Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/113

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father permission to return. It then departed and fetched its companion; and when they had both arrived, they brought in their beaks a large piece of hog's lard, which the man of God used to show to the brethren who invited him, and kept to grease their shoes with; testifying to them how earnestly they should strive after humility, when a dumb bird that had acted so insolently, hastened by prayers, lamentation, and presents, to obliterate the injury which it had done to man. Lastly, as a pattern of reformation to the human race, these birds remained for many years and built their nests in the island, and did not dare to give annoyance to any one. But let no one think it absurd to learn virtue from birds; for Solomon says, r. vi. 6"Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise."





Miraculously supplied with timber.§ 35. But not only did the animals of the air and sea, for the sea itself, as the air and fire, on former occasions which we have mentioned, exemplified their obedience to the venerable man. For it is no wonder that every creature should obey his wishes, who so faithfully, and with his whole heart, obeyed the great Author of all creatures. But we for the most part have lost our dominion over the creation that has been subjected to us, because we neglect to obey the Lord and Creator of all things. The sea itself, I say, displayed the most ready obedience to Christ's servant, when he had need of it. For he intended to build a little room in his monastery adapted to his daily necessities, and on the side towards the sea, where the waves had scooped a hollow, it was necessary to put some support across the opening, which was twelve feet wide.