A Book of Saints and Wonders/Wonders
Blessed Ciaran and his Scholars
The first of the saints to be born in Ireland of the saints was Ciaran, that was of the blood of the nobles of Leinster. And the first of the wonders he did was in the island of Cleire, and he but a young child at the time. There came a hawk in the air over his head, and it stooped down before him and took up a little bird that was sitting on a nest. And pity for the little bird came on Ciaran and it was bad to him the way it was. And the hawk turned back and left the bird before him, and it half. dead and trembling; and Ciaran bade it to rise up and it rose and went up safe and well to its nest, by the grace of God. It was Patrick bade Ciaran after that to go to the Well of Uaran, the mering where the north meets with the south in the middle part of Ireland. "And bring my little bell with you" he said "and it will be without speaking till you come to the Well." So Ciaran did that and when he reached to the Well of Uaran, for God brought him there, the little bell spoke out on the moment in a bright clear voice. And Ciaran settled himself there, and he alone, and great woods all around the place; and he began to make a little cell for himself, that was weak enough. And one time as he was sitting under the shadow of a tree a wild boar rose up on the other side Of it; but when it saw Ciaran it ran from him, and then it turned back again as a quiet servant to him, being made gentle by God. And that boar was the first scholar and the first monk Ciaran had; and it used to be going into the wood and to be plucking rods and thatch between its teeth as if to help towards the building. And there came wild creatures to Ciaran out of the places where they were, a fox and a badger and a wolf and a doe; and they were tame with him and humbled themselves to his teach ing the same as brothers, and did all he bade them to do. But one day the fox, that was greedy and cunning and full of malice, met with Ciaran's brogues and he stole them and went away shunning the rest of the company to his own old den, for he had a mind to eat the brogues. But that was showed to Ciaran, and he sent another monk of the monks of his family, that was the badger, to bring back the fox to the place where they all were. So the badger went to the cave where the fox was and found him, and he after eating the thongs and the ears of the brogues. And the badger would not let him off coming back with him to Ciaran, and they came to him in the evening bringing the brogues with them. And Ciaran said to the fox "O brother" he said "why did you do this robbery that was not right for a monk to do? And there was no need for you to do it" he said "for we all have food and water in common, that there is no harm in. But if your nature told you it was better for you to use flesh, God would have made it for you from the bark of those trees that are about you." Then the fox asked Ciaran to forgive him and to put a penance on him; and Ciaran did that, and the fox used no food till such time as he got leave from Ciaran; and from that out he was as honest as the rest.
His Kindness is living yet
It is not long since a poor woman of Aidne that used to be doing spinning for the neighbours, and that had a little son that was lame, brought him to a blessed well of Ciaran. And when they looked in it they saw a little fish tossing and leaping and the water bubbling up, and a woman that was there said "It is many years I am coming here, and I never saw that fish until now." And from that time the lameness went from the little lad. And there was a poor woman in lar Connacht was fretting greatly because she was told that her son that was in America had lost his leg through a train. And she thought maybe she did not hear all the truth, and that the neighbours might be hiding from her that he was dead. So she went to a well of blessed Ciaran and she kneeled down on the stones, and she prayed three times to God and to the saint to give her a sign. And at the third time a little fish rose up and went swimming and stirring itself at the top of the water as if to show itself, and she saw that a piece had been taken out of it and that it was lively all the same. And sure enough her son got well and is living in America yet. And many that have some belonging to them across the ocean will go and ask for a sign at that well, and it will be given to them the same as it was to her.
Blessed Cellach's Lament
The time Cellach, that was a saint of Connacht and a son of the king, was taken by his enemies they put him in a hollow of an oak tree for the night. And he made this complaint, and he waiting for his death: "My blessing to the morning that is as white as a flame; my blessing to Him that sends it, the brave new morning; my blessing to you white proud morning, sister to the bright sun; morning that lights up my little book for me.
"It is you are the guest in every house; it is you shine on every race and every family; white-necked morning, gold-clear, wonderful.
"Och, scallcrow, Och, scaiicrow, grey-cloaked, sharp beaked; it is well I know your desire; you are no friend to Cellach!
"Och, raven doing your croaking; if there is hunger on you do not leave this place till you get your fill of my flesh!
"The kite of the Yew Tree of Cluan Eo, it is he will be rough in the struggle; he will take the full of his grey claws; it is not in kindness he will part from me!
"Little wren of the scanty tail, it is a pity the song you gave; it is surely for betraying you are come and for the shortening of my life. "The red fox will come hurrying when he hears the blows upon me; the wolf from the eastern side of the Ridge of the son of Dara.
"The great Son of Mary is saying over my head 'You will have earth, you will have Heaven; there is a welcome before you Cellach!'"
The Wolf's Prophecy
It chanced one day not long after the coming of the Gall from England into Ireland, there was a priest making his way through a wood of Meath. And there came a man fornenst him and bade him for the love of God to come with him to confess his wife that was lying sick near that place. So the priest turned with him and it was not long before he heard groaning and complaining as would be heard from a woman, but when he came where she was lying it was a wolf he saw before him on the ground. The priest was afeared when he saw that and he turned away; but the man and the wolf spoke with him and bade him not to be afeared but to turn and to confess her. Then the priest took heart and blessed him and sat down beside her. And the wolf spoke to him and made her confession to the priest and he anointed her. And when they had that done, the priest began to think in himself that she that had that mis-likeness upon her and had grace to speak, might likely have grace and the gift of knowledge in other things; and he asked her about the strangers that were come into Ireland, and what way it would be with them. And it is what the wolf said: "It was through the sin of the people of this country Almighty God was displeased with them and sent that race to bring them into bondage, and so they must be until the Gall themselves will be encumbered with sin. And at that time the people of Ireland will have power to put on them the same wretchedness for their sins."
