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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

Immediately they were born the three were taken away, and I want you to save the fourth; for we all think it will be taken from us like the other three. When each one of the others was sleeping, a hand came down the chimney to the cradle and took the child away with it up the chimney. There is meat and drink in plenty in that room for you and the Fenians of Erin. My only request is that you'll watch the child."

"We'll do that," said Fin, and he went into the chamber with men enough to watch and the seven brothers with him. Then the seven said: "Do you and the men go to sleep for yourselves, and we'll do the watching." So Fin and the men went to sleep. The child was born early in the evening and put in the cradle. At the dead of night Wise said to Strong: "Now is your time; the hand is near; keep your eye on it."

Soon he saw the hand coming lower and lower and moving towards the child; and when it was going into the cradle, Strong caught the hand and it drew him up nearly to the top of the chimney. Then he pulled it down to the ashes; again it drew him up.

They were that way all night,—the hand drawing Strong almost to the top of the chimney and out of the house and Strong dragging the hand down to the hearth. They were up and down the chimney till break of day; and every stone in the castle of the king of France was trembling in its place from the struggle.

But at break of day Strong tore from its shoulder the arm with the hand, and there was peace. Now all rose up at the castle. The king came and was glad when he saw the child.

Then Fin spoke up and said: "We have done no good thing yet till we bring back the other three to you."

Wise spoke up and said: "I know very well where the other three are, and I'll show you the place."

So all set out and they followed him to the castle of Mal MacMulcan and there they saw the three sons of the King of France carrying water to MacMulcan to cool the shoulder from which the arm had been torn by Strong.

Then Wise said to Climber: "Now is your time to take the children away; for we can do it without being seen; but if Mal MacMulcan were to see the children going from him, he'd destroy the whole world.

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