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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "Fin MacCumhail and the Son of the King of Alba"

Fin MacCumhail and the Son of the King of Alba

They sprang up fresh and well, and picking up two stones of a ton weight each that were there in the ford, they made for the champions of Alban and never stopped till they killed the last man of them; and then they killed the old hag herself.

Pogán and Ceolán then knocked at the door of the castle.

"Who's there?" asked Fin.

"Your two sons," said they; "and we have killed all the champions of Alban and the old hag as well." "You have more to do yet," said Fin. "There are three kings in the north of Erin who have three silver goblets. These kings are holding a feast in a fort to-day. You must go and cut the heads off the three, put their blood in the goblets and bring them here. When you come, rub the blood on the keyhole of the door and it will open before you. When you come in, rub the seats and we shall all be free."

The three goblets of blood were brought to Cahirciveen, the door of the castle flew open, and light came into every room. The brothers rubbed blood on the chairs of all the Fenians of Erin and freed them all, except Conán Maol, who had no chair, but sat on the floor with his back to the wall. When they came to him the last drop of blood was gone.

All the Fenians of Erin were hurrying past, anxious to escape, and paid no heed to Conán, who had never a good word in his mouth for any man. Then Conán turned to Diarmuid, and said: "If a woman were here in place of me, you wouldn't leave her to die this way." Then Diarmuid turned, took him by one hand, and Goll MacMorna by the other, and pulling with all their might, tore him from the wall and the floor. But if they did, he left all the skin of his back from his head to his heels on the floor and the wall behind him. But when they were going home through the hills of Tralee, they found a sheep on the way, killed it, and clapped the skin on Conán. The sheepskin grew to his body; and he was so well and strong that they sheared him every year, and got wool enough from his back to make flannel and frieze for the Fenians of Erin ever after.

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