Liban the Sea Woman
The time Angus Og sent away Eochaid and Ribh from the plain of Bregia that was his playing ground, he gave them the loan of a very big horse to carry all they had northward. And Eochaid went on with the horse till he came to the Grey Thornbush in Ulster; and a well broke out where he stopped, and he made his dwelling-house beside it, and he made a cover for the well and put a woman to mind it. But one time she did not shut down the cover, and the water rose up and covered the Grey Thornbush, and Eochaid was drowned with his children; and the water spread out into a great lake that has the name of Loch Neach to this day. But Liban that was one of Eochaid's daughters was not drowned, but she was in her sunny-house under the lake and her little dog with her for a full year, and God protected her from the waters. And one day she said "O Lord, it would be well to be in the shape of a salmon, to be going through the sea the way they do." Then the one half of her took the shape of a salmon and the other half kept the shape of a woman; and she went swimming the sea, and her little dog following her in the shape of an otter and never leaving her or parting from her at all. And one time Caoilte was out at a hunting near Beinn Boirche with the King of Ulster, and they came to the shore of the sea. And when they looked out over it they saw a young girl on the waves, and she swimming with the side-stroke and the foot-stroke. And when she came opposite them she sat up on a wave, as anyone would sit upon a stone or a hillock and she lifted her head and she said "Is not that Caoilte Son of Ronan?" "It is myself surely" said he. "It is many a day" she said "we saw you upon that rock, and the best man of Ireland or of Scotland with you, that was Finn son of Cumhal. "Who are you so girl?" said Caoilte. "I am Liban daughter of Eochaid, and I am in the water these hundred years, and I never showed my face to anyone since the going away of the King of the Fianna to this day. And it is what led me to lift my head to-day" she said "was to see yourself Caoilte." Just then the deer that were running before the hounds made for the sea and swam out into it. "Your spear to me Caoilte!" said Liban. Then he put the spear into her hand and she killed the deer with it, and sent them back to him where he was with the King of Ulster; and then she threw him back the spear and with that she went away. And that is the way she was until the time Beoan son of Innle was sent by Comgall to Rome, to have talk with Gregory and to bring back rules and orders. And when he and his people were going over the sea they heard what was like the singing of angels under the currach. "What is that song?" said Beoan. "It is I myself am making it" said Liban. "Who are you?" said Beoan. "I am Liban daughter of Eochaid son Mairid, and I am going through the sea these three hundred years.' Then she told him all her story, and how it was under the round hulls of ships she had her dwelling-place, and the waves were the roofing of her house, and the strands its walls. "And it is what I am come for now" she said "to tell you that I will come to meet you on this day twelve-month at Inver Ollorba; and do not fail to meet me there for the sake of all the saints of Dalaradia." And at the year's end the nets were spread along the coast where she said she would come, and it was in the net of Fergus from Miluic she was taken. And the clerks gave her her choice either to be baptized and go then and there to heaven, or to stay living through another three hundred years and at the end of that time to go to heaven; and the choice she made was to die. Then Comgall baptized her and the name he gave her was Muirgheis, the Birth of the Sea. So she died, and the messengers that came and that carried her to her burying place, were horned deer that were sent by the angels of God.
The Priest and the Bees
There was a good honourable well-born priest, God's darling he was, a man holding to the yoke of Christ; and it happened he went one day to attend on a sick man. And as he was going a swarm of bees came towards him, and he having the Blessed Body of Christ with him there. And when he saw the swarm he laid the Blessed Body on the ground and gathered the swarm into his bosom, and went on in that way upon his journey, and forgot the Blessed Body where he had laid it. And after a while the bees went back from him again, and they found the Blessed Body and carried it away between them to their own dwelling place, and they gave honour to it kindly and made a good chapel of wax for it, and an altar and a chalice and a pair of priests, shaping them well out of wax to stand before Christ's Body. But as for the priest, when he remembered it he went looking for it carefully, penitently, and could not find it in any place. And it went badly with him and he went to confession, and with the weight of the trouble that took hold of him he was fretting through the length of a year. And there came an angel to him at the end of the year and told him the way the Body of Christ was sheltered and honoured. And the angel bade him to bring all the people to see that wonder; and they went there and when they saw it a great many of them believed.
The Hymn of Molling's Guest
As Molling, saint of the Gael, was praying in his church one time, he saw a young man coming to him into the house. A comely shape he had and purple clothing about him. "Good be with you, Clerk" he said. "Amen" said Molling. "Why do you give me no blessing?" said the young man. "Who are you?" said Molling. "I am Jesus Christ the Son of God." "That is not so" said Molling. "In the time Christ used to come and to be talking with the servants of God, it is not in purple or like a king he was, but it is in the shape of the miserable the poor and the lepers he used to come." "If it is not believing me you are" said the young man "who is it you think I am?" "In my opinion" said Molling "it is the devil you are, coming for my hurt." "It is harmful to you your unbelief is" said the young man. "Well" said Molling "here is your successor, the Gospel of Christ" and with that he raised up the book. "Do not raise it up Clerk" said the young man then; "for it is likely I am what you say, the man full of trouble." "For what cause are you come?" said Molling. "To ask a blessing of you" said he. "I will not give it" said Molling; "for it is not a blessing you would be the better of. And what good would it be to you?" he said. "O Clerk" said the young man "it would be like as if you would go into a vat of honey and your clothing on you, and bathe yourself in it, the smell of it would be about you unless you would wash your clothing." "I will not give it to you" said Molling "for it is not your true desire." "Well" he said "give me the full of a curse." "What good will that do you?" said Molling. "Not hard to say that, Clerk; if your mouth should give out the curse on me, its hurt & its poison would be on your lips." "Go" said Molling "you are worthy of no blessing." "It would be best for me to earn it" said he; "and what way can I do that?" "By serving God" said Molling. "My grief" he said "I cannot do that." "By fasting then." "I am fasting since the beginning of the world" he said "and I am none the better for it." "Bow your knees" said Molling. "I cannot do that for it is turned backwards my knees are." "Go out from this" said Molling "for I cannot save you." And it is what the stranger said then:
"He is clean gold, he is Heaven about the sun, he is a silver vessel having wine in it; he is an angel, he is the wisdom of saints; everyone is doing the will of the King.
"He is a bird with a trap closing about him; he is a broken ship in great danger; he is an empty vessel, he is a withered tree; he that is not doing the will of the King.
"He is a sweet-smelling branch with its blossoms; he is a vessel that is full of honey; he is a shining stone of good luck; he who does the will of the Son of God of heaven.
"He is a blind nut without profit; he is ill-smelling rottenness, he is a withered tree; he is a wild apple branch without blossom; he that is not doing the will of the King.
"If he does the will of the Son of God of Heaven, he is a bright sun with summer about it; he is the image of the God of Heaven; he is a vessel of clear glass.
"He is a racehorse over a smooth plain, the man that is striving for the kingdom of the great God, he is a chariot that is seen under a king, that wins the victory with golden bridles.
"He is a sun that warms high heaven; the king to whom the great King is thankful; he is a church, joyful, noble; he is a shrine having gold about it.
"He is an altar having wine poured upon it; having many quires singing around; he is a clean chalice with ale in it; he is bronze, white, shining; he is gold."
