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How Cúchulainn got his name.

(An Irish Legend adapted by pupils in Oristown N.S. in Ireland for Comenius Project 2008.)

Long long ago in Ireland there lived a boy named Setanta.


His dream was to become a member of the Red Branch Knights just like his father. The Red Branch Knights were the bravest warriors in Ireland. His father told him many stories about them. Setanta wanted to be brave too like The Red Branch Knights.
Setanta's father taught him many skills. He taught him to hunt and to fish, to use a spear and a sword. He taught him to run as fast as the wind.
But most of all he taught him how to hurl a ball farther and faster than the eye could see.

Setanta wanted to become a member of the Red Branch Knights but his father said he was too young. "You can join the Macra next year" said his father. The Macra was a special training school for young warriors. The very best Macra warriors could join the Red Branch Knights when they were older. But Setanta couldn't wait that long.

One night he sneaked out and headed for Eamhain Macha.

He took his spear and his shield, his hurling stick and a silver ball. Eamhain Macha was the Palace of Setanta's uncle, King Conor Mac Neasa,When Setanta reached the Palace, he saw a group of boys playing hurling so he decided to join in the gamebut the other boys were not happy so they attacked him.

At that time the king was looking out the window and saw Setanta fighting so he ordered his servants to go out and bring him to him. The King asked. " Who are you?" "I am your sister's son" replied Setanta. "and I have come to join the Red Branch Knights."

The king had a blacksmith named Culann. Culann was famous for making spears for the warriors in The Red Branch Knights. That night Cullann was holding a feast in his castle and invited the King. The king asked Setanta to come along. But Setanta was tired and said he would catch up.

When the feast began Culann let loose a fierce hound to protect the king from strangers but he forgot that Setanta was still on his way. The hound saw Setanta and ran towards him ready to kill but Setanta was quicker. He picked up his hurley and sliotar and hit it down the hound's throat. Cullann heard the noise and rushed out only to find his hound dead on the ground but Setanta was unhurt. Culann was sad that his fine guard dog was dead and asked who will guard my house now. Setanta said that he would guard his house until he finds a dog as good as his old one and from that day on Setanta was called Cuchulain which means the hound of Culann.