Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 In the forest of stone
 The song of the minister
 The pilgrim of the night
 The ancient gods pursuing
 The dream of the white lark
 The hermit of the pillar
 Kenach's little woman
 Golden apples and roses red
 The seven years of seeking
 The guardians of the door
 On the shores of longing
 The children of Spinalunga
 The sin of the Prince Bishop
 The little bedesman of Christ
 The burning of Abbot Spiridion
 The Countess Itha
 The story of the lost brother
 The King Orgulous
 The Journey of Rheinfrid
 Lighting the lamps
 Back Cover

Title: W. V.'s golden legend
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00085039/00001
 Material Information
Title: W. V.'s golden legend
Physical Description: 309 p. : ill. ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Canton, William, 1845-1926
Robinson, T. H ( Thomas Heath ), 1869-1950 ( Illustrator )
Dodd, Mead & Company ( Publisher )
Publisher: Dodd
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: [1898]
Subject: Children's stories   ( lcsh )
Juvenile literature -- 1898   ( rbgenr )
Bldn -- 1898
Genre: Juvenile literature   ( rbgenr )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: United States -- New York -- New York
Statement of Responsibility: with ... illustrations by T. H. Robinson.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00085039
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001529443
oclc - 00651836
notis - AHE2803

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter
    Half Title
        Half Title
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
    Table of Contents
        Table of Contents
    List of Illustrations
        List of Illustrations 1
        List of Illustrations 2
    In the forest of stone
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 12a
        Page 13
    The song of the minister
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
    The pilgrim of the night
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 26a
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
    The ancient gods pursuing
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 42a
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
    The dream of the white lark
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 48a
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
    The hermit of the pillar
        Page 52
        Page 52a
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
    Kenach's little woman
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 72a
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    Golden apples and roses red
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 78a
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
    The seven years of seeking
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 134a
        Page 135
    The guardians of the door
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 140a
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
    On the shores of longing
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 150a
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
    The children of Spinalunga
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
    The sin of the Prince Bishop
        Page 168
        Page 168a
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
    The little bedesman of Christ
        Page 174
        Page 174a
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
    The burning of Abbot Spiridion
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 206a
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
    The Countess Itha
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
        Page 216a
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
    The story of the lost brother
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
        Page 246a
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
    The King Orgulous
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 256a
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
    The Journey of Rheinfrid
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 302a
        Page 303
    Lighting the lamps
        Page 304
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
        Page 308
        Page 309
    Back Cover
        Back Cover 1
        Back Cover 2
Full Text

. . .



......... .

, a gl i i ll ln ..... .... 1 i

The Baldwin Library
i l IUnivernity


n k-T p

W. V.'s Golden Legend



Copyright, 1898,


SSAINT, whose very name I have for-
gotten, had a vision, in which he saw
Satan standing before the throne of God; and,
listening, he heard the evil spirit say, Why
hast YThou condemned me, who have offended
Thee but once, whilst Thou savest thousands
of men who have offended Thee many times?"
God answered him, Hast thou once asked
pardon of me?"
Behold the Christian mythology! It is the
dramatic truth, which has its worth and effect
independently of the literal truth, and which
even gains nothing by being fact. What matter
whether the saint had or had not heard the
sublime words I have just quoted? The great
point is to know that pardon is refused only
to him who does not ask it.




List of Illustrations

" The eight hundred horsemen turned in
dismay" (Page 167) ....
"Women lived the life of prayer and
praise and austerity" .
" 'These are the fields in which the shep-
herds watched' ......

"Hilary wondered and mused"

" Hail, thou queen of the world, red
with the roses of. the martyrs and
white with the lilies of the virgins' "

"A gaunt, dark figure, far up in the blue
Asian sky" .
" 'Come not any nearer; turn thy face
to the forest, and go down' "
"' I am not mad, most noble Sapricius' "
"They won their long sea-way home"
" 'And four good Angels watch my
bed' .

And again in the keen November "


Facing page I2





C" 78

"' 140

List of Illustrations (Continued)

" 'Surely in all the world God has no
more beautiful house than this' Facingpage 174
St. Francis d'Assisi 168
"Beside him were two radiant child-
angels"' zo6
"Itha rode away with her lord" .. zi6
"The sight of that divine figure filled
the prior's heart with peace and con-
fidence" . z46
King Orgulous .. z56
This is Eavesholme said the lad" 302

In the Forest of Stone

LOOKING down the vista of trees and
houses from the slope of our garden,
W. V. saw the roof and spire of the church
of the Oak-men showing well above the
green huddle of the Forest.
It is a pretty big church, is n't it, father? "
she asked, as she pointed it out to me.
It was a most picturesque old-fashioned
church, though in my thoughtlessness I had
mistaken it for a beech and a tall poplar
growing apparently side by side; but the
moment she spoke I perceived my illusion.
"I expect, if we were anywhere about on
a Sunday morning," she surmised, with a
laugh, "we should see hundreds and hun-
dreds of Oak-girls and Oak-boys going in
schools to service."
"Dressed in green silk, with bronze boots
and pink feathers the colours of the new
oak-leaves, eh ?"

2 In the Forest of Stone

"Oh, father, it would be lovely! in a
burst of ecstasy. Ought n't we to go and
find the way to their church ? "
We might do something much less amus-
ing. Accordingly we took the bearings of
the green spire with the skill of veteran
explorers. It lay due north, so that if we
travelled by the way of the North Star we
should be certain to find it. Wheeling the
Man before us, we made a North Star track
for ourselves through the underwood and
over last year's rustling beech-leaves, till
Guy ceased babbling and crooning, and
dropped into a slumber, as he soon does in
the fresh of the morning. Then we had to
go slowly for fear he should be wakened by
the noise of the dead wood underfoot, for, as
we passed over it with wheels and boots, it
snapped and crackled like a freshly-kindled
fire. It was a relief to get at last to the soft
matting of brown needles and cones under
the Needle-trees, for there we could go pretty
quickly without either jolting him or making
a racket.
We went as far as we were able that day,
and we searched in glade and lawn, in cop-
pice and dingle, but never a trace could we

In the Forest of Stone

find of the sylvan minster where the Oak-
people worship. As we wandered through
the Forest we came upon a number of
notice boards nailed high up on the trunks
of various trees, but when W. V. discovered
that these only repeated the- same stern
legend: Caution. Persons breaking, climb-
ing upon, or otherwise damaging," she in-
dignantly resented this incessant intrusion
on the innocent enjoyment of free foresters.
How much nicer it would have been if there
had been a hand on one of these repressive
boards, with the inscription: "This way to
the North Star Church;" or, if a caution
was really necessary for some of the people
who entered the Forest, to say: The pub-
lic are requested not to disturb the Elves,
Birch-ladies, and Oak-men;" but of course
the most delightful thing would be to have
a different fairy-tale written up in clear
letters on each of the boards, and a seat
close by where one could rest and read it
I told her there were several forests I had
explored, in which something like that was
really done; only the stories were not fairy-
tales, but legends of holy men and women;

4 In the Forest of Stone
and among the branches of the trees were
fixed most beautifully coloured glass pictures
of those holy people, who had all lived and
died, and some of whom had been buried, in
those forests, hundreds of years ago. Most
of the forests were very ancient older than
the thrones of many kingdoms; and men
lived and delighted in them long before
Columbus sailed into unknown seas to dis-
cover America. Many, indeed, had been
blown down and destroyed by a terrible
storm which swept over the world when
Henry VIII. ruled in England, and only
wrecks of them now remained for any one
to see; but others, which had survived the
wild weather of those days, were as wonder-
ful and as lovely as a dream. The tall trees
in them sent out curving branches which
interlaced high overhead, shutting out the
blue sky and making a sweet and solemn
dimness, and nearly all the light that streamed
in between the fair round trunks and the
arching boughs was like that of a splendid
sunset, only it was there all day long and
never faded out till night fell. And in some
of the forests there were great magical roses,
of a hundred brilliant colours crowded to-

In the Forest of Stone

gether, and as big as the biggest cart-wheel,
or bigger.
These woods were places of happy quietude
and comfort and gladness of heart; but, in-
stead of Oak-men, there were many Angels.
Here and there, too, in the silent avenues,
mighty warriors, and saintly abbots, and
statesmen bishops, and it might be even a
king or a queen, had been buried; and over
their graves there were sometimes images of
them lying carved in marble or alabaster,
and sometimes there had been built the
loveliest little chapels all sculptured over
with tracery of flowers and foliage.
"True, father ?"
"True as true, dear. Some day I shall
take you to see for yourself."

We know a dip in a dingle where the
woodcutters have left a log among the
hazels, and here, having wheeled Guy into a
dappling of sunny discs and leaf-shadows in
a grassy bay, we sat down on the log, and
talked in an undertone. Our failure to find
the Oak-men's church reminded me of the
old legends of lost and invisible churches,
the bells of which are heard ringing under

6 In the Forest of Stone

the snow, or in the depths of the woods, or
far away in burning deserts, or fathom-deep
beneath the blue sea; but the pilgrim or
the chance wayfarer who has heard the music
of the bells has never succeeded in discover-
ing the way that leads to the lost church.
It is on the clear night of St. John's Day,
the longest day of the year, or on the last
hour of Christmas Eve, that these bells are
heard pealing most sweet and clear.
It was in this way that we came to tell
Christian legends and to talk of saints and
hermits, of old abbeys and minsters, of visions
and miracles and the ministry of Angels.
Guy, W. V. thought, might be able, if only
he could speak, to tell us much about
heaven and the Angels; it was so short a
time since he left them. She herself had
quite forgotten, but, then deprecatingly -
it was so long and long and long ago; eight
years, a long time for me."
The faith and the strange vivid daydreams
of the Middle Ages were a new world into
which she was being led along enchanted
footpaths; quite different from the worldly
world of the Old Romans" and of English
history; more real it seemed and more cred-

In the Forest of Stone

ible, for all its wonders, than the world of
elves and water-maidens. Delightful as it
was, it was scarce believable that fairies ever
carried a little girl up above the tree-tops and
swung her in the air from one to another; but
when St. Catherine of Siena was a little child,
and went to be a hermit in the woods, and got
terribly frightened, and lost her way, and sat
down to cry, the Angels, you know, did
really and truly waft her up on their wings
and carried her to the valley of Fontebranda,
which was very near home. And when she
was quite a little thing and used to say her
prayers going up to bed, the Angels would
come to her and just whip her right up the
stairs in an instant !
Occasionally these legends brought us to
the awful brink of religious controversies and
insoluble mysteries, but, like those gentle
savages who honour the water-spirits by
hanging garlands from tree to tree across the
river, W. V. could always fling a bridge of
flowers over our abysses. "Our sense," she
would declare, "is nothing to God's; and
though big people have more sense than
children, the sense of all the big people in
the world put together would be no sense to

8 In the Forest of Stone

His." "We are only little babies to Him;
we do not understand Him at all." Noth-
ing seemed clearer to her thai the reason-
ableness of one legend which taught that
though God always answers our prayers, He
does not always answer in the way we would
like, but in some better way than we know.
" Yes," she observed, He is just a dear old
Father." Anything about our Lord en-
grossed her imagination; and it was a fre-
quent wish of hers that He would come
again. "Then,"- poor perplexed little
mortal! whose difficulties one could not
even guess at--"we should be quite sure
of things. Miss Catherine tells us from
books; He would tell us from His memory.
People would not be so cruel to Him now.
Queen Victoria would not allow any one to
crucify Him."