Twin, Son of Cairell
Finnen of Magh Bile, saint of the GaeI, went one time into Ulster to a rich fighting-man that had no good belief and that would not let him or his people into his house, but left them fasting through the Sunday. Then there came to them a very old clerk and bade them to come with him. "Come to my dwelling-place" he said "for it will be more fitting for you." They went with him then, and they went through the duties of the Lord's day with psalms and with preachings and with offerings. Then Finnen asked him his name. "I am one of the men of Ulster" he said "and I am now Tuan, son of Cairell; but Tuan grandson of Sera, son of Partholon's brother, that was my name at the first." Then Finnen hade him to tell all that had happened in Ireland from the time of Partholon, and they said they would not eat with him until he had told them the stories of Ireland. "It is hard not to be thinking of the word of God you have been giving out to us" said Tuan. But Finnen said "You have leave to tell us now your own story, and the story of Ireland." "Five times" he said then "Ireland was taken after the flood; and then Partholon and his people took it, and between two Sundays a sickness came upon them, that they all died but one man only. But it is not the custom for destruction to come without one coming out of it to tell the story, and I myself am that one" he said. "After that I was going from hill to hill and from cliff to cliff, keeping myself from wolves through two and twenty years, and all Ireland empty. Then the withering of age came upon me, and I was in waste places and my walk failed me, and I took caves for myself. Then Nemed my father's brother came into Ireland with his people, and I saw them from the cliffs, and I was avoiding them, and I hairy, clawed, withered, grey, naked, sorrowful, miserable. Then one night in my sleep I saw myself going into the shape of a stag, and I was in that shape, and young and glad in my mind. And there grew upon my bead two antlers having three score points, and I was the leader of the herds of Ireland, and there was a great herd of stags about me whatever way I went. That is the way I spent my life through the time of Nemed and his race, but they all died in the end. Then the withering of age came upon me again, and I was going away from men and from wolves. One time I was at the door of my cave, I remember it yet, I knew 1 was going from one shape into another. It was into the shape of a wild boar I went and it is what I said:
'I am a boar to-day among many; I am a king looking for victories; the King of all has put me in hard trouble under many shapes. When I was at Dun bre in the mornings fighting against old fighting men, it is comely my troop was beyond the pool; a beautiful host was following me.
'It is swift my troop was, going in revenge among armies; throwing my spears on every side against the hosts of Inisfail.
'When we were in the gathering giving out the judgments of Partholon it was sweet to everyone what I said; those were the words that went very close.
'It is sweet was my pleasant judgment among the beautiful women; stately my comely chariot; sweet my singing across a dark plain.
'It is swift was my step without straying in the first rush of the battles; it is comely my face was that day; to-day it is the dark face of a boar.'
"For it was in that shape I was truly" he said "and I was young and glad in my mind, and I was the king of the boar-herds of Ireland, and I went the round of my dwelling when I came into the district of Ulster; for it was in that place I changed into all those shapes, and it is to that place I came for renewing in the time of my withering and my misery. Then Semion son of Stariath and his people took this island. From them are the Fir Domnann and the Firbolg and the Galliana, and all these lived their time in Ireland. And age came upon me, and my mind was troubled, and I could not do the things I was used to. And I went back to my own place, and I remembered every shape I was in before, and I fasted my three days as I had always done, and I had no strength left. And after that I went into the shape of a great hawk and my mind was glad again, I was able to do everything; and I said to myself that dearer to me every day was God, the Friend who had shaped me. Then Beothach son of Iarbonel the prophet took this island from the races that were in it. From them are the Tuatha De Danaan and the An-De; and where they came from the learned do not know, but it seems to them likely they came from heaven, because of their skill and the excellence of their knowledge. I was a long time in the shape of that hawk till I outlived all the races that had taken the land of Ireland. Then the sons of Miled took the island by force from the Tuatha De Danaan, and I was in the shape of that hawk yet, and I was in the hollow of a tree on a river. It is sorrowful my mind was; all the birds came to me quietly. There I fasted three days and three nights and sleep fell upon me, and I went there and then into the shape of a salmon, and God put me into the river and I was in it. It is well content I was then and strong and well nourished, and it is good my swimming was, and I used to escape from every net and every danger, from the claws of hawks and from the hands of fishermen and their spears; and the marks of everyone of them are on me yet. And when God, my help, thought it time, and when the beasts were following me and I was known to every fisherman in every pool, the fisherman of Cairell, king of that country, took me and brought me to the queen, I remember it well; the man put me on a spit and roasted me, and the queen, that had a desire for fish, eat me so that I was in her womb. I remember well the time I was in her womb and what each one said to her in the house, and all that was done in Ireland through that time. I remember after my birth when speech came to me as it comes to every person, and I knew all that was going on in Ireland, and I was a seer and they gave me the name of Tuan son of Cairell. After that, Patrick came with the faith to Ireland and I was baptized and believed in the only King of all things and of the Elements." And after Tuan had told that, Finnen and his people stopped there through a week talking with him. And every history and every genealogy that is in Ireland, it is from him it comes; or if not from him, then from Fintain, that Tuan said was older again than himself, as he was; being son of Bochra, son of Bith, son of Noah.
Fintain's Yew Tree
And when Fintain came to Ireland is not known; but anyway it was for him and for Tuan that Diarmuid King of Teamhuir sent one time when there was a dispute about land and about the old custom. And when Fintain came he had eighteen troops with him, nine before him and nine after him, that were all of them his children's children. And when the king's people asked how far did his memory go back "I will tell you that" he said. "I passed one day through the west of Munster, and I brought home with me a red berry of a yew tree and I planted it in my garden and it grew there till it was the height of a man. I took it out of the garden then and I planted it in the green lawn before my house, and it grew in that lawn till a hundred fighting men could come together under its branches, and find shelter there from wind and rain and cold and heat. And I myself and my yew tree were wearing out our time together, till at last all the leaves withered and fell from it. And then to get some profit from it I cut it down and I made from it seven vats, seven kieves, seven barrels, seven churns, seven pitchers, seven measures, seven methers, with hoops for all. I went on then with my yew vessels till the hoops fell from them with age and rottenness. After that I made them over again, but all I could get was a kieve out of the vat, a barrel out of the kieve, a mug out of the barrel, a pitcher out of the mug, a measure out of the pitcher, and a mether out of the measure. And I leave it to the great God" he said "that I do not know where is their dust now, after the crumbling of them away from me through age."
