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

Chapter 2


II 2. (1) One day, then, when he was on a journey, he passed a cross by the wayside which he did not see. His charioteer, however, had seen it, and when they came to some guest-house for which they had been making and had begun to pray before their meal the charioteer said: ‘I saw a cross beside the way we have come.’ (2) (Patrick), however, left the inn and went back the way they had come and prayed (before the cross); and there he saw a tomb, and he asked the dead man who had been buried there what sort of death he had died and whether he had lived under the faith. (3) The dead man answered: ‘I was a pagan in life, and I was buried here. There was also a woman who lived in another province, and she had a son who died far away from her, and was buried in her absence, but after some days the mother came here in mourning, keening for the son she had lost, and in her distracted state of mind she mistook a pagan's tomb for the grave of her son and placed a cross beside a pagan.’ (4) It was for this reason, Patrick said, that he had not seen the cross because it stood on the burial site of a pagan. All the more, his miraculous power was exalted in that a dead man spoke, and he who had died in the faith was made known and the meritorious sign of the blessed cross was transferred to its proper place beside him.