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Main > Welsh folktales > Fairy tale "Fin MacCumhail, the Seven Brothers, and the King of France"

Fin MacCumhail, the Seven Brothers, and the King of France

When Fin MacCumhail with seven companies of the Fenians of Erin was living at Tara of the Kings, he went hunting one day with the seven companies; and while out on the mountains seven young men came towards him and when they came up and stood before him he asked their names of them.

Each gave his name in turn, beginning with the eldest, and their names were Strong, son of Strength; Wise, son of Wisdom; Builder, son of Builder; Whistler, son of Whistler; Guide, son of Guide; Climber, son of Climber; Thief, son of Thief.

The seven young men pleased Fin; they were looking for service, so he hired them for a year and a day.

When Fin and the Fenians of Erin went home that night from the hunt there was a message at the castle before them from the king of France to Fin MacCumhail and the Fenians of Erin, asking them to come over to him on a most important affair.

Fin held a council straightway and said, "France is a thousand miles from this and the sea between it and Erin; how can we go to the king of France?"

Then Strong, son of Strength, spoke up and said: "What is the use of hiring us if we can't do this work and the like of it? If you'll make a ship here, or in any place, I'll pull it in the sea."

"And I," said Builder, "will make a ship fit for you or any king on earth with one blow of this axe in my hand."

"That's what I want," said Fin, "and now do you make that ship for me."

"I will," said Builder.

"Well," said Strong, "I'll put your ship in the sea."

Builder made the ship there at Tara of the Kings and then Strong brought it to the seashore and put it in the water. Fin and the Fenians of Erin went on board, and Guide took the ship from Erin to France.

When Fin and his men went to the king of France he was glad to see them and said:

"I'll tell you the reason now I asked you here, and the business I have with you. This time three years ago my wife had a son, two years ago a second, one year ago a third, and the neighbors' wives are thinking she'll have another child soon.

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