16a. The Healing Of The Morrigan

Then it was that the Morrigan, daughter of Ernmas, came from the fairy dwellings, in the guise of an old hag, engaged in milking a tawny, three-teated milch cow. And for this reason she came in this fashion, that she might have redress from Cuchulain. For none whom Cuchulain ever wounded recovered there from without himself aided in the healing.

Cuchulain, maddened with thirst, begged her for a milking. She gave him a milking of one of the teats. "May this be a cure in time for me, old crone," quoth Cuchulain, and one of the queen's eyes became whole thereby. He begged the milking of another teat. She milked the cow's second teat and gave it to him and he said, "May she straightway be sound that gave it." [Then her head was healed so that it was whole.] He begged a third drink of the hag. She gave him the milking of the teat. "A blessing on thee of gods and of non-gods, O woman!" [And her leg was made whole thereby.] Now these were their gods, the mighty folk: and these were their non-gods, the folk of husbandry. And the queen was healed forthwith.

Then Medb ordered out the hundred armed warriors of her body-guard at one and the same time to assail Cuchulain. Cuchulain attacked them all, so that they fell by his hand. "It is a dishonour for us that our people are slaughtered in this wise," quoth Medb. "It is not the first destruction that has befallen us from that same man," replied Ailill. Hence Cuilenn Cind Duni ('The Destruction of the Head of the Dûn') is henceforth the name of the place where the were. Hence Ath Cro ('Gory Ford') is the name of the ford where they were. And fittingly, too, because of the abundance of gore and blood that went with the flow of the river.