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This is an abridged account of the legend of the Five Lugaids as it appears in the Cóir anmann. It was edited and translated by Whitley Stokes and appeared in The Academy 1042, p. 399, on the 23rd April 1892.


This is the tale that is recorded here; the reason why the additional names are on the sons of Dáire Doimthech, to wit, the five Lugaids, and the cause of "Lugaid" being on each of them.

Not hard (to say). It had been foretold that one of Dáire's sons would obtain the kingship of Ireland, and that his name would be Lugaid. Wherefore (the name of) "Lugaid" was given to each of them.

Now the assembly of Teltown was held by Dáire, and his sons raced their horses there.

And the druid said: "Though good be (all) thy sons, only one of them will obtain the kingship of Erin."

Said Dáire to the druid: "Which son will obtain it after me?"


Said the druid: "A fawn with golden sheen will come into the assembly, and the son who shall take the fawn will take (the kingship) after thee."

Thereafter came the golden fawn, and the men of Erin followed it, and Dáire's sons pursued it thence to Benn Etair, and a magical mist is set between them and the men of Erin. Thence Dáire's sons pursued it to Dál Mescorb in Leinster, and Lugaid Laigde (to wit, Mac Níad) caught the fawn, and another Lugaid cut it up (coscrais) - hence (his name) Lugaid Cosc. And there fell a great snow upon them, so that it was a labour to lift their weapons; and one of the sons went to look for a house. He found a great house there, and in the house a huge fire, and food and ale in abundance, and silver dishes, and couches of white bronze, and a horrible hag.

"My boy, what seekest thou?" says she.

"I am looking for a bed till morning."

And she says: "Thou shalt have (one) if thou wilt come and lie with me tonight."

And the youth said that he would not do (this), and he went to his brothers.

"Thou hast severed (from thee) sovranty and kingship," she saith.

The (other) sons, one after another, entered the house. She asked one of them what he had met with?

"A wild pig (orc)," says he, "and I alone devoured him."

"Lugaid Orc will be thy name with thy kindred," says she.

Then she asked the same of another.

"Nothing happened to me," says he, "save that I slept a sleep."

"That is drowsy (calda)," she saith. "Lugaid Cal ("sleep") will be thy name with thy kindred."

Then she asked the same of another.

"A wild fawn (laegh) escaped me," says he.

"Lugaid Laeghas will be thy name with thy kindred," says the hag.

She asked the same of another.

"What the other men cast from them," says he, "that I ate."

"Lugaid Corb will be thy name," says she; "corrupt (coirbthe) is what thou hast eaten."


Finally, Lugaid Laigde entered the house, and (to him) the hag said the same.

"I chanced to meet a wild fawn (laegh)," said he, "and I alone devoured it."

"Lugaid of the Fawn will be thy name with thy kindred," saith she.

So hence the names followed (the five sons of Dáire).

Then Lugaid of the Fawn goes with her into the house for sake of food and ale. Howbeit the hag went into the couch of white bronze and Macníad followed her; and it seemed to him that the radiance of her face was the sun rising in the month of May, and her fragrance was likened by him to a odorous herb-garden. And after that he mingled in love with her, and she said to him:

"Good is thy journey, for I am the Sovranty, and thou shalt obtain the sovranty of Erin."

After that they find new foods and old drinks, and horns dealt out to them alone; and he sleeps with the Sovranty; and on the morrow thus were they (all) houseless, fireless, only a plain equally level, equally high, and their hounds tied to their spears.

Thereafter they fared forward to the Assembly of Teltown, and relate their adventure; and the men of Erin disperse from the Assembly.

Sir Graham