Page:Historical Works of Venerable Bede vol. 2.djvu/262

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The waves changed to blood; and loss of the Holy Book.board were struck aghast like dead men. Three immense waves, coming one after the other with dreadful sound, almost half filled the vessel; and, by a miracle unheard of since those of Egypt, were immediately changed to blood. This storm forced the ship on its beam-ends; and a copy of the Evangelists, adorned with gold and jewels, fell overboard into the sea. When they had a little recovered their senses, and recollected themselves, who and where they were, they bent their knees, and falling at full length before the feet of the saint, asked pardon for their foolish attempt. They then seized the helm, turned the vessel round to the shore where they had left their friends, and as they then had the wind favourable, they very soon arrived there. Then those who had before wept for sorrow, now wept for joy; but the bishop with his companions, shedding tears for shame and sorrow, prostrated himself on the ground, and earnestly prayed forgiveness of his sins.

§ 8. Meanwhile the people, compelled by want and hunger, after a long toil of many years, left attendance on the holy corpse, and dispersed themselves through the parts that were inhabited, to support their lives in the best manner they were able. For, except the bishop and the abbot, with a few of their men, all departed, save those seven who, as has been said, were accustomed to attend on the saint's body. These were they who had been brought up and educated by the monks, and when these were found wanting, had undertaken to follow the holy body of the venerable saint from Lindisfarne, and never whilst they lived to leave it. Four of these, who seemed to be older than the others, were Hunred, Stithard, Edmund, and Franco, from whose race many of the province of Northumberland, both priests and laymen, are the more proud of being descended, because these their ancestors are said to have attended with such fidelity on the body of the holy Cuthbert. When, therefore, the others were gone, and these were left alone with