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Instead, he found him unharmed, standing above the dead hound. Culain, the blacksmith, was distraught to see his fallen dog. He guarded all my beasts for me in field and in house. Ailill owned a white bull, Finnbhennach, and his wife was determined to grow her wealth by possessing Donn Cuailnge, the brown bull of Cooley and the only rival in the land to Finnbhennach.

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The Queen sent her army to raid Ulster and steal the bull. The year-old fought and defeated every soldier sent his way. The two boys were forced to fight, waging a battle that lasted several days. It came to a conclusion when the hero disparagingly slew his friend. The brown bull is victorious but returned to Ulster only to pass away from battle wounds. During the battle that ensued, the teenage boy was killed by Lugaid Cu Roi, the third son of Calatan. His intestines fell out of his wounds, but the great hero collected his intestines and beckoned his enemies to come at him again.

Since then it has been filtered through various interpretations and translations.

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During the 19th and early 20th centuries, writers revisited Celtic mythologies and reinvigorated them for a modern audience. One of the writers who brought the legend of the hero back into modern culture was none other than Theodore Roosevelt, who wrote an essay on ancient Irish mythology for The Century magazine in The hero is drawn with a spear and shield in hand and riding into battle on an embellished chariot. It became the most famous image of Irish mythology, portrayed on penny pamphlets all across Ireland in the 20th century. Each of these take inspiration from his famous portrait. The masterpiece was unveiled at the General Post Office in Dublin in and it is now the official memorial to the Easter Rising when Irish nationalists organized a rebellion against British rule.

He is seen as the ancient defender of Ireland and a portrayal of resilience against invaders. The large wicker shields, the huge double-bladed swords lifted above the head to strike, the courage amounting to rashness of the Celt in attack, the furious onset of the scythed war-chariots, the disregard of death, the habit of rushing into battle without waiting to don their clothes, the single combats, the great feasts, the "Champion's Bit" reserved as a mark of distinction for the bravest warrior; these, and many other characteristics found in our tales are commented upon in the pages of the Roman historians.

Edith Hamilton.


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