Aillte is a warrior who, while traveling as a mercenary, falls in love with the wife of the powerful King of Lochlin. They run away together, taking refuge with the Fayne, Aillte’s clan in the Hebrides.
Furious, the King of Lochlin descends with his army and the hosts of nine other clans upon the Fayne. Unlike so many of these tales, this story has a positive outcome: the fierce Gaels, though outnumbered 10 to 1, drive away the Lochlinners in a decisive victory.
Thug Banrigh Lochlainn nan sgiath donn
Trom-ghaol trom, an gaol nach lasaich,
Do Aillte greadhanach nan arm geur
Gu’n d’fhalbh i ann an ceilg leis.
Chruinnich Righ Lochlainn gu grad a shluagh,
Mur robh fear a chaidh o fheum
The queen of Lochlin of the brown shields
Deep love gave, that all endureth,
To Aillte young, of the keen-edged blades,
And secretly with him fled she.
The King of Lochlin, his hardy hosts
There were that wounded fell,