Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network
Privacy
 
Home - Stories - Categories - Books - Search

Featured Stories

The Little Robber Girl
The Boy Who Cried Wolf

Categories

A FAIRY-TALE

Aesop

ALPHABET RHYMES

AMERICAN INDIAN STORIES

AMUSING ALPHABETS

Animal Sketches And Stories

ANIMAL STORIES

ARBOR DAY

BIRD DAY

Blondine Bonne Biche and Beau Minon

Bohemian Story

BRER RABBIT and HIS NEIGHBORS

CATS

CHINESE MOTHER-GOOSE RHYMES

CHRISTMAS DAY

COLUMBUS DAY

CUSTOM RHYMES

Didactic Stories

Everyday Verses

EVIL SPIRITS

FABLES

FABLES FOR CHILDREN

FABLES FROM INDIA

FATHER PLAYS AND MOTHER PLAYS

FIRST STORIES FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

For Classes Ii. And Iii.

For Classes Iv. And V.

For Kindergarten And Class I.

FUN FOR VERY LITTLE FOLK

GERMAN

Good Little Henry

HALLOWEEN

Happy Days

INDEPENDENCE DAY

JAPANESE AND OTHER ORIENTAL TALES]

Jean De La Fontaine

King Alexander's Adventures

KINGS AND WARRIORS

LABOR DAY

LAND AND WATER FAIRIES

Lessons From Nature

LINCOLN'S BIRTHDAY

LITTLE STORIES that GROW BIG

Love Lyrics

Lyrics

MAY DAY

MEMORIAL DAY

Modern

MODERN FABLES

MODERN FAIRY TALES

MOTHER GOOSE CONTINUED

MOTHER GOOSE JINGLES

MOTHER GOOSE SONGS AND STORIES

MOTHERS' DAY

Myths And Legends

NATURE SONGS

NEGLECT THE FIRE

NUMBER RHYMES

NURSERY GAMES

NURSERY-SONGS.

NURSEY STORIES

OLD-FASHIONED STORIES

ON POPULAR EDUCATION

OURSON

Perseus

PLACES AND FAMILIES

Poems Of Nature

Polish Story

Popular

PROVERB RHYMES

RESURRECTION DAY (EASTER)

RHYMES CONCERNING "MOTHER"

RIDDLE RHYMES

RIDING SONGS for FATHER'S KNEE

ROMANCES OF THE MIDDLE AGES

SAINT VALENTINE'S DAY

Selections From The Bible

Servian Story

SLEEPY-TIME SONGS AND STORIES

Some Children's Poets

Songs Of Life

STORIES BY FAVORITE AMERICAN WRITERS

STORIES FOR CHILDREN

STORIES for LITTLE BOYS

STORIES FROM BOTANY

STORIES FROM GREAT BRITAIN

STORIES FROM IRELAND

STORIES FROM PHYSICS

STORIES FROM SCANDINAVIA

STORIES FROM ZOOLOGY

STORIES _for_ LITTLE GIRLS

SUPERSITITIONS

THANKSGIVING DAY

The Argonauts

THE CANDLE

THE DAYS OF THE WEEK

THE DECEMBRISTS

The King Of The Golden River; Or, The Black Brothers

The Little Grey Mouse

THE OLD FAIRY TALES

The Princess Rosette

THE THREE HERMITS

THE TWO OLD MEN

Theseus

Traditional

UNCLES AND AUNTS AND OTHER RELATIVES

VERSES ABOUT FAIRIES

WASHINGTON'S BIRTHDAY

WHAT MEN LIVE BY

WHERE LOVE IS, THERE GOD IS ALSO

The Little Brawl At Allen

from Irish Fairy Tales





CHAPTER I

"I think," said Cairell Whiteskin, "that although judgement was given
against Fionn, it was Fionn had the rights of it."

"He had eleven hundred killed," said Cona'n amiably, "and you may call
that the rights of it if you like."

"All the same--" Cairell began argumentatively.

"And it was you that commenced it," Cona'n continued.

"Ho! Ho!" Cairell cried. "Why, you are as much to blame as I am."

"No," said Cona'n, "for you hit me first."

"And if we had not been separated--" the other growled.

"Separated!" said Cona'n, with a grin that made his beard poke all
around his face.

"Yes, separated. If they had not come between us I still think--"

"Don't think out loud, dear heart, for you and I are at peace by law."

"That is true," said Cairell, "and a man must stick by a judgement. Come
with me, my dear, and let us see how the youngsters are shaping in the
school. One of them has rather a way with him as a swordsman."

"No youngster is any good with a sword," Conan replied.

"You are right there," said Cairell. "It takes a good ripe man for that
weapon."

"Boys are good enough with slings," Confro continued, "but except for
eating their fill and running away from a fight, you can't count on
boys."

The two bulky men turned towards the school of the Fianna.