How Conchubar the High King died for Christ
The time Conchubar High King of Ireland was fighting in Connacht and was given a wound in the head with a hard ball that lodged there, it was Fintain the great healer tended him, and took a thread of gold that was the one colour with the King's hair and sewed up the wound. And he bade him to be careful and not to give way to anger or to passion, and not to be running or to go riding on a horse. So through seven years he stayed in his quietness until the coming of the Friday of the Crucifixion. And on that day he took notice of a change that came over the world, and of the darkening of the sun until the moon was seen at the full; and he asked his druid that was with him the meaning of that great change. "It is Jesus Christ the Son of God" said the druid "that is at this time meeting with his death by the Jews." "It is a pity" said Conchubar "that he did not call out for the help of a High King. And that would bring me myself there" he said "in the shape of a hardy fighter, my lips twitching, until the great courage of a champion would be heard breaking a gap of battle between two armies. It is with Christ my help would be; a wild shout going out; the keening of a full lord, a full loss. I would make my complaint to the trusty army of the high feats, their ready beautiful help would relieve him; beautiful the overthrowing I would give his enemies; beautiful the fight I would make for Christ that is defouled; I would not rest although my own body was tormented. Why would we not cry after Christ, he that is killed in Armenia, he that is more worthy than any worthy king? I would go to death for his safety; it crushes my heart to hear the outcries and the lamentations!" And with that he took his sword and he rushed at an oakwood that was near at hand, and could be among the Jews, that is the treatment he would give And from the greatness of the anger that gripped him, the wound in his head burst open and the ball started from it brought away the brain with it. And that is the way Conchu King of Ireland met with his death.
The Wonders told by Philip the Apostle that was called the Ever-Living Tongue
In the old time the people used to be looking at the moon and at the sun and the rest of the stars, travelling and ever-travelling, through the day, and at the flowing and ever-flowing of the world's wells and rivers, and at the sadness of the earth and the trance and the sleep of it with the coming of winter, and the rising of the world again with the coming of the summer. But it was all like a head in a bag to them or like living in a dark house, until such time as Philip the Apostle told the whole story of the making of heaven and earth at the great gathering in the east of the world. It is the way that gathering was, it lasted through the four seasons under nine hundred white golden-crowned canopies upon the hill of Sion. And five thousand nine hundred and fifty tower-candles and precious stones there were kindled and giving out light that there might be no hindrance from any sort of weather. Late now upon Easter Eve there was heard a clear voice that was speaking the language of the angels, and the sound of it was like the laughter of an army or like the outcry of a very big wind; and with that it was no louder than the talk of friend in the ear of friend, and it was sweeter than any music. That now was the voice of Philip the Apostle, for it was he was sent to tell out the story of the making of the world; and it is long he was speaking and these are some of the wonders that he told.
The Seven Heavens
As to the Seven Heavens that are around the earth, the first of them is the bright cloudy heaven that is the nearest and that has shining out of it the moon and the scattering of stars. Beyond that are two flaming heavens, angels are in them and the breaking loose of winds. I Beyond those an ice-cold heaven, bluer than any blue, seven times colder than any snow, and it is out of that comes the shining of the 1 sun. Two heavens there are above that again, bright like flame, and it is out of them shine the fiery stars that put fruitfulness in the clouds and in the sea. A high heaven, high and fiery, there is above all the rest; highest of all it is, having within it the rolling of the skies, and the labour of music, and choirs of angels. In the belts now of the seven heavens are hidden the twelve shaking beasts that have fiery heads upon their heavenly bodies and that are blowing twelve winds about the world. In the same belts are sleeping the dragons with fiery breath, tower-headed, blemished, that give out the crash of the thunders and blow lightnings out of their eyes.
The Secrets of the Sea
There are three waters of the sea now around the world, The first of them is a seven-shaped sea under the belly of the world, and against that sea hell is roaring and raising up a shout in die valley. The second is a sea green and bright round about the earth on every side; ebbing and flood it has and casting up of fruits. The third sea is a sea aflame, nine winds are let out of the heavens to call it from its sleep; three score and ten and four hundred songs its eaves sing, and it awakened; a noise of thunder comes roaring out of its wave-voice; flooding and ever flooding it is from the beginning of the world, and with all that it is never full but of a Sunday. In its sleep it is till the thunders of the winds are awakened by the coming of God's Sunday from heaven, and by the music of the angels. Along with those there are many kinds of seas around the earth on every side; a red sea having many precious stones, bright as Flood, well coloured, golden, between the lands of Egypt and the lands of India. A sea bright, many-sanded, of the colour of snow, in the north around the islands of Sabarn. So great is the strength of its waves that they break and scatter to the height of the clouds. Then a sea waveless, black as a beetle; no ship reaching it has escaped from it again but one boat only by the lightness of its going and the strength of its sails; shoals of beasts there are lying in that sea. A sea there is in the ocean to the south of the island of Ebian. At the first of the summer it rises in flood till it ebbs at the coming of winter; half the year it is in flood it is, and half the year always ebbing. Its beasts and its monsters mourn at the time of its ebbing and they fall into sadness and sleep. They awake and welcome its flooding, and the wells and the streams of the world increase; going and coming again they are through its valleys.
Four of the World's Wells
The well of Ebian turns to many colours in the course of every day. The colour of snow is in it from the rising of the sun to tierce; green it is, many-changing like serpents, from tierce to nones. From nones to dawn it is turned to the colour of blood; no smile or laughter comes upon the mouth that has tasted it for ever. The well of Assian in Lybia gives help to barren women; drinking it they bear children.The well of Presens rises up against killers of parents, and idol worshippers, and all bad persons. Every mouth that tastes it turns to anger and madness and never speaks again, but perishes in grief and mourning. The well of Zion flows full on every Sunday; shining at night like the sun it is, and turning to every beautiful colour from holy hour to hour. There is no taste of oil or wine or honey in the world that is not found in it, and it never rests from filling and is never seen to flow away on any side. Sadness or trouble of mind has never come upon any one who has drunk of it, and he has not been given over to death.
The Four Precious Stones
The stone Adamant in the land of India grows no colder in any wind or snow or ice; there is no heat in it under burning sods; nothing is broken from it by the striking of axe and of hammers; there is one thing only breaks that stone, the Blood of the Lamb at the Mass; and every king that has taken that stone in his right hand before going into battle, has always gained the victory. The stone Hibien in the lands of Hab flames like a fiery candle in the darkness of the night. It spills out poison put before it in a vessel; every snake that comes near to it or crosses it dies on the moment. The stone of Istien in the lands of Lybia is found in the brains of dragons after their death. The pools and the great lakes boil up by reason of it over their borders; it shines through water; it is like thunder in the winter time but in summer it has the sound of the winds. The stone of Fanes in the lands of Aulol out of the stream of Dam. Twelve stars there are seen in its side and the wheel of the moon and the fiery journey of the sun. in the hearts of the dragons it is always found that make their journey under the sea. No one having it in his hand can tell any lie till he has put it from him. No race or army could bring it into a house where there is one that has made away with his father. At the hour of matins it gives out sweet music that there is not the like of under heaven.
