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Before the Second Battle of Moytura, while the Tuatha De were still being threatened by the Formorians, Lugh heard news of an invasion and he went to his father, Cian the Mighty son of Diancecht and his two uncles, Cu and Cethen, for advice. The brothers separated to spread the word of the attack.
Cian went northward to the Plain of Mag Murthemne where he saw he and his brothers' enemies Brian, Iuchar and Iuchabar, sons of Tuirenn, walking towards him. As the three brothers spotted him he changed himself into a pig and joined the nearby herd.
Brian asked where he had gone but the others did not know but he had seen Cian strike himself with a golden wand and turn himself into a pig, so he berated the others to keep a better watch on things.
Iuchar and Iuchabar knew that as the pigs belonged to a Tuatha De even if they killed all the pigs the Cian-pig could still get away.
"You've learnt your lessons badly if you can't tell a druidic pig from a real one," said Brian and he turned them into hounds.
They chased the Cian-pig out of the herd and into a grove of trees. Brian struck it with his spear and the pig screamed in outrage, "You have done an evil thing!"
"I see you speak the human tongue," said Brian.
"I was human until now. I am Cian, son of Diancecht. Give me quarter."
"Indeed and we are sorry," replied Iuchar and Iuchabar, resuming their human forms.
"I swear by my gods that if your life is restored to you seven times I shall take it from you," Brian vowed.
"At least let me return to my human form," Cian-pig said.
"You may, because I feel it is less distasteful to kill a man than a pig," Brian said.
Then Cian took his human form. "I have tricked you then," said Cian, "For if you had slain me in the form of a pig you would only be fined as a pig, but if you slay me in my true form, that of a nobleman, you will be fined as such and my son if Lugh, he will know, by the marks your weapons leave, who killed me."
"Then we shall use rocks and not our weapons," Brian said. He picked up a heavy stone and hurled it at Cian. It was not long before Cian lay dead and so the brothers buried his body and went on their way to fight the Fomorians.
Lugh led the armies to victory against the Fomorians, but when it was over he went in search of his father and yet no one had seen him in battle.
"He is dead," Lugh said, "And I swear that I will not eat nor drink until I discover my father's manner of death."
So Lugh and his men searched until they found the place where Cian had died. The land at this spot spoke to Lugh and told him the manner in which he died and who had murdered him.
They dug up his body and Lugh was filled with grief and anger at the sight of his father's battered body.
Cian was reburied with all the ceremony befitting a man of his stature.
Lugh returned to Tara and sat beside the king. He saw, in the crowd, the children of Tuirenn. He stood and called for silence.
"Children of goddess Danu, what should a man demand from those who murdered his father?"
The people gathered there were amazed, for they didn't know what he meant. "Cian is dead and his murderers are here in your midst," Lugh explained.
Everyone, including the three guilty brothers, agreed that death would be the punishment. "But if I were the murderer I would ask you to accept an honour-price," the king added.
Then Brian admitted his guilt and Lugh agreed to accept an honour-price in place of their lives.
"You shall obtain three apples, the skin of a pig, a spear, two horses and a chariot, seven pigs, a puppy, a cooking spit and three shouts upon a hill. This is the punishment I demand," Lugh said.
The sons of Tuirenn were surprised at the smallness of the punishment but they knew that Lugh must be trying to trick them for they knew of his fury, but it was not until they had sworn their agreement in front of everyone assembled that Lugh told them the complete punishment.
"The apples are those from the Garden of Hesperides. They have healing power and if you throw them they hit what ever you wish without leaving your hand. The pigskin belongs to the King of Greece. It too has healing powers and any water passed through it will turn to wine in nine days. The spear is the poisoned spear of the King of Persia. The horses and the chariot belong to the King of Sicily and can run anywhere the driver directs, over land or water. The seven pigs are those of the King of the Golden Pillars and even though they are killed every night they are alive again the following day. You must get the puppy from the King of Ioruaidhe for she can catch every wild animal she sees and the cooking spit lies at the bottom of the sea between Britain and Erin. Finally you have promised to give three shouts from a hill, the hill I request is that upon which Miodhchaoin and his sons live. He taught my father the arts of war and will not forgive you shameful deeds.
Dismayed the three brothers left on their task.
