Resurrection of Beasts.—Calling dead animals back to life is a not infrequent incident in the lives of Irish saints. We have already seen Ciaran resuscitating a horse. Mo-Chua restored twelve stags (VSH, ii, 188); but perhaps the most remarkable feat was that of Moling, who, having watched a wren eating a fly, and a kestrel eating the wren, revived first the wren and then the fly (VSH, ii, 200). Saint Brynach’s cow having been slain by a tyrannical king, was restored to life by the saint (Cambro-British Saints, pp. 11, 297).
The Stanza in VG.—The metre is ae freslige. The rendering in the text is close to the literal sense.
The Ejaculation “Mercy on us"—or, more literally, “mercy come to us.” The sentence recording this habitual ejaculation, in VG, breaks so awkwardly into the sense of the passage in which it is found, that it must be regarded as a marginal gloss which has become incorporated with the text. It has dislodged a sentence that must have legitimately belonged to the text, restored in the foregoing translation by conjecture. Probably the lost sentence, like the intrusive one, ended with the word trocuire, “mercy,” which, indeed, may have suggested the interpolation; this might easily have caused the scribe’s eye to wander. An habitual expletive is also attributed to St. Patrick (modebroth, apparently “My God of Judgment!").
Here, again, the versions in LB and LC are very closely akin.
Parallels.—Robbers were smitten with blindness (cf. Genesis xix. II) by Darerca (CS, 179) and restored on repentance. The same fate befell a man who endeavoured to drive Findian from a place where he had settled (CS, 198). Robbers who attempted to attack Cainnech (CS, 364, 389; VSH, i, 153), Colman (VSH, i, 264), and Flannan (CS, 669), were struck motionless. The story before us is a conflation of the two types of incident, blindness and paralysis being accumulated on the robbers. The same accumulation befell a swineherd who attempted to slay Saint Cadoc (Cambro-British Saints, pp. 31, 321).
Note that this incident, like No. VIII, belongs to the Cenel Fiachach tradition. We have already seen that it was known to the compiler of the Annals of Clonmacnois, though he ignores the miraculous element.
These four incidents may be considered together: they are all variants of one formula.
Parallels.—Brigit took “of her father’s wealth and property, whatsoever her hands would find, ... to give to the poor and needy” (LL, 1308). A story is told in the Life of Aed which is evidently a combination of our incidents XII and XIII: to the effect that when ploughing he made a gift of one of his oxen and of the coulter, and continued to plough without either (VSH, i, 36).