The Four Trees that have a Life like the Angels
The tree Sames at the meeting of Jor and Dan bears its fruit three times every year. Bright green its first fruit is, and red the next, and the last is shining; when the first of the fruit is ripe another grows out of its flowers, and every witless person tasting that fruit comes back into his right mind. No leaf has ever fallen from that tree, and there is no person having sickness upon him or blemish, but is healed through coming under its shadow. The tree of Life in Adam's Paradise; no mouth that has tasted its fruit has gone to death afterwards, and it was by reason of that tree Adam and Eve were banished out of Paradise; for if they had tasted its fruit death would not have come to them at any time, but they would have been ever-living. Twelve times it bears fruit every year, in every month a well-coloured harvest; and the sweet smell of Paradise reaches out from it as far as a seven summer days' journey. The tree Alab in the islands of Sab is shaped in the form of a man; the blossoms of it quell every disease and every poison; the sweet smell of its flowers is felt to the length of a journey of six summer days; precious stones are the kernels of its fruit. Anger it banishes and envy it banishes from every heart that its juice has run over. The tree Nathaben in the lands of the Hebrews south of Mount Zion. That tree was never found by any son of men from the beginning of the world, but on the one day only when there was need of a tree for Christ's hanging; and it is from its branches the Cross was made through which the world was saved. Seven times it bears fruit in the year, and seven times it changes its flowers, and the brightness of the moon and of the sun and the shining of the stars shine out of them; and its leaves and its flowers sing together since the beginning of the world, two and seventy kinds of music at the coming of the winds. Three score birds and five and three hundred, bright like snow, golden-winged, sing many songs from its branches; it is a right language they sing together, but the ears of men do not recognise it.
The Journey of the Sun
God made on the fourth day the two and seventy kinds of the wandering stars of heaven, and the fiery course of the sun that warms the world with the sense and the splendour of angels. Twelve plains there are under the body of the earth he lightens every night; the fiery sea laughs against his journey; ranks of angels come together, welcoming his visit after the brightness of the night. The first place he brightens is the stream beyond the sea, with news of the eastern waters. Then he lightens the ocean of fire and the seas of sulphur-fire that are round about the red countries. Then he shines upon the troops of boys in the pleasant fields, who send out their cry to heaven through dread of the beast that kills thousands of armies under the waves of the south. Then he shines upon the mountains that have streams of fire, on the hosts that protect them in the plains. Then the ribs of the great beast shine, and the four and twenty champions rise up in the valley of pain. He shines over against the terrible many-thronged fence in the north that has closed around the people of hell. He shines on the dark valleys having sorrowful streams over their faces. He brightens the ribs of the beast that sends out the many seas around the earth; that sucks in again the many seas till the sands on every side are dry. He shines upon the many beasts that sleep their sleep of tears in the valley of flowers from the first beginning of the world; and on the sorrowful tearful plain, with the dragons that were set under the mist. He shines then upon the bird-flocks singing their many tunes in the flower-valleys; upon the shining plains with the wine-flowers that lighten the valley; he shines at the last against Adam's Paradise till he rises up in the morning from the east. There would be many stones now for the sun to tell upon his journey, if he had but a tongue to give them out.
The Nature of the Stars
The stars now differ in their nature from one another. As to the ten stars of Gaburn, trembling takes hold of them, .and fiery manes are put over their faces, to foretell a plague or a death of the people. Other stars there are that bring great heat or great cold or great mists upon the earth; others there are that run to encourage the dragons that blow lightnings on the world; others of them run to the end of fifty years and then ask their time for sleeping. To the end of seven years they sleep till they awake at the shout of the blessed angels, and the voices of the dragons of the valley. Others run through the six days and the six nights till the coming of the Sunday; at its beginning they begin their many kinds of music, and they fall asleep again till the coming again from heaven of God's Sunday, and with that they follow the same round.
The High Ever-Living Birds
The birds of the island Naboth, it is a pleasant work they are doing; they give a welcome to the heat and to the colours of the summer; at midnight they awake and sing the sweet string-music; there never was seen upon the floor of the world any colour that is not I upon their wings.
The birds of Sabes; their wings shine in the night-time like candles of fire; sickness is turned to health under the shadow of their wings; they fall into a sleep of darkness in the cold time of the winter; at the first of the summer they awake. They sing in their sleep a high pleasant song, that is like the thunder of wind.
The birds of Abuad in the islands between the east of Africa and the sky; their feathers have lasted on them from the very beginning of the world; there is not one bird of them wanting; there is no increase of their numbers. The sweet smell of the flowers, the taste of the seven wine-rivers of the plain where they have their dwelling, that is their lasting food; they sing their song in a right fashion, till the coming of the song of the angels in the night.
The three bird-flocks are divided; they give their share of music to the humming of the angels overhead; swift as riders on horses they travel quickly through the air. Two birds and seventy and seventy thousand and no lie in it, that is the number surely in every flock of the birds.
The first of the flocks sing pleasantly; it is not unfitting is their sweetness, the whole of the wonderful courses that God made before the world.
The birds that are well-wishers tell out in the end of the night-time all the wonders God will do in the day of the Judgement of the Racings.
If men could but hear those birds without fault giving out their pleasant talking, and ever to part with that music again, they would die with fretting after it.
Four of the Strange Races of Mankind
As to the fighting-men of the island of Ebia, six and fifty feet is the length of every one of them. They do not awake out of their sleep but through a storm of the sea or the outcry of a battle or the sound of music; when they rise up out of sleep their eyes are shining like the stars. They conquer the seas by a hint from their eyes till the beasts of it cast themselves ashore to satisfy them. Fair flaming people in the island of Idab; flames come from their mouth in the weight of their anger; their eyes shine like candles in the night time; the hair and the bodies of them shine like snow smelted into great whiteness; fish from many seas, without boiling, without broiling, that is their provision. The women in the mountains of Armenia, their bodies are greater than those of any people; they bear daughters only; their anger and their courage as they go into battle is harder than the anger of men. They rise from their sleep at midnight, they loose flashes of fire from their mouths; their beards reach to their middle; there is always found in their right hand after birth, gold that is brighter than every blaze. The people of Fones in the lands of Lybia; their eyes flame like sparks of fire in their anger; there cannot come enough of men about one of them to put him down by force; the strength and the sweetness of their voices are above any voices and any horns; at the time of their dying it is a stream of wine that comes from their mouth; in their sleep thea sing a mournful song, the like of it has not been found.
The Valley of Pain
So great is the greatness of the cold there, that if a breath the like c it could be thrown into the world through the hole of a pipe, every bird in the air and every beast under the sea and everything li on the earth would die.
So great is the fierceness of the fire there, that if some of it should be cast into the world through a pipe, all the waters would e before it, and the living beasts in the sea would burn.
