Stories, Myths & Legends 

The rivalry of Dian Cécht and his son Miach

Now Nuada was in his sickness, and Diancecht put on him a hand of silver with the motion of every hand therein.  That seemed wrong to his son Miach.  Miach went to the hand which had been replaced by Diancecht, and he said, 'Joint to joint of it and sinew to sinew,' and he healed Nuada in thrice three days and nights.  The first seventy-two hours he put it against his side, and it became covered with skin.  The second seventy-two hours he put it on his breast and Nuada was whole.  Diancecht was jealous of his son's success and moreover did not entirely agree with his medical practice.  In order to test his son's powers he flung a sword on the crown of his son's head and cut the skin down to the flesh.  The lad healed the wound by means of his skill.  Diancecht in jealous fury smote him again and cut the flesh until he reached the bone.  Again his son healed himself by his skills.  Diancecht hit him a third time and came to the membrane of his brain.  The lad healed this also by his own healing powers.  Infuriated Diancecht struck a fourth blow and this time cut out Miach's brain so that he died and Diancecht said nothing could heal him of that blow, not even himself.

After that Miach was buried by Diancecht, and three hundred and sixty-five herbs, according to the number of joints and sinews, grew from his grave.  Then Airmed sister of Miach gathered up the herbs in her mantle and separated those herbs according to their properties.  Diancecht shook out her mantle again and mixed up the herbs so that never again would anyone have full knowledge of herb-lore.

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