Une famille belge avant Jésus-Christ (Google Books)

d’argent, et qui faisait par échanges la plupart de ses transactions. Les murs extérieurs de la maison, peints de couleurs vives et variées, représentaient des arbres et des animaux grossièrement faits, mais pourtant reconnaissables. Ainsi un cheval ne ressemblait pas à un bœuf, ni un chien à un pourceau, comme on le remarquait ailleurs. Du dehors, l’habitation de Farweich, composée de plusieurs cabanes qui se touchaient, ressemblait à ces vieux manoirs féodaux, qui consistaient dans l’assemblage de plusieurs tours basses et lourdes, jointes ensemble, et projetant dans l’air leurs toits pointus de hauteurs inégales. La porte d’entrée était faite d’épais soliveaux de chêne. Au-dessus de cette porte se hérissaient quatre têtes de loups, que les enfants de la maison avaient tués à la chasse. # , La première cabane, qui ne faisait qu’une salle, et qu’on eut appelé la salle d’honneur, si ce mot eut pu être soupçonné alors, était peinte en dedans de raies rouges jusqu’à la hauteur du toit, dont le dessous champêtre restait à nu, et laissait voir les joncs, les perches et l’osier qui le formaient. D’énormes piques, qu’il fallait manier à deux mains, et dont le fer avait six pouces de large sur un pied de long, étaient dressées contre la muraille. De solides massues en chêne durci au feu, étaient posées sur des crochets de bois. Il y avait encore des arcs, des flèches, des javelots, des épieux, des fléaux. Les dépouilles du cerf, du sanglier, du renard et du loup, s’étalaient en trophées, attachées à des chevilles peintes. Au milieu était une grande table, supportée par douze pierres de dimen

sions à peu près égales : elle était entourée d’une multitude de siéges ou tabourets faits en osier et portés sur quatre pieds qui s’écartaient par en bas, et qui étaient peints en cire jaune. Une douzaine de boucliers étaient entassés dans un coin. Vis-à-vis on voyait une sorte de buffet ou dressoir, formé de quatre grandes planches, soutenues par des rondins l’un sur l’autre. Ce buffet présentait des plats de terre, des écuelles, des cornes d’urus, un vaste bassin de cuivre, des couteaux de fer d’une seule pièce, manche et lame, et de grandes cuillers de bois. On fit asseoir Bood : les femmes apprêtaient le dîner. La famille de Farweich se composait de sa femme et de ses dix enfants; il avait perdu le onzième à la bataille de l’autre année. De ses quatre filles, Ghelta seule était mariée. Les trois autres, quoiqu’elles fussent nubiles, et qu’elles ne manquassent pas d’attraits, ne firent pas oublier leur . sœur au Nervien. Elle vinrent avec leur mère le remercier du salut de Ghelta, qui lui était dû. Les fils vinrent aussi lui serrer la main et lui jurer d’être ses appuis; après quoi, on alla chercher pour se mettre à table, l’eubage qui avait présidé à la cérémonie du matin et qui devait être du repas. Pendant ce temps, Bood examinait ses hôtes. La table était peinte et lavée: , on plaçait au milieu le grand plat de cuivre, entouré de fleurs; il portait un agneau rôti tout entier. Les femmes qui servaient n’avaient de charme dans leur toilette que leur propreté exquise : une simple robe sans manches, en étoffe à petites raies, faisait tout leur vêtement. Elles avaient les jambes nues, un bracelet d’étain à la cheville, et les pieds dans les chaussons de p de

lièvre. Leurs cheveux étaient relevés sur la tête ou liés derrière le cou avec ‘un cordon, que cachait une fleur ouune , branche d’arbuste. La mère, quoiqu’elle eut des cheveux gris, avait la tête nue comme ses filles. Les cheveux de la plus jeune étaient réunis en quatre tresses qui tombaient au hasard. Toute cette famille était blonde, à l’exception de Ghelta, qui avait les cheveux châtains. Les jeunes filles regardaient avec attention Boodle-Nervien, qui était brun, couleur assez rare alors dans ce pays, vierge encore des invasions méridionales. Les autres cabanes étaient faites et meublées à peu près comme lapremière, excepté que les unes contenaient les lits composés de nattes, de peaux assouplies, de sacs de feuillage, de mousse, de laine ou de plumes, qu’on appelle aujourd’hui de sommiers, des matelats

