An Ancient Irish Tale...
Conall Cernach also known as Conall Crookneck Cernach and Conall the Victorious was a hero in the Ulaidh in the Ulster Cycle of Irish mythology. He was the son of Amairgin mac Echit and Findchoem. The couple was unable to bear a child until Findchoem, with the help of a druid, drank from a draught that contained a worm in it. The worm helped lead to the conception of Conall.
While Findchoem was pregnant with her son many prophecies were made about the future of the baby. It was told that he would be more dangerous to his mother’s family, the Connachta, than any other man. When her brother, Cet mac Mágach, heard that the newborn would someday kill over half of his people, he went to his sister’s side to protect her until the baby would be born.
When Conall was born, Cet took him and placed him under his shoe. He then began to crush the newborn’s neck, but he was stopped before he completely broke it. This resulted in Conall having a bent neck and being known sometimes as Crookneck.
Throughout Conall’s life there was never a time where he did not carry the head of a Connaughtman with him. After the murder of his two brothers at the hands of men of Connaught, he had a deadly relationship with them. There was not a Connaught person alive who had not had a son, brother, or father killed at the hands of Conall.
Among those he killed were the three sons of Ailill and Medb, Belchu of Brefne along with his three sons, the seven sons of Mágu of Connaught, and Ailill son of Mata Muresc of Connaught.
After his foster-brothers, Conchobar and Cuchulinn, were killed, Conall became depressed and soon thereafter developed leprosy. As he had no strength at the time, he went to stay with Aililll and Medb the King and Queen of Connaught to be taken care of. He had harsh feelings towards the king and queen, but knew that was where he must go.
When he arrived at Rath Cruachan he was welcomed with open arms by Med. They prepared a house for him to stay in. They also gave him a pig and a calf, twelve cakes, and a cauldron of broth. This was taken to him, and he ate it all in one sitting.
He would repeat this same night for a full year. The men of Connaught would be amused by his story telling of how he had killed their sons, brothers, and fathers. They would even bring Conall their spears so that he might improve them.
Medb was a queen with great power, honor, and dignity. She also desired everything. She had many lovers besides her husband. One of her most notorious lovers was Fergus, who was said to be able to give her pleasure at once. This made Ailill jealous, and he had him killed.
Ailill was a great man of strength and judgement. He would often have meetings with other women. This made Medb jealous, and is why she brought Conall into her home so that he could watch over her husband and report if he was doing anything against her.
When he reports back to Medb about the affair, she tells Conall to have him killed. Conall does so in revenge for Fergus; however, he does not make it to his chariot outside of the fortress before Ailill’s men gang up on him and eventually kill him also.