Years past and against all odds the brothers managed to complete all their daunting tasks. However, their final task, of the three shouts from Miodhchaoin's hill was their undoing. The battle with Miodhchaoin and his sons brought them near to death. Only Lugh had the power to heal their wounds, but he refused. And so they died.
Their father came and mourned at their sides until he too died of grief. They were all buried in the same grave.
And so was the fate of the Children of Tuirenn to die for Lugh's revenge.
This story takes place after the Tuatha De Danaan had gone to live in the sidh. The position of High King fell open and so the kings of each sidh met to hold an election.
Deargh, son of a respected druid, was chosen. King Lir, of Fionnachaidh, was offended, as he had wanted to be king. He left in anger and the other kings were all for riding after him to wound him for his treachery, but Deargh stopped them.
"We must rather have him with us than against us," he said to them.
Lir's own wife had died and he had been grief stricken and refused any consolation. Deargh saw an opportunity to reconcile Lir with the kings.
So Deargh offered Lir one of his three foster daughters as a wife. They met at the Lake of the Red Eye where Lir was to choose his wife but Lir could not choose between the maidens as they were of equal beauty so he chose the eldest, Aeb (also known as Ove), for she was the noblest.
Lir returned home with his wife and soon she became pregnant and gave birth to twins, a daughter and a son, Fionnguala and Aed. Soon she was pregnant once more and twin boys resulted, Fiachra and Conn, but the birth of these twins cost her her life.
Once again Lir was grief stricken and only his children could console him. Deargh heard the news so he offered Aoifa, sister to Aeb, as a second wife.
Lir married Aoifa and they were happy. At first Aoifa loved her sister's children and did what she could for them. Deargh to loved them like his own grandchildren and they spent much time visiting him.
Their popularity became to have its effect on Aoifa and she became jealous to the point of illness. During her time of illness she plotted how to get rid of them.
She planned to take them with her to see Deargh. Fionnguala had a dream the night before and knew of the wicked intent that Aoifa had, but her fate had been sealed and she had to go.
When they reached the Lake of the Oaks Aoifa attempts to incite the people there into killing the Children of Lir in exchange for anything they wanted, but the people would have nothing to do with it claiming it wicked to even think of such things.
Being a warrior woman Aoifa considered doing it herself but she lacked the courage so she sent the children to bathe in the lake. Upon their entering the lake she turned them into snow-white swans with a druid's wand and threw silver chains over their necks.
The curse could not be lifted off them until 900 years had passed and a man from Connacht in the north and a woman from Munster in the south were married. With this time set no one could undo the curse, not even the Tuatha De. Afraid of Lir's anger she granted the swans gifts not usually found in birds. They received the gift of singing and they retained the language of man and they retained their human mind and senses.
They spent three hundred years in the area conversing with the people and singing them to sleep at night.
Then one night, they circled the lake three times and with a mournful song of farewell they began winging their way to Scotland. On their way there a fierce storm separated them, but they had planned for such an occurrence and so Fionnguala went to Seal Rock to await her brothers. Conn and then Fiachra came, bedraggled and chilled, to huddle under her wings. Only Aed remained to come and at last he too appeared and huddled beneath his sister's breast. The four were reunited again.
One day a troop of horsemen approached. The swans recognised them as Deargh's two sons, from the Otherworld. The sons told the swans of how their father and Deargh were well but mourned the loss of the Children. Fionnguala sang a song lamenting the fate of the Children of Lir.
The sons returned to the Otherworld and told of all they had seen and heard.
Eventually another three hundred years past and during this time St Patrick arrived in Ireland and the swans sang with the monks.
The full nine hundred years past and as Aoifa had said the Princess of Munster and the Prince of Connacht were to be wed, but first the prince had to bring her the swans.
He went in search of them and found them swimming on the Lake of Birds. He rowed out to the swans and removed the silver chains they wore and they were returned to their human forms.
But their human forms had aged nine hundred years and they died within the hour so he buried them with Conn and Fiachra on either side of Fionnguala and Aed at her breast.
A man and his wife wanted a child, so they gave offerings to the fertility goddesses but without much hope.
An old man who saw more than they did came to them one day and told them that they would have a daughter but that she will be the cause of much bloodshed, three heroes would lose their heads because of her.
At the end of the year a daughter was born to this couple. The father took her and a childless woman three days out of the village where he built them a bothie that was so well camouflaged that it barely be seen. The father named his daughter Deirdre and left.