It happened that Fionn mac Uail had summoned the gentlemen of the Fianna
and their wives to a banquet. Everybody came, for a banquet given by
Fionn was not a thing to be missed. There was Goll mor mac Morna and his
people; Fionn's son Oisi'n and his grandson Oscar. There was Dermod of
the Gay Face, Caelte mac Ronan--but indeed there were too many to be
told of, for all the pillars of war and battle-torches of the Gael were
there.

The banquet began.

Fionn sat in the Chief Captain's seat in the middle of the fort; and
facing him, in the place of honour, he placed the mirthful Goll mac
Morna; and from these, ranging on either side, the nobles of the Fianna
took each the place that fitted his degree and patrimony.

After good eating, good conversation; and after good conversation,
sleep--that is the order of a banquet: so when each person had been
served with food to the limit of desire the butlers carried in shining,
and jewelled drinking-horns, each having its tide of smooth, heady
liquor. Then the young heroes grew merry and audacious, the ladies
became gentle and kind, and the poets became wonders of knowledge and
prophecy. Every eye beamed in that assembly, and on Fionn every eye was
turned continually in the hope of a glance from the great, mild hero.

Goll spoke to him across the table enthusiastically.

"There is nothing wanting to this banquet, O Chief," said he.

And Fionn smiled back into that eye which seemed a well of tenderness
and friendship.

"Nothing is wanting," he replied, "but a well-shaped poem." A crier
stood up then, holding in one hand a length of coarse iron links and in
the other a chain of delicate, antique silver. He shook the iron chain
so that the servants and followers of the household should be silent,
and he shook the silver one so that the nobles and poets should hearken
also.

Fergus, called True-Lips, the poet of the Fianna-Finn, then sang of
Fionn and his ancestors and their deeds. When he had finished Fionn and
Oisi'n and Oscar and mac Lugac of the Terrible Hand gave him rare and
costly presents, so that every person wondered at their munificence, and
even the poet, accustomed to the liberality of kings and princes, was
astonished at his gifts.

Fergus then turned to the side of Goll mac Morna, and he sang of the
Forts, the Destructions, the Raids, and the Wooings of clann-Morna; and
as the poems succeeded each other, Goll grew more and more jovial and
contented. When the songs were finished Goll turned in his seat.

"Where is my runner?" he cried.

He had a woman runner, a marvel for swiftness and trust. She stepped
forward.

"I am here, royal captain."

"Have you collected my tribute from Denmark?"

"It is here."

And, with help, she laid beside him the load of three men of doubly
refined gold. Out of this treasure, and from the treasure of rings and
bracelets and torques that were with him, Goll mac Morna paid Fergus for
his songs, and, much as Fionn had given, Goll gave twice as much.

But, as the banquet proceeded, Goll gave, whether it was to harpers or
prophets or jugglers, more than any one else gave, so that Fionn became
displeased, and as the banquet proceeded he grew stern and silent.



CHAPTER II

[This version of the death of Uail is not correct. Also Cnocha is not in
Lochlann but in Ireland.]


The wonderful gift-giving of Goll continued, and an uneasiness and
embarrassment began to creep through the great banqueting hall.

Gentlemen looked at each other questioningly, and then spoke again on
indifferent matters, but only with half of their minds. The singers, the
harpers, and jugglers submitted to that constraint, so that every person
felt awkward and no one knew what should be done or what would happen,
and from that doubt dulness came, with silence following on its heels.

There is nothing more terrible than silence. Shame grows in that blank,
or anger gathers there, and we must choose which of these is to be our
master.

That choice lay before Fionn, who never knew shame.

"Goll," said he, "how long have you been taking tribute from the people
of Lochlann?"

"A long time now," said Goll.

And he looked into an eye that was stern and unfriendly.

"I thought that my rent was the only one those people had to pay," Fionn
continued.

"Your memory is at fault," said Goll.

"Let it be so," said Fionn. "How did your tribute arise?"

"Long ago, Fionn, in the days when your father forced war on me."

"Ah!" said Fionn.

"When he raised the High King against me and banished me from Ireland."

"Continue," said Fionn, and he held Goll's eye under the great beetle of
his brow.

"I went into Britain," said Goll, "and your father followed me there. I
went into White Lochlann (Norway) and took it. Your father banished me
thence also."

"I know it," said Fionn.

"I went into the land of the Saxons and your father chased me out of
that land. And then, in Lochlann, at the battle of Cnocha your father
and I met at last, foot to foot, eye to eye, and there, Fionn!"

"And there, Goll?"

"And there I killed your father."

Fionn sat rigid and unmoving, his face stony and terrible as the face of
a monument carved on the side of a cliff.

"Tell all your tale," said he.

