228 THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID
'We know not who the man was,' answered they, ' but his hair was black and curly, and his countenance ruddy. And he has bound our three chiefs, so that we cannot loose them.'
' It was Diarmid himself,' said she; ' so loosen your hounds on his track, and I will send Fionn and his Fenians to help you.'
The men went down to their ships, and brought out their hounds, and loosened them on the track of Diarmid. The hounds made straight for the door of the cave, and the men followed them; and the hounds left the cave, and set forth westwards.
But Diarmid knew not of their coming till he saw silken banners waving, and three mighty warriors marching at the head. And he was filled with hatred of them, and went his ways, and Muadan took Grania -on his back and bore her a mile along the mountain.
It was not long before they heard the hound coming, and Muadan bade Diarmid follow Grania, and he would keep the hound at bay. And when he had slain the hound, he departed after Diarmid and Grania.
Then the second hound was loosened, and Diarmid waited till he came close, so that he could take sure aim ; and he cast his javelin into the hound and it fell dead like its fellow, and having drawn his javelin, he followed after Grania.
They had not gone much farther before the third hound was upon them. He bounded straight over the head of Diarmid, and would have seized Grania, but Diarmid took hold of his two hind legs, and swung him so fiercely against a rock that he was slain on the spot. And when that was done, Diarmid put on his arms, and slipped his little finger into the silken string of the javelin, and cast it straight at a youth in a green mantle that had outstripped his fellows, and slew him; and so to the rest, while Deirdre, the witch, wheeled and hovered about them all.