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

Gilla na Grakin and Fin MacCumhail

When he reached that place he gave the ship a tip of his hand, and there before him was the pot of plenty, and with it the two sticks which he had found on the shore of the sea when he was going to the castle of the king of Lochlin.

He left the sticks where he found them, put the pot on his back, and hurried away to the castle of Fin MacCumhail.

Fin and all the Fenians of Erin were glad to see Gilla na Grakin, and Fin thanked him for the work he had done.

The first part of that night they spent in ease, the second in sport, the third in a hurried sleep.

Next morning they rose and had breakfast from the pot. From that day out they hunted for pleasure alone. They had enough and to spare from the pot of plenty.

Another day Conan Maol was outside the castle with Fin, and he said: "Gilla na Grakin will destroy you and me and all of us unless we find some way of putting him to death."

"What do you want him to do now?" asked Fin.

"Let him go," said Conan Maol, to the king of the Flood, "and bring back the cup that is never drained."

Fin went to the castle and called up Gilla na Grakin. "I want you to go now," said he, "to the king of the Flood, and bring me his cup that is never dry."

When he heard Fin's words, Gilla went off without delay; he took a glen at a step, and a hill at a leap, till he came to the sea. There he took up two sticks of wood, threw one across the other, and they became a fine large ship.

Away he sailed in a straight line, listening as he went to the spouting of whales, the whistling of eels and the calling of gulls, and never stopped till he anchored outside the castle of the king of the Flood. There was many a ship at land before him, so he stopped outside them all, and stepped from ship to ship till he reached the shore.

The king of the Flood was giving a great feast that day. Gilla na Grakin went to the castle, but could not enter, so great was the throng. He stood at the door a while, and then called out, "You are an ill-mannered people, not to ask a stranger is he hungry or dry!

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Michael Scott
Category: Scotland folktales
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