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The Final Battle
Cu Chulainn fought from Samain (1 November) until Imbolc (1 February). Finally the men of Ulster began to recover from the curse.

King Conchobar led an army against that of Medb. Fergus was persuaded to fight and he was a ferocious warrior. Eventually Fergus and Conchobar came up against one another, hurling insults, but Cormac, Conchobar's son, had a level head and suggested that Fergus go and attack the surrounding hills in order to calm his temper.

He did so and the ensuing noise woke Cu Chulainn. He had been tied up in a nearby fort, to prevent him from joining the battle and to allow his wounds time to heal, but when he learnt of what was happening he broke the bonds and tore after Fergus.

He invoked the promise and Fergus did retreat, taking with him his men and all the men from the other provinces, leaving only the men from Connacht to fight Ulster.

By nightfall Cu Chulainn had defeated the men of Ulster and had Medb at his mercy. She begged for a favour, Cu Chulainn's protection over her men while they returned to Connacht. He granted it.

Unbeknown to him some of Medb's men had already gone behind enemy lines and captured the bull, the Donn, and he had been sent ahead with eighty heifers. She had captured the bull as had been boasted.

But that did not give Cu Chulainn protection. As the end of the battle drew nigh he was struck in the stomach with a spear. He tied himself to a standing stone, so that he would die standing upright. He fought until a black crow, the bird of the war-goddess, Morrigan, landed nearby. He was distracted and the deathblow was dealt and he passed on.

And thus ended the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

But it was not over for the two bulls. For when the Donn arrived in Connacht he gave three challenging bellows and was answered by Findbennach.

These two bulls fought for days, all over Ireland, but eventually the Donn returned with a dead and mangled Findbennach hanging from his horns. He made for his home and as he reached a small hill there he heart broke and he died. And thus perished the two bulls, the Donn and Findbennach, the reason for the Cattle Raid of Cooley.

Category: The Saga of Cu Chulainn | Added by: obiflo (22 October 10)
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