Without a steed and with a blackened sword the King of Ireland's Son came to where the Gobaun Saor had set up his forge and planted his anvil. No water nor sand would clean the Sword, but he left it down before the Gobaun Saor, hoping that he would show him a way to dean it. "The Sword must be bright that will kill the King of the Land of Mist and cut the tress that will awaken the Enchanter's daughter," said the Gobaun Saor. "You have let the Sword be blackened. Carry the blackened Sword with you now."
"Brighten it for me and I will serve you," said the King of Ireland's Son.
"It is not easy for me to brighten the Sword now," said the Gobaun Saor. "But find me the Unique Tale and what went before its beginning and what comes after its end, and I shall brighten the sword for you and show you the way to the Land of Mist. Go now, and search for the Unique Tale."
He went, and he had many far journeys, I can tell you, and he found no person who had any knowledge of the Unique Tale or who knew any way of coming to the Land of Mist. One twilight in a wood he saw a great bird flying towards him. It lighted on an old tree, and the King of Ireland's Son saw it was Laheen the Eagle.
"Are you still a friend to me, Eagle?" said the King's Son.
"I am still a friend to you, King's Son," said Laheen.
"Then tell me where I should go to get knowledge of the Unique Tale," said the King of Ireland's Son.
"The Unique Tale--I never heard of it at all," said Laheen the Eagle, changing from one leg to the other. "I am old," she said, shaking her wings, "and I never heard of the Unique Tale."
The King's Son looked and saw that Laheen was really old. Her neck was bare of feathers and her wings were gray. " Oh, if you are so old," said the King's Son, " and have gone to so many places, and do not know of the Unique Tale, to whom can I go to get knowledge of it?"
"Listen," said Laheen the Eagle," there are five of us that are called the Five Ancient Ones of Ireland, and it is not known which one of the five is the oldest. There is myself, Laheen the Eagle; there is Blackfoot the Elk of Ben Gulban, there is the Crow of Achill, the Salmon of Assaroe and the Old Woman of Beare. We do not know ourselves which of us is the oldest, but we know that we five are the most ancient of living things. I have never heard of the Unique Tale," said Laheen, "but maybe one of the other Ancients has heard of it."
"I will go to them," said the King's Son. "Tell me how I will find the Crow of Achill, the Elk of Ben Gulban, the Salmon of Assaroe and the Old Woman of Beare--tell me how to go to them, Laheen the Eagle."
"You need not go to the Salmon of Assaroe," said the Eagle, "for the Salmon would not have heard any tale. I will get you means of finding the other three. Follow the stream now until you come to the river. Wait at the ford and I will fly to you there." Laheen the Eagle then shook her wings and flew slowly away. The King of Ireland's Son followed the stream until he came to the river--the River of the Ox it was.