The Celtic World
The Cattle Raid of Cooley
A goddess had cursed the Red Branch Champions of Ulster, putting them under a geas which means the warriors are weak for some days every year.
Believing the Red Branch Champions are too weak to resist, Queen Maeve of Connaught gathered an army to attack Ulster to capture the famous Brown Bull of Cooley. However, a prophet warned Maeve that she had seen all Maeve's warriors coloured with blood.
Cuchulain, alone, aged 17, had been freed from the enchantment. He killed a hundred of Maeve's soldiers every day in single combat. This feat impressed Morrigan, the goddess of war, so much that she fell in love with Cuchulain. However, Cuchulain spurned her and she swore vengeance and changed shape into a crow warning him to beware.
Finally Cuchulain was forced to fight and kill his friend Ferdiad. When he complains that he cannot defend Ulster alone, his foster-father Sualtam raced to get King Conchobar's help on Cuchulainn's war horse. Sualtam called out "Men are being killed, women carried off, and cattle lifted in Ulster!" Even after he was beheaded in an accident near King Conchobar's palace, Sultuam's severed head carried on shouting the warning. This amazing sight roused Conchobar and his warriorsand they raced to help Cuchulainn and defeat Queen Maeve's forces.
Nevertheless, Maeve managed to capture the Brown Bull and take it back to her husband's White-horned Bull of Connaught However, the Ulster Bull tore the Bull of Connaught to pieces and escaped back to Ulster, but it was so crazed that its heart burst.