For sixteen years Deirdre lived here, learning about the plants and the animals from her foster-mother. She grew into the fairest maiden in the fairest maiden in the land untouched by greed or lust.
In the winter she heard the horns of the kings hunting and the fear of the deer they chased. And one night a storm separated a hunter from his dogs and his companions. He found shelter beside what he thought was a green mound and drifted off to sleep.
In his sleep he dreamt about fairies dancing inside the mound so he cried out, "Let me in before I die from cold!"
Deidre heard his voice above the storm and against her foster-mother's wishes she let him in and fed him.
But he began to speak of the men that he knew would want Deirdre for a wife and remembering her promise to Deirdre's father her keeper made him swear not to tell of Deirdre and made him leave.
But the first thing he did was to go to King Conchobar of Ulster to tell him of the fairest maiden in Ireland.
On a May morning the hunter led the king and his men to the bothie, but he refused to enter it or to go near it for fear of the old woman.
The king knocked on the door and it took a command from him, the king, to open it. Once inside he realised that he had a great love for Deirdre and took her and her foster mother and returned to his court.
There he asked Deirdre for her hand in marriage but her heart was not his so she asked for a year and a day to decide. He granted her the year and a day but only if she agreed to marry him after that time.
So he surrounded her with noble girls and had her educated.
One day when Deirdre was sitting outside on a hillock she spied three men approaching Conchobar's castle. From the descriptions that the hunter had given her she knew these men to be the sons of Uisnech and cousins of Conchobar. She realised that her heart belonged to Naois, the tallest of the three and so she chased after them.
Hampered by her courtly skirts she cried out for them to wait for her. When she reached them she placed three kisses on Naois' forehead and one each for his brothers, Allen and Arden. And Naois realised that he loved her as much as she did him.
Naois knew that this love he and Deirdre felt for one another would cause strife between himself and his cousin he took Deirdre to Alba (Scotland).
The year and a day began to approach and Conchobar planned a feast to celebrate his wedding to Deirdre. But as the time drew closer and Deirdre didn't return he knew that she wasn't coming back, so he sent a messenger to Naois' home to invite him to the celebration, with the added note that if Naois refused the invitation Conchobar would never sleep again.
So Naois had to agree. Deirdre knew what was potting and tried to dissuade Naois from going by telling him of a dream she had in which three white doves left carrying honey and then three grey hawks returned carrying bloody torques (necklaces worn by warriors). But Naois had given his word and he and his brothers had to go.
The messenger was unaware of Conchobar's grudge and so he swore to protect the lives of Naois and his brothers with his and his three sons lives if necessary.
When they arrived in Ireland, Conchobar had them stay in a house reserved for important guests. Then he sent the Prince of Lochlin to see if Deirdre was still the fairest maiden. If not then Naois could keep her but she was still the fairest then Conchobar would fight to get her back.
The prince went to the house and looked at Deirdre through the lock in the door. He lost an eye for his troubles but he reported to Conchobar that she was still fair.
Conchobar sent three hundred men to take Deirdre from Naois but the three sons of the messenger defeated them all and nothing Conchobar could do could persuade them to join his army.
They refused because they reasoned that if Conchobar could turn on his cousins he could just as easily turn on them as well.
They returned to their father in Alba to tell him that they had performed their duty.
And Naois and his brothers decided that it was time to return to Alba as well. Conchobar heard that they were on the road and sent his head druid, Duanan Gacha, to stop them.
Duanan placed a seemingly impenetrable forest before them, but the brothers were used to hunting in the forest and Naois led Deirdre through it.
A green meadow turned into a lake but the brothers swan through with Deirdre on Naois' shoulders.
Then the druid changed the lake into rocks with adder poison on their edges. Arden died first, followed by Allen. Seeing this Naois no longer cared whether he lived or died and then died himself.
The druid transported them and Deirdre to a plain outside of Ulster. There lay the three heroes side by side with Deirdre bent over Naois. Through her tears she swore not to live without him.
The three heroes were buried side by side and as Deirdre sang her elegy she died and she too fell into the grave. But the king had her body buried on the other side of the loch.
During the night two mountain firs grew, one from her grave and one from Naois'. Their branches grew together and twined in a lovers knot.
Time and again the king destroyed the trees and every time they grew back together again.