The Beheading of John the Baptist by Mog Ruith

Author: Annie M. Scarre

An electronic edition

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p. 175.

1. All the children of Israel that spread over the yellow-crested
world, it is no labour, it is an easy task to enumerate or to tell them.

2. Persians and Medes together, Greeks and Chaldeans: four
races that were in the east, by whom the kingships of the world
were taken.

3. There ruled in the eastern world a king known as fierce
Herod; John, though the righteous man was a bishop, was slain
by him, it is a bitter tale.

4. The reason of the slaying of noble John, by the household
of shameless Herod, - the deed was an awful one, - was on account
of the wife of Philip Labarchenn.

5. Philip Labarchenn without sorrow was true judge of true
judgments. He used to give famous judgments to the host of the
red-faced world.

6. Thereupon Philip died at the fort of famed Arguas; and
yonder in her house his wife was without a mate to lie with her.

7. Herodias was the woman’s name, the wife of Philip without
guile; her daughters’ names - it is not forbidden [to mention them]:
Salius and Neiptis.

8. Neiptis used to make - a famous music! - sweet piping from
her lips; and Salius indeed would make nimble movements and

9. To every one among the hosts of the ruddy world their skill
seemed marvellous; whereby they won goodly treasure from the
nobles of the world.

10. Thereupon Herodias goes out that night to the country of
the young man, till she reaches Esculop.

11. Philip, brother of Herod the splendid, from the perfect
Esculop, brought weighty love to her, to the wife of the other Philip.

p. 177.

12. Then Philip asked of Herodias that night whether she would
lie with him in his house yonder, for a bride-price or a gift.

13. She of the fair white limbs said to proud perfect Philip that
she would speedily lie with him if Herod would approve.

14. They went together to the house of Herod over every road,
so that Herod sealed then her bride-price and her gift.

15. Then Philip sat down in the chair of the fair king: it was
a geis for the beautiful king that anyone should sit down in his

16. Then Herod asked of his brother Philip: ‘Why hast thou
broken my law? It was unjust of you, Philip.’

17. Herod seized a convenient dog-whip in his great royal hand,
and he struck Philip in the house for the crime of his lawless deed.

18. Then said Herodias to Philip, in that very hour, that she
would not cohabit with him, though it was a hard condition, after
his having been struck with the dog-whip.

19. Then Philip went out tearfully and sorrowfully, after being
reviled by the woman of the east, after being struck by his brother.

20. Philip went to the house of John, the noble and the righteous;
he told John, - the matter was great, - that his brother had outraged

21. Near was their right relationship - Philip, Herod and John;
the story tells that two sisters were their mothers.

22. Sarra daughter of pure Gomer was the mother of delightful
noble John; Cassamaindra, a wise daughter, mother of Herod
and Philip.

p. 179.

23. It is no secret that she is the mother of John, every sage
relates in story; these are their names, I shall not hide it,
Sarra and Elizabeth.

24. Elizabeth and Zacharias were the mother and father of
John the Baptist, it is they who quickly reared - John, Philip and

25. It is known that Philip said to John the Baptist, on account
of their relationship: ‘Arise and utterly ruin the woman, together
with the marvellous Herod.’

26. Thereupon John went into the house of marvellous Herod;
sternly he said to him then not to sleep with Herodias.

27. Famous Herod said to his mother’s sister’s son: ‘If the
woman would sleep with Philip, it is not I who would separate

28. Thereupon Herodias said to Philip at once, that if she found
no husband till Doom, she would not be with Philip a single hour.

29. Herodias then cast a spell of false love over her face,
through which grievous harm was done by imposing her love
upon Herod.

30. Then said Herod to the maidens in the house: ‘Display
your arts in turn that my household may see it.’

31. The women then said to Herod that they would not show
their faultless skill until they knew their reward.

32. Herod spoke out, and that was a boastful speech, that he
would give them, it was thus [he said], the greater half of his kingdom.

p. 181.

33. Herod was then pledged, and he gave his word: he promised,
though great the doom, that he would grant them [their request]
without delay.

34. Then Neiptis made sweet music from her lips, Salia leapt
over every ..., a couple ...

35. Then it was demanded - a wicked unjust boon - that she
might have the head of John on a dish at once, for he had been
reviling them.

36. Herod said in his house that he would not grant them the
request, and that he would not stain red the head of pure John
for all the gold in the world.

37. His household said to him, to Herod, though there were
danger: ‘Do not break thy word, oh king, lest thy law be ruined.’

38. Then indeed Herod wept true sorrowing tears of blood;
and he afterwards granted them John, to be placed in a cruel prison.

39. A wage was given to Mog Ruith who chose it for beheading
John; this then was the wage of Mog Ruith, [his] choice of the

40. Then Mog Ruith the splendid went to kill John, though
it was shameful. So he took in the prison to Herod the head of
John on a dish of white silver.

41. Through that story, - a famous contention - the feast of
John [will come] upon the Gael, so that there shall not be of the
race of noble Gaels save one-third unslain.

42. The single third which will be left on that day of the host
of the Gael and the foreigners, oh Son of Mary, it is a sad thing
that they should all be visited by a black pestilence.

43. Flann Fína son of noble Ossa son of Orath (?) from rugged
Greece, it is he who shaped this Eastern tale for the seed of Adam
and his children.

© 2007 Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae

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