THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID
Fionn, the son of Cumhaill, rose early from his bed and went and sat upon the clearing of grass that stretched at the foot of the hill of Allen, where was the favourite palace of the Irish Kings of Leinster. He had stolen out alone, while his attendants were sleeping, but soon he was missed and two of his men followed him to the green plain.
' Why have you risen so early ?' said Ossian as he came up.
'Since my wife died,' answrered Fionn, 'little sleep has come to me, and better I like to be sitting by the hillside than to toss restlessly between walls.'
'Why did you not tell us ? ' answered Ossian, 'for there is not a girl in the whole land of Erin whom we would not have brought you by fair means or foul.'
Dearing, who had till now kept silence, then spoke. ' I myself know of a wife who would be a fitting mate even for Fionn, son of Cumhaill — Grania, the daughter of Cormac, who is fairer of speech and form than the daughters of other men.'
Fionn looked up quickly at Dearing's words.
' There has been strife for long between me and Cormac,' said he, ' and it is not seemly that I should ask anything of him which might be refused. Therefore go you and Ossian and, as from yourselves, see if this marriage pleases him. It were better that he should refuse you, rather than me.'
'Farewell then,' said Ossian, 'but let no man know of our journey till we come back again.'