Life of Saint Columba, Founder of Hy
Adamnan, Ninth Abbot of Hy, editor William Reeves, Edinburgh: Edmonston and Douglas, 1874
Image courtesy Elizabeth Johnson
BOOK III. HERE BEGINNETH THE THIRD BOOK.
IN the first of these three little Books we have, under the guidance of God, shortly and concisely related, as was observed before, some of the prophetic revelations. In the second we have recorded the powerful miracles the blessed man wrought, which, as we have often observed, were generally accompanied with the gift of prophecy. But in this third Book, which treateth of the Apparitions of Angels, we shall relate those which either our saint received regarding others, or others saw regarding him; we shall also describe some which were manifested to both parties, though in different measure, that is, to the saint himself, specially and clearly, but to the others improperly and partially, or, in other words, externally and tentatively, yet in the same visions either of angels, or of heavenly light. Whatever discrepancies however in any case may at first sight seem to occur in those visions, will be completely removed as we proceed to relate them in their proper places. But now we must begin at the very birth of the blessed man, and relate these angelic manifestations.
ON a certain night between the conception and birth of the venerable man, an angel of the Lord appeared to his mother in dreams, bringing to her, as he stood by her, a certain robe of extraordinary beauty, in which the most beautiful colours, as it were, of all the flowers seemed to be portrayed. After a short time he asked it back, and took it out of her hands, and having raised it and spread it out, he let it fly through the air. But she being sad at the loss of it, said to that man of venerable aspect, "Why dost thou take this lovely cloak away from me so soon?" He immediately replied, "Because this mantle is so exceedingly honourable that thou canst not retain it longer with thee." When this was said, the woman saw that the fore-mentioned robe was gradually receding from her in its flight; and that then it expanded until its width exceeded the plains, and in all its measurements was larger than the mountains and forests. Then she heard the following words: "Woman, do not grieve, for to the man to whom thou hast been joined by the marriage bond, thou shalt bring forth a son, of so beautiful a character, that he shall be reckoned among his own people as one of the prophets of God, and hath been predestined by God to be the leader of innumerable souls to the heavenly country." At these words the woman awoke from her sleep.
CHAPTER III. Of the Ray of Light which was seen upon the boy's face as he lay asleep.
ON another night, Cruithnecan, a priest of blameless life, to whose care the blessed youth was confided, upon returning home from the church after mass, found his house illuminated with a bright light, and saw in fact a ball of fire standing over the face of the little boy as he lay asleep. At the sight he at once shook with fear, and fell down with his face to the ground in great amazement, well knowing that it indicated the grace of the Holy Spirit poured out from heaven upon his young charge.
CHAPTER IV. Of the Apparition of Holy Angels whom St. Brenden saw accompanying the blessed man through the plain.
FOR indeed after the lapse of many years, when St. Columba was excommunicated by a certain synod for some pardonable and very trifling reasons, and indeed unjustly, as it afterwards appeared at the end, he came to the' same meeting convened against himself. When St. Brenden, the founder of the monastery which in the Scotic language is called Birra (Birr, in King's County), saw him approaching in the distance, he quickly arose, and with head bowed down reverently kissed him. When some of the seniors in that assembly, going apart from the rest, were finding fault with him, and saying: "Why didst thou not decline to rise in presence of an excommunicated person, and to kiss him?" he replied to them in this wise: "If," said he, "you had seen what the Lord has this day thought fit to show to me regarding this his chosen one, whom you dishonour, you would never have excommunicated a person whom God not only doth not excommunicate, according to your unjust sentence, but even more and more highly esteemeth." "How, we would wish to know," said they in reply, " doth God exalt, as thou sayest, one whom we have excommunicated, not without reason?" "I have seen," said Brenden, "a most brilliant pillar wreathed with fiery tresses preceding this same man of God whom you treat with contempt; I have also seen holy angels accompanying him on his journey through the plain. Therefore I do not dare to slight him whom I see foreordained by God to be the leader of his people to life." When he said this, they desisted, and so far from daring to hold the saint any longer excommunicated, they even treated him with the greatest respect and reverence. This took place in Teilte (Taillte, now Teltown, in Meath).
CHAPTER V. The blessed man in his journey.
