…From the south came Long-Horn O’Leary and his host.
“Hail, the flame-hot hammerer: wielder of the red mallet,” said Father Fish as he lolloped alongside O’Leary’s company on foot, “When the men of Albion return from foreign lands you protect their rear so that an assailant may not spring past you, nor over you, what then should prevent the Champion’s Portion of Red-Hill-Hall being yours ?”
Said Long-Horn O’Leary, “why, if it isn’t that dullard Fish Face, come to pester me with his eccentric wit,” he laughed aloud and his company set up a roar and raised their swords.
“Truly, the Champion’s Portion of the house I built is not that of a dullard’s house,” smiled Father Fish, “belonging to it are five-score cakes of wheat cooked in honey, and a cow-lord full seven years old; since it was a calf neither heather nor twig-tops have entered its lips, nothing but sweet milk and herbs, meadow-hay and corn, indeed, the Champion’s Portion of Red-Hill-Hall is well worth contesting, for if it be yours then the Championship of Albion also will be yours forever.”
Long-Horn O’Leary eyed the fish man warily.
Said Father Fish, “Since you are the finest hero among the men of Albion, it is just that it be yours, and so do I wish it.”
“By the god of my clan,” shouted Long-Horn O’Leary, “his head shall he lose whosoever comes to contest it with me !”
Father Fish laughed at that, for it pleased him right well…
…As the men of Albion entered the mead house in Red-Hill-Hall that Father Fish built, each hero occupied a couch and sat his young braves round him.
While the feast was being prepared the musicians and players of King Grim-Gaze performed their arts.
Father Fish spread the table with its savouries and then withdrew to his sun bower, unobserved…
…As the spencers rose to serve the food, the charioteer of Connor Cruel-Crest stood up and addressed the king, “O Far Seeing One,” he said, “many are the feats of Connor; majestic and commanding his gait, clashing swords he brings together, and in front of them he strides in glory to destroy all before him; in battles of blood, the pride of armies he hews, mowing down hosts of his foe-men; ever hostile is his hand, and many the mighty victories he has scored for Albion.
Do you assign to Connor the Champion’s Portion, he alone is entitled to it before all the other heroes of Albion?”
“That is not so !” Cried the charioteer of Long-Horn O’Leary, leaping to his feet, “to O’Leary should the Champion’s Portion be assigned, he alone before any other man of Albion is deserving of it: sprung from loins that are royal, fostered in warrior virtues; more famous than all Albion’s heroes, the guardian of every ford-way; big is his shield, it protects from wounds, his friends he defends from their foe-men;by O’Leary’s hand are they held, equal in every strength, all noble.”
Father Fish called down from his sun bower, “the Champion’s Portion of Red-Hill-Hall is not that of a fool’s or a dullard’s house, who do you prefer for valour?” Whereupon the whole assembly ran for their shields and seized their weapons: within the space of a gnat’s eye-blink the hall was aflame with the clash of sword edge and spear point, and the floor became a white sheet of shield enamel.
Said Father Fish from his sun bower, “Why, ‘tis a bad look-out tonight and no mistake!”…
– Excerpt from; The Heart of Albion: tales from the Wondrous Head.