Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/57

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The Voice of the Stone of Destiny. 45

who in a full assembly of the clergy and people, used to descend visibly on the person elect in the shape of a dove." ^ Among the apocryphal stories in The Book of Sir JoIdi Maiindeville we are told that in the convent on Mount Sinai are many lamps burning. The author, whoever he may have been, writes rather a muddled account of the election of " prelate of the abbey." I gather from it that each monk has a lamp, and that when a prelate is chosen his lamp will light of itself, if he be a good man and \\orthy of the office; if otherwise, the lamp, though lighted, will go out. An in- consistent tradition ran that the priest who sang mass for the deceased dignitary found written upon the altar the name of him who was to be chosen in his place. But though the miracle-monger who writes under the name of Sir John Maundeville professes to have been at the monas- tery and questioned the monks, he admits that he could not induce them to tell him the facts.-

The marvels reported of the election of Christian bishops are told with little variation of the election of other rulers. Paulus Diaconus relates that when Liutprand, king of the Lombards, a contemporary' of Charles Martel, was thought to be dying, his subjects met outside the walls of his capital, Pavia, at the church of St. Mary ad Perticas, to choose a successor. Their choice fell on the king's nephew^ Hildeprand, in whose hand they formally placed the royal spear. Immediately a cuckoo flew down and settled on the point of the spear, as it will be remembered a cuckoo in the Tartar story settled on the kalender's head. This, however, was reckoned by Lombard wiseacres as an evil omen. Their augury was so far justified, that King Liutprand did not die after all, but recovered from his sickness and was not well pleased that his subjects had been in such a hurry to find a successor. Yet he did not refuse to recognise his

' Middleton, Works (2nd. ed. London, 1755), vol. v., p. 153, citing " Hist. Raven., &c. Aring [hus], Rom[a] Subt[erranea], 1. vi., c. 48."

- Early Travels in Faleslinc. Ed. by Thomas Wright (London 1848), p. 158.