ON another occasion the holy man went to the venerable Bishop Finnio, who had formerly been his preceptor, the youth to visit the man far advanced in years. When St. Finnio saw him coming to him, he observed also an angel of the Lord accompanying him, as he proceeded, and as it is handed down to us by well-informed persons, he made it known to certain brethren who were standing by, saying to them: "Behold, look now to Columba as he draweth near; he hath been deemed worthy of having an angelic inhabitant of heaven to be his companion in his wanderings." About that same time the holy man, with his twelve disciples and fellow-soldiers, sailed across to Britain.
CHAPTER VI. How an Angel of the Lord appeared in a vision to St. Columba while he stayed in the Hinba island (Eilean-na-Naoimh), being sent to him in order that he might appoint Aidan king.
ON another occasion, when this eminent man was
staying in the Hinba island (Eilean-na-Naoimh), he saw, on a certain night, in a
mental ecstasy, an angel sent to him from heaven, and holding in his hand a book
of glass, regarding the appointment of kings. Having received the book from the
hand of the angel, the venerable man, at his command, began to read it; and when
he was reluctant to appoint Aidan king, as the book directed, because he had a
greater affection for Iogenan his brother, the angel, suddenly stretching forth
his hand, struck the saint with a scourge, the livid marks of which remained in
his side all the days of his life. And he added these words: "Know for
certain," said he, "that I am sent to thee by God with the book of
glass, that in accordance with the words thou hast read therein, thou mayest
inaugurate Aidan into the kingdom; but if thou refuse to obey this command, I
will strike thee again." When therefore this angel of the Lord had appeared
for three successive nights, having the same book of glass in his hand, and had
repeated the same commands of the Lord regarding the appointment of the same
king, the saint, in obedience to the command of the Lord, sailed across to the
Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), and there ordained, as he had been commanded, Aidan
to be king, who had arrived at the same time as the saint. During the words of
consecration, the saint declared the future regarding the children,
grandchildren and great- grandchildren of Aidan, and laying his hand upon his
head, he consecrated and blessed him.
CHAPTER VII. Of the Apparition of Angels carrying to heaven the soul of the blessed Brito.
AT another time while the holy man was tarrying
in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), one of his monks called Brito, a person
given to all good works, being seized with bodily illness, was reduced to the
last extremity. When the venerable man went to visit him at the hour of his
departure, he stood for a few moments at his bedside, and after giving him his
blessing, retired quickly from the house, not wishing to see him die, and the
very moment after the holy man left the house the monk closed this present life.
CHAPTER VIII. Concerning the Vision of Angels vouchsafed the same holy man when they were bearing to heaven the soul of one named Diormit.
AT another time a stranger from Hibernia came
to the saint and remained with him for some months in the Iouan island (Hy, now
Iona). The blessed man one day said to him: "One of the clerics of thy
province, whose name I do not yet know, is being carried to heaven by the angels
at this moment." Then the brother, upon hearing this, began to search
within himself regarding the province of the Anterii (Airthir), which is called
in Scotic Indairthir (East Oriel, in Ulster), and also about the name of that
blessed man, and in due course thus expressed himself, saying: "I know a
soldier of Jesus Christ, named Diormit, who built a small monastery in the same
district where I dwelt." The saint said to him, “He of whom thou speakest
is the very person who hath been carried into Paradise by the angels of
CHAPTER IX. Of the brave fight of the Angels against the Demons, and how they opportunely assisted the Saint in the same conflict.
ON another day while the holy man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he went to seek in the woods for a place more remote from men and fitting for prayer. And there when he began to pray, he suddenly beheld, as he afterwards told a few of the brethren, a very black host of demons fighting against him with iron darts. These wicked demons wished, as the Holy Spirit revealed to the saint, to attack his monastery and kill with the same spears many of the brethren. But he, single-handed, against innumerable foes of such a nature, fought with the utmost bravery, having received the armour of the apostle Paul. And thus the contest was maintained on both sides during the greater part of the day, nor could the demons, countless though they were, vanquish him, nor was he able, by himself, to drive them from his island, until the angels of God, as the saint afterwards told certain persons, and they few in number, came to his aid, when the demons in terror gave way. On the same day, when the saint was returning to his monastery, after he had driven the devils from his island, he spoke these words concerning the same hostile legions, saying, "Those deadly foes, who this day, through the mercy of God and the assistance of his angels, have been put to flight from this small track of land, have fled to the Ethican land (Tiree), and there as savage invaders they will attack the monasteries of the brethren, and cause pestilential diseases, of which many will be grievously ill and die." All this came to pass in those days, as the blessed man had foreseen. And two days after he thus spake from the revelation of the Holy Ghost, "Baithen hath managed wisely, with God's help, that the congregation of the church over which he hath been appointed by God to preside, in the plain of Lunge (Magh Lunge, in Tiree), should be defended by fasts and prayers against the attacks of the demons, and but one person shall die on this occasion." The whole took place as was foretold; for whilst many in the other monasteries of the same island fell victims to that disease, none except the one of whom the saint spoke died in the congregation which was under the charge of Baithen.
