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old Celtic legend

Prologue-The Birth of the Fians

Long ago a man named Fionn MacChumail led nine thousand warriors called The Host of Fian they occupied both Scotland and Ireland or as they were known then Alba and Eirinn.The king of Eirinn created the Host of The Fians by having one hundred of his finest warriors both male and female wed because the Lochlannaich (Norwegians) were attacking Eirinn and Alba and the descendents of these warriors would become the finest army in the world.

Fionn was their leader his eldest son was named Osgar who was as capable a leader as Fionn was.His younger son was named Oisean and he was the artisan of the Host of Fian he was also the last of them.Other members included Diarmaid  whose children it is said became the Clan Campbell and was the great hunter of the Host of Fian.Conan was the master of the Fians' hunting hounds and the Celtic Samson for the length of his hair determined his strength yet he had a very short temper and Fionn kept Conan's hair trimmed at all times.

So this is how the Fians came to be.

Part the First
The Hound of Lochlan

After the Lochlannaich had been forced out of the realm a young man encountered the Fians while they had been hunting the young man offered his services to Fionn for a year and for payment the stranger asked that Fionn come with him to the home of the King of the Lochlannaich for a feast with neither man nor woman nor hound nor child and unarmed.

Fionn laughed and agreed for there was adventure in the young man's request and the year passed and seeing as that the young man had worked dutifully for Fionn the great leader was honor bound to journey to Lochlan for the feast.Fionn met with his soldiers and told them that if he had not returned within a year then they would know that he had been murdered by the Lochlannaich and if he had been murdered then it would mean war against Lochlan and no quarter was to be given.

As Fionn left a court jester stopped him and told Fionn to take the gold chain of his hound Bran for it would be of use to him Fionn did thus and then he was off to Lochlan.

The castle of Lochlan was dark and gloomy it was perched on a cliff overlooking an angry sea and when Fionn came into the castle he sat in a chair to rest for the journey was long.However the King of the Lochlan had no feast or welcome planned for Fionn as soon as he sat down Fionn was attacked and held captive.

The treacherous Lochlannaich debated on how to kill Fionn some suggested hanging or burning or drowning then one of the king's advisors had the idea to have Fionn taken to the Great Glen where roamed a monstrous Grey Hound who had eaten all who had come across his path for being eaten by a dog would seem a dishonorable death for a king such as Fionn.The others agreed.

The Lochlannaich took Fionn to the glen and left them there amongst the briars and rocks to be eaten by the hound.Fionn thought if he went back the way he had been led then his enemies would find him and kill him but if he stayed here then the Grey Hound would kill him.Fionn felt that it was more honorable to be slain by the dog than to be killed by the Lochlannaich who had less honor than the dog so Fionn stood where he was to die as a hero.

Then soon enough Fionn saw the beast.The hound had grey hair and a long red tounge and steam rose from his nostrils as he breathed the dog had eyes full of  frenzy and hunger then Fionn remembered he had  something that might help him.Bran's leash was still in his pocket and so Fionn took it and shook it in front of the hound.

The hound became transfixed by the chain and came closer to Fionn wagging his large tail the hound sniffed the chain and started to lick Fionn as if the two had been old companions.Fionn slipped the chain around the dogs neck and led the great beast across the glen.

Fionn soon came across the home of a elderly couple who were amazed that the Grey Hound had been captured and bid Fionn to come into their home for the old man of the house was in his youth a master of hounds and he knew why the Grey Hound had been pacified for the Grey Dog was kin to Fionn's own dog Bran and the Grey Hound would serve Fionn until death.

Fionn had stayed with the couple for some time until one day the old woman came home telling of a host of warriors led by a man with red hair.Fionn instantly recognized this as his army and the red haired man was his own son Osgar.

Fionn went out to greet them with the Grey Hound and even though he and his men rejoiced none were happier than Bran and the Grey Hound who had been seperated since birth.Fionn told his army of the treachery of the Lochlannaich and on that day the Host of the Fians attacked Lochlan and killed all the men in the castle then Fionn had the structure burned to the ground.

The second and the third parts will be published next week.

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