of money, and which traded most of its transactions. The exterior walls of the house, painted in vivid and varied colors, represented crudely made but recognizable trees and animals. Thus a horse did not look like an ox, nor a dog like a swine, as we noticed elsewhere. From the outside, Farweich’s house, made up of several huts that touched each other, resembled these old feudal manors, which consisted in the assembly of several low and heavy towers, joined together, and projecting their pointed roofs of air into the air. uneven heights. The front door was made of thick oak joists. Above this door stood four wolf heads, which the children of the house had killed while hunting. # The first cabin, which was only one room, and which would have been called the main room, if this word could have been suspected then, was painted within red stripes up to the height of the roof, whose the country underside remained bare, and revealed the rushes, poles and wicker that formed it. Huge pikes, which had to be handled with two hands, and whose iron was six inches wide by one foot long, were erected against the wall. Solid clubs in fire-hardened oak were placed on wooden hooks. There were still bows, arrows, javelins, spears, plagues. The remains of the deer, wild boar, fox and wolf spread out in trophies, attached to painted pegs. In the middle was a large table, supported by twelve dimen stones

about equal: it was surrounded by a multitude of seats or stools made of wicker and carried on four legs which parted from below, and which were painted in yellow wax. A dozen shields were piled up in a corner. Opposite we saw a sort of sideboard or dresser, formed of four large boards, supported by logs one on the other. This buffet featured earthenware, bowls, urus horns, a large copper basin, one-piece iron knives, handle and blade, and large wooden spoons. Bood was seated: the women were preparing dinner. Farweich family consisted of his wife and ofhis ten children; he had lost the eleventh at the battle of the other year. Of her four daughters, Ghelta alone was married. The other three, though they were nubiles, and that they did not lack attractions, did not make forget their. sister to Nervien. They came with their mother to thank him for the greeting of Ghelta, which was due to him. The sons also came to shake his hand and swear to be his support; after which, we went to get to sit at the table, the cleaning which had presided over the morning ceremony and which was to be of the meal. Meanwhile, Bood was examining his hosts. The table was painted and washed: the large copper dish, surrounded by flowers, was placed in the middle; he was carrying a whole roast lamb. The women who served had no charm in their toilet except their exquisite cleanliness: a simple sleeveless dress, in fabric with small stripes, made all their clothing. They had bare legs, a tin ankle bracelet,

Hare. Their hair was raised on the head or tied behind the neck with a cord, hidden by a flower or a branch of a shrub. The mother, although she had gray hair , had the bare head like her daughters. The youngest’s hair was gathered in four braids which fell at random. This whole family was blonde, except for Ghelta, who had hairbrown. The young girls looked attentively at Boodle-Nervien, who was brown, a color quite rare then in this country, still untouched by southern invasions. The other huts were made and furnished roughly like the first, except that some contained the beds made up of mats, softened skins, bags of foliage, moss, wool or feathers, which are now called box springs, mattresses

The New Ireland Review, Volume 4 (Google Books)

THE LEGEND OF ST. BRENDAN.

I.—Its Historical Aspect.

“Saint Brandan sails the northern main;
The brotherhood of saints are glad;
He greets them once, he sails again;
So late! Such storms! The saint is mad!”—M. Arnold.

NE splendid evening this summer, the writer stood on the summit

\J of Brandon Hill, in the wild promontory of Dingle, Co. Kerry, beside the little weather-beaten altar that bears the name of the navigator saint, the Irish Ulysses.

On every side, except the East, as far as eye could reach, stretched the ” mighty, intolerable ocean,” now heaving itself gently to rest under the calm of a golden sunset.

