.

The courage and ardour of young Prince Laeghaire, and fifty other well armed retainers, were roused at his sight, and moved by the appeal of their strange visitant.  All followed excitedly towards the lake, and as if with one mind, they dived beneath the waters.  Soon they found themselves ranged in martial array on a lawn, which stretched before a magnificent palace.  There they found opposing armies in embattled ranks, and quite ready to engage in hostile encounter.  Laeghaire and his men stood on the side of Fiachna Mac Reatach, and a furious contest ensued.  It terminated in the death of the fairy chief, Eochaidh Mac Sail, who was killed by the prince's spear, while victory crowned the Conacians and their allied fairy host.

The wife of Fiachna was soon restored to her rightful lord, and the mortal prince was next introduced to their beautiful daughter, Dergrene, "The Sun-tear."  He fell in love with this charming princess; and his affection being reciprocated, he asked her parents' consent for their marriage.  This was obtained, and the prince, with his retainers, thenceforth chose to dwell under the lake ever after, as denizens of a subaqueous region.  Often by the lake side, and over its waters, these spirit people are seen; their music and revelry are also heard from beneath; nor are the mysteries of their enchanted kingdom known to mortals.

note: this story is also known as Echtrae Lóegairi - The Adventure of Loegaire texts of which are found in the Book of Leinster and the Book of Fermoy.

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