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

Gilla na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail

"I'm your man now," said Gilla. The whole company spent the first part of that night in ease, the second in sport, and the third in a short sleep.

The next morning all the Fenians of Erin were going to hunt, as the day before, and Fin said to Gilla na Grakin: "Will you take any man to help you?"

"I'll take no man with me but myself; and do you let me go in one part of the country alone, and go yourself with all your men in another part."

"Well," said Fin, "will you find dry glens of ridges, or go in deep boggy places where there is danger of drowning?"

"I will go in deep boggy places."

All left the castle to hunt. Fin and the Fenians of Erin went in one direction, and Gilla na Grakin in another, and hunted all day.

When they came home in the evening Gilla na Grakin had a thousand times more game than Fin and all his men together.

When Fin saw this he was glad to have such a good man, and was pleased beyond measure with Gilla na Grakin. The whole company spent that night as they had the night before,—in ease and sport and sleep.

Next day Conan Maol was outside with Fin, and he said: "Gilla na Grakin will destroy the Fenians of Erin and put you and all of us to death, unless you banish him in some way from this castle."

"Well;" said Fin to Conan Maol, "I've never had a good man but you wanted me to put him away. And how could I banish such a man as this if I tried?"

"The way to banish him," said Conan Maol, "is to send him to the king of Lochlin to take from him the pot of plenty that's never without meat, but has always enough in it to feed the whole world, and bring that pot to this castle."

Fin called Gilla na Grakin, and said: "You'll have to go for me now to the king of Lochlin, and get from him the pot of plenty that is never without meat, and bring it here to me."

"Well," said Gilla, "as long as I'm in your service I can't refuse to do your work."

So away went Gilla. He took a glen at a step and a hill at a leap till he came to the shore of the sea, where he caught up two sticks, put one across the other, then gave them a tip of the hand, and a fine vessel rose out of the two pieces of wood.

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