Tripartite Life of Saint Patrick – Part I

The people who sat in darkness saw a great light, and they who were in the land and in the shadow of death received light by which came their illumination.

Patrick, then, was of the Britons of Alcluaid by origin. Calpurnn was his father’s name. He was a noble priest. Potid was his grandfather’s name, whose title was a deacon. Conceis was his mother’s name. She was of the Franks, and a sister to Martin. In Nemtur, moreover, the man Saint Patrick was born; and the flag (stone) on which Saint Patrick was born would give forth water when any one swore a false oath upon it, as if it were lamenting the false testimony. If the oath was true, however, the stone would continue in its natural condition.

When the man Saint Patrick was born, he was taken to a blind, flat-faced man to be baptized. Gornias was the priest’s name; and he had no water out of which he could perform the baptism until he made the sign of the cross over the ground with the infant’s hand, when a fountain of water burst forth. Gornias washed his face, and his eyes were opened to him; and he, who had learned no letter, read the baptism. God wrought three miracles through Patrick in this place—viz., the fountain of water through the ground, his eyesight to the blind man, and his reading the ordo of the baptism without knowing a letter up to that time. And Patrick was subsequently baptized. A church was founded, moreover, over this well in which Patrick was baptized; and the well is at the altar, and it has the form of the cross, as the learned report.

Many prodigies and miracles were wrought through Patrick in his youth, but we shall only relate a few out of many of them. One time Patrick was in his nurse’s house, in winter time, when a great flood and rain filled his nurse’s residence, so that the vessels and furniture of the house were floating about, and the fire was extinguished. Patrick then cried to his nurse, as usual with children when desiring food. Then his nurse said to him: “That is not what troubles us; there is something else we would rather do than to prepare food for thee; even the fire is extinguished.” When Patrick heard these words, truly, he sought a certain spot in the house to which the water had not reached; and he dipped his hand in the water, and five drops fell from Patrick’s fingers, and they were suddenly changed into five sparks, and the fire glowed, and the water rose not. The names of God and of Patrick were magnified thereby. Another time, as Patrick was playing amongst his companions, in the time of winter and cold in particular, he collected his armful of pieces of ice, which he brought home to his nurse. Then his nurse said: “It would be better for you to bring us withered brambles to warm ourselves with than what you have brought.” Thereupon he said to his nurse:

“Believe thou, because God is powerful thereto, that even the sheets of ice will burn like faggots.” And no sooner were the pieces of ice placed on the fire, and he had breathed on them, than they burned like faggots. The names of God and Patrick were magnified through this miracle.

One time, when Patrick and his sister (i.e., Lupait) were herding sheep, the lambs came suddenly to their dams, as is customary with them, to drink milk. When Patrick and his sister saw this, they ran quickly to prevent them. The girl fell, and her head struck against a stone, so that death was nigh unto her. As soon as Patrick perceived that his sister was lying down, and that death was nigh unto her, he wept loudly; and he raised her up immediately, and made the sign of the cross over the wound, and it healed without any illness. (Nevertheless, the signs of the “white wound” would appear there.) And they came home as if no evil had happened to them. Another time, Patrick was with the sheep, when a wolf took away a sheep from him. His nurse reproved him greatly therefor. The wolf brought the sheep whole to the same place on the morrow; and the restoration in this way was wonderful—viz., the wolf’s dislike regarding the habitual food.

When Patrick’s nurse, therefore, saw him magnified by God in prodigies and miracles, she used to love him very much, and would not wish to go anywhere without him. One time his nurse went to milk the cow. He went with her to get a drink of new milk. The cow [became mad] in the booley, and killed five other cows. The nurse was much grieved, and asked him to resuscitate the cows. He resuscitated the cows, then, so that they were quite well, and he cured the mad cow; and the names of God and Patrick were magnified through this miracle.

There was a great assembly held by the Britons. He went to the assembly with his nurse and his guardian. It happened that his guardian died in the assembly. All were hushed into silence thereat; and his relatives cried, and his friends wept, and they said, “Why, thou gilla, didst thou let the man who was carrying thee die?” As regards the gilla moreover, he ran to his guardian, and placed his hands about his neck, and said to him, “Arise, and let us go home.” He arose forthwith at Patrick’s word, and they went home safe afterwards.

