THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID 219
set forth in troops for the great plain where Cormac, King of Erin, had given them tryst.
The King had made ready a splendid feast, and welcomed the new-comers gladly, and they ate and drank together. When the feast was over the Druid Derry sang songs before Grania, and she, knowing he was a man of wisdom, asked him why Fionn had come thither. 'If you know not that,' said the Druid, ' it is no wonder that I know it not.'
' I wish to learn it from you,' answered Grania.
' Well then,' replied the Druid, ' it is to ask you for wife that he is come.'
' I marvel,' said Grania, ' that it is not for Ossian that he asks me. For my father himself is not as old as Fionn. But tell me, I pray you, who is that softly spoken man with the curling black hair and ruddy countenance, that sits on the left hand of Ossian, the son of Fionn ?'
' That is Diarmid, son of Dowd, the best lover in the whole world.'
' It is a goodly company,' said Grania, and ordered her lady to bring her the golden goblet chased with jewels. When it was brought she filled it up with the drink of nine times nine men, then bade her handmaid carry it to Fionn and say that she had sent it to him, and that he was to drink from it. Fionn took the goblet with joy, but no sooner had he drunk than he fell down into a deep slumber; and the same thing befel also Cormac, and Cormac's wife, and as many as drank of the goblet sent by Grania.
When all were sleeping soundly, she rose softly and said to Ossian, 'I marvel that Fionn should ask such a wife as I, for k were fitter that he should give me a husband of my own age than a man older than my father.'
' Say not so, 0 Grania,' answered Ossian, ' for if Fionn were to hear you, he would not have you, neither should I dare to ask for you.'