Brigid & the Animals

Brigid and the Fox

The worst had happened. A man, working in the woods, saw a fox and killed it. Big error. It was the King of Leinster's pet fox not a wild one. The man was captured by the King's guard and imprisoned. His distraught wife begged for clemency and forgiveness for her husband as it was a genuine mistake. Unfortunately the King was too distressed at losing his fox and not disposed to release the man. In fact, as there had been one death it should be avenged by the death of the prisoner.

Friends of the family asked Brigid to intervene. Now Brigid, however much she valued the lives of animals, thought that the King's intentions were unjust and she set out for the Court to plead the case.

As she journeyed she took a path through a woodland. It was narrow and she walked along carefully, trying to compose her speech to the King. She prayed for the right words and guidance. As if in answer to her prayers, low and behold, she noticed, looking at her from behind a tree trunk, a young fox. She called to it and the cub happily trotted over to her. An idea came to her mind and she took up the fox, and it joined in the journey to the castle.

On arrival the King was not willing to pay heed to her protests and requests for the release of the killer. His pain at the loss of his fox was great and he wanted the death penalty. Brigid played her last card, the fox. She brought it out and started asking it to do tricks for the King and courtiers. It loved to do this for her and soon the coldest hearts were melted by its antics. Amazingly this new fox could do all the tricks that the King had taught his own pet. Slowly the bereaved man's displeasure eased and he finally relented and granted the prisoner a pardon. His joy with the new pet was great as he filled his days in pleasure at its games.

However, the day came when the King had to leave on business. The fox took no time in escaping back to the wood. The King's men sent out search parties for the animal but it was never seen again.

Now some say it was not a fox but a wolf. It is a good story whichever you choose.

Brigid and the Cows

The Kildare convent had a herd of cows that were good milkers. However, one day they proved just how full of milk they really were.

Seven Bishops arrived unexpectedly. Great consternation in the kitchens! How could they feed these dignitaries? Brigid started praying for guidance and help in this awkward situation. As she appealed to God she became aware of angels surrounding her. They told her to milk the cows. They had already been milked twice and it was unlikely they had milk available, but she did as she was bade. Well, the angelic realms knew best. Not only did they fill all the available pails as she milked them, the pails overflowed. The fresh creamy milk formed a white puddle, which grew into a large pond, and still the milk flowed. The pond grew into a lake, which became known as the Lake of New Milk, Loughminane or Loch Leamnachta.

Now some say it was not Brigid but the cook Blaithnait who received the message from the angels. And some say there were not seven Bishops but eight or even eighteen. And some say that the milk did not overflow but that the last drops were given to beggars, and only when they had their fill did the pail empty. And that it was beside the Lough that all this happened rather than the lough was created by the over abundance of milk..... But this is the way of myths and legends.

Brigid and the Boar

A boar, escaping from a hunting party, gained entry into Brigid's convent in Kildare and sought sanctuary from a certain death. Brigid decided to protect the frightened boar. This enraged the hunters as they did not believe that the animal should have the same rights as a human being. Brigid insisted that they were indeed equal and ignored the hunters requests to release the animal.

Eventually the hunters realised their arguments were of no use and left. Brigid tended the boar which was exhausted after the chase. When recovered she led it to the sties where her pigs were kept. And it lived happily ever after at the convent farm.

And while on the subject of Boars... There was once a schoolteacher in Drogheda..... ah! No! That is a story for another day..... back to Brigid.....

Page last updated: 21st Apr 2010