Maeldun's Journey

Maeldun's Voyage maeldun's Voyage

Here is the Immrama known as Maeldun's Voyage.

Maeldun's Journey

Maeldun's Journey

There was once a famous man among the Eoganacht of Ninuss, that is, among the Eoganacht of the Ara. His name was Ailill, he had been nicknamed Battle Edge. He was a mighty warrior, the hero of his tribe and of his family. A young nun, abbess of a nuns' monastery, had intercourse with him. From the two was born a distinguished man, Mael-Duin, son of Ailill.

Here is how the conception and the birth of this Mael-Duin took place:

One day, the king of the Eoganacht went on an expedition to another territory, to another province; Ailill Battle Edge was with him. They unhitched and camped on a hill. There was a nuns church near that hill. At midnight, when all movement had ceased in the camp, Ailill came to church. It was at this hour that the abbess went out to strike the bell and ring matins. Ailill grabbed her hands, knocked her over and raped her. "My situation is not beautiful," said the woman; “I'm going to have a child. What family are you from, and what is your name? "

The Warrior replies, “My name is Ailill Battlegspring; I am from Eoganacht from Ninuss, in northern Munster. The king then returned home with Ailill, he had ravaged the land and taken prisoners. Shortly after his return to his country, Ailill was killed by pirates, who burned the church of Dubcluain on him. The nun, at the end of nine months, gave birth to a son and gave him the name of Mael-Duin. The child was then secretly transported to the queen, friend of his mother, and wife of the king [of the Eoganacht]; he was brought up by her and she told him that she was his mother.

His adoptive mother brought him up with the three sons [she had] of the king, in the same cradle, on the same breast, in the same bosom. Her forms were beautiful; it is doubtful that any creature of flesh was as accomplished as he. He grew up and became a skilled warrior in the profession of arms. Great was his brilliance, great was his pride and his skill in games. He outdid everyone in all games, whether throwing the ball, running, jumping, throwing stones or running the horses; in short, he was victorious in all these exercises. One day, a warrior, who was jealous of him, said to him, carried away by anger: "We do not know your clan or your family, we do not know who your mother or your father are, you who prevail in all exercises, whether we wrestle on land or at sea, or at the game of chess. "

Mael-Duin was silent; until then he had thought that he was the son of the king and the queen, his adoptive mother, then he said to her: "I will not eat or drink, until you have told me what is my mother and what is my father. "

“Why this request; "She replied," do not accept the words of proud warriors in your mind. It is I who am your mother: on earth, there is no being whose love for his son is stronger than mine for you. " 

"It is true," he resumed; "Nevertheless let me know my real parents." "

His adoptive mother then took him away and handed him over to his mother; he begged his mother to tell him who his father was.

"Foolish ask," said the latter! "Even if you would know who your father is, you will have neither good nor good reception from him, for he has been dead for a long time. "

“I'd rather know him,” he replied, “whoever he is. "

His mother then told him the truth: "Ailill Battle Edge was your father, he was Eoganacht of Ninuss." Mael-Duin then went to his father's country to take possession of his inheritance; his foster-brothers were with him, they were fine warriors. His parents welcomed him and made him feel welcome. Some time later, a number of warriors stood in the cemetery of Dubcluain Church [and amused themselves] throwing stones. Mael-Duin's foot rested on the burnt [ruins] of the church he was throwing stones at. A man with the tongue of poison, one of the vassals of the church, named Briccné, said to Mael-Duin: "It would be better for you to avenge the man who was burned here than to throw stones at his emaciated bones and burnt. "

" Who is this man? Said Mael-Duin.

“It's Ailill, your father. "

" Who killed him? "

Briccné: "Leix robbers, and this is where they killed him." Mael let go of the stone [he was holding], wrapped himself fully armed in his cloak, and was sad at what he had been told. Then he asked for the road to go to Leix, the wise men told him that there was none other than the sea.

Mael then went to Corcomroe to ask a druid who was staying there, his charms, his blessing, to begin building a ship; Nuca was the name of the Druid, and it was from him that Boirend Nuca took his name. He indicated to Mael-Duin the day [when] the construction of the ship was to begin and the number of the crew which would be seventeen men (or sixty, according to many other authors); he warned him, moreover, not to increase or decrease this figure, and he indicated to him the day when he should go to sea.

Mael-Duin therefore built a three-skinned ship, and [his companions] were prepared to enter it with him. Among them were German and Diuran the Poet.

Mael-Duiu and his companions therefore set sail on the day fixed for him by the druid. They had moved away from land a little after having drawn up the sail, when the three foster brothers of Mael-Duin, sons of his adoptive father and mother, arrived in the port; they shouted for him to come back so [they could] go with him. “Go home,” said Mael-Duin; “Even if we go back, I will only take with me those who are here [in the ship]. "-" We will follow you into the sea and we will be drowned if you do not come to us. "

The three of them then threw themselves into the sea and swam away from land. At this sight, Mael-Duin returned to them lest they drown and took them in his ship.

[I. - Mael-Duin finds the murderers on an island, but, before he can punish them, he is driven back into the Ocean by a storm.]

