Translation:The Tale of Mac Dathó's Pig

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Tales Of Mac Dathó's Pig , translated from Old Irish by Wikisource

1. There was a wonderful king to the Leinstermen. Mac Dathó was his name. He had a hound; the hound used to defend all the Leinstermen. The hound's name was Ailbe, and Ireland was full of its fame. Messengers came from Ailill and Medb asking for the hound. Moreover at the same time there came also messengers of the Ulaid and of Conchobar Mac Nessa to ask for the same hound. They were all made welcome and brought into the hostel to him. That is one of five halls that were in Ireland at that time, along with the hall of Da Derga in the territory of Cualu, and the hall of Forgall Manach, and the hall of Mac Dareo in Brefne, and the hall of Da Choca in the west of Meath, and the hall of Blai the landowner in Ulster. There were seven doors in that hall, and seven passages through it, and seven hearths in it, and seven cauldrons, and an ox and a salted pig in each cauldron. Every man who came along the passage used to thrust the flesh-fork into a cauldron, and whatever he brought out at the first catch was his portion. If he did not obtain anything at the first attempt he did not have another.

2. Then they were brought to him on his couch to find out what they wanted before their food was brought to them. They stated their report. 'We have come to ask for the dog,' said the messengers of the Connaught, 'that is, from Ailill and Medb; and six thousand milch-cows will be given immediately, and a chariot and two horses (those which may be the best in the Connaught-men's opinion), and its equivalent at the end of the year in addition to this. ...

3. Then the afore-mentioned Mac Dathó was thrown into silence for three full days without drink or food, but (instead) he was tossing and turning. Then his wife said: 'the fasting in which you are is long. You have food but you do not eat. What is with this?' He did not speak to her so then the woman said:

'Disturbance of sleep has been brought to Mac Dathó at his house, he had something which he was deliberating on but he does not speak to anyone.

He turns away, he turns from me to the wall, the warrior with fierce valour. His clever wife, she bestows attention on her husband being without sleep.'

[The man:] 'Cremthann Nia Náir said: "a woman's secret is not well hidden. A treasure is not repayed for a slave"'

[The woman:] 'What may it be that you might speak to a woman if nothing were lost by it? Anything which you don't understand, someone else might understand'

[The man:] ...

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This work was published before January 1, 1927, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.


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