- The Geste of Fraoch -

I behold a host coming towards the fort in their numbers; a troop more beautiful or splendid never came to Ailill and Mève since they assumed sovereignty, nor ever will. It is as if my head were in a wine-vat with the wind that goes over me: I have never seen the equal of the feats and frolic (the games and gestures) of the hero. His play-rods he casts with a shot from him, and the seven grey-hounds with their seven silver chains are at them ere they fall to earth.

Then the folks came to view them from the Dūn of Cruachan, insomuch that they smother one another, and sixteen are killed while looking on.

On alighting at the door of the Dūn they unyoked their horses and set loose the grey-hounds, which chase to Rath Cruachan seven hinds, seven foxes, seven hares, and seven wild boars, and these the youths kill on the lawn of the fort. Thereafter the dogs dashed into the Brei and caught seven others, which they deposited at the said entrance to the door of the chief rath, where Fraoch and his folk sat.

King Ailill sent word to them, and enquired whence they had come. They accordingly name themselves after their true names, which they gave.

Here, said they, is Fraoch, son of Idad. 

This the steward declares to the king and queen.

An illustrious young hero, quoth Ailill, let him come into the Liss. 

And quarters were allotted them.

The plan of the house was thus: seven apartments it had from fire to wall all around, decorated with gold, each with a fronting of bronze, and partition carvings of red yew variegated by fine planing withal. Three layers of bronze in the arched skirting of each apartment, with seven layers of brass from where the shields rested to the roof-tree. Of pine the house was made, and it had a covering of shingle on the outside. Sixteen windows it had with brass shuttings in each, and a brass yoke across the roof-light. Four beams of brass in the apartment of Ailill and Mève, all adorned with bronze and in the very centre of the house. Two silver frontings it had, and overlaid with gold; and by the fronting facing Ailill there was a silver wand that would reach the mid hips of the house, so as to command the inmates at all times and circuit the house all around from one door to the other. Having hung up their arms within, they make the circle of the house and were made welcome.

Welcome are ye! quoth Ailill and Mève.

It is for that we have come, quoth Fraoch.

Not a journey for boasting shall this be, quoth Mève.

Thereafter Ailill and Mève arrange the chessboard. Fraoch then takes to playing chess with a man of their company.

The most beautiful of chess-boards it was: it had a board of white metal with four ear-handles, and gold edgings. A candlestick of precious stone gave them light. The chess-men were of gold and silver.

Get ye food in readiness for the braves, quoth Ailill.

That is not what I wish, quoth Mève. I want to have a game with Fraoch.