The boys of the place in which Patrick was nursed were wont to bring honey to their mothers from the bees’ nests. Then his nurse said to Patrick: “Although every other boy brings honey to his nurse, you bring none to me.” Patrick afterwards carried off a bucket to the water, and filled it, and blessed the water, so that it changed into honey; and it healed every disease and ailment to which it was applied.

One time the King of Britain’s steward went to command Patrick and his nurse to go and clean the hearth of the royal house in Al-Cluaid. Patrick and his nurse went. Then it was that the angel came, and said to Patrick: “Pray, and it will not be necessary for you to perform that work.” Patrick prayed. The angel afterwards cleaned the hearth. Then Patrick said: “Though all the firewood in Britain were burned in that fireplace, there would be no ashes of it on the morrow.” And this, indeed, is fulfilled yet. Another time, the King of Britain’s steward went to demand tribute of curds and butter from Patrick’s nurse; and she had nothing that she would give for the rent. Then it was that Patrick made curds and butter of the snow, and they were taken to the king; and the moment they were exhibited to the king, afterwards they changed into the nature of snow again. The king thereupon forgave the rent to Patrick for ever.

The cause of Patrick’s coming to Erinn was as follows: The seven sons of Fechtmad—viz., the seven sons of the King of Britain—were on a naval expedition, and they went to plunder in Armoric-Letha; and a number of the Britons of Srath-Cluaidh were on a visit with their kinsmen, the Britons of Armoric-Letha, and Calpurn, son of Potit, Patrick’s father, and his mother—i.e., Conches, daughter of Ocbas of the Galls—i.e., of the Franks—were killed in the slaughter in Armorica. Patrick and his two sisters—viz., Lupait and Tigris—were taken prisoners, moreover, in that slaughter. The seven sons of Fechtmad went afterwards on the sea, having with them Patrick and his two sisters in captivity. The way they went was around Erinn, northwards, until they landed in the north; and they sold Patrick to Miliuc, son of Buan—i.e., to the King of Dal-Araidhe. They sold his sisters in Conaille-Muirthemhne. And they did not know this. Four persons, truly, that purchased him. One of them was Miliuc. It was from this that he received the name that is Cothraige, for the reason that he served four families. He had, indeed, four names. . .

[Here a leaf is missing from both the Bodleian and British Museum MSS. of the Tripartite Life, the contents of which would fill eight pages of similar size to the foregoing.]

When Patrick had completed his sixtieth year, and had learned knowledge, his auxiliary angel, Victor (for he was of assistance to him when he [Patrick] was in bondage with Miliuc, and regarding everything besides which he might wish), went to him, and said to him: “You are commanded from God to go to Erinn, to strengthen faith and belief, that you may bring the people, by the net of the Gospel, to the harbor of life; for all the men of Erinn call out your name, and they think it seasonable and fit that you should come.” Patrick afterwards bade farewell to Germanus, and gave him a blessing; and a trusted senior went with him from Germanus, to guard him and testify for him; his name was Segetius, and he was by grade a priest, and he it was who usually kept the Ordo of the church besides Germanus.

Patrick went subsequently on the sea, his company being nine. Then he went upon an island, where he saw a withered old woman on her hands at the door of a house. “Whence is the hag?” asked Patrick; “great is her infirmity.” A young man answered, and said: “She is a descendant of mine,” said the young man; “if you could see the mother of this girl, O cleric! she is more infirm still.” “In what way did this happen?” enquired Patrick. “Not difficult to tell,” said the young man. “We are here since the time of Christ. He came to visit us when He was on earth amongst men; and we made a feast for him, and he blessed our house and blessed ourselves; but this blessing reached not our children; and we shall be here without age or decay for ever. And it is long since thy coming was foretold to us,” said the young man; “and God ‘left it with us’ [i.e., prophesied to us] that thou wouldst come to preach to the Gaeidhel; and He left a token with us, i.e., His bachall (crozier), to be given to thee.” “I will not take it,” said Patrick, “until He Himself gives me His bachall.” Patrick remained three days and three nights with them; and he went afterwards into Sliabh-Hermoin, near the island, where the Lord appeared unto him, and commanded him to go and preach to the Gaeidliel; and He gave him the Bachall-Isa, and said that it would be of assistance to him in every danger and every difficulty in which he would be. And Patrick besought three requests of him—viz., (1) to be at His right hand in the kingdom of heaven; (2) that he (Patrick) might be the judge of the Gaeidhel on the Day of Judgment; and (3) as much as the nine companions could carry of gold and silver to give to the Gaeidhel for believing.