I don't think that W. V., in spite of her
confidence in my good faith, was quite con-
vinced of the existence of those old forests
of which I had told her, until I explained
that they were forests of stone, which, if
men did not mar them, would blossom for
centuries unchanged, though the hands that

In the Forest of Stone

planted them had long been blown in dust
about the world. She understood all that I
meant when we visited York and Westminster,
and walked through the long avenues of
stone palms and pines, with their overarch-
ing boughs, and gazed at the marvellous
rose-windows in which all the jewels of the
world seemed to have been set, and saw the
colours streaming through the gorgeous
lancets and high many-lighted casements.
After that it was delightful to turn over en-
gravings and photographs of ruined abbeys
and famous old churches at home and abroad,
and to anticipate the good time when we
should visit them together, and perhaps not
only descend into the crypts but go through
the curious galleries which extend over the
pillars of the nave, and even climb up to the
leaded roof of the tower, or dare the long
windy staircases and ladders which mount
into the spire, and so look down on the
quaint map of streets, and houses, and
gardens, and squares, hundreds of feet
She liked to hear how some of those mira-
cles of stone had been fashioned and com-
pleted- how monks in the days of old had

Io In the Forest of Stone

travelled over the land with the relics of
saints, collecting treasure of all sorts for the
expense of the work; how sometimes the
people came in hundreds dragging great
oaks and loads of quarried stone, and bring-
ing fat hogs, beans, corn, and beer for the
builders and their workmen; how even
queens carried block or beam to the masons,
so that with their own hands they might help
in the glorious labour; and poor old women
gave assistance by cooking food and washing
and spinning and weaving and making and
mending; how when the foundations were
blessed kings and princes and powerful
barons laid each a stone, and when the choir
sang the antiphon, And the foundations
of the wall were garnished with all manner of
precious stones," they threw costly rings and
jewels and chains of gold into the trench;
and how years and generations passed away,
and abbots and bishops and architects and
masons and sculptors and labourers died,
but new men took their places, and still the
vast work went on, and the beautiful pile
rose higher and higher into the everlasting
Then, too, we looked back at the vanished

In the Forest of Stone

times when the world was all so different
from our world of to-day; and in green and
fruitful spots among the hills and on warm
river-lawns and in olden cities of narrow
streets and overhanging roofs, there were
countless abbeys and priories and convents;
and thousands of men and women lived -the
life of prayer and praise and austerity and
miracle and vision which is described in
the legends of the Saints. We lingered in
the pillared cloisters where the black-letter
chronicles were written in Latin, and music
was scored and hymns were composed, and
many a rare manuscript was illuminated in
crimson and blue and emerald and gold; and
we looked through the fair arches into the
cloister-garth where in the green sward a
grave lay ever ready to receive the remains
of the next brother who should pass away
from this little earth to the glory of Paradise.
What struck W. V. perhaps most of all was,
that in some leafy places these holy houses
were so ancient that even the blackbirds and
throstles had learned to repeat some of the
cadences of the church music, and in those
places the birds still continue to pipe them,
though nothing now remains of church or

12 In the Forest of Stone

monastery except the name of some field or
street or well, which people continue to use
out of old habit and custom.

It was with the thought of helping the
busy little brain to realise something of that
bygone existence, with its strange modes of
thought, its unquestioning faith in the un-
seen and eternal, its vivid consciousness of the
veiled but constant presence of the holy and
omnipotent God, its stern self-repression and
its tender charity, its lovely ideals and haunt-
ing legends, that I told W. V. the stories
in this little book. It mattered little to her
or to me that that existence had its dark
shadows contrasting with its celestial light:
it was the light that concerned us, not the
Some of the stories were told on the log,
while Guy slept in his mail-cart in the
dappled shelter of the dingle; others by a
winter fire when the days were short, and the
cry of the wind in the dark made it easy for
one to believe in wolves; others in the
Surrey hills, a year ago, in a sandy hollow
crowned with bloom of the ling, and famous
for a little pool where the martins alight to



;3?c"''l ~ii~i~~,~t~

In the Forest of Stone

drink and star the mud with a maze of claw-
tracks; and yet again, others, this year, under
the dry roof of the pines of Anstiebury, when
the fosse of the old Briton settlement was drip-
ping with wet, and the woods were dim with
the smoke of rain, and the paths were red
with the fallen bloom of the red chestnuts
and white with the flourish of May and
brown with the catkins of the oak, and the
cuckoo, calling in Mosses Wood, was an-
swered from Redlands arid the Warren, and
the pines where we sat (snug and dry) looked
so solemn and dark that, with a little fancy,
it was easy to change the living greenwood
into the forest of stone.
As they were told, under the pressure of
an insatiable listener, so have they been
written, save for such a phrase, here and
there, as slips more readily from the pen than
from the tongue.
Of the stories which were told, but which
have not been written for this book, if W. V.
should question me, I shall answer in the
wise words of the Greybeard of Broce-Liande:
" However hot thy thirst, and however
pleasant to assuage it, leave clear water in
the well."

The Song of the Minster

WHEN John of Fulda became Prior
of Hethholme, says the old chron-
icle, he brought with him to the Abbey
many rare and costly books beautiful illu-
minated missals and psalters and portions of
the Old and New Testament. And he pre-
sented rich vestments to the Minster; albs
of fine linen, and copes embroidered with
flowers of gold. In the west front he built
two great arched windows filled with mar-
vellous storied glass. The shrine of St.
Egwin he repaired at vast outlay, adorning
it with garlands in gold and silver, but the
colour of the flowers was in coloured gems,
and in like fashion the little birds in the
nooks of the foliage. Stalls and benches of
carved oak he placed in the choir; and
many other noble works he had wrought in
his zeal for the glory of God's house.

The Song of the Minster

In all the western land was there no more
fair or stately Minster than this of the Black
Monks, with the peaceful township on one
side, and on the other the sweet meadows
and the acres of wheat and barley sloping
down to the slow river, and beyond the
river the clearings in the ancient forest.
But Thomas the Sub-prior was grieved and
troubled in his mind by the richness and the
beauty of all he saw about him, and by the
Prior's eagerness to be ever adding some new
work in stone, or oak, or metal, or jewels.
"Surely," he said to himself, these
things are unprofitable -less to the honour
of God than to the pleasure of the eye and
the pride of life and the luxury of our house!
Had so much treasure not been wasted on
these vanities of bright colour and carved
stone, our dole to the poor of Christ might
have been four-fold, and they filled with
good things. But now let our almoner do
what best he may, I doubt not many a leper
sleeps cold, and many a poor man goes lean
with hunger."
This the Sub-prior said, not because his
heart was quick with fellowship for the poor,
but because he was of a narrow and gloomy

16 The Song of the Minster

and grudging nature, and he could conceive
of no true service of God which was not
one of fasting and prayer, of fear and trem-
bling, ofjoylessness and mortification.
Now you must know that the greatest of
the monks and the hermits and the holy
men were not of this kind. In their love of
God they were blithe of heart, and filled
with a rare sweetness and tranquillity of soul,
and they looked on the goodly earth with
deep joy, and they had a tender care for the
wild creatures of wood and water. But
Thomas had yet much to learn of the beauty
of holiness.
Often in the bleak dark hours of the night
he would leave his cell and steal into the
Minster to fling himself on the cold stones
before the high altar; and there he would
remain, shivering and praying, till his
strength failed him.
It happened one winter night, when the
thoughts I have spoken of had grown very
bitter in his mind, Thomas guided his steps
by the glimmer of the sanctuary lamp to his
accustomed place in the choir. Falling on
his knees, he laid himself on his face with
the palms of his outstretched hands flat on

The Song of the Minster 17

the icy pavement. And as he lay there,
taking a cruel joy in the freezing cold and
the torture of his body, he became gradu-
ally aware of a sound of far-away yet most
heavenly music.
He raised himself to his knees to listen,
and to his amazement he perceived that the
whole Minster was pervaded by a faint mys-
terious light, which was every instant grow-
ing brighter and clearer. And as the light
increased the music grew louder and sweeter,
and he knew that it was within the sacred
walls. But it was no mortal minstrelsy.
The strains he heard were the minglings
of angelic instruments, and the cadences of
voices of unearthly loveliness. They seemed
to proceed from the choir about him, and
from the nave and transept and aisles; from
the pictured windows and from the clerestory
and from the vaulted roofs. Under his
knees he felt that the crypt was throbbing
and droning like a huge organ.
Sometimes the song came from one part
of the Minster, and then all the rest of the
vast building was silent; then the music was
taken up, as it were in response, in another
part; and yet again voices and instruments

18 The Song of the Minster

would blend in one indescribable volume of
harmony, which made the huge pile thrill
and vibrate from roof to pavement.
As Thomas listened, his eyes became ac-
customed to the celestial light which encom-
passed him, and he saw he could scarce
credit his senses that he saw the little
carved angels of the oak stalls in the choir
clashing their cymbals and playing their
He rose to his feet, bewildered and half
terrified. At that moment the mighty roll
of unison ceased, and from many parts of
the church there came a concord of clear
high voices, like a warbling of silver trum-
pets, and Thomas heard the words they
sang. And the words were these-
Tibi omnes Angeli.
To Thee all Angels cry aloud.
So close to him were two of these voices
that Thomas looked up to the spandrels in
the choir, and he saw that it was the carved
angels leaning out of the spandrels that were
singing. And as they sang the breath came
from their stone lips white and vaporous
into the frosty air.

