TRANSLATIONS OF CHRISTIAN LITERATURE. SERIES V LIVES OF THE CELTIC SAINTS
THE LATIN & IRISH LIVES OF CIARAN
By R.A. STEWART-MACALISTER
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SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE. London The Macmillan Company. New York
A HARMONY OF THE FOUR LIVES OF ST CIARAN
THE FIRST LATIN LIFE OF ST CIARAN
THE SECOND LATIN LIFE OF ST CIARAN
THE THIRD LATIN LIFE OF ST CIARAN
THE IRISH LIFE OF ST CIARAN
ANNOTATIONS TO THE FOREGOING LIVES
THE LATIN TEXT OF THE SECOND LIFE
THE LATIN AND IRISH LIVES OF CIARAN
Of all the saints of Ireland, whose names are recorded in the native Martyrologies, probably there were none who made so deep an impression upon the minds of their fellow-countrymen as did Ciaran of Clonmacnois. He stands, perhaps, second only to Brigit of Kildare in this respect; for Patrick was a foreigner, and Colum Cille accomplished his work and exercised his influence outside the shores of Ireland.
Doubtless much of the importance of Ciaran is reflected back from the outstanding importance of his great foundation—the monastic university, as it is fair to call it, of Cluain maccu Nois (in an English setting spelt "Clonmacnois"), on the shore of the Shannon. But this cannot be the whole explanation of the esteem in which he was held; it must be at least partly due to the memory of his own character and personality.
Such a conclusion is indicated if we examine critically the Lives of this saint, translations of which are given in the present volume, and compare them with the lives of other Irish saints. In studying all these documents we must bear in mind that none of them are, in any modern sense of the word, biographies. A biography, in the proper definition of the term, gives an ordered account of the life of its subject, with dates, and endeavours to trace the influences which shaped his character and his career, and the manner in which he himself influenced his surroundings. The so-called lives of saints are properly to be regarded as homilies. They were composed to be read to assemblies of the Faithful, as sermons for the festivals of the saints with whom they deal; and their purpose was to edify the hearers by presenting catalogues of the virtues of their subjects, and, especially, of their thaumaturgic powers. Thus they do not possess the unity of ordered and well-designed biographies; they consist of disconnected anecdotes, describing how this event or that gave occasion for a miraculous display.
It follows that to the historian in search of unvarnished records of actual fact these documents are useless, without most drastic criticism. They were compiled long after the time of their subjects, from tales, doubtless at first, and probably for a considerable time, transmitted by oral tradition. It would be natural that there should be much cross-borrowing, tales told about one saint being adapted to others as well, until they became stock incidents. It would also be nothing more than natural that many elements in the Lives should be survivals from more ancient mythologies, having their roots in pre-Christian beliefs. Nevertheless, none of these writings are devoid of value as pictures of life and manners; and even in descriptions of incredible and pointless miracles precious scraps of folk-lore are often embedded. In most, if not in all, cases, the incidents recorded in the Lives are to be criticised as genuine traditions, whatever their literal historicity may be; few, if any, are conscious inventions or impostures.
In the Lives of Ciaran there are many conventional incidents of this kind, which reappear in the lives of other saints. In the Annotations in the present edition a few such parallels are quoted; though no attempt is made to give an exhaustive list, the compilation of which would occupy more time and space than its scientific value would warrant. But there are certain other incidents of a more individual type, and it is these which make the Lives of Ciaran especially remarkable. They may well be genuine reminiscences of the real life, or at least of the real character of the man himself. Thus, there are a number of coincidences, clearly undesigned (noted below, p. 104) consistently pointing to a pre-Celtic parentage for the saint. Again, the saint's mother is represented as a strong personality, with a decided strain of "thrawnness" in her composition; while the saint himself is shown to us as distinguished by a beautiful unselfishness. This, it must be confessed, is very far from being a common character of the Irish saints, as they are represented to us by the native hagiologists; and in any case the character-drawing of the average Irish saint's life is so rudimentary, that when we are thus enabled to detect well-defined traits, we are quite justified in accepting them as based on the tradition of the actual personality of the saint. In other words, so deep was the impression which the man made upon his contemporaries during his short life, that his memorabilia seem to be, on the whole, of a more definitely historic nature than are those of other Irish saints.
There is, however, a disturbing element which must be kept in mind in criticising the Lives of Ciaran. He was the son of a carpenter, and he was said to have died at the age of thirty-three. It is quite clear that these coincidences with the facts of the earthly parentage and death of Christ were observed by the homilists—indeed the author of the Irish Life says as much, at the end of his work. They provoked a natural and perhaps wholly unconscious desire to draw other parallels; and if we may use a convenient German technical term, there is a traceable Tendenz in this direction, as is indicated in the Annotations on later pages. It is not to be supposed that even these apparently imitative incidents are (not to mince matters) mere pious frauds; they may well have come into existence in the folk-consciousness automatically, before they received their present literary form. But such a development could hardly have centred in an unworthy subject; there must have been a well-established tradition of a Christ-likeness of character in the man, for such parallels in detail to have taken shape.
The homiletic purpose of these documents is most clearly shown in the Irish Life. This was written to be preached as a sermon on the saint's festival ["this day to-day," Sec. 1], at Clonmacnois ["he came to this town," Sec. 34: "a fragment of the cask remained here till recently," Sec. 36: "here are the relics of Ciaran," Sec. 41. Similarly the First Latin Life, Sec. 35, calls the saint "Our most holy patron"]. The actual date of the Irish sermon is less easy to fix; the language has been modernised step by step in the process of transmission from manuscript to manuscript, but originally it may have been written about the eleventh century, though incorporating fragments of earlier material. The passage just quoted, saying that a certain relic had remained till recently, may possibly indicate that the homily had been delivered shortly after one of the many burnings and plunderings which the monastery suffered; in such a calamity the relic might have perished. The prophecy put into Ciaran's mouth, that "there would be great persecution of his city from evil men in the end of the world" [Irish Life, Sec. 38] seems to relate to such an event: it is very suggestive that exactly the same exprestion "great persecution from evil men" (ingrem mor o droch-daoinibh) is used in the Chronicon Scotorum of certain raids on the monastery which took place in the year A.D. 1091; and that on the strength of an old prophecy there was a belief in Ireland that the world was destined to come to an end in the year 1096, as we learn from the Annals of the Four Masters under that date. It must, however, be remembered that a date determined for a single incident does not necessarily date the whole compilation containing it.
The text of the First Latin Life (here called for convenience of reference LA) is found in an early fifteenth-century MS. in Marsh's Library, Dublin. It has been edited, without translation, by the Rev. C. Plummer in his most valuable Vitae Sanctorum Hiberniae (Oxford, 1910) vol. i, pp. 200-216. The translation given in this volume has been made from Plummer's edition, which I have collated with the original MS.
The text of the Second Latin Life (LB) is contained in two MSS. in the Bodleian Library (Rawl. B 485 and Rawl. B 505, here called R1 and R2). Of these R2 is a direct copy of R1, as has been proved by Plummer, in his description of these manuscripts. As to their date, there is no agreement; the estimate for R1 ranges from the first half of the thirteenth to the fourteenth century, R2 being necessarily somewhat later. The Life of Ciaran contained in these MSS. has been used by Plummer in editing LA, and extracts from it are printed in his footnotes. It has not, however, been previously printed in its entirety, and a transcript made by myself is therefore added here, in an Appendix.
The text of the Third Latin Life (LC) is contained in the well-known Brussels MS., called Codex Salmaticensis from its former sojourn at Salamanca. It is of the fourteenth century. This was the only continuous authority at the disposal of the compiler of the Bollandist life of our saint; he speaks of it in the most contemptuous terms. The life of Ciaran in this manuscript is a mere fragment, evidently copied from an imperfect exemplar; there seems to have been a chasm in the middle, and there is a lacuna at the end, which the scribe has endeavoured to conceal by adding the words "Finit, Amen." The translation here given has been prepared from the edition of the Salamanca MS. by de Smedt and de Backer, cols. 155-160.
The Irish Life (here denoted VG, i.e. Vita Goedelica) was edited by Whitley Stokes from the late fifteenth-century MS. called the Book of Lismore. The numerous errors in the Lismore text may be to some extent corrected by collation with another Brussels MS., written in the seventeenth century by Micheal o Cleirigh. Stokes has indicated the more important readings of the Brussels MS. in his edition. The scribe of the Lismore Text was conscious of the defects of his copy: for in a note appended to the Life of our saint, he says, "It is not I who am responsible for the meaningless words in this Life, but the bad manuscript"—i.e. the imperfect exemplar of which he was making a transcript.
There were other Lives of the saint in existence, apparently no longer extant. Of these, one was in the hands of the hagiographer Sollerius: for in his edition of the Martyrologium of Usuardus (Antwerp, 1714, p. 523) he says, Querani, Kirani, uel Kiriani uitam MS. habemus. uariaque ad eam annotata, quae suo tempore digerentur. This promise he does not appear to have fulfilled; the Bollandist compiler, as we have just noticed, had no materials but the imperfect Salamanca Life, and was forced to fill its many gaps as best he could, by diligently collecting references to Ciaran in the lives of other saints. Another Life of the saint seems to be referred to in the Martyrology of Donegal; under the 10th May that compilation quotes a certain "Life of Ciaran of Cluain" (i.e. Clonmacnois) as the authority for a statement to the effect that "the order of Comgall [of Bangor, Co. Down] was one of the eight orders that were in Ireland." It would be irrelevant to discuss here the meaning of this statement; its importance for us lies in the fact that the sentence is not found in any of the extant Lives, so that some other text, now unknown, must be in question.
Ciaran of Clonmacnois was not the only saint of that name. Besides his well-known namesake of Saighir (Seir-Kieran, King's Co.), there were a few lesser stars called Ciaran, and there is danger of confusion between them. The name reappears in Cornwall, with the regular Brythonic change of Q to P, in the form Pieran or Pirran. This Pieran is wrongly identified by Skene with our saint; a single glance at the abstract of the Life of St. Pieran given by Sir T.D. Hardy will show how mistaken this identification is. A similar confusion is probably at the base of the curious statement in Adam King's Scottish Kalendar of Saints, that Queranus was an "abot in Scotlād under king Ethus, [anno] 876" and of Camerarius' description of him as "abbas Foilensis in Scotia."
