The Cattle Raid of the Important Calf (1)

Patrizia de Bernardo Stempel, Caren Esser, and Jonathan Slocum

This page contains a text in Old Irish with a modern English translation. This particular text and its translation are extracted from a lesson in the Early Indo-European Online series, where one may find detailed information about this text (see the Table of Contents page for Old Irish Online in EIEOL), and general information about the Old Irish language and its speakers' culture.

Táin Bó Regamna 'The Cattle Raid of the Important Calf', also part of the Ulster Cycle

AN mboí Cú Chulainn iN nDún Iṁriḋ coNgúalae ní, aN ngéim. CoN ndíuchrastar trianaL chotluḋ coniḋ corastar assaL imḋai coN riacht inN nariḋin inaL ṡuiḋiu for lár. ÍarN sin immach doL ṡuiḋiu arL les. CoN mbu íL, aL ḃen, berthae aL étach ocus aL armm inaL ḋiaiḋ. CoN naccae ní, Lóeg araL chinn inaL charput inneltiu oc Fertai Loíg antúaiḋ.

"CiḋL dotLucai?" ol Cú Chulainn friH Lóeg.

"Géiṁ roLchúala issinL ṁaiġ," ol Lóeg.

"CiḋL leth?" ol Cú Chulainn.

"Aníarthúaiḋ amne," ol Lóeg.

"InaN ndiaiḋ," ol Cú Chulainn.

Tíaġait ass íaruṁ coH hÁth da Ḟerta. InN dan mbátar ann, íaruṁ coNgúalatar culgaire inL charpait iN doíḃ Grellchae Culgairi. Tíaġait fóe coN naccatar ní, inN garpat reiṁiḃ. Óenech derg foa ocus óenchoss foL ṡuiḋiu ocus síthḃe inL charpait sethnu indL eich coN ndechuiḋ geinn trít friH fosaḋ aL étain anair. Ben derg issinL charput ocus bratt derg impe ocus diL ḃraí ḋerġa lé ocus aH bratt eter diL ḟeirt inL charpait síar coN sliġeḋ lár inaH diaiḋ ocus fer mór iN goṁair inL charpait. Fúan forbbtha immi ocus gaḃallorg finnchuill friaL aiss oc immáin naH bó.

"Ní fóeliḋ inL ḃó liḃ ocaH himmáin," ol Cú Chulainn.

"Ní dír duit éim aH hetercert naH bó so," ol inL ḃen. "Ní bó charat na choicéli duit."

"Is dír daṁsa éim baí UlaḋN nuile," ol Cú Chulainn.

"Etercertaisu anba, aL Chú," ol inL ḃen.

"CiḋL arndiḋ íL, inL ḃen, atomLġláḋathar?" ol Cú Chulainn. "CiḋL nach é in fer atomLġláḋathar?"


When Cu Chulainn was in Dun Imrid, he heard something, a roaring of the cattle. And he woke up from his sleep and he threw himself out of his bed so that he reached the bench that was sitting on the floor. After that, outside with him, into the yard. And it was she, his wife, who brought his clothing and his armour on his trail. And he saw something, Laeg, in front of him, in his harnessed war-chariot, at Ferta Laeg, from the north.
"What brings you (here)?" said Cu Chulainn to Laeg.
"A roaring of cattle that I heard in the plain," said Laeg.
"Which direction?" said Cu Chulainn.
"From the north-west, in fact," said Laeg.
"(Let's go) on their trail!" said Cu Chulainn.
After this, they set out to Ath da Ferta. Afterwards, at the time they were there, they heard the rumble of the chariot on the side of Grellach Culgairi. They go down to it and see something, the chariot before them. A single red horse under it, and a single leg under the just-mentioned, and the shaft of the chariot through the horse, so that a wedge went through it till the surface of its forehead from the front. A red woman (was) in the chariot, and a red cloak around her, and two red eyebrows on her, and her cloak to the back between the two hind-poles of the chariot so that it dragged on the ground on her trail, and a big man (was) in front of the chariot. (There was) a tunic as a covering on him, and a forked pole of white hazel on his back; he was driving the cow.
"The cow (is) not happy with ye at her driving," said Cu Chulainn.
"The judging of this cow is indeed not fitting for you," said the woman. "(It is) not the cow of a friend nor of a companion to you."
"It is fitting for me indeed (to judge) the cows of all of the Ulstermen," said Cu Chulainn.
"You judge a great quantity, o Cu," said the woman.
"Why is it that it is her, the woman, who speaks to me?" said Cu Chulainn. "Why is it not him, the man, who speaks to me?"

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