The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulainn

He Used Not To Sleep

When Cú Chulainn was a boy, he used not to sleep in Emain Macha; not one wink all the night until morning.

»Tell me«, says Conchobar to the boy, »Why don't you sleep at all?«

»I can't sleep,« says the boy, »unless my head and my feet are equally high.«

So a bed was made for him especially, with one millstone at his head and another at his feet, and a flagstone laid between them; and on that they laid his bedding. A man went to wake the boy one morning, and the boy struck him in the face so that his forehead was driven into his brain and through his head; and the stone at his head toppled. It was a warrior's fist, striking a hero's blow.

From then on, they let him wake up on his own.


He Hid Under The Bed

Another time he was playing ball in the playing-field, he alone against the boy-troop, the whole three fifties of them; in that same way he would always defeat them, and in every game. They got hold of him, and all piled upon him; but he worked his fists on them to get free, so that he killed fifty of the boys. A fear took him; he took flight into the house, to Conchobar's apartment, and he hid under the bed. All the men of Ulaid rose about him, and Fergus, and Conchobar himself: and thirty of the stoutest Ulstermen sat on the bed, for they feared that he was in his spasm. But he rose up under the bed anyway, and lifting it, threw it from him men and all, so that it landed in the middle of the house. Then all Ulaid surrounded him, and peace was made between the boy-troop and him.

The Boyhood Deeds of Cú Chulainn

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