THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID 233
Aod, ' and it is your head that we seek, Diarmid, son of O'Dowd. For Fionn will either have that, or a handful of berries from the quicken tree.'
' Neither task is easy,' answered Diarmid, ' and woe to him that falls under the power of Fionn. He it was who slew your father, and surely that is payment enough. And whichever of these things you take him, you shall never have peace.'
' What berries are those that Fionn wants ?' asked Grania, ' and why cannot they be got for him ? ' Then Diarmid told her the story, and how the country round was laid waste. ' But when Fionn put me under his ban,' continued he, ' the giant gave me leave to hunt there if I would, but forbade me to touch the berries. And now,
0 children of Moirna, will you fight me or seek the berries ?'
' We will fight you first,' said they.
They fought long and well, but Diarmid got the better of them both, and bound them on the spot where they fell. ' You struck valiantly,' said Grania to Diarmid,' but
I vow that even if the children of Moirna go not after those berries, I will never rest in my bed till I have eaten them.'
'Force me not to break faith with the giant,' answered Diarmid, ' for he would not give them me more readily for that.'
' Loose our bonds,' said the children of Moirna, ' and we will go with you, and give ourselves for your sake.'
'Not so,' answered Diarmid, 'for the sight of him might kill you.'
' Then let us go to watch you fight, before you cut off our heads.' And Diarmid did so.
They found the giant asleep before the tree, and Diarmid pushed him with his foot.
The giant raised his head and looked at him: 'Are you fain to break peace, 0 Diarmid ?'
' Not I,' answered he, ' but Grania my wife is ill, and