now, when he had turned from his road to go to Credhe’s house, had sent out
watchmen to every landing-place to give warning when the ships of the
strangers would be in sight. And the man that was keeping watch at the White
Strand was Conn Crither, son of Bran, from Teamhair Luachra.
And after he had been a long time
watching, he was one night west from the Round Hill of the Fianna
that is called Cruachan Adrann, and there he fell asleep. And while he was in
his sleep the ships came; and what roused him was the noise of the breaking of
shields and the clashing of swords and of spears, and the cries of women and
children and of dogs and horses that were under flames, and that the strangers
were making an attack on.
Conn Crither started up when he heard
that, and he said: "It is great trouble has come on the people through my
sleep; and I will not stay living after this," he said, "for
Finn and the Fianna of Ireland to see me, but I will rush into the
middle of the strangers," he said, and they will fall by me till I fall
He put on his suit of battle then and ran
down towards the strand. And on the way he saw three women dressed in battle
clothes before him, and fast as he ran he could not overtake them. He took his
spear then to make a cast of it at the woman was nearest him, but she stopped
on the moment, and she said: "Hold your hand and do not harm us, for we
are not come to harm you but to help you." "Who are you
yourselves?" said Conn Crither.
"We are three sisters," she
said, "and we are come from Tir
nan Og, the Country of the Young, and we have all three given you our
love, and no one of us loves you less than the other, and it is to give you
our help we are come." "What way will you help me?" said Conn.
"We will give you good help," she said, "for we will make Druid
armies about you from stalks of grass and from the tops of the watercress, and
they will cry out to the strangers and will strike their arms from their
hands, and take from their strength and their eyesight. And we will put a
Druid mist about you now," she said, "that will hide you from the
armies of the strangers, and they will not see you when you make an attack on
them. And we have a well of healing at the foot of the Slieve Iolair, the
Eagle’s Mountain," she said, "and its waters will cure every wound
made in battle. And after bathing in that well you will be as whole and as
sound as the day you were born. And bring whatever man you like best with
you," she said, "and we will heal him along with you."
Conn Crither gave them his thanks for
that, and he hurried onto the strand. And it was at that time the armies of
the King of the Great Plain were taking spoils from Traigh Moduirn in the
north to Finntraighe in the south. And Conn Crither came on them, and the
Druid army with him, and he took their spoils from them, and the Druid army
took their sight and their strength from them, and they were routed, and they
made away to where the King of the Great Plain was, and Conn Crither followed,
killing and destroying. "Stop with me, king-hero," said the King of
the Great Plain, "that I may fight with you on account of my people,
since there is not one of them that turns to stand against you."
So the two set their banners in the earth
and attacked one another, and fought a good part of the day until Conn Crither
struck off the king’s head. And he lifted up his head, and he was boasting
of what he had done. "By my word," he said, "I will not let
myself be parted from this body till some of the Fianna, few or many, will
come to me."