The Song of the Minster 19

He trembled with awe and astonishment,
but the wonder of what was happening drew
him towards the altar. The beautiful taber-
nacle work of the altar screen contained a
double range of niches filled with the statues
of saints and kings; and these, he saw, were
singing. He passed slowly onward with his
arms outstretched, like a blind man who
does not know the way he is treading.
The figures on the painted glass of the
lancets were singing.
The winged heads of the baby angels over
the marble memorial slabs were singing.
The lions and griffons and mythical beasts
of the finials were singing.
The effigies of dead abbots and priors
were singing on their tombs in bay and
The figures in the frescoes on the walls
were singing.
On the painted ceiling westward of the
tower the verses of the Te Deum, inscribed
in letters of gold above the shields of kings
and princes and barons, were visible in the
divine light, and the very words of these
verses were singing, like living things.
And the breath of all these as they sang

20 The Song of the Minster

turned to a smoke as of incense in the
wintry air, and floated about the high pillars
of the Minster.
Suddenly the music ceased, all save the
deep organ-drone.
Then Thomas heard the marvellous
antiphon repeated in the bitter darkness
outside; and that music, he knew, must be
the response of the galleries of stone kings
and queens, of abbots and virgin martyrs,
over the western portals, and of the mon-
strous gargoyles along the eaves.
When the music ceased in the outer dark-
ness, it was taken up again in the interior of
the Minster.
At last there came one stupendous united
cry of all the singers, and in that cry even
the organ-drone of the crypt, and the
clamour of the brute stones of pavement and
pillar, of wall and roof, broke into words
articulate. And the words were these:
Per singulos dies, benedicimus Te.
Day by day : we magnify Thee,
And we worship Thy name: ever world without end.

As the wind of the summer changes into
the sorrowful wail of the yellowing woods, so

The Song of the Minster 21

the strains of joyous worship changed into a
wail of supplication; and as he caught the
words, Thomas too raised his voice in wild
entreaty :
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
0 Lord, have mercy upon us: have mercy upon us.
And then his senses failed him, and he sank
to the ground in a long swoon.

When he came to himself all was still, and
all was dark save for the little yellow flower
of light in the sanctuary lamp.
As he crept back to his cell he saw with
unsealed eyes how churlishly he had grudged
God the glory of man's genius and the
service of His dumb creatures, the metal of
the hills, and the stone of the quarry, and
the timber of the forest; for now he knew
that at all seasons, and whether men heard
the music or not, the ear of God was filled by
day and by night with an everlasting song
from each stone of the vast Minster:
We magnify Thee,
And we worship Thy name: ever world without end.


The Pilgrim of the Night

IN the ancient days of faith the doors of
the churches used to be opened with
the first glimmer of the dawn in summer,
and long before the moon had set in winter;
and many a ditcher and woodcutter and
ploughman on his way to work used to enter
and say a short prayer before beginning the
labour of the long day.
Now it happened that in Spain there was
a farm-labourer named Isidore, who went
daily to his early prayer, whatever the weather
might be. His fellow-workmen were sloth-
ful and careless, and they gibed and jeered at
his piety, but when they found that their
mockery had no effect upon him, they spoke
spitefully of him in the hearing of the master,
and accused him of wasting in prayer the time
which he should have given to his work.
When the farmer heard of this he was dis-
pleased, and he spoke to Isidore and bade

The Pilgrim of the Night 23

him remember that true and faithful service
was better than any prayer that could be
uttered in words.
Master," replied Isidore, "what you say
is true, but it is also true that no time is
ever lost in prayer. Those who pray have
God to work with them, and the ploughshare
which He guides draws as goodly and fruit-
ful a furrow as another."
This the master could not deny, but he
resolved to keep a watch on Isidore's comings
and goings, and early on the morrow he went
to the fields.
In the sharp air of the autumn morning
he saw this one and that one of his men
sullenly following the plough behind the
oxen, and taking little joy in the work.
Then, as he passed on to the rising ground,
he heard a lark carolling, gaily in the grey
sky, and in the hundred-acre where Isidore
was engaged he saw to his amazement not
one plough but three turning the hoary
stubble into ruddy furrows. And one
plough was drawn by oxen and guided by
Isidore, but the two others were drawn and
guided by Angels of heaven.
When next the master spoke to Isidore it

24 The Pilgrim of the Night

was not to reproach him, but to beg that he
might be remembered in his prayers.

Now the one great longing of Isidore's
life was to visit that hallowed and happy
country beyond the sea in which our Lord
lived and died for us. He longed to gaze
on the fields in which the Shepherds heard
the song of the Angels, and to know each
spot named in the Gospels. All that he
could save from his earnings Isidore hoarded
up, so that one day, before he was old, he
might set out on pilgrimage to the Holy
Land. It took many years to swell the
leather bag in which he kept his treasure;
and each coin told of some pleasure, or
comfort, or necessary which he had denied
Now, when at length the bag was grown
heavy, and it began to appear not impossible
that he might yet have his heart's desire,
there came to his door an aged pilgrim with
staff and scallop-shell, who craved food and
shelter for the night. Isidore bade him wel-
come, and gave him such homely fare as he
might-bread and apples and cheese and thin
wine, and satisfied his hunger and thirst.

The Pilgrim of the Night 25

Long they talked together of the holy
places and of the joy of treading the sacred
dust that had borne the marks of the feet of
Christ. Then the pilgrim spoke of the long
and weary journey he had yet to go, begging
his way from village to village (for his scrip
was empty) till he could prevail on some
good mariner to give him ship-room and
carry him to the green isle of home, far
away on the edge of sunset. Thinking of
those whom he had left and who might be
dead before he could return, the pilgrim
wept, and his tears so moved the heart of
Isidore that he brought forth his treasure
and said:
"This have I saved in the great hope
that one day I might set eyes on what thou
hast beheld, and sit on the shores of the
Lake of Galilee, and gaze on the hill of
Calvary. But thy need is very great. Take
it, and hasten home (ere they be dead) to
those who love thee and look for thy com-
ing; and if thou findest them alive bid them
pray for me."
And when they had prayed together Isi-
dore and the pilgrim lay down to sleep.

26 The Pilgrim of the Night
In the first sweet hours of the restful night
Isidore became aware that he was walking
among strange fields on a hillside, and on the
top of a hill some distance away there were
the white walls and low flat-roofed houses of
a little town; and some one was speaking to
him and saying, "These are the fields in
which the Shepherds watched, and that rocky
pathway leads up the slope to Bethlehem."
At the sound of the voice Isidore hastily
looked round, and behind him was the pil-
grim, and yet he knew that it was not truly
the pilgrim, but an Angel disguised in pil-
grim's weeds. And when he would have
fallen at the Angel's feet, the Angel stopped
him and said, Be not- afraid; I have been
sent to show thee all the holy places that
thy heart has longed to see."
On valley and hill and field and stream
there now shone so clear and wonderful a
light that even a long way off the very
flowers by the roadside were distinctly visi-
ble. Without effort and without weariness
Isidore glided from place to place as though
it were a dream. And I cannot tell the half
of what he saw, for the Angel took him to
the village where Jesus was a little child,


The Pilgrim of the Night 27

which is called Nazareth, "the flower-vil-
lage ;" and he showed him the River Jordan
flowing through dark green woods, and
Hermon the high mountain, glittering with
snow (and the snow of that mountain is ex-
ceeding old), and the blue Lake of Gen-
nesareth, with its fishing-craft, and the busy
town of Capernaum on the great road to
Damascus, and Nain where Jesus watched
the little children playing at funerals and
marriages in the market-place, and the wil-
derness where He was with the wild beasts,
and Bethany where Lazarus lived and died
and was brought to life again (and in the
fields of Bethany Isidore gathered a bunch
of wild flowers), and Jerusalem the holy city,
and Gethsemane with its aged silver-grey
olive-trees, and the hill of Calvary, where in
the darkness a great cry went up to heaven:
"Why hast Thou forsaken me ? and the
new tomb in the white rock among the
myrtles and rose-trees in the garden.
There was no place that Isidore had
desired to see that was denied to him. And
in all these places he saw the children's chil-
drein of the children of those who had
looked on the face of the Saviour--men

28 The Pilgrim of the Night

and women and little ones -going to and
fro in strangely coloured clothing, in the
manner of those who had sat down on the
green grass and been fed with bread and
fishes. And at the thought of this Isidore
"Why dost thou weep?" the Angel
"I weep that I was not alive to look on
the face of the Lord."
Then suddenly, as though it were a dream,
they were on the sea-shore, and it was morn-
ing. And Isidore saw on the sparkling sea
a fisher-ship drifting a little way from the
shore, but there was no one in it; and on
the shore a boat was aground; and half on
the sand and half in the wash of the sea
there were swathes of brown nets filled with
a hundred great fish which flounced and
glittered in the sun; and on the sand there
was a coal fire with fish broiling on it, and
on one side of the fire seven men -one of
them kneeling and shivering in his drenched
fisher's coat-and on the other side of the
fire a benign and majestic figure, on whom
the men were gazing in great joy and awe.
And Isidore, knowing that this was the

