Colman mac Duach and Guaire
Author: Whitley Stokes
An electronic edition
Colmán son of Dui, from whom Cell maic Duach (is named).
Now that Colman went into a hermitage in Boirenn of Connaught
and a single young cleric with him. In the time of
Guaire of Aidne they went. A pot and an axe they had.
For seven years they were in the hermitage without nourishment
of food from anyone, without converse with other
human beings. They had a church and a refectory in the
forest. The raiment they wore was the skins of deer. Cress
and water and the herbage of the forest was what they used
to consume during that time. Now the young cleric was prior
and erenagh and majordomo and cook in the refectory.
Well, says Colmán one day there — to wit, Easter day
— after celebrating a good service, here is the great Easter
(Easter Sunday) and the clergy are in the church, to wit, I
and the erenagh and the bishop and the priest. Thou hast all
the other powers. ’Tis meet for us to perform a good service
before us. ’Tis meet for thee to do good on this day of Jesus
Christ the Son of the living God.
He shall have good thereof, O cleric, says the young
cleric, and do thou perform the service properly. But as
soon as that is done we will go before thee to the refectory.
Now there is (somewhat) good there, says the young cleric,
and it were wrong to hide it from the clergy, that is, from
you, and from the comrades. Food came with me to the refectory,
namely, a little bird which I caught in a snare in the
wood, and it is being boiled by me on the herbs of the forest
so that it is a titbit, and it will be in readiness before thee.
Thus the sermon is preached and the mass is performed
diligently. At midday they have celebration, and they go to
’Tis time in God’s name to go to communion, says the
Permission, for it is as thou sayest, quoth the bishop.
Then the food was brought to him in the refectory, etc.
That was the time at which his meal was brought to Guaire
son of Colman in Durlas Guairi. A pig and a cow used to be put
therein to, i.e. into the cauldron (called) Cuach Guairi Guaire’s
Quaigh. Four hooks were out of it, and two bars under it
to carry it before him, to wit, to supply every one’s desire.
Well then, says Guaire, I should be grateful to Christ
if there were some culdee who would like this to help him,
or who would consume it, for I shall get the equivalent again.
While they were there they saw at once the Quaigh (going)
from them out on the skylight! So his horse is gotten for
Guaire, and the two angels (went) with the Quaigh westward
along Magh Aidne, until the Quaigh stopped in front of Colman
son of Dui in his refectory.
Well, says the young cleric, here is the guerdon of
thy patience; so consume what God has given thee.
Nay, says Colman, (not) until we know whence it
has been brought. And looking at the Quaigh he was saying:
O little Quaigh,
why hast thou been brought over Luaine?
An angel said:
Thine own prayer
and Gúaire’s generosity.
Now ’tis then that Gúaire came to the refectory, following
It has reached you, O cleric, says Gúaire.
Perchance God has guided it, says Colmán.
How long are ye here, O clerics? says Gúaire.
Forty nights and seven years we are there, say they.
’Tis time for you, says Gúaire, to consume what has
been given to you.
Who is it that addresses us? says Colmán; is it
’Tis I, he answers; and from me the food has come,
and ye have leave to consume it. And lo here for thee and
for God, are my body and my soul, and my race and my seed
Good indeed, says the cleric: mayst thou have a
reward for it from God!
On the morrow there are brought from Gúaire three score
milchcows with their milkers, with their herdsmen, so that
they were in front of the refectory; wherefore in that place
Cell maic Duach was founded. So that thence for ever he
(the son of Dui) has the whole of Aidne and the Children
of Gúaire, etc.
© 2008 Thesaurus Linguae Hibernicae