242 THE PURSUIT OF DIARMID
had crossed the track of the wild boar of Ben Gulbain, which had slain thirty Fenians that morning.
' He is even now coming up this mountain against us,' added he, ' so let us leave the place.'
'I will never leave the place for him,' answered Diarmid.
' Know you not that when you were a child a wizard prophesied that you should live as long as a green boar without ears or tail, and that it was by him that you should fall at last ? '
' No, I knew nothing of these things, but for all that I will not leave the mountain,' answered Diarmid. And Fionn went his way, and Diarmid stood alone on the top. 'It was to slay me that you made this hunt, 0 Fionn; and if it is fated that I die here, die I must.'
The wild boar came tearing up the mountain, and behind him followed the Fenians. Diarmid slipped his hound, but it profited him nothing, for he did not await the boar, but fled before him. ' Woe unto him that doeth not the counsel of a good wife,' said Diarmid to himself, ' for Grania bade me take my best hound and my red javelin.' Then he aimed carefully at the boar's head, and smote him in the middle of his forehead; but he did not so much as cut one of his bristles, far less pierce his skin. At that Diarmid felt his heart quail like those of weaker men, and he drew his sword and dealt the boar a stout blow, but the sword broke in two; and the beast stood unharmed. With a spring he drew himself upon Diarmid, so that he tripped and fell, and somehow when he rose up he was sitting astride the back of the boar, with his face looking towards the tail. The boar tried to fling him off but could not, though he rushed down the hill and jumped three times backwards and forwards out of the river at the foot; but Diarmid never stirred, and at last the boar dashed up the hill again, and Diarmid fell from his back. Then the boar sprang upon Diarmid with a mighty spring, and wounded him