Thg Heros Portion

One important tradition in the king's hall was that of the hero's portion. When the meat was served in the hall, the largest or most savory portion was supposed to go to the greatest hero present. Great insult could be given if the hero's portion were given to the wrong person. In some cases the meat was carved and then taken to each person individually. In other cases the carver would ask, "Who claims this portion?" The stories of Bricriu's Feast and Mac Da Tho's Pig (see pp. 34 and 37) are good examples of this.

Adventure Seed: When the party is visiting a dun, the king's wife takes a fancy to one of them. He, not realizing that she is the queen, returns her flirtations, and when the food is served, she brings him the hero's portion. The king's champion (or the king himself, if he is the best warrior) challenges the hero to single combat. (If a light-hearted twist is desired local custom could demand that they fight naked, armed only with holly branches, or some similarly symbolic weapon, ridiculous to the modern mind but magically significant to the participants.)

There was a sneaking admiration for a wily thief who managed to steal through clever trickery instead of blatant actions, especially when the trick repaid the victim's poor hospitality. In many stories a hero asked for an item and only if it was refused did he trick the owner or steal it.

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