The four documents of which translations are printed in this book relate almost, though not quite, the same series of incidents. There is a sufficient divergence between them, both in selection and in order, as well as in the minor details, to make the determination of their mutual relationship a difficult problem. We must regard all four as independent compositions, though based on a common group of sources, which, in the first instance, were doubtless disjointed memorabilia, preserved by oral tradition in Clonmacnois. These would in time gradually become fitted into the four obvious phases of the saint's actual life—his boyhood, his schooldays, his wanderings, and his final settlement at Clonmacnois. It is not difficult to form a plausible theory as to how the systematisation took place, and also as to how the slight variants between different versions of the same story arose. The composition of hymns to the founder and patron would surely be a favourite literary exercise in Clonmacnois. In such hymns the different incidents would be told and re-told, the details varying with the knowledge and the metrical skill of the versifiers. There are excerpts from such hymns, in Irish, scattered through VG: and LB ends with a pasticcio of similar fragments in Latin. As a number of different metres are employed, both in the Irish and in the Latin extracts, there must have been at least as many independent compositions drawn upon by the compilers of the prose Lives: and it is noteworthy that there are occasionally discrepancies in detail between the verse fragments and their present prose setting. Most probably the prose Lives were based directly on the hymns; one preacher would use one hymn as his chief authority, another would use another, and thus the petty differences between them would become fixed, perhaps exaggerated as the prose writer filled in details for which the exigencies of verse allowed no scope. It is probably impossible to carry the history of the tradition further.
In order to facilitate comparison between the four documents, I have divided them into incidents, and have provided titles to each. These titles are so chosen that they may be used for every presentation of the incident, however the details may vary. The titles are numbered with Roman numerals, whilst the successive incidents within each of the Lives are numbered consecutively with Arabic numerals. The Harmony of the Four Lives, which follows this Introduction, will make cross-reference easy.
No modern biography, no edition of the ancient homiletic Lives, of Ciaran could be considered complete without a history of Clonmacnois, through which being dead he yet spake to his countrymen for a thousand years. It was the editor's intention to include such a history in the present volume; and this part of the projected work was drafted. But as it progressed, and as the indispensable material increased in bulk, it became evident that it would be impossible to do justice to the subject within the narrow limits of a volume of the present series. A slight or superficial history of Clonmacnois would be worse than none, as it would block the way for the fuller treatment which the subject well deserves. The materials collected for this part of the work have therefore been reserved for the present: it is hoped that their publication will not be long delayed.
[Footnote 1: The name is pronounced as a dissyllable, something like Kyee-raun, with a stress on the second syllable.]
[Footnote 2: The Bollandists long ago remarked as the special characteristics of Irish Saints' Lives, their doubtful historicity, their late date, and their continual repetition of stock incidents. (At priusquam id agam, lectorem duo uniuersim monitum uelim; primum est, quod Hibernorum sanctorum acta passim dubia sint fidei, et a scriptoribus minime accuratis ac aetate longe posterioribus conscripta; alterum est, quod in iisdem frequens occurrat rerum simillimarum narratio, quas uariis sanctis adscribunt, ita ut nescias cui tuto adscribi possint.—Acta Sanctorum, September, vol. iii, p. 372).]
[Footnote 3: Even the date of Ciaran's death may have been manipulated, in order to make his age conform to the age of Christ. As we shall see below, traditions vary.]
[Footnote 4: The end of the world is not actually mentioned in the Annals, but the expected plague referred to was undoubtedly the apparition of the mysterious Roth Ramhach, or "oar-wheel," an instrument of vengeance that was to herald the end of all things. For the references to this prophecy see O'Curry's Manuscript Materials of Ancient Irish History (index, sub voce "Roth Ramhach"), and the present writer's Study of the Remains and Traditions of Tara (Proceedings Royal Irish Academy, vol. xxxiv, sect. C, p. 231 ff.).]
[Footnote 5: The following corrections may be noticed. Page 201 of printed text, line 7, for Et cum read Cumque. Same page, line 24, for factum read factam (sic). Page 202, line 6, after vitulum add ilico canis famelicus iruit (sic) in uitulum. Same page, line 25, after fregit add et fracto capite effussoque cerebro canis periit. Same page, line 33, after narrabant add hoc. Same page, lines 35, 38, for vaccam read vacam. Page 203, line 35, for Angeli read Angli. Same page, line 39, insert et after generis. Page 204, line 7, Innsythe appears to be written in the MS. as one word. Same line, insert uidit before zabulum. Same page, line 18, after flumen add et ibi mersum est. Page 205, line 32, read est ostensum. Page 206, line 18, after libri add ad locum. Same page, line 32, after manducans add in illa die. Same page, line 38, read Kyaranus. Same page, line 40, read Maelgharbh. Page 207, line 13, after recepit add ipse. Page 208, line 16, for complebit read implebit. Page 209, line 23, delete et after clamor; and in the next line for impediebant read -bat. Page 211, line 14, insert in before istis. Same page, line 16, read loco isto. Same page, line 40, read edifficio. Page 212, line 2, read edifficiorum. Page 213, line 10, after ignem insert nostrum. Same page, line 21, for ipsi read ipsum. Same page, line 37, after paciencie insert nostre. Page 214, footnote 3, note that the first "uas" is struck out. Same page, footnote 7, the first "sanctus" is expuncted.]
[Footnote 6: Zeitschrift fuer Celtische Philologie, vol. v, p. 429.]
[Footnote 7: Lives of Saints from the Book of Lismore, Oxford, 1890, pp. 117-134.]
[Footnote 8: Four Ancient Books of Wales, i, 124.]
[Footnote 9: Descriptive Catalogue of Materials for the History of Great Britain, vol. i, p. 102.]
[Footnote 10: Forbes. Kalendars, s. v. Queranus; Bollandist Acta.]
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A HARMONY OF THE FOUR LIVES OF SAINT CIARAN
To the incidents of Ciaran's life VG prefixes—
I. The Homiletic Introduction (VG I)
not found in any of the Latin Lives.
A. Ciaran was born A.D. 515. The first section of his life, his Childhood and Boyhood, may have covered the first ten or twelve years of his life—say in round numbers 515-530. Fifteen incidents of this period are recorded, which are found in the Lives as under—
LA LB LC VG II. The origin and birth of Ciaran; the wizard's prophecies 1 1 1 2 III. How Ciaran raised the steed of Oengus from death 2 2 2 3 IV. How Ciaran turned water into honey 3 3 3 4 V. How Ciaran was delivered from a hound 6 9 4 5 VI. How Ciaran and his instructor conversed, though distant from one another 4 - - 6 VII. Ciaran and the fox - - - 7 VIII. How Ciaran spoiled his mother's dye-stuff - - - 8 IX. How Ciaran restored a calf which a wolf had devoured 5 8 5 9 X. How Ciaran was delivered from robbers 7 - 6 10 XI. How Ciaran gave a gift of cattle 8 - - - XII. How Ciaran gave a gift of a plough-coulter 9 - - - XIII. How Ciaran gave a gift of an ox 10 - - - XIV. How Ciaran gave the king's cauldron to beggars and was enslaved 11 - 7 11 XV. How Ciaran reproved his mother 13 - 9 - XVI. The breaking of the carriage-axle 14 - 10 -
The boyhood legend probably consisted originally of the five incidents common to all, II-V, IX. It is noteworthy, however, that LB transfers V, IX, to a position after the second phase of the Life. This is possibly due to a misplaced leaf in the exemplar from which our copies of LB are derived. X-XIII, variants on the theme of XIV, are probably interpolations in LA, and VIII, a valuable fragment of folk-lore, is an interpolation in VG. VI and VII are conflations of two varieties of one incident, as is pointed out in the Annotations. These observations will show how complex is the criticism of the Ciaran tradition.
B. The second phase of the life is the Schooling of Ciaran at Clonard; perhaps about 530-535, still using round numbers. This part of the life is most fully told in VG; it is very fragmentary in all the Latin Lives. There are thirteen incidents—
LA LB LC VG XVII. How Ciaran went with his cow to the school of Findian 15 4 11 12 XVIII. The angels grind for Ciaran 16 - 12 13 XIX. Ciaran and the king's daughter 17 - - 14 XX. How Ciaran healed the lepers - - - 15 XXI. Ciaran and the stag - - - 16 XXII. The story of Ciaran's gospel 18 - - 17 XXIII. The blessing of Ciaran's food 19 - 8 - XXIV. The story of the mill and the bailiff's daughter - 6 - 18 XXV. The story of Cluain - - - 19 XXVI. How Ciaran freed a woman from servitude 20 5 - 21 XXVII. How Ciaran freed another woman from servitude 21 - - 22 XXVIII. Anecdotes of Clonard - - - 20 XXIX. The parting of Ciaran and Findian - - - 23
C. The third phase may be called the Wanderings of Ciaran. From Clonard he made his way to the monastery of Ninnedh on the island in Loch Erne now called Inismacsaint (it is to be noted that VG knows nothing of this visit). From Loch Erne he went to Aran, thence (after a visit to Saint Senan on Scattery Island) to his brother's monastery at Isel, a place not certainly identified. After this he removes to Inis Aingin, now Hare Island in Loch Ree, which is his last halting-place before reaching his goal at Clonmacnois. There are twelve incidents. The first forms incident 13 of LC, which then breaks off; this text therefore no longer requires a special column. The wander-years end with 548, the year of the saint's arrival at Clonmacnois.
LA LB VG XXX. The adventure of the robbers of Loch Erne — 7 — XXXI. How Ciaran floated a firebrand on the lake — 10 — XXXII. Ciaran in Aran 22 11 24 XXXIII. How a prophecy was fulfilled 12 — 25 XXXIV. How Ciaran visited Senan 23 12 26 XXXV. Ciaran in Isel 24 13 28 XXXVI. The removal of the lake 25 14 29 XXXVII. Ciaran departs from Isel 26 — 30 XXXVIII. Ciaran in Inis Aingin 27 15 31 XXXIX. The coming of Oenna 28 16 32 XL. How Ciaran recovered his gospel 29 — 33 XLI. How Ciaran went from Inis Aingin to Clonmacnois 30 17 34
The difference of opinion as to the setting of incident XXXIII is to be noted. Also noteworthy is the absence of any reference to a second visit to Senan, though such is postulated in the lives of the latter saint.
