Corpus of Electronic Texts Edition
Muirchú's Life of Patrick (Author: Muirchú maccu Machtheni)

Chapter 2


I 12 (11). (1) When Miliucc heard that his slave was about to come and see him, in order to make him accept, forcibly as it were, a way of life against his will at the end of his days, for fear he might be subject to his slave and the latter might become his master, the devil put it into his mind to seek death of his own free will in fire. He gathered all his wealth together in the palace where until then he had lived as king, and burnt himself along with it. (2) Holy Patrick, standing in the said place on the right flank of Sliab Miss, from which, on his return full of grace, he had the first view of the district where he had lived as a slave—to the present day a cross stands there to mark (the spot of) his first view of that district—he at once saw, right under his eyes, the pyre of the king. (3) Stunned by this sight, (he stood there) for two or three hours without uttering a word, sighing and mourning and weeping, and then spoke these words:‘I know not, God knows, this man and king, who chose to burn himself in fire rather than believe at the end of his life and serve eternal God, I know not, God knows, none of his sons shall sit on his throne as king of his kingdom in generations to come; what is more, his line shall be subordinate for ever.’ (4) Having said this, he prayed, armed himself with the sign of the cross, turned round at once and went back to the territory of the Ulaid by the same way that he had come. He returned to Mag Inis, to Díchu, stayed there for many days and travelled around the whole plain. He favoured and loved the district, and the faith began to spread there.