CHAPTER X. Of the Apparition of Angels whom the man of God saw carrying to heaven the soul of a blacksmith, named Columb, and surnamed Coilrigin.
A CERTAIN blacksmith, greatly devoted to works of charity, and full of other good works, dwelt in the midland districts of Scotia (Ireland). When the forementioned Columb, surnamed Coilrigin, was dying in a good old age, even at that very moment when he departed from the body St. Columba, who was then in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), thus addressed a few of the senior brethren who were standing around him, "Columb Coilrigin, the blacksmith, hath not laboured in vain, seeing that he hath had the happiness, as he desired, to purchase the eternal rewards by the labour of his hands. For, behold, at this moment, his soul is carried by the holy angels to the joys of the heavenly country, because he laid out all that he could earn by his trade in alms to the poor."
CHAPTER XI. Of a similar vision of Angels whom the blessed man beheld carrying to heaven the soul of a certain virtuous woman.
IN like manner, on another occasion, whilst the holy man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he one day suddenly raised his eyes to heaven and uttered the words, "O happy woman, happy because of thy virtues; the angels of God are now carrying thy soul to paradise." Now these words from the mouth of the saint were heard by a certain religious brother, a Saxon, by name Genere, who was at the moment working at his trade, which was that of a baker. And on the same day of the month, at the end of the same year, the saint addressed the same Genere the Saxon, and said, " I see a wonderful thing; behold, the woman of whom I spake in thy presence last year, now meeteth in the air the soul of her husband, a poor and holy man, and together with the holy angels engageth in a contest for it against the adverse powers; by their united assistance, and by the aid of the virtuous character of the man himself, his soul is rescued from the assaults of the demons, and brought to the place of eternal refreshment.
CHAPTER XII. Of the Apparition of Holy Angels whom St. Columba beheld meeting in its passage the soul of St. Brenden, the founder of the monastery which in Scotic is called Birra (Birr, in King's County).
ON another day also, while the venerable man was residing in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he called very early in the morning for his attendant, Diormit, so frequently mentioned before, and commanded him saying, "Make ready in haste £or the celebration of the Holy Eucharist, for today is the birthday of blessed Brenden." "Wherefore," said his attendant, "dost thou order such solemnities of the Mass to be prepared today? For no messenger hath come to us from Scotia (Ireland) to tell us of the death of that holy man." "Go," said the saint, "it is thy duty to obey my commands. For this last night I saw the heavens suddenly open, and choirs of angels descend to meet the soul of the holy Brenden; and so great and incomparable was the brightness, that in that same hour it illuminated the whole world."
ON another day also, while the brethren were
putting on their sandals in the morning, and were making ready to go to their
different duties in the monastery, the saint, on the contrary, bade them rest
that day and prepare for the holy sacrifice, ordering also some addition to be
made to their dinner, as on the Lord's day. "I must," said he,
"though unworthy, celebrate today the holy mysteries of the Eucharist, out
of veneration to that soul which this last night went up to paradise, beyond the
region of the stars in the heavens, borne thither amid the holy choirs of the
CHAPTER XIV. Of the Apparition of Angels who had come down to meet the souls of the monks of St. Comgell.
AT another time, when the venerable man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he became suddenly excited, and summoned the brethren together by the sound of the bell. "Now," said he, "let us help by our prayers the monks of the Abbot Comgell, who are just now in danger of being drowned in the Lake of the Calf (Loch Laodh, now Belfast Lough); for, lo! at this moment they are fighting against the hostile powers in the air, and are striving to rescue the soul of some stranger who is also drowning along with them." Then after having wept and prayed fervently, he hastily stood erect before the altar with a joyful countenance, whilst the brethren continued to lie prostrate in prayer. "Give thanks," he said, "to Christ, for now the holy angels, coming to the aid of holy souls, have rescued this stranger from the attacks of the demons, and borne him off in triumph like victorious warriors."
CHAPTER XV. Of the Manifestation of the Angels who came to meet the soul of one Emchath.
