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    The Third Latin Life of Saint Ciaran

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    Chapter 5
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    II.

    THE ORIGIN AND BIRTH OF CIARAN: THE WIZARD'S PROPHECIES

    1. The blessed and venerable abbot Queranus was born of a noble and religious stock of the Scots, of a father Beoid, that is Boeus, by name, who was a cartwright, and of a mother Darerca; of these many saints were born. This man of God was prophesied of by Saint Patrick, fifty years before his birth. Moreover when his mother, sitting in a carriage one day, passed near the house of a certain wizard, the wizard, hearing the noise of the carriage said in prophecy, "The carriage soundeth under a king." And when his folk went in surprise to see the truth of the matter, and beheld no one but the wife of Boeus in the carriage, they said in mockery, "Lo, the wife of Beoit sitteth in the carriage." To whom the wizard said, "Not of her do I speak, but of the son whom she hath in her womb, who shall be a mighty king; and as the sun blazeth in mid-day, so shall he with miracles shine and illumine this island." After this, as his father was being burdened under the taxes of Anmereus, that is Anmirech, leaving his native region he departed into the territory of the Conactei; and there in the plain of Ay he begat his blessed son Queranus, who was baptized and instructed by a certain holy man, Dermicius by name. And the holy boy, in manners beyond his years, worked many wonders.

    III.

    HOW CIARAN RAISED THE STEED OF OENGUS FROM DEATH

    2. So when the horse of the son of the king of that territory died by accident, he saw in a vision a shining man saying to him, "The holy boy Quieranus who liveth among you, can quicken thy horse. Present him with a reward for the health of thy horse, and he shall resuscitate him." The royal youth, awakened from sleep, went to Queranus, and prayed him on behalf of the horse. The holy boy, without delay, blessed water, and when he poured it into the mouth of the horse it was restored to its former health. And when the king saw what was done, he made over an excellent field as a reward to Saint Quieranus.

    IV.

    HOW CIARAN TURNED WATER INTO HONEY

    3. At another time his mother upbraided him because, though the other boys collected honey for their mothers, he used to bring her no honey. But hearkening humbly to his mother, he went to a neighbouring spring, and carrying thence a vessel full of water, he blessed it, and it was changed into excellent honey.

    V.

    HOW CIARAN WAS DELIVERED FROM A HOUND

    4. On a certain other day some men, spurred by a malignant spirit, incited a most savage dog to devour the holy man. But Keranus trusting in the Lord, and fortifying himself with the buckler of prayer, said, "Deliver not the soul that trusteth in Thee unto beasts"; and soon the dog died.

    IX.

    HOW CIARAN RESTORED A CALF WHICH A WOLF HAD DEVOURED

    5. When at another time he was feeding the herds of his parents, as men are wont to do,[1] a cow brought forth a calf in his presence. But there came a hound consumed with leanness, seeking to fill his belly with what fell from the body of the mother along with the calf; and moved with compassion he said unto him, "Eat, poor wretch, yonder calf, for great is thy need of it." The hound fulfilled the commands of Keranus, and ate the calf to the bones. As Keranus returned home to the house of his parents with the herds, the cow, recalling the calf to memory, went running about lowing. The mother of Keranus, recognising the cause of its lowing, said with indignation to the boy, "Restore the calf, Keranus, even though it be burnt with fire or drowned in the sea." But he, obeying his mother, returned to the place where the calf had been devoured, collected the bones, and carried them with him and placed them before the mother [father, MS.], asking his God with diligence to hear his prayers for the resuscitation of the calf. And God hearkened to the holy one, and resuscitated the calf in the presence of his parents.

    X.

    HOW CIARAN WAS DELIVERED FROM ROBBERS

    6. At another time there came robbers to him when he was feeding the herds of his parents, wishing to slay him, so that they might the more easily reave what they would. But God had regard to their attempt from on high, and so multiplied infirmities upon them that they turned in haste to God. For they were smitten with blindness, nor could they move hand or foot, till they wrought repentance, and were loosed by the merit of Saint Keranus: recovering the light of their eyes and the vigour of their other members.

    XIV.