So great is the greatness of the hunger and thirst there, that if a share of it could be thrown into the world for one hour only, all that it would find of beasts and of men and of birds, would perish in that hour through hunger and through thirst
So great is the greatness of the fear there, that if one grain of such fear should come into the world, all the creatures of the sea and of the air and the earth, would fall into madness and lose their wits through the dint of the terror, and would die.
Such is the greatness of the grief and the sorrow there, that if any of it could be cast through a pipe into the world, there would be no warmth, nor pleasure, nor faces of friends, nor wine, nor welcome but every heart it came to would die under crying and under grief. It was Philip the Apostle told out these wonders and many others along with them to the kings and the people and the children at. the great gathering in the east of the world.
The Cloud of Witnesses
The time Mochaemhog, saint of the Gael, made his dwelling-place at Liath Mor, the King of Munster took a liking to a meadow belonging to him, and he put his horses into it; and when Mochaemhog got word of that he went and turned them out of the meadow. There was great anger on the King then, and he gave orders the saint should be banished out of the country But when Mochaemhog heard that, he went straight to Cashel of the Kings, and he himself and the King of Munster disputed for a while. And after that in the night time the king had a vision, and in the vision an old man, very comely and shining, came to him and took him by the hand, and led him from the room to the wall of Cashel that was to the south side, and from it he saw the whole of Magh Femen filled with a host of white saints having the appearance of flowers.He asked what great host that was, and the old man said they were Blessed Patrick and the saints of Ireland that had come to the help of Mochaemhog. "And if you do not make an agreement with him" he said "you will meet with your death." The king fell asleep then, and he saw the old man coming to him a second time, and he took him by the hand again and led him to the wall on the north side. And from there he showed him a sight like the first, the whole of Magh Mossaid filled with a shining flowery host, having white clothing; and it seemed to the king that they stopped at the mering between the two plains. And the old man told him that was the host of Saint Brigit and all the holy young girls of Ireland, that were brought there by Blessed Ita, that was of the kindred of Mochaemhog and his fosterer.
A Praise of Caillen and his Blessed Death
Caillen, saint of the Gael, told the whole story of Ireland from the very beginning. It was by Finntain the high elder of Ireland he was reared and taken care of until his hundredth year was at an end. He sent him then to the East the way he would bring back knowledge to the men of Ireland. And he stopped there in the East through the length of two hundred years.
It was an angel brought him back to Ireland, to the Yew Tree at Baile's Strand to wear out the rest of his life. "And the reason I stop here" he said "in Ireland of many crosses, is that I never saw to this day a country that is more blessed."
It was Caillen turned the druids into stone pillars because they mocked at the clerks; it is he was an unebbing sea in wonders and in lasting praise of his Master.
Columcille came and stopped with him a while at the place of Baile's Yew Tree. His choice place it was of all he had ever seen, north or east, south or west.
Conall King of Teamhuir put it on his children to pay tribute to Caillen and to them that came after him for ever; it is the tribute he promised, in the presence of the saints of Ireland, the riding horse of every king in every third year, and his coloured cloak; and a horse from the wife of every chief man. The sureties now of that tribute were Patrick apostle of Ireland with his saints, and Michael with the angels of heaven.
It was Patrick gave Caillen the bell that would heal every sickness and every oppression and trouble, and that brought to the sons of Niall that obeyed it fair weather, prosperity and peace, and the good luck of a king in every place; & that bell was the breaking of luck to every troop it was rung against.
When God thought it time Caillen should go to heaven, and when the people of heaven were standing waiting for him. it is in the church he was of Mochaemhog, that had given baptism to the children of Lir.
And he told out a vision he had that night; "And it vexed my heart and my head" he said "for I saw in it the Saxons coming across the sea, and I saw Ireland in great bondage under them. And it is time for me to go to heaven" he said "for I have fulfilled five hundred years to-night. And when my body is buried" he skid "there will be a host of angels near me. For three hundred angels there used to be about me at my rising and at my lying down in my bed; and I never said the Hours until such time as I heard the people of Heaven doing the like." Until now, the stars of the sky, and the sands of the sea, and the grass and the rest of the herbs of the earth, and the dew that is on them are counted, I could not tell all the wonders done by blessed Caillen, unless an angel of God would teach me.
The Calling of Martin the Miller
There is blood shed in every house of the Gael in Ireland on Saint Martin's day, for he is a great saint and he has given good help to many a poor man. A miller he was, and the Blessed Mother and the Child came to him one time at the mill, and the Mother held out a few grains of wheat in her hand and she said "Put those in the quern and turn the wheel for me." "It is no use" said he "to put in a little handful of grains like that." "It is use" said the Blessed Mother. So he put them in the quern then and turned the wheel, and there were ten sacks in the place, and they were all filled with the flour that came from those few grains. And when Saint Martin saw that, he sold the mill and all that he had, and went following after the Blessed Mother and the Child.
Martin and the Grass-Corn
He went to a house one time, and the farmer that owned the house was out scattering water on the field, for there was red heat that year and no rain, and he had the seed sown and he did not think the corn would grow without he would go scattering water on it. The woman of the house told that to Saint Martin; and she was mixing dough at the time, and he asked a bit of the dough of her and she gave it, for he had the appearance of a poor man. And he put the bit of dough she gave him in the oven and went away leaving it there. And when the woman of the house opened the oven after a while, there was grass-corn growing up through the dough, and a drop of dew on the top of every blade. It was for an example Martin did that, to show the man of the house that God could make grass-corn grow even in the heat of the oven; for if he had believed that, he would not have gone scattering water over the fields.
The Birth of Colman of Aidhne
When Rhinagh that was of the race of Dathi was with child by Duach, it was told to the King of Connacht of that time that the son she would bear would be greater than his own sons. And when he heard that, he bade his people to make an end of Rhinagh before the child would be born. And they took her and tied a heavy stone about her neck and threw her into the deep part of the river, where it rises inside Coole. But by the help of God, the stone that was put about her neck did not sink but went floating upon the water, and she came to the shore and was saved from drowning. And that stone is to be seen yet, and it having the mark of the rope that was put around it. And just at that time there was a blind man had a dream in the north about a well beside a certain ash tree, and he was told in the dream he would get his sight if he bathed in the water of that well. And a lame man had a dream about the same well that he would find at Kiltartan, and that there would be healing in it for his lameness. And they set out together, the lame man carrying the man that had lost his sight, till they came to the tree they had dreamed about. But all the field was dry, and there was no sign of water unless that beside the tree was a bunch of green rushes. And then the lame man saw there was a light shining out from among the rushes; and when they came to them they heard the cry of a child, and there by the tree was the little baby that was afterwards Saint Colman. And they took him up and they said "If we had water we would baptize him." And with that they pulled up a root of the rushes, and a well sprang up and they baptized him; and that well is there to this day. And the water in springing up splashed upon them, and the lame was cured of his lameness, and the blind man got his sight. And many that would have their blindness cured go and sleep beside that well; and many that are going to cross the sea to America, take with them a bit of a blessed board from an old tree that is in that field.
