The Celtic Literature Collective

The Second Anecdote Concerning St. Moling
The Book of Leinster

An old woman who gave her son to him, namely to Mo-Ling, her name was Findnat. Adjuring God, she said to Mo-Lung:

“O cleric, may indeed your name be upon him.”

“Does it satisfy you, O woman, that he shall be called the son of Mo-Ling, and that this shall be his name?”

“I am willing”, she said.

“Very well, O youth”, said Mo-Ling. “Whatever you do, do not leave a monk in danger, though it should be difficult for you.”

“It shall be done”, he said.

Now once upon a time it happened to the lad that amuscaders chased him to the river Barrow. At the ford he saw a leper.

“For the sake of the Lord, bear me on your back.”

“Very well”, he replied. “Mo-Ling said that I should not leave you behind.”

He turns to him. He takes him on his back. When he reached the middle of the ford, a spear is cast at him under the leper, so that it went through him and he fell. On his way to heaven, the leper, however, becomes a fiery dragon, and the boy’s head is struck off him. Now it was Christ who had come in the form of the leper in order to save the lad from the tortures of hell. Thereupon, the shout of victory was borne past Mo-Ling down along the valley. Mo-Ling then said:

“O Findnat, your son has been slain;
Not it is a division in two nor in three.
He carried the man who was entrusted to him.
Findnat has been left without anything.

The son of Mo-Lung,
Death by the spear-point has borne off to-day.
In the middle of the ford lie was slain;
Gleaming missiles went into him.

The wretched man to-day who modestly bore him
Was brought into the grave by a distant ford.
Whatever he did before going (to death),
Seven times the punishment is being erased.

There is a shout along the valley
By the youths of many clans.
Let a cry of fair angels be
Around the wretched man who was slain there.

Not was it a cause for rejoicing
In the church, when he was found dead.
My son is the great son of Mary;
Great is the other son who has been killed.”

He went then to heaven for this small amount of goodness.

Vernam Hull. "Two Anecdotes Concerning St. Moling." ZCP. vol. XVIII. NY: G.E. Stechert Co. 1930.

Back to Ecclesiastical Texts