"At that battle I beat the Lochlannachs. I penetrated to the hold of the
Danish king, and I took out of his dungeon the men who had lain
there for a year and were awaiting their deaths. I liberated fifteen
prisoners, and one of them was Fionn."

"It is true," said Fionn.

Goll's anger fled at the word.

"Do not be jealous of me, dear heart, for if I had twice the tribute I
would give it to you and to Ireland."

But at the word jealous the Chief's anger revived.

"It is an impertinence," he cried, "to boast at this table that you
killed my father."

"By my hand," Goll replied, "if Fionn were to treat me as his father did
I would treat Fionn the way I treated Fionn's father."

Fionn closed his eyes and beat away the anger that was rising within
him. He smiled grimly.

"If I were so minded, I would not let that last word go with you, Goll,
for I have here an hundred men for every man of yours."

Goll laughed aloud.

"So had your father," he said.

Fionn's brother, Cairell Whiteskin, broke into the conversation with a
harsh laugh.

"How many of Fionn's household has the wonderful Goll put down?" he
cried.

But Goll's brother, bald Cona'n the Swearer, turned a savage eye on
Cairell.

"By my weapons," said he, "there were never less than an hundred-and-one
men with Goll, and the least of them could have put you down easily
enough."

"Ah?" cried Cairell. "And are you one of the hundred-and-one, old
scaldhead?"

"One indeed, my thick-witted, thin-livered Cairell, and I undertake to
prove on your hide that what my brother said was true and that what your
brother said was false."

"You undertake that," growled Cairell, and on the word he loosed a
furious buffet at Con'an, which Cona'n returned with a fist so big that
every part of Cairell's face was hit with the one blow. The two then
fell into grips, and went lurching and punching about the great hall.
Two of Oscar's sons could not bear to see their uncle being worsted, and
they leaped at Cona'n, and two of Goll's sons rushed at them. Then Oscar
himself leaped up, and with a hammer in either hand he went battering
into the melee.

"I thank the gods," said Cona'n, "for the chance of killing yourself,
Oscar."

These two encountered then, and Oscar knocked a groan of distress out of
Cona'n. He looked appealingly at his brother Art og mac Morna, and that
powerful champion flew to his aid and wounded Oscar. Oisi'n, Oscar's
father, could not abide that; he dashed in and quelled Art Og. Then
Rough Hair mac Morna wounded Oisin and was himself tumbled by mac Lugac,
who was again wounded by Gara mac Morna.

The banqueting hall was in tumult. In every part of it men were giving
and taking blows. Here two champions with their arms round each other's
necks were stamping round and round in a slow, sad dance. Here were two
crouching against each other, looking for a soft place to hit. Yonder a
big-shouldered person lifted another man in his arms and threw him at a
small group that charged him. In a retired corner a gentleman stood in
a thoughtful attitude while he tried to pull out a tooth that had been
knocked loose.

"You can't fight," he mumbled, "with a loose shoe or a loose tooth."

"Hurry up with that tooth," the man in front of him grum-bled, "for I
want to knock out another one."

Pressed against the wall was a bevy of ladies, some of whom were
screaming and some laughing and all of whom were calling on the men to
go back to their seats.

Only two people remained seated in the hall.

Goll sat twisted round watching the progress of the brawl critically,
and Fionn, sitting opposite, watched Goll.

Just then Faelan, another of Fionn's sons, stormed the hall with three
hundred of the Fianna, and by this force all Goll's people were put out
of doors, where the fight continued.

Goll looked then calmly on Fionn.

"Your people are using their weapons," said he.

"Are they?" Fionn inquired as calmly, and as though addressing the air.

"In the matter of weapons--!" said Goll.

And the hard-fighting pillar of battle turned to where his arms hung on
the wall behind him. He took his solid, well-balanced sword in his fist,
over his left arm his ample, bossy shield, and, with another side-look
at Fionn, he left the hall and charged irresistibly into the fray.

Fionn then arose. He took his accoutrements from the wall also and
strode out. Then he raised the triumphant Fenian shout and went into the
combat.

That was no place for a sick person to be. It was not the corner which
a slender-fingered woman would choose to do up her hair; nor was it the
spot an ancient man would select to think quietly in, for the tumult of
sword on sword, of axe on shield, the roar of the contending parties,
the crying of wounded men, and the screaming of frightened women
destroyed peace, and over all was the rallying cry of Goll mac Morna and
the great shout of Fionn.

Then Fergus True-Lips gathered about him all the poets of the Fianna,
and they surrounded the combatants. They began to chant and intone
long, heavy rhymes and incantations, until the rhythmic beating of their
voices covered even the noise of war, so that the men stopped hacking
and hewing, and let their weapons drop from their hands. These were
picked up by the poets and a reconciliation was effected between the two
parties.

