«Questions are not answered thus,» they said. «There is formulae, and the calling up of spirits, and lengthy complicated preparations in our art.»
«I am not badly learned in these arts,» said the woman, «and I say that if you slay this cow the effect will be the same as if you had killed the boy.»
«We would prefer to kill a cow or a thousand cows rather than harm this young prince,» said Conn, «but if we spare the boy will these evils return?»
«They will not be banished until you have banished their cause.»
«And what is their cause?»
«Becuma is the cause, and she must be banished.»
«If you must tell me what to do,» said Conn, «tell me at least to do something that I can do.»
«I will tell you certainly. You can keep Becuma and your ills as long as you want to. It does not matter to me. Come, my son,» she said to Segda, for it was Segda’s mother who had come to save him; and then that sinless queen and her son went back to their home of enchantment, leaving the king and Fionn and the magicians and nobles of Ireland astonished and ashamed.