St Patrick and Crom Duv (long)
March 16, 2007 3:03pm CST
Tomorrow (March 17th) is the Feast of Saint Patrick. There are many wonderful and Pius legends about this illustrious saint, but of all I am most fond of this one:A "great" chief, called Crom Duv, wished to send a present to Saint Patrick. The chief had just killed an ox and had cut it into four quarters. He sent one quarter of it with his greetings to St Patrick by his errand boy. When the boy arrived at the place where Patrick lived, he foud the holy man in prayer. The boy waited until hte saint came out and presented the gift. Now, at that time there was very little food in Ireland. Meat was never seen except on the tables of the rich because it cost so much. Indeed, St Patrick and his friends were often hungry. Most of their food came from kind folks who lived nearby. For this reason, when the saint saw the large piece of meat which Crom Duv had sent, he raised his eyes to heaven, Blessing the meat, he said, "Deo Gratias". The errand boy, seeing the size of Crom Duv's gift, waited for more thanks than just two words. None came, for St. Patrick had returned to his prayers. The boy went back to his chief, who at once asked what thanks the saint had given for the present."Well, now," replied the boy, "it was not more than two words. I do not know what the words mean because I have never before heard them. It's little enough thanks to bring you for such a large piece of meat-enough to feed at least twelve hungry men, so it was.""I only get two words of thanks for a quarter of an ox!" cried Crom Duv angrily. "Maybe this Patrick thought my gift was too small. Go back with one more quarter of the ox. Say it is another gift from me, Crom Duv, chief of the land. Then come back quickly, and tell me what he said."The boy carried another quarter of the ox and dropped it at the feet of St. Patrick where he sat under a tree, reading from his prayer book. When the saint saw the boy with another large piece of meat, he was very pleased because he had given the first gift to the poor. Again the good saint blessed the gift saying, "Deo Gratias."The errand boy afraid to go back to Crom Duv with only this short message of thanks, waited for more. Again, nothing came. So the boy had to return and tell the chief what had happened."Deo Gratias!" shouted Crom Duv. "Even if I knew what the words meant, they would still be poor thanks ofr such a grand gift. I shall try this Patrick just once more. If he does not show better thanks for my presents, I shall know what to do with him."Again the boy was sent, carrying another quarter of the ox. He found St Patrick listening to the song of birds. Placing the third quarter of the ox before the saint, the errand boy waited for what he felt must be a fine message of thanks. Again he got only the two words, "Deo Gratias."Not another sound came from St Patrick, but his face, as he listened to the song of the birds, was very kind and gentle. The boy had to go back, knowing very well what trouble would come from St Patrick's short message."Well, what kind of thanks do you bring me this time?" growled Crom Duv, his hand upon his sword."Ah, now, my chief," cried the boy, looking at the sword. "Is it my mistake that the man can speak only two words? He said, 'Deo Gratias!' the first time...the second time and even for the third quarter of the ox you sent him he said, ' Deo Gratias!' again."And he is said to be the greatest speaker in all Ireland!" Shouted Crom Duv in anger. "How could he treat me this way? Is it to say that I am not important that he throws back two words for three quarters of an ox? Run boy, and tell Patrick that Crom Duv, chief of the land, wishes to see him at once!"After the boy gave St Patrick the messae he said I beg of you to coe quickly for the chief is very angry"Why should your chief be angry? asked the saint. Has he not all things but one - the greatest of all? This I am ready to give him!St Patrick went willingly to see the chief. Even the angry look and ready sword of Crom Duv did not frighten the good man. You sent for me? Patrick asked quietly. crom Duv shouted out angrily, What kind of thanks have you hshown me for the three quarters of a fine ox that I sent you?Very deep felt thanks, replied the saint in the same quiet voice. Only two words of thanks! and those words I did not understand, stormed the chief. Those tow words carried my very best thanks, explained Patrick. I could not ahve sent you thanks in a finer way. Do you know how much the meat that I sent you wieghed cried Crom Duv.. Do you know what my thanks weighed asked the saint... Do you have any scales, Crom Duv?I have...Have you also three quarters of an ox that weigh the same as the three you sent me? I have Then let them be brought out.... The saint wrote the words "Deo Gratias" three times on a piece of paper. Now, said the saint quietly when the meat and scales were before him, place the ox on one side of the scales, on the other I will put this paper. We shall then know which was the greater - your gift, or the thanks. The paper brought the scales right down.... Falling upon his knees before the saint Crom Duv cried, Oh most blessed and holy Patrick! tell me the meaning of those two words which on only a scrap of paper weigh more than my gift of ox... Those tow words are forever blessed...and mean Thanks be to God. Crom Duv then became a Christian - he and all his people were baptized into the faith by St Patrick..
• United States
16 Mar 07
It is not a federal holiday in America. But, it may be in certain areas that are highly Irish populated, like Boston Massachusetts. I don't think we have very many 1st generation Irish here anymore though. I am told that in Boston the Catholics do not fast or abstain on Saint Patricks day - that it overrides lenten observations, which is quizzical to me