To the east and south-east lies a region of mountain, tarn, and gully, across which the eye ranges towards Castlegregory, and the bare islands of the Maherees, while, hidden by a long edge of neighbouring mountain, rise the impressive heights of the Valentia range, backed by Magillicuddy’s Reeks. The spot is haunted by memories of the past. Below, on the seaward side, protected by cliffs that rise like embattled turrets from the ocean, lies Smerwick Harbour, where the ” Fort de l’Ore,” and Spanish graves, speak loudly of days when the Spaniard was a standing threat to English rule in Ireland; here the famous “Litell Revenge” received her baptism of fire, and began her career of renown. Not far off, “Ventry Harbour ” still recalls to the Irish peasant a famous story of Ireland’s heroic days. It is said that Finn MacCumhaill, exhausted by a long and uneven combat with a foreign invader, appealed for help to the son of a northern king. He, a mere youth, with a band of equally youthful companions, responded to the call. One by one they were cut down by a ‘too powerful adversary, until at length only the prince remained, fighting hand to hand upon the sea-shore, with his more seasoned foe. The encroaching tide washed them both out to sea in one tremendous wave. Next morning, two bodies were washed up in the foam, locked inextricably together in furious and fatal embrace.

Around the Greater and Lesser Skellig, whose twin peaks rise sheer out of the sea, on the distant horizon, like miniature peaks of Tenneriffe, a different set of associations hang. Here, on these almost inaccessible rocks was maintained, through years when terror and desolation spread abroad upon the mainland, a simple and primitive form of Christianity, still testified to by the groups of cells that are perched, as an eagle’s eyrie, high above the sea. Alas! even for these anchorites, far withdrawn from worldly strife, a permanent peace was not to be secured.

[graphic]
“A.D. 823, Eitgal, of Scelig, was carried away by the strangers, and soon died of hunger and thirst.” So runs the brief record. What a history is contained in it!

The scene on which we looked was such as could hardly be found out of Ireland. Wild with the wildness of primeval nature, and lonely with that sense of being far removed from the turmoil and usage of men, that adds a special feeling of freedom to a tour in the outlying districts of Ireland, it was yet full of that tender attractiveness, that caressing softness of air and cloud, that makes an Irish landscape cling around the heart, and awakens a pathos that is alive with memories.

To myself, however, the interest of the place centred in the point of cliff below us where, nearly fourteen hundred years ago, St. Brendan set forth “to sail the northern main” in search of the land of Behest, a country half real, half mythical, to the Irish imagination; or on the broken oratory beside which we stood, where day by day he had “besought his Heavenly Father to grant him the mysterious land far from human ken.”

Every country in which the sea has become an important factor in the national life, “has had its own wandering mariner, or its sailorsaint.

To the Irish, the idea would be a most familiar one, for from the sixth to the tenth centuries, or even later, the Irish were emphatically a nation of voyagers; and this not so much in pursuit of commerce like the Greeks, or with the design of depredation and annexation like the Norsemen, though commerce and foreign warfare both had their place, but primarily for what we may call Christian objects, the establishment of isolated monastic settlements of the most primitive kind, or of solitary anchorite cells in the outlying islands, or for the more direct purpose of missionary effort. The desire to find a ” desert in the ocean,” shared, even by the greatest and most active of the teachers and saints of Ireland, sustained through several centuries a veritable craze for wandering among the Irish monks. We find them penetrating into hitherto inaccessible regions( founding settlements on every lonely rock and island around the coasts; pushing their way north to the Faroe and Shetland isles, and leaving their names, books, and churches as a witness of their early occupation of Iceland. This restlessness was part of a much larger outward movement, whose results are to be traced not only in England and Scotland, but in every country of Western Europe, a movement largely due to the energy, fearlessness, and enthusiasm of the Celtic preachers, but also to the rapid increase in the number of monks and clergy who, pushed outwards by the necessity of finding a scene of labour beyond the narrow limits of their own country, carried learning and religion beyond the sea.

