And it is often the Fianna
would have been badly off without the help of Diarmuid.
It was he came to their help the time Miodac, the son of the King of Lochlann,
brought them into the enchanted House of the Quicken Trees.
It was by treachery he brought them in,
giving himself out to be a poet, and making poems for Finn
to make out the meaning of. A verse he made about a great army that he saw
riding over the plains to victory, and robbing all before it, and the riders
of it having no horses but plants and branches. "I understand that,"
said Finn, "it was an army of bees you saw, that was gathering riches
from the flowers as it went." And another verse Miodac made was about a
woman in Ireland that was swifter than the swiftest horse. "I know
that," said Finn, "that woman is the River Boinn; and if she goes
slow itself, she is swifter in the end than the swiftest horse, for her going
never stops." And other verses he made about Angus’
house at Brugh
na Boinn, but Finn made them all out.
And after that he said he had a feast
ready for them, and he bade them go into his House of the Quicken Trees till
he would bring it. And they did that, and went in, and it was a beautiful
house, having walls of every colour, and foreign coverings of every colour on
the floor, and a fire that gave out a very pleasant smoke. And they sat down
there, and after a while Finn said: "It is a wonder such a beautiful
house to be here." "There is a greater wonder than that," said Goll;
"that fire that was so pleasant when we came in is giving out now the
worst stench in the world." "There is a greater wonder than
that," said Glas; "the walls that were of all colours are now but
rough boards joined together." "There is a greater wonder than
that," said Fiacha;
"where there were seven high doors to the house there is now but one
little door, and it shut." "Indeed, there is a more wonderful thing
than that," said Conan;
"for we sat down on beautiful coverings, and now there is nothing between
us and the bare ground, and it as cold as the snow of one night." And he
tried to rise up, but he could not stir, or any of the rest of them, for there
was enchantment that kept them where they were.
And it was treachery of Miodac, and the
spells of the Three Kings of the Island of the Floods that had brought them
into that danger. And Finn knew by his divination that their enemies were
gathering to make an end of them, and he said to his people there was no use
in making complaints, but to sound the music of the Dord Fiann.
And some of the Fianna that were waiting
for him not far off heard that sorrowful music, and came fighting against
Miodac and his armies, and they fought well, but they could not stand against
them. And at the last it was Diarmuid, grandson of Duibhne, that made an end
of Miodac that was so treacherous, and of the Three Kings of the Island of the
Floods, and took the enchantment off the floor of the House of the Rowan Trees
with their blood.
And when he was freeing the Fianna, Conan
called out, asking him to bring him a share of the feast Miodac had made ready
for his own friends, for there was hunger on him. And when Diarmuid took no
heed of him, he said: "If it was a comely woman was speaking to you,
Diarmuid, you would not refuse to listen."
For if many women loved Diarmuid, there
were many he himself gave his love to; and if he was often called Diarmuid the
brave, or the hardy, or the comely, or the Hawk of Ess Ruadh, it is often he
was called as well the friend and the coaxer of women, Diarmuid-na-man.