Never Mind the Horse and the Holy Relics, What Happened to the Puppies?

"I do not think it amiss if miracles done by divine grace at this time are inserted in this treatise.

"A certain brother was sent to carry from one cell to another a consecrated container in which relics of Saint Denis and other saints were put. With him he took along also some puppies, but returning after several days he negligently strove to bring back the consecrated container without having washed his clothes. He embarked hurriedly in a boat--for his cell was situated between a lake and the sea. As soon as he reached land he mounted a horse, settling the puppies first and then picking up the container to attach it. But divine punishment overthrew him: at that very moment the horse reeled in a circular motion so that the brother fell to the ground. The container slipped from his hands (it was later recovered unharmed); the horse died at once; and the brother who had fallen was knocked into unconsciousness. He remained that way a long time, but ultimately regained his health.

"When the brothers learned what had happened, they sent back another brother to look for the relics. Being a priest he took a long a cross in which some of the Lord's wood was embedded. As he entered the lake his boat was shaken by a mighty wind. But when he held up the cross, which he wore about his neck, to the swelling waves, the winds subsided. Earlier, while he was resting in his cell, he had seen in a dream a man of dazzling brightness who addressed him thus, 'Unless you take with you the Lord's wood, you will never leave here at the time you want to leave.' He was also warned to carry the relics on foot. But he did not obey and, when he recovered and returned them, he was stricken with severe illness. Afterward to the church from which the relics were removed he presented a lamp, in the vessels of which there was very little oil. But on the next day they were found to be filled. That happened three times. I learned this story from the brother who fell and fainted."

--Ardo, "The Life of Saint Benedict, Abbot of Aniane and of Inde," c. 25, trans. Allen Cabaniss, in Soldiers of Christ: Saints and Saints' Lives from Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages, eds. Thomas F.X. Noble and Thomas Head (University Park, PA: The Pennsylvania State University Press, 1995), p. 236.


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