One cause of this extraordinary multiplication of the religious has not been sufficiently recognised ; it doubtless arose from that unparalleled claim made by the church upon the laity, to which the editors of the Brehon Law Tracts direct special attention. This was nothing less than the devotion of every first-born son to the Church, which received him soon after his birth from the parents, and undertook his education and rearing, seldom, if ever, it would appear, permitting the youth to return to his tribal or family duties. “Every firstborn, of every human couple,” so runs this astonishing law, “the mother being a lawful wife, belongs to the Church.” {Senchus Mor, vol. iii., p. 57.) “Such rights as these,” the editors observe, “were never claimed as against the whole body of the laity by any Christian Church in Europe.” Such a law must have given rise to many difficulties, especially in the case of the lawful tanist or heir to the chieftainship 5 and we do, in fact, find such difficulties made the subject of many Irish stories, as in the case of St. Keiran of Clonmacnoise, and Cellach, son of the King of Conn adit.1 This law not only explains the rapid increase of the monastic orders, but also enables us to understand how it was that so many of the Abbots were men of high secular rank, who as much in right of birth and kinship, as of their office and learning occupied posts of honour round the throne. The story referred to above shows us that, in some cases, the younger brother ruled his people entirely by the advice and directions of his elder brother, the dispossessed heir to the chieftainship, now devoted to the service of the church. St. Brendan is a case in point. He was of noble birth, the eldest son of Finnlug Mac Hy Alta, of the race of Fergus Mac Roy. He was born on the sea-coast, west of Tralee, County Kerry, about the year 480 A.D., and, as the first-born son of his parents, he passed at once under the care of Bishop Ere who baptized him at Tubber na Molt (Tubrid), near Tralee, a place still regarded as sacred by the people. As soon as he could leave his mother, the child was transferred to the fosterage of Sf. Ita, Abbess of Ceall Ita (Killeedy), County Limerick. The nun, dra» n perhaps to the babe by a similarity between the circumstances of hi< birth and the events of her own childhood, ” gave him exceeding love,” and became more than a mother to him. She seems entirely to have deserved the praise lavished upon her as “prudent in word and work, sweet and winning in her address, but constant of mind and purpose.” And we find St. Brendan, who loved her as a mother, resorting to her

1 Silca Gadelica.—Standish’H. O’Grady’s Translations, p. 50.

for counsel and direction in every perplexity of his after career. At five years old, the child returned to the immediate charge of Bishop Ere, under whose more vigorous discipline he seems often to have sighed for St. Ita’s gentler rule. Ere was a man of great learning, and of considerable authority in the kingdom, and he spent much of his time at Tara, as one of the high officials and counsellors of the king. Under him the boy rapidly increased in knowledge, and, as he grew -older, accompanied the Bishop in many of his official journeys. Finally he made a tour of the monasteries of Ireland to study the rules of the various establishments, writing them, we are told, in a book. Unfortunately this book has not come down to us. At the age of twenty-six years he received ordination at the hands of Bishop Ere. It was at this moment, as it appeared to him, that he received the call which was to influence the whole of his after life, and was to result in the expedition which has made his name the centre of so many marvellous legends, not only in his own country, but in England, France, Germany, and Spain. Many emotions must have stirred the mind of the young priest as he knelt before the altar. Ardent and serious in temper, inspired by high ideas, the solemnity of the service in which he was engaging, mingled in his mind with the stirring events of the journey from which he had just returned. Moved both by religious enthusiasm and by that passion for the unknown, which wrought so strongly in his Gaelic temperament to the production of ecstasy and vision,”it appeared to the youth that the Gospel for the day spoke to him individually in tones of command: “Everyone that hath forsaken father or mother, or son or lands for My name’s sake shall receive a hundred fold in the present, and shall possess everlasting life.” For what immediately follows, we take the account from an old life of the saint preserved in the Book of Lismorei a MSS. of the fifteenth century. “After that then,” we read, “the love of the Lord grew exceedingly in his heart, and he desired to leave his land and his country, his parents and his fatherland, and he urgently besought the Lord to give him a land secret, hidden, secure, delightful, separated from men. Now, after he had slept on that night he heard the voice of an angel from heaven, who said to him, ‘Arise, O Brenainn, for God hath given thee what thou soughtest, even the Land of Pro mise.’ Then Brenainn arose, and his mind was glad at that answer, and he went alone to Sliab Daidchi (Mount Brandon ?) and saw the mighty intolerable ocean on every side, and he beheld (in vision) a beautiful noble island with trains of angels rising from it. After three days he again fell asleep and the angel of the Lord came to commune with him, and said, ‘I will be along with thee henceforward, for ever and ever. I will teach thee how to find the beautiful island that thou hast seen and that thou desirest to obtain.’ Brenainn then wept exceed

