Before the Second Battle of Moytura, while the Tuatha De were still
being threatened by the Formorians, Lugh heard news of an invasion and he went to his
father, Cian the Mighty son of Diancecht and his two uncles, Cu and Cethen, for advice.
The brothers separated to spread the word of the attack.
Cian went northward to the Plain of Mag Murthemne where he saw he and
his brothers' enemies Brian, Iuchar and Iuchabar, sons of Tuirenn, walking towards him. As
the three brothers spotted him he changed himself into a pig and joined the nearby herd.
Brian asked where he had gone but the others did not know but he had
seen Cian strike himself with a golden wand and turn himself into a pig, so he berated the
others to keep a better watch on things.
Iuchar and Iuchabar knew that as the pigs belonged to a Tuatha De even
if they killed all the pigs the Cian-pig could still get away.
"You've learnt your lessons badly if you can't tell a druidic pig
from a real one," said Brian and he turned them into hounds.
They chased the Cian-pig out of the herd and into a grove of trees.
Brian struck it with his spear and the pig screamed in outrage, "You have done an
"I see you speak the human tongue," said Brian.
"I was human until now. I am Cian, son of Diancecht. Give me
"Indeed and we are sorry," replied Iuchar and Iuchabar,
resuming their human forms.
"I swear by my gods that if your life is restored to you seven
times I shall take it from you," Brian vowed.
"At least let me return to my human form," Cian-pig said.
"You may, because I feel it is less distasteful to kill a man than
a pig," Brian said.
Then Cian took his human form. "I have tricked you then,"
said Cian, "For if you had slain me in the form of a pig you would only be fined as a
pig, but if you slay me in my true form, that of a nobleman, you will be fined as such and
my son if Lugh, he will know, by the marks your weapons leave, who killed me."
"Then we shall use rocks and not our weapons," Brian said. He
picked up a heavy stone and hurled it at Cian. It was not long before Cian lay dead and so
the brothers buried his body and went on their way to fight the Fomorians.
Lugh led the armies to victory against the Fomorians, but when it was
over he went in search of his father and yet no one had seen him in battle.
"He is dead," Lugh said, "And I swear that I will not
eat nor drink until I discover my father's manner of death."
So Lugh and his men searched until they found the place where Cian had
died. The land at this spot spoke to Lugh and told him the manner in which he died and who
had murdered him.
They dug up his body and Lugh was filled with grief and anger at the
sight of his father's battered body.
Cian was reburied with all the ceremony befitting a man of his stature.
Lugh returned to Tara and sat beside the king. He saw, in the crowd,
the children of Tuirenn. He stood and called for silence.
"Children of goddess Danu, what should a man demand from those who
murdered his father?"
The people gathered there were amazed, for they didn't know what he
meant. "Cian is dead and his murderers are here in your midst," Lugh explained.
Everyone, including the three guilty brothers, agreed that death would
be the punishment. "But if I were the murderer I would ask you to accept an
honour-price," the king added.
Then Brian admitted his guilt and Lugh agreed to accept an honour-price
in place of their lives.
"You shall obtain three apples, the skin of a pig, a spear, two
horses and a chariot, seven pigs, a puppy, a cooking spit and three shouts upon a hill.
This is the punishment I demand," Lugh said.
The sons of Tuirenn were surprised at the smallness of the punishment
but they knew that Lugh must be trying to trick them for they knew of his fury, but it was
not until they had sworn their agreement in front of everyone assembled that Lugh told
them the complete punishment.
"The apples are those from the Garden of Hesperides. They have
healing power and if you throw them they hit what ever you wish without leaving your hand.
The pigskin belongs to the King of Greece. It too has healing powers and any water passed
through it will turn to wine in nine days. The spear is the poisoned spear of the King of
Persia. The horses and the chariot belong to the King of Sicily and can run anywhere the
driver directs, over land or water. The seven pigs are those of the King of the Golden
Pillars and even though they are killed every night they are alive again the following
day. You must get the puppy from the King of Ioruaidhe for she can catch every wild animal
she sees and the cooking spit lies at the bottom of the sea between Britain and Erin.
Finally you have promised to give three shouts from a hill, the hill I request is that
upon which Miodhchaoin and his sons live. He taught my father the arts of war and will not
forgive you shameful deeds.
Dismayed the three brothers left on their task.
Years past and against all odds the brothers managed to complete all
their daunting tasks. However, their final task, of the three shouts from Miodhchaoin's
hill was their undoing. The battle with Miodhchaoin and his sons brought them near to
death. Only Lugh had the power to heal their wounds, but he refused. And so they died.
Their father came and mourned at their sides until he too died of
grief. They were all buried in the same grave.
And so was the fate of the Children of Tuirenn to die for Lugh's