    HOW CIARAN GAVE THE KING'S CAULDRON TO BEGGARS AND WAS ENSLAVED

    7. It happened after this that he gave a cauldron belonging to the king, as he had nothing else to give to poor folk asking of him an alms. When the king heard what had been done, he was greatly enraged, and commanded his people to bring Saint Keranus to him in bonds. When he was led to the king, he gave sentence that he should be reduced to servitude, and be set apart for grinding at the quern. But God, having regard to the humiliation of His servant, caused the mill to be moved of itself without human hand, and left Ciaran free to chant his Psalms. After a few days coppersmiths from the land of the Mumunienses brought three cooking-pots with them, and offered them to Saint Keranus. Giving thanks for these to God, he was delivered from the yoke of servitude.

    XXIII.

    THE BLESSING OF CIARAN'S FOOD

    8. When on a certain day he was journeying alone, and the time of partaking of food had come, seeking one to bless for him he said "Benedic." And as no one answered, he departed, fasting. On the following day, seeking one to bless and finding him not, he went on fasting in like manner. On the third day he went forth fasting, and being weary with the journey he lay down; and when he asked a benediction as was customary, a voice came from heaven and blessed his meal, and so, eating and giving thanks, he completed his journey.

    XV.

    HOW CIARAN REPROVED HIS MOTHER

    9. One time when he was coming from the fields to the house certain strangers met him; and when he had asked them whence they had come, they said, "From the house of Boetius the wright." And when he had again asked them how they had been refreshed there, they answered, "Not only got we no food, but the woman of the house heaped insults and abuse upon us." But he, fired with the flames of charity, went to his father's house, and cast whatsoever of food he found there into the mud, thinking that what was not offered to Christ, and that in which the pleasure of the devil was wrought, was corrupt and unclean and should not be eaten of any.

    XVI.

    THE BREAKING OF THE CARRIAGE-AXLE

    10. At another time when with his father he was sitting in a carriage, the axle of the carriage broke in two; but yet for the whole day they continued their journey safely, without any mishap.

    XVII.

    HOW CIARAN WENT WITH HIS COW TO THE SCHOOL OF FINDIAN

    11. After these things, having heard the renown of the holiness and sound doctrine of Saint Finnianus of Cluayn Hyrart, he desired to hasten to him as to a living fountain, and asked of his mother a cow, to yield him the food necessary to sustain life. When his mother refused his request, he went to the kine of his mother, trusting in his God, and blessed one of them in the name of God; and the cow, by the favour of God, mindful of the blessing of the man of God, followed him with her calf till he had arrived at the church of the man of God Fynnianus. When the man of God arrived at the place of his desire, he drew a dividing-line with his rod between the cow and the calf, in the name of Him who set a boundary to the waters that they should not transgress their limit, and this they did not cross till they were permitted. The milk of that cow was sufficient for twelve men every day.

    XVIII.

    THE ANGELS GRIND FOR CIARAN

    12. At that time there were twelve very holy and reverend men reading in that school, and each of them on his day ground at the quern with his own hand, as was customary. But in the day of Saint Keranus the angels of God used to turn the quern for him.

    XXX.

    THE ADVENTURE OF THE ROBBERS OF LOCH ERNE

    13. At another time, when blessed Keranus had been in an island situated in Loch Eirne, in the school of a holy man; and it was a custom with the saints that three men should go out with an elder to bring in timber; it was the lot of Saint Keranus to go to the forest with three monks to cut timber. And when he was praying apart and the others were cutting wood, robbers came and slew those three monks, and cut off and carried away their heads with them. Saint Keranus, not hearing the sound of those who were hacking and hewing timber, returned from the place of prayer and found his three companions slain and decapitated. But the man of God, though first he grieved sorely over this deed, yet, recovering his power from Him Who deserteth not His own in their necessity, hastened after the murderers, and found them sweating to drag a little boat down to the water. But it was wondrously contrived that the skiff should weigh most heavily, like a ship, and with this their bodily strength wholly failed them. Then they turned themselves to the holy man, and begging pardon of him, they obtained it in mercy. And when as a price for their restored strength he obtained the heads of his companions from the robbers, he ran with them to the place where the bodies of the martyrs were lying, placed each of them respectively at the junction with its body, and restored them to life from death in the Name of the Holy Trinity. And as a sign of this unwonted miracle, so long as they lived there remained a blood-marked circle round their necks, that thereby the Faithful should be strengthened in the Faith and the infidels confuted. It endeth; Amen.

    [Footnote 1: More humano: but is this an error for in quodam loco?]
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