THE BOOK OF ROMANCE - online children's book

King Arthur, His Court and Knights in the Age of Chivalry, by Andrew Lang

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THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID           235
giant. I will follow him to the quicken tree, and it shall profit you nothing to have brought the berries to me.'
With seven battalions of his Fenians, he marched along Diarmid's track till he reached the foot of the quicken tree, and finding the berries with no watch on them, they ate their fill. The sun was hot, and Fionn said he would stay at the foot of the tree till it grew cooler, as well he knew that Diarmid was at the top. 'You judge foolishly,' answered Ossian, 'to think that Diarmid would stay up there when he knows that you are bent on his death.'
In spite of the heat and his long march, Fionn could not sleep, and called for a chess-board, and bade Ossian play with him. Fionn was the most skilled, and at length he said, ' There is but one move that can save you the game, 0 Ossian, and I dare all that are by to show you that move.' And in the top of the tree Diarmid heard him, and said, ' 0 Ossian, why am I not there to show you ?'
' It is worse for you to be here in the power of Fionn, than for Ossian to lack that move,' answered Grania.
But Diarmid plucked one of the berries, and aimed it at the man which should be moved, and Ossian moved it, and turned the game against Fionn. And so he did a second time, and a third, when Ossian was in straits, and he won the game and the Fenians sent up a great shout.
'I marvel not at your winning, 0 Ossian, seeing that Oscar is doing his best for you, and that the skilled knowledge of Dearing, and the prompting of Diarmid, are all with you.'
' Now your eyes must be blinded, 0 Fionn, to think that Diarmid would stay in that tree when you are beneath him.'
' Which of us has the truth on his side, 0 Diarmid ?' said Fionn, looking up.
'Never did you err in your wisdom, 0 Fionn,'
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