It seems to have been customary in ancient Ireland to precede by shorter stories the recital of the Great Tain, the central story of the Irish Heroic Age. A list of fourteen of these "lesser Tains," three of which are lost, is given in Miss Hull's "Cuchullin Saga"; those preserved are the Tain bo Aingen, Dartada, Flidais, Fraich, Munad, Regamon, Regamna, Ros, Ruanadh, Sailin, and Ere. Of these, five only have been edited, viz. the Tain bo Dartada, Flidais, Fraich, Regamon, and Regamna; all these five are given in this volume.
The last four tales are all short, and perhaps are more truly "preludes" (remscela) than the Tain bo Fraich, which has indeed enough of interest in itself to make it an independent tale, and is as long as the four put together. All the five tales have been rendered into verse, with a prose literal translation opposite to the verse rendering, for reasons already given in the preface to the first volume. A short introduction, describing the manuscript authority, is prefixed to each; they all seem to go back in date to the best literary period, but appear to have been at any rate put into their present form later than the Great Tain, in order to lead up to it. A possible exception to this may be found at the end of the Tain bo Flidais, which seems to give a different account of the end of the war of Cualgne, and to claim that Cuchulain was defeated, and that Connaught gained his land for its allies. It may be mentioned that the last four tales are expressly stated in the text to be "remscela" to the Great Tain.