The Airchinnech that was in Rome at that time was Celestinus, the forty-second man from Peter. He sent Palladius, a high deacon, with twelve men, to instruct the Gaeidhel (for to the comarb of Peter belongs the instruction of Europe), in the same way as Barnabas went from Peter to instruct the Romans, etc. When Palladius arrived in the territory of Leinster—i.e., at Inbher-Dea—Nathi, son of Garchu, opposed him, and expelled him. And Palladius baptized a few there, and founded three churches—viz., Cill-fine (in which he left his books, and the casket with the relics of Paul and Peter, and the tablet in which he used to write), and Tech-na-Roman, and Doinhnach-Airte, in which Silvester and Solonius are. On turning back afterwards, sickness seized him in the country of the Cruithne, and he died of it.

When Patrick heard this thing, and knew that it was for him God designed the apostleship of Erinn, he went subsequently to Rome to receive grade; and it was Celestinus, Abbot of Rome, who read grada (orders, degrees) over him; Germanus and Amatho, King of the Romans, being present with them.

When Patrick came from Rome, where he arrived was at Inbher-Dea, in Leinster. Nathi, son of Garchu, came also against him. Patrick cursed him. Sinell, moreover, the son of Finnchadh, was the first who believed in Erinn through Patrick’s teaching. Hence it was that Patrick blessed him and his seed. On the same day Auxilius and Eserninus, and others of Patrick’s people, were ordained; and it was then, also, that the name Patricius—i.e., a name of power with the Romans—was given to him; i.e., a hostage-liberating man. It was he, moreover, who loosened the hostageship and bondage of the Gaeidhel to the devil. And when they were reading the grada (orders, degrees), the three choirs responded—viz., the choir of the men of heaven, and the choir of the Romans, and the choir of the children from the woods of Fochlud—all whom cried out, “Hibernienses omnes,” etc. In illis diebus autem gesta sunt in predictis ita. In that time there was a fierce pagan king in Erinn—i.e., Laeghaire Mac Neill—and his seat and royal hold was in Tara. In the fifth year of the reign of Laeghaire Mac Neill Patrick came to Erinn. The eighth year of the reign of Lughaidh he died. The eighth year of the reign of Theodosius, the forty-fifth man from Augustus, Patrick came; eight years Celestine was then prince, as Gelasius said.

This valiant king, then—i.e., Laeghaire Mac Neill—possessed druids and enchanters, who used to foretell through their druidism and through their paganism what was in the future for them. Lochru and Luchat Mael were their chiefs; and these two were authors of that art of pseudo-prophecy. They prophesied, then, that a mighty, unprecedented prophet would come across the sea, with an unknown code of instructions, with a few companions, whom multitudes would obey, and who would obtain dignity and reverence from the men of Erinn; and that he would expel kings and princes from their governments, and would destroy all the idolatrous images; and that the faith which would arrive would live for ever in Erin. Two years, or three, before the arrival of Patrick, what they used to prophesy was [as follows];

“A Tailcend (i.e., Patrick) shall come across the stormy sea.
His garment head-pierced, his staff head-bent,
His mias (i.e., altar) in the east of his house;
His people all shall answer, Amen, amen.”

Baile-Cuinn (the Ecstasy of Conn, a rhapsody so called) dixit: “A Tailcend shall come who will found cemeteries, make cells new, and pointed music-houses, with conical caps [bencopar], and have princes bearing croziers.” “When these signs shall come,” said they, “our adoration and our gentility (paganism) will vanish, and faith and belief will be magnified.” As it was foretold then and represented, so it happened and was fulfilled.

