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

Gilla na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail

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"Well," said the king, "I have no pot for you but that big pot back in the yard, in which we boil stuff for the pigs. I'll give you the loan of that if you are able to carry it."

"It's good to get that itself from a bad person," said Gilla na Grakin, and away he went to look for the pot behind the castle.

At last he found it, and when he put it down at the tent he said to Fin, "We have nothing now to boil the pot with, nothing to make a fire."

Then he went a third time to the castle, knocked at the door, and out came the king. "What do you want now?" asked he.

"Fire to boil the bull."

"Go to the wood and get firewood for yourself, or do without it. You'll get no firewood from me," said the king of the Flood.

Gilla went out, got plenty of wood and boiled the whole bull.

"We are well off now," said he to Fin; "we have plenty to eat."

Next morning Gilla na Grakin went to the castle and knocked.

"Who is that?" asked the king, without opening the door.

"I want no chat nor questions from you," said Gilla, "but get me a breakfast." "I have no breakfast now," said the king; "but wait a minute and you'll get a hot breakfast from me."

That moment the signal was sounded for the armies of the king of the Flood to take Gilla na Grakin and his master.

When the armies stood ready Gilla began and went through them as a hawk through sparrows. He made one heap of their heads and another of their weapons,—didn't leave a man living. Then he went into the castle and taking the king of the Flood in one hand and the queen in the other, he killed each of them against the other.

Now all was quiet at the castle. Gilla na Grakin struck the tent and went to the ship with Fin MacCumhail, who had the cup that was never dry.

They raised the sails and went over the sea toward Erin, till they saw a large ship on one side of them.

"If it's going to help us that ship is," said Fin, "'tis all the better for us, but if 'tis going against us she is, that's the bad part of it."

As the ship came near, Gilla na Grakin looked at her sharply, and said to Fin, "I think it's Lun Dubh that's on that ship.

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