D. The fourth phase covers the time—according to all our texts a few months, according to other authorities some years—intervening between the foundation of Clonmacnois and the death of Ciaran. The traditions of LA and VG here run along the same lines; LB is curiously diverse. There are in all twelve incidents, namely—
LA LB VG XLII. The foundation of the church 31 — 35 XLIII. How Ciaran sent a cloak to Senan 32 — 27 XLIV. Ciaran and the wine 34 18 36 XLV. The story of Crithir 33 — 37 XLVI. How an insult to Ciaran was averted — 19 — XLVII. How Ciaran was saved from shame — 20 — XLVIII. How a man was saved from robbers — 21 — XLIX. The death of Ciaran 35 22 38 L. The visit of Coemgen 36 — 39 LI. The earth of Ciaran's tomb delivers Colum Cille from a whirlpool 37 23 — LII. The envy of the saints — — 40 LIII. Panegyrics of Ciaran 38 24 41
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THE FIRST LATIN LIFE OF SAINT CIARAN
Here beginneth the Life of Saint Kiaranus, Abbot and Confessor.
II. THE ORIGIN AND BIRTH OF CIARAN: THE WIZARD'S PROPHECIES
1. The holy abbot Kyaranus sprang from the people of the Latronenses, which are in the region of Midhe, that is, in the middle of Ireland. His father, who was a cart-wright, was called Beonnadus; now the same was a rich man; and he took him a wife by name Derercha, of whom he begat five sons and three daughters. Of these there were four priests and one deacon, who were born in this order, with these names—the first Lucennus, the second Donanus, the third that holy abbot Kyaranus, the fourth Odranus, the fifth Cronanus, who was the deacon. Also the three daughters were named Lugbeg, and Raichbe, and Pata. Lugbeg and Raichbe were two holy virgins; Pata, however, was at first married, but afterwards she was a holy widow. Now inasmuch as the wright Beonedus himself was grievously burdened by the imposts of Ainmireach King of Temoria, he, eluding the pressure of the impost, departed from his own region, that is from the coasts of Midhe, into the territories of the Conactha. There he dwelt in the plain of Aei, with the king Crimthanus; and there he begat Saint Kyaranus, whose Life this is.
Now his birth was prophesied by a wizard of the aforesaid king, who said, before all the folk, "The son who is in the womb of the wife of Beoedus the wright shall be had in honour before God and before men; as the sun shineth in heaven so shall he himself by his holiness shine in Ireland." Afterwards Saint Kyaranus was born in the province of the Connachta, namely in the plain of Aei, in the stronghold called Raith Crimthain; and he was baptized by a certain holy deacon who was called Diarmaid in the Scotic [= Irish] tongue; but afterwards he was named Iustus, for it was fitting that a "just one" should be baptized by a "Iustus." And Saint Ciaran was reared with his parents in the aforesaid place, and by all things the grace of God was manifested within him.
III. HOW CIARAN RAISED THE STEED OF OENGUS FROM DEATH
2. One day the best horse of Aengussius, son of the aforesaid King Crimhthanus, died suddenly, and he was greatly distressed at the death of his best horse. Now when in sorrow he had fallen asleep, in his dreams a shining man appeared to him, saying to him, "Sorrow not concerning thy horse, for among you there is a boykin [puerulus], Saint Kiaranus son of Beoedus the wright, who by God's grace can quicken thy horse. Let him pour water into the mouth of the horse, with prayer, and upon its face, and forthwith it shall arise sound. And do thou bestow a gift on the boy for the quickening of thy horse." Now when Aengus son of the king was awakened out of sleep, he told these words to his friends; and he himself came to Saint Kyaranus and led him up to the place where the horse was lying dead. When the dutiful boy Kyaranus poured water into the mouth and on the face of the horse, it forthwith rose from death and stood whole before them all. The son of the king bestowed that field, which was great and the best, upon Saint Kiaranus in perpetuity.
IV. HOW CIARAN TURNED WATER INTO HONEY
3. On another day the mother of Saint Kyaranus upbraided him, saying, "The sensible other boys bring honey to their parents every day, from the fields and the places where honey is found. But this our son, weak and soft as he is, bringeth us no honey." The holy boy Kyaranus, hearing this saying of his mother chiding him, made his way to a spring hard by, and thence filled a vessel with water. When he blessed it, honey of the best was made from the water, and he gave it to his mother. But his parents, astonished at the miracle, sent that honey to the deacon Iustus, who had baptized him, that he might himself see the miracle wrought by God through the boy whom he baptized. When he had heard and seen it, he gave thanks to Christ, and prayed for the boy.
VI. HOW CIARAN AND HIS INSTRUCTOR CONVERSED, THOUGH DISTANT FROM ONE ANOTHER
4. The holy boy Kyaranus, as he kept the flocks of his parents, was wont to read the Psalms with Saint Diarmatus. But that teaching was imparted in a manner to us most wondrous. For Saint Kiaranus was keeping the flocks in the southern part of the plain of Aei, and Saint Diarmatus was dwelling in the northern part of the same plain, and the plain was of great extent between them. And thus, from afar off, they would salute each the other at ease, with words, across the spaces of the plain; and the elder would teach the boy from his cell across the plain, and the boy would read, sitting upon a rock in the field. The which rock is reverenced unto this day, as the Cross of Christ, called by the name of Kyaranus, is placed upon it. Now thus by divine favour were the holy ones wont to hear each the other, while others heard them not.
IX. HOW CIARAN RESTORED A CALF WHICH A WOLF HAD DEVOURED
5. On a day when Saint Kyaranus was keeping the herds, a cow gave birth to a calf in his presence. Now in that hour the dutiful boy saw a wretched wasted hungry wolf a-coming towards him, and God's servant said to him, "Go, poor wretch, and devour that calf." Forthwith the famished hound fell upon the calf and devoured it. But when the holy herd-boy had come home with his herds, the cow, seeking her calf, was making a loud outcry; and when Derercha, mother of Saint Kyaranus, saw it, she said unto him, "Kyaranus, where is the calf of yonder cow? Restore it, although it be from sea or from land. For thou has lost it, and its mother's heart is sore vexed." When Saint Kyaranus heard these words, he returned to the place where the calf was devoured, and collected its bones into his breast; then returning, he laid them before the cow as she lamented. Straightway, by divine mercy, by reason of the holiness of the boy, the calf arose before them all, and stood whole upon its feet, sporting with its mother. Then those who stood by lifted up their voices in praise to God, blessing the boy.
V. HOW CIARAN WAS DELIVERED FROM A HOUND
6. As the dutiful boy Kyaranus was going out to a homestead hard by, certain worldly men, cruel and malignant, let loose a most savage hound at him, so that it should devour him. When Saint Kyaranus saw the fierce hound coming towards him, he appropriated a verse of the Psalmist, saying, "Lord, deliver not the soul that trusteth in Thee unto beasts." Now as the hound was rushing vehemently, by divine favour it thrust its head into the ring-fastening of a calf; and tied by the ring-fastening, it struck its head against the timber to which the fastening was hanging, and thus it broke its head. Its head being broken and the brains scattered, the dog expired. When they saw this they feared greatly.
X. HOW CIARAN WAS DELIVERED FROM ROBBERS
7. On another day certain robbers, coming from a foreign region, found Saint Kiaranus alone, reading beside his herds; and they thought to slay him and to reave his herds. But as they came toward him with that intent, they were smitten with blindness, and could move neither hand nor foot till they had wrought repentance, praying him for their sight. Then the dutiful shepherd, seeing them turned from their wickedness, prayed for them, and forthwith they were loosed and their sight restored (soluti sunt in lumine suo). And they returned and offered thanks, and told this to many.
XI. HOW CIARAN GAVE A GIFT OF CATTLE
8. One day a certain poor man came to Saint Kyeranus, and begged of him a cow. Then Saint Kieranus asked of his mother that a cow should be given to the poor man; but his mother would not hearken unto him. When Saint Kieranus saw this, he made the poor man accompany him out of doors with the herds, and there he gave unto him a good cow with her calf. Now the calf itself was between two kine, and both of them had a care for it; and as the dutiful boy knew that the second cow would be of no service without the calf, he gave them both, with their calf, to the poor man. For these, on the following day, four kine were gifted to Saint Kiaranus by other folk as an alms, and these he gave to his mother as she was chiding him. Then he exhorted his mother in reasonable manner, and she was thereafter in awe of him.
XII. HOW CIARAN GAVE A GIFT OF A PLOUGH-COULTER
9. Saint Kiaranus on another day gave the coulter of his uncle Beoanus to a certain poor man, for which likewise on another day he received four coulters. For four smiths came from the steading called Cluain Cruim, with four coulters, which they delivered for an alms to Saint Kyaranus; and these the holy boy restored to him for his coulter.
XIII. HOW CIARAN GAVE A GIFT OF AN OX
10. On another day Saint Kyaranus gave the ox of the same uncle to a man who begged for it. And he said unto him, "Son, how shall I be able to plough to-day, seeing that thou hast given mine ox to another?" To him responded the holy boy, "Set thou to-day thy horse with the oxen in the plough, and to-morrow thou shalt have oxen enough." Forthwith the horse, set under the yoke with the oxen, in place of the ox that had been given, became tame; and the whole day it ploughed properly under the yoke, like an ox. On the following day four oxen were gifted for an alms to Saint Kiaranus, and these he delivered to his uncle instead of his ox. For men who heard and saw the great signs wrought by Saint Kyaranus were wont to beg for his prayers, and to offer oblations unto him.