The Pilgrim of the Night 29
Lord, gazed too at Christ standing there in
the sun.
And this was what he beheld: a man of
lofty stature and most grave and beautiful
countenance. His eyes were blue and very
brilliant, his cheeks were slightly tinged with
red, and his hair was of the ruddy golden
colour of wine. From the top of his head
to his ears it was straight and without radi-
ance; but from his ears to his shoulders and
down his back it fell in shining curls and
Again all was suddenly changed and Isi-
dore and the Angel were alone.
"Thou hast seen," said the Angel; give
me thy hand so that thou shalt not forget."
Isidore stretched out his hand, and the
Angel opened it, and turning the palm up-
ward, struck it. Isidore groaned with the
sharp pain of the stroke, and sank into un-
When he awoke in the morning the sun
was high in the heavens, and the pilgrim had
departed on his way. But the hut was filled
with a heavenly fragrance, and on his bed
Isidore perceived the wild flowers that he
had plucked in the fields of Bethany red

30 The Pilgrim of the Night
anemones and blue lupins and yellow mari-
golds, with many others more sweet and
lovely than the flowers that grew in the fields
of Spain.
"Then surely," he cried, "it was not
merely a dream."
And looking at his hand, he saw that the
palm bore blue tracings such as one sees on
the arms of wanderers and seafaring men.
These marks, Isidore learned afterwards, were
the Hebrew letters that spelt the name
As long as he lived those letters recalled
to his mind all the marvels that had been
shown him. And they did more than this,
for whenever his eyes fell on them he said,
" Blessed be the promise of the Lord the
Redeemer of Israel, who hath us in His
care for evermore "
Now these are the words of that promise:
Can a woman forget her sucking child, that
she should not have compassion on the son of
her womb? Tea, they may forget, yet will I
not forget thee. Behold, I have engraven thee
upon the palms of my hands."


Ancient Gods Pursuing

I WILL now tell of Hilary and his com-
panions, who came over the snowy
passes of the Alps, and carried the lamp of
faith into the north; and this was in the
days of the ancient gods. Many of their
shrines had Hilary overturned, and broken
their images, and cut down their sacred
trees, and defiled their wells of healing.
Wherefore terrible phantoms pursued him
in his dreams, and in the darkness, and in
the haunted ways of the woods and moun-
tains. At one time it was the brute-god
Pan, who sought to madden him with the
terror of his piping in desolate places; at
another it was the sun-god Apollo, who
threatened him with fiery arrows in the
parching heat of noon; or it was Pallas

32 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
Athene, who appeared to him in visions,
and shook in his face the Gorgon's head,
which turns to stone all living creatures who
look on it. But the holy Bishop made the
sign of the cross of the Lord, and the right
arm of their power was broken, and their
malice could not harm him.
The holy men traversed the mountains
by that Roman road which climbed up the
icy rocks and among the snowy peaks of the
Mountain of Jove, and at sundown they
came to that high temple of Jove which
had crowned the pass for many centuries.
The statue of the great father-god of Rome
had been hurled down the ravine into the
snow-drift, and his altar had been flung into
the little wintry mere which shivers in the
pass, and his last priest had died of old age
a lifetime ago; and the temple was now but
a cold harbour for merchants and soldiers
and wandering men.
Here in the freezing air the apostles
rested from their journey, but in the dead
of the night Hilary was awakened by a
clamour of forlorn voices, and opening his
eyes he saw the mighty father-god of Olym-
pus looking down upon him with angry

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 33

brows, and brandishing in his hand red
flashes of lightning. In no way daunted,
the Bishop sprang to his feet, and cried in a
loud voice, "In the name of Him who
was crucified, depart to your torments!"
And at the sound of that cry the colossal
figure of the god wavered and broke like a
mountain cloud when it crumbles in the
wind, and glimmering shapes of goddesses
and nymphs flitted past, sighing and lament-
ing; and the Bishop saw no longer anything
but the sharp cold stars, and the white peaks
and the ridges of the mountains.
When they had descended and reached
the green valleys, they came at length to a
great lake, blue and beautiful to look upon,
and here they sojourned for a while. It was
a fair and pleasant land, but the people were
rude and barbarous, and drove them away
with stones when they would enter their
hamlets. So, as they needed food, Hilary
bade his companions gather berries and wild
herbs, and he himself set snares for birds,
and wove a net to cast into the lake, and
made himself a raft of pine-trees, from which
he might cast it the more easily.
One night as he floated on this raft in the

34 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
starlight, he heard the voice of the Spirit of
the Peak calling to the Spirit of the Mere.
And the Spirit of the Mere answered,
"Speak, I am listening." Then the Moun-
tain Spirit cried, Arise, then, and come to
my aid; alone I cannot chase away these
men who are driving out all the ancient
gods from their shrines in the land." The
Water Spirit answered, Of what avail is
our strength against theirs ? Here on the
starry waters is one whose nets I cannot
break, and whose boat I cannot overturn.
Without ceasing he prays, and never are
his eyes closed in slumber." Then Hilary
arose on his raft, and raising his hand to
heaven cried against the Spirit of the Peak
and the Spirit of the Mere: "In the name
of Him crucified, be silent for evermore,
and leave these hills and waters to the ser-
vants of God." And these creatures of evil
were stricken dumb, and they fled in dismay,
making a great moaning and sobbing, and
the dolorous sound was as that of the wind
in the pines and the water on the rocks.
Then Hilary and his companions fared
away into the north, through the Grey
Waste, which is a wild and deserted coun-

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 35

try where in the olden time vast armies had
passed with fire and sword; and now the
field had turned into wildwood and morass,
and the rich townsteads were barrows of
ruins and ashes overgrown with brambles,
and had been given for a lodging to the
savage beasts. The name of this waste was
more terrible than the place, for the season
was sweet and gracious, and of birds and fish
and herbs and wild honey there was no
dearth. They were now no longer harassed
by the phantoms of the ancient gods, or by
the evil spirits of the unblessed earth. Thus
for many long leagues was their journey
made easy for them.
Now it chanced, when they had reached
the further edge of this region, that as they
went one night belated along a green riding,
which in the old time had been a spacious
paved causeway between rich cities, they
heard the music of a harp, more marvel-
lously sweet and solacing than any mortal
minstrel may make; and sweet dream-voices
sighed to them Follow, follow!" and they
felt their feet drawn as by enchantment; and
as they yielded to the magical power, a soft
shining filled the dusky air, and they saw

36 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
that the ground was covered with soft deep
grass and brilliant flowers, and the trees were
of the colour of gold and silver. So in
strange gladness, and feeling neither hun-
ger nor fatigue, they went forward through
the hours of the night till the dawn, won-
dering what angelic ministry was thus be-
guiling them of hardship and pain. But
with the first gleam of the dawn the music
ceased amid mocking laughter, the vision
of lovely woodland vanished away, and in
the grey light they found themselves on
the quaking green edges of a deep and dan-
gerous marsh. Hilary, when he saw this,
groaned in spirit and said: "0 dear sons,
we have deserved this befooling and mis-
guidance, for have we not forgotten the
behest of our Master, 'Watch and pray
lest ye enter into temptation' ? "
Now when after much toilsomeness they
had won clear of that foul tract of morass
and quagmire, they came upon vast herds
of swine grubbing beneath the oaks, and
with them savage-looking swineherds scan-
tily clad in skins. Still further north they
caught sight of the squalid hovels and wood
piles of charcoal burners ; and still they pur-

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 37

sued their way till they cleared the dense
forest and beheld before them a long range
of hills blue in the distant air. Towards
sundown they came on a stony moorland,
rough with heather and bracken and tufts
of bent; and when there was but one long
band of red light parting the distant land
from the low sky, they described a range of
thick posts standing high and black against
the red in the heavens. As they drew near,
these, they discovered, were the huge granite
pillars of a great ring of stone and of an
avenue which led up to it; and in the midst
of the ring was a mighty flat stone borne up
on three stout pillars, so that it looked like
a wondrous stone house of some strong folk
of the beginning of days.
"This, too, companions," said Hilary, "is
a temple of false gods. Very ancient gods of
a world gone by are these, and it may be they
have been long dead like their worshippers,
and their names are no more spoken in the
world. Further we may not go this night;
but on these stones we shall put the sign of
the blessed tree of our redemption, and in
its shelter shall we sleep."
As they slept that night in the lee of

38 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
the stones Hilary saw in a dream the place
wherein they lay; and the great stones, he
was aware, were not true stones of the rock,
but petrified trees, and in his spirit he knew
that these trees of stone were growths of that
Forbidden Tree with the fruit of which the
Serpent tempted our first mother in Para-
dise. On the morrow when they rose, he
strove to overthrow the huge pillars, but to
this labour their strength was not equal.
This same day was the day of St. John,
the longest in all the year, and they travelled
far, till at last in the long afternoon they
arrived in sight of a cluster of little home-
steads, clay huts thatched with bracken and
fenced about with bushes of poison-thorn,
and of tilled crofts sloping down the hillside
to a clear river wending through the valley.
As Hilary and his companions approached
they saw that it was a day of rejoicing and
merry-making among the people, for they
were all abroad, feasting and drinking from
great mead horns in the open air, and shout-
ing barbarous songs to the noise of rude in-
struments. When it grew to such duskiness
as there may be in a midsummer night
countless fires were lit, near at hand and

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 39

far away, on the hills around; and on the
ridges above the river children ran about
with blazing brands of pine-wood, and
young men and maidens gathered at the
flaming beacon. Wheels, too, wrapped
round tire and spoke with straw and flax
smeared with pine-tree gum, were set alight
and sent rolling down the hill to the river,
amid wild cries and clapping of hands.
Some of the wheels went awry and were
stayed among the boulders; on some the
flames died out; but there were those which
reached the river and plunged into the water
and were extinguished; and the owners of
these last deemed themselves fortunate in
their omens, for these fiery wheels were
images of the sun in heaven, and their
course to the river was the forecasting of
his prosperous journey through the year
to come.
Thus these outland people held their fes-
tival, and Hilary marvelled to see the many
fires, for he had not known that the land
held so many folk. But now when it was
time for the wayfarers to cast about in their
minds how and where they should pass the
night, there came to them a stranger, a grave

