The Union of Cúchulainn and Emer
Upon his return to Eamain, Cúchulainn spoke of his training and his adventures at a banquet to celebrate his home-coming. The next morning he went to see Emer at her father's holding in Lulochta Logo, to find a guard of men set against him. So strong it was that for a twelve-month he fared not a whit against them, and never spoke with her.
Finally, his temper broken, he had harnessed for himself a sickle chariot and charged at the fort and performed the thunder-feat, slaying three hundred and nine defenders. Reaching Forgall's outer rampart wall he performed his salmon leap, and again for the inner wall, and once more until he was inside the enclosure. With three strokes he swung at three groups of nine men. He killed eight of each, leaving the middle man standing each time. These three survivors were Emer's brothers, Scibor, Ibor and Cat.
Fearing for his life, Forgall fled the main hall but fell and killed himself. Cúchalainn caught at Emer and her foster-sister, taking them both and their weight in silver and and with one mighty salmon leap cleared the three ramparts and fled the place, with Forgall's men shrieking and following behind. He killed Scenmenn, and he killed one hundred more at Glondath. In the sickle chariot he reached the place called Rae Bán, or the White Plain. There he broke the followers in half, every blow a mortal wound, and gave the new name of Crufit to the place, the Sod of Blood. The remaining pursuers followed until the Boann River, at a place called Ath Imfoit, where he put his booty out of the chariot and turned and charged them. So it was that Cúchalainn killed one hundred men at every ford from Ath Scenmenn at Ailbine to the Boann at Breg.
Arriving that night at Eamain Macha, Cúchalainn took Emer into the Craebruad before Conchobor. The king and the other chiefs made her welcome, but for one. There was a ferret of a man there, sharp-tongued Bricriu mac Carbad, and he said:
"The youth has done well today, but tonight he will fare ill, for it is known and accepted that she will sleep with Conchobor tonight, for the first forcing of every girl in Ulster is his due."
Cuchullainn grew wild at this, and had to leave the assemblage.
Cathbad said of this: "This forbodes badly, for though what Bricriu says is true, Cúchalainn will lay waste to any man who touches her". To this, Conchobor said "Bring him back to me, and let me attempt to cool his passion". The Hound of Ulster returned, and Conchobor commanded him:
"Go out there and gather in all the herds of all the beasts around Sliab Fuait !"
And Cúchalainn went out in the night and gathered all the cattle and deer and swine, and all the flying beasts, and all the others, and herded them all as one back to the green at Eamain. By this time he had lost the rage that had been in him. But still, the men of Ulster feared the risk of having Conchobor in the same bed as Emer, and eventually came to an arrangement: Fergus and Cathbad would share the middle part of the bed, between the two, and so preserve Cúchalainn's honour. The youth agreed to this, and it was done. The next morning Conchobor paid Emer's dowry price, and from thence on they slept together as one, and were never parted 'til one of them died.
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