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loves: you win if you guessed "pets" and "museums". Also books, art history, travel, British punk, Korean kimchi, bindis, martinis, and other things TBD. I will always make it very clear if a post is sponsored in any way. Drop me a line at thepetmuseum AT gmail.com !

Monday, September 27, 2010

saint of the little hares

Melangell (it's Celtic; you say "mel-eng-eth") was beautiful, the daughter of a king, and a hermit who had fled her native Ireland for the Welsh wilderness. There she worshipped the Christian God in peace and solitude for fifteen years. (She lived in the 7th century AD, so it was probably easy to do then. I wonder if one could find that kind of solitude now.)

And then one day a hare came darting toward her, finding refuge in the folds of her robe. Surely no sooner had she realized what had happened than she heard the hunting horns and the baying dogs, and saw a man urging these dogs after the hare, although

...the said hare (was) lying under the extremity or fold of her garments (with its face turned towards the dogs) boldly and intrepidly. Then the prince vociferating "Catch her, little dogs! catch her!" the more he shouted while he urged them on, the more remotely and further off did the dogs retreat, and fled from the little wild animal howling.

When the bewildered prince asked Melangell her story, he was so impressed with her devotion and her generosity to the hare that he gave her a portion of his lands for her space in contemplation. And so,

This virgin Monacella (a variant of her name), so very pleasing to God, passed her solitary life (in the way mentioned above) for 37 years in this same place. And the hares, wild little animals, just the same as or tame animals, were in a state of familiarity about her every day throughout her whole life. . .

This story of Melangell, the patron saint of rabbits and hares as well as small critters and the natural environment, is available in a fascinating translation from 16th century Latin here. A lovely modern image is here.

1 comment:

parlance said...

If I were out in the bush, just enjoying nature, and a prince came vociferating at me, I'd tell him where to go!