When Patrick completed his voyage, and his ship entered the harbor at Inbher-Dea, in the territory of Leinster, he brought his ships to the shore. Then it was that he decided to go to instruct Miliuc. He thought fit as he labored at first for his body, that he should labor for his soul. He then put stick to shore, and proceeded on a prosperous voyage, past the coast of Erinn, eastwards, until he stopped in Inbher-Domnand. He found no fish there, and cursed it. He went to Inis-Patrick: and he sent to Inbher-Nainge, where nothing was found for him. He cursed this also, and both are unfruitful. Then it was that Benen came into his company. Soon after, Patrick slept awhile, and all the odoriferous flowers that the youth could find, he would put them into the cleric’s bosom. Patrick’s people said to Benen: “Stop doing that, lest thou shouldst awake Patrick.” Patrick said: “He will be the heir of my kingdom.” He went to Inbher-Boindi, where he found fish. He blessed it, and the Inbher is fruitful. He found druids in that place who denied the virginity of Mary. Patrick blessed the ground, and it swallowed the druids. Patrick went afterwards from Inis-Patrick, past Conaille, and past the coast of Ulster, until he stopped at Inbher-Brena. He went afterwards to Inbher-Slani, where the clerics hid their ships; and they went ashore to put off their fatigue, and to rest; so that there it was the swine-herd of Dichu, son of Trichim, found them, where Sabhall-Patrick is to-day. When he saw the divines and the clerics, he thought they were robbers or thieves, and he went to tell his lord; whereupon Dichu came, and set his dog at the clerics. Then it was that Patrick uttered the prophetic verse, “Ne tradas bestis, etc., et canis obmutuit.” When Dichu saw Patrick, he became gentle, and he believed, and Patrick baptized him; so that he was the first in Ulster who received faith and baptism from Patrick. Then it was that Dichu presented the Sabhall to Patrick. Patrick said:

“The blessing of God on Dichu,
Who gave to me the Sabhall;
May he be hereafter
Heavenly, joyous, glorious.

“The blessing of God on Dichu–
Dichu with full folds (flocks);
No one of his sept or kindred
Shall die, except after a long life.”

Patrick went to preach to Miliuc, as we have said, and took gold with him to prevail on him to believe; for he knew that he (Miliuc) was covetous regarding gold. But when Miliuc heard that Patrick had arrived, he wished not to believe for him, and to abandon the pagan religion. He thought it unbecoming to believe for his servant, and to submit to him. The counsel that a demon taught him was this: He went into his royal house with his gold and silver; and he set the house on fire, and was burned with all his treasures, and his soul went to hell. Then it was that Patrick proceeded past the northern side of Sliabh-Mis (there is a cross in that place), and he saw the fire afar off. He remained silent for the space of two or three hours, thinking what it could be, and he said, “That is the fire of Miliuc’s house,” said Patrick, “after his burning himself in the middle of his house, that he might not believe in God in the end of his life. As regards the man who persuaded him thereto,” added he, “there shall not be a king or righdamhna of his family, and his seed and race shall be ‘in service’ for ever, and his soul shall not return from hell to the judgment, nor after judgment.” After he had said these words, he turned deisel (right-hand-wise) and went back again into the territory of Uladh, until he arrived at Magh-inis, to Dichu, son of Trichim, and he remained there a long time disseminating faith, so that he brought all the Ulidians, with the net of the Gospel, to the harbor of life.

Patrick went subsequently from Sabhall southwards, that he might preach to Ros, son of Trichim. He it was that resided in Derlus, to the south of Dun-leth-glaise (Downpatrick). There is a small city (cathair, i.e., civitas, but also meaning a bishop’s see) there this day—i.e., Brettain, ubi est Episcopus Loarn qui ausus est increpare Patricium tenentem manum pueri ludentis justa Ecclesiam suam. As Patrick was then on his way, he saw a tender youth herding pigs. Mochae his name. Patrick preached to him, and baptized him, and cut his hair, and gave him a copy of the gospels and a reliquary. And he gave him also, another time, a bachall which had been given them from God—viz., its head into Patrick’s bosom, and its end in Mochae’s bosom; and this is the Detech-Mochae of Noendruim; and Mochae promised Patrick a shorn pig every year. And this, indeed, is still given.

