The Celtic Literature Collective

The Fairy Palace of the Yew Trees1

Once, Find hua Baiscni was in Cend Cuirrig.  For a long time he was without a woman.  He went, therefor, to towards the Suir, andhe saw the daughter of the herdsman at Dun Iascaig on the Suir washing her head.  Badhamair was her name.  And he took her [with him], and she became his wife.

It is Cuirreach Lifi of Leinster, from whom Raith Cuirrig is named, and who had killed her foster-brother, namely Dub hua Duibne, from whom Diarmaid mac Duib maic Duibne was descended.  Now on another occasion Find went to take advantage of Cuirreach.  There Cuirreach came westward, and cut off the head of his wife, that is Badamuir, and he bore it to the west.  Hence, Cend Cuirrig is so named, and concerning it the stave, which here follows, was recited:

Cuirrech Lifi with his luster,
It is not each king to whom he has yeilded.
From him his head was taken afar
To the mountain above Badhamair.

That Currech was a son of the mother of Fothad Canaindi.  How he [Fothad] lay in ambush for Find until they made peace, and Find prepared an ale-banquet for Fothad. Thereupon, he was invited to the ale-banquet.  Fothad said:

"It is a prohibition for me to drink ale unless it be drunk with white faces."2

"That indeed is not very easy.  The statute of Cormac3 exists in Ireland that the slaying of a man shall not take place until the end of seven years, " said Find.  "However, there are places where the slaying of a man is fully allowed," Find added, "namely Sligi Midluachra, Ath Fir Dead, Ath Cliath, Belach n-Gabran, Ath No at Cnamchail, Conachclai, Da Chich Anand."

"Let us go," said Teiti, the daughter of Mac Niad, the sister of Fothad Canaindi. "We shall have the ale-banquet which Find is preparing for my brother.  Let us go drink it," she said to her husband, namely Find mac Regamain.

Both of them come eastwards in their chariot, the woman behind, he in front of her.  As they go past Find hua Baiscni, he [Find] casts the lance after them so that it was in the breast of the man after first going through the woman [so that they died of it.  Hence it is that there always was continuous warfare between Find and Fothad Cananne].

The man deemed that it was the woman who had slain him.  Then he said:

"Cold the blast, the blast which came to me from you, O woman! Poisonous worms..., for out of the blast a very sharp and very rough point has attained me.  I had not thought that there will not be a pleasant tale (to relate) after a turn of accompaniment."

"A false charge you put on me," said the woman. "O man, I shall die, for it is through me that this reached you at the moment that the period of death came. It attained both of us, for each mouth which tastes life, tastes death.  It is evident to me that Fothad does not live after the triumphs of Canann, for if the son of Mac Niad were alive, he would perform my cry of lamentation and (make) my tumulus and my grave and my standing stone.  Cut my head off me, O warriors," she said, "if it is for that purpose that you have come."

"Even that which we have done," said Find, "we rue."

Evil, thereupon, resulted with regard to the ale-banquet, so that afterwards a slaughter of the warriors of the whole of Ireland was made between them.  From that hour forth, each of them, namely Find and Fothad Canaindi, was lying in wait for the other as long as they were alive.

1. Bruigean Atha I: This title can be translated as either "The Quarrel at the Ford of the Yew Tree" or "The Fair Palace of the Rowan Trees."

2. "drunk with white faces": In other words, he drinks from human skulls.  This was not an uncommon practice among the Celts.

3. Cormac: this is the famous King Cormac mac Airt.


Hull, Vernam. "Two Tales about Find." Speculum vol. 16 no 3. July, 1933. pp 322-333.

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