AT another time, when the saint was travelling beyond the Dorsal Ridge of Britain (Drumalban), near the lake of the river Nesa (Loch Ness), he was suddenly inspired by the Holy Ghost, and said to the brethren that accompanied him, "Let us go quickly to meet the holy angels, who have been sent from the realms of the highest heaven to carry away with them the soul of a heathen, and now wait our arrival there, that we may baptize in due time before his death this man, who hath preserved his natural goodness through all his life, even to extreme old age." And having said this much, the holy old man hurried his companions as much as he could, and walked before them until he came to a district called Airchart-dan (Arochdan, now Glen Urquhart); and there he found an aged man whose name was Emchat, who, on hearing the word of God preached by the saint, believed and was baptized, and immediately after, full of joy, and safe from evil, and accompanied by the angels, who came to meet him, passed to the Lord. His son Virolec also believed, and was baptized with all his house.
CHAPTER XVI. Of the Angel of the Lord that came so quickly and opportunely to the relief of the brother who fell from the top of the round monastery in the Oakwood Plain (Derry).
AT another time, while the holy man sat in his little cell engaged in writing, on a sudden his countenance changed, and he poured forth this cry from his pure breast, saying, "Help! Help!" Two of the brothers who stood at the door, namely, Colga, son of Cellach, and Lugne Mocublai, asked the cause of such a sudden cry. The venerable man answered, saying, "I ordered the angel of the Lord who was just now standing among you to go quickly to the relief of one of the brothers who is falling from the highest point of a large house which is now being built in the Oakwood Plain (Derry)." And the saint added afterwards these words, saying, "How wonderful and almost unspeakable is the swiftness of angelic motion, like, as I imagine, to the rapidity of lightning. For the heavenly spirit who just now flew away from us when that man began to fall, arrived there to support him, as it were, in the twinkling of an eye, before his body reached the ground; nor was the man who fell able to feel any fracture or bruise. How wonderful, I say, is that most swift and timely help which could be given so very quickly, even though such an extent of land and sea lay between!"
CHAPTER XVII. Of the multitude of Holy Angels that were seen to come down from heaven at the bidding of the blessed man.
ANOTHER time also, while the blessed man was living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he made this known to the assembled brethren with very great earnestness, saying, "Today I wish to go alone to the western plain of this island; let none of you therefore follow me." They obeyed, and he went alone, as he desired. But a brother, who was cunning, and of a prying disposition, proceeded by another road, and secretly placed himself on the summit of a certain little hill which overlooked the plain, because he was very anxious to learn the blessed man's motive for going out alone. While the spy on the top of the hill was looking upon him as he stood on a mound in the plain, with arms extended upwards, and eyes raised to heaven in prayer, then, strange to tell, behold a wonderful scene presented itself, which that brother, as I think not without the leave of God, witnessed with his own eyes from his place on the neighbouring hill, that the saint's name and the reverence due to him might afterwards, even against his wishes, be more widely diffused among the people, through the vision thus vouchsafed. For holy angels, the citizens of the heavenly country, clad in white robes and flying with wonderful speed, began to stand around the saint whilst he prayed; and after a short converse with the blessed man, that heavenly host, as if feeling itself detected, flew speedily back again to the highest heavens. The blessed man himself also, after his meeting with the angels, returned to the monastery, and calling the brethren together a second time, asked, with no little chiding and reproof, which of them was guilty of violating his command. When all were declaring they did not know at all of the matter, the brother, conscious of his inexcusable transgression, and no longer able to conceal his guilt, fell on his knees before the saint in the midst of the assembled brethren, and humbly craved forgiveness. The saint, taking him aside, commanded him under heavy threats, as he knelt, never, during the life of the blessed man, to disclose to any person even the least part of the secret regarding the angels' visit. It was, therefore, after the saint's departure from the body that the brother related that manifestation of the heavenly host, and solemnly attested its truth. Whence, even to this day, the place where the angels assembled is called by a name that beareth witness to the event that took place in it; this may be said to be in Latin "Colliculus Angelorum" and is in Scotic Cnoc Angel (now called Sithean Mor). Hence, therefore, we must notice, and even carefully inquire, into the fact how great and of what kind these sweet visits of angels to this blessed man were, which took place mostly during the winter nights, when he was in watching and prayer in lonely places while others slept. These were no doubt very numerous, and could in no way come to the knowledge of other men. Though some of these which happened by night or by day might perhaps be discovered by one means or another, these must have been very few compared with the angelic visions, which, of course, could be known by nobody. The same observation applies in the same way to other bright apparitions hitherto investigated by few, which shall be afterwards described.
CHAPTER XVIII. Of the bright Pillar seen to glow upon the Saint's head.
ANOTHER time four holy founders of monasteries came from Scotia (Ireland), to visit St. Columba, and found him in the Hinba island (Eilean-na-Naoimh). The names of these distinguished men were Comgell Mocu Aridi, Cainnech Mocu Dalon, Brenden Mocu Alti, and Cormac, grandson of Leathain. They all with one consent agreed that St. Columba should consecrate, in their presence in the church, the holy mysteries of the Eucharist. The saint complied with their express desire, and entered the church with them on Sunday as usual, after the reading of the Gospel; and there, during the celebration of the solemn offices of the Mass, St. Brenden Mocu Alti saw, as he told Comgell and Cainnech afterwards, a ball of fire like a comet burning very brightly on the head of Columba, while he was standing before the altar, and consecrating the holy oblation, and thus it continued burning and rising upwards like a column, so long as he continued to be engaged in the same most sacred mysteries.
CHAPTER XIX. Of the Descent or Visit of the Holy Ghost, which in the same island continued for three whole days and nights with the venerable man.
AT another time, when the saint was living in the Hinba island (Eilean-na-Naoimh), the grace of the Holy Ghost was communicated to him abundantly and unspeakably, and dwelt with him in a wonderful manner, so that for three whole days, and as many nights, without either eating or drinking, he allowed no one to approach him, and remained confined in a house which was filled with heavenly brightness. Yet out of that house, through the chinks of the doors and keyholes, rays of surpassing brilliancy were seen to issue during the night. Certain spiritual songs also, which had never been heard before, he was heard to sing. He came to see, as he allowed in the presence of a very few afterwards, many secrets hidden from men since the beginning of the world fully revealed; certain very obscure and difficult parts of sacred Scripture also were made quite plain, and clearer than the light to the eye of his pure heart. He grieved that his beloved disciple, Baithen, was not with him, because if he had chanced to be beside him during those three days, he would have been able to explain from the lips of the blessed man mysteries regarding past or future ages, unknown to the rest of mankind, and to interpret also some passages of the Sacred Volumes. However, Baithen was then detained by contrary winds in the Egean island (Egg), and he was not, therefore, able to be present until those three days and as many nights of that glorious and unspeakable visitation came to a close.
CHAPTER XX. Of the angelic splendour of the light which Virgnous-a youth of good disposition, and afterwards made by God superior of this Church in which I, though unworthy, now serve-saw coming down upon St. Columba in the Church, on a winter's night, when the brethren were at rest in their chambers.
ONE winter's night the forementioned Virgnous, burning with the love of God, entered the church alone to pray, while the others were asleep; and he prayed fervently in a little side chamber attached to the walls of the oratory. After a considerable interval, as it were of an hour, the venerable Columba entered the same sacred house, and along with him, at the same time, a golden light, that came down from the highest heavens and filled that part of the church. Even the separate recess of the side-chamber, where Virgnous was striving to hide himself as much as he could, was also filled, to his great alarm, with some of the brilliance of that heavenly light which burst through the inner-door of the chamber, that was a little open. And as no one can look directly at, or gaze with steady eye on, the summer sun in his mid-day splendour, so Virgnous could not at all bear this heavenly brightness which he saw, because of the brilliant and unspeakable radiance which overpowered his sight. The brother spoken of was so much terrified by the splendour, almost as dreadful as lightning, that no strength remained in him. But, after a short prayer, St. Columba left the church. And the next day he sent for Virgnous, who was very much alarmed, and spoke to him these few consoling words: "Thou art crying to good purpose, my child, for last night thou wert very pleasing in the sight of God by keeping thine eyes fixed on the ground when thou wert overwhelmed with fear at the brightness, for hadst thou not done so, that priceless light would have blinded thine eyes. This, however, thou must carefully observe never to disclose this great manifestation of light while I live." This circumstance, therefore, which is so wonderful and so worthy of record, became known to many after the saint's death through this same Virgnous's relating it. Comman, sister's son to Virgnous, a respected priest, solemnly assured me, Adamnan, of the truth of the vision I have just described, and he added, moreover, that he heard the story from the lips of the abbot Virgnous, his own uncle, who, as far as he could, had seen that vision.
