Story Archaeology

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Finn Bán describes the Gilla Decair (and his horse!)

Dead Horse drawing by Frits Ahlefeldt

Dead horse – illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt (cc)

 

Finn Bán to Finn MacUmall:

Na dée dot bennachad, a Fhinn,

The gods bless you, O Finn,

a fhir in chomráid chnesda;

O man of soothing speech;

táncas féin dot ghrésachtsa

I come in need of your stirring words

mar do bí oram egla

Because I was so frightened.

 

Finn MacUmall to Finn Bán:

Crét fár fágbais t’fhor-aire,

Why did you leave your watch-post,

a Fhinn bháin an droichscél?

O White Finn, with your bad news?

crét as fáth dot chorrachad,

What has you so distracted

fár léigis díot do choimét?

That you could discard your duty?

 

Finn Bán to Finn MacUmall:

Dúil co ndroichdeilb ndiablaide

A deformed demonic creature,

as mó gráin do’n druing daonda

Uglier than the human host,

ac tiacht cusna fiannaibse

is coming towards the Fianna

atá le siubal saothrach

in an arduous advance.

 

Ech modarda míscíamach

A sullen, skew-wise horse

ina dhiaid cen chéim deithnis

follows him, dragging its feet;

agastar agarb iarrainn

a rough-hewn halter of iron

atá ar chenn in eich sin

holds the head of this horse

 

Dá shleig shéta shenlethna

Two precious old broad spears

atá aige dá nimchar

he has, and carries with him;

is lorg d’iarrann aithleghta

a javelin of burnished steel

a chloidem cruaid le ciorrbad:

and his hard sword for hacking;

 

ach so fáth mo dheithnisse

This is the reason for my speed –

ní thiocfainn co tráthnóna

Or I would have waited ‘til evening!

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