But Fionn affirmed that he would make no peace with clann-Morna until
the matter had been judged by the king, Cormac mac Art, and by his
daughter Ailve, and by his son Cairbre of Ana Life' and by Fintan the
chief poet. Goll agreed that the affair should be submitted to that
court, and a day was appointed, a fortnight from that date, to meet
at Tara of the Kings for judgement. Then the hall was cleansed and the
banquet recommenced.

Of Fionn's people eleven hundred of men and women were dead, while of
Goll's people eleven men and fifty women were dead. But it was through
fright the women died, for not one of them had a wound or a bruise or a
mark.



CHAPTER III

AT the end of a fortnight Fionn and Goll and the chief men of the Fianna
attended at Tara. The king, his son and daughter, with Flahri, Feehal,
and Fintan mac Bocna sat in the place of judgement, and Cormac called on
the witnesses for evidence.

Fionn stood up, but the moment he did so Goll mac Morna arose also.

"I object to Fionn giving evidence," said he.

"Why so?" the king asked.

"Because in any matter that concerned me Fionn would turn a lie into
truth and the truth into a lie."

"I do not think that is so," said Fionn.

"You see, he has already commenced it," cried Goll.

"If you object to the testimony of the chief person present, in what way
are we to obtain evidence?" the king demanded.

"I," said Goll, "will trust to the evidence of Fergus True-Lips. He is
Fionn's poet, and will tell no lie against his master; he is a poet, and
will tell no lie against any one."

"I agree to that," said Fionn.

"I require, nevertheless," Goll continued, "that Fergus should swear
before the Court, by his gods, that he will do justice between us."

Fergus was accordingly sworn, and gave his evidence. He stated that
Fionn's brother Cairell struck Cona'n mac Morna, that Goll's two sons
came to help Cona'n, that Oscar went to help Cairell, and with that
Fionn's people and the clann-Morna rose at each other, and what had
started as a brawl ended as a battle with eleven hundred of Fionn's
people and sixty-one of Goll's people dead.

"I marvel," said the king in a discontented voice, "that, considering
the numbers against them, the losses of clann-Morna should be so small."

Fionn blushed when he heard that.

Fergus replied:

"Goll mac Morna covered his people with his shield. All that slaughter
was done by him."

"The press was too great," Fionn grumbled. "I could not get at him in
time or---"

"Or what?" said Goll with a great laugh.

Fionn shook his head sternly and said no more.

"What is your judgement?" Cormac demanded of his fellow-judges.

Flahri pronounced first.

"I give damages to clann-Morna."

"Why?" said Cormac.

"Because they were attacked first."

Cormac looked at him stubbornly.

"I do not agree with your judgement," he said.

"What is there faulty in it?" Flahri asked.

"You have not considered," the king replied, "that a soldier owes
obedience to his captain, and that, given the time and the place, Fionn
was the captain and Goll was only a simple soldier."

Flahri considered the king's suggestion.

"That," he said, "would hold good for the white-striking or blows of
fists, but not for the red-striking or sword-strokes."

"What is your judgement?" the king asked Feehal. Feehal then pronounced:

"I hold that clann-Morna were attacked first, and that they are to be
free from payment of damages."

"And as regards Fionn?" said Cormac.

"I hold that on account of his great losses Fionn is to be exempt
from payment of damages, and that his losses are to be considered as
damages."

"I agree in that judgement," said Fintan.

The king and his son also agreed, and the decision was imparted to the
Fianna.

"One must abide by a judgement," said Fionn.

"Do you abide by it?" Goll demanded.

"I do," said Fionn.

Goll and Fionn then kissed each other, and thus peace was made. For,
notwithstanding the endless bicker of these two heroes, they loved each
other well.


Yet, now that the years have gone by, I think the fault lay with Goll
and not with Fionn, and that the judgement given did not consider
everything. For at that table Goll should not have given greater gifts
than his master and host did. And it was not right of Goll to take by
force the position of greatest gift-giver of the Fianna, for there was
never in the world one greater at giving gifts, or giving battle, or
making poems than Fionn was.

That side of the affair was not brought before the Court. But perhaps it
was suppressed out of delicacy for Fionn, for if Goll could be accused
of ostentation, Fionn was open to the uglier charge of jealousy. It
was, nevertheless, Goll's forward and impish temper which commenced the
brawl, and the verdict of time must be to exonerate Fionn and to let the
blame go where it is merited.

There is, however, this to be added and remembered, that whenever Fionn
was in a tight corner it was Goll that plucked him out of it; and, later
on, when time did his worst on them all and the Fianna were sent to hell
as unbelievers, it was Goll mac Morna who assaulted hell, with a chain
in his great fist and three iron balls swinging from it, and it was
he who attacked the hosts of great devils and brought Fionn and the
Fianna-Finn out with him.





Next: The Carl Of The Drab Coat

Previous: The Wooing Of Becfola



Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
ADD TO EBOOK



Viewed: 1276