Cu Chulainn had three faults, the eyes of the warriors of
Ulster. Firstly he was very young, secondly he was very daring and the warriors were
afraid that he would get himself killed, for her was a great asset to the army and thirdly
he was too beautiful, and all the women, married or single alike, were in love with him.
The warriors went to the king and asked that the king get Cu Chulainn a
wife, for they felt that this would cure him of his daring and make him less likely to
accept favours from other women.
Cu Chulainn wanted someone, but he wanted her to become his wife
without any help from the king, so he dressed in his finest clothes and got his chariot
and set out for the home of Forgall, a powerful chieftain, to ask for his daughter Emer.
At Forgall's stronghold Emer was sitting outside sewing, with her
foster-sisters. One of her foster-sisters spied Cu Chulainn approaching.
Cu Chulainn and Emer spoke the language of the poets, so that the
others could not understand them. Cu Chulainn spoke of his journey to reach her and she in
turn spoke of the warriors guarding her and she needed proof of his valour before she
could count him their equal.
Cu Chulainn recounted his boyhood exploits among the famous in Ulster.
But still she said that they could not be joined in wedlock. Speaking in riddles, she
explained that he would have to perform feats of daring. Cu Chulainn was undaunted and
accepted her conditions.
Upon return to the stronghold of Forgall, Emer's foster-sisters told
Forgall of the stranger who spoke a language unknown to them, with Emer and he knew that
it was Cu Chulainn.
With the use of his magical powers he went to Ulster, disguised, and
arranged for Cu Chulainn to be sent to Scotland to study the arts of the war under the
wild gods and goddesses there, never expecting Cu Chulainn to return alive.
Cu Chulainn went and studied and through all what he experienced he
grew in strength and skill and returned to Ireland to claim Emer as his bride.
Forgall shut him and his family inside his stronghold. And Cu Chulainn
prepared to attack.
He leapt the three ramparts and killed twenty-four out of the
twenty-seven warriors who opposed him, the three who escaped were Emer's brothers. Forgall
fled but was mortally wounded on the ramparts. Cu Chulainn grabbed Emer and her
foster-sister, Fial the one who had sighted him the first day he came, and carried them
out. He killed everyone who opposed him and by the time he had reached Ulster he had
fulfilled his promise to Emer.
Emer was brought before the king and they were married, never to be