How Finn MacCoul And His Men Were Bewitched
The daughter of the King of Greek had a hatred for the giant Finn MacCoul and, for Goll, one of Finn's great heroes, and his grandson, Oscur. One day she appeared before him as a white doe. He chased her with his two hounds, Brann, and another, until she led them to the bottom of the black North. She disappeared at the edge of a lake and, while they searched for her, a beautiful lady appeared. As she sat on the bank, she was pulling at her hair and crying. Finn asked her what was wrong and she replied that her ring had fallen into the water and she was afraid to go home without it. Finn offered to retrieve it for her and proceeded to dive into the lake. He dove three times, one after another, and, on the third time, he felt like he was on death's door. When he handed her the ring, he noticed that he had changed into a decrepit, gray-haired old man. Then she spoke to him, saying that now he will never forget the King of Greek's daughter and how he killed her husband and her two sons. Finn answered her by telling her that if he did, it was by fighting man to man on the battlefield. She whisked herself away, leaving Finn as helpless as an infant.
That night, when Finn did not return home, there was great sorrow. The next day all of his warriors, except Oscur, began to search for him. They traveled far and wide until they became tired and hungry. They came upon an old fort, where there lay a well stocked table of food and meadh, so they sat down on seven stone seats which were placed around the table. They were so hungry that they ate and drank their fill. Just as they finished, a lady walked in and said that she hoped their meal was sufficient. She told them that Finn was at the lake shore and that she would show them the way to pay him a visit. They all shouted with joy but, when they tried to stand up, they found themselves stuck to the stone seats. They were very unhappy, to say the least, and they could not go to Finn, whom they noticed was lying still.
They spent a very uncomfortable day and night, until they spotted Oscur following Finn's hound, Brann. The hound had gone a hundred miles in search of Oscur and had found him lying asleep by a lake in Killarney. Brann barked so loud that the wolves, the deer, the foxes and the hares ran fifty miles away; the eagles, the kites and the hawks flew five miles up in the sky; and the fishes jumped out on dry land. He just couldn't make Oscur awake so he bit his little finger to the bone, to no avail. Then he bit him on the nose, which finally awoke him. He opened his eyes, and was going to punish the dog, but Brann raised his muzzle and began to howl. Immediately, Oscur knew that either Finn or Goll was in peril and he quickly followed him to the North. As he reached Finn, he could hardly hear him, so Oscur put Finn's thumb to his lips and, by the virtue of his thumb, told Finn to tell him how to remove the spell. Finn told him to go to the fairy hill and to make the enchanter give him a potion of youth.
When Oscur arrived at the hill, the thief of a fairy man disappeared into seven layers of the ground. Oscur was not to be deterred from his mission, and he dug after him until the earth and stones became a new hill. When the digging reached solid rock, he pinned him and brought him up out of the hole. The fairy's face was ashen and as shriveled as a rotten apple and he was very unwilling to give up the youth potion. Oscur forced him to do so and he then rushed to Finn's side. He gave Finn only a little drop at a time, down his throat, after which Finn sprang five yards in the air and shouted till the rocks rung.
It wasn't long until Finn, Oscur and Brann reached the enchanted men. They were very ashamed of themselves to be pinned to their seats but Oscur spilled some of the potion down to every man's thigh and freed them. By the time he came to the foul-mouthed Cunyán, there was hardly a drop left in the cup. He could only free a part of one thigh and, getting impatient, Oscur picked him up and pulled him off the stone. Cunyán let out a loud roar because some of his skin was left attached to the stone. Oscur told him not to fret because they would get a sheepskin sewn onto him and he would be as comfortable as a mama's boy before long.
When all were free, they gave three shouts that were heard as far as the Isle of Man and, for a week after, they did nothing but eat and drink wine and meadh, the beer that the Danes taught them to make from heather.
Other stories about Finn MacCoul are: Finn MacCoul and The Salmon of Knowledge
Finn MacCoul and The Isle of Man
Finn MacCoul and The Giants Causeway
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