ingly because of his joy at the answer of the angel, and he rendered thanks to God.”

Thus was nourished in the heart of St. Brendan that longing for the unknown and that belief in a fair land across the western seas that can be traced up through legend after legend to some of the very earliest romances of Gaelic imagination. This happy deathless world of the Pagan Celt, which Oisin and Connla visited, which beckoned enticingly to Cuchulain and to Bran, and to seek which Maelduin and many another half Pagan, half Christian wanderer, passed from isle to isle in the western seas, had been, by a not unnatural transference of idea, transformed into the Christian conception of the Land of Behest or Paradise. The mingling of the two ideas is one of the most curious phenomena of Gaelic literature. Mr Alfred Nutt, in his recent study of the “Irish Conception of the other World,” affixed to “The Voyage of Bran,” edited by Kuno Meyer,.has treated the Pagan conception with learning and clearness, as illustrated by certain stories in which the Pagan element largely prevails, but he has purposely excluded much of the literature in which the Christian tone is predominant, as not bearing directly on his subject. It is, however, in this literature that we find an almost unbroken series of ideas, the pre-Christian conception widening without break by a natural evolution of imaginative thought, into the Paradise of Christian theology. This subject must be touched upon later on; at present it is necessary to confine ourselves strictly to the historical Brendan, and to endeavour to set him in his natural place among the intellectual currents of his time.

Irish legends are full of accounts of sailor-monks setting forth in those frail hide-covered canoes, that are still in use on the west coast. As a token of their trust in Divine guidance they generally cast away their oars as soon they reached the open sea, drifting before the wind. The words of Maelduin record what seems to have been a common occurrence. “Leave the boat still without rowing,” said Maelduin, “and whiiher soever it shall please God to bring it, He will bring.” Neither did they go provided for a voyage; they seem to have thought that to provision their boat was to distrust God who was able to feed them with bread from heaven. It is satisfactory to observe that this sustenance appears seldom to have failed. We might take many passages from the Irish stories, but we prefer to draw an example from the sober pages of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle eminently characteristic of these wanderings.

891. “Three Scots {i.e., Irish) came to King Alfred in a boat without any oars, from Ireland, whence they had stolen away, because they desired, for the love of God, to be in a state of pilgrimage, they recked not where. The boat in which they came was made of two hides and a half, and they took with them provisions for seven days; and then about

the seventh day they came on shore in Cornwall, and soon after went to King Alfred. Thus they were named: Dubstane, Macbeth, and Maelinmun.”

It was on such events, matters of daily occurrence in the life of the people of Erin, that the Irish imagination dwelt. Gradually around the facts grew an accretion of the marvellous, which mingled in the popular mind with reminiscences of voyages made by their Pagan ancestors into strange worlds beyond the seas, sung still by the bards on every day of festival. Christian dreams of the other world added a new element to these beautiful old romances and became wedded to them in poetic union. The tales of monks returning from time to time from unknown lands to spin sailor’s yarns to their brethren and to describe, perchance with some exaggeration, the marvels they had seen and the perils they had passed through, added some details. In some such way as this grew up the Imram or voyage literature. The visions of hermit-monks, worn with abstinence, and half distraught by years of solitude, found in them a fitting framework. That figure familiar in all the later voyages of the hermit-monk, seated on a bare rock in the ocean, his beard falling to his waist, his naked body overgrown with hair, his power of speech almost gone, is, no doubt, a sketch drawn from life, and must have been a common sight around the coasts. A short story from the Book of Lismore will illustrate how easily marvellous detail was added to such stories, and will also serve as an example of the growth of an Imram.1

