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Socht's Sword


In Irish mythology, Socht's sword is a weapon so sharp that it would cut a man in two "so that neither half knew what had befallen the other." It was passed down to Socht as a family heirloom. A steward named Dubdrenn pleaded with Socht to sell him the sword, but Socht refused. Dubdrenn persisted, offering all manner of compensation for the blade, but Socht would not part with his family heirloom. Finally, Dubdrenn got Socht exceedingly drunk and after he passed out, Dubdrenn stole the sword and carved his name in the tang under the hilt. He then replaced the hilt and returned the sword to the still sleeping Socht.

Having been unsuccessful in purchasing the sword, Dubdrenn claimed that the sword was stolen from him and the case was brought before Cormac mac Airt, the King of Ireland. When an audience was granted before the king, Socht swore that it was his family sword and not the property of Dubdrenn. But when the king asked if Dubdrenn could prove it belonged to him, he said that his name was carved on the tang under the hilt. The hilt was removed and the name was there, so Socht had no choice but to relinquish the sword. However, Socht claimed that the sword came into the possession of his family when it was found buried in the neck of his grandfather. Therefore Dubdrenn must have been the murderer, and owed Socht's family a blood debt, or compensation for the death of his grandfather in accordance with his social rank.

Dubdrenn could not afford the blood debt, so instead King Cormac paid it to Socht. He also declared Socht's sword the weapon of Cuchulainn, who had slain his own grandfather Conn. It was therefore the rightful property of the king in payment for the death of his own grandfather and became one of the three treasures of Eirenn.

Ireland, Mythology, Sword, Weapon


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