40 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
and seemly man clad in the manner of the
Romans, and he bowed low to them, and
said: "O saintly men, the Lady Pelagia
hath heard of your coming into this land,
and she knows that you have come to teach
men the new faith, for she is a great lady,
mistress of vast demesnes, and many mes-
sengers bring her tidings of all that happens.
She bids me greet you humbly and prevail
on you to come and abide this night in her
house, which is but a little way from here."
Is your lady of Rome ? asked Hilary.
"From Rome she came hither," said the
messenger, "but aforetime she was of Greece,
and she hath great friendship for all wise and
holy men."
The wayfarers were surprised to hear of
this lady, but they were rejoiced that, after
such long wandering, there was some one to
welcome them where least they had expected
word of welcome, and they followed the
Horn lantern in hand he led them through
the warm June darkness, and on the way
answered many questions as to the folk of
these parts, and their strange worship of sun
and moon and wandering light of heaven;

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 41

" but in a brief while," he said, "all these
heathen matters will be put by, when you
have taught them the new faith."
Up a gloomily wooded rise he guided
them, till they passed into the radiance of a
house lit with many lamps and cressets, and
the house, they saw, was of fair marble such
as are the houses of the patricians of Rome;
and many beautiful slaves, lightly clad and
garlanded with roses, brought them water in
silver bowls and white linen wherewith they
might cleanse themselves from the dust of
their travel.
In a little the Lady Pelagia received them
and bade them welcome, and prayed them
to make her poor house their dwelling-place
while they sojourned in that waste of heathen-
dom. Then she led them to a repast which
had been made ready for them.
Of all the gracious and lovely women in
the round of the kingdoms of the earth none
is, or hath been, or will be, more marvellous
in beauty or in sweetness of approach than
this lady; and she made Hilary sit beside
her, and questioned him of the Saints in the
Queen City of the world, and of his labours
and his long wanderings, and the perils

42 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
through which he and his companions had
come. All the while she spoke her starry eyes
shed soft light on his face, and she leaned
towards him her lovely head and fragrant
bosom, drinking in his words with a look of
longing. The companions whispered among
themselves that assuredly this was rather an
Angel of Paradise than a mortal creature of
the dust of the earth, which to-day is as a
flower in its desirableness and to-morrow is
blown about all the ways of men's feet.
Even the good Bishop felt his heart moved
towards her with a strange tenderness, so
sweet was the thought of her youth and her
beauty and her goodness and humility.
Sitting in this fashion at table and con-
versing, and the talk now veering to this
and now to that, the Lady Pelagia said:
"This longest of the days has been to me
the most happy, holy fathers, for it has
brought you to the roof of a sinful woman,
and you have not disdained the service she
has offered you in all lowliness of heart. A
long and, it may be, a dangerous labour lies
before you, for the folk of this land are fierce
and quick to violence; but here you may
ever refresh yourselves from toil and take


The Ancient Gods Pursuing 43
your rest, free from danger. No loving
offices or lowly observance, no, nor aught
you desire is there that you may not have
for the asking or without the asking, if it
be given me to know your wish unspoken."
Hilary and the brethren bowed low at
these gracious words, and thought within
themselves: Of a truth this may be a
woman, but she is no less an Angel for our
strength and solacement.
"In the days to come," said the lady,
"there will be many things to ask and learn
from you, but now ere this summer night
draws to end let me have knowledge of
divine things from thee, most holy father,
for thou art wise and canst answer all my
And Hilary smiled gravely, not ill pleased
at her words of praise, and said: "Ask,
First tell me," she said, "which of all
the small things God has made in the world
is the most excellent ? "
Hilary wondered and mused, but could
find no answer; and when he would have
said so, the voice which came from his lips
spoke other words than those he intended to

44 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
speak, so that instead of saying "This is a
question I cannot answer," his voice said:
"Of all small things made by God, most
excellent is the face of man and woman; for
among all the faces of the children of Adam
not any one hath ever been wholly like any
other; and there in smallest space God has
placed all the senses of the body; and it is
in the face that we see, as in a glass, darkly,
all that can be seen of the invisible soul
The companions listened marvelling, but
Hilary marvelled no less than they.
It is well answered," said the lady, and
yet it seemed to me there was one thing
more excellent. But let me ask again: What
earth is nearest to heaven ? "
Again Hilary mused and was silent. Then,
once more, the voice which was his voice and
yet spoke words which he did not think to
speak, gave the answer: The body of Him
who died on the tree to save us, for He was
of our flesh, and our flesh is earth of the
"That too is well answered," said the
lady, who had grown pale and gazed on the
Bishop with great gloomy eyes; "and yet I

The Ancient Gods Pursuing 45

had thought of another answer. Once more
let me question you: What is the distance
between heaven and earth ? "
Then for the third time was Hilary unable
to reply, but the voice answered for him, in
stern and menaceful tones: "Who can tell
us that more certainly than Lucifer who fell
from heaven ? "
With a bitter cry the Lady Pelagia rose
from her seat, and raised her beautiful white
arms above her head; but the voice con-
tinued: Breathe on her, Hilary breathe
the breath of the name of Christ! "
And the Bishop, rising, breathed on the
white lovely face the breath of the holy
name; and in an instant the starry eyes were
darkened, and the spirit and flower of life
perished in her sweet body; and the com-
panions saw no longer the Lady Pelagia, but
in her stead a statue of white marble. At a
glance Hilary knew it for a statue of the
goddess whom men in Rome called Venus
and in Greece Aphrodite, and with a shudder
he remembered that another of her names
was Pelagia, the Lady of the Sea. But,
swifter even than that thought, it seemed to
them as though the statue were smitten by

46 The Ancient Gods Pursuing
an invisible hand, for it reeled and fell, shat-
tered to fragments; and the lights were ex-
tinguished, and the air of the summer night
blew upon their faces, and in the east, whence
cometh our hope, there was a glimmer of
Praying fervently, and bewailing the brief
joy they had taken in the beauty of that
dreadful goddess, they waited for light to
guide them from that evil place.
When the day broadened they perceived
that they were in the midst of the ruins of
an ancient Roman city, overgrown with bush
and tree. Around them lay, amid beds of
nettles and great dock leaves, and darnel
and tangles of briars, and tall foxgloves and
deadly nightshade, the broken pillars of a
marble temple. This had been the fair
house, lit with lamps, wherein they had sat
at feast. Close beside them were scattered
the white fragments of the image of the
beautiful Temptress.
As they turned to depart three grey wolves
snarled at them from the ruins, but an un-
seen hand held these in leash, and Hilary
and his companions went on their way


Dream of the White Lark

T HIS was a thing that happened long
and long ago, in the glimmering
morning of the Christian time in Erinn.
And it may have happened to the holy
Maedog of Ferns, or to Enan the Angelic,
or it may have been Molasius of Devenish
- I cannot say. But over the windy sea in
his small curragh of bull's hide the Saint
sailed far away to the southern land; and
for many a month he travelled afoot through
the dark forests, and the sunny corn-lands,
and over the snowy mountain horns, and
along the low shores between the olive-grey
hills and the blue sea, till at last he came in
sight of a great and beautiful city glittering
on the slopes and ridges of seven hills.
"What golden city may this be?" he
asked of the dark-eyed market folk whom

48 The Dream of the White Lark
he met on the long straight road which led
across the open country.
"It is the city of Rome," they answered
him, wondering at his ignorance. But the
Saint, when he heard those words, fell on his
knees and kissed the ground.
"Hail to thee, most holy city!" he cried;
"hail, thou queen of the world, red with the
roses of the martyrs and white with the lilies
of the virgins; hail, blessed goal of my long
wandering !"
And as he entered the city his eyes were
bright with joy, and his heart seemed to lift
his weary feet on wings of gladness.
There he sojourned through the autumn
and the winter, visiting all the great churches
and the burial-places of the early Christians
in the Catacombs, and communing with the
good and wise men in many houses of re-
ligion. Once he conversed with the great
Pope whose name was Gregory, and told
him of his brethren in the beloved isle in
the western waters.
When once more the leaf of the fig-tree
opened its five fingers, and the silvery bud
of the vine began to unfurl, the Saint pre-
pared to return home. And once more he



The Dream of the White Lark 49

went to the mighty Pope, to take his leave
and to ask a blessing for himself and his
brethren, and to beg that he might bear
away with him to the brotherhood some pre-
cious relic of those who had shed their blood
for the Cross.
As he made that request in the green
shadowy garden on the Hill Coelian, the
Pope smiled, and, taking a clod of common
earth from the soil, gave it to the Saint, say-
ing, "Then take this with thee," and when
the Saint expressed his surprise at so strange
a relic, the Servant of the Servants of God
took back the earth and crushed it in his
hand, and with amazement the Saint saw that
blood began to trickle from it between the
fingers of the Pope.
Marvelling greatly, the Saint kissed the
holy pontiff's hand, and bade him farewell;
and going to and fro among those he knew,
he collected money, and, hiring a ship, he
filled it with the earth of Rome, and sailed
westward through the Midland Sea, and
bent his course towards the steadfast star in
the north, and so at last reached the beloved
green island of his home.
In the little graveyard about the fair

50 The Dream of the White Lark
church of his brotherhood he spread the
earth which had drunk the blood of the
martyrs, so that the bodies of those who
died in the Lord might await His coming in
a blessed peace.
Now it happened that but a few days after
his return the friend of his boyhood, a holy
brother who had long shared with him the
companionship of the cloister, migrated from
this light, and when the last requiem had
been sung and the sacred earth had covered
in the dead, the Saint wept bitterly for the
sake of the lost love and the unforgotten
And at night he fell asleep, still weeping
for sorrow. And in his sleep he saw, as in
a dream, the grey stone church with its
round tower and the graveyard sheltered by
the woody hills; but behold in the grave-
yard tall trees sprang in lofty spires from
the earth of Rome, and reached into the
highest heavens; and these trees were like
trees of green and golden and ruddy fire, for
they were red with the blossoms of life, and
every green leaf quivered with bliss, like a
green flame; and among the trees, on a
grassy sod at their feet, sat a white lark,

The Dream of the White Lark 51

singing clear and loud, and he knew that
the lark was the soul of the friend of his
As he listened to its song, he understood
its unearthly music; and these were the
words of its singing: "Do not weep any
more for me; it is pity for thy sorrow which
keeps me here on the grass. If thou wert
not so unhappy I should fly."
And when the Saint awoke his grief had
fallen from him, and he wept no more for
the dead man whom he loved.

