THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID 239
' I will not,' answered Fionn, ' till he has paid for every slight put upon me.'
' It is a foul shame in thee to say that,' said Oscar, ' and I pledge the word of a soldier that unless the heavens fall upon me or the earth opens under my feet, I will not suffer you nor your Fenians to strike him a single blow, and I will take him under my protection, and keep him safe in spite of you all. Therefore, 0 Diarmid, come down out of the tree, since Fionn will not grant you mercy. I will pledge that no evil will come to you to-day.'
So Diarmid rose, and stood upon the topmost bough of the tree, and leapt light and birdlike, by the shafts of his spears, and passed out far beyond Fionn and the Fenians of Erin. And he and Oscar went their way, and no tidings were heard of them till they reached Grania and Angus on the banks of the Boyne.
After Diarmid and Oscar had departed, Fionn ordered a ship to be made ready, and as soon as it was done he marched on board with a thousand of his warriors and set sail for the north of Scotland. When he arrived at the harbour nearest the King's palace, he moored his ship and took the path to the palace, where the King received him kindly, and gave him food and drink. Then Fionn told the King why he was come. ' And truly you should give me a host,' said he, ' for Diarmid it was who slew your father and two brothers and many of your men besides.'
'That is so,' answered the King, 'and I will give you my two sons, with a thousand men to each of them.' Joyful was Fionn to hear this, and he departed with his company, and nothing was known of them till they reached the Boyne, where Fionn challenged Diarmid and Angus to battle.
'What shall I do touching this, 0 Oscar?' asked Diarmid.