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

Chapter 10


I 24 = B II 6. (1) There was a wealthy and honoured man in the territory of Airther, whose name was Dáire. Holy Patrick asked him to give him a place wherein to worship, and the wealthy man said to the holy man: ‘Which place do you want?’ (2) ‘I am asking’, the holy man said, ‘to be given that hill which is called Druim(m) Sailech, and that I may settle there.’ He, however, did not want to give the holy man that lofty place, but gave him another place, lower down, where there is now the Burial-Ground of the Martyrs beside Armagh, and there holy Patrick lived with his followers. (3) After some time a groom of Dáire's came with his master's horse to let it graze in the meadow of the Christians, and Patrick was offended by the release of the horse in his place, and said: ‘Dáire has behaved foolishly in sending brute animals to disturb the small place which he has given to God.’ (4) The groom, however, listened as little as if he were deaf, and like one who is dumb he did not open his mouth to speak, but left the horse there over night and went away. (5) Next day in the morning the groom came to look after the horse and by that time found it dead. He went home sadly and said to his master: ‘Look, that Christian has killed your horse because it displeased him that his place was disturbed’, and Dáire said: ‘He also shall be killed. Go ye now and kill him.’ (6) The very moment his men went out sudden death struck Dáire, and his wife said: ‘This death is because of the Christian. Let somebody go at once and bring us his favours, and you will be well; and let those who have gone out to kill the Christian be stopped and told to return.’ (7) Two men, then, went out and said to him, concealing from him what had actually happened: ‘Look, Dáire has fallen ill. Give us something to bring him by which


he may be healed.’ (8) Holy Patrick, however, knowing what had happened, said: ‘Is that so?’4 blessed water and gave it to them, saying: ‘Sprinkle some of this water over your horse and take it with you.’ (9) And they did so and the horse revived, and they took it away with them, and when the holy water was sprinkled over Dáire he was healed. (10) After this Dáire went out to honour holy Patrick, bringing with him a marvellous bronze cauldron from overseas which held three measures, and Dáire said to the holy man: ‘Look, this cauldron shall be yours.’ And Patrick said: ‘Grazacham.’ (11) When Dáire came home he said: ‘This man is a fool, if he has nothing better to say for a marvellous bronze cauldron of three measures but only ‘Grazacham’’; and then Dáire said to his servants: ‘Go and bring us our bronze vessel back.’ (12) They went out and told Patrick: ‘We are to take the bronze vessel back.’ None the less on that occasion also holy Patrick said: ‘Grazacham, take it’, and they took it away. (13) And Dáire asked his companions and said: ‘What did the Christian say when you took the bronze vessel back?’ and they replied: ‘He said ‘Grazacham’.’ And (Dáire) answered and said: ‘‘Grazacham’ for the gift, ‘Grazacham’ for its withdrawal. His saying is such a good one; with these ‘Grazachams’ his bronze vessel shall be brought to him again.’ (14) And Dáire this time came in person and brought Patrick the bronze vessel and said to him: ‘This vessel shall be yours. For you are a steadfast man whom nothing can change. Besides, I give you now that piece of land for which you once asked so far as it is mine; dwell there.’ This is the city which is now called Armagh.(15) And they went out together, holy Patrick and Dáire, to inspect the marvellous and pleasing gift that he had offered, and they climbed to the top of that hill and found there a doe with its little fawn lying in the place where there is now the altar of the northern church at Armagh, (16) and the companions of Patrick wanted to catch the fawn and kill it, but the holy man objected and forbade them to do so. He even took up the fawn himself and carried it on his shoulders,


and the doe followed him like a meek and loving lamb until he let the fawn go in another glen, to the north of Armagh, where, as knowledge- able men tell us, there persist to the present day signs of his miraculous power.