XIV. HOW CIARAN GAVE THE KING'S CAULDRON TO BEGGARS, AND WAS ENSLAVED
11. One day the father of Saint Kiaranus bore a royal vessel from the house of King Furbithus, to keep it for some days. Now the king treasured that vessel. But Saint Kiaranus delivered that vessel of the king to certain poor men who asked an alms in Christ's name, as he had nothing else. When the king heard this, his anger was kindled mightily, and he commanded that Saint Kiaranus should be enslaved to his service. And so for this cause was blessed Kiaranus led into captivity, and was a slave in the house of King Furbithus. A task chosen for its severity was laid upon him, namely, to turn the quern-stone daily for making flour. But in wondrous wise Saint Kiaranus used to sit and read beside the quern-stone, and the quern-stone used to turn swiftly of itself, without the hand of man, and to grind corn before all the folk. For the angels of God were grinding for Saint Kyaranus, unseen of men. And after no long time a certain man of the province of Mumenia, that is, of the people of the Desi, who was called Hiernanus, stirred up by divine favour, came with two most excellent vessels, like unto the vessel of that king, of the same sort and the same use, and gifted them in alms to Saint Kiaranus. When the king heard the miracle of the quern-stone, he accepted those two vessels, and gave his liberty to Saint Kiaranus; for beforetime he would not for anger accept a ransom for him. Thus was Saint Kiaranus freed from the servitude of the king; and Saint Kiaranus blessed that man with his tribe, by whom he himself obtained his liberty.
XXXIII. HOW A PROPHECY WAS FULFILLED
12. On a certain day when Saint Kieranus was in the place called Cluain Innsythe, he saw a ship floating on the river, and he saw a hut on the bank of the river. Now there was a platter woven of twigs within it, full of ears of corn, with fire underneath so that they should be dried for grinding, as was the custom of the western people, that is, of Britain and of Ireland. Saint Kyaranus said in prophecy, secretly, to his companions, "Yonder ship which is on the waters shall be burned to-day, and the hut which is on land shall be submerged." As they disputed and wondered, he said, "Wait a little space, and ye shall see it with your eyes." Forthwith that shiplet was raised from the water on to the land, and placed in a shed that its leaks and cracks might there be caulked. But a bonfire having been lit, the shed was consumed, and the ship in its midst was likewise consumed. But strong men, wrenching the hut out of the ground, cast it from the bank into the river, and there it was submerged, as the servant of the Lord prophesied. When they heard and saw such a prophecy of things contrary, they gave glory to Christ who giveth such a gift unto his servants.
XV. HOW CIARAN REPROVED HIS MOTHER
13. On another day when Saint Kiaranus had come from the fields to his home, men came meeting him. To them he said, "Whence have ye now come?" They said, "We come now from the house of Beoedus the wright." Said he to them, "Have ye gotten there fitting refreshment for Christ's sake?" They said, "Nay; but we found there a hard woman who would not for hospitality give us so much as a drink." When Saint Kyaranus heard this, he blessed them, and came swiftly to his house, and entering the house he found no one therein, for its inmates were busied with their work out of doors. Then blessed Kyaranus, moved with zeal for God, scattered all the food which he found in the house of his parents; for the milk he poured on the ground, the butter he mixed with the sheep's dung, the bread he cast to the dogs, so that it should be of service to no man. For he was showing that whatsoever was not given to guests for Christ's name should rightly be devoted by men to loss, lest such food should be eaten. After a little space his mother came, and seeing her house thus turned upside-down, she felt moved to raise an outcry; for she marvelled greatly at what had befallen her house. When Saint Kiaranus had set forth the reason, she became calm, and promised amendment; and many of those who heard were rendered charitable.
XVI. THE BREAKING OF THE CARRIAGE-AXLE
14. On another day when Saint Kyaranus was sitting in a carriage with his father, the axle of the carriage broke in two in the middle of the plain; and the father of the saint, with his attendants, was distressed. Then Saint Kyeranus blessed the axle, and it was forthwith made whole again as it had been before; and afterwards for the entire day they travelled in the carriage safely.
XVII. HOW CIARAN WENT WITH HIS COW TO THE SCHOOL OF FINDIAN
15. After this Saint Kyaranus wished to leave his parents and to go forth to the school of Saint Finnianus, who was a wise man abounding in all holiness; so that he might there read the Scriptures, with the other saints of Ireland who were there. He asked of his parents that a cow might be led with him to the school, for the sake of her milk to sustain him; but his mother denied it, saying, "Others who are in that school have no kine." Then having received the licence and blessing of his parents—though his mother was grieved, for she wished to have him always with herself—Saint Kyaranus went on his way.
Coming to the cattle of his parents, he blessed a cow, and commanded her in the name of the Lord to follow him. Forthwith that cow followed him with her new-born calf; and wheresoever he would go the cow walked after him, to the city of Cluayn Irayrd, which is in the boundary of the Laginenses and Ui Neill. But the city itself lies in the territory of Ui Neill.
When Saint Kyeranus had come thither, he used to make a barrier in the pastures between the cow and her calf with his rod; and by no means did they ever dare to cross the tracks of the holy rod, nor used they cross it; but the cow would lick her calf across the track of the rod, and at the proper time they would come to their stall, with full store of milk.
That cow was of a dun colour, and was called Odar Ciarain, "Ciaran's Dun." Her fame endures for ever in Ireland, for she used to have the greatest store of milk, such as at this time could not be believed. Her milk was daily divided among the school, and sufficed for many. Her hide in like manner remains to this day honourably in the city of Saint Kiaranus; for through it, by the grace of God, miracles are wrought. This grace greater than all it has, as the holy ancients, the disciples of Saint Kiaranus, have delivered unto us; that it is revealed by divine inspiration that every man who shall have died upon it shall possess eternal life with Christ.
XVIII. THE ANGELS GRIND FOR CIARAN
16. Now in the school of the most holy master Finnianus there were many saints of Ireland; to wit, two Saints Kiaranus, and two Saints Brendanus, Columba, and many others; and each of them on his day would grind with his own hands on the quern. But the angels of God used to grind for Saint Kiaranus, as they did for him in his captivity.
XIX. CIARAN AND THE KING'S DAUGHTER
17. The daughter of the King of Temoria was conducted to Saint Finnianus that she might read the Psalms and the other Scriptures with the saint of God, and should dedicate her virginity. And when she promised of her own free will to preserve her virginity for Christ, Father Finnianus said to Saint Kiaranus, "Son, let this virgin, Christ's handmaid, daughter of an earthly king, read with thee in the meanwhile, till such time as a cell of virgins shall be built for her." Which duty Saint Kiaranus obediently accepted, and the virgin read with him the Psalms and other lections. Now when holy Father Finnianus was establishing that virgin and other holy virgins in a cell, the blessed fathers questioned Saint Kiaranus as to her manners and her virtue. To them Kiaranus said; "Verily, I know naught of her virtues, of manners or of body; for God hath known that never have I seen her face, nor aught of her save the lower part of her vesture, when she was coming from her parents; nor have I held any converse with her save only her reading." For she was wont to take her refection, and to sleep, with a certain holy widow. And the virgin spake the like testimony of Saint Kiaranus, and many were confirmed in the true faith by other testimonies of them.
XXII. THE STORY OF CIARAN'S GOSPEL
18. Saint Kiaranus was reading the gospel of Matthew with holy Father Finnianus, along with others. And when he had come to the place where, in the middle of the book, it is written "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do unto you, so do ye unto them," Saint Kiaranus said to Saint Finnianus, "Father, enough for me is this half of this book which I have read, that I may fulfil it in deed; verily this one sentence is enough for me to learn." Then one of the school said to them all, "Henceforth a fitting name for Kiaranus is 'Leth-Matha' (Half-Matthew)." To him the holy elder Finnianus said, "Nay; a fitting name for him is 'Leth n-Eirenn' (Half-Ireland); for his parish shall be extended through the middle of Ireland." This prophecy excited much envy against Saint Kiaranus.
XXIII. THE BLESSING OF CIARAN'S FOOD
19. On another day, when Saint Kiaranus was alone in his cell, he came to table to take food; and wishing to partake after a blessing, he said, "Benedicite." When he saw that no one answered "Dominus," he rose from the table, tasting nothing that day. He did the like on the following day, still rising from the table without food. On the third day, after having thus fasted for three days, he came to table and said, "Benedicite"; and lo, a voice from Heaven said unto him, "The Lord bless thee, weary Kiaranus; now is thy prayer full-ripe. For it is enough for a man, whenever he is alone, to bless his food in the name of the Most High God, and then to partake." So Saint Kyaranus, giving thanks, ate his bread on the third day.
XXVI. HOW CIARAN FREED A WOMAN FROM SERVITUDE
20. One time he went to the King of Temoria, who was called Tuathal Mael-gharbh, in that he was harsh, so that he should set free a woman unjustly held in servitude with that king. The king released not the woman to him. Then Saint Kiaranus blessed her, and bade her go with him to her own people. So she forthwith rose out of the house of the king, and made her way between crowds of men, and none of them saw her till she came safe to her friends. Regarding this matter the king and the others marvelled greatly at the wondrous acts of God.
XXVII. HOW CIARAN FREED ANOTHER WOMAN FROM SERVITUDE
21. On another occasion Saint Kyaranus entered the region of a certain lord of the Connachta, that in like manner he should demand from him a certain woman who was in unjust servitude to him. As holy Ciaran was sitting there, lo, three men came with three gifts as an alms to him; namely, one gifted to him a cow, another a robe, and a third a frying-pan; and these three gifts did Ciaran straightway give to the poor who were begging of him in the presence of the lord. Now in that hour in lieu of these gifts he received others yet greater in the presence of the lord; to wit, for the frying-pan a cooking-pot of three measures, and for the one robe twelve robes, and for the one cow twelve kine, were gifted to him by others. Which things Saint Kiaranus sent to other holy men living hard by. Seeing all these things, that lord graciously gave the woman free to Saint Kiaranus, and she went forth to her own people, rejoicing and giving thanks.