That day they sailed until evening, and during the night until midnight; they then encountered two small barren islands with two castles, and they heard the cries and words of drunken men who were in those castles; they were boasting warriors. And this is what one of them said to another: “Give in to me; my valor prevails over yours, for it is I who killed Ailill Battle Edge, and burned the church of Dubcluain on him; however, I have never since experienced any harm from his family; you, you've never done anything like it. "

"The victory is in our hands," cried Germain and Diuran the poet; "God has brought us here straight, he is the one who has guided our ship. Let’s go and destroy these two castles, since God has revealed our enemies to us there. "

As they spoke these words, a great wind blew over them and pushed them through the night until morning. And the next day they saw neither earth nor ground, and they did not know which way they were going. Then Mael-Duin spoke these words: "Let us leave the ship without direction and may God carry it wherever he pleases." "

They then entered the immense, boundless Ocean, and Mael said to his foster brothers: “It was you who caused all this by rushing into this ship despite the word of the magician, of the druid; he had told us that the number of men on board should not exceed what we had before your arrival. "

They gave him no answer, but remained silent for a while.

[II. - The island of huge ants.]

They were three days and three nights without seeing any land. On the morning of the third day, they heard a noise in the northeast. “It's the sound of the wave against the shore,” Germain said. When dawn came, they made landfall. As they were tossing lots to see which of them would land, here comes a large swarm of ants, each about the size of a foal, [heading] towards them on the shore and in the sea. they wanted was to eat them with their ship. They were three more days and three nights without seeing any land.

[III. - The island of the great birds.]

On the morning of the third day, they heard the sound of the wave hitting the shore, and at dawn they saw a high, extensive island surrounded by terraces (?). The terraces went down; around each of them was a row of trees, and on those trees was a crowd of large birds. They held advice on who would disembark to visit the island and [make sure] the birds were not dangerous. "It is I who will go. Said Mael-Duin. He landed, explored the island and found nothing bad there. Mael-Duin and his companions had their fill of birds, and carried others on their ship.

[IV. - The monstrous horse.]

They were then at sea for three days and three nights. On the morning of the fourth day, they saw another large island; its soil was sandy. As they reached the shore of the island, they saw a horse-like beast. She had the paws of a dog, with hard, sharp hooves. Great was her joy at the sight of them, and she was seized with a great appetite in their presence, for she desired to eat them with their vessel. "She wouldn't be sorry to join us," said Mael-Duin; "Let's flee this island. So they did, and when the beast saw their flight, it ran to the shore, searched the ground with its sharp hooves, and threw [stones] at them; they hastened to escape him.

[V. - The race of demons.]

They sailed for a long time, and they saw a large, flat island in front of them. The bad luck of going to visit this island fell on Germain. “We will go together,” said Diuran the Poet; "But another time, you will come with me if it's my turn to reconnoiter." So they both went to the island. Great were its extent and breadth; they saw a long, wide lawn and huge horse hoof prints. As wide as a ship's sail was the imprint of each horse's hoof; they also saw nutshells the size of *** and saw large debris of a human [flesh] feast.

Terrified at this aspect, they called their companions to them to show them this spectacle. They were also frightened at the sight, and all, as quickly as possible and in all haste, returned to the ship.

They had come a short distance from land when they saw on the sea, [heading] towards the island, a great multitude of people who made a horse race, having reached the lawn of the island. Each horse was faster than the wind; the men shouted and spoke very loudly; Mael-Duin heard the whip blows, and understood what each of those taking part in the race was saying: "Bring the gray horse!" "Here is the brown horse!" "" Bring the white horse! »« My horse is faster! "" Mine jumps better! When Mael-Duin and his companions heard these words, they fled with all their might, for it was clear to them that it was a meeting of demons that they were seeing.

[VI. - The salmon house.]

After sailing a whole week, hungry and thirsty, they saw a large, high island, and a house on the sea shore. A door of the house looked out onto the plain in the interior of the island, and there another is on the sea; and this door was closed with a stone. This stone had a hole through which the waves of the sea pushed the salmon into the middle of the house. They entered this house and found no one there. They then saw a bed set up for the owner of the house, and beds for three people in the house, food for three people in front of each bed, a glass jar with good beer in front of each bed, and a cup of glass in front of each jar. They ate these dishes and this beer for their meal, and gave thanks to Almighty God who had saved them from famine.

[VII. - The wonderful fruits.]

Leaving this island, they sailed for a long time without food, suffering from hunger, until they found an island surrounded by great cliffs on all sides; and in this island was a long and narrow forest; great were its length and narrowness. - Mael-Duin took a wand in his hand when he had reached this wood while sailing alongside. Three days and three nights the wand was in his hands as the ship under its sails coasted [the cliff], and on the third day he found a cluster of three apples at the end of the wand. Each apple satiated them for forty nights.

[VIII. - Feats of strength of the beast of the island.]

They then found another island with a stone enclosure around it. When they approached, a huge beast appeared in this island and ran around it. Mael-Duin found her faster than the wind. She then ran to the top of the island and stood up straight, head down and legs in the air; this is how she did it: sometimes she turned in her own skin; the flesh and bones were turning, but the skin on the outside was motionless; - sometimes, on the contrary, the skin on the outside turned like a mill, while the bones and the flesh remained motionless.

After remaining in this position for a long time, [the beast] straightened up and ran around the island as it had first done; then she returned to the same place and this time the lower part of her skin remained at rest and the upper part rotated like a grindstone. This was her exercise when she ran around the island. Mael-Duin and his troop fled with all their might. The beast saw their flight and ran to the shore to seize them; she began to attack them, she reached them and struck them with the stones of the port. A stone fell into the ship, passed through Mael-Duin's shield, and reached the keel (?) Of the ship.

