Book: A Book Of Saints And Wonders
Author: Lady Gregory

A Book Of Saints And Wonders By Lady Gregory

Format: Global Grey free PDF, epub, Kindle ebook
Pages (PDF): 108
Publication Date: 1906

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Published in 1906, this book contains the doings and lives of Saints Brigit, Columcille, Patrick, and Brendan the Navigator (who voyaged to the promised land). The last two chapters are more mythical, one dealing with the fabulous voyage of Maeldune and the other, called `Great Wonders of the Old Time'.

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Brigit in her Young Youth

Now as to Brigit she was born at sunrise on the first day of the spring, of a bondwoman of Connacht. And it was angels that baptized her and that gave her the name of Brigit, that is a Fiery Arrow. She grew up to be a serving girl the same as her mother. And all the food she used was the milk of a white red-eared cow that was set apart for her by a druid. And everything she put her hand to used to increase, and it was she wove the first piece of cloth in Ireland, and she put the white threads in the loom that have a power of healing in them to this day. She bettered the sheep and she satisfied the birds and she fed the poor.

Brigit in her Father's House

And when she grew to be strong and to have good courage she went to her father Dubthach's house in Munster and stopped with him there. And one time there came some high person to the house, and food was made ready for him and for his people; and five pieces of bacon were given to Brigit, to boil them. But there came into the house a very hungry miserable hound, and she gave him out of pity a piece of the bacon. And when the hound was not satisfied with that she gave him another piece. Then Dubthach came and he asked Brigit were the pieces of bacon ready; and she bade him count them and he counted them, and the whole of the five pieces were there, not one of them missing. But the high guest that was there and that Brigit had thought to be asleep had seen all, and he told her father all that happened. And he and the people that were with him did not eat that meat, for they were not worthy of it, but it was given to the poor and to the wretched.

She Minds the Dairy

After that Brigit went to visit her mother that was in bondage to a druid of Connacht. And it is the way she was at that time, at a grass-farm of the mountains having on it twelve cows, and she gathering butter. And there was sickness on her, and Brigit cared her and took charge of the whole place. And the churning she made, she used to divide it first into twelve parts in honour of the twelve apostles of our Lord; and the thirteenth part she would make bigger than the rest, to the honour of Christ, and that part she would give to strangers and to the poor. And the serving boy wondered to see her doing that, but it is what she used to say: "It is in the name of Christ I feed the poor; for Christ is in the body of every poor man."

She Fills the Vessels

One time the serving boy went to the druid's house, and they asked was the girl minding the dairy well. And he said "I am thankful, and the calves are fat;" for he dared not say anything against the girl, and she not there. But the druid got word of what she was doing, and he came to visit the farm, and his wife along with him; and the cows were doing well, and the calves were fat. Then they went into the dairy, having with them a vessel eighteen hands in height. And Brigit bade them welcome and washed their feet, and made ready food for them, and after that they bade her fill up the vessel with butter. And she had but a churning and a half for them, and she went into the kitchen where it was stored and it is what she said:

"O my High Prince who can do all these things, this is not a forbidden asking; bless my kitchen with thy right hand!

"My kitchen, the kitchen of the white Lord; a kitchen that was blessed by my King; a kitchen where there is butter.

"My Friend is coming, the Son of Mary; it is he blessed my kitchen; the Prince of the world comes to this place; that there may be plenty with him!" After she had made that hymn she brought the half of the churning from the place where it was stored; and the druid's wife mocked at her and said "It is good filling for a large vessel this much is!" "Fill your vessel" said Brigit, "and God will add something to it." And she was going back to her kitchen and bringing half a churning every time and saying every time a verse of those verses. And if all the vessels of the men of Munster had been brought to her she would have filled the whole of them.

The Man that had Lost his Wife's Love

Brigit would give herself to no man in marriage but she took the veil and after that she did great wonders. There came to her one time a man making his complaint that his wife would not sleep with him but was leaving him, and he came asking a spell from Brigit that would bring back her love. And Brigit blessed water for him, and it is what she said: "Bring that water into your house, and put it in the food and in the drink and on the bed." And after he had done that, his wife gave him great love, so that she could not be as far as the other side of the house from him, but was always at his hand. And one day he set out on a journey, leaving the wife in her sleep, and as soon as she awoke from her sleep she rose up and followed after her man till she saw him, and there was a strip of the sea between them. And she called out to him and it is what she said, that if he would not come back to her, she would go into the sea that was between them.

The Drying of Brigit's Cloak

One time Brennain, saint of the Gael, came from the west to Brigit, to the plain of the Life, for he wondered at the great name she had for doing miracles and wonders. And Brigit came in from her sheep to welcome him, and as she came into the house she laid her cloak that was wet on the rays of the sun, and they held it up the same as hooks. Then Brennain bade his serving lad to put his cloak on the sun rays in the same way, and he put it on them, but twice it fell from them. Then Brennain himself put it on them the third time, and there was anger on him, and that time it stopped on the rays.