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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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"I will give you that," said Césa. So he freed his comrade from the anvil. The young men parted from each other,—Lun Dubh went one way alone, and Césa another with Scéhide ni Wánanan.

As Césa went along he bought a skin at every house where he could find one, until he had enough to make clothes in which to disguise himself; for he was in dread of Lun Dubh, on account of the first blow which he had the right to strike when they met.

He put on the skin clothes, and changed his name to Gilla na Grakin (the fellow of the skins).

Gilla and his wife held on their way till they came to the castle of Fin MacCumhail; and the time they came there was no one in the place but women.

"Where is Fin MacCumhail with his men to-day?" asked Gilla na Grakin.

"They are all out hunting," said the women.

Now Gilla saw that the castle stood with open door facing the wind, and turning again to the women he asked: "Why do you have the door of the castle to the wind?"

"When Fin and his men are at home and the wind comes in at the door, they all go out, take hold of the castle and turn it around till the door is on the sheltered side."

When Gilla na Grakin heard this he went out, put his hands to the castle, and turned it around till the door was on the sheltered side.

In the evening when Fin and the Fenians of Erin were coming from the hunt, they saw the castle turned around, and Fin said to the men: "I'm afraid we haven't half enough of game for the supper of the strangers who have come to visit us to-day, there are so many of them that they have turned the castle around."

When they came home they saw there was no man there but Gilla na Grakin, and they wondered at the work he had done.

Gilla stood before Fin, and said: "Do you want a serving man?"

"I do indeed," said Fin.

"What wages will you give me for a year and a day?" asked Gilla.

"What yourself will ask," replied Fin.

"I won't ask much," said Gilla; "five pounds for myself, and a room in the castle for my wife."

"You shall have both," said Fin.

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