THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID 229
Now when news of the green Fenians that were bound by Diarniid reached Fionn he summoned his men, and they took the shortest ways till they reached the hill of slaughter. Then Fionn spoke, and what he said was, ' 0 Ossian, loose the three chiefs for me.'
' I will not,' replied Ossian, ' for Diarmid bound me not to loose any warrior that he should bind.'
' 0 Oscar, loose them,' said Fionn.
'Nay,' answered Oscar, 'rather would I place more bands upon them.' And so said the other two, and, before their eyes, the chiefs died of their bondage. So Fionn ordered their graves to be dug, and their flag laid upon their stone, and the heart of Fionn was heavy.
He raised his head and saw drawing near Deirdre, the witch, her legs trembling, her tongue raving, and her eyes dropping out of her head. 'I have great and evil tidings for you,' said she, and she told him of all the slaughter Diarmid had made, and how she herself had hardly escaped.
' Whither went the son of O'Dowd ?' asked Fionn.
' I know not,' said she. At that Fionn and his Fenians departed, and wandered far before they could hear news of Diarmid.
On the road that led to the county of Gal way, Fionn saw fifty stout warriors coming towards him. ' I know not who they are,' said Fionn, 'yet I think they are enemies of mine'; and, indeed, this proved to be so, for the leaders of the company told Fionn that his father and their fathers had fought in battle. ' Then you must give me payment for the death of my father,' said Fionn, ' and in return you shall have power among the Fenians.'
' But we have neither silver, nor gold, nor herds, 0 Fionn,' answered the two young men.
' I want none of these,' replied Fionn; ' the payment I ask is but the head of a warrior, or a handful of berries from the magic tree of Dooros.'
' Take counsel from me,' cried Ossian,' for it is no light