Cían son of Dian Cecht is the father of Lugh through an alliance with Ethne, daughter of Balor.
When Balor, king of the Children of Domnu, heard a druid's prophecy that he will be killed by his own grandson, he imprisoned his only daughter in the Tór Mór (great tower) of Tory Island. She was raised by twelve women, whose duty was prevent her ever meeting or learning of the existence of men.
Cian owns a magic cow whose abundant milk makes everyone want to possess her. While the cow is in the care of Cian's brother, Balor appears in the form of a small red-haired boy and tricks him into giving him the cow. In revenge, Cian calls upon Biróg (a magical being), who transports him by magic to the top of Balor's tower, where he seduces Ethne. Ethne gives birth to triplets who Balor gathers up and sends them to be drowned. Whilst two of the babies are drowned, the third, Lugh is rescued by Biróg. She takes him to his father, who hands him to his brother, Gavida a smith, to protect him, before he is given to Manannán.
When Lugh fights in the second battle of Mag Tuired, Cian’s absence is noted. He discovers that his father was killed by the sons of Tuireann; Brian, Iuchar and Iucharba, after Cian tried to escape from them by transforming into a pig. To avenge his father, Lugh set them a series of quests. Although they achieve them all, they were fatally wounded in completing the last quest. Tuireann begs Lugh to heal his son by means of a magic pigskin, one of the items retrieved during their quests. Lugh refuses and they died of their wounds, whilst Tuireann died of grief.
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