CHAPTER XXI. Of another very similar Vision of great brilliancy.
ANOTHER night also, one of the brothers, whose name was Colga, the son of Aid Draigniche, of the grandsons of Fechrech mentioned in the first Book, came by chance, while the other brothers were asleep, to the gate of the church, and stood there for some time praying. Then suddenly he saw the whole church filled with a heavenly light, which more quickly than he could tell, flashed like lightning from his gaze. He did not know that St. Columba was praying at that time in the church, and after this sudden appearance of light, he returned home in great alarm. On the following day the saint called him aside and rebuked him severely, saying: "Take care of one thing, my child, that you do not attempt to spy out and pry too closely into the nature of that heavenly light which was not granted thee, but rather fled from thee, and that thou do not tell any one during my lifetime what thou hast seen."
CHAPTER XXII. Of another like Apparition of Divine light.
AT another time also, the blessed man gave strict orders one day to Berchan, surnamed Mesloen, a pupil learning wisdom with them, saying "Take care, my son, that thou come not near my little hut this evening, as thou art always accustomed to do." Berchan however, though hearing this, went, contrary to this command, to the blessed man's house in the dead of night while others were at rest, and cunningly put down his eyes on a line with the keyholes, in the hope that, just as the thing happened, some heavenly vision would be shown to the saint within. And at that very time the little hut was filled with a light of heavenly brightness, which the disobedient young man was not able to look upon, and therefore he fled at once from the spot. On the morrow the saint took him apart, and chiding him severely, addressed him in these words: "Last night, my son, thou hast sinned before God, and thou didst vainly imagine that the prying of thy secret inquisitiveness could be hidden or concealed from the Holy Ghost. Did I not see thee at that hour as thou didst draw near to the door of my hut, and as thou didst go away from it? Had I not prayed for thee at that moment, thou wouldst have fallen dead there before the door, or thine eyes would have been torn out of their sockets; but on my account, the Lord hath spared thee at this time. And be thou assured of this also, that, whilst thou art living in luxury in thine own country of Hibernia, thy face shall burn with shame all the days of thy life. Yet by my prayers, I have obtained this favour of God, that, as thou art my disciple, thou shalt do heartfelt penance before death, and thus obtain the mercy of God." All these things, according to the saying of the blessed man, occurred afterwards to him as had been foretold regarding him.
CHAPTER XXIII. Of another Vision of Angels whom the Saint saw coming to meet his soul, as if to show that it was about to leave the body.
AT another time, while the blessed man was
living in the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), his holy countenance one day was
lighted up suddenly with strange transports of joy; and raising his eyes to
heaven he was filled with delight, and rejoiced beyond measure. After an
interval of a few seconds, that sweet and enchanting delight was changed into a
CHAPTER XXIV. How our Patron, St. Columba, passed to the Lord.
TOWARDS the end of the above-mentioned four
years, and as a true prophet he knew long before that his death would follow the
close of that period, the old man, worn out with age, went in a cart one day in
the month of May, as we mentioned in the preceding second Book, to visit some of
the brethren who were at work. And having found them at work on the western side
of the Iouan island (Hy, now Iona), he began to speak to them that day, saying,
"During the paschal solemnities in the month of April now past, with desire
have I desired to depart to Christ the Lord, as He had allowed me, if I
preferred it. But lest a joyous festival should be turned for you into mourning,
I thought it better to put off for a little longer the time of my departure from
the world." The beloved monks all the while they were hearing this sad news
were greatly addicted, and he endeavoured as well as he could to cheer them with
words of consolation. Then, having done this, he turned his face to the east,
still seated as he was in his chariot, and blessed the island with its
inhabitants; and from that day to the present, as we have stated in the Book
above mentioned, the venomous reptiles with the three forked tongues could do no
manner of harm to man or beast. After uttering these words of blessing, the
saint was carried back to his monastery.
Let the reader therefore think in what and how
great honour our illustrious patron was held by God, seeing that, while he was
yet in this mortal flesh, God was pleased at his prayer to quell the storms and
to calm the seas; and again, when he found it necessary, as on the occasion just
mentioned, the gales of wind arose as he wished, and the sea was lashed into
fury; and this storm, as hath been said, was immediately, so soon as his funeral
rites were performed, changed into a great calm. Such, then, was the end of our
illustrious patron's life, and such is an earnest of all his merits.