XXXII. CIARAN IN ARAN
22. After these things Saint Kiaranus made his way to an island by name Ara, which is in the ocean westward beyond Ireland a certain space. And that same island is ever peopled from Ireland, and in it dwell a multitude of holy men, and countless saints lie there unknown to all save only to God Omnipotent. Now for many days did Saint Kyranus dwell in hard service, under the most holy Abbot Henna, and great miracles were manifested by him, and works of holiness are still there related. Now when Saint Kiaranus was there, he saw this marvellous vision—a like vision Saint Enna also saw—to wit, a great and fruitful tree on the bank of the river Synna in the middle of Ireland, whose shadow was protecting Ireland on every side; and its branches were flowing beyond Ireland into the sea. On the following day Saint Kiaranus related that vision to Saint Enna, which holy Father Enna forthwith interpreted, saying; "That fruitful tree which thou hast seen, and which I likewise have seen, thou art it, my son, who shalt be great before God and man. Thine honour shall fill Ireland, and the helpful shade of thy dutifulness and grace shall protect her from demons, plagues, and perils, and thy fruit shall be for a profit to many far and wide. Therefore at the decree of God go thou without delay to the place wherein thy resurrection shall be, which shall be shown thee of God, so that thou mayest be for a profit to many." And there Saint Kiaranus was consecrated priest; and afterwards, at the command of holy Father Enna, and with the prayer and benediction of him and of all the saints that were in the island of Ara, Saint Kiaranus came to Ireland.
XXXIV. HOW CIARAN VISITED SENAN
23. One day when Saint Ciaran was making a journey, there met him a poor man in the way, who begged of him something in alms; and holy Ciaran gave him his cloak, and he himself went on afterwards in his under-garment only. His journey led him to the island of Cathi which is in the entrance of the ocean to the west, in the estuary of Luimnech between the territories of Kiarraighe and of Corco Baiscind: wherein was the most holy senior Senanus, who first dwelt in that island. For a venomous and most hurtful monster had alone possessed that island from ancient times, which holy Senanus, by the power of God, had driven far from thence unto a certain lake; and to-day there is a shining and holy settlement in that island, in honour of Saint Senanus. Now when Saint Kiaranus was approaching that island of Cathi, Saint Senanus foresaw in the spirit his coming and his nakedness: and he sent a ship to bear him to the island, while he himself, taking a cloak secretly in his hands, went out to meet him at the island's harbour. Now when most blessed Senanus saw Saint Kyaranus coming to him, in an under-garment, he chid him sportively, saying, "Is it not shame that a presbyter should walk in a sole under-garment, without a cowl?" To him, Saint Kiaranus, smiling, said, "This my nakedness shall soon receive its alleviation, for there is a cloak for me under the vesture of mine elder Senanus." And Saint Kiaranus remained for some days with Saint Senanus, they passing the time in the divine mysteries; and they made a pact and a brotherhood between them, and thereafter Saint Kiaranus with the kiss of peace went his way.
XXXV. CIARAN IN ISEL
24. Now when blessed Kiaranus came from Saint Senanus, he went out to his brethren Luchennus and Odranus, who were living in a cella which is called Yseal, that is "the lowest place"; and he lived with them for a time. And his brethren made Saint Kiaranus their almoner and guest-master: but Luchennus, who was the eldest, was the abbot of that place, and Odranus was the prior. Once, when Saint Kiaranus was reading out of doors in a field facing the sun, he suddenly espied weary guests entering the guest-house; and rising quickly, he forgot his book, and left it out of doors open till the following day. As he himself was settling the guests in the house, washing their feet and diligently ministering to them, the night fell. In that very night there was a great rain, but by the favour of God the open book was found perfectly dry; for not a drop of rain had touched it, although the whole ground was wet around it. For this did Saint Kiaranus with his brethren render praises to Christ.
XXXVI. THE REMOVAL OF THE LAKE
25. Near that place of Saint Kiaranus there was an island in a lake, on which a certain lord was dwelling in his fortress with his followers; and the noise of their uproar was hindering the prayers of the holy men in their cella. When Saint Kyeranus saw this, he went out to the shore of the lake, and prayed there to the Lord, that He would give them somewhat of relief from that island. On the following night that island, with its lake, was removed by the divine power, far away to another place, where the noise of the mob of that island could not reach the saints of God. And unto this day there is to be seen the place of the lake, where it had been before, some of it sandy, some of it marshy, as a sign of the act of power.
XXXVII. CIARAN DEPARTS FROM ISEL
26. On a certain day when Ciaran was busied out of doors in a field, a poor man came to him, asking that an alms should be given him. In that hour a chariot with two horses was gifted to Saint Kiaranus by a certain lord, namely the son of Crimthannus; which horses with the chariot Saint Kiaranus gave to that poor man.
Then, since the brethren of Saint Kiaranus could not endure the greatness of his charity, for every day he was dividing their substance among the poor, they said unto him, "Brother, depart from us; we cannot now be along with thee in one place, and preserve and nourish our brethren for God, for thine excess of charity." To whom holy Kiaranus answered: "If therefore I had remained in this place, it would not have been 'Ysseal,' that is, 'lowest,' that is, not small; but high, that is, great and honourable." With these words, holy Kiaranus gave a blessing to his brethren, and taking his book-satchels with his books on his shoulders, he went thence on his way.
When he had gone some little distance from the place, there met him in the way a stag awaiting him with utmost gentleness. Saint Kiaranus placed his book-satchels upon him, and wheresoever the stag would go, Saint Kieranus followed him. The stag came to Loch Rii which is in the east of Connachta; he stood over against Inis Angin, which is in that lake. Thereby Saint Kyaranus understood that the Lord had called him to that island, and dismissing the stag with a blessing he entered that island and dwelt there.
XXXVIII. CIARAN IN INIS AINGHIN
27. Now when the fame of his holiness was noised abroad, from far and wide and from every quarter good men came together to him, and Saint Kiaranus made them his monks. And many alms, in respect of various matters, would be given to Saint Kiaranus and to his people by the Faithful. But a certain presbyter, by name Daniel, who owned Inis Angin, inspired by the devil's envy, set about expelling Saint Kyaranus with his followers by force from the island. But Saint Kiaranus, wishing to benefit his persecutor, sent him by faithful messengers a royal gift which had been given him in alms, namely a golden antilum, well adorned. When the presbyter saw it, at first he refused to accept it; but afterwards, on the persuasion of trustworthy men, he received it gratefully. And presbyter Daniel, filled with the grace of God, came and gifted Inis Angin which was in his possession, to God and to Saint Kiaranus for ever.
XXXIX. THE COMING OF OENNA
28. On another day when Saint Kiaranus was in that island Angin, he heard the voice of a man in the port wishing to enter the island; and he said to his brethren, "Go ye, my brethren, and lead me hither him who is to be your abbot after me." So the brethren, voyaging quickly, found an unconsecrated youth in the port, whom despising they left there. Coming back, they said unto Saint Kiaranus, "We found no man there save an unconsecrated youth, who wandered as a fugitive in the woods; he it is who calleth in the port. Far removed from abbotship is his rudeness!" To these Saint Kiaranus said: "Voyage ye without delay and bring him with speed; for the Lord having revealed it to me, by his voice I have recognised that he shall be your abbot after me." When the brethren heard this, they forthwith led him in, and Saint Kiaranus tonsured him, and he read diligently with him, and was filled from day to day with the grace of God; and after the most blessed Kiaranus, he was the holy abbot. For he is the blessed Aengus, son of Luigse.
XL. HOW CIARAN RECOVERED HIS GOSPEL
29. The gospel-book of Saint Kieranus fell into the lake from the hand of one of the brethren, who held it carelessly when voyaging. For a long time it was therein, under the water, and was not found. But on a certain day, in summer, the kine entered the lake to refresh themselves in the waters, for the greatness of the heat; and when the kine had returned from the lake, the binding of the leather satchel containing the gospel-book caught about the hoof of a cow, and so the cow dragged the book-satchel on her hoof as she came to land. And the gospel-book was found in the rotten leather satchel, perfectly dry and clean, without any moisture, as though it had been preserved in a book-case. Saint Kiaranus with his followers were rejoiced thereat.
XLI. HOW CIARAN WENT FROM INIS AINGIN TO CLONMACNOIS
30. After this a certain man of Mumonia, to wit of the people of Corco Baiscind, by name Donnanus, came to Saint Ciaran as he sojourned in Inis Angin. To him one day Saint Kiaranus said, "What seekest thou, father, in these coasts?" Saint Donnanus answered, "Lord, I seek a place wherein to sojourn, where I may serve Christ in pilgrimage." Saint Kiaranus said to him, "Sojourn, father, in this place; for I shall go to some other place, for I know that here is not my resurrection."
Then Saint Kyaranus granted Inis Angin with its furniture to Saint Donnanus, and came to a place which is called Ard Mantain, near the river Sinna; but being unwilling to remain in that place, he said: "I will not live in this place: for here shall be great abundance of the things of this life, and earthly joy; and hardly could the souls of my disciples attain to heaven, were I to have dwelt here, for this place belongs to the men of this world."
Thereafter Saint Kiaranus left that place, and came to a place which once was called Typrait, but now is called Cluain meic Nois. And coming to this place he said: "Here will I live: for many souls shall go forth in this place to the kingdom of God, and in this place shall be my resurrection."
Then most blessed Kiaranus with his followers dwelt, and began to found a great monastery there. And many from all sides used to come to him, and his parish was extended over a great circuit; and the name of Saint Kiaranus was much renowned over all Ireland. And a shining and holy settlement, the name of which is Cluain meic Nois, grew up in that place in honour of Saint Kiaranus; it is in the western border of the land of Ui Neill, on the eastern bank of the river Synna, over against the province of the Connachta. Therein are the kings or the lords of Ui Neill and of the Connachta buried, along with Saint Kiaranus. For the river Synna, which is very rich in various fish, divides the regions of Niall, that is, of Midhe, and the province of the Connachta.
XLII. THE FOUNDATION OF THE CHURCH
31. And when Saint Kiaranus would place with his own hands a corner-post in the first building of that settlement, a certain wizard said to him: "This hour is not good for beginning; for the sign of this hour is contrary to beginnings of building." Then Saint Kiaranus himself set the post in the corner of the house, saying, "Thou wizard, against thy sign I fix this post in the ground; for I care naught for the art of wizards, but in the name of my Lord, Jesus Christ, do I all my works." For this the wizard and his followers uttered commendation, marvelling at the faith of Saint Ciaran in his God.
