"Let a message be sent to
him," said Ailill,
"that Finnabair my daughter will be bestowed on him, and for him to
keep away from the hosts." Mane Athremail ('Fatherlike') goes to him.
But first he addresses himself to Laeg. "Whose man art thou?"
Now Laeg made no answer. Thrice Mane addressed him in this
same wise. "Cúchulainn's
man," Laeg answers, "and provoke me not, lest it happen I strike
thy head off thee!" "This man is mad," quoth Mane as he
Then he goes to accost Cuchulainn. It
was there Cuchulainn had doffed his tunic, and the deep snow was around
him where he sat, up to his belt, and the snow had melted a cubit around
him for the greatness of the heat of the hero. And Mane addressed him
three times in like manner, whose man he was?" Conchobar's
man, and do not provoke me. For if thou provokes me any longer I will
strike thy head off thee as one strikes off the head of a blackbird!"
"No easy thing," quoth Mane, "to speak to these two."
Thereupon Mane leaves them and tells his tale to Ailill and Medb.
go to him," said Ailill, "and offer him the girl."
Thereupon Lugaid goes and repeats this to Cuchulain. "O master
Lugaid," quoth Cuchulain, "it is a snare!" "It is the
word of a king; he hath said it," Lugaid answered; "there can be
no snare in it." "So be it," said Cuchulain. Forthwith
Lugaid leaves him and takes that answer to Ailill and Medb. "Let the
fool go forth in my form," said Ailill, "and the king's crown on
his head, and let him stand some way off from Cuchulain lest he know him;
and let the girl go with him and let the fool promise her to him, and let
them depart quickly in this wise. And methinks ye will play a trick on him
thus, so that he will not stop you any further till he comes with the
Ulstermen to the battle."
Then the fool goes to him and the girl along with him, and from afar
he addresses Cuchulain. The Hound comes to meet him. It happened he knew
by the man's speech that he was a fool. A slingstone that was in his hand
he threw at him so that it entered his head and bore out his brains. He
comes up to the maiden, cuts off her two tresses and thrusts a stone
through her cloak and her tunic, and plants a standing-stone through the
middle of the fool. Their two pillar-stones are there, even the
pillar-stone of Finnabair and the pillar-stone of the fool.
Cuchulain left them in this plight. A
party was sent out from Ailill and Medb to search for their people, for it
was long they thought they were gone, when they saw them in this wise.
This thing was noised abroad by all the host in the camp. Thereafter there
was no truce for them with Cuchulain.