Scál, Cú Chulainn and the Giant


Once upon a time there lived

a lady, beautiful and thrift.

Scál Ní Mhuirnain was her name,

nearly every day she came

to her lake to wash her hair,

which was shiny, smooth and fair.


A giant lived on the top of the hill

next to the lake. He had problems to still

his urge for attention and admiration,

which was not easy – at his station.

Also he had warts on nose and chin!

But with Scál he would commit a sin.


On a hill at the other side of the lake,

lived a man who put his life at stake

for beings who were besieged and beset,

by warding off the opponent he met.

Already he had witnessed the lecherous glance

of the giant – that man had never a chance!


One day Cú Chulainn saw the giant prepare

to rush down the hill – as if fed up, to stare!


Without regret

Cú Chulainn threw a fat

boulder in the giants direction,

who took, after a careful reflection,

a boulder himself, threw it over the water,

but missed Cú Chulainn by an inch and a quarter!


Cú Chulainn took up another boulder –

the shot just grazed the giants shoulder.

And so it went on, boulder followed by rock,

they both had enough ammunition in stock!


Hours became days and the days a week.

Eventually Cú Chulainn had a losing streak:

A rock hit his groin! He bellowed with pain!


“Oh, my confidence and my hope is in vain!”

cried Scál who in her desperation thought,

her defender is killed! “And nothing, naught

can hinder the giant to bed down with me!

I rather will drown myself to be free!”


So she threw herself in the lake, and her tears

made the lake run over. Cú Chulainn grew fierce!

Yes! He, our hero, he was still alive!

And now very angry he started to strive,

to win this combat, to make an end to that tale –

he really would like to eat his kale!


Bearing that in mind Cú Chulainn went on,

to finish the madman with a ton

of boulders. After a day he won!


 Beenoskee and Stradbally Mountain


On the top of Dromavally Hill,

you see standing stones – standing still

since then to mark the awful battle,

where the quarrel of the two men did settle.


Also you perceive three cairns,

in the midst of the heather and the ferns,

which are the bed, the house and the grave,

of our hero, Cú Chulainn, the brave.


The lake is named after Lady Scál,

also the river, but not the fall;

and nowadays the town as well:

Annascaul, lying there in the dell.

©Sabine van de Sand, 2015-08-18