By Gemma Grant

The kingship of Ulster was shared between cousins, Fiachra Fionn and Fiachra Dubh, who took it in turns to govern the province. The year when Fiachra Dubh took his rightful place as king, Fiachra Fionn took the year off to enjoy a time of travel. He made his way to Scandinavia, where he was welcomed by the king and his court.

During his stay, the king fell under a witch’s curse, that rendered him helpless. Druids were consulted and advised that the only cure from the curse, was to eat the meat from a white cow with red ears.

Fiachra Fionn, gladly offered to bring the king the meat from the cow and set off on a long, arduous journey. After covering most of the country, he eventually found the prize cow. It was owned by an old widow woman and was her only means of sustenance. She lived off the sale of the milk and butter from the cow.

When Fiachra saw the hovel the old woman lived in, he offered to replace her cow with another, but she refused to part with it. Fiachra told her the king would gladly give her four times as many cows in return for her one. The old woman eventually agreed, after Fionn reassured her that the king of Scandinavia, was a man of his word.

Fionn returned to court and when the king eat the meat from the cow, he was returned to good health. Before he left for Ireland, Fionn once more reminded the king to make good on the promise, by sending the old woman four cows. The Scandinavian king reassured him that his word was his bond and it would be as Fionn asked.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own