The Childhood Feats of Cúchulainn

Here is the story about the Childhood Exploits of Cuchulainn (Conchobar), from the red branch of the mythology Irish.

Cuchulainn's Childhood Feats

Cuchulainn's Childhood Exploits

“Conchobar had lost the allegiance of several Ulsterian leaders after he murdered Usna's sons. These men had left for Connaught, in the west of Ireland. One of them, Fergus, recounted Cùchulain's childhood to his hosts Ailill and Medb, King and Queen of Connaught:

“Cùchulain was brought up at Mag Muirthemni in southern Ulster. One day Sualtam and Dechtire told their son about the famous boys of Emuin Machae, whom Conchobar watched playing when he was not playing board games or drinking before going to bed. Cùchulain asked Dechtire if he could go and see these boys.
"You have to wait until an Ulster warrior can come with you," she replied.
"I want to go there now," Cùchulain insisted. Which path should I take?
- Go north, her mother replied, but be careful because the road is full of dangers.
- I am going, said Cùchulain and he left with his miniature weapons, a small spear and a small shield; he also took his stick and hurley ball, hoping he could play a game with the boys of Emuin Machae. "

Arrived at Emuin, he entered the playing field without first asking for the protection of the other players. The boys were unhappy with this lack of courtesy, because we all know the rules of conduct on a playground. They told him to get out of the field and threw their three times fifty spears at him (there were one hundred and fifty of them). : each lance is planted in the small shield of Cùchulain. They threw fifty bullets three times violently at him and he blocked them all against his chest. They threw their three times fifty hurley sticks at him, but he caught them all.

Cùchulain was furious: his hair stood on end on his head and stood on end with rage. He narrowed one eye the size of the eye of a needle and opened the other the size of a bowl. He winced as long as you could see the back of his throat and his teeth glistening from ear to ear. The young warrior's moon rose above his head.

I was playing chess with Conchobar when nine boys came running, pursued by Cùchulain. He had already hit and nailed fifty to the ground. "It's not sport anymore," cried Conchobar.
- They are the bad players, replied Cùchulain, because I wanted to join their game and they tried to chase me from their playing field.
- What is your name? Asked Conchobar.
- I am Setanta, the son of Sualtam and your sister Dechtire.
- Why didn't you ask for the protection of the other players? asked Conchobar.
- I was not taught the rules, replied Cùchulain.
- So do you accept the protection of your uncle? Conchobar offered.
- I accept it, replied Cùchulain, but I ask you one thing, that I be charged with the protection of three times fifty boys. Conchobar agreed. They all went to the playground and the boys Cùchulain had sent to the ground stood up at the sight of their new hero ”.

Conall, another Ulsteran leader, continued the story:
“We knew the boy when we lived in Ulster, and it was a joy to watch him grow up. Shortly after the episode of the playground recounted by Fergus, Cùchulain was drawn into more heroic adventures.

Culann the blacksmith invited Conchobar to a party. Few people accompanied the King of Ulster, for the blacksmith's only wealth was that acquired by his hands and tools. Also, only fifty old favorite champions accompanied Conchobar. Before leaving Emuin, the king went to the playground to bid farewell to the boys; Cùchulain was playing alone against the three times fifty boys and he was winning. When they tried to send their balls into the goal, Cùchulafn defended it alone and stopped each ball. Then, in battle, he sent them all to the ground, while none of the three times fifty boys could knock him down. In the undress game, he took off everyone's clothes without even losing his brooch.

Conchobar was amazed by the exploits of his nephew and asked his men if Cùchulain was going to become a man who would perform similar heroic acts: they all affirmed that it would be so. "Come with us to Culann's party," said Conchobar.
- I am going to finish my game, replied Cùchulain, and I will join you.

At the party, Culann the blacksmith asked his royal host if everyone had arrived. "Yes," Conchobar replied, forgetting his nephew, and we are ready to eat and drink. "
“Well then,” said the blacksmith, “let's close the doors and celebrate; my dog will keep the animals in the fields, no one will escape him, because it takes three chains to hold him, and three men for each chain ”.

Meanwhile, the boy was on his way to the party, and for fun he would throw his ball in the air and his hurley after her, and he would throw his spear and run to catch her before she hit the ground. When he entered Culann the blacksmith's yard, the dog rushed at him. Conchobar and his men heard the sound of the fight, they looked out the windows and saw Cùchulain fighting the dog with his bare hands. He grabbed him by the throat and smashed him against a pillar. Cùchulain was brought into the house. "I am glad for your mother that you are alive," said Culann. But this dog protected all my possessions, and now I'm lost.
- Do not be afraid, declared Cùchulain, I will train a young dog of the same breed and until it is big enough to keep your property. Until then, I will be your watchdog myself.
"Well, from today we will call you Cùchulain, the Dog of Culann," said Conall.

Such were the exploits of a six-year-old boy, concludes Fergus. What glorious deeds can we expect from him now that he has seventeen? ""

This is how Setanta received the name that would be his, Cùchulain. Symbolically, this legend meant that Cùchulain was fit to guard the kingdom of Ireland and protect its people. As a result, the druid Cathbad prophesied that the gods gave him the choice between long life and great fame. Cuchulain chose fame, but found himself bound by a permanent obligation (geis): he was never to pass a hearth without tasting the food and never eating dog meat. It was predicted that his last important act would be, like the first, to kill a dog.