XLIII. HOW CIARAN SENT A CLOAK TO SENAN
32. Now when Saint Kiaranus had been in his settlement of Cluain meic Nois, an excellent cloak was gifted to him in alms by a certain man. Saint Kyaranus was minded to send it to the aforesaid holy elder Senanus, who dwelt in the island of Cathi; but he was not able immediately to find a messenger, because the way from the settlement of Saint Kiaranus of Cluain meic Nois, which is in the middle of Ireland, to the island of Cathi, situate at the entrance of the ocean, was long and rough and difficult, and crossed borders of different kingdoms. Then at the command of Saint Kiaranus, the cloak was placed on the river Synna, and was sent alone with the river, and it came dry over the waters to the island of Cathi; and no one saw it while it travelled thither. The Synna flows from the settlement of Cluain meic Nois to the estuary of Luimnech, in which the island of Cathi stands.
And Saint Senanus, filled with the spirit of prophecy, said to his brethren, "Go ye to the shore of the sea, and bring to us with honour the guest there seated, the gift of a man of God." And the brethren, asking no questions, made their way to the sea, and found there the cloak, perfectly dry, for it was untouched by the waters. And the holy elder Senanus accepting it, gave thanks to God; and the cloak was in honourable keeping with Saint Senanus, as though it were a sacred diadem.
XLV. THE STORY OF CRITHIR
33. A certain boy of the company of holy Kiaranus, called Crithir of Cluain (a boy of great wit, but hurtful and wanton) fled from Saint Kiaranus to the settlement of Saigyr, in the northern border of Mumonia, that is, the land of Hele, to the other Kiaranus, the most holy aged bishop. And that boy, sojourning for some days with the holy bishop, after his devilish manner took the drink of the brethren, and poured it over the fire; extinguishing thus the consecrated fire. Now Saint Kiaranus the elder would have no other fire in his monastery save the consecrated fire, maintained without being extinguished from Easter to Easter. When Saint Kiaranus the elder heard what the boy Crithir did, it greatly displeased him, and he said, "Let him be chastened for this of God in this life." When he heard that Saint Kiaranus the elder was angry with him, he went out from the settlement of Saigyr, and when he was gone a short space from the settlement, wolves met him and killed him; yet they did not touch his body after he was dead, after the likeness of that prophet who was killed by the lion.
Now when Saint Kiaranus the younger heard that his boy had been with Kiaranus the elder, he went to him; and on the day when the aforesaid things took place, he came to the settlement of Saigyr and was received with fitting honour by the holy bishop Kiaranus the elder. And the holy abbot Kiaranus the younger said to the holy bishop Kiaranus, "Restore to me, holy father, my disciple alive, who hath been slain while with thee." To him Saint Keranus the elder said, "First needs must your feet be washed, but we have no fire in the monastery, to warm the water for you; and ye know that it is because your disciple quenched our sacred fire. Wherefore beseech for us consecrated fire from God." Then the holy abbot Kieranus the younger, son of the wright, stretched his hands in prayer to God, and straightway fire from heaven came into his breast, and thence was the hearth kindled in the monastery.
But the holy bishop Kiaranus the elder prayed to God for that youth slain by wolves, and straightway he arose sound from a cruel death, with the scars of the wolf-bites visible upon him. And blessing them all, he took food and drink with the saints, and afterwards he lived many days.
Then the two Saints Kiaranus made a compact and brotherhood in heaven and in earth between their successors; and they said that should any wish to name or to beg aught for one of them, he should name them both and ask, for they would hear him.
After this the holy abbot Kiaranus the younger said to the bishop, Kiaranus the elder, "In thy place, father, shall remain honour and abundance of riches." To him said the holy bishop, Kiaranus the elder, "Also in thy place, dearest son, shall last the strength of religion and of wisdom, unto the end of the world." When these things were said, having received the kiss of peace and blessing of the most holy bishop, Kiaranus the elder, Saint Kiaranus the younger with his own people and with the aforesaid youth Crithir returned to his settlement of Cluain meic Nois.
XLIV. CIARAN AND THE WINE
34. On a certain day when the brethren of Saint Kiaranus were at work in the harvest, enduring thirst from the heat of the sun, they sent word that cold water should be brought to them. Saint Kiaranus answered them by a messenger, "Choose ye, my brethren, whether ye will drink to quench your thirst for necessity, or will endure in thirst till the evening, that through your labour to-day in thirst and in sweat there may be abundance for the brethren who are to be in this place hereafter; and you yourselves will not fail of reward from God in heaven." The brethren answered, "We choose that there be a sufficiency for our successors, and we to have the reward of our patience and of our thirst in heaven." So the brethren worked that day athirst, rejoicing, though the sun was hot.
But when evening was come, the brethren returned home, and Saint Kiaranus wished to satisfy them, and to refresh them charitably. And trusting in the Lord, he blessed a great vessel full of water; and immediately under his hands wine of most excellent quality appeared in the vessel. And bringing drinking-cups, he commanded the brethren to refresh their bodies well, with sobriety, rendering thanks to Christ for his gifts.
This is the Last Supper of Saint Ciaran with his brethren in his life, he himself ministering unto them; for he lived thereafter but few days. And that supper was most generous, excelling all the suppers that were made in the monastery of Saint Kiaranus, as is proved thus—
For after a long time, when Saint Columba with his followers had come to Ireland from the island of Hia, a great feast was prepared for them in the monastery of Saint Kiaranus in his settlement of Cluain; and when they had come to the religious house of Saint Kiaranus, they were received with great joy and love, and were refreshed most bounteously with that repast; and the fame of that supper went over the whole settlement and its suburbs, far and wide.
When, in the house of the holy elders, who had a little cell apart in the monastery of Saint Kiaranus, certain persons said in ignorance that never in that place had such a feast been made, nor would be in the future, one, who had been a boy when Saint Kiaranus lived there, answered: "Ye know not whereat ye wonder: for the feast which Saint Kiaranus our patron made, of water turned to wine, for his brethren athirst after harvesting, was far better than this feast. And that ye may know this, and may believe that it is true, come and perceive the odour of my finger with which I drew of that wine for the brethren. For my thumb touched the liquor through the mouth of the cup in which the wine was drawn; and lo, even yet its odour remains thereupon." Then they all drew near, and being sated with the pleasant and sweet odour of that holy elder, they cried aloud saying, "Truly much better was that feast whose odour remains on a finger most sweet for so long a time." And they blessed Saint Kiaranus, giving praises to God.
And in those days, in which the brethren of Saint Kiaranus were sowing their crops, there came merchants with wine of the Gauls to Saint Kiaranus, and they filled a huge vessel, the solitana of the brethren, from that wine, which Saint Kiaranus gave to his brethren with his benediction.
XLIX. THE DEATH OF CIARAN
35. Our most holy patron Kiaranus lived but for one year in his settlement of Cluain. When he knew that the day of his death was approaching, he prophesied, deploring the subsequent evils that would come to pass in his place after him; and he said that their life would be short. Then the brethren said unto him, "What then shall we do in the time of those evils? Shall we abide here beside thy relics, or shall we go to other places?" To them Saint Kiaranus said, "Haste ye to other quiet places, and leave my relics here like the dry bones of a stag on a mountain. For it is better for you to be with my spirit in heaven than beside my bones on earth, and stumbling withal."
Saint Kiaranus used greatly to crucify his body, and we write here an example of this. He ever had a stone pillow beneath his head, which till to-day remains in the monastery of Saint Kiaranus, and is reverenced by every one. Moreover, when he was growing weak, he would not have the stone removed from him, but commanded it to be placed to his shoulders, that he should have affliction even to the end, for the sake of an everlasting reward in heaven.
Now when the hour of his departure was approaching, he commanded that he should be carried outside, out of the house; and looking up into heaven, he said, "Hard is that way, and this needs must be." To him the brethren said, "We know that nothing is difficult for thee, father; but we unhappy ones must greatly fear this hour."
And being carried back into the house, he raised his hand and blessed his people and clerks; and having received the Lord's Sacrifice, on the fifth of the ides of September he gave up the ghost, in the thirty-third year of his age. And lo, angels filled the way between heaven and earth, rejoicing to meet Saint Kiaranus.
L. THE VISIT OF COEMGEN
36. And on the third night after the death of Saint Kiaranus, the most holy abbot Coemhgenus came from the province of the Lagenians to the burial of Saint Kiaranus; and Saint Kiaranus spake with Saint Coemhgenus and they exchanged their vesture, and they made a perpetual brotherhood between themselves and their followers. This is related faithfully and at length in the Life of Coemhgenus himself.
LI. THE EARTH OF CIARAN'S TOMB DELIVERS COLUM CILLE FROM A WHIRLPOOL
37. Saint Columba, on hearing of the death of Saint Kiaranus, said, "Blessed be God, Who hath called to Himself most holy Kiaranus from this life in his youth. For had he lived to old age, there would have been envy of many against him, for he would have had a firm hold on the parish of all Ireland."
Saint Columba made a hymn to Saint Kiaranus; and when he set it forth in the settlement of Cluain, the successor of Saint Kiaranus said unto him, "Shining and worthy of praise is this hymn; what reward then, father, shall be rendered unto thee?" Saint Columba answered: "Give me my hands full of the earth of the grave of your holy father Kiaranus; for I wish for and desire that, more than for pure gold and precious gems." And Saint Columba receiving earth from the grave of Saint Kiaranus, made his way to his own island of Hya.
When Saint Columba was voyaging on the sea, there arose a storm in the sea, and the ship was thrust towards the whirlpool which is in the Scotic tongue called Cori Bracayn, in which is a sea-whirlpool most dangerous, wherein if ships enter they come not out. And the whirlpool beginning to draw the ship towards itself, blessed Columba cast part of the earth of Saint Kiaranus into the sea. Most wondrous to relate, immediately the storm of the air, the movement of the waves, and the swirl of the whirlpool all ceased, till the ship had long escaped from it. Then Saint Columba, giving thanks to God, said to his followers, "Ye see, brethren, how much favour hath the earth of most blessed Kiaranus brought us."
LIII. A PANEGYRIC OF CIARAN
38. Most blessed Kiaranus living among men passed a life as of an angel, for the grace of the Holy Spirit burned in his face before the eyes of men. Who could expound his earthly converse? For he was young in age and in body, yet a most holy senior in mind and in manners, in humility, in gentleness, in charity, in daily labours, in nightly vigils, and in other divine works.
