Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/514

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502

The Sanctuary of Mourie.

both lines of descent. On his father's side he is stated to be descended from Niall of the Nine Hostages, Sovereign of Ireland; on his mother's side he was akin to Saint Comgall, the great Abbot of Bangor in county Down. He was born in 642, and became a member of St. Comgall's Society at Bangor, and possibly abbot of that church. When almost a youth, in 670 or 671, he crossed to Scotland, and after two years, according to Tighernach, "fundavit ecclesiam Apporcrosan." Here he ruled as abbot for fifty-one years, acquiring a reputation for sanctity that spread over all Ross-shire and the surrounding country and islands. "Eighty years was his age when he resigned his spirit", the Calendar of Donegall says. He died in 722, at Applecross, where he was interred. Dr. Reeves writes in 1859: "The spot which is supposed to be his grave is marked by a little hillock called the Claodh Maree. His tombstone, it is said, was sent from Norway by the king's daughter, and its material was red granite." He adds that some fragments of it were at that time lying about the churchyard, that it was broken when the manse was building, and with the débris of the old ruins was carted away for the w^alls of the dwelling-house. But in the midst of the proceedings the work was suspended in consequence of a dream which the master-mason had, warning him not to touch that stone. Soon after, he was thrown from the scaffolding, and on the stone his skull was fractured. In the faith of his countrymen the holy Malrubius can still punish modern sacrilege.

Dr. Reeves notes that "it is believed that a man who takes about his person a little earth from this churchyard may travel the world round, and that he will safely return to the neighbouring bay; also, that no one can commit suicide or otherwise injure himself when within view of this spot."

All the ancient Irish records expressly state that Malrubius died on April 21st. "It is in Alba he is—in Confur Crossan; and this (is) the festival of his death", is the gloss