Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Brown Mouse Plague ~ Irish 9th Century

....And this is the second plague next, namely the Brown Mouse; that is , a puppy which a widow's son found in the hollow of a tree-trunk, and the widow reared it until it was big, At last however it turned against the widow's sheep, and killed her cows and her son, and killed her herself; and went after that to the Great Pig's Glen. It would devastate a farmstead in Ulster every night, and lie asleep every day. "Rid us of it, Celtchar!"! said Conchobar. Celtchar went to the woods and brought away an alder log, and a whole was bored through it as long as his arm, and he boiled it in fragrant herbs and honey and grease, until it was supple and tough. Celtchar went to the cave where the Brown Mouse used to sleep, and entered the cave early before the Brown Mouse should come after its ravages. It came with its snout lifted up to the scent of the trunk, and Celtchar pushed the trunk out through the cave towards it. The hound took it in its jaws and set its teeth in it, and the teeth stuck in the tough wood. Celtchar dragged the trunk towards him and the hound dragged in the other direction; and Celtchar thrust his arm along inside the log, until he brought its heart up through its mouth, so that he had it in his hand. And he took its head with him.... 

~  Irish ninth century


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