These are the adventures of Cormac, from the historical cycle Irish.
The adventures of Cormac
One day, Cormac mac Airt, Supreme King of Ireland, was in his fortress of Tara. He saw in the meadow which depended on it a young man who held in his hand a marvelous branch; nine golden apples hung there. When we waved this branch, the apples bumping into each other produced a strange and sweet music. No one could hear him without instantly forgetting his sorrows and ailments. Then all, men, women and children, fell asleep.
"Does this branch belong to you?" Cormac asked the young man.
- Yes, of course, replied the latter.
- Do you want to sell it? resumed Cormac.
- Yes, said the young man. I never had anything that was not for sale.
- What price do you charge? said Cormac.
"I'll tell you later," replied the young man.
- I will give you what you think fit, answered Cormac, And according to you, what do I owe you?
- Your wife, your son and your daughter.
"You will have all three of them," replied the king.
The young man gave him the branch, and they both entered the palace. Cormac found there reunited his wife, his son and his daughter.
"You have a very pretty jewel there," his wife told him.
'No wonder,' Cormac replied, 'I'm paying a heavy price for it. "
And he recounted the deal he had made.
“We will never believe,” his wife replied, “that there is a treasure in this world that you prefer to the three of us.
- It is really too hard, cried Cormac's daughter, that my father has exchanged us for a branch! "
The woman, the son and the daughter were all in desolation. But Cormac shook the branch. Instantly they forgot their affliction, they went joyfully to meet the young man, and went with him.
Soon the news of this strange event spread first in Tara, then throughout Ireland. They loved the queen and her two children very much; there arose an immense cry of pain and regret. But Cormac shook his branch; Immediately the complaints ceased, and the grief of his subjects gave way to joy.
A year passed. Cormac felt the desire to see his wife, son and daughter again. He left his palace, took the direction he had seen them take.
A magical cloud enveloped him; he arrived in a marvelous plain. There stood a house, and an immense crowd of horsemen gathered around it. Their occupation was to cover this house with feathers from foreign birds. When they had covered one half of the house, they lacked feathers to complete this work, and they set out to fetch the feathers necessary for the completion of their task. But during their absence, the feathers they had set disappeared, either because they were blown away or by some other cause. So there was no reason why their work should never be finished. Cormac looked at them for a long time, then lost patience.
“I can see,” he said, “that you have been doing this since the beginning of the world, and that you will continue until the world ends. "
He continued on his way. After seeing several other curious things, he came to a house where he entered. There he found a tall man and woman, whose clothes were of various colors. He greeted them; they, as it was late, offered him hospitality for the night. Cormac accepted.
The host himself brought a whole pig, which was to be used for the meal, and an enormous log, which, split into several pieces, was to cook it. Cormac prepared the fire and put a quarter of pig on it.
"Tell us a story," said the host to Cormac, "and, if it's true, when you've finished it, the pig quarter will be done."
'Start yourself,' replied Cormac, 'your wife will speak afterwards; my turn will come later.
- You are right, replied the host, Here is my story. This pig is one of the seven I own; and with their flesh I could feed the whole world. When one of them is killed and eaten, I just have to put his bones in the stable, and the next day I find him alive. "
The story was true, because as soon as it was finished, the pig quarter was cooked. Cormac put a second quarter of pig on the fire; the woman spoke.
“I have seven white cows,” she said; and every day I fill seven vats with their milk. If the inhabitants of the whole world gathered in this plain, I would have enough milk to satisfy them. "
The story was true, for as soon as it was finished it was found that the quarter of the pig was done.
“I see,” said Cormac, “that you are Manannan and his wife. It is Manannan who owns the pigs you just mentioned, and it is from the Promised Land that he brought his wife and the seven cows back.
"Your turn has come to tell a story," said the master of the house. If it is true, when it is finished the third quarter will be cooked. "
Cormac recounted how he had acquired the wonderful branch with the nine golden apples and enchanting music; how he had lost his wife, son and daughter at the same time. When he had finished his story, the pig quarter was done.
"You are King Cormac," his host told him. I recognize it by your wisdom; the meal is ready, eat.
'Never,' replied Cormac, 'have I dined with only two people. "
Manannan opened a door and brought in Cormac's wife, son and daughter. The king was very happy to see them again; they felt the same joy as he did.
“It was I who took them from you,” said Manannan, “it is I who gave you the wonderful branch. My goal was to get you here. "
Cormac did not want to start the meal until he had an explanation of the wonders he had seen on his way. Manannan gave it to him; he explained to her, for example, that the horsemen who cover a house with feathers and start their work over and over again without ever seeing its completion are men of letters who seek fortune, believe they have found it, and will never reach it: in in fact, every time they come home with money, they learn that everything they left at home has been spent.
Finally Cormac, his wife and children sat down to table. They ate. When it came to drinking, Manannan presented a cup.
“This cup,” he says, “has a special property. When you tell a lie in front of her, she shatters, and if then you tell the truth, the pieces come together.
"Prove it," Cormac cried.
"It's very easy," said Manannan. The woman I took from you has since had a new husband. "
Immediately the cup broke into four pieces.
“My husband lied,” Manannan's wife replied.
She was telling the truth: instantly, the four pieces of the cup came together without any trace of the accident remaining.
After the meal, Cormac, his wife and children went to bed. When they woke up the next day, they were in the palace of Tara, the capital of Ireland, and Cormac found there near him the wonderful branch, the enchanted cup, even the tablecloth that covered the table on which he had eaten the day before. in the palace of the god Manannan.