Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
King Conchubor keeps Deirdre, the beautiful young woman he resolves to make his bride, at the home of Lavarcham, the old nurse, on Slieve Fuadh. One rainy evening, Conchubor and his friend Fergus arrive to find that Deirdre, to the king’s displeasure, is still out gathering nuts and sticks in the woods. Lavarcham warns the king that Deirdre will not be anxious to see him, and she repeats the old prophecy that Deirdre was born to bring destruction into the world. When Deirdre comes in, the king presents her with rings and jewels and remonstrates with her for staying out in the woods. Deirdre defends her behavior and says that she has no desire to go to Emain to become queen.
Conchubor pleads with her, talking of his loneliness, his love for her, and the rooms he prepared for her in his castle at Emain. Deirdre insists that in spite of the fact that she is pledged to Conchubor she would prefer to remain in the simple cottage with Lavarcham as long as possible. Conchubor, growing impatient, insists that she be ready to go to Emain and become his queen within a few days.
After he leaves, Lavarcham urges Deirdre to be sensible and bend to Conchubor’s wishes, but Deirdre keeps talking about other defiant legendary heroines and about Naisi and his brothers, the bravest men in the woods. Deirdre goes to dress elegantly for one of the last nights of her freedom.
In the meantime Naisi and his brothers arrive at the cottage to take refuge...
(The entire section is 894 words.)
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