The Hermit of the Pillar

ON one of the hills near the city of
Ancyra Basil the Hermit stood day
and night on a pillar of stone forty feet high,
praying and weeping for his own sins and
for the sins of the world.
A gaunt, dark figure, far up in the blue
Asian sky, he stood there for a sign and
a warning to all men that our earthly life is
short, whether for wickedness or repentance;
that the gladness and the splendour of the
world are but a fleeting pageant; that in but
a little while the nations should tremble be-
fore the coming of the Lord in His power
and majesty. Little heed did the rich and
dissolute people of that city give to his cry
of doom; and of the vast crowds who came
about the foot of his pillar, the greater num-
ber thought but to gaze on the wonder of a
day, though some few did pitch their tents
hard by, and spent the time of their sojourn


The Hermit of the Pillar

in prayer and the lamentation of hearts hum-
bled and contrite.
Now, in the third year of his testimony,
as Basil was rapt in devotion, with hands and
face uplifted to the great silent stars, an
Angel, clothed in silver and the blue-green
of the night, stood in front of him in the air,
and said: "Descend from thy pillar, and
get thee away far westward; and there thou
shalt learn what is for thy good."
Without delay or doubt Basil descended,
and stole away alone in the hush before the
new day, and took the winding ways of the
hills, and thereafter went down into the low
country of the plain to seaward.
After long journeying among places and
people unknown, he crossed the running seas
which part the eastern world from the world
of the west, and reached the City of the
Golden Horn, Byzantium ; and there for four
months he lived on a pillar overlooking the
city and the narrow seas, and cried his cry of
doom and torment. At the end of the fourth
month the Angel once more came to him and
bade, him descend and go further.
So. with patience and constancy of soul he
departed between night and light, and pur-

54 The Hermit of the Pillar
sued his way for many months till he had
got to the ancient city of Treves. There,
among the ruins of a temple of the heathen
goddess Diana, he found a vast pillar of
marble still erect, and the top of this he
thought to make his home and holy watch-
tower. Wherefore he sought out the Bishop
of the city and asked his leave and blessing,
and the Bishop, marvelling greatly at his
zeal and austerity, gave his consent.
The people of Treves were amazed at
what they considered his madness; but they
gave him no hindrance, nor did they molest
him in any way. Indeed, in no long time
the fame of his penance was noised abroad,
and multitudes came, as they had come at
Ancyra, to see with their own eyes what there
was of truth in the strange story they had
heard. Afterwards, too, many came out of
sorrow for sin and an ardent desire of
holiness; and others brought their sick and
maimed and afflicted, in the hope that the
Hermit might be able to cure their ailments,
or give them assuagement of their sufferings.
Many of these, in truth, Basil sent away
cleansed and made whole by the virtue of
his touch or of the blessing he bestowed
upon them.

The Hermit of the Pillar

Now, though there were many pillar-
hermits in the far eastern land, this was the
first that had ever been seen in the west,
and after him there were but few others.
A strange and well-nigh incredible thing it
seemed, to look upon this man on the height
of his pillar, preaching and praying con-
stantly, and enduring night and day the in-
clemency of the seasons and the weariness
and discomfort of his narrow standing-place.
For the pillar, massive as it was, was so
narrow where the marble curved over in big
acanthus leaves at the four corners that he
had not room to lie down at length to sleep;
and indeed he slept but little, considering
slumber a waste of the time of prayer, and
the dreams of sleep so many temptations to
beguile the soul into false and fugitive pleas-
ures. No shelter was there from the wind,
but he was bare as a stone in the field to
the driving rain and the blaze of the sun at
noon; and in winter the frost was bitter to
flesh and blood, and the snow fell like flakes
of white fire. His only clothing was a coat
of sheepskin; about his neck hung a heavy
chain, of iron, in token that he was a thrall
and bondsman of the Lord Christ, and each

56 The Hermit of the Pillar
Friday he wore an iron crown of thorns, in
painful memory of Christ's passion and His
sorrowful death upon the tree. Once a day
he ate a little rye bread, and once he drank
a little water.
No man could say whether he was young
or aged; and the mother who had borne
him a little babe at her bosom, and had
watched him grow to boyhood, could not
have recognized him, for he had been burnt
black by the sun and the frost, and the
weather had bleached his hair and beard till
they looked like lichens on an ancient forest-
tree, and the crown of thorns had scarred
his brow, and the links of the chain had
galled his neck and shoulders.
For three summers and three winters he
endured this stricken life with cheerful forti-
tude, counting his sufferings as great gain if
through them he might secure the crown
of celestial glory which God has woven for
His elect. Remembering all his prayers
and supplications, and the long martyrdom
of his body, it was hard for him, at times,
to resist the assurance that he must have
won a golden seat among the blessed.
"For who, 0 Lord Christ!" he cried,

The Hermit of the Pillar

with trembling hands outstretched, and dim
eyes weeping, "who hath taken up Thy
cross as I have done, and the anguish of the
thorns and the nails, and the parched sorrow
of Thy thirst, and the wounding of Thy
blessed body, and borne them for years
twenty and three, and shown them as I have
shown them to the sun and stars and the
four winds, high up between heaven and
earth, that men might be drawn to Thee,
and carried them across the world from the
outmost East to the outmost West ? Surely,
Lord God! Thou hast written my name
in Thy Book of Life, and has set for me a
happy place in the heavens. Surely, all I
have and am I have given Thee; and all
that a worm of the earth may do have I
done! If in anything I have failed, show
me, Lord, I beseech Thee, wherein I have
come short. If any man there be more
worthy in Thine eyes, let me, too, set eyes
upon him, that I may learn of him how
I may the better please Thee. Teach me,
Lord, that which I know not, for Thou
alone knowest and art wise!"
As. Basil was praying thus in the hour
before dawn, once more the Angel, clothed

58 The Hermit of the Pillar
in silver and blue-green, as though it had
been a semblance of the starry night, came
to him, and said: "Give me thy hand;"
and Basil touched the hand celestial, and
the Angel drew him from his pillar, and
placed him on the ground, and said: "This
is that land of the west in which thou art
to learn what is for thy good. Take for
staff this piece of tree, and follow this road
till thou reaches the third milestone; and
there, in the early light, thou shalt meet
him who can instruct thee. For a sign, thou
shalt know the man by the little maid of
seven years who helpeth him to drive the
geese. But the man, though young, may
teach one who is older than he, and he is
one who is greatly pleasing in God's eyes."
The clear light was glittering on the dewy
grass and the wet bushes when Basil reached
the third milestone. He heard the distant
sound as of a shepherd piping, and he saw
that the road in front of him was crowded
for near upon a quarter of a mile with a
great gathering of geese--fully two thou-
sand they numbered feeding in the grass
and rushes, and cackling, and hustling each
other aside, and clacking their big orange-

The Hermit of the Pillar

coloured bills, as they waddled slowly onward
towards the city.
Among them walked a nut-brown little
maiden of seven, clad in a green woollen
tunic, with bright flaxen hair and innocent
blue eyes, and bare brown legs, and feet shod
in shoes of hide. In her hand she carried a
long hazel wand, with which she kept in rule
the large grey and white geese.
As the flock came up to the Hermit, she
gazed at him with her sweet wondering eyes,
for never had she seen so strange and awful
a man as this, with his sheepskin dress and
iron chain and crown of thorns, and skin
burnt black, and bleached hair and dark
brows stained with blood. For a moment
she stood still in awe and fear, but the Her-
mit raised his hand, and blessed her, and
smiled upon her; and even in that worn
and disfigured face the light in the Hermit's
eyes as he smiled was tender and beautiful;
and the child ceased to fear, and passed
slowly along, still gazing at him and smiling
in return.
In the rear of the great multitude of geese
came a churl, tall and young, and comely
enough for all his embrowning in the sun and

60 The Hermit of the Pillar

wind, and his unkempt hair and rude dress.
It was he who made the music, playing on
pan's-pipes to lighten the way, and quicken-
ing with his staff the loiterers of his flock.
When he perceived the Hermit he stayed
his playing, for he bethought him, Is not
this the saintly man of whose strange pen-
ance and miracles of healing the folk talk in
rustic huts and hamlets far scattered ? But
when they drew nigh to each other, the Her-
mit bowed low to the Goose-herd, and ad-
dressed him: "Give me leave to speak a
little with thee, good brother; for an Angel
of heaven hath told me of thee, and fain
would I converse with thee. Twenty years
and three have I served the King of Glory
in supplication and fasting and tribulation of
spirit, and yet I lack that which thou canst
teach me. Now tell me, I beseech thee,
what works, what austerities, what prayers
have made thee so acceptable to God."
A dark flush rose on the Goose-herd's
cheeks as he listened, but when he answered
it was in a grave and quiet voice: "It ill
becomes an aged man to mock and jeer at
the young; nor is it more seemly that the
holy should gibe at the poor."