When the solemnity of Easter approached, Patrick considered that there was no place more suitable to celebrate the high solemnity of the year—i.e., the Easter—than in Magh-Bregh, the place where the head of the idolatry and druidism of Erinn was—viz., in Temhair. They afterwards bade farewell to Dichu, son of Trichim, and put their vessels on the sea; and they proceeded until they anchored in Inbher-Colptha. They left their vessels in the Inbher, and went by land until they reached Ferta-fer-féc, and Patrick’s tent was fixed in this place, and he cut the Easter fire. It happened, however, that this was the time in which the great festival of the Gentiles—i.e., the Fes of Tara—was usually celebrated. The kings and princes and chieftains were wont to come to Laeghaire Mac Neill to Tara, to celebrate this festival. The druids and the magicians were also wont to come to prophesy to them. The fire of every hearth in Erinn was usually extinguished on that night, and it was commanded by the king that no fire should be lighted in Erinn before the fire of Tara, and neither gold nor silver would be accepted from any one who would light it, but he should suffer death for it. Patrick knew not this thing; and if he knew it, it would not prevent him.

As the people of Tara were thus, they saw the consecrated Easter fire at a distance which Patrick had lighted. It illuminated all Magh-Bregh. Then the king said: “That is a violation of my prohibition and law; and do you ascertain who did it.” “We see the fire,” said the druids, “and we know the night in which it is made. If it is not extinguished before morning,” added they, “it will never be extinguished. The man who lighted it will surpass the kings and princes, unless he is prevented.” When the king heard this thing, he was much infuriated. Then the king said: “That is not how it shall be; but we will go,” said he, “until we slay the man who lighted the fire.” His chariot and horses were yoked for the king, and they went, in the end of the night, to Ferta-fer-féc. “You must take care,” said the druids, “that you go not to the place where the fire was made, lest you worship the man who lighted it; but stay outside, and let him be called out to you, that he may know you to be a king, and himself a subject; and we will argue in your presence.” “It is good counsel,” said the king; “it shall be done as you say.” They proceeded afterwards until they unyoked their horses and chariots in front of the Ferta. Patrick was “whispered” out to them; and it was commanded by them that no one should rise up before him, lest he should believe in him. Patrick rose and went out; and when he saw the chariots and horses unyoked, he sang the prophetic stanza:

“Hi in curribus et hi in eorus (equis),
Nos autem, in nomine Domini Dei nostri ma.”

They were then before him, and the rims of their shields against their chins; and none of them rose up before him, except one man alone, in whom was a figure from God—i.e., Ere, son of Dega. He is the Bishop Ere who is [commemorated] in Slaine of Magh-Bregh to-day. Patrick blessed him, and he believed in God, and confessed the Catholic faith, and was baptized; and Patrick said to him: “Your seat (cathair, chair or city) on earth shall be noble”; and Patrick’s (comarb) successor is bound to bend the knee before his comarb in consideration of his submission.

