… At Emain Macha, Connavor prepared a magnificent feast
for all the nobles of Ulster…
And so they came, one and all,
and their bellies were filled with delicious
meats, and exotic vegetables,
and rare fruits, and they were plied
with vat after vat of wine…
And then musicians, and players, and men of arts rose up
to recite their poems, and their songs, and chants, and genealogies,
and when all were sated and cheerful and in high spirits, Connavor
rose before them and shook his silver branch with its golden apples,
and the whole of that noble assembly fell still and silent before him…
“Do you know of any household in the wide
world braver than your own?” said Connavor.
“We know of none,” cried the drunken warriors.
“And do you know of anything in the
world that you lack?” said Connavor.
“We know of nothing that we lack,
O High King,” yelled the warriors.
“Yet, I know of something,” Connavor said, quietly, when
the raucous din had died down, “we are lacking the three
valorous lights of the Ulstermen,” and after a short pause
he continued, “that Neesh, and Ardan, and Ainle should
be separated from us on account of an ill fated woman
is a very great sorrow to me, as it should be to you.”
“My lord,” cried one of the warriors, “if
we had only known that you felt as we do.”
“We must send a messenger to them,” shouted Connavor
warming to his theme, “yet after all that has gone before
only three men will be deemed trustworthy by our brothers.”
“Conall Cernach!” called out one of the warriors.
“Setanta!” cried out another.
Fergus mac Roich!” shouted a third.
“I will choose between them,” declared
Connavor to the wild and unruly cheers of his warriors…