Stories,Myths &Legends

Cúchulainn trains with the warrior woman Scathach

Forgal the Wily, on hearing that Cúchulainn had made a play for his daughter Emer went to see what manner of a man he was.  On seeing him win at every contest and game he declared to King Conchobar that such a skilful youth should train with the great warrior woman Scathach on her island off the coast of Scotland.  Forgal was really hoping to get rid of Cúchulainn as only the strongest survived training with Scathach so fierce an opponent was she.

Cúchulainn then set off for the island of Scathach with his two friends Laegaire Battle Winner and Conall the Victorious but the way to Scathach's island had many dangerous territories to cross and also Forgal sent magic hindrances against Laegaire and Conall, and his two friends lost heart and returned to Ulster leaving Cúchulainn to go on alone.

First he crossed the Plain of Ill Luck, here the feet of men could stick fast and be pierced by razor sharp grass blades.  Then he crossed the Perilous Glens filled with devouring beasts.  Then he came to the Bridge of the Cliff, this bridge tilted upwards whenever anyone tried to cross, throwing all comers to their death.   Cúchulainn attempted to cross this bridge three times and each time he failed.   However finally his heroic fervour came upon him known as Loin Loich - (the light of the hero) which caused his face to shine like the sun.  Taking a great leap called the leap of the salmon, twisting and turning against the flow Cúchulainn landed in the middle of the tilting bridge and as it rose up vertically he slid down to the other side.  At last he gained access to the stronghold of Scathach and threatened her with his sword until she agreed to teach him.  Scathach's daughter Uathach was very attracted to Cúchulainn and they became lovers while he lived at Scathach's stronghold.

In return for his tuition he had to carry out a task for Scathach.  He was to defeat another great warrior woman Aoife in battle, which he did gaining his famous weapon the gae bulga from her.  He also made love to her and she conceived a son whom she called Conlaoch.


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