The Hermit of the Pillar

Dear_ son in Christ," said the Hermit,
"I do not gibe or mock at thee. By the
truth of the blessed tree I was told of thee
by an Angel in the very night which is now
over and gone, and was bidden to question
thee. Wherefore be not wrathful, but an-
swer me truly, I beg of thy charity."
The Goose-herd shook his head. This
is a matter beyond me," he replied. "All
my work, since thou askest of my work,
hath been the tending and rearing of geese
and driving them to market. From the
good marsh lands at the foot of the hills out
west I drive them, and this distance is not
small, for, sleeping and resting by boulder
and tree, for five days are we on the way.
Slow of foot goeth your goose when he
goeth not by water, and it profits neither
master nor herd to stint them of their green
food. And all my prayer hath been that I
might get them safe to market, none missing
or fallen dead by the way, and that I might
sell them speedily and at good price, and
so back to the fens again. What more is
there to say ? "
In thy humility thou hidest something
from me," said the Hermit, and he fixed

62 The Hermit of the Pillar

his eyes thoughtfully on the young man's
"Nay, I have told thee all that is worth
the telling."
"Then hast thou always lived this life? "
the Hermit asked.
"Ever since I was a small lad -such a
one as the little maid in front, and she will
be in her seventh year, or it may be a little
older. Before me was my father goose-herd;
and he taught me the windings of the jour-
ney to the city, and the best resting-places,
and the ways of geese, and the meaning of
their cries, and what pleaseth them and serv-
eth flesh and feather, and how they should
be driven. And now, in turn, I teach the
child, for there be goose-girls as well as
"Is she then thy young sister, or may it
be that she is thy daughter ?"
"Neither young sister nor daughter is
she," replied the Herd, "and yet in truth
she is both sister and daughter."
"Wilt thou tell me how that may be? "
asked the Hermit.
"It is shortly told," said the Herd.
"Robbers broke into their poor and lonely

The Hermit of the Pillar

house by the roadside and slew father and
mother and left them dead, but the babe at
the breast they had not slain, and this was
Didst thou find her ?" asked the Hermit.
"Ay, on a happy day I found her; a
feeble little thing bleating like a lambkin
forlorn beside its dead dam."
"And thy wife, belike, or thy mother,
reared her ?"
Nay," said the Herd, for. my mother
was dead, and no wife have I. I reared her
myself- my little white gooseling; and she
throve and waxed strong of heart and limb,
and merry and brown of favour, as thou hast
Thou must have been thyself scantly a
man in those days," said the Hermit.
"Younger than to-day," replied the Herd;
"but I was ever big of limb and plentiful of
my inches."
"And hath she not been often since a
burthen to thee, and a weariness in the
years ? "
She hath been a care in the cold winter,
and a sorrow in her sickness with her teeth
- for no man, I wot, can help a small child

The Hermit of the Pillar

when the teeth come through the gum, and
she can but cry ah ah and hath no words
to tell what she aileth."
Why didst thou do all this ?" asked the
Hermit. "What hath been thy reward?
Or for what reward dost thou look? "
The Goose-herd gazed at him blankly
for a moment; then his face brightened.
"Surely," he said, to see her as she goes
on her way, a bright, brown little living thing,
with her clear hair and glad eyes, is a goodly
reward. And a goodly reward is it to think
of her growth, and to mind me of the days
when she could not walk and I bore her
whithersoever I went; and of the days when
she could but take faltering steps and was
soon fain to climb into my arms and sit upon
my neck; and of the days when we first fared
together with the geese to market and I cut
her her first hazel stick; and in truth of all
the days that she hath been with me since I
found her."
As the Goose-herd spoke the tears rose in
the Hermit's eyes and rolled slowly down
his cheeks; and when the young man ceased,
he said: 0 son, now I know why thou art
so pleasing in the eyes of God. Early hast

The Hermit of the Pillar

thou learned the love which gives all and
asks nothing, which suffereth long and is
ever kind, and this I have not learned. A
small thing and too common it seemed to
me, but now I see that it is holier than
austerities, and availeth more than fasting,
and is the prayer of prayers. Late have I
sought thee, thou ancient truth; late have
I found thee, thou ancient beauty; yet even
in the gloaming of my days may there still
be light enough to win my way home. Fare-
well, good brother; and be God tender and
pitiful to thee as thou hast been tender and
pitiful to the little child."
Farewell, holy man !" replied the Herd,
regarding him with a perplexed look, for the
life and austerities of the Hermit were a
mystery he could not understand.
Then going on his way, he laid the pan's-
pipes to his lips and whistled a pleasant music
as he strode after his geese.


Kenach's Little Woman

AS the holy season of Lent drew nigh
S the Abbot Kenach felt a longing such
as a bird of passage feels in the south when
the first little silvery buds on the willow
begin here to break their ruddy sheaths, and
the bird thinks to-morrow it will be time to
fly over-seas to the land where it builds its
nest in pleasant croft or under the shelter of
homely eaves. And Kenach said, Levabo
oculos- I will lift up mine eyes unto the
hills from whence cometh my help"; for
every year it was his custom to leave his
abbey and fare through the woods to the
hermitage on the mountain-side, so that he
might spend the forty days of fasting and
prayer in the heart of solitude.
Now on the day which is called the Wednes-
day of Ashes he set out, but first he heard
the mass of remembrance and led his monks

Kenach's Little Woman

to the altar steps, and knelt there in great
humility to let the priest sign his forehead
with a cross of ashes. And on the forehead
of each of the monks the ashes were smeared
in the form of a cross, and each time the
priest made the sign he repeated the words,
" Remember, man, that thou art dust, and
unto dust thou shalt return."
So with the ashes still on his brow and
with the remembrance of the end of earthly
days in his soul, he bent his steps towards the
hermitage; and as he was now an aged man
and nowise strong, Diarmait, one of the
younger brethren, accompanied him in case
any mischance should befall.
They passed through the cold forest,
where green there was none, unless it were
the patches of moss and the lichens on the
rugged tree-trunks and tufts of last year's
grass, but here and there the white blossoms
of the nowdrops peered out. The dead
grey leaves and dry twigs crackled and
snapped under their feet with such a noise
as a wood fire makes when it is newly lighted:
and that was all the warmth they had on
their -wayfaring.
The short February day was closing in as

68 Kenach's Little Woman

they climbed among the boulders and with-
ered bracken on the mountain-side, and at
last reached the entrance of a cavern hol-
lowed in the rock and fringed with ivy.
This was the hermitage. The Abbot hung
his bell on a thick ivy-bough in the mouth
of the cave; and they knelt and recited ves-
pers and compline; and thrice the Abbot
struck the bell to scare away the evil spirits
of the night; and they entered and lay down
to rest.
Hard was the way of their sleeping; for
they lay not on wool or on down, neither on
heather or bracken, nor yet on dry leaves,
but their sides came against the cold stone,
and under the head of each there was a stone
for pillow. But being weary with the long
journey they slept sound, and felt nothing
of the icy mouth of the wind blowing down
the mountain-side.
Within an hour of daybreak, when the
moon was setting, they were awakened by
the wonderful singing of a bird, and they
rose for matins and strove not to listen, but
so strangely sweet was the sound in the keen
moonlight morning that they could not for-
bear. The moon set, and still in the dark

Kenach's Little Woman

sang the bird, and the grey light came, and
the bird ceased; and when it was white day
they saw that all the ground and every stalk
of bracken was hoary with frost, and every
ivy-leaf was crusted white round the edge,
but within the edge it was all glossy green.
What bird is this that sings so sweet be-
fore day in the bitter cold ? said the Abbot.
"Surely no bird at all, but an Angel from
heaven waking us from the death of sleep."
It is the blackbird, Domine Abbas," said
the young monk; "often they sing thus in
February, however cold it may be."
0 soul, O Diarmait, is it not wonderful
that the senseless small creatures should praise
God so sweetly in the dark, and in the light
before the dark, while we are fain to lie
warm and forget His praise? And after-
wards he said," Gladly could I have listened
to that singing, even till to-morrow was a
day ; and yet it was but the singing of a little
earth wrapped in a handful of feathers. O
soul, tell me what it must be to listen to the
singing of an Angel, a portion of heaven
wrapped in the glory of God's love!"
Of the forty days thirty went by, and
oftentimes now, when no wind blew, it was

Kenach's Little Woman

bright and delightsome among the rocks, for
the sun was gaining strength, and the days
were growing longer, and the brown trees
were being speckled with numberless tiny
buds of white and pale green, and wild flow-
ers were springing between the boulders and
through the mountain turf.
Hard by the cave there was a low wall of
rock covered with ivy, and as Diarmait
chanced to walk near it, a brown bird darted
out from among the leaves. The young
monk looked at the place from which it had
flown, and behold! among the leaves and
the hairy sinews of the ivy there was a nest
lined with grass, and in the nest there were
three eggs pale green with reddish spots.
And Diarmait knew the bird and knew
the eggs, and he told the Abbot, who came
noiselessly, and looked with a great love
at the open house and the three eggs of the
mother blackbird.
Let us not walk too near, my son," he
said, "lest we scare the mother from her
brood, and so silence beforehand some of the
music of the cold hours before the day."
And he lifted his hand and blessed the nest
and the bird, saying, "And He shall bless

Kenach's Little Woman

thy bread and thy water." After that it was
very seldom they went near the ivy.
Now after days of clear and benign weather
a shrill wind broke out from beneath the
North Star, and brought with it snow and
sleet and piercing cold. And the woods
howled for distress of the storm, and the grey
stones of the mountain chattered with dis-
comfort. Harsh cold and sleeplessness were
their lot in the cave, and as he shivered, the
Abbot bethought him of the blackbird in
her nest, and of the wet flakes driving in
between the leaves of the ivy and stinging
her brown wings and patient bosom. And
lifting his head from his pillow of stone he
prayed the Lord of the elements to have
the bird in His gentle care, saying," How
excellent is Thy loving-kindness, 0 God!
therefore the children of men put their trust
under the shadow of Thy wings."
Then after a little while he said, Look
out into the night, 0 son, and tell me if yet
the storm be abated."
And Diarmait, shuddering, went to the
mouth of the cavern, and stood there gazing
and calling in a low voice, "Domine Abbas!
My Lord Abbot! My Lord Abbot! "

