Page:Athletics and Manly Sport (1890).djvu/247

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Again Medb offered treasures, and made promises of glittering reward. Ferdiad was resolute:

"I will not go without securities
To the contest of the ford.
It will live in fame until the judgment day.
I will not accept though I die,
Though thou excitest me in language."

Then Medb agreed to Ferdiad's terms, and he agreed to fight six champions on the morrow, or

    killed his own son Conlaech with this very weapon, in an ordinary combat on the shore, near Dundalk."

    Like the Tathumor sling-ball, with which the champion Balor was killed in the battle of the Northern Mayh Tuireadh, the gae-bolga has been assigned an Eastern origin by a very ancient Irish poet. His poem, in Gaelic, opens thus:—

    How was the gae-bolga discoyered?
    Or by whom was it brought hither
    From the Eastern parts of the world?

    "Inform those who are ignorant
    That this weapon originally came hither
    From Bolg Mac Baain, in the East,
    To Cuehulaind, in Muirtheimhné."

    The poet goes on to relate that the champion Bolg Mac Buain found, on the sea-shore, the bones of a monster called the 'Curruid and "made the wild spear from the bones of the kingly monster." Mac Buain gave the gae-bolg to Mac Inbar; who gave it to Lena, his friend; who gave it to Denneil; who gave it to Scáthach, the teacher of the war college of Alba (Scotland); who gave it to her daughter Aife (Cuchulaind's mistress); who gave the weapon to Cuehulaind.

    "Cuehulaind brought the gae-bolg
    Into Erinn, with all its barbs;
    By it he slew Conlaech of the shields,
    And Ferdiad afterwards."

    Such is the account of the origin and history of the famous gae-bolg as presented in an extremely old Gaelic poem.