“Three young clerics of the men of Ireland went on their pilgrimage. It was fervently and heartily they went. There was no provision taken to sea except three cakes. ‘I will bring the little cat,’ says one of them. Now -when they reached the shoulders of the main, ‘In Christ’s name,’ they say, ‘let us throw away our oars into the sea, and cast ourselves on the mercy of the Lord.’ This was done. Not long afterwards, they came, with Christ’s help, to a beautiful Island. Plenty of firewood was therein, plenty of water. ‘Let us build a church in the midst of our island.’ This they do.” The story goes on to relate how the cat, while they had been working, had discovered a stream hard by, and caught a fine salmon for their supper. Instead of being pleased at this, they are overpowered with distress. “O God,” they say, “our pilgrimage is no pilgrimage now. We have brought provisions with us, namely our cat, to feed us. It is sad to eat of his catching.” They determine that they will not touch the salmon, and will only eat what it pleases God to send them from heaven. The cat eventually grows into a monster; and two of the clerics, after surviving many years, die, one after the other, and only the

2 An Imram was a voyage willingly undertaken, and generally in search of some, thing. A Longasa is a voyage involuntarily undertaken, as a flight of- punishment, as St. Patrick’s banishment of MacCuill. … . l .

last is left. He remainsan aged solitary, until St. Brendan arrives at the island, and then happily expires, after receiving the Communion at the hands of the saint.

St. Brendan, according to the Irish account, was hardly more thoughtful for the future. He made two voyages, the first in ” three great vessels, with three rows of oars in each, and thirty men in each ship. They were not all clerics.” For five years they sailed “over the wave-voice of the strong-maned sea, over the storm of the green-gilded waves. They saw multitudes of furious red-mouthed monsters, and great sea-whales, and they found marvellous fair islands, yet they tarried not therein.” All the time they lost not one of their people, and ” this was a marvel, for Brennain had taken no provisions with him, saying that God was able to feed them wherever they might be.” There is much confusion in this version of the legend; in one place we are told that the voyage lasted five, in another seven, years, and several of the marvellous incidents, especially the important one of the whale on whose back they celebrated Easter, are most awkwardly dragged in. It is evident that the scribe had in his mind the floating Irish tradition, and that he attempted to add to it many of the marvellous accretions that had grown up, chiefly in foreign lands, around the central story. That he was possessed of a purely Irish form of the legend is, I think, shown by the very considerable variations, often exceedingly poetic and Celtic in character, which exists between this form of the story and the celebrated versions preserved-in Latin, English, and German. Passing over these marvellous details for the present, we read that the voyagers reach at last a beautiful island, but can find no.place to land. The inhabitants throw down a waxen tablet on which is written ” Mansiones Dei multcesunt,” but they tell him that this is not the land he seeks. Discouraged, Brendan returns home at last, and so great already was his fame, that the people offered him gifts, “as if they were giving to God.” He resorted to his old counsellors, Ere and Ita, to ask why his voyage had been unsuccessful, St. Ita says: “My dear son, why didst thou go on a voyage Without taking counsel of me? For the land thou art seeking from God thou wilt never find it in those dead blood-stained skins, for it is a holy consecrated land, and blood has never been spilt therein. Howbeit let wooden vessels be built by thee, and it is likely that those will find the land.” Encouraged by this curious advice, Brendan has a ” great marvellous vessel, distinguished and huge,” built for him. This time they” take, besides his own people, smiths and workers, sixty men in all, and a supply of plants and seeds. They again set sail, and meet with extraordinary adventures; amongst others, they encounter the her «,”t of whom we spoke above, grown “bloodless and fleshless, only a fhiri wretched leather on those bare hard bones.” He is still guarded by the terrible sea-cat, who has a fight with a whale in Brendan’s presence, and

