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Fooling St. Patrick
"Here he comes!" yelled Maughold's watchman. "Patrick is nearly here. Get the corpse!"
St. Patrick looked at each man as he entered the camp.
"One of your men has died?" Patrick asked.
"Yes," answered Maughold. "Please pray for him."
Patrick laid a gentle hand on the shroud. Then he quietly turned and left the camp.
When Patrick was out of sight, the grinning men burst into loud laughter.
"I guess we fooled him. Some holy man he is! He can't tell a live body from a dead one!" sputtered Connor.
"Maughold, sir!" yelled a man who was cutting open the shroud. "He really IS dead. Look!"
All the laughter stopped. The men crowded around to see the corpse of their friend.
"I think Patrick fooled US!" whispered Maughold. "Connor, bring Patrick back."
As Patrick returned to the camp, the men knelt and asked Patrick's forgiveness for trying to trick him. Patrick baptized all of them. He blessed the dead man, who returned to life immediately. Patrick baptized him, too.
Then St. Patrick turned to Maughold and spoke sternly.
"You are the leader of these men. You should be helping them lead good lives. Instead, you have been a scoundrel, a robber, and a murderer. You must make up for your evil."
Maughold knew Patrick was right.
"I will do whatever you say."
"Come, Maughold," said St. Patrick. Maughold and Patrick walked on toward the coast. Patrick chained Maughold's hands and put him into a small skin boat.
"I will send you to two bishops on the Isle of Man. There you will stay and learn from them."
Maughold was welcomed when he reached the Isle of Man. The two bishops treated Maughold well and taught him how to be good.
But Patrick had not sent the key to Maughold's chains. One day, about a month afterwards, one of the bishops caught a fish. When the fish was cut open, there was a key. It fit perfectly into the chain's lock, so Maughold was free at last!
Maughold stayed with the bishops for many years. He became a very good man. Everyone loved Maughold. He cared for the sick. He gave food to the hungry. He was kind to all.
When the two bishops died, the people made Maughold bishop in their place. Today, St. Maughold is the patron saint of the Isle of Man. He is best remembered for his kind deeds to the Manx people. A church was built in his honor. St. Maughold's feast day is April 25.
Images: St. Patrick images from old greeting cards; Isle of Man images from Isle of Man.
Making a May Bush for Beltane
Beltane is on May 1st and it’s a very old celebration to mark the beginning of the summer season. Long ago, children saved the colored shells from their hard-boiled Easter eggs and added them to the decorations for the May Bush which was a small shrub chosen for the honour. It was cut down and placed in front of the house in the days or weeks before Beltane. The children would then decorate it with flowers, ribbons, and Easter egg shells. Candles or rush lights* were attached to the bush and were lighted at dusk. In the cities, the May Bush was made by neighbours and sometimes there were attempts to steal it by folks from other neighbourhoods. It was said that you’d be taking the year's luck from the rightful owners. So, the May Bushes were fiercely guarded until the evening of May Day, when the bush would be cast into the Beltane Bonfire.
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March 4, 2011