216 THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID
So the two went their ways, and found Cormac, King of Erin, holding a great council on a wide plain, with the chiefs and the great nobles gathered before him. He welcomed Ossian and Dearing with courtesy, and as he felt sure they bore some message, he bade the council meet again on the morrow. When the nobles and chiefs had betaken themselves to their homes, Ossian told the King of Erin that they had come to know his thoughts as to a marriage between his daughter and Fionn, son of Cumhaill.
'There is not the son of a King or of a great prince, a hero or a champion in the whole of Erin,' answered Cormac, 'whom my daughter has not refused to wed, and it is I whom all hold guilty for it, though it is none of my doing. Therefore betake yourselves to my daughter, and she will speak for herself. It is better that you be displeased with her than with me.'
Thereupon Ossian and Dearing were led by the King to the dwelling of the women, and they found Grania lying on a high couch. ' Here, 0 Grania,' said the King, 'are two of the men of Fionn, the son of Cumhaill, and they have come to ask you as wife for him. What is your answer ?'
' If he be a fitting son-in-law for you, why should he not be a fitting husband for me ?' said Grania. And at her words, her father ordered a banquet to be made in the palace for Ossian and Dearing, and sent them back to Fionn with a message summoning him to a tryst in a fortnight's time.
When Ossian and Dearing were returned into Kildare, they found Fionn and his men, the Fenians, on the hill of Allen, and they told their tale from the beginning to end. And the heart of Fionn grew light as he heard it, and the fortnight of waiting stretched long before him. But everything wears away at last, and so did those fifteen days; and on the last, Fionn assembled seven battalions of his Fenians from wherever they might be, and they