Each then questioned the other—viz., Patrick and Laeghaire. Lochru went fiercely, enviously, with contention and questions, against Patrick; and then he began to denounce the Trinity and the Catholic faith. Patrick looked severely at him, and cried out to God with a loud voice, and he said: “Domine qui omnia potes et in tua potestate consistit quidquid est, quique nos misisti huc ad nomen tuum gentibus praedicandum hic impius qui blasphemat nomen tuum, elevatur nunc foras, et cito moriatur. Et his dictis elevatus est magus in aëra et iterum desuper cito dejectus sparso ad lapidem cerebro comminutus et mortus fuerat coram eis.” The pagans became afraid at this. But the king was much infuriated against Patrick, and he determined to kill him. He told his people to slay the cleric. When Patrick observed this thing—the rising up against him of the pagans—he cried out with a loud voice, and said: “Et exurget Deus et dissipentur inimici ejus, et fugiant qui oderunt eum a facie ejus, sicut defecit fumus deficit sic deficiant sicut fluit caera a facie ignis; sic pereint peccatorus facie Domini.” Immediately darkness went over the sun, and great shaking and trembling of the earth occurred. They thought it was heaven that fell upon the earth; and the horses started off, frightened, and the wind blew the chariots across the plains, and all rose against each other in the assembly; and they were all attacking each other, so that fifty men of them fell in this commotion through Patrick’s malediction. The Gentiles fled in all directions, so that only three remained—viz., Laeghaire, and his queen, and a man of his people; et timuerunt valde, veniensque regina ad Patricium (i.e., Angass, daughter of Tassagh, son of Liathan), dixit: “Ei homo juste et potens ne perdas regem. The king will go to thee, and will submit to thee, and will kneel, and will believe in God.” Laeghaire went then, and knelt before Patrick, and gave him a “false peace.” Not long after this, the king beckoned Patrick aside, and what he meditated was to kill him; but this happened not, because God had manifested this intention to Patrick. Laeghaire said to Patrick, “Come after me, O cleric! to Tara, that I may believe in thee before the men of Erinn”; and he then placed men in ambush before Patrick in every pass from Ferta-fer-féc to Tara, that they might kill him. But God did not permit it. Patrick went, accompanied by eight young clerics (maccleirech), and Benen as a gilla, along with them; and Patrick blessed them before going, and a dicheltair (garment of invisibility) went over them, so that not one of them was seen. The Gentiles who were in the ambuscades, however, saw eight wild deer going past them along the mountain, and a young fawn after them, and a pouch on his shoulder—viz., Patrick, and his eight [clerics], and Benen after them, and his (Patrick’s) polaire (satchel, or epistolary) on his back.

Laeghaire went afterwards, about twilight, to Tara, in sorrow and shame, with the few persons who escaped in his company. On the day succeeding Easter Sunday the men of Erinn went to Tara to drink the feast; for the Fes of Tara was a principal day with them. When they were banqueting, and thinking of the conflict they waged the day before, they saw Patrick, who arrived in the middle of Tara, januis clausis ut Christus in cennaculum; because Patrick meditated: “I will go,” said he, “so that my readiness may be manifested before the men of Erinn. I shall not make a candle under a bushel of myself. I will see,” said he, “who will believe me, and who will not believe me.” No one rose up before him inside but Dubhtach Mac Ua Lugair alone, the king’s royal poet, and a tender youth of his people (viz., his name was Fiacc; it is he who is [commemorated] in Slebhte to-day). This Dubhtach, truly, was the first man who believed that day in Tara. Patrick blessed him and his seed. Patrick was then called to the king’s bed, that he might eat food, and to prove him in prophecy (i.e., in Venturis rebus). Patrick did not refuse this, because he knew what would come of it. The druid Luchat Mael went to drink with him, for he wished to revenge on Patrick what he had done to his (the druid’s) companion the day before. The druid Luchat Mael put a drop of poison into the goblet which was beside Patrick, that he might see what Patrick would do in regard to it. Patrick observed this act, and he blessed the goblet, and the ale adhered to it, and he turned the goblet upside-down afterwards, and the poison which the druid put into it fell out of it. Patrick blessed the goblet again, and the ale changed into its natural state. The names of God and Patrick were magnified thereby. The hosts then went and took up their station outside Tara. “Let us work miracles,” said Luchat Mael, “before the multitude in this great plain.” Patrick asked; “What are they?” The druid said: “Let us bring snow upon the plain, so that the plain may be white before us.” Patrick said to him: “I do not wish to go against the will of God.” The druid said: “I will bring the snow upon the plain, though you like it not.” He then began the druidic poetry and the demoniacal arts until the snow fell so that it would reach the girdles of men; and all saw and wondered greatly. Patrick said: “We see this; send it away, if you can.” The druid answered: “I cannot do that thing until this time to-morrow.” “By my debhro,” said Patrick, “in evil is thy power, and not in good.” Patrick blessed the plain before him, towards the four points, and the snow immediately disappeared, without rain, without sun, without wind, at Patrick’s word. Darkness afterwards went over the face of the earth, through the incantations of the druid. The multitudes cried out thereat. Patrick said: “Expelli tenebras.” The druid answered: “I am not able to-day.” Patrick prayed the Lord, and blessed the plain, and the darkness was expelled, and the sun shone out, and all gave thanks. They were for a long time contending thus before the king—i.e., as Nero said to Simon and Peter—et ait rex ad illos, “Libros vestros in aqua mittite, et ilium cujus libri illesi evaserint adorabimus.” Respondit Patricius: “Faciam ego”; et dixit magus: “Nolo ego ad judicium ire aquae cum ipso; aquam etiam Deum habet”; because he heard that it was through water Patrick used to baptize. Et respondit rex: “Mittite igitur in igne”; et ait Patricius: “Promptus sum;” at magus nolens dixit; “Hic homo versa vice in alternos annos nunc aquam nunc ignem deum veneratur.” “It is not this that shall be done,” said Patrick; “for since you say that it is the fire I adore, go you, if you wish, into a house apart, and well closed, and a student of my people along with you, and let my casula be about you, and your druidic tunic about my student (mac cleirech); and fire will be applied to the house, that God may decide between you there.” This counsel was agreed to by the men of Erinn, including Laeghaire. The house was then made, one-half of dry faggots, and the other half of fresh materials. The druid was put into the fresh part, and Patrick’s casula about him. Benen, however, was put into the dry part, with the druid’s tunic about him. The house was afterwards closed and fastened on the outside, before the multitude, and fire was applied to it. A great prodigy occurred there through Patrick’s prayers. The fresh part of the house was burned, as well as the druid under the casula, and not a bit of the casula was destroyed. The dry portion, in which was Benen, however, was not burned, and God preserved Benen under the druid’s tunic, and the tunic was burned, so that it was reduced to ashes. The king was greatly enraged against Patrick for the killing of his druid. He arose, and would like to slay Patrick; but God did not permit it, through the intercession of Patrick. The anger of God fell afterwards on the impious multitude, so that great numbers of them died—viz., twelve thousand in one day. Patrick said to Laeghaire: “If you do not believe now, you shall die quickly; for the anger of God will come upon your head.” When the king heard these words, he was seized with great fear. The king went into a house afterwards to take counsel with his people. “It is better for me,” said he, “to believe in God than [to suffer] what is threatened to me—my death.” It was after this that Laeghaire knelt to Patrick, and believed in God, and many thousands believed in that day.

