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Main > Irish folktales > Fairy tale "Gilla na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail"

Gilla na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail

With that he swept the head off of her with a single blow.

Then the head jumped at the body, and tried to get its place again, but Gilla stood between them, and kept the head off till the body was cold. Then he took out the rod of enchantment from between the skin and the flesh, and threw the body and the head of the old hag aside.

The Gruagach came up, and Gilla said, "Show me now the stones which were once your wife and children, your dogs and your horse."

The Gruagach went with him to the stones. Gilla struck each with the rod, and the wife, the son, the daughter, the hounds and the horse of the Gruagach were alive again.

When this was done, Gilla turned to the Gruagach, struck the goatskin from his body, and gave him his own skin and flesh back again with the power of the rod.

When all were restored, they started for the Gruagach's house, and when there the Gruagach said to Gilla na Grakin,—

"Stay here with me till you get your rest. We won't leave this place for a year and a day, and then I'll go with you to the castle of Fin MacCumhail and give witness to Fin of all that has happened to me and all you have done."

"Oh," said Gilla na Grakin, "I can't stay to rest, I must go now!"

The Gruagach was so glad that he had got back all his family and his own flesh that he followed Gilla, and they set out for the castle of Fin MacCumhail in Erin.

They took a glen at a step, a hill at a leap, and the sea at a bound.

Conan Maol, who was outside the castle when they came in sight, ran in and said to Fin, "Gilla na Grakin and the Gruagach are coming, and they'll destroy all that's about the castle, and all that's inside as well!"

"If they do," said Fin, "it's your own fault, and you have no one to blame but yourself."

"Well," said Conan Maol, "I'll lie down here in the cradle, and put a steel cap on my head."

Conan lay down in the cradle. Gilla and the Gruagach came into the castle. The Gruagach sat down near the cradle. Then he said to Fin, "I came here with Gilla na Grakin to bear witness to you of all that has happened to me, and of all he has done.

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