For now liveth he in rest without labour, in age without senility, in health without sorrow, in joy without grief, in peace without a foe, in wealth without poverty, in endless day without night, in the eternal kingdom without end, before the throne of Christ, Who with the Father and the Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth unto ages of ages. Amen.
Here endeth the life of Saint Ciaran, Abbot of Cluain meic Nois.
[Footnote 1: The inconsistencies in the spelling of the various proper names in this translation follow those in the original documents.]
[Footnote 2: The MS. reads lac iam... effudit. For iam we should probably read enim. A similar correction is made in Sec. 38.]
[Footnote 3: Ipsa insula semper ab Hybernia habitatur. The sense of this passage is not clear: it may be corrupt.]
[Footnote 4: Lit.: "the shadow of the aid of thy dutifulness."]
[Footnote 5: This sentence reads very awkwardly, owing to the incorporation of two originally interlined glosses. Reference to the MS. enables us to isolate these. The sentence there runs thus: "Si ergo in isto loco mansissem non Ysseal .i. imus esset id est non paruus sed altus .i. magnus et honorabilis." Here id est occurs three times, once in full, and twice represented by the common contraction .i., which is universally used in MSS. of Irish origin for the introduction of a gloss. If we write the sentence as below, we shall see the significance of the different ways in which the expression is written, and by expunging the glosses can make the sentence less clumsy and more intelligible
.i. imus —"Si ... mansissem, non Ysseal esset, id est non paruus; sed .i. magnus et honorabilis altus."]
[Footnote 6: Correcting the vita of the MS. to via, in conformity with VG.]
* * * * *
THE SECOND LATIN LIFE OF SAINT CIARAN
II. THE ORIGIN AND BIRTH OF CIARAN
1. A glorious man; and an abbot in life most holy, Queranus, was born of a father Boecius, of a mother Darercha. This man drew his origin from the northern part of Ireland, that is, he was of the Aradenses by race. Now he was so illuminated by divine grace from his boyhood, that it was clearly apparent of what manner he was destined to be. For he was as a burning lamp in extraordinary charity, so as to show not only the warmth of a pious heart and devotion in relieving the necessity of men, but also an unwearied sympathy for the needs of irrational animals. And because such a lamp should not be hidden under a bushel, so from his boyhood he began to sparkle with the marvels of miracles.
III. HOW CIARAN RAISED THE STEED OF OENGUS FROM DEATH
2. For when the horse of the son of the king of that territory perished with a sudden death, and the young man was much grieved at its fall, there appeared to him in dreams a man of venerable and shining countenance, who forbade him to be grieved for the death of the horse, saying unto him, "Call," said he, "the holy boy Keranus, and let him pour water into the mouth of thy horse, and sprinkle its forehead, and it shall revive. And thou shalt endow him with due reward for its resurrection."
When the king's son had wakened from sleep, he sent for the boy Keranus that he should come to him; who, when he made his presence known, and heard the dream throughout, according to what the angel taught him, sprinkled the horse with holy water and raised it from death. When this great miracle was seen, the king of that territory made over to Saint Keranus a fertile and spacious field in honour of Omnipotent God, in Whose Name his horse was resurrected.
IV. HOW CIARAN TURNED WATER INTO HONEY
3. Moreover it fell out on a certain day that the mother of Keranus himself found fault with him, for that he did not bring wild honey such as the other boys were wont to carry to their parents. When the beloved of God and men heard this, he raised his thoughts to the Boy who was subject to His parents, and blessed water, brought from a neighbouring spring, in His Name who is able to draw honey from the rock, and oil from the hardest stone; and presently that water is changed, with the help of God, into the sweetest honey, and so it is brought to his mother. This honey his parents sent to Saint Dermicius the deacon, surnamed Iustus, who baptized him.
XVII. HOW CIARAN WENT WITH HIS COW TO THE SCHOOL OF FINDIAN
4. Now when the rudiments of letters had been read [with him] by the saint aforesaid, he proposed to go to the blessed abbey of Cluayn Hirard for instruction. And as he wished to fulfil in deed what he had begun to conceive of in his mind, he asked a cow of his parents for his sustenance. But when his mother would not grant his petition, the Heavenly Father, Who loveth those whom He regardeth as a mother her son, did not tarry to fulfil the desire of his beloved. For a milch cow, together with her calf, followed him as though she had been driven after him by her herdsman.
When he had come to the sacred college of Saint Fynnianus, they all had no small joy at his arrival. But the cow, which had followed him, was pastured along with her calf, nor did it [the calf] attempt to touch the udders of its mother without permission. Keranus so separated and divided its pastures, that the mother would only lick the calf, and would not offer to suckle it. Now the milk of that cow was rich in such abundance that, divided daily, it would supply a sufficiency of provision for twelve men.
But the holy youth Keranus, deeply occupied with the sacred Scripture, shone in holiness and wisdom among his fellow-students as a brilliant star among the other stars. For he was filled with the fragrance of perfect charity, with moral worth, with holiness of life, and with sweetness of humility, gracious, honourable, and admirable to present and to absent.
XXVI. HOW CIARAN FREED A WOMAN FROM SERVITUDE
5. One day he made his way to a king, Tuathlus by name, to intercede for the liberation of a certain bond-maid. When he besought the king fervently for her, and he rejected the prayers of the servant of God as though they were ravings, he thought out a new method of liberating her, and determined that he himself should serve the king in her place. Now when he was coming to the house in which the girl was grinding, the doors which were shut opened to him. Entering, he showed himself a second Bishop Paulinus to her. Without delay the king freed her, and further presented his vesture to the servant of God. Receiving this, he forthwith distributed it to the poor.
XXIV. THE STORY OF THE MILL AND THE BAILIFF'S DAUGHTER (abstract only)
6. It fell out one night that the eminent doctor Finnianus sent him with grain of wheat to the mill. Now a certain kingling who lived near, learning that one of the disciples of the man of God had come thither, sent him flesh and ale by a servant. When they had presented the gift of such a man, he answered, "That it may be common," said he, "to the brethren, cast it all on the surface of the mill." When the messenger had done this, it was all turned into wheat. When he heard this, the king gave him the steading in which he was dwelling, with all his goods, in perpetuity: but Keranus made it over to his master, for a monastery was afterwards erected there. But the bread made of that grain tasted to the brethren like flesh and ale, and so it refreshed them.
XXX. THE ADVENTURE OF THE ROBBERS OF LOCH ERNE
7. Now when a space of time had passed, the licence and benediction of his master having been obtained, he made his way to Saint Nynnidus who was dwelling in a wood (sic) of Loch Erny. Now when he had arrived he was received with great joy and unfeigned love. As he was daily becoming perfect in the discipline of manners and of virtue, on a certain day, as one truly obedient, he went forth to the groves hard by with brethren to cut timber. For it was a custom in that sacred college, that three monks, with an elder, always went out in prescribed order to transport timber. As the others were cutting wood, he by himself, as was his wont, was intent on prayer to God. Meanwhile certain wicked robbers, ferried over in a boat to that island, fell upon the aforesaid brethren and slew them, and bore away their heads. But Keranus, not hearing the sound of his companions hacking, was surprised, and in wonder he hurried to the place where he had left them labouring. When he saw what had been done to the brethren he heaved heavy sighs and was deeply grieved; and he followed the murderers by their track, and found them in the harbour, sweating to carry their boat in the harbour to the water, but unable to do so. For God so fastened their skiff to the land that by no means could they remove it. So being unable to resist the will of the All-Powerful, they beseech as suppliants pardon of the man of God, then present. Mindful of his Master as He prayed for the Jews who were crucifying Him, he, a holy one, poured forth prayers for them, unworthy as they were, to the Fount of Piety; and strengthened by the virtue of his prayer, they were able to convey their boat quite easily to the water. In payment for this benefit he obtained from the robbers the heads of his brethren. When he had received these, he made his way back to the place where their bodies had been lying, and fervently asked of God to show forth His omnipotence in the resuscitation of His servants in this life. Wondrous is what I relate, but in the truth of fact most manifest. He fitted the heads to the bodies, and recalled them to life by the virtue of the holy prayer—nay, rather, what is more correct, he obtained their recall. These, thus marvellously resuscitated, bore timber back to the monastery. But so long as they lived they bore the scars of the wounds on their necks.
IX. HOW CIARAN RESTORED A CALF WHICH A WOLF HAD DEVOURED
8. At another time when he was keeping the herds of his parents in a certain place, a cow gave birth to a calf in his presence. But a [hound], altogether wasted with leanness, came, desiring to fill [his belly] with whatso falleth from the body of the mother with the calf, and stood before the dutiful shepherd. To which he said, "Eat, poor wretch, yonder calf, for great is thy need of it." The hound, fulfilling the commands of Queranus, devoured the calf down to the bones. But as Queranus returned with the kine to the house, that one, recalling her calf to memory, was running hither and thither, lowing; and the mother of Queranus, recognising the cause of the lowing, said with indignation to the boy, "Quiranus, restore the calf, though it be burnt with fire or drowned with water." But he, obeying his mother's commands, making his way to the place where the calf had been devoured, collected its bones and resuscitated the calf.
V. HOW CIARAN WAS DELIVERED FROM A HOUND
9. At a certain time, when he was passing along a road, certain men spurred by a malignant spirit incited a most savage dog to do him a hurt. But Queranus, trusting in his Lord, fortified himself with the shield of devout prayer, and said, "Deliver not to beasts the souls of them that trust in Thee, O Lord": and soon that dog died.
XXXI. HOW CIARAN FLOATED A FIREBRAND ON THE LAKE
10. At another time when he was left alone in that island, he heard a poor man in the harbour asking that fire be given to him. For it was now the time of cold: but he had no boat whereby to satisfy the petition of the poor man, though much he desired to do so. And because charity suffereth all things, he cast a burning firebrand into the lake, and the heat of love that sent it prevailing over the waters, it came to the poor man.
