For some reason Duncan decided to blame this disaster on his most trusted advisor, Mac Bethaad mac Findlach. And the next spring the king marched his army north, to attack Mac Bethaad’s hill fort outside of Elgin. There, on August 14th, 1040, young Ducan was caught in an ambush and killed. Duncan’s sons were too young to be kings, and besides Duncan had been such a failure the nobility decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort to wait for the boys to grow up. They were trundeld off to exile in the Saxon court of Edward the Confessor, and the tartan-wearers elected themselves a new king.
To strengthen his claim to the throne, Mac Bethaad married the widow of Duncan’s predecessor, Coluim, and adopted his son, Lulach. And for almost ten years, while the Saxons and Vikings concentrated on fighting each other, Scotland had a chance to recover. Each year of peace allowed the next generation of warriors grew a little taller. But Mac Bethaad, “The red, tall, golden-haired one”, and called the “reknowned and generaous King”, knew that eventually one of his enemies, foreign or domestic, was going to notice that poor Scotland was still vunerable. He began to look for allies.
And then is heard no more. It is a tale, Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.
Macbeth, Act V, scene v
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