His Home in Burren
He was a great saint afterwards, and his name is in every place. Seven years he was living in Burren in a cleft of the mountains, no one in it but himself and a mouse. It was for company he kept the mouse, and it would awaken him when he was asleep and when the time would come for him to be minding the Hours. And it is not known in the world what did the dear man get for food through all that time. And that place he lived in is a very holy place, being as it is between two blessed wells. No thunder falls on it, or if there is thunder it is very little, and does no injury.
The Little Lad and the Birds
And if it is long since Colman left this life and the churches he had made, it is well he minds the people yet, and there are many get their eyesight at the wells he blessed, and it is many a kindness he has done from time to time for the people of Aidhne and of Burren. There was a little lad in Kiltartan one time that a farmer used to be sending out to drive the birds off his crops; and there came a day that was very hot and he was tired, and he dared not go in or fall asleep, for he was in dread of the farmer beating him. And he prayed to Saint Colman, and the saint came and called the birds into a barn, and they all stopped there through the heat of the day till the little lad had got a rest, and never came near the grain or meddled with it at all.
The Little Lad in the Well
There was a boy fell into the blessed well that is near the seven churches at Kilmacduagh, a little lad he was at the time, wearing a little red petticoat and a little white jacket. And when some of the people of the house went to draw water, they looked down in the well and saw him standing up in the water, and they got him out and brought him in to the fire and he was nothing the worse. And he said it was a little grey man, that was Saint Colman, came to him in the well and put his hand under his chin, and kept his head up over the water.
Colman helps a Farmer
There was a man going home from Kinvara one night having a bag full of oats on the horse. And it fell and he strove to lift it again but he could not, for it was weighty. Then the saint himself, Saint Colman, came and helped him with it, and put it up again for him on the horse.
He shows Respect for Respect
There was another man living up beyond Corcomruadh, and he never missed to go to the blessed well that is above Oughtmana on the name day of the Saint. And at last it happened he was sick in his bed and he could not go. And Saint Colman came to him to the side of the bed and said "It is often you came to me, and now it is I myself am come to you." It is about forty years ago that happened.
A Very Good Well
Saint Colman's well beyond Kinvara is a very good well. To perform around it seven times you should, and to leave a button or a tassel or some such thing on the bush. The people of Coole and of Tyrone used to be going to it at the time of the wars, asking safety for their sons and their husbands and their brothers. And whoever would pray there would be freed from the war, and would come safe home again.
Marbhan's Hymn of Content
Marbhan that was brother to Guaire King of Connacht, left his brother's house and his share of his father's inheritance, and went into some lonely wild place, it is likely in some part of Burren, where Colman that was his kinsman had gone. And some say he was herding pigs for the King there, but anyway he was serving God. And King Guaire followed him there and asked him to come back where he could sleep upon a bed and not be laying his head upon a hard fir tree in the night time. But Marbhan would not leave the place he had chosen, for he said he was well content with the little cabin he had in the wood, and that no one had knowledge of except God. And he made a song praising it and it is what he said:
"The size of my cabin is small, not too small; it is many are its lucky paths; a beautiful woman, coloured like a blackbird, sings a sweet strain upon the roof.
"Goats and swine are lying down about it; tame pigs, wild pigs, grazing deer; a badger's brood, foxes to meet them in peace, that is delightful.
"An apple tree, great the advantage, ready like an inn, lucky; a thick little bush with fistfuls of hazel-nuts; green, full of branches.
"A rowan tree, a sloe bush; dark black thorns, plenty of food; acorns, haws, yew berries; bare berries, bare flags.
"Buzzing of bees, the heifers lowing, the cackle of wild geese before the winter; the voice of the wind against the branches; that is delightful music.
"And in the eyes of Christ" he said "I am no worse off than yourself Guaire, without one hour of fighting or the noise of quarrels in my house." And when Guaire heard that he said he would be willing to give up his inheritance and his kingship to be in the company of Marbhan.
Guaire, the Helper of the Poor
For if Guaire was not a saint, he was well worthy to be the brother and the kinsman of saints, and they would never have been in poverty if he had his way. And he gave alms till his right arm grew to be longer than the left, with the dint of stretching it out to the poor. He was beaten in battle one time by Diarmuid Ruanaidh, and he had to make his submission, lying stretched on the ground, and having the point of Diarmuid's sword beneath his teeth. And when he was lying that way Diarmuid said "We will find out now is it for the love of God he does his great charity, or is it for the praises of the people." So he bade a poor miserable beggar of his people to ask an alms of Guaire. "An alms to me Guaire!" said the beggar; and Guaire gave him his golden pin. The beggar went from him then, but a man of Diarmuid's people followed him and took away the pin and gave it to Diarmuid. Then the beggar came back to Guaire, complaining and telling how the pin was taken from him. And there was pity in Guaire's heart and he gave him his belt that had on it golden ornaments, and that was all he had left to him of riches, and the beggar went away, and Diarmuid's people followed him the second time and took away the belt and gave it to Diarmuid. Then the beggar came back with his story to Guaire where he was lying, having the sword between his teeth yet. And when King Guaire saw the poor man so sorrowful, great tears went rolling down his cheeks. Diarmuid asked him then "Is it for being conquered by me you are in that trouble?" "I give my word" said Guaire "it is not, but it is for the sake of that beggar over there." And Diarmuid said "Rise up, it is not under my power you should be, or to me you should show submission, for you are under the power of a king that is better than myself, the King of heaven and earth."
His Kindness to the Bush
One time there was a great troop of the poets in Guaire's house in the winter time, and a woman of the poets' household had a desire for ripe blackberries. But everybody said there were no blackberries to be got, ripe or unripe, at that time of the year. But as one of Guaire's people was out in the fields he saw a bush that was covered with a cloak, and under the cloak the blackberries were ripe and sound, and they were brought in to the woman, and there was no reproach upon the King's house. This now was the way that happened: King Guaire was going through the field at harvest time, and the thorns of the bush took hold of the cloak he was wearing, and held it. And Guaire was not willing to refuse so much as a bush that asked anything of him, and he left the cloak there on the branches. And for that kindness he got his reward in the end.