XXXII. CIARAN IN ARAN
11. Now when the man of God had spent a certain time there, with the licence of Nynnidus he hastened to Saint Endeus, abbot in Ara; who was filled with no small joy at his coming. Now on a certain night he dreamed that he had seen beside the bank of the great river Synan a great leafy and fruitful tree which over-shadowed all Ireland. Which dream he related to blessed Endeus on the following day. But Endeus himself bore witness that he had seen the same vision that night, which vision Endeus interpreted: "The tree," he said, "thou art it, who shalt be great before God and men, and honourable throughout all Ireland; because she is protected from demons and from other perils by the shadow of thy help and grace, as under the shadow of a health-giving tree. Many near and far shall the fruit of thy works advantage. Wherefore according to the decree of God who revealeth secrets, depart to the place that hath been shown thee before, and there abide, according to the grace given thee of God." Comforted by the interpretation of this vision, in true obedience he obeyed the command of Saint Endeus his spiritual father.
XXXIV. HOW CIARAN VISITED SENAN
12. And having set forth on the way he found in his journey a poor man, to whom, as he asked an alms of him, he made over his cloak. And when he had arrived at the island of Cathacus, blessed Senanus learnt of his arrival, the Spirit revealing it to him, and coming to meet him he said as though smiling, "Is it not shame for a presbyter to journey without a cloak?" For Senanus in the spirit knew how he had given it to a poor man. And so he came to meet him with a cloak. And Keranus said, "My elder," said he, "beareth a cloak for me under his vesture."
XXXV. CIARAN IN ISEL
13. When he had received it and returned thanks to the giver, he came for sacred converse to the cell of his brother Luctigernnus, where also was his other brother, Odranus by name. There for some time he prolonged his sojourn, and was guest-master. Now one day when he was reading in the open air in the cemetery, guests came unexpectedly, whom he led to the guest-house, having left his book open in forgetfulness: and he washed their feet with devotion, and did the other services necessary for them, for the sake of Christ. Meanwhile, when the night darkness had fallen, there was a great rain. But He Who bedewed the fleece of Gideon, but afterwards kept it untouched by the dew, so preserved the book of holy Keranus, open though it was, from the rushing waters, that not a drop fell upon it.
XXXVI. THE REMOVAL OF THE LAKE
14. Near to the monastery in which the man of God was then staying, there was an island, which certain worldly men inhabited, whose uproar used greatly to disturb the men of God. Whence it happened that blessed Keranus, compelled by their disquietude, made his way to the lake, and giving himself up wholly to prayer, succeeded in obtaining the removal of those who were distressing the servants of God. For when he ceased from prayer, behold, suddenly the island with the lake and the inhabitants withdrew to a remote place, so that by no means could its inhabitants disturb the friends of the Most High. For this miracle was done in His Name Who overturned Sodom on account of the sin of its inhabitants, and consumed it with fire. The traces of that lake, where it formerly was, still exist.
XXXVIII. CIARAN IN INIS AINGIN
15. As the man of God was distributing the goods of the monastery for the use of the poor, his brethren complaining of this and coming to him inconsiderately, said, "Depart," said they, "from us, for we cannot live together." To whom agreeing, and bidding farewell in the Lord, he transferred himself to an island by name Angina. A monastery having been founded in this island, many hastening from all sides, attracted by the fame of his holiness, submitted to the service of God. Ordering them under strict rules, by face and by habit, by speech and by life, he showed himself as an example to them. For he was as an eagle inciting its young to fly, in respect to sublimity of contemplation; but he lived as the least of them in brotherly humility. For he was in spiritual meditations attached to the highest things; yet so much did he stoop to feeble weakness that he seemed as though he tended towards the lowliest things. He was also perfect in faith, fervent in charity, rejoicing in hope, gentle of heart, courteous of speech, patient and long-suffering, kindly in hospitality, ever diligent in works of piety, benign, gentle, peaceful, sober, and quiet. To summarise many things in one short sentence, he was garnished with the ornament of all the virtues. Expending a care zealous for these and the like matters—the care of Mary for contemplation, and of Martha for the dispensing of things temporal—he fulfilled his duty in ordered succession. Nor could the light of such and so great a lantern be hidden under a bushel: but it glittered with light, all around, wheresoever it abundantly illuminated the world with the outpoured glory of its grace.
XXXIX. THE COMING OF OENNA
16. He was nevertheless inspired with a spirit of prophecy, which appears from the preceding and the following examples. For on a certain day the voice of one asking for ferrying had struck on his ears. Then he said to the brethren, "I hear," said he, "the voice of him whom God will set over you as abbot. Go, therefore, and fetch him." So they hastened; and coming to the harbour, they found an unlettered youth. Not caring to lead him to the holy man, they returned and declared that they had found no one, save an unlettered youth who was wandering as a vagabond in the woods. But Saint Queranus said, "Lead him hither," said he, "and despise not your future pastor." Who being led in, by the inspiration of God and by the instruction of the holy man, took on him the habit of religion, and duly learned his letters. For he is Saint Oenius, a man of venerable life; and, as the saint prophesied beforehand, he was duly set over the brethren.
XLI. HOW CIARAN WENT FROM INIS AINGHIN TO CLONMACNOIS
17. At length, when some time had passed, a holy man by name Dompnanus, of Mumonia by race, came to visit the man of God. When Saint Keranus enquired of him the cause of his coming, he replied that he wished to have a place in which he could serve the Lord in security. But Saint Keranus, seeking not his own, but the things of Jesus Christ, said, "Here," said he, "dwell thou, and I with God's guidance shall seek a place of habitation elsewhere." Finally, the sacred community accompanying him, he made his way to the place foreshown him of God, in which, when the famous and renowned monastery which is to-day called the city of Cluayn was built, he himself illuminated the world, like the sun, with the light of famous miracles.
XLIV. CIARAN AND THE WINE
18. Of the multitude of these miracles we add some here. One time, when the brethren, labouring in the harvest, were oppressed with peril of thirst, they sent to holy Father Queranus that they might be refreshed by the blessing of water. To these, through the servants, he said: "Choose ye," said he, "one of two things; either that ye be now revived with water, or that those who are to inhabit this place after you be blessed with the things of this world." But they answering said: "We choose," said they, "that those who come after us may abound in temporal goods, and that we may have the reward of long-suffering in heaven." And so, rejoicing in the hope of the things to come, they abstained from drinking, though they were in great need of it.
But in the evening when they were returning home, the tender father, having compassion on the weariness of the labourers, blessed a vessel filled with water: and now renewing the holy miracle in Cana of Galilee, he changed the water into the best wine. By this wine they, fainting from thirst, were revived; and revived in faith by the manifestation of an unwonted miracle, they gave praises to God Almighty. For the taste of this miraculous wine was more grateful than was wont, and its odour scented the thumb of the wine-drawer so long as he survived.
XLVI. HOW AN INSULT TO CIARAN WAS AVERTED
19. One day when he was going on a way, most infamous robbers, seizing him, began to shave the head of the blessed man. But what the frowardness of man wished to efface, the divine benevolence changed to the manifestation of a mighty miracle. For in the place of the shaved hairs other hairs grew forthwith. The robbers, thrown into consternation by this miracle, were changed to the way of truth, and at length, serving in the divine army under so great a leader, they finished their life in holy conversation.
XLVII. HOW CIARAN WAS SAVED FROM SHAME
20. At another time when the good shepherd was feeding his flocks, three poor men met him. To the first of these he made over his cape, to the second his cloak, to the third his tunic. But when they were going away there arrived certain men, leaders of a worldly life. As he was ashamed to be seen of these without raiment, the Lord Who helpeth in need so surrounded him with water that except his head no part of him could they see. But after these men had passed by the water soon disappeared.
XLVIII. HOW A MAN WAS SAVED FROM ROBBERS
21. After this when some time had passed, certain companions of the devil were trying to slay a man who dwelt near his monastery: whom, when the blessed man prayed for him, God marvellously rescued. For when they were slaughtering the man, they were striking on a stone statue. The robbers, when at last they perceived this, being pricked in the heart, hasten to the shepherd of souls, Queranus: they humbly acknowledge their crime; and, amending their way of life, they served faithfully under the yoke of Christ until death.
XLIX. THE DEATH OF CIARAN
22. The most glorious soldier of Christ, shining with these and many other [miracles], like the luminary which presides over the day, as he reached the setting of his natural course, approached it, seized with grievous sickness. But because he who shall have endured unto the end shall be saved, so the champion of Christ, not only strengthening himself in the battle of this conflict, but also calling on souls to conquer, caused the stone, on which, supporting his head, he was wont until then to concede a little sleep to his body, to be placed even under his shoulders; then raising his holy hand he blessed the brethren, and, fortified by reception of the viaticum of salvation, gave back his soul to heaven. For as that blessed soul departed from the body, the choirs of angels with hymns and songs received it into the glory of God.
LI. THE EARTH OF CIARAN'S TOMB DELIVERS COLUM CILLE FROM A WHIRLPOOL
23. Also, when the most blessed abbot of Christ, Columba, heard of the death of Saint Keranus, he composed a notable hymn about him: and he brought it down with him to the monastery of Cluayn, where, as was fitting, he was received with hospitality in honour. Now as for the hymn, the abbot who was then presiding, and the others who had heard it, lauded it with many lofty praises. But when Saint Columba was departing thence, he took away with him earth from the sacred grave of Saint Keranus, knowing in the spirit how useful this would be against future perils of the sea. For in the part of the sea which bears towards the monastery of I, there is a very great danger to those who cross, partly because of the vehemence of the currents, and partly because of the narrowness of the sea; so that ships are whirled round and driven in a circle, and thus are often sunk. For it is rightly compared to Scylla and Charybdis; I mean that by its grave and unmitigated dangerousness, evil is there the lot of sailors. When they were coming to this strait, they suddenly began to glide into it in their course: and when they looked for nothing but death, and because they were as though apt to be devoured by the horrible jaws of the abyss, then Saint Columba taking some of the aforesaid dust that had been taken from the tomb of blessed Keranus, cast it into that sea. Then there befell a thing marvellous and worthy of great wonder; for sooner than it is told, that cruel storm ceased, and accorded them a quiet passage. Truly do the just live for ever; among whom blessed Queranus reigneth, the earth or dust of whose sepulchre stilled the sea, established in the Faith the hearts of those who feared, and strengthened them to good works. Wherefore blessed Keranus liveth not only for God, to whom he is inseparably bound, but also for men, on whom in time of need he bestoweth benefits.