They go forth then over Iraird Culend in the morning. Cú Chulainn went forward; he overtook the charioteer of Orlam, son of Ailill and Medb, in Tamlacht Orlaim, a little to the north of Disert Lochait, cutting wood there. (According to another version, it is the shaft of Cú Chulainn’s chariot that had broken, and it is to cut a shaft that he had gone when he met Orlam’s charioteer. It is the charioteer who cut the shafts according to this version.)
‘It is over-bold what the Ulstermen are doing, if it is they who are yonder,’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘while the host is behind them.’ He goes to the charioteer to reprove him; he thought that he was of Ulster, and he saw the man cutting wood, that is the chariot-shaft.
‘What are you doing here?’ said Cú Chulainn.
‘Cutting chariot-shafts,’ said the charioteer. ‘We have broken our chariots hunting the wild deer Cú Chulainn yonder. Help me,’ said the charioteer. ‘Look only whether you are to select the shafts, or to strip them.’
‘It will be to strip them indeed,’ said Cú Chulainn.
Then Cú Chulainn stripped the shafts through his fingers in the presence of the other, so that he cleared them both of bark and knots.
‘This cannot be your proper work that I put on you,’ said the charioteer; he was greatly afraid.
‘Whence are you?’ said Cú Chulainn.
‘The charioteer of Orlam, son of Ailill and Medb,’ said he. ‘And you?’ said the charioteer.
‘My name is Cú Chulainn,’ said he.
‘Alas!’ said the charioteer.
‘Fear nothing,’ said Cú Chulainn. ‘Where is your master?’ said he.
‘He is in the trench yonder,’ said the charioteer.
‘Go forth then with me,’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘for I do not kill charioteers at all.’
Cú Chulainn goes to Orlam, kills him, cuts his head off, and shakes his head before the host. Then he puts the head on the charioteer’s back, and said to him:
‘Take that with you,’ said Cú Chulainn, ‘and go to the camp thus. If you do not go thus, a stone will come to you from my sling.’
When he got near the camp, he took the head from his back, and told his adventures to Ailill and Medb.
‘This is not like taking birds,’ said she.
And he said, ‘Unless I brought it on my back to the camp, he would break my head with a stone.’