Why Mongán was Deprived of Noble Issue

Author: Eleanor Knott

An electronic edition

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p. 158.

Eochu Rígéigeas, chief poet of Ireland, Fiachna, son of
Boetán was inviting him to make verse for him, for
Fiachna was king of Ulaid and Eochu was of the Ulaid. ‘I
should avoid thy presence,’ said Eochu, ‘more than that of any of
the kings of Ireland, for thou hast a young son, Mongán, son of
Fiachna. He is the most learned youth in Ireland, he will be
relating tales and giving instruction, evil people will set him
to contradict me, I shall curse him and thou wilt quarrel with
me on that account.’ ‘Nay,’ said Fiachna, ‘I shall speak to (?)
my son that he contradict thee not, it is he will be the most
civil towards thee in this household.’ ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘it
shall be done. Let it be thus until the end of a year.’

One day he was relating lore. ‘Evil of thee, Mongán,’
said the boys, ‘that thou dost not challenge the lying clown.’
‘Good,’ says Mongán.

Fiachna went on a royal visitation, accompanied by Eochu.
One day on their journey they beheld six large pillar-stones
before them, and four young clerics by the stones. ‘What do
you here, clerics?’ said Fiachna. ‘We are here seeking
knowledge and instruction. God has brought to us, however,
the king-poet of Ireland, Eochu, to reveal who planted these
stones and how (?) they were arranged (?).’ ‘Well,’ said
Eochu, ‘I do not remember all that. I should think the
Children of Deda upreared them, to build the City of Cú Roí.’
‘Well, Eochu,’ said one of them, ‘the young clerics say thou
art astray (?).’ ‘Do not blame him,’ said another. ‘Perhaps
he does not know,’ said his companion. ‘He does not know,’
said another. ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘and you, what is your
explanation of them?’ ‘This, then, is our information - these
are three stones of a champion-band and three stones of a
warrior-band. Conall Cernach placed them, along with Illand,
son of Fergus, who slew three here in his first prowess. He
was unable to uprear the pillars on account of his youth, and
Conall Cernach raised them with him, for it was the custom
of the Ulaid, wherever they performed their first act of valour,

p. 159.

to raise pillar stones to the number that they slew, - and be off,
Eochu, with thy ignorance.’ ‘Do not be ashamed, Eochu,’ said
Fiachna, ‘the scholars are a match (?) for thee.’ They proceed
on their way as before, and they perceived a large limewashed
castle in front of them, and four youths in purple raiment
before the door. Eochu approached the enclosure. ‘Well,’
said Fiachna. ‘What do you want?’ ‘We want to hear from
Eochu what castle this is, and who lived in it.’ ‘So many
build castles,’ said Eochu, ‘that they do not all find room in
the memory.’ ‘Let be,’ said the other, ‘for he does not know.’
‘What is your information, then?’ said Fiachna. ‘Not
difficult, indeed—

a while since he was merry,
drinking mead from a green goblet—

‘in the garden on its lawn, and yet thou hast not remembered
its name, Eochu.’ ‘Good,’ said Eochu.

Then they proceeded, and they saw another castle before
them, and four youths quarrelling in front of the entrance. ‘I
am right!’ ‘Thou art not right!’ ‘What are you at, boys?’
said Fiachna. ‘We are contending as to what castle this is,
and by whom it was built. God has brought to us, however,
a man without any ignorance to reveal it to us.’ ‘Do not
shame him,’ said his companion, ‘he does not know.’ ‘What
do you know about it?’ said Fiachna. ‘Not difficult, indeed—

. . . . . (?)
for the man who dug Rath Imgat;
Imgat was the woman who named (?) it,
daughter of Buise, son of Didracht.

‘Rath Imgat, then, is its name, Eochu, and it is not fortunate
for thee that thou art ignorant of it.’ Then Eochu was put to
shame. ‘It is all the same to thee, Eochu,’ said Fiachna,
‘thou shalt not be thought the less of.’

They go home then, and find Mongán and his following
within. ‘Well,’ said Eochu, ‘thou hast done that, Mongán, I
know.’ ‘Thou hast said it,’ said Mongán. ‘It shall not profit
thee, then,’ said Eochu, ‘I shall leave a reproach on thee in
return for it. The great sport thou hast made for thyself,

p. 160.

thou shalt be without sport in consequence of it. Thou shalt
have no issue save horseboys, and thou shalt not leave any
great inheritance (?), neither shall . . . (?).’

Thus was Mongán, son of Fiachna, deprived of noble issue.

© 2007 Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae

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