Then it was that Patrick said to Laeghaire: “Since you have believed in God, and have submitted to me, length of life in thy sovereignty will be given thee. As a reward for thy disobedience some time ago, however, there will be no king nor roydamhna from thee for ever, except Lughaidh,” the son of Laeghaire; for his mother implored Patrick that he would not curse the infant that was in her womb, when Patrick said: “I will not, until he comes against me.” Lughaidh then assumed the sovereignty; and he went to Achadh-farcha. There he said: “Is not that the church of the cleric who said that there would be neither king nor roydamhna from Laeghaire?” After this, darts of lightning descended from the heavens on his head, which killed him, and hence is [the name] Achadh-farcha. These miracles live to this day. These are the miracles the divines of Erinn knew, and through which they put a thread of narration. Columcille, son of Fedhlidhmidh, Ultan, the grand-son of Conchobhar, Adamnan, the grandson of Tinne, Eleran the Wise, Ciaran of Belach-duin, Cruimther Collait from Druim-Railgech, knew Patrick’s miracles in the first place, and composed them.

A man of truth, indeed, was this man, with purity of mind like the Patriarchs; a true pilgrim like Abraham; gentle and forgiving of heart like Moses; a praise-singing psalmist like David; a shrine of wisdom like Solomon; a chosen vessel for proclaiming truth like Paul the Apostle; a man full of grace and knowledge of the Holy Ghost like John; the root of a holy herb-garden towards the children of faith; a vine branch with fruitfulness; a sparkling fire, with power to heat and warm the sons of life, in founding and dispensing charity. A lion in strength and might; a dove in gentleness and humility. A serpent in wisdom and cunning in regard to good; gentle, humble, mild, towards sons of life; dark, ungentle, towards sons of death. A slave in work and labor for Christ; a king in dignity and power, for binding and releasing, for enslaving and freeing, for killing and reviving.