Kenach's Little Woman

Kenach rose quickly and went to him, and
as they looked out the sleet beat on their
faces, but in the midst of the storm there
was a space of light, as though it were moon-
shine, and the light streamed from an Angel,
who stood near the wall of rock with out-
spread wings, and sheltered the blackbird's
nest from the wintry blast.
And the monks gazed at the shining love-
liness of the Angel, till the wind fell and the
snow ceased and the light faded away and the
sharp stars came out and the night was still.
Now at sundown of the day that followed,
when the Abbot was in the cave, the young
monk, standing among the rocks, saw ap-
proaching a woman who carried a child in
her arms; and crossing himself he cried a-
loud to her, "Come not any nearer; turn
thy face to the forest, and go down."
Nay," replied the woman, "for we seek
shelter for the night, and food and the solace
of fire for the little one."
Go down, go down," cried Diarmait;
" no woman may come to this hermitage."
"How canst thou say that, 0 monk? "
said the woman. "Was the Lord Christ
any worse than thou ? Christ came to redeem

ii P.:, I ~

SKenach's Little Woman

woman no less than to redeem man. Not
less did He suffer for the sake of woman
than for the sake of man. Women gave
service and tendance to Him and His
Apostles. A woman it was who bore Him,
else had men been left forlorn. It was a
man who betrayed Him with a kiss; a
woman it was who washed His feet with
tears. It was a man who smote Him with
a reed, but a woman who broke the alabaster
box of precious ointment. It was a man
who thrice denied Him; a woman stood by
His cross. It was a woman to whom He
first spoke on Easter morn, but a man thrust
his hand into His side and put his finger in
the prints of the nails before he would believe.
And not less than men do women enter the
heavenly kingdom. Why then shouldst
thou drive my little child and me from thy
hermitage ?"
Then Kenach, who had heard all that was
said, came forth from the cave, and blessed
the woman. Well hast thou spoken, 0
daughter; come, and bring the small child
with thee." And, turning to the young
monk,, he said, "0 soul, O son, 0 Diar-
mait, did not God send His Angel out of

Kenach's Little Woman

high heaven to shelter the mother bird?
And was not that, too, a little woman in
feathers ? But now hasten, and gather wood
and leaves, and strike fire from the flint, and
make a hearth before the cave, that the
woman may rest and the boy have the
comfort of the bright flame."
This was soon done, and by the fire sat
the woman eating a little barley bread; but
the child, who had no will to eat, came round
to the old man, and held out two soft hands
to him. And the Abbot caught him up
from the ground to his breast, and kissed
his golden head, saying, "God bless thee,
sweet little son, and give thee a good life
and a happy, and strength of thy small body,
and, if it be His holy will, length of glad
days; and ever mayest thou be a gladness
and deep joy to thy mother."
Then, seeing that the woman was strangely
clad in an outland garb of red and blue, and
that she was tall, with a golden-hued skin
and olive eyes, arched eyebrows very black,
aquiline nose, and a rosy mouth, he said,
"Surely, O daughter, thou art not of this
land of Erinn in the sea, but art come out
of the great world beyond ? "

Kenach's Little Woman

"Indeed, then, we have travelled far,"
replied the woman; "as thou sayest, out
of the great world beyond. And now the
twilight deepens upon us."
"Thou shalt sleep safe in the cave, 0
daughter, but we will rest here by the em-
bers. My cloak of goat's hair shalt thou
have, and such dry bracken and soft bushes
as may be found."
There is no need," said the woman,
"mere shelter is enough;" and she added
in a low voice, "Often has my little son had
no bed wherein he might lie."
Then she stretched out her arms to the
boy, and once more the little one kissed the
Abbot, and as he passed by Diarmait he put
the palms of his hands against the face of
the young monk, and said laughingly, I
do not think thou hadst any ill-will to us,
though thou wert rough and didst threaten
to drive us away into the woods."
And the woman lifted the boy on her
arm, and rose and went towards the cavern;
and when she was in the shadow of the rocks
she turned towards the monks beside the
fire,- and said," My son bids me thank you."
They looked up, and what was their aston-

76 Kenach's Little Woman
ishment to see a heavenly glory shining
about the woman and her child in the gloom
of the cave. And in his left hand the child
carried a little golden image of the world,
and round his head was a starry radiance,
and his right hand was raised in blessing.
For such a while as it takes the shadow
of a cloud to run across a rippling field of
corn, for so long the vision remained; and
then it melted into the darkness, even as a
rainbow melts away into the rain.
On his face fell the Abbot, weeping for
joy beyond words; but Diarmait was seized
with fear and trembling till he remembered
the way in which the child had pressed warm
palms against his face and forgiven him.
The story of these things was whispered
abroad, and ever since, in that part of Erinn
in the sea, the mother blackbird is called
Kenach's Little Woman.
And as for the stone on which the fire
was lighted in front of the cave, rain rises
quickly from it in mist and leaves it dry,
and snow may not lie upon it, and even in
the dead of winter it is warm to touch. And
to this day it is called the Stone of Holy


Golden Apples and

Roses Red

IN the cruel days of old, when Diocletian
was the Master of the World, and the
believers in the Cross were maimed, and
tortured with fire, and torn with iron hooks,
and cast to the lions, and beheaded with the
sword, Dorothea, a beautiful maiden of
Caesarea, was brought before Sapricius, the
Governor of Cappadocia, and commanded to
forsake the Lord Christ and offer incense to
the images of the false gods.
Though she was so young and so fair and
tender, she stood unmoved by threats and
entreaties, and when, with little pity on her
youth and loveliness, Sapricius menaced her
with the torment of the iron bed over a slow
fire, she replied: Do with me as you will.
No, pain shall I fear, so firm is my trust in
Him for whom I am ready to die."

78 Golden Apples and Roses Red
"Who, then, is this that has won thy
love ? asked the Governor.
"It is Christ Jesus, the Son of God.
Slay me, and I shall but the sooner be with
Him in His Paradise, where there is no
more pain, neither sorrow, but the tears are
wiped from all eyes, and the roses are in
bloom always, and for ever the fruit of joy is
on the trees."
Thy words are but the babbling of mad-
ness," said the Governor angrily.
I am not mad, most noble Sapricius."
Here, then, is the incense; sacrifice, and
save thy life."
I will not sacrifice," replied Dorothea.
"Then shalt thou die," said Sapricius;
and he bade the doomsman take her to
the place of execution and strike off her
Now as she was being led away from the
judgment-seat, a gay young advocate named
Theophilus said to her jestingly: Farewell,
sweet Dorothea: when thou hast joined thy
lover, wilt thou not send me some of the
fruit and roses of his Paradise ? "
Looking gravely and gently at him,
Dorothea answered: I will send some."


Golden Apples and Roses Red 79

Whereupon Theophilus laughed merrily,
and went his way homeward.
At the place of execution, Dorothea
begged the doomsman to tarry a little, and
kneeling by the block, she raised her hands
to heaven and prayed earnestly. At that
moment a fair child stood beside her, hold-
ing in his hand a basket containing three
golden apples and three red roses.
Take these to Theophilus, I pray thee,"
she said to the child, and tell him Dorothea
awaits him in the Paradise whence they
Then she bowed her head, and the sword
of the doomsman fell.
Mark now what follows.
Theophilus, who had reached home, was
still telling of what had happened and mer-
rily repeating his jest about the fruit and
flowers of Paradise, when suddenly, while he
was speaking, the child appeared before him
with the apples and the roses. Dorothea,"
he said, has sent me to thee with these,
and she awaits thee in the garden." And
straightway the child vanished.
The fragrance of those heavenly roses filled
Theophilus with a strange pity and gladness;

80 Golden Apples and Roses Red

and, eating of the fruit of the Angels, he felt
his heart made new within him, so that he,
also, became a servant of the Lord Jesus,
and suffered death for His name, and thus
attained to the celestial garden.
Centuries after her martyrdom, the body of
Dorothea was laid in a bronze shrine richly
inlaid with gold and jewels in the church
built in her honour beyond Tiber, in the
seven-hilled city of Rome.
There it lay in the days when Waldo was
a brother at the Priory of Three Fountains,
among the wooded folds of the Taunus
Hills; and every seven years the shrine was
opened that the faithful might gaze on the
maiden martyr of Casarea.

An exceeding great love and devotion
did Waldo bear this holy virgin, whom he
had chosen for his patroness, and one of his
most ardent wishes was that he might some
day visit the church beyond Tiber, and
kneel by the shrine which contained her
precious relics. In summer the red roses, in
autumn the bright apples on the tree, re-
minded him of her; in the spring he thought
of her youth and beauty joyously surrendered

Golden Apples and Roses Red 81

to Christ, and the snow in winter spoke to
him of her spotless innocence. Thus through
the round of the year the remembrance of
her was present about him in fair sugges-
tions; and indeed had there been any lack
of these every gift of God would have re-
called her to his mind, for was not that -
" the gift of God" her name ?
Notwithstanding his youth, Waldo was
ripe in learning, well skilled in Latin and
Greek, and so gifted beyond measure in
poetry and music that people said he had
heard the singing of Angels and had brought
the echo of it to the earth. His hymns and
sacred songs were known and loved all
through the German land, and far beyond.
The children sang them in the processions on
the high feast days, the peasants sang them
at their work in house or field, travellers
sang them as they journeyed over the long
heaths and through the mountain-forests,
fishers and raftsmen sang them on the rivers.
He composed the Song of the Sickle which
cuts at a stroke the corn in its ripeness and
the wild flower in its bloom, and the Song of
the Mill-wheel, with its long creak and quick
clap, and the' melodious rush of water from

82 Golden Apples and Roses Red

the bucket of the wheel, and many another
which it would take long to tell of; but that
which to himself was sweetest and dearest
was Golden Apples and Roses Red, the song
in which he told the legend of St. Dorothea
his patroness.

Now when Waldo was in the six and
thirtieth year of his age he was smitten with
leprosy; and when it was found that neither
the relics of the saints, nor the prayers of holy
men, nor the skill of the physician availed
to cure him, but that it was God's will
he should endure to the end, the Prior
entreated him to surrender himself to that
blessed will, and to go forth courageously
to the new life of isolation which awaited
him. For in those days it was not lawful
that a leper should abide in the companion-
ship of men, and he was set apart lest his
malady should bring others to a misery like
his own.
Deep was the grief of the brethren of
Three Fountains when they were summoned
to attend the sacred office of demission which
was to shut out Waldo for ever from inter-
course with his fellows. And well might

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs