11. Another time his father sent him to present a cauldron to the king, even to Furban. There met him poor men on the way, and [Ciaran] gifts the king’s cauldron to them. So he was put in bonds then, and slavery was imposed on him at the king’s hands; and this was the labour put upon him, to grind at the quern. Then great marvels came to pass, for when he went to grind at the quern, it would turn of itself, and did so continually. They were the angels of the Lord who used to grind for his sake. Not long thereafter there came smiths from the lands of Muma, with three cauldrons for Ciaran as an alms, and thus was Ciaran delivered from servitude to the king.
XVII. HOW CIARAN WENT WITH HIS COW TO THE SCHOOL OF FINDIAN
12. Now after those things Ciaran thought it time to go a-schooling to Findian of Cluain Iraird, to learn wisdom. He begged a cow of his mother and of his father, to take it with him to serve him. His mother said that she would not give it him. He blessed one of the kine, to wit the Dun Cow of Ciaran, as she was called thenceforward, and she went with her calf after Ciaran thence to Cluain Iraird. Afterwards he drew a line with his staff between them, for between them there was no fence, and the cow used to lick the calf and neither of them transgressed the mark. Now the milk of that cow used to be divided between the twelve bishops with their folk and their guests, and it was sufficient for them; ut dixit,
Ciaran’s Dun was wont to feed,
three times fifty men in all;
Guests and sick folk in their need,
in soller and in dining-hall.
The hide of the Dun is in Clonmacnois, and whatsoever soul parteth from its body from that hide [hath no portion in hell, and] dwelleth in eternal life.
XVIII. THE ANGELS GRIND FOR CIARAN
13. Now there were the twelve bishops of Ireland in the school of Findian in Cluain Iraird, ut dixit,
Two Findians, holy Colums two,
Ciaran, Cainnech, Comgall fair;
Two Brenainns, Ruadan bright of hue,
Ninned, Mo-Bi, Mac Natfraeich there.
This was their rule, that every bishop should grind at the quern on his day. But angels used to grind at the quern for Ciaran’s sake on the day that was his.
XIX. CIARAN AND THE KING’S DAUGHTER
14. The daughter of the King of Cualu was brought once upon a time to Findian to read her Psalms, after offering her virginity to God. Findian committed the maiden to Ciaran, so that it was with him that she used to read her Psalms. Now Ciaran saw naught of the body of the maiden, so long as they were together, save her feet only. As is verified in the stanza—
A maid, rich in stateliness
with Ciaran there was reading;
Of her form or shapeliness,
he was all unheeding.