[IX. - Horse fights.]

Soon after, they found another tall and beautiful island with many large horse-like animals. Each of them would take a piece of the side of another and take away the flesh with the skin, so that torrents of crimson blood gushed out from their sides and the earth was filled with it. So Mael-Duin and his companions abandoned this island, quickly, impetuously, in haste, afflicted, groaning, exhausted; and they did not know what part of the world they would go to or where on earth they would find assistance.

[X. - The beasts of fire and the golden apples.]

They reached another large island after suffering from hunger and thirst, grieving, groaning, having lost all hope of help. There were a lot of trees on this island; they were fruit, they were carrying apples of gold. Red pig-like animals were under these trees. They would go to these trees, hit them with their hind legs, so that the apples fell and they ate them. Such was their occupation from morning until sunset; but from sunset to morning they did not appear and stayed in caves. All around the island many birds were swimming on the waves. From matins to nones, they swam [moving away] more and more of the island; but from nones until vespers they approached more and more of the island and they reached it after sunset. - Then they peeled the apples and ate them. "Let's go to the island where the birds are," said Mael-Duin; “It's no more difficult for us than it is for the birds. One of them went to visit the island, and, ashore, he called his companions for help. The ground was hot under their feet, and they could not stay there because of the heat, for it was a land of fire, and the animals [hidden in the caves] heated the ground above them. They took some apples with them which they ate in their ship. At daybreak the birds left the island to swim in the sea, the beasts of fire raised their heads out of the caves and ate the apples until sunset. When they had returned to their retreats, the birds came to eat the apples in their place. Mael-Duin then came with his companions, they plucked what there were apples that night, and, thanks to them, preserved themselves from hunger and thirst. They loaded their ship with these apples, which they liked very much, and set out to sea again.

[XI. - The castle guarded by the cat.]

The apples ran out, and the hunger and thirst were great; their mouths and noses were full of the bitterness of the sea. They saw then a not very large island, on it a fortress and around it a high white wall as if it had been made of quicklime so as to form only a one block. The height of the wall was great, it touched the clouds. The fortress was open. Around the ramparts were large houses white as snow. They entered the largest of the houses and found no one there except in the middle a little cat playing on the four stone pillars that were there. He was jumping from one pillar to another; he looked at the men a little and did not cease his game. They then saw three rows in the wall going around from one door to the other. The first row consisted of gold and silver brooches, the points of which were fixed in the wall. The second row consisted of necklaces of gold and silver, [large] each like the circles of a barrel. In the third row were to be seen large swords with gold and silver handles. The rooms were filled with white blankets and shiny clothes. Roast beef and salt pork [lay] on the floor, along with large pots of delicious, intoxicating beer. "Is it for us that it was left?" Mael-Duin said to the cat. The latter looked at them suddenly and continued his games. Mael-Duin thus recognized that it was for them that the meal was prepared. So they ate, drank, and slept. They put the remains (?) Of the beer in the jars and tightened up the debris from the food. When they were ready to leave, one of Mael-Duin's three foster brothers said to Mael-Duin: "Shall I take one of these necklaces with me?" " - " Not! "Replied Mael-Duin," the house is not without a guard. His foster-brother, however, carried the collar to the middle of the house, but the cat followed him, and, leaping on him like an arrow of fire, burned him to the point of reducing him to ashes; then he returned to his pillars again. Mael-Duin softened the cat with words, put the collar back in its place, cleaned the floor of the house of ashes and threw it on the sea cliffs.

They then returned to their ship thanking and glorifying the Lord.

[XII. - The island of color changes.]

On the morning of the third day that followed, they saw another island with a copper palisade dividing it in the middle, and they saw great flocks of sheep there: here, a black flock on one side of the palisade; there, a white herd on the other side. They also saw a tall man separating the sheep. When he threw a white sheep over the fence to the side of the black herd, that sheep would instantly turn black. When he threw a black sheep on the other side, it immediately turned white. Mael and his companions were in great fear at the sight of this wonder. “It would be good,” said Mael-Duin, “to throw two chopsticks on this island. If they change color we will also change them if we go to the island. They then threw a black bark wand at the side where the white [sheep] were and it immediately turned white. They then threw a peeled white wand, the side where the black [sheep] were, and it immediately turned black.

“The experience was not happy (?),” Said Mael-Duin, let's not go to the island. Certainly it would not become better with our color than with that of the chopsticks. "

They drove away from the island in terror.

[XIII. - The island of huge pigs and monstrous calves.]

Three days later they saw another island, large and extensive, and on it a fine herd of pigs. They killed a small pig from the herd. They could not carry him for cooking, and they all came around him. They roasted it and carried it in their vessel.

They then saw a big mountain in this island and decided to go there, wanting, from the top, to contemplate the island. Diuran the Poet and Germain then left to visit the mountain; they encountered a wide but shallow river. Germain dipped the end of his spear in the river, which was immediately destroyed, as if the fire had burned it. They did not go further. And they saw great hornless oxen lying on the other side of the river, and a giant sitting beside them. Germain struck the wood [of his spear] against his shield to frighten the oxen. "Why scare stupid calves," said the great shepherd. - "Where are the mothers of these calves?" Germain asked. - "They are on the other side of this mountain here," replied the giant. They returned to their companions and told them this story. They then left.

[XIV. - The creepy mill.]

Soon after, they found an island and a big, ugly mill, with a quarrelsome, hideous miller. They asked him: "What is this mill?" - " How? 'Or' What! »He replied,« you have to be quite ignorant to ask me this question; don't you know? "-" No, of course! They replied. - "Half the grain of your country is ground here. Everything that causes complaint and murmur is ground in this mill. Thereupon they saw heavy loads, innumerable, on horses and men [entering] and leaving the mill; but all that was carried out went to the west side. They asked again what the name of the mill was. - "The mill of Imber TreGenand," said the miller.

They signed each other with the sign of the cross of Christ after having heard and seen all this. They walked back to their ship.

[XV. - City of black mourners.]

After leaving the island of the mill, they found a large island where there was a large troop of men. They were black in body and clothing. They had fishnets around their heads and kept moaning. The bad luck of going to the island fell on one of Mael-Duin's two foster brothers. When he reached the men who were lamenting, he immediately turned black like them and began to lament with them. Two men were sent to retrieve him from there, they did not recognize him among his companions and they too began to moan. Mael-Duin exclaimed: “Let four of you go with their arms and bring the men to me by force; do not look down or into the air, pull your clothes over your nose and over your mouth, do not breathe the air of the earth, and fix your eyes only on your companions. They did so. The four of them went and brought the other two back by force. When asked what they had seen in this land, they replied, “We do not know, but what we have seen [doing] we have done. They quickly moved away from the island.

[XVI. - The island divided into four.]

They then came to another island; it was high and divided into four sections by four palisades; the first palisade was of gold, the second of silver, the third of copper, the fourth of glass. Kings were in the fourth section, queens in the third, warriors in the second, and maidens in the first. A young girl came to Mael and her companions, invited them (?) To come down to earth and gave them food. What she gave seemed to them like cheese and everyone found the flavor they wanted. They divided the drink contained in a small pot; so that, becoming drunk, they slept three days and three nights. The young girl took care of them all this time. On the third day, when they awoke, they were at sea in their ship. They no longer saw an island or a young girl. They continued their navigation.

[XVII. - The magic bridge and the pretty hostess.]

They found another island which was not large. There was a fortress on this island; the door was bronze, the fittings too. A glass bridge [was] in front of the door. They climbed this bridge several times, but each time they fell back. They saw a woman come out of the castle, a bucket in her hand. She lifted a slab of glass at the lower part of the bridge; filled the bucket at the spring which was under the bridge and returned to the castle.

"Here is a housewife for Mael-Duin!" Said Germain. - "Yes, really, for Mael-Duin!" She said as she closed the door behind her. They then struck the bronze fittings and the bronze net (?) Which were in front of them. The noise they made was a melodious and sweet song; then they fell asleep until the next morning. When they awoke, they saw the same woman outside the chateau, bucket in hand, tapping under the same slab, "Here is a housewife coming for Mael-Duin," said Germain. - "Mael-Duin is wonderfully esteemed in my eyes," she said, closing the castle fence behind her. The same music made them sleep until the next day. It was thus three days and three nights. On the fourth day the woman came to them. She was beautiful: a white coat enveloped her; a golden circle encircled her golden hair; she had silver sandals on her pink feet; a silver brooch with gold buttons on her coat; and a membranous (sic) silk shirt over his white skin.

“Welcome to you, Mael-Duin! " she says; then she took each man aside and named him by his own name. "We have foreseen and known your arrival here for a long time," she resumed.

She then took them to a large house, near the sea, and pulled their ship ashore. They saw in front of them in the house a bed for Mael-Duin alone, and a bed for his men three by three. She gave them something like cheese or cheese in a basket. tath. She gave a portion to each [group] of three men. And everyone found the flavor they wanted in this dish. Then the woman served Mael-Duin aside. She filled the vase at the same fountain, gave them [the water in groups] of three. They knew when they had enough and stopped giving them. "Here is a suitable woman in Mael-Duin," they said to each other. She then left them with her unique vase and bucket. The men said to Mael-Duin, "Shall we talk to her to find out if she will sleep with you?" "

"What will you lose by talking to him?" Mael said. She returned the next day. They said to him: "Would you like to make friends with Mael-Duin and sleep with him?" Why not rest [with him] at night? She replied that she did not know what sin was, and she returned home. The next day, she came at the same time and served them, and when they had eaten and drunk as they wished, she repeated the same words to them. “Smart tomorrow,” she added, “you will be given an answer on that subject. She went home and they slept on their beds. When they awoke, they were in their ship, near a rock, and they did not see any more island, nor castle, nor woman, nor the place where they had been before.

[XVIII - The island of songbirds.]

As they left this place, they heard to the northeast a powerful voice and a song, as if the psalms had been sung. That night, and the next day, to nones, they sailed without knowing what that voice was or what that song was. They saw a high, mountainous island, filled with black, brown, spotted birds, crying and speaking (sic) very loudly.

[XIX. - City of the Lone Pilgrim.]

They sailed a bit from this island, and found another island which was not very large. There were many trees and on them many birds. And then they seen a man on this island; his only clothing was his hair. They asked him who he was and from whom he was born. "Men from Ireland," he replied. “I went on a pilgrimage in a small boat; my skiff broke beneath me as I was little far from land. I returned to land, put a clod of my native soil under my feet, and rose to the sea. The Lord here established this clod of earth for me. Since then, God has increased its expanse by one foot every year, and every year a tree grows there. The birds that you see in the trees are the souls of my children and of my family, whether women or men; they are there waiting for the day of judgment. God gave me half of a loaf of bread, a slice of fish and water from the spring. It comes to me every day through the ministry of angels. At the hour of nuns, another half of bread and a slice of fish comes for each of these men and women here, with enough spring water for each one. "

After receiving hospitality for three full days, they bade farewell to the pilgrim who said to them: “You will reach all your country, except one. "

[XX. - The Island of the Wonderful Fountain.]

Three days later, they found another island surrounded by a gold wall, the base of which was white as down. And they seen a man there, whose garment was the hair of his own body. They then asked him what food he supported himself with. He replied, "There is a spring on this island." On Friday and Wednesday she gives whey or water; but on Sundays and at martyrs' feasts, she pours good milk. At the feasts of the apostles, the Virgin, Saint John the Baptist and other solemnities, she gives out beer and wine. At none, the Lord sends each man half of a loaf, a portion of fish; and all drink their account of the liquor supplied by the fountain of the island; then they fall into a deep sleep that lasts until the next morning. After they had received hospitality for three days, the clerk ordered them to leave. They set off again and took leave of him.

[XXI. - The island of terrible blacksmiths.]

After having spent a long time traveling on the waves, they saw an island in the distance and, as they approached, heard the noise of three or four blacksmiths hitting a sledgehammer on the anvil with hammers. As they got even closer, they heard a man ask another, "Are they close?" - "Yes," replied the other. The first continued: "Who are those who come here? "-" They look like little boys in a small boat. When Mael-Duin overheard the blacksmiths' conversation, he said [to his companions]: “Let’s turn back, and let the ship not turn; let's leave the stern in mind so that they don't notice our flight. "

So they sailed with the stern of the ship forward. The same man in the forge asked again, "Are they approaching the harbor now?" "

- "They are motionless," replied the observer; “They neither advance nor retreat. Soon after, the first one asked again, "What are they doing now?" "It seems to me," replied the observer, "that they are going backwards, for they now appear farther from the harbor than before. The blacksmith then came out of his forge, holding in his hand, with the tongs, an enormous mass [of iron], and he threw it into the sea after the vessel, so that the whole sea was boiling; but he did not achieve [his goal], for they fled with all their fighting strength (sic), quickly, in haste, into the immense Ocean.

[XXII. - The Crystal Sea.]

They then sailed and came to a sea like crystal green. Its transparency was such that one could see the gravel and the sand at the bottom of the sea. They saw neither monsters nor animals between the rocks, but only pure gravel and green sand. They were a long time sailing on this sea; great were its splendor and beauty.

[XXIII. - The sea of clouds.]

They then fell into another cloud-like sea and it seemed to them that she could not stand them or their ship. They saw at the bottom of the sea, below them, well-built castles and a beautiful country; they saw a great beast, frightening, monstrous, yonder in a tree, a troop of shepherds and cattle in a circle around the tree, and beside the tree a man armed with the shield and the sword.

When he saw the huge beast that was on the tree, he stepped back to flee at once. The beast stretched its neck out of the tree, put its head on the back of the ox closest to the herd, pulled it closer into the tree, and ate it in the blink of an eye. The cattle and the shepherds immediately fled. At this sight, Mael-Duin and his people were seized with an even greater fear and trembling, for it seemed to them that they could not cross this sea without falling below because of its thinness similar to that of the fog.

They crossed it, however, after great peril.

[XXIV. - The fearful islanders.]

They encountered another island; the sea rose up around it, making an immense surf in a circle. When the people of that land noticed them, they started yelling at them and saying, "It's them, it's them!" »Breathlessly. Mael and his companions then saw many men, large herds of cattle, herds of horses and a crowd of sheep. A woman was chopping them down from below with large nuts that remained on the waves on the surface. They collected many of these nuts and took them with them. They turned back and the screaming then ceased.

"Who are they then?" Said the man who had started yelling at Mael and his companions.

- "They are gone," said another gang.

- "It's not them," said another troop. It is likely that this was someone the [islanders] knew wanted to destroy and drive their country out of.

[XXV. - The Rainbow River.]

They reached another island where something surprising appeared to them; a great stream gushed out on the shore of the island, crossed the island like a rainbow, and fell on the other side. And they passed under it without getting wet; they pierced [with spears] great salmon swimming in the river above them; these big salmon fell from the river down into the island. And the whole island was filled with the smell of fish, we could not finish collecting them because there were so many.

From Sunday to Monday afternoon, this river did not flow, but remained motionless in the sea in a circle around the Island. They gathered the largest of the salmon, filled their ship with them and, leaving the island, returned to the ocean.

[XXVI. - The column and the silver net.]

They then sailed and found a large column of silver. It had four sides, the breadth of each side equaling that of two strokes of the oars (sic) of the ship, so that the circumference was in all eight strokes of the oars. And there was not a clod of earth around but the boundless Ocean. And they did not see what its base was like, nor its top, which was too high. From the top of the column descended a distant net of silver, and the ship without sails passed through a mesh of the net. Diuran slashed his sword through the meshes of this net. "Do not destroy the net," said Mael-Duin, "for what we see is the work of mighty men," — "It is for the glory of God that I do so," replied Diuran, " so that the story of my adventures will be believed, and to carry [a piece of net] on the altar of Armagh if I return to Ireland. »

[They found in the piece of fillet a weight] of two ounces and a half, when in Armagh it was weighed. They then heard a loud and clear voice from the top of the column, but did not know what language she was speaking, nor who was speaking.

[XXVII. - The island with the pedestal.]

They saw an island on a pedestal, that is, it rested on one foot. And they sailed around, looking for a way [into it], and found none; but they saw at the bottom of the pedestal a door closed by a lock. They recognized that this was the way to enter the island. And they saw on the top of the island a plowman; but they did not speak to him, and he himself did not speak to any of them. They turned back.

[XXVIII. - The island of the queen and her seventeen daughters.]

They then reached a large island; there was a great plain and hills [covered] not with heather but with smooth grass. They saw in this island a large, high, solid fortress, and inside an ornate dwelling with good beds. Seventeen girls were preparing a bath. They went down to the island and sat down on the hill in front of the fortress. Mael-Duin spoke thus: “It is certain that this bath is prepared for us. At nuns hour, they saw a rider on a prize horse heading for the fortress. Under him was a beautiful and ornate cover. He wore a blue hood ***, a purple cloak adorned with fringes, his hands had gold-embroidered gloves and beautiful sandals on his feet. When he had dismounted one of the girls immediately took his mount. He then entered the fortress and took a bath. They then saw that it was a woman who had dismounted, and soon after one of the girls came towards them. “Welcome is your arrival! " she says; “Enter the castle, the queen invites you. They entered the castle and all took a bath. The queen sat down on one side of the house surrounded by her seventeen daughters. Mael-Duin sat down on the other side, opposite the queen, her seventeen men around him. A plate of good food was placed in front of Mael-Duin with a glass cup full of a pleasant liqueur; and his men three had a dish and a cup. When they had finished their meal the queen exclaimed: "How will the hosts sleep?" - "As you wish," said Mael-Duin. She continued: "… your departure from the island." Let each of you take the woman you like best and follow her to her room. There were, in fact, seventeen ornate rooms in which beautiful beds were placed. So these seventeen men and the seventeen maidens slept together, and Mael-Duin rested with the queen. They slept until the next morning. They got up then. “Stay here,” said the queen, “and your age will not exceed what you are now; your existence will be eternal and what you found there last night you will find every night without going to any trouble for it. You will no longer have to roam from island to island on the ocean. "

- "Tell us," resumed Mael-Duin, "how are you here? - "It's easy," she resumed. “There was in this island an excellent man who was its king. I gave him these seventeen girls; I am their mother. Their father died without leaving a man to be his heir, and it was I who took the royalty of the island after him. Every day, I go to a large plain which is on the island to judge people and give the solution to their trials. "

- "Why leave us now," said Mael-Duin. - "If I don't go," she continued, "what happened to you last night will never happen to you again." So, stay in your house and you will have no needs or sorrows. I will judge the peoples for your benefit. So they stayed on this island for three winter months, which seemed to them to be three years. "We've been here for a long time," said one of the men in his troop to Mael-Duin; why not return to our homeland? "

- "You spoke badly," replied Mael-Duin, "we will not find in our country anything better than what we have here. "The troop began to murmur against Mael-Duin:" The love of a woman is great with Mael-Duin. Let us leave him with her if it pleases him and return to our homeland. "-

“I won't stay behind you,” said Mael-Duin.

So one day the queen went to judge as usual. When she was gone, they ran to their ship. She then came on horseback and threw a cable behind them; Mael-Duin seized this cable which attached to his hand. She held the other end of the cable in her hand and, by means of this cable, pulled the ship towards her and brought it back to the harbor.

They spent the three months [of the spring] with her. They then held a council. “We are sure of the depth of Mael-Duin's love for this woman. He's waiting for the cable to attach to his hand on purpose to bring us back to the castle. - "Let another watch out for the cable," said Mael-Duin; "If he attaches himself to his hand, let it be cut off." "

They entered their ship. The queen threw the cable behind them. One of the crew grabbed him and he clung to his hand. Diuran the Poet cut off his hand, which fell with the cable. At this sight, the queen immediately began to cry and cry and fill the whole country with her lamentations. So they escaped him and [left] the island.

[XXIX. - Intoxicating fruits.]

They then remained a long time wandering on the waves and found an island with trees which held willow and coudier, and which bore wonderful fruits, large berries. They stripped [of its fruit] a small tree and cast lots to see who would taste these fruits. The fate fell on Mael-Duin. He squeezed some of it into a cup, drank [the juice] and immediately fell into a deep sleep which lasted until the same time of the next day. His companions did not know if he was alive or dead: he had a red foam on his lips, and this lasted until he woke up the next day. He said to them: “Pick these fruits, they are excellent. They plucked them and, to extinguish their intoxicating and soporific power, they mixed them with water. They gathered all the fruits that were there, squeezed them and filled with juice all that they possessed of the vessels; then they left the island.

[XXX. - The hermit and the lake of youth.]

They then approached another island. She was tall. Half was a forest of yews and large oaks, the other half was a plain with a small lake; there were large flocks of sheep. They saw a small church and a fortress. They went to church. There was an old priest entirely dressed in his hair. Mael-Duin asked him where he was from. “I am the last of the fifteen companions of Brenann de Birr. We went on a pilgrimage to the ocean and we arrived in this island. All are dead except me. And he showed them the Brenanc tablets, which they had taken on their pilgrimage. They all knelt in front of the tablets and Mael-Duin gave them a kiss. The old man continued: "Eat sheep according to your needs, but not beyond. They ate the flesh of fat sheep for some time.

One day as they were looking at the sea from the island, they saw a cloud coming towards them from the southwest. Continuing to watch, they recognized by the beating of their wings that it was a bird. The bird arrived on the island and landed on a mound near the lake.

They thought he was going to take them to sea in his talons. He carried with him a branch of a big tree, this branch was bigger than a big oak tree; it had large branches, its top was covered with thick, fresh foliage. Heavy and abundant were the fruits which they bore; they were reddish berries similar to bunches of grapes, but a little larger.

Mael-Duin and his companions were in hiding; they were watching what the bird would do. Considering his fatigue, he rested for a moment, then he began to eat the fruits of the tree. Mael-Duin then walked to the foot of the hill where the bird was to see if the bird would harm him, and he didn't. All of Mael-Duin's companions joined him in this place.

"Let one of us go and pick a fruit from this branch which is in front of the bird," said Mael-Duin. One of them went and picked some berries. The bird did not forbid him, did not see him and did not make a movement. The eighteen warriors then came behind the bird with their shields and did not feel any harm.

That same day, at the hour of nones, they saw two great eagles in the south-east, where the great bird had come from, and they swooped down before it. After having been at rest for a long time, they proceeded to cleanse and rid the great bird of the insects which were on its crest, on its crop, around its eyes and ears. They did so until vespers. Then the three birds began to eat the berries, the fruits of the branches. The next day, from morning until noon, they hunted down the same animals on their bodies, tore out their old feathers and removed the old scales of the scab. At noon, they detached the berries from the tree, smashed them with their beaks against the stones and then threw them into the lake, so that it was covered with a red foam. The large bird then entered the lake and stayed there almost until the end of the day. He then left the lake and stood on the same hill, but in another place to avoid the return of the bugs which had been taken from him.

The next morning the eagles cleaned it and smoothed its plumage with their beaks as if it had been with a comb. They occupied themselves there until the middle of the day. They rested a bit and walked back to where they had come from before. The great bird remained after them cleaning (?) And flapping its wings until the end of the third day. It then took off at third hour, flew three times all around the island, fell on the same hill and remained there for some time; then he set off on the side from which he had come first. Its flight was even faster and more vigorous than before. So Mael-Duin and his companions clearly recognized that he had transformed his old age into youth according to the word of the prophet. Renovabitur ut aquilae juventus tua. At the sight of this great miracle, Diuran exclaimed: "Let us go and bathe in the lake to revive us where the birds have been." " - " No! Said another; “Because the birds have left their venom there. "-

"It is absurd what you say," said Diuran; “I will enter there first. He entered it, bathed in it, dipped his lips in the water and took a sip. From that moment and throughout his life his eyes remained healthy; he did not lose a tooth or a hair, nor did he experience weakness or illness. They said goodbye to the old man and stocked up on sheep. They launched their ship into the sea and returned to the ocean.

[XXXI. - The Island of Laughs.]

They found another large island with a large plain. A multitude of people were in this plain, playing and laughing endlessly. Lots were cast to find out who would come down to explore the island. The fate fell on the third of Mael-Duin's foster brothers. As soon as he arrived, he began to play and laugh endlessly like the locals, as if he had spent his life with them. Mael and his companions waited a long time for him, but he did not return. So they abandoned him.

[XXXII. - The island surrounded by a fiery rampart.]

They then saw a small island; a wall of fire surrounded it, a wall was movable and turned all around. There was an open door on one side of this wall. When this door (by the effect of the revolution movement of the wall) arrived in front of them, they saw the whole island, what was inside and all the inhabitants: they were handsome men, many, in magnificent clothes, which, a golden cup in hand, made a feast. And they heard their drinking songs. They forgot themselves for a long time in the contemplation of this marvelous spectacle which seemed delicious to them.

[XXXIII. - The thief turned hermit.]

Shortly after moving away from this island, they saw in the midst of the waves something (?) Like a white bird. They pointed the bow of their ship south towards this object to see it better. When they approached it while sailing, they saw that it was a man covered only with the white hair of his body. He was kneeling on a large rock. When they came to him, they begged him to give them his blessing. They asked him where he had come from on this rock.

"I came from Torach," he replied. “Torach is where I was brought up. I became a cook there, and a dishonest cook, for I sold the food of the church where I was for treasures and precious objects which I appropriated; so that my house is filled with quilts, cushions, linen and woolen garments of all colors, copper buckets, small copper lellenda (?), silver brooches with spikes of gold ; and that my house had nothing more to be desired of what is pleasing to man, in books gilded, book boxes, those boxes adorned with copper and gold. I dug under the houses of the church and drew many treasures from them, my pride and my arrogance were great. One day when I was digging a grave for the body of a peasant who had been carried to the island, I heard a voice which came from the ground, under my feet: "Do not dig in this place," she said, “Do not place over a holy and pious man the carcass of a sinner. — "That is between me and God," I exclaimed in my pride. — "If you carry this corpse on me; resumed the holy man, "your flesh will perish before three days, you will go to hell, and the corpse will nevertheless be removed from here." I asked the old man, "What good will you do me if I don't bury this man above you?" “You will dwell forever with God,” he continued.

"How would I know?" "-" It will not be difficult or ***. The pit you dig will fill with sand. It will therefore be clear to you that you cannot bury this man above me there even if you try him. Hardly had he finished these words when the pit was full of sand. I then buried the corpse in another place.

Some time later, I launched a new boat with red skin into the sea, I entered the boat, I looked around with pleasure: I had left nothing in my house, small or large, that I did not know. would have taken with me either vats, cups, or dishes. While I was contemplating the sea, then calm for me, a great wind blew over me and pushed me out to sea, so that I no longer saw the land. Then my boat remained motionless, unable to move its place. Looking around, I saw a man on the waves on my right hand. He said to me: "Which way are you going?" - I answered him. "Plaisant is for me the direction of my gaze on the sea." - "It wouldn't be so pleasant if you knew which troop is around you. "-" Who is this troop? I replied. "As far as your gaze extends to the sea and up to the clouds, everywhere there is only a troop of demons surrounding you, because of your lust, your pride, your arrogance , of your plunder and all your misdeeds. Do you know why your boat is standing still? "-" Really no! I replied. "He will not move from this place until you do my will." "-" I will not suffer it, "I cried. "You will suffer the pains of hell, if you do not suffer my will. He came to me and put his hand on me, and I promised him [to do] his will. “Throw away all those ill-gotten riches that are there in your boat. "-" It is very unfortunate that all this is lost. "-" It will not be lost, "he resumed; "There is one of these objects [which you can keep] and which you will use. I threw everything into the sea except for a small wooden bowl. “Go on now,” he said, “and stay where your boat stops; Then he gave me a cup of whey and seven loaves of bread for provisions. "

"I went," continued the stranger, "to the side where the wind pushed my boat, for I left oars and rudder. I was tossed about in the midst of the waves which brought me to this rock, and I doubted whether the ship had reached its goal, for I could not see the land; then I remembered what I had been told to stay where my boat would stop. I got up then and saw a small rock around which the waves were playing. I stepped on the small rock, my boat pulled away, the rock lifted me up in the air, the waves receded. I lived there for seven years with the seven cakes and the cup of whey given to me by the man who sent me. Then I had no other provision than this cup of whey; I always kept it. [Having no more bread,] I fasted for three days, after which, at the hour of nones, an otter brought me a salmon from the sea; I reflected that it was not possible for me to eat the raw salmon; I rejected it and remained fasting for three more days. At the hour of the third day, I saw an otter bring me the salmon from the sea, and another otter bring lighted wood, put it down, blow on it with its breath, so that the fire ignited. I cooked the salmon and lived like that for another seven years; every day a salmon came to me with the fire to cook it; and the rock grew [little by little] to its present greatness. At the end of these seven years, the salmon was no longer given to me, and I was still three days to fast. On the third day, at nun's hour, I was given half a wheat bread and a portion of fish. My cup of whey escaped me, and there came to me a cup of the same size full of a good liquid that's on that rock, and it's filled every day. No wind, no rain, no hot, no cold bother me in this place. Such are my adventures, ”said the old man.

At the hour of nuns there came half of a loaf and a portion of fish for each man [of the crew], and the cup which was before the holy man on the rock was found full of good liquor. The old man then said to them: “You will all reach your homeland; you, Mael-Duin, will find in front of you the man who killed your father. Do not kill him, but grant him your forgiveness, for God has preserved you from great and numerous dangers, and you are guilty men who deserve death ”. They said their farewells to the old man and resumed their usual route.

[XXXIV. - Return to Ireland.]

After leaving the old man, they encountered an island with many quadrupeds, oxen, cows and sheep. There were no houses or strongholds there, and they ate the flesh of the sheep. At the sight of a large sea bird, they said to each other-: "This sea bird looks like those in Ireland." - "It's true," replied another. - "Attention 1" resumed Mael-Duin; "Let's see which side the bird flies from. They saw he was flying southeast. They went behind the bird in the direction it had taken. That day they sailed until evening. At the beginning of the night, they saw a land similar to that of Ireland. They lashed out at her. They found a small island; it was the one from which the wind had driven them into the ocean at the beginning of their sea expedition. They landed and headed for the fortress which was on the island. They listened to the inhabitants of the castle, who were having supper. This is what one of them said: “It would be good for us not to see Mael-Duin. "- 'Mael-Duin drowned,' replied another. "He might well wake you up from your sleep," said a third. "If it happened now, what would we do?" - "It's easy," said the master of the house, "we would give him a warm welcome if he arrived, for his sufferings were great and lasted a long time. "

Thereupon, Mael-Duin knocks with the hammer on the door. " Who's there? »Asks the porter. - "Mael-Duin. "-" Open the door, "said the master; "Your arrival is welcome! They entered the house where they were given a great celebration and where they were given new clothes. They recounted all the wonders that God had shown them, according to the word of the divine poet: Haec olim meminisse juvabit. Mael-Duin returned to his land, and Diuran the Poet laid upon the altar of Armagh the five half-ounces [of silver] which he had detached from the net, [as a testimony] triumphant and glorious of miracles and wonders that God had made for them. And they recounted their adventures from beginning to end, the dangers they had encountered and their perils on sea and on land.

Aed Finn, ardecnaid from Ireland, arranged this story as it is now; he did so to rejoice in the future the spirit of the men of Ireland.