The Making of the Harp
It was Marbhan the hermit that gave out news one time of the way the first harp was ever made, and this is the story that he told. There was a man and his wife, Cud son of Midhuel the man was, and Canoclach was the name of the wife. And she took a hatred to her husband, and she was running from him through every wilderness and every wood, and he was following after her ever and always. One day now the woman came to the sea at Camas, and she was walking along the strand and she met with the bare bones of a whale, and she heard the sounds of the wind passing through the bones and the sinews, and with listening to those sounds she fell asleep. And her husband came there and saw her sleeping, and when he knew it was through those sounds that sleep had fallen upon her, he went on into a wood and he made a shape like the hard high breastbone of a crane, and he put strings into it of the sinews of the whale; and that was the first harp of all the harps of the world.
Mochae and the Bird
It was on the Island of One Ridge on Loch Cuan that Mochae the Beautiful, saint of the Gael, built his church and the dwelling of the brothers. He went out, now, one day, and seven score young men with him, cutting rods to build the church, and he himself was working like the rest of them. He had his load ready before the others and he sat down beside it; & just then he heard a bird singing on the branch of a blackthorn that was close at hand; and it was more beautiful than any of the birds of the world. "This is hard work you are doing, Clerk" it said. "That is required of me in building a church of God" said Mochae. "And who is it is speaking to me?" he said. "It is an angel of God is here" said the bird "one of the people of Heaven." "A welcome to you and for what cause are you come?" "To speak the word of God and to cheer you for a while." "That pleases me well" said Mochae. Then the little bird from Heaven sang to Mochae three songs from the tree where he was, and there was fifty years in each song of those songs. And Mochae stopped there listening to it through three times fifty years, in the middle of the wood and having his bundle of rods by his side, and they were not withered, and the time seemed to him as if it was but one hour of the day. Then the angel left him and Mochae went back to the church with his load, and there he found a house of prayer that had been built to his memory by his friends, and he wondered at seeing a church built there. And when he came to the house where the brothers were, there was no one in it that knew him. But when he told his story and the way the bird had sung to him, they all knelt before him and made a shrine with the rods he had carried. And after that they built a church on the spot where he had listened to the bird; and the walls of that church are standing yet.
The Priest that was called Mad
There was a miller of Connacht more than fifty years ago, and he had his mill near the roadside. And the people do be saying there came some man that was no right man to him one night, and asked hini would he sooner his wife or his son to lose their wits. The miller made little of that question "For as to my wife" he said "she is the most sensible woman in the whole parish, and as to my son, he is in the college now and within a week he will be a priest, and there is no danger of madness upon him." "Time is a good story-teller" said the stranger. The first Sunday now the son that had been made a priest came home he read the Mass, that was the first and the last that ever he read. For that very night madness came upon him and he stripped off every bit of clothing, and out arid away with him through the country, and he bare naked, and carrying on his head a very large book he himself had written in Irish and in Latin. He quieted after that, but nothing anyone could do would bring him back to the father's house, and he would use nothing but a bit of meal or of watercress. And every night he would go and sleep alone in the mill, and having but the big book under his head. And in the daytime it was his custom to go out to a wide field where there was a great flock of sheep and of lambs, and he used to sit down in the middle of the field, and there was not a sheep or a lamb but would gather to him, and he used to be reading to them out of his book until he would be tired. Then everyone of them would come to him and would be licking his hands. And one time some person was listening to him unknown, and could hear him giving out his sermon to the sheep. "Listen to me" he was saying to them "you that are without sin. You are under the care of God, and there is grass growing for you and herbs, and there are nice white dresses upon you to keep you dry and warm; and there is no Judgement upon you after your death, and you are happier by far than the children of Eve." And he told them of the coming of the Son of God to the earth, and the bad treatment and the abuse that he was given; and a great many other things he told them out of the book. One night late now his father was uneasy about him, and he got a lantern and went to the mill and another man along with him. And when they opened the door they saw the whole of the mill lit up as bright as if it was the sun was lighting it. And the mad priest was lying there in his sleep, and the big book under his head, and a great shining ram was standing on each side of him, guarding him.
The Old Woman of Beare
Digdi was the name of the Old Woman of Beare. It is of Corca Dubhne she was and she had her youth seven times over, and every man that had lived with her died of old age, and her grandsons and great-grandsons were tribes and races. And through a hundred years she wore upon her head the veil Cuimire had blessed. Then age and weakness came upon her and it is what she said:
"Ebb-tide to me as to the sea; old age brings me reproach; I used to wear a shift that was always new; to-day I have not even a cast one.
"It is riches you are loving, it is not men; it was men we loved in the time we were living.
"There were dear men on whose plains we used to be driving; it is good the time we passed with them; it is little we were broken afterwards.
"When my arms are seen it is long and thin they are; once they used to be fondling, they used to be around great kings.
"The young girls give a welcome to Beltaine when it comes to them; sorrow is more fitting for me, an old pitiful hag.
"I have no pleasant talk; no sheep are killed for my wedding; it is little but my hair is grey; it is many colours I had over it when I used to be drinking good ale.
"I have no envy against the old, but only against women; I myself am spent with old age, while women's heads are still yellow.
"The stone of the kings on Feman; the chair of Ronan in Bregia; it is long since storms have wrecked them, they are old mouldering gravestones.
"The wave of the great sea is speaking; the winter is striking us with it; I do not look to welcome to-day Fermuid son of Mugh.
"I know what they are doing; they are rowing through the reeds of the ford of Alma; it is cold is the place where they sleep.
"The summer of youth where we were has been spent along with its harvest; winter age that drowns everyone, its beginning has come upon me.
"It is beautiful was my green cloak, my king liked to see it on me; it is noble was the man that stirred it; he put wool on it when it was bare.
"Amen, great is the pity, every acorn has to drop. After feasting with shining candles, to be in the darkness of a prayer-house.
"I was once living with kings, drinking mead and wine; to-day I am drinking whey-water among withered old women.
"There are three floods that come up to the dun of Ard-Ruide: a flood of fighting-men, a flood of horses, a flood of the hounds of Lugaidh's Son.
"The flood-wave and the two swift ebb-tides; what the flood-wave brings you in, the ebb-wave sweeps out of your hand.
"The flood-wave and the second ebb-tide; they have all come as far as me, the way that I know them well.
"The flood-tide will not reach to the silence of my kitchen; though many are my company in the darkness, a hand has been laid upon them all.
"My flood-tide! It is well I have kept my knowledge. It is Jesus Son of Mary keeps me happy at the ebb-tide.
"It is far is the island of the great sea where the flood reaches after the ebb; I do not look for flood to reach to me after the ebb-tide. "There is hardly a little place I can know again when I see it; what used to be on the flood-tide is all on the ebb to-day!"