is killed. The Saint is then able to land, and he administers the Body of Christ and His Blood to the old man, who “goes to heaven,” and is buried. The story has varied somewhat, for he tells them that he is the last of twelve Irishmen, and that they had brought the sea-cat as a little singing bird. This is the last of their adventures before they reach the Land of Promise. Here they are lovingly greeted by a holy old man, and bidden to leave their vessels, and come on land. His words are worth repeating: “O ye toilsome men, O beloved pilgrims, O folk that entreat the heavenly rewards, O ever-weary life expecting this land, stay a little now from your labour. Search ye, and see the plains of Paradise, and the delightful fields of the land famous, radiant, etc.” Then follows one of those strings of adjectives in which later Irish literature takes a peculiar delight, here evidently intended to balance the description of hell in an earlier part of the story. It seems to have been copied from an early middle Irish Homily, called “Tidings of Doomsday,” in which a similar list of adjectives occurs in the description of the joys of heaven, and the pains of hell. We do not read here that St. Brendan returned to Ireland. We are merely told that he and his companions “sing thanks to God, with their minds fixed on Him,” and that they ” receive spiritual instruction at the uplifting of the Gospel.” The close of the legend is almost identical with the epilogue to the “Vision of Adamnan.” It was either copied from it, or else the Epilogue formed a general and established ending to Irish Christian visions of the other world.

The actual St. Brendan did, however, return and led an active life for many years afterwards. We trace his footsteps in Wales, where he met St. Gildas, and used a Missal in Greek characters; at Iona, and in various parts of Ireland. Of his numerous foundations, the See of Ardfert, and the great Monastery of Clonfert in Galway, were the most important. He is not to be confounded with the almost equally famous St. Brendan, pf Birr, his contemporary and fellow student under St. Finnian of Clonard, with whom we find his name confused even in “The Voyage of Maelduin,” as it has been frequently confused since.

All along the western coasts of England and Scotland as well as in many parts pf Ireland we find the name of the sailor-saint the patron of mariners, St. Brendan’s Hill overlooks the port of Bristol. Kilbrandon near Oban, and Kilbrennan Sound retain his name in Scotland, and the natives of Arran and Bute {i.e., bothe=a hut) are sometimes called Brendani.

But the fame of the saint was to pass far beyond his native land, and was destined to awaken a spirit of enterprise that had valuable results in later exploration. For aught we know, the saint, in his many years of westward travel may himself have reached the shores of America in the early part of the sixth century. What more probable, than that the plenteous land he found, rich in woods and singing birds and crossed by great rivers, may have been some part of the American Continent? But even if this were not so, indirectly the legend of his voyage, and of the fair country he found over seas, had a very strong influence on the travels of Spanish and Portuguese adventurers, and led them, age after age, to make those explorations which ended in the voyage of Cabot and the discovery of America.

For the certainty of the existence of this country was so fixed in the minds of men that we find “St. Brendan’s Isle” marked down on all the maps of the Middle Ages, and its discovery the object of one expedition after another. It appears on globes and maps from the time of Andrea Bianco in 1436, and though it shifted its position as ship after ship returned home from a fruitless search for it, the search was continued until 1721. This imaginary island, which the Spaniards believed to be full of opulent towns, inhabited by a Christian nation, rich and happy, became known as the “ile non-trouvee,” and has quite a history of its own.

The Portuguese, Louis Perdigon, states that the King of Portugal had ceded the isle to his father ” when he should discover it.” At the peace of Evora, when the Crown of Portugal yielded its right over the Canary Islands to the Castilians, the treaty included the Island of St. Borodin as the “ile non-trouv£e.” It was said that the isle occasionally appeared, and a Dutch voyager, Van Linschoten, returning from the Indies in 1589, writes that he had frequently observed the island, and that some of his sailors had landed there.

The most remarkable results followed the expeditions sent out by the Spaniard De Ayala in 1498. He informed his sovereign that every year for seven years he had sent out two, three, or four light vessels in search of the Island of ” Hy Breasail” (Brazil ?) the Irish happy island of the west. The adventure was under the direction of Cabot, the Genoese, who reached the northern coast of America a year before Columbus discovered its central shores.

