If you hit my dog, [then] you hit me.
Note: St. Bernard of Clairvaux coined an English proverb similar to this week’s seanfhocal, “Love me, love my dog.” (The Saint Bernard dog was named after another Saint Bernard.) This Irish proverb has the same roots as the story of Cú Chulainn.
Sédanda was the son of the God Lugh, nephew of Conor mac Nessa, King of Ulster. One day Conor rode by while the boy, Sédanda, was playing with a bat and a ball. He asked the King where he was going. The King told him he was going to a feast held by the chief smith, Cullan, and invited the boy to join him. Sédanda said he would follow him later after he finished playing ball.
Conor and the other guests were feasting by the fire when Cullan asked the King if there were any other guests coming. Forgetting about Sédanda, the King said no. To this Cullan explained that it was his custom to unleash his hound at night to protect his property from thieves and robbers. It was a brave hound and a fierce fighter. Cullan feared no man when the hound was out. The King gave him permission to release his hound.
Sédanda arrived before the feast to be confronted by the savage hound. The hound lunged at Sédanda but the boy drove the ball with his stick into the skull of the dog, instantly killing the creature.
Upon arriving at the sight of his dead hound, the smith wept in grief and fear. He argued to the King that the boy’s family must pay a blood fine for such an egregiously inhospitable act. Who would now protect him, his clan, and his property?
The boy agreed to find a pup of a breed superior to the one he had killed and raise it into an even more fearsome defender of the smith’s home. Until the pup was old enough to do this, however, Sédanda said that he himself would replace the hound. He would become the Hound of Cullan, or Cú Chulainn in Irish.