Finn had a splendid hound. That was Bran. You have heard talk of Bran. This is the colour was on him:
Yellow feet that were on Bran,
Two black sides, and belly white,
Grayish back of hunting colour,
Two ears, red, round, small, and bright.
Bran would overtake the wild-geese, she was that swift. There arose some quarrel or fighting between the hounds that the Fenians had, when she was only a puppy, and
Three score hounds and twenty puppies
Bran did kill, and she a puppy,
Two wild-geese, as much as they all.
It was Finn himself who killed Bran. They went out hunting, and there was made a fawn of Finn’s mother. (Who made a fawn of her? Oh, how do I know? It was with some of their pishtrogues.) Bran was pursuing her.
“Silly fawn leave on mountain,” said Finn. “Oh, young son,” said she, “how shall I escape?
“If I go in the sea beneath
I never shall come back again.
And if I go in the air above
My swiftness is no match for Bran.
“Go out between my two legs,” said Finn.
She went between his two legs, and Bran followed her; and as Bran went out under him, Finn squeezed his two knees on her and killed her.
Bran had a daughter. That pup was a black hound, and the Fenians reared it; and they told the woman who had a charge of the pup to give it the milk of a cow without a single spot, and to give it every single drop, and not to keep back one tint from her. The woman did not do that, but kept a portion of the milk without giving it to the pup.
The first day that the Fenians loosed out the young hound, there was a glen full of wild-geese and other birds; and when the black hound was loosed amongst them, she caught them all except a very few that went out on a gap that was in it. (And how could she catch the wild-geese? Wouldn’t they fly away in the air? She caught them, then. That’s how I heard it.) And only that the woman kept back some of the milk from her, she would have killed them all.
There was a man of the Fenians, a blind man, and when the pup was let out, he asked the people near him how did the; young hound do. They told him that the young hound killed all the wild-geese and birds that were in the glen, but a few that went out on a gap. “If she had to get all the milk that came from the cow without spot,” says the blind man, “she wouldn’t let a bird at all go from her.” And he asked then “how was the hound coming home?” “She’s coming now,” said they, “and a fiery cloud out of her neck,” (How out of her neck? Because she was going so quick) “and she coming madly.”
“Grant me my request now,” said the blind man. “Put me sitting in the chair, and put a coal in my hand; for unless I kill her she’ll kill us.”
The hound came, and he threw the coal at her and killed her, and he blind.
But if that pup had to get all the milk, she’d come and she’d lie down quietly, the same as Bran used to lie ever.
[Beside The Fire A Collection of Irish Gaelic Folk Stories, by Douglas Hyde, 1890]