The Ulstermen were drinking in the house
of Connavor’s Bard, Fedlimed mac Dall.
Fedlimed’s wedd-woman, who happened
to be full with child, was also in attendance.
She passed round meat and drink and, when the
house reached drunken uproar, made for her bed.
As she crossed the floor of the house
the child shrieked in her womb.
The shriek was heard by all.
“Woman,” said Fedlimed, “what is
that troubled sound from your womb,
the weird screaming at your waist
hurts the ears of those who hear it.
My heart is trembling as at the
portent of some great terror.”
Fedlimed’s wedd-woman turned,
at a loss, to Carva-the-Druid:
“Fair-faced prince, precious and pure
crowned in glory by a surfeit of lore
no words of light have I to shed
for my fine wedd-man Fedlimed;
though ‘twas the hollow of my belly
that howled, and brought me to tears,
no woman kens what her own womb bears.”
Carva placed his hand on the woman’s belly
and the baby wriggled under it, “there is a girl
there,” he said, “Deirdru her name, she brings grief.”
Just then the pangs of birth came on the
woman… sure enough a daughter was born.
“O Deirdru,” said Carva looking into
the face of the little child, “much damage
will follow your high fame, and fair visage.”
“Kill the child!” Cried the Ulstermen.
“The child shall not be killed,” said
Connavor,“ she will be taken away and
reared for me. I’m weary of other mens’
wedd-fare, this woman I’ll have to myself.”
None of the Ulstermen dared reproach their high-king…
Songs of the Stone
“To regain the Ulster Spoil,
Seek out the Nine Chief Culdees of Erin…
Then journey with them to the Ogham Stone of Fergus Mac Roy,
And there fast for three nights and three days.
If the question, given to each Culdee in turn,
during their fast, be spoken to the Stone of Fergus
as if to that mighty man himself…
Then, ‘The Spoil’, will be again revealed
in plain and perfect form
for the instruction of the ages.”
– A Hag Load of Lard
Cover artwork – Sue Vincent