Thus, indirectly at least, the old Irish Legend of St. Brendan led to the discovery of the American continent. A curious outcome of a mediaeval romance!

The subject has another aspect which I propose to touch upon in a separate paper, namely, the influence of the legend upon European romantic literature. Spread far and wide by the wandering Irish monks on the Continent, the story exercised a deep influence over the imaginative literature of Western Europe, and formed the nucleus or kernel out of which grew many of those visions of the other world that possessed the minds of dreamers during the Middle] Ages, and which had their final consummation in the immortal poem of Dante.

Eleanor Hull

Andy

Andy was a good little boy. Or so as they say. He never did anything wrong perhaps other than collecting dolls in his spare time. After all, he’s a straight-A student and a generous one too. While he was out in the streets, a car came.

Carried off to a casket, buried with his dolls. They bid him well. But for his soul, despite his virtues, it wasn’t so. He got attacked by his dolls a lot that he couldn’t escape even if wanted to. The dolls themselves weren’t bad.

As much as his heart was misplaced.

Likable but not good

I still think it bears repeating that being good isn’t always necessarily part of being likable. You could be a massive jerk but still be the most charismatic character. Logically you could be genuinely good-intentioned, good-natured and law-abiding but not always trustworthy and reliable.

Things like those may’ve been attempted in fiction. But that would also mean a greater understanding of human nature. You can be likable without being good and you can be and do good without likable. Especially if you’re practical, responsible or misunderstood.

Interesting but not likable

I still think it’s something a good number of writers and readers don’t recognise’s that a character can be interesting without being likable. But that would necessitate realising that either they could have an ugly side or at least be actually fallible or unappealing. A character might be interesting for doing something heinous, stupid or reckless.

Sometimes a likable character can be rather bland and even shady for not having any shortcomings or at least an unappealing side. As for character development, sometimes the most interesting thing’s also the most repulsive or horrifying. It’s like how Berserk’s Griffith started with odd intentions but grew worse over time.

Maybe not necessarily repulsive but sometimes what grabs attention isn’t always pleasant.

Can’t write a good female character to save their life

Whilst not always the case (as there are writers who do take responsibility and bother to change), whether if they’re sexist or not I sometimes think some writers are pretty awful at writing convicing people who aren’t like themselves or whatever. As for transformation arcs, I sometimes think certain writers do try to go for it but can’t. Let alone convincingly or horrifyingly so.

I sometimes think part of the problem with Shawn James’s writing’s that whenever I read excerpts of his work, I feel as if the real problem’s that the female characters come off as narratively and practically interchangeable. Their enemies are almost always ugly, demonic or jealous of their looks. The protagonists always seem to speak in the same first person dialogue that I feel they might easily be one character.

Actually characters needn’t to be that ‘deep’ to be interesting since what matters is both the impact on the reader and in the story itself. If they don’t have much impact, regardless if they’re likable or not, they might easily be this forgettable and interchangeable really. A character can be interesting without being likable.

Especially if they do something disturbing, shady or simply odd that it’s going to grab both the author’s and reader’s attention anyways. (Though that would mean either having to allow the character to be actually fallible or in some cases, do what’s necessarily even if it’s not always legally good or whatever.) Things like those can grab readers’ curiosity like people’s interest in news and other happenings.

Another problem may be that either James follows the wrong advice or the odd fact that sometimes what makes a character interesting isn’t always likable. (Again that would mean allowing characters to actually screw up or have an ugly side that necessitates a damning transformation arc as to do the logical conclusion.)

The Little Lamb

The little lamb was born tonight. Quite precocious but he got often mocked. He also threw fits every now and then, especially whenever he got bullied or stressed out from studying and helping people out.

Whenever people screw up, he throws a tantrum. When he senses some people crying, he also cries. Lately some wolves conspired to attack him and then they did. But the following morning, the lamb resurrected himself and had his friends coming after him.

Eventually he’ll return one day.